Welcome to the Future I: Virtual travelling

Because it's being a while now, I thought I'd post something clever-sounding today, so that I can justify why I'm still wearing those horrible glasses of mine.

Companies like Google push us through the future, causing or facilitating changes that could not have happened otherwise and changing our lives at the same time. The change is sometimes minor. And sometimes we cannot even begin to imagine the implications. When months ago I used Google Street View to show a colleague our company's offices in the USA, her reaction was "Wow, this is scary". It is scary, I guess, but isn't it also beautiful the fact that we can walk around the world from our office/home? (and that this was unthinkable 1 year ago?).

And this is hardly the limit of the adventure. As virtual travelling keeps evolving, and more features are incorporated to the experience, may we one day see a situation in which we have to decide whether it's really worth it to physically travel?

Let's just imagine for a second and go one step further. Combine Street view (or Google Earth, for the 3D version) with the concept of virtual worlds (like Second life), where we also have a virtual 3D avatar who "plays us" in the virtual environment. Now, let's meet in Paris. Today, why wait? Let's have a nice chat there before contemplating the Eiffel tower in all the possible lights (morning, dusk, illuminated in the dark) in a matter of seconds. And since we are not subject to physical limitations, let's fly (yep, fly, just like we would in a video game) or teleport to the Grand Canyon and spend the evening there.

Of course it's not that simple. Attempts have been made at making this possible, but no clear success as emerged of them. Graphics are not yet that realistic. Screens are still 2D. Computers are not yet as fast, and it is annoying to wait for Google Earth to load all the buildings and textures in Manhattan. This is NOW though. Computers evolve quickly.

Also, we see and hear, but we cannot touch. We all who live away from our loved ones love applications like skype. We love talking to our family or friends without barriers, or even have a conversation face to face. But it's not quite as good as being there, right? You may just need a hug that day, and all the available technology won't be able to help you. But talking about scary, I don't see why that too won't evolve. Tom Cruise's Minority report dream gloves for computer interaction have already been made. And virtual reality interaction devices are by now an old friend.

Ok, these are not the gloves I was talking about, but isn't it as cool? :-)

I believe one day, we will actually be able to kiss someone from the other side of the world. Or simply shake hands and actually feel it. That day distances will have disappeared, and everything
will have changed .

Also, I'm one of those naive dreamers who really believed we'd have flying DeLoreans by now after watching Back to the Future II. It feels very good to be able to look towards the ever-mysterious tomorrow with documented hopes that we might get there after all. It's exciting to be living this age of technological change.

Welcome to the future.

The joys of feedback

Interestingly, sometimes people see films in a radically different way. Just yesterday, I got a completely different perception of Dan Brown's latest film adaptation to those of the two friends I watched it with (fact which incidentally led to quite an enjoyable debate).

It's not surprising that the feedback I'm receiving from the people that are kindly reading the shortfilm I'm working on
(thanks for that!) is so varied too:

- "I don't know what you want to say".

- "The characters' motivations are weak".

- "What script? Mnn, probably went to my spam folder" (where it belongs, he seemed to say, silently).

- "Have you ever heard about script conventions?".

- "Have you ever heard about grammar?".

Not all have been as positive, though:

- "You should be in a mental hospital".

In short, a very useful eyes-opening feedback that I will be using to get to a third-draft (and hopefully last) stage.

In the mean time, I keep struggling to finalise the DVD of "It did happen" ("Eso que pasó"), which seems to be encountering all the possible difficulties in the history of having difficulties when making DVDs.

If you don't believe DVDs are evil, ask this man.
He just spent several hours wrestling violently
with the DVD of the picture, before immobilising it
with the popular Vulcan finger pinch.

I have also been busy with drafting the storyline for the online comic book I mentioned here. In principle, the whole thing will have no dialogues, which is quite challenging. As I understand that this affects every single scene and try to find my way around explaining things in a different way, my heart -unreasonable as ever- hopes the results will eventually be good!

Thanks for reading.

Writing is rewriting

"The first draft is always shit" - Ernest Hemingway

Out of the three shortfilm scripts I had started, I decided on the one that I'm most comfortable with and seemed to provoke a better reaction in the people I told about it. By far the weirdest too. A half-absurd (and only half!) comedy with sci-fiction overtones told for both the geek and the average human being.

At this point, two aspects potentially differentiate "The Entity!!" from the average short film: the undeniable attractive of the exclamation marks in its working title (which at the same time would avoid undesirables copyright issues down the line with a similarly-titled old film) and the fact of portraying the most surprising life form in modern film history. Or maybe not.

I hadn't written a short film script in years. At least, not with the idea of actually finishing it. Taking notes and throwing words and characters onto a paper sheet (or the ever-practical cofffe shop napkins) is one thing; writing drafts, fixing what doesn't work and slowly, painfully progress through weak dialogue and blurry characters, another completely different. Writing is rewriting, they say.

In my attempt for understanding what the hell I was trying to do when I wrote the previous version of the script, and clevery moving away from the computer screen I'm spending so many hours with in any case, I decided to put my lovely wall to good use.

Since I wrote "La Sopa" ("The Soup") and "Eso que paso" ("It did happen"), through writing unfinished scripts, short stories and the occasional comic-book, I've become a freak of structure. Laying out your story bit by bit is a great way of seeing where the plot gets boring, or where the hell your characters are going (they'd better go somewhere). It also helps a lot when seeing the need of merging scenes (once you realise in horror that they both should have actually been the same scene in the first place!) or, when necessary, weeding scenes out in bitter tears.

In short, the second draft is now ready, no one got killed in the process so far and I'm enjoying tremendously. And while I leave it aside for a while I'll be starting doing some calcs for the budget.

Soon, from any sort of funding I can qualify for to the less glamorous-still-effective begging down your local grocery store, chances are that I will be trying anything and everything.

Thanks for reading.