Wrath Update

Hello there. So, I got back from another contest I entered Wrath into. This time, it’s the New York Screenplay Contest. And I can now say that I have won the Empire Award in the Fantasy film category. Looking at the website, I can say that’s a big deal because I won 2nd prize in that category, which is a pretty big deal. This comes only a few months after I was a category finalist in the action-adventure category in the Las Vegas International Screenwriting Competition.

You’re probably asking why I have accolades in two different genres. One reason is because of the categories some of the contests have to offer while submitting; some contests have more categories than others. The second, and more accurate if you ask me, the reason is because I suck at coming up with genres for my work. Most times, I don’t try to think of genres when I write down my ideas, and even then I wouldn’t say I specialize in any one genre. I mean, Wrath features angels and demons, and the main character has a battle axe that can shoot fire and ignite on command as his weapon. Does that sound like fantasy to you? To me it does. I’m not even well versed to talk about things like high fantasy vs. low fantasy, so I’m not going to go into that because I can’t even pretend to know what I’m talking about.

As for talking this much about a second place finish, I guess I can because I beat out so many people; 1,000 screenplays entered according to the people running this thing. So, I guess you could say this is like winning a silver medal in the Olympics. However, as a competitor, you start to wonder when you’ll get that win and be on top of the mountain. It’s like a Buffalo Bills fan wondering if the early 90s should be remembered by them losing four straight Super Bowls or winning four straight AFC Championships.

So, I guess the big question is if I get a certificate, which means I have to fork over 25 dollars along with a frame for the thing, or spend 125 plus shipping for their Art Glass trophy. A handmade 16-inch solid glass trophy that I need to find a place for and put in a place where I won’t end up breaking it because I’m not what you’d call “super clean” or “super organized”.

But in all seriousness, I’m pretty happy with this result. It always feels good to achieve something. And if you’re interested in the story, feel free to buy a copy of Wrath on Amazon.

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Some Views on Adaptation

I’m Going to write about a TV show I don’t watch. In particular, I’m going to write about Game of Thrones. Why? Because I feel that I can get something out of it in terms of writing if I look deeper.

I don’t need to tell you how big a deal Game of Thrones is. It’s THE biggest show of this decade, if not this generation. Even as somebody who doesn’t watch this show, I can see how loved it is and how the stereotypical idea of “shut up the talk about it because I haven’t seen the latest episode” can actually be true here. However, I don’t watch this show because I’m not really that big of a fan of the fantasy genre. I just missed that boat when Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy were the biggest things on the planet seemingly simultaneously, so when I heard of Game of Thrones, I thought nothing of it. Another thing I have no interest in is the book series Game of Thrones is based on, A Song of Ice and Fire. The only interest I’ve had in this franchise has gone as far as to look up its author George R. R. Martin and his writing process, and I can say that he’s a pretty interesting guy.

The thing that’s interesting about Game of Thrones to me is how it’s been adapting A Song of Ice and Fire. As of the time you read this, Game of Thrones has finished seven seasons and is preparing to air its final season. Meanwhile, the last two books in the Ice and Fire series haven’t been published and are nowhere close to being ready for the hype train that comes with a release date. From what I’ve heard, Game of Thrones knows the ending of the saga, so if you read the books, the show’s got you covered…and it’ll spoil the ending.

That’s kind of interesting to me.

Take the Harry Potter series, a phenomenon I can say I lived through, or at least a good chunk of it. Four books had already been published before the first film came out in 2001. This may not seem like much when you see that Game of Thrones premiered in 2011, and the fifth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series was released that very same year. I will say that the deviation comes from the medium and the pacing for both of these.

Harry Potter has each of the installments in one movie (or movies in the case of Deathly Hallows), while Game of Thrones had to deal with the fact that the series they were adapting was both incomplete and had a lot of plotlines and intricacies going on. The interesting thing is that George R.R. Martin would only have a channel like HBO tackle his series because he didn’t want things like budget or censorship compromising his vision, which is what led him to write his Song of Ice and Fire series in the first place. Meanwhile, Harry Potter isn’t aimed at adults, so it doesn’t have that burden. Also, the story of Harry Potter could be told more easily, so when the final book came out in 2007, the fifth book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was in theaters and it was pretty smooth sailing from that point.

