Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Other People’s Scripts

I some how always end up getting conned into reading other people’s scripts for them.

It starts out with me saying I’d love to read their script, which I usually mean at the time. I like to see how the others live, see how others write, and see if there is anything that surprises me or that I can learn from.

It usually ends with me cursing, rubbing my eyes and wanting to blow up their scripts with a nuclear device.

I’m reading one script for a friend right now and I can’t get through it. Its supposed to be a comedy, only there are no funny. Its one super long cliché, a take on the awesome movie “Road Hogs” (I say that in jest) but if instead of being old men, they’re lame 30 year old frat guys.

Let me tell you, it reads as good as that description is.

The problem is, the kid who had me read it is super excited about it. He told me it’s super funny and gross, which it’s not either of those things.

Now I haven’t finished it but I will have to sooner or later. Then I will have to tell him about it. That’s where things get difficult.

I’m brutally honest. I would want others to be honest with me, I wouldn’t expect anything less. But most people don’t want the truth, they want people to suck their collective dicks for being so awesome. (I could go into Col. Jessup’s line about truth from A Few Good Men, or Winston Wolf’s line about sucking each others dicks from Pulp Fiction but I digress)

When they get the truth, the results vary. Some pout. Others defend their work like I would defend my basketball skills. Some just plain cry.

One time, I told me friend her new script was a disappointment. It was. Her other script I read was the best ‘non professional’ script I had ever read. This new one, it just wasn’t that good. This lead to an angry exchange between us and her leaving in tears.

The problem was that she was writing her ‘baby’. Whenever you have a ‘baby’ script, it usually means it’s a thinly veiled attempt at an autobiographical film, with names changed to protect the innocent. When you write this type of thing, its usually long winded and boring, with a very thin plot. That’s just the way it is, our lives aren’t interesting enough to write about unless you’re Ray Charles or Howard Hughes.

She couldn’t understand that fact.

Hell, I’ve read a ton of scripts like this. The worst one was a friend who wrote about her years in an abusive relationship. It was a painful thing to read, it was like being in the relationship.

If it was made into a movie, it would feel like the last 10 minutes of “Requiem for a Dream” only stretched out to about two and a half hours.


I here by offer my unrequested advice about writing a screenplay-

1-Don’t write about your own life. Its going to be boring, trust me. Plus, you’re going to get really hurt when people say they don’t like it, because you’ll take it that people must not like your life. Which they don’t, so suck it.

2-Don’t write anything longer than 120 pages. For people who don’t know, a page on script equals a minute of screen time on average. Therefore, 120 pages equals a two hour movie. Right now, most Hollywood movies clock in at 95 minutes. If you’re writing a 120 minute movie, you’re still long. If you’re writing a 160 minute movie, it better be the next “Saving Private Ryan”.

3-Pick a topic and stick to it. To often I read something that meanders all over the place, after introducing something as the plot, it covers everything but said plot. Bad idea.

4-PLOT! Speaking of plot, pick a movie idea with a plot. No one wants to watch two hours of people talking about shit. Everyone thinks that they have the next Pulp Fiction or Clerks, but they forget that both of those had some part of a plot to encourage that crazy zany dialog (although Clerks plot was thin at best). If you want to write a 120 pages of two guys talking, write a novel.

5-High concept ideas- I usually hate this idea but its true. Having a film idea that can be summed up in two sentences usually helps.

6-Pick something positive- I’m completely speaking from experience, write about something somewhat happy. My film is getting killed in film fests right now because of the negative, sad, and explicit content. Write a happy kids film, it will sell.

