James Franco On Writing
After I read and reviewed James Franco’s novel, Actors Anonymous, I have to admit that I didn’t get all the criticism because most of the critics seemed to be judging Franco as an actor, a person of privilege, and a celebrity. They should have been critiquing the book and the content of the book; nothing else. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it works and anyone who has ever written a book knows this all too well. But this article I recently found about Franco and his thoughts on MFA programs and writing really doesn’t make much sense to me either. Actually, it’s a little brutal, but without the presentation of a solid argument.
First, the author of the piece, Aleksander Chan, goes head first into a litany of insults that are just as weak as the argument he’s trying to present. (If you’re going to slam someone, at least do it with some style and have some fun.) But more important, should we take advice from Franco who is a proven success in several fields, or listen to opinions from Chan who no one’s ever heard of? I might not like Donald Trump’s politics (or his hair), but I would take financial advice from him faster than I’d take it from a nun who took a vow of poverty. You get where I’m going with this.
Chan said this:
Franco, who has attended a litany of MFA programs (including Columbia’s, from which he graduated in 2010), apparently did not learn in his years of study how to convey any insight he might have gleaned. Though the “mature” actor is quite adept at blathering on in vague, stupid generalities about grad school:
This is what Franco said:
With regard to fiction programs, the first thing to consider is that most of the students (if not on scholarship) are paying anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 a year to learn a profession that isn’t going to pay off soon, even if they do get a book deal right after school. The second thing to consider is that writing is a solitary activity, so you shouldn’t expect much collaboration with your peers. After classes, students go home and write stories so they can bring them to class to be workshopped. While workshops get criticized a lot, they do allow one’s writing to be read critically and talked about. Even if the feedback is worthless, a writer’s work changes if the writer knows that it is going to be read.
Okay. So what’s wrong with that statement from Franco? Chan seems to think it’s too mundane and he seems to want something more from Franco…you know, because Chan is from the world of entitlement and everyone owes him more.
But that’s not the way any higher educational experience works. And what Franco said is a good overall description of what you can expect. You also have to take into consideration that not everyone goes to grad school for the same reason, not everyone’s circumstance is the same, and the way in which we communicate and interpret grad school in a general sense is probably going to be unique. MFA grad programs are not like programs in the health industry where you are taught something specific. An MFA in creative writing is more of a learning experience in a general sense and it’s more about what you do with it than what you can expect it to do for you.
Actually, I think that because the nature of any MFA program is so broad as a learning experience there’s no one way to hand out useful advice that could apply to everyone. I learned that basic interpretation my freshman year in college during an orientation lecture from the president of the university.
You can read more here. As I said, it’s weak piece at best and you have to wonder how some people get paid to have a voice…assuming Chan does get paid to write and he’s not working for free like those writers at Huff Po who can’t wait to help Arianna Huffington make another million.
As always, the comment thread is amusing, especially the douchecanoe guy.
Speaking of douchecanoes, this next link is both funny and scary at the same time. Evidently, someone decided it would be fun to make it look as if he’d high jacked a news report by breaking into a story with the comment, “Fuck her right in the pussy.” It all looks real at a glance, but it’s a huge hoax that’s trying to make us all look like fools.
Kickstarter Helps EastSiders
EastSiders is a successful web series with a gay theme. I find anything like this interesting…web series, webisodes, etc…because I like to add elements of these things into my gay themed novels. In fact, I’m releasing one very soon in the Chase series where a farcical crime revolves around a webisode where a character went missing. It’s the dumbest crime in history. And the fact that Kickstarter just helped a real life gay themed web series go into a second season tells me I’m doing at least one thing right in my books.
Pledges received on the show’s Kickstarter page still were below the minimum of $125,000 needed in order to receive a single cent of the money.
But by the deadline early Monday (19 May), pledges had reached $153,169.
‘Thanks to you amazing people we are 100% funded and will definitely be making season 2!’ read a statement posted on the page. ‘We are so grateful to all of you for this opportunity and we are incredibly excited to keep making this show for you!’
You can read more here. I’m not familiar with EastSiders, but I’m going to make a point to watch now.
Joining the elite crowd of terms like “Hashtag”, “Selfie” and “Tweep” – the term “crowdfunding” has finally found the recognition it deserves in the august publication known as the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary. Hopefully this is final acceptance that crowdfunding no longer is two words or demands a hyphen.
More here about that. I just wish someone would tell google blogger that crowdfunding is one real word now, not two.