One Writer’s Thoughts on the Importance of GRAVITY

GravityIt is a rare and beautiful gift when you get to experience a brand-new form of storytelling. For me, it is electrifying, like being hit by lightning, something that doesn’t happen everyday. It inspires me, realizing that there are still new possibilities out there to discover.

Some might think this is funny but the only other time I really can think of when I felt I was experiencing something entirely new in storytelling was in a videogame. Consider, before RPG video games attempted to tell narratives, we had merely games like Mario and Sonic. Fun sure, but there was no story there, merely saving a princess is not enough. Honestly, Pac Man is fine with an empty stomach or a full one.

Click here. Jump here. Run, don’t walk. 

There was nothing that would make you care about the characters or on the outcome. There were no consequences, no emotions or dreams to be dashed (besides breaking the high score in Tetris).

For me that eye-opening moment  where everything changed around video games was with Final Fantasy VIII. I felt almost blind-sided by the game, caring about the characters more than I ever imagined I would. I cried with them, I cheered them on. And when the game was over and done, I felt like I had just finished a great adventure with those characters.

Ever since that moment, video games changed for me. Never happy with the old school structures now, I wanted stories, the richer the better. Yes, something changed there for me…. Not just for me, but for most of us gamers, because we all experienced that moment with a game or two over the last few decades. A new storytelling artform (the first since the birth of TV) had come into life.

That electric moment, that bolt of lightning, has occurred for me again. Today, Gravity introduced me to the true potential, possibilities and differences there could be for future films made specifically in IMAX and 3D.  Continue reading

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For the Love of Disney

WaltOn Friday I made a major sacrifice for me. My wife took my son to see Monsters University while I stayed home.

They needed some alone time together, which is understandable, and I watched the toddler, not at all imagining with extreme jealously the wonderful new Pixar film they were experiencing together.

On Saturday. I went to a wedding for a really great couple, one of my favorites. During the evening, I found myself standing around with a group of parents and the new Pixar film came up. The parents who saw it already fawned over it, one even declared it the best they have done.

Breathe deep, Scott, breathe…

Since starting this site I have written a few times on Disney and my fascination. Here are a few posts to check out:

Have a magical day!

The Conundrum of Men in Capes

Even Superman writes!Superman was always my favorite superhero. There was always a lost operatic elegance to his story in my opinion. Yes, he saves cats from trees and helps old ladies cross the street, but he is alone among us. One of us, and yet not really one of us. A lost relic of another world, another time.

One of my favorite character debates comes around Superman. See, I love breaking down what makes a character or a story work, and here is the one I always like to throw at writers, is Superman pretending to be Clark Kent or is Clark Kent pretending to be Superman.

I love that!

See, Christopher Reeve had Superman be the real person and Clark Kent the performance, but more recently, TV shows like Smallville and Lois and Clark had it the other way around. What does that mean really? Everything to the character, little to us in the real world, of course. Our boring and drab reality where men don’t fly, and magic and superpowers only survive in our imaginations.

I’ve been thinking a lot about superheroes over the last few years. Mostly that is because of my son. The one nearby me as I write this, wearing Justice League PJs, Star Wars slippers, and holding a Superman toy from the film Man of Steel. He is five.  Continue reading

Further Proof of My Nerdom

Only a nerd makes a picture like this to share...In my post on Wednesday I asked the ultimate question, “Okay, am I a nerd?” I received quite a response from readers via Twitter and in comments; and the overwhelming response was…

Yes… Yes, I am a nerd.

Okay, fine.  So be it!

And after a further review of my site over the last year, it is embarrassingly obvious that my readers had caught something before I did. My nerdom has been on display for quite some time here on the site. More than on display, it has been putting on a provocative dance! (Think green skin and Star Trek.)

Here are links to some of my other “nerd” editorials that I didn’t reference in my last post, from movies to TV (I hope you enjoy them): Continue reading

Reblog- Discussing Brave

This film comes out on Blu-Ray this week and this is my initial response to the film (which is great). My daughter is only 18-months old and is obsessed with Princess Merida. She has a toddler doll of her and walks around with it, calling it her baby. She runs her hands through her hair, gives it kisses, sleeps with it each night… Yes, it is all very cute. The day I show her the film and she realizes her “baby” can walk and talk too, her little mind will certainly be wowed.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

This discussion/review is filled with spoilers so if you have not seen Brave… Well, go see it, it is great.

I’m not sure whether to compliment the marketing division at Disney or scold them, but Brave is not the movie they were selling to us. Oh, it is a good film, and I really enjoyed the trip, but it’s not the film I felt like we were seeing in the ads.

Yes, there is magic, there is the princess with the bow, there is some adventure in the end, but it is not on a grand magical stage. If anything the film seems smaller than all that, and even seems to decrease in size over the picture, since we keep returning to locations we have seen before, again and again.

Yes, in many ways, Brave is a small  and personal film, with only a small cast dealing with an issue…

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Discussing Brave

This discussion/review is filled with spoilers so if you have not seen Brave… Well, go see it, it is great.

