Featured

I Am Going Back For The Blue Rose

This is the post excerpt.

Advertisements

1 - 1991 Welcome Letter

30 years ago, Twin Peaks Defined my creative thinking process.

It is a fantastic hybrid of a series and story which is at its heart, a nighttime Soap Opera with Supernatural Mythology undertones that shift to become a psychological, mythological nightmare of Cosmic Forces bent on destruction of our very existence.

I have studied this show for 27 of these years, I know more about this series and its mythology then it knows about itself.

Screen Shot 02-13-17 at 02.12 PM

I am delighted to be speaking with you.

 

 

Item 3 – This Isn’t Right…There’s Something Wrong here……

I remember reading IMDB user comments to movies when I first got on the internet proper. One lady commented at random on a movie review when she didn’t agree with what the viewer had to say:

“I was sitting yesterday in the Theater. While I waited for the movie to start, I though to myself: ‘I am just here to have a good time, not to study for college.’ I looked all around me at the 30 or 40 people gathered and thought to myself: “What makes any of these people qualified to be movie critics. Why is what they have to say more important then what I think about what I am about to watch?'”

I was obliged to enlighten her.

There are some folks who make it a great exploration to see all sorts of styles, seek out and watch certain genres, become exposed to what are considered classics and milestones of filming by celebrated filmmakers, widely outstanding films and film series, and become knowledgeable on film technique, directorial style and writing example. These folks see so much, study at the feet of the master filmmakers and become go to people for CRITICAL MOVIE REVIEW. They become the same as Art experts, Book Author Connoisseurs, and the like. They have seen the highs, the lows and all the points in between and can gauge a film better then most by the merits of their life’s knowledge in study.

You might call them experts in their field. Their opinion should and does carry weight and substance. Its the calling card of knowledge and understanding of the item under review. You might ask why some tv shows are cancelled, some music albums doen’t sell as much as others, and why movies flop. The majority of the public speaks.

However, lets be clear, Art and beauty and substance is in the eye of the beholder at the end of the day. One mans rash is another mans treasure, and it means nothing to me at all if something I love isn’t loved by someone else. I would hope no matter what those folks around her in that theater felt, and reviewed, if she liked and loved it, that should be the worth of it to her own true self. It then is frustrating when Your movie you loved or your favorite movie fails utterly as a public bomb. You alone cant make the ratings or the box office. I am simply giving her the answer – rather then a cursory afternoons folly, someone that is offering critical review is looking at the same object with a set of criteria, common expectation, memory of past experiences and a general baseline of understanding of what to expect based upon that lifetime of study.

When I obtained my life long love of movies is when I worked as a 15 year old in my brothers Video Store called “Movieland”. These were the days BEFORE Blockbuster, mid 80’s, when mom and Pop folks bought $90 video tapes(!) of movies of major releases and rented them out and if they were popular titles and you wanted 5 copies that was $500 to buy and you had to be sure you would get your money back! I can recall in those days before copy protection started, I would run off copies of films (in SLP mode) 3 movies a tape and “collect them to watch later” and had shelves and shelves of movies to watch and “Get under my belt” of all genres – horror, sci-fi etc. I bought Film guides, books of complete history’s of every sci-fi and horror movie ever made by year, complete films produced by Movie Studios (Like Columbia Pictures, MGM) and used all of this as a “checklist and crosscheck” to immerse myself in the world of film and ensure I had seen all the greats to be on page with those in knowledge, but also the hidden wonders and forgotten and overlooked films to see what didn’t work and catch the public’s eye. I wanted to know and see it all.

Not every movie is for everyone. Working at the video store I was seeing fantastic films, and I recall one customer coming in and wanting a refund on a very popular war film and she flat out told me “That’s not what I was expecting and not how I want to spend a relaxing evening at home getting away form it all”. Well.

Not only did my brother own his Video Store, but we made it a tradition to go see certain franchises every release as the years go by. STAR TREK was one of them. The 5th film was the film that produced the way my mind processes a film viewing experience AFTER ITS DONE – after all the observation, problem solving, detective work and so on my brain does while I am watching the story of the film as plot….How I CRITICALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT I HAVE SEEN. I become one of those folks around that girl in the theater – now the analysis begins.

