I finally have down pat the high-concept I am interested in exploring with a possible screenplay: Contact meets Close Encounters of The Third Kind meets Stranger in a Strange Land. That’s the general idea, at least. I am going to do some more mulling today about the specifics, but I am lurching close to being able to actually sit down and write something. We’ll see.
I went for a walk and realized something. I have been struggling with the conflict of this story and I think maybe, just maybe, I have it. The high-concept of this script would be Contact meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind meets Stranger in a Strange Land.
The conflict comes from the consequences of our hero being put in an extraordinary situation. I really like the idea of just a regular person being put in extraordinary circumstances and this script, should I ever write it, would be very much in that style. Our Hero is forced to make some enormous decisions for billions of people and the story is about what happens next.
I’m quite content with that, now I just have to write the damn script. I really need help with the plot, but no one will help me. But it’s still fun to explore this. As I keep saying, what I really need to do is buy a professional digital camera. That’s something that can change my life for the better.
I really enjoy at least attempting to write a screenplay because of its innately collaborative nature. The below video is me talking about that some. I’m struggling to write out a concept that might turn into a screenplay, but it will be months before anything comes of it for various reasons.
As I keep saying, buying a professional digital camera is at the forefront of my mind right now. But I definitely have an interesting concept for a science fiction movie. The screenplay would be a novel approach the concept of First Contact.
But there is much to mull, much to struggle with. I am perfectly horrible with plots and it could take me a while to the point where I’m able to not only write the screenplay but buy Final Draft so I can properly format it. The whole point is to give me something to believe in, something to hope for. I don’t live in LA, so it would be an enormous long-shot even if I wrote a really good screenplay with a strong concept.
Yet, whatever. I really enjoy daydreaming and I have a way of telling stories without even realizing I’m doing it. So, if I’m lucky, I’ll write something pretty much on autopilot. Not to say it won’t be a struggle to write something, it will. But it should be a lot of fun, also.
For years, I’ve been fascinated by First Contact. I’ve dwell deeply and at great length about how one might not only move huge numbers of humans off the planet but how you would organize that group of humans once you did. It’s something of an impossible scenario.
There just is so much to weigh in your mind. I have struggled to figure out how you might unite humanity if you worked on the assumption that — essentially — all human life is valued equally regardless of where you’re from. This is significantly more difficult to figure out than you might think.
Anyway, I may have figured out a strong enough concept to move forward with it. The movie would written with the expectation that it would be a tent-pole summer blockbuster but with smarts and a heart. I like screenplays as an art form because they’re collaborative and as the screenwriter all you have to do is give some guidance to the director as to what is supposed to happen. But, as I keep saying, I am saving my money for a professional camera so it will probably be later this year before I can afford to buy Final Draft so I can actually begin writing the screenplay.
In the meantime, I may sketch the concept out as a short story or novella or even a novel. I guess I want to prove to myself that I’m not only serious about this concept but that it’s strong enough that it’s worth attempting to be serious about in the first place. The camera is the most important thing to buy in the near term because it has a practical way of being able to change my life.
But I’m generally a creative person and I love to tell stories. And just recently I found myself figuring out the outlines of a plot for this concept I’ve been mulling for years. So, we’ll see. Maybe nothing will come of this. I might get bored and move on to the next thing, but if it holds up, I may very well start writing a screenplay about First Contact soon.
The movie concept I have in my head has elements of Contact, Close Encounters of The Third Kind and….in some ways it’s so unique it defies comparison. I’m coming at this problem in a really rather unconventional manner. I find telling stories relaxing just in general, so I may wake up and discover I’ve written a screenplay without realizing.
I have a lot on my plate creatively and limited funds, so I have to be careful what I spend my money on. I really want to buy a professional camera but I also am interested in buying Final Draft, which is script writing software. But the camera is more important than the software, so I am going to force myself to sketch out the screenplay as much as I can without any way of actually formatting it formally.
But the idea I have in my head is pretty strong. I have been thinking about this topic for years and I think I may have finally come up with a way to approach it. But, as always, the toughest part for me is the plot. I have a great concept, but I am really struggling with a plot.
And, yet, I am well aware that no one will help me because I can’t pay them, so I’m going to try to figure out a plot myself. But we’ll see. It will be interesting to see how far I get with this concept before I get fed up and move on to something else. I usually do that, at least in the past.
If I was tasked with saving SnapChat, here is what I would do.
The first feature I would roll out as soon as I could would be robust discovery of people you didn’t know who happened to be proximity to you. So, there would be a feature where by you could see everyone on SnapChat at a bar you were in and you’d be able to “poke” them or something in such a way that they would know you were interested in them. You could then become SnapChat friends and send snaps to each other before you met IRL.
Maybe SnapChat has something like this already I just don’t know about it, but I know if it did have this feature I would be a heavy user of it. (As it stands, I barely use SnapChat, so there could be any number of different features I don’t know about.)
After I did this, I would slowly roll out a whole lost of features that would be difficult for my competitors to implement. Some of this would require the app having a desktop component that it currently doesn’t have. So, I would give people the ability to have live text chat with people as well as recorded video conferencing. I would also figure out a way to bring in many of the concepts of Usenet that made it popular 20 years ago. These changes would not come easy and they would be controversial with the user base, to say the least.
But as it stands, SnapChat is doomed. Instagram is going to kill SnapChat unless it innovates and innovates rapidly, so that’s why I even introduce these concepts at all.
Anyway, that’s just the barest skim of what I think should be done. I may come back to this, depending on my mood.
