Author Topic: On Writing  (Read 10025 times)

saltine

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On Writing
« on: April 01, 2016, 06:58:08 PM »
Please use this thread for any posts that reflect your views on writing and know that if you post your views on writing in other threads, those posts will be moved to this thread. 
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verbALs

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Re: On Writing
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2016, 07:17:37 PM »
What a good idea. I'd like to smash a bottle of champagne across the bow of this fine new vessel and perhaps someone could find a suitably mellifluous vowel to name it! I'd christen it by showing appreciation for all the people who continue to write here. I don't know if I'm alone in directly equating support for the forum with actually writing here. If it went quiet and stayed quiet there obviously wouldn't be a forum. Writing means contributing. People may leave and go away to write somewhere else and that is their right but there really is only one way to support a forum. Type suckers! ;D
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

Paul Phoenix

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Re: On Writing
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2016, 07:29:18 PM »
Hear, hear, verbALs.

This is probably the only place so far where writing feels contributive and productive. Even though I would paste the same reviews on Letterboxd, there's a more fleeting feeling like a lost dog ad, probably because only my followers and the few lucky enough to pass by my reviews would get to read them at all. But here in the forums, it's present for every member to see.

It's why I like making my reviews more conversational. If you'll notice my past reviews during my short break from Filmspotting between August last year and February this year, you'll see that I didn't bother writing much because I wasn't writing for the forums. The reviews during that time period were short and indifferent. I could just type up two paragraphs of random thoughts and get over with it. I didn't have anyone to write for but myself.

That said, I'm still too lazy to bother with editing my writing. Most of my posts here are my instant thoughts as they flowed from my mind, not artificial prose conjured with the intention to impress. Well, I do still have the occasional prose and an intention to impress, at which time you would be able to tell easily (The Orphanage), but most often, I just prefer to write in a natural and sincere voice.

On another note, writing here has still not revitalized my interest in writing fiction. That kind of writing is a chore to work through, one that I would rather not delve back into right now.
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

Eternally seeking variety. 'Tis the spice of life for me.

Junior

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Re: On Writing
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2016, 10:49:48 PM »
A case for bringing in outside sources for your argument:

Sometimes other people said it better. I'm acutely aware of when I'm just saying something I know somebody else has said, especially when I'm not doing as good a job as they do at explaining my position or point of view on a subject. I don't have a big enough ego to think that I'm the only person who can think in a certain way, so when I know, for example, that somebody else has explained the way that Spielberg has his fingerprints all over AI, I'm going to just point people in that direction so that they can say it for me. In my class I require that my students do it, actually, because it shows an ability to synthesize ideas in addition to thinking them up in the first place. You want to join a conversation, not start a new one.

Now, is just providing a link and moving on the best way to do this? No, and I acknowledge that. When Hermit pushed back at me in that AI example I found two paragraphs that supported my claim. Perhaps that's a better way of doing it. But still, to pretend that we are not influenced by outside sources is kind of nutty to me.
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Paul Phoenix

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Re: On Writing
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2016, 12:00:07 AM »
Not to sound egoistical, but I find that outside influences can be especially poisonous to one's viewpoints. Much of my view about the films one is meant to like is due to my insecurities being influenced and swayed by outside influences, by people who supposedly know better than me and telling me the kind of films that are the best of the best (The Godfather and Akira come to mind).

If anything, I've never sounded more sincere over the past few days specifically because I've flushed that poison outta me and focused more on my own raw feelings.
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

Eternally seeking variety. 'Tis the spice of life for me.

smirnoff

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Re: On Writing
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2016, 12:15:02 AM »
Now, is just providing a link and moving on the best way to do this?

I'm okay with it if the person is willing to vouch for, stand by, justify, and defend every word written as if it were their own. But that's a rather unreasonable thing to expect. And if you make the mistake of assuming it is the case you will very often find that when you go to pin the person down on a particular point, they will slide out from under it. "oh, well I don't agree with that bit" or "hey, it's not my opinion" or "you'd have to ask them". That's what I mean about not being able to have a conversation with a piece of writing, and why I don't support the practice. And what if there's a follow-up question? Who am I speaking to now?

