Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tagged and Bagged Numero Dos

Been meaning to get to the last remaining tidbits about me. I see most of the other scribo bloggers that Unk or other bloggers have tagged have spilled the beans.

Plus I got a ghost named Unk breathing down my back. Hey, get a breath mint.

So here we go.

4. Yo hablo Espanol mas or menos. Yeah, I know enough Spanish that when I hear it I am intrigued enough to try and decipher what is being said. Just after college I went with my dad and a mission group to Bolivia for 2 weeks to help build adobe homes for nurses in a village a couple hours north of Cochabamba in what they call the Altiplano or high plain. I tried my damnedest to help translate when we talked to the locals. Okay, most times I sucked. But for one afternoon, while I worked with one of the elders of the village who was college educated and had come back with his wife to help the village. We sat by the small trickling creek that flowed past the outer walls of the village gathering stones needed to be added to the adobe. Once he found out I knew some Spanish he only allowed me to talk to him in Spanish. I learned more Spanish that day then my 3 years in high school. That trip was a defining moment for my life and sometimes I find myself back there in my dreams. Now, it isn't a good place for gringos like myself but some day I would hope I could go back.

5. I dated a woman long distance for a few months mainly talking via phone and internet. I thought she was the one and was ga ga over her. She broke it off with me during one of the times I came to visit her and I thought I would never recover. I look back at that and realize I am glad it never went any further than it did. Otherwise I wouldn't have met my wife, which leads me to the next fact....

6. I met my then future wife in a chat room. No long distance this time though. After a few days of chatting we met on a date at a local restaurant and well, the rest is history.

7. One sad note is I lost one of sisters almost 6 years ago. She died October 2001. It was surreal because while the whole USA was still mourning 9/11, my family was in mourning over the loss of our sister, aunt, daughter and granddaughter. She had a rough life suffering from depression and bulimia. She was finally finding herself and realizing her goal in being a healthy woman but after a nice day spending time with my parents she got up to get a pop while at their home and collapsed onto the floor. My poor father tried his best to revive her but he couldn't. This one moment I know still haunts him. I wish I could take it away from him, he deserved better than knowing there was nothing he could do. She was my best friend and my confidante. I called her Biza cause when I was young I couldn't pronounce her real name, Elizabeth.

Still think of you every day, sis.

Maybe I jumped too far into the memory pool with these notes, but this ain't easy folks. I have one left. My wife has been bugging me about the fact she wanted to come up with one thing about me. So, I relented and she can take us to the fade out.

8. He loves candy. He is always wanting to venture to the store to get some "treats." He always is munching on Skittles, Milk Duds, Twizzlers to name a few. As a matter of fact, he is digging in the cupboard right now trying to fulfill his late night sweet tooth.

Ain't it the truth. She's not too bad at this blogging thing. Maybe I should hire her on as a ghost writer.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tagged and Bagged

Damn. Just when I thought I could go quietly into the night...

Something made me check out Unk's blog tonight. He has been quiet the last few weeks (as have I) so I've been relying on Google reader. But tonight, I just thought I'd hit the site.

Unk never seems to have a dull moment. Always as a story to tell. Don't we all, but he seems to have lived some interested ones. All I can say is treat him nicely on the road.

Okay, so why all this talk about the shadowy agent of screenwriting blogs all of the sudden.

He plainly stated he wants the smack--the lowdown--a little 411 on yours truly. He got tagged and now he's passed the torch. Am I surprised? Damn straight.

So, I guess I have to comply ('cause I got some nasty dirty secrets in my closet...or maybe just some laundry needing to done.)

1. When I was a tiny tot I spent some time in the hospital where the docs were checking out some usual lesions on my scalp. Docs never could figure out what it was. They said I'd probably end up in some medical journal. (Suburban Screenwriter's Syndrome anyone?) Did get a nice pair of cowboy boots from my parents for my trouble. Also remember reading a comic in a room touching my head coming back with blood and proceeding to throw up all over the comic.

2. One of the front teeth is chipped due to being a hot rod when I was around 8 with my best bud Kip. He lived away from town but we would ride our bikes into town. (You could let kids do that back in the 70's.) I didn't have my bike there one time and so I ended up having to use one of his sister's bikes (damn embarrassing I tell ya but I think it was a light blue) Anyway, their driveway is a steep drive so we head down the driveway onto the road and the brakes on bike I ended up with weren't the best and as I proceeded to barrel down the drive I flew across the two lane road into the ditch and crashed into a ditch pipe. And all I got was a chipped tooth.

