Thursday, June 29, 2006

And one more thing....

I'm sorry...

I spent all day trying to calm down... But I can't.

Here is the basic problem with Superman.

He is a GOD. He is Super. Do you want a movie where Superman is all sad and weepy because he is the GREATEST PERSON IN THE WORLD AND IS STILL NOT HAPPY?

What hope is there for the rest of us.

Superman has been a story since the 20's. There are millions of comics about him out there.

And yet Brian Singer chose to ignore those and make up his own LAME ASS STORY.

There are only two ways to get at Superman.

And through the ones that he loves.

Lex Luthor finds out that Superman has a kid. What does he do?

He leaves the kid in a boat. It would be too smart to think of using him for a way to get at Superman. Instead - he chooses to ignore him.

That is brilliant writing. Waste of an opportunity.

And best of all:

How the hell does Superman's kid get to kick more holy ass than he does in the movie?

Superman doesn't raise his hand to anyone. Not even his eyebrow.

But his kid kills someone with a piano.

And best of all - no one even talks about it. Lois spends the majority of the movie being a really bad parent - forgetting the kid, using him as bait for the bad guys - and Superman decides that it is best for the kid to stay with her and her husband who thinks the kid is his...

What the hell is going on in this world?

And you think this is brilliant? You're killing me people....

What does $250million look like?

I am always curious as to what the most expensive movie in the world would look like.


Maybe I won't be anymore.

Last year - it was Kong. Bleah.

Now. Superman. Yawn.

I was really excited and gathered my co-workers as we got advanced tickets to go see the show last night.

Advanced tickets were hardly necessary as the theater was only half full.

I expected to wait in a long line when we got there - but as we went into the stadium theater 20 minutes before showtime - the only people there were the ushers who told us they were still cleaning.

The orphan and I went in and sat through the first race in Fast and the Furious 3. Dialog was awful. Race was fun. Movie looked bad...

But not as bad as what I saw later.

We went back to the theater 5 minutes before showtime - and there were literally 10 people in there.

Not a good sign.

So everyone finally made it and we saw the film.

Look out! Spoiler ahead!

Instead of Superman, I think this films should have been called Super Martyr cause I thought it Supersucked.

Yes. It is pretty. Yes. Superman looks very gay. Yes. He can fly. And spends entirely too much time doing so.

Here is the bottom line.

Superman doesn't do anything. He flies. He stops a bullet with his eye. Big whoop.


Sure he throws some stuff in space. But who cares.

He flies. He stares at Lois.


Kevin Spacey looks like he had fun - but he barely has anytime with Superman - who - incidentally - is the only one who gets his ass kicked in the movie.

Superman does nothing to the bad guys. Any of them.

So whatever. I thought this movie was boring. Slow. I didn't care. And I wanted it to end.

If anything... you feel sorry for Superman. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? PITY FOR SUPERMAN?

Sigh. At least X-men beat somebody up. And killed people. Even characters we liked.

If you had all the power in the world - wouldn't you wanna hit somebody? I'd be busting some ass... all the way to Uranus....Come on!

And superbaby? What the hell is up with that....?

Anyways... Fast and the Furious looks more entertaining now....

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Here's something funny:

When you put this little "site tracker" thing-y on the bottom of your site - you can "track" who comes here!

The best part of it - you can see why they come here.

Most of the "lost" people show up here for the posts about the World Series of Trivia that I ran awhile back.

A lot of hits for the story of the midget that got eaten by the hippo...

But today - someone from Hawaii ended up here - looking for "Japanese whorehouses!"


This must really be disappointing... :) We had a whole thing on Thai Whorehouses - but sorry - no Japanese...

But it is amazing to think that somehow one thing is related to the other...

And speaking of surprises.

I got a call yesterday.

Yes, I know I was supposed to talk to my agents on Monday to set into motion the sale of my script. But one of my two agents has been in Australia on the set of another one of their clients films. And he just got back yesterday. So I hope to hear from them today?

So the call wasn't from them.

I saw the Cali area code - and wanted to take the call - but I was in the middle of a big painting project. So I bit the bullet and kept working. Checked the message.

It was a secretary calling for her boss. Just left name and number.

Name sounded familiar - but not entirely sure who it was. Puzzled over it for an hour - and finally broke down and called back.

Guy got on the phone immediately.

As soon as I heard his voice - I remembered who he was. He is DOGSTAR's agent!

Now before you get too excited - as I did when I immediately yelled out - "Hey! You're DOGSTAR'S AGENT! This is really cool!" I also found out that he has a new client.

And that he loves my script. And that he would love to try to set something up for us to work together on it.

And his new client is STAR1!

That's right, gentle reader. The STAR1 that has been attached to this film for the last two years. Who dropped out two months before we were to start shooting. The STAR1 who refused to call or sign anything - and after the mini-major had sold the film at CANNES and the AFM - with posters with his name on it - with the contracts at his lawyers - with his agents approving the start date -


Now he has a new agent.

And he wants to talk about doing the movie again.

I think of all the times I just wanted to get on here and talk about what a little bastard that kid was - how much I hate him and his manager - how he has messed with my life for two years -

And I laugh.

I guess in the end it doesn't matter much does it?

I told his agent to set up a call. And he better do it fast - cause I'm gonna go out with the script next week.

Surprise! You're adopted!

Don't hate the player... Hate the game....

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

This is gonna hurt me...

more than it hurts you...

Good day yesterday.

