Thursday, August 31, 2006

The new life

I don't know if most of you travel for work. But it is not as glamorous as people think.

I worked for Discovery for about 14 years. I've shot in every state except Alaska and Nebraska - most places multiple times. And I've got to go shoot in a lot of other countries as well.

But traveling for work and traveling for pleasure are two different things.

When we went over to shoot our China show - the crew arrived - and on their first weekend they went to the Forbidden City - but that was it. For three months, they never had a chance to do anything else touristy...

Well. We did go bungy jumping on Bill's birthday.

It's just like you move your life to another city. Another hotel. And unless you drink, party and are single - you go back to your room at the end of the 12-14 hour day - make a few calls - and go to bed.

Sounds sucky right? Well - if you don't - your of no use the next day.

Now of course, you younger guys might have more stamina... But if you're doing it week in and week out - you gotta pace yourself.

Right now - I'm in SF. My body is still on East Coast time - so I wake up at 5. Do some writing till 7. Work out a half hour. Take a shower, get dressed - and hit the road at 8:15. Eat an apple for breakfast as I walk to work - about 2 miles. Usually talk to the wife all the way in. Work till a bit past 6 - then walk 2 miles back. Hit a Thai noodle restaurant with a book - and eat and read till about 8. Come back to the room - check out email - make some calls - and fall over about 9:30 or 10.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Sound boring? Lonely?

Not really. Used to it. Just miss the family.

I got 8 more weeks of this. Till we know what's going on.

And they don't know what's going on. They want me to tell them what's going on. And I sure as hell don't know either... But I'm good at making stuff up....

And as long as they don't find out the truth about me... I should be able to keep this up.

All. The. Way. To. The. Bank. Baby.

Time to make the donuts...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A dish best served cold

So as usual - the joke is on me.

STAR1's agent called me last week. I didn't call back. Was gonna call on Monday - but got an urgent email from my Paramount producer that there was a really great director that loved the script and wanted to move on it - and could I wait to make the deal for a couple days?

Turns out - there were two guys.

One director has a great resume. Lots of TV - but some of my favorite TV. He did a movie - that wasn't so good.

The other guy is THE FINNISH GUY! The same guy who wanted me to write a script for him and I didn't - and then he told me I would never make it in this town. The same guy that keeps coming back again and again... Hilarious!

What a freaking joke. Who is this guy and how does he move in these circles?


I'm gonna go cry in my milk.

Woke at 5:30 again.

But today I feel as if I broke a bit more story. I sort of stalled out on page 20 of my script - and now I feel as if I'm getting the direction I want to go. I love a story that takes major turns - but sometimes I make too many turns and make it tough to keep the through line emotionally there. So I'm working on stretching and flipping... and I think it will work.

Its still a dark and twisty story - but I really like it. And if my script that people like is any indication - this one should be right up their alley.

Off to the gym.

And hopefully, the heads I knock today won't be my own.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I want you to be just like Fonzie.... Cool....

So day one.

Wasn't bad. In fact - it was kinda cool.

Went to a production meeting - and the first thing I found out is that 75% of the company is female. And sharp. That can only mean trouble...

They introduced me as a guy who did a feature in China (not true... it was a TV series) and a guy who just had a feature fall through here in the States (true... and when they heard that, they actually let out a little groan of sympathy...). Will see what they think once they get to know me....

I have a desk - and everyone at the company has an apple laptop - and monitor. So I was set up - given 20 DVD's of programming and three thick three ring binders of regulations and left to my own devices.

I did have a production meeting for a shoot happening in LA in three weeks. Wow. They actually spend money here. Everything cost real dollars. Nice to hear.

And this place has its own chef. Who makes lunch for us everyday. And a kitchen full of free drinks and food. Strange.

So who knows? I might actually like it.

Whether I do or not - I sure as heck am being spoiled.

So far.

Monday Tuesday - Happy Days....

Monday, August 28, 2006

First day at new job

Best to make a good impression.

Here's my new theory about first impressions:
Best get them out of the way. If you are an asshole - be an asshole. Better let them see what's coming so they know. Surprise them later and they didn't know what they were getting. Let them know from the start - and they get out of your way.

Less betrayal that way.

So I flew into San Fran yesterday. And dear God - how did I ever take those trips to China? I finished my excellent book - Thank you for smoking! - halfway through the flight and I thought I would die for the last hour. They were playing some insipid new NBC sitcom and it was so bad I couldn't even watch it with the sound off. I just went to the back of the plane and stood there - trying to make it till we got in.

Which we did.

To say nothing of the people in KY yesterday who didn't. God be with them and their families. But nothing is more encouraging than waiting in the airport for your flight on a similar plane than watching CNN on the airport TV's talking about how no one made it through the plane crash.

So here I sit.

I stayed up last night and watched the end of Entourage. Very good season. I am invested in it now. And it kept me up till 11 - which is good cause I'm trying to switch time zones. Still woke up today at 6am though. Which can be good - cause I'm planning on going down to the fitness center after I write this.

So it's make nice day.

I go in and smile and they smile and we all feel each other out and see if we are going to be able to make this work. Granted - they seem like really nice people and I have a difficult time with nice people cause I always figure they must be hiding something. In the closet probably. Like the guy who had this job before me.

