Young Adult Novels Adhere to the Unconventional

Young adult novels…they’ve seem to have gotten repetitive. Fascinating worlds and wonderful tales fill them but many of the main characters across the book have a common shared theme:  they’re socially awkward hipsters who take off beaten paths.


I’m not saying that all young adult books are like this. There are several books to choose from that do not take this well-worn path: The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent. It is worth pointing out why many young adult books are diving in this theme of embracing the unconventional individual. Several young adult books with nerdy/awkward protagonists have become bestsellers. Young adult author John Green’s books including Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska all include having a main protagonist who isn’t very outgoing and believes in staying quiet.

Two young adult genre breakout hits of 2013 were Eleanor & Park and Fangirl. Both books (written by the same author: Rainbow Rowell) deal with introverted characters who surround themselves in their own world. This Song Will Save Your Life, a novel by Leila Sales, deals with a quiet teen girl who has trouble making friends. Notice a similar theme/trend with the other books mentioned?

Perhaps this is just a trend that in the coming years will start to slow down. It’s good that many young adult authors are helping teens embrace their quirky traits and awkwardness in a world of weight pressure, body image critics, and bullying. There is room for change however. Sometimes it needs to be known when to move on and describe other types of characters. Embrace the person who likes to speak up, make things, and/or is overly vain. It would be a welcomed change.

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood on Sundance Film Festival Lineup

The film known to many as the “12-year project” is finally making its debut. Richard Linklater’s film will have its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, January 19th.

Image via Hollywood Reporter
Image via Hollywood Reporter

The film is unlike the majority of films surrounding it. Instead of filming for the traditional two-three months that most movies do, Boyhood took 12 years to make. The film follows the changes of a boy, Mason, as he goes from childhood to becoming an adult. Ethan Hawke and  Patricia Arquette play the boy’s divorced parents.

The project has been filming in short periods (to chronicle the growth of the boy) over a period of nearly 12 years. It started filming in summer 2002 and recently completed its last shot in October 2013.

Linklater was at Sundance last year for the premiere of Before Midnight, the third installment in the ‘Before’ trilogy that followed a married couple examining their marriage years after meeting on a train in Paris.

Evolution of the TV Theme Song?


Whatever happened to TV show theme songs? It seems to be a thing of the past. A quick flip of the remote (or computer mouse) and you’ll see a quick burst of a sound clip before going onto the show. What the heck?

Theme songs seemed to have taken an evolution of some sort. The intro songs used to establish a vibe for show the viewer was about to watch. The catchy tunes established a show’s brand that for many continued on long after the show went off the air (Pokemon, Happy Days, Dukes of Hazzard). Things have changed. Many shows have shifted to having nothing more than a pleasing tune and rolling credits. Several jingles clock at just a few seconds. ABC’s Modern Family has an intro tune that runs for just 13 seconds. Fox’s the Mindy Project recently shortened their opening jingle from 15 seconds to around four seconds.

It must depend on the show runners and whether they see a need for them. Arrested Development, a sitcom revived via Netflix streaming, has an elaborate mini story within opening. The viewer is out right told of a family and its riches to rags story in just 18 seconds.

TV show runners should consider the benefit that comes from producing a proper theme song and intro. It helps to establish a shows brand among the viewers. Whenever people hear the words “Hanging out, down the street, the same old thing…” many would be quick to answer that it’s from That 70’s Show. When “West Philadelphia, born and raised,” starts up an image of Will Smith in shades and proper 90’s attire instantly pops up.

Theme songs establish a brand to a show that can have a lasting impact on viewers. TV show runners should plan accordingly. 

Social Media Marketing with Movies

Ramping up exposure of movie character Ron Burgundy, everyone from movie insiders to general audiences are seeing how Anchorman 2’s elaborate social media marketing plan is panning out.

2013 Paramount Pictures Inc.
Image by Paramount Pictures via

“It’s something that has never been done before for movies.” This is the usual phrase chimed over and over when glancing through the several articles pertaining to Anchorman 2’s social media marketing plan. It’s something that’s been done before, just never at a massively large scale like it was with Anchorman 2.

On December 4, Emerson College temporarily named their journalism department the Ron Burgundy School of Communication. On November 30, Ron Burgundy co-anchored Bismarck’s KXMB-TV evening news.

Rare for a mainstream big budget movie, the marketing team behind the movie has seemed to embrace the idea of user generated content. The content created by fans has been used to further the brand of Ron Burgundy.

Many people are quick to analyze what success is coming out of the movie’s marketing plan. GIFs are starting to be looked at as an effective tool in selling what a movie is about. Things like fan constructed GIFs are able to provide small tidbits and one-liners that give a sample of what the movie has to offer. Others point to the several cross-promotional things as the reason the movie will be successful (Ben & Jerry’s Ron Burgundy ice cream flavor, Ron Burgundy Dodge Durango ads).

Taking a step back, it can be noticed there is no one thing that drove people to go see Anchorman 2. It was a combination of factors. Not many expensive (and often skipped over with DVR) TV ads and talk show visits were needed. User-generated content like GIFs and fan submitted photos were encouraged by the movie’s marketing team. Free or low-cost tools like Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube videos and contests were used to ramp up the brand of Ron Burgundy.

Director Adam McKay mentioned in an Entertainment Weekly piece that the super stacked Burgundy appearances were worth around $20 million in free publicity.

Whether the cross promotion, appearances, and various events paid off is up for debate. Anchorman 2 went on to make 40 million over its five days at the box office (Weds. through Sunday). Over the actual three-day weekend however, it made 26.8 million. The original Anchorman opened up in July 2004 to 28 million.

Despite any negative predictions, Anchorman 2 is expected to fare well and more than double its production budget of $50 million.