I actually did something new. Tommy - you ass. I didn't make columns. I painted stone patterns on all the platforms for the King's throne room and bedchamber.

While Bill was not happy - he did give me the nod of - yah... That'll do pig.

So it was reason to celebrate.

Off to the mall last night with the kids and the orphan. Lola gave the kids a few bucks - so Jordan got Transformers - bringing the total count to about a kazillion - and Jade got a stuffed Husky - which will never replace the real one that died...But will go next to the 5 other stuffed ones that she has.

Crashed hard - and had a tough night.

Woke up repeatedly. Someone called me on my cell at 2:30 - and I know what you're thinking... Booty call, right? Well - I didn't pick up. And they left no message - so I guess we will never know...

(so if you're reading this - and it was you... Wait till my wife is outta the room next time...Cause I swear - I can get outta these chains anytime I want... I know where she keeps the key.)

So the point of the picture.

I feel as if I have been breaking story on this thing for a long time.

The idea was there - I made it trickier - and now it has a life of its own and runs on its own steam. All night - I was dreaming about the story and where it was going and what needs to happen - and I kept waking up - thinking I need to write this down -

When in the middle of all this -

I somehow found myself in an elaborate Japanese live theatrical show where they tour around doing great feats of Martial Arts.

And they asked for volunteers. And somehow my hand went up.

And they took me backstage - gave me a kobe steak - and put me in a kimono.

They kept telling me that even though it looks like a sword goes straight through you - it really doesn't - so don't panic. It's all in fun.

But the way they talked really made it seem as if I should be panicking. They were all so nice and so quiet and the food was really "last meal you'll ever have" good... So it made for a restless night.

When I finally hit the stage - I was so quickly stabbed so fast and so hard -

I woke up.

Completely forgetting everything about MY story and only remember the Japanese part.

So you see why I need someone to bust my head open and free the doves of inspiration.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Three Burials

of Melquiades Estrada.

Just watched this movie last night with the "orphan."

If you really want to set your movie apart - give the lead character a completely unpronounceable first name like Melquiades. I know he dies and is buried three times - but everyone talks about him throughout the film. And his name is in the title.

And I still can't pronounce it.


It makes it so easy to recommend to friends... Hey! I just saw this great movie - the three burials of .... melchezi... malpasso... mell... Whatever. It's got Tommy Lee Jones!

It is a very interesting, unapologetic film.

There are so many times I turned to the orphan and told him how much I loved this movie.

But by the end - I don't know if I still did.

The writer - Guillermo Arriaga - is a genius. He wrote Amores Peros - one of my favorites - and 21 Grams - and very harsh - uncompromising film.

In all these films - he breaks the narrative up into chunks and puts the story together out of order - so that it follows more of an emotional through line than a plot line.

In this film - he does that for the first 30 minutes or so - and then it proceeds rather straight forwardly...But it is a very fascinating film. It meanders. It takes detours. And then it finishes - not entirely where you think it will - and not exactly sure why it does - or what it means.

But it is a thinker. And I have never seen so much use out of a corpse since Weekend at Bernie's.

Maybe that should have been on the cover?

Best use of corpse since Weekend at Bernie's! You'll laugh till you pee your pants!


Off to work.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Stuck in the middle

It's my wife's birthday today.
And her mother's birthday as well. How's that for a present.

It's also our only day off today.

I really want to write. To sit down and let it all start to pour.

But I feel creatively constipated.

I have a huge amount of work done for what I am tentatively calling my "medal of honor" script. The end - the middle - and a lot of scenes for the beginning. But seeing as how I really don't like to tell a story sequentially - I am unsure as to exactly how I want to start it.

I know how it ends - and how it builds - but not how to start it.

And it is already running on full steam. A simple plan that explodes into way too many complications right away. But I am still not ready to jump in.

Need more notes. More organization. Probably need a gay board like Ryan has.

So I am not ready. And the day is almost over. And I am very very unsatisfied with my output.

Hopefully tomorrow I will feel more fulfilled.

Or at least tired.

On the plus side - my son Jordan listed three ways that boys are better than girls.

1. Boys can protect girls.
2. Boys can buy girls presents for their birthdays.
3. Boys are just better. That's it.

So there you go.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Benefits of a Real Job

Hard to believe that after just one month of work here - I look like this!

Better buy some new clothes...

(not sure what is up with the speedo - but whatever is in there is very very unnatural...)

I think there is nothing like work to make you long for the time to write.

Everyday that I go in - I want more and more to be able to return home and kick into a story.

But inevitably - I fall asleep instead.
Or talk to my wife.
Or play with the kids.
Or watch a movie.
Or get on the phone with LA.

It is the nature of my business to conspire against creativity.

The really encouraging thing is that - in a month or so - when all this is done - and I have all the time in the world to write -

that creativity itself can strangle a man. Without the excuse of a job to stand in my way - I can create new excuses... :)

But my last script poured out of me like lava after a four month stint producing. And I hope the next one will too. I really really love the idea - I just am missing a few beats.

But the nice thing is that there is still a lot of columns to be repainted. So there is still time to figure it all out.

Till then - its back to working on the muscles...

Friday, June 23, 2006

He who fights and runs away....


So it didn't work.

We were close. We had a start date. We were ready to go.

But it didn't happen.

Now I understand why Indy companies don't actually buy the script till a couple days before production starts.

It makes sense now.

There is nothing like a lesson learned at the cost of three years of your life and your entire savings.

