Featured Screenplay: Skyscraper

$ 32In September I started this new feature called “Featured Screenplay. The idea was/is to showcase some completed screenplays and tell you a bit about them. In September I gave you a glimpse into The Passion of the Geek and today I’m going to tell you a little bit about the screenplay I’m probably most proud of: Skyscraper1.

I still have the original Email I sent to Orlindo about what was then called: Untitled Whiteworms Animation Feature. April 7th 2007, that’s a long time ago and the project took it’s time but what I find most striking about that first email is the fact, that even though there are huge differences between my barebones email pitch and the finished product, there are certain things that are still part of the story. The setting, some of the characters and even some plot points are still visible today and even though the story evolved, the basic premise is still the same. It’s about a bird who has to find its way (wings) and overcome many obstacles to realize who he truly is.

You can read more about the plot and the feedback we got for Skyscraper on the Official Whiteworms Site or in that post from January 2016. I don’t want to talk about all that, I admit though, that getting great feedback from the Blacklist was one of the proudest moments of my “writing career”. No, I want to talk about some of the lessons I learned.

The biggest realization was the importance of character arcs. Our protagonist had a journey and and arc all along but all the minor characters were just along for the ride. The script improved tenfold when we figured out how to make their journey more important and therefore more interesting for the audience.

It’s no secret that the script is heavily influenced by Don Bluth and especially An American Tail. In the initial email, cats were actually the villains2. We turned them into fascist guinea pigs which turned out to be a great idea and a lot of fun to write. Especially Fluffy, the main villain turned into one of my favorite characters to write for. For some reason he just got this distinctive voice that mad him stand out.

But enough history lesson, your here to get a glimpse into the world of Skyscraper and without further ado, please enjoy my favorite scene, the introduction of Fluffy and his army of guinea pigs.

INT. THE GREAT HALL OF THE GUINEA PIGS – DAY

An underground cistern, part of the underground water system, but somehow forgotten a long time ago.

An underground city almost as breathtaking as the New York itself -- the home of the self-declared super-race of the underground -- GUINEA PIGS.

Thousands of guinea pigs are standing, side by side listening to their megalomaniacal leader, General FLUFFY. He is dressed in a very convincing looking uniform made out of trash.

Fluffy speaks from a large STAGE, behind him a giant picture of him made out of different pieces of paper.

FLUFFY

My friends, the day has come. Finally we will take our rightful place in this, our world. Too many of us have been replaced by those vicious cats and these cuddly dogs. Too long have we lived as outcasts, thrown away, flushed down. They treated us like rats. I say enough is enough. It is our birthright and we deserve nothing less than the full unconditional love of the humans.

(beat)

We have to fight for our rightful place as the prime pet. Who is with me?

Everybody CHEERS, in their high guinea pig voices.

ALL THE GUINEA PIGS

Oo-rah!

Fluffy smiles.

INT. THE SEWERS DEAD END – DAY

Scrap is captivated by the speech and doesn’t realize that the cracks in the floor around him grow bigger.

INT. THE GREAT HALL OF THE GUINEA PIGS – DAY

General Fluffy is still speaking to his captivated audience.

The guinea pigs are so mesmerized that they don’t notice the dust from the cracking ceiling.

FLUFFY

We have to prepare ourselves for a long and hard fight. Some of you will not make it but we will be victorious, it’s us or them. It’s about being flushed down or flushing them down.

(beat)

I wont be flushed down again, I say: FLUSH THEM DOWN!

ALL THE GUINEA PIGS

Oo-rah!

FLUFFY

So tonight we will leave our prison and show the humans how cute we really are.

(beat)

Cute faces!

ALL THE GUINEA PIGS

Oo-rah!

After the battle cry all the guinea pigs practice their CUTE FACES, the cutest facial expression ever. They look extremely cute but Fluffy “out-cutes” all of them.

But then, the ceiling breaks and Scrap falls into the middle of the hall.

Complete silence. Nobody moves, not even Scrap who is a bit dazed from the fall.

FLUFFY

Attack faces!!

Every guinea pig turns towards Scrap, this time with their mean and vicious but nevertheless cute ATTACK FACES.

Scrap looks terrified and very awkwardly he waves his wings.

SCRAP

Hi.

The guinea pigs take a step towards him.

Scrap SWALLOWS HARD and Fluffy CRACKS his knuckles.

