I absolutely love when justice is served.
The operator of the Utah-based Flix Club, which, as part of the Clean Flix chain, drew fire from major studios for removing scenes depicting sex and violence from home videos, has been arrested in Orem, Utah on charges of having sex with underaged girls. According to Orem police, Daniel Thompson also told the girls that his business was actually a cover for a pornography studio and asked them to participate in making a porn movie. The police report also said that they uncovered a "large quantity" of pornography at Thompson's business. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Thompson told the arresting officers that he was unaware that the girls were not of legal age and that the porn movies were for his "personal use." Thompson previously operated the Clean Flix franchise in Orem but shut it down last month after giving away 400 sanitized versions of
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I absolutely love when justice is served.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
You know, sometimes I tire myself out with conspiracy theories. They're like an addiction. Sometimes I need to reign myself back in before I go all Martin Lawrence down Main street.
However, our government and military still have not figured out how to deal with these events. Case in point: On January 8th, Texas residents saw something flying at about 300 feet, and it was a mile long and half a mile wide, and made no noise. The lights changed formation. It was being chased by fighter jets. The first reaction from the military? no F-16s or other aircraft from his base were in the area the night of Jan. 8, when most people reported the sighting. Officials at the region's two Air Force bases — Dyess in Abilene and Sheppard in Wichita Falls — also said none of their aircraft were in the area.
Cut to today: Although officials at the Naval Air Station Reserve Base in Fort Worth initially said none of their planes were in the area of the UFO reports, they changed their story Wednesday, saying that 10 F-16 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp. were training near Stephenville, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) southwest of Fort Worth, about the time of the sightings.
*Oh really now? Two weeks later you suddenly find this info?
Look, I have no idea what it was that those Texans saw, but something tells me it was either a top secret military flying base, or it was something even they have no clue about. Either way, their excuse stinks.
How is it possible to be just as clueless as in the 1940's? What exactly do they think would happen if they said, "We have no clue what you saw"?
Just another aggravation of mine.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
As I type away, mashing the keys, misspelling words because my fat sausage fingers can't quite hit one key at a time, I tend to take a break when I feel I have accomplished enough in that one spurt. During these breaks, I sometimes check the cool little features tucked away in Final Draft, such as what percentage of the dialogue thus far belongs to which character? Another I check is the profanity list which keeps a running count of how many curses you have used so far, what they are, and where they occur. I never change any of it because of the list, mind you, but it does make me over analyze my writing. For instance, in one script, my characters uttered fuck 23 times, mother fucker 4 times and shit 40 times. So 67 curses there. And that's my Rom/Com! (it's also a fairly dark one, but that should go without saying) To be fair, the entire screenplay contains over fifteen thousand words, so that's not too bad, is it?
So question: Do you ever feel you're cursing too much in a screenplay? Or do you feel good writing is good writing no matter if it's full of swears, or clean as a whistle? I tend to follow the latter, but I'm just curious.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
I just watched Knocked Up, the Judd Apatow film, a few weeks ago. I liked it. I wasn't blown away by it. If anything, I thought Apatow kind of wussed out by making the Seth Rogen character come to his senses and begin to try and be a father. But that was that, and I hadn't thought about it much since. Until I realized there are some people who are calling the film sexist. What?
I'll deal with this quote first, from Joe Queenan of The Guardian. "the latest in a new genre of romantic comedies in which an unappealing hero gets together with a gorgeous, successful woman."
Ok, first things first, who is he to judge what male is unappealing? Secondly, even if Rogen's character Ben is unappealing for the first hour of the film, it only shows that he changes for the woman during the second half of the film. Wouldn't that constitute a man righting himself for a woman? And finally, since when do gorgeous women not date what outsiders would consider below their class? It happens all the time. Hell, it's happened to me. And I always believed it was because men are so superficial, they go after beauty, or hotness first and foremost, while woman tend to put more (too much)of an emphasis on personality. Is Alison (Heigl) too good for Ben ( Rogen) in Knocked Up? In the beginning and on the surface, yes (and if using common sense, which often has little to do with who hooks up with who). However, let me point out a few factors here.