But I guess it was nice while it lasted... Even though it was fleeting and ultimately empty - I do have some really great things to show for my brush with greatness.

Friends in LA.
New Relationships with people who want to work with me.
Open doors at a lot of companies.

Sent off an email yesterday to my main guy at the mini-major. I told him that we would be going out with the script. I thanked him for his help and all that his company did - and told him that I really learned a lot from the way he conducted his business.

He thanked me. Told me that he loved the script - and that it deserved to be made. That they would still love to participate in a co-financing deal - or a foreign sales deal. That anything I write - they would love to read.

And I actually believe him.

He was a really fair and honest guy.

But today starts a new chapter.

I called my agents and told them - let's do this. Let's take this out.

In the last week, I have gotten calls from three companies asking about the script. They all love it - not me directing it - but they love it.

So we are gonna take it out.

And here are the options as I see it.

1. Nobody wants it.
2. Somebody wants it.

Nice and simple.

My agents were really excited. Now there is money to be made. They sounded very happy...Their dark powers finally had me in their grip.

My agent told me at the end of the call -

Don't worry. If we can't sell it - then we will package it with our Indy guys and you direct it for like 5 million. That will really mean that's what you're supposed to do...

So what do you say when the consolation prize sounds better than the prize?

Just gotta keep running....

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Why is it that when we have a secret - we feel the need to share?

I worked on crime shows for the Discovery Channel for 12 years. I shot murder cases in every state in America except Nebraska. I have seen a lot of really gross things.

You know what all murderers have in common?

Big mouths.

They can't keep a secret.

It is the nature of man to be disgusting. We have a very gross, sinful streak to all we say and do. But we also have an innate desire to confess our wrong doing to others. It's like we are so amazed at our depravity that we can't help but share our amazement with others.

True story:

A friend of mine was a missionary kid. Growing up in other parts of the world - you get to do and see things that most don't. One such trip in High School took him to remote parts of India.

He was riding a bus to meet up with his parents who were in a small village. He was the only white guy for thousands of miles. He was sitting in the back, tossing little pebbles out of the window - bored out of his mind.

The bus crossed a bridge. Really high up. Long ways down. No guard rails.

An old man was walking across the bridge.

As fate would have it - one of his carelessly tossed stones connected with the old man's head - and as they drove by -

My friend saw the old man fall.

Now - unless this guy was Superman - and we all know that's impossible cause Superman is not Indian - come on! - this guy is now dead. My buddy looked around the bus - yelling for them to stop - begging them to turn around.

But no one would listen. A few laughed at his pleading - having no clue that somewhere at the bottom of a large valley lay the body of his fellow curried countryman.

My friend basically committed a murder. Well - not even basically. He did. He is a killer. Walking and talking among you. Waiting for another bus somewhere, with a pocket full of rocks - where he can strike again. No one is safe.

Not so freaking funny anymore huh?

But it's all good - cause it was a long time ago.

And I promised Steve I would never tell anyone bout this - so we can just keep this between me and you right?

Besides - what is the statute of limitations on murder? Gotta be past... That was at least 20 years ago-


There is no limitations?

Whoops. My Bad.


(Waves hands furiously in the air to create a wonderful distration....)

Wanna know a secret about unicorns......?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Help me! I'm on fire....!

It's a... It's a... It's a.... It's a sin....


Yesterday rocked. And by rocked - I mean it in the most gay way.

And by gay, I mean - homosexual.

My buddy Tommy came in to town to work on Bill's project for a week - since we gave him a week on his project.

Always nice to see Tom. We have know each other since we were wee lads - and bonded over episodes of 90210 together. He has since gone on to be a very successful art director looking to produce - while I have gone on to be a somewhat successful producer who is now working for art directors... :)

Karma is a bitch...


Tommy brought his ipod to work. And where Tommy's ipod goes - "fag rock," as Bill calls it - is soon to follow.

Yesterday was a long day. No matter how you sliced it - working out in the sun all day doesn't make the hours pass any quicker.

But you know what does?


We cranked up the WHAM! The Donna Summer! ERASURE! The Blow Monkeys! Morrisey!


All I can say is that it's a good thing all the boys kept their shirts on - cause I was ready to go all Brokeback.

Damn, that is some fun music. The last few hours flew by as we all sang - Wake me up before you go go - and I knew you were waiting for me...

Wow! All those years of loving this music suddenly make so much more sense now...

Thankfully the Pet Shop Boys can help me keep perspective...

When I look back upon my life
It's always with a sense of shame
I've always been the one to blame.
For everything I long to do
No matter when or where or who
Has one thing in common, too

It's a, it's a, it's a, it's a sin
It's a sin
Everything I've ever done
Everything I ever do
Every place I've ever been
Everywhere I'm going to
It's a sin

Flame on boys!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Eye of the Tiger

Wow! Who knew working in the Art Department would have such great benefits?

This is week three of my summer jaunt. Remind me to never complain about being home without work... Cause it is so nice.... :)

I'm on column duty. Pad the column. Put gold base on the column. Paint the column.


But every now and then - through the drudgery - I am able to take a mental vacation and break story.

Two great things yesterday:

Had to take a truck full of trash to a landfill. Here in Virginia - we call them Mount Trashmore - cause see? Doesn't it sound better that way? What a cute name!

Anyway - I piloted Bill's death trap of a truck all the way to the top of the mountain before realizing that I wasn't supposed to be there. The top of the mountain is reserved for really big trucks - like dump trucks - not little box vans.

