Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fame!: I'm usually a notorious Technorati checker, but I haven't been as diligent lately, and I missed that Byzantium's Shores had linked to my quote about whether or not old stuff is cooler than new stuff. Here's one back at ya, jaquandor!

. . . And Beyond: So what's my new stalling tactic, if I'm not blogging?

Buzz Lightyear AstroBlasters Online. I play as "Wally The Hutt." The game pairs you up with somebody riding the Disneyland ride, and when you hit certain things, it opens up certain targets for them and then when they hit them, it opens up certain targets for you. It's terribly fun to try, although it does take forever to download on dial-up.

Oh, and do check out the all-time team high scores.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

For Your Spaceship One Shopping Needs: The Mojave Air and Space Collectibles site has officially opened. Go have a look-see.

Updates: On a tip in a comment, I updated my links in the sidebar. I added a few guidelines sites, Speculations, and updated the link to story I published when I was in college.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Send A Story: Remember the days when you had to send an SASE out to every magazine in the world to get their guidelines?

Things are so much easier now. Check out StoryPilot. Easiest way to whittle down potential markets for a story that I've seen.

On Writing: Viki King uses a phrase in How to Write A Movie In 21 Days that rings so true to me. She says something along the lines of, "No other book deals with the fact that you think you're going to die of this."

She's right. You do. At times it feels like pushing out another sentence will absolutely kill you.

It doesn't make sense at all. All you're doing is writing. A story which you made up. A story you can alter any way you want to if, by some chance, you write something you don't care for. In fact, after you type the sentence, you could instantly delete it, and nobody will ever know it was written to begin with.

So why is it that there are moments when the prospect of putting that sentence down are meant with the mental resistance of a dentist appointment?

It kills you not to write. It kills you to write.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

AFI's Quote List: I don't have enough time this morning to read over any blogs and find out how much whining is going on in response to the AFI show last night. If it's anything like the last bunch I'm sure it's a lot.

And there's a lot to gripe about. Interview William Goldman and Rob Reiner, but ignore Princess Bride?

But remember, the only reason people do lists like this is to get attention. They're trying to tick you off. So feel free to point out their idiocy--sometimes deliberately inviting criticism can be biting off more than you can chew, and AFI should be disrobed and proven to be the as undefinitive as any other source--but keep in mind the attention is really all they're after.

That said, the actual content of the show last night was a bunch of films and interviews done by other people, and all of that was tremendously entertaining.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Another Website?!?!: As part of my new web service, I now have MB with my name on them over at Earthlink. I can't think of a single thing to use them for. It's not like I don't already have enough websites all over the net.

So my MB are just sitting out there . . . somewhere.

Maybe the infinite particles on the servers will arrange themselves into something interesting for me. Like an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters.

Although, I must admit that I've never really bought the infinite monkey theories.

There could be an infinite number of parrallel universes that are all slightly different from each other, and many in which I don't even exist, but I can guarantee that in none of them, no matter what, would you ever catch me at a Rob Schnieder movie.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Firefly: I've been reading Firefly hype everywhere, so I've been anxious to give the show a shot. Last night, I watched the pilot episode, "Serenity." I must say I was enjoying it--until they stumbled upon my pet peeve in all of television, and committed the nearly unforgivable sin.

Needless to say, "Serenity" spoilers follow.

The absolute, positively worst thing a filmmaker can do--especially in sci-fi--is mock the viewer for believing. The second you do that, you absolutely destroy the willing suspension of disbelief, and you drive the viewer right out of your story. Trust is destroyed--at that point, if their heart was ever in it, it has stopped being in it, and you will have to work even harder to get them back.

As you've probably guessed, "Serenity" has one of these moments. There's a character who is shot, and though she spends most of the episode trying to recover, there's a moment when "the hand falls." Now, if at that point she'd have turned out to be alive, I'd have been okay with that. But then, the guy who dropped her hand actually tells someone she's dead.

Now I knew the character wasn't dead. She's on the IMDB cast lists, and she's in the opening credits montage. So when I see the religious character headed towards the girl, I think, "Ah. There's going to be a fantasy element here, where they bring her back from the dead."

But it's nothing so profound as that. See, it was a joke.

The character was joking when he told the other character the girl was dead, and, apparently, joking when he let her hand fall. He and the other characters get a good laugh out of this.

Except the real joke isn't on any of the characters--it's on the viewer. And when you mock your viewer for believing you, you lose them.

I'm not saying I'm not going to continue watching the show, nor that the show has no redeeming qualities. I will and it does.

That was like something out of a student script, though. I hope the rest of the games they play aren't as amateur.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

One Day Down: Twenty to go.

