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“You do not touch a man’s keybindings!”

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Lately, I haven’t been online on MSN or Twittering much. I’ve been off in distant lands conversing with gnomes, dwarves, night elves and humans and slaying trolls, ogres and various angry beasts. No, I’m not taking anything funny. I’ve been playing this little game called World of Warcraft.

My character in the game is a gnome warrior named Perpugilliam, after Peri from the old series of Doctor Who. I got interested in this game thanks to watching Felicia Day’s webseries The Guild, which is all about a group of characters (and what characters they are!) who play a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game, or MMORPG for short.

I can’t quite work out what it is that makes WoW so addictive, more so than other games, apparently. I think that maybe, like other MMORPGs, there’s always something more to do in the game. But that can’t always be the case. I haven’t picked up Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City for months. I can remember the last day I played it — my birthday.

So let’s throw in the fact that there are several elements that, to me, are very similar to Lord of the Rings. Anyone who knew me in high school will know all too well how obsessed I was with it – Orlando Bloom as Legolas in particular, but I don’t like to go into that anymore. That whole thing doesn’t quite fit anymore, because I haven’t seen the movies in months, and I tried reading the books. Really, I did. But I’m really not into the thousand-page epic fantasy.

I think the biggest thing that attracted me was the “social” aspect of it. Of course I had to use the inverted commas, because you’re just sitting in front of a computer screen all day, but at least you get to communicate with other people while playing, and as part of a guild or a temporary party, you get to flex some teamwork muscles during a raid. When you and others have functioning microphones, you can talk to each other while playing and not have to meet them in person. I don’t mean that I don’t like the idea of meeting people in person — I am nowhere near that antisocial just yet! It’s just that in most cases, that would be highly improbable, but I do like the idea of local guilds and regular meet-ups.)

So if you or someone else you know has this game, I play on the Saurfang server and currently hang around Loch Modan and the Wetlands. I’m still waiting for a group who will join me to take down the ogre Chok’sul.

Hint, hint!

j

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Written by jedielf

April 24, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Posted in games, webseries

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It’s time for a new post

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I haven’t had much in the way of writing to talk about lately. I keep knowing I should write, but all I can get is a few paragraphs at a time, at the most.

I have, though, been watching Doctor Who. I’m a bit torn in regards to what is currently going on in this wonderful show. Those of you who know me well enough know that I am completely obsessed with David Tennant and I really don’t want the Tenth Doctor to go so quickly. On the other hand, I really can’t wait to see Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor! Not only do I love Matt Smith, but his appearance also marks the debut of Steven Moffat as head writer for the series. While I don’t mind Russell T Davies’s writing, consistently engaging science fiction plots are not his forte – rather, they appear to be “The Moff’s.”

Easter Saturday in the UK offered up the Easter special for this year, Planet of the Dead. I had some high hopes for these specials, because there would be fewer episodes this “gap year.” This meant that hopefully RTD would get some time to improve his scripts. Unfortunately, this episode was good, but not terribly exciting. I liked Lady Christina de Souza and her flirting with the Doctor. I didn’t like Malcolm. He was too much of a Mad Scientist caricature. Also, the flying bus sent the story dangerously towards cartoon territory.

The nameless swarm aliens in this ep were the first RTD-created extraterrestrial species that I thought were really cool. At least, they looked amazing. They were these flying eel-type things with metal exoskeletons. But they don’t look to be flying anywhere near fast enough to create a wormhole. Is it just Applied Phlebotinum?

Before my brain explodes from looking up things about quantum physics to make sense of the im/possibility of such a thing, I’m going to try and get back into my writing.

Love you chickens!

j

Written by jedielf

April 15, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Posted in doctor who, tv, writing

Tagged with , ,

“Did I fall asleep?”

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Dollhouse, as many of you well know, is the latest TV outing from Joss Whedon and his production company, Mutant Enemy. It it yet to hit Aussie TV screens, but has been attracting decent air-time ratings in the States and even better DVR ratings. I was quite nervous about the show, because the last time Joss trusted the Fox network with something, we got Firefly, and look at what executive meddling did to that.

I really hope this show doesn’t suffer the same fate. Joss seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to writing – I don’t think he’s ever written anything that you could really say was bad (aside from maybe a few things when he was younger that he’d rather not mention, but I think every writer has a few of those.) I believe a large part of it stems from him being a nerd who knows his sci-fi/fantasy. 🙂

Dollhouse is his first TV foray into what many would consider a more literary brand of sci-fi. The concept behind the show is very ambitious – a Dollhouse is a building in which Actives are kept. For each assignment, an Active assumes a new identity and personality, according to the client’s wishes – this includes memories, fears, flaws and physical abilities or lack thereof. Between assignments, they all have the same sort of personality – docile and, I find, somewhat meditative.

