Read “‘Taos 2010’ dreams revisited” in The Taos News

In 1989, The Taos News asked residents to predict what Taos would be like 20 years into the future. Nearly three decades later, I asked them how it all turned out—and what they now hope for in the years to come. What emerges is a startling portrait of a community’s transformation over the years, and a new vision of what may be on the way.

Read my feature story in The Taos News, an all-too-brief sketch of a unique community in the Southwest.

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Image courtesy of the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives.

 

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Read “The manipulative storytelling of ‘The Avengers: Infinity War'” on Medium

The Avengers: Infinity War is projected to gross $240 million nationwide its opening weekend, making for the second U.S. highest box office debut in history.

As such, it’s the movie that everyone is talking about—and so I’ve added my voice to the mix. Critics don’t always write from a screenwriting perspective, and so my take considers the storytelling challenges of a film that boasts more than 40 recognizable characters.

Check out my review of The Avengers: Infinity War on Medium. Be sure to check back here for more articles, reviews, and updates.

Thanks for reading!

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Photo by Bryan Goff on Unsplash.

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.

“Narrative Architecture” creative writing workshop held at Princeton University Writing Program

Within certain storytelling genres (such as fiction & screenwriting), there lurks an essential element that is often difficult to pin down. That element is narrative architecture, the structure of the story that — like the steel frame of a building — works to justify a plotline, and most critically, a character’s decision-making within that context. A self-supporting narrative architecture is a positive feedback loop that is capable of resisting an earthquake of scrutiny; a flimsy narrative architecture will collapse like a house of straw in a tornado.

On March 29, 2018, I gave a 90-minute professional development workshop on “Narrative Architecture” to Writing Center fellows at Princeton University. By using examples as varied as Portlandia, Vertigo, and Macbeth, we analyzed the plot and character dynamics intrinsic to narrative architecture, progressing from a single scene to a sequence of scenes. These examples  helped us answer the following critical questions:

What events must happen for a character to make a critical decision? How can you arrange these events to make that character’s decision justified?

With a deeper understanding of narrative architecture, we practiced analyzing a student fiction story and brainstorming how a Writing Center tutor might be able to give productive suggestions to a student attempting to write an engaging, efficient, and airtight story.

The main ideas of this workshop are currently being adapted to an essay format for future publication. Many thanks to the Princeton Writing Program for inviting me to give the workshop, and to the enthusiastic fellows who participated.

 

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