Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Constant blogging.

I've mentioned before I have another blog. I truly underestimated the work it takes to maintain a blog. I was under the assumption that posts would come easy to me and that I'd have interesting things to write about every day.

This is not the case. I spend a lot of time reading about how to write a successful blog but the one thing I should have been doing was going back and proofreading my entries.

The thing about blogs is that yes, you want something exciting and fresh to attract readers but you can't always assume the reader is going to go back and read older posts. This doesn't mean a a blog writer you shouldn't go back and read your posts because in the even you do attract an audience and your entires are compelling enough to start from the beginning you don't want the reader to think you're an idiot.

Editing should be done before you even hit the publish button but in the event, for whatever reason, a type slips past you it's important to go back and fix it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordplay a la crosswords

Among yesterday's NY Times crossword puzzle clues like:

59. Nadya Suleman, mother of 14 familiarly (Octomom)

15. Procter & Gamble deodorizer (Febreze)

I noticed a shout out, if you will, to the host of my second favourite comedic news program (I prefer the Colbert Report). 

46. Stewart of "The Daily Show"

The answer was of course Jon (Stewart).

In 2006, IFC released a documentary called Wordplay that is all about the New York Times crossword puzzle. And who better to interview than the man who makes the puzzle happen, Will Shortz. Jon Stewart was among the many interviews with crossword puzzle fans. How flattering of Shortz to use Stewart as a clue in yesterday's puzzle. I'm thinking it's because Shortz has a good sense of humour and can appreciate that Stewart thinks Shortz can "best him in a physical joust." 

I recommend checking out, if not the film, the trailer

Editing, be it an article, short story, novel or even a crossword puzzle requires a well rounded knowledge of the thing being edited.  

The Tuesday crossword puzzle makes me feel almost as brilliant as I do when I complete the Monday crossword. One day, with out help or cheating I will finish a Sunday NY Times crossword but for nowI'm still trying to figure out 62-down: Suffix with pay or plug. Three letter word starting with an 'o'.

Oh wait, I got it. "Ola." 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Editing to not get in trouble.

Is omission the same as lying? 

I write another blog about being a server and living off my tips. There are somethings I don't write about in case my employer reads it. The goal is not to complain about my job and get fired but rather write about the restaurant industry in Winnipeg. 

There are other things I don't mention in my blog strictly based on the fact that my mom reads it. There have been a couple swears peppered in here and there which, as I've mentioned before, my mom doesn't like. 

I don't talk about the amount I drink or how many cigarettes I smoke because even though my mom already knows these things, she's an "out of sight out of mind" kinda lady. 

Take for example my tattoos. My mother knows about my tattoos and she has seen all three of them but the memories of such have been repressed. She caught a glimpse when I was getting into the shower on a visit to my folks' place in Newfoundland.

Last fall my best friend Lisa got married and I was her Maid-of-Honour. The dresses were strapless which meant the tattoo that caps my shoulder was out for everyone to see. Upon seeing the pictures my mom had a bird! The conversation went as follows:

Mom: When did you get another tattoo Heather?!

Me: I've had it for 5 years Mom. You know this. 

Mom: I think you're lying to me.

Me: Nope. You've seen it

Mom: Well I can't show your father these pictures. He will have a bird! 

Sure that doesn't seem so bad but there's nothing worse than my mom being angry with me so I omit some of the details when I write. At 26 I'm still afraid of getting into trouble. 

Is that lying? Or is it self preservation? 

George Orwell said it best: "For a creative writer possession of the "truth" is less important than emotional sincerity."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sgt. Pepper's Paradise City

For years artists have taken bit of older songs and reusing those bits to create new music. Take for instance Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice, Vanilla, er... Mr. Ice? Vanilla Ice samples the intro from Queen and  David Bowie's collaboration Under Pressure. 

**Side Note**
When David Bowie played the old Winnipeg Arena in 2004 he did Under Pressure and his bass player covered Freddie Mercury's part. It was unreal. Still give me chills to this day. 

