Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Tale of Two Kitties

Ya, I know, I know - lame title riff.  What do you expect though?  I was up late reading Dickens.

Anyway, just want to formerly announce to all that Tiffany and I adopted a pair of cute kittens - my Christmas present to Her.

Tiffany opened a bunch of presents that were cat stuff, then the last present was a stuffed kitten with the words: "Let's go get a real kitty :)"  She was kind of shocked at first.  She just sat there staring at me.  Then I asked if she was cool with it, she asked back "Are you cool with it?  I'm not sure this is what we should be doing."  I assured her that I thought about it quite a bit and I felt it was time to get one.  Since we moved into a new place that was large enough it's an ideal situation for a pet.

Last night we went to the Bubank Animal Shelter to check out potential adoption.  They were almost closed by the time we got there (Tiffany had to work until 5pm and they close at 6pm).  We went to the back (through the smelly dog corridor) to the cat paddock.

Tiffany instantly went nuts.  She is a huge cat lover - she grew up with cats in her house her whole life.  She went to every single kennel and peered in at the cats.  She played with them through the glass.  It was really fun to watch.

Eventually a caretaker came by and we asked to look at a small orange tabby kitten.  The caretaker opened it up and gave the kitten to Tiffany.  There happened to be another kitten in there - the orange tabby's sister.  It was grey and white with splotches of orange.  I automatically latched to that one.  The caretaker took out the second one and Tiffany and I held and played around with both.  The grey instantly started purring for us.  The orange one licked my hand and played around in our arms.  Since they were closing up, we put the kittens back and told them we would decide overnight.  The animal control guy said we could adopt if we wanted to, but we thought it necessary to sleep on it.  The minute they put them back, both kittens started cuddling with each other.

As we got in the car I turned to Tiffany and said: "I feel that we need to get both of those kittens."  Tiffany was kind of shocked I said that, but she felt the same exact way.  Maybe we're just compensating for lack of children in our life.  But that's the way we felt (deal with it).

CUT TO: Next day.  I had planned to go pick them up first thing when the shelter opened at 10am.  First I had to run some errands so I made it around 10:15am.  I went straight to the animal control guy from last night and said "I'm here to adopt a cat... two actually."  He had me head back to the cat paddock and bring the papers to the front for processing.  Here's where it gets interesting...

As I made it into the cat paddock, two women were browsing the cats.  One was about forty-ish in age and the other looked to be her mother of around seventy.  Both women were looking at a different kennel at some black kittens so I thought nothing of it.  I walked right in, grabbed the tabby kitten's papers and walked straight out.

With papers in hand, I proceeded to go through the paperwork with the animal control guy.  A group of about five people gathered in line behind me to adopt their own pets.  Suddenly, from out of nowhere, the woman and her mom tapped me on the shoulder.  With a huff on her lips the woman grunted "are you adopting those kittens?  Both of them?"  I replied with a cheery "yes!"  And with all the disdain in the world she asked "have you even seen them?" (note: It's law that you must hold the pet before adopting) I said "ya, we saw them last night."

At that point the mother pulled the woman along and said "let's go, come on!"  And they left in a tussy.

The others around started to smirk and giggle.  One woman asked me which ones I was getting, she had adopted another one of that litter.  I mentioned casually to the group "I guess I just ruined their day..."  They chuckled.  The woman in line said to not worry and they shouldn't be such babies about it.  I still felt a bit guilty, but not as much as the thought of not bringing both kittens home.

So that's it, that's the story of how I ruined those two women's day.  Or the story of how we have our new pets.  We don't have any names yet, any suggestions are welcomed (the geekier the name references, the bigger the kudos will be).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stacking Sucks, or How Scott Myers Ruined My Day

If you haven't already, I would advise you to go to Scott Myers' blog "Go Into The Story" and read the article he posted about "Stacking Projects."

The basic idea is that while you are working on writing a script, you should be outlining your next project so you can get right to work as soon as you finish a draft of the first project.  Then while you are rewriting, you can be writing the next project and outlining the next, and so on.

This is so much a great idea!  It kind of blew my mind (even though it is so simple).  I've spent the last 24-hours thinking of what to get going in the hopper and decide what to write next.  Good right?


Now I have too many great ideas flooding my mind with awesomeness!  I turned on the flood gates and have not yet mastered how to control it.  I'm a novice writer who has just found a new shiny toy and wants to play with only it forever and ever.

I've lost some sleep and I have been ignoring duties at work.  This is so bad.  What have I done?  We need some guidelines on how to control this great and mighty force.  It's Pandora's Box.

Similar to this, but not related to Scott's post - I've been having a flood of ideas come in ever since working on my current project.  It's as if the devil of ideas is on my shoulder whispering amazing things to me that I feel compelled to work on.  There are just too many!

In fairness, it's not Scott's fault in the slightest.  I just thought that would be a more dramatic title.  And many thanks and kudos to him for his website, and for that post that has awakened my senses.

