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You Can't Take the Sky From Me; Open, late 2010
Topic Started: Mar 2 2013, 11:36 PM (1,300 Views)
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Cause what you see isn't always the truth
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Claire Monaghan continued from If you ain't gettin' drunk, get the fu-))

I'll admit, I felt the pilot episode really hooked me into this series. Although it was pretty long for a television pilot, I felt that it really gave me an idea about what Firefly would be like. We have a great idea on who the cast is, we can see some long running stories being built (whatever River is, what Inara's needle is about), and there's an actual idea of the tone and atmosphere. That's whattttttttttttttttttttttfsjjdeeforubcajsdnjedc

Fuck. Where'd that train of thought go? Did it run off to smash into Leo DiCaprio's car? Ugh!

Claire sighed loudly and leaned back in her chair. She removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes. She thought it was easier to write a review, but this was starting to get a bit annoying. She had written plenty of movie reviews before, but why was reviewing one episode of a television show bothering her?

Claire put her glasses back on and grabbed the coffee next to her, taking a quick sip from the mug. She was sitting in a coffee shop with her laptop in front of her, her web browser opened to Tumblr. She figured it might be nice to sit in a coffee shop and work on her next review for her Tumblr page as opposed to writing it at home. Still, she was finding the process a bit difficult, since she was having trouble remembering what she wanted to say.

I guess this is why I should make a list of points to make before I write.

Claire took another sip of her coffee.

Okay, Inspiration Train. Get your ass back to the station.
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Well, guess I'll do what I usually do when I stall when writing a review: go to another website. Maybe there's something interesting on Twitter.

Claire began to type on her computer and soon found herself on Twitter. She began to absentmindedly scroll down the page, hitting the spacebar to quickly move past each tweet. Most of the people Claire followed on Twitter were entertainment sources and critics, such as Roger Ebert and Entertainment Weekly. It didn't look like there was anything that interesting though, so she continued to hit the spacebar in hopes of finding something worthy of her attention.

Man, Twitter is full of shit today. Seriously, is there anything that might be remotely interesting.

Just then, Claire heard a voice call out to her. She turned and saw a purple-haired girl standing near her. Claire knew this girl was Gwen O'Connor. They'd shared a class at some point, but Gwen had a unique look to her, so it wasn't likely she'd forget who this girl was.

"I'm fine. Just trying to start a review series, but I'm losing focus and having issues getting my thoughts on the page. Have you ever watched Firefly? I'm trying to review each episode of the series."
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"No, it's not about fireflies. It's about a bunch of outlaws on a spaceship traveling through space doing various jobs and trying to avoid getting arrested or having their ship fall apart while flying. It's basically a sci-fi western pastiche," Claire explained to Gwen.

"And yeah, writer's block sucks. I think the issue I have presently is that I'm trying to write this review in a style different from what I'm used to. If it's a movie, then it's usually a complete package that I can easily analyze. But this is only one episode of a fourteen episode series, so it's basically incomplete and I have to judge it based on aspects like how it sets the tone and characters."

Claire cleared her throat and took another sip of coffee.

"Do you do a lot of writing?"
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"Poetry sounds neat. I've never been good at it though. I mostly prefer screenwriting or criticism. That just comes a lot more easily to me."

Gwen left to get her drink. While Gwen was gone, Claire decided to get back to her review. She closed the Twitter page and went back to her review. She quickly highlighted the part of her text where she slammed her hands on the keyboard before preparing to continue writing.

Okay, let's go point by point. Things that need to be discussed: characters, setting, story. You've already raved about how you liked all of those things, but you need to go into detail. Let's see, character. Everyone seems pretty well established, although River is still a bit of a mystery. Everyone also has at least one moment to establish who they are, like Wash playing with the dinosaur toys. That's pretty good, I'll start there.

Claire began to type away on her keyboard. The last time she checked, she could average about seventy words per minute. She hoped she could keep up to that record.
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Gwen soon returned, glad to see Claire typing away on her laptop and inquiring about any pets she might have.

Huh, that's a weird segue. Eh, can't hurt to respond.

