Miquiel Banks

Duty and the Switch

By September 26, 2017 Assets

Duty doesn’t have an off switch.
– MB

Duty comes with a lot of twists and turns.

A lot of headaches.

A lot of time spent doing nothing.

Sometimes duty needs action.

Sometimes duty needs direction.

Sometimes duty needs patience.

Whether you’re learning a new skill or you’re learning to adapt, both lateral and vertical thinking can benefit from this personal attribute.

Let it sink in your soul.

Let it sink in your stomach.

Let it sink in your speech.

The more duty exists in your world, the more you’ll understand its power.

 

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Plot Infographic – Once Upon A Time (S03E08)

By September 25, 2017 Assets, Blogging, Criticism, Storytelling

Once upon a Time is a powerful TV show based around a simple wish – what if fairytales were real?

Armed with this power, it pushes the viewer to accept things that make no sense elsewhere:

  • What if Peter Pan was the bad guy?
  • What if magic existed here, but we just didn’t know?
  • What if fairytales are not mythic, but based on actual events?

This infographic captures the power of a deep episode entitled “Think Lovely Thoughts.”

Now, look at again at this powerful infographic that captures the essence of what made this episode so powerful and enlightening.

It has three plot lines:

  • Story A – Stopping Pan
  • Story B – Young Rumpel
  • Story C – Saving Prince Charming

The beauty lies in the mixture of the first two plot lines, Stopping Pan and Young Rumpel, and this is where OUAT shines most.

It has the power of using flashbacks to not only enlighten the present, it uses them to also characterize the motivation for certain characters and their behavior.

In the hands of less skilled storytellers, this flashback would be a contrived and detrimental to the story’s progress, but in the world of fairytales, it colors the plot with a magical potpourri hard to capture in today’s fast-paced world of storytelling.

All we can do is peep and say – Job Well Done.

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What you know about an ATL Talent Show?

By September 25, 2017 Blogging, Criticism, Music, Storytelling

Atlanta Georgia (Early 1980s)

The Southern United States

Within the confines of Hip Hop’s dance scene, three branches appear to accommodate the flames of passion:

  • Breaking
  • Popping
  • Yeeking

And here we are again, scratching our heads.We know about breaking and popping.

Come on now, we saw Beat Street, Breaking, and The Last Dragon.But we have to ask again.

Just to be clear.

What the hell is Yeeking?

And what the hell does it have to do with Crunk?

Perhaps the answers can be found in a wooden stage in the SWATS, on a quiet and serene street called Mt. Gilead.

D.M.Therrell High School Talent Show

A Precursor to Reality Shows like American Idol, the event known as the Talent Show is a huge event for the American teenager.

However, in Atlanta, the Talent Show is on steroids!

Tonight, in the historic gym of Therrell High School, a monumental event is about to take place.

As the parking lot fills with cars and teens get off the MARTA buses and rush to get a good seat, the energy soars through the air.

Izod shirts, Sebago shoes, Guess jeans, and Legwarmers crowd into an old and worn-down Gymnasium.

As the host walks to the stage, the frenzied teenagers yell and scream and shout.This is the night they’ve been waiting for.

There’s more than magic here.There’s power and energy and a presence.And it’s EVERYWHERE!

And suddenly, the host speaks, “Tonight Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a special treat here on this stage and I promise, you will not be disappointed. For the first time in the history of Atlanta talent shows, the top four groups from around the city will compete in one talent show. No longer do you have to call your buddies and bet your Friday pizzas and chocolate milk about who’s the best. Tonight, you’re going to find out.“

Loud shouting and cheering!

“That’s right, tonight, we’re giving you what you’ve been waiting for. Tonight, you are going to see the following acts on one stage:”

  • Your very own Kool-Aid and Raheem
  • Broken Arms and Crooked Legs
  • Hot Gritz and No Eggz
  • and a new kid on the block – the infamous FDC!

Incredibly loud shouting and cheering from the crowd!

And with no further ado, let’s bring out the renowned Hot Gritz and No Eggz.

There it is.

The frenzy, the hypnotic trance!

The teens behind us scream and kick the back of our seats and we listen.

Shawdy, this is what I’ve waiting for!

This is going to be AWESOME shawdy!

I told Black and Junebug they should’ve come, they missed out, this is the best talent show of all times!

Of all times!

Of all times!

Yeah shawdy!

SSssssshhh, here they come!

And silence.

Not your typical silence, but a new kind of silence, a dramatic silence.

The kind of silence before you light the stove to sizzle bacon.

The kind of silence before the flames explode from the Space Shuttle.

The kind of silence before a Nuclear Bomb explodes!!!

And the energy escalates with every performance.

The Hot Gritz performance is electrifying and intense.

Then, the Broken Arms gang entertains at a high level, totally intense,but a different feel.

And everybody is eating it up, we can’t get enough!

The only thing more intense than the energy in this place is the repeat button.

That’s right the repeat button.

Every ten seconds, from behind us, we hear the word shawdy.

Shawdy, shawdy, shawdy, shawdy, shawdy!

Oh God, put an end to our misery!

And just as we are sick to our stomachs and can’t deal with it anymore, a MASSIVE storm takes over the building and two rappers take to the stage.

And the beat is pulsing, pounding, engaging.

