All about the prep

Don't mind me. Just lookin' stuff up

Jeez, am I tired.  The past week has been a lot of non-stop getting ready for the premiere episode of my online radio show. Since it’s just me gabbing away, I’ve been trying to compile more than enough material.  It’s much better to have something left over than to run out early.

This is the part where I say thank goodness for the Internet. While my screenwriting knowledge may not be as extensive as, say, Robert McKee’s, I still have a grasp of the basics, and feel pretty comfortable talking about them.

Despite me having worked just shy of twenty years in radio, the latter fifteen actually on the air, I’ve never done a show this long. It’s always been some  chatter between songs, or a 90-second traffic report.  But as mentioned above, the more I have to talk about, the better.

I also have to give credit where credit is due to the one and only Script Doctor Eric.  He consented to being my guest for the audition show, which I suspect played an important part in sealing the deal for me getting the gig.

It was great talking to him. We discussed his background, writing tips, and other assorted-but-related topics.  The time really flew by.  He even agreed to be on the show again in the future.  Nice.

Mark your calendars: Mondays, 1-2PM PST on, starting this coming week.  Give it a listen.


Air! Stat!


Despite a busier-than-usual weekend, I managed to crank out a kinda-sorta decent revised outline.  It’s far from perfect, but hopefully the director will find it acceptable.  When your subconscious is screaming at you to wake up and get to work, you tend to listen.  Especially when you only have so much time to work with.

Sometimes a tight deadline can make you come up with things from completely out of nowhere.  For a while I thought I was stuck, but took a step back, considered “how about…?” and out it came. It’s nice when your brain cooperates.

-This is the director I wrote a 10-minute short for last year.  I got a pair of DVD copies of the finished film, but it’s also on YouTube here.  Overall, not too bad for a first produced effort.  Only problem is he cut out a key scene in the middle that really tied all the subplots together.  He included it on one of the discs; I’ll see if I can post the entire film in the Portfolio section.  Give it a look-see and let me know what you think; feedback is always welcome.

-I found another motivator to finish DREAMSHIP here.  The logline always seemed like it was almost perfect; this is the chance to make it so and see how the script fares.

-Movie of the Moment – WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? (1988) This was playing at the movie theatre I worked in after graduating high school.  We were the only theatre playing it for what felt like the entire tri-county area, and had the crowds to show it.  I’ve seen this more times than just about any other movie that doesn’t involve Jedi Knights or flying DeLoreans and can jump right in to any spot in the dialogue and follow along.  Some of the luster and novelty has worn off, but it’s still a tight story and definitely told in an original way.  It’s also better enjoyed in a theatre, rather than at home.

K suggested V and I watch it.  One thing you should know about my child is that at the end of a busy day (i.e. school, or in this case day camp), she tends to slow down. Significantly.  Not to the point of actually falling asleep, but darned close.  She wasn’t as full of questions while we watched, but sometimes would ask why something was happening.  I don’t think she has a full understanding of what constitutes a traditional cartoon, so a lot of the jokes and gags went right over her head.  Maybe we’ll try again in a few years.

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?

A few steps forward

Just a handful of scenes on LUCY today. I’m trying to work out the transition from the opening of Act One to the page 45 twist.  It’s coming together.  Slowly.  Confidence levels still pointing upward.

I was able to fix my time problem by eliminating the California aspect completely and having it all take place in .  That Denver/Rockies climax still sounds pretty good.

-I got some good feedback regarding my 3 Stooges idea from yesterday.  The story is possible, but it would be difficult to avoid having it turn into a Stooge-ish comedy.  Consider this one officially backburnered.

Movie of the Moment: Nothing right now, but I got to see the trailer for next year’s THOR movie.  It looks okay, but there’s no sense of excitement or thrills I got from the first IRON MAN.  Where’s the powerful aura of gods on Earth?  Of an ages-old story that still holds up in modern times.  It’s Kenneth Branagh, for crying out loud!  I want Shakespearean drama from an Asgardian aspect!  So far, I ain’t seeing it.

-I think I’m officially done with entering the logline contest.  I didn’t win again this time, and I haven’t been very impressed with some of the recent winners.  Besides, I’d rather focus on LUCY and my other stuff anyway.

-Got a note from the director.  He says production is wrapped, and now he’s dealing with post.  No idea when it’ll be ready.  I wonder if he’ll follow through with the release party thing.  Hope so.

Wikipedia is my sister! My daughter! My sister! My daughter!

My apologies for a lack of posts the last few days. A combo of extra hours at work, family stuff and just being busy kept me away.

Progress on the second act of LUCY has been slower than I’d like, but that’s okay. Better to take my time than constantly be fixing it later.

I got some very nice feedback from a fellow writer about Act One. He’s read some of my other stuff and was quite enthusiastic about what I’ve got so far. Although he’s not crazy about the main character being a woman, I think it makes for a slightly different approach, as well as being somewhat original.

Because I’m trying to keep this story as historically accurate as I can, I’ve been using various websites as reference guides. The Civil War, trains, and so on.

And of course, Wikipedia. I’ve gotten a lot of very helpful info from it so far. It is truly invaluable.

Throughout the events of the story, I’ve been establishing that several of the characters will end up in California. This includes the love interest and the villain, who has also stolen Lucy’s train. I pictured a big finale taking place IN California. Sounds awesome, right?

The story starts in the East just as the Civil War is ending, then gradually heads west. That means the trains would need to make their way across the country, which would be 1865.

I wanted to make sure this was plausible, but Wikipedia informed me the driving of the Golden Spike in Utah was the birth of the Transcontinental Railroad. In 1869. Which is 4 years AFTER this story takes place.  Which means I need to CHANGE SOMETHING!

Either I move the time of the story ahead, which destroys that whole “end of the Civil War” aspect, or I change the locale of where the story ends.  As much as I hate to do it, it’s easier to go with the latter.  One of the many rules of writing is “kill your darlings,” so it looks like I’ll being committing murder-by-author in the next few days.  Like I said, it would be great to have the showdown in California, but it just won’t work.  Time to dive back into Wikipedia and find out where gold was plentiful before the railroad.  Denver might work.  A showdown on railroad tracks through the Rockies has potential.

I was originally hoping to be done with the outline by the end of the year, but that ain’t gonna happen.  I’ll be happy if I get to the midpoint by then.

-I sent the scene rewrite back to the director a few days ago, and have heard nothing back.  I don’t know how he feels about it, and he said he wanted to shoot the remaining scenes tomorrow (Sunday).   As always, I wish him the best of luck.

-Even though I thought I was done with it, I sent the logline to NORTH POLE NOIR to the logline contest yesterday. I don’t know what kind of a chance I have; I’ve entered it before, but with no results.  This time he seems to want more Christmas-themed ones, so maybe this time.  Fingers crossed.