Once again, let me turn from the blighted face of the times to something a little more affirmative.
When I posted before about the secret influences behind Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, one source I mentioned was The Matrix, but not because I wanted to take ideas from that story. Rather, it was because I'd seen the trailer for the film — which did a very good job of concealing its secrets but sparking interest in it all the same — and from that had drawn completely incorrect conclusions about the movie's premise. Then I saw the movie itself, and while I really liked what I saw, I kept thinking back to the unused premise in question. It more or less sat around, waiting for me to find a home for it, until I started writing the project early last year.
I don't have a name for this phenomenon yet, but it's worth digging into further — this sense of getting the "wrong" idea about some other creative work, and then using that as its own inspiration.Read more
A conversation with a friend turned up the following gem of an insight: It doesn't matter who did something first; it matters who does something best.
My original version of this insight revolved around information technology. Xerox PARC may have invented many of the things we associate with modern GUIs, but it was Apple that made them into a consumer product by way of the Macintosh.
But this applies to most everything else as well, creative work included. If you have a Great Idea for a story, and someone else has a Great Idea for a story, your implementation of that idea is always going to be different from his, even if they look superficially similar. You're always going to emphasize the things that are important to you, and draw different conclusions. To that end, doing it "best" may be more about doing it your way, and for your reasons.Read more
One of the chief influences on Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned has been the movie Strange Days, easily one of my favorite films of all time, and still not available in anything like a decent home video edition. I ended up dropping some Amazon points to order the German import Blu-ray Disc — it looks terrific — but anyone who doesn't have a multiregion BD player is either going to have to buy one or just suck their thumbs, since inexplicably there are no plans to issue it domestically. Hey, Fox, not to state the crashingly obvious here, but given that you're sitting on a stone cold cult classic that is even more relevant than ever, how about doing us a solid with it?
That said, having the movie back in hand made me think again about all the different influences that have converged in this project.Read more
I spent most of the vacation break and the following week bashing on a revamped outline for the final third of Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. Hence my protracted silence. Once again, what was meant to be something fun and free-spirited has turned into a Mission with a capital M. Do I regret it? Nah. Besides, wrestling with it helped codify a way of working on these things that didn't previously have a explicit methodology: the "self-dialogue."Read more