How about it readers?  How do I juggle all these ideas floating around?  Should I concentrate on a set number of projects at a time?  How many?  HELP!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2010 Filmography

This is just way too good not to share:

How long do you think this took to put together?!?

Full list of films and here: 2010 Filmography

Full list of Music:
1. Ratatat - Nostrand
2. Kanye West - Power
3. Rooney - Not In My House
4. Apartment - Fall Into Place
5. Civil Twilight - Letters from the Sky
6. SUNBEARS! - Little Baby Pines


Written by M. Night Shyamalan 
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan 

In a mythical world where humans have the ability to “bend” certain elements, the evil Firebenders are out to dominate the world and destroy the god Avatar for good. It is up to a young boy who is the last of the Airbenders to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar and stop them.

Wow. Seriously? It’s come to this?
How can someone direct a child so wonderfully in a film like The Sixth Sense and then do so terribly in an epic action like Airbender?
What happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen? ANSWERS!

You can have great production visuals or great acting, but apparently it is extremely difficult to have both. And sometimes, the acting is non-existent when there are too many visuals.
This green-screen acting thing needs to go.

See, Rent, Own, Kill: 
Rent (strictly for the spectacle) and then Kill.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Celeb Sighting: Billy Gardell

Star of CBS hit MIKE & MOLLY.

Spotted in Studio City.  He was wearing a Pulp Fiction t-shirt.  He was with his family so we didn't bother him.

You are CUT from the band...




via McSweeney's

This is worth a look for the line "Dapper Lycanthropes."

via Gawker

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Written by Dan Fogelman 
Directed by Nathan Greno & Byron Howard 

The story of Rapunzel with the long-flowing hair. When just a baby, Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped by an evil witch who has evil designs for the use of her magical hair.

This film was amazingly good. Amazing because I was expecting a near straight-to-dvd quality after watching the trailers and previews, but couldn’t have been more wrong. Amazing because it was shockingly well written and directed. Amazing because it was hilarious. Amazingly good.  As my buddy Scott said - if Toy Story 3 hadn't come out this year, this one would have won best animated film of the year.

Also, why change the name?  I know they said they wanted to try and appeal to younger males, but "Tangled" is much lamer than "Rapunzel."  Oh well, they're making money, so kudos.

Comedy and character. These are the two things that can make or break your animated feature. It is important to have a good story and good animation, etc. But if you don’t have strong characters like Rapunzel, Flynn, Pascal, or Maximus the horse, you have nothing.

Also, someone please learn how to cut a trailer properly. It’s not that hard to make something that is amazing look amazing in the previews. Why did they have so much trouble doing that with this movie? I say a public tossing is in order.

See, Rent, Own, Die: 
See in Theaters, Own on Blu-ray

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Funding Your Film Through Kickstarter

Have y'all been checking out  If not, I request you give it a perusal.  It's a non-profit site that allows people to post a potential project (can be anything - art, music, film, technology, design, anything!)

They do an "all or nothing" funding model.  Which means, you either make your goal amount or bust.

Some of my friends have used it to fund projects before.  I think it's a really great idea, and I would love to get something going on there (I have a really great low-budget feature that I've been trying to get produced for a while now).

That said, I think it can be very dangerous for our industry.  Like funding an independant film the regular way - you should have a great story and do your research beforehand.  I think having amateurs flood the markets and festivals with sub-par work that was funded through this medium can have dangerous a effect.  Plus, the legal implications aren't completely solid.  Who owns the film?  I know they have disclaimers and levels of involvement and such, but how do you contractually work out a deal with someone who donates a large part of the funds so they don't get screwed in backend?  If someone gets a "producer" credit, does that mean they get to make creative or financial decisions?

Also, how successful can these films be?  My heart of hearts absolutely wants them to be successful, but when you work with such a low budget (relative to industry standards) the film will suffer.  I know for a fact it will.  Also, will others deem it invalid as a quality product and not purchase/view it?

Lots of stuff to think about I guess.  What do you think?  Worth a shot?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Twitterpated Two

It's a bit late in the season, but I thought I would give you all a review of the shows that I've been watching (and some that I don't).  True to past form, I will give you the upshot in (about) 140 characters - Twitter-style.


Better With You:  Honestly one of my favorites of the new shows.  I'm reminded strongly of Friends while watching.  Check it out, if only for some laughs.

Bleep My Dad Says:  Some funny stuff there.  I just don't think I have the patience for it that I once did.  I avoid it on my DVR and only watch it when it's the only thing on.

Mike & Molly:  Still funny, but not as charming as it was at the beginning.  I think I wanted there to be more build-up to their relationship so it would be a better payoff when they finally went out.

No Ordinary Family:  Do. Not. Want.  Watched the pilot, gave up on it in first ten minutes (I watched the whole thing to be sure, I was right).

Outsourced:  Liked a few of the episodes, but I haven't been keeping up with it.  Heard it's gone downhill.  Not sure if it was ever any good to begin with...

