Tag Archive: Bad


Proof-Reading

Dear Saul,

I’m proud to say, when it comes to writing, I know my way around it. I’ve still got a hell of a lot to learn, but I’m optimistic that I can string together a coherent sentence. Maybe I’m not the fastest at typing, but I get it done, and maybe it’s not top notch quality, but it’s entertaining (I hope). But even me with my mastery of… mediocrity… cannot help but sin every once in a while. And I’m afraid it’s a big ‘un. I dun goof every once in a while, and I’m not proud of it.

I never proof-read my work properly. And I mean never.

Before you start lighting your torches and grabbing your pitchforks, let me say that I do not recommend doing what I do. Proof-reading your work is one of the most important skills when it comes to writing and editing your own work. If you don’t proof-read for grammatical errors, typos, and simple mistakes, you make you work come off as just a little bit shit.

Just a little bit.

“But why would *someone* (and I’m not saying who) choose not to proof-read their own work? Surely they practice what they preach.” Well, to answer this, you need to know how much of a lazy git I am. I procrastinate a lot, and I’m afraid of missing deadlines, so everything is usually done in a last minute panic (which is such a good mindset for a writer, I might add…). As such, proof-reading isn’t as high up on the list as “getting the work done, and getting it done well” is. Of course, getting it done well requires me to proof-read my work., but I’m too busy “getting the work done, and getting it done well” to proof-read…

See the paradox I’ve created? I’m trying desperately to climb out of the rut I’ve made for myself, but no luck so far. The simple answer is, I’m lazy, and if I want to fix the issue of me correcting my own work, I first have to fix the issue of me not wanting to do anything except sleep in and play video games. And for a teenager, that is a steep hill to climb, my friend. Why not stay at the base of the hill and eat chocolate, you ask? Well, believe me, as soon as you bring yourself to check your own work, you’ll soon notice the quality of your writing is improving as well, and not just the little things. You may notice huge plot holes you managed to overlook originally. You’ll see scenes and characters that don’t work, and you’ll get a feel for your own style of writing, one that will continue to improve as time goes on.

So surprise surprise, being lazy hasn’t really helped me accomplish anything, or make me better in my craft, and chances are, it won’t work for you either. So get off your backside, put down that controller, and go read your own work. But what can you do to stop yourself from caving in and just being lazy all day?

Well, give yourself an incentive to work, and reward yourself for getting to a certain goal you’ve set. Just try not to overdo things too much:

Also, get a schedule, and stick to it. If you get into a routine, it’s easier to break that habit of  going off to procrastinate. Give yourself a set amount of time to do something, and give yourself some short breaks throughout the day. If you’re finding it difficult to stick to your schedule, start later or just have a shorter amount of time for work, then slowly build it up over time. Don’t just rush into things expecting to break out of your old habits straight away.

Finally, hang a nice “Hang in there, baby” poster on your wall. It’s the single most important thing for breaking out of laziness. Seriously.

Well that’s all I’ve got. Any thoughts on being lazy? Do you have problems proof-reading?

I have to go proof-read this post now. Maybe.

Best wishes,

-Fiachra

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If you haven’t seen part 1, you can find it here.

With most horror films, sequels come about because the original premise brought in enough interest. Horror sequels are rarely done out of passion, and because of this, many of them end up turning out completely rubbish. And I mean serious garbage. If Paranormal Activity didn’t show you how money-grubbing sequels can get, another prime example would be the ever popular Friday the 13th series, which is blieved to have been made to capitalise on the success of the film Halloween. The first film, though poorly scored, has gained a cult following, and the series has churned out… how many films, again?

12 films

12 FILMS

NO

Bad Jason. And don’t drag Freddy into this, he knows what he did. At least he didn’t go INTO SPACE.

If there was ever a series that people begged to continue, I doubt it was this one. I think the major complaint for me going forward was this (Slightly gory, you’ve been warned):

I mean, really? Robocop goes bad? I appreciate that they tried getting away from previous films, an indeed, most slashers. But Robo-Vorhees? It’s like a borg got all pissed and a hockey mask a machete were all he had to work with. (I hope people know what a Borg is, or this’ll be awkward). The sheer humour of this, and the fact that it’s in space keeps the film afloat for about 5 minutes, at that point, I’m afraid the film fails at the first hurdle: It’s not even scary. It’s about as enjoyable as being shot into space. Which is the problem with the series as a whole. It’s not enjoyable, the repetition of it is astounding, never mind the change of scenery. It became ridiculous, and unfortunately, it suffered greatly for it.

