I’m A Terrible Groundling – January 22nd, 2015

“Doing something new/scary/out of my comfort zone” is a pretty goddamn popular New Year’s Resolution. Personally, I hate making resolutions but I did it. I did something that pushed me far out of my comfort zone. I became a Groundling.

The_Groundlings

Okay, actually I just took a class. I took a class so introductory that it’s more basic than their “Basic” class. It was a fundamentals of improvisation and I sucked. I’m a terrible improviser. I would say that I had one successful scene where I used what I learned.

Okay, no, I’m not sharing this because I made a second resolution to publicly spank myself more.

community_gillian-jacobs_alison-brie_spanking

I’m sharing because taking this class lit up a creative corner in me that had long been dormant. While watching other people’s scenes, I found myself mentally arm-chair directing. Goddamn it, I want to direct again.

Let’s be honest, after I made a feature that’ll never see the light of day (you know both Kubrick and Tarantino had one of those, too), I’ve been extremely gun shy. That’s one reason why I’ve been concentrating on writing. But the beast has awoken. I have to direct, I’m pretty sure it’ll be a short and it has to be at least as good as one of these. Of course this is after I write my pilot, my spec, my feature and my comic (both of them).

Maybe “making a short film” should be a 2016 resolution.

Posted in General

Witchy Woman of the Wild West – January 15th, 2015

Last year I wrote my first comic book script and like a fat kid armed with a tasting spoon at Baskin Robbins, I couldn’t stop at just one. That’s why I’m entering the Top Cow Talent Hunt for the second year in a row and this time I’m writing a Witchblade script.

Witchblade_Silvestri

Yeah, that’s right, she fights evil while wearing a razor sharp bikini… hold on, is that angle distracting?

Color__WB125_Variant_by_hideki

That’s better. Now where was I?

Oh, right, for this year’s Top Cow Talent Hunt I’m writing a Witchblade script. As you’re allowed to write for any bearer of the Witchblade, past, present, or future, and I just watched the Criterion Collection edition of Stagecoach (directed by John Ford), I’ve set myself to write about Enola, the Wild West bearer of the Witchblade.

Witchblade-Outlaw_Cover

With my TV pilot writing class starting next week, and a commitment to share something with my writing group in February, I need to have a solid draft of this script by the end of January. Challenge accepted.

And because I don’t have enough art of scantily clad women in this post, here’s my favorite Witchblade cover.

Witchblade_161_A

Wish me luck.

Posted in Writing

Spec The Show You Brought To The Dance – January 8th, 2015

As I’m finishing up the research for my next spec, a Hannibal, I felt it — that cold splash of panic that asks, “are you sure?” Why the panic? I think it’s because I just read the Austin Film Festival second rounder notes for my spec of The Americans. As a second rounder, I get two sets of notes. The first were complimentary with some well reasoned critique. The second set ripped me to shreds. It was bracing, to say the least.

I’m very proud of my script for The Americans but it was a challenge. I picked a challenging show to spec. I knew that going in. The show wasn’t the obvious choice for me, as a writer. I could have picked a show better suited for my talents but I wanted to challenge myself. And I did. And Hannibal is another challenging show. Maybe I’d be better off writing something that’s an easier fit for my voice, like The 100

The-100_Cast

or Agent Carter.

Agent-Carter_Poster

So that knee jerk reaction has made me rethink my choice. Maybe I should save the daring for a pilot and play it safe with the spec? Or maybe I should stick with my first choice.

Hannibal_Verger

What do you think?

Posted in Writing

Looking Ahead to 2015 – January 1st, 2015

Welcome to 2015. Do you have big plans for this year? I do. Maybe too many big plans. As I said in my last post, I’ve been doing well writing my TV specs but it’s time to do more. So what are my writing goals for 2015? I hope to write a…
Feature – So far I’ve done some brainstorming and a basic half-page outline
Pilot – I’ve started breaking the story into acts (teaser plus five)
Comic Book – I’d like to do three 10-page stores this year
Web Comic Strip – I’d like to start posting strips by March.
TV Spec – I’ll be writing a Hannibal to submit to the fellowships and contests.

Hannibal-Lecter-TV

That’s a lot. For that kind of ambition, I need support. That’s why I’m taking a class via UCLA Extension. That’s why I’m joining a writing group. I know what I can do alone. I need to do better. I need to level up.

On the more fun front, I’d also love to do some international traveling this year. I don’t think I could travel very far, so maybe Canada. That counts as a foreign country, right?

Also, I’m not going to SXSW this year. That bums me out but after 6 (or possibly 7) straight years attending, I need a break. That also means I need to find another way to inject as much music into my life as humanly possible. Any recommendations?

Lastly, I need to better round out my life. How, I don’t know. Please, offer a recommendation.

Here’s hoping you have a great 2015.

