2/12 ATTACK OF THE CRAPPY COMEDIES - I don't get it. Hollywood keeps churning out these awful,
so-called comedies - Epic Movie, Date Movie, RV, Norbit, etc.. Oh, I understand it from the studios' perspective -
they're cheap to produce and, usually, turn a profit on their first weekend. I don't understand why people flock to
these turkeys. C'mon, the trailers show the best bits and those just aren't funny. Granted, there are movies I like that
most people hate - Cuthroat Island comes to mind (and I won't mention WaterWorld). Maybe it just shows the
generational gap of humor. Maybe these 17-25 Year Olds think stupid equals funny. Okay, ya got me. Most comedies
have a stupid factor, but they're still funny (Austin Powers, There's Something
About Mary, Etc.). Oh well...I
just hope this love for any comedy, no matter how great or small, continues until I can capitalize on it - I'm about a
year away from writing my first comedy (I have a couple more Horror films to write).
2/5 SUPER BOWL OR BUST...First off, Congrats to the Colts for their 29-17 victory over the Bears. What a
Crapfest! Chicago had 5 (yes, FIVE!!!) turnovers, Indianapolis only 3. Granted, it was raining throughout the game,
but the turnovers weren't all weather related (right Rex?). Being a Raider's fan, I didn't care who won. The bottom
line - I wanted a good game (being the Super Bowl, and all). I hope next year's game is better. Who am I kidding?
I'll take another crapfest as long as the Raiders win (hope springs eternal). Remember, if my Raiders win, you heard
it here first.
2/3 BACK ONCE AGAIN - Hey, I was busy. What with my current project and also trying to sell my last script
(low budget horror, if you're interested). Let's catch up...
RAIDERS FIRE ART SHELL : What the Hell?! Okay, they went 2-14 and the offense was a mess (I'm being nice),
but how is this his fault? The Raiders went 4-12 the previous season and the defense improved, but they ignored the
offense during the off-season. Brooks as your starting QB? Whatever (New Orleans ran him out of town). The O-Line
sucked big time. Here's my (crackpot) theory: Al Davis stated he had fired Art too soon back in the day, so what's he
do? He sticks him with a clunker, that he built, and then fires him for cause. What a joke. The new coach, I'll call him
Young Guy, takes over a team with a good defense and they'll draft/sign Offensive players. The Result? The Raiders
will be a .500 team next season and Young Guy will reap the rewards (some of which Art Shell sowed).
NEW LINE, THE HOBBIT, AND PETER JACKSON ...Will the madness ever stop? Here's a Reader's Digest
breakdown. Peter Jackson (PJ) Directed/Co-Wrote the three LORD OF THE RINGS films - FELLOWSHIP OF
THE RING( FOTR), THE TWO TOWERS (TTT), and RETURN OF THE KING (ROTK). These films grossed
approx. One Billion Dollars each (Yes, I said $1,000,000,000) and PJ was given a percent of the Box Office take
(Sucker!). He was paid by New Line and an audit was done (later) on FOTR. PJ learned/felt New Line Cooked the
books. He was underpaid by millions. He asked they audit TTT and ROTK, New Line refused. PJ sued and they're
still refusing to open the books. What's this have to do with THE HOBBIT? New Line wants to rush this project
through without PJ - it's their right. But several of the Trilogy stars will not reprise their roles without PJ's involvement.
What a mess! New Line is not thinking about the big picture (no pun intended) - with PJ, these (I'm sure it'll be two
movies) could rake in a Billion Dollars EACH or they could get Joe Schmoe to Write/Direct (I'm available and a
Tolkien fan to boot) and it could make half that. Half a billion dollars is still a lot of moolah (it's just not
$1,000,000,000). I just don't understand why New Line wants to gamble over a few Million dollars. Offer a settlement
and let's revisit our friends from Middle Earth!
10/26 I'M BAAAAACK! This past week, I was in L.A. to attend the Screenwriting
Expo 5 (10/19-10/22).
