Archive for the ‘film’ Category

Jumping Genres!

July 4, 2014

My last post¬†was written mostly with humorous intent, but also was intended to get some thoughts churning. Protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, I wouldn’t derail an existing and relatively serious,steady game so wildly as to put something like the Deck of Many Genres into play. That would be a rather gross abuse of the social contract between GM and players, really.

I would, however, shift genres in a game as long as that made sense within the context of the game… and I would also run a game where the very premise revolves around shifting genres/layers of reality/alternate dimensions where the players move from one genre to the next and possibly back again. It might work best with a certain pre-determined number of predesigned genre/setting/layers where the players will run genre-shifted iterations of the same character/soul/self. I think that could be really, really fun.

Originally I was going to go back to the last post and edit it to that effect, but then after my friend Terry made a comment on his repost that was very much in line with my thinking, I decided this might be better suited if I post it by itself. I’ll share a few specific examples of times I’ve experimented with the genre-shifting concept already in games and found it a satisfying pursuit, point out a few narrative media where this technique or a variant has been used to good effect. I’ve never run a campaign where shifting realities and genres was a major part of the premise, though I have done individual adventures in a couple different systems that explored the concept either seriously or otherwise.


An Odd Sensation

January 10, 2011

Today, I took the day off work. Things to do, you know. One of the several things that needed doing today was having my car serviced. So I dropped my car off at the service facility in Culver City and walked a few blocks away to a streetside cafe to get myself some lunch and make some use of the time. As I sat there on a warm January afternoon at an outdoor table in western Los Angeles, eating avgolemono soup and falafel while reading the screenplay that I was preparing to storyboard, for a long moment I felt almost like I was looking at myself from the outside.

I am not a “showbiz” guy. That’s not where I make my living. I’m an artist (among other things) that happens to know some people that are themselves in show business. At that moment, however, I realized that I was having perhaps one of the most stereotypically “showbiz” lifestyle moments ever, reading a script at an outdoor eatery. It struck me as funny and more than a little bit surreal. Then I got back to work.


Song As Old As Rhyme

January 3, 2011

The other day, I finally installed my new blu-ray player and my wife and I watched the blu-ray release of Disney’s classic “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s a marvelous and highly sentimental film, but this morning my mind settled on a rather chilling correlation.

The movie is set in late 18th-century France, sometime between 1750 and 1789.

What’s chilling about this timeline? The revolution comes in 1789 and the Terror a couple years after that. Even if the film takes place in 1751 (the earliest possible point for it), then the Revolution will theoretically come within the protagonists’ lifetimes. “Happily ever after”… and then the shadow of Madame le Guillotine falls across the scene. Brrr.

Moses, a Jew?

August 18, 2010

I get a word a day. It’s fun, though Anu Garg’s jabs against religion and the idea of god get tiresome at times.

Anyhow, that’s not what this post is about. It’s actually about a quotation that I found in yesterday’s post.

“If we can discern anything from interviews with auteur Mel Gibson, however, The Passion looms as possibly one of the most presumptuous, intelligence-insulting biblical adaptations since The Ten Commandments, a film that managed to depict the exodus of the Jews without ever once referring to them as ‘Jews’.”
Lynn Coady; The Dolorous Passion of Mad Max; Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada); Aug 19, 2003.

Innocuous enough, right? It’s just taking shots at Mel Gibson for being pretentious (spot on), right? But hey, what about the Ten Commandments? It criticizes the film for not using the word “Jew.”

But wait. The term is newer than they think. “Y’hudi,” the term from which the English language derives “Jew” didn’t come into currency until centuries after the Exodus, as a term to refer to the residents of the southern of the two Israelite kingdoms: Judah (which is the name of one out of the twelve tribes of Israel). This was to distinguish them from the people of the northern nation of Israel, and has since (as of the Captivity or so) come to be applied to all Israelites.

Therefore, whatever faults The Ten Commandments has as a film (it assuredly has them), a failure to refer to the Hebrews as Jews is not one of those. This is especially significant since Moses, Aaron and Miriam (the main Hebrew characters) were all of the tribe of Levi, not Judah. Joshua, meanwhile, was an Ephraimite. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, but I don’t actually remember any significant characters in the film being from the tribe of Judah at all. Feel free to correct me on that last one – as I said it’s been ages and I can’t be bothered to look up the details of the cast right now.