Sleeper, I Wake You
To posture your life in the way your most beloved story heroes posture theirs; to fight, just as they do, against that certain silence that softly steals freedom in the shadow of fear; to believe in your own world enough to look closely and see liberty dying before hindsight causes you to see... Well, ‘tis noble, worthwhile and necessary, for it is these things that make you a force to be reckoned with.
You are much more than a vote.
But so are they who would erase you.
Do not go silently.
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“You know you’re coming up in Hollywood as a young actress when you get a call from a tabloid.”
What? What the—I thought it was the art, man. You know, the projects you’re working on…
I could not have been more wrong. Or so Rita Skeeter from The National Enquirer taught me yesterday when she called looking for corroboration on a "news story" about an acquaintance (who I only just met) who is (not actually) having an affair with [insert A-list star’s name here].
“Everyone is about to find out. We have a photo.”
Oh, well, um, OK. I guess that makes it OK that Rita’s breaking the “news”? She does have a (fuzzy, mislabeled, fabricated, photoshopped) photo, so it is going to come out anyway. And she did say that she hates to break up a family… OMG—Rita is some sort of journalism hero in pursuit of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
A. Not actually the truth.
B. None of my business.
C. Crazy insane and insane crazy.
D. Something I would never comment on.
E. What the heck is she even talking about?
F. All of the above.
I’m afraid that I didn’t have anything to tell Rita Skeeter. However, since Rita so intelligently observed that I, “seem like a nice girl who is smart for my age,” she will allow me to call her anytime to give her tips. ("Especially when you're acting on set!") And, AND! She’ll pay me and plug my latest project. I would, apparently, be surprised at how many celebrities do this because:
A. They want publicity.
B. “It’s good money.”
C. They’re jackasses.
D. All of the above.
I told Rita that she and I must have different ideas of what “good money” is, and that I actually don’t think any money is “good,” for that matter. In fact, I think it’s pretty evil. That’s when she explained that I could also give her tips for revenge. You know, if I hate another celebrity…
Talk about an offer I can’t refuse! I’ll add your number to my speed dial.
I should note that Rita called Stover Mancha looking for me. This means that she called:
A. My family’s home.
B. On a Sunday.
C. On a holiday.
D. Under the guise of being a real reporter.
E. All of the above.
Welcome to the neighborhood.
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On Saturday we threw a party for C.Sto. It was mostly a family party and mostly the Stover side. The Grizz has six brothers and sisters in his family and they all grew up together in West Virginia/Rural Virginia. They've always been a rowdy bunch, which may or may not have contributed to my awesomeness in ten different ways. Anyway, I was coming into the kitchen to bin a bit of trash and suddenly felt like the retarded quarterback:
Uncle Jake: HollyWOOD!
Jessica: Uh, yeah?
Uncle Jake: You get that movie made yet, girl?!
Jessica: I’m doing final writing revisions now and then I have to deal with a lot of stuff. It's actually really, really difficult and complicated. But, hopefully...
Uncle Jake: Dang girl, you’re going to get famous so soon and then I ‘spect we’ll never hear from you again.
Jessica: Or, you could all come to the premiere.
Uncle Jake: Well yeah, we’d like ‘at. ‘At’d be real good.
Jessica: If not, I’ll just mail you a beer or something.
Uncle Jake: Oh yeah! 'At’d be real good, too!
How weird for him to think that I’d stop talking to my family at any point due to any level of success.
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It is very early in the morning. I must warn you, if you have not yet seen Star Wars, then stop right now because I am about to spoil the Sith out of the film.
My mind races. I’m trying to pull it all together, but what I feel is confused. Heartbroken.
Usually, when I like a movie, I write something like this. When I dislike a movie, I write something like this. When I’m at a loss, I write something like this:
I really, really want to like this film. I really, really want it to stand the test of time like the originals. It is far better than Episodes I and II. I love the darker bits. I love the tragedy of the story. I actually love the story as a whole, but it is not told nearly as well as it could and should be.
After the opening battle sequence, there are too many watch-this-now-because-it’s-important-later scenes. Heavy handed. Amateur. (This is also a problem in Episodes I and II.)
When we hit the Jedi murder sequence, the pacing feels so good. I actually thought to myself, “Now they’ve really got it. Now it’s getting good. Now, I feel something.” But then the film goes back to jumpy. Too much time on some parts, not enough on others. Still, for one shining sequence...