I had a great time. The highlight was the Networking Parties - it's a nice feeling to be surrounded by your peers
(wannabe Screenwriters). Some of my favorites: William
Martell's Guerilla Marketing Your Script (perfect for
those with an Agent, Manager, and Attorney) and Elements Of Horror, Tim Minear's Breaking The Story (We
did a Shepard Book-centric Firefly Episode), Wendell Thomas Dialogue class, Linda
and hanging out with Jim Mercurio (and talking Poker at a networking party). The Expo IS ALWAYS worth
the time and money.
Okay, everything's not peaches and cream...The Bad: I liked the Hotels,
BUT the rooms were too small (unlike
the cavernous Convention Center). Every horror seminar I attended was
jammed full. One (Elements) had about
60 attendees in a room designed for 30 (!!!) and the Oliver Stone interview
turned away a huge line of folks.
Even though I perfer the LAX location, the Expo's just too big for
8/8 SCREENWRITING CONTESTS
Sometimes entering a contest can be a big waste of time and money (but especially money). But if you think you're
ready for the Prime Time, then there are a few you should consider.
Nicholl- The Creme de la Creme of contests (technically it's a yearlong fellowship). If you only win one contest,
this is the one! Getting into the Quarter Finals will garner you attention. Past winners have gone on to successful
Warner Bros. Writers Workshop - One of the few contests where you pay them if you win!!!! Confused? This is
another fellowship style program. You get real world experience in Television. You can enter in Comedy or Drama.
Very hard to get into.
Walt Disney Studios/ABC Writers Fellowship - Yet another one of them fellowships. These are very competitive
contests - because all us wannabes want in! Another year of intensive mentoring.
Creative Screenwriting Screenplay Competition - Okay. It's not considered a top tier contest. But just like its name,
they're very creative with their prizes (also top prize is $20,000), including getting one script turned into a comic book
mini-series and a graphic novel (how cool is that!). They've also added a short story contest with the winner getting
their movie shot - wow! The deadline has been extended to 8/14/06, so hurry up and finish your script (they accept
There are boat loads more contests, so check out Moviebytes for more info on contests and GOOD LUCK!
7/7 NOT SO SUPERMAN RETURNS
So Singer left the X-Men franchise for this? Let me start
off by saying, I didn't hate this movie, I just didn't like
it. And its Box Office Numbers show that it's a miss and not a hit. Wait, isn't a movie that makes $108 Million
dollars in 7 days a success? Nope. Superman Returns ONLY made $108 Million in 7 days - the Studio
expected this flick to rake in fistfuls of cash. What's wrong with it?
1. THE ANTAGONIST - Never has a more anemic villain been on screen (Okay, so maybe I exaggerate). Kevin
Spacey's a brilliant actor and he did his best with what he had to work with (i.e. the script). In this big budget
movie, Supes and Lex Luthor only tangle once! Not Good.
2. THE ACTION - Okay, the CGI was excellent, but WTF happened to all the action? The airplane sequence
was solid, the robbers vs. supes was yawn, and the climactic ending SUCKED!!! Throwing that rock into space
reminded me of that Hercules Movie with Lou Ferrigno - where he seemingly tossed everything into space (sadly,
except the film).
3. THE ENDING - How unsatisfying. Everyone wanted That Big Blue Boyscout to kick Lex's ass. Instead, Lex
runs out of gas on the World's smallest island. WTF was that!
4. THE JESUS FACTOR - Okay, we get it with the sacrifice for mankind and the rebirth. If they wanted to go all
Biblical, they should have thrown in the Plagues - that way we get more action.
5. SUPERMAN'S SON PLOT - Usually adding a new character (obnoxious neighbor, a kid, etc) is a sign that
they've jumped the shark! If we want a Kid Superman (ahem, Superboy), we can just watch Smallville.
6. THE HUMOR? - I realize they were paying homage to Donner's Superman, but most of the jokes fell flat. The
theater was about half full and most jokes only got laughs from about a third of the audience - not good. Hey, a
crappy joke is still a crappy joke even if told by some dude in spandex.
7. GET TO THE POINT - Several scenes meandered. The writers broke the cardinal rule of writing - get in a
scene as late as possible and get out as soon as possible. Oh well, it could have been much worse. Also, check out Kevin
Smith's Superman Scipt here and see what could have been.