Here's what they don't count on though.

I rarely have a problem speaking my mind. One ad exec who I used to direct commercials for called me a big middle finger. And it stuck. Yes - I can be that. But I like to see myself as more. And really - I'm more like a medium sized middle finger.

So go figure. Last year - I worked the east coast from the midwest - this year, I'm rocking the west.

And laying here in the grey cloudy morning - I had a great idea for a pre-open to my already confusing screenplay open that makes things even more cloudy... perfect!


I was supposed to call STAR1's agent back today - but got a desparate email from my Paramount guy telling me to hold off for a day. He has someone who likes it... and wants to see where it will go.

SO let's give him today... and see what the fuss is about.

I'm off to the second floor gym... and then- infinity and beyond!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Old Friends

Talked to one of my oldest friends last night.
Let's call him Bill - cause that's his name.

My family moved around a lot. I went to a different school almost every year till junior high. We lived in 4 states by the time I hit forth grade - and that's where I met Bill.

We lived in a suburb of Cincinnati at the time. And my parents started making this 45 minute trek to go to church. Bill lived next to the church - and we became friends in Sunday school. We moved away the next year - but then came back to the area for 6th grade. And we lived next to the church too. That's when we became best friends.

We did all the sort of thing that young boys do. Mostly get in trouble. We find tunnels under the church. We climbed up in the bell tower - through the carcasses of dead pigeons. We threw firecrackers at cars...

One night we had a sleepover and one of Bill's older brothers dressed in black and put a mask on and broke into the basement where we were sleeping and scared the hell out of us.

Of course - we moved away after that. Overseas. To Taiwan. Bill came and visited for a summer. We had a blast. Took him on a hike to the most dangerous mountain in Taiwan and he almost died. But still had fun.

Fast forward a couple years.

We end up at the same college in Chicago. Through a weird quirk - I go to a school in Florida my freshman year - but Bill hits Chicago and ends up rooming with one of my best friends from Taiwan.

I transfer over my sophomore year and we are all fast friends again.

Another strange thing: we end up dating a lot of the same girls.

Well - almost dating. He had a thing going with the woman that is now his wife. They would date and break up and date again. I tried to date her at one point - in between break ups of course - and it never worked out.

Meanwhile - he dated this really hot Asian girl at college. After he broke her heart and she was all vulnerable - I snuck in and started dating her - before she could come to her senses.

Now we've been married 17 years. And Bill was best man at the wedding.

We've gone down different roads. I work in film and TV - and Bill is a pastor. Who has adopted 4 black girls. Who has a great heart. Who works to save peoples souls.

While I just keep making their souls blacker with my poison scripts.

So that cosmic balance can be achieved.

But it is great to know that when you actually have a common history with someone - all it takes is a stinking phone call to revive that relationship. An hour on the phone and you go back to elementary school - reliving the glory days of getting busted.

I was so happy - I pissed my pants.

Here's to you Bill. God Bless...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Third row, second from the top....

Back to work?


It beats working for Bill.

Looks like I'll be flying back and forth to SF for the next 8 weeks. 4 days there in the office - three back here in Indiana. Funny thing is - I did this at the exact same time last year for Discovery Channel when I was teaching a class here and flying in there to produce a series.

Except that this pays better. And they are putting me up in a really great hotel. And I can walk like the 1.5 miles from there to work. Or Chinatown. Or a really nice movie theater.

So I'll get to know that city.

And I start by flying out tomorrow.

I did learn yesterday that this stupid cough I've had for the past 26 days now is because I have a small bout of bronchitis. Yeah. Go figure. Never felt bad - just couldn't seem to shake the stupid cough. But they gave me some magic pills and I'm supposed to feel better in 5 days. We shall see.

Shawn - as much my brother as he his my friend - had his birthday yesterday. Turned 33. I've known him since he was 19? And now he is pretending to be an adult. We talked at 9:30 last night and decided to go see Beerfest. Got back at 2 am. Laughed and laughed - at each other more than the movie. Time marches on quickly. We used to be kids - and now we have kids. Sigh.

Got a call from STAR1's agent finally. And I ignored it. I'll call him on Monday. I am really a bastard. Have lots of calls to make - and I don't make them. They just pile up and I run afraid. Don't know what the avoidance thing is here in the last year - but I am getting to be a genius at it. And I need to stop. Really. Please help me stop.

So today becomes a laundry day. And a packing day. Cause tomorrow is a travel day.

And it's off to be another number cruncher...


Friday, August 25, 2006

Comments on Writing?

Here's the thing.

If you're a writer - you're always writing. It's not just when you sit at the table and make magic. Its in bed. On the road. In the shower. It's always coming.

And I find - in writing - that things are constantly coming back around on themselves. Screenplays are unique. They are formally structured beasts.

I've been reading Steven King's "On Writing." Great book.

But when it comes to plot - he thinks that plot is basically a bad thing. He likes characters and starting points - but then he says you just sit back and discover what the story is. The story is there all along and it is the writers job to discover it - like uncovering a dinosaur skeleton.

