Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Spilling Some Beans

So, who exactly am I working with to make Cricket Hill into a kick-ass TV series? You wanna know? Well, I'll tell ya.

Prospect Pictures. Yup, that's a movie they made right there, Pretty Persuasion, that played at Sundance and was released last year (now available on DVD). Good movie, pretty daring.

That film's director, Marcos Siega, is on-board to potentially direct the pilot of Cricket Hill, and I'm working very closely with him and the rest of the gang at Prospect to make this show a reality.

Marcos recently finished directing The Chaos Theory, starring Ryan Reynolds & Emily Mortimer, and has also directed several top TV shows including Veronica Mars & Cold Case, and countless music videos including several from Weezer (including Beverly Hills, Hash Pipe and Keep Fishin' (the one with the muppets)), All-American Rejects ("Swing, swing, swing!!"), 311, Blink 182 (All the Small Things, What's My Age Again?), POD, System Of A Down (Chop Suey), etc, etc, tons more.

Prospect also has Barry Munday in production, starring Luke Wilson & Zooey Deschanel, and Brian Cox.

I'm awaiting further notes on my pilot re-write. It's down to 33 pages, we're shooting to make it a half-hour. I should have the notes by the end of the week.

Working with them on Cricket Hill has been quite amazing. They know their shit, and are totally behind the project.

I got their permission to mention them as the guys behind Cricket Hill. Why? Well, mainly so you guys out there can see that it's possible to get a SMART company with many contacts within the industry to back your stuff. Many of you already knew that, sure, but it may be news to some of you beginning writers out there. They found me on, not from some festival or contest, which just proves that websites like that one and can make it happen for you if you can get your scripts in shape and list them.

It's been quite a ride thus far, it's cool to have an actual production company with ties all across Hollywood to believe in your work, and eager to help make it into something great.

I'll keep you all posted as things progress.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Principal Vernon

Ah, this sucks, dead from cancer (from asbestos for corn's sake). Great, great character actor, and of course he was in the classic in THE BREAKFAST CLUB, an amazing movie (one of my faves), and in the scene that gave this blog here its name.

Paul Gleason, we'll miss you.

Monday, May 29, 2006

How To Sell Part Deux

I'm back, we skipped away for the weekend to Massanutten (a resort in Virginia) for the weekend. They've basically raped the perfect forests & mountainsides of this amazing, beautiful area and dropped thousands of townhouses across the region, and invited the tourists and timeshare owners. It's quite disgusting how this once-beautiful area has been pissed on by development. Having said that, we had a blast.

I figured I would just follow up my previous post with a Part 2 to continue the discussions. Good points you've all made. I'll reply to your questions:

What do I think about Creative Screenwriting's Contest? Go for it, they seem like they know how to run it well, seem fair (no, I've never won but have placed) and it's not TOO HUGE that you'll get lost in a zillion entries.

Script Magazine - Oh, they can suck on BOTH of my balls. Honestly, they seem like pricks. I actually placed pretty decent with them a few years back with a comedy script, but I just don't like their attitude. Go and read their rules & regs, which to a point I understand, but also make them sound like assipes. They say that don't have to read past 30 pages if they don't want to---No assholes, we're sending you 45 fucking dollars, the least you can do is read it to the last fucking page. Fuck them.

I agree that if you're starting out and have no representation, contests are a great way to go and cut your teeth on the process, deadlines, rejection, etc. And if you can place in 1 or 2 decent contests, maybe you can snag a GOOD manager.

Aaron, sorry about the hot pics, I couldn't help it.

Regarding Cricket Hill, no I have no worries. I am in very good hands.

Slamdance offers feedback I believe, which is awesome. Feedback will always help, so I think they're a good bet. Plus, people KNOW about Slamdance & Sundance. Austin is a must for any screewriter, being a finalist basically gave me full access to everything when I went, but it's an amazing festival nonetheless.

Bluecat Screenplay Competition & Writer's On the Storm (Storm is new) both offer feedback and are cheap ($35) but both deadlines are past, however, catch them next year. They both seem to be run by good, smart people, and again the low fee & feedback are bonuses. If you can grab a spot in Nicholl, then go man. That's HUGE. Even quarter-finalists get plenty of script requests, just keep in mind that they usually get well over 5000 entries so don't send a half-baked script, get it ready (deadline also past).

And if you ARE placing/winning any contests, then great! But you're not done, you work is just starting.

