How we go about this process

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
So I've been thinking about how we go about this whole SilmFilm thing.

I like the Executive Producer model - it ties the project up to the podcast feed, with Corey an friends as the ultimate figure heads.

What I'm wondering is, are we utilizing that format in the most effective way?

Here's my initial thought: as contributors and concept artists and writers and casting agents, up to now we've been thinking of our primary product as the result of those processes - namely, script outlines, costume designs, casting selections.

The way that I'm thinking differently about it is this: our actual primary product should be the slides/inputs to the recording sessions.

We've been leaning on Mithluin to do this, and she has been doing her best to try to consolidate our (often conflicting) ideas and present them fairly and with all the background. And it mostly works. But there have been cases, for example, where I think for a particular idea of mine, I might have been able to word it differently. This is by no means a slight on Mithluin! It's just that sometimes when someone else reads your idea, filters it through their own understanding, and then re-writes it, it comes out differently. Maybe it's even better, but it's different.

I don't have a plan, or an idea of how to actually do this. Maybe logistics makes it impossible. Heck, I'm a busy guy - other than a sentence or two on a given slide I might not even be able to live up to it myself. It's just that I've been rethinking a little bit about what the exact nature of this collaboration is, and wondering if we can make our output match our function.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
The main reason why I have focused more on the outlines after the hosts have had their discussion is that it is the closest we come to an actual show. Over time, I have discovered that the hosts can, and often do, get distracted by an interesting topic and either gloss over the episode itself, or make a decision that doesn't even slightly resemble any discussion that was had here. What we've attempted to do is to polish those decisions and ideas so that an actual episode of TV begins to take shape. This takes us from more or less, "These things happen this way?" to an actual story with structure that (hopefully) works on screen.

I'd point out that the reason Marie has taken up the challenge of synthesizing the information on the forums for the hosts consumption is that she was selected by the hosts to do so. From the beginning, the hosts have had a single individual point of contact with the forums, because they tend not to be here very much (if at all, sometimes).

This being the case, I'm not sure how the workflow could change in regards to the information presented to the hosts. The only thing I can think of that might help is to set up a method by which short blurbs of ideas, no more than a tweet, from each person could be collected in a way where it could be copied and pasted without any synthesis. Organize by topic so that the person setting it up wouldn't have to dig through the mess.

The truth is that the hosts just aren't going to pore over our pages of detailed arguments, and they prefer to have one person feed the info to them so that they don't have to track it down.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Oh I know, I'm just thinking about the discussions we have, and how they lead into the show.

What I DO like is when our conclusions or talking points provoke discussion from the Execs (to be fair, this is what happens a lot of the time), even if it ends up going in a completely different direction - if our talking points are considered and dismissed, that's the machine working as intended.

What I DON'T like is when a topic comes up but none of our previous discussions or conclusions or talking points even come up (this happens a smaller portion of the time, but it does happen). It's frustrating on the few times it comes up, and I don't know what to do about it. I'm happy to be considered and dismissed. I'm frustrated to not even be considered. I do not know how to resolve this, or if it can be resolved in a reasonable, functional way. I don't think that there's anything wrong with the way Marie is doing things - she's doing exactly what she's been asked to do, and doing a great job of it. I'm just wondering if there's some other target to be aiming at, or if this is what we have.

Maybe the solution is to try to discuss forward less, and discuss backward more? It's not as satisfying, but it matches the format more. So, for instance, rather than talking now about how we want the Hildorien story to go, we come up with bullet points indicating choices to be made. Then once the choices are made by the execs, we go back and flesh it out to fit. This will be less satisfying to some, as less of the creative impetus would come from the forums (or, rather, a different sort of creative impetus). But it would be less frustrating than when what is created never even gets considered.

Looking back at all of the above, I guess I'm just describing a feeling of disconnect between what happens on the forum and what happens in the podcast. The two possible solutions that I can see are to either connect them better, or change what we do on the forum. My preference would be to first try to connect better - I like feeling like I can come up with creative big picture ideas that might be considered to be added to the final project. But if there's no practical way to do it, then I'd like to be able to act in a way that is reasonable - if that means holding off on the creativity until the broad strokes are laid by the podcast, then working to fill it all in, then so be it.