FLUFFY

Hmm, what have we here?

The guinea pigs take one more step towards Scrap.

INT. THE GREAT HALL OF THE GUINEA PIGS – DAY

Fluffy stands on the stage, Scrap lies next to him, tied up and gagged.

FLUFFY

Look at him. This is the face of the enemy. He might not look like a threat now, but don’t forget for a lot of families birds are the pet of choice these days.

Every guinea pig nods in approval.

FLUFFY

I can’t hear you!

ALL THE GUINEA PIGS

Oo-rah!

But then -- Skip swings through the hall on an improvised rope and kicks Fluffy off the stage. The guinea pigs panic.

Complete chaos ensues. Skip quickly unties Scrap.

SCRAP

What are you doing here?

SKIP

What does it look like, I’m rescuing you.

SCRAP

And who’s rescuing you?

He points at the approaching guinea pigs.

SKIP

If you don’t want to be rescued I can leave you to them.

Fluffy climbs back on the stage, grins and takes a step towards them.

SCRAP

You know what you’re doing? Right? You have a plan, right?

SKIP

Theoretically.

Fluffy and the other guinea pigs come closer and closer.

Skip jumps up and punches Fluffy hard and he falls off the stage into the crowd.

Skip grins.

Fluffy gets back on his feet and tries to stand up but before he can say anything he gets run over by a bunch of panicking guinea pigs.

Skip points at Fluffy.

SKIP

What’s his problem?

SCRAP

He was flushed down a toilet.

SKIP

Okay, that explains a lot.

Fluffy stands up again, this time he manages to get hiss footing. He screams.

FLUFFY

ATTACK FACE!!

The guinea pigs stop panicking instantly. They display their “attack face” and look very menacing, as they walk towards the stage.

At first slowly, step by step -- then faster.

Skip throws Scrap a questioning look.

SCRAP

Attack face?

SKIP

Great, for a moment there I thought we were in trouble.

The guinea pigs charge at them. Skip and Scrap are outnumbered 10000 to 2.

SKIP

Let’s do this!

The first over eager guinea pig reaches them and tries to punch Skip. Skip side steps the attacker, the guinea pig misses him, teeters and falls over.

A first wave of guinea pigs follows, focusing on Scrap.

He ducks. Their momentum is so strong that they fly over him and bounce back from the wall and almost hit Skip.

SKIP

Hey, I’m standing here!

One of them hits Skip but instead of knocking him over it bounces off of him and knocks about 10 other guinea pigs over. Skip CHUCKLES.

SCRAP

Sorry!

Skip is surprised and smiles.

SKIP

I’m beginning to like those little fellas.

The guinea pigs get back up and keep attacking in waves but our two heroes have no problem defending themselves against these two legged FUR-BALLS.

Guinea pigs fly through the air. One, then two, two with a perfect somersault. Four, perfectly choreographed... it looks like an air ballet.

Skip has a great time and his smile grows and grows and even Scrap is amused as he sees how the guinea pigs pile up.

Then -- on top of the pile -- Fluffy appears and he starts to roll down the hill with the intention to knock Skip and Scrap over.

He flies through the air -- Kung-Fu-Style -- heading for Scrap -- Scrap performs a roundhouse-kick and kicks Fluffy to the other end of the great hall.

Fluffy seems to stay in the air forever. In his face we can see equal parts of agony and embarrassment.

Finally he reaches the other end of the hall and hits the wall next to a VALVE.

SCRAP

Did you see that?

SKIP

Not bad, bonus points for punching General furball.

Skip sends another guinea pig flying through the room with a somersault kick and smiles at Scrap.

SKIP

But look what I got!

Scrap smiles.

But then -- a strange NOISE. Scrap gives Skip a questioning look.

The noise gets louder. The guinea pigs stop fighting, they pause, then they panic.

SKIP

What’s going on guys? Already tired?

Far in the distance Fluffy is back on his feet and LAUGHS DIABOLICALLY, his hands on the valve.

FLUFFY

EMERGENCY FLUSH CONDITION DELTA!

The guinea pigs look at each other. A SKINNY GUINEA PIG looks concerned and SQUEALS.

SKINNY GUINEA PIG

(subtitled)

Please let it be freshwater! Please!

Behind him a huge wave of stinking sewage gushes into the hall.

SKINNY GUINEA PIG

(subtitled)

Oh $#!t!!!