"I don't really have pets. My brother had a few reptiles that he kept in his room. He's studying to be a vet, so he has a gecko and a few salamanders in a terrarium that he took with him to college. My little sister and I would have liked to have a dog, but my dad is allergic to pet hair. That's kind of why Mason went for the reptiles."

"What about you? You sound like an animal lover, so I'm guessing you have a menagerie of pets."
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A fluffy white cat. Claire was sure Jessica had wanted a cat at some point. Claire wasn't that big on cats, though. They seemed so damn arrogant to her, the way they just sit around and glare at you. Those motherfuckers were fine in the lap of Don Corleone, but Claire could pass on that.

"Yeah, he's been into animals since he was young. It sounds somewhat difficult to be a vet," Claire said. "You have to know so much about biology and medicine to go into the field. I figure you have to be really passionate about it if you want to pursue a career in it. I want to be a director, and that's why I spend a lot of time studying film and film theory."

Claire took another sip of her coffee. She was starting to run low and might have to get another.

"Are you like that as well? Do you just enjoy studying animals and plants so much you hope to make a career about it? I know we're still a ways off from college, but is that what you're aiming for with your school choices?"
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Gwen did it. She asked Claire about film. Claire felt her blood really start to flow.

"Oh, well I have a lot in mind with what I want to do," she said. "I've definitely gotten into a lot of films from outside of America, and there are a few things I'd love to do if I got the chance to make a movie for a large viewing audience."

Claire felt her jaw begin to shake. It usually felt like this when she was about to begin a long spiel, especially after drinking some coffee.

"I've made a few films and put them on my YouTube channel, but there are a few projects I'd like to do, some of which I've already tried to write out. I'm definitely into doing some serious dramas, but I don't want to do stuffy period pieces or political dramas. It'd be cool to win an Oscar or a Palm d'Or, but I'm not going to be the pandering sort. I really want to play around with genre and conventions. Like, if I were to make a period piece, then it would be a psychological thriller or a scathing satire."

Claire quickly grabbed her coffee and took a sip before setting it back down.

"So yeah, I want to have a real style to my films. There's a theory of film called Auteur Theory that says that each director has a signature style to how he or she makes their films, so that the viewer can watch a movie and easily identify it as a piece in that director's body of work. It's not a perfect theory nor is it commonly accepted, but I'd love to leave a style or at least be a really identifiable director."

Claire coughed into her elbow.

"Yeah, that's about it."

She let out a quick chuckle and grabbed her coffee again. There was something exhilarating about talking about her interests.
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"Oh, yeah, directors. There are plenty I really, really enjoy," Claire said, quickly brushing her hair behind her ears.

"Okay, there's a few directors who I'd say are some of my all time faves who I definitely can find some influence from. Some more commonly known examples would probably be Orson Welles and David Lynch. Welles was someone who really pushed the limits of what you could do with a camera and how the mise en scene comes together to produce the image the viewer sees. That's why a film he made in his early twenties, Citizen Kane, is considered one of the greatest films to ever exist."

"Lynch, on the other hand, is great for playing with genre. A lot of his films, such as Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive take genres like film noir and make them surreal and dark. There's a lot of criticism of various agencies and attitudes in his films, but he does it in ways without directly calling out to them, and these creates films with unique stories and haunting images."

Claire cleared her throat again.

"But aside from those guys, one of my favorite art film directors is Krzysztof Kieslowski, a Polish director. He made all these movies that were pretty grounded in reality and based on actual human issues such as a lack of faith or dealing with loss, but he presented them in such fantastic ways, often bringing magical realism into his work. There are a ton of quiet scenes in his films where the actor is simply doing an action but the music and the composition of the shot creates a fabulous mood. He's probably how I want to emulate stories about people."

"So yeah, those are just a few of the guys I like," Claire said. "But enough about me, are there any filmmakers or movies you really like."

Okay, let's see what Gwen can bring up. I doubt she'll drop names like Nagisa Oshima or Maya Deren, but I'll be interested to hear what she says.
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"Ooh, The Fall is Tarsem Singh's best flick," Claire said when Gwen brought it up.

Gwen got up to get more cocoa, which Claire acknowledged. She quickly turned back to her computer and looked over her review.

Damn, The Fall is a good one. It had all those practical effects and that one really amazing fade in shot where the guy's face became those rocks. Great stuff, great stuff.