Forums, I find, are an inherently difficult place to make conversations work at the best of times. The uncertainty of eliciting a response to a question posed to nobody in particular fosters a tendency to just go ahead and answer the response you presume you would have gotten in the very same post. :)) I've done that loads of times. Questions posed to nobody in particular rarely come back your way, while questions directed at someone can often be regarded with suspicion, some trap to be avoided, and don't get answered at all (responded to sure, but not answered). Taking the conversation out of the ring and into the crowd, to me, is just another thing that trips up the discussion (or can).

« Last Edit: April 03, 2016, 12:39:27 AM by smirnoff »

smirnoff

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Re: On Writing
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2016, 12:36:10 AM »
Sometimes other people said it better. I'm acutely aware of when I'm just saying something I know somebody else has said, especially when I'm not doing as good a job as they do at explaining my position or point of view on a subject. I don't have a big enough ego to think that I'm the only person who can think in a certain way, so when I know, for example, that somebody else has explained the way that Spielberg has his fingerprints all over AI, I'm going to just point people in that direction so that they can say it for me.

When faced with incredulity, particularly regarding something subjective like film, I find what fuels it is often the absence of the process. How did you get there? You can cite supporting, like-minded sources till you're blue in the face, but it will all look the same to the incredulous individual who obviously did not have that experience. It's not a matter of how eloquently you describe the experience you had, it's describing how you had that experience that counts. At least for those mystified by your reaction.

Remember math class and having the teacher telling you to "show your work!" :)) It's a bit like that. I know you have the answer, I want to know how you came by it. :)
« Last Edit: April 03, 2016, 12:38:10 AM by smirnoff »

Paul Phoenix

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Re: On Writing
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2016, 12:44:40 AM »
Good thing I sucked at math. And school for that matter.
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

Eternally seeking variety. 'Tis the spice of life for me.

tinyholidays

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Re: On Writing
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2016, 12:50:14 AM »
I like to read about a film particularly when I suspect I am not catching on to its cultural context. I feel uncomfortable espousing an ignorant opinion that could be better honed by doing some research. I'm suspicious of regarding my own purity of thought in reaction to a film as anything other than an ego trap. Film is made by people who make decisions with intent, created within a certain sociopolitical environment, and seen by individuals who filter the film through their own experiences. That's a lot of working elements to boil down to one person's reaction.

In a situation in which forum members are asking that other forum members defend or explain a film, where one member is saying that the defending members are not doing a good enough job in their expression, it made sense to me to bring in an outside source, one that had been informative to me. It was a piece of writing that I had originally read because of my own curiosity on the subject that was being discussed (that is, WHY does Jeanne Dielman exist, and why does it work). I am hearing now, though, that I was incorrect to think that an essay published with the definitive edition of the film would be considered more valuable and garner more respect than my own gut take.

Paul Phoenix

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Re: On Writing
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2016, 01:02:17 AM »
Well, see, that's the thing now, some external research can be detrimental to the experience of a film. A film should be experienced on its own, and the emotions garnered from it should sometimes be the only thing that mattered. In some cases, this isn't true (ex_machina would have made a lot more sense much sooner to me had I had the slogan for the book), but some other times, I find myself wishing that I hadn't research about how it's a remake, how someone else had done it better in earlier days - or, in the case of Lord of the Rings, how it's a grossly inaccurate adaptation of the book.

See, now, these things do affect my genuine feelings, and it's fantastic if you're not a person easily influenced by stuff like that. Good for you. :P For myself, had I just focus on the way the film had made me feel when I was watching the film as opposed to knowing that it's done injustice to the source material, I would probably have less gripes about "Oh, how much better the story would have been" as opposed to how the story actually was on its own, without comparison.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2016, 01:28:36 AM by Hermit »
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

Eternally seeking variety. 'Tis the spice of life for me.