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Mike 03

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Modesto California
Home country: United States
Current location: Arizona
Member since: Mon Oct 27, 2008, 06:14 PM
Number of posts: 16,616

Journal Archives

You can't exclude Trump. You can't exclude the galvanizing force.

It's like saying, Fascism was never about Mussolini, or Nazism was never about Hitler, or Stalinism was never about Stalin. Yes and no. But the "no" is very important.

But yes, the seeds of Trumpism existed before Trump. If we exclude Trump, though, we stop looking for the next Trump--and looking for the next Trump is important.

What you are doing is still a very useful exercise.

Eventually, we will have another Trump (or Trump a second time). The next Trump won't be so careless and inept.

The next Trump may attempt to do what Viktor Orban has done in Hungary (or Bolsonaro in Brazil, or Modi in India, or Duterte in the Philippines, or Berlusconi did in Italy, or the Vox Party in Spain, or Duda in Poland is trying to do--or name your favorite democracy under siege, they are a dime a dozen.). In other words, exactly what you are saying, especially your first two points.

My pleasure.

I already see things in my post I wish I had qualified. For example, an argument can be made that Nurse Ratched isn't really the antagonist in "Cuckoo's Nest"; that it's actually McMurphy, and that Chief Bromden is the protagonist. I've usually leaned towards the view that McMurphy is a protagonist who "refuses to change" and dies at the end. Some teachers will tell you that "death is not a change" (a blunt way of warning screenwriters not to kill their protagonists) but I don't know if that rule applies in the case of a movie about a protagonist who "refuses to change". (i.e. "Mishima" ends with a suicide--but I digress.)

It's a lot of fun to think about these things.

But I always hesitate to make concrete assertions about such matters!

Good luck with your writing. Writing for stage must be fascinating. I'm guessing you can really focus on casting a spell over the audience because you can spend more time in one place, and are not constantly interrupted by scene changes. Just watching characters interact over a longer period of time can be so interesting.

(It's a movie, but I'm thinking of how thrilling something like "My Dinner with Andre" was in spite of it just being two people talking for more than ninety minutes. I also recall being riveted by the film of the play "Carnage", and I like Mamet's early plays.)

Would love to know more about stage writing.

This is a pretty big topic.

There is absolutely an accepted structure for screenplays, first identified and written about by Syd Field. Many new screenwriters don't like this idea of there being rules (I didn't), but nearly every successful film obeys them to a large extent.

No doubt, working on the protagonists is much more gratifying than the antagonists. If you ask ten screenwriters their opinions on development of antagonists, you will get ten different answers. There was a time when tremendous emphasis was placed on development of the antagonist ("the more interesting the antagonist, the better the film" ). This is my personal opinion: It depends on whether your antagonist is truly a "villain" (think of the serial killer your detective is trying to capture) or an authentically-interesting and important character that triggers change in your protagonist (a movie like "As Good As It Gets", or deeply psychological movies like Lars von Trier's works like "Melancholia" or "Antichrist" ). I personally don't believe in overdeveloping unlikeable antagonists; it's a personal preference. For example, I don't care about the backstory of the villain in a James Bond or Alfred Hitchcock movie. But in dramas, it becomes much more important to fully develop antagonists, including writing up their backstories even if you never refer to their histories in the finished screenplay. Think of a fascinating antagonist like Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" or Fredo in "Godfather II" (or Colonel Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now" or Faye Dunaway's character in "Chinatown" ).

For everything I'm typing, there are many exceptions. Protagonists don't have to be likeable, but they should be interesting and complex. ("Taxi Driver" ).

To make a really long story short:

A screenplay has three acts. The first act ("The Set-Up" ) is approximately 28 to 33 or so pages. The second act ("The Confrontation" ) is approximately 60 pages. The third act ("The Resolution" ) is usually 20 to 30 pages. When all is said and done, a page approximately equals one minute of screen time, but this varies on a page by page basis based on the amount of dialogue vs. description.

A screenplay is basically a series of sequences broken down into scenes, logically and properly ordered to escalate interest, leading towards a change or epiphany in your protagonist (unless your story is about a protagonist "who refuses to change" ).

Each scene has some level of conflict. It can be extremely subtle ("The Big Chill", "Grand Canyon", "Girl Interrupted" ) or it can be people screaming at each other. Some tension must be present early on, and then sustained.

