Author Archives: Guy Bergstrom

About Guy Bergstrom

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a novel that was a finalist for some award.

7 reasons why music videos possess tremendous power

This is about why lectures never work, poetry is powerful, even instrumental music can make you cry and the humble, silly music video can be one of the most devastating weapons of persuasion and change on this little rock orbiting a ginormous burning ball of nuclear fusion and fire.

1) Lectures never work

If you have a toddler, or a teenager, or are married, you are well aware of this fact.

Lectures are basically journalism, writing or speaking to inform. If your purpose is to persuade, journalism and lectures won’t do the job.

It’s common to hear, “If I just had more TIME to explain the facts, they’d understand and agree with me.”

No. The longer you stretch out a lecture or bit of journalism, the more bored and hostile your audience will become. Because structurally, writing and speaking to inform is a horrible format for anything of length and not designed to persuade at all. (Related: Why the Inverted Pyramid must DIE) Continue reading

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Filed under 2 Music Video Monday

Hard and Complex versus Impossible and Bizarre

This is about why Flappy Bird was such a surprise hit, Taylor Swift’s newest mega-video is meh and why your favorite movies, novels and video games work when others fail.

Here’s why: audiences want something interesting, and entertaining, which means different and surprising. Yet there’s a fuzzy line between Hard and Impossible and a deadly chasm between Complex and Bizarre.

It’s like thinking, “chocolate chip cookies are yummy, so why not chocolate chip cookies with almonds, M & M’s, pecans, Oreo sprinkles, peanut butter and a Snicker’s Bar on top?”

Watch the big Taylor Swift video, BAD BLOOD, then we’ll chat.

Now, this has high production values and great costumes, and I’m sure Michael Bay watched it on an endless loop all weekend. Yet it’s not elegantly complex and entertaining. It’s a hot mess, the music video equivalent of THE EXPENDABLES, with so many random stars thrown in for cameos that I have no idea who’s who. Does it look cool? Sure. Do we care one bit? No. Not even half a bit, or a quarter bit.

Compare that to the simplicity and beauty of Iggy Azalea’s BLACK WIDOW, which is a masterpiece, paying homage to KILL BILL and flat nailing it.


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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, The Big Screen

Top 6 reasons why MAD MAX crushes AVENGERS 2: AGE OF ULTRON

Now, I enjoyed AVENGERS 2: GIVE DISNEY ANOTHER BILLION DOLLARS and it’s perfectly fine as another piece of the Marvel movie assault on the galaxy.

It’s just that I wouldn’t happily head to the theater tonight to watch it again, while I will go back to see MAD MAX: FURY ROAD with friends who’ve yet to see it.

And I’m not alone: critics are going nuts for MAD MAX, with 98 percent of them loving it on Rotten Tomatoes vs. 74 percent giving the thumbs up for AVENGERS 2.

The New York Flipping Times wrote a glowing review of MAD MAX. That’s nuts.

Why is the Australian underdog kicking the pants off the greatest collection of box-office superheroes ever assembled? Continue reading

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Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Big Screen

Top 6 reasons why Batman must DIE!

Bruce Wayne and the Batman may or may not die in BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT.

(Google that and the volume of fanboy speculation will make your head implode).

But he’ll die soon enough. It’s guaranteed.

So will Superman, Spock, Wolverine, Captain America, Sherlock Holmes and 93 other major fictional characters you know and love.

Why will Batman and other great characters die when Jar Jar Binks is apparently invincible?

Because of reasons.

Let’s get into the guts of why this works while still Bothering you, and the answers will involve dead poets, the suspension of disbelief, the quarterly earnings reports of corporations and The Three Movies = Reboot Rule of Superheroes. Continue reading

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Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Big Screen

SAY IT RIGHT by Nelly Furtado is just right

This is how to you do it: simple, elegant, beautifully shot, with quick cuts done right to the beat and nothing insane, like the singer’s best friend’s cousin thought would be great to have fire-breathing monster trucks jump a yellow school bus with cheerleaders on the roof doing acrobatics.

Knew this song but hadn’t seen the video until now. NOT TOO SHABBY.

Nelly Furtado isn’t a huge star, nor is she some unknown talent, waiting tables to pay for her guitar lessons. But she’s got pipes, looks like a supermodel and hasn’t been in the papers of news for 17 zillion stupid things like other pop stars. I give her props. Also, instead of featuring a rapper to growl and act tough while she hit octaves we didn’t know existed, the rapper gets to do high notes while she keeps it low. I like that. Changes things up.

Nelly the Furtado, give us more like this.

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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by | May 11, 2015 · 5:05 am

Top 10 titles for my new novel

So there is a burning ball of fire in the sky, and I am outside thinking, “My agent has my new novel, so what should I write next before this mysterious star god decides to fry our little space rock or whatever?”

Here are my top 10 titles and ideas, in no particular order, making them up on my phone using a virtual keyboard designed for Ewoks:

10. SNOWPOCALYPSE — Because nuclear wasteland Mad Max stuff is old hat and Kevin Costner with gills ruined Floodpocalypse stories forever.

9. REVERSE OUTLANDER — A rugged Man in a Kilt time travels to meet a married British nurse, fall in love, and get shot by her husband.