(Maybe it's just not being able to do live sessions any more? This is the first season I've been asynchronous. I can type fast, and compose my thoughts into appropriately-sized comments pretty quickly, so I've felt a lot more connected in previous seasons, more able to get my creations into the thought-space for topics I care about.)
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
P.S. Just saw the Hildorien slide for a couple seconds on the replay - wow! That is a fantastic job of summarizing like 50 pages of discussion!
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
This has always been a problem with SilmFilm. The amount of frustration that was experienced in the first sessions was phenomenol after the execs told everyone to go and use the forums and then when listening to the sessions it became clear that they did not refer to the forums to get any ideas prior to discussing and making decisions about the story in each session.
I think this season has acknowledged this disconnect as we now have the desire from the execs to have a few creative sessions that can set some parameters around the creative input before the creators go to all that trouble. This will introduce the idea that amysrevenge is suggesting that our input happens in arrears. This is how the script discussion team has managed themselves too. The work they do is in arrears to what has been discussed. This approach came out of need as it was the only way to refine the exec's discussions.
I have been fortunate in my music writing that occasionally in a session the execs would say "we need a musical theme that expresses this particular idea." When I have responded to these requests I have found that these have been some of my most creative inputs to the project.
In how to do that for the general story decision making, I do not know. I found my happy medium more or less. I am like amysrevenge and can no longer listen live so I just catch up when I can and I now concentrate on music and contribute very little to the story discussions. Very occassionally when I do contribute I just have to get over my disappointment when my ideas are not considered (I still think my idea for an ice forge on the Helcaraxe was brilliant).
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Bah. I'm just having a difficult week: wife out of town for her own work, single parenting a sort-of sick kid with a broken foot, overextended and spending too much time at work; and I'm in a bit of a funk. The more I think about what I'm talking about here, the more I can see that my frustration stems more from not being able to participate in the sessions live, and less to do with the format. Don't mind me, I'll just be grumbling to myself in the corner until the funk passes.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
These are good thoughts, amysrevenge. I think that, even if they're just about your frustration right now, it's good to think about how we do things and if we can improve. And many of us (myself included) seem to share the same kind of frustration, even of it's not every week since the beginning. It's not that things are bad, but still, they could be better. Personally, I recall having no possibility to join the sessions to start with, and how I didn't understand how the stuff that was discussed in the forums was treated in the sessions. Then there's the process of understanding what kind of material the execs need and how to deal with the dialogue in the forums and how to present ideas in the discussion boards in such a way that you make yourself understood well enough to make your ideas be taken to the sessions - where they may or may not be shot down in half a second. Or if you're ignored in the forums, how to manage to get through to Corey in the live session, if you're able to attend.
So I guess what I'm saying is that it's a struggle that we all go through in different ways, and we should try to make it easier, as easy as we can. We should identify specific problems and try to come up with solutions. I'm sure we can, it's not like we're a community without ideas.
 
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MithLuin

Well-Known Member
I do acknowledge that there has been a lot of frustration, from all quarters. The best answer has always been 'please participate live and explain your ideas to the Hosts as they come up.' That is not an option for everyone, though, and so we are left with the ongoing frustration that everyone here has experienced at some point.

When I get home, I will detail the history and the current process, seeking to identify weaknesses and possible improvements.

I am the official liason, so any shortcomings are on me. I know the process will never be perfect, but I am sure it can be better and I will certainly take suggestions.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Part 1: A Brief History

"Our object is, I take it, well known to us all. To the estimable Mr. Baggins, and perhaps to one or two of the younger dwarves (I think I should be right in naming Kili and Fili, for instance), the exact situation at the moment may require a little brief explanation - " Thorin Oakenshield

Probably not a good sign when you want to channel a very important dwarf to begin your explanation, but here we go! My own participation in Signum/Mythgard has been limited and tangential. I was not participating in the Silm Film Project or the messageboard here until almost halfway through Season 1. I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs. But here's my perspective on this particular topic.

As many of you know, the Silmarillion Film Project was announced at Mythmoot III in January 2015. It was a sequel to the "Riddles in the Dark" podcasts in which Corey Olsen, Trish Lambert, and Dave Kale had discussed the adaptation of the Hobbit to film in anticipation of Peter Jackson's films, as well as the realization of a desire to engage with Tolkien's work in the way in which he himself engaged with his sources - ie, creatively rather than academically. In anticipation of this project, the Signum University messageboards (these forums) were created.

