Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Job Interviews and Entertainment Keeps Despair Away (& Stuck in The Lost Room)


The fiancee and I have rather tense disagreement going on about the current state of LOST's current state of existence. We also have similar debates about Charlie Jade and Heroes.

Essentially the tense debate comes down to narrative pacing (well, actually, with Charlie Jade, it also comes down to the way I got addicted to watching it for a couple days). She likes a show to start off with a bang to get her attention and is OK with it slowing down later, and that's why she doesn't have much of a problem with the current state of LOST.

Me, I'm OK with shows that start off slow and take some time to world build and develop characters. At the same time, though, I generally don't want the show to peter out later or lose the balance of tension and the building/revealing mysteries, at all. When that happens, I feel like the writers have lost their motivation or interest in writing the story. So, while the fiancee doesn't mind waiting out things in the middle as long as the beginning has excitement, I get very annoyed and bored when a show loses its steam.

We haven't gotten too deep into the debate. I'm sure it would become somewhat interesting, though, especially since we both would like to publish our own narratives someday. As such, I feel like we've got something invested in these stances and could learn a lot from each other by having the debate.

It especially becomes a case, though, if we want to depend on each other for feedback on each other's work. Working as writers, we need to depend on the extremely honest feedback of people close to us. If we don't understand the basis of each other's opinions on the topic, how much we can believe in the honesty of the feedback? She has helped me a ton with one character in my novel, but other than that?

We are two different people, and learning about each other is a big part about having a strong, positive relationship. I probably have to learn patience on this type of aspect, though. I need to understand that a lot of this information will come out in time (and we'll have plenty of it, that's for sure), effort and process.

Anyone want to pipe in on this part?


I started watching The Lost Room with low expectations. After all, it's a Sci-Fi Channel production. They have a few pieces of original quality work under their belt (The Invisible Man, Farscape, Battlestar Galactica -- can it be consider original? -- and Eureka), but through the duration of the Sci-Fi Channel, I've had more disappointment than being impressed.

So far, though, The Lost Room has kept my rapt attention, and I'm not totally sure why. Nonetheless, I'm ready to feel underwhelmed by the ending. The fiancee has told me that all the reviews she has read say that the show kept their rapt attention until the last ten minutes.

Not having seen the ending but having a hypothesis about it, I feel the possibility that I may not feel disappointed. I bet that Sci-Fi would love to make the show an ongoing series if enough people get into it. I would take that stance, especially after they successfully doing it with Battlestar Galactica.

As such, I expect Miller to accomplish his goal of saving his daughter but to have a lot of larger questions and mysteries left unanswered. I feel that the ending will only disappoint me if I can't believe the conclusion of Miller story. If the dramatic and narrative elements of it don't come across strong enough, though, I expect some disappointment, too.

Regarding solving the mysteries of the room, having any of the cabals destroyed or resolving the problems of the room, I don't mind remaining in the dark about that stuff. Honestly, I could potentially feel vastly disappointed if these things do get resolved, especially in the small time frame of this mini series. For one, I believe I'd enjoy seeing the same creative team making a series out of the show, even with a different cast. And two, I don't think a six episode mini series is enough to answer the questions of Room 10.

I can't say that I totally understand why The Lost Room works. It falls somewhat victim to some Sci-Fi Channel production issues. It feels too clean and digital rather than having something of an analog, gritty touch to it. Some of the supporting characters come off a little too caricatury, like Harold Bretzke and Wally Jabrowski.

And Dr. Ruber feels almost too much like a dumb plot device than a great villain (take some lessons from 01 Boxer, buddy) that reminds me too much of the psychotic mastermind caricature, Achilles, in Orson Scott Card's Shadow series. Maybe we'll see more Dr. Ruber's potential or interesting character history tonight. I doubt he'll come out as anything more than a conniving minion with circumstance on his side, though.

Otherwise, though, they've got an all star cast with Peter Krause (he played Casey on Sports Night opposite to the famous Felicity Huffman) as Detective Miller, Julianna Margulies as Jennifer Bloom (yeah, we know you pretty much got your start on ER, Dakota Fanning's sister, Elle as Millier's daughter and Margaret Cho, the comedian, as a dealer in information about the objects.

At first, I didn't think much of Peter Krause as Miller. I thought he gave a pretty wooden job, but he has grown on me. His portrayal as a single father that loves his daughter that he has lost and will "get her back if [he] has to tear the world in half" gets me right in the craw, though. He plays the part, and it draws me in.

It affects me the same way that Jeffrey Pierce, playing Charlie Jade, sucked me in as the Odyessean character that just wanted to get back to his lover in another universe that he couldn't reach. Krause has yet to display the acting chops of Pierce when Charlie saw into his home universe to see Jasmine in the Vexcor men's room but not able to do anything about it. Nonetheless, from what I've seen so far, I believe Peter Krause has the range to do it.

In large part, Miller's quest to get his daughter back combined with the mysteries of Room 10 act as the major parts that keep my rapt attention. Another important aspect, though, is the jextaposition of Miller's quest for his daughter with the obsession of people who want to control the room and the objects connected to it. The fact that these cabals have formed around it, the random collectors, the "Legion," the original collectors and also Dr. Ruber.