8. AND YOU SHALL KNOW US BY OUR INERTIA — A literary novel about an average man, one year before he’s hit by a truck, traveling around Madison, Wisconsin on a Little Rascal he stole from Wal-Mart. At a trailer park kiddie pool, he meets a beautiful woman and they have a moment before her boyfriend shows up.

7. SUNLIGHT — A 900-year-old witch who never ages enrolls in an Arizona high school where she stalks and seduces a 16-year-old boy until his mom notices and the police arrest her.

6. ELVES WITH LIGHTSABERS RIDING DRAGONS AND THE SHAPESHIFTING MERMAIDS WHO LOVE THEM — Come on, you’d read this.

5. MY HAIR IS WET AND TANGLED — While Mr. Grey is in London for business, our heroine struggles with her traitorous, unruly and damp hair. Also, her mother calls.

4. DUMPSTER DIVER PREPPING — Want to get ready for whichever form of doomsday you fancy (zombies, financial meltdown, global warming, nuclear war) but don’t have $250,000 for an underground bunker? This book will show you how to scavenge your way to a bug-out bag, 10 x 10 log fortress and finally a rusty container car full of rice in old milk jugs.

3. OPERATION: VENGEANCE — A skilled spy who’s seen too much and wants out of the game actually retired to Florida while his nemesis, losing hair while gaining momentum, manages to blow up Westminster while the hero golfs.

2. THE BARON AND THE BAKER — A beautiful baker is repeatedly propositioned by a notorious Baron Warner von Lichtenstein, whose fortune is rivalled only by his conquests. After he showers her with attention, flowers and jewelry, she finally tells him he’s a creepy, diseased waste of time.

1. ONE WAY MISSION — The only way to save the human race is to colonize Mars, but somebody has to go first. And they can’t come back. Lindsay Lohan, all of the Kardashians, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and two dozen other colonists bravely make the trip before advancing our knowledge of how much radiation shielding we really need for a human to survive the trip to humanity’s new home. 

Got an idea? Hit me.

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JADE HELM: Texas rebels train kamikaze armadillos for coming federal invasion

HOUSTON—In an empty parking lot behind a suburban Cabela’s, they’re preparing for war.

There’s a retired Marine who did two tours in Afghanistan in the far corner, teaching five local men it’s better to pull the trigger on your AR-15 once and hit the enemy than empty the magazine in a “spray-and-pray” that only wastes a clip.

But the real secret weapon sits in a crate on the back of J.T. Derringer’s rusting Ford 150.

“There’s no way we can win a conventional war, not even with the Texas Guard, Chuck Norris and Ted Nugent on our side,” said Derringer, who called himself the five-star brigadier general of the Volunteer Army of the Republic of Texas. “And it’s damn near impossible to fight a successful guerilla campaign without jungles like ‘Nam or mountains like ‘Stan—so we aim to get creative.”

U.S. Army troops spent years learning how to spot and destroy IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan, Derringer said, so that powerful tactic isn’t really an option for his rag-tag rebels.

But what about a mobile IED, one that’s low to the ground and remote-controlled? One that tends to jump up to four feet in the air when startled?

“If you drive these parts, you see plenty of armadillos as roadkill,” Derringer said. “That got me thinking, why not use their natural habits to our advantage, militaristically speaking?”

A nine-banded armadillo in the wild. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia commons.

A nine-banded armadillo in the wild. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia commons.

The first experiments did not go well. They successfully combined a pipe bomb, duct tape, the working bits of a cattle prod and a remote control taken from toy monster truck with two broken wheels, all items Derringer had in his garage. Those components worked, sort of. Pushing left and right on the controls gave the nine-banded armadillo a shock to the left or right, though their first test case simply jumped straight in the air whichever direction they pushed.

“That old cattle prod was engineered for steers that weigh more than my ex-wife,” Derringer said. “Far too powerful for a little old armadillo, so I don’t question why it ran scattered right under Johnny Lee’s new Tundra, hiding from all that pain and shock. I do apologize to Johnny Lee for how it torched his ride, though we had to tease him about maybe buying an American pickup with the insurance money.”

Derringer is also training the remaining platoon of armadillos for underground warfare.

“We read about the secret tunnels beneath Wal-Marts, the ones they’ll use for re-education camps,” Derringer said. “One tunnel plus one armadillo equals no more tunnels and a lot more freedom.”

When asked about reports that Jade Helm is simply a military training exercise, or that Texas was already part of the United States and not in need of being invaded and conquered, Derringer shook his head and spat on the ground.

“Isn’t that what you’d expect them to say, seeing how they’re lying?” he said. “I’d rather believe the honest patriotic journalists at World Net Daily and that Texas Ranger who witnessed saw trains with shackles. Plus, this morning Johnny Lee says he saw heard straight from his barber who read something online about Sarah Palin flying down from Alaska with a planeload of guns, moose jerky and night-vision goggles.”

Derringer said if his forces run out of ammunition and armadillos before Palin touches down, his backup plan was to base every brigade of his army within half a mile of the nearest Cabela’s, since it’s already “packed to the rafters” with tents, camo, boots, rifles and 5.56 mm ammo.

A separate team of trackers and hunters, he said, were out in the bush right now, gathering up a sufficient supply of armadillos for the coming Armageddon.

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More posts for your amusement and possible education:

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Fighting and MMA, Gear, guns and such, Muffin chokers, Zombie apocalypse