I can’t stress enough how horrifically cheesy and awesome this is.

Now, a good sequel is easily possible, as long as the director (who is hopefully quite competent) puts a little passion into it. Films like Predator 2, Aliens, Silence of the Lambs (Yes, that’s a sequel), all off these films bleed character. They seem like everyone involved believed wholeheartedly that this project could succeed, and every inch of effort they had was put into it. It may not be the case, but with enough intelligent and well-crafted design, you can certainly make it look like it was a blockbuster.

This brings me along to my final example. One which pretty much incorporates a lot of the sins I despise to see in horror, and then some. A series which, to my surprise, people enjoy the hell out of.

Good old gory Saw.

It took seven films, but finally, we’re about to finish this monument to the elderly.

If you enjoy horror in any form, chance are Saw has popped up in the conversation at least once. 2 video games, a comic book, 7 films. I won’t lie though, I actually quite enjoyed the first film. Despite it getting trashed a lot, I think it gets bonus points for ‘innovation through limitation’. With it’s budget being relatively low for a modern day film, only a few takes could be shot, which resulted in some at-times bad scenes. However, scenes shot through still photography and surveillance cameras are examples of how good cinematography can be achieved with little money. And no matter the criticisms, I still enjoyed it.

Everything else in that franchise though? Lemme help you tear that down. I really don’t mind.

Perhaps 2 and 3, while still under the supervision of the original director, had their small merits. Perhaps. And that’s a big perhaps. After James Wan left, it was a bit of a nightmare, made even worse by the fact that Saw is so well known, Horror can be, at times, quite a niche genre, and Saw was extremely popular for something like it. I think it’s fame(or infamy, I dunno) is what kept the series alive for so long. It was always profitable enough to warrant more movies. Despite it’s very noticeable flaws (and for the life of me, I don’t know how this happened), Saw lived on for 7 films, each one adding a little piece to the lore, requiring you to have at least seen some of the previous ones to get the references, kind of like a torturous Easter egg hunt. That is, until you get to the last film, in which case, you ad to have seen pretty much all of them to have a complete an utter understanding of it all. You can fill in the gaps here and there, but many of the characters that appear only appear in select films. It’s a reasonably good payoff for die-hard fans of the series. For those of us who aren’t, sorry, you’re on your own.

Considering gall the damn notes I have on this franchise, I should just leave the rest for a whole other post, but anyway…

I like horror. really, I do. I sound so much like a crotchety old man in these posts, but I love the genre to death. Some people get thrills riding rollercoasters, I get mine from staying up at the dead of night watch terrifying films. There’s a point though where there’s simply too much of it. I don’t want to watch most sequels for the simple reason of, well, I’ve already seen the first. If there’s no progression, why bother? If there’s no innovation, the series stagnates, and at that point, there is very little hope for it.

BUT. (I’d put an image here for a corny ‘butt’ joke, but Google images is far too NSFW for some reason XD)

Like I said, a sequel born out of passion, done with the idea of improving the original concept through tweaks and changing it into something new, appeals to me. I’d love to see something like that. If only there was such a film, with which I could end this post on a generic cliffhanger for a future episode…

Hmmmmm…

-Fiachra

 

 

When you start out as a writer, you either A: produce terrible content, or B: rush things out without reading over them.

As it happens, I did both.

I (less than) proudly present:

Henchman.

-Fiachra

Sovo, attempting to look inconspicuous, pulled the collar of his trench-coat closer as he walked down a side alley of town. The snowy town of Glacia wasn’t a place you could go unnoticed easily in, one reason being the size of it, and another being that every resident would stare a stranger down as they passed, searching for anything to identify them by. What they would do next would depend on whether or not they had a certain badge pinned to your lapel, which in Sovo’s case, he did. “Still”, he thought, his mind wandering in an attempt to shrug off the sharp eastern European winter, “never hurts to be careful” and considering what came next, and how long it had taken him to get to here, he wouldn’t want anyone following him yet.

