Web Series Adaptations- Structural Analysis

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I love web series. And this isn’t the first time I’ve said as much.
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In particular, I love web series that are literary adaptations, because due to budgets and copyright laws, literary web series have to be particularly inventive in bringing classic stories to modern day, making them relatable to internet audiences. 
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This post is going to be a brief structural analysis of what, in my view, should be considered in a web series adaptation. (Based on series I’ve seen from beginning to end/most recent episode).
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Components
  1. Initial conceit (or, why does this character have a blog?)
  2. Audience acknowledgement & interaction
  3. How are other perspectives integrated?
  4. Inventiveness (with camera stuff, settings, etc.)
  5. Quality of Adaptation (modernization of problematic elements, captured the spirit of the original)
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Apologies, Announcements, and Avengers

Hey everyone!
So…it’s kind of been awhile. 
… And by awhile, I mean six weeks.
…Yeah.
I’m really sorry I left it so long. See, I’ve been balancing two new jobs since March, and between that and finishing up some classes at NYU, I honestly haven’t been able to scrounge up the energy to finish a single article. But I’m her to officially say I’m back and ready to write again, so expect a new post this Tuesday! 
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Additionally, some exciting related news –
You can now find Kate’s Curiosities on tumblr! For various fandom gif sets, rants, and observances (as well as the occasional puppies and kitties, as is custom for tumblr 😄 ), follow me!
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I am also on Twitter, though admittedly I’m not on this platform quite as much. But feel free to engage me on this platform, I’ll be sharing some quips, quotes, and fun links.
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Finally, as mentioned, I am currently holding two jobs related to books. One of these is as Children’s Editor on Riffle, which is a visually-based book site that helps you read more books by connecting you with avid readers and books you’ll love. That books list I shared in this post was actually part of my application! 
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I’m mostly covering children’s books up to middle grade, but I also share some more general book related stuff on the Riffle Discussions pages and on the Riffle Childrens tumblr page. I’ll be reviewing books, responding to other people’s reviews, and creating and recommending more awesome booklists. So, check out the site, view and share some booklists, and if you end up joining, make sure to follow me! 
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For your convenience:
Riffle profile: http://read.rifflebooks.com/profiles/119389
Riffle Children’s tumblr: http://rifflechildrens.tumblr.com
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(PS – If you’re already on Goodreads, Riffle has a Goodreads export button to make things easier 😉 )
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Okay, that’s enough announcements for now. And, as compensation for missing so many weeks, here are some extra special Avengers parody videos I hope you’ll enjoy. Thank you for your patience and continued support, can’t wait to get back up and rolling!
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~Kate
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5 Things I Wish to See From Cinderella – REACTION

After Friday’s post, listing my expectations for the new Cinderella film, I actually went to see the movie on Sunday with my mom. As I said last time, Cinderella is my mom’s favorite animated Disney movie, so  perfect mother-daughter movie for us to see!
 
So how did things go? Well, let me preface to say this: it takes quite a bit for a movie to make me cry (though I find it gets easier and easier as time goes on). It has to hit a certain emotional spot. Even the last Harry Potter didn’t make me full out cry (though I did dry sob when I saw Lupin and Tonks).
 
Guys, I cried during Cinderella not once but twice. And the second time they were tears of joy, if you can believe that, right at the end. It was just so satisfying and validating and beautiful that I got really moved.
 
But for all this sappy emotion, you’re all wondering: did it meet my prior expectations?
 
 
(SPOILERS AHEAD!!)
 

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5 Things I Wish to See From Disney’s Live Action Cinderella

You know, there’s a lyric in “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” that I’m surprised doesn’t get more attention.

While we could chalk it up to needing a word that rhymed with “believing,” to say her heart is “grieving” still seems a strong choice of words for Cinderella. But I think this says a lot more about her character and her story, than any of the pretty, sparkly, shallow merchandise can.

In the original animated film, Cinderella’s father dies when she’s very young, but old enough to remember him and be affected by his death. Instead of getting love and support from family members in the wake of all this, her stepmother takes control and turns Cinderella into a servant in her own household. Because this is all narrated at the very beginning of the film, we don’t get a strong idea of just how hurt she was when all this happened. But that doesn’t mean the pain isn’t there. While she is strong enough to keep her head up high in the face of her daily servitude, every now and then, her fears, her grief, and her frustration overcome her. But she has to keep it as contained as possible, because if she doesn’t her stepmother will only make things worse, even throw her out, with nowhere to go.

This is a girl with a lot of heart and courage. Perhaps I’m biased since Cinderella is my mom’s favorite Disney heroine, but I have a lot of respect for Cinderella as a character. But because she was in an animated film in 1950 with a very short running time, a lot of her story was diverted towards the comedy – the mice, the dated blowhard of a king, the put-upon duke. And that was fine for that time and type of film. But as times have changed, people have defined Cinderella by the shallowest details of her story.