Look, certainly take what I write with a grain of salt, I'm just discussing my experiences, yours may be 1000% different. Again, just don't reply on contests, get your work OUT THERE. Yes, copywrite it, writer's guild it, mail it to yourself, whatever, just don't be afraid to make your script known to the world.

I've had a couple of e-mails with writer's worried about getting ripped off, well, guess what, I guarantee you're not the ONLY writer that thought of whatever idea you have, and the other guys/gals that also have the same idea probably aren't afraid to take a freakin' chance and toss it out there, so GET IT OUT THERE.

Whatever you do, GET IT OUT THERE!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

How to Sell A Script

Yeah, like I know.

But maybe I can help. I used to send my screenplays to just about any and every contest that came down the pike. What a waste of cash.

Are contests meaningless? Well, mostly. If you're going to enter some, pick the reputable ones, like Nicholl, BlueCat, Austin, Scriptapalooza. The Sundance Lab. They all at least have a track record and some in the industry do pay attention to who wins them (notably Nicholl).

But how many pay attention really? Here's the thing. I ALMOST won the Austin Film Festival's comedy competition in 2003 with my feature script, Cricket Hill. It came in 2nd place out of 3000 scripts. Not bad. And off of that, I didn't sell it. (had some meetings though, also my suck-ass manager at the time didn't help me situation). But the guy who won? Did he ever sell it? Not that I've heard.

One thing I do notice on some of these contests is the winners. Some of these winners have won multiple contests, I've seen quite a few winner's lists with the same names/scripts popping up on many of them. Awesome for them, I bet their script must rock.

But they haven't sold it yet. Contest cash is nice to get, but what's the point if no one is buying your shit?

I'm not against contests, hell, just a few months back I listed all the ones I had coming up and entered, etc. But I look back and see just how futile it is. You might have the best script EVER, and let's pretend it's a family drama. Well, the reader of whatever contest has just read 2 family dramas in a row and is sick to fucking death of them, so he skims it, and tosses it. And you're done. You should have wiped your ass with that $50 instead.

Not all are like this I'm sure. But I have RARELY seen even multiple winners of contests sell/option their work ever after taking top prizes, really with the exception of Nicholl and I believe Scriptapalooza had some options. But I doubt it was based soley on contest wins.

Market the shit of yourself. List them at places like & Do those work? Still a crapshoot, but it worked for me - Cricket Hill, that script that almost won Austin 2.5 years ago? Well, right now I'm adapting it into a TV series after some awesome kick-ass producers grabbed it off of, as some of you guys know from my previous posts. And I had a close call just a few months back with another script called The Money Shot when some producers saw it on Inktip. These sites work, simple as that.

And go pitch, there are a few pitchfests each year, go and get your asses out there and pitch your shit, man! (That's how I got Manager #1 in 1998). I'm now on my 3rd (and best) manager.

Afraid somebody might steal it if you pitch it to them or list it on these websites? Well, then don't pitch it, I'm sure it'll do you a lot of good stuck on your hard drive.

So, contests are ok, but NOT THE ANSWER. If you can place in one or two, fine, but don't sit on your ass, you've gotta do more work and get your damn self out there. Also, one of the best things I can suggest is to have two scripts ready. Because if you get in the producer's office, they might like the script but not love it, and the next thing out of their mouth will be: "Well, what else do you have?"

Rip Offs At Cannes

Saw these on-line, what a travesty these movies surely are....

Monday, May 22, 2006

I Make Myself Laugh

Just thought of a funny movie title, I picture it a buddy comedy: It's called "Dildo & The Douche."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fast Food Nation, Da Vinci, Hedge

Fast Food Nation looks terrific, check out the teaser trailer over at Greg Kinnear looks great, maybe they'll give him another nomination for this one, I got a feeling.

Saw 2 movies this weekend, Over the Hedge & Da Vinci. Over the Hedge was better. Actually, it was damn funny, and the kids liked it. Bruce Willis was good as the hero, RJ, but my favorites were Garry Shandling as the turtle and Steve Carrell blew me away as the squirrel - There is a scene with the squirrel toward the end of the movie that will make you piss yourself with laughter. An all-around well done, great-looking movie.

Da Vinci was good. Not amazing, But good. MI:3 was much better. My problem wasn't the story, it's actually a great idea for a movie/book, although the "revelations" in it are nothing new to me having taken Art History classes in college. Could it be true? Sure can. Will it change the foundation of religion? Nope, Catholics are too damn thick headed to believe anything else than what they want to believe. I should know, I was raised Catholic. My point is - at least open yourself up to the possiblity that maybe the history of Christianity isn't all true. Could there be a God? Sure there could. Might there not be anything at all like God? Also possible.