Raising Hope:  Love it.  Very funny, a little crass, and has a lot of heart.  What I've seen so far has made me happy it was created.

Terriers:  Liked the pilot.  Didn't watch any more of it because it's not particularly my tup of cea.  Too bad it was canceled though.  :(

Undercovers:  Oh boy did I want to like this show.  Sorry J.J., it's a no-go for me.  (Canceled you say?  Nevermind.)

The Walking Dead:  I really like this show.  I know it has its problems, but you should look past that and realize how amazingly well done it is.  The makeup/effects are astounding.  The visuals far outweigh the drama, but there is plenty of that too.


30 Rock:  It's been on an upward swing.  I absolutely loved the live episode.  Good things are still happening over there and they need to keep it up.

The Amazing Race:  Secretly addicted.

Big Bang Theory:  I will probably never not be a fan of this show.  Even when they're not on point.  The episode with the girls' sleepover - classic.

Community:  Hooray, hooray!  They have found their place and are comfortable in what they are doing. Love it.

How I Met Your Mother: The show is hitting a really great stride.  Funniest season in a long while.  Hooray!

Mad Men:  I know the season's already over, but damn.  That's a fine show.

The Middle:  I went away for a while, but now I'm glad to be back.  This show has the most heart on network television.  Great show.

Modern Family:  Still great.  Some hits, some misses.  Overall a lovely show.

The Office:  Frustrated, but not turned away yet.  I would feel like letting down a friend if I didn't watch each week.


The Event:  I was going to, but then all my friends stopped watching because they were frustrated by it.  Oh well, another Flash Forward situation I guess.  #missedboat

Fringe:  EVERYONE is saying I should watch this.  But I want to start at the beginning.

Hawaii 5-0:  Wanted to watch this, even DVR'd it.  Lost interest.  Oh well.

Rubicon:  This show was my greatest regret this season.  Just never had any time for it.  Hopefully it will be on Netflix/Hulu soon.

Monday, December 6, 2010


A collection of stories from writer’s/comedians/cartoonists, etc. that have had their material rejected in one form or another.  Also includes several samples of the rejected material.

The best parts of this book were the personal stories from the writers.  These people have gone through hell and they are able to find a positive and humorous spin to the situation.  The published rejected material was not as exciting for me.  Sure there were some great pieces that were never published for one reason or another, but that wasn’t really too interesting unless to study for writing structure or principles of comedic timing (not why I read the book).  Another really interesting thing was that the editor put his first draft of the introduction complete with notes from his editor (i.e. “cut this part”, “not strong enough”, etc).  I thought that was hilarious.

What I Learned: 
What I learned and what I thought I would learn are different.  I thought I was going to hear several stories from these creative types and it would renew my sense of self worth and give me confidence to move on.  What I actually learned was that being creative comes with inherent rejection.  No matter what we do, a good percentage of our material will be rejected (sometimes undeservedly).  I also learned that no one is impressed when we whine about our rejection.  Sometimes material (even though we think it is a beautiful/brilliant piece of art that no one can understand) is just not good enough (or not good at all).  We need to shrug it off, regroup, and move on.

Side Note:
This morning when I got in to work I received a rejection notice for a job that I had interviewed for.  I was expecting it, but it didn’t make it less sad/annoying.  I am now ready to move on to the next opportunity!

Up Next:  BAND OF BROTHERS by Stephen Ambrose

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dialogue of the Day

"Sometimes, I guess there are just not enough rocks." - Forest Gump

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Screenplay Submissions

I work at a television and film agency and we get a great deal of unsolicited script submissions.  A whole lot of submissions.

First off, I'm here to set the record straight people.  Unsolicited submissions don't work.  At least not here at our agency and not at a majority of the places that I've heard of.  We throw them away.  Sorry!  It kills me to do it.  My co-worker mentions how he can hear the painful screams of the dying dreams.  That's about how I feel when I do it too, but it's policy.

So now that we have that established, let me move on to my next point:  If you're going to break my advice and send unsolicited submissions, don't be crazy.  What do I mean by crazy?

- Don't send any extra "goodies" like music CD's, DVD's, trinkets, gifts, food items, coupons for food items (we seriously got one of these), artwork, toenail clippings, expensive graphics, photos, or cash (on second thought, go ahead and send cash...)
- Don't don't don't!  Visit the company/agency.  As a wise executive once told me: "That's like being rejected by a woman at a bar and then showing up on her front door."  It's just awkward and weird and don't do it.

We've had several people come in and ask about submitting material, we politely turn them away and for the most part they've been good about it.  We had one person show up the other day and after we told them we don't accept unsolicited submissions, they asked if they could see a client list.  No freakin' way! That's ridiculous.

(I've been informed that said person also showed up at a management company in the same building as us and gave them material saying they were represented by us.  Luckily the company is friends with ours, they called and asked what was up.  We said that they were not represented by us and we have no idea what is going on. )

So, all in all, don't be crazy!

Next week: Why you should keep writing.