Screenwriting don't work that way.

Or - I guess they could - if you're willing to rewrite what you're writing about a hundred times. In a novel - one can afford to leisurely take their time getting to the point. Characters weaving in and out for no discernible reason and things happen slowly. In a script - not so much. There shouldn't be any wasted fat. No just for fun scenes. Everything and everyone serves the plot. Even in the slowest moving film - the slowness is supposed to be for a reason.

And that brings up the snake eating its tail.

When you're doing your job - everything is everything. Following your theme which is the gas of your plot - things start to circle. Why someone does something translates to action. And action fuels your character. And so on - till you are climactically racing to diffuse the bomb of audience expectations in a new and exciting way.

I love how something simple can open up so much to an audience.

And that's what makes writing exciting. Finding the key in the lock to key your script going.

And on that note:

Go here and read today's post. It is all about what is gonna make you unique as a writer. Listen and learn. I know I am.


So I'm doing 60 days in SF till we both figure out if this is what we want. Seems like a good compromise. So we will see.

Here's the rub.

They want me to start Monday.

It all comes around.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Squeal like a...

Back home.

Long day yesterday. Up at 5 at Johnny's in LA - off to the airport to stand in unending lines - through Chicago with an infinite lay over - delay - and stuck in the plane on the tarmac while we wait for a storm to pass - and finally back to Indiana - the waiting minivan on the curb filled with my wife, kids and dog.

It's nice.

So now comes the problems.

What's next?

And they are really not problems - because as long as you have options - you don't really have problems. And now I have options. Sometimes - too many options - but options none the less.

A writer friend - who just finished up a kick ass sci fi script that his CAA agent is reading - has some writing work for me. He is trying to get me approved as a vendor at his company. Then I need to come up with questions for his game at an incredibly high volume per week.

Waiting to hear how we are going to proceed with the movie. My agents are assumably pissed - but I am moving forward. Looks like we might get a January spot. I don't believe anything anymore till it happens - and I'm not holding my breath - cause even with the best intentions, movies can go south in a heartbeat. So who knows? Maybe this time it won't.

Gotta be getting on the phone with Paramount about the crazy philosophy project. Sounds like they are interested in me helping them get something on the air. But the idea is crazy ambitious and very wild and has lots of celebrity involvement - so who knows. I'll be talking more with my friend David about it... And we will see.

Got a call today from the recruiters. They said the company loves me - and they want to move into a honeymoon stage - giving me a 60 day contract. They want to fly me back and forth - so that I'm there 4 days a week and here three - so we shall see. If we can work out the details - then it could be interesting.

And now - the house is mine.
This is the first year that Jordan joins his sister at school full time - so normally it would just be me and the wife here - but she is in Chicago all day with my sister.

So I should be writing.

And so I shall.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


(insert ironically silly picture here)

Not sure what the problem is with blogger here. It doesn't like my posts and it doesn't like to upload any pictures. All I know it puts me in a great mood to start my day.

Wrote a post yesterday and it wouldn't take. No sense posting it now - its yesterday's news.

But for those of you keeping score at home - here's the lowdown:

Had three meetings yesterday.

1- Manager/Producer who loves my script and wants to package it and make it.

2- STAR1's Brother and Agent who want the script

3- An agent that likes the script and maybe more?

So this is how they played out.

1- Manager Producer guy is pretty cool. Says that reading my script reminded him of the first time he read Resevoir Dogs - with a touch of Paul Thomas Anderson. Probably couldn't have come up with a more flattering thing to say to butter me up. He said there is no reason why this shouldn't be done - and done now. Had lots of good contacts and really felt confident that he pull this off and pull it off fast.

And then it got a bit silly.

He said he knew who would be perfect for the lead. And it is not STAR1. Not sure what it is about STAR1 that inspires such hatred. Anyway. He reaches in his bag and starts pulling out poster after poster of his star in these indy film. Then he pulls out dvd's of this guys stuff. And really tries to push him.

Now this guy is known for being sort of a goofy comic actor - and truthfully - I should be so lucky, right? And I actually really like this guy - But he is not someone that opens a movie. So it was really kinda surreal - that this guy who just seconds ago was telling me how he could make all this happen - and then he is trying to sell me on his client.

He did give me a pitch that he wanted me to think about writing... Strange idea - but could be funny.

I told him I'd call...

2-Found the restaurant. There was a guy pacing back and forth in front on a phone - and sure enough - it turns out to be the AGENT. Brother arrives and we all sit and talk. Small talk. Gossip talk. All the pleasantries. Then business.

It was simple really. Didn't talk any details of the option - just the details out of how this would all go down and how it would all come together. I said we have been down this road before - but he explained that we hadn't been down this road with the AGENCY behind us. And now we had that. He threw out crazy names - names that have been on my list since the start - and it just went from there. No name calling. No blame game. Just a very simple conversation. No threats. Just (empty?) promises. That this would be the next film. New year start. So there you go.

We ended with AGENT telling me he would call me in the afternoon to discuss the details - but that didn't happen.

So the jury is still out. But it was good. It felt right -
I mean- it was nice. And might actually mean the movie will get made.

