Friday, October 29, 2010

A strategy that as yet went nowhere

My rep is a very very busy person - they all are if they're any good - so I've been gently tapping her on the shoulder on occasion to remind her of my existence. Things in this business move remarkably slowly and even though you're tapping your foot with impatience, the people on the other end are actually busting their asses. So while my rep is busting her ass for her successful clients, I sort of wave, take her advice when she gives it, and keep writing and reading, which is the majority of her advice anyway. She's very pleasant and I'm grateful for her time, but she only has so much of it.

Every time I contact her she has the same question, have you been reading screenplays? This is very important to her, so I know I always need to be able to tell her what is the last thing I read. In fact, the best thing about being able to contact her has been goal setting. I know now that someone will read my scripts and ask what I've read, and for that reason I bust my ass to make sure she approves of my answers.

But as yet, I've just been building my script library. The networking is still my responsibility.

So I wrote a chase movie called Salvage that takes place in North Carolina, where I'm from, so I had this idea of trying to get the script in the hands of actors from the area. In researching contact information I discovered that Danny McBride, Jody Hill and David Gordon Green, who all went to school together in North Carolina, formed their own production company.

That's just terrific news, ain't it? Because even if an actor loves a script, they can't always get it to go anywhere, but the guys behind Eastbound and Down have got to have a little pull. Sure enough, if you check IMDB, this is a company that actually produces things.

I researched the company thoroughly and listened to the interview last week on KCRW's The Treatment, wrote out what I was going to say and called. I got voice mail so I panicked and hung up.

The next day I called again, this time reaching a live person. I did my pitch, thinking as soon as I said North Carolina I'd get at least a cheerful response of recognition. Nope. I got that old standard "we only accept project submitted by a lawyer or agent."

This is just wrong. People from North Carolina are supposed to be friendly and talkative and call each other "honey." I know I do. Maybe the guy who answers their phones is not from North Carolina.

Anyway, I HATE bothering people, which is why I'm not very good at the nagging you sometimes have to do around here. You should have seen what a horrible news reporter I was before I discovered teaching. I don't like being the squeaky wheel. The angry, fuck-you-because-you-just-disrespected-me wheel, but not the squeaky pay-attention-to-me-please wheel.

But Manager's name, and the name of the company she works for, gets my projects past that guy on the phone, so now I have to ask for her help. So we'll see what happens next.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

So many movies

One of the great things about living in LA is the ability to see films of all kinds in the theater. I feel like I haven't taken advantage of that enough of late, so this week I'm going to try to make up for it. Part of the problem is that it seems everything happens on Thursdays for some reason, and I have to get up at a stupid hour on week days so I can't stay out too late.

But next Thursday there's a screening of 127 Hours at the Arclight and dammit I'm going to go even if it means I'll be sleepy. I don't remember if there's a Q&A but good lord I hope so. With Danny Boyle. I love Danny Boyle.

Then Bloodsport is showing at the New Beverly at midnight on Saturday. I fucking love Bloodsport, so I'm going to take a nap Saturday afternoon to make sure I can stay awake.

I love Q&As too, and that's the beautiful thing about The New Bev - there's almost always some kind of Q&A. For those not in LA, The New Beverly tends to show old movies of varying types - they regularly screen Pulp Fiction, but their day to day films range from black and white horror to terrible 3D porn to Back to the Future. Lots of Grindhouse pictures. The seats are squeaky and the curtains are hideous and everybody's friends. I don't go there nearly enough.

But then right when I decided I had lined up enough movies for the next week, I got an email about AFI's film fest, where you can get free passes to see a lot of movies. I am dying to see I Saw The Devil, the new film from Ji-woon Kim who directed The Good, The Bad and the Weird, which I fucking LOVED. The listing on AFI's site warns that it's super violent. Hurray!

While I was looking for tickets to that I spotted 13 Assassins. Here's the logline on IMDB: "A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord." Dude, how can I not watch that? It's from Takashi Mike, who has directed a veritable shitload of movies.