This means that anyone could be an Active, and it’s where the plot starts getting really clever. Anything could be engineered by someone, somewhere. Add that to questions about the personal histories of these Actives, whether or not the people who run the Dollhouse are really the good guys, why the FBI are after them and who is this “Alpha” person … I have been hooked.

Eliza Dushku plays the main character, an Active named Echo. She’s a good actress who is capable of taking on the multiple characters that the role demands. I think the writers need to give Echo more varied personalities each episode though, because to me, Eliza proves she’s worth her acting salt in the episode where Echo has to infiltrate a cult. Most of Echo’s other personalities have been “kick-ass chicks with attitude.”

Here’s to the longevity of Dollhouse. I think the complexity of the plot, which so far is not as complex as that of Lost, as well as the size and diversity of the ensemble, demands it.

Written by jedielf

April 12, 2009 at 12:47 am

Posted in dollhouse, tv

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“The desire to get laid is kind of the motivation for the universe.”

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I recently found a very interesting podcast that’s all about screenwriting. Yesterday I downloaded the eighty-second episode, and each episode is almost between half an hour and fifty minutes long, so if I downloaded all the eps and then kept downloading new ones regularly, I’ll eventually end up spending more time listening to this podcast than to scripwriting lectures at uni. To download the podcast, go to: http://www.onthepage.tv. The main person behind it, Pilar Alessandra, also does classes and script consultations, but I think most of my readers would only be able to get the DVDs!

On a screenwriting note, I’m not sure if my current project would be better as a script. I find that with a lot of projects I embark on, I’ll start writing a novel before deciding to re-write the whole thing as a screenplay a few chapters in. Then after a bit more work, “Hmm, this is turning out a bit like a novel … ” and so on. I also think I’m more of a screenplay person, because dialogue seems to come more easily to me than anything else, and I’m probably a lot more savvy with TV and movies than with books. Hopefully that will be evened out in the next few months. Lately I’ve actually been finishing books rather than leaving them off halfway through and having to return them to the library because they’ve already been renewed once.

One of the books I’ve borrowed is Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, which really isn’t my kind of book. I picked it up anyway, because even though I did three years in Creative Writing, I’ve never of my own free will chosen to read something I’ve considered purely literary. Alongside this is The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I’ll report on these books as soon as I’ve finished reading them. As for now, I’ve got to get today’s bit of jobhunting done.

Love you lots,

j

Written by jedielf

April 7, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Posted in books, tv, writing

“Well, instead of the Stalinist purges and the divorce and the investigation, erm, it could be about … losing a balloon.”

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I’ve typed up a few paragraphs of my archaeology/sci-fi project here and there, but today I’ve mostly been doing a lot of procrastinating and scribbling down something resembling a plot outline for this thing. And when I say “procrastinate,” I really mean “net surf” — even with my download speed cut down to 64kbps for the rest of my billing month, I haven’t found the willpower to close that stupid browser window. I will soon, because I’m really getting tired of websites loading at such a (lack of) speed. It’s entirely my fault too, because I wasted all that quota downloading episodes of Jonathan Creek and Dollhouse. Now there’s also series three of Robin Hood, as well as the eagerly-awaited special episode of Doctor Who coming up next week.

Another thing that has started to take up an ever-growing poriton of my bandwidth usage every month is my occassional viewing of webseries. Recently, the inaugural Streamy Awards, which recognise achievements in this field, were held in LA. A whole swag of these little trophies were won by two of my favourites, The Guild and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I follow a few of the cast and crew of The Guild, as well as keep updates on Dr. Horrible-related things, on Twitter. DH was written as a low-budget project to keep people working throughout the writer’s strike in the US, and Felicia Day started writing The Guild to do what I’m trying to do at the moment — to sit down on her arse and write something.

Since the web series is a relatively new medium, there isn’t really any established format. The current trend seems to be that you have a few episodes per series, with each episode lasting anywhere from two to fifteen minutes.

So, I’ve been thinking, “Maybe I could write a web series.” A couple of episodes of several minutes is cinch, right?

Nuh-uh. I keep getting reminded of that episode of Black Books where Manny and Bernard try to write a children’s book in one night. They keep moving their hands to try and start to write something, but the pencils don’t touch the paper. Also, I think it was Steven Moffat who once said that for him, the shorter a project is, the harder it is. You need an interesting story that you need to compress into a tiny runtime. That takes more cutting than your “average-length” stuff.

Still, a webseries seem to be a great idea for writers who are short on cash, have some connections and are desperate to do something!

I don’t have any ideas for a webseries yet, LOL.

Love,

j

Written by jedielf

April 4, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Posted in webseries, writing

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