3-New agency. Wow. This place is cool. Best designed space I have seen - and I've seen a lot of agencies. The guy is really cool. It was a good meeting. A little dancing - cause we aren't saying anything about representation. But he does treat me like a producer - which is new. We end with him promising to give me a list of directors and actors that he thinks would be good for the film.

And there we go. Hooked up with Ralph and Tadd for dinner at Harrison Ford's son's place for dinner. Talked. Laughed. Gave Tadd notes on his new script. He might get me some writing work for his company.

And that was it.

No news at all on SF. Not sure what it means - but probably not that I got it. SO there it goes. But might make things easier for if the movie really has a chance to go in January.

And on the script - I'm at page 17. Gotta figure the next move.

Now let's see if this will post.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


There really is nothing to write about this.
It has been said to the point that really there is nothing more to be said.

But if you must see it -
See it with friends. In as full a theater as you can find.

And laugh.

I forgot that right when I first got my agents - they put me up for a rewrite on Sam Jackson's dialog on this film.

Needless to say I got read - but didn't get the job.

But boy oh boy - they sure could've used it.

This is a great example of a movie that feels like a first draft. It delivers the fun and games in act two - but act one and three feel rushed - thrown together - and lacking in any logic. And some movies that do that you don't care - but this one I did.

It's not to say it wasn't fun.
And you got to see snakes bite everything. Every body part - everything.
And yes - I jumped. High. One time. Cursing and hiding my eyes.

In the end - they delivered exactly what they promised.

BEEP BEEP snakes on a BEEP BEEP-ing plane.

No more. No less.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sad truth?

Denial is not a river in Egypt.

This is gonna be a very cynical post. Not news to any of you - but just a strange ramble I went on this morning. I am not angry and bitter - although some say that whining is just anger being let out through a small hole...

Let's pull back the curtain on Hollywood for a second.

It lays out this way:

To really make it as a writer - you either have to be one of two things -

1) Extremely talented and very mainstream.


2) A game playing whore...

Um. Well - maybe not just two - but those things certainly play into the mix.

I would love to think that the success that I have brushed against has been because of 1) but more and more I think it's because of 2).

My film had a greenlight with a mini-major. We waited two years for the stars schedules to line up - and we finally had a start date. We were ready to go - and 6 weeks out - the lead drops out saying he never agreed to that date.

I found out later that his agency was trying to kill the project the entire time - and never planned on letting him do the film.

Now - a few producers later - we are getting ready to get back in bed with the same group and a new, more supportive agency and a more defined contract.

Is it the right thing? No.
Are they doing this because I'm talented...? No.
Have I become a whore? Quite possibly.

I met with a producer on the Paramount lot yesterday. Great guy - very charismatic - very excited. Liked my script. Wanted to talk projects - but when he heard I worked for Discovery - he immediately handed me an incredibly intellectual treatise on a very tricky subject that he and a favorite director of mine are trying to get on the air as a series.

That ended up being all we talked about. He wants me to help him with Discovery.

I want him to help me with my film career...

I said... Sure - even though it is a subject I don't have a connection with.

I left Discovery to make films - and the guys in film want me to help them with Discovery. Everytime I'm out... They pull me back in....

See? I'm a Whore.

Here is a big problem out here as I see it.

Everyone relies on their people to do the dirty work.

You don't tell someone you don't like this - you tell their agents - because you don't want to make anyone mad. So you end up isolating yourself and becoming completely insecure because no one is telling anyone the truth and everything is being filtered through an agent. This in turn gives the agents all the power and they run the town by selectively telling people the truth that they want them to hear. And so no one knows what is true...

My agents are mad because I won't just be a writer. I won't just do what they say. I won't just listen and accept.

I'm sorry. I have been a producer/director for too long. Even though none of that experience counts out in LA - I have been on the other side of the table and know how things work. I refuse to be "spun."

I heard a story about how an A list writer had a great script and he was finally going to direct it. He attached a very A list actor - and for some reason - even with all the financing in place - they couldn't get the movie made. No matter how hard they pushed - the big star's agency just couldn't seem to find a hole in the actors schedule to get the movie up and running.

When if finally became known that if the writer were to possibly come into the family and join the actor's agency - it might make things easier - the writer left his agency and came over to the actors agency.

the movie was shooting with the month.

Another story.

A high level manager is married to a writer. Everyone admits the writer is no good. But the manager is very powerful and has very powerful clients. So the writer is always employed. Always. Everything the writer turns in is re-written - but the writer is never out of work.

This is how it works, people.

It's not good enough to be talented. It not good enough to be good. They both help - but it's not enough.

This is a silly little town full of ego and insecurity and all sorts of backstabbing and backbiting... And while it does make it fun and interesting... It is what it is.

This is not to say it is how everyone is. There are some of the greatest - nicest - most genuine people in the world out here. Really excited about you and what you represent to them -


And they want to help you help them to make more


So they will do what is in their power to get you where you need to be to bring in more


So light up another cigarette and change the sheets. Time for another trick....

Wow. Sounds grumpy huh?

So what does that mean for all of us?

Well. I guess it means - know what you're getting into. Know how far you're willing to go. And fight like hell to hold onto whatever personal integrity you had coming in.

