Author Topic: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?  (Read 308 times)

Rascal

  • Near Threatened
  • **
  • Posts: 134
    • Awards
Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« on: June 23, 2017, 08:44:16 AM »
I look at horror movies like cheap candy, completely horrible for me and ultimately not very satisfying and yet, ultimately I find myself drawn to it anyway.

So today I paid my $1.99 to the Amazon beast to pick up the first episode of The Mist, which just aired last night. "Ooo!" I said, "A TV show loosly based off of a novel by an author I don't really like on a network I haven't heard about in half a decade." But the setting jives with my guilty pleasure of dark and gloomy city scapes filled with horror abominations so I picked it up anyways.

Perhaps I already had low expectations, perhaps I am just jaded but...I didn't actually find the show scary, not because it wasn't but because I already knew what was going to happen. I could tell what characters would do because I could see where the plot was going, I could count down to the jump scares, I could name which character was going to bite the dust first and I already have a theory on which character did horrible X thing to X person as a big reveal plot twist. Because that's probably what I would do if I were writing a story, or avoid doing while writing a story to make it less predictable.

Obviously I am guessing on the last part but it leaves me wondering, would I have the same reaction if I was not a writer, even an amateur one :v

How about you guys, have you had a movie, TV show, book completely ruined because you were simply too genra savi?

Airan

  • Administrator
  • Critically Endangered
  • ******
  • Posts: 595
  • The Pirate King
    • Awards
Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2017, 08:56:36 AM »
You don't necessarily have to be a writer to begin to see those kinds of formulas. Really, you just need to have seen plenty of movies or read lots of stories. It's very rare I can't tell where a story is going to go- and those few cases where I can't are usually in independent webcomics like Lackadaisy or Western Deep, though the latter is starting to reach that predictability. Honestly a lot of this is just because TV and Hollywood have found what works and brings in audiences, and unfortunately that seems to be familiar narratives that appeal to large masses. Take a look at something like The Emoji Movie. Everyone has a cell phone, everyone knows what emojis are, so automatically it has an audience. Slap on a familiar message about 'being yourself' and it's bound to make money- even if it looks like complete tripe.

Vizon

Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2017, 09:02:15 AM »
Sure, but it doesn't mean that we are spoiling things by understanding more. It means the writers aren't being creative or bold. They're expecting a humdrum audience who doesn't have taste. It's okay not to be that audience. You can be part of the audience that really awesome writers (Like Joss Whedon or Vince Gilligan) are trying to reach. You can hunt for the jewels among the rough. Horror that does surprise you (like Guillermo del Toro) or classics that are unique (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3454574/).

Don't be sad that you don't enjoy sixlets anymore. Have some Ghirardelli.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 09:05:35 AM by Vizon »

Matra Hammer

  • Matra Hammer
  • Near Threatened
  • *
  • Posts: 196
  • Perceptive Possum
  • Accolades Mini Contest Winner: An award given to a user whose writing has earned them victory in a Mini-Contest. This medal upgrades as your win count increases.
    • Awards
Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2017, 09:39:35 AM »
In my case, once the formulas became obvious? It's about asking "why am I watching anything?" Usually solves the expectation problem. Helps me enjoy shows or movies that aren't artistically and/or socially sound. I spend the experience asking "who is this for? How would I make this better? Why did person A choose reaction B?"

And what Vizon says nailed it. Time to shop at the higher rent stores.
When kings upon the main have clung to pride
And held themselves as masters of the sea
I've held them down beneath the crushing tide
Till they have learned that no one masters me

Frost

  • Lowest Risk
  • *
  • Posts: 31
  • I aim to misbehave.
    • Awards
Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2017, 11:20:29 AM »
And that's not to say that something packaged as "cheap horror thrills!" can't be entertaining (and not because it's soo bad it's good). Several recent successes were made by fans of earlier films/franchises, and wanted to pay homage to what they grew up on and enjoyed, and in so doing, utilized good storytelling, character development, kept the plot afloat and ended up giving us something rather enjoyable.

One of my favorite examples of this is "Tremors". It's a rip-off '50s B-horror monster movie, right? But look at how they get you: compelling characters, a vague (but somewhat believable) plot that keeps moving through the film, and enough tension/action to satisfy the audience. I'd write that up as a successful homage that had enough fresh ideas to keep it unique, and that's what good storytelling (via screen or page) does...doesn't necessarily reinvent, but changes enough to keep it distinct.

Along the same lines: anyone here a fan of "Jaws"? I re-watched the movie last year, and made a fantastic discovery...would love to tell more, but I don't know if this thread, or via PM, would be the correct venue? (Didn't want to hijack your thread, Ras.)
Hello again.

Rascal

  • Near Threatened
  • **
  • Posts: 134
    • Awards
Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2017, 01:09:23 PM »
Nah your good c:

Tremors was one of my favorite childhood memories. That and all sequals / tv spin off

Tooley Bostay

  • Tooley Bostay
  • Vulnerable
  • *
  • Posts: 308
  • Weatherbeaten Weasel
    • Awards
Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2017, 07:24:19 PM »
Fascinating question, Rascal, and one I've considered often before.

