The Missing Critical Blogs

There are so many content areas that don’t have a strong blog/online critique community. The fact that there are so many rich stories left to be told reminds me that blogging is a long play, and will continue to be a long play. Take my wife’s profession as an example. She’s a playwright/theatre person. She can’t seem to find anyone on the web writing about what makes plays, scripts, or theatre acting good1. There is no ScriptShadow for her industry. For some reason there is a dearth of blogging playwrights. Which made me realize there is probably a dearth for other niche creative venues. I mean there is probably a lack in areas we wouldn’t even call creative.

I know this isn’t new, critique in general has been around forever, but blogs that are critique bring a whole new form of critique. I think that it really is different that what could be found even like 20 years ago. The people today who day in and day out breakdown some creative process and explain why it’s good, is a new breed information sharing. What’s great is that It almost doesn’t matter who you are. As long as you are good at it.

ScriptShadow is an amazing example of this in process. It breaks down some of the hottest scripts in the industry. Every script they break down is a mini-lesson it what makes a script good, or bad. As well they will do sidebar posts that are about writing scripts. The person who runs Scriptshadow does all of this while being anonymous. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know what qualifications this person has, they can still impact the industry. They even help give amateur script writers a break.

These sites are like the course readers I had to buy in college, but elevated. It’s fresh. This guy is in his industry right now; reviewing scripts that are being sold right now. I didn’t go to film school, but I did go to TV/broadcast school. You often get stuck reading about the scripts from Cheers, or Roseanne. Classic stories are classic, but there is something to be said about knowing what’s good about the current crop of TV shows. Another reason sites like this are so awesome is realtime feedback. Scriptshadow responds to criticism from time to time by defending or explaining there thinking. Finally, follow up. Some of my favorite posts are when they will follow up on a post some how. Like the movie/script Drive, or this guys amateur script.

So, this kind of writing is awesome. It can extend past the boundaries of it’s own niche, because in-between the niche specific criticism, are bits anyone can use. Also these blogs can be well written. That all by it’s self is something to enjoy. So, why aren’t there more of them?

I think it just takes times for technically minded people to seep into industries. A blog doesn’t take an incredible amount technical know-how these days, but you do need to understand the medium. That requires being a reader of blogs I imagine. Mostly I think it’s just time. These things need to be communicated like a virus. I have encouraged my wife to be the Scriptshadow of theatre(she blogs here).

  1. I was introduced to this concept through Alexis Madrigal. I have started to see it pop up in other places. Splitsider also drops in did bits that explore why certain TV shows, or comics are good. Even I have have tried to do this my self, The Awl, and with code. I think deconstructing actual techniques found in the wild is a good starting point for code.