They have a lot of other great looking films airing at AFI Fest, but I think I've maxed out my schedule. At some point I'm going to have to grade papers.

The phone trail

This year our kids are all reading the same novel, and later in the year we'll be screening the movie version for the entire junior class in our auditorium. It's distributed by Buena Vista, so I logged onto IMDB Pro and called them up.

They sent me to someone at Disney, who sent me to a recording that sent me to some woman at some other place, whose secretary sent me to some legal company, who sent me to the woman who told me it would be $75.

As my list of phone numbers grew and I kept repeating my request to each new person, in the back of my mind I kept thinking that one day all it will take is one phone call and my name. One day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I would like to beat severely the asshole who invented this virus

I've been missing from the online social scene for a little over 36 hours because four days ago Yearbook Computer #2 came down with a case of Win32 Vitro, the nastiest virus I've ever seen, and for the last two days I've done nothing but try to eradicate it. These damn kids and their downloading of videos.

In the words of one Billy Bob Thornton, it's a global killer, and in the words of one Michael Biehn, I'm going to have to take off and nuke it from orbit.

Unless this next thing works. I've been saying that for four days - I'll give up when this next thing works. It's like a crack pipe. Any goddamn minute I'm gonna give this up and go to bed, I swear, but first, just one more hit. Just one more boot in Safe Mode and I'll have it, I know it.

Tomorrow I'm giving up and calling for backup. Seriously though.

In the meantime, check this out. It's silly fun: The Bayifier.

*Edited to add: No Mac trolling please.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's okay to suck even though it sucks

I have trouble writing during the week, so some weeks I only get to write one day, usually Sunday. I make sure of that, actually. If I don't write any other day of the week, I always make sure I write on Sunday. I had trouble enforcing that when I was taking that stupid class for work, but now all that's over I really really hope, so Sundays are back to writing days.

Yesterday I set out to write 8 pages, but that would have put me on page 13 and I am uncomfortable with prime numbers, so I stopped on page 12. Yes that means I wrote 7 pages, which is also a prime number, which does make me slightly uncomfortable but not as uncomfortable as stopping on page 13. And yes I am completely insane.

But despite my weird OCD hangups, I cranked out seven really bad pages Sunday. So bad I wrote little notes to myself throughout that say things like "This shit is boring. Make it not suck."

Some days I sit in front of the computer and I pour gold onto that screen. my tiny - they are freakishly tiny - hands just pluck away at those keys, and what I'm left with is a magnificent series of events I can't help but reread like three times just to bask in its brilliance.

Sunday was not one of those days. Sunday was the other kind of day, the one where you know you have to write it so you write it, but you also know that everything you're writing will need to be rewritten. I hate those days. They're not so much fun.

This is probably one of the most difficult tasks a writer has to do - writing pages that suck. It's in our nature to want it to be good so sometimes we get all held up on writing and rewriting until it's just right and it takes forever to get through a handful of pages. Last weekend I only wrote three pages, partly because of a computer virus, but also partly because I rewrote those three pages three times. I need to get a move-on with this script, so as difficult as it is, this week I ignored my desperate desire to polish this turd.

Here at the beginning of the script I'm just learning these people. I wrote up back stories, but you don't really know what you're characters are going to do until you've seen what they already did. That means, for me at least, a lot of experimentation at the beginning, a lot of long dialogue exchanges where people explain shit that I need to know but shit that's not very interesting.

In the first rewrite I go back through and remove the things my characters are saying just to me so I can replace it with interesting stuff. This first draft is about getting the story on paper. The good stuff comes later, but first you have to set the framework.

It's tedious and not as much fun as writing the golden stuff, but it has to be done. I have to say to myself, "Self, you suck. And that's okay as long as you don't suck in prime numbered amounts."