And one of them turns to the other one and they look out at the crowd and hold their mics in our direction.

And the crowd screams on cue.

Cause it’s AWESOME!

And the beat returns as each rapper delivers a powerful message about them being the greatest.

We’re caught off guard, we thought this was a dance-off because all the performers up to this point had been dancers.

But in our awestruck seats, we are entertained by two powerful personalities and we wonder what the future holds for them.

We look down and around, we don’t have any way of knowing.

We turn around to the teens, excuse me, can you tell me who was that on the stage?

Two girls giggle and laugh and murmur something under their breaths, then they respond.

That was Kool-Aid and Raheem, the greatest rappers in Atlanta shawdy!

Oh My God!Not Shawdy again!

Before we can respond, the lights flicker a few times and a heavy drum roll as a powerful beat escapes the speakers!

Finally a song we know!

As we groove in our seats, we eye the stage as a new group emerges and performs one of the most intriguing, intricate, and inspired routines we’ve seen.

Ever!

We mean it, ever!

From the Freddy Krueger to the New York Smurf to the Prep, this new group is performing at a high and intense level.

The highest tonight!!!!

And we can’t take it, they got us.And we can’t sit, are you serious right now?

We get up and start dancing and moving and we’re unable to stop or slow down or even talk.

We leave our seats and follow the kids out into the walkway and against the balcony and in the aisle.

Wherever there’s room, we dance and dance and dance at a high pace.

For a few seconds, we look down at our arms and notice goose bumps.

On our arms!

On our legs!

They are all over our body!

But we can’t stop and well after the group leaves the stage, we are still dancing and grooving to Doug E Fresh’s The Show.

Boom! Boom! Oh My God!

And it engulfs us.

The beat, the dancing, the beatboxing, the lights!

And the teens surround us.

And push us to continue.

Every time we dance in a sequence, they chant.

Yeek!

And then we spin and bend down, close our eyes, and lose our minds.

Nothing is real.

Nothing exists.

There is light and darkness.

All in the same space.

There is no past or future.

There is ONLY NOW!

There is only music and our bodies.

In one harmony.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…………….

UUUYYYYAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!.

And when we stop, the frenzied twitching continues.

Our bodies still move.

They won’t stop twitching.

They want to go back.

From wherever we came from.

They want to remain in this frenzied state.

What is happening to us?

To me?

And one teenager taps me on my shoulder and smiles, “How does it feel to be so CRUNK shawdy?”

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ATL Hip Hop History – The Yeek Culture

By September 25, 2017 Blogging, Criticism, Music, Storytelling

INTRODUCTION

Forget break dancing and all that other nonsense.

There is still one area that ATL is known for – that’s right – YEEK!

I don’t need to go interview anybody or ask for other opinions because I was there.I was there when it began.

This is known as The Founders Era.

Many people from ATL will recognize some of these names:

  • Hot Gritz, No Eggz
  • Broken Arms and Crooked Legs
  • FDC (Fresh Dance Crew)
  • The Stray Cat Preps
  • The Atlanta Dream Team

THE STORY

It’s hard to say how it began.

It wasn’t so much something that was made, but something that happened.

Back then, when people challenged each other, there wasn’t a word for it.

We didn’t talk about it, we didn’t question it, we didn’t overthink it.

We accepted it.

Period.

There was only three kinds of dancing back then:
Breakdancing
Popping
Regular Dancing

That’s right, it was regular dancing to us, it’s what we grew up with.

It’s amazing, what was regular to us has become a global sensation.

Sorry, let me get back to my story.

Where was I, oh yeah, that’s right.

We accepted it and if someone wanted to talk about it, we tossed around dozens of names:

  • The Prep
  • The Snake
  • The Freddy Kreuger
  • The New York Smurf
  • The Wop

Those days are long gone, but they linger in my soul.

I can still feel the tension when the DJ drops Play at your Own Risk (Planet Patrol) and you step back and do the Prep hard as you can, damn near hurting your neck, and dancing so hard that you feel like you’re about to throw your back out!

As you get deeper into the dance, something strange happens.

No one makes any gestures, they huddle around you like an electrical fence shooting you with thousands of voltage, and then you hear their battle cry.

YEEK!

YEEK!

And from behind you, you hear females screaming in unison, “Do him Gwell!!!!!”

That’s what I remember and that’s what I know to be true.

And to honor that regal time in our past, I have an infographic detailing the beauty of this time.

With no further ado, I present to you, a history of YEEK Culture.

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The Mother of Modern Science Fiction

By September 25, 2017 Criticism, Movies, Storytelling

Do you know the name Sophia Stewart?

If not, then you’ve heard the whispers about a lawsuit existing about the Matrix.

That’s right, that’s right, that’s the one.

The one rumor.Are you kidding me, come on, be serious. . .

You seriously think a black woman wrote The Matrix?

Well, let’s stop fighting and go back through time and think about this.

All early Sci-Fi was dominated by men and like the masculine brain – their ideas of sci-fi were endowed with feelings of helplessness, evil, and ripe with dark and negative meanings.I’m going to give you a few minutes. . .

