Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

This post here written by Craig Mazin basically spells out the reasons I stopped blogging with any regularity a couple years ago.

I set this up to learn how to write. To think things through. And ultimately, it was a place I could visit to express myself that REQUIRED me to write.

See all these words.

But after a while it became a distraction. I would spend more time looking for a new topic, or trying to make sure all the links on the blog worked, and what YouTube videos would go with my posts.

That takes up time. Time better spent writing things that would actually accomplish that goal of becoming a screenwriter. Every step to maintain the blog was just one step farther away from my goal.

So I stopped.

And I've written 4 spec pilots and 7 feature length screenplays -- and currently have 4 new projects on my plate, and a host of other projects that are just an inkling of an idea at the moment.

To add to that, I am also doing something I never thought I'd ever do.

I'm writing short stories that I am submitting to magazines.

I also write every day.

I don't know how to explain this without sounding arrogant, but I created this blog to learn the craft of screenwriting. I now understand that craft inside and out.

I have bigger obstacles to tackle in my pursuit of a screenwriting career.

I am shy.

I have never submitted my work to an agent. I'm too afraid.

I have gotten some of my work out. But not by my doing. Generally, it has been a friend that wants to pitch somehting they like to someone else. I've ended up landing managers by doing this. Getting meetings at prod cos.

But it's really hard to push forward from there when you are as shy as I am.

I've never really taken control of my career. Never done anything and everything to get my work out to people. And a lot of people who put in the hustle, who maybe are a little more raw, are putting together some pretty damn good projects through sheer will power.

I envy them. I have a hard time talking to others. Specifically, when it is dealing with my ideas in a one on one manner.

But this year, all that is changing.

My goal is no longer to be able to write a great script. With as little ego as one can have when saying this -- I consistently do.

The problems standing in my way of my career no longer have to do with my ability to write.

They have to do with me.

They have to do with my fears.

Luckily, I have run in to a handful of people that are incredibly supportive. With their help, guidance, and direction I am feeling more confident than ever before.

Who knows? Maybe one day I may actually send a script to an agent all by my lonesome, rather than having someone else do it for me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Simlar, but EXACTLY the Fucking Same

I saw "Where The Wild Things Are" last Friday. I adore that film on so many different levels. Particularly, that it was made within the studio system.

The previews before the movie were kind of interesting. Most were geared towards kids. Very G-rated stuff. It made me think that advertisers didn't know who this movie was really for. Anyway --

-- One of these trailers was for THE SPY NEXT DOOR --

-- which reminded me of THE PACIFIER --


I mean type font and coloring is damn near identical. Not to mention the voiceover narration is almost exactly the same script.

The family has to have a pet. But it can't just be any sterotypical pet. One has a duck. The other, a pig.

I mean, seriously... Did it not occur to anyone that these were the same exact idea? And if it did, don't you think you'd want to accentuate the differences as much as possible?

I want to meet the exec that greenlit this. I want to know what was going through his head. Did he think it was just a stellar script? Or did they just need a vehicle for Jackie Chan?

Of all the movies to rip-off, there are much, much, MUCH better ones.


Thursday, September 17, 2009


So I was surfing Craigslist for jobs. Came across a casting call for a reality TV series:

Paystation's new competition show "The Tester" now casting (Los Angeles, CA.)
Date: 2009-09-16, 10:18AM PDT

Sony Playstation's "The Tester"
Open Casting Call!

Are you at the top of your game? Now you have a chance to prove it in the new reality competition series for PlayStation Network called "The Tester." This original program will challenge a select group of gamers in a series of tests to determine if they have what it takes to make it as an official Game Tester.

The elimination competitions throughout the series will not only test the contestants' video game knowledge, but they will also challenge the gamers' memory, stamina, dexterity, and overall mental prowess. Contestants must have the whole package to take home the coveted prize in this new original series. That's because the lucky winner will earn a contract position at Sony Computer Entertainment's Quality Assurance department in San Diego, CA, where he or she will get hands on time with the most highly anticipated games in the industry.