I know it's receiving tons of glowing reviews. And I can understand that - everyone wants to like Superman (except for
terrorists). Brandon Routh does a fine job as the Man Of Steel - he's no Christopher Reeves, but he'll be fine. I felt Kate
Bosworth was miscast. What is she like 100 LBS wet? She's supposed to be the tough as nails Lois Lane - Sorry, I didn't
buy it. Kevin Spacey as Lex was a waste of his talent. This movie's worth a rental, but I wouldn't spend good money to
watch it in a theater (again) nor buy the DVD.
6/29 WRITING THE SCRIPT
What goes into writing a Script? Here's what I do:
1. The Idea - What's the Script about? Without the concept, you
have no Script. The higher the concept, the
better the chance of a sale (what's
2. The Characters - The Protagonist, Antagonist, and secondary
characters. This is where your characters come to life -
the more complete they are (Religion, Job, Marital Status, Quirks, Hobbies,
Backstory, etc), the better your script will be.
The dialogue will benefit (ring true) and will give you a higher chance
of selling the script (better, not great). This is where you
answer the two most important questions: A. What is his (or her) OUTER
GOAL (What do they want)? and B. What is his
(or her) INNER GOAL (What do they need)?
3. The Story - This is where you do an outline of the
story. There is more than one way to do this: You can write 6-12
pages of prose (no dialogue), a beat sheet (the important stuff), the
sequence approach (dividing the Screenplay into 8
parts - still using the 3-act structure), morse code, heiroglyphics,
or whatever works for you! If you're a beginning
Screenwriter (and who else would listen to an unproduced writer), the
more you've worked the story, you'll better the odds
of actually finishing it (many would-be writers get stuck in the second
act - don't let this happen to you!).
4. The Writing - My biggest piece of advice - WRITE
EVERY DAY. If you only
write 1 page a day, that translates to 3
Scripts a year (most scripts are less than 120 pages). Keep writing,
even if you're not happy with the scene. Keep writing,
even if you feel the urge to start over. Keep writing, even if you're
not in the mood. Keep writing because that's the only way
you'll finish a script (let alone this script). You have to work your
way through the rough parts. You'll be amazed how many
problems can be solved during the rewrite process. Speaking of which...
5. The ReWrite - This is where you fix the problems. Here's my method:
I read it from front to back, looking for story issues
(but I also correct grammar). I do a second pass fixing grammar,
syntax, and line widows (that's where you end the sentence
with one word on the next line - cuz your sentence is too long). Remember
you want to convey the most with a minimum of
words. My third rewrite is from the END to the BEGINNING. I read the
last line first, the second to last line, and so on.
Why do this? You can miss problems because you get "caught up" in the
story. On the final (yeah right) rewrite look for
character arcs, storylines, inciting incident, midpoint, crisis, and
resolution. Make sure they're present and clearly defined.
Misc. Info - Read a bunch of scripts in different genres. if you love a
movie, track down the script to see what the writer did
that struck a cord with you. I recommend reading scripts from crappy
movies - see what didn't work and why. You can find
scripts for free online (Look here).
And now a warning about the darkside of Screenwriting - As you learn the
craft, movies will never be the same again -
EVER! I can't tell you how many times I've been to a movie and a character
throws out an innocent sounding line.
Immediately I realize this throwaway line (foreshadowing) will have a
major impact much later in the film (when you non-
Screenwriters have forgotten the line). Now stop reading this and write,
Write, WRITE! Fade Out.
6/16 COMEDY CENTRAL STRIKES GOLD?
Normally I rant about something that pisses me off. Not today. With all the crap on TV, I'm gonna give some props
to four shows on COMEDY CENTRAL. They may not hit home runs every time, but they bang out more dingers
than outs. Here's my list:
1. THE SHOWBIZ SHOW WITH DAVID SPADE - Surprised? Me too. Let's face it, David Spade isn't the World's
greatest comic (by a wiiiiiiiide margin) and Chris Farley (one of the greatest physical comics - ever) carried their movies.
But he's a sarcastic Son of a Bitch and that style fits this show like a glove (no, not the OJ defense). It doesn't matter
who you are in Hollywood, if you screw up, this show will Bitch slap you. Not every bit works, but there's enough
laughs to entertain.