Happy Birthday To Me: The 21 days starts today. If you see me nosing around online or on MSN or something, tell me to get back to writing. It'll be like you pitched in for my present.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

My New Favorite Amazon Reviewer: This guy makes me sorely tempted to delete every review I ever wrote and start over.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Yeah, I was at the beach today. No, nobody else was there. No, I don't think this had anything to do with the tsunami warning--that wasn't until I was already over at Disney watching the fireworks.

Yeah, I was at the beach and watching fireworks at Disney all in one day.

How was your Teusday?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Obligatory Post On The Verdict: I missed the OJ trial. So I'm just discovering all the stuff that you folks found out way back then.

Like that prosecutors aren't super-lawyers. Just because the guy's brought charges against Michael Jackson doesn't change the fact that he's just a government employee in some town who's just doing his job. Putting him up against a team of super lawyers who make seven digit incomes is like putting your local dog catcher in a pit full of tigers.

This wasn't a verdict about Michael Jackson at all. At some point, he stopped being on trial, and the accuser's mother became the defendant. As soon as the case stopped being about him and started being about her it was all over.

Of course she was a money-grubbing, greedy lady who was looking to get ahead. Who else would have let their kids near MJ after the last $20 mil settlement? What other types of people would Michael even be able to find, let alone molest?

Does that really make him innocent?

Friday, June 10, 2005

Netflix: Well, I'm probably going to be cancelling Netflix. While I adore their selection of films, with my current financial goals, my main concern is value, and lemme tell ya'--Netflix ain't a value.

That's not neccesarily a bad thing. There's a lot to be said for convenience and selection. Right now, that's just not what my priority is.

Plus, I'm fed up with their customer service department. It's like communicating with Liza, or one of those prototype AI personalities that are all over the internet. They just spot random keywords and generate form answers. Kinda silly.

Which means I'm going to have to have to figure out some new entertainement options on my budget.

I guess that's probably a good thing.

Attention American Theatre Owners: In China, they've begun to sell a little card for like $12 that you can use to get in to up to 30 movies during off-hours.

I realize that with the way film distribution works in the US, this is a little less feasible, but you really should start entering into negotiations with studios to begin to offer something like this during the summer. You'd have your theatres bombarded by families with kids who'd probably buy lots of your over-priced concessions, since in their minds the movies were "free."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Urban Legends: I usually don't go in for rumors, but I must admit to having bought this one. I'll never trust you again, Ryan!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Birthday Presents For Myself: I have this tradition that I go through on any holiday that involves presents, such as my birthday or Christmas.

About a month before my birthday, I always tell myself I'm going to give myself a present for my birthday--my first finished screenplay.

Then I grab Viki King's How To Write A Movie In 21 Days and start writing. For maybe three days. Enough for the first draft of the first act. Then I run away screaming like a madman.

So, I'm giving it a shot this year. This year, I've actually followed through on a few things for a while, so I'm hoping this bodes well for my getting what I want for my birthday.

I almost didn't tell anybody about this, but I do recognize the power of reporting results in trying to reach a goal--so you're all going to get to hear all about my little adventures.

Pre-writing starts tonight. Twenty-one days start Monday.

Wish me luck.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Lyrical Twists: While listening to Dial-a-song, I came across a delightful cover of a song by artist Walt Kelly, from The Pogo Songbook, called "Lines From A Tranquil Brow." Here's the lyric (and a tiny video, if you care):

Have you ever, while pondering the ways of the morn,
Thought to save just a bit, just a drop in the horn?
To pour in the evening, or late afternoon,
Or during the night, when we're shining the Moon?
Have you ever cried out, while counting the snow,
Or watching the tomtit warble "Hello":
"BREAK OUT THE CIGARS! This life is for squirrels
We're off to the drugstore to whistle at girls"

It reminded me of this little ditty Rowlf the Dog used to sing on The Muppet Show:

When the whipperwill is singing in the forest
When the gentle brook is murmuring a tune
When the mockingbirds are singing in the wildwood
When a lonely wolf is howling at the moon
When the leaves of the old oak tree start a rustling
And the waterfall makes sounds like woman's tears
When the whole world is filled with Mother Nature's noises
That's the time to stuff cotton in your ears.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Comic Books On The Big Screen: So, there's more comic book movies in production right now than probably have ever been projected onto the silver screen. Every comic book imaginable is in some phase of development at one studio or another.

I have two problems with how it's happening:

First, the fate of entire franchises are being left in the hands of a handful of people who may or may not know what they're doing. Hulk, for example, is kind of dead, even though it's a perfectly viable franchise, simply because the first group of people to get their hands on it didn't click with audiences.