For 6 months, S.I.S, (or MI6 as the British public affectionately called it) had briefed and trained him to play one of the most convincing roles he could. At the cost of several other agents, a link had been made between their target, going under the alias of ‘Reeve’ and the privately owned military company known as ‘Boreal Security’ a well known private military contractor that had been involved with shady figures throughout its history, despite its board of directors’ and their own army of lawyers’ claims of innocence. For those 6 months, Sovo had been trained in Boreal’s method’s of fighting, built up a lifetime of back story as a vengeful northerner from a poverty-stricken family, and had been inserted into the ranks of Boreal, where he made a name for himself, and earned his badge, a badge which the locals of Glacia feared and hated

He, of course, was forced to kill to get to where he was. Some had been innocent, some not. All where necessary to ensure his cover wasn’t blown. To ensure he could be here, today, sneaking through a back water town where Reeve had made his complex, hoping to make it to the warehouse where Aaren had promised to meet. Where he could send the first communication back to S.I.S in a year. Once he had done that, they could formulate a plan to trap Reeve here. But everything hung on getting that call out.

The man he was meeting, Aaren, was a local of the town, and had been brought on by Reeve as a lieutenant, due to his skill with computers. After he had shot Aaren’s brother dead, of course. Aaren had particular disdain for Reeve, which gave Sovo cause to trust him. After agreeing to meet him, Aaren had promised to get a line back to S.I.S with the information on how to, that Sovo gave him.

As the alley curved back into the main road, Sovo snapped back into the present. Except for several whispering town members, this part look utterly devoid of Boreal troops. But Sovo couldn’t focus on this small note.

The Warehouse was right in front of him.

Inside, the cold air became no warmer, and Sovo still fidgeted with his collar. The air inside the warehouse tasted of copper, as metal crates stacked on top of one another rusted into piles of dust. The building was decrepit, and worn with age. Sovo flicked a light switch at the door, which dimly illuminated the rows of crates that were piled around him. The Cold winds had shattered one of the windows, and snow was visible on top of some of the crates. Aaren was no where to be found

Passing by one row of crates, he heard the groan of metal. Spinning around, he was met with the sight of empty air. Nothing.

Giving a nervous chuckle, Sovo, returned to his search for Aaren. This was quickly spiraling downwards. If Aaren had not shown up, than he had no way of communicating with S.I.S. Or worse, Aaren had gone to Reeve with the hope that by turning Sovo in, he could gain more power in Reeve’s operations.

Panic started to flood Sovo’s mind. His training was good, but after a year, he was a wreck. He needed to find Aaren, if he was here, and fast.

That’s when he noticed a figure leaning over a lump in the corner, next to an old payphone.

Despite this curious scene, relief washed over Sovo starting toward the figure, he noticed a few things. The man was tall, widely built, with what appeared to be a white motorcycle helmet on his head, over white standard Boreal fatigues. Specks of red dotted his side, and as he turned to meet Sovo, the lump came more into view, looking much more humanoid.

It was a body. Aaren’s body.

Sovo stopped as the assailant stared at him. Then he raised and opened his clenched fist, revealing phone receiver, torn from the pay phone.

The man cocked his head, grunted, then ran right at Sovo.

Dear Saul,

If a friend asked me the age old question ‘What things would you bring to a deserted island?’, I’d probably say ‘A friend who wouldn’t abandon me on a deserted island’, or failing that, ‘a laptop, and a boatload of horror films. And a boat’.

I’ve always adored horror, from the cheesy 80’s slasher’s to the piss-your-pants novels written long before I was around. And during my stint on tumblr, I wrote up on horror tropes in a series I called ‘That’s Horror-ble’ (Catchy, I know). Due to it being tumblr, a long post such as this didn’t work too well, and only a few were made. But I loved the series to death, and after a long time, I’ve decided to bring it here, because why not XD

While I’m working on the new ones, I’ll post up a few older ones alongside my regular talks with you, Saul. So please, enjoy tumblr Fiachra from 2012 🙂
-Fiachra

So you as a 12 year old walks into a video shop, maybe standing on your friends shoulders wearing a trench-coat and fake beard to fake your age, I dunno. And passing by the shelves you see it: Rise of the Unflattering Character from the Slightly Green Lagoon. Sneaking home into your room you put the DVD in and tune in to see:

  • More jump scares than a German coffee advert.
  • A college couple eaten by what appears to be a Neopet during… *wink *wink *nudge *nudge *cough *cough
  • Supposed Lost footage of the MacGuffin family during an attack by a spectral plant.
  • The trip of a life time to Daisy’s ‘Hey, we’re out in the middle of no where, come slaughter us’ forest walk
  • The group of teenagers who split up like they own the fricking Mystery Machine.

