4 Books to Read Before the Movie

As much as I know and understand the movie adaptions are their own entity and they don’t always follow the books they’re based on, I enjoy reading and like to come up with my own ideas of what characters are like before seeing the movie versions of them. I also find that knowing the story beforehand helps me to get excited about a movie.

It will come as no surprise that I am, and have always been, a read-the-book-before-seeing-the-movie girl. Probably always will be. There’s a reason I haven’t gotten into Game of Thrones yet. So here are 4 books (and a bonus) that I want to read before the movie comes out.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time, and with the movie coming out soon, it feels less like and eventuality and more like a high-pressure need. I love adventure stories. I love the feeling of being on my own. I love stories about other women who have gone on adventures alone. I know I’m going to like this book.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
I saw the trailer for this movie when I went to see The Fault in Our Stars on opening weekend. I cried my way through the trailer, as I cry my way through many things. I seem to like things that will make me cry, so this should be a good exercise.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
Another instance of seeing the trailer and wanting to read the book first. Also, since a friend of mine found out I haven’t read this, she’s been telling to. Highly recommended. Admittedly, this one isn’t as high on the priority list as the other two, but I want to give it a shot.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
This book has been critically acclaimed and has been on my radar for a little while, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer that it moved onto my to-read list. Mystery, suspense, you’ve got me hooked. Besides, it’s about time I start reading “grown-up” books. I guess.

Bonus:
The Giver by Lois Lowrey
Book HERE | Trailer HERE
Okay, so this one is more of a re-read than a to-read. I read this book as assigned reading in middle school and loved it. In many ways, this book is the precursor to many, many YA dystopian novels. The Giver is a book that I imagine changes and grows with you and I’m looking forward to reading it again with new eyes. In regards to the movie: I’m nervous, but curious.

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Comic Con 2014 PowWow

When I was a camp counselor we would gather with our cabins at the end of the day and go around the circle doing a powwow. The “pow” would be the low point in the day, something that was frustrating or disappointing, and the “wow” would be the best part of the day.

This year I managed to snag a badge for Comic Con. I was there for Saturday and Sunday and probably could have planned things out a little more in advance. Like I did with VidCon, I’m going to PowWow each day I was at the convention.

DAY 1
POW: Meeting so many new people at once. Another friend of mine who goes every year introduced me to her rather large group of friends. It was great to have some people to hang out with, but it was also a bit much for my introverted side. I kind of crashed from too much social interaction while we were waiting in line for dinner. Whoops.
WOW: Feeling like I finally got a sense for how the expo hall was set up. Last year I was only there for one day and I mostly walked around in a daze because I was so overwhelmed by it all. This year I managed to find a bit of order in the madness, which was quite calming.

DAY 2
POW: The realization (even though I knew it going in) that I wasn’t going to get to do some of the things I was really excited about. The lines were too long. The crowds were too much. And I was too tired. I definitely git a brick wall of tired on day two around 2:30. I was about to go into another panel when I realized that I should probably start my mini road trip before I got tired enough to fall asleep whist driving.
WOW: The Women of Marvel panel was definitely a highlight. I loved hearing about the female driven titles that Marvel has and the women who write/draw/color/manage/produce them. I’m so excited for the future of women in comics both as creators and creatives as well as the female characters that we see and will be seeing in the future.

All told it was an exhausting weekend, but I’m very glad I went. I am honored to be even a small part in the industry that puts these things out into the world. I’m excited that Comic Con is a thing I go to now, and will continue to be going forward. Every year I learn more and I’m excited to be learning and growing into this industry.

If you’re interested in seeing some of these thoughts in video form, let me direct you to this week’s YouTube video. And while you’re over there maybe subscribe to see more of my videos? I’ve very much appreciate it.

A “Fake Geek Girl”s Comic Book Fears

While I don’t pretend to be a comics girl (I’m not cool enough for that), I have fallen quite hard for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ve seen nearly every movie since Iron Man, and continue to be excited about upcoming films. Joss Whedon heading up the franchise was the icing on the cake for me as a long time Whedonite (check out my series’ on Buffy and Angel).

I’m also using the films as a starting point to get into the overwhelming world of comics. That’s not to say that I’m even close to know what to do yet, but I’m slowly figuring out what to be looking for. Comics is a huge scary world to get into though, especially as a girl.

Part of my fear of getting into comics is that I will be shunned as a “fake geek girl” for joining in now when there is so much hype around the Marvel Universe. I’m tentatively treading into the territory of the Marvel subreddit, but I keep waiting for someone to call me out. I know that I’m not supposed to let that stop me, but I also wouldn’t know how to respond.