Cool, now let’s go through the bigger movies:

  • 1960 – Village of the Damned
  • 1964 – The Last Man on Earth
  • 1965 – Planet of the Vampires
  • 1968 – Planet of the Apes
  • 1971 – The Andromeda Strain
  • 1973 – Soylent Green
  • 1973 – Westworld
  • 1974 – Zardoz
  • 1977 – Star Wars
  • 1977 – Demon Seed
  • 1978 – Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • 1979 – Mad Max
  • 1979 – Alien

Now, go back through that list — do you see the common theme?

The core idea of science fiction is how technology affects humanity.

With such a wide range, why did these writers choose to write of such depressing futures?

They chose different, but whether it was vampires, aliens, deadly plagues, androids, or demons, these writers envisioned a bleak future, where mankind would be wiped out or facing their annihilation.

Isn’t that sad?

All of the ideas were negative and masculine – very masculine!

But when the 80s appears, there is a sudden shift of focus for the future.It heralds a new era of science fiction, an era where humanity has a positive outlook and has more courageous and evolved outlook on our future.

So you ask, what happened?

What marked the difference between those old sci-fi ideas and the newer ones?

It was one book and it was called The Third Eye.

It was written by Sophia Stewart and it changed EVERYTHING.

It changed the sci-fi genre.

It changed how we view the good guys.It evolved and made humanity’s future an ascension.

If you need to see what this looks like, see below.

Now when you go back and browse the web for Sophia Stewart, you’ll stop limiting her to being called The Mother of The Matrix.She’s much more than that.

It’s a good frame of mind to call her the Mother of Modern Science Fiction.

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Case Study – MasterWriter 3.0

By September 9, 2017 Assets, Criticism, News

Problems – What does MasterWriter do and why should a writer use it?

Situation – Using MasterWriter to write a long-form blog post.

Question – How would I use MasterWriter to help out writing a long-form blog post?

 

The Story

While debating about The Matrix, a wise person paused and asked me a powerful question, “What is more important, truth

or beauty?”

And for most people, the answer is always Beauty.

For those rare gems, the other answer is all that matters.

Truth.

As I look deeper, I wonder, what if they are the same at their core?

What if Truth and Beauty are two different paths that lead to the same source?

 

With several writing apps available on the market, it’s hard to choose, but the more important question is WHEN you use a

writing app, not WHICH one you use.

And now it’s time to tackle a great one under the radar, one of my favorite apps aptly named Master Writer (MW).

 

The initial problem with MW is common to not only writers, but people in the Creative Side of the Brain.

Pushing off instinct, many creatives think they can dive into their writing projects headfirst and just start writing.

It is this issue, more than any other, that plagues most writers from finishing their works.

In this regard, using MW can be ironic because you can’t use it until you’re actually finished with your project.

So, let’s tackle a typical writing project and as we go through its lifecycle, we’ll know where MW fits into the writing cycle.

The initial problem of a Writing Project is simple.

How many steps does it take to get from initial idea to finishing product?

NOTE: When I say finished product, I don’t mean the actual product, but the finishing with the writing (often called Content

in the business world).

In this scenario, we?ll tackle writing a long-form blog post.

 

The Writing project is broken down into phases.

To make the blog easier to organize, I decided to use Control Writer to sketch out the frame of the blog post.

Each phase holds a different purpose and each of these phases will meld together into one seamless tapestry we’ll call

the Writing Project’s Final Draft.

 

The Phases are shown below:

  • Phase One – Universal Level
  • Phase Two – Fashion Level
  • Phase Three – Polish Level

 

Resolution

Using MW at the polish level is an incredible adventure and takes your writing to a higher and more resonant level.

The options are staggering as shown below:

I highly suggest going over to their website (www.masterwriter.com) and reading their material, but it’s much easier to just read through my Case Study (see link below).

 

Case Study

Download the Case Study Document

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My Top 10 Story Concepts in Modern Society

By August 31, 2017 Movies, News

Introduction

In order to accurately label a Story Concept, I will look at several categories:

  • Is it Groundbreaking?
  • Can it usher in a Golden Era of Cinema?
  • Does it have Mythic Qualities and qualifies for a Global Myth?
  • Is it Graphic?

I will rank these system using a numerical system from 0 to 10.

NOTE: Ten is considered capturing the essence and nature of each category, but in some instances, a higher score can be given based on how divine and deep the Story Concept goes and whether or not it either innovates or escalates the category to another level.

 

#1 – THE MATRIX FRANCHISE (60)

  • TOTAL SCORE: 60 out of 40
  • Precursor: Not Applicable
  • Platform: 1999 – Feature Film (Action, Sci-Fi)

 

Is it Groundbreaking?

  • Score: 15

As always, certain conditions pave the way for Groundbreaking Ideas. We are currently in the Era of Trump in the White House, Nazism, White Supremacy, and now we’ve had a Solar Eclipse.  All of these factors pave the way for those eerie ideas we call prophecies, which always hint at some tragic event or the “end of the world.” It seems the Matrix looks to be more positive and once the Matrix 4 hits theaters, the World will certainly understand what a “Blockbuster” Film looks like for the next era.

 

The Golden Age

  • Score: 10

The Matrix as a Concept is beyond description, belief, summary, and most certainly, categories. John Truby often speaks about the Golden Age of Cinema as not happening yet, but it’s certainly acceptable to consider The Matrix as the foundation and ground-breaking work to usher in this “Golden Age” of not only Cinema, but of Storytelling itself.

