Saturday, July 31, 2010
Between Two Ferns: Steve Carell
Friday, July 30, 2010
Hayride Massacre at Dahlia Creek
I was hoping I could whack my script into shape by this weekend, but it's not happening. There's too much I want to develop before I'm willing to show my reps what I've been working on for the better part of this year.
Next weekend. Seriously.
When I'm writing a script like this, I see the ideal movie in my head. I've already watched the movie in some deep dream and I'm just trying to accurately describe it on the page. Each pass I make, I'm endeavoring to get it closer and closer to that incredible version that I originally dreamed. Trying to remember what made it work, what made it resonate. What made me want to write this and share this with people in the first place. It's all so easy to lose sight of.
I need this to be great. I need my reps to look at the draft I give them and be like, Whoa... I can see why it took him a while to write this...
Thursday, July 29, 2010
"Too Tired to Do a Show"
Excerpt from this article that Teri Garr wrote:
I first met David Letterman when I was doing a promotional tour for Young Frankenstein in 1974. Twentieth Century Fox sent me to 10 cities in 10 days. As part of the tour, I was a guest on the Indianapolis radio show Dave was hosting at the time. We hit it off right away. Eventually, he got his own show on NBC, at 12:30, after Johnny Carson. That was Late Night with David Letterman. In the early ‘80s I went on that show every chance I got. Sometimes it was planned, sometimes—not so much. Often, I would get a call from Robert (Morty) Morton, Dave’s producer at the time, asking if I could be in New York for the next night’s show. I always asked, “Who died?” and then hopped on a plane anyway. At first I did it to promote the movies I was in, but as my rapport with Dave grew, I just did it for fun. And I mean fun in the masochistic sense of the word. Dave reminded me of my older brothers; he was always trying to get my goat, and he usually succeeded. Every time I went on the show I wound up exasperated. He’d make fun of me for being “ill prepared,” or he’d goad me into telling some story—like my story about going to the party at Elvis’s—when I had no desire to tell it. I’d toss my hair and threaten to storm off the stage, but then I’d stay for the abuse and come back for more. (It wasn’t really abuse, it was comedy. There’s a fine line.) I guess what it comes down to is that I was happy to entertain, even if it was at my own expense. I liked being in front of the live studio audience. That immediacy, the same immediacy I’d gotten used to on Sonny and Cher, was missing in the movie world.I would've liked to have read more than that but the ding-dang-dong site requires you to SUBSCRIBE to read more. (The nerve!)
One November night in 1985, Dave decided to do a show from his office. Not the studio, mind you, but his actual office, upstairs from the studio. It was the “Too Tired to Do a Show” show. I was the first guest to appear that night. We sat in his office. There was no audience, so there was no laughter, live or canned. He said, “This is my office. I have my own bathroom. Do you want to see it? Do you want to take a shower?”
Here's a clip I managed to find from this show:
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Hayride
I really didn't expect I'd be going to L.A. this summer. It's been years since I was there last, under different circumstances. The last time, it was fun and games and basking in the warm glow of an exciting dream career. This time, it's essentially a job interview. Me trying to prove something.
Pitching is a bitch. And I've never pitched in the flesh, so this should be... a unique thrill.
We'll see. Sounds like this is happening but I'll believe it when I'm in the sky.
In other news, I've now gotten my HAYRIDE script down to 132 pages. Whole sequences need to be excised at this point. And I need a more satisfying ending. But I think there's a lot of strong material in here. It's getting there. I just need to get it there faster.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
How to Build a Haunted Hayride
But I spent the better part of Monday finishing up the first exceptionally rough draft of this behemoth.
143 pages of it.
That's... a LOT too long.
And the ending's not where it needs to be.
If I can manage to cut 23 pages, it will merely be too long.
If I can cut 33 pages, it will be kind of long... but not so long that I'll be embarrassed by it.
Beyond the page count, I guess I just have to make sure it's an extremely engaging story. Blood simple.
Tightening up the first couple pages this past hour, I've been able to cut it down to 142 pages...
Worst case scenario: I decrease the font size.
(P.S. That's hardly the worst case scenario.)
Monday, July 26, 2010
Come See the Splendor
It got me remembering watching Harvey Pekar on Letterman back in the 80s.