I’m not sure whether to compliment the marketing division at Disney or scold them, but Brave is not the movie they were selling to us. Oh, it is a good film, and I really enjoyed the trip, but it’s not the film I felt like we were seeing in the ads.

Yes, there is magic, there is the princess with the bow, there is some adventure in the end, but it is not on a grand magical stage. If anything the film seems smaller than all that, and even seems to decrease in size over the picture, since we keep returning to locations we have seen before, again and again.

Yes, in many ways, Brave is a small  and personal film, with only a small cast dealing with an issue that doesn’t affect the entire world but only one country in a minor political way. Kingdoms are not going to fall because of this story. Princess Merida is not fighting to save the world with all of the odds against her; no she is only trying to save one person, her mom. Continue reading

So tomorrow Brave opens. I already have tickets to see it with my son. I have to admit I am pretty excited about the film, especially since all of the ads we have seen are from only the first act of the film. I love going to the movies and not knowing what to expect, it is so rare that occurs. There is also going to be an ad in front of the film for the new Monsters, Inc. film. I have to admit I have some misgivings about Monsters, etc. While I loved the film, my son (who is four), has not yet considered the idea of monsters under the bed or in the closet. I feel like showing him Monsters, Inc. (or the new one) will just open a can of worms that will be impossible to put back in; he has quite the imagination.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

Being a parent of young children has made me an expert in a few different, new, and exciting fields.

You need to talk about superheroes, I am your man. If you want to discuss which lullaby CDs are best, and more importantly, work, talk to me.  Which TV shows for kids might actually educate your child, I’m an e-mail away. Also, if you want to know about Pixar, I have an altar for them in my house.

Well, maybe not a real altar, but it does feel that way sometimes. Of course, can you truly use the word altar to describe a state that seems to have taken over your whole house? From the toys on the ground to the boy dressed like Dash from The Incredibles.

In my house, simply put, we live Pixar films.

Heck, when I discovered I was going to be having a daughter, her…

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Pixar: the Film Studio I Would Sell My Soul to Write For

Being a parent of young children has made me an expert in a few different, new, and exciting fields.

You need to talk about superheroes, I am your man. If you want to discuss which lullaby CDs are best, and more importantly, work, talk to me.  Which TV shows for kids might actually educate your child, I’m an e-mail away. Also, if you want to know about Pixar, I have an altar for them in my house.

Well, maybe not a real altar, but it does feel that way sometimes. Of course, can you truly use the word altar to describe a state that seems to have taken over your whole house? From the toys on the ground to the boy dressed like Dash from The Incredibles.

In my house, simply put, we live Pixar films.

Heck, when I discovered I was going to be having a daughter, her first present from me was a talking Jessie doll. Looking back, I think I honestly made the purchase immediately after calling my family members.

Yet, my own personal love for Pixar goes beyond just the joy they give to my children. As a student of film and a writer, I respect them more than most filmmakers working today. I have yet to be disappointed by a Pixar film; and their weakest film is still far and away better than most exhaled from other studios for our children to consume (Alvin and the Chipmunks, how about The Smurfs, Shrek, etc.; I feel dirty just referencing these films in an editorial about the genius that is Pixar).

Here are three reasons why I am a fan, and would, quite honestly, sell my soul to work with them as a writer: Continue reading

Fighting the Power Rangers… and Losing

I am an entertainment parental snob. Which means, I am NOT about to just put anything on the TV to entertain my child like some parents do.

Yes, other parents I am silently judging you right now… OK, maybe not silently.

Oh, yes, there is a bar for me and children television, and I expect a show or movie to reach it; because, frankly, I want my kids to enter the world of the arts (books, movies, music, etc.) with an idea of what is aesthetically good and enriching, what is bad, and what is just generic noise. And, hopefully, in other words, I will have 12-year old kids someday who will consider books like Harry Potter over books like Twilight.

So even before my first child was born I had a list in my mind of starting points of what I was going to do my utmost to avoid; a partial list would include:

  • Barney
  • The Wiggles, or any facsimile of it
  • Anything related to princess and fairies
  • All Dreamworks animation films (especially any film related to that horrendous green creation named Shrek)
  • Power Rangers Continue reading

The Fears of a Four-Year Old Superhero

My four-year old son has four superhero capes, he is very careful to choose the right one to wear on a given day.

He has two different superhero identities. They are Super Greyson and The Grey Lightning.  Super Greyson can fly, The Grey Lightning can run fast; both fight bad guys and monsters.

And yet, for all of these capabilities, my son (like any normal four-year old) has fears. So far there has not been a concern about monsters in the closet; we’ve been avoiding Monsters, Inc. for that reason (While I love the film, Pixar you open a possibility of a can of worms with that one!), but there are others that have crept up to surprise both his mother and myself.

Bad Guys

You think a superhero would be okay with bad guys, but his fear of them seems to have really grown in the last few months. Continue reading