Wednesday, May 24, 2006

LOST, In Translation

Its 9pm on a Monday night here in Italy. The streets are empty. The bars quiet. The Ristoranti nearly deserted.

Political unrest? A big soccer match? Free pasta at the local enoteca?

Au contraire. Monday night is LOST night in Italy.

And tonight is a biggie. The finale of season one. I hunt high and low for my in-laws, not knowing this, until I find them all crammed into the living room, huddled in front of the TV.

On-screen, Jack and Lock discover the secret of the Black Rock. Michael and crew set sail. The hatch is blown open.

I'm peppered, non-stop, with excited questions from my relatives:

"Do we find out what's in the hatch?"

"Is it aliens?"

"What are the monsters in the woods?"

"Who are the others?"

I smile and nod knowingly, a wise veteran of next-season American TV, and give nothing away. Ironically, of course, I know zilch. A season later, LOST is as enigmatic as ever, and unless a whole heck of a lot was revealed in the episodes that have played out (and been tivo-ed) in my absence, I really have no more knowledge to offer them.

But its fun to SEEM like I know what's going on.

Its funny... for all the cultural differences between Italians and Americans, we're united in our love for LOST.

To paraphrase, "Good TV knows no boundaries."


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Post Has Nothing To Do With Writing.

So I'm writing this post from the heart of beautiful Tuscany, Italy.

"Wow," you might be saying to yourself, "must be nice seeing all those amazing Italian landmarks."

But, see, that's where it all falls apart.

Though I'm in beautiful Tuscany, Italy, I'm staying at my in-laws. After 5 days here, we've taken exactly one excursion, to the always lovely Lucca. Otherwise, its been a lotta sittin'-around-and-yammerin'-in-Italian. Not exactly a Curillo Tour De Force (Dave, you'll get the Curillo reference in a few months, after watching NY TV for awhile).

Now... for my wife, this is the dream vacation. For me, though, its kinda like going to the Playboy mansion, wearing dual eyepatches.

Hopefully we'll do more stuff... don't get me wrong. Being here in itself is great. ANd watching my son interact with a side of his family he's never met is wonderful.

But there's a side of me that's dying to get in the car and drive to San Gimignagno, or something.

Anyhow... I felt like I had to blog and bitch... if for no other reason than to keep Grubber from giving up on us!!

Back to Teletubbies in Italian, now. Thank God there's lots of wine.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Storm Warnings?

Charlie is correct, in that this site will likely be quiet for a little bit later this month. I'm making my trek across the States, Charlie is living it up overseas, drinking his frustration away, nary a blog will be seen between us.

And of course, now it gets interesting.

Latest from Producer Dude (as of this morning): Cash-Cash has hit the states. It's in NY. You could say I'm going to visit it, but we'll miss each other because they're trying to get it to LA. Personally, I've heard of these things called "Wire Transfers" and "Writing Big Checks" as good ways to do this, but I'm young and foolish.

In any case, cash-cash is definitely in this country, which is a big step forward. Because it's hard to bankroll a film from Kazakstan. The exchange rate just screws everyone up.

Seriously, what does this mean? You got me. It might mean that money will land in our hands in weeks. It may mean that we'll have a hundred more posts of "Oooo, we're so friggin' close this time!" and so forth. It may mean nothing.

But I wanted to let the loyal listeners know, because we're here for you.

In other, me-centric news. Said Manager has officially become My Manager. Note the name change. My Manager basically said "David, we like you. Let's make this real." and I said "It wasn't real?"

But as I said, I'm young and foolish.

I've a friend (no really, I do!) who says that the only times that managers want to make things officially is when they smell money.

I take that as a good sign.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Calm Before The Storm... (We Hope)

So for the next couple of weeks, things will probably be a bit mellow around here.

I’m leaving on Friday for two weeks in Italy. Since this is a family trip to visit my wife’s family there, I’ll most likely make some time to write. But I don’t know that I’ll be doing a lot of blogging from the bowels of Tuscany, so this may be my last post for a week or two.

Ironic side note… several months ago, in this very blog, I lamented the fact that they’d almost be certainly shooting SIEGE while I was in Italy, minimizing the chances of me being able to visit the set and get a cameo or something. As you can now see, this consternation was an utter waste of emotion and time.