When we left Star Trek 5 that night, We had an hour drive home, and he said to me after some silence – “So….What Did YOU think of that movie?” I replied that It was good, I enjoyed seeing the cast and crew make one more film together, that there was some funny stuff in it and some nice adventure. He looked at me and began a rather long list of things he did not like about it. Things that made no sense within the films plot itself, within the continuity of the previous films and tv series, the out of character way some of the cast performed, the terrible special effects, the plot holes the script had, and so on. He went on for the better part of the ride home. Now I was 16 or so, but as much of my film history was forming as outlined above, and together with my puzzle solving skill sets, and so on, this was an epiphany! This was the glue to hold together all these skills in my souffle…Critical Review of the product under all these conditions.

It dawned on me that he was right. Blisteringly, terribly, horribly right. There was a SLEW of mistakes and problems in that production that I could not defend, deflect or be unseen now that I had seen them. I transcended being like that woman in the theater just catching the latest Star Trek film – I was analyzing it to ensure it held together and that everything made sense and that it was fully formed and coherent. It failed at nearly every turn.

It occurred to me that typically, when you go into a process of a story, in film, tv show or book, that you form somewhat of an agreement with the creators and the author that there are ground rules. Tell me the rules of your universe, how they operate, tell me who is who, and what relationship they have to each other, tell me the scope of the world and how science laws work in your world. etc. I am forming a contract with you so that you don’t just switch up those rules because you cant write yourself out of a corner or make up some nonsense at the last second. If you have a tv show the characters shouldn’t contradict a backstory just to suit a plot 3 seasons in like we forgot about that. The laws you establish should be universal and unbreakable.

And most importantly, the contract you are making with me is that you know what you are doing. You aren’t throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks and hope I forget the crap you showed us that was so mysterious and so important but you couldn’t get to work right so you abandon it. Folks like us latch onto a throw away line or a mysterious light or secret code in episode 2 of season 1 and you better damn sure come back to it before the finale in season 5.

These rules can be upended in a non typical project or an inventive creation (Memento) but I need to know that up front as well. Don’t trick and string us along and then bait and switch me. There isn’t anything I don’t critically think about when I am done processing it.

The worse part to me, oh this boils me, is in the process of a film that takes 2-3 years to produce Start to finish – I see in my head this gigantic timeline – First script draft, editor review, table read by cast, second draft – shooting script revision, set design, filming, editing, review by movie company and editor and filmmaker to release – SOMEONE would have stopped it all and corrected the logic flaws, the continuity errors, the plot holes and the story and character contradictions and fixed it. How can I be the ONLY PERSON to see all those things wrong with it? You set out ignoring it or not seeing it and spend 60 million on it and deliver it to fans who waited 2.5 years to see yoru next franchise film? INSANE!

I am incurable of going into anything and not doing all the problem solving, observational and then critical thinking processes. Its how I am hard wired. Its how my mind works.

All this is to say I Have been around the film sprocket a time or two. I concur mostly with the overall general consensus of film throughout the last 100 years and while I have my own tastes and also my side beloved franchises or films the world derides or has forgotten, I am well steeped in the lore and legend of film-making.

Nostalgia plays a huge factor in some of our likes and loves. If you heard a song or see a film that instantly takes you right back to a childhood love or memories of a simpler time, that’s very valid. That songs or film might not be in the top 100 of all time – but it is for you. A time I look back on fondly in my youth is the Fall, and in particular is HALLOWEEN. This was a time when the street I grew up on was flooded with kids dressed up and having a blast. Spooky music played from all the windows, crazy lights and “ghosts” around every corner. This was a time of 3 channels of tv and everybody had Halloween cartoon specials from Garfield to Fat Albert and the air was awash in our kids minds in mystery and the unknown. Every kind of monster and spook you could imagine made me wonder in glee – what was the history of the Succubus? What is a will-o-the-whisp? What the heck is a Golem and how to you defeat them? Is a Wraith the same as Ghost?

The era and time in my life has grown to dominant proportions now that I am 48. I am collecting all my beloved tv shows, cartoon series, books, games, music from my childhood to relive those simpler wonderful times. I cannot stand the frozen winter and the boiling summer AT ALL. I love the joy of warmth and growth of Spring BUT The Fall belongs to me. I sit in Jan and Feb in the coldest blackest longest time of the year with no holidays, nothing but a long prison sentence of time to get to the warmth of spring. So, when September comes and the first hint of a whiff of Fall is here, I jump in super deep to steep myself in the fall and Halloween as long as I can. I don’t just do 30 days of Halloween, I do 61 days of Halloween and watch Spook and spooky stuff from September 1 right through the high holy holiday on October 31st. It is glorious!

