Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hollywood's A Bitch

So for weeks now we've been teasing a BIG TIME INTERVIEW with a BIG TIME HOLLYWOOD MOGUL.

We did the interview. Dave transcribed it. We sent it off to said mogul for his approval. And then... nada.

So here's the punchline:

Hollywood is a cruel, heartless mistress. She changes her mind with the wind. One day she loves you, and the next you're toast. One day you're making out passionately on a side street in a cramped Volkswagen karman-ghia, professing undying love, and the next day she looks at you like doody.

In this case, we're doody. Our BIG TIME HOLLYWOOD MOGUL is no longer with the BIG TIME COMEDY BRAND he was running. He left. No longer there. Ended the relationship.

Now... he and I are friends, so he'll still return my calls, but guess what that means for the interview?

That's right, my friends. Toast. Sorry about all that freakin' transcribing Dave...

Anyhow. BIG TIME HOLLYWOOD MOGUL is now off working as a BIG TIME HOLLYWOOD EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, so we may still get an interview, but everything we did is pretty much craptastic, since it was focused on his role as the head of this comedy brand... the one he's no longer running.

Its a shame, really. The interview had all the usual B Movie Writers hallmarks - lesbian jokes, boob jokes, references to Natalie Portman, and even a few new nuggets like some Virginia Tech gags. For the record, no one laughed at those.

Anyhow, that officially makes this a post about nothing. However, I felt like we should explain why this wonderful interview that we keep teasing hasn't shown up. And, well, now it never will.

Thanks, Hollywood. Thanks for nothin', that is.

- Charlie

P.S. And he STILL hasn't read the raunchy comedy. This, despite the fact that he's unemployed! Rat bastard...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dave Is Such A Tease...

As Dave mentioned, he actually made contact with the elusive Producer Dude a week or so ago.

What he failed to mention was the highly exciting tease that Producer Dude left us hanging with.

So they banged out new contract terms, finally, for Siege. If all goes well, it should be in some state of production, or pre-production, or neo-natal production, this Summer. I'll believe it when I see it, but hey... I'm becoming jaded.

Dave then asked Producer Dude if there was any further word on the NAME ACTORS who've signed letters of interest to work on the film. Producer Dude noted that the two guys who've committed so far are still on board, and he's working on a 3rd "name actor" that you guys would all know.

But... the big tease was that #1 name actor (twice Oscar Nominated, according to IMDB) has "expressed interest" in DIRECTING Siege. Now... I don't normally think of this guy as a Director, but he's actually a very good one. Like... won a DGA award for one of the key flicks everyone knows him from (which I never realized he directed).

Mind you, "expressed interest" in directing Siege could well have gone something like this:

NAME ACTOR/DIRECTOR: "Wow, this screenplay is really horrible. The dialogue is trite, the action mundane, and the exposition non-existent. A shetland pony could direct this. That Corky kid from Life Goes On could direct this. Hell, I could drink a 5th of jack, snort a kilo of coke, pop 5 percoset, and mainline Windex and still manage to direct this dung-heap."

PRODUCER DUDE: "You'd direct this?!"

Anyhow... we'll see what happens next.

In the meantime, I continue to drag ass on my share of rewrites. Luckily, Dave's busy enough with other stuff to not have gotten too annoyed.

And lastly, don't expect anymore deep psychological insight from me in the future. Turns out colleagues at work have been reading this blog and I'm now being harassed about my obsession with Natalie Portman, rabbit poop, and my impending midlife crisis.

Going forward I'll be focusing exclusively on shallow banality.

For the record, tho, there will be no reduction in Natalie Portman references. Dave strictly forbade it.

- Charlie

Thursday, May 24, 2007

One Small Step for Siege...

OK, so check it out.

Finally, after months, weeks, years, decades, whatever, of trying to connect with Producer Dude, I had A CALL.

See, he's been out of the country making another film. He's in post, ready to get going on the next big thing (Siege).

So we hammered out contract details. He had given me an old contract, I had sent it to My Manager for an unofficial "Hey, can you look at this and tell me if your client is gonna sign away his life if he signs this?" look. My Manager made notes. Unofficially.

I sent notes to Producer Dude. Producer Dude sent notes to Producer Dude's Contract Dude(ette) (I don't know if it's a male or female Contract-person.) They came back with comments on My Manager's notes.

And we waited for about two or three months to connect and hammer out the final details.

They are hammered.

We've agreed on everything. he's sent the agreement to Producer Dude's Contract Dude(ette).

We're on a roll.

So what does this mean?

It means that we're probably two or three weeks away from having an officially signed contract, and getting the $17.49 option payment.

Then we wait.

Oh, and while hammering the contract out, I was totally able to screw Charlie over and get most of the money. I rock.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Birth of a Crazy Idea

People always ask me, "Where do you get your ideas?"