All the way up - since Bill's window is the only air conditioning on this 90+ degree day - I was buffeted with dirt and garbage smell. I witnessed the garbage decomposing before my eyes. And then I hit the top - where it was like Hitchcock's Birds - thousands of seagulls rifling through the newest trash - yelling and screaming like in Finding Nemo - Mine! Mine! Mine!

I stepped out to unload - and the ground gave way a foot as each step I took sunk into the mulchy garbagey goodness.

It was like being in a Mad Max movie. I was simultaneously disgusted and fascinated... kinda the same feelings that people have when they read my script.


Watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang last night. Again.

When I was in LA for my round of meetings - I watched this film. Really liked it. Liked it even more when I saw it last night with the wife and the orphan (Kyle's new name.)

Really fun.

Like my scripts - way too much plot and VO - but unlike my scripts - really consistently funny and a bit too sexy for mixed audiences. But it is a great film. Very postmodern - but get it. See what you think.


Got a call from another producer last night.

She was slipped the script from a friend of mine at Lion's Gate.

She went on about the 15-20 scripts she has in development at a company that has a distribution deal with Warner Brothers. She really loves the script - but was not at all interested in me directing.

Big surprise. No one is... :) But me...

Anyway. She wants to get it to a director who has done four or five medium budgeted films that I liked - so its not necessarily a bad idea... But the good news is:

My script is getting out there - even if we aren't going out with it. And people still like it.

So there is still time to let this play out. See where the wind blows... And then jump in.

Till then - I'm working on my 6 pack...

Monday, June 19, 2006

What am I?

Very tricky situation indeed.

Not exactly sure where things are and where they are going.

For anyone that showed up yesterday... Sorry bout that. I actually gave myself a father's day off. First time in a few months. But go figure. That's how life works.

I sat on the beach last night having dinner with my DP and an old producer friend of mine. Back in 1997 we produced a film project that was for international use - a kid's program that would go into each culture with music and pictures and not require words.

I have gotten a lot of work off that show.

Now - the producer is teaching classes, studying at Harvard, and getting ready to do traveling installations.

The DP is still keeping on. He is getting ready to shoot an indy feature here in the area.

And here I am Art Directing.

I am not necessarily having a crisis of faith - but it is strange to be here - telling people what I am doing. In this business - so much is based on perception. I have always been a producer/director. And now - I'm here working in the art department.

I don't have much of an ego - and I really do appreciate the work. But it is an interesting situation.

Beyond that - I still can't quite figure out what to do with this script. And part of that is because it will determine who I will be in Hollywood. Do I really want to be seen as a writer and get some quick cash in my pocket? Or do I want to really fight through and be the director of this film and struggle with it a couple more years before it comes out?

Still really not sure.

The easy answer is sell it. The hard one is living with it.

My brain is telling me no - but my body is telling me yes... As R Kelly used to say.

Who knows - maybe he still says it - but hopefully not with the video camera running.

Well - I do feel like the old Cylons. Getting up their in age - replaced by the new models...

But somehow there is a light at the end of the tunnel... And believe me -

I hope its not a truck.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

All work and no play...

So go figure.

This is my 100th post.

Not that there has been that many memorable - or that there has been that much that was insightful...

But there was 100 posts.

They might not be interesting. They might not be entertaining. But they were up here everyday.

So I guess it was really more about consistency than anything else.

Tomorrow is no work. So there will be a great post then. I promise.

Thanks for stopping by and checking in. I love you all. As friends... :)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Salad Days

No comment.

Work was nice yesterday.

We have all reached a place where mockery flows like wine - and the song we sing in our drunken stupor is cruelty to each other - but we know in our hearts that every jab and every comment really means

"I love you."

Kyle and I followed Bill and Stewart in Bill's van. We had to unload flats at the studio. Bill wanted us to use his van so that we wouldn't have to use our own gas. Once we were at the studio - he wanted us to go to the sculptor's workshop to pick up his foam cutter - phallically entitled the "hot rod."

On the way there - we ran out of gas.

I don't know how things work in your car - but my gas gage has an "E" and when I get under it - I can still drive a while - and then I get gas. In Bill's van - you don't even get to the "E." You run out when the gage is still well above the "E."

So go figure.

I haven't run out of gas since Film School.

I was producing my very first film by a young lady named Vickie Bronaugh - who went on to direct numerous episodes of the Power Rangers and adopt two beautiful girls from China.

There was a young man helping out on the shoot named Tommy Hohman - yes - the Tommy that grew up to be an Art Director - and who hired me a couple weeks ago to work on his Nascar commercial.

Tommy and I were driving the "production vehicle" which was a Chevy Nova. It was always a contest to not be the guy who takes out the car when it needs gas. So everyone would run errands in it - and try to bring it back as close to empty as possible without having to fill it up.

We made the mistake of thinking we would make it back.

It was 95 degrees - 100% humidity - and rush hour.

We ran out on the exit ramp of the highway - and cruised to a stop under the bridge in a work zone with no shoulder. We had to jump out and push with the sound of a thousand horns honking at us till we could get the car up the road a half mile and out of traffic.

We proceeded to walk a mile to the nearest gas station and buy a can. Then - as I was holding the can and Tommy dispensing the gas - he was wondering how fast gas came out of the pump.

He pulled back a little - and the can slipped - and we were like the guys in Zoolander - dancing around as we both got drenched in gas.

Interesting day.

Needless to say - yesterday - we go gas and went back to work.

