Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Reboot Angle #2 > The Expert

This is part of my blog reboot process. For the origin of the thought of the motivation of the why and the why now, please click back here.

"Suddenly, everybody's an expert."

Even though I heard this sarcastic comeback plenty growing up (often preceded by a long sigh), it appears to be truer than ever in the blogosphere.

Wouldn't you like to be an expert too?

Many blogs provide hard, demonstrable expertise in gadgetry, computers, cars, knitting etc. Many more are written by people who have positioned themselves as gurus of, how shall I put it, less verifiable topics such as fashion or love.

Then there are blogs that put a satirical twist on expertise, like the juggernaut Stuff White People Like.

What, if anything, would I be qualified to write about from the perspective of an Expert? I think there is a wide gap between an "expert" and an "enthusiast", in much the same way there is between a "genius" and the merely brilliant (which I touched on in this old post.) If I had to call myself an expert in anything, it would probably be screenplay structure.

it was fun to Google-image search "Screenplay Structure"

I was instructed in covering scripts the studio way at Sony/Tri-Star, studied screenwriting at UNC-Chapel Hill, UCLA Extension and Writers Boot Camp, and tinkered with the script for B. MONKEY with Oscar-nominated director Michael Radford as his Development Assistant. On top of that, I've read and written coverage on at least 2000 scripts for numerous Film and TV production companies and written five of my own, one of which I developed intensely with Emmy-nominated screenwriter (and my then-manager) Jim Thompson.

Despite all that, I'm still uncomfortable calling myself an "expert." Besides, the last thing in the world I want to blog about for any stretch of time is screenplay structure. After almost a dozen years as a development guy, it's a miracle I don't need glasses and/or a lobotomy.

I could probably stretch my thoughts on just this record to two posts.

What else? Well, this is even further down the ladder from "expert" to "enthusiast," but I'm passionate about music, particularly funk, soundtracks and house. I'm an avid music collector, music mag reader and have some experience as a deejay... but aren't there enough record reviewers out there?

I've been married for almost nine years- does that make me an expert on marriage (wait, don't answer that).

What topics could I write about expertly from a satirical viewpoint?


If this was easy, I guess everyone would be doing it. Wait a minute, everyone IS doing it! There are almost 27 million bloggers in the U.S. alone, and I'd be willing to bet that at least 10% of them pass themselves off as experts. Could we have almost 3 million experts living in this fair land of ours? Who knows, you may even be friends with one and not even know it (although most experts like to announce their expert status pretty early on...).

My expert opinion is that I need to mull this angle over for a while and see if I have the chutzpah to call myself an expert even once more.


Anonymous said...

I would guess that for one to claim expertise, it would require equal parts self-aggrandizement and corroboration by the public at large. For example: When I am shortly passed over for a promotion at work to "Manager" for the lesser title of "Specialist" my station in society will be uplifted to reveal a master at all things ordinary. I now refer you to Will Harvey's 1974 tome "How to Find and Fascinate a Mistress (and survive in spite of it all)" as an example of someone who possesses true expertise. Hey, it worked for me. And it can work for you too.

Special K

Mr. Word Player said...

Special K (or should I say "Specialist K?"), your insight is always appreciated. Based on the references you've made in this and other forums, your bookshelf must be extraordinarily diverse.

Corroboration by the public at large, eh? Food for thought...