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

Instincts

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--

SS

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 term--www.smellmybells.com. 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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

'Knocked' Out of the Park

When I saw the line and the theatre filling up I thought This could beat out Pirates and a part of me hope it would. Keep in mind it was a Sunday after noon showing and the place was packed to the gills. So much so the ushers were doing their job to squeeze everyone together.

Kudos, Mr. Apatow, kudos.

I couldn't even come close to executing the kind of humor you were able to put into the movie. But what really got to me and affected me after I had left the movie was the resonance of real characters. Seth Rogen made his socially inept man child become a man by the end of the movie. And his band of drug induced friends each had a hand in being there instead of being one joke characters. Katherine Heigl's character has some great moments too. I think one of her best lines was her telling Seth something he could do with his bong. Typically, you're gonna run into a batch of unrealistic stereotypical characters in this type of movie, but Mr. Apatow uses a lot of improv which I think allowed for some things to become bigger. In addition to that there were a fair amount of quiet moments--genuine moments-- between characters like Seth's character with his dad.

I never laughed so hard in ages in a movie (maybe it was 40 year old Virgin ?) But it has a lot of heart also mixed in between the raunchy humor (this movie earned its R rating, thank god.)

So, I'm not alone in saying, you have got to see this movie. Again, I wish it had beat out Pirates for how good it was. Do what you have to and go see it now.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Two Glorious Words

As I mentioned a few days ago I was trying to participate in the MoviePoet monthly short script contest for May.

A quick aside to Chris Messineo. Thanx for the reply comment and I look forward to the changes coming to Movie Poet in July. Again a great community of writers.

So...5 Pages. Not a problem. Right? Easy as riding a bike.

Hell yeah, riding a bike up Mount Everest. Give me a break though, K. I am used to at least 100 pages to tell a story. So, I listened to my Snow Patrol (damn they are the best) among other stuff and got 4 pages which seemed to going great. But I knew I had only a page to wrap it up and I still had a few ideas left to add. So I took what I had and eliminated a simple character which chopped of a good page, however it caused more issues because some of what I took out still had to shown which ended up coming out as on the nose dialogue and forced exposition.

So, I went back to square one. I edited the character back in and changed it up some. I also took some scenes and split them up so that some info came earlier so it didn't have to shown in more detail later.

The story is a cops and robbers idea with an interesting twist and something that had been thought up probably over 10 years ago but never got to the forefront of ideas I was working on.
The idea formulated over a simple idea of thinking that saving a child when they are young who ends up being something bad later in life. It changed a little and one of my sisters thought it sounded like an idea Stephen King might use.

After feverishly finishing the rewrite I got done with everything I wanted but had one last scene left and less than a 1/5 page left to stay within 5 pages. This was after cleaning the script up 2 more times. It was basically 10 pm on May 31st with 2 hours to add the one scene, then edit the script one more time down to the minimum convert it to a PDF and then upload it to MoviePoet.

That's where the decision came. I could edit down and maybe it would be weaker but it'd get on the site. So, I made the decision to continue with what I had and forgo posting to MoviePoet.

So, I'm gonna make it looks as pretty as it should and then I might slap it on Simply Scripts. Man, I got short script bug now.

A very bittersweet decision cause I was so looking forward to getting it on the site. In 4 days none the less. But, alas, I put what I wanted and ended with about 6 1/4 pages.

But then came the two glorious words I have ever known:

FADE OUT.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The 1st Good Summer Movie


I've been reading the buzz and it looks like the goods are on par with the media surrounding Knocked Up.

Thank God!

Cause so far this summer has been really hit and miss. I have a busy weekend coming up here but I am using all my mojo (oh God I am so frakked) with the wife to convince her we should see this flick. If you only knew how fickle my wife is about going to see movies you'd understand what kind of mountain I have to climb.


To my advantage is that it is a Judd Apatow movie and she loved 40 year old Virgin (as did I.) I kniow I could just go solo but comedies are better when you have a partner to laugh along with, don't you think? Okay, maybe it's just me.

Go forth and see Katherine Heigl grow a belly. Maybe you'll be laughing along with me--just make sure your cell phone is off and don't bring the crying baby.

I don't care who knocked you up.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's Not as Bad as It Looks

First, I want to give a big thanks to Don over at Simply Scripts for the mention on the homepage of their site. It was nice to have a generous spike in visits over the last week or so and hopefully a few of them decided they liked what they saw.

I had one anonymous comment from my post about the Simply Script contest held in April who mentioned a site called Movie Poet which runs a short script contest each month. This time I bit the bullet and have been working on the entry for May. I just checked the site out on Monday(May 28th) and the entry has to be in by midnight May 31st. Yeowza! It's only five pages so really what the prob right? I have a great idea which 3-4 pages just flowed easily from my brain to the keyboard but now I have wrap it up with basically one page. I made some changes to eliminate one of characters but I might end up ading her back in cause I was able to drop in some exposition in their conversation while they she was complaining to the main character about something else. In the re-write it has to be pulled out with another character and it just feels forced. I was hoping by eliminating this character and about a 1/2 page of dialogue it would help me but I might be back to square one.