2, THE COLBERT REPORT - Stephen Colbert (silent T in Colbert) started off as the top correspondant on THE
DAILY SHOW. His outrageous, usually side-splitting segments caught the attention of the right people (whomever
they are) and we had the first fake news spin-off ever! The show revolves around a conservative Newsman's views
on anything newsworthy (especially politics). It's Stephen's backhanded compliments and obsession with bears (don't
ask) that vaults this gem to the top of the comedy pack.
3. THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART - I know, I know. Jon Stewart's movies tend to underperform at the
Box Office (see DOOGAL if you don't believe me), so why should I watch this, um, show? It's freaking (yes, I said
freaking) hilarious. The Daily Show's not afraid to smack around both conservatives and liberals when they deserve it
(which is most of the time). This is the only news show I watch (and it's fake!). For such a small show on such a small
Network (sorry), all the big dogs (in politics and Hollywood) come on to face off with Jon Stewart, the King of Comedy
Central. Sadly, The Daily Show (and Colbert Report) are only on Monday - Thursday (because fake news gets a 3 day
weekend). A must see show!
4. SOUTH PARK - Yep, 10 seasons and it keeps getting better! The boys (Parker and Stone) have no fear. South Park
shows their version of the world (which is a lot closer to reality than most people think) through the eyes of 4 potty
mouth fifth graders - unlike most cartoons, the characters do age (just very slooooooooowly). After 9 seasons, most
series run out of steam (i.e. original ideas). South Park is peaking. Their recent shows on religion caused some problems -
the one on Scientology resulted in Isaac Hayes quitting the show (and spawned a great episode) and their brilliant
CARTOON WARS episode was censored by the Network - they refused to let the likeness of a certain Prophet (the
same one that caused problems in Denmark) appear. I can't wait to see who they take on next year (as long as it's not me).
Well, that's four shows (as promised) I like on Comedy Central. Check them out, you'll thank me (or hunt me down. One
or the other).
6/13 STUPID, GREEDY BASTARDS VS. THE JUDGES
I'll admit to watching the Court shows from time to time. No, not COURT TV shows, but small claims Court shows -
Peoples Court, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Mathis, and Judge Judy. Hey, it's a guilty pleasure. My question: Where do
they find these people? I know the
World's full of idiots, but do they all have to appear on these shows? They
underline the fact we are a litigous Society. People sue for the oddest things. Emotional distress over a contract gone
wrong? So the contractor not finishing your kitchen remodel has damaged you emotionally? Whatever. Or those
Don Juan-abies who take Women for as much "Gifts" as possible. These leeches aren't men - real men stand on
their own two feet. My favorite are the SODDI defendants. SODDI stands for Some Other Dude Did It. You may
have been arrested in a stolen car, but you didn't damage the car cuz(everybody) Some Other Dude Did It (from
an actual case I saw). And the icing on the cake is when these SODDI's are juveniles and the Parents (ie fools)
believe their Bullshit stories. These nonParents (because you actually have to Parent the kid(s) to earn that title) are
doing more harm than good. Supporting
your children doesn't mean you believe the lies. I gotta go, Judge Judy's
6/2 THE SCREEWRITING EXPO 5
If You have a passion for screenwriting, you need to attend the Screenwriting Expo 5 (click here for details). This
event for screenwriters (you know who you are). They have classes for beginners, advanced writers, and pros.
Plus networking parties - What more can you ask for (besides a sale)? This is your chance to learn from the top
screenwriters on the Planet (or, at least, LA). I've attended the past two years and it's a blast. Every year, I learn
dozens of small things and a handful of WOWS that make me a better writer. Need a harder sell? It's the best bargain
around, since you
receive a one year subscription to CREATIVE SCREENWRITING MAGAZINE with your
registration. And it just got even better. This year it's no longer held at the Convention Center in dumpy Downtown
(the Convention Center is nice, the area's not) Maybe I'll see you (and a few thousand more) at the Expo!
5/30 OREO COOKIES COMMERCIAL
Is anybody else irritated by these commercials that have two people
compete in an Oreo cookie race? You might
be asking, what are the rules to an Oreo cookie race?
