29 September 2010

I Read It So You Don't Have To: "Moby-Dick, or The Whale"

As a professional nerd, I often guilt myself into reading classic novels. Shortly after I graduated from college, for example, my mind chided, "You have an English degree and you've never even read The Great Gatsby. What kind of budding writer are you?" So then I had to read it. And yes, it's excellent. On the other hand, I can't just pick up a thick Dostoyevsky tome and dive in without being mentally prepared for it. There must be not just the shame, but a genuine interest in finding out what makes the book a classic work.

However those factors must combine to produce actual results, they were in harmony about a month ago when I decided to finally read Moby-Dick. I'd heard it described long enough as one of, if not the greatest English-language novel, that my mind was already nudging me toward taking the plunge. When I saw a nicely designed edition at The Strand, complete with purty pictures that soothed my savage brain, I decided to do it. And so began my epic journey.

Call me An Asshole.

The book opens with Etymology and Extract sections that analyze the word "whale" and quote numerous authors and books on the subject. When I began these sections, I thought it was an inventive way to introduce the subject, and wondered if it was perhaps a precursor to the song and poetry quotes a lot of modern day fiction authors preface their own novels with in the hopes that they will lend thematic weight to their stories of ninja detectives fighting ghost monkey rapists. But then the Extract section goes on. And on. And on. Many of the quotes serve to give us an idea of the whale's immense size and power. Others just seem to have mentioned the word offhand. Here are a few:
  • "Very like a whale." -Hamlet
  • "Spain--a great whale stranded on the shores of Europe." -Edmund Burke. (Somewhere.)
  • "On One occasion I saw two of these monsters (whales) probably male and female, slowly swimming, one after the other, within less than a stone's throw of the shore" (Terra Del Fuego), "over which the beech tree extended its branches." - Darwin's Voyage of a Naturalist
So...Charles Darwin saw whales at some point. Great. Thanks, Melville. That will really help contextualize your book.

I should have taken it as a sign of what was to come, like the many omens weighing down the pages of Moby-Dick. Instead, I shrugged it off. "Only 17 pages of this stuff," I thought. "Then the book will properly begin." And it does. And it starts off great. Right on the first page is this gem from the point of view of the novel's famed narrator, Ishmael:
Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos [melancholy] get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball.
Here, the author perfectly, beautifully communicates a certain weariness of the soul that anyone whose exasperation at life has expressed itself as a mad urge to get the fuck of Dodge would understand in an instant. And the imagery it expresses is striking and wonderful. I'd love to see a scene where a man just starts batting off the old-timey hats of 19th-century gentlemen in the streets of New York. I read that and said, "Book, you and me are gonna get along just fine."

Lord, was I ever wrong.

From there, Ishmael makes his way to New Bedford, where he meets his new best friend, a South Pacific Islander named Queequeg (which is just fun to say). Together, they make their way to Nantucket to sign on for a whaling voyage and end up on the Pequod (less fun to say, but still not bad) under the command of Captain Ahab. It takes about 150 long pages for that to happen, but still, things are happening. There is a story, and through that story, we learn about the characters and the world they live in. There are many asides and much philosophizing, but it helps us understand the narrator, the stylized tone of the novel, and the whaling industry at the time. And, if we're in the mood for it, we can go ahead and philosophize and ponder along with it.

Once the Pequod is actually underway, however, things quickly go downhill.

There is a clear point where that happens, and it's a chapter titled "Cetology," which is on page 190 of my edition (The Modern Library Classics). This chapter is 18 pages - 18 fucking pages - in which the narrator proposes and thoroughly lays out his system of classifying the different whale species. Why? "...at the outset it is but well to attend to a matter almost indispensable to a thorough appreciative understanding of the more special leviathanic revelations and allusions of all sorts which are to follow." He doesn't want us to get lost. He wants to make sure we understand whales, and all their many species, and just how impressive the damn things are. Even if this means describing and classifying species which aren't even mentioned in the rest of the book.

Here, I reasoned to myself: "I can make it through a tedious display of 19th-century knowledge on whales. Because once that's over, I'll get to enjoy the rest of the Pequod's many adventures on the high seas before its final battle against the White Whale."