All this to say that I’m very excited (and still quite scared) after hearing the news about a female character taking over for Thor. While I am loving the Marvel Universe, Thor has always been the least relatable Avenger for me. He’s a ‘god’ from another realm who has unmatched strength who is all good and has these highly idealistic hopes for the human race. Of course I know I’m simplifying, and if I were to read the comics I’m sure there would be more to it, but… meh.

A female Thor on the other hand? A woman who is just as strong and capable as Thor himself, who’s armor wont be parodied on The Hawkeye Initiative is intriguing to me. What happened to Thor that he’s no longer worthy to wield Mijolnir? Who is this chick? And from the realist in me: How long will this last?

With Age of Ultron coming up on the horizon I don’t doubt that Thor will be back to the man we know by next summer. The majority of the movie-going audience will not be following along with the comics, so for continuity’s sake I’m sure Mijolnir will be safely back in his hands by then. But I’m beyond curious as to how this whole thing shakes out.

Hello, My Name is Rachel and I’m a Crier

Guys, I’m a crier. Always have been, always will be. It’s a trait I got from my mother who cries over The Wizard of Oz (and now I do too). I cry for good things, I cry for bad things, I cry out of frustration, and I cry over TV shows a LOT. Not even always sad moments in TV shows either. There’s an episode in Fringe where Walter’s love for Peter is just so overwhelming I’m sobbing every time I watch it.

I cry when characters get together and when people die and when they live miraculously. Basically when there is an excess of emotion – no matter the feeling – I’ll probably shed a tear or two. I’ve come to peace with the fact that I will be a blubbery mess even when no one else understands why I’m having such a strong response.

I’ve gotten used to it, as have many of my close friends. I choose carefully who I went to see The Fault in Our Stars with for this very reason. While there are very few people who can hold a dry eye through that movie, I knew I needed someone I would be about to ugly cry in front of because that was a real possibly (that turned into an actual reality).

On the TV side, the show I’ve been crying over recently is Call the Midwife. It’s a BBC show that has just finished it’s third season (series if we’re being British), and is scheduled to return for a fourth next year. The show centers around nurses who work out of a convent in London’s East End in the late 1950’s. Every episode is filled with a strange, but wonderful combination of beauty and decay as the nurses tend to both births and deaths in the community, along with dealing with their own personal lives and dramas.

This show is gorgeous, poignant, and soulful as it quickly shows both the similarities and differences of the times. One minute the universality of human nature is surprising and wonderful, reminding you that even though these characters are in a time very far removed from us, they are still very much like us. The next minute the changes of the times are starkly clear. A character has an asthma attack and halfway into the thought “Get her inhaler”, you realize that there isn’t one to get.

This show has turned me into an absolute WRECK and I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve still got a season and a half to power through and I couldn’t be more excited to cry.

Ch-Ch-Changes

I’ve been struggling to blog lately. There are many reasons for this, the main one being that I finally got a job. I’m a receptionist at a small production/distribution company and I’m excited about it and what it could become. I’m glad to be employed, but I know that a job taking up my time isn’t the reason I’ve been quiet around here lately. Even before I got the “You’re hired” phone call I had been having troubles putting my thoughts into posts.

It’s frustrating to me that I can’t seem to express myself in the same way that I used to. For the past month or so I’ve written multiple blog posts that have never seen the light of day. I kept trying to be timely and failing. I wrote posts about the How I Met Your Mother finale, the Divergent movie, and Captain America: The Winter Solider. I have so many thoughts on these things, but I can’t seem to articulate them well enough to feel confident in hitting publish.

I want to talk at length about how much I adore Shailene Woodley’s hippie-ness. I want to have deep discussions about the Marvel cinematic universe. What the last few films will mean for the next ones. How they are tying the movies into Agent’s of SHIELD. How SHIELD is finally starting to pull on my heartstrings. But I can’t seem to come up with the words.

Even beyond media I never got around to writing up a post about my writing goals for this quarter. I’m sure if/how they change in balance with working full time, but I can’t even seem to outline it for myself. Using my phone alarms to be on time, a new planner, how I’m dealing with buying a car; all things I’ve written on our thought about writing on, but haven’t gotten out the way I want to.

My frustrations are because I know that I’m not where I want to be. I know I could be doing better. But I’ve lost track of how to do it. So I want to say that I’m not putting any pressure on myself to write, but I’m starting to see that route is going to get me NOWHERE, so it’s time to rethink.

