Thursday, November 09, 2006

Shortforming, plus NEW BELLS AND WHISTLES WHOO~!

Before I get to this entry, you might have noticed something different with the blog. There are now labels at the bottom of most posts (all the recent ones and some of the ones that go all the way back). I'm in the process of tagging all my entries so you can click on one link and see all the posts about a certain topic, whether it's about a fed or a topic.

Plus, if you notice on the side, I added a few new feds to the mix. Three new angle feds.

Spinebuster Wrestling - Unique and old-school name, unique show name... gave the roster a once over and noticed both Andy Sharp and Jeff Garvin on the roster. Although there are too many NPC characters (the ACW crew brings ACW habits?), that's a strong base and this is a fed to follow.

Universal Wrestling - These guys have been pimping hard on FW and cIm, and they feature Turk on the roster, as well as Derecho's handler fedheading it. Could be interesting.

Revolution Pro Wrestling - Another fed that's gotten the hard pimp on cIm and some major backing over at PTC from Sean Williams. They have major balls to put out shows with just four characters. Major risk, but at this point, with angle fedding being at the point of stagnation, it's a welcome risk. The only thing I don't really like about this fed so far is their members ganging up in the cIm Wrestler of the Week voting and just voting for each other. Kinda cheapens the process (the same with the Global and nbW guys... it's a competition, not a shill). Still, watch out for these guys. With the people involved, this could be the big angle fed story of 2007 (unless Travis somehow gets the fWo kickstarted).

I may not be able to follow those feds as closely as the feds I do now, but I'll be sure to keep an eye out for them. I expect big things from them, and hopefully, they can revitalize the angle fed community.

Now, finally...

For years, we've all slaved over our computers to write matches in a somewhat timely fashion (although at FW.com in the last year, timely means within a month :p). We tell ourselves that since we put so much effort into RPing/promoing, the matches have to reflect that. Yet, I'm willing to bet that more than half any community doesn't take the time to read matches except maybe at PPVs. I know most of the time, unless I'm really in the mood, I skim the contests and look for big angle advancement things. PPVs and special events are different, but for most regular TV shows, I'm reading for segs and angle advancement.

So, we kill ourselves writing matches and then no one ends up reading them. Shows get delayed for posterity, so that we can look good for our peers, when odds are, most of them will just skim through it. It's a bad habit for everyone, but at this stage of the game, where most of us are getting older and have less and less time to read and write wrestling matches, it's becoming more and more understandable.

For many years now, I've been leading the charge for e-fedding to stick to its roots of wrestling, and it would seem that those roots include writing out full-form matches to make shows feel like wrestling shows and not just TV sitcoms or dramas with a requisite ensemble cast. It might be a bit hypocritical for me to suggest what I'm about to suggest, but in light of the breaking news that when you get older, you have less time to devote to hobbies like this, I think it makes all the sense in the world.

For e-fedding to retain much of its past life and vigor, unless a new influx of late high school-aged to college aged people enter the hobby, all matches for your free TV shows should be shortformed.

Think about it, what's the thing that usually holds up cards being posted on time? Matches. Why is that? Because writing matches in longform takes time unless you're a wunderkind or you pay no attention to things like detail, flow, plausibility, angle-advancement, psychology, etc. That time that was so abundant to us when we were in high school or college now is limited as we enter our working lives, having to worry about things like paying bills, keeping jobs, getting married, etc. We still want to participate in the hobby, but it's increasingly difficult to do more than put up a couple of promos a week or write one, decent storyline RP (although the PTC community seems to be where the FW/A1 community agewise was a few years ago, which is why they have more feds that are regular in the traditional sense).

Because of that, compromises must be made. Most of the time, free TV matches serve the purpose of angle advancement or heat building, places where you'd normally use a Dusty finish or where happenings in and around the match matter more than the outcome. It's always been true in real wrestling (with a few exceptions, like the legendary Bret/Benoit Owen Memorial Match on Nitro or the infamous Austin & Trips/Benoit & Jericho tag match where Trips tore his quad). You build the feud during the show and then blow it off at the PPV, where the wrestling really, really matters. So why not let the writing reflect that? Shortform matches give the reader the satisfaction of knowing the finish, flow and major happenings of the match in less time and with clearer results than if the match was written out, and the writer gets to put his story across in a conciser manner where he/she wouldn't feel as stressed or pressured to get it done.

