Saturday, June 30, 2012


Well, as promised, I finished up my immediate work on Haunted Nerves today, the end of a three-week stretch. I wanted to get as much done as I could before July came, which brings two more projects with imminent deadlines: a book review, and finishing the Paul Thomas Anderson manuscript for UT. The window in time that just passed to beef up my digital cinema project was small.

Even though I have no intention of trying to shop Haunted Nerves around until next summer at the earliest, I wanted to get deeper into it than I was before going back on the job market in the fall. I wanted to feel more comfortable talking about it with prospective search committees, and I wanted them to know that--for tenure-track purposes--the project will be close to conclusion in the relative near future.

The bad news is that I didn't quite finish the chapter I wanted to originally, "Lost Track of Time." The good news is that in the process of writing that chapter I discovered that I was working on two separate chapters on the digital cinema and nostalgia: the "new nostalgia" 20s  films (Hugo, Artist, Midnight in Paris, etc.) and the transmedia blockbuster--TRON being my primary focus. Basically, they are all part of this larger "nostalgia film" trend in the digital age, but I realized that--aside from the logistical problems of sheer length--it was easier to take the pastiche of the 1920s films, and the 1980s nostalgia of the modern event film blockbuster, separately.

Basically the revelation I had yesterday was that there's so much I want to say about the history of the TRON franchise that it will literally be enough for its own chapter. Plus, I suspect they'll make good bookends to the larger project when the time comes.

So, at this point, I have one whole new 20+ page first draft of a chapter more or less finished on the former ("1920s-ness")--though I want to do a lot more with The Artist later, and do more research on the industrial histories of all three films. I also have a sinking feeling that its missing a proper conclusion. In all, there's probably at least another 10-15 pages or so there still to be written.

I also have a chapter--about as long, but less polished and generally disorganized at the moment, on TRON and what I'm calling "nostalgia in the age of transmedia storytelling." I have about as much material here in this one as in the other chapter, but I don't have anywhere near the amount of research done on TRON's paratextual universe that I will get to later. Plus, this will give me the chance eventually to revisit Fan Studies, which I wanted to do somewhere in Haunted Nerves. So its just 20 pages of thoughts about the topic more so than a first draft of a chapter, like the other one is. And I'd guess there's another 15 pages to go on this one too.

So, a lot of quality work done, even though my goals shifted during the process--Haunted Nerves is really coming into clear focus, in ways I didn't even anticipate as recently as the start of the summer. In all, I pumped out about 13K words the last couple of weeks on Haunted Nerves--mostly those two chapters but also a lot of material for a possible introductory chapter.

Bring on July--back to Paul Thomas Anderson and one last mad dash through that manuscript, or at least the last time I will be able to make any significant revisions, such as the new intro, which is the main thing. So, expect a lot about PTA here on the blog in the next month as I work in particular on bringing that project's larger goals beyond authorship into focus.


Friday, June 15, 2012


My piece on Prometheus is up over at Antenna. I originally wrote it last weekend for this blog, but thought it might fit well over there. So, anyway, its not as timely as it was, but still worth checking out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


This afternoon, I finally finished the last bit of work--indexing--for Disney's Most Notorious Film. See you in December, old friend.

Friday, Prometheus.

Next week, starting another round on Blossoms and Blood. Proofreading and a new-ish introduction. The whole final manuscript is due in at the end of July.