The Bat Fan Show!

Batman is probably one of the biggest influences in my life, most notably his detective work. In this podcast that I co-host with my good friend Michael Mendez, we talk about Batman, his world, the characters that inhabit it, and the various projects that have come into existence barring his name; also have some great bits!

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Get a Job- Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein

Name: Victor Frankenstein

Job: Scientist

Of course you’re going to jump directly to all the lightning, the yelling about something being alive, and while that is all well and good I am here to judge whether or not Victor Frankenstein is even a good scientist. I know what you’re thinking: “But Nick, the guy made a human being out of other human beings… doesn’t that…”

That’s not all there is to being a scientist!

We are going to compare what a scientist usually does against what Victor does over the course of the novel Frankenstein.

1. Scientists have their peers review their theories

In order for a scientist to prove their theory is sound it must be replicated by a completely separate laboratory and they must also get the same results that the original scientist got when they first did the experiment themselves. It is through this process that the theory becomes fact and can be tested thoroughly to ensure that it is also safe.

Victor doesn’t do this… at all.

In fact he just goes ahead and proceeds to do this very risky and potentially dangerous experiment without any of the safety protocols needed to make sure no one is harmed. Yeah… safety is something of a big deal with most people, but hey, when you’re in the private sector or a Gothic castle, I guess safety can take one for the team.

Or you could, and it would be a bolt of lightning, or a painful death via monster misunderstanding.

2. Scientists vow to never do harm

Like doctors, scientists cannot harm others for the sake of their own progress. Anything that is earned through this method is usually, and I say usually when I really hope it’s ALWAYS, disregarded. This isn’t just physical harm. but psychological harm as well.

…Victor, man, come on! Can you at least do this?

No, he can’t. Not only are the body parts that make up the monster harvested from the graves of the dead, which he justifies by saying they were criminals and murders, but once the creature is alive it proceeds to murder everyone close to Victor himself.

Yeah, good idea with the using of the body parts from dead murderers, seems to have worked out just great. Also, those murderers probably have mothers man, did you even think about that? Maybe they even came around the next day to put flowers next to the grave, only to fall into it and die.

Who’s the murderer now?

3. Scientists take credit

Even when the idea does eventually pan out to be terrible, like in the case of Thomas Midgley, Jr, the man who has single-handedly destroyed the Ozone layer.

Thanks Thomas.

Victor on the other hand immediately disowns his creation as soon as it draws breath. The damn thing didn’t even want to be invited to this crazy shindig called life, and as soon as he shows up with a bowl of Jello he is screamed at and told to leave.

Talk about mixed signals.

Victor refuses to acknowledge what he has done even when his life is torn apart by the bastard abomination he had the gall to create!

Should he keep his job? Verdict!

Hell no! Victor is more the monster than the monster he creates. When he finally starts to own up to what he has done, it’s too late as everyone else is very, utterly, dead.

Replacement position

Victor is one of the smartest dumb characters I’ve seen in literature. His job should be one that reflects his ability to create something no one ever wanted and is in fact killing people.

Victor is now the CEO of Monsanto.

On shadows

We have a good friend, a best friend even, and it isn’t your friend from high school, your childhood friend, your dog, parent, toy, or even Mr. Rogers… wait, I went too far there.

I am talking about your shadow.

Now you might not think it is that important, that magical, but a shadow is a rather useful tool in storytelling and is something that we are seeing less and less of in most film and TV. You must be thinking, “But Nick, you’re a writer, an author, why do you keep talking about film and TV? Shouldn’t you keep your comments to yourself on things you don’t know too well?”

First off, I was raised on movies and TV, and secondly, writing is writing is writing, third off, stop being a dick imaginary person asking this question.

Back on target: Why are shadow’s so important in not only a visual medium but in storytelling in general?

It is an ancient storytelling device, one that is used over campfires and movie projectors while the credits roll, usually telling a story about a dog and a bunny rabbit. It can be evil or good, but no matter what, it is useful because our shadows know everything about us because we’ve either made them do it or they made us do it.

Whatever ‘it’ is that is… I don’t know where Jimmy Hoffa is buried, stop asking!

A shadow is often used to project an emotion or a idea out from the character that has control of it. In many cases it is used in order to show the true motivation of the character and what they actually want.

stock-photo-business-man-casting-a-shadow-of-an-athlete-business-and-career-strength-concept-108406256
I want to be a strong business man… who gets all the chicks.

In film, they are usually used to foreshadow (no pun intended… though that is a really easy one) a coming problem. It was a stylistic choice in most films from the early 20th century in order to build up suspense and also get coverage without having to have the actual actor on set. It was often used to insinuate a violent act was about to happen or even ownership over an object or person.

No matter what, if the shadow is accompanied by a Dutch Angle, you just knew shit was about to go down.

Now, it isn’t like the shadow is completely gone from this visual medium, but it seems to be relegated to being projected neatly on to walls. I don’t know why creatives in TV and film have decided that a shadow is only useful for showing their actor’s in silhouette or just their profile, but its made the medium less dynamic.

Shadows are something that accompany us everyday, and yet the lighting on most of these sets all but squashes the poor bastards out of existence. It’s like the film makers want the audience to think that all actors are vampires or something.

brendan-fraser
You ain’t fooling me, Fraser!

Shadows can be so useful because they are messy.

What does messy have anything to do with this? Shadows point out the flaws in our world or in our characters. They morph, grab, and change depending the surface they are clinging to at that moment. They usually bring something to the image that isn’t possible through CGI or even rotoscoping and it makes the image seem real. You watch most modern pieces today and you see shadows projected on to the actors in the scene but their shadows are rarely seen. Without their shadows, actors seem fake, they seem like they’re made of plastic and it can even hinder their performance.

If you’re making a film, remember, our shadows have played both hero and villain throughout human history and for good reason, it’s a rather shady character.

…I’ll see myself out.