3. I have been tackled and padded down by Minneapolis Police. All I can say is don't go out late at night at Augsburg College to chill and swing on some swings in the park in the middle of college campus. I wasn't drunk or high (though I wish I had been.) I wasn't packing any heat (someone thought I was which was the nature of the call.) It was a surreal image seeing police move from several positions as I listened to my Walkman and out of the corner of my eye see police guns drawn come and throw me off the swings, rudely pad me down and realize they had just violated some squeaky clean scrawny white kid. The cops were gracious enough to just look at me and say "you know why we had to do it, don't you?" Yeah, right. I had a case with my floppies in it of my writing which I had left in the back seat of the squad car and proceeded to get lost at the cop shop. So, I lost some decent crappy college level writing.

More of this god forsaken trip into memory hell later, folks.

Send my regards to Unk.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Recently, I was working on a project which required alittle bit of research. I had a great idea of how to present the idea and had orginally decideed to use that idea. However, my brain got the best of me and I talked my way out of using the idea.

Not always a good thing.

I tried to write something else with the idea but after a few pages I was stuck. Sure, the idea was intriguing and the pages seemed good, but yet my heart truly wasn't with this idea. I had allowed my head to get in the middle of what my gut already knew would work.

Instinct. As per wikipedia:

Instinct is the inherent disposition of a living organism toward a particular behavior. ..generally inherited patterns of responses or reactions to certain kinds of stimuli. ...which moves an organism to action, unless overridden by intelligence...

We all have it to a certain degree (however an old blind socialogy teach of mine from my college days had a good argument saying instinct had basically died with the Neandrathals.) As a writer once you have dealt with enough stories and such you're gonna have skill and smarts about how a story works etc.

But what seperates a good and a great writer I think is the instinct that drives the need to write. I could have easily written a mediocre idea and done something with it to make it work out. But, in the end, the story wouldn't be that good.

Falling back to my original idea opened the flood gates for me. As I paced my living room for about 5 minutes I had what i needed for the idea and I pounded out the rough draft for it in about an hour. It's just a short script so there wasn't alot of space to work with but I laughed at how easy it was.Easy because I allowed myself to write what I knew was the story. No thinking or analyzing or second guessing. That would all come later.

Three drafts later, the story has changed to a certain degree but the core is still there. On top of it, it's a comedy. I don't usually write straight out comedy, instead I put any dry wit I may have into my usually dark moody scripts. Comedy is hard and more times than not isn't very funny to most people.

I am glad though I allowed myself to go back what I really wanted to show and used it.

Now I can get back to my dark survival script of a couple trying to outrun a fire in the middle of the wilderness.

Lots of laughs there.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Full Plate

How much is too much?

That has been something that has plagued me for most of my adult life--just ask my wife. I like to dabble in several things at once which can make other things suffer. I used to bounce from project to project for my screenplays. Recently, I realized I should focus on one screenplay and get it finished.

Bouncing around the blogosphere though I have heard other screenwriters who do the same as far as working a bit on each of their projects. The temptation is there especially when a grand idea for one of the stories pops in my head at the most inopportune time (when isn't it?)

This last stretch here was the longest gap between my blog entries because I have been busy at work, working on an expanded version of a short I just wrote for MoviePoet (which I'll discuss more when the judging period is over in August.) and some stuff at home (relatives, pets etc)

My brain has been working on all these things so this blog suffered for a week or so because of it. And frankly I haven't had much to discuss since I have been so involved with this other projects. If it seems I have drifted too far be aware I will return but may not always been submitting posts here till I get back into that groove again.

I have seen other bloggers who have had life happen to them lately who too have gone from regular posters to becoming more sporatic.

Hope to have more soon--


Friday, June 15, 2007

It's All Latin to Me

When I am writing I need a good chilled soda (most times though it ends up getting neglected if I am too focused.) and maybe a treat plus a good internet connection (shout out to Comcast) nice having my cable connection back that I was paying for as opposed to a sub par dial up connection so I can do any research I need.