1) The initial bar scene where Ben and Alison meet is very realistic. Know why I know this? I've had it happen to me. I met a girl who was 24, model beautiful, and we got intoxicated. I woke up at her house. We dated for a few months, and that was that. Now, I'm certainly not the ugliest man alive, and could be counted as above average in certain circles. I'm in the 70 percentile. But this girl? She is a 99 percenter. Would this anger the film critics as well? Would this anger women too? I play video games, slum around in sweats during the weekend, and hate work with a passion. I have a crude sense of humor. Yet I date pretty woman all the time. What's the problem? So what I'm trying to show here is that while woman get aggravated by seemingly slobby men who shack up with the hottest of hot woman in film, it's actually holding a mirror to the real world. Do I need to direct women to "Hot chicks with douchebags"? For any woman who wonders why females are portrayed this way on film, take a gander at the human garbage the woman over at that site get hooked up with. Then explain it to me.
2) It is Ben who steps up to the plate when told about the pregnancy. Yes he acts like a huge ass when Alison first mentions this to him during a dinner. Which is realistic for the character up to that point. But he does step up and offer support, though he has no idea what kind of support he should lend. He is doing what a man should do-owning up to his responsibility.
3) Ben changes his entire persona to become a better partner for Alison. Why is that overlooked? And they seemingly live happily ever after.
How is this sexist? Ben and Alison made a mistake. They came together to deal with it. They found that they had more in common then they thought and stay together. To me, the formula for the movie goes like this: Boy meets girl/boy and girl make bad mistake/though seemingly from different sides of the track, they try to make it work/they find out more about themselves and end up loving each other. End of story.
Since I read the review in The Guardian, I've read many women upset over this and all I can say is, deal with it! When gorgeous women in the real world stop dating ugly guys with cash, or average looking guys who make them laugh, or when they stop slobbering over ratty dive bar cover band guitarists, or when they stop giving me play, then you may have beef. Until then, realize you're actually angry at yourself, for you are the template for these films.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Back in February of '06, I posted the Tyler Durden Motivational System to help myself, and others, through the winter writers blues . Well here it is again, back for the attack:
Fuck off with your sofa units and serine green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let... lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.
People do it everyday, they talk to themselves... they see themselves as they'd like to be, they don't have the courage you have, to just run with it.
Man, I see in write club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.
You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
Listen up, maggots. You re not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.
Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.
Fuck what you know. You need to forget about what you know, that's your problem.
Self improvement is masturbation. Now self destruction...
I'm off to write!
Something amazing happened the other day. I was introduced to a person, a friend of a friend. We got to talking and eventually I was asked what I do. For the first time ever, I said "I'm a screenwriter." The first time I've said that without a long pause, without an explanation immediately following that proclamation. The first time I've said that without a tinge of embarrassment. For once I didn't fret over the inevitable follow up question, "What have you written?", or "Have I seen any of your stuff?"
I'm doing what I want to do, what I love to do, and if I die broke in the gutters of the Sunset strip, you will know me by the trail of my dead scripts.
I think I've settled on an area of LA that has both semi affordable rent, is close to downtown and Hollywood and all that those two places entail, and isn't run down and gang infested. Los Feliz, home of Swingers, the movie. And The Derby, more importantly. It's either Los Feliz, or move into Hollywood, however Hollywood is a tad more expensive. And by tad, I mean a few hundred dollars a month.
I've been talked out of west Hollywood because supposedly it is gay only. That's a joke, but that's what people make it sound like. I'm still going to check it out when me and my buddy fly out there during the summer. North Hollywood is very appealing to me if only for the arts district, but it seems like a pain in the ass to drive to Hollywood/downtown. There's like two roads leading in and out, at least that's all I see on Google Earth.