I think the thing I get from this is this: Pacing can be a bitch. How you pace can be a bitch. The fact that you hear so much about book and adaptation can speak volumes. Game of Thrones chose to adapt pretty much everything George R.R. Martin put on the page, and now that they’re out of adapting material, they’re on their own save an outline and the final plot points of the saga and fate of the characters. Harry Potter had their plot all done for the most part, and they could just crank out the movies to an adoring public in what you could call a simpler time for the Internet.

As you can see, the way of adapting a book series can be kind of baffling. It can also be a daunting task. And if I ever get in this world, I hope to be the one whose work is being adapted instead of the one who has the task of adapting.

 

Drexel GNN

Finally, I get the chance to do this blog post.

I was able to go to the Drexel Global Night of Networking, or Drexel GNN. It’s something Drexel does every year and it’s to help Drexel alums from different majors and graduating years connect with each other, and they hold these all over the country (and in some parts of the world) on one single night. I went to the event they held in Philadelphia. I met some people, I had some great conversations, and I even made some new LinkedIn connections out of it. I guess that means the night was kind of a success.

In regards to the night itself, it was held at the rooftop bar of a restaurant in Center City, and it was pretty posh if I’d say so myself. They even had hors d’oeuvres. And honestly, I think that was what got me through that night because that was kind of the one place I’d probably not be if I had my way. It’s just something about going to a bar where you know absolutely nobody and seeing so many strangers that’s just overwhelming. At the very least, I met somebody from my major.

A few months ago, I talked about going to an alumni meetup for the people in my major. Honestly, I like meetups like that more. It’s a lot more subdued, I actually know people who are there, and I had a lot more fun because it was just a social mixer with a laptop that had Spotify and a ping pong table. I like a setup like this. It makes me feel less overwhelmed and I can be able to have a lot more fun. Also, I can better approach people and start the conversations as opposed to having people come to me to start a conversation because being at a bar will make me feel like approaching people is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest while reciting the digits of pi.

Did I enjoy the Drexel GNN? Yes. Will I go to the Drexel GNN next year? If I can, sure. Here’s hoping that I don’t feel like a stranger in a bar that makes me realize I’d hate going into a bar.

Let’s talk Ninjago

First off, I’m sorry that I’ve been away for so long. I have no excuses, and I hope that this blog can somehow continue to grow.

That out of the way, let’s get into the meat of this thing.

I got to see The Lego Ninjago Movie. After seeing The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie, I came to the conclusion that this Lego film franchise is my favorite film franchise. Why does this take the cake over the stuff offered by the likes of Marvel, Dreamworks, and the Disney Animated Canon?  Mainly the fact that every movie in this series is a movie I look forward to seeing as soon as I can, and this was no different.

What’s this movie about, you ask? The Lego Ninjago Movie takes place in Ninjago Movie where a teenager named Lloyd leads the charge to protect the city from the evil Lord Garmadon as the Green Ninja. There’s a little wrinkle to this: Lord Garmadon is Lloyd’s father. That’s a big source of humor for this movie, although that aspect can take a while to see some payoff. Also, as the movie goes on, the interactions with Lord Garmadon and Lloyd lead to the emotional moments that this franchise has beneath the comedy. These emotional moments also take some time to show up, although when you see them, you’ll probably get the feeling that they’ve been earned given what you’ve seen Lloyd and his friends have gone through. The other thing I can say is that if you’re going to mix comedy and emotional moments, you need to know when to apply each, and this movie knows when to do that most of the time. I’d say that this franchise knows how to do that particular skill pretty damn well.

