1. NAFTA Origins, Part Two: The Architects of Free Trade Really Did Want a World Government of Corporations

    mattstoller:

    Here’s part one of this series on the origins of NAFTA and our current trading regime.

    It’s amazing what you find in the Congressional Record. For example, you find American political officials (liberal ones, actually) engaged in an actual campaign to get rid of countries with their pesky parochial interests, and have the whole world managed by global corporations. Yup, this actually was explicit in the 1960s, as opposed to today’s passive aggressive arguments which amount to the same thing.

    Here’s the backstory.

    Read More

  2. 
There’s a strong tendency right now toward formula. Like this is how a screenplay is written: By page 30 this has to happen, your Act Two goes to page 90…That’s just horse shit­­. I think a badly crafted, great idea for a new film with a ton of spelling mistakes is just 100 times better than a well­crafted stale script.  For example, Scorsese talks not about three acts in a script, but rather five sequences. Or you watch Fellini films ­­ you watch “Nights of Cabiria” or “La Dolce Vita” or “8 1/2” ­­ and you get a sense not of a three act structure, but of episodes with one character going through all these episodes. Then you get to the end of the film and there’s a sudden realization or a moment that pulls a loose string suddenly taut through the whole movie you’ve been watching up until that point.  (We need) different mental models of what a film can be, and if you pay too much attention to these books, by Syd Field and Robert McKee and I don’t know who else, they’re only presenting one cultural paradigm, and that’s really, really dangerous to the act of creation and to our cinema, which needs new ideas and new blood now more than ever. Hollywood films have become a cesspool of formula and it’s up to us to try to change it. - Alexander Payne in 1999 

    There’s a strong tendency right now toward formula. Like this is how a screenplay is written: By page 30 this has to happen, your Act Two goes to page 90…That’s just horse shit­­. I think a badly crafted, great idea for a new film with a ton of spelling mistakes is just 100 times better than a well­crafted stale script.

    For example, Scorsese talks not about three acts in a script, but rather five sequences. Or you watch Fellini films ­­ you watch “Nights of Cabiria” or “La Dolce Vita” or “8 1/2” ­­ and you get a sense not of a three act structure, but of episodes with one character going through all these episodes. Then you get to the end of the film and there’s a sudden realization or a moment that pulls a loose string suddenly taut through the whole movie you’ve been watching up until that point.

    (We need) different mental models of what a film can be, and if you pay too much attention to these books, by Syd Field and Robert McKee and I don’t know who else, they’re only presenting one cultural paradigm, and that’s really, really dangerous to the act of creation and to our cinema, which needs new ideas and new blood now more than ever. Hollywood films have become a cesspool of formula and it’s up to us to try to change it.
    - Alexander Payne in 1999 

    (Source: oldfilmsflicker)

  3. dyerdata asked: If you had the greenlight at a studio, network or mini-major to make your own adaptations or specs into films with the cast and crew you chose, would you remain a writer, or would you become a writer-director as well?

    Oh yeah. Definitely plans to direct. I don’t know when that will be or what it will look like. I also know I’m not worrying about it as yet! 

    Thanks for asking … 

  4. Anonymous asked: FYI you're becoming a bit of a hero of mine. Wish I had a fraction of your grit.

    Well you are right that grit is what it takes. But grit is something that can be learned. Keep focusing on that. Read books and blog posts about it. (They’re out there). You develop the skills you focus on. I actively focus on this. And don’t get me wrong — my life is NOT easy. 

    Thanks for the wonderful words. :)

  5. We are Huxleying ourselves into the full Orwell.  →

    mostlysignssomeportents:

    Try as I might, I can’t shake the feeling that 2014 is the year we lose the Web. The W3C push for DRM in all browsers is going to ensure that all interfaces built in HTML5 (which will be pretty much everything) will be opaque to users, and it will be illegal to report on security flaws in them…

  6. The trouble with Twitter isn’t that it’s full of inanity and self-promoting jerks. The trouble is that it’s a solution to a problem that shouldn’t be solved. Eighty percent of the battle of writing involves keeping yourself in that cave: waiting out the loneliness and opacity and emptiness and frustration and bad sentences and dead ends and despair until the damn thing resolves into words. That kind of patience, a steady turning away from everything but the mind and the topic at hand, can only be accomplished by cultivating the habit of attention and a tolerance for solitude.

    — How Twitter Hijacked My Mind – fantastic meditation by New York Magazine book critic Kathryn Schulz; bonus points for the Bukowski reference.  (via explore-blog)

    (Source: )

  7. For me, that process of taking a first draft and working with it over a period of months is EVERYTHING. That’s where a person finds out what he really means and (you could argue) who he really IS. So I suppose one danger is that we might get the idea that, you know, “to blurt, is to be.” The idea that whatever comes out is good and is us. Whereas someone who has really worked with text realizes – well, that neither one is “really” you, but that the considered version might represent a “higher” you – brighter, less willing to coast or condescend, funnier, and (mysteriously) also, I think, kinder.

    — 

    George Saunders talks to the Paris Review, reflecting on his Tenth of December and contributing to our ongoing archive of sage advice on writing.

    What Saunders is speaking to is the power of process and the same rigorous commitment to discipline and work ethic that propels so many famous writers’ creative routines.  

    (via explore-blog)

  8. So much of that process is intuitive. Just deciding minute-by-minute, over and over again, over the period during which you’re writing the story. Sort of like seasoning to taste or something like that. I think that’s one of the maybe under-discussed aspects of process - the difference between a good writing day and a bad one is the quality of the split-second decisions you made.

    […]

    I just know from experience that my instincts are better than my cerebration.

    — 

    In a chat with the Paris Review about his acclaimed new book, Tenth of December, George Saunders adds to famous writers’ collective wisdom on the craft and echoes Ray Bradbury’s assertion that emotion, not the intellect, is at the heart of creativity

    Pair with 2013’s best books on writing.

    (via explore-blog)

  9. cinephilearchive:

    If you haven’t bookmarked filmschoolthrucommentaries, do it. Better than film school. The ever detail-oriented Michael Mann talks about how to tell a story in a compressed amount of time.

    For more, see our archive under the tag, “Michael Mann.”

  10. Cognitive disinhibition describes a failure to keep useless data, images, or ideas out of conscious awareness. This failure may make schizotypal personalities more prone to delusional thoughts or mental confusion; on the flipside, it could make creative minds more fertile.

    — Scientists explore the link between creativity and madness two centuries after Kierkegaard explored the link between creativity and anxiety. (via explore-blog)