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.


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.


Enjoy today’s track.

Posted in Off-Topic

Donnie Darko Makes No Sense – December 17th, 2014

Ready for another SXSW discovery? For the last couple of years I’ve been attending the Brooklyn-centric Nerdcore hip-hop opening night and it’s always a blast. This year my discovery was MC Lars and his ode to a particularly annoying flavor of Meeghan, “Hipster Girl“.

Facts & Observations

  • Stephen Malkmus could eat Conor Oberst for lunch.
  • Ugly is not always the new “hot”.
  • Why always “broke dudes in bands”? Why not writers with well-paying day jobs?
  • PBR should never cost $6.
  • Kid sports ARE cool.
  • Your pro-Bush shirt makes everyone uncomfortable.
  • Side ponytails ARE NOT cool.
  • Donnie Darko makes a little sense (but only a little).
  • What the hell is “that dirty shake thing”?
  • L-Train girls make no sense.


Enjoy the song.

Posted in Off-Topic

I Want To Know You – December 15th, 2014

For the last six years I’ve been attending SXSW with the sole purpose of discovering new music. Therefore, meet Air Traffic Controller and give “You Know Me” a spin.

How did I happen upon this band? In prep for SXSW I listen to close to 2,000 songs. I make a short list of around 100 tracks and try to see as many of those bands as possible. It just so happened that I could catch Air Traffic Controller at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel as I cut across town. They. Were. Great.


As I was racing back later in the evening, I ran into their bass player / vocalist (we were both on our way to check out Washed Out).

Photo by me (obviously I was crushing).

Photo by me (obviously I was crushing).

If you dig today’s song, go support the band.

Posted in Off-Topic

A Beautiful Black Out – December 12th, 2014

Okay, I know you’re suspicious that all my 2014 picks will be a decade or older but worry not. This tune actually dropped this year. And this pick is another one I owe to my good buddy Sean. This song was everywhere but he got it howling in my head.

Serendipitously, Phantogram were playing SXSW so I checked them out.

Taken by me.

Taken by me.

Wow! They were awesome, and I’m not just saying that because the lead singer is such a cutie.


No, I picked up the album and just about every song is great. Check them out.


For those more visually inclined, here’s the video.

Happy Friday!

Posted in Off-Topic

Eileen Knows What I Mean – December 10th, 2014

Ever had one of those terrible days where you find yourself screaming in the car, punching the steering wheel until your fists are raw? I’ve been having one of those years. Ever had a song completely relieve you of that anguish? That was this song.

I have vague memories of this song, less so of the video, but when I heard it on the radio I got swept up in the nostalgia. Honestly, my strongest connection to Dexys Midnight Runners might be from a joke on The Simpsons.


Regardless, I’m grateful for this song (I want to punch myself for using “grateful”). Heck, how can you not love a pop song that has both violin and banjo?


And for those of you looking for a #ThrowBackThursday sneak, here’s the video.

Enjoy this song, enjoy the moment, cause it could mean everything (ugh, now I really hate myself).

Posted in Off-Topic

This Isn’t It Is It – December 8th, 2014

You know those moments when you hear a song and you’re instantly a fan? So it was one Sunday in January when my good buddy Sean blasted this Giant Drag track.

Before that moment, I’d never heard of this band. But this song, the guitar, the vocals, they all hooked me… not to mention that lead singer.


I bought the album and I was immediately obsessed — every song kicks ass. Do yourself a favor: crank this song and rock the f**k out!

And in case you’re wondering, I’m counting down the ten songs I (re) discovered in 2014. In all cases, I heard the songs somewhere and they just grabbed me. For those of you that don’t have Spotify, here’s the music video (but I never watch videos anymore, so they’re not a part of my discovery process). Regardless…


Posted in Off-Topic

Go Watch Carnal Knowledge – November 20th, 2014

Mike Nichols, one of the EGOT dozen, just passed away. Right now he’s being remembered for his comedy with Elaine May or The Graduate or for denying us a naked Natalie Portman (bastard!) but I want all of you to take the time to revisit Carnal Knowledge.


A once controversial movie now tamed by time, this movie speaks deep truths about men, women and sex.

Once, back in film school, I directed a scene from the script. It was the one time when I told an actress that I wanted to cast her because of her “um… tremendous talent.” She looked at me sideways and asked, “what the hell does that mean?”

“I have to cast an actress with big boobs.”


Tangent: Ann Margret… oh my.


Where was I? Oh, right, go watch Carnal Knowledge.


You won’t regret it.

Posted in General

RIP Glen A Larson – November 15th, 2014

Glen A. Larson, creator of television shows such as Battlestar Galactica


Magnum PI (there would be no Movember without this show)…

Magnum PI tom selleck


The Fall Guy


… and Knight Rider died last night.


Thank you for all the awesome 80s TV.

Posted in General

Austin Film Festival 2014 – November 6th, 2014

Holy conference, Batman! The Austin Film Festival ought to come with a warning. “AFF may cause a feeling of elation, a boost to self confidence and general buzzing about. The inevitable crash can be eased by emailing everyone you met, enjoying good brisket and starting your next script IMMEDIATELY!”

Yeah, it was that good.

While this was only my second year attending (I placed in the second round with my spec of The Americans), it was so unbelievably productive that I’m already planning next year’s trip, as well as the next show I’ll spec.

If there’s one thing that makes the Austin Film Fest worthwhile, it’s the people. The panels are great — trust me, I’m gonna tell you all about them in a minute — but the people are the reason to go. Last year my buddy Ted told me that I could do more networking in 5 days at AFF than I could in one year in LA. He was 100% right. And don’t go expecting the guest of honor (this year I believe it was Mad Men creator Matt Weiner) to buy your script but go to meet your peers. These are the people that’ll come up with you. These are the future staffers that might actually staff you. At the very least, they’ll read your script and give you notes (a big “thank you” to all of last year’s attendees that have read my work and given me notes).

One thing that made this year better than the last (and last year was great) was that my goals were clearly defined. This year I wanted to meet a potential mentor and I wanted to get into a strong writers group. While I haven’t sealed the deal for either of those yet, I do feel that I’ve made great progress. Stayed tuned.

As for the panels, they rocked. Instead of giving you the blow by blow, let me bullet point the panels I attended and share one nugget of wisdom from each.

And I haven’t’ even talked about the parties, BBQ or all the wonderful people I met but I have to get cracking on what I’ll be submitting next year.

Want one more piece of advice? Do yourself a favor. Write something, place and attend (regardless if you place or not). It’ll do wonders for your career, your self-esteem and your networking skills.

And to wrap up with what I borrowed from Ben Blacker (met him at last year’s AFF), here’s what I read/watched over this trip.

I’m still trying to finish The Strain. They should hire me for season two.


Started Masters of Sex. So good.


Loved the art on Down. Set. Fight! Gotta find a way to work with this guy.


Started Daniel Way‘s Deadpool run. Really wanted to dig in after his Let’s Talk Comics interview.


Mind the Gap. What a great idea. Who’s developing this?


Injustice: Gods Among Us is fucking awesome. Everyone needs to read it.


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. Loved the middle, didn’t love the beginning and I’d like to rewrite the end.

Illustration by Clifford Harper/Agraphia.co.uk

… did I mention that AFF gave my confidence a real boost?