The guinea pigs claw themselves to the ground and hold hands.

The Great Hall gets filled almost instantly and the “net” of guinea pigs starts to float.

The wave reaches Scrap and Skip and knocks them over.

Scrap struggles in the water, but he manages to stay afloat.

Skip struggles even more and gets pulled down by the current.

Scrap tries to dive back to help him but the current is too strong. He tries to reach Skip.

Skip looks at his brother.

POV SKIP

For a moment Skip sees Holly being grabbed by a vicious harrier.

Skip hesitates. He looks afraid.

Scrap keeps reaching out. Skip finally reaches out as well but too late. They are too far apart.

Skip moves his lips but they are both underwater so Scrap can’t hear what Skip says.

A second wave reaches Scrap and he gets flushed away. He knocks his head on the ceiling and BLACKS OUT.

That scene gets me every time, I hope you feel the same.

  1. That’s the official title treatment.
  2. I initially picked cats because I kinda hate cats. So I wasn’t ripping off An American Tail completely but then again, I’m pretty sure I hate cats because of An American Tail, it was the first movie I saw in theaters after all.

Progress Report – Friday 13th

Sorry to have skipped last week but things are busy but I hope to be able to continue in the current pace.

I can’t believe I’ve been doing 13 of these (short) reports and I think I’ll use todays post to talk a bit about the whole #ProjectMomentum and my progress so far, I feel like this is a good time to take stock but let’s look at the numbers first.

NewImage

Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream.

One book/screenplay: I finally started reading Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. I had it n my list for a long time but I just never got around to it so I finally bought the 1st TPB and I’m hooked. Great storytelling, awesome art.

Two movies: I wrote a post about Captain America – Civil War, an awesome movie that inspired me to revisit some of the other Marvel movies. Obviously I started with Iron Man and that movie really holds up. Sure “The Marvel Formula” is already visible but the movie really works.

Seven pages: Almost there.

Seven hours: Orlindo fell of the wagon1, so I have to focus those hours on my own ideas and to be perfectly honest, is not working as good as it should. But I’m working in it.

So let’s take some general stock. I feel that #ProjectMomentum has been a modest success, well on my side and that’s kind of the problem. A key idea was to make each other write by making the other person feel bad for not writing. Apparently Orlindo decided to totally ignore that. I’m not pointing fingers, well actually I kind of am but I mean well. Maybe two people isn’t enough to keep the momentum up but I hope that wehen Orlindo solves his problem #ProjectMomentum will rise from the ashes and we’ll finish our projects.

But It’s not just Orlindo who didn’t do his part, I’m a little behind as well. I have 50 pages, that’s about half a script. As you know I had some star and characters issues that slowed me down a bit but I should at least have 75 or so. I hope to use my day off tomorrow to get a few pages done and I’m confident that to reach the 60 page mark this or next week.

It actually comes down to willpower. I want to do this, I just have to will myself to the keyboard. I’m in my early 30s, if I want to become I writer I have to get going. I just have to decide how much I want this.

  1. I hope he’s going to write a post about it but long story short, he needs a quite place to wrte and until he has that, he has a hard time getting into the flow. Let’s cross our fingers and wish him luck in finding a nice place to write.

Project Report – 12 Monkeys

I’m having a really busy week so as usual I’m going to make this quick.

One book/screenplay: I had to do some grading so I didn’t have too much time but I’ve line up The Truman Show by Andrew Niccol. I also got my copy of the critical edition of Mein Kampf. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those people, it’s for study purposes.

Two movies: I Went to see the new Jungle Book movie and I really liked it. A great example on how to remake/adapt a beloved classic, seems like Disney is on a roll. I quite enjoyed Cinderella and I’m looking forward to the Beauty and the Beast now.

Seven pages: I realized that I shied away from letting my characters actually speak. I decided to let my characters say what I think, so my movie isn’t just an homage to those great times, it’s also about my worldview and to some extent how that worldview got shaped. So yes, I’m on those seven pages.

seven hours: I had to cut this time short, I already mentioned, busy week and I decided to focus on my pages. Orlindo is still AWOL. I think I have to get on that.

Lets end with a nice picture illustrating what I’m really looking forward to….

NewImage

DIVIDED WE FALL!

Project Report – Oceans’s Eleven

It’s that time of the week again.

One book/screenplay: Not too much reading this week, I finished some books for school but I have to find something good for me to read.

