Thursday, August 26, 2010

There's no way in hell I'm recreating it here (it took me over an hour last night), so if you want to see a post with a whole bunch of icons and wallpapers from B5, it's here.

Act three of TV pilot done, act four to commence tomorrow!  Hopefully I can get this one done in a week, too.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Started drafting on our new slimmed-down, one-hour TV pilot for Scriptapalooza.  UT Laura is doing the teaser and acts one and two, and I'm doing acts three and four.  Beginning to draft, for me, is always the hardest part.  Researching, writing the treatment, working out the structure, doing the beat outline, editing, revising, polishing - those are the writing parts I like.  Drafting?  HARD.  (I'm sure this is no different for anyone else.)  Like, what are my ins and outs for each scene?  Do I have the right setting?  Am I finding the most expedient way to move the plot forward, advance character, convey any necessary exposition without making it seem like exposition - all at the same time?  Is my dialogue in character?  How's the pacing?  Are these scenes in the right order?  Ugh.  Sometimes I just feel like I have the movie/episode all up in my head already, and if I could just download it... Now, I know that the actual process of writing means I discover things that I never would have thought of otherwise, and once I get into it it feels great and I like it.  Like, drafting after page ten usually goes well.  But those first few days, those are the ones that are rough, that I tend to put off.  Which is why it's great we have a deadline, because I can't procrastinate at all.

Still, this is one of the reasons why I draft longhand and leave my house to do so.  No frakking around on the computer, no spider solitaire, no organizing my files.  No "I'll just watch this episode of TV...as research."  Just get out of the house and write.

So, last night I'm at the library, and back at the A/V counter they have a trivia question up each day.  If you know the answer, you get, like, a Starburst or something.  It's fun.  I was waiting in line, and while the employee was unlocking the DVD cases, the woman in front of me turned and asked if I knew the answer to the question - "Who founded the Sundance Film Festival in 1978?"  I told her the answer - Robert Redford.  She asked, "Why is Sundance important?"  So I started to answer - "It was one of the first ways for independent filmmakers to have an opportunity to present their work and potentially find a larger audience--"

And then the A/V employee, a young man probably around my age, turned around and talked right over me.  "Sundance was one of the first festivals that exhibited independent films.  Studios could buy them and distribute them, and that wouldn't have been possible before."  And the woman in front of me nodded, smiled at him, took her movies, and left.

I mutely gave the man my DVDs and card, waited for him to unlock them and check them out, and walked away.  I didn't make any small talk like I usually do, and I certainly didn't answer the question.  And as much as I would have liked to say something, I knew there was no point.  Sure, you could probably say he didn't even realize he had done it, and that calling someone on that is the only way they'll learn, but I did not have the patience for it right then.  But if I had decided to say something?  Here's what I would have said:

"Buddy, I studied film at USC.  My professors included Leonard Maltin, Tom Holman, Todd Boyd, and Drew Casper.  I actually worked on a documentary short that played independent festivals.  DO NOT MANSPLAIN SUNDANCE TO ME." 

Jeez, things may not have gone as planned after USC, and none of that up there actually matters, but at least I know about movies.

(I kind of feel like Sigourney Weaver in Galaxy Quest, when Tim Allen yells at her to stop repeating everything the computer says.  "I have one job on this ship, and it's stupid, but I'm gonna do it!")

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A quote from Patrick Stewart:

"They called action and cameras rolled and we had to rush forward — it had to be done quickly because there were special effects. And I reached out for Gates and instead of getting her under the arms…I put both hands on her…breasts.

I screamed.

I’m not sure if Gates ever really accepted my apology. But it was totally accidental. She thought Michael had put me up to it. I can tell all of you now that it was an accident, and, um…I’m really glad it happened."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Has anyone else read The Hunger Games trilogy?  (Well, the third book doesn't come out till next week, I think, but you know what I mean.)  I just started the second book, and this is probably some of the best YA fiction I've read.  It doesn't hurt that it's very, very dark (and every now and then I come across a passage or something that is implied and think, well, there's another school that's tossed this out or received a parental complaint) - it actually reminds me a little bit...not in tone, but in universe, perhaps, to The Gift by Lois Lowry, which is one of my favorites.  Anyway, if you haven't, I recommend it - they're quick reads, too, which for me is always good, since I feel like I'm continually slogging through some non-fiction and it's nice to just be able to sit back and read a book in a few days.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kind of a boring week.  Last night the heat finally broke, but it's been right around 100 actual temperature the last week or so, and high 90s for a few weeks before that; it just saps your will-power, it really does.  Day before yesterday, I was so bored and was actually getting kind of depressed about sitting around inside the house, but the heat index was 115 and I just could not make myself have any desire to leave the nice air conditioned house; even just walking from the car to a store or Starbucks or whatever is enough to make you sweat.  Plus, the blue van doesn't have AC, so that's always fun to drive around in when it's this hot.