But the Pequod doesn't have many adventures after this. Eventually, Ahab informs the crew of his desire to hunt down and kill Moby Dick, the legendary whale that bit off his leg and turned him into a madman. Then they sail around the world, killing whatever whales they see and chatting a bit with the other whaling ships they encounter. Then they fight Moby Dick.

That's pretty much it. And that would be fine if the novel was, say, 400 pages long. But it's 827 pages long. That's a little over 210,000 words. And a considerable portion of those words is devoted to telling us all about whales and the whaling industry to the great detriment of the story and characters. Poor Queequeg, who starts off as a great badass, is relegated to a relatively minor role. He's a dominant presence in the beginning third of the book, and then just some guy who harpoons whales, has a coffin built for himself, and gives his name to a dog.

Rather than telling us more about Queequeg, or the other men in the 30-man crew, the novel describes the following (as indicated by chapter titles):
  • Monstrous Pictures of Whales
  • Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales
  • Of Whales in Paint, in Teeth, &C.
  • The Whale as a Dish
  • The Sperm Whale's Head
  • The Right Whale's Head
  • The Honor and Glory of Whaling
  • Jonah Historically Regarded
  • The Tail
  • Schools and Schoolmasters
  • A Measurement of the Whale's Skeleton
  • The Fossil Whale
  • Does the Whale Diminish?
"Shut up! Shut the fuck up!" I wanted to shout at Ishmael many times over. He's a deeply complex character, one who has never found his proper place in the world, and possibly feels like he has no right to be in it as the lone survivor of the Pequod (SPOILER ALERT!). But too often he comes across as that shitty kid from Jerry Maguire, except all he can talk about is whales. "DID yooouu knooowww..." On and on and on with this fucking guy! It absolutely kills the momentum of the story. All of this insider information on whales and the industry becomes exhausting rather than illustrative, so much so that you don't even want to read the character-building monologues and soliloquies the crew of the Pequod are prone to because it's just that much more. Here's the sort of thing Melville thought was more important than actually have his characters, you know, do stuff:
Whatever superstitions the Sperm Whalemen in general have connected with the sight of this object [a squid], certain it is, that a glimpse of it being so very unusual, that circumstance has gone far to invest it with portentousness. So rarely it is beheld, that though one and all of them declare it to be the largest animated thing in the ocean, yet very few of them have any but the most vague ideas concerning its true nature and form; notwithstanding, they believe it to furnish to the Sperm Whale his only food.
That's not even a particularly bad example. Yet it's still the type of writing you read once, then realize you've stopped paying attention as you were reading it, so you read it again and try to focus, then realize you still don't actually understand it because there are so many unnecessary words and it doubles back on itself, then you read it one more time to hopefully process it and, maybe, appreciate it.

It pissed me off so much I wanted to dig Melville up and his scream at his bones, "Hey, asshole! Your book isn't actually about whales! Stop telling me so fucking much about them!" It's as if Harper Lee spent half of To Kill a Mockingbird dissecting and analyzing the American legal system. Or if Stephen Crane had described in intricate detail the soldiers' uniforms and where they came from in The Red Badge of Courage. Or if J.K. Rowling told us exactly how the spells work in the Harry Potter series. And no, I don't buy the argument that Melville had to inform his contemporary audience about the subject. Dickens managed to inform his readers about all manner of subjects without boring the everloving hell out of them or us.

It's especially frustrating because around all that shit is great writing. Sure, even the good parts can be a bit of a verbose slog for us modern readers, but Melville had a sleeve full of tricks and an ability to sink his teeth into florid prose. He occasionally livens things up with play-like interludes, chapters composed entirely of dialogue, and sequences where he freely wanders around the ship and gets into people's minds or listens to the varying thoughts and interpretations different crew members have on the same subjects. And when he does actually allow his characters to live and breathe, they come off as interesting and engaging people we'd like to know more about. He even gives a shading and humanity to his minority characters unusual for a writer of his period, though he is prone to describing them in condescending ways dripping with casual racism. "Savage" and "cannibal" come up frequently, and his chapter on the black crew member Pip has some thorny knots to untangle.

