Category Archives: Non-Fiction Writing

My Faux TVtropes Entry: Finnick Odair: A Hunger Games Story – Fan film

TVtropes has been my drug of choice these last couple of weeks. Just click the link and you’ll soon find out why. Unfortunately, you have to possess a degree in particle physics to figure out their password security system and for that reason, I can’t seem to open up a viable account with which I might contribute in a more direct way than before.

The plan is that if I use my blog as a means of posting “faux” entries to the TVtropes universe, someone in the admin department of the website may be more forthcoming with assistance in helping me get a real account. If not, I’m sure I will rake in the views by doing these as often as I can.

I will be providing actual links that lead back to TVtropes as well as other sources.

My focus is going to be on the various fan films of my favorite fandoms that can be found on Youtube. Today’s entry focuses on Finnick Odair: A Hunger Games Story written, directed and edited by Joshua Chislett. Enjoy.

Also: Spoiler Alerts Galore.

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Finnick Odair: A Hunger Games Story is a fan film set in the Hunger Games universe, directed, written and filmed by Joshua Chislett. Starring Caleb Angus, Rebecca McKinnon, Brandon McKnight, and Arya Thakrar. The film was shot on a 1200 dollar budget that was raised by donors through Indiegogo.

The film is approximately 20 minutes long and you can watch it for free at the director’s Youtube channel, was well as find out more information on the camera and software used for editing in the description page. A three part behind-the-scenes documentary can also be found on the same channel.

Click here for more information on The Hunger Games films and books.

Set during the 65th Annual Hunger Games, the film opens up with the death of a tribute at the hands of the Career Pack.  With one more tribute from to go before the Career Pack turns on each other, Finnick and Odella are in disagreement with Tiberius, the leader of the career pack, over the best strategy for hunting him down. Odella is reluctant to break away from the pack, but the decision is ultimately made for them when the Game Makers pour toxic rain on the arena, presumably to keep the audience from getting bored.

A favorite of the Capitol, Finnick is ambivalent towards the gifts he receives from his sponsors until Odella gives him a What the Hell, Hero speech, leading him to Take a Level in Bad Ass when he receives the signature trident to aid him in the final fight.

As can be expected with any film set within this universe, the final climax ends with the titular character claiming his place as the winner of the 65th Hunger Games. The director took a few creative liberties with the source material, which is understandable since the Hunger Games trilogy is told from Katniss’ point of view and we get the barest summary of Finnick’s games before he is introduced in Catching Fire.

Joshua Chislette also wrote, directed and edited Cirrus Quell – A Hunger Games Story. Word of God states that Finnick Odair is the last of the fan films he intends to produce.

This film contains examples of:

Aerith and Bob: Finnick, Tiberius and Odella. Tiberius and Odella may be rare, but both can be found in your favorite Baby Name Dictionary.

Absurdly High-Stakes Game: The Hunger Games, naturally.

Action Girl: Averted. Odella has the aforementioned What the Hell, Hero? speech, but since this is the story of how Finnick Odair became the man he was in Catching Fire, she is pretty much just window dressing. She might even qualify as Faux Action Girl.

Anti-Villain: Although he appears to be the Jerk Ass at first, the film does a great job of portraying Tiberius as just another player in the games who is trying to survive. He even tries to keep the Career Pack under his thumb diplomatically, by allowing everyone to voice their opinion and asking everyone to sleep on it. Contrast this with Cato and every other depiction of the District 2 tributes in fandom.

Arc Words: “May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor.”

Beauty is Never Tarnished: In spite of being pretty soaked by the “toxic rain” (Finnick even receives medicine that is allegedly for chemical burns) only one surviving Tribute seems to suffer any noticeable skin damage. This could be explained by the short budget of the film not allowing too much wiggle room for make-up.

Bittersweet Ending: A surprisingly straightforward example in a Hunger Games fan film. After killing Tiberius, Finnick and Odella are the only two left. And there is no star-crossed lovers story to save them from the inevitable. The fact that they both apologize to each other is what almost moves this into tear-jerker territory.

Deadly Game: Do I stutter?

Death is the Only Option: Finnick and Odell are left with no choice in the end but to fight to the death. They exchange apologies.