 

Global Myth

  • Score: 15

With decades of War, unfair ethics, and devastating catastrophes, the United States is ripe for being the hub of Government Cover-Ups and Conspiracies. Ranging from the Roswell Incident to the White House Incident to underground Egyptian Cities to Crystal Caverns and other baffling legends, the United States has a proverbial history of incredible and inexplicable events. The 50s and 60s sci-fi writers often depicted the future with dim and negative connotations and the 70s attempted to patch up these depressing outlooks. The 80s sought to rectify this and the smash success of E.T. Hints that the American Public was ready for a more positive outlook for our Future. With the advent of the Matrix, this “Savior” in Film has come into being at the right time and at the right place – Planet Earth. Succinctly, the Matrix captures conspiracies, slavery, suffering, and allows the audience to follow Neo’s journey into Enlightenment – everything that Joseph Campbell and John Truby have preached about has been elevated to a Global Level and expressed in the most beautiful Story Concept of all time.

 

Is it Graphic?

  • Score: 20

This section is two-fold, I’m asking if the concept has value as a Metaphor and as a Unifying Principle. As a Metaphor, The Matrix has no peer because it addresses the greatest question every human being has ever asked, “What is the Truth (Matrix)?” How can anyone argue with that?

We normally don’t think of concepts or principles as being Visual, but in this instance, I’m referencing the deeper meanings of the word Graphic. It is defined as many things, but I’ve latched on to its definitions as expressive, realistic, distinct, vivid, precise, and obvious. Of all story concepts, The Matrix is the highest of the high, pushing itself out of the category from being a Concept into “something else entirely.” Before you watch the movie, the concept is foreign and doesn’t make sense and you go into the movie with the same question that burns a hole in Neo’s brain – What is the Matrix? It is this question that drives each person to not only identify and quantify the Matrix as a great film, but for those few who really “got it,” you should instantly recognize this wasn’t SIMPLY a movie, it was “The Truth” revealed through film – a totally different concept. All of us have read the Screenwriting books and magazines urging us to Unify all of our principles and concepts into ONE THING. Somehow, this “golden rule” hasn’t been put into practice very often. We can go through many films and realize how often they fall short in this category.

The title of the film is Star Wars, not The Force. It’s obvious this film could’ve gone in a different direction, but they chose to package this concept in the Western Genre and we all agree – War is NOT a GOOD THING for Humanity and must be “terminated” from Humanity quickly as possible.

Titanic is an event and this film captures a moment in time, it’s not a Story Concept per se, it’s more in the realm of Cinematic Journalism.

Avatar is a powerful spiritual concept that has existed in the Esoteric realm for years, but this film didn’t research the subject; it’s almost as if the filmmakers liked the word and used it as a title. This film is essentially the Hero’s Journey told in an incredible arena and its title doesn’t capture what the word “actually” means in its Spiritual Foundation. The Dr. Strange film comes closer to capturing the essence of an Avatar than this film does.

Lord of the Rings is another series steeped in an old “program,” that sterile and nefarious concept of slave vs master. Without a slave, how could we have a master, much less a Lord? For those who argue that Lord has multiple meanings, then I urge those folks to look at the montages of war, war, and more war. You must understand a concept has different angles and many of these concepts were treated through the lens of conquer and destroy, not explore and understand. 

It’s a different thing altogether between having conflict than justifying war.

And to end this discussion, a concept is really powerful when you can use its “theory” to rank the other films, thus highlighting the power of the Matrix and its greatness that goes beyond and above our written language and current thought processes.

And not great in the sense of Vertical thinking, but in the sense of Divine and ONE with the Higher Spheres of Reality.

This is why Neo is not simply something new, he is one in a long line of Savior-Figures, but for us – THE NOW – he is The One.

 

#2 – THE SAGE/MAGICIAN/SHAMAN (51)

  1. TOTAL SCORE: 51
  2. Precursor: Ancient Wisdom/Cultural Folklore/Oral Traditions
  3. Platform: Word of Mouth/Story Characters spanning all Media (original release unknown)

 

Is it Groundbreaking?

  • Score: 15

The Sage, Magician, and Shaman archetype is a very ancient, and I mean ANCIENT, concept. The fact that this is on our list really shows us how low we’ve come socially, but in this context, the promise of this archetype soars through our souls and reveals, possibly, the first Call to Adventure.

 

Is it Golden?

  • Score: 9

As a promise to future generations, this archetype not only calls, but seems to beckon that we listen intently if we seek to make a better world in our future.

 

Is it Global?

  • Score: 15

The call to adventure is gaining ground throughout the world and in unison with a shift, this archetype engages both the masculine and feminine psyche. It offers an incredible opportunity for us, as humanity, to enter the Magical World of the Hero’s Journey and live out our dreams and experience Eternity.

 

Is it Graphic?

  • Score: 7

This archetype has not been completely captured and, like you, I’m waiting for it to become crystallized in this upcoming Golden Era of Film.

 

#3 – THE TERMINATOR FRANCHISE (45)

  • TOTAL SCORE: 45 out of 40
  • Precursor: King Arthur/Knights Templar/Frankenstein/Robotics/Cyborgs
  • Platform: 1984 – Feature Film (Action, Sci-Fi)

Is it Groundbreaking?

