The One Kickstarter You NEED to Support

Back in August of 2011 I went to go see something at the Historic Everett Theatre. Something amazing, something truly unique. It was called Aeterno Elementum and it was a Heavy Metal Opera. Just what is a Heavy Metal Opera? Well that’s what I asked when I went to go see it, and to this day I don’t think words can really do it justice, you really just have to see it.

And saying no really isn't an option.
And saying no really isn’t an option.

The short version is that Aeterno Elementum combines traditional operatic themes, badass on-stage fights between warriors wearing authentic armor and weapons, great onstage performances that tell a story of death and redemption set to the tune of deep and thrumming Heavy Metal music. I don’t even care that’s a run-on sentence, that’s how good this thing is. The long version is that you can read my original review right here, but seriously, its really good. Ara’Kus Productions, the guys who put this show on, have been continuing to put this show on the past two years since that review and it’s only grown bigger and better since I saw the original show. In fact it has gotten so big and so awesome, that it can no longer be contained. The people over at Ara’Kus have been putting on this show by using their own personal money to fund it, but now the show has grown so much they need help in order finance their upcoming performances in November. This will be the first time putting on a show two-weekends in a row and they’re looking to buy new sound and special effects equipment, new costumes and tons of other improvements.

Ara’Kus is hoping to raise 10,000 dollars to make this showing of Aeterno Elementum the greatest show ever seen on the stage of the Historic Everett Theatre, and if all goes as planned, expanding our performances to include Seattle and hopefully the rest of Washington. And then of course, World Domination.

The Vikings are growing restless...
The Vikings are growing restless…

I know I have a large international audience and you’re probably wondering why you should support a show you’re not even going to get a chance to see. Well first of all, the people of Ara’Kus are all amazing. Jeremiah Johnson is one of the most talented composers I’ve met, he must be because I don’t even like Heavy Metal music and yet I love Jeremiah’s songs. They also have some of the most talented musicians and singers I’ve ever seen and heard, from the beautiful and dazzling Electric Violin player Razz to the menacing baldness of lead guitarist Randy Haines to our elegant lead soprano Vivian, they’re all astonishing. Then there’s the actors, BJ Becker as I mentioned in my original review, has so much talent I don’t know why the guy isn’t on Broadway. Carrole Johnson plays the Demoness, who causes most of the havoc that occurs throughout the play, and she brings an astounding energy with her onto the stage.

And I'm not just talking about the fire she wields.
And I’m not just talking about the fire she wields.

Look I could spend all day talking about these guys, but the bottom line is that these are exceptional people that put their heart and soul into this project, and they need your support.

need your support.

You see when I went to go see that show in August of 2011, I had just been kicked out of college the year before, I was unemployed, depressed and had no idea what the hell I was going to do with myself. I was still writing this blog but it was only being read by my immediate friends and family, and I didn’t actually think I could make a living writing. Then I wrote that review, and Ara’Kus took me up on my offer to help them by writing for them, and that gave me a much needed boost to my self-confidence. I started trying to get work with a freelance writer, I grew more confident in my ability and knowledge as a writer. So when Mass Effect 3 came out Spring of 2012, I had the self-confidence and the practice to create this post which finally gave me the recognition I needed to actually start landing a few jobs.

So what I’m saying is that Ara’Kus is responsible for allowing me to so thoroughly eviscerate Mass Effect 3’s terrible ending. You wouldn’t be reading this blog were it not for them. Help me thank them for all they’ve done for me by helping them achieve the success and recognition they so richly deserve.

Donate right here.

(Or click any of the awesome pictures above, and they’ll take you to the Kickstarter as well!)


The Only Thing that Really Matters is the Ending (Spoiler Warning!)

Or at least that’s what Johnny Depp’s character keeps saying in the movie Secret Window as he slowly loses his mind. Funny how I keep quoting movies where the main character is a writer who loses his mind…I wonder why that is? (twitch)

Anywho, while Johnny Depp’s character may have been exaggerating a bit in the movie the words still hold true in principle. While  a story can survive a mediocre ending, or even a slightly bad ending, even the best crafted story will be rendered meaningless if it has a horrible ending. That will put the final stake through the heart of any story, I don’t care if it was the most beautifully written story since man first put pen to paper, if it ends with the main character riding a giant flying crocodile to the magical kingdom of Disneyland and riding Space Mountain…you know scratch that, that would be awesome!