Now, Corey Olsen has done a lot of podcasts and online lectures in the past, so he's gotten rather comfortable with the format of live participation while you go off and do readings on your own for homework. He has also tried to respect the desire of participants to interact with one another without his oversight. He does not join the 'chat room' during his classes, nor does he view/post on the fb pages where Signum students hang out. This allows people to choose how and when (and if) to interact with him or each other in conjunction with the informal classes he runs.

And so, Silm Film. Apparently, the messageboards were seen as a space where people could work out their ideas, and then bring them to the podcasts. I don't think it ever occurred to anyone that there would be people who would be interested in participating in this project who would not be present for the podcasts.

Early on (but not immediately), Phillip Menzies began giving the Exec Team a summary of the discussions in the messageboard threads in the "Episode Questions" forum. They had a google doc they could refer to with quotes/ideas from people here, and the Execs could read out these ideas during the podcast. Obviously, that was a marked improvement over feeling that the discussions were being ignored!

In Seasons 0 and 1, live participation was via signing up for GoToWebinar directly only. In Season 2, the Twitch stream was added, which anyone with a link could access. Silm Film has always been available through the Tolkien Professor podcast, but is now also available on YouTube.

In the gap between Season 2 and Season 3, Corey Olsen had a phone conversation with me discussing the format for Silm Film, and asked if I would be willing to create visuals to go with the discussion. I agreed. I mentioned that I had very much enjoyed having an unofficial role up to this point, but he pointed out that this would be an official role. And so when Season 3 started up, Phillip Menzies and I agreed that I should start the threads on the messageboard, since I am more likely to participate live and would be doing the session prep work, and he would continue to run the facebook page.

I was able to touch base with Corey Olsen at Magnolia Moot and discuss SilmFilm at the beginning of Season 4, where he brought up his idea to shift the format into more preplanning and 'creative sessions' between episode discussions, in an effort to address some of this disconnect. This does assume that we will be able to get through two episodes in one session, which is as of yet unproven. We will see how that goes this Season. It will definitely make Season 4 the longest Season yet, but I don't think that's a particularly negative thing.

And so, what does that currently look like? I prepare a summary of the discussions arranged by topic in a google doc that the Execs refer to during the sessions (as Phillip did), as well as a Powerpoint with 'talking points' on it. Very occasionally, Corey Olsen will edit or create a new slide for the powerpoint presentation prior to the Session. Sometimes the powerpoint slides are a 'catch all' list of many different ideas, and other times they are designed to focus the discussion in a particular direction (which the Execs very well may choose to ignore). I provide both to the Execs, typically on the Wednesday evening before the Session, and then post a new thread immediately after a session with 'Questions for Next Time.' Rinse/repeat.


One development (independent of Silm Film) has been the 'Exploring the Lord of the Rings' class, which has also involved active encouragement to post on the boards. The difference is that there is a 'Questions for Narnion' forum specifically designed to allow Corey to interact with those in the class by letting them post questions/ideas for him there. I have never listened to the Exploring Lord of the Rings podcasts, so I can't say I know how that goes, but I imagine he addresses those points/questions in the next session? At any rate, I don't know how much time/opportunity our Exec team would have to review the messageboards (currently, they do not visit, as far as I know), but if it was strongly desired to have a non-discussion section where people could post (but no one was allowed to reply), we could maybe look into that and run the idea by the Execs. It is the kind of thing that could be really useful if there were 3-5 posts there, and probably rather frustrating if there were 20+ posts to review. It is not on the table to ask the Execs to come here and explain their ideas more fully or defend their decisions - if something like that comes up, they can address it in the next session.

TBC....
 
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MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Part 2: A Closer Look at my Role

I see my role as that of a liaison - I am responsible for taking the ideas from the messageboards to the Execs, and helping to explain the podcast decisions of the Execs on the messageboards. I don't speak for the Execs, though; I only give my own impression of what they already said themselves. This does become tricky when I'm also a participant in this project with my own opinions of what should be done. I try to be very open to any ideas that are compatible with our goals and prior decisions, but I'm sure there have been times I dismissed an idea too quickly or supported my own idea without realizing my bias. There are obviously times when I misunderstand. One of the reasons I had enjoyed being 'unofficial' was because it meant I always got to speak for myself.

That being said...how does what I do translate into actually conveying information? Let's look at a few recent examples.

First, a 'good' example: Hildorien

This slide will appear in the next session
Hildorien.jpg
Those who read through or participated in the discussion on the thread will recognize some of the points made, though obviously there's no room for all the details. I wanted to emphasize what I thought the key points of what we are 'asking' for in our Hildorien plotline, and allow the Execs to discuss that.