  • Score: 10

People put a lot of stock in the term – I’ll be back – but I’m certain the concept of the Terminator conjures up emotions, ideas, and philosophies about the world. Regardless of what you think or feel, your response is always strong. It’s hard to determine if this is because of its precursors or its Primary archetypal power as the ultimate synthesis between man and technology, but one thing is for sure.

The Terminator is a powerful concept that allows the human psyche to dance about in the imagination and strip itself from the realm of Time.

 

Is it Golden?

  • Score: 10

The concept of Man and Metal extends back to the medieval era and we have to accept the alternate timeline, the one on which Frankenstein exists, certainly captures the modern audience’s creative consciousness completely.

 

Is it Global?

  • Score: 10

Why are we here?

Where are we going?

These two primal questions occupy much of our thinking and the Terminator is a powerful answer to those questions. It asks, simply, will Evolution stop with humanity or will something come along that will be an upgrade?

 

Is it Graphic?

  • Score: 15

Whoa!

The Terminator scores very high in this category because the idea of the Liquid Terminator captured the imagination of multiple generations when it was released. Come on man, the first time you saw the Liquid Terminator, it was unbelievable!

It is this concept, pushed to its limit and paired with today’s technology, that allows this concept to linger in the human conscience.

 

#4 – THE LOST ROOM (41)

  • TOTAL SCORE: 41 out of 40
  • Precursor: Mystery Religions/Buddhist/Tibetan Monk/Mystical Christianity
  • Platform: 2006 – TV Mini-Series (Action, Fantasy, Mystery)

 

Is it Groundbreaking? 

  • Score: 10

To say this series is groundbreaking is insufficient, the fact that it was subtle and hid under the radar is a sad fact of the American Culture.

The power in this series lies in its power to capture the imagination and push that bias out in opposite directions. 

Are the objects pieces of God? 

Are they quirks of science? 

Are they divine tools that allow you to bend reality? 

It is these HUGE questions about reality that pushes this series head and shoulders above the others.

 

Is it Golden? 

  • Score: 8

This series is not directly responsible, at least not perceptibly, but it is obvious this series was part of a SHIFT in the power of Writing that moved from Feature Films (Blockbusters) into the TV Format of Writing. The genius of the series lies in its genre-splicing because it’s hard to pin down. On IMDB, it’s labeled as Action, Fantasy, Mystery, and Sci-Fi, but it’s not labeled as religious and Spiritual, which is a huge and powerful twist in this series. Rather than avoiding this facet, it uses this facet to show that sometimes, with a 30,000 foot view, many of our organizations are on the same side without realizing it. Once you understand the messages that stream from the objects and their use, you’ll begin to truly appreciate the long range of what this means. Even if you forget about the series itself, it’s what the series suggests that illuminates its genius.

 

Is it Global? 

  • Score: 8

Yes it is ready to be taken to the next level because it first requires a remake with today’s 3D and Hi-Def treatment, then it requires a serious reboot to kick off several seasons. I am bothered that somehow, this series got lost in TV’s obsession with not slowing down and cancelling shows and actually reviewing concepts instead of ratings. It’s a shame such a wonderful idea has disappeared in the Digital Domain of forgotten shows.

 

Is it Graphic? 

  • Score: 15

In the same vein of The Matrix, this series pushes the ideas of illusion in a different direction. What if ordinary objects, seemingly normal to everyone, are imbued with divine power and properties? 

This single question drives home the point that, all around us, there are incredible events happening and for some reason, they remain inexplicable to the general public.

After viewing the key in action, the objects become their own characters in the series and the anticipation of discovering what each object is capable of doing is absolutely riveting and soul-piercing.

 

#5 – THE WALL – PINK FLOYD (40)

  • TOTAL SCORE: 40 out of 40
  • Precursor: Shaman concept of Magical Darts/Hellenistic Traditions/Dante’s Inferno
  • Platform: 1979 – Studio Music Concept Album (Art Rock, Progressive Rock, Progressive Pop)

 

Is it Groundbreaking? 

  • Score: 10

Is the Wall groundbreaking? I’m not even going to entertain this question. Many fans of Pink Floyd will argue why the OTHER album is NOT on this list, but again, that album’s concept is NOWHERE near as deep and penetrating as this one. This has nothing to do with being better musically, this is all about concepts.

 

Is it Golden? 

  • Score: 8

The Wall set a serious standard and even though it came a long time after Concept Albums had died out, it seemingly appeared and should have rejuvenated the Concept Album altogether. However, its sheer power and immense social commentary straddled between prophecy, marketing, and religious zealousness – and it singlehandedly destroyed the Concept Album because people often remarked, “We gotta go through all that BEFORE we even work on the music, no way dude!”

 

Is it Global? 

  • Score: 9

In light of Trump and the White Supremacist climate in the United States, is there a better social commentary on their agenda than the words from this album:

We don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control

All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall

 

Is it Graphic? 

  • Score: 13

Whew, the concept of bricks in the wall is so SOLID and CONCRETE, it’s pretty hard to consider another concept as “physically grounded” in our reality than this one.