And now let’s talk about what I loved the most from this movie: Jackie Chan as Master Wu, Lloyd’s teacher in all things ninja. Jackie Chan had the best lines in the movie, I was just smiling in every scene he was in, and in terms of the best character, I’d say it’s a toss-up between him and Lord Garmadon. When I walked out of the movie, I told my mom that I think Jackie Chan makes everything better, while my mom said that Jackie Chan was the best part of the movie and was pivotal to the movie’s success. I will say that I came into this not knowing who the cast would be, so I don’t think I’m in a position to talk about this aspect, although I will say that Jackie Chan was a good call to have in this movie if I could say so myself. I don’t think this is one of those things I can explain. I honestly can’t think of someone who could take that role and play it as well as Jackie Chan did.

In terms of how good this is compared to the other Lego films, I’d say that it’s not as funny as The Lego Batman Movie, but it’s still pretty good when it comes to providing laughs. Compared to The Lego Movie, I’d say that it’s kind of a different situation in that this movie is more for the Lego connoisseur as it’s based on a particular Lego line instead of something the general public such as the fun of playing with Lego blocks or Batman. I honestly don’t know anyone that knows Ninjago, though that may have to do with the fact that Lego Ninjago started when I was in high school, and I don’t know anyone that plays with Lego, let alone knows of the Lego Ninjago franchise.

As for score? I’m going to give The Lego Ninjago Movie a 7/10. This movie may take a while to find its groove, which may have to do with the fact that it kind of needs to establish the world it’s in, but once it does hit its groove, it’s super enjoyable. Also, Jackie Chan is the man. Jackie Chan is a treasure. Jackie Chan is the best part of this movie.

And now, I leave you with Jackie Chan singing “I’ll Make A Man Out of You” from Mulan. In Chinese.  

Thinking too much about LeBron’s Finals Performance

To some basketball fans, there’s a thought that the league is rigged to benefit the league and the owners so they can line up their pockets with all the cash that comes in from great TV ratings that come from the success of the teams in their biggest media markets and their biggest stars killing it in the playoffs. To supporters of this theory, they point toward the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals where the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Milwaukee Bucks, the 2002 Western Conference Finals where the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings (ESPECIALLY Game 6), and the testimony of Tim Donaghy. As a result, the NBA Draft Lottery has become the sports equivalent of the Kennedy Assassination, with everyone looking forward to seeing how the lottery proves the conspiracy, particularly the 1985, 2003, 2008, 2011, and 2012 editions.

Do I think the league is rigged? No, I don’t. Every time I hear about this, I feel like I’m listening to an angry fan bitching that their team lost. Being around sports my entire life at various levels have rendered me unable to see a fix without hard evidence. And no, shitty refs don’t count.

But the idea is too fun to just leave alone. There’s a guy I follow on Twitter named Chris Lee Moore. He has a show called TV Trash where he reviews bad TV shows and he sometimes talks about sports. Like me, he doesn’t believe that the NBA (or any type of sport) is rigged or booked like pro wrestling, though he’ll admit that boxing doesn’t help his argument, and that the 2011 NBA Finals which saw the Dallas Mavericks beat LeBron James and the Miami Heat is Exhibit A because there would be no way at that time that anyone other than LeBron would be organized to win the title if fixers had their way. I want to take that line of thinking further using LeBron’s Finals appearances this decade, because if there’s any proof that the dynamics and forecast for the NBA can change with one player and his offseason moves and where he plays, it’s LeBron James.