It’s time to plan and organize and figure out what’s reasonable within my new schedule and current commitments. I don’t know the answer yet, but this post it a declaration that I’m going to try. I love my job, but I know that I want to do more with myself than just get by, it’s not going to be easy, but I know I’ll be better for it.

Thoughts on the Academy Awards: The Selfie That Broke Twitter

Despite not watching many movies over the course of a year (the only best picture nominee I saw was Gravity), I still make an effort to watch the Academy Awards. I missed the Golden Globes this year, but was invited to an Oscar party and arrived happily as instructed: on time with a bag of chips*.

I don’t know that I have a favorite part of a four hour stint watching people I don’t know accept awards for performances I (for the most part) didn’t see, but Ellen Degeneres makes everything better.

Some highlights (and links to explanations where appropriate):

  • Ellen taking a selfie and crashing twitter. Because that perfectly explains why my phone wouldn’t load the app in my attempt to re-tweet.
  • Jennifer Lawrence eating pizza. Because she refuses to starve herself.
  • Idina Menzel singing Let it Go.
  • Realizing (after the fact) how badly John Travolta mispronounced Idina Mezel and this twitter account that came out of it.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch.
  • Lupita Nyoug’o’s best supporting actress speech. Absolutely stunning.
  • The slightly belated tribute to Sarah Jones. Thank you.
  • Ending on time.

 

Of course, all this celebration brings up questions too. There is sure to be a strong backlash from Cate Blanchett winning the Best Lead Actress award. Not only does this pass over Sandra Bullock when Gravity nearly swept for many of the categories it was nominated for, but the win will also bring up the Dylan Farrow controversy again.

While I’ve never been a Woody Allen fan per-se, I’m also not not a fan. I wish that we lived in a society that didn’t demonize women for accusing men of indecency. If you believe Dylan Farrow or not is up to you, but by dismissing her completely you choose to continue the trend of society believing and supporting old, white men by default. This is not something I wish to support.

That being said, I also try to separate the work that individuals do on a project from my feelings of other individuals who may have been involved. While I may not agree with Woody Allen or his work, I can appreciate Cate Blanchett’s work on Blue Jasmine. Or at least I can hypothetically, I didn’t actually see the movie, so this is pretty much all in the hypothetical.

Award shows are fun to watch, but at what point does honoring someone’s work become validating a lifestyle that we don’t actually want to support?

*Actually I was ten minutes late, but I was still the first one to arrive. Why is chronic lateness a thing?

My Year in Television 2013

As we near the end of the year I like to reflect on all the things I watched over the course of the year.  Warning: this is a LOOOONG post.  I watch a lot of TV.  I find that it’s good for me to keep track of things and when I’ve watched them, but just know that it’s kind of a lot.

I spent most of January and February at home in San Francisco, and took over the DVR as much as I could. I continued watching Elementary and Once Upon A Time, as well as being supremely excited about Community‘s return in February.

There are a handful of shows that overlap between what I like to watch and what my parents watch. We would watch Downton Abbey the night it aired, and we began House of Cards together. I also watched some of the shows my parents watched such as American Pickers and American Restoration. I left would leave whenever they started up Dog the Bounty Hunter. I have to draw the line somewhere.

During the day I would watch DVDs and Netflix. I finished Band of Brothers and re-watched Luther to prepare for my semester. I watched Leverage episodes as in order as I could find them. I wrote about Angel on the blog and got really into web series. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and a handful of others.

In March I moved to LA in a strange housing situation, and set all my usual recordings. I watched Doctor Who and saw a few episodes of Orphan Black that were fantastic. I wrote a spec of Luther that was the most complete script I’ve ever written. I’m proud of it, but I’m not sure it’s something that I’ll be able to use in the future.

1-house-of-cards

I spent most of April waiting for a phone call that never came. I watched documentaries on Netflix and rented DVDs from the library. Most notably I rented Roots and got through at least half of the series. In finished House of Cards and joined the rest of those who finished but didn’t want to spoil anyone else. With no word from school and no reason to stay in my weird housing set up I went back to San Francisco at the end of the month.

At home I dove back into my old routine of watching TV with my parents. I got back into shows that I had taken a long break on. I returned to my first television love, CSI and started watching Major Crimes when it returned in June. When I watched by myself I watched episode after episode of The Good Guys, finishing the entire series in record time.