But I did smile as I walked down the street carrying another can of gas - thinking about the "salad days."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

For sale.... Integrity, dreams....

I'm beginning to think I am the only one who thinks I shouldn't sell my script.

A couple weeks ago - my agents sent me a project by a really famous comic book designer. They had a property that they were interested in me doing a script on. I asked if this was another take - and they said no. So I was interested...

But reading it - and seeing the artwork - I thought it was pretty silly. But they said I could at least get a meeting on it. So I would get to sit down with a legend. And I wouldn't wanna pass that by.

So when my agents give me the full court press for selling the script the other night - playing good agent bad agent - they also throw out that that company has been calling everyday - trying to get a meeting with me.

I said I would talk to them anytime... And that turned into a quick call yesterday. I hadn't read the treatment since the day I got it - so I was a little nervous about taking a meeting - but the first one is usually a meet and greet.

Funny thing is - the head of this company used to be at a different company - and I had already met him when I did my round of meetings in LA. He loved my script then - and still loves it - which is why they wanted me for the comic movie. He told me a few things about how the story was changing and how nothing was set in stone and I could change anything I wanted...

And then he hit me with - So - how is your movie going?

Then it was full court press for selling this script to them.

He laid out a very enticing offer.

When I got home - I finally was able to talk to my producer - and she is still working on her financing. When I told her what was going on - she also offered to buy the script.

Maybe God is telling me something...

So the question is: do I hold out for trying to direct the movie and put it together independently? or do I take the money and to fight another day?


Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Oh Blair....

You know, they are right. Laughter is the best medicine.

And the only thing better than laughter - is laughter at the expense of someone less fortunate than you - cause that sure does make you feel better about yourself!

Blair came to work yesterday. We painted really big columns with very tiny brushes. It made for a long - but ultimately funny day. When you have a long history - it's great to be able to look back and see how foolish you have been for many years together. Boy did we make a lot of mistakes - and piss a lot of people off.

Nice thing is - in the middle of the day - we started to break a new story. Got just a little past the idea - but it was a good idea. We will see what happens if we water it and let it grow. It could be really great.

I'm still working on breaking my story. Good news is - I am working on it.

Avoided my agents for two days - trying to wait till I hear back from my other producer... She has been in NYC for a week of fund raising...And for some reason decided this was a good week to not call me. Not entirely sure why - but I have my suspicions.

Finally talked to my agents last night and they tag teamed me. They want to sell this script now. They think I shouldn't wait to direct it. They want me to be a writer and this will get me work.

I still don't know. Everything is a long road. I really want to direct this - but can I afford to wait another year? Two? Who knows. I should talk with my producer today... She is flying back to LA - and has said she will get in touch... So we will see...

Till then - more columns need to be painted.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I've begun to think that the only sensible way to deal with this dilemma is to become young again, to forget everything I know and try to have the mind of a student. To re-invent myself by forgetting I ever had any film career at all, and instead to dream about having one.

Certainly one advantage of 'youth' in the arts is ignorance, to know so little as to be fearless. To not grasp that certain things one may dream up are actually impossible to do. When I finished Apocalypse Now I of course thought 'If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have even tried..." Certainly old age brings 'experience' and that is not to be discounted, but in the arts, fearlessness is a more desirable genie than experience. Fearlessness is cousin to innovation, whereas experience can be the parent of fear. Once you've fallen out of the tree a few times; felt the pain of those bruised knees and suffered the embarrassment of the inevitable ridicule —it's much more difficult to be as daring in what you do, or even what you attempt to do.

So, for myself at any rate, I've decided the best course is to become an amateur and accept that I know next to nothing and love almost everything.

Francis Ford Coppola


Not that I have much of a career to forget - but the idea of becoming an amateur again - starting from scratch - learning to love everything and beginning anew...

Wow... Refreshing and poetic.

I long for the days when I would dream of where I would be and how I would get there instead of the days where I worry about how to pay the rent. I wish for the times that I wasecstaticc about getting $125 a day to grip on a shoot.

As I begin this week - I want the doors to open up again - the world to fill with possibilities - and little birds to sit on my shoulder and sing me a song about happiness...

And money to come out of my butt...

But in the meantime...

I write.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Daily Grind

So starts another week.

We hit it hard and fast again. Back in for 6 days this week. But now that I have been catching up on my sleep - I have a new goal.

This week I need to get some writing done.

Ryan kicked out 90 pages last week. David even started riding his bike again.

I alone work. And write not.

So this week - I am jumping back in. Even if its just a little bit. Either way - I am getting something done.


I mean it.

I think.....

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Little Monsters

Only worked for half a day yesterday. The power went out - and while Bill doesn't mind if we worked in the dark - after I cut off two of my fingers, he thought it best that we wait till Monday to start up again.


Came home and slept for three hours.

While I haven't tried illegal drugs - and I don't care much for drink - I think there is nothing so blissful as a few hours of sleep when one has been deprived of its sexy embrace for so long.

When we woke up - we went to the ocean and walked in the sand. My son Jordan and daughter Jade played chicken with the waves. The waves won. Afterwards - we went to a sit down restuarant to eat.

I can't think of the last time we went to a nice place and brought the kids.

Needless to say - the food was great. But the company was better.

Jordan spent the entire meal trying to figure out which dinosaur was the biggest and could kick the other dinosaurs asses. He would pit one against the other and then want to know who would win.

"Ok... A T-Rex versus the Tricerotops. Who wins?"