And don't look too deep into the abyss...

Time to put the curtain back.

I love Hollywood. All I gotta do is write the perfect script and everything will be peachy. They will love me and make my movie and everything gets easier and easier...

See? Denial is fun...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Not to complain...

But I'm going to anyway.

The hotel was nice. Beautiful even. Hard to believe they would put someone like me up there.

The problem is that I'm someone like me...

I guess when you grow up poor - it takes a lifetime of money to change you.

And for that - I'm not necessarily complaining. And I know we were still better off than most...

But when you are put into luxury accommodations - its hard not to bicker over the little things.

Like $30 dollar parking overnight.


$10 to connect to the internet.

I wanted to tell them that Holiday Inn had internet for free - but I couldn't get their attention in my T-shirt and shorts.

Before my interview - I drove through this neighborhood with my laptop in the seat next to me trying to get a wireless signal. Yes - I have become that guy....But there was this Hispanic kid delivering fliers that kept watching me - and he also got all the dogs barking -

Needless to say - I didn't get a connection.

So here I am today.

Yesterday was fun - in a "if you can call a 3 hour interview" fun- kinda way.

I came in and immediately sat with two of the top international guys and they quizzed me for two hours. Then the President came in and spent an hour with me.

I think I did fine. I know they all liked me. It really will come down to how the other candidate - a yucky girl - compares to me. They have no questions about my experience... Its just a matter of apples and bananas...

The stinky girl interviews today. So we will see.

I am really not that much one way or another.

I did explain to them that if I was to do this - I would start over with everything they've done and do all original localized production. They seemed to like that - as the company wants to throw money at this area.

And Monday I meet with Star1's Brother.

So I know how this will work.
Either I don't get the job and the movie doesn't go
I get the job and the movie is greenlit.


Afterwards - I walked the Promenade and watched The Descent - eh... and Little Miss Sunshine... I liked that a lot. A very low key comedy with brilliant performances.

Staying at John's place - so I can steal internet from his neighbors.

Off to Paramount today and then meeting with Ralph the manager tonight.

Should be fun. Might even see Snakes on a Plane... :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How sick is that....?

Dude... if they only knew....

This is the Hotel they are hooking me up in for this interview... Oceanfront in Santa Monica, kid. I'm not playing...
They obviously don't know who they're dealing with...

They had me at Comfort Inn...

They must think that I'm somebody I'm not... but I don't know if I should burst the bubble or not.

Me thinks not... Yet, anyways...

I'll try to take some real pictures of the place once I roll in. I'm laughing - cause it's a "Loew's" hotel - so I'm thinking its like - Home Depot Hotel or something. No idea its like this... sigh... so I'll look really fashionable today in my shorts and sandles...

Actually - I'm very LA today... so its all good.

I'm actually at the airport now. For some reason "blogger" wasn't cooperating this morning and didn't want to let me post. It likes me better now.

So I have my interview tomorrow. And then four meetings set up so far.
2 at Paramount. One with a producer/packaging guy - one with my friend and a Producer/manager who just did a medium budget film with a couple big stars.
1 meeting with an "agent" from another place. This ones on the DL - so nobody has to know...
1 meeting with STAR1's brother and agent. This one will be the most intersting.

Not sure what the week will hold - but it will be fun. I expect a lot of jibber jabber - a couple movies - and a keg of disappointment... but who knows.

Wish me luck. More tomorrow...

Off to LA

For some unknown reason - Blogger is grumpy and won't let me upload pictures... What's up with that?

will try to post at the airport...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

You ever get asked to do something you don't really want to do - but then you do it and it really was much better than you feared?

There are a couple guys here in Indiana/Ohio who make films. They were all actors at the local summer stock theater - and then they raised a bit of cash and made movies.

Really nice, genuine guys. The kind of guys that you really want to encourage because they are living the dream. Doing the stuff I dreamed out. But also the kind of guys that you hate to watch what they've done - because you don't wanna be the guy that says that what they did sucks.

Well. Through my blog, they found me and invited me out to see their latest film.

I knew it was a comedy. I knew it was sort of a play on Christopher Guest's improv films. I knew I was worried.

Because comedy is hard. Improv is harder. Making a good film is the hardest - and these guys had $5000, 10 days and a lot of dreams.

Nothing that made me want to be the guy who sneaks out after because he is afraid to tell people the film sucks..

So they screened the film here last night to a packed house. It was free and the snacks were good - even if the sound wasn't.

But I was shocked.

It was funny. Really funny. And sweet.

Sure - it has that amateur vibe about it - but that is sorta the point.

Its the story of a summer theater that decides the best way to advertise their shows and build up good will in the community is to field a softball team.

Its "Waiting for Guffman" meets "Bad News Bears."

And zany hijinx ensue...

Truth be told - I was impressed. There is a market for this. It still needs a lot of tightening - but the crowd loved it - even though the sound was pretty shaky.

So Mickey and Tony and gang... Great job. Love to help how ever I can...

And good luck. My wife and I loved the show...

If you wanna check out the trailer and some clips....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday Leftovers

Maybe that 99cent McRib is worth a second glance...

