Special offer to readers of this blog! E-mail me and I'll send you copies of the PowerPoint presentations I gave at the "Native American Portrayals in Comics" program:
A History of Natives in Comics (5 MB)
Hercules vs. Coyote: Native and American Comics (1.5 MB)
These presentations were well received at the event. Someone even said, "You could give them anywhere in the country."
Writerfella here --
Even in the South Orkney Islands?
No, because that's not in the country.
Are you on a South Orkney kick or something?
Writerfella here --
writerfella asks that question always, because most people cannot identify just exactly where are the South Orkney Islands. Thus, you could give your presentations anywhere in the country, but would other people or even yourself know just exactly where that 'anywhere was? And most Americans cannot pinpoint just where are Bug Tussle, Truth Or Consequences, Fargo, Black Mountain, Minneconjou, Third Mesa, Waycross, Blueballs, or even Klines Corners in their own country. Sounds like the typical fallacy, therefore...
PS: there are some 10,000 names that writerfella could have included. Ready for THAT challenge?
I thought they were off Scotland, but I was thinking of the Orkney Islands.
I've been to Third Mesa on the Hopi reservation, so I know where it is.
I'd expect educated people to know Fargo, ND, and Truth or Consequences, NM. I wouldn't expect them to know the other places.
Heck, I'd expect educated people to be able to name the 50 states without missing any. But I doubt most of them could do it.
Writerfella here --
Maybe the educated people YOU know might not...
I was at a party once where people tried to name the 50 states in three minutes. I think I was the only one to get them all.
If you think you know more people with advanced degrees than I do, try this party game on them. Let us know the results.
Writerfella here --
Who said anything about degrees, advanced or otherwise? If all an education ever means to you is a degree, then you depend heavily on your MENSA card and never have read NOTES FROM VIRGINIA. Education begins long before one ever is in any formal school of any sort and naturally continues long after one has left university, if at least one goes there.
In ANASAZI the Screenplay, Nathan BigHawk is being chivvied by the young male anthropologist about his knowledge of Native culture and then asks BigHawk what are his degrees. "98.6," BigHawk replies, "and the biggest one from the University of The Open Road. It ain't much on football, but there's a shitload of us graduates!"
"I was at a party once where people tried to name the 50 states in three minutes. I think I was the only one to get them all."
I wonder how many of them missed Delaware, the "Is that still a state?" state. Probably one of the "I" states gets forgotten, too.
Advanced degrees are a common method of measuring people's education. Other common methods include IQ scores, number of books read, and knowledge of trivia--such as the location of the South Orkney Islands.
Test your graduates of "The University of the Open Road" on their ability to name the 50 states in three minutes. Let us know how much their street smarts help them with the challenge. I'll bet that my friends with advanced degrees would do better than your friends without them.
Meanwhile, does anyone have anything to say about my PowerPoint presentations, the subject of this posting?
Writerfella here --
Rob, writerfella would be happy to comment on your Powerpoint Presentations, the subject of this blog, except there is NOTHING of those matters ON THIS BLOG!! Maybe we're all supposed to do Johnny Carson's Carnak routine, where we put an envelope to our foreheads and intuit a phrase from those presentations. So, writerfella's envelope, which was kept in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall's porch since noon today, prompts writerfella to intuit, "TUROK - SON OF STONE, COWBOYS & ALIENS, and SKINWALKERS!" Whereupon writerfella tears open the envelope, blows air inside, and takes out a card. "Name two Native American comic books and a nudist colony..."
Writerfella here --
POSTSCRIPTUM: There is an auxiliary scene in ANASAZI The Screenplay where Nathan BigHawk at night has rescued the female anthropologist, gthne taking her back to his desert campsite, and the two of them are getting to know one another because there is no one else around for miles.
Nathan has found the K-Mart Cowboys' ice chest stocked with beer, and he has finished about half of it. He gives Samantha Peterson a cup of coffee, a log seat near his fire, and he is drinking from the ice chest. He pops a beer;
Nathan: "Funny. This is a part of what I came here to solve, and then there was this ice chest."
(Sympathetic) Samantha: "You mean, drinking a little?"
Nathan: No -- I mean, drinking a lot! If the Bud Man gave scholarships to his best customers, I'd have owned Arizona State!"
Samantha: "You went to ASU?"
Nathan: (looks at his beer) "Hmmph. Tongue's getting loose already. Okay, Class of '66, took my Master's in North American Anthropology, Ice Age Man and Descendants. But I'm not proud of it."
Samantha: "But, when Wes asked about your degrees..."
Nathan: "He was being Dr. Smart Mouth. Besides, he said, 'Doctorate.'"