You must be at least 21 years of age and legally eligible to work in and a current resident of the United States for consideration.

To submit as a potential contestant please send the following: your name, age, contact information, what games you excel at, why you would be perfect for this job, and two current pictures of yourself.

Submissions are only accepted over the next four weeks. So, hurry up and get to it! This is your chance to have one of the most coveted jobs in the gaming world.

Gotta love the hyperbole. Do YOU have what it takes!!?

Really. They are holding competitions where the final reward is a minimum wage job that requires no prior training. It doesn't even require a high school education.

I'm not bagging on being a QA Tester. I've been there. I've done it.

But basing a show around this? Seriously. Just put in an job application to the 100s of Video Game Developers and Publishers that are located locally -- and voila, you won your "reward" without having to humiliate yourself on national TV.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pop Culture Entitlement

Blows the cobwebs off the blog.

So, I haven't had much to say in terms of a blog. I've been doing my thing. Making great head way into the realm of the screenwriter. Met with producers and agents. Given pitches. Had conference calls coast to coast. And as much as I have to say on the topic, the more I learn, the less I feel like blogging about -- or even sharing. Sorry.

But this post came up. Josh Olson's insight on why he will not read your screenplay.

And you know what? He's dead on the money.

What blew me away, actually, was not his article. But the comments below it. They were filled with hate and vile for the things he had said. He had only uttered the truth.

It's funny -- in the comments, you can actually SEE the people he is talking about in the article. The dick moves. You can see the people that are too self centered to take an objective look at their work and realize -- "Hey, maybe I need to really hone my skills."

They ask for an opinion. He gives one. And then they get pissed at the result. You didn't want an opinion. You wanted a pat on the head. Hell, that's even what he is saying in the god-damn post you just read and are now criticizing.

Where did this sense of entitlement come from?

Is it American? Or is it just Californian?

Hey nubs -- I have a hint for you.

Here's the scenario:

You are approaching an established writer because of some poorly conceived notion that they can actually get your script to someone who matters. I know you see their credits. You assume, "Hey, if I gave my script to that guy, and if they like it, I got it made." Right?

I mean, why else are you giving it to them? Why not a friend? Or an agent? Or a producer?


They are trying just as hard to get their next project made. Yes, there might be a hump or two missing on their journey. But they don't hold the key to making your career.

Only you do.

I've had one on one conversations with a handful of screenwriters. Oscar winners. Creators of pop culture legend. And movies that I just personally hold a high value to. And you know what came of these? Nothing. My career didn't move forward. They couldn't refer me to an agent. Not even their agent. Why?

It's not their job.

In a town that is constantly looking for new content. Constantly looking to break the next big thing. A town where half a million scripts are registered with the WGA every year and less than a hundred are bought on spec -- ask yourself...

Why do you think giving your screenplay to the competition is going to help?

And then you get pissed, take it personally, when you are rejected. Get used to it. Seriously.

Used it as fuel to get better. That's all you can do. And that's the only thing that will lead you down the path of becoming a better writer. Take the criticism in stride. Fix your problems. Or move on.

And I am still puzzled by the comments. What satisfaction do you get out of tearing someone down? Someone that was being brutally honest. Someone showing you what you are up against. Even if you disagree with him -- you've put him on this holy pedestal of your own success. If that's how he sees your script, you can guarantee other pros are going to see it the same way.

So what's your answer?

No, taking it on the chin and learning from it. Nah, it's easier to rip apart and discredit the guy who gave you honest feedback in a public forum where you remain anonymous and free from attack, than to actually make your writing better.

Good. Keep doing that.

Less competition for me.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Great Movies... that Predict the Future?

GATTACA is up on Hulu. Seems it's also on Crackle.

This is one of my favorite movies. I could watch it a thousand times and find something new.

