Wednesday, October 17, 2018

(UN)SOCIAL MEDIA

I've been feeling like a fool since last week's blog disaster. I should have checked the wording before publishing. I thought I had but clearly, the revised version hadn't saved. No idea why. So I can understand how I might have offended some. But I'm a grown-up and when I make a mistake I'm happy to put my hand up, admit it and apologise.

On the plus side, the fallout served as a perfect example of the message I was trying to get across; how to present yourself on social media without making yourself look like an idiot. Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one who failed to achieve this.

Several people who were upset with me politely pointed out my mistake and brought me to task on it. Good. A few even contacted me directly to chat about it. This was good also. Most could see the point I was trying to make even if they didn't agree with it. It's OK to disagree with others. I have enjoyed the debates I've had with a few people since.

However, there were about four or five people on Twitter who let their anger get the better of them and their common sense to evaporate, including two usual suspects. If there's an online disagreement you can guarantee one or both of them will be there, right at the forefront. They don't seem to be able to help themselves. They'll viciously attack anyone who dares to disagree with them, rounding up and inciting their friends to gang up against their victims in greater numbers. Even when you point out they're wrong for doing so they'll continue to argue that they're justified, regardless. It appears to be a lot worse on Twitter. I don't know what it is about only having 280 characters to get your message across that makes people so aggressive at times. You would think as writers we could communicate in a better way other than simply freeing our animal instincts to attack what we fear or don't understand.

Constructive criticism is fine. Viciously attacking someone because their views differ from yours isn't. It's bullying plain and simple. And it's especially cowardly to do so from behind a keyboard. I don't care what reasoning you use to vindicate yourself for hurling abuse at a person, there is no excuse for it. Nothing can justify a personal attack on anyone. Nothing! It's called 'trolling'! The irony is these two are using the very thing to attack others they claim to be against. Hate is hate in whatever form it might rear its ugly head and if you peddle it you're just as bad as the others you accuse of doing the same.

Be kind! Play safe! And if you can't do so then get off social media for good.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

HAVE AN OPINION - DOCTOR WHO

One of the pieces of advice I hear most relating to TV writing is to have an opinion. But how exactly do you express that opinion of your favourite or most hated TV shows without people hating you for it?

First of all show respect. Whatever you think of the show, whether you love or hate it, a lot of people have shed blood, sweat and tears to get it made. Don't shit all over their hard work. Would you be happy if someone slated the stuff you write?

Equally, don't hide your opinion away. Don't be afraid of giving it. No matter what you say there will always be someone who will disagree with your opinion and slate you for it. That's social media for you. Don't let that put you off. Be polite, constructive and respectful and never be tempted to get into arguments with idiots. Never rise to their bait. State your opinion and if things get heated, walk away.

So let's get to Doctor Who series eleven, episode one. Here's my opinion... brace yourselves.

The introductory episode of every new Doctor is always difficult. There's a new Doctor to discover, new companions to introduce and a new title sequence and T.A.R.D.I.S. to reveal. My first disappointment with the episode was that it felt a little thin, that something was missing. And I'm not talking about the absence of the title sequence and the T.A.R.D.I.S.

It was a very simple plot. A one-sentence concept. Personally, I would have preferred to see less of the new Doctor discovering who she was and more of a substantial plot. Having said that, it did work. They obviously decided to keep the plot simple to keep things moving along while concentrating on introducing the new set up. They clearly didn't want to get bogged down in all that exposition and I'm sure that as the season progresses we'll see more complex plotting and greater character exploration. I just prefer my drama to have more drama, Killing Eve or Bodyguard style.

I'm also not a fan of change. I'll happily admit it. That's just me. Change makes me anxious. Why fiddle with something that works? Why change things for change's sake? Don't get me wrong I love Jodie and welcome a female Doctor. I just wanted there to be a plot reason for her introduction and I was satisfied when Steven Moffat delivered one. What I mean by change is... I hated the fact that in the first episode the title sequence was missing. It's an event. Something every fan looks forward to in every episode, especially with the introduction of a new theme tune and titles with each new Doctor. I love 'woo wooing' along to the theme tune. It's absence was disconcerting. The missing T.A.R.D.I.S. was a little less so but still distracting. They even moved the show's time slot to a Sunday. I can understand that one. Sunday is the evening families are most likely to sit together and watch the show. Both my sons sat and watched it with me. I think that's the first time ever. They absolutely loved it.

Having said all of that, I did enjoy the show. I'll certainly be watching next week with my family and I'm looking forward to all the surprises Mr Chiball and gang have in store for us.

So remember, you can have an opinion, it's important to have one, you just need to be considerate when expressing it. And more importantly be respectful of other people's opinions especially if you don't agree with them.

Happy writing!