It's Monday. Start of a big week for me.

On the job front:

I fly out to LA on Wednesday. My big interview is on Thursday. Not sure what this means - but I am actually looking forward to this. I think that this job really utilizes a lot of my gifts. Not sure where we would end up if I got it - Here, SF, LA or Beijing - but they are all in play.

Worse case scenerio:
I end up doing 50 cut down versions of a single spot in Chinese with 50 different 800 numbers.

That thought makes me want to kill myself already.

On the movie front:

While in LA I'll be meeting with STAR1's brother. That happens on Friday. We will see if I wanna get into bed with that guy.

On a similar front: the producer who first said my film was great - who brought me to a lot of different companies - who actually brought in the director who brought us STAR1 and STAR2 - the guy who was always there for me and was really the only person in the process that I ever trusted - wrote me yesterday to ask me if I was blowing him off.

I explained to him that I had been talking to STAR1's brother - and one of the conditions for working with him was that there would be no other producers on the project but him and me. I told him I wasn't staying in touch because I felt guilty - as I might actually betray him to our common enemy - and naturally I felt pretty awful about that.

Needless to say - he didn't write me back.


My producer friend at Paramount has a meeting with me on Monday. He is also setting up a couple more meetings for me. He has a producer/manager calling me today who loved my script and wants to set it up with a big company. So that is interesting too...Weird how people come out of the woodwork...

ALSO: haven't heard a dang thing from my agents. Guess they are angry or something.


Went back over my pages yesterday. Rewrote them a bit and got them ready to take to Writers Group today. A little over 8 pages now - and there should be 10-15 by the end of today.

Feels good to write again - and be excited by it.

Actually came up with a log line for the script as well.

Added a note for a scene in my notes file. I'll give you a taste.

"DOGFIGHT, baby!"

So there it lays. Big week.

Back to my Egg McKnuckle...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hail to the King, Baby

Sad and pathetic, eh?

We are writers.

We are supposed to write.

It is what we do. Or - it is what we are supposed to do.
Alot of times we just like to talk about what we do.

OR - at least that is what I like to do.


Yesterday - I broke a summer of excuses and actually jumped into my script.

6 pages baby. And they were good ones too.

Gonna have more too ladies... look out - cause I'm bringing out the Hammer Pants...

But to celebrate... I think it's business time....

Saturday, August 12, 2006

WARNING: Hide your eyes

Don't read too close for the faint of heart.

This is about notes.

I've saved that memo for awhile now - and where do you begin?

Notes are tricky. Notes can be really hard. Notes are usually not fun.

While I think we all need notes, want notes, desire notes... Really and truthfully - we would much rather have people tell us how much they love us and the genius of the things we write.

Getting anyone - even a friend - to sit down and read a script can be a monumental task in and of itself. People just don't like to read. And then you need to find someone who not only can read your script- but offer up some sort of intelligent criticism other than I liked it, or it really sucked.

And then when we find the people that can really help - we realize the draft we thought was so close - is really so far away...

It is never an easy or exciting process.

This is why I go on and on about writing groups here.

Get together with like minded individuals who have half a brain and help each other out. Your writers group is the first line of defense against sending out total crap into the world.

But here is the rub.

Notes are opinions. They are subjective. They are not the end all be all.

For every one company that really likes my script and wants to meet with me or talk about optioning it - there are two to three to ten that think it sucks. For everyone that tells me I'm a genius - there are plenty that think I'm a very disturbed hack.

I see it as a little from column A, a little from column B.

Find those you trust.
Then listen to what they say.
Throw out what you don't like.
Until everyone is telling you the same thing.
Then change that thing - or ignore it at your own peril.
Then send it out and move on.

While every group is supposed to be working together- writing - I gave Ryan the double whammy yesterday - without doing anything myself.

I started to write on my new script - but lost the page. I could have done more - but instead I decided to read the script Ryan wrote during the summer that I never had time to get to.

Last night I gave him notes.

Then - he had already outlined another script. Prolific bastard.

And I gave him notes on that one.

He took them well - but I might have been a bit too energetically blunt.

He is a good writer and he works hard.
And I might have taken a proverbial dump on his creativity.

Sorry Ryan.

I promise you can return the favor when I get my script longer than the one page I've been struggling with for the past week.

And what the heck do I know anyways?

But trust me when I say that removing Sadam's penis and replacing it with a dildo was a good move.
It just plays funnier....

Friday, August 11, 2006

Spank me....

I must be dreaming.

So it breaks down like this.

First - I get a call from LA yesterday. I think this must be from something to do with the movie...

but it is in relation to the job in SF. The SF company is the production - film production, not like manufacturing production - arm of the LA company that actually produces the product.

Apparently - the head of International wants to meet with me. So they want me to fly out next week. So this is really good news. I get to wow him with my brilliance and see if they like me enough to actually make an offer.

So I asked them to extend my ticket out for a week.


I got on the phone with STAR1's brother.

He really wants to partner up. He wants this to be his brother's next film AFTER THE REALLY HUGE FILM HE JUST SIGNED TO DO TODAY. He wants to up the budget - lock STAR2 back in - and get packaged from the great agency they are now at.