"Um... the T-Rex."

"Really? But the Tricerotops has those horns! And he would stick them in the T-Rex till blood comes out!"

Great dinner conversation.

After Jordan slammed down a giant plate of meatload and potatoes - he had to borrow paper from my wife to start drawing.

He proceeded to make a little book with the dinosaurs and all their names - with his own spelling. Brilliant!

Meanwhile - my daughter has decided that she can only speak if she is saying something sarcastic. It is impossible for her to say anything normal with out the cutting comment coming right behind it.

I have no idea where she gets it...

"Hey kids - let's do something fun tonight since Daddy doesn't have to work for the man!"

"like what?"

"How bout we go to the beach?"

"Great. Then we can get hot, sweaty, sticky and covered in sand. Why don't we just rub ourselves down with fish and save the trip?"

9 years old. She will make a fine jewel in someones crown one day...

So that's why they're going up on ebay - wanna start the bidding?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

No Respect...

Did you ever know that you are a wanker?

That question was posed to me by Kyle - a co-worker on this shoot from Indiana.

This strapping young lad had just returned from his first year of college and was aimlessly drifting through the summer - until he was rescued from his life of leisure and drafted into the indentured servitude of production by my wife.

Now he toils all day under the hot sun - the subject of my pointy barbs and the lifter of all heavy objects I am asked to shoulder.

A couple days ago - I decided to institute a social experiment in the workplace.

My former employee and now employer Bill hates rap music. He hates it almost as much as he hates lazy incompetent workers - but somehow he is dealing with me...

I have decided that anytime a stereo is turned on while we are working - it has to play rap. I have enrolled the help of Kyle - who has no choice but to do my bidding, because I have locked his will in a large glass timepiece - and until the sand runs out - he is my slave.

The two other kids who are working with us - Adam and Joel - have agreed to join me. They think it is really strange that an old guy like me is so down with the brown - but hey - that's how I roll...

Each day - the rap gets a little cruder and a little louder - and I can see Bill getting to the boiling point. Yesterday - Bill started to laugh - not the funny ha ha kinda laugh. More the "I am about to take this table saw and cut off my own ears" kinda laugh. Then he asked why we were listening to this crap. I asked him if he was a racist - because this is how we like to show diversity in the workplace - since all he could do was hire a bunch of white guys.

He walked away shaking his head.

Today (yes, at our sweat shop we work on Saturday) Bill actually got to the point that he asked us to turn it down.

I decided to reverse the experiment after 5 hours of grumpy silence from Bill and switch the station to Christian Family Radio.

Somehow - the joyous notes from the piano and the gentle singing of the choir broke my psychic hold on Kyle long enough for him to ask me if I was a wanker. The music was now driving him crazy - and Bill was all the more smiley.

Thankfully, I have Sunday to recoup.

Round one goes to Bill. But don't count me out yet. There is still 4 more weeks to wear down his defenses.

And I won't go down with out a fight...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tired... tired of playing the game....

Back at home. First time in 80+ posts that I missed my morning routine... So I bring it in a little late.

All the lack of sleep in NC is catching up with me here. As soon as I get home and out of the shower, I just want to go to bed.

And tonight is no different.

Spent the day marking out 4 x 4 squares on big pieces of kitchen flooring. We are working on getting it ready to paint to look like stone. We shall see if it does.

Tomorrow will be a good post.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Just what I thought....

Favorite story of the week:

While we were working in Greensboro on the Nascar spots - there was a fella on our team by the name of Shawn. Shawn was a really great guy - you would have liked him - trust me on this.

Well - you might have even seen some of Shawn's work. Back in the day, he did some promo pieces for MTV2 with a shaking baby. You know - a puppet like stage with a curtain and a baby doll being held above it - and shaking?


Shawn has a beard and long hair - and in the morning - before he pulls it back to the pony tail, he does look an awful lot like someone we all know and love.

One morning - after a particularly short night of sleep and in the middle of a very very long shoot - Shawn arrives at a gas station to fill up on his way to work.

Granted, this was an early call - Shawn only had a couple hours of sleep - so that explains why he was filling up the car, smoking a cigarette and talking on his cell phone.

A rambling homeless guy is making his way by the station.

This is the Will Smith type of homeless guy, mind you. The ones known to ramble. And wax philosophic. As opposed to the shuffling former genius homeless guy. Or the Nick Nolte pants wetting chaos theorist.

So the homeless guy rambles by - and as he does, he stops dead in his tracks. Approaches Shawn. Studies him from a couple different angles. Finally makes his way up to him.

"You ever hear you look a lot like Jesus?"

Shawn - irritated and grumpy - not because he doesn't like homeless people, (in fact he loves them - his wife and his father were both homeless) but more because he doesn't like black people.

Because he can't rap.

So Shawn dimissively says something like-

"Yeah... Yeah... Whatever..."

The homeless guy stares at Shawn a second longer - than starts to ramble away - talking to himself...

"Just what I thought.... Evil Jesus....."


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Free at last?

I swear I thought I heard a boat...

Made it back to VA... Pulled in here at 1:30am - got to kiss the kids asleep on the floor, run around with the dog, and kiss my wife. After I got a shower - because I looked like the incredible hulk. Green paint everywhere.

So I leave good cop - and go back to work for bad cop.

Tommy would be the Paula Abdul of judges - Bill is the Simon.

Tommy tries to make you feel better - unless he is saying things like:

No Greg, those posts require someone who knows how to do it. Why don't you go plug this cord in for me?