So study of a great show full of supernatural elements, with a well grounded mythology graspable and Coupled with a Murder mystery for my Sherlock Holmes parts to dig into…..

This is a No Brainer.

Twin Peaks would be “The One”.  Season One is done. I have my brain power and all my skill sets.

Its GO TIME, Twin Peaks.

a leland

Lets Begin.

 

 

 

Item 2 – Major, perhaps you’d better start back at the beginning…

How does this mind work here trying to get to the bottom of all of this? How did it form?

At a very young age, I was always interested in computers. Our middle school had a giant sofa sized computer, a PDP-10 mainframe. It was a wonderful escape from endless spelling and match problems (Perhaps that why I cant do either very well) into worlds of imagination and adventure.

In fact, The game that enthralled me was Colossal Cave Adventure (also known as ADVENT, Colossal Cave, or Adventure), the Very first example of what is known as is a text adventure game, developed in 1976-77 by Will Crowther and  Don Woods. In the game, the player controls a character through simple text commands to explore a cave rumored to be filled with wealth. Players earn points for acquiring treasure and escaping the cave alive, with only the descriptions of the cave rooms and areas, the objects they contained, your inventory and how you use it in game. The days of HALO 3 of 3d mega graphics are nowhere to be seen here in 1980, no, the graphics are your imagination. Your visual of the “Two Pit Room” would differ from mine, As I see it in my head.

ADVENT_--_Crowther_Woods

You would be making a hand drawn map, trying all the possible compass direction exits, and the sense of discovery and thrill of the unknown as you push deeper into the cave is palpable. Your shiny Brass Lamp providing light, the treasure you are collecting shining in its glow.

The real skill here is working out the puzzles. Given a room, a situation happening in the room, and various items you encounter and pick up along the way, you would enter commands to try and solve the puzzle and get the treasure or progress further into the game. There is nothing quite like working on a puzzle for hours, giving up in frustration, and quite literally, jumping right up out of bed with an A-HA! Moment – And verifying your theory with success. That’s Logic being worked on there. How do you get light into a room where the only entrance is a thin crack and you cant fit half your inventory (lamp) with you as you enter? How do you get past a bear in a room that guards a treasure? How do you get a giant clam to open it’s mouth and where does the pearl go when you open it as the room is slanted?

As actual personal computers starting becoming available in your very own home, This game spawned an entire Computer Game industry, with dozens of companies doing Text Adventures of all sorts (Mystery, Adventure (Indiana Jones exploration),  Sci-Fi and so on. Colossal Cave was the Great Grandfather of The King Of all Adventure Games, ZORK made by INFOCOM which was masterclass storytelling and Puzzle creation. You were by now, literally lost inside of a fantastic book, interacting with its made characters and solving the worlds Many Puzzles. I cant tell you how logic and puzzle solving cemented itself in my brain by doing these.

zork-ZUG-map

The beauty of design in world creation, situational setup and resolution was a crystallization of pure magic. No matter how fanciful the setting or the objects, there was a solution, even if you really had to laterally think about the problem while standing on your head for a while.

After awhile it became so sophisticated that there would be extra rooms, objects, people and materials then you would use to solve all the puzzles as it would be in a real world. Being able to sort out what is needed and what is used where is the real skill set.

One of my favorite puzzles is the magic map and the magic pencil with only so many times to use:

infocom_enchanter_map_puzzle

…we can reach the map room, where we find a purple scroll, a worn pencil inscribed with runes, and an old parchment map. The ASCII-rendered map appears to match the Translucent Room area we’ve mapped out, but it is inscribed with letters and indicates the presence of a room P that can’t be reached by any existing passage.The other rooms are also lettered, which is probably another clue about how we might use the map.

Hmmm… the pencil is from the Frobozz Magic Pencil Company. Can we use it to amend the map? Yes, but it releases the fabled Unseen Terror! Our score drops to -10, and the game is over with a rank of Menace to Society. So that’s not a good idea. Experimentation reveals that we have enough of the worn pencil left to draw two connections, and erase two connections. So maybe we can rouse the beast and move it out of its lair, without actually releasing it into the world at large. But it doesn’t seem to move unless it thinks it can escape, and we can’t really tell where it is without making some educated guesses. The Terror’s room contains a scroll emanating power, but we can’t allow the Terror to escape. Maybe we need to cut off the main entrance and use the triangle area to avoid it ourselves. ERASE B AND R; CONNECT P TO F — now we can approach the Terror without letting it out of the maze.

