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SCREENWRITING

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” has a lot to teach screenwriters about storytelling — and not always in ways you’d expect.

Photo by Igor Rodrigues on Unsplash

Doctor Jones has some screenwriting lessons for you today, class! Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark is a classic Spielberg film and is often considered one of the best blockbusters ever made. George Lucas pitched the idea to Steven Spielberg and then developed it with Philip Kaufman. They handed Raiders off to screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who had just written Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Following Kasdan’s lead, let’s look at the storytelling lessons that we can learn from this timeless cinematic treasure!

Mysterious Reveals

The opening of the film spends several minutes establishing the world, establishing the tone…


ENTERTAINMENT

What’s the most awful film you watched in the weirdest of years?

Photo by Dawid Łabno on Unsplash

A little while after this is published, 2020 will finally be over.

That doesn’t mean our problems will go away, but it does mean we have a meaningful bookend to look back on this odd year and reflect on what we learned, accomplished, and watched.

Watched?

Yeah, watched.

We were all stuck at home anyway. I’m sure most of you watched more movies, television, and YouTube videos than you did in the past to make quarantine go by quickly. I saw some great films and television shows in 2020! …


USER EXPERIENCE

While app onboarding might feel like an unimportant, one-time process, my comparison of two popular language learning apps proves that the opening screens affect a user’s likelyhood of purchase.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Intro

I dig languages. I’m not fluent (yet!) in any besides English, but after learning some Hebrew as a teen and taking Spanish in undergrad, my desire to learn languages intensified. My wife and I recently decided to become fluent in Japanese for a variety of reasons, so I returned to the world of mobile language learning apps.

I decided to compare two of the top apps: Rosetta Stone and Duolingo. Unsurprisingly, I discovered that these apps are not created equal. However, what did surprise me as a UX Strategist was how much each app’s onboarding process affected its learning experience.


SCREENWRITING

Poe was more than the master of the macabre — here’s what all storytellers should learn from his timeless advice.

Photo by Sergio Ibannez on Unsplash

“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore!’”

Edgar Allan Poe lived nearly a century before the invention of filmmaking. However, his advice on storytelling is timeless. I’ve long been a Poe fan — I even wrote and directed an award-winning adaptation of the last poem he penned before his untimely death.

Very Poe. Much death. Such wow.

While Poe is known for his macabre poetry and gory short stories, he was a writer of much more than that. Poe was also a literary critic and routinely wrote philosophically about the nature of reality and art. …


UX DESIGN

I help design and make apps for a living. What apps do I love to use, and why?

Photo by Benjamin Sow on Unsplash

Introduction

I’m a UX Strategist who loves doing UX research. Even when research is imperfect (hint: it all is), there are still lessons to be learned.

Unfortunately, this affinity for research and observation means even when I’m relaxing and not working on something strictly related to my day job in the tech world, I still can’t help but notice the good, bad, and ugly of UX design “in the wild.”

So, I decided to make a list of my seven favorite mobile apps with a (subjective) perspective on what works and what doesn’t. Whether you are a UX/UI professional or not


SPIRITUALITY

Asimov said that the Bible was the most potent force for atheism ever conceived. Why did he say that?

Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash

Introduction

This article is a response to fellow screenwriter (and really cool dude) Joel Eisenberg. With his permission, I’m going to present some of my thoughts as a Gentile follower of Yeshua (Jesus) the Jewish Messiah as it relates to his article titled Was Dr. Asimov Right? Is The Bible the Most Potent Force For Atheism Ever Conceived?

If you haven’t read Joel’s article yet, I suggest you do so before continuing.

First, I’ll address each of his main sections: personal, social media, Trump, and the pandemic. Then I’ll discuss my thoughts on Asimov’s claim, and the relationship between science and…


FILMMAKING

The 10 filmmaking and storytelling lessons I learned when I adapted my favorite poem into a short film.

“Annabel Lee” (2013)

Intro

It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;

That’s the opening to one of my favorite poems. It was penned by Edgar Allan Poe shortly before his untimely death. Many storytellers cite Poe as an inspiration, but I took this to another level: I adapted “Annabel Lee” into an award-winning short film.

I was twenty years old, and a senior in film school tasked with writing and directing my undergraduate thesis. …


User Experience

The five mistakes I made that helped me get my first UX job.

Photo by Vaishnav Vharkat on Unsplash

I’m a filmmaker, not a designer. At least, that’s what I told myself.


Screenwriting

Blake Snyder’s famous book “Save the Cat” is often hailed as the best screenwriting how-to guide. However, there are five reasons why his storytelling lessons should be taken with a grain of salt.

Photo by Alberto Bigoni on Unsplash

Intro

If you’ve talked to me before about storytelling, you might know I’m not a fan of Blake Snyder’s hit book called Save the Cat. His book is billed as “The Last Book on Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need” and is quite successful among beginner storytellers.

I would know — I was one of them.

In fact, his text was required reading in both undergrad and graduate screenwriting courses I took — at two different universities!

Yikes.

I’ve written before about the book I prefer to recommend:

Now, however, I’m going to tell you why I actively discourage people from reading…

Carl T. Rogers, MFA | Storylosopher ✍️

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