Anyhow… while I’m off drinking wine to the point of blindness, Dave will be packing up and then schlepping across the country. Hmmm… two weeks with the in-laws or a cross country move. Both sound like a treat, huh?

So… if things get a bit quiet, we’re not dead. We haven’t thrown in the towel. The band hasn’t broken up. Au contraire, all signs indicate that things are just getting hot. The money’s starting to maybe, kinda, sorta stir around again and we’re told that “no-really-they-mean-it-this-time.”

And Dave has himself a fancy manager. Which means I have a manager-in-Law. I’m frankly quite excited about this development because, even though his fancy manager has no clue I exist, when Dave suddenly becomes the hottest writer in Hollywood and (inevitably) kicks me to the curb, I still have a couple of scripts co-written with the hottest writer in Hollywood that I can pimp around town.

I’m perfectly comfortable being the Jerome to Dave’s Morris Day.

Oh weee oh weee oh.


Keywords: , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Just Relax, We Know What We're Doing

While we wait for news from Producer Dude and/or New Producer Guy for word on Siege, and while I wait from Charlie for word on the pages I sent him last week on our pygmy/blimp/orgy script, my thoughts turn to one of my other works.

I have a script. I've worked on it for years. It is, easily, my best work. It has gone through about 18 revisions. Said Manager really likes this script, and we've been working on it together for a while, honing it, sharpening it, smoothing it out. Making it all shiny. Now Said Manager tells me that they are going to start pitching it all over town.

That's awesome. I've never had a script pitched all over town. I've never really had a script pitched all over my room, to be honest.

And then Said Manager says "We're describing it as X (famous movie) meets Y (another famous movie.)

I'm being vague because I don't want to spoil the goose, but let's say that Said Manager was telling me "We're pitching it as Shrek meets Finding Nemo." (My script is not animated, so I figure this is as off-topic as possible.

In this scenario, let's say my script was about a family of Ogres who find happiness by eating people in the nearby village. So sure, I've got Ogres, Shrek has Ogres. I kinda get that. But Finding Nemo? In one scene, say, the Ogres go fishing and eat a bunch of catfish. That's the closest I can get to Finding Nemo. So why is Said Manager using Finding Nemo in the pitch? Just because it was a successful movie? I don't understand.

That's kinda how it is with my script. One of the famous movies Said Manager is using to describe my script makes sense to me. One does not. Except that, well, it was a big hit and is in the same genre. But a family of Ogres eating people is a far cry from Finding Nemo. Even if both films are made by Pixar.

Are there rules to this sort of thing? Anyone out there have tales of really strange movies they've had their work compared to for various reasons?

When I wrote The Eliminator (under a different title, still hate the title they went with) I called it "Survivor meets The Most Dangerous Game." The people in C-Movie land have never, it seems, read a book or taken a high school English class, and had no idea what The Most Dangerous Game was. I also couldn't be sure they'd ever actually watched TV. Eventually, I think they pushed the final film as "TimeCop meets Predator" for whatever that's worth.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Something is Going to Break!

That was the direct quote from Producer Dude over IM today.

Is that good news? I dunno. I think it means it's the latest round of "Oh, we're soooo close! Can you taste it? Can you taste it? CAN YOU SMELL WHAT PRODUCER DUDE IS COOKING?"

Here's the tangled web being woven. See if you can keep up.

Producer Dude is working hard on getting the Siege money (@ half a million) out of the "banks" in "Ireland" where his "Investor" lives. He's also working hard on a Much Larger Deal (more money, more films, more champagne wishes and caviar dreams) that isn't connected to the Ireland deal. If it goes first, he'll pull Siege out of the Ireland deal and into his Much Larger Deal, where it would be the first out of the box, at @ half a million.

Meanwhile, New Producer Guy is still in the picture, albeit behind closed doors. Word on the street (don't ask me which street) is that he's still working money out of his second money man. Right now, there's a kind of race between Producer Dude and New Producer Guy as to who hits cash-cash first and therefore, who makes Siege.

Meanwhile, why is New Producer Guy using his second money man on Siege? Because the first money man is now soooooo close to signing on the dotted line to produce another of New Producer Guy's projects, which just happens to be written by me.

So now there are four different money men working with two different producers trying to get a film made that is written either by Charlie and Dave, or just Dave.

And odds are, you'll never see any of these films, even if they get made.

Ain't movie-making magical?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Oooooh, You Make Me Live...

