Read “Westworld’s storytelling challenge” on Medium

Westworld, HBO’s sci-fi Western TV series, returns for a second season on Sunday, April 22. But Westworld has a particular problem among television dramas—the first season was structured like a puzzle box—and the same format might not be as effective the second time around.

In anticipation of the season premier, my latest post on Medium explores the storytelling choices showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy may have had to consider while writing the second season.

In doing so, I’m not trying to preemptively critique Nolan and Joy’s storytelling decisions. I’m merely laying out the storytelling challenge of Westworld to appreciate the difficult job such storytellers have. As one of my writing friends has stated—if this job was easy, then everyone would be doing it.

Check out the article here. Thanks for reading!

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Featured image by Wellington Rodrigues on Unsplash.

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Read “The ‘First’ Winter Olympics: How Chamonix 1924 iced out a rival Nordic competition” on Medium

The Olympic Games.

Out of all international sporting events, those three words possess the most fanfare. They evoke tradition, history—and the symbolic flame.

But if the Olympics are inspired from an ancient Greek tradition, then how did the Winter Games—featuring hockey, skating and curling—come to be?

The answer is complicated, and it’s the subject of my latest essay on Medium: “The ‘First’ Winter Olympics: How Chamonix 1924 iced out a rival Nordic competition.” In it, you can find out about the origins of the Olympics, the Olympics’ early rivalry with the Nordic Games, and of course, the ‘first’ Winter Games.

To read more of my stories on Medium, please look at my Medium profile. You can also see an extensive list of my published stories on the “clips” page.

As always, thanks for reading.

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Image: Poster for 1901 Nordic Games. (Author unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Read — and listen to — “The Decline and Fall of the American Cinematic Dream” on Medium

Updated: February 15, 2018. 

For the longest time, going to the movies was a warped retelling of the American dream. It was a meritocratic space that rewarded the rugged, the prepared — those who got there early and, setting down their windbreakers, established their own claims on the territory.

But the way we watch movies is changing. It not only affects how we experience storytelling, but it also changes what stories are produced. It even changes how we behave at the movies—and in the world at large.

You can read my latest essay, “The Decline and Fall of the American Cinematic Dream: The disenchantment of the movie-watching experience ” on Medium.

And now, you can also listen to it (if you’re a Medium member)! The Medium editors recently selected the story for transformation into an audio story, and you can listen to the audio version of the story — read by a professional voice actor — on the article page.

To read more of my stories on Medium, please look at my Medium profile. You can also see an extensive list of my published stories on the “clips” page.

As always, thanks for reading.

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Photo credit: annca on Pixabay.

 

“The Last Jedi’s snark problem” now available in audio for Medium members

Last week, my Medium post, “The Last Jedi’s snark problem” was featured as a “Staff pick” on the Medium homepage, after which it garnered a lot of traffic on the publishing site.

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 8.04.20 AM
Screenshot January 8, 2018, Medium.com

In a further honor, Medium editors subsequently selected the essay to be read out loud and recorded for an audio version, featuring the voice of professional actor. Should you have the time or interest, it’s quite the listen!

If you are a Medium paying member, you can listen to the audio version on the article page. Unfortunately, unless you sign up for a Medium subscription, you won’t be able to listen to it. But never fear — you can always still read the article the old-fashioned way!

You can read more of my Medium posts as they are regularly published at https://medium.com/@harrisonblackman, but www.harrisonblackman.com is still the central place for news and updates on my writing.

Thanks for reading!

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(Featured photo by Michael on Unsplash.)

View story at Medium.com

Read “The Last Jedi’s snark problem” on Medium

This December, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi opened to rave reviews from critics and abysmal reactions to fans. This week, I take my own step into the critical pond—writing about The Last Jedi and the widespread cinematic movement of sarcasm that spawned it. Read my critical essay, “The Last Jedi’s snark problem: The sarcastic storytelling attitude of 2017’s most divisive movie” here. Thanks for reading!!

Photo credit: Michael on Unsplash.

 

 

Read “The Museum of the Bible is an intellectual travesty” on Medium

The Museum of the Bible is Washington, D.C.’s newest museum. Behind the glittering exterior, however, is the troubling and controversial narrative that the museum promotes.

To save you the trouble, I visited the Museum of the Bible for myself. You can vicariously experience my somewhat alarming visit by reading my new opinion essay on Medium. In it, I take you through the full museum experience, highlighting the problematic assumptions and strange editorial choices at every turn. Thanks for reading!

Public domain image courtesy Pixabay. All rights reserved.