Friday, October 22, 2010

The time I blew off party ettiquette

The UK has its own version of Law and Order now starring Doctor Who alum Freema Agyeman and everybody's favorite Battlestar pilot/lawyer/commander Jamie Bamber. It's a lot like our Law and Order, but with accents.

The problem I have is that each time I see Jamie Bamber I feel like an ass. I need to get this off my chest.

Be prepared for shameless name dropping.

I was invited to a screening of a Battlestar Galactica episode at the Cineramadome once thanks to a friend's awesome pull. I sat next to the lovely Jane Espenson and pelted her with questions about what it's like to write for James Marsters. Apparently just about every female actress who ever came on the show wanted to have a romantic storyline with Spike.

Anyway, Jane had my ticket to the after party and she stormed ahead after the screening where she was frequently stopped by fans. She was extremely gracious to everyone. In case you've ever wondered, she's every bit as awesome as you think she is.

At any rate, I'd talked to Mark Verheiden a couple of times at a few gatherings, and as I passed by him on my way to the party he waved me down and said hey. I smiled at him, then realized Jane was disappearing with my ticket to the party, so I kept moving even though he clearly expected me to stop and talk. I realized later what a giant asshole move that was. To Mark Verheiden. Who is just about the nicest guy ever, and also very talented and writing for shows and My Name is Bruce and about a million other things I wish I could do. And I didn't stop to talk to him because I am a moron. I doubt it has affected his life in any way, but I still think about it from time to time and slap myself in the head.

Anyway, I managed to get into the party where I stood right next to the ridiculously tall and stunning Lucy Lawless (See? Name dropping!) and my friend and I end up in a circle with Jamie Bamber. I held an intensely condensing drink in my hand, and right as my palm was completely wet my friend introduced me to him. "My hand is wet," I said. He said he didn't mind and made some kind of joke about wet drink hand.

So at this moment I could have wiped my hand on my pants and shook his hand, or just shook his hand with my wet one and gone about my business. Instead I shook his hand THEN wiped my hands on my pants. As if to say, ew, water I can handle, but Jamie Bamber hand is gross. Which is, of course, not what I meant because Jamie Bamber hand is sexy. But I could tell by his facial expression that I had just offended him beyond repair.

He and my friend got into a long conversation about Horatio Hornblower, which I've never seen, and I faded into the shadow with my now less wet hands. Jamie Bamber seemed annoyed that I was still standing there.

Had I been less of an ass that night, would my life be different? Probably not. But I'd feel less like a moron now every time I see Jamie Bamber on screen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Realistic goals

If I could have a perfect screenwriting career, these are the things I will have done before I die:

1) Have sole screenwriting credit on a Danny Boyle film
2) Adapt that one novel that nobody seems able to adapt but that I really really want to do and would be awesome at it
3) Write the script about that one royal historical figure that would be a drama and in no way an action film
4) Have sole screenwriting credit on a successful big budget action film with a female protagonist.
5) Make out with Jensen Ackles

And that's all I have so far. I think I'm going to post them on my board, not because I'm all into The Secret, but because when I get lazy I can remember what I'm fighting for. The Beefcake has already approved the above mentioned makeout session, so I'm halfway there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waiting and reading and writing and waiting

The last script I wrote was about a subject which has now become trendy in pop culture, and at first I was all stoked because I figured that for once I was ahead of the game. I thought for sure this would be the script that could finally go somewhere.

But as time passes I'm getting nervous because as this topic gets trendier my script gets cooler, but as it gets even more trendier my script becomes passe.

Everything in this business moves at a damn snail's pace. I write, I read, I write, I read, I email various people, and then wait and read and write some more. People in Hollywood are always busy. Like, super busy. They also don't like to give you bad news, so you never know if the three of four people you're waiting to hear from haven't emailed because they're just too damn busy, or because they're avoiding telling you how much you suck.

Eh. Whatever the reason, I'm just going to keep reading and writing and emailing and meeting people because there's not much else I can do.