Two movies: I watched a couple and I’m planing to go see Jungle Book today.

Seven pages: I rewrote one of the flashbacks and outlined some scenes. I have to outline a lot because even though I have all the moments and I know how it all ends, getting there is harder than I thought.

Seven hours: Orlindo is still dormant when it comes to #ProjectMomentum, I hope he’s alright. So I’m still researching my rewrite of Tomorrow. I haven’t gotten around to the Saber Rider pass but I’ll get to that.

Sorry, but that’s it for today. I have a lot of work to do. So lets end with something fun….

Progress Report – Ten-hut

Ok….after a prolonged hiatus, lets do this again.

One book/screenplay: I did quite some reading. Unfortunately I’m not at liberty to say, well liberty is not the right word. I prepared oral exams for my students and revealing which books I, might give them an unfair hint on what to expect.

Two movies: I watched a lot. While I was sick I binged “Daredevil”, rewatched some classics and I finally saw BvS. No I’m not going to review these things. I’m a writer, not a reviewer.

Seven pages: As I mentioned in my last post, I got rid of a character and applied those changes. This week I focused on the next big sequence, actually the first and ver important sequence where I plan to reveal the characters, their motivations and their flaws. It’s a pub-crawl and it’s coming along great.

seven hours: Judging from his blog, Orlindo is probably dead. I spent some time on Tomorrow and I’m prepping a last pass on Saber Rider. There are a few tiny problems with easy fixes. I want to have a look at each of the characters and refine their arks, especially April. I had an idea on how to make her journey more appealing and relevant.

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I type, therefore I am.

So thats it for the rundown…and now for something completely different…typing.

Let’s type some words about typing. I’m a decent typer. Not the fastest one and I’m not too good with the way you’re supposed to type but I get get fairly quickly across a keyboard and get my thoughts across at a nice pace. But it always bugged me that I’m not a really good typist (is that a word?) so I googled typing course and lo and behold, the internet is full of them.

I found out that I’m a really bad typer. I’m decently fast but I hit some of the keys with the wrong finger. Seriously, the “C”? How’s that possible without being a contortionist?

But I decided to hang non there. I doubt I’ll be able to type perfectly but I hope to improve my typing speed and accuracy. I’m aiming for better, not perfect. At some point though I have to give the dictation feature of my mac another try. I started to use Siri for a couple of things like setting alarms and so and It works really well,maybe dictation will soon catch up to that.

I’m using https://www.typing.com and I quite like it.

This is about it, As you now know, this took me really long to type. 🙂

Mea culpa, aka I got a cold

So, yeah, I’m a week late. I caught a cold and was not able to attend to the duties of #ProjectMomentum. On the bright side, Orlindo is doing way worse.
I didn’t really do anything, so I don’t have to say a lot but I hope to get going again. I’m not totally throng the cold but I’m better.

I watched a couple of things while in bed, but I don’t really want to comment on them. It’s not fair to give opinions on stuff you watched while you were sick, for better and worse.

This is it for today, it’s not much but it’s all there’s going to be. I’ll be back next week with a long post.

Progress Report – Nine Lives

The same procedure as every Wednesday but this is going to be a short one.

One book/screenplay: “Room” by Emma Donoghue, I’m probably reading that one with my students next year.
Two movies: The Prestige and Beerfest and I don’t regret it. The Prestige is probably my favorite Nolan movie1 and Beerfest is just really funny.

The prestige 1

Opening shot of The Prestige.

Seven pages: Well, I got stuck a bit. I kept writing and I realized that something was off and I needed to address some issues, but more on that later.
seven hours: I’m currently making notes for the new version of “Tomorrow”. I’m looking for ways to make the story more european. So far I’m glad I made that decision. I actually think that this might turn out quite well.

…later…

So, as I was churning out pages, it occurred to me that I had way too many characters to introduce. Most of my dialogue was people telling their names and I got really bored. So I decided to cut even more characters. I have to go back and adjust for that but I think it will be for the best. It’s hard for me to get rid of those characters because I have fond memories of them but the script is not supposed to be nostalgia, I want to write an entertaining movie with a message I can get behind. It hurts me to say goodbye to some friends but I can’t do justice to 6 or more people, I need to focus and that means combining some of them into one character or even spreading them around to make the remaining characters more interesting.

