Writing Log Week 32 – August 14th, 2017

This week I attended Tiki Oasis and I drank until I was like…

So you’ll understand why this was all I got done…

Mayday 109 is a survival thriller about John F. Kennedy’s sunken PT-boat. It’s a harrowing, fast moving story and they recently locked an up-and-coming leading man.

Continuing with the war theme, both of my movies this week were absolute master pieces. Dunkirk is a lesson in pure cinema while War for the Planet of the Apes proves you can get a great performance out of a damn dirty ape.

As for my own writing, I’m moving very slowly on my pilot. I have a solid beat sheet for the first half but I hit a road block. That’s why I did some work on my other two projects. And why I drank myself stupid.

Next week: pages!

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Writing Log Week 31 – August 7th, 2017

It’s that time of the year when we all realize that more of the year is behind us than ahead. Suddenly the reality of your goals come into sharp relief.

Now, one pilot isn’t good enough. I have to write a 2nd one. And I need to write a feature. And I will take classes for both, damnit!

But there’s always time for a movie. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a great looking movie. Atomic Blonde is basically a non-stop fight scene.

This week I read two pilots. Fox came this close to making The Beast but they couldn’t secure a lead. It’s a pity because the script injects a ton of energy into a well-worn TV genre. Unsolved promises to answer the question: who killed Biggie?

See ya next week.

 

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Writing Log Week 30 – July 31st, 2017

Post San Diego Comic Con is a recovery week. Hence, the low output:

Cop Car was the first film by Spider-Man: Homecoming helmer, Jon Watts.

From this first film, it’s easy to see why the best scenes from Spider-Man radiate with energy and suspense.

Frances Ha is the best Woody Allen movie Woody Allen never made — it’s absolutely wonderful.

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit feels like a fun variation on The Talent Mr Ripley but what kept tripping me up was the dense writing style. It’s not “bad” but it flies against the modern conventions that call for sparse descriptions and action blocks of three sentences or less.

Lastly, I’m ramping up on my pilot, so expect me to fall down that rabbit hole of late night writing marathons.

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Writing Log Week 29 – July 24th, 2017

As I spent most of the week in San Diego for a bit of high nerdery…

I didn’t get to accomplish much this week:

The Sinner is an upcoming slow-burn of a series at USA. The Good Girls should be on NBC in the upcoming season.

Spider-Man: Homecoming was pure fun and A Ghost Story proves that you can make a heartfelt film from a silly premise.

I managed to do a little work on my pilot but I really have to kick that up a notch. Also, I need to start figuring out what feature I’ll write starting late September… and what pilot will follow that.

Forward!

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Writing Log Week 28 – July 17th, 2017

This was a tough week.

That’s why I didn’t do much of anything.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes isn’t the best Howard Hawks but Marilyn… DAMN!

And I have to agree with my pseudo name sake, The Raid is a quality movie.

Next week I gotta get back on top of business.

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Writing Log Week 27 – July 10th, 2017

Goddamn, I took down another deadline.

My Fiction Podcast pilot script and season outline — submitted to AFF.

In Miller’s Girl, there’s a teacher, there’s a young school girl, and there’s a misunderstanding that leads to something quite vicious.

Baby Driver was…

Shaun of the Dead is still my favorite Edgar Wright movie. As for Men in Black, it really holds up… except for that Will Smith closing credits song.

Time to switch to my pilot.

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Mid 2017 Check-In – July 8th, 2017

Goddamn, it’s crazy hot. Seriously, this is how I’m gonna spend the rest of the summer.

Regardless, it’s time for a mid-year check-in. I’d say that, despite the ups and downs (and very down downs) of this year, I’ve done an alright job of keeping up with my goals and the required creative output.

Features – At the start of the year I said I wanted to write a contained thriller. I started breaking that story, but then a news item and a friend’s suggestion sent me working on a second, much bigger contained thriller — the first feels like an indie film, the second more like a mid-to-big budget movie. I need to pick one and write it this fall.

Comic Books – I had a script for a flawed short and it died on the vine. That’s fine. Mediocre ideas should die. Now I just need to find another short comic idea.

Pilot – I’ve done some work on my pilot but not nearly enough. That changes today. It will have my total focus until the end of the summer, when I should have a draft.