Samantha (smiles): "He said the same thing about you, only not so polite."
Nathan (toasts her, takes a big swig): "That's me, polite and polished Renaissance Mandan, but not quite a Nobel Savage!"
Nathan finishes his beer, gets up for more.
Samantha: "How much have you had?"
Nathan: "Not enough. No lectures, Dr. Peterson. Good thing for me it almost was full. Kinda strange finding it here. Who'd picnic 'way the hell out in this place?"
He sits back down with three beers, doesn't offer her any.
Samantha: "I would. (Sips her coffee) I hail from Buzzards Bay, right on the Cape from Boston."
Nathan (toasts her again): "Heard of it, but are there really any buzzards there?"
Samantha (laughs): No, never saw one ever. (pause) Been at this pursuit for ten years. Got my B.A. from NYU, M.A. from UNF, took my Ph.D from UPA -- same as you, Ice Age Man in North American and subsequent cultures."
Nathan (takes another swig): "Okay. How much to buy another vowel?"
They both laugh.
Nathan: "I met Jane Goodall once, had her sign one of her chimp books. Sure, it's her job but she looked at me like I was steak and potatoes on a plate."
Samnatha laughs, Nathan drinks. OUT IN THE DARK, an ANIMAL SNARLS -- she's alarmed.
Nathan: "Bobcat. It was Goodall's look and a few other things that finally woke me up."
Samantha: "Concerning what?"
Nathan: "Well, if you're going to start writing it all down..."
She waves one hand -- he nods.
Nathan: "Sorry. Who I was, who I could be, who I'm supposed to be. Viet Nam was a trip I almost wish I hadn't made."
Samantha: "I heard it was deja vu for Native Americans: war with tribal peoples and the white man, once again."
Nathan (knocks back that beer): "Nah. Too simple. It more was a questrion of power. (Opens another beer) After that, I knew too much."
Firelight plays on his face as we move closer.
Nathan: "It's the raw power of this land itself. (He sees her question) Okay, the ground under your feet grants power to all who live on it and honor it. It made my people approach greatness, but when your people came, we made war and disobeyed the honor of this land."
Samantha: "Power? What kind of power?"
Nathan: "Physical, spiritual, psychological, whatever. It's yours as long as you do right by it. By going to war, we traded it all away, and both it and the land went to your people."
Samantha: "I've heard that before. From the American Indian Movement."
Nathan (unhappy): "Hey, don't lump me in with them! They want my people to drop their cultures, all our tribal heritages, all our languages. Become just, 'Indians', so we can unite as one people behind political games, like the Blacks."
Samantha: "I take it you don't think much of them."
Nathan: "Well, I approve of their aims, but not their means."
She laughs; Nathan smiles, takes a swig. But he's serious again as...
Nathan: "Think now: why did America become the greatest nation on earth?"
She looks at the fire, thinking. Samantha: "It was... Democracy...equality... freedom."
Nathan almost topples over sideways as he laughs, giving out a rousing hoo-hah. Nathan: "Point them out to me sometime! I'll catch 'em and paint 'em blue!"
Samantha (angered): "Now you remind me of what Wes said!"
Nathan looks at her, still laughing, then throws several small sticks on the fire. Nathan: "Maybe, but look around. What you see is misuse of the power of the land. The things that happened to my people now are happening to the whole country. And WE lost EVERYTHING! Tell me why this country finally lost a Goddamned war? Why...why Central and South America are growing fat on drugs they sell here? It's all falling apart, and your people continue to abuse the power of the land!"
Samantha looks thoughtful, opens her mouth to speak, and then closes it. Then: "I... I could name a hundred things going wrong! Maybe I see what you're saying..., but what would be the answer?"
Nathan drains the beer, steps toward the darkness. Firelight plays on her face as...
Nathan: "How should I know? I'm just one person and I'm all by myself. 'Scuse me, gotta go see a man about a lizard." She wraps tighter in her blanket; it's damn cold. We see her thinking about what he said; it's a lot. She leans to the fire, warms her hands. Nathan comes back, much refreshed.
Nathan: "Who's at fault? Everybody. The ones who looked away when the big forests were cut, when the animals were destroyed, when the heart was cut out of the land itself."
Samantha: "You speak about the land as if it were a person."
Nathan (sits down, opens another beer): "Don't believe in Mother Earth? I guess you can count yourself in there, too. (Looks into the fire) And me. I'm in there, too. I killed my best friend. (She looks her question; he sees and looks down) Six years ago. Victor Drapeau. He was Hunkpapa Sioux, or supposed to be. We were drunk, foolin' around with his motorcycle. I lost it on a curve, and Victor died."