I already had a character cleansing a couple of month ago but I wasn’t thorough enough. I also have to make a list of some good ensemble movies to see how other writers and directors deal with a huge cast of characters. If someone has a good idea, drop it in the comments.

For now playing I’m doing something different today. I’m a huge Screen Junkies fan. They have some great contents for movie lovers and their Honest Trailers are just great.

A quick shout-out to Orlindo. He fell behind a bit due to work but he is supposed to be back this week, at least that’s what he promises. So head over and I he’s not posting this week, flood him with comments on how to make his site more popular. 🙂

  1. I love how the first frame of the movie gives away everything.

Progress Report – Achtung Baby

Wednesday is #ProjectMomentum Day.

I have to confess that I haven’t been that busy. I wrote some pages but not as much as I need and want to. It’s exam season at work and I have to prepare and correct exams which takes time time but I hope to get some spare time on the weekend.

So yeah, #ProjectMomentum could go better but compared to the other half of this project things are looking great here at “hard but unfair…” headquarters. Orlindo has neglected his blog a bit (at least as I’m writing this post). For some reason he even decided not to publish my comment on his recent post. Not sure what’s the deal with that.

So if you have time, please head over to Orlindo’s blog and tell him to stop procrastinating, I need someone to make me feel bad when I’m not producing my pages.

But let’s look at my numbers:

One book/screenplay: I finished “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis and switched to the Screenplay. Charles Randolph and Adam McKay did a great job in making the subject matter entertaining but Michael Lewis deserves some credit for that as well. I really liked the book and I hope that thanks to the book and movie more people learn what big finance is up to.

Craft wise the screenplay was quite interesting as well. Charles Randolph and Adam McKay don’t spend too much time with descriptions and fancy writing. Their slugs and descriptions are short and concise, not too flowery. I quite liked that, content was more important than style. Obviously the biggest challenge was was structuring the movie and explaining what ever needed explain. I guess that’s what they got the Oscar for.

Two movies: House of Cards Season 4, that counts for two movies.

Seven pages: …2…mea culpa.

seven hours: Not too much from Orlindo so I focused on my D&D campaign and my time travel tv show.

And now for something completely different…

Stan Lee & Steve Ditko

Stan Lee & Steve Ditko

I like comic books. There I said it but it’s important to me that you know, that I like comic books way more than the way most people like comic books these days, I mean let’s face it, liking comic books is almost socially acceptable and when you look at new movie releases, comic books have definitely reached the mainstream.

As a kid I loved Disney’s „Lustiges Taschenbuch“, Tintin and other fare like that. Then when I moved to Basel to study I suddenly came into contact with something that totally changed my life for the better: A real brick and mortar comic book store.

Yeah, those things still existed back then and to my knowledge the shop is still open, at least it was the last time I was in Basel and went there to buy a graphic novel.

So I came into real contact with American comic books quite late, for some reason it never really occurred to me to buy a superhero comic book as a kid, not because I wasn’t interested but because there was no supply. If there had been a comic book store next door, I’m pretty sure I’d have moved in there.

But I digress. This is not going to be a post about my favorite Superhero (Spider-Man) or my favorite graphic novel (Watchmen) of how comic books changed my life (they didn’t) its going to be a post about what we can learn from them. Yes, we can learn things from them.

Number 1: Graphic storytelling, show don’t tell. This is a no brainer and when you look at movies like Sin City (the first one) you can see how comic books can influence visual storytelling.

Number 2: Panel design and editing. I did a presentation about „editing“ in comic books once. I focused on panel design and how it changed over time. It’s really interesting to compare a Stan Lee & Steve Ditko comic book to a Todd McFarlane1 one, it’s barely the same art form. Like in a movie the panel is the connective tissue that holds the story together.

Todd McFarlane

Todd McFarlane

Number 3: Modern Mythology. This is an oldie but goldie. Superheroes as modern gods, superhero stories as the modern myths. I’m not saying that I think that a comic book has the same value as Greek mythology but in all their entirety, comic books (and it this respect they are similar to mythic stories) are a really good window into the „Zeitgeist“, even more so than Literature with a capital L. I love the great writers but if you really want to know how people ticked, read a comic book from that era. It get’s really interesting when you lookout characters who’ve been with us for a long time. Captain America for example, he used to fight the Nazis before he fought his own government. Another good example is Tintin. For today’s standards (well, it kind of depends on the kind of person you are) the way he treated the people and animals in Kongo is not at all what we expect from an enlightened and modern person like Tim. Back then (1930s and 1940s) things were different2.