However, let’s use a real life example of this in play. Take the movie Signs, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Mel Gibson, and written by M Night Shyalaman. It has a great little story, a bit predictable but thanks to excellent direction, has an excellent lead up with to the alien invasion. When I first saw it I thought it might be one of the best Sci-Fi movies I’d seen, it was subtle and creepy. Then the ending comes, which really seems to be M. Night Shyalaman’s biggest issue. The aliens end up being defeated by a half-rotted wooden door. Oh, and water. Yeah, aliens come to a planet that is not only 70% water, but where water periodically falls from the sky. And after crossing thousands of lightyears, which would require amazingly advanced technology, are defeated by a door that looks like its made of more mold than wood?

See that’s what we call a really bad ending. It follows no logic, and completely destroys the credibility of the rest of the story and renders the entire thing a horrific mistake. You see, you can’t build up the antagonist as cunning and highly intelligent, and then in the end have them show such amazing stupidity. To show such an amazing lack of foresight that the villain came to a planet that was made of 70% of the stuff that was lethal to them and then failed to research our cunning use of doors as a defense, makes the villain something you’d see on an episode of Scooby Doo. I half-expected Mel Gibson to pull the alien’s mask off at the end. See how it completely destroys the credibility of the rest of the movie? It makes everything that happened before the ending have this goofy undertone to it. What were the aliens doing up in their spaceships the entire movie? Rubbing their hands together and cackling like Dr. Claw? They didn’t once notice that they were surrounded by toxins and didn’t once notice our use of doors in our buildings? I mean even Dr. Claw knew Inspector Gadget had…well, gadgets, coming out of every orifice…and Dr. Claw was usually defeated by some stroke of dumb luck, but that still puts Dr. Claw above the Aliens from Signs in terms of the intelligence factor. Yes, intergalactic space aliens were outdone by a disembodied metal hand from a children’s TV show. How sad is that?

And this isn’t just a problem today, either. Throughout the ages there have been many stories that met a brutal and vicious fate at the hands of a bad ending, even my idol Mark Twain made this mistake with A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court when the protagonist wakes up back in his own time without any explanation. Granted, there was never any explanation as to how he arrived either, and the Quantum Mechanics involved with time travel wouldn’t have exactly been well known then, but the ending just leaves the reader unsatisfied.  The “it was all a dream” ending is probably the worst ending of all, and though I’ve seen it used to great effect as well but only when the dream part only a section of the story, rather than the entire story being one massive dream. Endings at odds with the beginning are almost as bad, however, especially when there is a terrific beginning and middle. For instance, at the end The Da Vinci Code, it had a good hook and a pretty good middle all centered upon unraveling the mysteries of Jesus’ reproductive organs and whether or not they were…ahem, utilized…A enigmatic and potentially dangerous Vatican, a deranged Albino priest/assassin, and a two thousand year old mystery. What’s not to love? Well, since you asked, (of course you should already know the answer by now,) the ending. After multiple bodies hitting multiple floors, after several near death experiences, after unraveling a mystery millennium  in the making….he keeps his mouth shut? WHY!? Throughout the book the protagonist is built up as this amazing scholar that teaches his students the truth about different historical symbols, and has written several books on the subject. But when faced with the truth, the same truth he’d been chasing for nearly 300 pages, of arguably the world’s most well known and important symbol he doesn’t say anything? I would be holding press conferences, booking myself on Oprah and lavishing in the glory of having escaped death AND unveiled the most important historical discovery in centuries. I could write a whole blog post on the Da Vinci Code, but suffice to say the ending makes no sense in context with the rest of the book.

We all want that brilliant ending, the one that leaves the reader completely speechless and left in wonder for days afterward, but more than that we don’t want to screw up the ending so colossally that the rest of our words are rendered meaningless. That’s why I, and many writers, usually have at least the beginning and the ending in our minds before they begin writing. That way the ending makes sense in context with at least the beginning if nothing else, which is why the beginning is also important but I’ll cover that next time.  It’s important that a story have, at the least, have an ending that makes sense. It doesn’t have to be a spectacular ending, or even particularly good if the story was good, but if the ending is bad the story will die faster than my last goldfish when I forgot to put him in the water. The story ends up gasping a last shuddering attempt at breath before finally succumbing to the crushing vacuum of its bad ending and dying a terrible death, destined to end up in the used book store at best or recycled to be used as toilet paper at worst.

(That was just for dramatic effect, no goldfish were harmed in the making of this post).