Friday, April 29, 2011

Addressing the Notes

I'm close. Oh, so heartbreakingly close to the finish line.

I've got a flimsy page of notes to address for this script draft. Feedback from the producers.

A major pain-in-the-arse note can be addressed with one deft line. A change in wording, the addition of a sentence.

Occasionally, addressing a note may require the addition of an entire scene, or series of scenes.

Sometimes the note is more overarching and you're forced to comb through the script, making adjustments along the way to fully address the issue.

And even after you've finished checking off all the notes, all your fixes are up for second-guessing.

I've got to finish today. I want them to have the weekend to go through it.

I keep such dreadful hours during deadline weeks.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stacked Actors

Most people think of Sydney Pollack's TOOTSIE as that comedy where Dustin Hoffman dresses in drag. What makes the movie so great, however, is that it ISN'T just a movie where Hoffman dresses in drag. Whereas so many inferior movies after it would exploit that simple sight gag of a man in drag (MRS. DOUBTFIRE, TO WONG FOO, PRISCILLA QUEEN OF OVERRATED MOVIES), TOOTSIE is not a movie about cross-dressing.

It's a movie about an unemployed actor in NYC who's so desperate for work that he crosses a line to land a role. And it doesn't shy away from dealing with gender roles in the workplace, in pop culture, in the regular world.

Watch it again. It actually takes the world of struggling NYC actors pretty seriously. We see acting classes, we see auditions. Even better, we get a glimpse of that world in early 1980s NYC... and more and more, I adore seeing glimpses of what NYC was like back when I was a kid.

It's a comedy but you don't find many comedies like this anymore. The characters aren't a bunch of cartoons. These are characters with depth who aren't trying to be funny. They're just thrown into these absurd situations.

My folks took me to this movie when I was a little kid because my parents were awful at parenting and they didn't like taking us to kids movies because then they'd get bored. I remember kind of enjoying this movie when I was a kid, on some Looney Tunes level. Revisiting it as an adult at different stages, it's remarkable how I've grown to appreciate so many different aspects of it that just blew by me before. The roller coaster of a career in the entertainment industry. The struggle of trying to level up your career. The doubt and desperation that sets in as you get to the stage where you start to question what you're doing and how much you've really accomplished. The loneliness. The fear. Seeing this simultaneously reminds me of how much simpler life was when I was a kid and makes me appreciate the adult complexity that went into this film.

Everyone is so good in this, too. Dustin Hoffman. Bill Murray. Teri Garr. Dabney Coleman. Charles Durning. Jessica Lange. Sydney Pollack. They all get brilliant moments. I think the ending (mild spoiler) is one of the greatest endings to a romantic comedy ever... because it ends with the tentative beginning of a friendship. No fireworks and kisses. Rather, a sense of caution. A step toward trying to trust someone.

Watch this movie again, seriously. It's on cable television. I'm pretty sure it's available to rent, as well.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Agassi's Final Match

Saturday, April 23, 2011

In the Darkroom!

1981's anthology thriller series "THE DARKROOM" features the most unsettling opening title sequence. And this is the one episode I remember. Vividly. Because as a kid, the domestic violence set off alarms and made everything more *real*.

Friday, April 22, 2011

In the Weeds

[Some TGIF Gameboy music for you.]

I was doing so well with juggling deadlines but no one can squander a lead like I can.

No use bruising myself over it all.

Wednesday night was bad. So bad it wiped out all of Thursday's productivity.

The way I live: Mistakes were made yesterday; we learn from them and do better today.

Friday, we're back on the horse.

There are times when I think I've got it all figured out. And then it starts to fall apart.

Here's a fun way for foodies to kill some time: Pasta Porn. (I've hit two of the NYC entries.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kevin Jarre Has a Posse

Kevin Jarre
August 6, 1954 – April 3, 2011

Who was Kevin Jarre...?

Excerpt from AICN post:
There's only 5 feature film scripts credited to Kevin - Including RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II, GLORY, TOMBSTONE, THE DEVIL'S OWN & THE MUMMY... But none of those films quite lives up to Jarre's words. The closest being TOMBSTONE...

Kevin Jarre was a man that wrote fantastic scripts, you'd read them and then watch as something went wrong. Like on THE DEVIL'S OWN, when the producers decided to completely rework the script solely to get Harrison Ford's part on equal footing with Brad Pitt's character - when originally, it was a brilliantly focused, perfectly balanced story about a young man choosing a very dark path. It was perhaps Kevin's best script - he received two credits on the film, one for story and one for screenplay. Sadly, the screenplay barely resembled the end product. Fantastic scenes were nixed along the way on GLORY. THE MUMMY became an entirely different film being an out and out period horror film.
And he's one of the fortunate ones: a screenwriter whose work has actually been produced.