1. You twist off the two ends.
2. Lick clean both sides.
3. Eat both ends.
4. Down a glass of milk and...
5. Set the empty glass back onto the table. The fastest wins!
That's how you do it. So why does this irritate me? They don't lick off the "stuffing". They pretend to lick, then
the commercial shows both "stuffless" sides. Hey there are rules to an Oreo cookie race and cheaters shouldn't
benefit (tongue firmly in cheek :) ).
BARRY BONDS PART 2: REVENGE OF THE SPORTS SHOWS
Well, Barry finally hit 715 on 5/28/06. Since my last rant, he hit 714 in Oakland and
the A's fans showed a lot of class by giving Barry Bonds a standing ovation. 715 was
blasted in San Francisco and Barry, again, got his respect. On a sidenote, I'm a big
sports fan and watch a lot of ESPN. I like AROUND THE HORN and PARDON THE INTERRUPTION
(PTI) and I've been surprised by the reaction of some of the reporters. I applaud Bob
Ryan and Woody Paige for their passion, I just think it's missplaced. They should
channel some of that anger towards Major League Baseball - they allowed this problem to
grow and did nothing! Hold Baseball accountable for its mistakes (i.e. greed). If you
don't think Barry deserves any credit, that's fine. Just keep in mind, steroids didn't
start with Barry Bonds and taking "enhancements" won't stop with him, until professional
sports wants it too.
5/26 IT'S FINALLY UP!
Yay! It's up after hours of hard work (sitting in front of a computer!). Welcome to my life, at least
an edited version of it! You'll laugh, you'll cry (mainly if you're an English Teacher or
understand basic grammar), but, mainly, you'll want to punch me in the nose. So, come back
often (before I hit the big time and hire a soulless webmaster - I'm currently accepting
applications). Have a look around and, hopefully, enjoy.
5/20 BARRY BONDS
It's time for someone you never heard of to weigh in on the Barry Bonds scandal. That someone is me!
I should start off by stating I've never been a fan of Mr. Bonds. He comes off as an arrogant SOB.
Also, I'm an A's fan, not Giants (Bay Area rivalry and all). With the pleasantries finished, now
it's time to rip Barry Bonds a new one. Right? Nope. I see...you're gonna take him to task for
cheating. Guess again, fanboy. Actually (wait for it), I didn't come to bury Barry, but to defend
him. What you talkin bout, Willis? Did he cheat by getting juiced? Probably. So what's to defend?
The problem didn't start with Barry Bonds, it started with Major League Baseball. Let's get in the
wayback machine...Canseco joins the 40-40 club, everyone seems to be hitting home runs in the late 80's
through the current turn of the Century. We had the attack of the longball! And who can forget the
memorable McGwire/Sosa Home Run Chase (Only to be outdone a few years later by Mr. Bonds - I wonder if
Spawn creator Todd McFarlane regrets throwing down $3 Million for Big Mac's 70th. My guess: HELL YES!).
That chase came after a "work stoppage" and MLB was ecstatic that Mac/Sosa re-energized the fans.
So what's the big deal? Baseball had to suspect steroids use was rampant during that "era". Did
they start any investigations? Nope. How about calling out Big Mac and Sosa? Another big no.
That's why I support (upgraded from a mere defend)Barry Bonds. When it was beneficial to Baseball,
they looked the other way. Now that there's some heat, they'll throw ANY PLAYER under the bus. I
say Baseball deserves what they get if Barry breaks Hank Aaron's record. Baseball can't have it
both ways - They can't look the other way and then plead innocent.
I have one word for the fans who boo Barry (or cheer when he gets beaned - what's up with that?) and
to the sports reporters that villainize him - hypocrites! These are the same fans that cheered Big
Mac, Sosa, and Mr. I-Never-Took-Steroids and these are the same reporters that gushed over those
players accomplishments, when they ALL suspected (or should have) the players were playing juiced.
One last point. I also suspect racism (yep, I'm playing that card) has a role in this tragedy (and,
for the record, I'm a white dude). It's no secret that Baseball is still a good old boys club and I
find the avalanche of investigations, when another black man is on the cusp of breaking the greatest
(white) player's home run total, highly suspicious. To all Baseball fans and reporters, I hope you
realize you're getting played - by Major League Baseball. As for me, when Barry Bonds passes Babe
Ruth, I'll celebrate with a nice glass of juice.
Dude, You Suck!