I'll leave you with an example of the great writing Moby-Dick does have to offer for those with the patience to wade through all the agonizing detail. It's a dramatic speech Ahab gives to a whale's severed head and its comical ending:
"Speak, thou vast and venerable head," muttered Ahab, "which, though ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest hoary with mosses; speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee. Of all divers, thou hast dived the deepest. That head upon which the upper sun now gleams, has moved amid this world's foundations. Where unrecorded names and navies rust, and untold hopes and anchors rot; where in her murderous hold this frigate earth is ballasted with bones of millions of the drowned; there, in that awful water-land, there was thy most familiar home. Thou hast been where bell or diver never went; hast slept by many a sailor's side, where sleepless mothers would give their lives to lay them down. Thou saw'st the locked lovers when leaping from their flaming ship; heart to heart they sank beneath the exulting wave; true to each other, when heaven seemed false to them. Thou saw'st the murdered mate when tossed by pirates from the midnight deck; for hours he fell into the deeper midnight of the insatiate maw; and his murderers still sailed on unharmed--while swift lightnings shivered the neighboring ship that would have borne a righteous husband to outstretched, longing arms. O head! thou hast seen enough to split the planets and make an infidel of Abraham, and not one syllable is thine!"

"Sail ho!" cried a triumphant voice from the main-masthead.

"Aye? Well, now, that's cheering," cried Ahab, suddenly erecting himself, while whole thunder-clouds swept aside from his brow. "That lively cry upon this deadly calm might almost convert a better man.--Where away?"

24 September 2010

Plot Points

Many of the traditional, commonly taught screenplay structures involve "plot points." These are basically any moment in a film where a turn of events can be punctuated with the "dun dun DUUNNNNNNN!!!!" musical cue. They are the events that shake things up, that make your characters re-assess their situations and force them into action. When applied well, they make the audience say, "I didn't see that coming! What's going to happen next?!" (Of course, most audiences don't say that these days because if they've seen the trailer, they've seen all the plot points lined up one by one.) Plot points are the foundations for an exciting, fast-paced screenplay.

They're also pretty much bullshit.

I'm currently working on the outline for a script. I don't normally devote too much thought to structure because I believe that if you have good characters and a good story, your script will naturally fall into a rhythm that will pull the audience along - just don't bore them by stretching out a short story to feature-length and, in general, you should be alright. This time, however, I decided that if I ever want one of my screenplays to NOT be tossed out the window for crapping on too many precious "rules," I should write something that kind-of-sort-of adheres to Hollywood's traditional structure. You know: Three easily discernible acts, an inciting incident, the "Everything is awesome!" montage, the "Everything is bad!" montage, the "I'm getting my life back together" montage, and, of course, plot points a-plenty.

It was while I was figuring out the scene-by-scene turn of events that I realized (one reason) why this particular model of screenwriting has never appealed to me. The very existence of a MAJOR PLOT POINT that CHANGES EVERYTHING for your characters suggests, obviously, that certain moments in the plot are more important than others. But when I think about a screenplay, anything that happens that directly affects the narrative is an important plot point, whether it's "major" or not.

For example, let's say our main character, Steve, goes out to buy a gallon of milk. Not a major plot point, is it? But when he gets back, he discovers his girlfriend, Belinda, cheating with the mailman. A-HA! A MAJOR PLOT POINT! But if Steve had never gone out to get that gallon of milk, then Belinda wouldn't have had the opportunity to seduce the mailman. So really, him going out to shop was just as important as him discovering the affair. Everything is of the same piece. One moment leads directly to the next.

Ah, but watching a guy buy milk - BORing! Can't we just cut right to him discovering her having the affair? Maybe. Depends on the rest of your script. But let's assume you need to have that scene in there. Here's the REAL trick they don't tell you in screenwriting classes (BUT I WILL TELL YOU IN MY NEW SEMINAR "SPEND YOUR MONEY ON ME!" ONLY $12,500.00 FOR A TEN MINUTE PITCH PRACTICE SESSION! BUY NOW!): Make the regular scene just as interesting and exciting as the plot point scene.

How? All scenes should do one of two things, but preferably both at the same time: Reveal character and advance the plot. Steve's already buying milk. That's advancing our plot. So let's reveal character. We show the guy reacting poorly to a mishap. A poor, Dickensian street urchin has taken the last gallon of milk, and Steve chest-kicks Oliver Twist to steal it for himself. But he gets caught and has to come up with an intricate lie to extricate himself from the situation. At the end of it, it's the newly asthmatic urchin who is hauled off by the police instead of Steve, and he triumphantly leaves with his gallon of milk only to discover - dun dun DUNNNNNN!!! - his girlfriend sleeping with the mailman!

