Our Three-Year Anniversary

We’re happy to announce RevPub celebrated its three-year anniversary in March 2015! Thank you to everyone who has supported us through following, comments, or merchandise. Thank you to everyone who shares and relates to our sometimes crazy posts.

Revenant Publications

Your RevPub team!

I’ve been asked several times why I post to RevPub? I’ve had people ask, “if you don’t get paid for it, why bother?” And my answer is always the same: Because it’s fun, and to me, that is enough.

Why Do We Blog?

When James and I first started the site, it was to store our creative projects. And if you have followed us from the beginning, you know we have evolved to have hundreds of posts covering everything from lost pets to movies and personal art.

It eventually became a place where we could share our opinions, projects, reviews, and even our first digital comic book, created from a story James wrote when he was a teenager. We could have something happen that triggered a post idea, and there it was. Blogging is about being able to be yourself, and that’s what we do. We’re just us.

Another great thing about blogging is that you can go back and reminisce about the posts. I remember posting about our first comic con and International Tabletop Game Day. Blogging is similar to Facebook in the social aspect, but blogging really lets you express yourself, and it’s more intimate. I love talking with our readers, and reading what they post, too. It’s the one social platform I’m never annoyed with.

Our Start

James and I have been friends for 17 or so years. In 2011, when we first created the site, his first post was Remakes and Reboots – Part 1, where he discusses the perfect remake. It’s interesting his post three years later was Remakes and Reboots Redux: Part 1, when he was once again inspired by the film industry. My first post was a scarf I knitted for a friend’s mom. It’s still one of my favorites.

I remember being a little nervous about posting it and wondered if people would like it. And looking back, I had no idea what I was doing – the pic is tiny! (But you can click on it if you’d like to see the details.) Even though I was nervous, it felt good to get it out there. After a year hiatus, we picked it back up regularly, and that’s when it really became something. Everything became a post idea and still is. And neither of us are afraid to put something out there. We’ve come a long way.

I encourage anyone considering starting a blog to do so. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or work. It can and should always be fun. If you’re afraid to put it something out there, then just write a draft and publish when you’re ready. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Just be you!

Thanks again to all our readers, and we look forward to another three years with you! We have much more coming, including top three posts, so watch out world!

Remakes and Reboots Redux: Part 1

Off The Top of My HeadRise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

In my very first series of posts on RevPub I detailed what I thought made a remake, reboot, or sequel successful. In the modern film environment it’s easy to see why that’s important. Over this past weekend I watched three films that made me want to go back and revisit this concept. The first two were excellent (one a reboot/prequel and its subsequent sequel) and the last one dreadful and all helped prove the point of what makes the “re-” genre work and what makes it fail. This week I’ll start with the successes: Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Few films are as iconic, not a word to be used lightly, as the 1968 Planet of the Apes. I’d say it’s up there with The Godfather and Scarface for quotability and nearly invented the modern shocker twist ending. It’s a product of its cold war time period, but many of the lessons it professes are still valid and it largely still holds up, even if many of the film making and special effects may seem dated.
There were a number of less-than-stellar sequels and even the Tim Burton remake from 2001, so when a new one was announced it felts like territory that had been over-traveled. The first film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a pleasant surprise…and an impressive film in its own right.
Part reboot, part prequel, it does everything a film in this kind of category should. It pays proper homage to the original, making small references, quoting, and even foreshadowing the previous film, and never NEVER once makes light of the original film or attempts to outdo or show up a film more than 40 years old.
Apes movies are in the “monster” genre I feel and in many ways the latter half of the first movie and the entire second film feel like a far more original extension of the zombie genre. These kinds of monster movies are only as effective as their human characters. In the first film the human cast, led by James Franco and supported by John Lithgow, Brian Cox, and Freida Pinto are compelling in their positive and negative qualities. Andy Serkis, of Gollum fame, is a show stealer as Caesar, the real star of the movie and the character in whose story we are invested. Like his role in the Lord of the Rings however his performance is lost in CGI, though I would wager echoes of his emotions shine through. This is very similar to the stories I remember hearing about how difficult it was for Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter to emote behind layers of thick prosthetic make up.
The story itself is character-based, always pushed on my characters (mostly Caesar) responding to events and actively making choices and deciding, rather than having choices thrust upon him. Not only that but one actually feels far more attached to him than to the human characters, even those we like, because of how well he is portrayed, both in the writing and in the performance.
Furthermore it fills in plot holes from the original such as why the apes speak English, use human-style tools, and how they progressed so quickly. It also skillfully updates the setting from a cold war nuclear age to a 21st century biological age without detracting from the original purpose or even re-writing the events of the canon.
All in all it’s a terrific reset to a legendary film, and compelling to watch for fans of the original and just those seeking some great entertainment.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes succeeds where the sequels to the original film largely failed in that it is actually a good movie. Dawn picks up where Rise left off, telling the story of how the newly self-emancipated apes and the remnants of humanity come into conflict with each other, and how even in an idealized setting, one under perfect leadership and the best altruistic foundations, selfishness and violence can creep in. It’s a perfect extension of both the ideology and story of the first film and progresses us more and more toward the eventuality of the progenitor film. Again the human cast is effective led by Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, and Keri Russell.
Yes this “reboot/prequel” franchise is a success. It succeeds because it takes what made the original film work, builds upon it, pays proper respect to it, and then tells its own narrative. Most of all these two moves are just well-made, well-designed, well-told stories. They know what they set out to do and do it. A rarity in modern film making…
Next week we go from the sublime to the ridiculous as we look at last year’s remake of another classic film…this one from the 1980s.