Here is the text summary I will provide them on the topic:


  • Fall of Men in Hildorien
    • Morgoth and Sauron work together to bring about the (off screen) Fall of Man

    • Borrow concepts from Lost Tales and Tale of Adanel

    • If we’re not going to show this, why do we care? Because we need to know when to send Morgoth/Sauron away and let them talk about their plans. It can be only the vaguest of allusions, but we still need to know what they’re doing!

    • Men fall before meeting the Avari, but Avari can play a role in the aftermath as the Edain learn to trust them.

    • Concept worked out by Amysrevenge and Faelivrin:
      • Morgoth goes off to find Men. Finds them, they are terrified. He goes home to reassess.

      • Morgoth sends Sauron off to the Men in his Annatar guise. He offers them any number of improvements to their lives (bricks? metal? weaving? bowls and plates and pretty things?) but no improved lighting (which is actually a big deal when you don't have it). All gifts, with no direct costs. He starts asking questions about why they haven't been shown these things before. He reinforces a primal fear of the dark, things that go bump in the night. When they tell him about the Voice, he warns them it's the voice of the evil Darkness that wants to eat them. He primes them for the return of Morgoth, (who will come in a time of darkness, bearing great light). Sort of warns them about his appearance, in a way that makes it more impressive and less terrifying. Goes back home.

      • Morgoth returns to Hildorien in golden armor, with the eclipse, the Silmarils in the darkness, etc. He tells them that the Darkness is coming to eat them and they must choose Now! Which will be their master? Those who still listen to the voice, bring them to me and make them kneel down. Men begin to worship Morgoth. The physical alteration is gradual but begins immediately, in that generation. Morgoth demands a temple, and leaves again.

      • Morgoth and Sauron are busy now in Angband, but feel like they've got Men under control. They sent a lesser lieutenant (Fankil?) East to watch over things. Something goes wrong under Fankil's watch, resulting in a schism, with the Men who will become the Edain heading West. Ermon leads the first group to leave? Fankil is priest-king of the remaining Satanists in Hildorien. Or should there be a battle that destroys the temple?
This way, they have access to the fuller ideas (still not the entire thread or the discussion of the significance of the Fall of Man or anything like that). If anything in that catches their interest/attention, they can repeat it on the podcast, but they can also use it to consider which way to go with certain ideas.


Now, for a less good example (hey, I'm a teacher, I'm used to grading things, and I would not give this one an A+):

Narsil.jpg

So what's going on here? I wanted to create a 'placeholder' to get some of our ideas for our very intricate/involved Dwarf/Noldo interactions onto a slide and...I botched it. I tried to include key character names, and set a context...but in the end, what was conveyed by this was my own idea (Aegnor visits Himring) and what was not conveyed very well was Mike's idea (how Caranthir accidentally encouraged Telchar to show her genuine appreciation of an elf by gifting Narsil to him). Not my best synthesis job ever, that's for sure.

So, what did this summary look like in the document sent to the Execs with the Powerpoint?

  • Amysrevenge’s suggestion: “The obvious (to me) connection between Caranthir and Dwarves, beyond geographical, could easily be based in craft. Caranthir's head is probably filled with all sorts of knowledge that the Dwarves would love to have.”
    • Caranthir befriends the Dwarves. He is initially unimpressed with their work, but quickly realizes that they have the capability to produce in quantities the Noldor can't even imagine (they have never felt the need for mass production before, so each Noldor work is a piece of art). He later learns that there are artisans among the Dwarves who can rival the Noldor with their craft as well. He provides the Dwarves with some technical knowledge that is difficult for them to utilize, as it requires some sort of material or process that is apparently only available in Valinor (maybe a hotter fire than the Dwarves can manage?).

    • Later on, Aegnor is visiting Caranthir while Curufin is there. They go out to Belegost. While they are being celebrated at a feast, Aegnor overhears Telchar and another artisan quietly talking about attempting a new approach to solving the technical challenge of Caranthir's knowledge. Aegnor is able to solve their problem with his own knowledge of metallurgy (a way to use the process without as much heat?). Caranthir, afraid of seeming like a chump, boastfully asks the Dwarves to reward his clever cousin with a gift. Telchar gladly gives him Narsil (and Noldor jaws drop).

