Monday, November 20, 2017

Nothing's changed

Here's a helpful writer tip:

Even though people change, there are traits that always stay the same. You see this a lot at high school reunions. Someone may now be a big hotshot lawyer but he still slouches and wears a pocket protector hidden under the jacket of his $1000 suit. 

When people ask I tell them I’m still 13.  I'm only half-joking.

When I was 13 I used to repair to my room, sit at my desk, and draw comic books. I don’t even think I ever showed them to anybody. But they were fun to draw and fun to create the elaborate stories for them. (Think: Rocky & Bullwinkle) God knows if they were any good.

Also, I would be listening to KFWB Channel 98 “Color Radio.” They played the hits of the day straight off the “Fabulous 40” survey.

Flash forward to today, and I’m in my office, at my desk, writing a new play. Meanwhile, my speakers are blaring Richbroradio.com – bar none the best oldies station on the internet – and I thought to myself, “Ohmygod. Nothing’s changed. Only the jokes are different.”

When creating characters for your screenplay or pilot or novel, one thing to keep in mind is “who they were.” You can often take character traits of your youth or others and apply them to help define characters in adulthood. It’s just another great tool. Your bratty annoying sister might have just done you a favor by being bratty and annoying.
And by the way, let me double back and recommend Richbroradio.com.  It’s programmed by Rich Brother Robbin, one of the great jocks and PD’s of the golden Top 40 era. If you like oldies from the ‘50s-‘70s this is the station for you. Primarily because he has a deep playlist. Unlike terrestrial stations that play the same 100 tunes (How many times can you hear “Proud Mary?” Ugh!), you’ll hear songs you haven’t heard in years. Also vintage radio jingles and NO COMMERCIALS. I listen on iTunes but you can find it here. Who knows? Maybe it’ll help you write a great play. Or comic book.

13 comments :

Johnny Walker said...

“A man is just a boy holding a beer.” - Dylan Moran (probably hopelessly misquoted, but the sentiment is so true).

Curt Alliaume said...

Thanks for the tip about Richbroradio - you hit the nail on the head. I just tuned in and got The Dave Clark Five doing a remake of Chuck Berry's "Reelin' and Rockin'" - a song that was rare (or nonexistent) even on WCBS-FM's notoriously deep playlist of the 1980s and 1990s.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken - Not sure if this is the place to ask a Friday question, but (assuming your paths have crossed) do you have any John Swartzwelder stories?

Dan S.

ELS said...

"Again? But that trick NEVER works!"

MWire said...

I rarely comment but have to say that Richbroradio is awesome. Love it when I hear a song I haven't thought of in 20-30-40 years.

Peter said...

Ken, I thought this would amuse you. Over the weekend, Lena Dunham issued a statement to apologize for some comments she'd made. Both the comments and her apology sparked a backlash, which included a tweet that listed all the times Dunham has apologized for saying stupid things.

https://twitter.com/hotmesslie/status/932054501434912768

Fred Nerk said...

Regarding the 'lets get Lena Dunham twittering', it's just a gaggle of shallow high school mean girls doing what they do, and at their age it is even more pathetic.

jcs said...

FRIDAY QUESTION

I'm wondering what happens to the staff of a show that gets put on hold/gets cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances like TWO AND A HALF MEN or HOUSE OF CARDS. What happens when a camera operator, director or writer suddenly finds out there will be no taping tomorrow? Do showrunners retain staff (or part of their staff) until things are up and running again? Is there some kind of severance package? Can you find a new job after all the other showrunners have already completed their hiring process?

Earl Boebert said...

Thanks for the Richbroradio tip. Great stuff. Makes me feel young again -- well, at least until I try to get out of the chair :-)

Scott said...

Must be me, but I cannot get his stream to work, nor does the app download link work. Like I’m being told I’m not one of the cool kids (again).

YEKIMI said...

My last class reunion [35th] was a joke. The only ones that showed up were band geeks, not one single jock, and others I barely knew or didn't associate at all with in high school. The "band babes" who totally ignored me in high school had all gained about 150 pounds and were married but that didn't stop them hitting on me [hey, I've gained some poundage also, there are bridges with weight restrictions that I'm not allowed to cross now.] After about an hour and a half of the bullshit I left. Didn't get invited to the 40th reunion so guess I can look forward to my 50th....but I'm sure they'll all be acting like the idiots they were in high school. My 20th reunion was horrendous, idiot sport jocks who thought they could bully me like they did in high school were rudely awakened when I basically called them out on their crap and told them "I see you're just a big an asshole today as you were in high school." And they backed down real fast when they found out I was working for a police department at the time. Hopefully they'll grow up by the 50th reunion but I'm not betting on it.

Pat Reeder said...

To YEKIMI: I'm with you, I no longer go to high school reunions. I went to high school in a small Texas town, and I counted the seconds until I could get out. My classmates are perfectly nice, I just have no interest in reliving any of that. I also don't want to see how much older everyone looks. I have pet parrots that live 70 years, and that helps me keep enjoying the self-delusion that I'm still 22.

Ken, last weekend, I happened to need to visit Denton for the first time in years. I took the time to give my wife a little tour of my old haunts at the University of North Texas. We were driving down Oak Street, which is where all the hippie types lived back when, and listening to the Sinatra channel on Sirius satellite radio, when I spotted a lighted peace sign in someone's window. I told Laura, "All these years later, and I'm still driving down a street full of hippies while listening to Frank Sinatra. The only difference is that now, I'm the cool one."

sanford said...

Kind of off tangent here. I also listen to rich bro radio, I listen more on my phone than on a computer. There is an ap, which I use at night because I can set it to play for awhile before I fall asleep. For some reason the ap stopped working. I uninstalled it and no can't reinstall it as I get some message about a certificate for chrome. Just wondering if any one has some advice or who I can write to. The ap is not on the play store and you have to download it from your phone