  • 2011: LeBron joins the Miami Heat with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in an introduction that would make Gene Simmons proud if he played basketball. This only serves to make people hate him even more following The Decision, and following his finals loss, LeBron James is cemented as the league’s villain. An arrogant prick that everyone wants to see fail at everything he does.
  • 2012: LeBron beats Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder for his first title. Over this year, the hate died down over admiration for his skills, and the narrative is that LeBron has FINALLY won his title. The fact that 2011 happened, along with the chemistry that Lebron has with the rest of the Heat roster makes me feel like this wasn’t the coronation you’d think of it to be. How would you fix this to make it feel like a coronation? I can’t see the fix here.
  • 2013: The Heat are in a league of their own. They go on a 27 game winning streak and they beat the San Antonio Spurs in seven games. The sky is the limit for the Heat, and we’re not just talking about a 3-peat, we’re talking about a dynasty like the Bulls of the 1990s and maybe even the Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s. You just feel you’re looking at something historic. Also, that Ray Allen three. 
  • 2014: The Heat and the Spurs make it back to the Finals. However, the Spurs win it in 5 and LeBron opts out of his contract. If there was a plan to fix the league for a Heat dynasty, the plan has officially blown up and is in tatters. And isn’t it fitting that it was the Spurs that ended the Heat’s run? I’m not sure how big of a market San Antonio is, but the 5-time champion Spurs are the antithesis of the NBA trend of individual popularity and the building the team around one guy. Watching the Spurs, you really see how Gregg Popovich has managed to get every player to buy into a “Team First” mentality you probably learned playing for a rec team or for your high school which may lead some to not recognize individual greatness. I mean look at Tim Duncan. Dude’s said to be one of the best at his position ever, and one of the best players of the 2000s, but I never thought of that because he played in the same time as Kobe Bryant…and LeBron.
  • 2015: LeBron James has returned to Cleveland and promises to deliver a championship to the part of America that runs in his blood. And he makes the finals. One thing though: he loses to the Golden State Warriors who are led by this guy who’s really good at shooting 3-pointers named Stephen Curry. No storybook ending for you, LeBron. And once again, if you were a fixing guy, you look at this and see another golden opportunity to line your pockets and kill it in ratings and create another moment that’ll go down in basketball history…wasted.
  • 2016: He did it! LeBron brings a title to Cleveland, and he beats the Warriors. And he comes back from 3-1 down which will bring about the most overused Twitter joke in sports. Now the Warriors had won 73 games in the regular season, breaking the once thought to be unbreakable record held by the ’95-’96 Bulls. And with this Finals loss, this Warriors team lose their chance to be called “the greatest team in NBA history”. Now, there were claims that the Finals were rigged to go seven games after Draymond Green’s flagrant foul suspension. I just say that you have to learn how to close the deal. And that Draymond Green needs to stop hitting people in the nuts.
  • 2017: The Warriors beat the Cavs in five games, and LeBron isn’t the best player in the series. And neither is Stephen Curry. Nope, it’s Kevin Durant, who made his way to Northern California and spent this season proving why he should be called the basketball player in the world.

So, where does this leave Lebron? And where does this leave the hypothetical fixers? Well, sometime after Lebron returned to Cleveland, the comparisons to Michael Jordan came in and people got into heated debates about who’s the better debate and who’s the one that’s truly worthy to sit on the throne of “greatest player in NBA History”. I’ve heard that with the 2017 Finals, LeBron’s resume is pretty much complete. So now you see the Cavs going all in this year to get LeBron another ring, mainly because most people won’t look past how many Larry O’Brien Trophies you’ve won. Along with this, you can see the rumors that he’s going to Los Angeles to win a ring with the Lakers next year alongside Paul George and Lonzo Ball.

On the other hand, you have something special with the Warriors. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant are like the 2013 Heat. Nobody can touch them, and Kevin Durant is making his claim for best in the world, and I don’t see him stopping anytime soon.

I think that these two conflicting narratives will go down as my reasoning as to why the NBA is not fixed. You have two different directions, and people will say that the league is rigged against whatever direction you want to see happen, depending on what team you’re a fan of.

So, what’s going to happen? Will the Warriors continue to rack up the titles throughout the latter half of the 2010s? Will LeBron reach six rings, and where will those victories happen? All I know is, the league isn’t fixed to make any one thing happen, because I think the unpredictability of sports makes it fun.

Besides, if the league was rigged in some way, Lavar Ball would have probably blabbed about it by now because I don’t think he can keep his mouth shut for five minutes. Something about being a Lakers fan seems to suck me into these kinds of conversations.

How Star Wars can explain Vince, Roman, and their hate

I don’t think I’m breaking new ground when I say that people on the Internet hate Roman Reigns. A lot. To the point where Wikipedia has an article dedicated to what people think about him. That is a level of hate that I never thought possible. And as I thought about all this hate, a thought came to me, and the more I thought about it, the more it makes way too much sense:

Roman Reigns is the Star Wars prequels of professional wrestling.