So, this is a great exercise in restraint and I hope to be able to find the ability to finish it in time. I've read some of the prior scripts and there really is some great talent in this pool of writers. Great twists and good use of everything that can be fit on 5 pages.

Unfortunately, if you're reading this it probably is too late for this month. But there is always the next month.

The subject was open ended for May with the only requirement being the line "It's not as bad as it looks" has be somewhere in the script.

I'm gonna see if I can fit it in twice.

Wish me luck

Saturday, May 26, 2007

May the (Ambigious Mental Power) be with You


When I heard about Edward Copeland's blog-a-thon idea for Star Wars I got a little giddy.

That really isn't the best word but it's what comes to mind. But it also reminds me of my age (damn it) Star Wars was a defining moment for me as a kid and my early teens and still holds a special place in my heart as an aspiring screenwriter. Once I got older and Lucas decided he needed to pop the wonderful bubble that was Star Wars with 3 mostly forgettable prequels, my visions of being like Lucas went bye-bye.

Was Lucas a visionary in his time of Star Wars? Definitely. Was he one of the best auteurs to profit from his original idea? By all means. But with the original trilogy having a few other hands involved with the process i.e. directors and writers allowed him some distance from the whole product while he could control in the background. The prequels have Lucas' hands all over them yes he had assistance with writing but, by God, the dialogue just caused me such pain.

I didn't want to spend the whole post giving Lucas a bad time....what has me thinking about Star Wars is it's legacy. It's already endured 30 years and people are clamoring to write their experiences, feelings, insights, etc about it. It's stands in the forefront again because of the recent productions of the prequels which have put it as cool again by some of the kids today. My nephew was a huge fan of the old school trilogy and the prequels also. In fact, with all the books and other paraphernalia that has come out in the last decade regarding the Star Wars universe, that little squirt (he's not so small anymore) knows more than me about all things Star Wars.

But will it last another 30 years? Will my grand kids be talking about that old celluloid movie Star Wars as they download the latest flick on their cellphone/sunglasses? Will it have the same impact?

I hope so. Battlestar Galactica mostly got its push from the hoopla over Star Wars back in the late 70's and even though the original series (which I loved) didn't last--look at it now--the 2nd try at Battlestar is going very strong. Lucas for all the bashing I have dumped on him, tapped in something so primal with these movies that boys(and a fair share of girls) relish them and have invested themselves into the very world he thought up so many years ago. I cherish my memories I have from the original flick. I can remember replaying it in the back yard on Crocus Circle (back when kids could play outside) with me my older sisters and my cousins who were visiting during the summer that year. We traded off who could play whom but I think I got the shaft most of time cause I was the youngest.


While, I am talking about those memories who could forget the toys. Wow, figurines, and ships and blasters galore. What did SS get? I got Han Solo's blaster and one figurine ( a storm trooper from Empire Strikes Back.) My cousin, on the other hand, had a Storm Trooper's blaster. He also had Han Solo, Ben Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, a Jawa and one of the Sand People figurines (damn him hehe ) I believe he also had a kick ass poster of the Millennium Falcon escaping the Death Star with a squadron of Tie Fighters on its ass. But the toys now for Star Wars is phenom why couldn't they have thought of this stuff when I was a kid. Legos that can be built to make a actual Millennium Falcon or X-Wing. The Light Sabers are 100 times better too.

Sigh. Don't worry I'll be okay.

Check out Ralph McQuarrie's site where this piece of artwork came from here.

McQuarrie was a former conceptual design artist for Boeing who was a part of the special effects team for Lucas. (an interesting side note McQuarrie can be seen briefly in The Empire Strikes Back as Gen McQuarrie.)

McQuarrie's artwork is considered a huge factor in the reason Star Wars was able to be made.

Yesterday, my wife and I came for the holiday weekend to my parents place and my sister, her husband and the nieces and nephews were already here. Once we were starting supper I whispered to my nephew "Do you know what today is?" His active mind worked hard to think of what today could possibly be. But I told him and his eyes lit up "Yeah, I read about that in the newspaper." My brother in law (not the bagpiper) mentioned how he read about Star Wars coming out in Time Magazine and how it was something totally new for movies. My sister chimed in too. Now, my sister likes movies but she watched bits of the Making of Star Wars with my nephew so she understood alot more than someone who was a die hard fan which has always impressed me. She also talked about going to see it in the theatre and still remembers it vividly. She was 4 years older than me--my memory isn't vivid but just on the outside edges.

This movie and the ones that followed have created something I'm sure only Lucas could have dreamed of and for that small token it does give me hope that one idea I may have might spawn even the imagination and dreams it gave me as a kid growing up to some other scrawly geek of a kid. Maybe this movie in some regards will be our Casablanca--a great iconic movie which is 65 years old--for our generation, because it, along with Jaws, ushered in a new way for movies but also endeared movies for us fanatics out there who are sitting here once again remembering that little movie called Star Wars.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On the Lot: Day 1


I have to admit I was curious how the show was gonna play out. I knew that they were going to be filming shorts to be viewed but it was interesting to start out with the pitch.