Oh, the movie. Well, a lot of movies that are 2+ hours really fly by. This didn't. I really felt ever minute of it. The pacing was off which I thought hurt it the most. The acting was fine (Bettany a stand-out) but at the end of the day it's not something I'd go see again. Would I buy the DVD? Eh, maybe, on sale. But I'd never be excited to throw it in and watch it.

Saw the full Lady In The Water preview. Didn't give it much thought when I first saw the teaser & poster, but this trailer showed a lot more promise.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

If You Live In Los Angeles.....

.....You'll probably see this dickbag, dragging his coked-up whore, Paris, behind him. Just caught a video of him (his name is Brandon Davis) thoroughly trashing Lindsay Lohan while the idiot-slut (that'd be Paris) giggles in the background with her ultra-cool cell phone stuck to her dopey face.

Pieces of shit, both of them. Look, you may have issues with Lohan, but hell if she ain't out there working her ass off (she's making like, 10 movies a month, 80% smaller, independent stuff), so who the hell is this bottomfeeder to go and trash her? He is nobody, a useless coke-snorting waste of oxygen.

Check out for the train wreck video clip.

Now, I'm not a violent guy, and I'm certainly not promoting violence, but I will say this - If you see him and Princess Asshole (that'd still be Paris) walking down the street, could you kindly fling as much dog shit at them as humanly possible? Thanks a bunch.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I like this poster, I think it works. I also dig the trailer, but I'm not sure about Spacey as Lex. I mean, I'm sure he'll be adequate and all, for all the backlash he gets he's a good actor. I've just grown used to Michael Rosenbaum's portayal on Smallville, and I like them being around the same age, as on the show, you can seen them go from friends and to eventually, enemies.

At least it also has Kate Bosworth, who is hot as freakin' hell with her multi-colored eyeballs & perfect bod.

Also, I saw the full World Trade Center trailer. I gotta say, it actually looks good.

Good ep of Lost - "Michael has been compromised." Nice.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Bad Day Film Set Memories

Yeah, I've had a lot of these. A previous post had talked about my actor playing Grandpa in my film, West River Drive (2002), deciding to bounce on a pogo stick in between scene set-ups. It wasn't pretty, but at least he was done shooting that day so the scratches on his forehead from hitting the curb & tree had time to heal.

Not sure if I mentioned in a past post about getting 2 of my main actors together (they played a girl & boy in West River Drive who liked each other and were supposed to share a kiss), problem was she GREW in the month we had seen her last and TOWERED over our boy. It looked utterly ridiculous.

Or the first time I loaded a 16mm film camera (1997), not at school, alone, in a dark closet at my house. Didn't go well. The film had come off its spool and at that moment, the anger/rage/embarrassment/etc was at a peak level. I thought I would literally explode. I eventually got it together and went out to shoot my meaningless student film (it was called The Passenger, and was about a guy who's car broke down, so he started walking.....and walking........and walking.....and walking....)

Or in 1998 when we were shooting a trailer on Super 16mm (for a script I wrote and was to direct called Driftwood) and my brother-in-law, who was carrying the sandwiches on a platter (we had a crew of 25 - yeah, way too many) dropped the platter onto the gravel parking lot. Gravel, ham & cheese, anyone?

This is a good one: In 2001. We were shooting the climax for my movie, Better Days. I was directing & operating the camera. We were filming at a retirement home - no it wasn't about old folks, but the place had an awesome chapel & reception hall and was perfect for our wedding scenes. But on that day, we were behind. A lot. Things were moving too slowly. But we had to be out of the recpetion area by lunch - the old folks had to eat. But we wouldn't be finished in time, not at all, and we simply couldn't afford another day at this place (it wasn't free).

So as I'm trying to film my lead actor run across some tables and land on the dance floor (I was in my wheelchair dolly, trying to smoothly follow him) I had my PAs trying to hold off the incoming old folks (they had wheelchairs, too) so I could get my last few shots in. And then 2nd & 3rd takes. Luckily we were shooitng MOS (no sound) but if we did have sound you'd be able to hear them grumbling around us. They were pissed, yeah, but we made our day.

Rule #1 - Be prepared, including CAST better (or more equally sized)
Rule #2 - Don't let me load your film
Rule #3 - Don't let my bro-in-law carry your food
Rule #4 - Don't piss off the old folks.
Rule #5 - Bring First Aid kit for Pogo-bouncing Grandpas.

