Saturday, October 28, 2006


I've just done six twenty-hour days in a row (after five days of all-out partying and little sleep in Austin) to bring the world (well, at least the American Film Market) tasty artwork for the likes of Storm Cell, While She Was Out, Not My Life and Baberellas, to name a few. Don't look for these movies any time soon in a theater near you.

Anyway, I'm spent. And I always feel like I've taken a karma ding after doing these runs. Advertising. Creating a lie.

Now, I want to get back to the book (it's honest and hopefully of value) and my screenplays (ditto the previous parenthetical) and the other two Austin posts (honest, but probably of little value). But before I can do that I thought I'd try and balance out the karma scales with some pimpage. I'm not pimping crap here, folks. This stuff is of value. No lie.

First, a project done by my most excellent friend, John Miller (with a little help from someone close to me). John is a producer, mostly of reality TV shows. This is a pitch for a new show that will hopefully sell to a network near you. The subject matter is not easy to watch, but definitely deserves our attention. And for my writer friends, it's especially interesting to get a glimpse inside these real-life characters facing difficult times.

And lastly, I want to pimp my teenage son,
, who is obviously a far better photographer than I. Do you think it's odd that the cemetery shot is my favorite?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Austin, Texas - Part 2

I spent the past six days at the Austin Film Festival but since I don't want to turn this into a screenwriting blog I'm not going to talk about it. Unless, of course, it relates to Everybody I Shot is Dead, rock'n'roll, photography or any combination of the three.

That being said, I came up with three posts so far that fit the bill. This is the second in a series of three. I would start with the first but it's more involved than this one and I'm under the gun to get a bunch of movie poster art done and printed by the end of the month. If you could see what I have left to do, you'd say "Good luck with that," then roll on the floor in laughter. But, really, I could use a little sympathy about now.

This Austin Film Festival post falls under the photography category because it's a photograph...duh. Just a quick snapshot - actually the only snapshot - I took at one of the panels. I really like it...the positioning of the panelists, the muted color and even the excessive grain. I like it all. This photograph also belongs under rock'n'roll but I'm not going to tell you why. Sorry. You had to be there.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Me and My Big Mouth - Part Deux

The document I copied the page from yesterday had only 42 pages written in screenplay form. I stopped writing it and picked it up again a year later (November 1998) and did more outling. Then nothing until August, 2001 with another 42 page stab. By November, 2001 I had 119 pages of drek, followed by a rewrite dated mid-December, 2001. At some point in there I sent it to a few people. One being the guy who produced There's Something About Mary. What was I thinking? He read it - I definitely owe him for putting him through that - then called me and gave me encouragement. Something like, "great premise but we don't need ten pages of a Little League brief, you don't have to spell it out. We know what happens at a Little League game." Ouch. Stupid me. I should have known better.

Finally, by February, 2002 I had a draft labeled #3. I think that's the one I sent in to the Nicholl because that was the year that I somehow, miraculously, made it to the quarterfinals. And in the Fall of 2002, I optioned the script to an Australian producer (not because of my Nicholl placement, btw) who had just finished making Ned Kelly. So, wow, I really thought I'd made it. I was going to have a movie up on the screen. No doubt. I spent the next ten or so months rewriting with the producer and the director he had attached. Great experience on every grueling level. Then the producer re-optioned for a second year. And then...nothing happened. He couldn't find anyone that wanted to come in with financing.

So, two years ago, I got it back. And then I read it. Oh my sucked. But I still loved the premise and swore to myself that I'd get back to it. Fast forward to a couple of months ago. I was working on my third script of this year when I got that call about somebody looking for a suspense thriller. I blogged about it in my "Time Crunch" series Aug/Sept. Yup. This is that same script. And what I didn't report - I did get an option offer from said producer (I still don't know who it was) but turned it down.

Anyway, since it's been rewritten (and will be polished one more time at least...soon as I'm done with the artwork thing), I thought I'd post the current first page of the latest rewrite so you can judge whether I've managed to improve it from the first page of the first draft of my first script written so long ago.

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Me and My Big Mouth

My apologies to my rock'n'roll readers for putting up another screenwriting related post. I promise to rectify that soon.