They had 3 judges (Carrie Fisher, Brett Ratner and Garry Marshall) to listen to the pitches and par out the ones who would be eliminated from the first round. Carrie Fisher is an interesting choice she has done acting (duh) but really now a days is known more for writing though she still does act having a few movies in the can. Brett Ratner wouldn't be a choice I'd make for a director judge (I'm still frustrated over his horrible take on X-Men 3) but Garry Marshall is a legend to me. He's old school and knows what he's talking about when he says to one knee shaking contestant "It costs 100,000 dollars a day on a film no company is going to risk that kind of money if you come across as nervous trying to sell a movie..." I may have paraphrased some but that was the gist of it.

The judges stated 5 different pitches--

  • A mouse is captured by a pharm company and must plan its escape.
  • A man who may be missing or wanted sees his face on TV.
  • A priest falls in love just before being ordained.
  • A secret gov't crate is delivered erroneously to a suburban family.
  • A slacker applies to the CIA and gets accepted.
I know I would be sweating bullets giving a pitch but some of those log lines had be thinking up images and ideas right from the get go. I liked the pitch for the secret gov't crate being erroneously sent to a suburban family. There are definitely several ways that could go anywhere from a family film to a twist on a James Bond type film.

I was amazed how some of these people just tanked when they had to do the pitch. I am far removed from what they had to endure for the pitch so I can't knock them too much. But, the majority of the contestants are people who have made films and work in the industry to some degree. I would hope they would have a better grasp of the concept.

For the pitch about a rat that is captured by a pharm company and has to plan its escape there was the first victim, er contestant from Dyer, IN who didn't bring in his notes (what!) He started out okay but after the first sentence or so just sank like the Titanic...he ended up finishing the pitch so give him credit for not running for the hills BUT the line "the strength and ability of a human but the power of a rat" huh?? Have I been underestimating the power of rats all along?

They showed just a few more pitches one notably from the midwest who the judges liked. And then the cuts came. It was fairly predictable for whom you saw doing the pitches who was going and for the ones they didn't show probably ran along the same line.

Round 2 came quick and fast right after the first batch of contestants were let go. The remaining contestants were to group up in threes and film a 2 and 1/2 page short with each contestant responsible for one scene. Now, I never went to film school and probably never will and I haven't directed anything but one scene from Crimes of the Heart from Beth Henley's play way back in my college days so I can't really state to much about the process these contestants go through but you can tell they were back in their element cause oh boy did the egos start flying.

I unfortunately missed the last 5 minutes of the show due to AI going over and my DVR screwed up. From reviewing other sites about the show I dont think I missed anything major but I'll get the recap when the second results show is on Thursday and then more heads will roll...
edit--I don't know why this damn post is single spaced... Blogger be damned

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Don't push that Button!

What does your family, friends or other people you come into contact with regularly know about you? We all learn details about our loved ones. The little foibles that lead to cracks in the armor. Something about someone that can be used as ammunition when needed. Sometimes they are small but we all hit each other's proverbial buttons from time to time. I can admit to have a few blow ups at different people like the wife, a family member or the boss when you get one thrown back at you. It happens to the best of us.

This past weekend my wife and I had my brother in law and father in law over to put in a new water heater and a new sink for us. They're both plumbers by trade so this is second nature for them but being from the same family--if you only knew my in laws--the digs started early and often. The Junior In Law often jumping on Senior In Law with references to the job and the inadaquencies he thought Senior In Law had doing it. Mind you, this was in jest to some degree since my brother in law's humor can be biting but he is a teddy bear at heart.

But not all button pushing is a simple jest. I've had plenty of squabbles with my older siblings that were not pretty. So, in thinking, if I'm gonna have these squabbles why wouldn't my protagonist (or the antagonist too?) My characters have buttons that can be pushed and send them into a blind rage perhaps or some other type of reaction.

What would your protagonist's button or buttons be?

Untimately, it should be the central issue with the protagonist or at least related to the central issue. How does this button get pushed? How does the protagonist deal with that button getting pushed? All questions that need to be addressed.

The first response might be to use this push the protagonist forward positively toward their goal. It has be used to reach the goal---the operative word there was positively. One of my screenplays I have been working on does that to some degree. The protagonist and the "bad guy" play off each other and pushes the other's buttons.

Hopefully, you can allow the character to respond badly because this moment can show some of how the character acts initially (or doesn't act) in adversity. My protagonist does some dumb stuff--just acting out--which in turn puts him in peril in several aspects of his life.. But it also brings him closer to his goal. If the antagonist didn't start pushing him around how would he realize that he needs to do?

Another aspect of this to address is what kind of buttons are there. I see it broken simply into 2 kinds of"buttons" that we all have at some point been involved in:

Active--Someone purposely trying to go after some one's fallacies, weaknesses, etc to facilitate some response (usually a bad one.)

Inactive--Someone unaware they are doing something (flirting, ignoring, acting clueless) that feed into some one's fallacies or weaknesses which faciliate a response (again probably not going to be good.)