This is scary. Rumors were circulating for a while there that Green Lantern, the greatest comic book character of all time and the one with the greatest potential for big screen slam-bag action was being turned into a silly, Mask-style comedy staring Jack Black. Following the collective groan of agony fans across the world emitted when that little tidbit found its way to the web, studio executives, who never ever make mistakes, are denying that was ever on the table.

That was a can't win situation. If they made it, and it went over big, Green Lantern would forever be trapped in the world of silliness. If it tanked, no studio would ever want to touch a Green Lantern project again.

Is there hope for the future for mangled projects? Sure. The Batman franchise was defined one way by the old TV show, but Tim Burton managed to put a clearer direction on it before derailing it himself with his own sequel. Now, the current film may bring that hero back from the depths of development hell. So all is not lost forever if one of these teams mangles a favorite character or two of mine. Much like a comic book death, it probably just means it'll be a while before you hear from them again.

My second complaint is that the piecemeal nature of the sales of these projects is insuring a lot of great stories aren't going to be told. Some of the best stories in Comicdom are cross-over adventures, and when two different studios own the rights to the two characters you want to bring together, things get too complicated to pull it off.

Fortunately, Warner Brothers, who own DC comics, also own the big screen rights to most of the DC characters, so such graphic novels as Cosmic Odyssey still stand a chance of eventually hitting the big screen.

The problem is that studio execs are reluctant to attempt such cross-overs. They see mixing franchises like that as something of a death knell for both characters--think Dracula meets Frankenstein. It's like putting up a big flashing neon sign that says, "Sorry! Out of ideas!"

Film seems to be the only medium to have this stigma. Comic books and television have long recognized the value of cross-promotion. I think film should be able to overcome it as well.

Our first shot will be Batman Vs. Superman, directed by Wolfgang Peterson. How quickly this gets made is apparently entirely based upon how well the upcoming Batman and Superman movies do, but rumor has it both actors have clauses in their contracts that would require them to do the team-up movie if the studio execs deem it would be profitable.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Back In My Day: I'm not one of those folks who freaks out every time some change gets made to something I knew from when I was a kid.

Every time I'm tempted to wax poetic about the virtues of the original Star Wars movies or how cool the original Legend of Zelda was, I just imagine if my Dad had tried to convince me that those old 12" GIJoe figures he had as a kid were somehow better or more "real" than my little Zartan and Snake Eyes figures.

"Yeah, whatever, Dad," I would have thought. "You can keep your wanna-be Ken doll."

But still, a part of me still feels that the 80's was a sort of Renaissance for toys and children's programming the likes of which we have not seen since.

I watched some show with my kids the other day that seemed to be an animated version of two guys with cards playing War. You really can't convince me that's somehow better or cooler than even the girlie cartoons of the '80's. If Jem and the Holograms had ever stopped to play cards for half an episode, we'd have flipped the channel to Silverhawks.

And with this rant, I think I've officially qualified myself for fogeyhood.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

First Nominee: The first (and quite possibly last, since it is thus far the only) nominee for this month's author of the month comes from Lynn, who makes, not surprisingly, a musically themed offering, which looks, also not surprisingly, terrific:

There are many that I could recommend but the first
that came to mind is Elizabeth Haydon. Here's her
I have read Rhapsody, Prophecy and Destiny and enjoyed
them all. Both my sons liked them too.

I recommend the website, particularly the "Mystery Guest" section. Also, all proceeds of Prophecy go to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dun-Dun-Dun-Duuuuuh: Apparently the new word floating around is that the Indy IV script was approved by Lucas and Spielberg, and now only needs a nod from Ford.

The author is Jeff Nathanson, whose sequel credits include Speed 2: Cruise Control.

I'm not exactly dancing.

Hindsight Is 20/20: So before all the new news stuff gets into google, I decided to google Mark Felt and Deep Throat to see how likely it was that this was the guy.

I think the answer is: Pretty obvious.

Not only was he the one Nixon suspected, but even Bernstein's ex-wife, Nora Ephron, admitted she thought it was him, after an (in retrospect) embarrassing incident where a student claimed he'd heard Felt was Deep Throat from Bernstein's son. The student wrote a 20 page paper detailing all the evidence Felt was the man, including the fact that in the earliest drafts of All The President's Men, the anonymous source was identified as "My Friend," M.F. being the initials of Mark Felt. There was also a meeting between Felt and Woodward around that time that suggested a deeper association between the two. As far back as 2002, Felt's family even identified him as Deep Throat on their answering machine (although the article does say it was done in jest).

In retrospect, it will probably turn out to have been harder for the media to cover up that this was the guy than it would have been to find out who he was.

I'm sure those of you who get the cable news channels have heard all this already, but I was amused at some of my discoveries and thought I'd share.