Tuesday, March 6, 2012

There's gold in them thar hills!

I hadn't made any captions for new members of the Haven in quite awhile. Then again I hadn't made many captions this year at all (I think 25 so far this year.) I was searching online for good pictures online when I came across this one. I had the overall story plot in my head, but wanted to make sure I was hitting someone's preferences before writing it up, so I took the photo and set it up visually, then went to find a recipient.

Brandi C's preferences were well within my theme for the caption, but when I saw her "2 for 1" folder .. there staring at me were a bunch of pictures with luscious lips all shiny and wet. Well, when you get a sign like THAT, I had to make her this caption.

To me, this is sort of a throwback to the captions I used to make. This one has a clear cut beginning, middle, and end.  Its pretty self-contained, and you don't have to bring any fore knowledge into viewing it, and I don't see it being the slightest bit vague. Everything is spelled out and concrete.

I enjoy this caption, and I'm glad that people in general seemed to like it. I guess that I really should do more straightforward captions (and the last few I posted to the Haven have been moreso) but honestly, I like doing more offbeat and/or nuanced pieces. To relate it to comedy terms, I would rather be Andy Kaufman than Robin Williams. Conceptual rather than popular but hackneyed. In fact, if I have to be a stand up, I'd rather be Louis C.K. or Patton Oswalt than Billy Crystal.

 DISCUSSION QUESTION: Do you prefer your TG stories and captions to be more straightforward, or give you some twists, turns, or downright WTF moments? Are you disappointed when a caption doesn't spell everythiung out for you, or do you prefer when it gives you lots of spots for vagueness?

1 comment:

  1. I think directness is severely underrated by a lot of otherwise smart, creative people. I always see the same patterns in new story tellers, captioners among them: They start off direct. They get bored or ambitious. They begin to write stories that "are high-concept," "leave room for interpretation," "have twists" or "are profound." Not everyone is good at this. Not everyone is good at telling a direct story, either. I haven't noticed that either one is inherently better than the other. I have noticed that non-direct stories tend to be overrated, though.

    Let me step back a bit. There're a number of story-telling tools and techniques that get used all the time. They don't get used all the time because they're bad. They get used all the time because they work. They mostly work because they reflect how we experience the stories that make up our lives. There's nothing wrong with telling something a new way, but if it works, it gets learned, re-used and becomes almost as straightforward in its own was as the more direct methods. The further you go in this direction, the more difficult it is to tell a story well but also the more interesting the story becomes if you do it right. Too many people fixate on the conventions for departing from directness to much and the whole of their story suffers as a result.

    What's the reward in the end? Well, if you do really well you can get something like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, (arguably) Inception or The Usual Suspects. These are the sorts of movies that are always help up against the Avatars, Captain Americas and Shreks. Wall-E was pretty straightforward, though, and it was great. Schindler's list was too, and it's considered one of the best movies of all time. I can't count the number of gratuitous twists across all mediums I've rolled my eyes and groaned at, though.

    In the end, just pay respect to your story, and don't feel you HAVE to do things a certain way for them to be good. You don't. That more than anything else makes for disappointing stories.

    So, which do I prefer? Well, Eternal Sunshine is probably my favorite movie of all time, but you know what? I really liked Captain America too. I liked having them both exist most of all. So I vote for variety. Sorry if this is a cop-out, but I enjoy twists and turns done well as much as a good story directly told.