Died of a heart attack in L.A. I'm a screenwriter and I had no awareness of this guy's life or death. Just passed under the radar.

And this is one of the better case scenarios I've got to look forward to...?

Cast Away

Excerpt from Andrew Agassi's (awesome) autobiography OPEN, p 8-9:
Tennis is a sport in which you talk to yourself. No athletes talk to themselves like tennis players. Pitchers, golfers, goalkeepers, they mutter to themselves, of course, but tennis players talk to themselves—and answer. In the heat of a match, tennis players look like lunatics in a public square, ranting and swearing and conducting Lincoln-Douglas debates with their alter egos. Why? Because tennis is so damned lonely. Only boxers can understand the loneliness of tennis players—and yet boxers have their corner men and managers. Even a boxer's opponent provides a kind of companionship, someone he can grapple with and grunt at. In tennis you stand face-to-face with the enemy, trade blows with him, but never touch him or talk to him, or anyone else. The rules forbid a tennis player from even talking to his coach while on the court. People sometimes mention the track-and-field runner as a comparably lonely figure, but I have to laugh. At least the runner can feel and smell his opponents. They're inches away. In tennis you're on an island...
Try being a screenwriter.

(I'm rather fond of Andre Agassi's autobiography, if I've not made that clear.)

I've a whole team of people representing me and I *maybe* see some of them once or twice a year. Otherwise, I'm on my own.

I'm my own trainer. I give myself pep talks. I'm sure I make the work harder than it needs to be on a journey toward finding a better way to get it all done. And what a stunningly lonely journey it is. At least during these lean years. The level one years when you're just trying to establish your name.

Have you done anything I've seen?

No but you'll hear about me soon.

I'm certain of this.

It's 4/20. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Image is Everything

Excerpt from Andrew Agassi's (awesome) autobiography OPEN, p 130-131:
Even though I'm a punching bag for sportswriters, big companies beg me to pose with their products. In the middle of 1989 one of my corporate sponsors, Canon, schedules a series of photo shoots, including one in the wilds of Nevada, in the Valley of Fire. I like the sound of that. I walk every day through a valley of fire.

Since the ad campaign is for a camera, the director wants a colorful setting. Vivid, he says. Cinematic. He builds an entire tennis court in the middle of the desert, and as I watch the workmen I can't help thinking of my father building his tennis court in his desert. I've come a long way. Or have I?

For a full day the director films me playing tennis by myself, the flame-red mountains and orange rock formations in the background. I'm weary, sunburned, ready for a break, but the director isn't done with me. He tells me to take off my shirt. I'm known for taking off my shirt, in moments of teenage exuberance, and throwing it into crowds.

Then he wants to film me in a cave, hitting a ball at the camera, as if to shatter the lens.

Then, at Lake Mead, we film several scenes against the watery backdrop.

It all seems silly, goofy, but harmless.

Back in Vegas we do a series of shots on the Strip, then around a swimming pool. As luck would have it, they choose the pool at good old Cambridge Racquet Club. Finally, we set up for one last shot at a Vegas country club. The director puts me in a white suit, then has me drive up to the front portico in a white Lamborghini. Step out of the car, he says, turn to the camera, lower your black sunglasses, and say, Image is Everything.

Image is Everything?

Yes. Image is Everything.

Between takes, I look around in the crowd of spectators I see Wendi, the former ballgirl, my childhood crush, all grown up. Now she's definitely come a long way since the Alan King tournament.

She's carrying a suitcase. She's just dropped out of college and she's just come home. You were the first person I wanted to see, she says.

She looks beautiful. Her brown hair is long, curly, and her eyes are impossibly green. She's all I can think about while the director is ordering me around. As the sun goes down, the director yells, Cut! That's a wrap! Wendi and I jump into my new Jeep, the doors and top off, and go roaring away like BOnnie and Clyde.

Wendi says, What was that slogan they kept making you say into the camera?

Image is Everything.

What's that supposed to mean?

Beats me. It's for a camera company.


Weeks later I begin to hear this slogan twice a day. Then six times a day. Then ten. It reminds me of those Vegas windstorms, the kind that begin with a faint, ominous rustling of leaves, and ultimately turn into high-pitched, gale-force, three-day blows.

