Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Creative Types

NOTE TO READERS: The following is an exclusive excerpt from the brand-new book by Mr. Forthright, "How to Make It in Hollywood: A Guide For the Delusional."


- Step Six: How to Copy Creativity -

On the Value of Plagiarism

Creativity is learned through the rigorous imitation of other forms of art.

People think Michelangelo’s Sisteen Chapel was pretty good, but most people don’t even realize that the entire thing was traced using that really thin paper after a trip to the Fifteen Chapel. While some people think that fact takes away from the grandeur of the work, it only adds to my personal respect for the artist.

Look at it this way. If you are so creative that you aren’t copying something else, people won’t know how to interpret or understand it. Everything is viewed through the lens of what has already been experienced. The mere act of creating requires that we have something there to begin with, some type of raw material. The best raw material is not original at all, it is something else that has been done. Therefore, you’re much better off producing Land Before Time 13 instead of Really Original Movie A because no one is going to understand Really Original Movie A. They also won’t see it because it has a really terrible name. “But what about Land Before Time 1? That was original, right Mr. Forthright?” you say. Nope. It was based on the history of Dinosaurs, which is not original at all. History is not original, as it usually already happened. Land Before Time 1’s unoriginality was the key to its success. Its originality was the catalyst of its sequels.

Unoriginality is the only real originality. If you remain unconvinced, let’s go a little further this time.

Wealthy Producer Advises:

“$equels! $equels! $equels!”

What is creativity, anyway? Let’s look at the roots of the words. “Creat” and “ivity.” The letters of “creat” can form a number of other words, including CAT, EAT, ATE, RAT, and RECAT. If you EAT or ATE a CAT you would be RECAT-ting, which is the art of turning one form of a cat into another. “Ivity” implies the process of continually RECAT-ting. Thus, creativity is the method of converting something into something else that is very similar, or more simply put, the process of digesting felines.

This explains both the popularity of sequels in the industry and the abundance of cats. Ultimately, cats and sequels are the essence of being creative. This is why a sequel of a movie featuring the king of all cats, Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride made gobs of money despite being released directly to DVD. It was the essence of creativity. On a related note, it’s probably one of the ten best movies ever made.

To makes things easy on you, I’ve RECATTED a CREATIVITY checklist. If your idea(s) meet these requirement, they are hence deemed to be sufficiently creative:

- The work is eerily similar to something else that was highly creative
- The work can pitched by saying: It’s _______ meets ________
- The work is universally understood
- The work features at least one character who eats cats
- The work is a sequel or has a sequel ready
- The work adheres to the steps outlined in this work
- The work does not question the steps outlined in this work
- The work thanks the author of this work
- The work has checked this checklist

If anything at that list jumped out at you, it might be because you are fighting the natural creative juices inside us all. Please don’t fight back. There’s a story inside of you that needs to get out, but in order to do so it needs to be very similar to something else. Remember this and you will be fine.

Reader question: What can I do about writer’s block?

Answer: Writer’s block occurs when a writer runs out of ideas. However, it’s nearly impossible to run out of ideas when you are taking other people’s ideas. Writers who suffer from a lack of ideas are clearly trying too hard to think. They need to be spending more time reading other people’s work and borrowing the worst of it. Once you have gotten to the point where you have already stolen everything, you need to start stealing from yourself.

In your own path along my guidelines toward creativity, you’d do well to study the most successful movies. Blockbusters are the best examples of creativity in the market, as evidenced by their financial success. (And if you disagree with that, you’re a communist*).

*This isn’t an asterisk, it’s a red star, comrade.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Self-Imposed Deadline

Dear Self-Imposed Deadline,

Could you maybe just cut me a tiny bit of slack just this once? I know, I know... you've let me off the hook before, but I mean it this time. I'm going to respect you more in the future. I promise.

I just don't know what I was thinking when I made you. At the time, you seemed like a good idea. Seemed like you wouldn't be a problem. But you know how things get sometimes...

I was really meaning to meet you, I swear I was... sure, I got a little distracted, maybe didn't focus like I should have, and then, one thing led to another. It's a hard thing. Sometimes I get so carried away meeting other deadlines, the ones other people set on me, that I forget about you.

Anyway, maybe you can loosen up this time. I'd certainly appreciate it.


Deadline Imposer

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

People Flipping Out About Christmas Intruding on Thanksgiving

Dear "No Christmas in November" Fanatics,

Calm. Down.

Why do you care if somebody listens to Christmas music in November? Or if a store decorates for Christmas right after Halloween? What does it matter if people want a season instead of a day?

What do you want them to do? You want them to dedicate their Novembers to Thanksgiving? You want them to have a tree in the house and throw a bunch of dead turkeys on it? Thanksgiving is a day. It's meant to be just a day. It's not a season! We're all grateful one day of the year and then we can go back to our decadent, over-the-top gift-giving and commercialism that Christmas alone provides us. The holidays have to adjust to the times. Gratitude is out and surprising-your-spouse-with-a-new-Lexus-with-a-red-bow is in.

Bam. That's a holiday I can get behind for more than month. Step up your game, Thanksgiving. If you don't want to get run over, stay off the railroad tracks.

Look, if you want people to respect Thanksgiving, make Thanksgiving earn it. I'm talking about Thanksgiving not just being a day I wake up, eat too much and watch television -- I'm talking about a day with a mythical fat man who comes down the chimney. I want a bunch a good Thanksgiving movies, including at least one with Will Ferrell. I want thanksgiving music and I want more football games, more food, and yes, some presents.

I want a holiday that does more than simply remind me of when pilgrims gave the Native Americans small pox. "Here Indian, please accept this blanket I just sneezed in," I can hear a little pilgrim boy saying. That's not a stocking-stuffer, that's a death sentence.


The Christmas Spirit

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Guy Behind Me Honking

Dear Guy Behind Me Honking,

There's somebody in front of me. Instead of hitting that car, I have chosen to remain in this current spot on the road. I am sorry this inconveniences you and has put me in between you and your destination.

I wouldn't blame that car in front of me either, though. There's a car in front of them. And there's a car in front of that one to. Notice how it goes on as far as we can see? In many countries, we call this phenomenon: "traffic." One of the interesting things about traffic is that honking does not help its dissipation. If honking was an actual aide to the situation, I would gladly join you and your community of honkers. Alas, I fear that you are doing nothing. The roof is leaking and you're sandbagging the perimeter of the swimming pool.

When you're in a line at the grocery store, and there's twenty people in front of you and one register open, do you just start yelling out? "GO! GO! GO! GO! GO!" And how's that working out for you? Does that speed up the cashier? Is that moving people through that checkout any quicker? I'd imagine not.

Stop being a nuisance to public roads.


The Rest of Us

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cap'n Crunch

Dear Cap'n Crunch,

Thank you for ripping the roof of my mouth to smithereens.

Cap'n Crunch, you are the cheese grater of cereals. Sometimes I tell myself, "my mouth is feeling a little too smooth" -- and that's when I go to you, my sugar-laden dice-o-matic. Is there any way we can just rename you Cap'n Mouth Dynamite or Cap'n Serrated Squares?

Ummm... delicious, you are just what I want for breakfast, Cap'n Crunch, a nice helping of mouth sandpaper. For lunch, I think I'll finish the job with a piping hot pizza whose sauce will burn whatever you manage to leave behind unscathed. And then for dinner, I can drink some vinegar. Ummm... delicious.

Just because it's called breakfast doesn't give you the right to actually break me.


My Mouth
Fact: Cap'n Crunch used to be call Serg'n Splinter....
but was upgraded in military rank for its extreme mouth-destroying skills