Plagiarism: Just Don’t Do It

plagiarism cartoon

Photo by: guides.library.vu.edu.au

Earlier this week I was surfing the Web and came across a fellow blogger who has been accused of plagiarism because guest bloggers on his site plagiarized content. After feeling defeated he said he would no longer blog, but thankfully has since changed his mind and is active again. More than 50,000 people follow this guy…

This infuriated me. This blogger who uses it to relieve stress and express himself was put in the position to give up something he loves because someone plagiarized – the fancy word for stealing someone else’s work.

So how does one plagiarize?

It’s really not that difficult to understand. If someone else said, wrote, painted, sang, created, etc…something, and you try to claim it as your own, you have plagiarized. If you used it in any way without permission from the creator, or if they allow permission, but you do not credit them, it’s plagiarism.

What’s the big deal?

Those who create things – writers, photographers, illustrators, designers, programmers, musicians, anyone considered an artist – work HARD to create things and usually pour their heart into it. It’s just wrong, and why would you steal from some random stranger who’s never done anything to you?

People can also get sued or in serious trouble, hence the copyright laws and usage. There’s a reason people put the © symbol on their creations. It’s a way of saying this is mine, and in my professional world, if you violate it, you’re gone. Do not pass go. You know where the door is.

It’s a violation and insulting. My biggest problem is that most people don’t think about it or care. If it’s on the Internet, it’s fair usage. Wrong. Other people are intentionally trying to cause harm, and karma will find those people one day.

How to avoid it:

  1. Credit everything you use. Photos, quotes, copy, everything. If you did not create it, it belongs to someone else.
  2. Don’t try it. Those of us who know what to look for, look for it. We know if it doesn’t sound right, and a quick Google search will confirm or deny it. It takes 5 seconds.
  3. Respect the creator(s). Most of us don’t mind you using our stuff with credit. There’s a lot of awesome stuff out there, and it should be shared. However, respect the people who put in the time and hard work.
  4. If you can’t create something, try harder. For example, maybe you think you’re terrible writer, so you decide to “borrow” someone else’s writing. Stop. It’s lazy. If you feel that way, do what’s necessary to make it better. Take a class, send it to a trusted proofreader or friend, read books on improving your writing, practice. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but by the end of it, you’ll be a better writer and have self-respect.
  5. If you’re unsure if it’s plagiarism, it probably is. Better to be safe than sorry, so ask for permission and reread No. 1. There are also great sites that check for plagiarism, and there’s no shame in checking! Try: Grammarly’s.

Feel free to share your thoughts about plagiarism in the comments section below!