There is a ton more advice I could dole out but that’s enough for now. I need to take rest of the day to finish reading this script and figuring out a way to tell this guy his script sucks without him ending up in tears.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lessons I learned this week

I’ve been treated to life altering lessons this past week-

1-Don’t ever think that you’ve got a sure fire plan. Sure as shit it will back fire.
2-Don’t leave your oven on after you make pizza.
3-Easter is the most overrated holiday.
4-Don’t make a movie about incest, violence and graffiti. It won’t get into film festivals. Trust me.
5-When driving with your girlfriend, don’t yell obscenities at asshole drivers who cut you off. It will only piss her off.
6-Always save often. Especially when writing a screenplay.
7-Eating nothing but jalapenos for two days straight is a bad idea.
8-If you owe money to a collector, always pay that off. Even if you want a new midi drum machine.
9-Don’t shave your dog with an electric razor unless you are sure that it has the guard clip attached snug. If you don’t, your dog will end up looking like a plucked turkey.
10-When playing golf, always bring three more golf balls then you think you will lose.
11-If you work with someone who takes three sick days a week on average, then you should get ready for a long work week.
12-Thick skin and relentless ambition is more important than talent.
13-When painting, never let your dog get close to the canvas unless you want your dog to have a butt and tail covered in paint. Especially don’t let her get back to the painting a second time after you already washed her, it will only led to your entire house being painted by your dog.
14-When poor, Ramen isn’t enough to eat, it will only make you want to buy groceries or go to Jack in the box.
15-Having Netflix is great, if you actually watch the movies you’ve rented.
16-If you write off the Phoenix Suns, they will start winning again.
17-When talking to your 5 year old Nephew on the phone, just keep saying ‘that’s so cool’ even if you don’t understand what the hell he’s talking about.
18- When you feel like you should cry but can’t, don’t listen to sad music. It will only make you feel worse.
19-If you are obsessed with your career, you won’t be happy. Take a step back and go with the flow.
20-When picking your NCAA brackets, don’t use any sort of reason. Just pick random games.
21-Postive thinking is hard as shit to do in today’s day and age. But it’s the most important thing you can do.
22-Cleaning before you have guests over is a fruitless and pointless endeavor.

I’m sure that there are more things but I can’t think of them right now. Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WNBA vs. Arena Football League

Here is a taste of my new column to be appearing on the Phat Phree.com that I will be writing with Brandon. Its a head to head type of thing about important sports topics. Here's my defense of the WNBA being a better league than Arena Football League. Enjoy!

The WNBA is most exciting sports league on the planet, maybe the universe. Obviously, that’s a blanket statement that everyone agrees with.

I could describe the well know virtues of the league-
-the record shattering TV ratings
-the 2,000 straight sold out games
-the seas of WNBA jerseys you see on every man, woman and child throughout the world
-the international icon Sheryl Swoopes who has become the popular face of stage and screen, thanks to her illustrious WNBA career
-the excitement of the game itself with its hyper competitive nature, the dynamic showtime theatrics, the constant dunking and alley oops, the high shooting percentage, etc etc

...but everyone knows these facts. I don’t have to defend something that’s so strong and well organized, that’s like the US defending Iraq or something.

No, I’m here to prove a well known point and shed a little light into a dark cracks of lies- the WNBA is better than the Arena Football League and not for reasons that you already know.

Of course you all love the WNBA. But not all of you hate the AFL. Not until now. They put out a front that they’re this silly little indoor football league. They’re not.

The Arena Football league is an evil organization hell bent on destroying the world. They’re like Cobra, the Decepticons and the Legion of Doom all rolled into one, but if that group was lead by the demon offspring of a robot Hitler and Skeletor.

Sure, they look like a fun loving group of lazy teams that don’t want to deal with playing in cold weather and don’t want to have to run very far down the field. But if you look at the financial statements of the league, you find very shady mathematics.

First, where does the revenue come from? No one goes to these games and even fewer people watch them on TV. Is the AFL even on TV? They must play the games on PBS or the new Oprah network, The FishTaco Channel, cause I haven’t seen a game before.

So if they aren’t making money on the football, how can they still be around after all these years? The secret? Streams of revenue that would make the mafia jealous; drug sales, gambling, extortion, prostitution, selling post dated medications, cat kidnapping (better know as catnapping) and selling shirts with super funny sayings like ‘McLovin’ or ‘Nerds do it in Binary’.

