The idea started out as *me* saying something that I liked about each of the Top 10. But then I thought "There is a poll going up today, I don't want to show too much preference for someone and that impact the results" (either for them or against them)
Then I thought "Maybe I'll just talk about their game" and that morphed into "I'll scramble their order and not attach names, so no one is completely sure who I am talking about!"
I started writing them and it turned more toward some generalized writing advice than I had intended. I still tried to keep it general though - and it's mostly the same advice. ;)
Take from it what you will:
1. Heisenberg was “The Danger”/”The One Who Knocks” in Breaking Bad. That’s you in Idol. I’m not sure that everyone even realizes it, but it’s your game to lose right now. Everyone expects the guy in the black hat and dark glasses and might walk right pass Walter White, until it’s too late.
Like Walter, the biggest threat right now is overplaying your hand. The writing itself is tight. I think your biggest concern is going too niche and losing your audience. Keep an eye on those things and I think we will be seeing you in the finals.
2 I almost wrote the “Heisenberg” bit about you. Because you definitely have the whole “Walter White” thing going on as well. ;) But your position is more of a Jesse Pinkman. In the end, you might actually be the one who finds a way to survive and win everything. But at the moment, I think you could be more behind the 8-ball than you think you are. Find a consistent rhythm within your work, it’s there. I just think you get in your own head and techniques a little too much and trip yourself up. Take Elsa’s advice and you could end up with an icon in a couple weeks.
3 You were one of my “Day 1” picks to win this thing. I think you’ve taken your foot off the gas in this home stretch though. You can still win this, but I think you might need some Jeff Probst yelling “YOU GOTTA DIG!!!” The talent is there, but I think you are going to have to slice something open on the literary front in these next few weeks to push you over the top. Cut away the fat and leave something exposed and I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
4 You are your own biggest enemy. Stop handcuffing yourself with doubts. It’s amazing. Or at least it could be if you gave it the time it deserves. You have the ability to tell a well-crafted story, now let us in. Tear that wall down. Easier said than done in your case. But when have you ever been someone who did things the easy way?
5 Your head has been distracted by everything else going on, and I can tell. The work itself is still great. Not sure you know how to *not* produce anything that isn’t. Give us something unexpected in the next couple of weeks. Filter everything else out and throw a fast ball right down the center of the plate. Define yourself and show that you are a real threat to win this. Otherwise I think we could be saying goodbye soon, and I would hate to do that.
6 I’m not sure anyone really knows what to make your place in this competition right now. No one doubts that you are a legitimate threat in the coming weeks, but I’m not sure they have been able to fully measure just how big of a threat you might become. This makes you a wild card, who is bound to end up masking some people’s lives miserable. ;) Seriously though, one of the final challenges of Top Chef is “Show Us YOU on a plate”, challenging chefs to define themselves through their dishes. That is my challenge to you.
7 Your work has a quiet beauty to it. No one can deny that. There’s certainly the advice of “Stay with the one who brought you to the dance” – and sticking with what is working for you certainly isn’t going to hurt you. Sandra Diaz-Twine (two time Survivor winner) said something early in her first time out that always comes up in fan conversations “I CAN GET LOUD TOO!” Can you? I’m not sure you’d even want that. It might just not be what you do. Shaking expectations – and “getting loud” – might be a risky move. But right now I think you may need a risky move to get to the next stage.
8 I was looking the right phrase to define your work and stumbled on an article about looking for life on other planets. The line that got my attention was a quote from a scientist, “"The nanomotion detector allows studying life from a new perspective: life is movement," You are a nanomotion detector. At times, I’m not entirely convinced you know there is a game actually happening. Other times you seem to have really good instincts about those things. So who knows – maybe you are a dark horse candidate. My advice would be to either adjust the focus of your magnifying glass a little wider, to take in a little more of the world – or make it even tighter, so it leaves scorch marks.
9 Remember to breathe. It’s almost over. Take the time to slow your mental process down and really focus in. You have both “the craft” and some of the “emotional content” but also a tendency to over-think and get a little scatter-shot in your approach. Breathe. Focus. Execute your vision. Repeat as necessary. Don’t let other people in your head. Unless they are your characters. You have a real shot at winning this thing, if you don’t end up tripping yourself up first.
10 There’s a line between “having fun” and “getting too cute” with things. There’s a danger of crossing it. You haven’t. You may never do that. But the threat is real and I want to make sure you swerve into the open grass instead of into the grandstand. Now that I’ve said that, I’ll also add “Don’t over-think things”. Which could be contrary, but I think it comes to the same point: Don’t complicate things for the sake of doing it. Strip down what you don’t need and focus in on what you *do*. Figuring out the difference is going to make a huge difference in your work. As far as “your chances in the game” go, they are extremely solid. Watch out for hazards and don’t lose sight of what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Btw - we had our Quick Fire Results last night: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/837195.html
and your topic is due today! http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/836302.html