Today's in the 80s, though, so I sat outside and read a little, which was very nice.  I think I might go up to Starbucks and write later; UT Laura and I are pulling our old TV pilot out of storage.  Scriptapalooza's having a TV contest in October, and usually those things only accept spec scripts for existing shows, but they're taking pilots.  It's amazing how not looking at something in three years gives you absolute objectivity; it was easy to go through and see what worked and what didn't, and what definitely didn't.  We're working on the beat outline now, and should start drafting by the beginning of September. 

We're also still workshopping my new script in my local writer's group; we've got about 45 pages to go, or two or three sessions.  Once we're done, I'll go through all the notes and come up with a revision manifesto.  One thing I've noticed with each new script is that it takes me less drafts to get to something decent.  With Flesh and Blood back in the day, it really wasn't until about draft four or five that it held up as a solid movie; Fall River took three; this new script, even though it's just a first draft, is pretty okay.  I mean, it has problems, but there's no plot holes or huge characterization problems.  I may be...getting better as a writer?  That would be exciting.

Sunday, August 8, 2010



Happy birthday August birthday girls!

Friday, August 6, 2010

• Writing, writing, all the time, but not a thing I can sell.  Whee!

• I burned my feet on the wood of the deck outside.  Excuse me, sun.

• I was so excited about buying a new external hard drive and now I can't manage to get around to hooking it up.  Ennuiiiiiiiiiiii.

• I only got four hours of sleep last night, after a week of averaging around five or six.  The inside of my head is super fuzzy right now.

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    July New Media

    Books
    30. Galileo’s Dream, Kim Stanley Robinson. 7-2.
    31. The Fortune of War, Patrick O’Brian. 7-7.
    32. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. 7-17.
    33. Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic, Tom Holland. 7-31.

    Movies
    30. Toy Story 3 (2010). 7-5.
    31. Babylon 5: A Call to Arms. 7-9.
    32. Inception (2010). 7-19.
    33. The Cincinnati Kid (1965). 7-21.

    Television Episodes
    297. Babylon 5 - 5x21 - “Objects at Rest.” 7-1.
    298. Supernatural - 2x04 - “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things.” 7-1.
    299. Supernatural - 2x05 - “Simon Said.” 7-2.
    300. Supernatural - 2x06 - “No Exit.” 7-3.
    301. The IT Crowd - 4x02 - “The Final Countdown.” 7-3.
    302. Supernatural - 2x07 - “The Usual Suspects.” 7-4.
    303. Babylon 5 - 5x22 - “Sleeping in Light.” 7-5.
    304. Supernatural - 2x08 - “Crossroad Blues.” 7-6.
    305. Supernatural - 2x09 - “Croatoan.” 7-6.
    306. Supernatural - 2x10 - “Hunted.” 7-8.
    307. Supernatural - 2x11 - “Playthings.” 7-8.
    308. Supernatural - 2x12 - “Nightshifter.” 7-9.
    309. Supernatural - 2x13 - “Houses of the Holy.” 7-11.
    310. Supernatural - 2x14 - “Born Under a Bad Sign.” 7-12.
    311. Supernatural - 2x15 - “Tall Tales.” 7-13.
    312. Supernatural - 2x16 - “Road Kill.” 7-15.
    313. Supernatural - 2x17 - “Heart.” 7-15.
    314. Supernatural - 2x18 - “Hollywood Babylon.” 7-17.
    315. Castle - 1x01 - “Flowers for Your Grave.” 7-19.
    316. Supernatural - 2x19 - “Folsom Prison Blues.” 7-20.
    317. Castle - 1x02 - “Nanny McDead.” 7-21.
    318. Supernatural - 2x20 - “What Is and What Should Never Be.” 7-22.
    319. The IT Crowd - 4x03 - “Something Happened.” 7-23.
    320. Supernatural - 2x21 - “All Hell Breaks Loose Part One.” 7-24.
    321. Human Target - 1x01 - “Pilot.” 7-25.
    322. Star Trek: The Next Generation - 5x25 - “The Inner Light.” 7-25.
    323. Supernatural - 2x22 - “All Hell Breaks Loose Part Two.” 7-26.
    324. Human Target - 1x02 - “Rewind.” 7-27.
    325. Castle - 1x03 - “Hedge Fund Homeboys.” 7-29.
    326. Sherlock - 1x01 - “A Study in Pink.” 7-30.
    327. Castle - 1x04 - “Hell Hath No Fury.” 7-31.

    If you get a chance to watch the new BBC Sherlock, it's excellent. Laura and I are probably going to sit down and watch it again before the next episode. I highly recommend it.