Don’t be fooled by its simplicity, this concept has some powerful legs and one day, someone’s going to capture it and its ascent into the heavens will be phenomenal.

Now, back to the conversation.

The concept of stone is identified with the ancient past and is usually seen as more mystical, but to capture the small little things humans do (and think we get away with) identified as “BRICKS” in a wall of our creation.

Utter and just pure genius!

 

#6 – PLANET ROCK – AFRIKA BAMBAATAA AND THE SOUL SONIC FORCE (39)

  • TOTAL SCORE: 39 out of 40
  • Precursor: Kraftwerk – Numbers/Kraftwerk – Trans Europe Express
  • Platform: 1982 – Studio Music Single (Hip Hop)

 

Is it Groundbreaking?

  • Score: 20

The easiest way to summarize the power of Planet Rock is this.

Music can be split in our Modern World like this; there was music before Planet Rock and there was music after it.

 

Is it Golden? 

  • Score: 6

Hip Hop is a Global Phenomenon that has lasted since the early 80s and has no chance on ending anytime soon. We can chalk up its power to being jumpstarted by the release of Planet Rock and in this sense, we can view Planet Rock as the greatest Press Release in the history of our Modern World.

 

Is it Global?

  • Score: 8

Hey, if anyone wants to argue, what if you found out that Planet Rock started the genres of Electro, Techno, House, Freestyle, and who knows how many other genres?

 

Is it Graphic? 

  • Score: 5

This is where Planet Rock gets a lower score because the point of Hip Hop was to inspire and not necessarily linger. Where the Matrix is Myth, Planet Rock is Culture imbued and therefore, it lays the ground work and jumps off the movement.

 

#7 – THE FORCE – STAR WARS FRANCHISE (38)

  • TOTAL SCORE: 38 out of 40
  • Precursor: Buddhism/Esoteric Christianity/Neoplatonic Philosophy
  • Platform: 1977 – Feature Film (Action, Adventure, Fantasy)

 

Is it Groundbreaking?

  • Score: 15

The simple answer – may the Force be with you.

 

Is it Golden? 

  • Score: 9

The Force concept has driven the intrigue and fascination surrounding the Star Wars Franchise and rightfully so. It is this, and this alone, that manages to capture the fascination of future generations. However, the ideology of “War” somehow taints the pureness of the Force concept and even, at times, dims its light with the Light Sabre and other tools. 

The sexiness lies in knowing that the concept of the Force is what locks you into Star Wars, not the other stuff. In this regard, it isn’t a call to adventure, it’s a call to Global Adventure!

 

Is it Global? 

  • Score: 9

The concept of the force is so primal that it crosses boundaries and taps into the spiritual systems of many religions. Because it’s a movie, it can disperse its appeal without the bias and bigotry from each religion. In this regard, the Force is definitely worth reviewing when one is seeking to write a Global Blockbuster.

 

Is it Graphic?

  • Score: 4

Because the Force is a spiritual concept, it’s hard to really “visualize” how it works or what it looks like. However, this doesn’t lessen the impact of its truth in our lives, our hearts, and in our journeys to seeking higher ground.

 

#8 – LOST (37)

  • TOTAL SCORE: 37 out of 40
  • Precursor: Twilight Zone/The Outer Limits/One Step Beyond/What If? Comic Books
  • Platform: 2004 – TV Series (Adventure, Drama, Fantasy)

 

Is it Groundbreaking? 

  • Score: 9

Absolutely!

 

Is it Golden? 

  • Score: 9

It’s hard to say whether Lost ushered in a Golden Era of TV, but we can certainly say that its impact on TV’s limiting of genre was cataclysmic. Whatever TV looked like before Lost, with their focus on genre, was blown out the water (literally) with a crash landing of this series on September 22 2004. We can argue whether it ushered in a Golden Era, but we ALL agree that it – LOST – itself is Golden and shimmers with greatness.

 

Is it Global? 

  • Score: 9

Lost, as a series, is hard to pin down and this property of it may seem limiting, but I disagree. Just because something is hard to categorize is beyond the point, and quite frankly, that may be why the show even EXISTED – to break away from regular television and show us something different.

In the midst of other shows, LOST stands not in a corner, but in a galaxy of its own.

Its lingering aroma reminds us that TV is a platform and you can go anywhere that you can imagine.

 

Is it Graphic? 

  • Score: 10

Lost as a concept is strong in its intent and subtle in its unifying properties. The constant changing of ideas and the constant revealing of mysteries pushes LOST into unknown territories and though this may have been its purpose, it certainly captures more than it loses its audience. Over and over, the mystery deepens and thickens and honestly, it’s so much fun getting “LOST” in the mythology of it all. Over and above everything else, its uniqueness and timing will forever stamp its way into our hearts as something that you have to “experience” rather than watch.

 

#9 – SURFACE (36)

  • TOTAL SCORE: 36 out of 40
  • Precursor:
  • Platform: 2005 – TV Series (Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller)

 

Is it Groundbreaking? 

  • Score: 10

Surface is an ecological disaster mini-series with a strong scientific slant, hovering in the domain of the popular series The Strain. However, where the Strain seems more acceptable as a scientific approach, it seems this tv series didn’t ride down that wave of folklore. I argue it was before its time and maybe, with a reboot, its genius will be appreciated.

