Sunday, September 28, 2008

(1/6) One Sixth Degree of Separation

So, uh... I had a really interesting weekend. Nothing screenwriting related. But I had a lot of fun and was star-struck many times over.

I was the boom-op on THE GUILD.

As you may have noticed, I am under the impression that internet shorts are on the verge of becoming very financially viable, particularly with the success of Joss Whedon's DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-A-LONG blog.

I also like being a part of shows that I am a fan of. I like to see how they work, meet the people, get a lay of the land.

Okay, so I didn't know how tight-knit of a group this community actually was/is.

Somewhere, I stepped into the twilight zone. It was like the opposite of six degrees of separation -- like, literally, somehow every person I met was directly related to another 6 people that had a show that I am a huge fan of.

When my buddy Sean Oakley (who is doing sound for The Guild, and how I got the boom-op gig) and I arrived to set (The Guild and Dr. Horrible star, Felicia Day's house) there was a woman out front that I thought was vaguely familiar. But I didn't put it together until the end of the day when they were talking about her show. It was Kim Evey. Otherwise known as, KIKO from GORGEOUS TINY CHICKEN MACHINE SHOW. She is the producer of THE GUILD. Rock on!

ASIDE: Check out this show. It is amazing. I can't do it justice, because in all honesty, I don't know how to describe it. It is insanity at its most brilliant.

I actually stuck my foot in my mouth trying to compliment Kim on her show. I said something along the lines of "I love the show. It's amazing. I really don't understand how it works."

What I was talking about was structurally. I meant; I don't understand where I would even begin to write a show like that. It's randomness, energy, style, and miscommunication is what makes the show so hilarious. From a structure standpoint, I wouldn't even know where to begin. And I actually think that is why I like it so much.


Secondly, the director of this weekend's shoot was Sean Becker. What I found out was, he also doubles as COWNICORN. I did not recognize him without the cow costume. At all. And even afterwards, it was just too silly trying to picture him in that cow costume.

So that was yesterday. Today, we shot at Kim's house. I was browsing her bookshelf, noting the similarity to books I had seen prior at Felicia's house, when I noticed two name-tags on a shelf. Kim Benson. And Greg Benson.

For those of you unfamiliar with the name -- Greg Benson directs THE RETARDED POLICEMAN. Of all the internet shows on the web, this has to have the catchiest theme song. Not to mention most un-PC premise. It's fucking great! If you haven't seen it, stop reading this blog -- Go! I mean it!

I knew Greg Benson had directed some of the season 1 episodes of THE GUILD. I knew he directed some episodes of GORGEOUS TINY CHICKEN MACHINE SHOW. But it took two little cards on a bookshelf for me to put the whole picture together. Greg and Kim are husband and wife.


The circle is complete.

Maybe you all knew this. But I didn't. I am a rather spontaneous person and I tend to stumble into things blindly. Dumb luck, you might call it.

SEAN: What's he look like?
ME: I don't know how to describe him.
SEAN: Was he on set yesterday?
ME: Nah, man, but that was him.
SEAN: I didn't see him.

Greg walks into the room.

ME: He kind of looks exactly like this guy.

Of course, Greg has no idea what Sean and I are talking about -- but he's a cool guy and he plays along.

GREG: Yeah. Who's that?
ME: Greg.
GREG: (adlibs something funny that my poor overloaded short term memory can't remember)
ME: I was just telling Sean that Greg looks exactly like this guy, right here.
GREG: (More funny improv).

And after a moment of awkwardness -- because I really ran out of material and am not that quick on the improv-fly (which unfortunately EVERYONE else on that set was) -- Greg extended his hand and introduced himself.

GREG: Greg.
ME: James. I'm a really big fan of The Retarded Policeman.

It was at this point, at which Greg's phone rang. It was a text from the Ponceman (star of The Retarded Policeman) that simply said: "Sexy Bitch."

That pretty much sums up my weekend.

Sexy bitch.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What a Brave New World we are living in.

Man, I hate to so blatantly throw out such an overused cliche like that. But, man... Aldous Huxley never saw this one coming.

IMBD is streaming movies and TV online, FOR FREE!

From Billy Wilder's SOME LIKE IT HOT to J.J Abrams latest and newest installment of FRINGE -- you the websurfing viewer, can watch these programs completely free.

They have also started to install a manner of uploading any videos you have as long as you are the sole copyright owner. Basically, IMDB is becoming YouTube -- and a television network in one fell swoop.

And it's all monetized. Advertisements run throughout the streams, much like normal television.

In addition, the normal functions of IMDB, looking up actors, directors, writers, producers and cross referencing them from one flick to the next is already built into the page you are viewing. So, not only can you watch the movie, but you can see other movies with the same star, or by the same writer, or director, or producer, etc. etc. at the click of a mouse button.

The barriers of distribution, budget, and network seem to be getting thinner and thinner. It seems like this could be a place for blossoming internet shows like DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-A-LONG BLOG, THE GUILD, and THE RETARDED POLICEMAN, as well as a glimpse into the future.

I can't wait to see what the future has in store.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CRASH - The TV show


No, seriously?

Is it me -- or does that look like they took the characters and situations from the movie, that were already skating on the edge of cliche, and jumped in full bore?

Dennis Hopper physically shaking saying a line, "I'm scared of a black man with a gun" and it comes off as sarcasm. Okay. No idea who the audience Starz is shooting for on this thing.

I liked the movie. I liked it a lot. But I think it is one of those premises that only works as a movie. I also think Paul Haggis was teetering on a very fine line and had to handle the content extremely delicately. Which he did.

Television is anything BUT delicate.

But you be the judge. Here's the movie trailer.

To me the movie trailer has a lot of heart. The TV-ized trailer is all contrivance.
(But, then again a lot of people felt that way about the movie too :p So who knows?)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Story Isn't Plot

Story is about characters that have tasks to accomplish. Plot is about the tasks the characters must accomplish.