But I definitely need my headphones with the music. It helps me focus. Or at least I'm sticking to the excuse. Finding music to maintain that focus can be difficult at times. Recently, I got some of the tracks from the Batman Begins soundtrack.

Good stuff. So I went to find the rest to download but they are hard cause as I remembered it was some Latin thing.Curiousity got the best of me cause I was thinking what reference are they making with these titles. So, I Googled one of them--Barbastella.

I am an idiot.

They are all species of bats.

Again, I-d-i-o-t.

It is Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard so you're getting two phenom composers for the price of one.

At least I got the whole Latin thing. Well, kinda. Right?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Green Monster

I drive an ugly car.

I have to admit it which is half the battle. The thing has been paid off for years and my wife and I decided we'd run it into the ground (and I'd say it's definitely pushing that.) Being my daily drive is half of my wife's to work, I am stuck with what we have affectionately called "The Green Machine."( I prefer The Green Monster.)

It's a green 1995 Saturn and it ain't pretty folks. The paint is peeling off several spots on its hide and an unfortunate exit from a parking spot in a ramp left the right side mirror broken and dangling on the side. Like I said it ain't pretty. It isn't really fun to drive either since going anything over 40 mph sounds like the inside of a jet engine inside the car. Bad enough that I am going deaf just so I can listen to my radio. The only thoughts that keep me from crashing this abomination into a concrete wall is the fact I don't have to pay someone a car payment for the privilege of driving it and I only have to gas it up once a month.

Some days this is what I'd like to do to it.

Now you know my daily hell each day as I trek to work and back. The thought I have each time I walk to my car is: I hope my fellow co workers and others on the road don't look at this abysmal sack of crap and think any less of it's driver. I'm sure they do--I see crap ass cars on the road and wonder about the people driving them. Yeah it's a judgment thing and, most times, I catch myself.

I am a good driver though haven't had a ticket in over 10 years haven't had any accidents in close to 15 years. I like traffic laws (though I speed on occasion) which is a habit I had to learn. I was a speed demon as a teen. I got 5 speeding tix in a span of one year so I had a suspended license for a year while I was just starting college (nothing like having the parents come pick you up from college classes cause you can't drive yourself home.)

Like my beater car, I worry that I have "beater" stories. Screenplays that look like crap on the outside but have a heart on the inside. Maybe a good thing because that fear drives me to push myself more to break apart the crappy outside that may send it to the junk pile. Also, I am finding out that I am being drawn outside of what was my comfort zone for stories and ideas I didn't see as interesting or important to tell even a few years ago.

Judgment can be a double edged sword because while it can cause you to avoid something that in the end may be a good thing. It too may cause you prove yourself because you know that vile thing,which causes us to presume things about someone or something without all the details, is in all our hearts.

It's just a matter of what you do with it.

Filled up the Green Monster yesterday so I'm good to go for another month.

Just stop staring at me at the stoplights, please.

Monday, June 11, 2007

No Usual Suspects Here

I'm loving shorts.

I know I have been fixiating on them for the last few posts but I think it is a nice transition to work small and hone skills to ultimately use on the bigger projects. I just finished (squeezing it down to 5 pages) for the June contest. Now, I can do some tweaking and submit it soon.

A quick sidenote--been getting alot of hits for The Usual Suspects which I did a post on back in March. People are looking for answers to the great ending and, like most out there, I don't have them. Which in the end just makes the film even better. It asks you to think about the ending. You just don't get that in movies anymore.

One odd search That's right--It was bells--I didn't change it. There apparantly is no site (yet) called that and well, I don't know what the user was looking for. But one of my posts did refer to the word 'smell' and 'bell' in it so whamo I get the hit...sorry I don't think I satisfied that customer. (Damn I just refered to the same words again--hopefully no more hits for that.)

So, I let my wife read my latest short and she wasn't gushing but I think she liked it. The fact she read it is a good thing. Most times I don't think she has any idea what I'm doing on the laptop while she watching the tube. The short isn't my usual fare but when I got to the end (which originally going to be the middle) I realized that I was wanting to throw too much into the blender on this one and the ending worked better than what I started out thinking the short was going to be.

It's a good thing. I think my alternate story idea will make it out of me at some point just not as a short for MoviePoet (sorry guys it needs to be longer.)

I'm looking at the beginning and probably gonna get some hits on midget fetishes. Damnit.