Listen up, you kids. Letterman's the king of late night tv in my book and he can still put on a really good show... but you're probably not familiar with the David Letterman that was on in the 80s. He makes a great effort at being a diplomatic gentleman these days, but back then... if you got on his bad side, he could go after you.
Pekar was always the definition of "outsider". He would really mix it up with Letterman, trying to get a rise out of him, turning on the audience. Letterman had him on a few times because he made for interesting television, but Pekar started getting upset at his perception of how he was being used. As some small-town object of ridicule.
From this article:
Pekar would later tell the Los Angeles Times: "On some of the shows, I was doing a deliberate self-parody, and now there's a lot of people that think I'm some sort of maniac, you know? I think that's unfortunate — I'd rather be liked than thought of as a crazy man, but with Letterman, I've been in a situation where you either lay down and let him insult you or you do something about it. Most people keep their mouth shut and let him dump on them. I don't wanna do that."What I love about the clip below is that you see Letterman losing his cool for real. And in a medium so dominated by people putting up facades, I find it fascinating to watch a figure like Letterman act like a regular human being who can get frustrated by a person and a situation.
When I watched this stuff as a kid, I thought Pekar was some kind of monster. In hindsight, I think he was just trying to provoke Letterman into acting like a regular person on camera...
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Olivia Munn Will Remain on "ATTACK OF THE SHOW"
I was watching G4's coverage of Comic-Con today, hosted by Attack of the Show co-hosts Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn. Olivia had been MIA from AOTS for a few months while Kevin co-hosted with a steady rotation of surrogates, never really commenting on the fact that Olivia took a very high-profile job as a Daily Show correspondent.
She returned co-hosting AOTS this past week, still never explicitly commenting about her future with the show on-air. Although every article written about her joining The Daily Show seemed to credit her hosting "a video game show" as something in the past tense. In addition to the fact that she's been doing movies and has new recurring role on NBC's CHUCK.
Well, closing out the G4 coverage of Comic-Con, Olivia confirmed that while she's very busy doing a lot of dream projects right now, she helped build AOTS with Kevin, the show will always be her home and she would CONTINUE to co-host as often as she possibly can. Until G4 wrenches the keys from her hands.
It's a little weird for me because, while I don't often watch an ENTIRE episode anymore, I've probably watched AOTS more consistently than any other live/variety/entertainment show for the past few years now. The interplay between Kevin and Olivia has really made the show work—to the point where I started automatically erasing an episode if either Kevin or Olivia was out.
Even if she won't be on as often, she gets major geek-cred for sticking around.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
And I got so fucking pissed off. Like, who is this asshole? But he was nobody. He was just some guy talking to a young(er) guy, trying to offer something. A guy who would never be able to appreciate how this has DEFINED MY LIFE since I was a child.
I don't know. It's impossible to explain to some people. I'm doomed to be a writer. There's so much I want to do, so many people I need to pay back, so many people I want to help out when I can. I just feel like this is what I need to be doing right now. And sometimes I find it impossible to relate to people who don't understand what it's like to have this sense of nihilistic urgency.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Guillermo del Toro and the Hatbox Ghost
Okay, nah nah nah, for really reals—
It's a reboot. Hopefully there will be some clever homages to the Eddie Murphy classic, but I think del Toro's aiming for a clean slate. Focusing on the "Hatbox Ghost" that riders will recognize from the ride.
Hey, it's a good effin ride, man. My favorite from childhood. It deserves a movie that's at least on par with that whole Pirate thing.
After that, let's get some movement on a movie based on that FLYING DUMBO ride. An elephant that can fly? How do you possibly turn that into a story?!?
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Today, I'm very proud to announce that I've just become a starred commenter on Gawker's NSFW little sister site FLESHBOT, which focuses on wank material. Why am I leaving snarky comments on articles intended as fap-fodder? I just wanted to add it to my résumé.
If my folks weren't impressed before... well, now they have no excuses.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Best Prince Cover Ever
7th Graders never sounded so good. Really captures the spirit of the song.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Ricky Gervais Connection
Ricky Gervais linked to one of my YOUTUBE CAT VIDEOS!