The short answer is yes. The long answer is no. Because I have an author's perspective, I see the tricks being used, the storyarcs being set up, and the direction the whole thing is heading. In that sense, I'm not able to just sit down and enjoy something like others can. Part of the experience is "ruined" for me.

But on the other hand, no, it doesn't ruin it for me, since what value I look for in stories isn't determined purely by things being new or unexpected. I look for the particular details of a story to stand out to me. Well-written characters and how they play off of one another, styles of direction that fascinate me, the meanings being conveyed through the lens of the story, etc etc.

It's not easy to find really good quality stories, but they're out there. I agree with Vizon, though, that you're not likely to find quality in the "cheap candy" section. And that's a good sign, that you're able to spot the deficiencies of those works, and desire things that are better. So when you do find something you really like, figure out why. Ask yourself what makes it so good, and why the others don't measure up.

...on the other hand, Vizon...
Quote
really awesome writers (Like Joss Whedon
*inhales sharply. Considers for several long moments. Raps fingers against desk* ...nope. I'll let that one go for now.

Quote
Along the same lines: anyone here a fan of "Jaws"?
I've only ever seen maybe half of Jaws, but I'm all colored curious now. We're a small enough board that I don't think it's all that much trouble for you to share something off-topic. I say go for it, mate. What's this "fantastic discovery?"

Frost

  • Lowest Risk
  • *
  • Posts: 31
  • I aim to misbehave.
    • Awards
Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2017, 08:02:19 PM »
::grins at Tooley:: Precedent set. ;)

It occurred to me after my last watch that the movie has two themes: the first third is nature vs man, in both our home-court, and theirs. The other two-thirds is a story of man's innate stubbornness, which is more deadly and destructive than nature's killer. Quint is a man's man, yes? At the very introduction, he boasts of his accomplishments and says he'll kill the shark for a hefty fee...all by himself. Dreyfuss and Scheider join in, against Quint's protests, but it has to be on Quint's terms: his boat, his method of killing, his trophy. All the while he berates and pokes fun at his crew, and constantly denies what the others are telling him (needing a larger boat, killing the shark with poison, needing more barrels). This culminates with Quint harpooning the shark and tying him off on his boat so he can drag him back to shore and gloat with the praise and money.

This doesn't work, obviously, and he strands the three out on the sea for no reason. Radio the coast guard for assistance? He smashes the radio. Everything that goes wrong in the latter half of the movie is Quint's fault, and I find that both sad and telling: here's an interesting 'what-if' scenario where you take a stubborn 'expert' and throw something unpredictable and outside the norm at him, and watch what happens. This isn't a greedy mayor causing problems; this is arrogance losing to stone-cold nature.

Whaddaya think?
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 08:05:26 PM by Frost »
Hello again.

Rascal

  • Near Threatened
  • **
  • Posts: 134
    • Awards
Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2017, 09:52:50 PM »
Interesting theory :3

I still like the How it Should Have Ended skit on YouTube for jaws though :D

Tooley Bostay

  • Tooley Bostay
  • Vulnerable
  • *
  • Posts: 308
  • Weatherbeaten Weasel
    • Awards
Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2017, 04:44:40 PM »
Speaking again as someone who hasn't seen the entire film, that makes perfect sense to me, Frost. It's probably one of the reasons the film has staying power. Jaws, if I'm correct, is ultimately a monster story in the tradition of classic werewolves, vampires, etc. It's not about the monster, but what the monster reveals about humanity (traditional werewolves being a metaphor for rage, and how people can turn "beastly"). So in this case, the "monster" isn't really the shark, but man's ego and stubbornness. And that's relatable, since if we're being honest, we're able to see such faults and frailties in ourselves. Again, it's probably why the film has staying power.

From how you describe it, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Jaws took inspiration from Moby-Dick. Quint sounds a lot like Ahab. Do you know if the screenwriter took any cues from that?

Vizon

Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2017, 09:24:12 PM »
Okay, yeah, not everything written by Joss is amazing, but I wasn't thinking of "Age of Ultron." I was thinking of the unique, funny and compelling script and characters of "Firefly,""Toy Story," and "Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog."

But let's not derail this thread with debate over Mr. Whedon's hit and miss writing career.

Interesting take on "Jaws," Frost. And quite true. The smashing of the radio is proof enough. It's been a while since I watched the film, but I remember it being quite thrilling despite the fake shark. It at least looked more real than most of the CG sharks in more modern movies. And it's also wonderful how the shark was hidden from view for most of the movie (something many modern-day monster flicks seriously lack). Upped the scariness significantly. It's definitely a classic because it is as much about the people as the "monster." Might say that for Tremors as well.

Rascal

  • Near Threatened
  • **
  • Posts: 134
    • Awards
Re: Does being a writer ruin your TV experience?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2017, 09:55:10 PM »
Ironically they hid the Shark due to technical difficulty. Puppetry does not work well with water >.>

At least I think that was the movie they had trouble with xD

But yes, most horror movies forget the 'suspense' part of horror and instead jump into gore aspect of the genra, which is sad really because you can have a completely horrifying story with out a drop of gore (at least not on screen). All you need is a danger that the characters don't fully understand. Something that defies understanding be it just a guy in a costume or an invisible ID monster. All the characters need to know is that bad things happen when it catches up to them.