    • For some side-reason I haven't thought of yet but could easily be crafted, Angrist is also given to Curufin at this time.
  • Marie’s suggestion (presumes Caranthir is already established as dwarvish ambassador):
    • Fingon is travelling East to visit Maedhros at Himring. He passes through the lands of Angrod and Aegnor, and invites them to join him, thinking it will be an opportunity to smooth things over a bit. Angrod declines the invitation; he has no desire to be a guest of the Fëanoreans, subject to more of their disdain. So, we see that the insult about him being a tale-bearer still stings and he hasn't forgotten it. Aegnor, on the other hand, is excited to go on a trip with Fingon and accepts. When Fingon and Aegnor arrive in Himring, they are greeted happily by Maedhros. Hearing of Aegnor's interest in the Dwarvish craftsmanship, he invites him to stick around until the next caravan of dwarvish traders arrive. Fingon perhaps has to return to Hithlum, but Aegnor stays. Then Caranthir arrives with the Dwarves, and Maedhros urges him to be on his *best* behavior around the Son of Finarfin. Caranthir...tries. But he gets a little carried away in his role as the 'expert' at Dwarf stuff and acts obnoxious anyway.

    • Result: Telchar finds Aegnor delightful and gifts him Narsil. A sword of flame for the fell fire, etc.
  • Faelivrin’s addendum: Send Aredhel as well.
That particular session, for whatever reason, had a *ton* of discussion. I was sifting through hundreds of posts to put everything together, and in the end the summary document alone was 6 full pages long. So, while I am confident that I *did* share the idea with the Execs, I am not as confident that I captured it in the Powerpoint (because I didn't), and it is quite possible they missed it at the time. I did attempt to rectify that during the Session by typing a clarification that Narsil is not meant as a grudging gift but a genuine one, and that Caranthir's rudeness did not preclude a real friendship between Telchar and Aegnor. Someone else chimed in to get Aredhel's name under consideration.

The problem was that Corey Olsen had already had the idea that Narsil would be a commissioned gift, and so he wanted it to be forged for a particular elf for a reason, not just given as a previously forged sword. He wanted to reject the premise that Telchar would just have the sword to hand over, and so he rejected it for a reason that seemed clear to him. That being said, I think we can translate Mike's idea to the meeting of Telchar, Curufin, and Caranthir, and basically have that be the explanation of how Curufin gets Angrist. Curufin as the smith who answers questions the dwarves have fits, and we'd just have to work in the offer of buying things with Fëanorean lanterns that the hosts wanted to use. I know that is not entirely satisfying and is still frustrating (this entire post is more of a 'here's what did happen' and I have not yet gotten to the 'here's what should happen.')


A more usual example is one in which the slide is meant to allow open-ended discussion, while the notes provide the details/commentary necessary for that discussion.

So, this is an example from the most recent session:
Catch and Release.jpg

And here are the accompanying notes:

  • Catch-and-Release Elf Program
    • Difficult to find a time in the season when a villain ‘victory’ of making Noldor captive fits the story

    • Elves who have been proposed as captives:
      • Maedhros
        Made captive at the end of Season 3; rescued in Episode 1 of Season 4

      • Rog of Gondolin (feel free to rename him Róka or Rhogrin)
        If he is an elf of Fingolfin's following, he can be made captive at any time. The audience likely will not know him before his capture. He can escape Angband at any time prior to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and remain in Fingolfin/Fingon's service, making his way to Gondolin after that battle.

      • Orodreth
        Made Captive during the Dagor Aglareb (or immediately after). Released prior to the Dagor Bragollach (so, sometime in Season 4 or 5). Commands Minas Tirith during the Dagor Bragollach.

      • Ecthelion of Gondolin
        Ecthelion needs to be with Turgon in the initial move to Gondolin at the end of Season 4. If he is made captive at any point, it needs to be very early and he should escape almost immediately. Probably better to show minions of Angband attempting to capture him, but failing. This is the elf who kills Gothmog; he's not easy to make captive.

      • (Unnamed) Brother of Penlod of Gondolin
        Penlod's (invented) brother could be captured at any time prior to the move to Gondolin in Season 4. He will never escape from Angband, and remains a prisoner there throughout the rest of the First Age. Penlod rules two houses in Gondolin; one he is 'holding' in the vain hope of his brother's return.

      • Eldalotë [Edhellos] wife of Angrod
        We need to invent a story for her to know what her timeline would be. Presumably, she is one of the elves intentionally released by Sauron because he has a psychic hold on her. Her betrayal/compromising situation will occur prior to the Dagor Bragollach in Season 5 (right?)