 

Is it Golden? 

  • Score: 7

Surface’s power lies in the storytelling, most certainly, but it’s the sidebars and subplots that bewilder the audience. From the healing of Miles to his link with the sea monsters, it urges that we have not considered there is also a spiritual ecosystem governing our rules and actions on this planet. Maybe, we haven’t evolved to the next level has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with our “connection” to our planet. How do we as surface dwellers get involved to ensure our planet matures at the right pace?

 

Is it Global? 

  • Score: 9

As an Origin story and Ecological series, Surface rides on the waves of mystery, intrigue, and pure science. It was subtle and the way it hinted at what was to come was absolutely fascinating and riveting, almost in the frame of Lost, just not as involved. The side mysteries and other story questions linger long after the show finishes and even now, years later, it makes you wonder about Miles and question – what if that really happened?

 

Is it Graphic?

  • Score: 10

The vivid and deep blue sea.

The only thing more awe-inspiring is the deep dark blackness of space – which is another kind of sea.

We have always been fascinated by the sea and lies beneath those dark waters and this fascination is not stopping any time soon.

Hopefully, another series like Surface will come along and capture our folklore and our myths and drive home the truth in a way that will suck us under into the deep and won’t let us go for at least 9 seasons.

Until this happens, I’ll spend every few months revisiting this series and learning how to deal with an impending ecological disaster from another invasive species that threatens our existence.

And the threat comes not from their violence, but from our own ignorance, bias, and bigotry.

 

#10 – RELICS AND OBJECTS OF POWER (35)

  • Precursor: Ancient Myths/Myth Cults/Esoteric Traditions/Word of Mouth/Cultural Folklore/Oral Traditions
  • Platform: Word of Mouth/Stories spanning all Media (original release unknown)
  • TOTAL SCORE: 33 out of 40

 

Is it Groundbreaking?

  • Score: 7

Humans have been fascinated with objects for a long time.

From a witch’s broom to Thor’s Hammer to Blade’s sword to Light Sabres to smartphones to tablets, the current crop of teens have accepted the new technology as part of the human existence. So this topic, interspersed between movies and TV shows, seeks to acknowledge this unheralded facet of storytelling that was very popular in ancient myths.

 

Is it Golden?

  • Score: 9

The concept of tech as a tool for humanity, with the advent of the smartphone and tablet, ushers us into new ways of interacting with our environment. I look forward to watching how technology will inspire the next generation of storytellers, gurus, poets, and writers.

 

Is it Global?

  • Score: 7

In the next global sensation, the Matrix 4, we are introduced to some powerful new concepts (Virtual Weaponry, Holographic Terminators) that not only inspire, they reward our need for richer and deeper storytelling as we enter a bold new world. As we evolve and change, so much our technology, our understanding, and our myths.

 

Is it Graphic?

  • Score: 9

Of the top 10, this is the most evasive of locking down.

The best answer is simple – IT DEPENDS.

It depends on the object, how it’s used, its mythological counterparts, and whether it holds an archetypal intrigue in our psyches.

The range is from unknown to inspiring and like everything in between, the audience experiences these sensations as powerful moments that release endorphins into our systems, healing some, adjusting others, and always – ALWAYS – inspiring us to evolve.

 

Honorable Mentions

  • Fringe (2008)
  • Dune (1984)
  • The 4400 (2004)
  • The X-Files (1993)
  • Sense8 (2015)
  • Kyle XY (2006)
  • Language of the Primes (2009 – from film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen)
  • Total Eclipse of the Heart (1983)
  • Landslide (1975)

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Case Study – The Last Dragon (Media as Inspiration)

By August 11, 2017 Assets, Criticism, News

Overview

Industries: Personal Development / Media Inspiration / Nostalgia

Problem: Can I find inner strength and inspiration from a childhood movie?

Situation: When times get rough and you get down, where do you go for inspiration and motivation?

Question: Can a cult classic still deliver that “spiritual boost” and give you the inner GLOW?

 

The Story

You never know when it comes, but it comes.

Not just me, to everyone.

That dark cloud, that dreaded feeling like you’re not worth anything.

Not anyone, just YOU.

And tonight, it came hard.

And direct.

Regardless of where I turned or how fast I walked or how I ignored, it didn’t matter.

Come it did.

And I remembered one of my friend’s book, Romantic Comedies: These Films can save your love life!

I pulled out my copy and read her back cover question, Go to couples therapy or watch a great movie?

Like a call to adventure, the question lit through my body like a great white light, shining purity and innocence into me.

So I turned on my iMAC and went to my library for one of my favorite movies, The Last Dragon.

I watched my favorite scenes and as a warm feeling hovered near me, then it ran through me, the sensation of comfort came.

And came again.

Over and over, I was hit by those childhood feelings of lingering, of longing, of love, of salvation.

Watching Vanity’s beauty consume the screen as she responded, “Like someone to guard my body,” and I was taken into the Ultimate Boon.

And the words of the theme song resounded from the iMAC’s speakers.

You are the last dragon, you possess the power of the glow

And it made me realize there was no need to feel inadequate or to feel like I wasn’t enough.

God created me.

ME.

A unique and eccentric being in this timeline.

