The Computer Is Life – September 22nd, 2016

I finally got a replacement computer. It’s a used 13-inch MacBook Air (1.7 GHz i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 500 GB SSD).


Today I’m reinstalling apps like a beast. By the weekend I hope to be back where I need to be.

BTW, it’s INSANE how much I relied on a computer. Disturbing, actually.


Posted in General

Computer S**t the Bed – September 8th, 2016

As the title says, the computer s**t the bed.


Am looking for a hold-me-over computer until those juicy new Mac laptops are available. Wish me luck

Posted in General

First Rejections of 2016 – September 1st, 2016

Got this…

Screenshot 2016-09-02 20.12.58

Then I got this…

Screenshot 2016-09-02 20.18.35

So, two rejections in two days. F**k you September 2016.

Posted in General

Consumed August 2016 – August 31st, 2016

I keep losing time. Some how it keeps getting sucked up by the secondary and tertiary needs of life instead of the primary directives.


Regardless, we must solider on. Here’s what I consumed this past month.

Wayward Pines – Season 2 had one crazy, amazing twist. Kinda wish it had happened earlier, and we could have explored the issue it raised.


BoJack Horseman
Mr. Robot – Finished season 1 and it was good but I didn’t feel connected in the final few episodes. Still, it is a singular television show. I praise it for its bold vision.


Stranger Things – While the finale got me, this felt like a nostalgia overdose. Too calculated, too cool, It felt like the Netflix algorithm had written this show (think of how McDonald’s put sugar in their salads to make them more addictive). Don’t’ get me wrong, it was well done, but it lacked a humanity for me.


Better Call Saul – Taking the slowest cruise through season 2.

Narcos – Finally finished season one. Really good. Not amazing. Maybe great.


Casual – I hated the pilot but so far episode two is a vast improvement.


The TownBen is a pretty good action director.

The Town movie image JON HAMM

Suicide Squad – Would have been cooler as a music video.


Jason Bourne – the movie equivalent of waking up after a night of heavy drinking.


Don’t Think Twice – The most depressing comedy you’ll see. But I love Gillian Jacobs.


Multiple Choice by Alejandro Zambra – Only if you have time to waste.
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – Still the best book I’m taking forever to read.
Reamde by Neal Stephenson – Like 14 Die Hards in one book. Freakin’ excellent!


Midnight, Texas

Black Sunday

We Stand On Guard – Not my favorite Brian K Vaughn but if you like Canadians and mechs, you’ll find this irresistible.


Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five
DC Comic’s Bombshells

Black Canary – The team behind this book is awesome! Annie Wu needs to do more.


Captain America – Goddamn, Remender and Romita Jr should do another book together.


Video Games
Fallout 4 – Finally finished the main campaign. Goddamn, that’s the kinda of rabbit hole that’s dangerous for me (because I love it so damn much). BTW, I sided w/ The Railroad (couldn’t get down w/ The Brotherhood of Steel or The Institute).

About ready to drop dead from sleep. Over and out.

Posted in General

A Tale of Two Leads – August 25th, 2016

I’m just starting to rewrite a pilot — the second pilot I’ve started rewriting this year…

… let’s not race over what I just said. I started the year rewriting one pilot, then gave up and moved on to rewriting a second pilot. Why? I was obsessed with fixing the first pilot and it resisted me at every turn.


After months of racing head first into dead ends, I talked to a friend about it. I spent 30 minutes explaining the first pilot and I could see that “sorry I asked” look on her face.


Kindly, politely, she interjected, “you said you had another pilot? What’s that about?”

I took 90 seconds to pitch her the second idea. She practically fell out of her chair as her face lit up like it was the 4th of July. “That one! Oh my God, you should do that one!”


So I shelved the first pilot and started to crack open the second one. And it flowed. So now I’m rewriting that second pilot, but I’ve digressed…

As I was saying, I’m rewriting this pilot and I’ve run into an issue. I have two main characters that I adore and I don’t know which perspective to favor. On the one hand, I have the classic fish-out-of-water character. His story point of view strikes me as the easy audience surrogate. But I also feel like I’ve seen that character arc before. On the other hand, I have a character that’s resisting change. She’s kinda badass but I can already feel that audiences might not find her sympathetic.

I was thinking to write the teaser from both POVs, then let a handful of readers help me decide. But I was wondering if you had a litmus test for this.

Posted in Writing

Showtime vs Starz: Fight! – August 18th, 2016

Veering wildly from my usual navel-gazing-as-therapy posts, I need your help with one super-duper important decision: Showtime or Starz?

