The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

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The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

Still working on Project Bee-man this week. I’ve been stuck on a particular scene for a few days, unable to get past it, which is usually a sign that there’s a problem earlier in the draft that makes the current action unbelievable or narratively weak. The fact that I’ve let it bog me down, to the point that my brain is starting to noddle around on other projects and focus on admin-stuff, is probably a sign that ploughing on through has probably stopped being the best approach and it’s time to start looking at the previous scenes to figure out what needs to change.

What’s inspiring me this week?

My major narrative consumption this week has been The Defenders, which is a somewhat welcome return to form after the disappointment that was Iron Fist. It’s fascinating to look at this through the lens of series, as it’s the pay-off for all sorts of things that have been set up in prior Netflix series for half the characters. To see them take things that have been central to Iron Fist and Daredevil, then weave them into the storylines of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage which tend to be more self-contained and stand-alone, is the kind of narrative challenge that very few writers are ever going to face outside of comics-style, shared-world narratives.

I’m also impressed with the cinematography. One of the strengths of the Netflix series has always been their look and the colour schemes, and that doesn’t go away now that they’re an ensemble. Scenes focused on a particular character share the visual motifs of their original series, and when they start interacting the colour palates are blended in interesting ways. It’s a nice consideration that impacts on the way we read the story without being overt.

What action do I really need to take?

I’ve outlined one in my weekly plan, but that’s kinda secondary this week. What absolutely needs to start happening is putting some focus on refilling the well again, as most of my media consumption this week has been He-Man cartoons and old pro-wrestling episodes. I’ll be sitting down today and outlining some overt consumption goals, identifying a handful of books/shows/movies to consume over the coming week.

  12 comments for “The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

  1. 20/08/2017 at 10:37 AM

    Peter: Out of curiosity, are you looking at conscious consumption to feed a particular project/area at the moment, or just looking for more nutrient-rich stuff in general?

    • 24/08/2017 at 7:59 AM

      A bit of both. The immediate concern was getting back to a nutrient-rich diet, so I could shake off the lethargy that had seeped in after a few weeks of re-reads and re-watches, but I’m also assembling project-specific reading and viewing lists that will kick in whenever I have the open space in the schedule leading up to a particular project.

  2. 20/08/2017 at 10:59 AM

    What am I working on this week?
    This is the second of two weeks upskilling for the quarter. Last week I managed to chew through Whole Brain Child and most of Presentation Zen. With time given to attending Small Business Festival talks, health issues and a few other commitments, I haven’t had as much time to sit and read as might be ideal, but I also have to recognise that I spent 8 hours mainlining Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (I’ll get back to that in a second) so it’s not all unavoidable pulls in other directions.

    This week is studying more on how to organise presentation information to be engaging and relevant to the viewer (finishing Presentation Zen and hopefully slide:ology as well as starting a much-needed skill-up in my own narrative skills, which I’ve been avoiding due to the heavy investment in time. I’ve also got a number of catchups organised with people, and am starting to work though the initial program from the behavioural exercise physiologist I’ve started working with.

    Recording for one gig on a relatively tight deadline, but that’s likely to be about it recording-wise, both because of shuttering for skills development, and the last vestiges of the throat thing I’ve had for a couple of weeks.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    I’m still chewing over the experience of Hellblade (link goes to trailer) The game deals with a very personal experience of the central character, Senua. It deals with psychosis in a way that feels far less trivialised than how mental illness is typically used in game or film – it’s so often fetishised for its trappings and used on a surface level. There are interesting criticisms I’ve been reading, but the game definitely deserves praise for trying harder than what’s come before.

    The game is very audio and performance heavy, so it was right in my wheelhouse. And the fact that Melina Juergens was apparently a video editor in their team, and just jumped over into performance capture is just… amazing. Her vocalisations, especially those in moments of trauma or pain, are just fantastic.

    Can’t recommend it enough, but make sure you’re in a good place before playing it.

    Like Pete, I’m also watching through The Defenders at the moment, and loving it. There have been a few moments that have really shone as clever use of the audience’s prior knowledge to give a shorthand for what they’re trying to communicate. The way they introduce the Big Bad for the season is just… delicious. And its integration of four very disparate tones of storytelling, and character motivation, has so far been a real joy to watch. The only weak note so far has felt like Danny Rand’s component of the story, which has felt a little like Kung Fu Scooby Doo, but I’m slowly being won over to the character.

    Also, have started reading through After the Future, which is hard going, but feels like a really prescient work, especially in terms of where we are now with information overload in social media. I picked it up for an analysis of why sci fi (of a certain flavour) and cyberpunk are winnowing genres, but it looks like it’ll bear other fruit along the way.

    What action do I really need to take?
    This week, I really need to finish sorting through the CRM database. I’m a third of the way through, and it’s making a huge difference already in terms of how I relate to it, and I’ve picked up a few dropped threads from old contacts. I stalled my reading of Self Management for Actors to do this, realising that this is probably the most strategic and important asset I have. The work though is definitely time-consuming, and chews up a lot of decision making capacity when I’m doing it right.

    • 20/08/2017 at 6:54 PM

      Sounds like you had a productive week, Kevin.Don’t chastise yourself about the 8 hours watching Hellblade – looks like you got some valuable insights from watching it.

      • 20/08/2017 at 6:59 PM

        Aw, thanks Ree! (also, was playing rather than watching – this is a video game, which tends to be the kind of experience I scrutinise the most, I guess for professional reasons)

    • maggiedot
      22/08/2017 at 6:58 AM

      Man, I need to check out the Defenders soon. Sounds like your week was fantastic, and there’s nothing wrong with a little distraction now and then. Keeps the productivity wheels oiled. 🙂

      Best of luck on the CRM database! Sounds like some concentrated focus will really pay off big in the end. 🙂

    • 22/08/2017 at 7:57 AM

      Would it be viable at all to organise a regular get-together with a writing buddy, Ree? Either in evenings or on the weekends? Also, how’re the energy levels going with the shift to the new job? (When does that start?)

      Good luck with taking a more measured pace with the rewriting!

      • 22/08/2017 at 6:30 PM

        Hi Kevin, the new job starts next week. Really looking forward to it (especially not having to commute anymore). I have thought about a get together with a writing buddy but I think Shut up & write works because there is someone timing the writing sprints/breaks & keeping everyone on track. If I did it with a friend we might not be strict enough! But I could always start up my own on meetup.

  3. maggiedot
    22/08/2017 at 7:00 AM

    Phew, ringing in late this week, but my Sunday Circle is here!

    • 22/08/2017 at 8:03 AM

      Given that writing is deliberately on hiatus for the moment Maggie, is there anything strategic you could read/watch that might help with the world building you’re looking forward to getting back to? Or is that a step you’ve taken already?

      • maggiedot
        22/08/2017 at 10:10 PM

        There definitely are, and that’s something I’m looking into this week, too! And just trying to up my general reading has been a pretty big priority (even if it’s been a challenge this year for some reason…)

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