But tonight, with the opening of Cinderella (2015), this beloved Disney character gets another chance to prove her worth, beyond the merchandising, beyond her original film. I was wary of this film when I first heard about it, mostly because I was coming off the heels of Maleficent – which, while elements of it worked very well, would have worked better if it wasn’t so deeply associated with an iconic Disney film. But where Maleficent twisted Sleeping Beauty around, Cinderella seems to be truly honoring the original while giving her and her story the depth it deserves – but will it truly go the distance?

They say “a dream is a wish your heart makes,” so here are my dreams for this epic film to fulfill:

1. Confronting the Stepmother (literally and symbolically)

Rags and riches are a huge part of this story, but it isn’t just about the transition from one to the other. The stepmother loves to hold Cinderella’s poverty and dependence over her head. She’s all about pretending to give Cinderella a fighting chance, while placing every obstacle imaginable in her way. In this way, she attempts to make Cinderella feel worthless, to ultimately give in to despair. Cinderella unfortunately never gets to directly confront the stepmother in the original – though I’m sure she got a real kick of pleasure from her stepmother’s face when she pulled out that other slipper. But we see from the trailers hints of a real confrontation scene in the new version, which I hope will be satisfying.

But I don’t want this just for the drama. Because by confronting the stepmother, she has to also confront how the prince and how society might view her if she takes her chance at happiness. Even now, there’s still a lot heaped on those who have fewer opportunities, especially women. That they are somehow less, even when they are kind and caring and intelligent hard workers. But Cinderella, by confronting this and still choosing to go for her dreams, would be making a mature decision to assert her right to dream, to attend the ball, to face the prince, even if the worst should happen. And to show the prince, confronted with the truth, choose to stand by her side proudly. Instead of dreamily glancing over the issues, I hope the film acknowledge the prejudices associated with rags and riches, and ultimately show that they are wrong and do not matter.

2. Make it clear why she had to stay in her stepmother’s care – and maybe the early days of that life.

Even with a potential confrontation, people may fault Cinderella for not fighting back sooner.

Said people forget about women’s history.

Because for all she went through under her stepmother’s roof, had she stepped out of line it could have been so much worse. In the original film, when an innocent mistake of Cinderella’s was mistaken as purposeful insolence, her workload was doubled. What would happen if she actually stepped out of line?

Possibly, she would have been kicked out of her own home. Think Miss Honey from Matilda without an education. Or worse yet, think of another poor French woman – Fantine from Les Miserables. Forced into prostitution, she took ill and died.

But just because she was forced to take her step family’s behavior, and decided to take it with a smile just to spite them, doesn’t mean it was always that way. Perhaps the film will give an opportunity to see her early days under her stepmother’s thumb and being willful, leading to serious consequences (so more along the lines of Jane Eyre).

3. Show her spirit!

She calls the clock an old killjoy. She scolds Lucifer and Bruno when they’ve been bad. When given the chance to go to the ball, her lack of wealth, of even a dress, does not dissuade Cinderella from trying to take the rare opportunity for freedom (not love, note). She sticks her chin in the air in front of the woman who can hurt her the most, and proclaims her right, by royal decree, to go to the ball. Basically, all of this and more please!

4. Have the fairy godmother’s appearance be connected to Cinderella’s mother.

In many of the older versions of the tale, the person or force who gives Cinderella the opportunity to escape her life is connected to her deceased mother. In some it even is her. Since trailers indicate that we do get to meet Cinderella’s mother, I would love to see that connection drawn, to show Ella her mother in some way is still there for her (I’m a sucker for a good mother-daughter story).

5. A glimpse at Cinderella’s dreams.

Cinderella never discusses her specific dreams in the original film because, like wishes, if she told them they would not come true. Plus, I think she wants something that is all her own. It worked for the original film because by having the dreams be vague, people could project their own dreams on the song and character.

Bur now, I think showing that maybe Cinderella had specific dreams – perhaps to escape servitude, or serve in another house as servant, live abroad – would help the audience understand the stakes of going to the ball for her, what she wants from life.

That’s all for this week! Sorry for the late post. See you Tuesday!

Learn more about the blog here, about me here, and resources hereCheck me out on tumblr at kateeorgera.tumblr.com, and check out my links in the sidebar and below:

Until next time,

~Kate

To read my reaction to Cinderella, click here!

Gearing Up for Cinderella

My sincerest apologies, followers, but this is to let you know that I will not be posting an article today as planned. Instead, I will be posting sometime on Friday. However, to get ready for Friday’s post about my expectations for the new Cinderella film, here are some songs from various versions of the classic tale. See you Friday!