I never understood why it didn't get more acclaim. Or even more of a cult following. It rings true on so many different levels, plus it is a great piece of science fiction. I don't see movies like this being made today, and something about that makes me very sad.

Movies about the strength of the human spirit always seem to resonate with me.

Anyway, I was surfing the web, checking out TIME's TOP 50 INVENTIONS of 2008, following some links from DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-A-LONG BLOG (which was listed as # 15). Why, it is considered an invention, I'm not really sure. Don't get me wrong. I like the show. A lot. But an invention?

So of course, that piqued my curiosity as to what else Time was considering an invention -- and wouldn't you know it? The #1, ~~the~~ Invention of the year is none other than...

a $399 saliva test that estimates your predisposition for more than 90 traits and conditions ranging from baldness to blindness.

There is a high degree of "cool" factor for me in all this. I love new technology. I love seeing how our future is divergent from those Disneyland dioramas from the 50s. And how, sometimes, it's the same. And I have this theory that artists tend to be able to tap into some collective unconscious -- that in a way, lets them predict the future. (I'm not saying Nostradamus style, just Art reflects the times, and good art because a voice, an image, an icon of the time).

This is like something straight out of GATTACA.

"Age of the sample?"
"I kissed him 5 minutes ago. Gave him a good one."

"Got yourself a 9.3. Quite the catch."
"Quite the catch."

However, what scares me is --

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein says he is backing 23andMe not for its cinematic possibilities but because "I think it is a good investment. This is strictly medical and business-like." Google has chipped in almost half the $8.9 million in funding raised by the firm, which counts Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch and Ivanka Trump among its clients.

-- a 9 million dollar investment. From some of the most influential businessmen (and women) in the U.S. That seems like more than investing on a new fad.

I find Google's involvement particular bothersome. I don't mean to come off as some chaos conspiracy theorist nut, but Google does have their hands in a lot of different new media. Very wave of the future stuff.

Wojcicki and Avey see themselves not just as businesswomen but also as social entrepreneurs.


With their customers' consent, they plan to amass everyone's genetic footprint in a giant database...


...that can be mined for clues to which mutations make us susceptible to specific diseases and which drugs people are more likely to respond to.

Oh. That's cool.

The real issue here, is this is an incredibly altruistic tact for something that has such potential to reshape society as we know it. -- And it's backed by corporate sponsorship.

Moral decency and the corporate pursuit of the almighty dollar seldom go hand in hand. I wouldn't expect this to be any different. There is a sizable investment that needs to be recouped.

What I find to be something straight out of science fiction is the potential societal benefit controlled by entities larger than our own government. Entities that simply rewrite the rules to fit their quarterly reports.

See Enron.

Only time will tell. But this stuff always gets the gears in the old noggin turning.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Are Things Changing?

Election Day came and went.

Strange how the more things change, the more things stay the same.

I am talking specifically about the passing of Prop 8.

Prop 8 takes away marriage rights of gay couples. That is ALL this bill was about. Fear and discrimination.

Prop 8, essentially overturns the a right that was given to gay couples a few months ago. Gays had the right to have their marriages recognized by the state of California for mere months...

Let that sink in. The California Supreme Court already ruled that gay couples not being able to enter into marriage was UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

And yet Prop 8 passed...

What appalls me, isn't that the bill passed. There are multiple appeals and suits filed with the California State Supreme Court arguing that Prop 8 is unconstitutional -- which it is.

What appalls is that a majority of Californians are bigots.

Definitely an eye opener for me. I didn't think Prop 8 even had a chance. I wasn't alive during the Civil Rights movement of the 60's. I always wondered how a large mass of people could not only let racism run rampant, but actually endorse it.

I had this belief that Californians were progressive. That the country followed suit with the example Californians set. I truly hope that isn't the case here.

I have never been more ashamed to be a Californian.

...and I say this as a conservative and as a Republican.

It doesn't matter if you are liberal or conservative -- taking away the rights of another human being isn't only unconstitutional, but it is unconscionable.