So now we've taken a mundane plot point - buying milk - and turned it into its own little mini-story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It was funny and entertaining - well, to sick bastards like me - and also showed us that Steve is an enormous asshole. In fact, we've also inadvertently fleshed out Belinda. After seeing Steve act like a prick, we can better understand why she would choose to cheat on him with the mailman. (He's probably just as self-absorbed in bed.) And when Steve sees her getting completely railed and loving it by the postal worker he's never tipped at Christmas, he can now realize that he is not as awesome as he thought, leading to his journey of self-discovery wherein he learns the true meaning of life via the power of--

Well, you know how this one goes already.

20 September 2010

Project Twenty1: Old Fashioned Trash Talkin'

In a couple of short weeks, the Project Twenty1 Film Festival will be here. To help promote it, my Hard Boiled Productions partner-in-crime, Chris Kapcia, edited together a short trailer for our movie, Patient Zero. Please watch it and get excited:

We are certainly not the only ones with a trailer out there. In total, 57 films will be premiering during the festival as part of the competition, and many of the teams behind the films have created trailers to entice audiences to the screenings (show times and tickets here!). These are the films that Patient Zero will be battling for awards and prizes.

As many of you are well aware, pointless conflict generates interest in more or less anything, whether it deserves it or not, so I've decided to crack open a bottle of whiskey, watch these other trailers, and talk some good old fashioned trash about our competition. That's right! I laugh directly in their faces, like a manly hero laughing at danger! HAW HAW HAW! I belittle both their filmmaking prowess and their ability to attract and mate with their desired sexual partners! Especially Team With No Name!

Here we go!

Team Adjective Noun - K

This trailer seems primarily designed to make me jealous about the awesomeness of their shooting location. It says, "Look what we got access to!" Is that a mall? A convention center? A luxury spa that caters to the OCD? The truth shall await a screening of the film, but ultimately, it does not matter. What does matter is that it looks very cool. The teenager in me would like to stage a shoot out in it. Then again, the teenager in me would like to stage a shoot out in just about every location.

Team Crackerhammer - Immoral Desires

When I first saw this trailer, I really dug its retro-risque look and tone. The voiceover guy sounds both appalled and titillated, which is probably what the proper audience response should be. Truth be told, I was very much looking forward to this. Was, I say, because then I found out that it's an affront to decency that must be banned and destroyed. Guess I'll just have to skip it. Too bad, because I usually dig scenes of women making out. You'd think a vociferous religious organization would have bigger fish to fry. I wonder what drew their attention.

Team ? - Between the Blinds

Gotta be honest here - those dolls in the background really freak me out. I know, I know - it's a comedy/drama about a writer seeking inspiration, one that looks very attractively shot and edited. But a part of me is worried it's going to turn into a horror film when those dolls turn out to be sentient and burst through the screen Purple Rose of Cairo-style, cackling as they inexorably prance their way toward me in the audience. And when they reach me....well, I always wake up at that point. I...I'm not sure what they'll do to me. And that's why I'm packing a crossbow and flaming arrows to the showing.

Hey, half the whiskey in this bottle has disappeared already!

Team Mad Men Productions - Thank You For Holding

This trailer doesn't give me a lot to go on, so I'm just going to go ahead and make a bunch of "Mad Men" jokes: This short is about Don Draper finally abandoning the fake life he's fake built for himself to start a whole new fake life. He stages his death, which goes well but unfortunately leaves his daughter Sally thinking it was her fault, so she grows up to be even more damaged than you thought she would be, joining the Symbionese Liberation Army. She's eventually arrested and sentenced to a lifetime in prison. Then Don hits the road, Beatnik-style, but when he comes across actual Beatniks he beats them death because he can't stand them and they should have turned into hippies by this point. He bangs a lot of blondes provided by television writers living out their fantasies and says "I think we're done here" after punching out - and earning the respect of - Steve McQueen. Don becomes a popular stunt man and inspires both "The Fall Guy" and Hooper. After his retirement, he learns that Sally's latest bid for parole has been rejected yet again by a crooked board, so he rallies the surviving members of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (they have a solemn moment where they pour whiskey and vodka on Roger's grave) to go bust Sally out in the most audacious jailbreak in recorded history.