All right, well, technically a cover of a Cat Stevens song. Performed by Chris Martin of Coldplay. Over the end credits of an episode of Gervais's EXTRAS.
But *I'm* the one who uploaded the video to YOUTUBE, goddammit.
And now I've got a YOUTUBE video with over 100K views, thanks, cheers.
For the record, my GIRL TALK video has 80K hits.
My Terry Gilliam video is around 67K, though Jeff Bridges posted a link to it from his blog a few years ago.
I love name-dropping. Oops, I did it again!
Monday, July 19, 2010
YOU FUCKED UP, YOU BITCH!!!
Party All Day (Sleep All Night)
Of course, a quick nap when I got home turned into an all-nighter crash.
I've really gotta work on my party stamina.
It's about smart pacing and strategizing. I've gotten better at this over the years but I still suffer these miscalculated fails. The marathon stretches can really take a toll on me, too. One heavy night is one thing but a long day into a long night—with two entirely different factions with unique energies—is another game entirely. A weekend getaway honestly requires advanced TRAINING.
So, instead of reveling in the Queens party Saturday night, I spent hours tossing and turning in my little Tomb.
I have the worst sleeps when I've had too much to drink. When it's hot, it's even worse. For hours on end, I find myself contorting myself into the craziest positions trying to get comfortable. And once in a while, I find some position that is so transcendently comfortable, I just want to die. I wonder what it is. A shifting of internal organs into a more pleasant setting? A stretch of muscles that have gathered into knots?
Well, lessons learned. A few days in detox mode before getting back on the horse.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
The Social Network
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by David Fincher
Leave it to these guys to find the soul in Facebook. I hope there's a FarmVille sequence.
A Winters Day
Friday, July 16, 2010
Everybody Loses Their Temper
I think I just like creating animated gifs of people hulking the fuck out.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I Write Like
I Write Like is a site that robotically analyzes a writing sample that you paste in and then tells you, in no uncertain terms, WHO YOU WRITE LIKE.
How does it work?
Through the magic of bullshit...
Seriously, I'm not sure what method it uses to analyze your text sample and brand you with one of the small handful of authors in its database. I pasted in a wide selection of old blog entries and the site told me...
They told me that I write like David Foster Wallace like a DOZEN fucking times. Hmmm...
I got about FOUR Stephen Kings.
THREE Kurt Vonneguts.
(Oh, and a few Dan Browns that we'll just sweep under the rug.)
Mark Ruffalo will be...
H U L K ! ! !
And Ed Norton is pissed off!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
George Steinbrenner Has a Posse
July 4, 1930 – July 13, 2010
George Steinbrenner has a posse.
Malice in Underland
I'm about to finish writing this script called HAYRIDE (this week...?) and then I'm jumping right into writing another script called CADAVERS.
HAYRIDE is the original spec that's on nobody's radar, but it's my precious spec baby. And it's running too long but whatever.
CADAVERS has a lot of hands on it already. Producers of those SAW movies are in on it. Money details and potential are hazy right now, but it's going to be the next script I write no matter what, sooo... fuck it. I'm just gonna start working on it. See how fast I can crank that sucker out. Better than endlessly chasing after open writing assignments.
Two new feature scripts completed before this summer's over would be good for me.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Harvey Pekar Has a Posse
October 8, 1939 – July 12, 2010
Harvey Pekar has a posse.
P.S. I Hate It Here
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Always Bet on the Octopus
The psychic octopus yawns and mutters, Told you...
A great day for Spain. An awful day for free blowjobs.
(That octopus just cock-blocked over 100,000 Twitter users.)
Saturday, July 10, 2010
In Defense of Olivia Munn
In this SLATE article, Emily Gould criticizes the Jezebel article:
Jezebel writer Irin Carmon's argument is essentially this: "Former videogame show host" Olivia Munn may soon become the show's first new female correspondent in seven years, but her potential hiring is nothing to celebrate, because, while she's a woman, she's not the right kind of woman. She has hosted G4's Attack of the Show for four years, and she has written a book. But, per Carmon, "her previous career path has led some"—meaning, I guess, Carmon and Jezebel commenters—"to criticize The Daily Show for hiring someone better known for suggestively putting things in her mouth on a video game show … and being on the covers of Playboy and Maxim than for her comedic chops."As someone who's actually watched Munn on Attack of the Show for years, I think she's got excellent comedic chops. More than enough to hold her own amidst some of the people they've had on TDS for a while now.