Too many beats are repeated and Anakin isn’t given the time he needs to go from Jedi Council Member to merciless killer of "younglings" (Really? Is that what we are calling them?). We don’t feel the threat. After all, it is just a dream. Simply put: Anakin’s character change is abrupt and his motivation isn’t completely believable.
When did Padme get so boring and stupid? She used to actually do stuff and sense things. I do like the moment where she stops to reflect after landing the ship. And how she and Anakin are tied emotionally during his killing spree. Too bad this isn’t put to better use in the storytelling.
Perhaps this is why Padme’s death is utterly confusing. “She’s lost the will to live. We have to operate now to save the baby.” Oh wait, she woke up to name the twins. Oh wait, she’s dead. Do I even need to write WTF? How about, “She’s technically fine. We can’t explain why she’s dying.” Then Yoda says something like, “Tied to young Skywalker, she is.” It is set up that they are somehow (supposed to be) tied emotionally. Instead, we are told that she’s “lost the will to live.” It’s not like she has cancer. What’s killing her? “Anakin, you’re breaking my heart!”? Just say that they’re tied. He’s dying, so she’s dying. We can’t explain why, but hey, it’s The Force and an epic love and stuff. I’ll buy that over losing the will to live.
How is it possible to fight inches away from molten lava and not be affected by the scorching heat? The logic issues in the prequels are too numerous to list them all.
In the scene where Darth Vader first rises in the full suit, what is that Frankenstein moment? Why does he stand there for, like, five beats, and then scream “Nooooooo!”? The blocking in some of these scenes is beyond awkward.
We cringed on many of the lines. The dialogue is ridiculously stilted.
My favorite scene in all of Star Wars is the scene in Act I of A New Hope where Luke looks off to the sunset. The music swells… What a moment. For the same reason, I love the very last scene of this film.
I guess it truly inspires hope. Hope for a better day. Hope for the future…
Or, in this case, their future is our past.
Those movies came out before I was born.
At least we can look forward to Episode IV and not be broken again.
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Hear the Ringing
I have returned from seeing The Revenge of the Sith for a second time. I stand by my previous entry.
The story is an amazing modern myth. One of the best.
The storytelling is horrible. It ruins the experience.
I was actually depressed after seeing it the first time. I wasn’t sure if this was due to the tragedy of the story or my disappointment in its execution. Today, after giving it a great deal of thought, I realize that it is because it hurts to see such a great story, one that I truly care about, treated so poorly. It actually hurts. The kind of hurt that makes you call into question your own writing, your own career as a storyteller.
It would be like sitting in the minors while the MLB went into decline. You stand by as the greats, your heroes, fall in the process. You watch as people stop believing and turn away. By the time you get to the show, what will be left? Why even play? Perhaps it has always been this way. Perhaps you are just now old enough to see the change and that’s why you think things are different, growing worse…
George Lucas Luke Skywalkered the film industry, now, years later, he has returned to Darth Vader all that he built. Does anyone ever earn the right to fail that way? I don't know. And I don't know how this will affect new generations of storytellers.
As for me?
I no longer see it as a tragedy,
But as a challenge.
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Set Yourself on Fire
Three twenty-seven in the morning, Pacific Time,
I’m silently jumping up and down:
Yes. Yes. YES!
Faded out. Just now.
I still have revisions left, but
The bulk of the writing is done!
The bulk of the writing is done.
A moment as it sinks in...
And I realize that I have two boxes of hard copies from previous drafts of my screenplay. Evidence of a long, long journey that I want to burn in a bad, bad way.
Watch them burn and die as I laugh wickedly while shadows of flame dance across my face…
Wait-- I don’t have a fireplace. And you’re not supposed to burn paper in fireplaces, anyway.
I hereby summon The Shade. Help me; you’re my only hope. Take me someplace. Someplace outside. Fire pit? Bonfire?
We can do a ritual dance as we sacrifice my less-evolved versions of story to the elements. I’ll start making it up now. It will involve sticks. And magic.
Today is the greatest
Day I have ever known
Can’t wait for tomorrow
I might not have that long
I’ll burn my eyes out
Before I get out
I wanted more
Than life could ever grant me
Bored by the chore
Of saving face
I’ll tear my heart out
Before I get out
Pink ribbon scars
That never forget
I’ve tried so hard
To cleanse these regrets
My angel wings
Were bruised and restrained
My belly stings
The greatest day
That I have ever known
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