Alternate Realities & Fantasy Movie Worlds

September 29, 2011 at 10:07 am

Alternate Realities & Fantasy Movie Worlds | Movie Blog

Today’s POST is all about new worlds.  Inspired by the return of the amazing Fringe, IGN has posted a list of the best alternate realities on television.

XTRA | Fall Television: Adding new shows to your team.

Alternate Realities & Fantasy Movie Worlds | Movie Blog

I have to say I’m biased and have to say Fringe is my favorite alternate reality… That’s mainly because I’m right in the middle of season 2 and I’m completely obsessed with that show.

A while back IGN also published the Top 25 Fantasy Movies of All-Time which include some of the best worlds ever realized on film.

10 Flicks: Best Fantasy Worlds In Movies | Movie Blog | Top 10 Fantasy Worlds

We all love escaping into world’s like Pandora, Middle Earth and Tatooine.  Likewise, there’s nothing like a well developed alternate reality like the one featured on Fringe or Back to the Future for that matter.  It’s what makes film and television so much fun to discover.

XTRA | Check out my top 10 movie fantasy worlds.

Alternate Realities & Fantasy Movie Worlds | Movie Blog

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Link, Zelda, Hyrule, Middle Earth & Screenwriting

September 27, 2011 at 9:41 am

Link, Zelda, Hyrule & Screenwriting | Screenwriting Blog | The Legend Of Zelda | Nintendo


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The Legend of Zelda has been my favorite video game franchise since Ocarina of Time dominated my life years ago.  I got the game as a Christmas present and literally spent a year immersed in the world of Hyrule.

Since then, I’ve eagerly anticipated and adored new titles like Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword.

link, zelda, hyrule, middle earth & screenwriting

Ocarina of Time is without a doubt my favorite game of all time.  I find the series fascinating because I’ve come to know the world of Hyrule so well.

It’s a testament to the designers to be able to create such a detailed and vivid world.  From a storytelling perspective, it’s an experience I’ll never forget.  Little by little, as you play through the game, you are introduced to new areas and characters.  You spend so much time exploring the enormous world that you don’t realize what’s actually happening.  Suddenly you realize that you know the species, you know the towns, you know where people live and you know where to find things.  You know Hyrule.

I dug out my old Nintendo 64 a while back and I was immediately stunned at how much I remembered. The fact is, I still know where everything is.  I started a brand new game I was instantly reminded of how many hours I spent searching for Skulltulas and conquering all the irresistible mini quests.  I remembered all the different areas and weapons I was about to unlock all over again.  I remembered spending entire afternoons trying to catch enormous fish in the pond.

The Legend of Zelda is about the heroic adventures of Link at it’s core but the adventures would be boring without a world like Hyrule.

XTRA: Check out this article over at IGN about the impact of Ocarina of Time

Link, Zelda, Hyrule, Middle Earth & Screenwriting | Screenwriting Blog | The Legend Of Zelda | The Lord Of The Rings


Every corner of Hyrule is populated by unique characters, secret locations, mysterious items and so much more.  As I woke up in Kokiri Forest once more, I thought about the work that must have gone into the design of Hyrule.  The hours and hours of work needed to bring every detail of that world to life.

Then I thought about what it would take to do it myself!

Why not take out a clean piece of paper and start drawing?  Why not create my own world and use it as the setting for a movie?  When you set out to create a fantasy film you have to know what you’re talking about.  You need to know every corner of the world so it will be convincing to readers and hopefully audiences world wide.  It has to be believable.

This isn’t a tiny assignment either.  Think about all the species, aliens or creatures that could live there.  Think about the geography.  Think about the history.

I immediately jumped online to seek out maps for other worlds I’ve grown to love and my first choice remains the most detailed of all.


Link, Zelda, Hyrule, Middle Earth & Screenwriting | Screenwriting Blog | The Legend Of Zelda | The Lord Of The Rings

Without a doubt, the richest and most detailed fictional world has to be J.R.R Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Every detail right down to the languages is thought out including literally thousands of years of history.

Imagine being able to tell a story with such a huge amount of back story in your mind.  Now imagine doing it yourself.

Having the freedom to create anything you want is both intimidating and extremely exciting.  Someday, I’ll base a story around a world I created from scratch.  I’ve got a couple tales I’d like to tackle first but that doesn’t stop me from starting drawing a map does it?  You have to start somewhere.

To be honest, I actually find the challenge of creating a world with so much depth inspiring.  Who knows what you can come up with when you sit down with a blank page.

THE Q: What’s your favorite fictional world?

Next up: Skyward Sword!  I can’t wait to return to Hyrule.

Link, Zelda, Hyrule, Middle Earth & Screenwriting | Screenwriting Blog | The Legend Of Zelda | The Lord Of The Rings

The First 10 Pages Of Your Screenplay Rock! Now What?