The jextaposition works beautifully, mainly because Miller skirts so closely to edge of sanity, like Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, while most everyone else succumbs to Room 10 and its objects lure. Now I remember thinking along these lines last night. Now thinking about it, I can see how the idiocy of Dr. Ruber actually does play better when looked at as someone who has succumbed to the power. Even though Room 10 and its objects don't have have as much consciousness as the One Ring, it does a good job at revealing the depths of individuals' capacity for obsession over this type of thing.

This way of using Room 10 and its objects to show the human nature of obsession reminds me somewhat of Plato's parable of the invisible ring that probably inspired Tolkien. In the parable, someone finds a ring of invisibility and uses it to sneak into a rich man's palace to steal stuff. The ring doesn't have any consciousness like Sauron's One Ring, but it does the job of corrupting the owner of it.

Room 10 and its objects do something similar, but the creative team seems to explore the topic more. Instead of corrupting everyone, it tests their character and integrity. Miller, so far, passes the test. Now whether he will continue to do so after he saves his daughter remains a whole other issue, which makes this story and Frodo succumbing to the temptation of the One Ring at the last moment all the more fascinating.

I almost want to see Ron Rifkin as Arvin Sloane show up. The Room and its objects remind me of Rimbaldi's artifacts from Alias. Unlike Alias, though, if this mini-series becomes a full fledged series, I think they'll have a harder time getting away from the original, fascinating premise.

All in all, I can't wait for the TiVo to start recording enough that I don't have to watch commercials. Until then, though, I've got tonight's episode of Daybreak to watch. But before that. . .I guess I had better write that follow e-mail that I talk about later in this entry. Darnit! I really really want to watch these shows.

If only I could really get a job as a critic or finish my novel to sell it. This inbetween job stuff has started to get annoying. . ..


Today, I've "taken it pretty easy" AKA procrastinating on the job search.

Nonetheless, something productive has came from today so far: I got a job interview schedule for next week. It happens at an insurance agency, and it's for the same kind of job that I had in Massachusetts.

Getting this call surprised me a little bit, too. Yesterday, I realized that this job search campaign, so far, has yielded less results than the one I did in the year 2000 in Boston. Didn't we start having a bad recession and job market then? Apparently one in which only lowering interest rates and creating a housing bubble alleviated.

I have the feeling, though, that the agency pretty much latched onto my headline of "4 YEARS EXPERIENCE AS AN INSURANCE AGENT" and a whole bunch of jargon I threw down into a cover letter. The cover letter rambled on a bit, too. Nonetheless, I guess I showed them that I had some idea about how to do the job. Now to handle the interview and get an idea about them.

With the compare and contrast analysis between this campaign and the 2000 job search done, however, I decided to revamp the resume. I shrunk it down to one page and put my strongest asset first, my education. Only when applying to insurance jobs does my professional history really come out stronger than my education.

Shrinking it down to one page took some work. A most of you readers should know, I'm often quite wordy. The Lextopia offers a great example of this verboseness. It also provides a great example of my writing before revising it.

I like blogging in the raw (The Struggling Young Man terms doing a writing brainstorm or rough drafting writing RAW). It doesn't necessarily provide the most readable copy, but it helps me figure out stuff. If other people enjoy it and get something out of it, great!

Unfortunately, I have a tendency of writing resumes and cover letters raw, without much organization. Thanks The Struggling Young Man for helping me with the organization on the resume last night.

Now, though, I really need to work on writing better cover letters. I need to teach myself how to get the idea across with hammering the reader with dense information. In that way, I guess I'm somewhat of an academic. I've learned how to do it with writing insurance correspondence to customers. Now I need to do it while pitching myself.

Otherwise, I woke up fairly discouraged about the job search campaign. Even now, after making the interview appointment, I still feel down. It probably has a source in my perfectionism, trying to get the correct message across because I'm scared of ridicule. Not failure, but ridicule.

Can't say that I fear not being able to pay bills and such, but ridicule scares me so much more than failure. At least, my personal psychoanalysis of myself comes to that conclusion. With failure, after all, you can pick yourself up and try and try again until you're down for the count. I fear people having a bad opinion about me and ridiculing me based on that bad opinion.

So far today, I've:

+ Taken a walk

+ Watched some TiVo

+ Washed the dishes

+ Caught up with my e-mail, consisting of most SPAM and topical e-mails (my fault on that one)

+ And now writing on The Lextopia

I plan to write the review of The Lost Room that you've already read then move onto writing a follow up letter. Maybe I'll watch Daybreak, too.

And to add onto the procrastinating, I got a 2-person pass to see an advanced screening for Eragon tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have the time, energy and motivation to post a review for it before Friday.

Honestly, I would love to become a professional drama/literary critic. Along with writing fiction and freelancing, that's up there on a life goal.


Jeremy said...

Hey, I haven't done anything on the job front for a month and a half. It's really weird, because I've always been consumed with that kind of thing whenever I'm unemployed. I look at it as a kind of re-education... learning how to not do anything and be okay. At least, until my unemployment checks stop coming in!

The_Lex said...

Well. . .it's not liking doing any of that would necessarily help you right now. Not with the whole "oh, this is an out-of-stater applying to our post" prejudice going on.

Unfortunately, though, I don't qualify for unemployment. I never have, not working anywhere long enough or leaving with enough of a negative connotation.

Good luck on surviving doing nothing for the next couple weeks!

Anonymous said...

If you start collecting unemployment I will kick your ass. GO GET A JOB!

The_Lex said...

Nice response for someone signed in as anonymous. . .. Good way to be taken seriously. Please note my sarcasm.