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Bill Johnson

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Member Since: Oct, 2004

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Books
· A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling


Short Stories
· The Black Widow Warrior, Chapter One, Combat Poets of Maya

· The Calling


Articles
· Finding the Right Critique Group

· Bringing the Dead to Life, Notes on Twilight

· Low Cost Book Publicity

· Writing a Novel With a Stuck Main Character

· Stories and Feelings

· Movies as Healing Journeys


Poetry
· A Hearty Affair

· Ode To Invisibility

· Woman in Blue on Floor

· The Deadly Sheep

· The Parade of Life

· Looking Back

· The One-Upspersonship Parade

· How Is It?

         More poetry...
News
· Daniel Handler Interviewed on Author's Road

· My Name is Samuel Clemens

· 4th Edition of A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling Available

· Betting the Karmic House Published by Smith and Kraus

· Kent Mason Wins Writers Digest Fiction Contest

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Books by
Bill Johnson



A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling

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Blogs by Bill Johnson

Lady in the Water
7/30/2006 12:51:32 AM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

notes on personal storytelling
Lady in the Water

posted 7/29/2006


This film is a good example of the difference between personal storytelling and telling a story to an audience. The story apparently started as a bedtime story M. Night Shyamalan told his children. So the plot has the logic of a bedtime story. Every few minutes there's another revelation about a bigger menace or situation that must be resolved. What also makes this personal storytelling is that the characters all just assume their roles with no question, which requires them to accept immediately that a mysterious girl is from another realm and they are choosen characters in her purpose here.

Personal storytelling doesn't require a plot, or a point, or character development; it just requires action that validates the storyteller in some way. Here, M. Night Shyamalan is a writer who's work will save the world. The film becomes Mr. Shymalan's personal fantasy brought to life; his validation of himself.

Many people create story worlds where they (the main character is typically an extension of the storyteller) are respected, loved, bedded, acknowledged as heroes, worshipped. This makes what happens of vital interest to the storyteller; the downside is that it risks offering nothing to an audience.

Another aspect of personal storytelling is the desire to vent; here, Mr. Shymalan gets to kill a film critic (critics haven't been thrilled by his recent films). I'm sure the moment of the death of this representative critic thrilled Mr. Shymalan. And I assume some people will enjoy seeing a critic get torn apart (since many personal storytellers loathe critics or criticism).

Personal storytelling also requires no explanation of symbols. The otherworldly characters here are given no real backstory, like one would find in The Lord of the Rings or many other fantasy stories. Personal storytelling doesn't require plausibility or history or much thinking at all; it just requires symbols and characters and events that resonate with the storyteller.



The Great Yokai War

posted 7/27/2006


Every film I see by Japanese director Takashi Miike is a unique experience. This latest film was promoted as a children's film, and, indeed it is, which was more surprising to me than anything else Miike has done.

The story is about a young boy coming of age and learning the difference between being a child and an adult. The plot revolves around a war between mythical creatues, the Yokai, rooted in Japanese folklore. The film-making is clever and inventive, a visual treat.



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More Blogs by Bill Johnson
• Capsule Movie Reviews of Lucy & Guardians - Saturday, August 09, 2014
• Review of Maleficent - Thursday, June 12, 2014
•  Focus is on New Media at the Willamette Writers Conference - Sunday, April 13, 2014
• Notes on The Hunger Games Movie & Other Recent Movies - Monday, June 25, 2012
• Quick Cuts - Capsule Reviews of Current Movies - Wednesday, May 30, 2012
• Quick Cuts - Capsule Movie Reviews - Tuesday, January 10, 2012
• Capsule Movie Reviews of The Skin I Live In, Submarine, Finding Joe - Wednesday, December 14, 2011
• Notes on Splice, How to Train Your Dragon, Ironman 2 - Saturday, June 12, 2010
• When Minor Characters Take Over a Story - Tuesday, December 22, 2009
• Notes on Knowing, Star Trek, and Sunshine Cleaning - Monday, May 18, 2009
• Notes on Watchmen, Twilight, Revolutionary Road - Friday, March 13, 2009
• Notes on Changeling and Ghost Town - Friday, November 07, 2008
• Notes on Cthulhu, Righteous Kill, Burn After Reading - Monday, October 06, 2008
• Notes on Iron Man, Deception, The Ruins, Young at Heart - Sunday, May 04, 2008
• Notes on The Band's Visit, Spiderwick Chronicles, The Eye, The Golden Compass - Thursday, March 15, 2007
• Notes on The Guatemalan Handshake and The Bridge - Tuesday, February 20, 2007
• Notes on Pan's Labyrinth and The Good Shepard - Saturday, January 20, 2007
• Notes on Flags of Our Fathers, The Departed, Stranger Than Fiction - Sunday, December 24, 2006
• Notes on The Black Dahlia, The Illusionist, Pulse, The Descent - Wednesday, September 20, 2006
•  Lady in the Water - Sunday, July 30, 2006  
• The Da Vinci Code - Wednesday, May 24, 2006
• Notes on Underworld: Evolution, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Narnia, King Kong, Bee Season - Sunday, January 22, 2006
• Notes on A History of Violence, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Flightplan, and Hustle and Flow - Wednesday, October 05, 2005
• Notes on The Brothers Grimm, The Island, Four Brothers, Mr & Mrs Smith, and The Fantastic Four - Sunday, August 28, 2005
• Notes on Willy Wonka, Dark Water, The Snow Walker - Tuesday, August 09, 2005
• Notes on Land of the Dead and Oldboy - Friday, June 24, 2005
• Notes on Batman Begins - Wednesday, June 15, 2005
• Notes on Hitchhikers, Sin City - Saturday, April 30, 2005
• Notes on The Ring 2 - Sunday, March 20, 2005
• Notes on The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou - Monday, March 14, 2005
• Hitch - Sunday, March 13, 2005
• The Pacifier - Monday, March 07, 2005
• Quick Cuts - Saturday, March 05, 2005


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