      • Gelmir of Nargothrond
        Captured during the Battle of Sudden Flame; killed in captivity at the start of the Battle of Unnumbered Tears

      • Gwindor of Nargothrond
        Captured during the Unnumbered Tears; escapes prior to meeting Túrin

      • Gimli the Blind
        Gnome/Noldo who was prisoner in Tol in Gaurhoth. Of course we would like to change his name... (Gimglir? Gimriol?) Presumably made captive sometime after the Battle of Sudden Flame; freed by Lúthien and Huan when they take down the Tower.
    • We have to be careful not to make Angband a revolving door, where captives escape all the time. Elves sometimes have to die or stay captive.

    • Sauron’s intention is to let some go when they are enthralled/broken, but he might perhaps allow them to ‘escape’ with others who were not broken to allow them to blend in.

    • This starts in earnest after the Dagor Aglareb, but some of the elves might not escape until much later. It takes a long while for the elves to catch on that the returned captives cannot always be trusted.

    • Gondolin elves can’t be made captive once they are in Gondolin.

    • Orodreth as former captive would have a unique relationship with Gwindor. We could contrast his bravery in the skirmish where he is made captive with his later timidity as a result of his captivity. Cellardur is opposed to having Orodreth made captive at all, and wants him to just be naturally weak without any external cause.

    • If Eldalotë is not a traitor deceived by Sauron, then we need to figure out some other story/role for her or just delete her
I picked this as a 'typical' example for a few reasons. One, I figured it would be fresh in people's minds (unlike something from last season). Secondly, the slide just has a list of elf names with no context or reason for their inclusion...but the notes include those details. And thirdly...Corey Olsen did specifically mention the detail of Rog's story (being an elf in Fingolfin's host who only goes to Gondolin after the Unnumbered Tears) that is explained in the notes during the Session.

But also I think this illustrates how the discussions go. Corey Olsen went through the list of names provided, explained again how he needed one named elf in each 'category', and then rejected the names he found inappropriate and solicited new suggestions to fill the gaps. It's rather significant to note that he was completely willing to reject Ecthelion, though, as you recall, that idea was the Hosts' in the first place, for the role of 'elf who escapes under his own power.' But he thought Rog was a better idea, so went with it.

Now, the disadvantage of picking such a recent example is that people likely have feelings and opinions about the content of that discussion. So...save that for elsewhere! [I am certainly not inviting a discussion of which elves should be made captive on this thread!]


Hopefully, these examples give some context as to how the process is meant to work as we continue to discuss what we would like the situation to be moving forward. Obviously, this all depends on me giving myself enough time to go through the discussions we have here, pull everyone's ideas together, and then generate summary content that the Hosts can use during their discussions.

TBC...
 
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Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
This is awesome.

I think where I was leading my own thoughts toward was this: if there is a narrow topic upon which one had a very passionate opinion, and the session is upcoming in which it is slated to be discussed, would it be helpful or unhelpful (to you specifically MithLuin) for one to attempt to pre-summarize a possible slide and/or accompanying description?

Personally, I have a fairly good skill set involving summarizing and presenting ideas, but I don't have the time or energy to do it for the whole project (work and parenting pretty much suck it all out of me, in a good but exhausting way). But I do have the energy for smaller subsets of the project I'm more passionate about (the next such topic I know about for sure is Sauron's involvement in the Fall of Gondolin, where I have very particular ideas, but until Aegnor/Narsil came up I had no idea that one was going to be important to me haha).
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
You know, I had a suggestion in the thread about tactical styles https://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/weapon-armor-systems-tactical-styles-in-middle-earth.659/page-6#post-24497 about how Sauron was going to capture Elves: that Tevildo was going to herd Elves in small groups towards Thuringwethil or Sauron, depending on who was there at the time; it’s hard for Tevildo to capture someone in his great cat form without opposable thumbs. It... got ignored entirely.
This is actually worth talking about as a wider topic under the "how we do this process" discussion. I can see one big issue here: that's not a very high-traffic part of the forum. I haven't been in the Sets and Props subforum in months myself.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
This is actually worth talking about as a wider topic under the "how we do this process" discussion. I can see one big issue here: that's not a very high-traffic part of the forum. I haven't been in the Sets and Props subforum in months myself.
It used to be more high-traffic; the Swords thread in Sets and Props is at 400 replies and counting. I started a thread a few months ago there on how we show Morgoth ruining Beleriand.

