Link Bank December 2016: Recapping the year

It’s the end of 2016, and I know what you’re thinking: finally. It’s been a rough year in general, but it’s been particularly bad for movie and music lovers.

But now it’s time to get ready for the New Year, and that means we need be positive. We need to, guys. So in that spirit, let’s take a moment to reflect on the good that 2016 brought us (except for that one about the disappointing movies, but the writer made some good points). Enjoy!

The Best TV Shows of 2016 – New York Times

“Year-end lists are stories: they tell the truth by lying. The idea that a critic can watch all the television there is today, let alone isolate the 10 best works across wildly different genres, is a fiction. But play along with it, and you tell a larger tale of what mattered this year and why.”

The Most Disappointing Movies of 2016 – Film School Rejects

“The worst movies don’t open in theaters, they go straight to DVD or VOD, and some of us never want to speak of them again. So instead I’m offering up a list of movies that promised so much — typically due to the proven talent involved — but delivered noticeably less.”

And check out their #2016Rewind video here.

Best Books of 2016 – Publisher’s Weekly

Take a look at your list and check off this selection of the year’s best books from the editors of Publisher’s Weekly. The list features a lot of nonfiction, including “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond, “A Kingdom of Their Own: The Family Karzai and the Afghan Disaster” by Joshua Partlow, and “Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets” by Svetlana Alexievich.

13 Best Books of 2016 – Harper’s Bazaar

For a more fiction-based take on the best of 2016, here’s a gallery by Harper’s Bazaar featuring “The Girls” by Emma Kline, “Swing Time” by Zadie Smith, and “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi.

The Best and Worst Swag of 2016 – The A.V. Club

In this video, The A.V. Club’s Josh Modell and John Teti unpack the “swag” (i.e. merchandise) they’ve been getting from movie studios and other Hollywood bigwigs over the course of the year. There are a lot of USB drives, and there’s also booze. Don’t send The A.V. Club stuff unless it’s really good, is the lesson here. (It’s actually pretty hilarious, check it out.)

Here’s to 2017 – may our television shows maintain their character development, may our movies keep CGI to a minimum, and may our books make us smarter.

Link Bank: July 2016

This month it’s all about the craft at the Link Bank, with advice on writing and film-making from the experts:

The Visual Writer’s Guide to Pacing and Tension – Sacha Black

“Once you’re knee-deep wading through the slush of your story, you know as well as I do, you can’t see the commas for the sentences. Let alone step back enough to see the shape of your newly trimmed bush manuscript.”

The Secret to Sequels is in the Details – Film School Rejects

“For a lot of sequels, adding characters audiences will latch onto should be a no-brainer for the studios. Often it’s a way to give kids a new toy to buy, and that’s surely Disney’s original thinking behind both Hank and BB-8, but to sell those toys the characters have to leave a mark on viewers, and that benefits audiences not concerned with such merchandise because great characters are still great characters.”

5 Tips To Finish Your First Draft – Writers in the Storm

“Even with the looming due date and clear path, I still have those days where I stare at the screen digging for the right phrase, clueless how to take a scene from point A to point B. I wander through the words—a babe lost in the woods. It sucks. But it’s not my first rodeo (truly, I’ve been to a real rodeo in Wyoming) and I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade.”

50 Blog Topics for Fiction Writers – Mixtus Media

“Blogs are a great way to think outside of the box, challenge yourself as a writer and, as an added bonus, engage and grow your audience.”

How To Write A Screenplay – The Write Practice

“In college, I took a class with John Wilder, a veteran film and TV writer, who began the class by writing, “STRUCTURE! STRUCTURE! STRUCTURE!” on the chalkboard in big bold letters. “What’s the most important part of a screenplay?” he would ask at the beginning of nearly every class. It was obvious what he thought: Structure.”

Looking for even more advice? Check out How To Write Everything by David Quantick, Stephen King’s memoir On Writing, and more How-Tos at the bookstore.

Link Bank: June 2016

This month’s Link Bank explores issues of diversity, representation,  and more…

Who Gets to Tell Other People’s Stories? – NY Times

“There are times when such efforts can appear profoundly self-serving; when bearing witness or showing compassion feels more like public performance than real acknowledgement or understanding of another.”

Asian-American Actors Are Fighting For Their Visibility – NY Times

“It’s never been easy for an Asian-American actor to get work in Hollywood, let alone take a stand against the people who run the place. But the recent expansion of Asian-American roles on television has paradoxically ushered in a new generation of actors with just enough star power and job security to speak more freely about Hollywood’s larger failures.”

X-Men: Apocalypse Needs To Be The End For Bryan Singer – Film School Rejects

“This is a cast that is easily likable, but the creative teams behind it aren’t giving us anything that feels fresh. No matter how many new visual tricks, or beloved characters and moments it adapts from comics, it seems like more of the same. And even though Oscar Isaac is a great actor, Apocalypse is an indistinct big bad whose stakes are so high that it has a numbing effect on the audience. The fact that he looks like Ivan Ooze the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show just feels like a twisting of the knife. ”

A Cup of Tea With Oliver Sacks – TEDTalks

“Out popped Oliver Sacks, peering at me uncertainly. His prosopagnosia, or face blindness, made him unable to recognize me from my author photo. When I told him who I was, he engulfed me in a great big bear hug.”

How Do Artists Make a Living? – TEDTalks

“After all, artists innovate — it’s what we do, no matter what our medium is. We imagine ways forward that no one else has imagined before, in literature, music, theater, dance, art, performance. There’s no reason we can’t do it with economics as well.”

How Can We Best Help Talented Underrepresented Students? – The Creativity Post

“It was support from teachers that helped students feel connected to school. Further, rigor without attention to social-emotional and talent development proved to be a deal-breaker, especially for adolescents at this critical period of identity development. We came to understand how proactive schools needed to be in building collaboration with families.”