Back on track now. Sampling is now a thing of the past. Well, that's not true. New artists will still continue to sample established artists (e.g Nikki Minaj sampling Annie Lennox.) but now, songs are getting slapped together to create a whole new monster: the Mashup. 

A Mashup is generally when the vocal track of one song is put over the instrumental track of another. I'll give you a for instance: take the instrumental track of Guns N' Roses song Paradise City and the vocal track of the far superior Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles and VOILA! you get this:

Now prepare yourself for some colourful language. 

It seems as if everyone is not on board with mashups, particularly this one:

bigfootman2332 "guns and roses are rythem steeling mother fuckers"

At least he got a couple words right. Thankfully, flyboy9961v was able to explain:

It's called editing man, GnR didn't steal anything. I took a listen to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and this version sounds like it was made a little faster to keep up with Paradise City form the sound of it. Even if that is not the case, it has to be purely coincidental that this fits so well. Don't jump to conclusions man. 

And it is a coincidence. That's what's so great about mashups. Two songs that you wouldn't think about in the same context, squished together to make a new version. It's brilliant. 

Now mashups, for me, can never replace original tracks but they are little bits of edited ear candy that are my musical guilty pleasures

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monkey farming snakes

Have you ever found yourself watching a movie on TV only to notice that all the foul language has been dubbed with family friendly phrases instead? What I am I thinking? Of course you have.

Take for instance the major motion picture Problem Child Two starring John Ritter and child actor Michael Oliver.

In one scene all of the single ladies in the neighborhood keep bringing Ritter's character Ben and his adopted son Junior baked goods and casseroles as a "friendly gesture." When one of the women comes back to get her pie dish Junior says to her "Your pie gave us the runs." In the TV edit the line is changed to "Your pie gave us the gas."

Gotta love censorship! Here are some other fun edits for TV:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Movie trailers.

Editing happens in more than just the writing medium. Take for instance a movie trailer.

The recently released movie Catfish is a documentary about a photographer Nev and a relationship he develops with a family over Facebook. One day an 8-year old girl (Abby) sends Nev painting of one of his photographs and the two begin sending messages back an forth via Facebook.

Nev eventually begins to "meet" Abby's family and begins an online romance with Abby's 19 year old sister Megan. Nev starts noticing some inconsistencies in his communication with Abby, Megan and the rest of the family. He and his friends (who are filming the budding phone/internet relationship) drive cross country to meet Megan.

***Spoiler Alert***

Not everything is as it seems.

When I initially watched the trailer I felt as if this documentary suddenly warped into a psychological thriller or perhaps a horror movie. I don't want to give away the ending but I will say the trailer gave me expectations of what the film is only to have it turn out to be something else.

That said, what is the point of a movie trailer? Is it to give the potential viewer an idea of what happens in the movie, attract him or her to the theatre because it looks like something they want to watch for a couple hours? Is it fair to mislead them into thinking it is something different than what it truly is?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When is it ok?

I have always been apprehensive in using profanity... in writing. The same doesn't apply for verbal communication. 

There are times I find that using profanity is, well, profane. Swearing for the sake of swearing. 

David Keuck said it best: "Profanity is the crutch of the conversational cripple."

But, there are times that it just feels so necessary like there are no other words in the English language to convey my emotion. 

Mark Twain: "Profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer."

I write another blog about living off of my tips as a server. My mom reads it and tells me everyday that I need to clean up my language. Ever since I was a child she's told me, as her mother has told her, the only appropriate time to swear is when you stub your toe. 

I told my mom that I use profanity in place of writing about my intervenes drug use and unprotected sex. She didn't think that was as funny as I did. 

So when is swearing ok? I think it is up to the discretion of the writer and the editor. 

In news stories, swearing is permitted in quotes but "not wanted in the news report," according to the CP Stylebook. The obscenity has to have a purpose. "Always consider other ways of getting across this element of the story before resorting to the use of obscenities."(CP Stylebook)