I shouldn't even be doing this post right now. I should be working on one of the ten or so movie poster jobs I just got in. They all have to be finished and printed by the end of the month. Shit, I'm in trouble. I could have a chance at making that deadline if I work all day, every day between now and then but I can't. I'm going to the Austin Film Festival next week. That will take six days out of the twenty-one days I have left.

And now I'm doing this insane post. And it's all because of my big mouth. Suggesting it would be more challenging for screenwriters to put up the first page of the first script they ever wrote. I wasn't being serious, folks. As usual, I expected to be ignored.

Then put something up, but I ignored the challenge becuase his doesn't really count since it's a first page of a new first draft, not the first draft of his first script.

But then picked up on it and threw her real first page down. Danm you, Cynthia. And of course, after that, Miss Pooks called me out on the carpet . Fine, Pooks, I'll bite. Even though you only gave a lovely novelistic summary of your first page, pretending you can't actually find it. Nudge, nudge.

My first page was done in 1997. I had not intention of being a screenwriter. I just had a really great premise I couldn't get out of my head. After writing the first bunch of pages, I stopped. Writing is hard. It was easier to stop. But then the damn thing kept nagging me and on top of that I had told a couple of people I was writing a screenplay. Big mistake. Another me and my big mouth. So, here it is in all it's glory - a little longer than a page because I wanted to include a line or two of my stellar dialogue. And since it was written in Word, I did a copy and paste so please excuse the lack of formatting.


Abstracted voices on top of each other simultaneously shouting comments and enthusiastically cheering.

TITLE SEQUENCE intercuts on black screen with the following shots.


The source of the voices - parents cheering, coaches yelling at their players, referee whistles blowing. A light rain is falling. Extreme C.U. of a soccer cleat making contact on the ball with a strong THUD.


The thud on the soccer ball becomes the sound that precedes the roar of a big rig semi engine starting up.


Extreme C.U. of the front grill of the vibrating semi. The same light rain is falling.


Truck noise transforms back to the noise of the soccer game.


Two kids collide as they both charge the soccer ball.


The noise of the soccer game transform back to the noise of the truck.


The driver is checking the gears and brakes etc. on the rig.


Noise transforms again.


The rain is heavier now but the action continues, the crowd noise seemingly amplified by the rain. A player makes a pass through two defenders to his teammate, who fires the ball through the goalies legs for a goal. As the players, parents and coaches cheer the ref blows his whistle three times in succession, indicating the end of the game.


The refs whistle becomes the screeching sound of the semi’s brakes being engaged.



The headlights illuminate the pouring rain as the trucker pulls out of the gas station.



The soccer floodlights similarly illuminate the field. The teams finish their customary hand shakes. As the winning team runs to their sideline, the players are high-fiving CHARLY, the kid who scored the winning goal.

The kids are oblivious to the pouring rain. This weather is typical for Chicago in the late autumn and the kids are used to playing in it. Charly rushes over to two women standing on the sidelines.

SARA, Charly’s mom, has spent many seasons at the field so she is dressed weather-ready and holding an oversized umbrella which also covers her best friend, ANNE.

Anne is obviously not a mom. She wearing a professional outfit suitable for showing her client’s real estate. Despite the weather both women are smiling and giving Charly a thumbs up from under the umbrella. Sara has a dry towel ready for Charly when he comes off the field.

Let’s get out of this rain.

(Add in more dialogue and character development here...Charly takes off to talk to best friend... more chance to develop Sara and Anne’s diffs and/or Charly’s goodness)

The three of them squeeze under the umbrella and run for the cars. They stop at Anne’s car.

Great game Charly, thanks for inviting me.

Thanks for coming out in this crappy weather.

I wouldn’t have missed it.
(to Sara)
Lunch tomorrow, right?

(hugging Anne)
See you tomorrow. Drive carefully.

Sara and Charly head for their car.

And guess what, there's more to the story of my first effort. So, stay tuned...the saga continues...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Page 92

Since my compadre, , decided that putting up a Page 1 wasn't in the spirit of challenge, she decided to post another page of a different script...this time a page 9.

I also posted a Page 1, and maybe that isn't fair since the idea is that it's a random page with no explanation. Obviously, the first page of anything requires no explanation.

So, here it is, Page 92. I'm not even going to tell you title.

I'm off to see The Departed...kind of fits with the theme of this blog, doesn't it?

Have a nice weekend.