September 21, 2011 at 8:02 am

Your First 10 Pages Rock!  Now What? | Screenwriting Blog

A while back, I wrote about how much I loved the first 10 pages of my new feature length screenplay.  That’s a pretty normal statement for a screenwriter to make but I also discussed taking those first 10 pages even further.  Sometimes, there are so many things left to discover as you rewrite and revise your pages.

XTRA | The first 10 pages of my screenplay aren’t great…

So I went back and rewrote the opening 3 scenes and they were even better but I was immediately left with a new challenge.

I haven’t written that many action movies in my life and starting my new action heavy script was intimidating.  It was a relief to write those first intense moments and be happy with my movie’s opening.  Most of the time, an action movie begins with a big ‘attention grabbing’ set piece before moving on to the all import first act.

Essentially, a screenwriter is tasked with keeping the momentum going without action.  How do you establish your main characters and the overall style of the story in a unique way without losing your audience?  This was a challenge I failed immediately.  I followed up my action packed opening 10 pages with a scene involving two characters sitting at a table talking about the plot…  Boring…  The second I finished the scene I knew it was going to get tossed.  There had to be a better way to keep things interesting.

I’m a massive fan of big action movies and even I would have fallen a sleep during that scene.  It simply wasn’t good enough.  Basically, in a few pages I have to establish my main characters mission and set him off on his journey.  It’s challenging in any film script but achieving that goal in an action movie that takes place in an alternate world is tough.  I’m definitely in uncharted waters on this screenplay.

But that’s what I loved the most about this story.  I knew before I started that there would be some pretty huge hurdles to leap in order for the story to work.  Having two characters sitting at a table talking ‘can’ work but the dialogue has to be incredible. (See Chapter 1 of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds for an amazing example of this.)  My scene had no suspense.  It was packed with exposition and nothing else.  In the end, I was left with two choices:

1. Leave the scene as is but really put some thought into the dialogue and characters.

2. Completely rethink how the scene is staged…  And then complete #1 regardless.

I’m not sure where I’ll take the scene yet but I know it will be better than it is now.  At this point, I’ve written about half of the script and I’m thrilled with it but more than that, I’m thrilled that these issues are jumping out at me.  If you read your screenplay and something is boring to you it’s DEFINITELY boring to the audience.  I’m sure every screenwriter would agree that eliminating boring scenes is key.

Back to work.

10 Flicks: Will Smith Movies

September 19, 2011 at 7:47 am

10 Flicks: Will Smith Movies | Top 10 Will Smith Movies

In honor of Will Smith being the first artist inducted into the brand new Athletic Nerd Hall of Fame, here are 10 of his best films.

I Am Legend

I, Robot

Bad Boys

Men In Black


The Pursuit of Happyness

Enemy of the State


Bad Boys 2

Independence Day

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Click here for more 10 Flicks Movie Lists

Why Ninja Turtles Made Me Cry

September 16, 2011 at 7:11 am

You're two minutes late dude

XTRA | Top 10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Quotes

When I first started this blog in 2009, it was called ‘After Then and Before Now’ and called home. 

The blog has a new home and a new name (The Athletic Nerd) but the content is very similar.  (There’s just more of it now.)  When I moved the blog, the plan was to transfer all the existing posts over to the new format.  One of them was called…



That fearsome fighting team dominated my life for years.  I had all the action figures, vehicles, books, stickers, bed sheets and more.  I still have a giant Rafael action figure in a box somewhere in my apartment.  I should seriously look into finding the pictures of me dressed up as Raf for Halloween.  I loved the Ninja Turtles.  You can imagine how I felt when I was heading to the theater. This is what I love about films.  You can truly become immersed in a world that could never exist. (Or can it? I’m sure they are experimenting with ooze in a sewer somewhere.)  Whenever you get that involved in a story it’s only natural for you to become attached to the characters.

Let’s get back to the heroes in a half shell.  I’m in the theater and I’m totally wrapped up in the film.  (I’m talking about the first outstanding motion picture experience.)  There is a scene where the turtles gather around a fire and Splinter appears before them.  He offers some heartfelt words of wisdom to his sons.  Just seeing them cry got to me.

“I love you all, my sons…” Says a ghostly Splinter.

Are you kidding me?  What normal kid from my generation didn’t get a little choked up during that scene? I lost it.  I don’t even feel bad about it.  Maybe I’m alone but to date that is the only scene in the history of cinema that made me cry.  (Note: This statistic is based on theater viewings only.  There have been other instances that I am not as comfortable admitting to.)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie 1990 Splinter

It’s every filmmaker’s goal to reach audiences in some way.  Whether it is to make them laugh, cry or scare them until they cry, there is always a plan.  When it comes to screenwriting, I try to be mindful of that fact and work as hard as I can to create the same attachment in my stories.  There’s no guarantee it works every time but the effort remains.  It’s little details that count.  Kind of makes me wonder if the filmmakers sat around laughing about the kids destined to cry during that scene…  Guilty.

PS: I was SEVEN cut me some slack.

Why Ninja Turtles Made Me Cry | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie 1990