Keep in mind this is one interpretation. Maybe there's a study out there about this very subject. Great. I didn't find anything. This, to me, is what I have experienced or seen through other people only.

So the button getting pushed is just the starting point. In turn, how a character may respond to this action can be what occurred prior to the beginning of the story hence how a character responds maybe different before the story starts but will hopefully transend to something else by the end of the screenplay. So, how it gets addressed through the story is how the character resolves this button getting unpushed, turned off etc.

Also, by exploring how you act when you have reached the point of no return when that jab or ugly retort spills out of your lips can give rise to how a character may respond in the same way. However, take it and ramp it up. If the protagonist is getting knocked for being a poor bread winner maybe he decides to rob a bank or the lemonade stand down the street instead of some nasty fight with the wife or the boss. Not to say an argument doesnt serve the best purpose of the screenplay but becoming a bank robber or the scion of the neighborhood may be more compelling and offer some great opportunities down the road with the story.

My teenage protagonist I mentioned earlier crashes a car into a house to profess his love for a girl. Twisted, definitely.

Believe me... not something I would probably do. But there is a story behind that which caused him to do that.


Awww....the memories of teen love. Hehe

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Coming Soon to a TV Near You

Just about a week until this show starts into finding the next superstar filmmaker or something like that as the show overtly states. One side of me is excited about the potential that the show has to give. However the realistic side of me is thinking the next superstar filmmaker?

I think it's important to view both sides of it right now cause really isn't this just another version of Project Greenlight? Mind you, it's alittle different cause with that a unknown filmmaker was given the go ahead to make their actual movie and so the actual tension came from the production company (bring in the bean counters) clashing with this newbie auteur. But, really, have any of those filmmakers really broken into the industry besides their short 15 minutes of fame?


Looking at the website, alot of the finalists have experience of some sort in H'wood so they aren't necessarily newbies. But, one potential finalist Lizriz who, unfortunately, didn't make the cut points out it is a lifetime opportunity for great exposure which means someone should take great risks. Kudos, Liz, you truly have more guts then I do right now. But I haven't given up the fight just yet. Unfortunately, being mentioned in my blog isn't going to help your goal much (in fact I'll probably knock you down a few notches--lol)

Right now this will allow me to live through these group as they follow their dream that one day might possibly be mine.

The show does have Spielberg behind it so it could have a completely different feel so we will see. I think it has alot of potential and frankly would like to see this thing go off cause I'm curious what kind of people they'll have and what they have to offer.

It starts Tuesday, May 22nd right after American Idol. Check it out.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lose a Job, Write a Script

Ran across an interesting thing at Simply Scripts website which I hadn't seen before. I see it's be around awhile so I am just out of loop but thought I'd put it out here for any one's attention. There was a contest to write a short script (under 15 pages) about a subject and it had to be done in a week. I unfortunately found it too late cause it had to be done by April 29th. They already had the submissions up and you could read them and leave comments in the forum. A few of them were good with a couple stinkers. The topic was about getting fired and having to explain it to the wife as a comedy script.

Check it out here. I hope they do again soon cause I'd love to try it out.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Who Am I? I Am A Screenwriter.

Recently, I had to go to a half day diversity training for work. Didn't really think it would be a subject that would take that long so I expected boredom to settle in quickly. I work for a large financial institution who prides themselves on diversity so I wasn't surprised that this would be a requirement. (Plus I was able to get away from the hum drum of the office for half a day.) In a nutshell it wasn't all bad.

So what the hell does this have to do with screenwriting?

Good question. Well, first, what is diversity?

Diversity--

1. The fact or quality of being diverse; difference.
2. A point or respect in which things differ.
3. Variety or multiformity

Does screenwriting feel like a quality that makes you different? Does that help define you? Not just I like to think of screenwriting and have dabbled in it. But truly you are a living breathing screenwriter. I think it makes me unique and therefore diverse. For me, screenwriting gives me life. Do you have any inkling of how that feels?

It had taken me awhile to a) realize this about myself b) to be able to tell others this same thing. It wasn't a shame thing as I didn't think people would understand. Some people still don't. Which from our vantage point can be hard to comprehend. Yet, once my father in law asked me: Why do you write? What do you do with it when you're done?

They're good legitimate questions with just a little ignorance thrown in. Would I expect my father in law to understand screenwriting and the process that goes into it?

Should I?

Hell no.

But, he is asking questions. It is a first step. And I do what to clarify that just being a screenwriter doesn't make me any more diverse as others who proclaim they too are screenwriters. However I can strive to be as diverse as, say, Charlie Kaufman or M. Night Shyamalan (though he did drop a few notches after The Village and Lady in the Water.)

When I think of what I have become I think of my brother in law...No, he's not a screenwriter. My brother in law married his lovely wife whose heritage is Scottish. He became enamored with it that with that he took up bag piping. Yeap, the kilt and the whole nine yards...He took it up so strong that he now also runs a website which sells everything related to bag piping and even his license plate reads: BAGPIPR.

He too has embraced his diversity, his uniqueness. I don't understand everything about bag piping and I know I have had my fair share of ignorant questions to him about it (along with a few jokes about skirts) but I respect his decision to define himself because I know that part of him is like that part of me screaming to be let out.

