Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Stalkees

Faye Progress:

36154 / 90000 words. 40% done!

Some people have actors that they'll watch anything they act in or novelists that they'll read anything they write. I've got a few of those, too, but I also have a few directors/screenwriters/producers that I actively stalk. Their numbers are few at the moment—three, to be exact—but I'm very loyal to all three, and for completely different reasons.

I fell in love with Aaron Sorkin's writing/directing/producing while watching The West Wing. It was a love of character and theme. Here were a group of fiercely loyal people with strong moral compasses, stellar work ethics, good senses of humor, who were impulsive for all the right reasons (love being the main reason) and staunchly patriotic. Toss in a president I might vote for and some really good acting, and I was hooked. I thought it was a magical combination that couldn't be reproduced if removed from the White House setting, but Studio 60 proved me wrong. Again, Sorkin produced the same addictive cocktail of admirable character traits layered underneath flawed characters, backed with a heavy dose of my favorite themes: love (friendship or romantic) enabling people to achieve greater things than they were capable of before; loyalty is something to be cherished, rewarded, and appreciated; doing the morally right thing is always the right choice even if it means superficial trappings (like, say, your oh-so-important career) are put in jeopardy. I didn't find Studio 60 until I was browsing Netfix, and I am disappointed it didn't air longer.

I love Guy Ritchie, but for not a single similar reason. I will watch any movie Guy Ritchie creates because I know that it will be A) violent, B) have some well-muscled men in it that have their clothes ripped away in the aforementioned violence, C) crack me up. Ritchie has a style of directing/producing, or maybe it's editing, that emphasizes the humor in the horror, can hone in on the most depraved of scenes and make me laugh. Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels are two movies I have watched more than once without exterior coercion. I'm not a typically bloodthirsty viewer, but Ritchie can splatter the screen and leave me smiling.

Firefly was my introduction to Joss Whedon. I promptly bought the DVD set (the only TV show I've ever purchased) and gave Buffy the Vampire Slayer a try after avoiding it the entire time it was on the air. Next was Angel and now I'm tapping my fingers with impatience for Dollhouse season two to come out on DVD. I don't know if can say I love everything he does, but I've liked these shows a lot. I like the mixture of fantasy with relateable characters and heavy action lightened by humor. If I can be on the edge of my couch cushion during an action scene, and laughing over a character's reaction a few minutes later, I'm pretty much hooked. Firefly remains my favorite, and like many fans, I dearly wish the show hadn't been cancelled so hastily.

If I could take a little from each of these writer/producer/directors and combine it into my writing it would be this: Sorkin's themes, Ritchie's catastrophic situations that arise from the most innocent of intentions, Whedon's balance of humor and action, and a combination of all the characters—the thinkers and the muscles with guns and the chosen heroes and their tag-along sidekicks. It'd make a kick-ass story, that's for sure.

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