He is willing to put in lots of contingencies so the material reverts back to me at different milestones if they haven't delivered what they said they would...

So it is interesting.

He told his side of the whole " this is why the film went bad and we walked away from a green-lit fully financed film a month before the start date." While he sounded quite convinced that his version was correct - I don't buy it.

Needless to say - I was using my Hollywood memory and pretended like it didn't matter.

We are gonna sit down for lunch next week and talk. So who knows...

In other news -

I wrote yesterday.

Not a lot. Not very well. And it was lost when my laptop froze...

But it was writing.

And today - I'm gonna do it again. And have something to show Ryan tonight when we meet.


Huge props to Blair who convinced his superiors at his ridiculously padded government job that a silly fake show that no one will ever see was worth a gazillion dollar investment and that by saving the whole company he was actually worth a raise as well.


Go get 'em tiger!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

You got a piece of me...

But its just a little piece of me...
And I don't need anyone
And these days I feel like I'm fading away...
Counting Crows - "Have you seen me lately"

First - let me say - that it is awesome to have my computer back. I know that sounds really silly - but something about trying to go back to the expanded keyboard and all that it entails where you are constantly hitting backspace cause your fingers are not in the right space and you somehow keep hitting semicolon instead of apostrophe...


I welcomed my computer back into my house like a navy wife waiting for her husband to return after 6 months at sea.

Lots of candles. A little Barry White. And lots of love...

Needless to say - I was extremely happy. And still am today.

In spite of everything else.

I did get an email from SF.
As you may or may not remember - I was flown out there for a job interview. They said they would get back to me the next week - which was two weeks ago. Then - yesterday - the job I applied for was back up on the job boards.

So you see why I was a little nervous.

Not that I even necessarily want this job. But I definitely want to be wanted... :)

Actually - the job could be great. It would get me out on the West Coast - splitting my time between SF and LA and China... Three of my favorite places - and more than that - it would pay well. And money is my biggest problem right now.


They sent me an email yesterday. Letting me know that everyone went on vacation after I left and are now in the process of coming back. And they want to fly me to LA and meet with the guy there before they make the final decision. So sometime in the next couple weeks - I will apparently be going to LA.

Which is nice. Cause it dovetails into my next point.

How much of your soul can you sell and still be a man?

Actually I know what you're thinking... Does Greg even have any soul to sell?


Was Greg deluding himself into thinking he was a man?

I have a new term.
I'm calling it the "Hollywood Memory."

I define it as - I screwed you yesterday, and then pretend that I didn't today. Cause now, I need something from you.

Spent time on the phone with STAR1's agent yesterday. We hadn't talked in a week - with the conversation being left that the agent was to get STAR1's brother on the phone with me.

But it didn't happen.

After a week - I decided to check back in. Especially since nothing was going on with my script on the market. Last thing was that BIG DIRECTOR finally decided that, while he loved the script - since it wasn't set up - he would pass.

So AGENT calls me up - and he basically tells me that he isn't going to do anything else on the script - while he loves it - he isn't gonna do anything cause STAR1's company doesn't own the script - and until they do - nothing will happen - and he starts going at me. Typical agents stuff - throw me off balance - especially after kissing my ass for the last week.

But he doesn't know me - and doesn't know that I have gone up against some of the most passive aggressive assholes in the business - and he hasn't taken into account that I can be an asshole too - so I settle him down and remind him that he was to call me - with STAR1's brother - and that was where the conversation was left.

So he calmed immediately and got the brother on the phone.

We talked. Nicely. Me, knowing that this was the guy who basically turned my greenlight on the film to a red one. And I never brought up the past.

Bottom line: They want to option the script.

At one point he made reference to the fact that the movie fell apart because of the ego of one of my producers - but he didn't want any bad blood. Truth is, that producer of mine is the most egoless person there is. The movie fell apart because of the brother's ego.

But here is my dilemma.

Now I can choose to sleep with the enemy.

And if there is anything I have learned in the last three years of this script making the rounds, getting me agents and lots of opportunities and three separate options is this:

Stars make movies. Attachments make movies.

I had the money to make this film at two different companies. And it didn't get done because we couldn't get the stars schedules lined up.

So if I choose to give them an option - I immediately have the star attached officially. And I have the power of the Star's agency behind me - which is one of the best packaging agencies in LA. And my chances of making the film immediately go up again.

In fact - to prove this point - the only people screwed worse than me when the Star pulled out before was the mini-major that had green lit the film. And they said if I brought the star back, they would green light it again!

So stars get things done. Sad truth.

Unless your script is so brilliant that you don't need stars. But mine is not that script.

So I need to use my "Hollywood memory" if I deal with them, cause it would be getting in bed with the devil.

Talking with a producer at Paramount later in the day - he seemed to agree with me.

So now - I have to figure out what I will do.

Should I give them a piece of me?
It's just a little piece...
Cause I need somebody...
Before I risk fading away...


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Let's get the party started...


Why are we celebrating?

Cause STAR1's agent hasn't called in a week? Despite claiming STAR1 really wants to make this film - going so far as to even give you a start date?