Uhh...I guess that's Don calling in the trailer. And Christian Rivera is the "tech guy" they need to build and operate their insanely complicated jailbreak equipment. THIS MOVIE IS GOING TO BE AWESOME.

Team Pandamonium - Drawn

I just realized that I haven't been talking nearly enough trash about these movies yet. So Team Pandamonium, you're about to get a big ol' helping of snark! Yeah! Uh...ahhhh...hold on a second....Oh! Nice outfit, guy! Did your mom dress you? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!....Oh, she did? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend. Actually, I think purple isn't worn enough by men these days. I wish I had the guts to pull it off but...I don't know. I think everyone is always judging me. I lack confidence in myself. That's why I lash out. Oh, God, I just had a breakthrough. Someone call my therapist!

You know what I really like about this trailer? The panda logo. He looks cool as a cucumber. He's the Fonz of pandas. Then again, most pandas are too lazy to even procreate, so I guess they're all pretty laid back. Dare I declare pandas to be the stoners of the animal kingdom? I dare.

Team Justice Productions - Love Bytes

Team Podcast--er, Team Justice Productions returns this year with what looks like an 8-bit inspired beat 'em up. If I stand tall for anything, it's violence in cinema, so I can't wait to see what kinds of ass kicking they have in store. Especially if that banana and that gorilla go head-to-head. Man, I bet that banana hands the gorilla its ass on a silver platter. I'm taking bets, everybody! Six to one odds on the banana! Thirty-two to eight on the gorilla! Sixteen by nine on the guy in red! Zero to two on Johnny Cage! 400 quatloos on the newcomer! Green M&Ms to a bowl of Booberry on The Surprise Appearance of Timothy Dalton! The Magna Carta to a warm cardigan on The Reanimated Corpse of Benjamin Franklin! George Burns' cigar to Sammy Davis' glass eye on Clint Eastwood's Squint!

Whoops, this bottle is done. Please enjoy this musical break while I open a new one.

Team Scumberland Productions - Hollow

I'd talk trash here, but this movie is about firefighters, and we're not supposed to say anything bad about them ever. This movie is therefore "critic-proof." In fact, I've heard that anyone who trash talks it will end up burning alive in a fire set by Ignatius Sparkplug, the Patron Saint of Firefighters. THE RUMORS START HERE, PEOPLE.

Team House That Hate Built - The House That Hate Built: The Midas Touch

This film is not screening as part of the juried competition, so I won't bother to hate on it. Good thing too, because I am not one to hate on hate. Being a hateful person myself, hate largely propels me in my day-to-day life. It provides me with most of my motivation. This film is also, apparently, the first in a series, so to get on the good side of a promising enterprise, I'll provide them with a blurb they can use in their promotional materials: "A Laurel & Hardy for a new generation! This comedy team makes all the others look like complete dickwads! Quit your job and devote your entire life to 'The House That Hate Built'! It's Hate-tastic! You'll love hate when you see 'The House That Hate Built!' Everything that came before this series was a complete waste of your time! If you don't watch this show, commit seppuku! Abandon your family and friends and meet your new overlord!"

I'm sure there's something in there they can use.

Team The Toxic Avengers - Kill 'Em Off

Wait. Is this film about killing off cute girls? Or is it about cute girls killing off guys in suits? Or is it both? Whichever it is, something better be getting killed off in this movie, or I'm going to be very disappointed. Like that time I saw Reservoir Dogs. There were no dogs! The characters never even went to the pound!*

*Joke provided by the Association of Hack Sitcom Writers of America.

Team Art Party Pictures - Uncertain Harvest

I live in New York City, as I like to tell everybody who doesn't live in New York City, but sometimes, when I'm tired of the constant city struggle, the concrete skyscraper prisons, the unceasing hum and noise, the hours upon hours of always having something to do, I yearn for the countryside. For the sound of crickets. For a sky lit by stars and not porno theater signs. For undulating fields of wheat drifting in the late summer breeze. For the vacant stare of a cud-chewing llama.

I have a feeling that Uncertain Harvest is telling me that's all crap. It proves the old aphorism I just made up: It's better to be a tourist in the country than a farmer who has to shovel shit all day.

