Howdy folks! (Or should I say, “Greetings, programs!”?)
I am currently working on Episode 19 in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, “Happy Hour In Hell”. Some of this is slightly altered from what I might have done if I hadn’t found a wonderful audience member who had certain preferences and needs. Hence the desire for feedback of what is enjoyed and what might be creeping someone out. She’s never argued with me about the content of the show, but has mentioned one or two elements making her feel, “not good”. It’s more about her than me and that’s fine. Having good friends in this endeavour sheds light on it and helps greatly.
And that leads me to having enough breathing space and a reprieve from the panic to be able to look at the whole of the situation and be concerned for the bystanders. I can’t imagine there is no feeling of personal shock in being swayed to use toxic technology which promised to strengthen our friendships that then managed to derail or obliterate those friendships. And the encouragement to criticize certainly didn’t help!
There are any number of reasons we have storytelling in our lives; processing the days events, managing a way to make sense of tragic situations, learning historical data, but a big one I feel we’ve almost entirely lost is the luxury of it. Storytelling was something to do when a hard day of work was finished. Leisure. It was a prize to be earned through patience, something to look forward to. What with all the criticizing happening to so much of it now? One would think we were going from one misery job to another!
I’m very aware I have a choice in my entertainment. I learned this distinctly upon going to the theater to see “Alien3” on the first day it was released. I believe I was among many viewers who wanted to walk out of the theater from the beginning when we discovered they’d automatically killed off some of our favourite characters from the previous movie. Years later some of us were very willing to the idea of another instalment in which Ripley awoke from a terrible dream! (I believe a few of us still are.) And so when “Terminator 3” was released I checked the cast, the content, got an idea of the whole purpose in why it was being made and… didn’t see it. I do not feel as if I have missed out whatsoever. (I’ve been curious about the one with Christian Bale, though.)
I love the works of L. M. Montgomery, but do I brave a venture in viewing “Anne With An E”? Nope! It contains very little of the original work. If I’m not getting what I enjoy out of an option I disregard the option.
This is why I said I didn’t “read” much of the fanfiction for Dark Shadows, I definitely combed it for five years, though. Nothing much like the original show. And definitely not the relief-series I was looking for.
Some of the work was good, some was dreadful, but most of it seemed to contain a feeling of hopelessness and somehow wanting to belong in that. I could get that feeling easily from the works of Charles Dickens if I wanted something as such. If I noticed a non-canon pairing like Julia/Barnabas, I regarded it with a “Huh? Hmm… okay, moving on.” I chose for myself.
I don’t usually see this kind of decision making in others, I’m afraid. Sure, I came up with a fun title, “The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows”, but people sure didn’t see that! They saw, “Dark Shadows” and that was it! It’s as a friend described to me, that with other shows and films you have hungry fans, of course, but with Dark Shadows? It’s like a bunch of starving people scrambling for table scraps. Still, I was hunting down people who wanted the canon-pairings, Barnabas and Josette being the big one because, well, it is the main romance of the whole thing. I sure didn’t expect to find hostile demands to switch romances! Sheesh!
A lot of folks didn’t seem to understand they had a choice at all. Anything Dark Shadows was a must have and Lordie! Dissatisfaction with it was another must, apparently.
(It’s sure hard to tell who the heck someone is, or could be, when they’re so damn busy attempting to be like “everyone else”.)
Still, the kind people I have managed to find definitely know the value of friendship and quite a few have happy relationships and wedded bliss. I wasn’t sure so many were out there because I was so used to conflict going from the screen to people emulating it in their idea it was what they were “supposed” to do via the exposure. I was more sure it was there in 2010 when the internet improved. People sought what they desired and often found it, cheered talented kids on youtube, made incredible singing recordings together from all over the world. The harmony was happening.
Then the dissatisfaction seemed to creep in. Was it from miserable people spreading it around? Smartphones making people stupid? Social media going from useful to addictive? All of the above? The main thing I know is we’ve all been soaking in it and likely need, as Roger says in “Parapsychology”, a month of showers to get over it.
Back in 2013 when I had fifteen scripts (some rough drafts) and was getting the podcast started, one of my co-workers heard my concern over lack of feedback. She told me, “So many people don’t know how to do constructive-criticism,” and emphasised the word constructive. I think that emphasis was all that was needed. Being constructive is what so many people don’t know how to do, really. Being given a world in which thoughtless narcissism and bashing entertainment is encouraged, why would they?
I have a new friend who was saying the same thing about “constructive-criticism”, so I told her I consider the entire idea a hoax now. It’s this fun little catchword to make bashing sound intellectual. Forget it. Now I’m looking for fun-chat, no fancy word needed.
A few young-adults have told me my “Walls of Text” are “intimidating”. Dear God, shall I offer a sedative before introducing one to a library? Walls of text are pretty much what you get upon opening most books. Not only that but I grew up as someone starving for books and the right books that would keep my attention. Electronics and television flooded my upbringing to degrees I would flee to other places just to have peace and quiet.
The current use of the word “intimidating” is worrisome to me. My memory of learning the word was revealing weakness. One is timid. I suppose that makes sense when they are very sheltered. By protecting and over protecting our young we’ve managed to make them helpless. Yes. That old Life, playing tricks on us again, eh?
And it’s scary; I spent about twenty to thirty years getting harped on and harassed for being “stupid”. Looks like I’m currently spending many years getting harped on and harassed for being “smart”! The only gratifying thing in this is that many of the people who picked on me for being “too stupid” over the years have now sold their values to toxic technology and gone far dimmer. Being smart isn’t as important to them as once upon a time. (I also got picked on for having trendy interests. Ah, yes. Even going against the status-quo meant something to them too, long ago.)
Anyway, for anyone checking in to the web-log here, the “Alma Matters (August 2018)” podcast is out and doing good, as well as Episode 17 in The Pit, “A Bio-Exorcist Comes To Collinwood”. (You bet that one does splendidly for stats, no doubt about it!) ^_^
I got a chance to do a decent entry, “On The Subject of Victoria Winters” in July that should be helpful to readers for her character variation throughout all Dark Shadows productions.
Also if Librivox helpers are checking here I am having some technical troubles with editing a chapter, but it’s coming.
So far? ALL the character voices are performed for Episode 19, “Happy Hour In Hell”. Milligan and Hecubus are performed together but every other character is performed separately. They aren’t edited at all yet, but the performing is completed.
Grassroots Pit helpers are going through Episode 18, “Braving The Waters”. (Sharing with the honours system online was unreliable for discussion, so I managed a grassroots system now prior to releasing an episode.) Maybe I should call them my “Pit Crew”. 🙂
And for people feeling bad? Well, The Bystander Effect has been hurting a lot more people than me these days. For the tech-addicted, I’m fairly sure a ton of my old friends who lost touch are feeling much worse. (And I didn’t lose them because of my show, I lost them due to social media addiction. This is a common problem in friendship now.) I’m grateful for the few who returned and for my new companions, very grateful indeed.
Another good idea to keep in mind: When you enjoy your entertainment, enjoy it. I know that “little critic” in your mind likes to jump in and give you a frown when you finish the show. See if you can turn him off. He’s often a glitch in your psyche you’ve been trained to appease for the sake of being exploited by that kind of behaviour.
Like finding a shell on the beach to admire: Just admire it. Don’t compare it to other shells for being “better” or “worse”. Simply admiring it might make your day that much brighter than it already is. ❤