J.J. Abrams Knows How to Tell A Story
Ever since the announcement that J.J. Abrams would be directing the next Star Wars film, and potentially not the next Star Trek film, I've been amazed at the amount of animosity that has risen against him. I struggle to understand if it a protective reaction on behalf of Star Wars, and that anyone hired would have felt the same push back, or if it was a genuine reaction against Abrams himself. And I honestly don't understand it. I've always enjoyed Abrams' work. I feel he is an energetic and imaginative director, who has happened to find enormous success producing compelling (if not always successful) television. I thought that Star Trek was highly entertaining, and relentlessly watchable, and that it served the brand of Star Trek well. If the mark against him is that he's derivative of Spielberg, then there are far worse directors out there to be derivative of.
Anyway, here is the video of the full conversation between J.J. Abrams and Valve founder Gabe Newell that they held a few weeks back, during which it was announced that Bad Robot and Valve have inked a deal to co-produce properties for each other, including video games for Bad Robot, and movies for Valve (yes, including potential Portal films). The talk was titled Storytelling Across Platforms: Who Benefits Most, The Audience or the Player? and I feel is the greatest strength that Abram's has: seeing story structure, and understanding the relation of the audience as an integral part of the story telling process.