Now, this may seem like the short way out. Let me let you in on a little secret. It certainly is a short way out, a quick fix. Usually, those are bad, but in this case, it's a necessary evil. Until God decides to give us 8 more hours in the day, we're stuck with the dilemma of deciding between work and this great hobby of ours. It may seem like short-shrifting, but if it means the FW.com feds come alive again, if it means the PTC feds never have to experience a slowdown like FW has experienced, if it means more people getting involved in writing stuff for shows instead of just writing it for their promos/RPs, then it could save the hobby if we never get another new handler to come into it.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think its hard for certain people to write short-forms without pissing off the whole FW community.

Alot gets lost in the translation. I think Schmid was the best at this sort of thing, maybe he'll open up a fed again one day.

JN and myself pretty much have forgotten how to write short-forms unfortunately...AND we're supposed to be writing playoffs matches, which definitely can't be short-formed.

--Must Die (from 15 hour work days and eFed catch-22 situations)

Shane said...

I can totally understand what you're saying here, Tom. But I do see a problem with that type of stuff. Granted, it doesn't always happen, but your example really made it kind of clear for me...

Say I want to short-form all my TV shows. But then, I have a match that the actual match gives so much meaning to the feud that short-forming seems like robbing the angle.

In the Benoit/Jericho vs. Austin/Trips match, IIRC, the belts changed hands and really electrified that crowd because the match was so freaking amazing and it was on free TV.

Granted, these situations do not happen that often in any type of wrestling medium, but they do carry a lot of weight. Am I supposed to make a special case for this one match and simply tell the others that they didn't deserve a full write-up because a title change wasn't happening in their match?

I'm all for increasing show turn around, but what happens in these rare instances when I want to capture everyone's imagination on free TV?

Trent said...

I was actually talking about this with Josh K the other day while he was writing a match in full-form. He kept mentioning that he "felt bad" about the quality of the match. My response? "A maximum of ten people are going to read it, and the rest are going to skim it or not even look at it. Don't worry," or something along those lines.

I think it's a lot more sensible for someone to put their time and effort into a quality short-form match rather than writing it out in full. As a roleplayer, I will shamelessly admit that when I read the results, I want to know if I wrote a better roleplay than my opponent. I read the match because I feel if I didn't it would be a disservice to the person that wrote it. This calls for a change.

In summary: great post, Tom.

Anonymous said...

I know one of the things that plagued A1E - and this has been brought up before - that when you had guys like me and Tom and Roger, leading into Vengeance 2001, had these epci feuds, and we wrote like 15 page matches for like 4 of the matches on the card. It was hot, and it was great, but we got into a rut of trying to outdo ourselves every week, and that started to make things tedious, and slow things down.

On regular TV shows, we've got to live with making matches shorter. We can still long-form them, but we have to instill into ourselves that we can't write a five-star match every single time. Nor do we deserve to. Still fully write them out, but make the regular TV matches shorter and concise, but go all out on the PPV matches. Make the blowoffs and big title changes mean something. If for whatver reason you have two competitors that blow you away and RP like 6 times each and put on a hell of a match, then fine, give them justice in the writeup, but make that the exception, not the norm.

- Beast

Anonymous said...

Well Tom, after handing me my ass in the second Rd of GTT, I found it necessary to come check out your Blog.

I actually am in full agreement with you on this, and just recently implemented the idea into a side project e-fed of mine. For me, it will make even more sense as I won't have television shows, it's all house shows. I'm sort of doing it like an Indy fed, so when Steve Cardin (The Prophet John Adams) and I talked about it that's what I figured would be best. Besides, e-fedding is a hobby and a game. It's not your whole life. Though sometimes it feels that way, when your up to five o'clock in the morning pounding out two PPV matches at about 20 pages a piece, and then have to write two GTT RPs - It's not our main focus in the game.

Anyway, I think you have a very good point here that most people might not agree with, and in those cases I bet you most of them don't read the entire shows either, heh.

- Joshua (GW's Ironman)

Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to leave a comment here for a while. I think the problem that people don't like to admit is that people simply don't read long results. Even if you do write an amazing match, how amazing is it if five people in the fed give it a full read? The biggest benefit of short-form results is that more people will read shows in their entirety, and know everything that's going on in the fed. That leads to better interaction between handlers.

Anonymous said...

The above is from: Jason Snow