June also saw the release of Much Ado About Nothing, which I first saw at the San Francisco International Film Festival. I know it’s technically not TV, but anything Joss Whedon feels TV-esque to me, and the cast is full of my favorite Whedon TV people, so I’m going to say it half-counts. Also half counting would be web series. I’m never quite sure where to put them, but over the summer I watched Welcome to Sanditon and An Autobiography of Jane Eyre.

In July I returned to LA just in time to start my summer semester in LA. I was a bit slow to set up internet access and TV, but when I finally did I pulled together all the recordings I could ever want. In between classes I watched Major Crimes, King and Maxwell, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, and Camp. I happened upon a Blue Ray of The Newsroom and watched the entire first season quickly in order to prepare for season two which happened to fall within my HBO free trial.

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Through my class, I found myself at San Diego Comic Con without much of a plan at all. I was woefully under prepared, but managed to make the best I could of the one day I had. I wandered the expo hall in awe and waited in line to see the Once Upon A Time pirate ship. I went to a panel for Husbands, the web series I was a PA for last year and got a chance to talk with a few of the people I had connected with there. All in all a good, if a little overwhelming, day.

As the summer ended I said good-bye to all my summer favorites, and geared up for premiere season. While a friend of mine was in town we went to see a taping of Mom, a new show because we both love Allison Janney. It was fun to be in the audience (I think it was the 4th episode), but neither of us fell in love with the show. Certainly something I would do again, and a great idea for people who are visiting from out of town.

In September I started online classes and internships and a whole slew of new shows. I watched or recorded everything. NCIS, Elementary, CSI, Parks and Rec, The Middle, Modern Family, Once Upon A Time, The Good Wife, and The Mentalist on the returning side. I started watching Agents of SHIELD, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, Trophy Wife, and The Crazy Ones of new shows. I’ve stuck with most of these to varying degrees. While all of the ones listed are still being recorded, there are a few I’m woefully behind on.


There were two shows that weren’t even on my radar at the beginning of the season, but I wound up recording on a whim and then LOVING. The first is Sleepy Hollow, which I recorded because it was mentioned at one of my internships and wound up completely blowing me away. Now that I look back I vaguely remember seeing some Sleepy Hollow things at Comic Con, but think that it wouldn’t be for me. WRONG! I also wound up recording Brooklyn Nine-Nine because I was recording Dads. While I’m not a fan of Dads, I love Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

As the semester got started I returned to Leverage and started Orange is the New Black. I watched movies and TV pilots for my internships and fell behind on a lot of current TV. November brought on the 300th episode of CSI, and the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. Thanksgiving rolled right into December and the live Sound of Music production. I have mixed feelings on the event, but do hope that the fantastic ratings will encourage networks to do similar things in the future.

As the year comes to an end I will be watching the Bonnie and Clyde mini-series, and tuning in for the mid-season finales of the shows listed above. I’ve finally caught up on a few and will continue to watch as the new year begins. While TV is on a break, I’ll be finishing shows that I can catch on Netflix including Leverage and Orange is the New Black.

This year has been full of great TV shows, and I’m excited for the year to come. What shows did you watch this year? Any favorites I’m missing?

The Sound of Music

When I was in San Francisco last week I spent an afternoon at the Castro Theater participating in their Sing Along Sound of Music show. This Thursday, The Sound of Music Live is on TV. Tomorrows broadcast merges a few of my favorite things. The Sound of Music (obvs) and live TV being the biggest two. I’m also excited to see Carrie Underwood who I think will make a great Maria.

I grew up with The Sound of Music, in a lot of ways this show/movie is how I learned to sing. Do, Re, Mi, and so on. I reference this movie all the time. In quips and lines that have become so natural to me that they have become my own as much as they belong to the movie.

I’m not sure how, but I’m pretty sure that last week was the first time I saw the movie since I went to Salzberg last summer. I found myself whispering to my mom, “I’ve been there!” at various points throughout the film. I am so filled with trivia facts about the movie that I could easily run my own tour. One of my plan B’s perhaps?

There are a million little things that I could talk about here from my adoration of Maria and the Captain (Naval Captain of a landlocked country), to my own ideas of what Maria was referring to in “Something Good” and “16 Going On 17 (Reprise)”. These characters are wonderfully brought to life on screen, and they will continue to entertain myself and others for years to come.

Weather it be Julie Andrews, Carrie Underwood, or a local school production, this show will continue to live on in our hearts through the movies, stories, and songs. I can’t wait to see another version of an old favorite.

Are you going to be tuning in tomorrow? What movies do you remember fondly from growing up?