"Let's waste time, chasing cars, around our heads"

That's from Snow Patrol's latest album, go get it. The song's called Chasing Cars.

Manager is checking out the new draft of my script Food Fight. He loved the idea & execution and had some minor notes which I worked on last week, now he's got it back. Damn I love that script. He plans to take it out as a spec and try to sell that puppy.

Now I'm polishing Smoking America, a script I first wrote back in 1999. The polish is based on notes from the one & only Scott The Reader. It's about a Nj pothead who wins the lottery & runs for President. He'll have that in a day or two.

Attached-director is reading my Cricket Hill TV pilot. The next conference call we have will discuss whether to make it a half hour or hour. I've got Season 1 almost totally mapped out. Once he OKs the pilot script they take it out to the studios.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fave tunes

It's hard to pick your favorite music of all time. But I'll try. Scott Ze Reader inspired me to think about the music from my past, the stuff I grew up listening to, the music that was with me during good times & crappy times.

U2 - The Joshua Tree: Best. Album. Ever. - Not a bad song in the bunch, from "Where Streets Have No Name...." to "Exit" to "Mothers Of the Disappeared" to every other tune on this, amazing. "Running To Stand Still." Chills. The first album that made me realize the true power of music.

Radiohead - It's hard to pick my favoreite album, it's either The Bends or OK Computer. I lean toward The Bends because of Blackstar, Fake Plastic Trees & Street Spirit, then again OK Computer has their most amazing song ever (Let Down). Both albums are near perfect.

James - Damn us Americans for failing them every time. They were huge in the UK for their anthems like "Sit Down" but every album that came out here bombed. I'm torn between Seven & Laid as their best, leaning toward Seven because of the song, well, "Seven." Awesome stuff.

New Order - They've had so many great songs over the years. Bizarre Love Triangle is my fave from them, but Your Silent Face, Love Vigilantes, 1963, Temptation, and a slew of others are simply amazing.

Moby - Play: On one of my first trips to California, I bought this album and loved every second of it, had the disc playing as I drove around town, it was like my Los Angeles soundtrack.

Depeche Mode (also known as Depressed Mood in NJ): Music For the Masses. Wow. "Nothing" "Behind The Wheel" and my fave from them, "Never Let Me Down." Runner-up is Violator. One word - "Halo." Need more proof that this album amazes - "Clean." Need another? Go buy it.

**Fun Fact! Violator was playing back in 1991 when I got in a pretty nasty car accident. Ok, I hit a tree. But it was rainy, dark, and I was going way too fast down the mountainous road of Mount Joy, PA. "Enjoy The Silence" was playing when I made contact with the tree (then the steering wheel). Ouch!

INXS - Kick. Great album, every song, from "Guns In The Sky" to "Kick." they never matched this album, now with their new goofy lead singer, they never will. That "Vegas" song is a travesty. It ain't pretty.

Coldplay - Parachutes is a great album, but when I loaded A Rush Of Blood To The Head and the earth-shattering "Politik" began, I was blown away.

10,000 Maniacs - Our Time In Eden - "My How You've Grown" will make you weep, and "Our time In Eden" is simply a beautiful, beautiful song. The whole album is terrific.

REM - Fave album? It's tough. Green came at an important time of my life (high school). "World Leader Pretend," "Hairshirt" and "The Wrong Child" are classics. But Life's Rich Pageant is my fave album from these guys. Check out "Superman" & "Cuyahoga" & "Fall On Me." Automatic For The People is a close 2nd.

The Innocence Mission - From Lancaster, PA. Umbrella is the album to get, has one of my favorite songs EVER on it, "Now In This Hush." Their follow-up, Glow, was another great album. Check them out.

I wonder how my list would change in 10 years. Would bands I'm listening to lately (Youth Group, Arcade Fire, Snow Patrol, Secret Machines, Interpol) make the cut?

How about you guys? What albums/songs have stuck with you?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

TV Pilot - Done

Okay, it's done. It feels good, I think it flows well for a first draft, and I feel good about it. It was fun to revisit those characters and expand/deepen their stories. I e-mailed it over to the Producers, now I start to eat my nails as I stress out if they'll like it or not.

They loved the 1st 15 I sent, but now it's another 45 pages since I last sent it over to them (they said to finish it before I sent more, so in the last week that's what I did - 45 pages, now it's done).