It's amazing how you can tie together bag piping and a diversity training class and how it's related to screenwriting.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Spidey III Gets Caught in its Own Web

Frankly, this film seems to have caught the corporate bug. Yeah the first two were huge and the second flick did use a lot of the buzz from the first one to create another huge movie. But, the story always seemed to take precedence.

Wow have things changed.

Once I had heard of the enormous budget I was worried that the big head honchos might be thinking if they gave more
spectacle that the fan boys might end up slapping down more bucks.

Sam Raimi had a lot on his plate with this one and it seemed the corporate heads pushed something that should have been fleshed out better before getting to the public eye. I just hoped going off of Raimi's prior work that he wouldn't let us down. Having, ultimately, 3 bad guys should reminded me of bad memories of another Batman flick which went that route.

Maybe there wasn't enough help from Alvin Sargent this time (he got screenplay credit for Spidey II) or maybe he just didn't have enough story in him this time. But I have to say...Sorry Spidey Fans, this one was easily the weakest. Now before all the huge fans out there get out their pitchforks and torches screaming for my head, I loved and adored the first 2 pics on the web slinger and there were some very good moments in this pic.

Just not very much.

There will be a 4th Spidey movie (and just announced 5th and 6th) but (unless they can redeem themselves) I'm sure Raimi, Macguire and Dunst will bail...

After this showing, so would I.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Movies, Movies, Movies!!

Don't look at me that way after seeing that post title. It's summer , folks and that means:

MOVIES, MOVIES, MOVIES

Not all of them are good (once again this is summer) so prepare for mindless carefree onslaught of teen charged big budget is there a plot in here somewhere flicks. Or as the execs like to call'em--Tentpoles.

And then theres a few which I think will rise above the rest. These are the ones I'm gearing up for :

SpideyMan III (May 4) --Sam Raimi is on the same par as Peter Jackson in completely understanding his genre and subject he has taken on(plus he has been top notch since Evil Dead anyway.) Raimi squeezes alot out his actors and his crew to ensure it is as best quality as can be expected. And yet his movies are so popcorn flicks at the same time...

Shrek III (May 18) -- This one drops a few notches cause it am gonna hold my breath a little...but the trailer looks decent. I'm sure it will be plenty enjoyable...but we'll see.

Pirates/Caribbean III (May 25) --this movie has got alot going on (per the trailer) so I hoping the spectacle that is being pushed violently at you in it has some good story and character to compliment it otherwise this will have to wait till DVD time...

Knocked Up (June 1) --This one has been tops on alot of people's lists but the jury is still out for me...I like Kaherine Heigl and I think Seth Rogen loks decent plus Judd Apatow did a greabut like alot of comedies that come out recently I just am worried the premise will run out before the movie does. Here's to proving me wrong...

Oceans 13 (June 8) --We'll see if three's the charm for George and his merry band of thieves....though I missed the middle movie apparently I did best by stirring clear of that wreck of a movie. So, I'm expecting though the acting chops of Clooney et al to make up the difference or again it will hit the DVD list...

Evan Almighty (June 22) --This movie is getting some press over the highly inflated budget which could end up killing this one if it doesn't do phenom at the b.o. but I think Steve Carrell is great and much deserves another funny movie.

Live Free or Die Hard (June 27) --Man, this truly is the summer of sequels. The only worry I have for this 4th helping of McClane is the fact that it has been quite awhile since the last installment and that flick wasn't nearly as good as the original but Bruce Willis very well may pull off a new resurgence in the character.

Transformers (July 6th) --I was not one who ever got into this but the trailer looks cool...

The Simpson's Movie (July 27) --D'oh...who wouldnt't have this on their list unless they are strictly art film connessiours (again THIS...IS...SUMMER!!)

Bourne Ultimatum (Aug 3) --Matt Damon has made himself into a formidable action figure through this trilogy and Paul Greengrass, well, he knows a few things about directing this type of film…

A couple honorable mentions--Mr. Brooks, License to Wed, 1408, Rescue Dawn, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Rush Hour 3, Stardust....

I have to agree with
PJ Rodio that Lohan's pic I Know Who Killed Me is gonna tank royally at the b.o...also there was a piece at the MSNBC website wondering if Lohan is missing out on her Oscar because of the papparazzi hounding her (I am not making this up)...

...Lindsay Lohan admits that part of her loves being a paparazzi target — but she wishes the photographers would stop bothering her for a while so that she can win an Oscar....

Go check it out
here. I was wondering why Lindsay was struggling with the whole Oscar thing...

Going to see Spidey tomorrow...

Monday, April 30, 2007

Getting the Scene Down

Sometimes your brain or id or muse just wants to do more than what you're ready for. It's got something it needs to say about whatever story you're tapping out and your hand just can't get it all down faster than what you are "hearing."

A playwriting teach of mine back in my college days (so, so long ago and yes I was a theatre major) told our class that sometimes when working on a scene it's best to leave a little left undone. The psychology behind that idea is that once you completely finish something you may tend to forget it and thus may lose some of the steam you had behind the thought of the scene while you just trying to get it all down.