An overall, poor experience.

What when wrong then? You just saw a much better scary film the other day, it had you behind the sofa, even if it was an old film. So what went wrong?

Honestly, the genre has pretty much fallen into to the gutter with a bottle of malt liquor. it’s difficult to tell when this actually happened, but it’s easy to tell why. Sometimes, it can even be easily recognized through sequels in a series. Sure, somewhere in there are definite gems of horror film making, but do you want to search through the garbage to find those pearls.

I hope so, because you’ll be there for a while.

For god’s sake, even horror movies THEMSELVES take the piss out of the cliches made by cheap, uninteresting flicks. WES CRAVEN DID IT FOUR TIMES. Now Scream is getting weighed down by repetition.

So how did it all go wrong. How does a horror film turn a young, hopeful director into an Uwe Boll clone?

These are just a few of my guesses:

1. Terror & Horror

The most important elements in horror media are-and I kid you not- terror and horror.

Genius.

Hear me out. You may be wondering ‘Well, what’s the difference?’ That’s easy to explain:

Have you ever had a dream where you hear something veeeerrry close by, but you just can’t see it? Or when the door closes by itself? Or you walk into a room and a smell hits you that makes you just want to turn tail and flee?

That feeling of apprehension is terror.The fear of the unknown, the yet-to-happen, of the thing that goes bump in the night.

Whereas horror is more the heart pounding, wet yer knickers, AUGHGODITGOTLITTLESTEVIE moments. When the beast finally breaks down the door and you see it for all its grotesque majesty.

Yep, time to leave.

Terror is easier to do is writing than in film. In film, you are limited to using audio and visual elements to scare the viewer. While this makes full-on horror scares easy to do (and some filmmakers do them very well) build-ups and suspense become a chore, and are sometimes thrown out of the picture all together. In writing, you have everything: sight, sound, touch, smell, emotions, down to the tiniest detail. In the hands of the right person, words can easily become nightmares. Even then, full on scares require thought, and if done wrong, flop completely.

So what does this have to do with the genre now? Well, everything really. Having a balanced amount of the two is difficult. too few real scares and you eventually get used to the tension, and it becomes boring. Too many horror jump scares, and… well nearly every modern horror film is testimony to that.

Before high-budget flicks, movies relied on terror to produce good scares, so as to save money. Night of the Living Dead had a budget of $114,000, miniscule by today’s standards. Hammer Horror Films average budget was around $70,000.

So the excuse for today MAY well be ‘We have too much money’. They don’t really need to worry, so they use scary-scares to scare the scared, but don’t scare the not-easily scared, because they’re not scared by the scary-scares like the scared, who are easily scared by the scary scares.

2. Repetition

The cardinal sin of entertainment. The first thing you must avoid when making anything, a movie, book, t.v show, hell, a frickin’ smoke signal, is repetition. Because NO ONE likes repetition.

Because NO ONE likes repetition.

Easy joke, moving on…

But honestly, it’s a pain when you have to watch the same thing over, and over, with minimum change, especially in something that’s designed to frighten you. It ruins the immersion, and if it’s really bad, it turns the rest of the movie sour.

Repetition easily occurs within films of the same franchise, especially nowadays. Every major series, Saw, Hellraiser, Paranormal Activity, Halloween, Scream, Elm Street, everything at some point has suffered repetition at some point in their lives.

*Cough Living Dead series *cough

Sorry, bad coug… *Cough Films about exorcisms *hack

Should probably get that checked…

And don’t give me that ‘There are no more original ideas’ crap. Of course there are new ideas. Take an existing idea and mess around with it to create something unique. Old movies could keep things fresh, so there’s no reason why modern film can’t.

But the worst perpetrators are found footage films. A recent creation of modern horror started by a film about cannibals. Yeah, great start to a new genre. But Once Blair Witch became a hit, the shaky-camera floodgates were opened.

Some of them are fine. Blair Witch was good. Troll Hunter was good (I secretly adore Troll Hunter, but I don’t want to sound biased, so I won’t go on about it) and Cloverfield… well I shouldn’t get motion sickness when watching a film, but it was good. But it’s THE SAME PREMISE ALL THE TIME:

Troll Hunter: College mates go out shooting a documentary. They find nasty monsters.