Spec – I wrote and submitted my Blindspot spec to the Austin Film Festival, the WB Writers Workshop, and the NBC/Universal Writers on the Verge program. In a couple of weeks I’ll submit to the NHMC fellowship.

Fiction Podcast – This wasn’t even on the radar at the start of the year but I just wrote a pilot episode and outlined the first season of a supernatural infused noir drama — and now I’m considering making this sucker (truly, I am a masochist).

I took a Script Anatomy class for my spec and it was great. I absolutely recommend them and I hope to take one more class this year. I am also looking at a couple of other classes (will let you know what I find).

Gotta renew my passport ASAP (otherwise, how will I ever find a Canadian honey?). Still need to do something to fill the music void. Still need to develop an exercise routine.

As if that weren’t enough, this year I also followed Scott Myers1, 2, 7, 14 advice. How am I doing in that respect? Well…

I’m supposed to read 1 script a week. By now I should have read 26 scripts. I’m behind, having only read 19: 8 feature scripts and 11 pilot scripts.

Feature Scripts
In The Deep (The Shallows)
The Wall
Hotel Artemis
Hummingbird
Blonde Ambition
Bubbles
James Cameron’s Titanic
Let the Evil Go West

Pilot Scripts
Life Sentence
Reverie
Searchers
Killing Eve
Doomsday
Snowpiercer
El Jefe
Controversy
Valor
Happy!
Salvation

I should be watching 2 movies a week, totaling 52 movies to date. Sadly, I’m only up to 39.

Movies
The Cabin in the Woods
The Shallows
Zootopia
John Wick
Prisoners
A Monster Calls
Postcards from the Edge
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Sleepwalk with Me
Man Up
Monsters
The Lego Batman Movie
Lion
John Wick: Chapter 2
Elle
Get Out
Manhattan
Patriot’s Day
Non-Stop
Logan
Ghost in the Shell (animated)
Kong: Skull Island
Colossal
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
Phoenix Forgotten
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Alien: Covenant
T2: Trainspotting
Baywatch
Gone Girl
Wonder Woman
Taken
Cars 3
Rough Night
Spectre
In Bruges
The Beguiled
Baby Driver
Men in Black

I should be writing 1 page per day, totaling 182 pages. I stand at 201 pages written to date, SO PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT!

I should have done 364 hours of research and I… I’m too tired to calculate that.

But see, I’m doing pretty well. Hooray for me!

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Writing Log Week 26 – July 3rd, 2017

I’ve been working on that podcast script like a man possessed.

Heck, I’d like to actually produce the podcast. It would be my first time making something in years. Nothing beats working with actors, right?

Happy! is a Grant Morrison pilot commissioned by Syfy and I think Morrison fans will love it. Next summer CBS will bring us Salvation, a doomsday series as only the Tiffany network can do.

Sofia Coppola has matured greatly with The Beguiled but In Bruges is an absolutely spectacular film.

Time to get back to this podcast script. The AFF deadline is this Friday.

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Writing Log Week 25 – June 26th, 2017

I am on a roll!

So let’s talk a little bit about that Western script off the Blacklist.

Let The Evil Go West is a very trixie script. It does a ton of things “you’re not supposed to do.” There’s an illustration on the cover, the author’s name isn’t clear, it has camera directions galore, and it does away with slug lines, sorta. There’s no “INT.” or “EXT.” or “DAY” or “NIGHT”. If it’s a DAY scene it’s simply…

And if it’s a night scene it’s…

And it works.

I will confirm that both Rough Night and Spectre are movies. One is long. One is short.

Most importantly, I’m working like crazy to get this fiction podcast idea into shape for the Austin Film Festival. That means I have 11 days to finish 1) a 10-page script and 2) a series outline.

Wish me luck.

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Writing Log Week 24 – June 19th, 2017

Although I only wrote one page, I was back at work this past week.

I split my time between developing a long gestating pilot and a new idea for a fiction podcast (very excited about that).

I saw Taken, again, and it’s still exactly as I remember it. And that one scene, it still kicks major ass. Cars 3 was easily the best in the series.

Controversy was shot but not picked up to series. For dealing with such a hot button issue, it was an easy to read pilot.  If you love hot helicopter action, your prayers have been answered — Valor will be coming to the CW this year.

Next week, pages!

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