Overnight the slogan becomes synonymous with me. Sportswriters liken this slogan to my inner nature, my essential being. They say it's my philosophy, my religion, and they predict it's going to be my epitaph. They say I'm nothing but image, I have no substance, because I haven't won a slam. They say the slogan is proof that I'm just a pitchman, trading on my fame, caring only about money and nothing about tennis. Fans at my matches begin taunting me with the slogan. Come on, Andre—image is everything! They yell this if I show any emotion. They yell it if I show no emotion. They yell it when I win. They yell it when I lose.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Taxing Day

Dealing with taxes is one of the biggest pains of adulthood. Made all the more worse when you just know you're going to get taken to the cleaners. It's like being forced to fill out paperwork for your own execution.

The accountant's got my papers and (I assume) he's filed for the proper extensions, so this is something I'm not going to deal with for a spell.

What's important now is focusing on this year's scores.

Endeavoring to crank out another draft of the CADAVERS script over the course of this week. The new notes involve some challenges but I know that I can crack them.

I am so close now.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Aperitif for Destruction

Noelle LeBlanc of DAMONE does a cover of "You Could Be Mine" that I approve of:

And then we have Richard Cheese's LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE offering an amusing cover of the "Welcome to the Jungle" anthem:


D+ :'-(


After some meditation, I'm lowering my performance last night a full letter grade to a C-.

I'm So Gifted at Finding What I Don't Like the Most

I loooove first dates!!!

Please. Give me at least 20 more years of first dates. Because they are, without fail, the best times ever.

Because I'm completely mental, I find that I grade myself during and after a first date. Doesn't matter how attracted I am to the girl. (Though if I'm legitimately attracted to her, the grade tends to skew harsher.) I'm analyzing body language, awkward silences, moments of connection, moments of disconnection. There is a science to this. A sad, desperate science.

I give my Thursday night performance a B-. That is out of generosity because I don't believe I flat-out embarrassed myself.

I've had tepid first dates that have turned into full-fledged relationships so it's difficult to say with absolute certainty... but I don't think this one's going to lead into a second date. (If it does, I will delete this entry.)

She was really cute, though.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

David Byrne forces Charlie Crist to make a YOU TUBE video

Out on a Limb

Was my mom friends with Shirley Maclaine years ago?

This was the question I kept asking myself during and after this dream I had Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. I am writing this Wednesday morning, trying to hold onto what remains of the already fleeting details.

It was some sort of event that seemed like part reunion, part celebrity promotional thing. A part of it took place in a house that was supposed to belong to a friend's family (David Michael Cohen's), although it wasn't. (His dad appeared in the dream.)

Shirley Maclaine was there and she greeted me warmly. She remarked on how I've grown and how great I look and referenced the times she spent with my family when I was younger. And I had a memory of those times. Vaguely.

Toward the end, when she was leaving, she slipped me a note that was so clear—I was in that strange half-dreaming / half-awake stage and I felt the urge to copy down the full contents of the note so that I could remember it. And I didn't. But I remember the end of the note, which said something to the effect of:

"I was really high on acid when I met your mother for the first time. Then I met all of you and I thought that this was a sort of interesting family, living in quite an affluent neighborhood, and I wanted to be a part of that for a while..."

Former Attack of the Show cohost Olivia Munn was also in the dream...

[Here are a few pictures of Olivia Munn.]

She was part of the same promotional/reunion event. She was familiar with my work somehow. Or at least the existence of my career.

She wore a white dress.

We exchanged some introductory pleasantries. She was friendly and funny—just as I'd always hoped she would be! For some reason, we started speaking with the Anjelah Johnson Vietnamese nail salon voice to each other.

When she left, she gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I noticed her lips were a little dry. Using the same nail salon voice, she said I was so talented. I told her she was so pretty. We both laughed. Both knowing, in our own ways, that this would probably be the last interaction we would ever have with one another.

And that's most of what I can remember of the dream. Aside from fading clips of imagery and scenes that no longer connect to a larger narrative. I'm not sure what it all means. I've been told that I over-analyze—and I've been making some effort to relax and just let forever be—but I also think that over-analyzing helps me with my writing.

It wasn't a bad dream. There were some positive reinforcements; it wasn't a dream where my brain just cooks up a bunch of scenarios where I beat myself up. When we were kids, my sister went through a phase where she was way into Shirley Maclaine. SM is a woman in the twilight of her career whereas OM is on the rise: career trajectory is heavily on my mind right now. (As if it ever isn't.)