Time for another refill, kids! Here's something to amuse yourselves with until I get back.

Team That Ain't RIGHT! Films - Life Lines

This trailer asks a provocative question: "If you could change the future ['It involves a small procedure, but it's gonna cost you.' 'I don't care, I can pay.'], would you do it?" None of us can ever really know the answer, which is "Yes, of course. Let's do it right now." Hey, I'd change the future just to say I did it, even if it turns out worse for me when it's over. How badass would that be as a pick-up line? "Hey. What's up? You look good. I can change the future." Who could call you on that? They don't know the future.

You know what the problem with plots like this is? There's always consequences for people doing things that go against God and Nature. Why can't things turn out cool for once? "The monkey's paw will grant you anything you desire, but it will cost you....five dollars." And then everyone in the world gets to have a monkey's paw, and they have wish-offs against their enemies! Right there's your dramatic conflict. Get me in touch with Jerry Bruckheimer! I know how he can recoup his losses on The Sorcerer's Apprentice! I've already got a tagline: "With great power comes awesomeness. Seriously. It's really awesome. Like...really."

Team Troglodytes - Between the Lines

My prediction: This lady ain't gonna make it, so don't get too attached to her. It'll make it that much harder to say goodbye...How the hell did they get a car crashed anyway? I'd hate to be the production assistant in charge of that. "Robert. Thanks for helping out. I'm going to assign you...uhh...no, we've already got someone fetching coffee...hmmm...ah, here we go: Crashing the car. Just go ahead and get it up to about forty, fifty miles an hour on the highway, then turn the wheel really hard and let that sucker flip. Cool? You do want a good reference, don't you, Robert?"

Team NERDPOP - Introvert

Here's a trailer that asks us a series of thoughtful questions. Luckily, I know the answers. They are, in order:

1. Your CD collection.
2. A little of both.
3. One of those old people who keeps all the baseballs and frisbees that land on their lawn.
4. No.
5. Yes. Definitely.
6. A crossing guard's. But not The Crossing Guard.

Team Synthetic Human Pictures - Tension of Skin

I wasn't sure how this trailer made me feel. Horny? Disturbed? Hornily disturbed? So I cheated a little and read the summary in its YouTube description: "Love is not always affirming, fulfilling, or compassionate. When Michael (Mario Guzman) and Sharon (Davina Joy) come together, the mix is potent, brutal and bad. Fighting for possession of their feelings and each other, will they destroy themselves before they learn to read between the lines?"

I hate to be one of those people who compares everything to whatever is currently going on in pop culture, but that description makes me think of that Eminem/Rihanna song. Which is AWFUL. Just a truly crappy and tedious song. This movie can only improve on that, therefore I am inclined to enjoy it already. Go for it, movie!

Team Drop the HAT - Total Rewrite

This isn't technically a trailer so I don't feel obliged to comment at length on it, but that introduction was so enthusiastic I had to at least include the video here. I hope they beat the shit out of that Pierre guy!

Team Liberty Bell Films - Asphalt Heart

My favorite part? When "VENGEANCE" appears on the screen. No, that's not the title of the film, it's what happens in it. It quickly and efficiently relates what the film is about in a matter of seconds. Two women, in a Charger, getting vengeance on Tanner. They didn't even need a voiceover guy! All trailers should be this succinct. Most of them get boring after the first minute or so anyway: "In a world where..." Violence, violence. Exposition exposition exposition. Violence. One liner. Conversation with the bad guy. Violence, violence, violence. Premiere date. YAWN.

That appears to be the end of the Competition trailers as of the current date. There are more previews on Project Twenty1's YouTube channel for several Filmathon movies (including Handlebar, which I highly encourage everyone to see Saturday night because it's very hilarious and because I came up with the title), but I won't comment on those because they're not the competition.

This, then, is the end of my WRATH! Feel my scorn, competitors! Bring it the weekend of October 1st through the 3rd, at the International House in Philadelphia, for there shall be a RUMBLE! the likes of which has never been seen before on this EARTH! And all parties interested in witnessing such a TITANIC! battle should purchase an all-weekend festival pass NOW! before they sell out and you'll have to buy individual tickets for each show, which is very ANNOYING! and not particularly COST-EFFECTIVE!