This Will Be: December 2013

The last month of the year is going to be a big push to try and finish off the semester on good terms and get ready for the the new year by setting goals and preparing for the job hunt. It’s surreal to me that I will be done with school in two weeks. I am excited for this month, but I’m also ecstatic about all that 2014 will have to offer. I’m getting a bit ahead of myself though, for now I need to focus on what I’m planning for the rest of 2013.

I feel like I’ve set the goal of routine creation multiple times over the course of this year and it’s never quite gotten done in the way I’ve been aiming for, but I’m starting to think that I’m aiming for the wrong thing. I seem to want every day to be regimented and set in place. While that’s a nice thought, it isn’t really practical for where I’m at in life right now.

The real routine I want is a waking up and going to bed routine. I would be great to have a weekly grocery shopping, laundry doing, writing routine as well, but for now I want to focus on getting into and out of bed on a daily basis without the fuss that seems to happen a lot now. When I was home over Thanksgiving I was amazed by how easy it was to wake up at 8. Part of it may have been the way the light came into my room, but I think a lot of it was how used to getting up and out of bed I was in that setting.

Probably the most important thing for the next two weeks is that I finish off my semester – and my academic career – without falling on my face. I’m not aiming for perfection here, I just want to complete the semester with my sanity in tact. The movie Saving Mr. Banks comes out the Friday I am finishing up with my semester and I am wildly excited for this movie. I’m going to treat myself to seeing it, but only when I’ve handed in all my final projects. This is my motivational tool.

After school and my internships are done I will be free to focus on my writing portfolio and my goals for next year. I really like the idea of the One Little Word system, I just need to figure out what role that and other goal setting ideas will play in my own personal goal setting for 2014.

I want to really push back into blogging this month. I have three days a week of posts in at least a concept phase already, a lot of the next two weeks is even already written. I want to get back to the level I was at in August before the semester got crazy. I haven’t completely fallen off the bandwagon, but I really do need to press in. Of course, this will be much easier when I am done with school.

A huge part of job hunting for me is going to be having a good writing portfolio. This may not come into play right away, but down the line this will be critical and I’d like to start working on it sooner rather than later. I know for sure of one piece I will be able to put into a portfolio once I polish it a bit, so that will be the first step, but I’d also like to come up with a list of what I eventually want in my portfolio so that I can focus on things that will be helpful for me. One piece, and a list. That’s all I want.

Adaptions

One of the questions that comes out of the Superheroes discussion from a few weeks ago is the question of adaptions. Most superhero TV shows or movies are adaptions from comic books or graphic novels. Some from straight novels.

Studios and executives (people who fund moves and TV shows) LOVE adaptions. Something that is being adapted from something else will have a built in audience: the people who watched/read/followed the original material. Those people will come out and see a movie or tune in every week for a TV show because they’re already invested. This is especially true with direct interpretations.

There are two type of adaptions: the more obvious and “normal” is the direct adaption, where they take what’s on the page and put it on the screen. The more removed is what I call a “loose” adaption. The first will be pretty true to the original while the later will often can mix it up and be a little different.

Direct adaption stories will lock in the hard core fans. You are guaranteed a decent sized audience with a direct adaption… if you can pull it off. The hard part of direct adaptation is that if things are too different from what the fans had been thinking of then there will be push back. Talk of people ruining the original story. Some of this will happen regardless, but sometimes if the control room doesn’t look exactly the same or better than the fans imagined it in their heads… you could be feeling the back end of some serious hate.

With a direct translation the creators live and die by how accurately they portray the original source material. And even if it’s pretty close, sometimes it’s not enough. At the same time there’s fear of looking too much like the old material and if that material is culturally outdated or morally suspect to today’s society it can lead to calamity. So sometimes you just change it all.

The changing everything mind-frame leads to a loose adaption. This is something where we skip a generation and follow our main character’s son or daughter. Or where we take a side character and give them their own story entirely. Parallel to, and occasionally intersecting with, the original story, but able to stand on it’s own. Or when we take the characters and story from an older novel and put them in modern times.

A lot of times a loose interpretation can be more accessible to an audience who isn’t familiar with the source material. It allows for more wiggle room as you redefine characters we know and introduce us to new ones. Settings and relationships can feel more fresh in a loose adaption, and the re-introduction can be a great way for new viewers to access old material.

Of course this is not to say that one type of adaption is better than the other.  Only that the two are different, and it’s good to be aware of the differences. What are your favorite adaptions? Is it a loose adaption or a direct adaption?