Evil Things: College mates go out, one is shooting an amateur film. They find nasty people.

The Tunnel: Documentary team go into abandoned tunnels. Guess what? Nasty monster.

Grave Encounters: Reality t.v – turned – nasty monster-mania.

Project X: Teenagers. Documentary of party. Nasty people.

YES PROJECT X A HORROR FILM. SO BAD IT SCARED ME AHAHAHAHAHA.

Sadly, ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ aren’t words in horror. ‘safe’ and ‘easy profit’ certainly are. It’s sad how little directors are willing to risk just because they don’t want to lose money. Hopefully this will change soon. Even books on horror are starting to seem to familiar…

Uh oh, looks like she’s found out the cameraman’s drunk again. That, or she can’t find the plot.

3. The Villain

You’ve seen zombies, aliens, monsters, the whole shebang. These are common today, and in the past. But lemme ask you something: When was the last time any of them spoke?

This is more common than you think. So many of today’s horror films and video games have no proper villain. Sure, it’s scary having something monstrous and primal that you don’t understand chase you, but when was the last time someone or something had more charisma, or more of a personality than The likes of Norman Bates or old Freddy Krueger? (Not the ‘Your on Prime time!’ Krueger, thats for sure)

Something to be truly scared of is something that thinks, something that knows what it’s doing, and is proud of it. Something that gloats on how it will win, and you know it’s right. Bates has such a good personality (or personalities, if you’re feeling meticulous) and very few films can recreate him, just like with many popular 20th century killers: Hannibal Lecter, Voorhees, ghostface, and so on. Many try through reboots, remakes or straight-up new creations, but they just don’t have enough character to support themselves. Most just end up being 2-dimensional killers, or worse, not scary. Being hunted by something is the most primal fear of all and if a movie fails at that, then it doesn’t deserve the money it brings in.

And one other thing: Puppets and Food are not scary. I’m not afraid of something that I can either put in my mouth or something I can put my hand up into.

Wait that came out wrong.

4.- 50.
In the interest of length, I wanted to use just my main gripes with the genre, but there’s so much more I could argue about. Bad acting, poor design, plot holes, macguffins and deus ex machinas, generic and convoluted stories….

*Sigh…

I dunno, I just want the genre to get out of the gutter, and put down the malt. I want to be afraid of the dark again, not just afraid that the next advert I see is for K-fee. I want to have a reason to hide behind the couch again like a big girl’s blouse.

‘Who knows, maybe directors will start to realise that what they’re currently doing just isn’t working for anyone. They’re losing money, and we’re losing interest. Hopefully this is just a bad bend in the road to recovery. Maybe Hammer Horror will start putting out better films one day, and we can all be afraid once the sun goes down

‘till that day, I have plenty of things to talk about, so I’ll just keep writing to keep myself (and hopefully you guys) amused.

-Fiachra

Day 24, Friday: Your top 3 worst traits

Awwww, only three? 😉 Well, if you were thinking of asking  me out on a date, here are three reasons why you may change you’re mind:

1): Fashionably Late

I’ll admit it, I’m not good with time. Whether it be just bad luck or bad timing, I always seem to be at least 5 minutes late to everything. I wish it weren’t the case, I like going to things. Somehow, however, luck doesn’t seem to be on my side. I suppose it’s due to me living in a small town in the middle of the countryside. Things are just further away, and I fail to account for that. I promise, I will be there, just wait ten minutes, and it’ll be fine.

2): Grudge Match-esque

I’m not a particularly stubborn fellow, and I usually don’t hold grudges. But when I do, you  will know about it. If you’ve done something terrible,I may not be angry, but I have the unfortunate disposition of holding over your head for a long time coming, either out of humour, or spite. Believe me, I never get properly angry, but sadly I don’t seem to forget things easily either.

3): Silence Isn’t Golden

My killer trait, the one I hate the most, is that a lot of the time I’m too damn quiet. It annoys the hell out of me, but a lot of the time I won’t add to the conversation, even around really good friends. I don’t know if it’s shyness or I simply have nothing to add, but I swear  it’s not rudeness. I very much want to talk to you, I just… can’t.

So, that’s it. If you see me with any of these traits, please be a little empathetic. Or run. Most people choose the latter.

*Sigh*

-Fiachra



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