Actually I have one idea I could try, but I'm not going to talk about it until it either works or fails. In the meantime I'm just going to keep plodding along. Like everybody else around here, I guess. Let's all complain together. Who wants beer?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Netflix doesn't know me at all

I have a bone to pick with Netflix. Everybody knows I love action movies; it's what I watch far and above any other genre. Yet for some reason Netflix can't recommend anything except the original Last of the Mohicans until I rate more action/adventure films.

Sure, Netflix can tell me which biological military dramas I'd enjoy, but for some reason does not thing I am prepared to handle its suggestions for action films until I've seen Undisputed 3. Nevermind the 3,000 odd movies I've already rated. No. I WILL see more Jean Claude Van Damme films or I will NOT be allowed access to more specific recommendations. I've already seen like half of them! What can watching In Hell tell you that watching Timecop can't? It makes no sense!

Why the hell are you recommending Sesame Street: Old School: Vol 1? WTF in my ratings system has made you think I'd love that, but you still can't figure out which movie with gun fights I'd enjoy?

Dammit, Netflix. Get your shit together.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why I didn't see Red this weekend

The Beefcake was out of town this weekend so I was planning to go to the movies by myself to see Red. Saturday I planned to write all day, and my original plan was to crank out 8 pages so I could get to page 10. Unfortunately round about page 5 I took a second to look for what theaters in the area play Korean films and I accidentally clicked on a link and got a virus and ended up spending the next 3 hours working on cleaning my computer.

Anyway, That was Saturday. So Sunday morning I planned to see Red at the local theater that charges $5 a ticket for the first showing of the day. About half an hour before the show I changed my mind and worked out instead.

Red's got 70% on Rotten Tomatoes and everybody I know who's seen it says it's fun and worth seeing, but I just decided to wait for Netflix. There are a couple of reasons for that.  The first is that I had a lot of shit to do Sunday - write a paper for a stupid class I'm almost done with, eradicate the cat pee smell from my dining room, bust a sweat in the gym. Two hours at the movie theater gets in the way of that, so it should be a film that's well worth it.

And the truth is, months ago I was really excited about Red. It looked awesome, by virtue of Helen Mirren the badass if nothing else. But in the last couple of weeks before the film came out I saw that same preview we all saw where Malkovitch's character shoots a missile with a bullet.

I don't know if that shot made it into the final film or what the context was of that scene, but that moment totally blew the appertaining excitement I'd had about the film. I'm a little tired of ludicrous shit and I just didn't want to be disappointed again.

I had high hopes for The Losers too, and the last half hour of the film just defied logic in a way that didn't work. What started as a good film became a parody of itself, and I had this great fear that Red would turn out to be the same. I think somehow the fact that a film is based on a comic book has generated the idea that they can defy the laws of physics whenever they feel like it.

The odd thing is, I liked Shoot 'Em Up very very much. Maybe it's because that movie was one huge crazy over-the-top romp, or maybe it's because I'm not as cool as I used to be when I first saw that film. But for whatever reason, I'm afraid to spend my $5 on a movie that may turn out to ruin itself with silliness.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Party time

It was fancy Hollywood party night last night thanks to the powerful influence of an awesome dude who may or may not wish to be identified here. I got to schmooze in Beverly Hills in a fancy brand new cocktail dress.

I didn't give out a lot of business cards, but I did meet some cool people. At one point I saw Jeremy Piven squeeze right by me - he is shorter than I expected and has taken up having hair - and I raised my voice so that he could overhear me talking about my forever love for Zombie Strippers. I don't know if he heard me, but he did not stop to talk about Jenna Jameson shooting ping pong balls out of her vagina. His loss.

Robert Forster was in the elevator with us although at first though I recognized him as a celebrity I couldn't figure out who he was. He kept smiling at me. Nice man.