Sequences end with "reversals", which toss the story in an unexpected or interesting direction.

Major plot points occur at the close of Acts I and II.

Something relatively important should occur around the midpoint (approximately page 60). The joke used to be that if your screenplay contains a romantic relationship, page 60 is when they finally sleep together.

It is the collision of the protagonist with the antagonist that creates the change, unless you are writing an ensemble film or a film in which "society" is the antagonist.

You may want to invest in screenwriting software.

You have three to ten pages to hook your reader.

Expect to make mistakes. Completely outline your entire story before you start writing. Never begin a screenplay without knowing what the third act will be or the last few sequences.

You can break all these rules once you've learned them and made them work!

I know top Democrats must understand this

When we vote, we win. That is why Voting Rights reform must be accomplished in the next two years. It is the problem that--if fixed--solves so many other problems in terms of who controls the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Admittedly, it's not a panacea in the sense that we also have to stop the forces that would siphon off Independents and certain disillusioned factions of the Democratic base by attempting to make our country ungovernable (which has become the Republican Long Game, particularly during Democratic administrations).

Kicking. Applebaum discussed this piece on Morning Joe today.

I truly love her work and her new book Twilight of Democracy is IMO one of the most insightful books of the last few years.

I wonder if she has studied the genocides in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia as deeply as she has studied Stalinism (her specialty), though, or the reign of Pol Pot for that matter. The phenomenon of people living for decades side-by-side in authentic peace or uneasy friendship, suddenly erupting into a frenzy of homicidal violence is, well, troublesome. Maybe tensions can be patched over with some of the methods she highlights. We do need to try something.

It is also fair to say that, essentially and historically, denazification was a well-intentioned failure.

I was going to say "not long"

Historically, these things happen quickly because they are harder to stop that way.

Dictatorship happens gradually, and then suddenly.

(With a hat tip to Hemingway, who described the process of going broke the same way)

I'm recommending Ruth Ben-Ghiat's new book Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present to people interested in reading a broad case study of the rise, reign and fall of dictators, because it is a 100-year survey capturing the similarities and some occasional differences.

Worrisome for several reasons.

The failure of ANY of their predictions to come true, culminating in the failure of the MOST IMPORTANT PREDICTION to come true (i.e., the prediction that, if it did not come true, completely voids their very raison d'etre), caused even Q Influencers to finally abandon QAnon ("We all got played" ) and urge others to do so to. On top of that, one of the people suspected of starting QAnon, and running 4Chan and 8Chan, implored the movement to "go back to our lives as best we are able":

And well, they’re really not handling it well now that de facto leader Ron Watkins himself threw in the towel on Wednesday shortly after the inauguration. “We gave it our all, now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able,” Watkins said in a message board post. “We have a new president sworn in and it is our responsibility to respect the Constitution.”

Watkins was a former administrator of the 8kun (formerly 8chan) message board and both he and his father are suspected of being Q, the as-yet-unidentified creator of the movement, so it’s a sign of defeat that he’s asking supporters to stand down.


In spite of this, they are going forward?

I'm no psychiatrist, but this is alarming. It indicates that this movement is full of people so broken that against even the advice of their leaders, they cannot bring themselves to break free of this fantastical game.

Excellent. The playbook is always the same, from Mussolini to Orban and

Berlusconi to Trump. And it is now being used by many GOP too.

So simple a child can use it to divide a school: "Us vs. The Enemy."

Authoritarians need the elites to help them; they cannot rise alone.

In Hitler's case, some people even more powerful than him thought they could "use" him to achieve their own ends, believing he was a useful idiot (especially Kurt von Schleicher and Franz von Papen, but later Paul von Hindenburg) to form a coalition government to block the liberal parties from controlling the Reichstag. They played Russian Roulette and lost, and von Schleicher paid with his life on The Night of the Long Knives.

Doesn't that sound like the case with Trump? McConnell, Jeff Sessions, other GOP, the Mercers, Sheldon Adelson, elites in the Christian Nationalist Movement and White Supremacists like Stephen Miller thought, "We have an apolitical, amoral useful idiot here who we can pressure to giver us judges, tax cuts, draconian immigration laws, anything we ask for."

Giuliani's net worth is *supposedly* about $45 Million

but they need to check his offshore accounts.




He also is believed to be under investigation for other potential crimes by the D.O.J. and F.B.I., some of them may be financial too, meaning he could be subject to large fines.
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