It’s just about 12:15 when an IM bloops up on my laptop’s screen, covering the excel spreadsheet I’ve been buried in for the better part of an hour.

This is one of the best parts of my daily routine. Most of the communication I deal with is oriented around people wanting SOMETHING. Status. Reports. Updates. Schedules. Documentation. Whatever. Whether it’s a phone call, email, instant message, or in-person visit, it’s almost always oriented around a demand of some sort.

But this is different. Almost every day, around this time, that magic bloop signals an engagement without agenda. They usually are instigated with some random comment… either a salutation, or a movie quote, or song lyrics. Which is what makes them fun.

"You there... with the funny hat!


"Again with the 'I'm here before you because I have a 3-hour jump on your ass.' thing!"


“Ollie Ollie Oxen free!"

Yes, it’s my good buddy and writing partner, Dave, with his daily check-in. Even if we have no business to discuss – and lately that’s been the case more often than not – we always have a little friendly banter.

It’s interesting how the internet age has changed the definition of a friend. A few weeks ago the brilliant tv show The Colbert Report did one of their “reports” on a guy with millions of “friends,” all of them on MySpace. While that piece was an exaggeration, it raises an interesting question. What is the definition of a friend?

Dave’s wife, Mrs. Dave, and I had a version of this conversation earlier in the week. She was talking about their upcoming move out of LA, and how they have so many people to see before they leave – and how, interestingly, some of them actually seem offended that Dave and Mrs. Dave have decided to relocate.

I noted that when we left LA last summer, we snuck out in the dead of night, avoiding the need to rent out a private room at Spago to say goodbye to all of our acquaintances. Mrs. Dave countered that it was less a matter of ducking out, and more a matter of having no friends to actually sneak away from.

She can toss out the acidic zingers, Mrs. D. She’ll do well in New York!

Anyhow… it got me thinking. Despite having a relationship that exists primarily in “cyberspace” (God, I hate that term), that is conducted mostly via Instant Message, I certainly consider Dave a good friend. Mrs. Dave, too. They’re good people, with good hearts. Plus they drink a lot. I like that in a friend, even a long-distance one.

Soon Dave and the Davettes will be loading up and heading East. Dave – I have a simple request: As you work your way across the country, desperately mainlining NO-DOZ and McDonald’s coffee as your sit blearily-eyed behind the wheel of a massive UHAUL truck, please make a point of pulling over each day around noon Eastern, and instant message me. We can keep it short. Just a quickie George Michael lyric, or line from “Babe” (the pig, not the ballplayer). Its pretty much all that keeps my going amidst the barrage of metaphorical ass-kickings that make up my job.

Oh yeah… and you might want to consider “accidentally” dumping the hybrid car somewhere around Oklahoma. That namby-pamby Hollywood shit don’t fly in Brooklyn.


Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I'm a Bad, Bad Blogging Partner

It's my turn to blog. And I haven't blogged. Because I'm a horrible writing partner. I should be beaten. Spanked. Flogged. Pick a punishment.

What is there to blog about? Siege is becoming a pipe dream. Sometimes these things happen. "These things" being nothing. Producer Dude is in a lull. Things are not moving. Producer Dude may have been on the wrong end of a "phantom money" gag. We wait, but every week that nothing happens is another week closer to throwing up the arms in disgust.

It's also my turn to work on the pygmy porno script we've got cooking. I've actually done some good work, some really good work. But it's all in my head. I need to find time to sit down and write it. Like, say, something I could be doing now, except that I'm blogging.

Blogging- the ultimate time-waster.

But I'm serious, I have the next section in my head, and it's good. It's exciting. I've got it down pat. In my head. I have to write it. I need to get MOTIVATED to write it. And I will, maybe today (maybe after I post this blog), maybe tomorrow.

Things are cooking at an unprecedented pace in my off-blog life. I'm moving across the country. That's kind of a big thing. I have kids (we both have kids. Well, Charlie has KID, I have KIDS), and that eats into writing time. I also have the work I'm doing with Said Manager, that eats up time.

But I'm not giving up or dropping the ball. Well, maybe a little ball-dropping. But it's for lack of will. It's for lack of time.

But now that I've blogged, I feel better. I feel like writing the pygmy porno. So I'm gonna end this blog and write.

Thanks you, you've made me feel much better.

Pretty, almost.