Well OK, no. No one ever asks me. Because no one cares. I'm all alone in this world. Insignificant. Pointless. Oh, what's the use? I give up.

But anyway.

When the imaginary people in my mind ask me about my wellspring of inspiration, I usually say something along the lines of:

"In my head."

While the truth is often a jumbled combination of "I saw something on TV and thought I could do something similar and better." and "Someone told me a story that I thought was a piece of something I could turn into a story." or "I just killed a man and stole his secret journal... should be good for another two or three scripts right there." there is also some truth to my pat answer.

Take the circus clown/submarine/bikini hi-jinx script that Charlie and I are working on. It literaly began in my head. I saw, late one night while lying in bed, what would turn out to be the first 20 pages of the script. The set-up. (I'm good at set-ups. Who isn't?) So I woke up, wrote it down, and sent it Charlie to see what he thought.

It's often how I work.

Well lightning has struck again. Literally, we had thunder storms yesterday.

And I had an idea.

Similar in some ways to some other stuff out there. Definitely different in other ways. Unique yet recognisable. Fun. Big budget. Blockbuster. Tailor-made for sequels.

So I wrote down the first 6 pages, which actually covers a lot of information. Now I'm stepping back and hashing out the entire plot before moving forward.

And it's coming along really quickly. I'm kinda jazzed.

Is this the next David/Charlie epic? Is this just the next David epic? Dunno, but right now, I'm leaning towards wanting to tell the whole story myself. But I just wanted to share with both of you the crazy blast of inspiration that jolted my noggin yesterday when I should have been concentrating on driving the car.

Oh, and Producer Dude says we'll get on the contract next week. Yada yada. And we should have the Interview with the Big, Well-Connected Guy later this week- though quite a bit of the circumstances around this interview have suddenly changed. Love Hollywood. And My Manager just emailed me to let me know I won't be hearing from them until next week.

So there's your status update.

Rock on!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bemused or Bewitched?

As long as there have been artists, there have been "muses" inspiring them.

From Viola De Lesseps, who supposedly drove Shakespeare's creative vision and inspired "A MidSummer Night's Dream" to Beethoven's famed "Immortal Beloved," Amalie Sebald, women of beauty and grace have been the real-life impetus behind some of history's most renowned works.

And so it was that I was talking yesterday with a writer-buddy of mine who's back in LA. He's been seeing a girl for the last few months, and was telling me how she keeps finding her way into his work.

"Perfect Eyes. Its the name of the screenplay I'm working on right now. Its inspired by her flawless blue eyes. They couldn't be more perfect if they were created in a Teutonic laboratory."

I was intrigued. "So what's it about?" I asked.

"Yeah... I'm still working that out. But the main character is named after Sarah, and, of course, she has those same incredible eyes."

As he said this, I remembered that the last two screenplays I read from him both had major characters named Sarah. A mystery-thriller, and a horror flick.

I didn't have the heart to say it, but couldn't help thinking... "Dude... Sarah's not so much your muse, as she is a distraction." When you're writing a screenplay around her eyes - but that's all you know about it... well... something's not quite right.

Don't get me wrong. From everything I know about this gal, she's amazing. She's perfect for my buddy. They belong together.

But... you know. Not in his writing. At some point, personal and professional get mixed and it turns out all funky.

To be clear... there's nothing wrong with inserting real life inspiration into your writing. Heck, that's what makes it interesting. I've used many scenes that were inspired by something I really did, or saw, or heard about. And many of the characters in Siege, and the Raunchy Teen Comedy, and the unnamed Lesbian-Vampire/Charles-Bronson-Revenge/Albino-Bat-Creature script are named after friends and family. Some of you readers will be happy to see your namesakes as henchmen in Siege, if it ever makes it into production.

And going back to our original example... if William Shakespeare had never been jilted by Viola, herself forced to the New World in a loveless marriage, we'd have lost some of the greatest written works of English literature.

So... I'm not saying a "muse" for inspiration is wrong. Quite the contrary, if it leads you to the story. I'm more concerned that my buddy's putting the cart before the horse in crafting "Perfect Eyes" around nothing more than a pair of... um... perfect eyes that are attached to a chick he digs.

And he reads this blog. So dude... consider this an intervention.



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All You Have to do is Wait

There's no sun up in the sky,
And the bird's forgot to sing.
But you're headed for a cell,
Then to die and rot in Hell,
So it might as well be Spring

I'll be singing like a bird,
When the jury sets the date.
For this capital event,
Whose revenge is Heaven sent,
All You Have To Do Is Wait

That song has nothing at all to do with what's going on except the title. And.. well.. I like the song.

See, we're waiting. What? You've heard that before? Writers waiting? Wild.