So one PowerPoint slide could be about the onscreen portrayal of the Spell of Bottomless Dread?

I myself can make ideas about character moments like Aegnor in the Dagor Bragollach or Celegorm in the Second Kinslaying. My favorite topic is casting and I’ve suggested characters we need to cast this season, but there has been little feedback, for good or for ill.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
It used to be more high-traffic; the Swords thread in Sets and Props is at 400 replies and counting. I started a thread a few months ago there on how we show Morgoth ruining Beleriand.

So one PowerPoint slide could be about the onscreen portrayal of the Spell of Bottomless Dread?
Possibly - but it's a bit narrower in scope that these Overview sessions we've been having (and doesn't affect plotting or story, in a big way). Would be something worth having for when we get to the first Episode session where it would happen onscreen.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Possibly - but it's a bit narrower in scope that these Overview sessions we've been having (and doesn't affect plotting or story, in a big way). Would be something worth having for when we get to the first Episode session where it would happen onscreen.
It was something that the Hosts said they wanted discussion on for the 22nd.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Well then if you want to contradict my vague memories with actual facts, then you go right ahead hahahahahahahahahahaha

Yes, if you have specific visuals you suggest, providing them in a concise way might be helpful. Something designed for Corey's presentation format - image files might be more work for Marie to put in slides, URLs would be more work for Corey to switch windows (but he will definitely do that where warranted, such as casting or location scouting sessions).
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Okay, a few items here. One, Tevildo's involvement in the Catch-and-Release program *was* discussed in the Session. Corey liked that suggestion. Secondly, the development of the special effects associated with the Spell of Bottomless Dread will be an ongoing discussion and creative challenge throughout the season, and we will come back to it at a later time. It will *not* be part of the 2/22 session. So, thank you for starting that thread and getting the discussion going, Ange1e4e5. Also, there was a brief mention of a casting suggestion for the voice of Thorondor (use the actor for Manwë) in the most recent session. So, people are thinking about these things, but we're not ready to discuss them yet.

It is true that an idea that has been encapsulated briefly is easier to include than one that has been discussed in many lengthy posts across several threads. I don't need people to make their own slides, but I certainly wouldn't mind a brief reminder/summary post on the thread a few days before the session for an idea that a poster really wants to come up. That will make sure the idea is fresh in everyone's mind, and would be an opportunity for someone to reword their own thoughts. Of course, if everyone just repeats what they've already written, that will make the thread twice as long and difficult to wade through, so this works better if employed judiciously.

Which brings us to.....


Part 3: Participation

There are, of course, many ways to participate in this project.

There are 'silent participants' (I consider 'lurker' to be a rather rude term), or people who log in to the podcasts and/or the messageboards, but do not post. I realize that not everyone feels the need to speak up to enjoy the process of hearing this all play out. We do have at least one long term silent participant on SilmFilm. I have often been curious as to why this person does not join in, and even more curious what they think of this all after observing for so long. Maybe someday we'll find out! But obviously I cannot speak for them. Those who listen to the podcast as a recording and do not post on the messageboard fit into this category as well.

There are also those who participate in the podcasts (either via GoTo Webinar or Twitch), but not the messageboards. These people are active, and they are contributing to the project. An example would be Karita Alexander, who no longer posts here or takes part in the script discussions because of time constraints, but does still listen to Silm Film live and share her thoughts that way.

Then there are those who listen to the podcast afterwards, and are active posting here on the messageboards. This is the group that is most likely to voice their frustration over not being heard, as they have participated and do listen, but are unable to join in the conversation as it is happening. That has been all of us at one time or another. I remember getting called into a court room for jury selection one Friday morning, and of course that meant I missed Silm Film that day. I caught the tail end of the broadcast, only to hear a brief summary of some of the decisions that had been made. My first reaction was very much, 'Nooooooo!'

And, of course, there are those who listen live, participate, and also post here on the messageboards. This level of involvement eats up a lot of time, and not everyone can do that. Life circumstances change, as do interest levels. But I think most people would agree that those who participate at this level do feel heard, at least (if not always happy with the decisions that are made).

A participation model that is virtually unworkable is to be active on the messageboards, but not listen to the podcasts either live or as recordings. I know it has been tried, but I don't think we've managed to make that work, since all of the decisions/explanations are made at the podcast level, and we are (essentially) discussing the podcasts here. But again, everyone misses one now and again, and there's no harm in posting before you get caught up. It does require a little patience and understanding that there is information the poster does not yet have to make those discussions work.