Leaving the scene somewhat undone allows the mystery of the scene to come back and sometimes can allow your mind to also explore different possibilities to what could come about in that scene or beat or act for that matter. The playwriting teach went as far as to say to leave it sometimes mid sentence. Alittle extreme I'd have to say. Maybe that would work for some people. Me, I don't trust my rust trap of a brain enough to remember those kinda details. So, as a rule, I think it's always good to get it out in some fashion. That way it's there to be worked on down the road but the difference being to understand is how it gets on the screen/paper/ napkin/back of your hand (if that's true really time to get some paper.)

The last few stories I have been worked on I've taken on a system of just getting the basic gist of the scene--be it answering a few basic questions or putting in some very simple dialogue. But leaving it simple. John August touched on this superbly in a post
here on his website a few months ago.

I have taken his advice to heart and even incorporated with
Unk's idea to use Google Notebook to outline a screenplay. Again, another great resource. This should help with uncramping hands as the story gushes forth so and be rest assured the idea is out even if it just a shorthand scribble.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Premiere (1987-2007)

Finally got a copy of the last mag for US version of Premiere and wanted send my regards to a magazine that seemed to enjoy the process of movies and not just the hype that has become of movies nowadays. And though I love Will Ferrell (most of the time) I think if the end of the mag had been more planned they might have found a better more fitting end to it all.

Sigh...now I left with Entertainment Weekly which unfortunately just doesn't try hard enough to bring movies to the level I see fit.

Bon voyage, Premiere...

Sacrilege

I've gone to my fair share (and then some) of movies in a lot of different theaters and when I have, for the most part, I have usually had a good experience. I think people still like to see movies in the theaters (even though Hollywood doesn't see that in the numbers as much.)

But, there are some to seem to find the theater for other purposes. Some come to talk to the screen like they expect answers back, some laughs in all the wrong places just to be noticed by the audience and, of course, can't forget the cell phone talkers because they are thinking I like to pay 9 bucks so I can't miss what I'm watching and talk to someone that I could talk to outside of the movie...which makes total sense to me. ( If you are missing the sarcasm in that statement then there is no help for you)

On Friday night, the wife and I went to see Vacancy (which was good) however our experience was marred by a bunch of dumb ass teeny-boppers and some idiot dude who sat up in the corner using his cell phone through most of the movie.

People hear me now--the theater is like my place of worship. I come to watch movies and I take it very seriously. When the lights dim, I am preparing to leave my skin for a couple hours and live in the characters on the screen. When other people choose to deny me that right it is pure sacrilege.

After awhile the teens clamped up and actually watched the screen but this dude would not shut up. Now, I'm not the type to go up to anyone in a theater and tell em to shut it (since my movie was interrupting their phone conversation) cause that could just make it worse. My wife decided to go get a soda refill and on the way out one of the movie ushers was coming in (she had come in on a few occasions but just hovered by the entrance) and my wife asked if there was a way to get rid of talkers in a movie. The usher said she'd take care of it. Soon enough, the usher went up to the guy and said some words and about 5 minutes later the manager came in and said some more. Well, the guy took the subtle hint that maybe he should shut his ass up and maybe, I don't know, WATCH THE FRACKING MOVIE. Which he apparently did.

When the movie was over and the lights came up. The dude made a quick exit and some guy behind him said...

Are you the guys that went and got the manager? I was hoping someone would do that.

It's always nice to met others who understand how sacred theaters should be.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Someone Must Die

I've been in a funk lately about the screenplay I'm currently working on again because I have found out something which will help me do it immensely.

I have to kill someone.

Please don't call 911. They wouldn't understand.

It's one of characters in the screenplay which I thought was important enough to have at the beginning, but I was realizing that the character didn't serve enough purpose toward the latter half of the story.

So, I'm going to kill this character off and it's bumming me out. Originally, I had it where this character and the main protag would go together on the adventure that is presented in the story . But, I have realized in order to make my protag have to get to where he needs to be in the end he has to have a major loss. Though I am sad over this loss, I know it is for the best and it's a good sign that I am feeling the loss because if I wasn't how could my main protag. I am working out the details of adding another character instead who will interact with the main protag in the latter half of the story in a more significant way.

Now, I just need to figure out the details of poor character's death and find out how to make this new character I just thought up end up helping the main protag.

( I omitted stating specific character details cause I have some people who may end up reading this puppy once it's done and I don't want to give away this major event yet.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What's on your soundtrack?

Music plays a big role for me when I'm writing as I'm sure it does for a lot of writers. Why not? A song is capturing a moment or feeling surrounding a story that is spoken in song lyrics. Plus, the added emotion that comes from the song may resonant within your own story. I usually just hit random on my Zen and listen to whatever comes across the headphones (occasionally skipping if the song just does feel right for the moment.) Before I had my mp3 player I'd listen to Radio365 cause they have internet stations that aren't too bad. I got into listening to a couple that just played soundtracks which worked great for inspirational screenwriting.