Now, about my writing. I've been intermittently working on all my projects. This time of year is very slow in the construction business, so we're driving an average of 4 hours per day (up and back total) just to get a days pay. Which leaves me run down and aggravated by the time I get home. But the good news is this lease is up at the end of February, and that will loosen up my purse strings a ton. I've been paying $900 a month for a one bedroom here, and I couldn't afford it from day 1. Not necessarily the rent alone, but the bills and rent combined do throw me into debt monthly.
And it'll all be over by March 1st! So in the mean time, I'm focusing on The Office spec exclusively, since that has a deadline date. Then when I move into my new place, I'll have more time, money and a new lease on life to get things done.
The WGA and the strike/
Just got into a debate with my boss about the strike. He thinks the writers are ridiculous in asking for residuals...for anything at all. He used this example: If I hire someone to draw up blueprints for a house, and then get someone to build that house, do I then have to give them a cut of the money when I sell it?
I'm no Craig Mazin, but this analogy is terrible for about 12 different reasons. I won't bore you with the details, because frankly, others have argued this issue more eloquently than I ever could. (Mr. August, Mr. Mazin) I'll just sum up my feelings. The writers deserve everything they're asking for. On a personal level, I sometimes look at screenwriters as martyrs for a film project. They do all of this work to get the initial idea into ready to shoot condition, which includes getting their script tampered with by the suits, then they're tossed aside being paid far less than they should. On a professional level, I understand there's a hierarchy in Hollywood, so I don't expect writers to suddenly be placed on a pedestal like directors are. And I don't expect the WGA to gain everything they have put on the table. But I do support them. My boss is...well...a boss. He sees money going from his pocket to anyone else, and he has a conniption. Even paychecks. He can't stand to pay people, but looks at it as a necessary evil. So he only begrudgingly gives out our hard earned pay. Currently, that reminds me of the Hollywood big wigs.
Friday, January 11, 2008
As I type this, I can barely believe it, but yes, I have decided to move to California. More specifically, either downtown LA, West Hollywood or 'the valley'. It's kind of time. I have no relationship holding me back. No children. No home. If anyone dies out there, it'll be me alone. No one besides me depending on my pay check.
Yes, it just felt like time to commit. So I have decided that by the end of this year, I shall be in la la land. It also gives me a nice goal for finishing up the projects I have here. All in all, I'm excited about it.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Thinking on the Obama win in Iowa the other night, I realized that I found myself openly rooting for a candidate for the first time since...maybe ever. What I also realized much later, and more importantly, is that the thought of Mr. Obama's ethnicity never crossed my mind. Not even in the "Oh God, I hope he doesn't get shot" type of way that's floating around out there on the bloggernet. I'm not exactly a bleeding heart either. I'm kind of whole mess of radicalism with a dash of some traditional conservatism, and just enough modern liberalism thrown in to assure the folks I'm not a gun toting militia member...yet. Which pretty much means I'm all over the map. Most of all, I am very distrusting of the government, and this makes sense as I was born in the 70's, after the assassination decade of the 60's. My entire outlook has been molded from people who strongly distrust anyone in power anywhere. However, there I was, feeling inspired by this man. Could he really be the one to lead us into change? We don't know that just yet.
But look how far we've come..a state like Iowa, something like 94% white, endorses a black candidate. And most of all, I'm glad not everyone thought about an assassination attempt. In fact, I believe we've progressed so much that if there were an attempt on Obama's life, there would be no segregation, everyone would riot. I could be wrong, but that's how I feel.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Since New Years went by without a list of resolutions...or a headache, I now present my ten things I intend to do and by do I mean accomplish 100% or so help me sir I will go fucking ballistic.
