In the Zone

Last week, I attended the 2008 Rod Serling Conference at Ithaca College, where Serling taught from 1967-1975. I scored a pass because The Wife was a judge in their scriptwriting competition. I saw a lot and learned a lot that I didn’t know. The best part was a session where the speaker presented video clips of small- and large-group lessons given by Serling himself at various workshops. Here’s one such clip, thanks to the piracy joy of YouTube.

The keynote speech at the conference was given by the past dean of the Park School of Communication who had access to unedited clips from this series, filmed on a soundstage at I.C. after a moment, so the story goes, where they finally realized the need to capture Serling’s teaching on camera. The man who was “the head of the class” in that last clip said a few words, as well.

I’ll post a few more clips later. There’s something about them, but to say they’re “inspirational” doesn’t seem quite right. There isn’t too much that any writer hasn’t heard a thousand times over (Serling himself would probably say that). But maybe it’s the sense of universality and timelessness in these forty year-old clips.

In any case, I’m still reeling.

Grumpy Old Villains

Written World: 50 Things I Love About Mainstream Superhero Comics

8) The core team of the JSA is essentially a bunch of cranky old men who probably get together with old supervillains to play poker.

This sort of fuels an expansion of this idea in my mind.

I wrote that story as part of my deconstruction of the supervillain archetype. But, I want to take it further. We all know the various and sundry reasons why any superhero keeps fighting the Neverending Battle. But why do villains keep going? Why keep get your ass handed to you on a regular basis? Why cope with the various life disruptions caused by jail time or faking one’s own death?

Because they’re EEE-VIL? That might be a plausible explanation if they won something really worthwhile on occassion. Being psycho might be a better explanation; certainly that’s the one given to us by a lot of villains lately.

Gotta think more about this one…