Don't hurt your pretty head worrying about things like nailing things together - why don't you go to the store and buy some stuff?

Bill would be more like this:

What? That sucks? Do I have to do everything for you?

You don't know how to nail it?

If you were a stonecutter - and you brought this to the king - he would cut off your head.

Truth is, they are both graceful and nice guys. I laughed more in the last week than I have in a month.

The shoot was great - Tommy had the ideas, Bill did the work, Mike, Shawn, Barbie and I did whatever we were asked. All great people - all a lot of fun. The hard part is that I can barely feel my fingers.

I promise - more on writing tomorrow. Gotta talk to my kids...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Leatherman

Nicest guy in the world, Richard Petty. But he looks like an orange alligator up close.

Richard Petty, Kyle Petty and Tony Stuart.

All three perfect gentleman. All three hugged, smiled, signed and took pictures all day with fans.

Never complained and never stop being nice.

We could all take a lesson.

Spot had about 20 execs on set. Nightmare.

We shoot a parade today - then back to Virginia some time tonight after 10pm - then back to work for Bill tomorrow.

Wife and kids are driving across the country as we speak.

Promise a full update tomorrow.

Monday, June 05, 2006

lights camera.....


Time to make the Donuts...

Update tonight - after the joy of today... :)

Pray for me.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

More Bricks - Less Straw...

Excuse me sir - by law I am guaranteed a 15 minute break every four-


Still hard at work - and today is D-day.

We have to get everything we can together today because tomorrow they start filming. Somehow in the next two days, they will shoot three commercials. I am really looking forward to being on the set and watching this guy go - because the story boards are not that impressive - but they sure are spending a lot of money.

When I was producing the show for Discovery last year - I directed parts of 7 or 8 of the episodes... But once or twice I went out on the set of the show I was just producing and watched another director do his stuff. It is funny - cause since I have been directing - I am only on my sets. It makes sense - I don't go to the set unless I am hired - and 95% of the time - I am producing and directing. So it's not like I've had that many opportunities.

So there was something interesting to being on set and not having any of the creative responsibilities of where the camera goes, how the shot should look, what the actors are doing, what we are doing next - all the things I am normally in the middle of - I let go of and just watched. And it was nice.

Sometimes it's great to even watch a complete idiot.

When I first got out of film school - I had made a film that won a lot of awards. But it didn't get me any work. So I gripped for a year. Then I worked the Art Department for a year. And on every one of those shoots, I got a chance to watch the directors - seeing what they did for good and for bad. And you try to learn from their mistakes.

It is always easy to judge someone on the set for why they do what they do - but there is always a million things going on behind the scenes that most of the crew doesn't even know. One of the reasons that I got paid to be a producer/director was not because I am the most talented - but because I have seen so many problems and either failed or solved them - and my experience is what gets me jobs. I know how to avoid those things in the future.

This can be said for writing as well. Maybe more so.

It is easy to get locked in and isolated with what we do.

Sitting at home - alone - slaving over our ideas - trying to put a good spin on our stories.

Sometimes it is good to visit someone else's set. Or in our case - read someone else's script. Vocalize with that person what works and what doesn't. The more you learn to recognize problems in others scripts - cause its so obvious - then you can begin to recognize problems in your own.

The more you expose yourself to how others are doing things - the more you can see places to improve your script.

The ways you see others write around situations in their scripts can help you with yours.

Same as with a writers group.

None of us are perfect - and we can all learn from each other. Get out there and continue the process of making yourself better - and stop complaining.

That's why they call it a job.

And now - it's time to make more bricks...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

An official first grader....

Reason Number Twelve why my son grows to be a Serial Killer:

Daddy didn't come to his graduation.

"Talk is Cheap!"

But the boy did me proud. Graduating from kindergarten is a very tricky thing now days... It takes more than you think. Brains and beauty... Which I think we can all agree - the kid gets from his mommy...

Another long day yesterday.

Started at 8 - got back to the Hotel at Midnight. Granted - the last hour was trying to find some dinner... But it was all good. We tried to get into a Japanese Steakhouse - but they close the kitchen at 10:30. Got into Logan's Roadhouse - a wonderful establishment - where they close the kitchen at 11. We made it under the wire.

We had "Angie" as our waitress - probably the most amazingly talkative person I have met in awhile. She would open her mouth and not stop talking until we would physically push her away from the table.

If you closed your eyes - she sounded like Brittany Spears on her most Trailer Trash day - but if you opened them - you can imagine Brittany's future if she has about 6 more kids - stays married to Kevin and smokes 5 packs a day.

The boys ordered beer - so she wanted to see some ID's. Tommy asked how old she thought he was - and she countered by asking how old he thought she was.

Bad start.

There is no way to win here. Either way - it became apparent that for more than 3/4ths of the time we were to be there eating - her mouth would be running.

I told him afterwards if he would have guessed a young 50, she might have left us alone.

When Bill and I first arrived here on Thursday - we pulled into the warehouse we were to be building the set pieces at. We went into the furniture shop at the other end of the building to ask where we were to be working at - and the guy there really had to think about it.

"Uh... Well... You might wanna... Um... Well. Let's see...I think you wanna go to the... What's that called..."

He points off to the left - I look - and there is just a wall. I look back to him, confused...

"What's that called...uh... What's that called...What's that called...Hey! Jimmy... What's that called?"