I know you’re saying to yourself, “Self, that’s not much worse than what I used to do to make ends meet in college.” I agree. You guys were pretty bad in college.
The reasons to raise this capital isn’t for pure profit or put the owners of the league in fur lined UGGS, it’s to spread chaos throughout the world and take now modern society as we know it.

Here’s a short list of a few but not all of the things that the AFL are responsible for-
-12-21-2012 look that shit up bitches, scary huh?
-Paris Hilton
-AIDS in Africa
-Back Hair
-Global Warming
-High gas prices
-The writer’s strike and the upcoming actor’s strike
-The world’s economic downturn
-Did I mention Paris Hilton?

In short, the AFL is responsible for the world ending. I could elaborate on the world ending but there’s not much to say beyond that the world ends and... stuff. And then all the bad things would end... And that would be bad. Why? Well, and ah, wait ... I’ll have get back to you on that.

Come to think of it, maybe the AFL has the right idea. End the world and all the bad stuff ends... hmmm. Is it too late to pick the AFL instead?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Barack's big moment

Let’s take a look inside the head of Barack Obama few minutes before his speech in Philadelphia PA and figure out what really goes on inside his mind....

Goodness, this is going to be tough. I don’t know how I can go on. Barack, if there was ever a time to just call in quits my old boy, its today.

This may be the most important speech of my career. Maybe the most important speech on race since I Have a Dream. I have to address this race issue once and for all, to bridge the divide between all voters of all colors. But how can I?

I still haven’t eaten my morning Eggos.

David knows that I won’t go on stage without my Eggos. Everyone in the campaign knows this! And yet here I sit, without a plate of 4 tasty Eggos covered in Aunt Jemima Country Rich Lite syrup. This is getting to be gosh darn ridiculous.

Eggos, my muse, my only hope. The way you dance across my pallet with the help of Aunt Jemima acting like a sticky conduit to cool and calm my senses. Your strong yet subtle taste rocks my nerves to sleep. Your texture and consistency is much like a great eagle soaring through the wind, delivering justice to the empty cavity I call my stomach.

Oh, the delicious smell of those buttery rich Eggos as they pop up out of a toaster, or slide out of the toaster oven. Heck, at this point, I’d eat them out of the microwave. Poop, I might even eat them frozen without syrup.

I can’t believe the audacity of David, bringing me those Kashi Waffles. What do I look like, a fool? You can’t pass off GoLean waffles as Eggos!

Now I’m supposed to go in front of the media and the good people of Philly on an empty stomach. It’s not the empty stomach that’s the problem really. It’s the principle of the thing.

Do they not carry Eggos in the great state of Pennsylvania? I can understand that they don’t carry Eggos at Whole Foods, but they don’t have them at Food Mart?

I can’t even concentrate and I’m supposed to go on in two minutes. What the heck was I even supposed to speak about? Health care? Gun Control? The NCAA tournament? I’m going go up on stage a make a fool of myself. Pull it together B. O.!

Who ever ate the last of the Eggos on the bus is going to get fired. No, beat down. Flogged with a sugar cane and water boarded. The nerve of these people. Don’t they know who I am? How important I am?

Where is David? He should be back by now with those Eggos. What the fuck... wait, what did I just think? I just thought an obscenity! I really am losing it now. If I can’t control my inner dialog, how am I going to stop myself from calling all these fine reporters and good people of Philly a bunch of lily livered, chicken shit cocksuckers?

(just then campaign manager David Plouffe runs in with a plate of piping hot Eggos and gives them to Barack. David cowers like an abused dog and scurries away.)

That’s right, you better run away. Mmmmm, that’s the ticket. Eggos, you’re the only one who understands me. Now, I’m ready to take on the world!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Worst Sports Tattoo

I recently interviewed Stephen Jackson for an article for International Knitting. After speaking ad nauseum about courses, wales, and the advantages of double pointed knitting needles; we moved onto basketball and his life.

