Monday, October 1, 2012


...fuck this blog ;)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hey Mom! New Entry!

Today WriterGal and I completed the very rough draft of our Romantic Comedy (RC). I’m currently waiting impatiently for that weight to be lifted off my shoulders. Usually, when I finish a draft, I feel a dramatic sense of relief. That has not happened yet and I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to happen with this draft. Normally, I would take a week off from the script to clear my head and come back fresh with as much objectivity as possible. Due to our time constraints, I won’t have that luxury this time around. I plan to jump into the next draft tomorrow.

I believe I previously stated that I intended to complete two feature length scripts by Christmas of 2009. Apparently I was just kidding. The new deadline for the RC is February 24th. The new deadline for the Psychological Thriller (PT) is “sometime after that.” We have given ourselves February 24th as our deadline because it is the night that WriterGal will be performing her one-woman show at a well-known comedy theater in Los Angeles. I will be directing that show. With the help of our manager and the young producer, we are hoping a decent amount of “industry” will come out to the show. The RC is based on the one-woman show, so we would like to be able to tell the “industry” that if they liked the theatrical version, we can send them the feature version first thing in the morning. I’m not even sure if this strategy completely makes sense, but at least it is keeping us motivated to finish this script in a timely fashion.

In one week, WriterGal and I will be meeting with a lawyer who has read and loves SP1. The idea is to build our “team” now. The lawyer would only make money if we sell something or sign a deal and need his services. In that scenario he would take 5%. He may also have connections that he could set us up with to sell the show. Truthfully, I am skeptical. Some writer friends have told me that a lawyer isn’t needed until one is more established. Also, we have been introduced to this lawyer through our literary manager. I’ve been told that it is best to have your connection to a lawyer be through a channel that is not your manager. This way you know the lawyer is acting in your best interest and nobody else’s. Don’t get me wrong, I trust my manager. I’m just stating what I’ve heard. Either way, there is no harm in meeting with this lawyer.
In the meantime, I’ve been spending some time wearing my “Producer’s Hat.” Technically, it’s more like a visor… or headband… or earmuffs. What I’m saying is, I don’t have a ton of experience as a producer. That being said, I have produced my own short films. I also recently worked as a producer on an independent film in Japan. That film is in the process of being edited and we are now looking for finishing funds. I plan to write up a proposal that will accompany our trailer and help attract investors.

I’ve also been working to help my little brother pitch his action/adventure web series. I recently got as far as getting a meeting set up with the new media division of one of the major production companies. Unfortunately, our middleman (a small production company that has a relationship with the larger company) got cold feet. They expressed that they felt the product was “too young” and canceled the meeting. My brother and his production team are working on a new and improved proposal and I hope to help them see it get to the next level.

Financially, I am worse off than ever. I am trying to get through February without a “non-writing” job. It looks like I may have to pay WriterGal back for February rent after I get a job in March. On the bright side, I got $300 knocked off my car insurance. How? I called to let them know that I now work from home and only drive 4,000 miles a year. Plus, spending an extra $121 a year on renter's insurance through the same provider will take an additional 10% off my car insurance. If you are recently unemployed I suggest you notify your insurance broker that you no longer commute.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

State of the Script (022)

"... a very difficult sale"

That is a quote being passed along to me from some agencies, production companies and networks in reference to SP1. Everyone claims to love the script, the concept, the writing, but they find it to be a tough sale. I feared that "a very difficult sale" was just a nicer way of saying "fuck off, loser." My manager assures me that isn't completely true. SP1 is mostly a difficult sale because WriterGal and I would retain the coveted "created by" credit. This makes established showrunners less likely to get involved and companies aren't as inclined to take a chance on newbies likes us. Execs at smaller companies, like the ones that have been interested in SP1, like to take a script like this and throw it at few walls and see if anything sticks. If it doesn't immediately stick, then they move on to the next thing. Luckily the young producer and my manager aren't afraid of a couple passes. They insist they only see it as more motivation to find the right home for our show.

If you recall, WriterGal and I had given our take on two projects to a production company (see entry #17). The development exec claims she loves our idea for the first project, a romantic comedy, but an established writer came in with an idea that blew them away and they are going with him. The exec also says she "truly" loves our take on the second project, a TV series, but at the moment they are fighting with a network to get the rights to the project back. Once that happens, which could be months from now, she will come back to us.

They love me... they love me, not?

Not much else to report on the state of my completed scripts. In the meantime, I am still working on the RC script and the PT script. RC script still in outlining stages. PT script around page 45 of a rough draft.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ten Favorite Films of the 1940s (021)

This will probably be the most difficult decade to narrow down to ten films. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of my all time favorite films came from this decade. The list is predominantly Hollywood movies made during the Hays Code era. I have a thing for Hays Code films and would love to experiment sometime by writing a screenplay with the censorship guidelines enforced by the code. Anyhow, here are the films in chronological order:

1. The Philadelphia Story (1940) - George Cukor
2. The Great Dictator (1940) - Charlie Chaplin
3. To Be Or Not To Be (1942) - Ernst Lubitsch
4. Casablanca (1942) - Michael Curtiz
5. The Palm Beach Story (1942)- Preston Sturges
6. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) - Frank Capra

7. Double Indemnity (1944) - Billy Wilder
8. The Big Sleep (1946) - Howard Hawks
9. The Bicycle Thief (1948) - Vittorio De Sica
10. The Third Man (1949) - Carol Reed

If it wasn't for my rule that directors can only appear once per list, then these two films may have been in the top ten:

His Girl Friday (1940) – Howard Hawks
The Lady Eve (1941) - Preston Sturges

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Writing Schedule Revised (020)

The two most important things in writing (or so I’ve been told):

#1 – Make a writing schedule
#2 – Stick to that writing schedule

Easier said than done. Making a writing schedule is a talent in and of itself. The schedule needs to be practical. According to my previous schedule I was to have the second draft of my PT script completed by September 23rd… not practical. I am on page 43 of a very rough draft. The writing schedule also needs to be ambitious. I’d rather be a week behind my ambitious writing schedule and working hard to keep up than a week ahead and feel like I have time to explore the backlog of my DVR. Finding the fine line between practical and ambitious can be rather difficult.