Waiting for Producer Dude to finish his current reshoots in the Tropics so he can focus on Siege and deal with the contract. (ETA: 1-2 weeks)

Waiting to hear back from Big Production Company on my TV treatment. (ETA: 2 weeks)

Waiting to hear from My Manager on the draft of the pilot episode of the TV project I wrote. (ETA: 2-3 weeks)

Waiting for Charlie's Big Hotshot Hollywood Guy (I can't remember what we named him before) to OK the Interview so we can put it up on this blog. (ETA: Pigs Flying)

Waiting for same BHHG to read the script we sent him. (ETA: Pigs Flying Circles Around Crazed, Naked Co-Ed Cheerleader Girls Who Juggle Avocados While Riding A Unicycle.)

So there ya go.

So I think I'll leave you with more lyrics from that cool song.

As they seal the chamber door,
Think of me who sealed your fate.
Once the pellets hit the pail,
From the instant you inhale,
All You Have To Do Is Wait.

Good Things Come To Those.... Who WAIT!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Where's My Freaking Party?

And now for something completely different. A post that isn't me whining about lack of progress on our films. Nay, verily, I shall endeavor to whine about something utterly new.

I'm not a young man.

I guess I'm what one might call a middle-aged dude. I don't feel it. I have a youthful spirit. I play videogames. I listen to techno. But... well... I'm 39. So that makes me middle aged.

And I'm staring down the barrel of a gun at 40.

I'd like to say that this impending "milestone" birthday is meaningless to me but, truth is, its not. It scares me.

Not too long ago I took a "longevity expectancy" quiz that Dr. Sanjay Gupta had on his MSNBC site. It pegged me to make it to an even 80. Not great, but not bad. And I'm 1/2way there. At the hump. As much behind me as ahead of me. That sucks.

My old man had a heart attack at 40. Genetics hang over me like a dark cloud.

So a couple of months ago I climbed onto the scale one morning. It read 220. Nearly 40 years old, 220 lbs, and a genetic predisposition to die of a heart attack any day now.

"This ain't gonna fly," I thought to myself.

And so I've busted my ass for the last couple of months. My original goal was to get down to 200lbs. 20 lbs seemed pretty manageable, and was bound to help my odds of survival. And I hit it pretty quickly. So I doubled the odds.

40 lbs by my 40th birthday in August.

I've cut back dramatically on my eating habits (1 "real" meal a day and limit that to fish/poultry and steamed or grilled vegetables). I work out 4 times a week. I'm probably in the best shape of my post-military life.

So yesterday, May 1st, I climbed on the scale at the gym.


41 pounds. I'd beaten my goal!

I don't know what I thought would happen when I hit it, but I felt like something should! A party. A letter of congratulations from the Pope. Sex with Natalie Portman.


But what happened is I rushed back to work from a lunchtime workout. My best "work buddy" was slammed and in the crappiest mood imaginable. I didn't even bother sharing.

Called the wife, who was on her way to class. A quick "good work, honey" and she was off to learn about Post-Impressionists or some freaking thing.

IMed Dave, who bitterly replied that maybe I should spend less time on the treadmill and more time on Final Draft.

Truth is... no one gave a shit.

Instead I picked up my son. We went to Target and bought Transformers. Transformers rule. And then we played with them in the bar at Outback Steakhouse while I downed an 18 oz ribeye.

Afterwards we went home and downloaded some clips Producer Dude sent us from his current movie... the one being directed by the Director he wants to use on Siege. Hard to tell much from a few clips, but it looked competent and well shot, so that was encouraging. And my son thought the explosion was cool.

So... maybe I'm an idiot for expecting some kind of public celebration of my private success. Truth is, steak and dailies with my amazing kid is better than any congratulatory letter from Regis Philbin or hot-wings party at Hooters.

Life's really like that, if you think about it. A ton of private efforts that make up a public persona. You share what is appropriate with the world, but most of the time... the most private struggles are the ones that matter most to... well... just you.

- Charlie

P.S. If Natalie Portman's reading, I'd still be up for that, though...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A While Lotta Nuthin' Going On

This is going to be one of the most boring updates I've ever posted.

And I've posted some doozies in my day, no doubt.

See... there's really nothing special to share with you, our dear reader.

Er... readers.

Not much from Producer Dude. He's back from Nicaragua or wherever it is he shot his most recent opus, and is planning to get rolling on Siege in a week or two. But for now... nada.

The CEO of a major comedy brand has yet to get back to us on the Raunchy Comedy. Despite being a dear friend of mine, he's now stopped returning emails and phone calls. I think when I sent him the screenplay I got moved from the "BUDDY" column to "WANNA BE WRITER" column in his life.

And I'm still dragging ass in finishing my rewrites on the un-named Mountain-Cabin/Monster-in-the-Woods/Urban-Rap-Battle-drama. Dave's losing patience and has actually threatened to hire a monkey to finish it up.

So... for today... there's nothing to see here.

That's right. Get outta here you pesky kids. Shoo. Scram.

But... you know... come back soon. We have an interview in the pipeline, at least. And its a good one.