Can we get in and out of the maze without releasing the Terror? We are trapped once we are in the creature’s presence, so we need to avoid it completely unless we’re going into the room with the scroll, where we can at least defend ourselves.

So… can we predict the Terror’s movements? Does it make a beeline for the exit? If so, it would probably traverse through P, M, R, and B. We want to go M, then to P, get the scroll, go to F and get the Terror trapped again. Maybe if we start at R and then take the sidestep route through H… no, it’s moving too fast and soon catches up with us. Does it seek us out?

The Invisiclues indicate that it only moves one room per turn, so we have options here. Maybe we can trap it in the F-V-J-K section of the translucent maze by disconnecting M and V. So we’ll try this — connect P to F; wait a turn, then disconnect M and V, then disconnect F and P. Now we can CONNECT M TO P and grab the scroll…

That seemed to work, whew! Confirmation comes a few turns later, when You hear a horrible anguished scream through the walls of the cavern as the Terror realizes that it is trapped and its scroll of power stolen!

I even wrote my own adventures, crudely, on my own Atari 1200Xl computer. I look back on them now, laughingly, but I see the logic skills getting a workout. Every Great Olympic champion started on a high school team somewhere.

My Love of computers grew beyond the logic games and has been my vocation ever since. Some folks are a whiz at plants and some do math or music or mechanics with ease. My forte has always been the cold clear logic of Computers.

I began to think in “If/Then” charts. When presented with most any situation, “I cant print”, that doesn’t tell me much, but lets start to break it down. Is it just you who cant print, or everyone? If its everyone, a whole side of the if\then chart erases itself, because the problem isn’t localized at the persons pc only, the fault lies at the printer end. If it IS only that person, the other side of the If/Then Chart erases itself – you have to work at the persons pc. Is it ALL of your files that cant print? or have you only tried one file over and over? Try to print an e-mail. That works? well, what kind of file is it? A PowerPoint file? try another PowerPoint file. That works? see the logic in whittling it down – its not the printer, its not the pc communicating to the printer, its not all printing, its this very specific file. and if its a network file, and no one else can print JUST that file, we have the actual cause of the problem.

if_then_elseif_then_else

That’s how logic works.

You can apply that to most every problem to find exactly where the issue is. The more you use this technique, the better your logic sharpens.

The fantastic Sherlock Holmes was a further teacher of logic and problem solving. He taught me to observe all the little details of life – the signs and results others don’t notice. That’s how he can  tell if someone has quit smoking, that he has an injury in a certain area, that he is a widow and that he has a dog, etc. The Maxim I live by, is:

“You SEE Watson, But you DO NOT OBSERVE. That is the distinction”.

_80473418_paget

My brain is hard wired to constantly observe subconsciously. If I am watching a standard police procedural, and it starts with 2 guys, pals at work, coming out of an elevator to walk across and get in a car, they will be chatting about random throw away lines, dating someone in the Office, and laughing while they walk towards the car. The one guy will get ahead of the other, its clear they carpool now, and say “Here, you drive, My carpel tunnel is killing me today” and toss the other the keys with his RIGHT HAND. The other guy says “Sure” and catches the keys with his LEFT HAND. There is no spot lite on this, its all fast and very general everyday looking, but my mind saw 3 things, who is left handed, who is right handed, and that one has a wrist issue. All of that will be established here and come into play later. Sure enough,. the killer is LEFT HANDED and the detective says  “we have to see who is left handed”. Well, I already know.

Lateral Thinking puzzles challenge you to solve problems in creative ways with your mind. You may need to think about it from a different angle then you normally would or look for what you are not being told to solve it.

“There is a small town in the midwest with exactly 2 barbershops, one on each side of town. The barbershop on the west side of town is pristine. Its floors are spotless, the windows are always perfectly clear, and the air always smells fresh. The barber has a friendly smile, shined shoes, a well-groomed head of hair, and a fancy shirt. The barbershop on the east side of town is a mess. Its floors and windows are dirty, and the air smells of garbage. The barber always has a grimace on his face. His skin is oily, his hair is short and ragged, and he has food on his clothes all the time.

A man traveling through the town realizes he needs a haircut. Knowing the stories of the two barbers, the man decides to go to the dirty barbershop on the east side of town. Why does he do this?”

What is the solution?

I have used lateral thinking, logic, deductive method, and observational skills all my life and it doesn’t shut off or shut down. My brain thinks in problem solving,  Scientific procedure and I excel in puzzle solving.