It'll likely come in at 56 pages, now it's at 60 but I purposely went over, I know I'll be tightening it down based on their notes. Their notes on the 1st 15 were easy, minor things, so I'm praying it's more of the same.

Now I'm in the process of mapping out Season 1. I already have the Season 1 cliffhanger ready to go. It's funny because as I was writing the pilot, things were coming to me, ideas, etc, and I had to sorta put them aside, thinking, "nah, that'd be better for the 2nd season."

New Managers went through my pile of scripts (I think I sent them 15, with 3 more about to be sent) and they pulled aside my comedy called Food Fight as one of the best (I agree). They had some minor notes (polishes, tightening, etc) and I'll have that done tonight and send that over to them. The plan with Food Fight is to attach an agent, possibly an actor or 2 (Food Fight needs a combo like Jack Black/Will Ferrell or Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson or Ben Stiller/Luke Wilson (all interchangeable 'cause they'd all be perfect in either of the 2 main roles)). Anyway, the plan is basically to get it out there and sell it. I'd be okay with that.

If either of these projects gets off the ground and I do make it out to LaLa land, I'll be buying you all drinks. Hope you all are well.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Tom Cruisin'

MI:3 - It kicked ass, in my book. JJ Abrahms really jump started the series with this movie, and I loved every minute. His direction was smooth (and confident), the action was well choreographed, the script made sense (for a Mission Impossible movie, anyway), and all the actors rocked.

Yeah, even Cruise.

Much better than I & II, that much is certain.

Back to Cruise - the guy is a good actor, and it's obvious he gives 1000%. (Just watch him bolt through Shanghia as proof). I just wish he'd step back from the public eyeballs, and not toss every moment he shares with his Katie out there for us to see. And some opinions should be kept to himself.

You think ritalin, etc is over-used? You're right. Tons of parents/doctors use drugs like that much too quickly, and if he left it at that, he wouldn't have looked like a goof. But a blanket statement like he made to Matt Lauer last year that these drugs in every situation should be avoided, well, that made him look silly.

You want an ultrasound machine to watch your growing baby? Go for it, I just don't care and don't need to know.

Hopefully his new publicist can keep a lid on things, although I think he's gotten too comfortable sharing his every thought and life-changing event with the world.

It may have shown with the box office this weekend - MI:3 is a great action movie, and I just think if he hasn't mad some public bungles over the last year, he'd be seeing a lot more people turn out this weekend. The movie made 17+ million on Friday and is poised to make into the 50s (millions) this weekend (on par with The Bourne Supremacy's opening weekend gross), which is a decent opening, but I think would have been better if the dude just chilled out.

Back to the flick, great stuff in there. The Shanghai stuff, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge set piece, the Vatican, etc, all well done.

And the actors were great. Nice to see Ving Rhames again, Fishburne was good (and had some GREAT lines), Rhys-Meyers & Maggie Q were awesome, and I could watch Phiilip Seymour Hoffman like this any day - he was a creepy, sinister bastard. Loved him.

And Michelle Monoghan - Yum. What a beauty, she's like Liv tyler crossed with Ellen Pompeo (Grey's Anatomy chick). Only better than those 2. She's got a great look, and held her own quite well.

Saw previews for X3 (great trailer, hope it rocks), Superman (that's gonan be huge), Over The Hedge (looks fun), Waist Deep (meh), Nacho Libre (priceless) and the Break-Up (I think it'll be funny).

Also, finally saw the Wes Anderson/Amex commercial. Great spot, and it reminded me of his wonderul humor and ridiculous talent. More Maggie Q for ya.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Star Wars - September 12!!

Finally, Luca$ has gotten it together and will release the original (as in the original cuts) of his beloved Star Wars-Han-shoots-first trilogy. Sweet! I despise 88% of all the newer movies he's done, but the old ones, just like we saw 'em way back? That I can get into.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

On A Roll

Quick, useless update. Cricket Hill is rolling along, been getting quite a few pages done of the Pilot over the last week, plan to be done the 1st draft by Thursday.

It's pretty neat to get into something I wrote as a feature, then expand it like this. I got right back into this family's story, getting back the character's voices, adding to their backstories, etc.

Once it's done I'll send it to my gang at the Prod Company. My main contact there and the Director who's attached to direct the Pilot will then check it out and we'll see what they think. I'm sure they'll have plenty of notes, etc. They loved the first set of pages I sent last week, so I hope the rest pleases them as well.

***Note - If this thing takes off, I'm California-bound, so you guys & gals already out there will have to help me move in to your fine state.


Thank you, Paul Greengrass.