Sunday, October 28, 2012

You Cliche, I Cliche, We all Cliche

It's no secret among my family and friends that "bingo" said in a film will draw forth all manner of grunts and teeth grinding sounds from my side of the sofa. I often respond the same way to any version of "I just don't know you anymore", "we've got company" or "you just don't get it, do you?". Think I'm over-analyzing? Being difficult? Fine. Watch this.

And this....

And let's do this one just because.

I'm not saying that there is no place for a cliche or two in writing. Humans speak in cliches. We relate to cliches. In some way, cliches may even evoke an empathetic response. But a cautionary note: just like our favorite song becomes dull after 500 listens, sometimes (let's end this on a cliche, shall we?) enough is enough.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

May I Steal That?

Plagiarism is always the biggest thing in Hollywood. Clint Eastwood 
Sometimes, I am able to overlook certain minor thefts as newly coined phrases or colloquialisms or common cliches that have made their way into American jargon. But when plagiarism is so blatant that it jumps off the screen at me, I am left wondering how do they get away with it?
I could tell you which writer's rhythms I am imitating. It's not exactly plagiarism. It's falling in love with good language and trying to imitate it. Charles Kurwalt
Huh? Okay but what if it's nearly word for word?
If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism. If you steal from many, it's research. Wilson Mizner
Oh, okay, so if you steal a line from, let's say, a film with multiple screenwriters credited, then it's research?  I don't think so. I really, really don't think so. Shame on you, "Once Upon a Time". Shame on you.