Infant Immortality: Averted, with the exception of Finnick who has Script Immunity.

Oh, Crap: The District One tribute has this when Odella tells Finnick to kill him. The rest of the characters get this when the announcer tells them that they have to get to the Cornucopia or their trackers will be detonated.

Plot Armor: Finnick Odair is not only the titular character, but he is a major character in Catching Fire.

Race against the Clock: The final climax is this. The Announcer reminds the remaining tributes that they have a tracker that can be detonated if they don’t get back to the Cornucopia in three minutes.

Show, Don’t Tell: A standard Hunger Games story usually begins with the Reaping, The Preparation/Training, the Bloodbath and the Games. The director didn’t have the budget or resources to film all of that, so he begins it with the death of one tribute and the subsequent plan to hunt down the remaining Non-Career tribute.

 The Dragon: Tiberius.

My Original Review of the True Blood Energy Drink ~ Originally Published in 2010

Ever since True Blood: Season One came out on DVD fans have wondered two things: Will I see anyone naked and will they come out with a Tru:Blood energy drink?

Tru:Blood – for those of you who still like the idea of your vampires sparkling and lusting after high school girls – is the artificial blood substitute created by author Charlaine Harris and introduced in her series of novels known as the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries. The invention of this new artificial blood is what allows vampires to “come out of the coffin” since they are no longer required to feed on humans to survive.

Throughout the series we see Bill Compton, played by Stephen Moyer, drinking Tru:Blood at social events, which according to Moyer’s commentary tastes a bit like passion fruit.

During the year long wait for Season Two (Because not everyone has HBO) fans debated over what Tru: Blood would actually taste like if the drink were to be released as a beverage. Obviously blood itself is out of the question. But the next obvious move would be to make it an energy drink, which is all the rage these days and is practically a dime a dozen.

Fans finally got the answer to this debate when Season Two was released on DVD. In stores like FYE, 14 ounce bottles of the signature beverage lined the display shelves with the box sets. The price varies from four to six dollars USD, but the current promotion at the time of this article offers a deal at five dollars if you also buy the DVD. (You marketing execs know certainly how to tickle our pickles)

Being the fanboy that I am, I actually bought two bottles of the stuff. I was basically expecting another Red Bull or Monster clone like the ones you can buy online for promotional events. You know, the ones that leave your heart racing faster than eye contact with Donald Trump.

But, I was surprised to see on the bottom of the label that they actually used blood orange as the main ingredient, which is sweet, but doesn’t need to be chilled right away. So not acai berry, not guarana seed extract, and not a bigger dose of vitamain B than you would need to give a blue whale a heart attack. Blood orange is an actual fruit that’s sweeter than regular oranges and has all of the same benefits.

On the first sip I’m actually impressed. It’s sweet. It actually tastes like it says it’s going to. I could actually get to like this stuff.

Now I’m sipping it slowly. Because I tried a very similar product called Blood, which came in a cool IV style pouch. But after drinking too much in one morning I had a massive anxiety attack from the sudden energy rush. This was entirely my fault but at the same time, not a very pleasant experience.

Thankfully the Tru:Blood drink did not produce this side effect in my body. Even after I drank the second bottle, I didn’t feel the trademark jitters that comes from drinking Red Bull or Monster, nor did I get the nasty aftertaste that comes with drinking either of those beverages.

Tru:Blood does contain some of the same ingredients as Monster and Red Bull. But the sodium content is encouraging for people on a low sodium diet. Add that to the presence of Folic Acid, an important nutrient that encourages the creation of new blood.

Holy Blood Lust Batman! An energy drink that contains a vital nutrient! With a side effect that might actually encourage it’s target audience to buy it with it’s practicality? How has this not become more popular than Harry Potter’s Butterbeer? Maybe the price is a turn off. At the moment you can only order it online and any retailer is going to have a mark up, so the novelty will wear off quick. While I wouldn’t recommend freebasing off of this stuff, I dare say that Tru:Blood is actually the healthier energy drink.

Waiting To See The Doctor (A Slice of Life Story)

It was early one afternoon and I had just finished my computer session at the Salem Public Library. The rain had gone from a light drizzle to a heavy downpour. So after using the restroom, I took a few minutes to cruise the titles of the paperbacks and the newly released hard covers.