Let me explain what I mean by this. I believe the Star Wars prequels are the most hated things on the entire Internet. Even with things like Nickelback, the Michael Bay Transformers movies, and Michael Bay himself, the prequels stand alone on their own tier of online scorn. Trying to say even one positive thing about these films is like climbing Mount Everest and then having to fight Braun Strowman inside Hell In A Cell when you reach the top.  When I saw what people have to say about the Star Wars prequels, a weird kind of Poe’s Law comes into play: when I see these people put these three movies to the sword complaining about things like Midochlorians, Darth Vader’s “NO!”, giving shitty backstories that ruin how you see anyone that could have been described in the original trilogy as “a mysterious badass”, an overabundance of CGI, or saying that the person sitting in their chair taking it in needs to just watch the original trilogy like a real fan, I can’t help but think “do this complainer really think that, or are they trying to obliterate the easy thing to hate so the cool kids can like them and maybe even invite them to sit at the cool kids table?” That’s what I feel when I see Roman Reigns hate. People bash him for what could be legit reasons (his booking from 2015, his mic skills, Vince’s insistence to groom him to be the next face of WWE).

That’s what I feel when I see Roman Reigns hate. People bash him for what could be legit reasons (his booking from 2015, his mic skills, Vince’s insistence to groom him to be the next face of WWE), although the vitriol makes me think that the Roman bashing could be so they wouldn’t get picked on by r/SquaredCircle and be invited to watch New Japan with them while they talk about how Big Bad Vince is keeping guys like Sami Zayn down.

And the more I think about this, something else came to me. If Roman Reigns is the Star Wars prequels of professional wrestling, Vince McMahon is its George Lucas.

The reason for this line of thinking is that George Lucas went from being one of the most beloved directors in Hollywood and creators of what could be the greatest universe ever to the man that was so stuck in his vision that he ran the franchise that’s loved by so many people into the ground.

Let me list my parallels:

  • The fact that any good booking (such as last fall’s Smackdown Live) brings up the idea that Vince had absolutely no involvement whatsoever is like George Lucas getting no credit for anything good that’s happened in Star Wars. Think about it, when was the last time a Star Wars fan had anything nice to say about George Lucas and/or his contributions to the franchise? When was the last time anyone had to say anything nice about Vince regarding the in ring product since his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1999? This may be a stretch, but I have more.
  • The complaints people have over Roman, like his mic skills and his 2015 booking leading to the seemingly never-ending push? Those are like the complaints lodged toward the prequels over the CGI and the Midichlorians. In both cases, the same complaints have been made numerous times.
  • Vince’s micromanaging and changing the booking at the last minute brings up the Star Wars special editions and Lucas’s constant alterations for these special editions.
  • You ever get that feeling that Vince does stuff that makes you go “Fuck This Company”, complete with the GIF? You know like not giving Sasha Banks a meaningful title reign, running CM Punk out of professional wrestling altogether, canceling Talking Smack, not pushing guys like Sami Zayn and Finn Balor into the main event picture, not making Bray Wyatt into the next Undertaker as many feel he has the potential to be, making the Undertaker’s last opponent Roman Reigns instead of John Cena, or just any booking that feels like it was done by Vince out of spite because he hates the fans and spends every minute he’s awake thinking of ways to give them both of his middle fingers? I may be exaggerating, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Star Wars fans felt the same way when it comes to not being able to see the original trilogy in glorious high definition Blu-Ray because the one called Lucas is a dick.
  • All the Vince hate gave me the morbid thought that people were waiting for Vince to die and hope something would change in the meantime. That’s like something else unthinkable but which actually happened: Lucasfilm and the Star Wars IP being sold to Disney, and George Lucas going away, and any future ideas he had being thrown into the garbage…and if HHH or whoever else is in charge puts Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania instead of Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles in an epic storyline that involves The Club or Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE/Universal Championship or whatever dream match you can think of, that is a level of disappointment and betrayal that Star Wars fans once felt. They felt it when the Star Wars Expanded Universe was declared to be non-canon by the mouse, which led The Force Awakens to be accused of being a retread of A New Hope instead of a potential epic new saga rooted in the worlds and concepts introduced by those that wondered what happened after the end of Return of the Jedi.