Claire began to scroll through what she had written already.

Gah, I can hardly focus on this right now. I better save it to a word document and continue it later.

Claire began to make the necessary moves to do so. This discussion was something she hadn't had in a long time, and it was awesome.
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Claire finished saving her review right as Gwen returned, discussing Inception.

"Oh yeah, I enjoyed Inception, it's definitely in my Top 10 for this year," Claire began. "Yeah, it was cool to get a science fiction film this year with such a unique idea and a really good ensemble. I mean, there are some flaws in the story, but I really thought it was a good flick. I'm really big on ambiguity in film, and this flick was one that definitely riled the public with that."

"That's actually an interesting point I want to ask," she continued, "people seemed really upset by the uncertainty of the ending. Has there been any other films that really got under your skin because of story twists like that?"
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"I'm not really that upset by twist endings, if they're done correctly," Claire said. "I mean, there are good endings, ones where you really can't see it coming but there's at least enough build up to it, like Inception did that well. But then there are films where they just go 'Surprise! It's a dream! And aliens!' that really bother me."

"Basically, it just takes some real skill to write a twist ending, and it will take some real originality on the part of the writer."

Claire took another sip from her coffee.

"Originality is something you've got to have to break into Hollywood."
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Gwen got up to get her drink, giving Claire the chance to go onto her computer and look at Tumblr. Gwen returned before she could really look at anything substantial, so she turned back to her acquaintance. Gwen admitted to not really being interested in Avatar and asked if Claire liked it.

"Well, not too much," Claire responded. "I mean, the effects were very good, the people working on that deserved to get paid for their hard work, but yeah, I didn't find it that special. There really wasn't anything that memorable to it aside from the visuals. It's a real shame, cause I bet there could be really amazing stories told with the setting and the technology, but they wasted it on something so generic."

Claire took another sip of her coffee before realizing she was empty.

"Actually, let me get another cup. I'll be right back. Make sure no one takes my laptop."

Claire got up and walked into line. This discussion was very interesting, and she needed to be sure that she could stay energized enough to keep up with Gwen.
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Claire always took her coffee black when she was in coffee shops. When she was on the go, she would always prefer to get her coffee as quick as she could, then deal with sugar and cream when she wasn't having to stand in line. Thus, she always made sure she could get her drink at the register without having to wait for it.

Once she got her coffee, she quickly walked over to the side table with the sugar and cream. She quickly poured the cream in and stirred in two sugars. Once her coffee was suitably dressed, she made her way back to the table with Gwen.

"'kay," Claire said, "where were we? Sorry, my brain was suddenly turned to my coffee order mixed in with quotes from Firefly."

Claire took a sip from her new coffee.

Mmm. Damn fine coffee.
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"Sure, let me pull it up," Claire said.

Claire turned to her computer to look at the review she was writing. She clicked on the word document she had pasted the review onto.

"Okay, let's see...."

Claire looked at the document.

"So, the first part is my explanation that I'm going to try to review all of Firefly, the next part is a basic synopsis of the episode. I think I ran into an issue where I needed to figure out what I needed to say. I'm probably going to scrap what I have written for the analysis section and try to start over. Does that sound about right?"
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Claire listened closely as Gwen gave her advice. Everything Gwen said sounded pretty accurate, although Claire didn't take notes during the viewing of the episode. Mostly, she would write a review after researching the subject on Wikipedia, IMDB, and TvTropes for anything she might have missed, such as plot details or important imagery. She had to avoid that with Firefly because she wanted to watch the series with a fresh mind and without letting anything she might have read or heard get in the way.

"Yeah, that sounds about right," Claire said. "I'm thinking about tackling the series from a few questions that one should analyze a pilot from. From what I've gathered, a pilot needs to establish the characters, the setting, the tone, and the story. I guess what I'll have to do is attack each of those points one by one."

Claire took a long sip of coffee.

"I mean, one thing I liked about this pilot was that it could stand on its own as a film, and so I think it shouldn't be too hard to get in the groove."

Claire highlighted the old part of her review and deleted it. She then quickly wrote CHARACTERS, SETTING, TONE, and STORY on the document.

"This should help structure the review. What do you think?"
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