The CRITICAL REVIEW of entertainment came next. You can thank my Brother for that part of the brain being switched on.

 

 

 

Item 1 – A Wind In The Trees

I vividly remember Reading about it TV GUIDE. A forthcoming new series on ABC that was going to be a water-cooler show with a fantastic who dunnit mystery at its core. The FBI is arriving in town. People are meeting in the woods. Mystery and drama is in he air! Be there for the start or you wont know what everyone is talking about!

a6f27db2a26937e47fb2a76ee0a43f6d--david-lynch-tv-guide

You may notice there is no neon sign touting David Lynch at the start; its promoted as what IS ACTUALLY IS – A new kind of Night Time soap opera with weird people in a quaint little town like the town you grew up in but where everyone is a bit “Off” and the unexpected is the norm.

The title says it all – “The MYSTERY Begins tonight.” This will be a Detective Story, with clues, red herrings, and you will race along with the town, the other audience members, the creators to solve the mystery in the grand tradition of Sherlock Holmes. There is a cast of suspects, a murder victim and a hyper intelligent law man that has come to solve the crime.

aTwin-Peaks-2

In between what would be endless hours of crime leads and autopsies and to form the crust of the Murder investigation pie, is the Night Time Soap Opera cast of characters that populate the town. In every such case, the characters all would appear to be hiding something, their demeanor would be suspect in every word and where they go and what they say, and how they interact with everyone else. I remember my very own “Clue Book” where I wrote it all out, crosschecked dates and times, who was where and what they were all saying looking for a pattern, watching for connections, eliminating the workable and formulating the solution week by week. I found that same notebook, direct from 1989, just the other day. Seeing my handwriting, seeing me work on the central mystery all the while enjoying the bizarre land Mayberry of a town, I was taken right back to what drew me off the midway, into the tent to see the show.

aTwin-Peaks-5

As originally conceived, Lynches creation of a Red Room sequence was to be the “closed ending” to the pilot when shown in Theaters overseas. Full of typical Lynch Let Loose abstract words and imagery, it offered a very quick summation to the murder in that 2 characters, MIKE and BOB, seem to be Reincarnating Killers, that chase after themselves throughout eternity. Each switching roles of pursued and the persuader. In this cycle, BOB is the killer, and when shot by MIKE he also dies feeling the same bullet. As he slumps to the floor, he says “Wait til its YOUR Turn Bob, this hurts like Hell!” and they both die. How or why they are this way, how they came in contact with Laura or “the other girl a year ago” isn’t explained, but then a 25 years later dream sequence of random motions, songs, and characters ends the film. This may have been the earliest of early winds to foretell THE RETURN 30 years later. That’s very interesting.

Created in a bubble by actors, writers and directors, the pilot and all of season 1 was a product of isolation free from public expectation, network pressure, and Fan input. They had no idea what worked and what didn’t, what was excess and what was meat, what was logic and what was feeling. They wrote a very contained and logical set of story-lines for The Sale of the local Mill, the relationships with the characters in and among-st themselves, and stunningly, solved to the public 75-80% of the entire Murder Mystery of what happened the night Laura Palmer was killed and who was involved. Looking at it now, its clear they were holding back the entire element of the “3rd Man” for a potential Season 2, and whomever that was and his part in it would be explored at that time.

The same European film ending now became a dream of Agent coopers, and every strange gesture and sentence spoken there was a clue to what had happened the night of the murder and the mystery itself.  A brilliant was to reuse footage in a whole new way, the “Red Room” became Coopers intuit subconscious, absorbing the aura around this town and interpreting and foretelling places, facts, and situations. Now, “The Birds Sing A Pretty Song” leads to a Myna Bird that was actually there at the crime scene and witness to the crime, and so on.

The Last Episode Arrives and its packed to the gills with Cliffhangers, an absurd amount, in the effort to wind up the public to see more. I was beside myself in anticipation, to say the least. I was hooked, deeply hooked, and I couldn’t imagine what more was to come.

All Summer long I poured over my Clue Log Book, watched the cast appear on endless talk shows, read the newspaper articles and interviews, and pondered til my ponder was sore. I would solve this case, I would discover who the 3’rd Man was.

What kind of a Man was I in 1990? What tools did I have that would enable me to do this task? How did my love of creative critical thought come about and how did I obtain this thirst for Logic, Science, Puzzle Solving and Resolution?

Who IS Wyatt Clough?

20170908_063431

That is a great question. Let’s see how we got here.