As an opening note, my goal of these posts is to share with others what I've learned in this whole process I've set before me. As a gamer, I've seen words thrown around like "clone" "copy", etc. It is one of my core creative beliefs that we would be handicapped if we didn't learn from those who took the steps before us. Before The Old Republic, there was World of Warcraft, Before WoW, there was Everquest, before Everquest there was Ultima Online.
Each incarnation of the game worked to build upon the lessons of its predecessors. It's a mistake not to. Why risk the time, money and effort to fix something that someone else already has?
This doesn't mean don't innovate, change things or outright copy. It doesn't. It means take the lessons of others to heart and use it to your advantage. Be like the Borg. Take some of the best elements of what you encounter and work to integrate them into yourself and your product. Just don't go full Borg and lose the element that makes it good, namely, you.
I know from the previous entry that I'd hinted that this part would revolve more around editing the review, but I thought it might be a bit more useful to talk a bit about the writing.
I consider myself a decent writer. I also consider myself a sarcastic person. Despite those two strengths, I've found it surprisingly difficult to write in such a way that makes terrible movies funny. When I first started watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Late 2002, I discovered the Puma Man episode by accident), it was awesome. It seemed like these guys were doing this off the cuff, quipping and joking.
It wasn't until a few years later that I learned what was shown was the result of long term planning, writing and consulting. When I decided to sit down with Ellif and actually start writing the reviews, I reached back to that influence and all the times I'd sit with my mother and make fun of the terrible movies.
Collaboration with Ellif is useful, he'll usually notice things in the movies that I do not and as I mentioned previously, his British perspective adds a somewhat subtle layer of wit that my usually direct American sense of humor generally lacks.
Why I wanted to include writing with editing is because of the realization of just how much writing is tied into the editing of these sorts of reviews. I understand that something like that may be seen as common sense and it sort of was. The revelation was really in discovering the quantity it was involved.
I've been working ahead somewhat before actually launching the show. As of this writing, the first episode is largely completed and I'm in the middle of editing episode 2. Everything I learned from the production of episode 1 I'm applying to episode 2, which I'll get more into with episode 1's written commentary.
The problem I encountered with the first episode was I wrote the script then cut the movie into the the review. This process led to some difficulties, specifically remembering scene orders differently.
So when it came time to actually write the script for Episode 2, I wrote is as I cut apart the movie using notes I'd made during my viewings with Ellif. He'd look over the script as I wrote it, but for the most part I'd watch/scrub through (scroll) the movie, cutting the bits I liked and cutting out chunks of the movie I felt weren't important.
This is where the idea and difficulty of editing these sorts of shows come into play.
Having been mostly trained in News-style sequential storytelling, one of the difficult hurdles I've had to overcome is not keeping straight to cutting sequences when showing portions of the movie. It's not as important to see how someone got somewhere (especially if the movie itself takes it upon itself to show every minute detail of someone's commute, eg. Birdemic).
It's about locating the key portions of the story, creating on-set segues that transition through the major plot points while locating bits of terrible film making, cinematography, writing or effects.
Pre-cutting the movie while writing it allowed me to better piece together the end-product and as I'm experiencing with Episode 2, a much smoother editing process.
Tomorrow, with the debut of the first episode, the blog post will focus on a commentary of the episode mostly showcasing what the experience taught me and what transferred over to the work on the next episode.