From her expression, her heart goes out to him in that moment.
Nathan swigs his beer, looks out at the darkness, then at her. Nathan: "I didn't even get a scratch. I went bats -- drinking, fighting, womanizing. Finally, an Arapaho medicine man came to me and said it was okay. Me and Victor were blood brothers. The medicine man said that nobody can take your blood brother's life but you. So, maybe it was okay. But it was stupid. I miss him."
Samantha: "You said you're Mandan? Fullblood?"
Nathan laughs. "Nobody's fullblood anymore. They just say they are. I'm half-Mandan, half your brand."
Samantha: "People tell me the Mandan are extinct."
Nathan looks at her, then at his own hand and arm. Nathan: "Close, but not quite."
The wind comes up and Samantha grips the blanket closer around her. Samantha: "So, part of why you're here is to search for things your people lost, right? Your vision quest means that you came looking."
Nathan smiles, pretends applause, sips his beer. Nathan: "You're a smart lady, ya know? And I bet there's not that many ever told you that."
Samantha nods, a bit wary: he's now a lot drunker than he was. Samantha: "Beautiful, but no brains, they said. And it didn't make me many friends when guys found out it wasn't true."
Nathan grabs up sand and puts out some grasses lit by their fire. Nathan: "I had it the other way. 'You're trying to be better than the rest of us skins. Hey, you trying to be a White Man?' If they really had known my story, it would've been diffferent."
Samantha (concerned): "And what would that be?"
Nathan stares briefly into the fire, then turns toward her. Nathan: "Back in 1941, when my mom was 16, she got on the rodeo circuit in Canada. She had run away from the 'rez in Utah and that's where she ended up. Seven young Cree riders made it their business to watch out for her. Bingo, seven brothers. That's the way it works, for us. Her second year, a movie company came to town and hired the whole rodeo for a motion picture. The star - some big guy - saw how pretty she was and took a shine to her. Her brothers objected, but she went her own way. By the time the movie was over, she was pregnant with me. Mr. Movie Star swore he was getting a divorce and said he'a send for her. Winter came and she never heard.
"Come spring, I was born. Lucky kid. Seven guys decided to help raise me and, just like that, I had seven uncles. Offseason, we stayed with them in North Dakota. It was a good world. When I was seven, some tourist's little girl got out in the arena during the bull riding. And a bull charged right toward her. My mom was on her horse and in between them in two heartbeats. (Nathan looks out into the darkness) She tossed that kid to one of my uncles just before the bull smashed her and her horse through two fences. Killed them both instantly. (Nathan looks back at her) My uncles argued most of the day over who was going to tell me. Finally, they all came and, sad as I was, I suddenly had seven fathers. They raised me in the rodeo and i got to be quite a good rider myself. But nobody has seven fathers, and so one day I sat them down and asked, 'Which one of you is my dad?' They told me about the movie, but they never told me his name or the name of the movie.
When I was 17, I left Canada and went to L.A. to try to find that man. What they said there was that 800 B-movies got made in 1941 and so, nobody remembered. I hung around a while, did twelve bit parts, then went back to my uncles."
Samantha has listened, enraptured. But she says: "You never found out?"
Nathan kills his beer and takes up another. "One Saturday, about four years ago -- I had the damndest hangover -- I saw it on TV. My mom was in it, so it had to be the one.
Samantha once again looks her question, but Nathan shakes his head. Samantha: "Really, Nathan. I'd like to know."
Nathan sips, cradles the can in both hands, and looks at the ground. Nathan: "Now, that's hard. I'm not ready."
Samantha touches his wrist and nods at him. Samantha: "Do you... When do you think you'll be ready?"
Nathan looks at her, raises his beer can, then takes a deep swallow. In a perfect imitation of "The Duke" -- Nathan: "Well, ya give me a couple a years, and I just might tell ya!"
Samantha boggles, gapes a moment, then dissolves into laughter, Nathan begins to laugh, as well.
EXT - BROKEBACK CANYON - NIGHT
We see their fire off in the distance. Their LAUGHTER fills the canyon and ECHOES in all directions...
There is one reason why writerfella placed this excerpt here: people on this blog have some sense of the stories that writerfella can write, but they really have no idea how he writes in longer form. There should be no more doubts after having read this particular piece of ANASAZI The Screenplay. Comments?
I said to e-mail me if you want a copy of my presentations. They're too big to post online.
Your excerpt from Anasazi is fine, although it seems a little long. Condense it a bit and you'll be ready to film it.