Literally. I had to hide behind Bill to keep from laughing. And three dots between phrases does not even come close to the real pauses he put in the sentences.

He said "what's that called...?" over 8 times in a row.

If we hooked him up with the 50 year old Brittany, someone would combust.

Welcome, my friends to somewhere outside of Greensboro, North Carolina.


Thanks for the thoughts and prayers - but the infection somehow did not reach my Dad's heart. After 5 days in the hospital, they sent him home. He still has to get IV antibiotics 4 times a day at home for a few weeks - but we feel we are out of the woods.

Spent the entire day yesterday taping off a Nascar with plastic so that we can cover it with spray foam today. Once we pop off the mold - we will cover the car with trees and shrubs and have a plant car...

This is how I spend my days... :)

Would love to say that I have been busy breaking my story even more - but I have been a bit to tired to think.

Good luck to all jumping into the 14 Scriptwriting Contest that starts today. I was thinking bout joining - but then I got a job...

No news on the film yet - but I do plan on talking to someone from Sam Raimi's company today.

Friday, June 02, 2006

That's the sound of the men.... Working on the chain...Gang.

Hi Hoooooo!

Had a quick second yesterday to take these shots of my fellow workers. Even though we haven't seen daylight in a couple days - one or two of the fellows actually were able to twist their face into a smile - its just hard to tell from these shots.

Tommy and Bill are really great guys. I have heard from Onka that he feels they run the best sweat shop in the area. At least they let you sleep on the floor for 45 minutes a night - and give you one juice box a day.

So I've heard.

Yesterday was a really long day. Drove the four hours down here and jumped right in. We spent the morning making a 7 foot high 6 foot wide number "20." I think that is Richard Petty's racing number? In the commercial, the bushes in a front yard turn into his number - and the other shrubs turn into a Nascar. We are making a mold of that car today.

Have I mentioned that I am really stupid about tools and building?

It was decided yesterday that I would better serve the art team by not being there. It was sort of like Survivor - and I was voted out of the shop. After spending an hour staring at how to nail together a three sided platform - I was sent shopping. And each time I returned - I was sent out again. I made 4 or 5 trips - getting all sorts of stuff. Some stuff twice. And today I get to return stuff that I got wrong yesterday... :)

But I did kick ass on cutting chicken wire. So there you go.

Got back to the room at about 11 last night. And the great thing about being here is that I really get to live out my fantasy of what it would be like to sleep in the same room as Bill. Luckily - I was so tired - I passed out before he came back. So no late night slumber party stories yet.

As we ate our salads last night - got to watch the girlish figures - Tommy Bill and I reminisced about our very first shoot together. Nice to laugh and think back of the pain and hardship that I caused them. Talking to Shawn yesterday - he said it was great that Tommy and Bill hired me - cause they were paying me back for all the work that I got them over the years...

But in truth - I think the jobs I gave them were horrible. They basically were tortured. Bill remembered that job as the hardest job he has ever had. Tommy remembered falling off an 8 foot ladder at full extention - twice - in under an hour.

And now, I think they just wanted a chance to return the favor.

Honestly - they just need to know how much family appreciates being able to eat. And they are great for doing their part to make that happen. Being here reminds me once again - that in truth - the director can be the biggest idiot on the set.

And that idiot is me... But just not for this shoot. I like to spread my stupidity around for the world to see...


Well - even though my option has officially run out with the mini-major... They still want to be involved if we can get a package back together. Talked with my MONEY producer - and almost got in a fight. And she better watch it - cause my nails are getting longer...

Actually found out that STAR1 was making moves to try to get back in the film. The movie he left mine to do fell through - and he was talking to people about coming back. I thought it was funny. No one wants him back anyway.

DOGSTAR is still interested. Reaching out through my agent to his manager - we found out that he might be cool with working with a first time director too. Although as much as I tell people that I am not a first timer - no one gives a rats ass about TV. All they care about is film. Blah blah blah...

My agents still want me to sell - unless I can get a big star like this and do it at Mini-major. Which seems like it is still a possibility.

MONEY producer says she really likes me as the director - but the truth is - she doesn't. So go figure.

My other producing partner just returned from his film in Alaska. He want me to direct - and is ready to go for it. Just jump in and shoot - wherever. He told me last night we should just get some cash and head to Prague...


It is a nice waiting game.


My dad is still in the hospital. The infection in his knee might have spread to his heart. We are finding out today what the results of the tests are. Praying hard he will be fine.

And on a happy note: My youngest transformer loving son graduated from kindergarten. He was pumped that he is now a first grader.

My daughter - who had talked about nothing else but getting out of school for the summer - cried hard that she was done with forth grade. I asked her why she was crying cause she always said she hates school and she told me:

I don't know. I must be crazy.

Let that be a lesson and a warning for all boys everywhere. It starts young.

Well. Gotta go. Save my strength. I'll finish up my meal of banana peel and bread crumbs and hit the line.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Quick...Turn left!

Slight change of plans...

After spending two days making Babylonian dragons - that Bill said looked more like the pink panther - and Griffin like lions - that had a slightly gorilla like quality to them - we are taking off.

It is 5am.

And now we are driving to North Carolina.

Another Art Director friend of mine Tommy is the Big Boss on a series of commercials with Richard Petty and some other Nascar guy.

So for three days we leave the rest of our Art Crew and head off to another crew.

We drive all morning today to work all night and then again for three days to drive back Sunday. Then start here Monday again.

I'm telling you - this "work"....

Highly overrated, if you ask me....