Thinking of soundtracks makes me wish I could have Howard Shore work out a soundtrack any movies I get made someday. His work on the Lord of the Rings was phenom. Basil Poledouris would have been another great choice however his composing days are done (he passed on Nov 6 last year but I still love The Hunt for the Red October and the Russian Hymn...) But while we're discussing make believe another good composer would be John Barry.

Dancing with Wolves was further enhanced by Barry's work ( I have the CD also...one of the remnants I took of my sister who passed away October 2001. It was only fitting since she and I shared the love for good music.)

I definitely have other composers I would have loved or would love to work with some day...until then I just have to let their stuff inspire me now.

Any thoughts on music that inspires what you're writing?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A List of the Best (and Worst) Battle Scenes

A couple weeks ago, I ran across an article at CNN discussing the best and ultimately worst battle scenes in movies. I'd have to agree with most. Interesting how any Star Wars battles--prequel or original--are quashed among the worst. But, what about the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back? Definitely, should have been considered in the top 10, I think.
One interesting note though is the fact of having battle scenes from real wars with Saving Private Ryan and Apocalypse Now (somewhat specific in scene and location i.e Omaha Beach D-Day and displayed in all its' beautiful horror as well as to be expected from Spielberg) except Apocalypse Now didn't rely on specifics just like Platoon and Full Metal Jacket didn't either (but those two didn't make the list) and from fantastical wars of the Lord of the Rings (which could fudge specific details for spectacle.) getting the top honors. CNN made AN the No 1 best battle scene which I don't know if I agree with totally. I think SPR should be No. 1 because it presented a true story with unflinching detail and threw the viewer into the character's world right from the start.
The article is a nice piece of fluff which can lead to some interesting discussion. Any battle scenes that you thought might be missing or off the map on the list?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Feed the Cat

It's better or worse than an alarm clock, but just some time after 5 am it's the clawing at the cage that starts, then the mewing. When someone finally gets her out of the kennel (usually the wife) there's the sporadic attacks at your feet, jumping on the bed and finally standing on your chest purring.

The cat needs to be fed. If I need my sleep though I'm gonna kick that cat out and shut the door. But this time I didn't Dammit.

The clock reads 6:40 am...Sure why not--I haven't been sleeping for the past hour anyway.

Pets can be a lot of responsibility but, sometimes, I like the excuse to get out of bed a little early cause I get the run of the house before the wife graces us with her presence. So, for a couple hours of quiet, it is a prime time for the muse to tap on my shoulder. The devil of my id who's got a secret to tell.

In a sense we all have to feed the cat in our lives. The screenplay's gonna wake you at obscene hours and isn't gonna be quiet. Jumping on your lap looking for some good ear scratching. Where's my toy, it'll say.

I have neglecting that pet. I'm sure we all have at some point. But, I went into writing my stories half assed. I figured I could make sense of what the screenplay needed as I went along. God, I was so wrong and I paid for it.

Not outlining or fleshing out the story in some through manner will only starve it. Characters can't live in your mind alone. Taking the time to develop the characters into true believable entities is very important. Anyone who truly believes that in some manner that doesn't need to be done are gonna have to bury their ideas in the backyard. How do I know? I've burned myself too many times and had this tough lesson slammed hard into my gut. I've come close to killing plenty of ideas myself.

I've learned it's important to fill the water dish and make sure there's plenty of food when the story needs it. That screenplay is only gonna mew in your face till it's fed. And you could feed it the cheapest bag you could find at the store. (Well, hopefully not the recalled stuff.)

But you know what food your screenplay needs.


Make your screenplay happy and fill that dish. In the end, you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Can't you smell 'em?

Okay, so you're at the movie theatre with the lights dimming. Almost time for the big show but first its Movie Trailer time. Sometimes, for me, it can be as good as the upcoming movie (like a pre-movie warm up.) A whole batch of movies can hit you like a 1-2 punch of excitement.

Anticipation of trailers can play into expectations but if you're like me you gain a "sense" when watching them. Do you have a nose for movies? I like to think I do. Mind you, I think the sniffer can be off sometimes. (I didn't think The Sixth Sense would be that good--okay, let's keep that little dirty secret to ourselves) But lately I have to say...can't you smell 'em? It ain't pretty folks. We're seriously talking a tank of floaters here. And that never a good sign. A few I have noticed lately--

Perfect Stranger: Yeah looks good on paper, I mean Halle Berry and Bruce Willis in a thriller. But from the looks of it--straight outta Skinemax with higher paid actors...

Premonition: I really am one who has a kind heart and wishes Sandra Bullock could find her place in Hollywood but this one had my bells and whistles going off to avoid at all costs...

The Reaping: Again looks good when I first heard about it. I am a Hilary Swank fan cause she does good drama, I think. But this thing just seems like a Omen rip off...

Slow Burn: Sorry this one didn't even look good on paper even though I like Liotta. Again it has Basic Instinct written all over it and the trailer doesn't do much to help that...

There are more but I think you get my meaning. Now, of course, this is all my opinion and you might say this are movies I'm sure the screenplays were better and something got effed up along the way. Seriously?