Of course, Indians fought among themselves before the white man came. Does that mean they forfeited their land before the white man came?
Writerfella here --
Natives indeed may have fought among themselves over land before EuroMan raised their ugly heads of weird hair shades and strange eye colors. But these were territorial skirmishes of the moment, lacking permanency and changing from season to season. But Euroman's assault on the land was to make for permanent ownership of the land. In their minds, once the land had been secured, it was so secured for all eternity. And thus it remains to this day. Battles between original Native tribes over land was in keeping with the honor of the land, and everything that happened after EuroMan came was not...
Writerfella here --
POSTSCRIPTUM: The excerpt is from an older version of the script and actually repesents 5 pages out of 130. There are improvements to the sequence that writerfella prefers to keep in studio presentation copies. The difference between a television script and a motion picture screenplay is that one has room and time for character development that MUST be accommodated. Since this is the portion that presages emotional commitment between Samantha and Nathan, it is as long as it has to be. Notice that each one speaks TOTALLY in character and with their own character speech cadences. NOTHING that they say is throwaway or filler. If done weel, it always works...
I've never heard any Natives say that defending their lands caused them to lose honor. If BigHawk believes this, he's far outside the mainstream of Native thought.
Samantha's character must be ignorant if she thinks the Mandan are "extinct." No one who knows anything about Indians would say that.
If Samantha is supposed to be a naive white person, her dialog is totally in character. But she supposedly has an MA and PhD in "Ice Age Man in North American and subsequent cultures." I don't have an advanced degree in anthropology, but several of her naive-sounding comments made me cringe.
You might want to check your screenplay format again. In 12-point Times Roman, double-spaced, this passage is at least seven pages of prose (I checked). It would be more in standard screenplay format; I'm guessing 10 pages or more.
As one website noted, "The average feature screenplay, traditionally, is between 95 and 125 pages long. In Hollywood these days scripts generally don't run longer than 114 pages." If I were producing this 130-page script, I doubt I'd have trouble finding lines to throw away. ;-)
Writerfella here --
Just before this post flies off into Archive obscurity, writerfella wishes to add that all you would have to see is the lengths of the production screenplays for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST, or APOCALYPTO, or SUPERMAN RETURNS, or 300, or GHOST RIDER, or BATMAN BEGINS, or PAN'S LABYRINTH, or ZODIAC, or THE LAST MIMZY. Or any other recent screenplay, the text of which usually can be found on the 'extras' disc of most movie DVDs. The 'throwaway' factor is well-known to screenplay writers and they mostly have to accept such because films are regarded as a director's and an editor's medium. That does not mean that writers obey lengths set by other members of the film industry, because we all are striving to get as much story into our writing because "you can't trust them to get it right" otherwise. The one place that writerfella puts his screenplay and even teleplay writings is this: he writes ORGANICALLY and thus if directors and/or editors delete portions at their will, the story ceases to make sense. This was learned at the knee of Gene L. Coon, the one producer who made the first and second seasons of the original STAR TREK shine. That series would not have made the impact that it had and still possesses, if he had not made the scripts immune from 'stupid' editing. He taught this to writerfella, and so that is how writerfella writes. You're out of your depth, sir, but when have you not been?
Writerfella here --
Oh, wow, by morning (3/20) this part of the blog will go missing, simply because the proprietor ceases to wish it seen by future readers. It will lose its identity and even whether or not it had comments. Which is okay, as some people wish their negative histories hidden away and become inaccessible...
Bye, ya'll, for this post!
Do you always tells producers and directors they can't edit your scripts? Sounds like a recipe for not getting your scripts made into movies.
You apparently haven't read David Gerrold's book on the making of The Trouble with Tribbles. If you had, you'd know that Gene Coon coaxed Gerrold to edit his script extensively.
And do you really not know about the most famous screenwriting contretemps in Star Trek history? Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon rejected Harlan Ellison's screenplay for The City on the Edge of Forever and rewrote it completely. Ellison was so mad that he didn't speak to the two Genes for years. So much for Trek's protecting the integrity of the written word.
I see you couldn't touch my specific comments. As usual, you seem out of your depth when confronted with criticism.
As for this posting rolling over to the archive, don't be stupid. How many postings do you want on the main page: all 1,190 (as of this morning)? It's accepted practice to keep postings active for a finite time--usually about a week. That they eventually scroll off the screen has nothing to do with the content and everything to do with the space.
Have you actually viewed this blog's archives? You don't seem to understand how they work.
FYI, all comments are preserved in the archives and you can even post new comments there. Therefore, feel free to continue the debate as long as you want. Stop inventing excuses for your refusal to debate and start debating.
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