Writing About Copyright

Copyright is kind of interesting. I’m pretty sure everyone knows about it even if you don’t give the slightest crap. It’s the thing that gives a creator the legal right to use and distribute it however they wish and shows that they have the legal rights to it and that they own…whatever it is they made. And I could talk about copyright infringement and all that fun stuff, but I’m not a lawyer and it’ll kind of bore me and you.

So let’s talk about my experiences. When I first got into the creative writing mood, I think my mom would say I would have what you could call a bad habit of sharing my ideas and work willy-nilly. And that if I were to share it, and somebody were to make a buttload of money on what I had planned, I had nobody to blame but myself. But in school, I took a class on legal basics for filmmakers, and then I looked online a bit, and I discovered something mind-blowing:

In the United States, once you have the work in a fixed medium, such as written on paper or typed into a word processor, the copyright is yours. And you don’t even need to put a copyright symbol or an All Rights Reserved spiel on the thing. Isn’t that amazing?

The only thing is that you can’t copyright ideas or plans out outlines. And you actually have to register formally if you want to take somebody to court for copyright infringement. Those things I understand, mainly because it’s evidence of authorship that goes beyond family and friends.

So what does this mean for someone like me? Well, I have some short stories on an external hard drive, a screenplay that’s been published but hasn’t gone anywhere near someone that make it an actual movie, and some chapters of a book going for me, so there’s that. And if I ever do get to a point where I can do something, it’s off to registering. And registering. Aregisteringing.

Though the big thing that’ll determine the effictiveness of my copyright navigation is if what I make is even worth stealing.

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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.

 

My Thoughts On Ready Player One

Ready Player One is a 2011 science fiction novel written by Ernest Cline. I read it my senior year of college as it was one of the required books for one of my classes. The particular class was called Literature for Screenwriters. I’m not making that name up and here is the description of the class on the academic calendar:

This course provides exposure to literary traditions from the classics to pop culture, analyzing how the selected books have affected the film industry, both in terms of direct adaptations and by influencing generations of filmmakers and screenwriters.

And I’m glad to say that I got a chance to read this story. Because it’s really freaking good.

What is this about?

In the year 2044, the world is gripped by an energy crisis and mankind escapes this Hell by immersing themselves in a virtual world called the OASIS, which is best described as having an intense rooting in the pop culture of the 1980s. The main story is that OASIS creator James Halliday has died and he has left an Easter egg somewhere in the OASIS and whoever finds it first will inherit his fortune. Five years after the hunt for the Easter egg begins, our hero Wade Watts has made a huge breakthrough in the hunt, and the adventure goes on from there.

Why should you read this?

This story is really interesting. The book itself is actually a pretty quick read, and I finished in a few hours, though I was listening to the music on my phone as I was reading so it may have felt faster for me. Reading the story, I thought that the world was really cool and the plot was something that I didn’t see that often. As an anime fan, I think the best way to describe the story is “Sword Art Online meets One Piece“, which is surprising considering I’m not a big fan of Sword Art Online. I’m also reminded about the Animaniacs film Wakko’s Wish, which was about the entire Animaniacs cast racing to get a wish granted by being the first one to touch a wishing star that had fallen to Earth. The other thing I thought was cool and what I think sets it apart from anything else is just how much the 80s pop culture oozes out of every chapter. You can tell it was done by a guy who loves this decade.

The other thing I thought was cool and what I think sets it apart from anything else is just how much the 80s pop culture oozes out of every chapter. You can tell it was done by a guy who loves this decade. And the one thing I took away from this was if it was possible to do this for other decades. I can see this being done for the 90s or even the 2000s. So, in a way not only is this book really good but it has the possibility to be influential as well.

On another note, as I work on my writing, I find this to be a helpful guide on how to format my work because I can see how well a published book is put together, so I have a bigger appreciation for this book now than what I had a year ago. And that’s something I feel is something you could consider special.

Ready Player One is a book is a story that you don’t want to put down until you’re finished once you pick it up for the first time. It’s widely available on Amazon and in bookstores all over the country, so do yourself a favor and pick up Ready Player One, put on some 80s songs, and start reading. I recommend that “Africa” by Toto be in your playlist.