See, I’ve budgeted for a year of one Amazon add-on and it’s down to one of the above cable networks. Thanks to the internet, there’s a great infographic (click it to enlarge — if you dare):


But I’m also thinking about what show I might spec next year. Along those lines, it breaks down like this…

Showtime has…


The Affair


Ray Donovan

Masters of Sex





Twin Peaks


Starz has…
Black Sails

Black Sails Season 3, Black Sails Season 3, Black Sails Season 3, Black Sails Season 3



Ash vs. Evil Dead


The Girlfriend Experience


American Gods

American Gods Season 1 2017

So, help me decide…

Which cable network should I add to my Amazon subscription?

View Results

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Posted in Off-Topic

80s X-Men Because They’re Radical, Dude! – August 11th, 2016

Man, it’s been a s**t week. I need a pick me up. That’s why I’m pulling some of my favorite images from Kevin Wada’s #80sXMen call for totally awesome art! Hope they brighten your day. Enjoy.

Posted in General

The Coke Bottle Writers Room – August 4th, 2016

You know the Coke bottle figure, right? Curvy at the top, a little heavier at the bottom…


Yup, that’s it. Now, how does this relate to writing?

A few weeks ago an Amigo broke the news that he’d booked a staff writing gig on a new drama. Awesome, right? I immediately started asking a hundred questions.

Me, “How big is the room?”

Amigo, “Eight.”

Me, “How does the room break down?”

Amigo, “It’s top and bottom heavy, but a little heavier at the bottom, kinda like–“

Me, “Yup, I know, but what are the titles, exactly?”

Amigo, “There are 2 Executive Producers, 1 Co-Executive Producer, 1 Co-Producer, and 4 Staff Writers.”


And I was like…


See, this is the pecking order, from most senior writer to baby writer:

Executive Producer
Co-Executive Producer
Supervising Producer
Executive Story Editor
Story Editor
Staff Writer

My Amigo is in a room with three senior writers, one mid-level writer and four newbies. The way staffing is supposed to work, you get a title (and salary) bump to Story Editor after your first season. I’m pretty sure the show won’t promote four writers to Story Editor. They’ll promote one, boot the other three.

Man, that’s feels cold blooded.

Friends with greater experience, tell me: is this common in the modern television landscape or more of a sexy aberration?


Posted in General

Consumed July 2016 – July 31st, 2016

It’s as hot as a goddamn oven in my apartment. Kinda makes me wish I could live in the fridge.


Therefore, let’s sprint through what I consumed this past month.

Mr Robot – About half way through the first season. Super stylish but this show really is for 20 year old me. Also, I’m a little disturbed about the show’s attitude towards women (something about it is making my spidey sense tingle).


Lucifer – Really fun! Also, did I get named checked in one of the episodes?


Wayward Pines – Not bad but nowhere as good as season one.


Dr. Who

Pacific Rim – Let’s be honest here. There’s a lot that’s fun about this movie but there’s as much that makes this unwatchable.


Star Trek Beyond – Fun. Not great. Not special. But fun.

Train to Busan – More like train to snooze-an.


The Devil’s Backbone – Now that’s an awesome GDT movie.



Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – Still not done but still a great read.

Pilots – As these have not aired I won’t be speaking about specifics. Maybe a few generalities.
Time After Time – Very promising.
Cruel intentions

Scripts – Same as above.
Bed Rest – Such cleanly written action lines. Every writer should read this.
Man of Tomorrow – Wow! A great “what if…”
Passengers – Simple and smart. A great study in how to escalate drama.
Black Sunday – My friend won a fellowship with this script. Just started and so far it’s really fun.

The Walking Dead
Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five
DC Comic’s Bombshells
Wonder Woman – I love the way Cliff Chiang draws Diana.


Green Arrow
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life
Fresh Romance
We Stand On Guard – What if we invaded Canada and they weren’t so nice about it? From the master, Brian K Vaughn, so it’s worth a read.


That’s all I read, watched, consumed. See ya next month.

Posted in General

Au Revoir John August, My AFF Hi Bye Friend. – July 28th, 2016

I was devastated to learn that John August is moving to France.



Yes, I know that his moving will have little effect on the Scriptnotes podcast but John August was my secret “hi bye” friend.

John has no idea who I am but at every Austin Film Festival I would run into him at least once and I’d say, “morning, John” or “afternoon, John” or “hi, John!”

And every time he’d say the exact same thing…

John, “(a slightly longer than expected pause) Hello.”


This has been a staple of my AFF experience since I first attended but now, with John in France, I’m worried that he won’t be at this year’s Austin Film Festival. I will have no “hi bye” friend this year.


(that’s an homage to last year’s deluge)


Posted in Off-Topic