Random thoughts, general musings, that sort of thing

Nothing to do with today's post. I just love their chemistry.
Nothing to do with today’s post. I just love their chemistry.

-My western failed to make it through the first round of Scriptapalooza, which makes me 0 for 4 so far this year. I’m not counting the top 20 percent ranking for the Nicholl; that’s like getting Honorable Mention. At this point, I’ve pretty much written off its chances for Austin.

My problem was overconfidence in the script. I thought it was solid enough, but apparently not. It’s not the first time this has happened to me, but I’ll be more careful about it in the future.

I still believe in this script, which is why I’ve been so gung-ho about rewriting it. The past two weeks have been all about making it better. After completing the latest round of edits, it’s now 8 pages shorter, and still some further fine-tuning to do, which hopefully won’t add more than 2-3.

-Never realized how much my characters repeat things in dialogue. “I need you go to the store.” “The store? Why?” Must be the influence of listening to so much old-time radio. Cutting all of those probably amounted to at least half a page.

-I cut at least 5(!) separate situations where the Wilhelm Scream could be used.

-Had a great lunch-chat with one of my working writer pals yesterday. While he was very supportive and encouraging, he also reminded me of the almost insurmountable task of a new, unproven writer breaking in with a high-budget script.

“Your chances improve when you offer something that won’t cost a lot to make. A lot more people can get something made for under $5 million, rather than $50 million, let alone $100-200 million.”

As it should have, it got me thinking. Do I have any stories like that? It took the bike ride home and digging through some old flash drives to discover I did. Maybe about 5 or 6, all of them just a logline and not much else.

It’s a start.

-Movie of the Moment: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014). Loved it. Great story, great characters (and their development). Maybe my only complaint was the bombardment of exposition in the first 20 minutes. Other than that, a lot of fun.

Biggest pleasant surprise: Dave Bautista as Drax.

Biggest almost-catastrophe: Adam Sandler as a potential voice for Rocket. Somebody thought this was a good idea?

It’s really impressive how much of an effort Marvel puts into their stories and characters. I sincerely hope DC and Warner Brothers can take a lesson from this.

Ear candy

From our mouths to your ears

If it’s not raining, I ride my bike to work.  Since it could still be considered the middle of the night when I do (4AM), it’s pretty quiet.  My iPod helps make the ride a little more tolerable.

Probably unlike a lot of people, I don’t do a lot of music. At first it was old radio shows, which I still enjoy, but some of them are starting to lose their luster and I’m slowly adding more podcasts into the mix.

The appeal of the radio shows comes from the quality of the writing, which could be extremely good.  They didn’t call it ‘theatre of the mind’ for nothing.  Even decades later, a lot of the material still works.  You can’t go wrong with a solid episode of Jack Benny or The Shadow.  It’s also fascinating how a show serves as a time capsule, preserving a moment 60 or 70 years in the past.

A few years ago, I attended a panel discussion about old time radio. I must have been the only person there under 55.  The guest of honor was an actor who had been on The Lone Ranger for a few years; his name currently escapes me.  They recreated parts of well-known shows, commercials and jingles and an episode of The Lone Ranger, complete with sound effects.  Probably not the same as watching it back in the day, but still fun.

While there’s no direct modern equivalent, podcasts come pretty close. There are shows covering just about every subject you could think of.  In my case, most of them deal with film (Filmsack), writing (Scriptcast) or a slightly different take on current events (The Bugle and Wait, Wait, Don’t  Tell Me!).  And for overall entertainment value, you can’t go wrong with The Dinner Party or The Nerdist.

The only downside to all this great material is that I can’t listen to it when I want to write. It’s great for bike rides, runs or working in the kitchen, but for work on the outline or pages, that’s when the music kicks in and I thank my lucky stars for the wonderful gloriousness that is Pandora.

What are you listening to these days?