Aaron Sorkin came by to give a speech but he didn't hang out with the crowd because they would have crowded him to death. How ironic it would be if he were killed by conversations.

Servers were passing around shots of tequila which I did not drink, because ever since Halloween four years ago when shots went down and came back up again in four different puking sessions, I refrain from anything shot related. They also passed trays of tiny sirloin burgers but the one dude and his harem of like four scantily clad girls enveloped the tray like a plague of locusts. I never did get a burger, but I did get a tiny red velvet cupcake. I lost like two pounds from not eating that day. You know how when you think you're getting a lot of food you don't eat and inevitable there will be no food, but if you do eat inevitably there will be tons of food? Yeah. It was like that.

There was one girl dressed in bright red with a cowl neck exposing her boobs and barely any material covering her hoo hah. For some reason she was interested in this little dude with red shoes. His lucky night.

I got three compliments on my dress. I have finally arrived in society.

My shoes, though awesome, squeezed the hell out of my toes all night, so to get to the bar after the party I took them off and walked barefoot through Beverly Hills. I'm really glad the party wasn't in Koreatown.

When people get drunk they really get open about the dealings they've had around town. I highly recommend just grabbing a glass of water and listening.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Well heavens to Betsy. Yesterday my stats took a leap up the charts, higher than when I posted about seeing Michael Rosenbaum at a party but not quite as high as that time all those Russians thought I was that hot blond actress in the mini tube dress at the WGA strike rallies.

I now feel very pressured to perform, but not in a mini tube dress.

So the other day I talked about how I got this great new idea I was so excited about, and ever since I've been world building and thinking and loving it and feeling the joy of seeing all the different directions you could take your story.

But then when I think about telling someone my brilliant idea the insecurity sets in. I'm going to get this out of the way now so later on I can just write without interruption from my brain.

What if someone else has done it and it was a shitty B movie and nobody saw it except all the people who will immediately think of it as soon as I say my idea?

What if someone with a big fancy name just finished a draft of the same idea and any minute now the trades will be abuzz with this genius new screenplay by Alex Garland or Alex Litvak or some other writer dude who may or may not be named Alex?

What if my idea is Most Often Pitched? What if everybody in town has seen this come across their desk at one point and deemed it unmakeable?

What if it's just a dumb idea? What if I can't think up good ideas anymore? What if I'm a hack who spends the next 50 years hopelessly writing script after script and throwing it into the blackhole of Hollywood while people just shake their heads and walk away?

What if all this neurosis causes a panic attack and I die right here on my couch and the cat eats my fingers while thanks to his new habit of peeing the dining room nobody notices the smell of my rotting copase'/B2gweDScccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


It's been a very exciting day. As you may already know because it's totally important, A website that likes to list stuff, called Bachelor's degree, has listed the top 60 blogs for aspiring screenwriters. I'm number 17! Weee! Apparently I talk good.

I started this blog years ago after another blogger got a book deal and I wanted a piece of that. I have yet to get a piece of that, but being mentioned on the same list as John August and Ken Levine is pretty close. Fortune and fame, here I come.

I've made friends here, and improved my craft, and the daily writing has done wonders for my ability to produce pages. I discovered that once in a meeting at work where we were all supposed to write a couple of paragraphs about something in an English workshop and my coworkers spent forever figuring out how to get started while I cranked my assignment out in no time. As I looked around I realized how forcing myself to write a daily post has made that kind of stuff easy.

Anyway, most of those blogs on that list I already read, but there were a few I'd never heard of, so it was cool to get a look at some new material, I recommend checking out all the blogs on that list. Personally, I always use the blog roll to get an inspirational jump start to my writing day. Half the battle of writing is getting that shit started.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Those Chilean miners are going to make a killing on film rights

I heard on NPR that the Chilean miners have all agreed to sign a contract that will allow them to live the rest of their lives without working. I think I was supposed to assume that meant through some sort of lawsuit, but my first instinct was to think of movie and book rights.