Not that time or the time before that.

I am . . . because I am HERE.

 

Resolution

And the words kept coming.

You are the last dragon, you possess the power of the glow

And I looked at my desk and realized my glow.

You are the MASTER of Asset Production and SmartBranding.

That’s who you are Miquiel.

And the words were NOT true.

The ARE true.

Listen to them again.

You are the last dragon, you possess the power of the glow

 

 

Listen to the Song

 

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Case Study – A Celebration of the Kings Tribute Video

By August 6, 2017 Assets, Criticism, Music, News

Overview

Industry: Video tribute to Historical Icons / Black History / American History

Problem: As a teenager, I heard over V-103 that Black Butterfly was written by Deniece Williams as a dedication to Martin Luther King Jr. and his movement.

Situation: While inspired on Dr. King’s Birthday, the question crossed my mind, what if I could make the rumor tangible?

Question: Can you make a rumor true by making a powerful video?

 

The Story

As a teenager growing up in the 80s, the radio was a powerful medium. It occupied our lives and pushed us to do things outside our comfort zones. During the day, it flooded our souls with Hip Hop and Disco and the 80s, but at night, it soothed our anxiety with Slow Jams.

Throughout this time, certain songs came on the radio and they not only inspired, they seemed to have magical powers by “FREEZING TIME.” One of those songs was Black Butterfly by Deniece Williams. From those initial sounds until she comes in and says Morning Light, I often embraced the song and let it linger in my soul.

Like an angelic butterfly, the song hovered near my problems and frustrations and often pollinated them with an overwhelming peace, settling me between peace and comfort. Over and over, the song warmed me and made me fuzzy inside and I often overheard many adults say the song was written for Dr. King. I believed the rumor and never thought anything about it.

Decades later, I was captured by a divine inspiration and the rumor returned to me and a heavy task was given to me, seemingly by God himself. The angelic voice spoke to me and asked me, “We know you’ve heard the rumor, but can you make the rumor true?” So, I sat down and took a long sigh and began a new form of the Hero’s Journey. Most Heroic Journeys begin with a call to adventure and then supernatural aid appears, but how many had supernatural calls to adventure?

I went online and browsed hundreds of pics of Dr. King and as I moved and arranged the pics, slowly a story emerged in the pictures. Suddenly, I was tasked with capturing Dr. King’s movement in a song fit for his tribute.

The first verse came slow, but the hook fell into place and as I realized King and Malcolm X’s pic caught the words “can catch your wings,” the break into the second verse pushed me to ask, “why had I kept Dr. King in black and white?”

The second verse migrated from Dr. King to his marriage and then landed on his wife, Coretta, another iconic figure. From there, the second hook showcased Coretta’s leadership in the movement and while in the change, she makes incredible moves as Dr. King lingers in the background, nearly a phantom figure and apparition, gently watching over her every move.

In the instrumental bridge, we view the King as a Family unit and suddenly, after she kisses him, we go into the third verse and we now see Dr. King in color as his mission is captured through his incredible legacy.

Now we witness Coretta’s embrace with Malcolm’s wife, mirroring Dr. King and Malcolm handshake earlier.

Finally, we hold heavy hearts as we witness Coretta’s ascent into heaven and are bombarded by images as we go from pain to passion to purification.

The video ends with the most powerful embrace of the Kings – a deep and intimate romantic kiss symbolizing their connection in the divine realms as a Heavenly Mother and Father, always watching over us as we take arms against injustice in this Country.

 

Resolution

What began as a rumor I heard as a teenager has become an ETERNAL TRUTH in my highest-rated video of all time.

 

Watch the Video

 

Read the Case Study

2017 – Case Study – The Kings

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Case Study – Analog Song (Ableton and Roland Event)

By August 5, 2017 Assets, Music, News

Overview

Industries: Music Production / Music Synthesis / Music Performance

Problem: How do you take the concept of Fan Fiction and apply it to Music Production?

Situation: As a Hip Hop Guy, I am enamored by Synthesists and I have to ask, “why are they so obsessed with Analog Synthesizers?”

Question: Can you attend a Music Production Event and bottle your inspiration into a song?

 

Story

Ableton and Roland had a meet-up at the Scratch DJ Academy and in normal fashion, Redvoid and I decided to meet and hang out. When we got there, the crowd had not arrived, so Void and I discussed t he new releases (Roland DJ-808 Cont roller , Roland TB-03, and the Roland System-8 Synthesizer. I met the Event’s host, David Lopez, and t old him I wanted to hear more about Live 9.7 and Push 2.

Then, I dapped up Huston Singletary (Ableton) and asked about Live 10 and of course, no info yet. Later, I met Peter Brown(Roland) and he showed me the Step Sequencer on the System-8 and I realized that the soft synth emulations had not done justice for what hardware was capable of doing.

After that, Redvoid, David, and I hung outside and discussed early Hip Hop and that “analog” sound of the strings in the Hip Hop classic Jam, Al Naayfiysh (The Soul) by Hashim. Afterwards, I went home and asked myself, how do I package this experience into a song, and thus, Analog was born.

NOTE: to hear the analog strings, go to 0:55 in the video below.

Listen to the Analog Song



 

Read the Analog Case Study

2016 – Case Study – Analog

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