New Years Resolutions 2016

It’s time for a reflection of the past year and to lay out my hopes and dreams for the coming one.

Reflections of the Year Past:
Wow. There were some pretty big highs for me this year. And, fortunately for me, the lows were very mild.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens blew my mind. It was everything I hoped it could be. It wasn’t perfect, don’t get me wrong. I had some issues with it. But, overall, it was fantastic. I can’t wait to see it again.

‘Daredevil’ and ‘Jessica Jones’ – both were fantastic shows I binged watched (is that even a proper expression?! Can’t think of the right one off hand). The storylines were great. I’m not particularly familiar with Daredevil (apart from the concept and storyline basics) and I knew next to nothing about Jessica Jones. I loved every minute of both and can’t wait for season two.

‘Making of a Murderer’ (Netflix exclusive series also) was a fascinating look at the life of Steven Avery, a man from the U.S. wrongly convicted of rape, and only exonerated after spending eighteen years behind bars. Two years after his subsequent release, Avery again finds himself accuse of a horrible crime, this time a murder. Avery again plead his innocence, claiming a conspiracy by the local sheriffs department. The series follows Avery from his release and through the new trial. Great stuff if you enjoy true crime. (On an interesting note, internet group ‘Anonymous’ have taken up Avery’s cause and claim to be about to release information proving his innocence.

Writing-wise, I’ve had a great year. I got paid for writing for the first time ($US100! for eight pages). I have artists lined up for two other short pieces which I have previously mentioned here (there is no time line for the release of these as yet). I have also a series called ‘The Phantom Ranger’ coming soon from Hooligan Alley Comics.

I’m finding writing easier now that I have been practising for a while. I still struggle to come up with that ‘killer concept’, but the concepts I am coming up with are stronger and more refined than ever before.

I’d like to improve my pitching ability though. Crafting a good pitch still eludes me – they always feel dry and stale to read. I have a few different stories I’d like to pitch, but whenever I write a pitch, I can’t seem to … create the right hook? I need to read through some to the writing books on my shelves and try and distil the essence of what they are saying.

I have found it difficult to work on projects where the ideas don’t originate with me. I attempted to write a mini-series with a great artist, based on his art and concepts. Unfortunately, the passion just wasn’t there. Without the passion, the words just wouldn’t flow. I eventually had to give up the project because I figured if my heart wasn’t in it, wouldn’t be fair to either party to continue on without dedicating one hundred percent.

Plans for 2016? Continue with the improvement I have been making. Practice pitching. Write. Write. Then write some more. Spend more time with the children – they are growing so fast! I don’t want to miss a thing. Get a promotion at work (pretty sure this is in the bag, but stranger things have happened).

Enjoy 2016. Live life to the fullest. You only get to do it once.

 

 

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Review: Daredevil (TV Series)

Let me start off by saying I only have a passing familiarity with the character of Daredevil. I haven’t read many of the comics, I know the basics of his origin, and I have seen the Ben Affleck film. I know of the Kingpin from the Spider-Man comics, but these were few and far between.

I entered into the world of TV Daredevil with a high level of anticipation. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, to which this series belongs, has excelled at all of the films I have seen (and I think I have seen them all). Agents of Shield didn’t grip me and I left the show early in season one. By all reports, this was a mistake, and the show is said to have improved greatly over time. I do intend on catching up on his show (along with Game of Thrones, Lost, Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Clone Wars …).

On April 9 (I think it was), I logged in to Netflix, thinking I would check out the first episode of Daredevil. I was very surprised to see not only the first episode, but the whole season was available for viewing. Not being a seasoned Netflix viewer, I was unaware that this was how they would release it. I assumed incorrectly it would be released week by week, not in one massive drop. Needless to say, the Daredevil season binge had begun.

I’ll try not to spoil anything for those who have not seen, or not finished, the season yet.

Daredevil is outstanding television. Dark, gritty, violent, wonderful story-lines and characterisation. Fast paced. Brilliant casting. Did I mention violent?

One of the things that really resonated with me was that Daredevil wasn’t the stereotypical superhero. An comparison I have seen used elsewhere, but one I think works well, it the elevator scene in Captain America: Winter Soldier, where Cap takes out an elevator full of bad guys in a matter of moments. Don’t expect to see this in Daredevil. Every fight is tough, from the street level thugs, right up to the Kingpin himself. There are no one punch knockouts, bad guys regularly get back up and start fighting again. At the end of the fight, Daredevil is generally breathing hard, showing exactly how hard he has had to work to take out the bad guys. I loved this aspect as it gave the series a realism many other MCU related films/series lack.

Charlie Cox was an excellent casting choice as Matt Murdock/Daredevil. He pulled off both roles with very well. Foggy and Karen were also very well cast, particularly Foggy. Having said that, as I said earlier, I am not particularly familiar with the characters, so others may disagree with me here.

The Daredevil costume, as revealed in the final episode, is excellent. I looks practical, and looks particularly effective on screen. I have some reservations out the way the mask frames Cox’s face. It looks a little off. I think this is due to the mask runs from his nose to his ears. I seems to slope up, and, to me, it looks like it should slope downwards. Don’t know if this would work, but it is something that seems just a little off to me.

The Kingpin was an interesting character. They seemed to attempt to make him a partially sympathetic character, interspersed with periods of intense violence. I also thought he seemed to lack control of his organisation for most of the series, which I thought odd. The Kingpin is supposed to be the ‘Kingpin of Crime’, but I really didn’t feel this in season one. Perhaps this will be expanded upon in later seasons. Vincent D’onofrio was an interesting choice for the character and played him, within the series, very well. Highly intimidating when he wants to be, but also careful and intelligent.

Overally, I thoroughly enjoyed the series and can’t wait to season two drops. If you aren’t familiar with the character, Season One is a great way to jump in. A truly outstanding series well worth watching.