So that got me thinking - this will obviously be a movie at some point. So it's quiz time. Who should write it? If you were to write it, how would you approach the material? Because you have to admit, it's a hell of a story.

Also, I hope they all make it out of there okay. That's got to have been the most boring, uncomfortable two months anyone ever spent.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ideas upon ideas upon plans

This scene appeared in my head the other night - an action scene that would be a great opening shot to a big budget film. I kept thinking about this scene until I got an idea for a character. I had an idea for what could happen to this character, but it just didn't seem very conflict heavy and I couldn't figure out how to make a story out of it.

Usually with me the story comes first, but not this time. I just kept shifting this person around, trying to find a way for them to grow-

Then it hit me. BAM. I way toying with possibilities, thinking what's the worst thing that could happen to this person? And suddenly, there it was. When in doubt, think of the worst thing that could happen to your character, and there's your story.

I've been focusing on comedy for a while and once I finish this next script I'll have two low budget projects under my belt, but I'm ready to get back to straight up big budget action, my first love. This is like Dark Knight / Tonight, He Comes territory - gritty, dark, explosiony. I've wanted to write something like this for a long time.

First I promised myself I'd crank out the current project. It's commercial, it's solid, it's sellable. In the meantime I'm going to brainstorm this new thing that I'm already in love with. It's going to require world building.

My first issue is, I know I'm going to have to make it a male protagonist. I haven't written a male lead in a while, but let's face it, if I want to write action I need to write men, and this story lends itself to a man for various reasons. It's time to face my fear.

So now I know what I'll be working on for at least the next six months, unless of course someone pays me money to do something else.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Make Undercovers better

I really want to like Undercovers. The pilot was okay - not great, not even remotely as good as the Alias and Lost pilots - but good enough that I liked its potential. But now....

These two people were spies for years before they met. They traveled around the world lying to everyone they met, doing lord knows how many morally questionable things to get the job done. Yet they don't appear to have any secrets from each other.  Their "fights" are more like cute little foreplay. They just love each other so much that they know each other sooooo well and just want to protect each other, but not at the risk of sacrificing professional respect. It's like the fucking Cleavers with guns.

And the other spy guy, the hot white guy, he used to date the wife. Now he works with the wife and husband and they all get along. He doesn't really want the wife back - he jokes about it, but he's got a lot of other irons in the fire. The husband isn't particularly jealous, sort of mildly annoyed.

Speaking of jealousy, nobody's a better spy than anybody else. There's no real competition between them.

I don't tune into shows like this to watch the mission. I don't give a shit about the mission. I tune in to watch how the mission affects the relationship of a married couple, but so far the mission doesn't seem to affect them much at all.

Give one of them a horrible secret. Make one member of the group HATE another member of the group they're forced to work with. Make one of them kick so much ass on a mission while the other one ends up looking like an idiot. For heaven's sake, give us some genuine conflict, not this surfacy cute shit we've been getting. I'd say Undercovers does not need to be Chuck, but even Chuck has constant relationship conflict. So instead I say, Undercovers, be the edgy Chuck. Please.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Snow White and the Huntsman

There's been a lot of talk this week on all the boards about Snow White and the Huntsman and the $3 million sale. And wow, that's a hell of a sale, and I'm happy as hell for writer Evan Daugherty. The pacing of the script is terrific and he's obviously a gifted writer.

But I'm not sure what made this script worth so much money. My best guess is the PG rating. Most of the retold fairy tales out now seem to have R ratings.

In Snow White, there are evil fairies who are kind of mean although not in any memorable way, which would seem kind of edgy, I guess, had Killing on Carnival Row not been about fairy prostitutes.

It's retelling of a fairy tale, but it seems like every ten minutes a new fairy tale pops up with some kind of modern take. It's so trendy to retell fairy tales that I looked on Project Gutenberg a month ago to see what kind of cool Grimm tales I had overlooked. Do you know most of them are like three paragraphs long?