And then there are the Script Discussions, and the other parts of this project involving creating content and art, though I'm not going to get into that right now.


My most important comment is that everyone's participation level is their own decision. The one thing that would *not* be cool would be to demand that someone participate more/differently than they do. I know I sometimes try to encourage the discussion along, which means I am fishing for posts, but I hope no one feels personally obligated to respond when I do things like that. This isn't the kind of activity we want anyone to burn out from - it's meant to be fun!

In any collaborative creative endeavor, it's important that people trust that others will listen to them when they contribute, and no one's concerns get dismissed without consideration. It is also important that everyone be focused on the best creative outcome, not getting hung up on egos or getting 'my' ideas adopted but rather on getting the *best* ideas. I know it hurts when your own ideas are torn apart and discarded, and that has happened to all of us. Considering the number of words I've spilled here, I've actually had relatively few original suggestions myself, as my focus has been more on making existing ideas work. So when one of those few ideas get blasted... yeah, I remember that. [So remember that time I said we should have two separate island ferry trips for the Vanyar and the Noldor?] I know it stings. But, I can also recognize that it was absolutely the right decision to nix that idea (in most cases, but definitely in that one).

If someone does not want any of their ideas to be shot down, then I think what you are looking for is an individual creative project, not a collaborative one. I can suggest several different sites where you can post your own Tolkien-inspired fanfiction, and it's entirely up to you whether or not you'd want to accept any criticism when doing so. At no point are we going to develop a process in which everyone's ideas get adopted simply because we like them. BUT, we certainly do want to give everyone's ideas fair consideration, and adopt those that are compatible with the project. Which leads to the crux of this thread -- suggesting improvements to the process where ideas are considered by the Hosts in the podcasts.
 
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Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Disclaimer: I haven't finished reading the thread or MithLuin's history yet. Getting there slowly.


I have been feeling very frustrated sometimes, too. I am very grateful for the hard work Marie is doing and nothing I say is meant as a criticism of her.

My motivation for being in the SilmFilm project is to create an awesome work of art. For me, the work of art is script outlines, and maybe someday actual episode scripts. I want it to be as well-written and faithful as it can be, and I want to be allowed to have input into it. I am willing to compromise with others who disagree with my ideas, with the goal that everyone is allowed to have input and the end result is well-written without plot holes, and respectful towards the author whose work we're using. I've only been able to participate in podcasts a few times, and it's very frustrating to listen to them afterwards and see that my concerns were ignored, or perhaps not seen, by the Hosts. Not having my ideas used is less frustrating than not having my concerns considered or addressed.

But when I participate I get just as frustrated, by their comments, by the things they say to and about us, and by having my comments in the chat box ignored. I can try to convey my ideas and my concerns, but the chat box is a very ineffective channel for communication. You have to shorten your words to a tweet, on the fly, and there's no way to use voice tones, italic, or bold for emphasis. I find myself trying to use caps lock for emphasis and then I'm accused of shouting and ignored even more. I'm adding my comments to a chaotic stream of I-don't-know-how-many-comments flowing past the Exec's eyes while they're trying to multitask and look at another chat window from Twitch. Chances are they can't even see most of the comments before they scroll away.

And I don't feel like my perspective (that we should respect what is written in the books, and give Tolkien's ideas a chance before throwing them away) is considered valid by the Execs. It's one thing to have a disagreement or even have separate creative visions and work together on compromise, but it's another to feel like I'm held in contempt for liking the books more than the Peter Jackson movies. It's especially awful, truly painful, to listen to them repeatedly saying outright that their goal is to make the Script Writers miserable.

The process we have now doesn't feel like collaboration or compromise to me. It feels like I'm trying to create art, and it's being stepped on by Execs who don't share any of my goals and don't care what I think or feel. Maybe I'm just in the wrong project and should leave, but I don't want to give up on something that has such potential to be good.


Focusing on only posing questions to the Execs, and not giving any creative input, means giving up any chance of contributing our own ideas. That changes it from a creative project in which we participate and at least attempt to collaborate, to just carrying out somebody else's creative vision (one that has no resemblance to mine). I'd consider doing that if I was being paid... but I'm not. I usually enjoy the discussions here, but I'd rather write my own fanfic based on our discussions, than just be a pen in somebody else's hand.
 
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