As standard practice, I demand that all interviews are done in the nude. I noticed that on Mr. Jackson’s chest there was a strange tattoo of praying hands holding a gun in front of some sort of church window. When I asked about, the shy and reserved Jackson smiled.

“As you know, I’m a very devout Mormon,” said Jackson. “I preach the gospel wherever I go to whom ever will listen. Speaking of which, have read the book of Mormon?”

I told him about my lengthy studies in Provo when I was a member of the Mormon exchange program with the church of Scientology, which I am currently in good financial standing with (hail Xenu!).

Since he knew I could relate, he told me of one evening that changed his life. He was in Indianapolis spreading the word of Joseph Smith, riding his bike with his tie and short sleeved dress shirt on with ex-teammates and fellow Mormons Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels and Jimmie Hunter when some local ruffians stopped them outside of strip club.

“They wanted to speak to us, I thought this might be a good time to teach others about the sins of the flesh. After I asked them if they had heard of Jesus Christ’s other travels, one of them punched me. Hard. I was in a state of shock. It was like something I had never felt before like a woman’s vagina. Having never been in a fight before, I didn’t know what to do so I did what comes natural”

“I fell to my knees and prayed that he wouldn’t hurt me when this large fellow put this gun into hands. I looked at it, it was strange he would do so. Suddenly, a car drove up and hit me. I was scared and I fired the gun into the air. My goodness the sounds were so loud! Everyone backed away, saving myself and my fine Mormon friends Jamaal, Marquis and Jimmie.”

“It was as if God answered my prayers right there, giving me a way to save our lives,” said Jackson.

Jackson immediately thanked the Lord and decided that he must celebrate the event with a tattoo; something that he had always wanted to try before.

“I’ve heard of tattoos, but I wasn’t sure how they worked. I thought it was something you put on with water and tape, but it involved needles. No one told me that! Man did it hurt, I cried the entire time,” said Jackson.

I asked him if it would be okay if I examining his tattoo at close range, which he agreed. I rested my head on his navel and took a big long stare at it. I realized that I hated his tattoo.

I think its great that he had such a touching moment in his life and all but look at the tattoo. The hands don’t even look very real! The gun wasn’t nearly as big as he described! The church window doesn’t have any detail! If you’re really close, you can see little spots where it wasn’t filled properly.

Clearly, the artist who did the tattoo wasn’t a professional like that Kat Von D person I see on the television. She’s the Kat’s pajamas.

That’s why Stephen Jackson’s tattoo is the worst in sports.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oklahoma man eats bricks

The biggest event to hit the tiny town of Willingbone Oklahoma wasn’t much to look at. In front of a rundown shack of a home sat a little table covered with a check board table cloth. 10 red, white and blue balloons that were loosing helium by the second were tied to the table. On the table, a little boombox played the ‘Star Spangled Banner’. Next to the stereo, was the thing everyone wanted to see, 10 bright red bricks and one tiny man.

A group of 15 dumbfounded slack jawed yokels showed up to watch the spectacle. The look of shock on the crowd’s faces said it all. It just wasn’t possible. But there it was, a man eating solid red bricks.

“I wanted to eat bricks, but I just wasn’t sure how to,” said Kit Fisto, the world record setting brick eater. “Then one day it hit me like a ton of... well... you know.”

Fisto, a lean man who probably weighs 100 pounds wet, grew up dreaming of his way to fame. He spent his entire life in Willingbone, the town 100 miles from any major city. He knew that with his little education and very little talent it would be hard to fulfill his dream. It wasn’t until he started training for the county pie eating contest that realized his potential.

“I figgered if I can eat me some 20 pies, why not eats me some 10 bricks,” said Fisto. “That’s when I went to town and bought me some bricks and cement from Ace True Hardware. I also bought some Carhardt pants and a new Makita 18V 1/2" Cordless Hammer Driver-Drill Kit. It’s the one with the Variable Speed. Sakes alive, it’s the sweetest hammer driver-drill kit you ever did see man.”

Fisto first trained with loose cement before going onto bricks.