If you’re interested in these matters, I highly recommend reading up on some comics history, not just characters and their adventures but the history of the medium as well. Things like the Comics Code Authority or rise and fall (and rise) of the industry are really interesting and I hope at some point someone makes a good movie out of this. Well, on that note … Where’s my Kavalier & Clay movie?

Now Playing: Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber.

  1. I highly recomend McFarlane’s Spider-Man issues, especially Torment.
  2. The Issue is called “Tintin in the Congo” and it’s really obvious why the didn’t chose that one to turn into a movie.

Progress Report – The Seven Week Itch

It’s that time of the week again.

81wBzBcSclL

First the book, then the script.

One book/screenplay:I have to confess that I didn’t get that much reading done this week. I have some books queued up and I started to read “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis this week. I haven’t gotten that far but the plan is to read the book at ten follow that up with the (Oscar winning) Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay. A couple of years ago I promised myself to read more non-fiction books and so far this seems like another winner. I’m not reading them to find stories to adapt (in this case that would be more than just useless) but to learn something new. I read “The Signal in the Noise” by Nate Silver a couple of years ago and that one helped me to think about statistics in a completely different way and even though I’m not that great at statistics (and don’t get me started about math) I feel that I have a general understanding of the subject matter. I hope Michael Lewis’ book about the mortgage crisis helps me understand our banking system a bit better.

Two movies: I rewatched “Ex Machina”, I did see it in theaters when it came out, and the movie is still really impressive. I love the performances and it shows that you don’t need flashy special effects to tell a sci-fi story, a great script is more than enough to do that. Another though I had while watching: Alicia Vikander would e a great April.

The second movie wasn’t that impressive, I was in the mood for something stupid and I watched Blade: Trinity. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered and I’m tempted to say thats it’s not the best David Goyer movie but definitely not the worst, but damn, they need to do more of those Blade movies.

Seven pages: Still on it.

seven hours: Very productive. I’m still waiting for new material from Orlindo1 so I decided to have a look at my old time-travel tv series and I decided to revive that idea with a german/european setting. More on that at a later time.

And now for our feature presentation. So no worries, this is not going to be another Geek Treatise about D&D, the week I’m going to be way less controversial, lets talk politics. 🙂

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Let’s look at this cute pig before we talk politics.

I’m a very opinionated person and I’m very interested in politics but I’d never go into politics. Just to e clear, I’m not hating on politicians, I’m sure that most of them try to do what they think is right and even when their worldview is different from mine, as long as they are honest and believe in what they are saying (and more importantly doing) I have no problem with them, my problem is with the people who vote for those idiots and their issues.

So yes, this is going to be a rant but let me start with a little disclaimer: If you can read this2, I’m probably not talking about you. If you have a basic understanding of how the world works3, I’m probably not talking about you. If you believe that 911 was an inside jo and the government can’t be trusted, I’m definitely talking about you.

Stop being stupid. Switzerland had an interesting vote last weekend, I don’t want to go too much into the details but one of issues they had to vote on, had something to do with throwing foreigners out of the country after they committed (petty) crime. I just oversimplified because it’s not really about the vote it’s about what happened afterwards and it shows that democracy’s biggest problem is its voters.

So, some newspapers wrote about how people voted and of the statistics (I bet you had no idea that that would develop in today’s main topic) was along the lines of: “high education, more likely to vote no”, “high salary, more likely to vote no”. The vote was quite clear: 41,1% yes, 58,9% no. So its no surprise that most of the bars in the statistic were above or around 50%. Sure people who attended university voted yes roughly 60% of the time, and among people with no formal education, 40% said no4. I’m not entirely sure about the numbers so don’t be and if they are not exactly true but I’m trying to make a point here. I looked for the original article but I can’t find it but that’s not that important. The comments are important.

I spent about ten minutes reading through the comments and what I read made me almost activate the Doomsday Machine. Some people were just idiots and threw racial slurs around and warned people who voted yes that they would regret their decision. Those people aren’t worth a rant but the next bunch are. Some people (on the yes and no side) argued that they either fit or don’t fit the profile of the people who votes no (or yes). I read many statements that said that “Even though he attended university, he voted no. So this analysis must be bull excrement.” To people like this let me say the following thing:

Having a university degree doesn’t say your smart or stupid but not being able to understand percentages does make you look really stupid!