For otherwise grown adults, the Republican Party sure does collectively act like a bunch of little kids. They know the only way to get anyone’s attention is to cry and say this or that dumb conspiracy theory is “far worse than Watergate.” Republicans know they will catch liberals attention by invoking Watergate, even if it, in fact, has nothing to do with what’s going on.
I had a long, painful and weirdly insightful discussion with a Trump supporter recently that at first left me seething and now leavings me somewhat resigned. Talking to him about Trump was a textbook case of gaslighting and rhetorical shadowboxing. Even when I landed punches, he wouldn’t admit it. It was extremely frustrating.
But I did learn something about how to debate a Trump cult member. You have to give them specifics. You have to be prepared. If you’re going to engage, not enrage a Trump cultist, you need to be prepared. This is a really big mistake I’ve made in the past. Just because it’s self-evident to you that Trump and his ilk are bigoted, racist misogynists, doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to prove it to a Trump cult member.
The sooner we admit to ourselves that Trump supporters are in a deluded cult, the sooner we will better understand how to address them. They don’t see the fetid, rancid ideological dumpster fire of MAGA as that at all. All they care about is that the economy is “humming” and that ISIS has been largely defeated. It’s really weird that otherwise conservative people would embrace moral relativism in their efforts to support the Dear Leader, while a liberal like me has to stand on principle to get anything done.
Anyway, I guess the point is if you’re going talk to a Trump supporter, you can’t just yell at them the way you want to. You’re going to have to have cold hard facts — lots of them — at your disposal that you can throw at them. They will shadowbox, they will rhetorically bob and weave, but find your hill and die on it. Don’t get distracted by what a target rich environment MAGA is. Find a specific thing that really pisses you off about Trump, learn as much as you can about it and attack, attack, attack.
But we’re all doomed. I need some hope.
I have already mentioned this, but it’s fun to talk about so I’m going to write about it some more. If SnapChat were to re-imagine itself completely in the manner I have suggested, that of turning itself into something akin to a video discussion service with a new text aspect, I think something pretty cool could happen.
Here’s how I would do it.
If it were possible, I would base the new SnapChat on video conferencing. I used the now defunct Blab.im a lot a few years ago and if SnapChat were to leverage its existing user base to go in that direction I think it would reap significant rewards. But there’s a lot I don’t know.
Video would still be at the core of the service, but there would be so much more than that available. The whole point of this new SnapChat would be to get you to have video conferences with your friends that others could watch. It wouldn’t be so much about sending video email to your existing friends as it would be making new friends. That’s a pretty powerful concept, I think. If you had a robust discovery feature you could make all kinds of new friends.
But the point is, there would also be a powerful IRC (AOL Chatroom) text feature in this new service. And threaded Usenet-like post discussions. All of this wouldn’t be rolled out overnight, of course, but you would gradually work towards a completely new vision for SnapChat that I think users would really love. Again, the only reason why I even suggest SnapChat doing this is if it doesn’t innovate and innovate quickly, the whole thing is doomed.
I don’t know if its even technically feasible to do a massive amount of video conferencing in the way I suggest. Blab was never able to get more than, maybe, 100 people in a room to watch a four way video conference, so it may not even be technically possible to get thousands of people watching even a two way video conference. But let’s suppose they used proprietary technology or something.
They would have to expand onto the desktop to truly have this vision become a reality. It would be really cool to have a service whereby you had not only recorded video conferencing with an audience, but a feature rich text environment as well. I have talked at great length about my vision both on this Website and on Instagram. Like, I’ve done thousands of little Instagram videos about this subject. I just take a lot of pictures now, but the videos are still there on my account for better or worse.
The only reason why I even think SnapChat would be interested in such a completely different vision for their service is they’re in serious risk of becoming moot and if they did something really, really dramatic and revolutionary it may be the only way to survive at all. They have the means, motive and opportunity as they say.
They wouldn’t even have to worry that much about their userbase revolting. SnapChat is dying and if they don’t innovate their way out of this deadend, there won’t be much for them to worry about at all in the first place. But whatever. Like I said, I only even wrote about this because it’s interesting.
I may have talked about this before, but I have nothing else to talk about right now, so we’re going to talk about it again. You see, of all the existing social media networks, SnapChat has the most to lose right now. Instagram is eating its lunch and maybe if SnapChat did something out-of-the-box dramatic it might be able to innovate itself out of certain doom.
I’m thinking, of course, of the social media startup concept I have based on the old Usenet. What if SnapChat took the basic concepts of the platform I’ve talked about at great length and use it to save itself from being eaten by Instagram? I have no clue how exactly they would do it, but right now SnapChat has the means, motive and opportunity to save itself by doing something crazy like completely re-imagining the entire service. What if public snaps were threaded in such way that you could have an intelligent convertation using them? Throw in a new desktop app for the service and all kinds of cool stuff might happen.
But, really, I can’t help but keep thinking about the startup concept I have. It’s just so cool. It’s too bad that I have no money, can’t code and don’t want to learn. It’s weird that we’ve actually gone backward in the last 20 years when it comes the functionality that Usenet once provided. Throw into the mix some IRC functionality and you have the makings of a killer app for sure.
One issue, of course, is would Facebook either co-op the service or buy it out the gate? I think if you made it clear that it was Twitter now Facebook the service was gunning for, then maybe they’d settle for an investment, just like Microsoft did with Facebook many moons ago.
I just really like the idea of bringing back the concepts of Usenet, which were so addictive to me 20 years ago, to modern social media users. But, alas, no one listens to me and if they do they’re just frustrated with me for not being willing to code. This has a lot more to do with me just needed something to talk about than anything else.