I'm actually more disappointed at the possibility of her leaving AOTS because she brought a lot more to that show than mere eye candy. I wouldn't have kept watching for years if she were just something pretty reading lines from a prompter.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Worst Theme Parks in the World
In the western suburbs of China's sprawling capital lies Shijingshan Amusement Park, a blatant example of Beijing's disregard for intellectual property. A near replica of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle graces the center of the park, and visitors are greeted by costumed employees in stuffed Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse outfits.Read more and check out the rest of the entries in "The World's Worst Theme Parks"
Misleading Movie Posters
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Remember When I Used To Be Dope?
I still kinda think of them as some people I just met at freshman orientation. Or watching the latest episode of Seinfeld in the Hayden Hall television room. Or smoking blunts in Dave's dorm room and offering to whack my deadbeat, thieving roommate.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Hell on Earth
I walked over 100 blocks.
If you can't beat the heat, you might as well wallow in it. I do enjoy punishing myself. Managed to save a few swipes of the Metrocard, but those savings were probably cancelled out by the bottles of Vitamin Water that I picked up along the journey through Hell. Doesn't help that I'm already prone to sweating like there's no tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow... Wednesday promises ANOTHER SCORCHER!
100 degree days are singularly unpleasant. More difficult to get through than it was when I lived on the Upper West Side. Times Square is like a portal to Hell.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
City On Fire
The AC in The Tomb seems to barely make a dent. It primarily seems to make a difference by comparison: stepping out of my room into the larger apartment is like walking into a brick oven.
It's so hot in this godforsaken city, it's hard to concentrate. And I need to concentrate if I'm going to finish this script...
Monday, July 05, 2010
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Letterman Wins... FATALITY!
Low ratings and high production costs have pushed NBC’s Tonight show with Jay Leno into the red, the New York Post reported today (Friday), citing unnamed insiders. “Leno May Be Next,” the newspaper said in a headline, suggesting that Comcast may replace Leno once it gains control of NBC Universal later this year. “You can’t figure they’re happy about this,” said the newspaper’s source. Ratings for Tonight have fallen below those that Conan O’Brien garnered when he hosted last year. Moreover, the network is shelling out considerably more money for Leno than it did for O’Brien — $30 million per year vs. O’Brien’s $15 million, according to the newspaper, plus the cost of a bigger production staff. What’s more, the Tonight show, whose audience is down 20 percent since Leno left the show a year ago, has been overtaken in the ratings by the ABC newsmagazine Nightline at 11:30 p.m., and Tonight’s ratings appear to have only one way to go once O’Brien enters the late-night fray in the fall. Meanwhile, David Letterman’s ratings remain virtually flat with last year, which, commented the website TVbytheNumbers.com, “is pretty good in the broadcast television world where ‘flat is the new up.’” Letterman’s network, CBS, boasted in a news release on Thursday that Letterman’s Late Show “delivered its most competitive second quarter against The Tonight Show in viewers and key demographics since 1995.
Thanks to Nicko Gaffney for the FWD. (He enjoys forwarding links without writing anything. He's one of THOSE people.)
The more exciting bit is that this was created using a piece of online software that allows you to create animated movies JUST BY TYPING OUT A LITTLE SCRIPT.
If you can type, you can make a movie.
Alas, in effect, it's very slow and buggy and I haven't actually managed to create a proper movie yet. Also, to publish a movie you have to pay REAL MONEY for "points". Sooo... it's suddenly less than exciting...
Friday, July 02, 2010
The effects of famine on productivity.
Don't ask me why I conduct these experiments on myself. Seriously. I don't want to talk about it. I've got a screenplay to finish.
After having a banana and a large plate of fettuccine with broccoli and chicken Thursday afternoon, woke up with a lot more energy and...
Thursday, July 01, 2010
With a blog, the tendency is to play to your audience of regulars. The ones who you know read. Who might feel compelled to comment. Who are likely to comment, in public or private.
Some days, it's just too damn hard to filter this blog thoroughly enough. So you end up with an entry about the inability to write an entry.
Welcome to July.