10. The Office Spec-get it done this month
9. Then on to Death By Dating, which I want to begin filming by the end of the year.
8. Film one of my feature projects in the coming months.
7. Write Wombies and film a trailer/short for it.
6. Do not flunk out of The Art Institute..keep the A- at the very least.
5. Switch majors from Graphic Design to Media Arts and Animation when the time comes (May)
4. Score a film, preferably my own.
3. Begin the graphic novel I always wanted to do.
2. Do something with that Metallica project I've been bouncing around. Admit it's a great idea and do something with it. Whether it's just the script, a short, the graphic novel or an animated feature.
1. Location-decide by the end of the year if I can move to Cali. Last chance.
My hope is that a couple of these can be combined so that it's really 5 things and not 9 separate objectives.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
So I sat down and began doing a admittedly rudimentary outline for my The Office spec. I have all my ideas formulated and the characters involvement prepped. Since it's an ensemble cast, I decided to try and determine which characters are essential to the plot of this episode. Five are essential to my story, while the others will be featured much like they are now. Witty reactions or comments strewn throughout the episode, as well as a few talking head segments.
So I'm buzzing along, minding my own business when fear and loathing, that old adversary of mine, decides to pop in and check up on my progress. After kindly directing his attention to my narcissistic progress indicators held within this pages sidebar, a chuckle slowly arose until it muted out everything else lodged in my brain. It was quite condescending and it instantly revealed me for what I am: a scared little writer-man. I put this prep into my projects and think I'm ready to dive in, only to do even more prep. It's the worst sort of procrastination there is because in reality I'm not prepping anything. I'm hiding from my fear. The fear of sucking. It's almost comical the ways in which I try to avoid admitting this to myself. Excuse after excuse seep out of my ear hole and it makes me feel better. I'll just drink another 2 liter of Coke. Yeah, that'll help. Oh look, football is on, let me go check that game out and think on my script ideas for awhile.
Well, no more. I am once again starting my ten day first draft challenge. A couple of years back, I was going through a similar bout of self mutilation when I decided to begin a program. I would force myself to write a first draft of a feature length screenplay in ten days time. And it worked like a charm. I banged out three or four scripts in a month or six weeks. By the end of the fourth screenplay, I was so exhausted mentally I wept as I typed the final page out. I then proceeded to go over each one and make immediate changes where I felt it was needed. Those scripts served me well. It was probably the best writing I have ever done. *RANDOM RANT BEGINS HERE-I am well aware of the fact that some scribes in the bloggernet find it embarrassing that a screenwriter would admit to writing a first draft in ten days (gasp!). I happen to wholeheartedly disagree with that sentiment. Some incredible scripts have been written in twenty four hours, seven days or two weeks. I would not assume to know how long a 'genius' idea takes to ferment in ones brain, nor do I think taking four months on a first draft is in anyway faulty logic. But I do know that the sooner your first draft is out, the sooner you can go about a rewrite. END RANT/*
So beginning tomorrow, I am entering into the constipated writer's rehab program. I will keep all abreast of my progress, not to brag as others seem to think, but to show my dedication to screenwriting. To show this is my chosen path and I take it seriously. And most of all, to get my ass in gear.
I have entered about 10 screenplay competitions in the last 4 years. And each and every time I enter, the results come back the same. Half the people absolutely love my work. The other half tear it to shreds. Without fail, this relegates my screenplay into middling territory. Purgatory, if you will. (I did finish in the top 10 twice which makes the bad reviews hurt even more) This isn't a one or two time occurrence. It's just about unanimous. I've tried to write more mainstream stuff but my writing ends up going somewhere darker than I intended. And while I love black humor, many don't get it, or just don't like it. One more disappointment and I'm going all out writing Failure to Launch II. Fuck it.
So the time is near. To enter or not to enter? I'm leaning towards not entering anything except the Nickelodeon fellowship. Which reminds me...I had better get that The Office script going.
I'll leave my readership (two people, including me) with this question: Which screenplay contests are worth the hassle? Like risk vs reward sort of thing? Because, dude, I'm not made of green and I've been eating Ramen noodles for weeks now.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Since this two party system rarely displays the democratic process the way it was envisioned, here is my new and improved presidential test.
