Marc and Churro’s Top 10 Movies of 2015

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The year is almost over! We’ve had some incredible films come out this year so let’s take a look back at some of the best ones. Joining me today on the podcast is movie lover and special guest Churro Moreno.

Thanks for listening!

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Batman v Superman, Star Wars & the Age of Reboots

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It’s been a little while since I’ve had a new episode on the podcast, but fear not. I hope to squeeze out a few more before the end of the calendar year.

In the meantime, I have a couple new articles I’ve written for Panel & Frame over on Medium. Feel free to check them out:

Is There Any Hope for Batman v Superman?

One of Batman v Superman’s greatest challenges is in balancing the need to set up its extended universe with the more important task of telling a complete and satisfying story. It needs to stand on its own.

The Age of Reboots Is Better Than We Thought

Perhaps reboots don’t have to be bad after all. The myth that sequels, prequels, and remakes require less creativity to make is just that: a desperate miscalculation.

Sick of Star Wars? It Hasn’t Even Begun

Star Wars is now on the threshold of becoming more than just a nerdy franchise with a passionate fanbase. It’s about to become the dominant cultural force on the planet.

Why Feedback Is Absolutely Necessary

pictureHave you ever been so involved in a project that you can’t see the big picture?

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the details and the familiarity with your work that you just get lost in the complexity of it all?

When it comes to any creative endeavor, it’s easy to lose perspective. You can get lost. But there’s one reliable way to claw your way back out: feedback.

On today’s episode, we’re talking about the necessity of seeking out other people’s opinions on your work. Feedback is perhaps one of the most underrated aspect of writing stories. You need it early and you need it often.

Often times our greatest resource is actually other people who can give us an objective opinion about our work and help us get unstuck when we hit a snag.

Topics of discussion include:

  • The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
  • Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
  • Pixar’s Braintrust
  • Actual feedback that Marc has received on his writing
  • The limitations of feedback
  • How to give good feedback

You can listen to the episode here:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

star warsStar Wars: The Force Awakens takes the franchise in a fresh new direction. With a dash of lens flare and more than a hint of genius, J.J. Abrams has managed to create a fascinating blend of new characters, exotic locales, and non-stop nostalgia that delivers a higher concentration of dopamine than scientists ever though possible. It’s enough to make you forget the prequels altogether.

I had high hopes for this film and I’m happy to confess that despite some questionable creative decisions and a few unexpected but really not that unexpected plot twists, Episode VII does not disappoint.

Ok I haven’t actually seen the movie yet, but I just couldn’t wait to review it anyway. Listen to the review below.

Stories Are More Than Marketing

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It seems like more and more people want to harness the power of stories for the purposes of marketing. But is that really what stories are for? I could have sworn they were about something else besides selling products.

I understand that stories are often seen as a nifty way to connect with customers but I’m concerned that that isn’t quite capturing the true intent of storytelling.

I talk a lot on the podcast about learning to tell better stories but marketing seems to take that to an extreme. If you can make good enough stories, you can probably convince people to buy things they don’t need. That’s not actually something I want to see happen. I don’t want marketers to develop the storytelling skills they need to convince us all that we need whatever it is that they are selling.

What if there was more to storytelling that just telling good stories? What if it also meant a willingness to stop and listen to the people who have important stories of their own that the world needs to hear?

It’s easy to become focused solely on self-promotion and getting your own creativity seen and heard, but maybe there is a better way to go about doing things. Maybe by focusing on the people who really really need to be heard and helping share their stories, we can actually make more of a difference than by focusing on our own projects.

If you get a chance, listen to today’s episode as we talk more about how listening to other people’s stories might be more important than telling great stories.

We’ll also look at how Slack managed to create a great customer service experience despite a massive outage as well as how the efforts of marketing to use stories to sell products isn’t quite capturing the true intent of storytelling. I’ll also share one really cool project that needs your help.

You can listen to Episode 27 here!

Two Short Film Projects You Should Check Out

I’m constantly amazed by the sheer amount of creativity on display here in the Bay Area. Seems like everyone I meet is working on some incredible project or the other. It’s a little intimidating at times!

But today I want to highlight two short films that are absolutely worth your time and your attention.

Over My Dead Body

Just when you thought the zombie genre had been beaten to death, here comes a heartwarming story tinged with horror about two people trying to connect in the aftermath of the apocalypse. And one of them just happens to be a zombie.

I recently watched this film with a live audience and it was so cool to experience their laughter and the feedback afterward. I also got a chance to meet the filmmakers, Timothy Plain and Alrik Bursell, who are both really cool guys. Every Monday they put out a very informative podcast about the daily challenges of making movies.

Take 5 minutes, watch their film, and share it with a friend!

Neighbor

This short film is currently raising funds, but it tells the story of a homeless man who witnesses a kidnapping. Director Tony Gapastione hopes the film will raise awareness about human trafficking and highlight real ways people can make a difference.

Tony is the real deal, a swell guy with a big heart for enabling people and their creative pursuits. Let’s spread the word and help him out!

You can watch the promo for the video below and learn more about how to support the project here.

What Is Theme?

creekTheme is not an easy thing to pin down. You might be tempted to think that theme doesn’t matter, but theme can be a helpful tool in finding out exactly what it is you want your story to focus on.

On today’s episode we look at how theme can become a driving force in a story. It can and should be the big unifying idea that brings all the disparate elements of a story together.

Listen below or download it on iTunes.