I will admit that my latest writing schedule is more ambitious than it is practical. I don’t feel I have much choice. Without a full time job, I will most likely be out of money by New Year’s Day. This is my last chance to write full time before having to succumb to the workforce. I’m not saying I will stop writing in the new year, I’m just saying I will have less time to be a productive writer. A glimmer of hope does exist in that I was asked to do some paid edits on a friend’s book. If that works out, I might be able to extend my schedule before getting a dreaded non-writing job.

How ambitious is my new writing schedule? Along with finishing my PT script, I intend to start and complete a feature romantic comedy (RC) with WriterGal. Writing a script in two months is particularly ambitious, at least for me. Our manager has requested that we base the script on WriterGal’s one-woman show. We have decided to also loosely base it on our own relationship. I’m just now realizing that writing a relationship comedy about your own relationship with the person you are in a relationship with might be a problematic. Oh well.

Revised Writing Schedule
PT script – December 25th 2009
RC script – December 25th 2009

Of course, I will have checkpoint deadlines along the way, but I haven’t actually figured out the finer details just yet. No time for a proper conclusion. Back to writing…

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ten Favorite Films of the 1930s (019)

I realize you didn’t ask, but I figured I’d tell you. This should give you an idea of the films that have influenced me as a writer. The list factors in nostalgia. There might be films with superior creative merit left off the list, but these are some of the films that meant the most to me. I reserve the right to change my list at anytime. Eventually I will try to come up with a list for every decade and maybe even go back to the ‘20s.

In order to narrow down the list, I installed the rule that directors are only allowed to appear on the list once. Also, even though different people directed Marx Brothers films, I could only use one. By the way, Groucho and I share the same birthday (the day, not the year).

Here is the list in chronological order with the director included:

1. M (1931) - Fritz Lang
2. City Lights (1931) - Charlie Chaplin
3. The Thin Man (1934) - W.S. Van Dyke
4. A Night At The Opera (1935) – Sam Wood
5. The 39 Steps (1935) - Alfred Hitchcock
6. My Man Godfrey (1936) - Gregory La Clava
7. Bringing Up Baby (1938) - Howard Hawks
8. Holiday (1938) - George Cukor
9. Ninotchka (1939) - Ernst Lubitsch
10. The Rules of The Game (1939) - Jean Renoir

What am I forgetting?

It Happened One Night (1934) is a close runner up, but I could only choose one George Cukor film and it had to be Holiday.

I'm suddenly feeling compelled to condemn the frivolity of top ten lists. I will resist.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rejected ! (018)

I was recently rejected from an Adler Weiner focus group. As a writer, I am rejected on a daily basis. I have multiple scripts floating around in the film world, so every day that my scripts aren't sold is a day I am rejected. I should be used to it by now, but I'm not going lie, getting rejected by Adler Weiner kind of hurt.

I had my heart set on that cushy hour long focus group. The job would have paid a whopping $100. That would have been the highest hourly wage I ever made. The criteria was simple: Own a Hyundai Elantra or any of the other ten cars from their list. I passed that test and was immediately put through to the official phone interview. My interviewer was very excited as I answered each and every question promptly and correctly. She even offered the occasional overly-impressed, "VERY GOOD," like one might say upon discovering their toddler completed a puzzle recommendation for older children. I have to admit, the questions weren’t very difficult. Samples: How old are you? What is your profession? What are your hobbies? Apparently a writer that plays basketball and drives a Hyundai Elantra was exactly what Adler Weiner was looking for. WriterGuy and Adler Weiner seemed to be a match made in heaven. I even made a workplace appropriate joke about Los Angeles and electric cars that resulted in belly laughs on both ends of the telephone.

Then came the final question. My interviewer asked that I take the following and rank them in order of importance when buying a new car:

Price, MPG, User Recommendations, Safety, Quality, Style.

I assumed my answer wouldn't really matter considering how close we had become over the past ten minutes. Still, I might as well take a moment to give Adler Weiner the thoughtful answer they deserved. I ranked them like this:

Quality, Safety, Price, MPG, User Recommendations, Style

Ms. Adler Weiner quickly responded, "Mmmm. I see. Well, you're not right for this but thanks for your time." CLICK.

What?! What did I do? What did I say? What could the right answer have been? I was totally going to put "MPG" before "Price" but I switched it at the last minute. That must have been my error. I was filled with rage and confusion. I had opened up to my interviewer. I told her about myself and my economic status. By ranking what I look for in a car, I told her what I value. I even told her a joke. She strung me along, making me feel like she was genuinely interested in me. Then she hung up with a feeble apology and no explanation. I felt cheap, used and a little dirty.

You know what, even if I knew the correct answer, I wouldn't have changed my ranking. I stand by my belief in quality over style. If Adler Weiner doesn't want my unprofessional opinion for auto industry market research, then they don't deserve it. Ok, that's a lie. I would have changed my answer for $25, nevermind $100. I rue the day you came into my life Adler Weiner! ... whomever you are.