I know that this is weird. I’m aware that this line of thinking will probably go over like a lead balloon. But at the end of the day, this line of thinking makes too much sense to me. Also, the complaints that have been lodged have become so common you can predict when they’re going to be presented. If I’m able to present a different way of thinking about the hate toward Roman and Vince and convince people about my line of thinking, I think I can consider this a successful post.

The Baffling (to me at least) Idea of Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey.

Rowdy Ronda Freakin’ Rousey.

As a WWE fan, all I have to ask is…why? Why now?

For all those unaware, Ronda Rousey is rumored to enter a program where she and three of her MMA buddies known as The Foursewomen of MMA will take on Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley, The Four Horsewomen of WWE will feud and have a match at Survivor Series, which will result in Ronda going over and entering a program at WrestleMania where she’ll take on either Charlotte or the heir to the company, Stephanie McMahon. From what I’ve seen, this has become a rather infamous rumor because it’s blatantly obvious that this is a ploy by WWE to ride the wave of MMA popularity to a point where they can gain some mainstream cred. Allow me to vent my thoughts now that probably won’t be read or made fun of that’s this platform’s equivalent of getting downvoted to oblivion on Reddit.

For starters, my main question is “why now”? I wouldn’t have a problem if this was building off her appearance with The Rock at WrestleMania 31, when she was the undisputed greatest female MMA fighter in America, where she regularly beating her opponents in under a minute to the point where people were genuinely wondering if she could kick Floyd Mayweather’s ass. Nowadays, the biggest thing I remember about her was the rapid decline in her popularity following losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes. It’s been nine months since she last stepped into an octagon, and those two losses have killed any chances she had to come into WWE where you could credibly call her a formidable threat that laid waste to all who challenged her in a different field of combat. Or in layman’s terms, any chance you could book her like a female Brock Lesnar is in the toilet.

I’m not against the idea of Ronda Rousey being a WWE superstar completely. Hell, if you give her a manager akin to Paul Heyman, you could work with something, even do something about those two losses. But does it have to be this Horsewomen thing? Not only are people calling this a blatant push for Rousey, but you have what many consider THE GREATEST four women to be involved in WWE, if not the professional wrestling industry, and you’re having them job to an MMA star because…Vince needs that mainstream cred. If this bombs, all we have is a bitter fanbase that’s going to do nothing but bash WWE to no end and look at New Japan or Ring of Honor to see women’s wrestling and wishes for Vince McMahon to die so HHH can take over and make Becky Lynch a star with at least decent booking, Sasha Banks a champion with a meaningful title reign filled with successful five star defenses, and Bayley is rehabilitated into the crowd favorite that she was back in NXT…until you realize that he’s orchestrating some Charlotte/Ronda program for WrestleMania, worse, a program that puts him in that great April spotlight again, whether it’s a match between Ronda and Stephanie that features Hunter in his wife’s corner, or a mixed tag match which has him and Steph going up against Ronda and The Rock.There could be a chance that my pessimism is unfounded and this program will not only come to

There could be a chance that my pessimism is unfounded and this program will not only come to pass, but be really great and everyone involved looks like champs. However, I’m not convinced that that’s what’s going to happen. The MMA community has moved onto the next big thing in Conor McGregor, and WWE is trying to pursue him as well, if Enzo Amore’s antics were any indication. And now, you’re going to try to push a star that was at her peak two years ago and perhaps use some of the fans’ most beloved stars as fodder to achieve this objective and shake up the women’s division. I have no idea how many buttons of the fans this pushes, but I really fear that this’ll go belly up and the dumpster fire will be nothing but a point and laugh show for the fine folks at r/SquaredCircle.Please give me something resembling hope that I’m wrong.

Please give me something resembling hope that I’m wrong.