Posted in General, Writing

A Look Back at 2014 – December 31st, 2014

Was your 2014 a goddamn roller coaster ride? Mine was. There were lows, there were highs. One of which was finishing my third spec and making it to the Second Round of the Austin Film Festival Writers Conference (as well as making the semifinals of the Final Draft Big Break Contest).

FX-TheAmericans_Elizabeth_Look

For those keeping score, I’ve placed three times at Austin with specs for The Americans, Nikita, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. To me, that’s definitive proof that I can write. Television is a good arena for me. Now I need to level up… but that’s for my next post. Let’s get to the fun. Let’s get to my “Favorite _____ of the Year”. Ready? Let’s do this!

Favorite Movie of the Year – Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy was pure fun, an unexpected joy. With this movie Marvel proves they can do just about anything and we’ll go see it.

GotG_Group

Here’s to many more years of fostering good will amongst the fans.

Favorite Line from a Movie This Year – Snowpiercer

Favorite Album of the Year – Year of the Caprese by Cherub

Cherub_Year-Caprese

Cherub was my discovery of 2014, my favorite live act of SXSW and their album is equally awesome. Go. Pick. It. Up.

Favorite Book of the Year – Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Colorless-Tsukuru_Cover

I enjoyed the hell out of this book. Yes, I wanted to truncate the first third, loved the second third, and wanted to rewrite the final third but the language is so lush, so seductive, it’s irresistible.

Favorite Comic of the Year – Injustice: Gods Among Us

I’m not that familiar with the DCU — I grew up a Marvel kid — but the Injustice books are an awesome introduction to the characters.

InjusticeGodsAmongUs_Cover

Yes, it’s an alternate universe not beholden to company wide events but it’s such a great, heartfelt story that you won’t feel cheated. If you want to get into DC comics, this is the best introduction.

Favorite Game of the Year – Destiny

Destiny_Screenshot

I know. Everyone hates the game. The acting is awful but it hooked me… for about 3 months straight, until the first DLC dropped. Plus we can thank them for this awesome music video.

Favorite Television Show of the Year – Hannibal

What ya cooking, Dr. Lecter?

What ya cooking, Dr. Lecter?

I loved the first season of Hannibal and I couldn’t fathom how the second season could get any better. But it did. It was freaking awesome. I’m very excited for the third season. But let me also say that over the Xmas break I discovered The 100.

The100_PromoArt

How did I just discover this awesome show?

Favorite Animated Show of the Year – Rick and Morty

rick-and-morty

You must watch this phenomenal show. Need proof? The best thing about Rick and Morty is that it can have both DMX and Mazzy Star as part of their soundtrack.

And with that, I say adios to 2014.

Posted in Off-Topic

Capping Off 2014 with Doses & Mimosas – December 29th, 2014

If you don’t know Cherub, listen to this track and prepare to get hooked on Doses & Mimosas.

And if you liked that, you will love them live. I caught them playing the backyard of a bar in Austin and they rocked the hell out of SXSW.

Cherub-Band

In fact they were my favorite act of the festival and my favorite new act of 2014. Go ahead, dig in to “Doses & Mimosas” and dance your butt off to Cherub.

Posted in Off-Topic

A Spoon Full of New York – December 26th, 2014

I’ve been listening to Spoon for many years and wrote them off a long time ago; they just stopped surprising me. Then this song, off their latest album, got me to lean in.

See, for me, Spoon might be the definition of constancy.

spoon

After a spin or two, I found myself bored by their albums. Then something about the production on this one got to me. I can’t pin down the je ne sais quoi of this tune but I find it irresistible.

Enjoy.

Posted in Off-Topic

Haley Bonar Under The Xmas Tree – December 24th, 2014

Haley Bonar might be the best kept secret in music. I first caught her at the 2011 SXSW music festival and have been smitten ever since. Upon first glance you’re positive you’ve got her number.

Haley_Bonar

Then she’ll slip into a song that blows up your expectations. This is one of those songs. Enjoy “Last War“.

On this Christmas eve, when we are all looking forward to surprises, trust in me. Go pick up her album, listen to this track and get lost in Haley.

Merry Christmas.

Posted in Off-Topic

Under The Best Pressure – December 22nd, 2014

Have you ever downloaded an album just because? Well, I did just that with the latest by The War on Drugs and I was transfixed by their opener “Under the Pressure“.

It’s a lovely, lush dream of a song with a 4-minute guitar outro.

WaronDrugsBand

I know, that might sound like a challenge or a turn off but plug in some headphones, cast your eyes on the distant horizon and let this song wash over you.

This song haunted me for months. Maybe it’ll hit you in a similar way.

Posted in Off-Topic

When The Moment Is Now – December 19th, 2014

Want one more SXSW discovery? Here’s Aussie Mia Dyson and her awesome song “When The Moment Comes“.

I could go on and on about this tune but sometimes you just need to shut-up and listen to a bad-ass lady rock out.

MiaDyson

Enjoy today’s track.

Posted in Off-Topic