How I Met Ron Weasley – Analyzing Ron’s First Appearance in Sorcerer’s Stone

Today on Kate’s Curiosities, we’re going to talk about one of my favorite Harry Potter characters: Ickle Ronniekins… er, I mean, Ron Weasley.

(I said Ron! How did he know?)

(Sorry, kidding)

Specifically, we’re going to talk about his characterization in the first two chapters he shows up in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. And there will be merriment and lots of literary nostalgia goodness.

But first, a Public Service Announcement:


The Magic of Reading

If you click the picture above, you’ll see that I have created a list of 23 books and series, from Early Readers to Young Adult, that I think capture the magic of reading and the joys of being bookish for all ages, either through their plots or through their equally bookish characters. Hermione, of course, had to be included on that list, but you’ll find many other lovely books, classic and contemporary, that you’ll want to check out if you haven’t already. Then, share it on your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter, your Tumblr. Share it with your bookish friends, and your friends who have bookish kids, and so on.

A lot of care and thought went into putting this together, and I’d appreciate some support in this endeavor. Plus I think you, my audience, will appreciate the literary goodness. There are even quotes from each entry about books and reading, for added goodness 🙂 Here’s the link if the picture doesn’t work: https://read.rifflebooks.com/list/170475

Okay, I’m done with the self-promoting. Now onto Ron!

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Moving Pictures: A Brief Reflection on the Oscars Opening

The annual Oscars have come and gone, and this year I actually saw more than a few of the nominees (probably because I wasn’t, y’know, studying my butt off as was the norm up until now).

There were a lot of really great moments at Sunday night’s ceremony. But of course, grabbing attention from the get go is important, and what would a Neil Patrick Harris-hosted event be without a dynamite opening number?

Penned by the composer and lyricist of Frozen, I found the song very intriguing given the cultural environment that surrounded this year’s Oscars. I won’t go into detail on all that, as there are others who have stated it better and more passionately than I could.

And also, it is interesting to reflect on the song after having seen the whole ceremony, because so many of this year’s acceptance speeches ended up talking about films as representative of issues that wouldn’t otherwise be talked about. That films even have a responsibility to be socially aware and advocate on behalf of others, and to do it right.  And on many levels, I so agree with all of that! All kinds of storytelling invite us to empathize with people in situations unfamiliar to us, and that is part of what makes them so important.

But… what about when we realize that a story we love is problematic? 

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Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey: Revisiting the Past in Doctor Who and the Works of Edward Eage

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(SPOILERS for Doctor Who Series 3-6, the works of Edward Eager, and Meet the Robinsons)

It has occurred to me recently that I don’t talk about books enough on this blog.

Considering that books were among my first loves, this oversight just won’t do. Of course, all types of stories are important, and I’ve talked about good old Harry Potter more than once. But there’s more than just Harry Potter on my bookshelf that deserves spotlighting!

So, like last week, I’m digging into my childhood to analyze an often overlooked favorite, in comparison to a pop culture phenomenon. 

In the 1950s, dramatic writer and lyricist Edward Eager, having a difficult time finding books to read to his son, began writing children’s books in the style of E. Nesbit – stories about ordinary children who stumble on some kind of quirky magic (the first book, for example, involved magic that worked by halves – the children had to wish for twice as much of something if they wanted the wish to work completely) that they then use to go on fantastic adventures through space, time, and even literature, referencing everything from One Thousand and One Nights to Little Women. Along the way, the children typically learn to use the magic wisely, and resolve conflicts in their ordinary lives.

Eager’s tales of magic spanned seven books in all (the last published two years before his death in 1964), but he did not use the same cast of characters across all seven. At most, a given cast of children would span two books. However, the siblings of Half Magic (1954) & Magic by the Lake (1957) and the cousins of Knight’s Castle (1956) & The Time Garden (1958), are connected by more than just their writer.

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A Letter to Snow White: Personal Reflection on a Childhood Favorite

Author’s note: So, this isn’t a typical post for me. But it’s been one of those weeks where I’ve been thinking a lot about something, and the thoughts get so jumbled up in my head that I need to write about it to resolve it. I hope you get something out of this personal reflection of mine, and promise next week I’ll get back to my more typical posts. Thanks!

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Dear Snow White,

I wish I could say you weren’t my favorite as a kid. That I was way more into Belle or Jasmine or Mulan.

But, let’s be honest – I had your doll, I had your dwarves, I dressed up as you for Halloween three times. You were my girl.

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Favorite Fictional Birthday Scenes

Confession: I celebrated my birthday yesterday, with parties held over the weekend. So, I didn’t write a traditional post this week. 

But I did want to post something. So, I decided to think back on fictional birthday scenes I have enjoyed (and wished I’d had ). 

Here are five fictional birthdays we all wished we’d had (Spoilers ahead for Once Upon a Time, The Lord of the Rings, Tangled, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone… kind of):

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