The consensus among those of us who've never actually made any money writing screenplays is, we don't get it. The script has some major dialogue issues and overall is kind of predictable except in places where the characters defy logic. On the one hand, it was easy to read. I had no trouble making it to the end, and I'm somebody who regularly gives up when shit gets boring. On the other hand, I just didn't get the wow factor.

I wish I understood. Does anybody get why this script made so much money? Is it the PG thing? I'd like to understand so I too can make that much money.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Digital twins

As I watched Social Network Saturday, I remember thinking those Winklevoss twins were fantastic, and how lucky Fincher was to find two identical twins so perfect for the role who could act so well.

My favorite line in the film: "I'm 6-5, 220 and there's two of me." Brilliant.

Turns out, though, Fincher didn't find two perfect identical twins. Those are two unrelated guys digitally enhanced. I never would have guessed. Amazing. What kind of crazy shit are they going to think up next?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tweet me or whatever

Look, sometimes these pictures are relevant to the topic, and sometimes they just make me giggle.

Anyway, peer pressure has finally won out. I finally started a Twitter account. I remember reading an article about Twitter in a Wired magazine a couple of years ago and thinking, Why the fuck would anyone want tiny updates on your day?

I've never been good at spotting developing trends.

Anyway, I'm under the name Bambookiller because my name was taken by someone who hasn't tweeted since 2009. I don't know if I'm every going to tweet anything cool. It may all be lame shit. It may be elegant pearls of wisdom.

But I will not - NOT - get a Facebook account.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Okay so. I'll admit when I was wrong.

Tony Danza's Teach does show what it's like to be a teacher. In the pilot he doesn't have the kind of discipline issues most teachers get, but he does have the general problems aside from discipline that we all have. But it's the pilot; it looks like in future episodes he will have to deal with some discipline issues. The first week the kids are figuring you out. The second week they're testing you.

There's a scene in the preview of upcoming episodes where he walks out in the middle of class and thinks about leaving. Oh yeah, I've been there. I've cried in the hallway in the arms of another teacher while my kids sat in my room waiting for me to come back. So I guess this show is for real.

I found myself willing him advice.

I found myself wondering if they said the same things about me in my first year that they said about him. I am both terrified and amazed at how much logic and empathy the kids used when talking about him.

I heard him say things exactly like the things I have said, because much like Tony Danza, I am manic in the classroom and I still talk too much.

With that in mind, the best advice I ever got as a teacher:

-When you ask a question, wait. And wait. Eventually one of them will get more uncomfortable than you are with the silence, and they'll answer the question.

-At the end of the day, the kids should be tired, not you. Make them do all the work, even if that work is mental

-Make the kids think you're crazy. If they think you're crazy, they'll always be a little scared of what you might do if they piss you off.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Outline: Done

I spent the whole week trying to get over one scene in the beginning of my outline for the new script, which for now will be known as The First Hit. This morning I figured out how I would get over that hump, and then suddenly my fingers flew through the rest of the outline. In one hour I wrote three pages, from halfway through the first act all the way to the end. And it was fun. It's exhilarating, like I just rode a roller coaster in my head but it didn't make my stomach leap or anything. Actually it's not really like a roller coaster. Maybe a double-decker ferris wheel.

Now I'm waiting to see what my friend thinks before I send this to the Manager.

It's good to be productive.

Friday, October 01, 2010


Does everybody but me count their scripts? People always spout off how many scripts they've written, and I have absolutely no idea. 10? 15? 8? Beats me. I wrote a lot of crap that never saw the light of day before I started writing stuff I wasn't ashamed of. I didn't keep count, and I didn't even keep all the scripts. Things that sucked got lost or erased. Plus there's shorts and TV scripts.

I've given myself a number sometimes on other websites when people ask, but to be honest it was just a guess, and as time goes by that guess gets hazier.

Do you keep count? Am I alone in this?