Cause the SF job is back on the job boards - giving the impression that you weren't good enough or not at all what they were looking for?

Cause you have a God awful cough that keeps you moping around the house with a headache all day?


All that stuff is yesterday's news.

The mighty LAPTOP arrives back from FED EX this morning.

That means I have no more excuses and must do everything in my power to begin writing again.


Take that KARMA! It's procrastina... I mean... It's party time....!

Monday, August 07, 2006


Been trying to blog... But this damn computer won't cooperate.

Actually there would probably not really be a problem with writing - but each day for the last week - it wouldn't let me post a picture. And - really - who comes here for the words anyway?

Had an interesting weekend.

Saw Miami Vice. I'd call it Miami Nice.

This guy Michael Mann. What an incredible director. Doesn't care if you don't understand what's going on - he just throws you into the middle of the story. Doesn't care that his lead actress doesn't speak English. Just makes her speak Cuban and Spanish and English. And she is still incredible. Doesn't care that he has two leads in the film. He gives some of the best dialog in the movie to a girl who didn't say more than two lines the whole film.

Good film. Not the best story - but mood and tone and action still carry the day.

Saturday was my anniversary.

17 years kids. Don't know how I managed to keep her this long - but here is a hint.


Anyways. She picked the movie and it was Talladega Nights.

I have a cold - a pretty bad cough - but I laughed hard enough to cough up phlem.

My wife loved it more than I did. Shawn gave a pretty accurate assessment when he said it was Will Ferrell's Adam Sandler movie. Some really great laughs - and a lot of slow points... But overall it was funny.

Trying to get back on a schedule this week.

There has been no writing going on. Lots of reading and film watching - but no writing. So now is the time to jump back in and make it happen.

And something is supposed to come from SF. So we shall see...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

stretched thin

New Day.

Yesterday was great.

Caught up with Ryan - who is deep into character development for his new script. Should be easier this time - since he loves rom com so much... And since he finally got him a girlfriend...

Now he actually might have something to write about...

Had dinner with the family.

Nice to see Dad. He has lost about 35 pounds - but can walk now with walker. He is hoping to move to a cane. Once that is done - he can start all over with a new knee replacement.

Hooking up with Shawn today.

Hoping to see Miami Vice tonight.

Watched the Machinist last night. What a great movie. Brad Anderson is pretty cool. The guy moves between genres like a maniac. Would love that kinda career.

Today - I swear I will write.

Hard to get back to the discipline. Been unable to for so long that I almost feel like I don't remember how to start.

And all of my notes are on the laptop.

But that can't stop me. I will prevail. Or so I would like to think.

Well. Enough of that. Off to lunch.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Who turned out the Lights?

So it's not that I haven't blogged.

It's that I couldn't blog... And there is a big difference.

Sometime last week - the backlight on my laptop went out completely. When the computer would be turned on - all you would see is black. And this really makes writing difficult.

On Saturday - I tried to steal the orphan's laptop while he went skydiving- but he had a password on it - the bastard - and I couldn't hack it - even though his hint was something about animals and the weather... What the heck is that?

So here is the update on what you might have missed:

I am done with Bill.
We finished on a good note. I don't think he hates me... Too much anyways...
The sets look great. Bill is a genius as always. But he wasn't really too happy with much of anything. Not sure if he is completely unhappy with me - but he is probably unhappy. That's what you get when you hire a director to work in the art department - a guy who likes to sit around and tell others what to do...Without getting his hands too dirty.

Truthfully, I will be cleaning paint out of my nails for weeks.

We drove back to the wonderful state of Indiana on Sunday.
Since my wife, kids and the orphan came out a week later than I, we had to take two cars back. So we tag teamed three drivers across two cars and made it back in 13 hours. Nothing exciting - but somehow in the process, I managed to get a huge cold. Deep hacking cough. But other than that - I am fine.

Job scene.
Should be hearing something this week about the West Coast job. Not sure what it will be though. The guy in LA doesn't get back in the office till today and he wants to see both candidates - at least that's what he said last week. But who knows. I expect to hear something later on.
In other strange news - the reality show in China wrote me again asking if I was available to come over and start prep in August... But who knows what the details of that shoot will be.

Movie front.
So the world keeps getting wierder.
STAR1's agent is really pushing that STAR1 wants to do this film. Their agency - which just absorbed a huge TV agency - wants to go out to the studios with the project. I called MINI-MAJOR and told them the situation. They said they would love to pick up where we left off and go ahead with the film again - 100% financed and green - lit. I thought this was pretty awesome. I told this to the agent - and he said that was great - but they thought they could do better. The deals we had in place with the MINI-MAJOR were very low money deals for the stars - and they wanted to see if they could up the budget even more.

We are supposed to talk this week. So we will see.

This is all for a script that would have been lucky to support a 2 mill budget... So go figure. There is hope out there for all aspiring writers....

My agents still are fighting with directors - although that might be moot.

So it will be an interesting week.

I am looking forward to getting my laptop fixed - cause I keep making typos typing on a real keyboard...

And I am gonna meet with Ryan today - restarting our writers group that has been on hold for 2 months...

SO back at it. Sorry I was gone... But the blackout is over...