So yeah, that’s all I wanted to say. Maybe a bit anticlimactic but it said to be said and they had deactivated the comments. Let’s end this post with politics as well. John Oliver made a new video you should watch. Enjoy!

  1. If you want, head over to his Blog an tell him to hurry up.
  2. as in not being illiterate
  3. like earth not being a disk
  4. I assume that you have a basic understanding of what % means so I wont explain that.

Progress Report – Six Pack

Let’s do a quick “State of the Union”. #ProjectMomentum is going strong. The page count could be better of course but compared to last year Orlindo and I are at least working on our projects. I hope we’ll get better at this but I’m quite happy with it so far. Strangely, the blogging has become one of my favorite parts of the process and as I mentioned before writing about writing helped (and helps) me a lot to clarify things about my story. I also have to admit that writing prose like this is getting easier week by week and it’s a great feeling, even my typing is improving.

But there’s one thing I fear. I like the 1/2/7/7 thing we’re doing but blogging about it feels like a chore I do and usually after doing chores, you go back to the couch. I do that a lot and I’m not talking about blogging instead of writing, I’m talking about writing up the numbers instead of writing about something I truly care about. So I decided to mix the format up a bit. I will keep the numbers of course (they are an important part of #ProjectMomentum) but I’m going to focus more in content than on the numbers. I realized that the last posts had barely any insight so I want to change that. The most interesting post I wrote so far was “Three Time’s the Charm”, the one about Before Sunrise. I wrote more about one thing instead of a few lines about many things. So that’s where I want to go.

Instead of writing a bit a bit about many topics I’m going to focus on one topic in each post. If I want to write a Deadpool review I’m going to do that, If I feel like writing about how great a writer Neil Gaiman is, I’ll do that and if I want to write about that D&D book I just read, guess what…I’ll write about that.

Ok, let’s do this.

One book/screenplay: Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide a D&D campaign sourcebook.
Two movies: Deadpool for fun, Ken Branagh’s Hamlet for work.
Seven pages: working on the pub-crawl scene, reminded me of some great times
seven hours: Orlindo tool a Berlinale break so I focused on something completely different…..

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I’m the one in the striped shirt.

…an now for something completely different, let’s talk some D&D1. I have to admit, I’m really late to that party. D&D is something I always wanted to get into but there were always obstacles in ma way. Last fall I decided to give it another shot. I decided to buy the Starter Set for the newest edition (5th Edition) of D&D. That starter set included some basic rules and a campaign.

I started reading and took in the pictures and I immediately fell in love. The only word that comes to mind is immersive but that’s only half the truth. You have to put a lot of effort into it but, and that’s the beauty of it, your effort is rewarded. It didn’t take long and I bought everything I could find. I have the Player’s Handbook2, the Dungeon Masters’s Guide3, the Monster Manual4 and the afore mentioned Sword Coats Adventurer’s Guide. This is a really strange book, it’s not about rules and it’s not a campaign, it’s a book that’s supposed to inform and inspire your adventures.

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D&D 5th Edition

What I love about D&D and I feel comfortable about using the word love after one game as a DM is that the rules are there to elicit creativity and not to bog you down. It’s a lot like telling a story. There are rules of storytelling (like the rules of the game) and the rest s creativity.

So together with some friends we started to play the starter set campaign and we had a great time. We are currently figuring out a way to continue the game and I hope to find a way to make this a regular thing. I’m secretly (well, I guess not anymore) working on my own campaign. I have some ideas on how to make the game my own and I think it’s a really good storytelling exercise. It’s not just about monsters and encounters it’s also about guiding your adventurer’s through a world you created (or adapted) and letting them tell their own story inside your world. It’s like writing a movie but the characters decide themselves what they want to do.

So yeah, if you haven’t played D&D yet, I highly recommend it. The Starter Set is a good starting point, just get some friends together and you’re in for a great time.

So that’s it for the first installment of my new kind of progress report but to try to keep up with another little tradition, now playing: Jon Batiste & Stay Human – Humanism5

  1. For the uninitiated, D&D is short for Dungeons & Dragons, a pen and paper roleplaying game.
  2. The D&D Player’s Handbook contains the rules of the game and character creation
  3. The Dungeon Masters’s Guide contains everything you need to run a game
  4. The Monster Manual is all about….yes, the monsters.
  5. As heard on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert