Pixar in a Box — Introduction to storytelling

TechCrunch: Pixar’s previous Khan Academy courses include topics like virtual cameras, effects and animations, but this is the first to focus on the less technical aspects of movie creation.

See also

The Plinkett Test
Use your words

The Plinkett Test: How to sort characters from cut-outs

Game critic and writer Andy Kelly uses a clever test to identify if characters in video games he plays actually qualify as characters. This test is taken from Red Letter Media’s famous ‘Plinkett’ reviews, specifically the long-form review of The Phantom Menace:

Qui-Gon Jinn

Andy Kelly: I call it the Plinkett Test. To prove just how forgettable the characters in the prequels are, he asks a group of friends to complete the following mental exercise.

Describe the following Star Wars character WITHOUT saying what they look like, what kind of costume they wore, or what their profession or role in the movie was.

It’s a test that can be applied to video game characters too. It’s far from scientific, but it’s a good way to determine if a character is, in fact, a character, and not just someone defined by their appearance or actions. To be clear, the Plinkett Test isn’t a method for determining if a character is a good character—just that they are one.

See also: Other Places — A video series by Andy Kelly celebrating beautiful video game worlds.

Standard
Use your words

List of clams: Comedy phrases that need to be retired

John August: John Quaintance recently tweeted photos of two whiteboards listing phrases banned in the Workaholics writers’ room. His tweet has been widely shared, and is a mitzvah to all writers.

These phrases are all clams — jokes that aren’t funny anymore and therefore need to die. When you include them in a script, you’re evoking the rhythm of comedy without the content of comedy. They’re not just cliché; they’re hollow.

  • ___? More Like ___
  • Can You Not?
  • …I Can Explain!
  • Let’s Not And Say We Did
  • I Didn’t Not ___
  • Va-Jay-Jay
  • Wait For It…
  • Just Threw Up In My Mouth
  • Really?
  • Good Talk
  • And By ___ I Mean ___
  • Check Please!
  • Awkward!
  • Shut The Front Door!
  • Lady Boner
  • Rut-Roh!
  • I Think That Came Out Wrong
  • Uh…Define ___
  • No? Just Me?
  • Why Are We Whispering?
  • That Went Well…
  • Stay Classy
  • I’m A Hot Mess!
  • That’s Not A Thing
  • It’s Science
  • Bacon Anything
  • Cray-Cray
  • Real Talk
  • #Nailed It
  • Random!
  • Awesome Sauce
  • Thanks…I Guess
  • Little Help?
  • Laughy McLaugherson
  • ___ Dot Com
  • I Love Lamp
  • Oh Helllll Naw!
  • #Epic Fail
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?
  • Food Baby
  • Douche (Nozzle)
  • Soooo, That Just Happened
  • Squad Goals
  • I Just Peed A Little
  • Too Soon?
  • Spoiler Alert
  • Um…In English Please
  • Note To Self
  • Life Hack
  • Best. ___. Ever. (or Worst. ___. Ever.)
  • It’s Giving Me All The Feels
  • Garbage People
  • That Happened One Time!
  • Well Played
  • I’m Right Here!
  • Hard Pass
  • Are You Having A Stroke?
  • Go Sports!
  • Zero Fucks Given
  • We Have Fun
  • Who Hurt You?
  • I Absorbed My Twin In The Womb
  • I’ll Take ___ For $500, Alex
  • Thanks Obama
  • Wait, What?
  • Shots Fired
  • Sharkweek
  • You Assclown
  • Ridonkulous
  • Bag Of Dicks
  • Hey, Don’t Help
  • Debbie Downer
  • I Can’t Unsee That
  • That Just Happened
  • See What I Did There?
  • I’ll Show Myself Out
  • Here’s The Line, Here’s You
  • ___ On Steroids/Crack
  • Swipe Right
  • White People Problems
  • I Could Tell You But I’d Have To Kill You
  • That’s Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
  • I Think We’re Done Here

Found via John August’s own Scriptnotes podcast. I recommend listening to this episode for the ensuing conversation about these ‘clams’, why they happen and what to do in their stead (the segment is about 20 minutes in).

See also

Standard

How a Word gets into the Merriam-Webster dictionary

To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language as it’s used. They carefully monitor which words people use most often and how they use them.

See also

Use your words

Merriam-Webster: How a word gets into the dictionary

This is one of the questions Merriam-Webster editors are most often asked.
The answer is simple: usage.

Gallery
William Shakespeare
Use your words

To be or not to be… original

The Guardian: The game is up: Shakespeare’s language not as original as dictionaries think

In an article for the University of Melbourne, Dr David McInnis, a Shakespeare lecturer at the institution, accuses the Oxford English Dictionary of “bias” over its citation of Shakespeare as the originator of hundreds of words in English.

“His audiences had to understand at least the gist of what he meant, so his words were mostly in circulation already or were logical combinations of pre-existing concepts.”

McInnis: If something happens “without rhyme or reason”, people are said to be quoting Shakespeare’s As You Like It, when Rosalind asks Orlando whether he is as head-over-heels in love as his rhymes suggest, and Orlando replies “Neither rhyme nor reason can express how much”.

The OED traces the phrase back to the 1400s – centuries before Shakespeare. So why do we think it’s Shakespeare’s coinage?

Probably because, as happens so frequently, Shakespeare isn’t the first to think of something, but he presents it in such a clever or memorable way, that it becomes firmly associated with his version.

McInnis also traces the roots of other famous ‘Shakespearean’ phrases like “it’s greek to me”, “a wild goose chase”, “eaten out of house and home”. It’s not all OED ‘bias’ however; the bard did have a knack for coining and popularising turns of phrase, like “to make an ass of oneself”…

To describe behaving stupidly and embarrassing yourself as “making an ass of yourself” seems like a very contemporary expression, but Shakespeare seems to have genuinely invented both the easy-to-quote phrase and a very memorable situation. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bottom the Weaver is magically turned into an ass. Other characters remark upon Bottom’s transformation, but he thinks they’re just mocking him: “This is to make an ass of me, to fright me, if they could.”

See also: Churchillian drift: How great quotations find their way to famous names

Standard