10. Do you belong to any secret societies such as the Skull and Bones? If yes, you're out of the race.
9. Do you belong, or know anyone who belongs to the trilateral commission? If yes, you're out.
8. Do you or your spouse make more than $500,000 in a single year? Yes? Out!
7. Free health care for all? No, or anything aside from a straight up yes, and you're out!
6. Do your religious beliefs inform your decisions on policy at all? Yes? Goodbye.
5. Do you endorse a national i.d. card? Yes and you're gone.
4. Do you consider Saudi Arabia a good friend of America? Yes, and your oil loving ass can live there full time.
3. Have you ever smoked dope, been arrested or gotten a DWI(not necassarily in the same night)? No, and you're out.
2. Do you support the legalization of most drugs? No? buh-bye
1. Electric cars for all? Answers of no, talk of hybrids... or hydrogen fuel... and you're done.
And your 2008 President is..................0 results. Enjoy Hillary as a substitute!
I'm not an illiterati, however I do tend to misspell words when I'm typing fast and furiously at the keyboard. My mistakes are normally the contextual type, such as hear/here or bare/bear. It's not that I don't know the differences between the two, it's that I'm often typing how the word sounds and not paying attention. Sometimes there are two words that are very confusing in how they're used. So I offer this link, Common Errors In English, to all who may share this affliction. It's a quick one page listing of all odd ball phrases or spellings of words, as well as the two words that sound the same but are otherwise by no means similar. It works nicely as a quick reference page. Especially when you're knee deep into a screenplay and want the quickest possible information.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Ever since David and his blog Man Bytes Hollywood informed the bloggernet in June '05 (actually even earlier than that)that we could track our progress through cool color bars, we've been strapped to the nines full of 'em. Hell, at one point I had eight separate progress bars on my blog.
Well, here I have some spanking new progress bars to show off...despite the fact that there isn't really any progress to display. The act of adding these to my blog reminds me of the famous Tyler Durden quote in Fight Club. "Self improvement is just masturbation". In this case the quote should read "Self acknowledgment is just masturbation". What have I accomplished? Nothing. Yet here I am showing my "nothing" to the world in fancy crimson blood percentage points. As you take a gander and marvel at my works which are tantamount to failures, please remember to feed the monster on the way out.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
For those that asked.
1 c. Karo Syrup
1 Tbsp Water
2 Tbsp Red Food Coloring
1 tsp Yellow Food Coloring
You may want to fiddle with a little blue to add some different variations on color. You could go Italian horror style, bright red, or more modern dark red.
Humans are the dopiest species on the planet. Accomplishing two tasks at once seems almost an impossibility. I mean, really, if I see one more middle aged woman driving an SUV over three lanes of traffic with a cell phone glued to her ear I may just go off. However, there is nothing worse these days than wiggers. How many punk wiggers do I have to get the stare down from? I'm walking in Macy's (horrifying as that is) and this douche decides he's going to play chicken with me. He walks by, hat cocked, like he's built of granite, though he weighs 105 soak and fucking wet. And I have to make the emasculating choice of swaying my shoulder out of his shoulders path so that I can have a peaceful afternoon at my home instead of a break down in a holding cell. I hear his muttering under his breath as he makes for the exterior doors. A twinge in my neck tells me I should have squashed that punk. Yet, here I am being the bigger man, both figuratively and literally. I probably have three inches on the kid, and I'd venture a guess, a legit 150lbs.
Now the question is should I have strangled the kid until he was purple like I wanted, or did I do the right thing? And if I did do the right thing, why do I feel like it's oh so wrong? This is the reason the club scene is off limits for me. Guys are so idiotic, posturing like we're cave men in a cave clan. And I know that I can't resist it for a full night, because after all, I am man, and deep down, I'm a stupid douchebag as well. I suppose I just control my idiocy, but being out in this world today for me is akin to those old fake snake in a can pranks (Snakes in a can!). I have a lid on my primal tendencies but at any moment the lid will pop off and some yellow and black velvety snake will come out and give someone a well deserved heart attack.