SERIOUSLY??

I strongly believe it is way too hard to screw up a good screenplay and make it a bad movie then it is to take a poor screenplay and succeed in making a good movie.

I'm gonna have some detractors to that statement, I know. But more times than not, I believe it.
Something along the same lines, in regard to screenplay contests, is touched on in MaryAn's blog Fencing With the Fog. She writes in her April 10th post--

...No amount of screening or standardizing of scores can change somebody's predisposition for drama over comedy or their disdain for horror. The process doesn't work. And yet, it works. It works because, as subjective as people are, sometimes ugly is just ugly. Maybe contests don't always get the "best" screenplay and sometimes a "better" one rises above a "best", but has the "worst" ever won? Be fair. Don't say "yes" unless you've read some of the juvenile crap that gets entered in contests alongside the well-written stuff. The worst doesn't win because the worst is the worst...

Sometimes ugly is just ugly...I hope Unk got that for his quotes.

MaryAn talks about the subjectivity of screenplay contests and makes a valid point that people are people and sometimes it's all a beauty contest. It's a good read and look forward to more from her (Even though she kinda knocks us Midwesterners as not being "pretty" by Hollywood standards but I'll let it slide 'cause she's from my birth state of Texas.)

What does this mean for screenwriters? We have to write good screenplays. Damn great screenplays. Screenplays so good that a person's subjectivity is put to the side and they are able to see the MOVIE being written on the page.

That's my objective. One that plagues me but allows me the justification that I'm not gonna write any floaters.

I'm just not. I'm sick of smelling 'em.

Monday, April 9, 2007

A couple tidbits I learned about Usual Suspects...

McQuarrie did his research. Taken from Wikipedia--

The name "Söze" resembles the Turkish word sözel, meaning "verbal,"... Additionally, the same term has a Hungarian-sounding pronunciation, when it is spelled with an "ö.". The name "Keyser", derives from the Turkish Ottoman title "Qaysar" [from Qaysar-in-Rum] like the German word Kaiser, which descended from the Latin word Caesar, itself from the Greek 'Kaisar' meaning "emperor"....

Course whenever I think of Verbal explaining why he got the nickname I love Hockney's line...

"Yeah I was gonna tell ya to shut up."

If you're not familiar with the irony of that statement go and rent the flick. Hell--buy it! The dialogue in this puppy has made me watch this one multiple times but I digress...

Another tidbit about Soze also from Wikipedia is McQuarrie had another name in mind of Sume as the last name. Apparently it was the name of a lawyer he had been introduced at the time. He changed it in pre-production. Maybe a smart move since a lawyer may be privy to slap a slander lawsuit over something as silly as being associated with Keyser Sume....err Söze ( good call--it just wouldn't have been the same)

Now, maybe there's some hidden meaning behind Kobayashi....

Friday, April 6, 2007

Push up your Stock Price

As I was reading Unk's blog yesterday he proposed a site for screenwriting advice contributed to by fellow bloggers. A grand idea, I must say. But how can I help with that, I thought? I haven't even finished my own work let alone helping someone else along with theirs. I even touched on that in the comments of his post. But I'll expand on that in a moment.

It got me to thinking though about a Creative Screenwriting article I read some time ago... You have to excuse me if I'm loose on the details about which article it was but it made a interesting point about viewing being a screenwriter like you do your real job. I'm sorry your paying job.

So 40 hours a week (or more) you do your work to bring the company more dough or customers or whatever it takes to make the company prosper. The article went on to say you need to become the boss (no more checking out the new games at Armor Games) and crack the whip to the screenwriter in you. Because your company needs screenplays to prosper. And your company doesn't want just any screenplays they want the best screenplays.

I think I can expand that metaphor some myself. What does having the best do for a company? Good products lead to a better profit margin, sure. But there has to be more than that. Even more--it drives up your stock. Another good day on the stock market. Others will profit for the reliability of your company. And if that company is making screenplays, so be it. Sometimes this analogy has helped me to realize what I am really doing here.

Getting back to Unk's blog, I think not only are you the company yourself, producing your product of screenplays, but screenwriters as a whole are the company. You have to think of yourself as one of the stores in a chain (maybe not so much the Wal-Mart of screenplays--cause we want to treat our employees better.) If one store falters, the whole chain feels it.

With what Unk is putting out to all of us is helping the newbies while we help ourselves. This part will also drive up our stock cause before we had this job we had to learn it to some degree like interns soaking up every detail every nuance related to the job. The learning curve is huge for a screenwriter. New ideas, concepts, genres and so on pop up every day not to mention your id sitting on your shoulder whispering the next great idea for a screenplay... It still happens. I have to admit I'm like Unk: I love movies 24/7--just ask my disgruntled wife ( please don't that could go on for awhile) and so I'm always on the prowl for screenwriting and movie stuff all the time.

But, as it goes, it's a job and even that stuff can make us not the best workers in the company. I know I've had way too many sick days and I should have been let go some time ago.

Thanks Unk for cooling me down and giving me pause to think more about what your grand idea is.

Okay, break's over...gotta get back to work.