A book really has to jump out at me. The title, the cover, and the synopsis are usually the deciding factors, unless there’s a book I really wanted to read ahead of time. But among the rows or romance, science fiction, and classical literature, there was nary a jumper, so I moved on to the racks of movies where an additional factor plays into whether or not I’ll take it home. Mainly, is it worth risking the time it takes to check it out, bring it home, make lunch or dinner and pop it into the DVD-Rom drive only to find out that it’s been so scratched to hell by the previous borrowers that the computer is probably wondering what it’s supposed to do with a Frisbee?

When the weather started to let up, I settled on a movie I had borrowed once before, hoping the quality of the disc hadn’t changed all that much. On the way to the counter, a thought occurred to me as I was taking the library card from my wallet.

One of my friends had mentioned the new Christmas episode of Doctor Who on his Facebook. Best Buy started carrying the first part of Season Seven a few weeks ago, but since I had all ready bought myself two new movies for Christmas it didn’t feel like a good idea to buy it just yet. But one of the libraries in the North of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE) was bound to have had it by now.

Forgetting my desire to get home before the rain picked up again, I went to one of the card catalog computers and typed in “Doctor Who”. The search turned up a bunch of titles that had nothing to do with doctors, let alone nine-hundred year-old men who faced down evil salt and pepper shakers while riding around in a blue police box for a living.

“Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One” revealed even more confusing results. I checked the search parameters and mentally kicked myself for not narrowing the search to “Video Recordings”; this included anything in the VHS or DVD collections. Still nothing. Another drop list included the names of all of the libraries within the NOBLE network and because I was in the Salem Public Library, naturally that was the default setting. I changed it to All Libraries and tried again.

This time “Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One” yielded the desired result, and my heart soared when I saw that there were only six people on the waiting list. Becoming the seventh “holder” would increase my chances of watching it before the next budding Olympic disk thrower got their hands on it.

While the librarian was checking out my selection, I said, “I’d like to get on the waiting list for Doctor Who, season seven, part one please.”

“Okay, one moment please.” She replied. Something very interesting must have been happening on that screen, because it held her attention for a while. Through the glass doors at the entrance rain was starting to come down a little harder.

“What was it you wanted to hold?” The librarian asked.

“Doctor Who, Season Seven, Part One.” I repeated.

“Okay.”

At this point in time a mother was searching the new releases while her two small children sat at the bottom of the staircase leading to the mezzanine and reference sections. As the wind increased in speed and the rain became more intense, the children were the only thing keeping me from getting snippy when the librarian asked, “You said season five, right?”

“No.” I said, calmly. “I know which library season five is at. I could go there myself. It’s season Seven, Part One that I’m looking for.”

“Okay, well season five is all that’s showing up.”

At this point I could have pointed out that the library that held season five of Doctor Who also had both parts of season six as well as the two Christmas Specials featuring Matt Smith. Instead, speaking in the same calm tone,

“I just checked the card catalog. Season Seven, Part One is definitely available.”

The librarian started tapping more keys, but not before giving me an indignant reply.

“Well it’s just the way I typed it in.”

I told you exactly what I wanted twice, I thought.

“It’s all right,” I said, finally. “I’ll just go online myself and get-”

“No, wait a minute,” the librarian said, in her own impatient tone. “I just need to do a different search.”

The movie I had all ready chosen was still in her reach. The younger of the two children was getting antsy and began running around, calling out to her mother and being generally loud, but playful. As long as they’re not directly bothering me, children never annoy me, even in the library. A combination of the need to not be someone people don’t feel safe leaving their kids around and a strong desire to not end up on the secure ward of the hospital a second time in this decade helped me to keep my patience.

“Okay,” she said finally. “Doctor Who, Season Seven?”

“Yes,” I said, wishing I had a cookie to reward her with.

“It’s only part one,” she pointed out.

This, faithful readers, is why I have continuously referred to the DVD by the full search term that I used in the first place. Because you have to ask yourself just how oblivious she could have been to have not heard me clearly refer to the aforementioned season of Doctor Who as such.

“That’s fine,” I said, grateful that I didn’t have a cookie in the first place. I’d have demanded it back.

The Doctor was worth the wait in the end.