And let me say this now: young white girls are just about as stupid as can be. Sure, they've always been naive, how else would guys get laid so early and often? But now, not only do young white girls think the hip hop culture is theirs, they play it out to the hilt. They dress like the fucking men for shit sake! The cocked Yankees cap, the crooked peace sign, the sweats around their ankles, you know the style. And listen, as a guy speaking here, if I were 18 again, I wouldn't care. But looking at it now, I just shudder to think that these girls will have children some day, probably sooner than later, and the kid will be walking around sagging. Probably because the diaper is full, but you get the point.
I can only imagine how black dudes feel. Not about the dopey white girls, because I know how they feel about them (easy pickens). But these white guys who make a mockery of the hip hop culture. I wonder if they have the feelings I have, torture scenes included? Or do they respect these punks? I have no clue.
Maybe because I'm just another dumb white man.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I just watched (finally) David Lynch's latest and I have to say it blew me away. Even better than Mulholland Drive. Laura Dern was amazing. the music was pitch perfect, and the cinematography was as good as it gets. Imagine The Lost Highway intertwined with Mulholland Drive, and a dash of Eraserhead, running just one minute under three hours. It's as scary as it sounds. And as brilliant. Seriously, this is as scared as I've been during a film in years. This is psychological horror at its best. There are at least 10-15 different scenes that had me either jumping out of my chair, or feeling as if I was about to do so at any moment.
I cannot recommend this movie enough.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
I would be the sheriff. The town would be Maple Shade, NJ. As soon as I moved back from Florida to pursue my intentions of directing my own film, Generator, I was hit with death. My grandfather was deathly ill and passed away shortly thereafter(I believe I mentioned this in one of my last blog updates). During the following months, I wasn't making much headway with my film project for a variety of reasons. Expecting people to work for free is naive at best, disaster at worst. My experience falls right in the center of the two. Despite laying all of the groundwork for the film, I hadn't been hands on with people enough. Meaning I didn't really explain the finer details to them. Such as which scene we'd be shooting upon the first night. And after I did, I didn't follow up and make sure they were ready, I just assumed it. That's when lack of money began to rear it's f'n face. My girlfriend/roomate upped and left about a year ago, leaving me with the full rent of which I of course cannot afford without forgoing just about everything else, film included. I get out of the lease this February. And that will get me back on track, I think. But anyway, one meandering month after another passed and I still hadn't gotten anything filmed. While this was going on, my father passed away. To make a long story short, I hadn't seen him in 16 years, but it was shock to the system anyway for many reasons I won't get into now. So a few more months go by, and my grandmother turns out to be very ill. Within months, she is bed ridden in the hospital and I'm making a decision to take her off the ventilator (she never wanted it anyway). She died the next morning peacefully. (A couple of weeks ago just before Christmas)
So here I am, almost two years back and nothing to show for it. To make matters worse, I completely neglected my writing since I was in producing/directing mode. And now, as I try to ease back into it, I am at a total loss as to how to proceed. There's just nothing there. Great ideas, sure. But shit, everyone has great ideas. Then I remembered this little blog I used to rant on, one that started because of the same exact thing- a lack of direction, motivation and some pretty hefty writer's block. It's not called the constipated writer because I was a writing machine when I started this, right? And to my surprise, it is still here. I'm quite sure nobody is linked up with me anymore, but that's okay. I get to write without really realizing it, and perhaps that will spur me on to my projects.
1. Spec script of The Office for the Nickelodeon fellowship.
2. Death by Dating-dark comedy feature length script
3. Wombies-dark comedy-feature length script
So there you have it. A harrowing journey just like I always expected it to be. However, the good thing is I still have the location. I still have the actors. And I still have the ambition to make Generator. And I think I will.