“It was rough going at first man,” said Fisto. “My poop was like rocks, well I guess it was rocks really. I had to start wearing a tampon in my butt cause I was bleeding so bad. But that’s the price you pay sometimes for success.”

Fisto set a date and had his cousin, Cleatus McDingle, promote the event by alerting national media and local officals. McDingle is the local promotions guru.

“When Kit puts his mind to a things, a things are going happen,” said McDingle. “I was just there to make sure that everyone knew about it. Everyone was excited to take part, it wasn’t like the Hog Balls and Twine show I promoted, people really wanted to see this, boy howdy.”

After announcing his intentions to the town, Fisto realized that he needed to follow through and eat some bricks.

“Truth be told man, I ain’t never eaten a whole brick before the event, just some cement. I felt like I should have done it before but I got sidetracked when me and Cleatus went hunting. I ate peyote and kind of forgot about it. Then I wake up with no pants on in a bathtub full of cheap pudding. Cleatus is yelling at me, ‘Dammit Kit, you gotta go out front and eat them damn bricks. I bet Buck from down on Clit street that you could do it, you better sober up and get out front.’ The pressure was on. I had the huge crowd of people there to see it, more people than I had seen in my whole life in one spot. As I sat down, I was still all fucked up in the head. Still, after I got the first brick down and I heard the cheers, I knew that I was going to do it.”

“It ain’t like nothing I ever did see before,” said Tammy Mae Sailor, a local housewife. “My uncle once ate his shoe after he lost a bet, but nothing like this.”

With Fisto’s new success and notoriety, he hopes to ride it to the top.

“I’m hoping that I can get onto some sort of reality TV show, like Flavor of Love or something like that,” said Fisto. “Except with hot chicks instead of that crackhead guy with the clock ‘round his neck.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Man, I suck.

I haven't been posting to my blog at all lately... I haven't really been in the mood, you know what I mean?

Things are going well, I'm starting to round the corner on my writing, which is the reason why I haven't posted anything lately. I've just been cranking out research for this thing and its taken away from my premorning writing routine.

Plus, ever since the stat counter broke on my website, I haven't been as interested because I haven't been able to see if anyone is even looking at this thing except for Moo and my girlfriend.

But I've got a few new ideas for things to write about, some awesome stories to tell and some funny fake news ideas that I've come up with. Please stay tuned! I promise much more tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The meaning of life

What’s the meaning of life?

Ah, if I knew, I certainly would let you all know.

I’ve always wondering what’s the meaning of it all. Shit, I wrote and worked on a script about a character searching for meaning of life. I still go back to it and work on it constantly, it’s the whale, and I’m Ahab.

Is the meaning of life to work 9 hours a day, five days a week, for 45 years or so and then retire and die?

Hmmmm, I’m starting to think not.

After working very hard to get where I am now (which isn’t very far) I’m starting to rethink the whole thing.

Maybe I’m missing out on life, the wonderful things around me, the adventure life brings, new experiences, traveling and the full opportunities that randomness offers.

Maybe we all are...

What if I sold everything I had, packed my few remaining possessions into a car and just traveled the US, doing odd jobs and experiencing new places and people?

Well, that’s not exactly ‘responsible’ or at least not what American society considers to be so. You’re supposed to stay in one place, have a career, buy a home, have a family etc.

Basically, life in the US comes down to one major factor- MONEY.

If you have money, you can do anything you want. If you don’t, then you work until you have money.

Wellllll fuck that! I’m sick of taking a majority of my time everyday to work to get money. But what the hell can I do about it right?

Man, there’s got to be a better way.

Monday, March 3, 2008

My Bad

Sorry I haven't posted anything in the last couple of days. I was trying to get this script done ASAP so I could have someone important read it.

I wish I had a ton of stuff to write today but I'm just BLAH. I don't know why, I had a good weekend and everything.

This writers block is killing me inside right now. I'm trying something new to combat it, hopefully it works.

Tons of love to all my friends and family.