Career. Family. Fame.

I've got a lot to do in the next two weeks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New York City, 1970s

Oh No! Not You Again!

Tuesday night and my detox week has already been derailed!

It's all right.

I've discovered a new drink to replace my standard Tanqueray & tonic:

Tanqueray & soda water. Less filling, tastes good enough.

Closer and closer and closer to covering all my deadlines, O My Brothers and Only Friends. Just a few moments of inspiration away from completing the new treatment for the new project. Done this week without question. That's Malice's lock of the week!

Jesus... it's so late into April already...

If I could only find a way to stop time...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Find It, Fuck It, Forget It

Some people can afford to be good.

I need to be better than that.

I can't just try my best. I need to be the best that I can as often as I can. I have no excuses for failure. I have all the advantages in the world right now and it would be unforgivable not to make the most of it.

I went to see a show last week. Not a major show. One of those shows where you know someone who knows someone who's involved with it in some way, and it's self-produced and everything. And hey, there were aspects of it that I liked. It was way too long and the acting abilities were all over the map... but there were some laughs. And moments that built. And if I could rewrite the script and recast some roles, I bet it could be something worth looking at.

But not necessarily something I'd want to put out for myself. Because I need to put out work that is important to me. This isn't about me drinking laced Kool-Aid. I know what I can do. I need to be putting out work of a certain caliber.

Perfectionism is the enemy.

I need to finish work and get it out there. A little less second-guessing, a little more action.

Today, I fail—tomorrow, I work harder.

And then I wash my hands.

And then I wash my hands.

And then I wash my hands.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dicks Like Jesus


I saw this at the gym and couldn't help laughing. I like how cops are slowly patrolling the streets looking for kids to share their donuts with.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Francis Scott Key

My nephew gives a presentation for school.

Friday, April 08, 2011

If Only the Tomb Were So Cozy

Thursday, April 07, 2011


I don't quite get WTF this is but I want to see some more.

all that could have been

[Image Placeholder]

detox week, interrupted. but it'll be all right, yeh?

here's a bunch of links i want to share so that i can close a few tabs in my browser.

Bill Maher on the rash of reality shows that glorify the benevolence of rich people.

"Kunt Dies"

Americans Regret Love

How to Plant Ideas in Someone's Mind

Meditation is Better Than Morphine

Everyone Hates Charlie Sheen's Crazy Tour

Secret City Hall Subway Stop

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I Kill Myself to Make Everybody Pay

Hello, detox week. I sure do miss drinking. Is it the weekend yet? No? How about now?

Why are you reading this endless stream of drivel? Every entry is simply a variation on "Malice has lost his mind".

Tuesday was productive enough. Signed a bunch of forms my old man wanted me to sign and send to him. Dropped all my tax shit off at the CPA, who will hopefully file the extensions so that I don't have to actually deal with it for a little while longer.

My managers haven't read the latest script draft yet, which buys me some time. The producer is assembling a list of potential directors which I'm sure will include a lot of unreasonable names. I feel a little calmer now that the draft is complete and it's in a good place (hopefully my reps agree).

Making some headway on the treatment for the New Project. I'll write more about it when I feel like it's on more solid ground. This week feels less tumultuous. I've got Wednesday and Thursday to simply focus on this treatment.

Less focus on all that was and all that could have been.

More focus on all that could be.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Dead Lines

For my own future reference, I believe today will be the latest I've ever attempted to drop off all my tax papers at my accountant's office. It's such a bitch and I don't see how I'm not going to get really screwed this year. But I won't find out for a while (since he'll surely file an extension). Blech, I hate talking about this shit.

This is also an attempt at a detox week for myself. Because I love to suffer.

And I've really got to crank out some work on this new treatment. Which shouldn't be so bad, really. But seriously: Tuesday, I'd like to get a good headstart on it to have it by Friday.

What else, what else...

I hate breaking up with people. I hate being broken up with, so I hate breaking up with people. When I start a relationship, a part of me is already trying to imagine how difficult it will be to end it.

Dear god, you have no idea what it feels like to be as completely sane as I am.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Show a Little Faith, There's Magic in the Night

Saturday night, turned in my second draft of CADAVERS. A full 20 pages lighter than the first draft. A rough week of writing. Glad to have it out of my hands for a spell while I refocused on this new project.

By Sunday night, the producer has already read the new draft. Loves it. Raves over it. Sends an extensive email detailing everything he adores. Very few suggestions for changes, not too difficult to implement.

Which... is nice.

I was hoping to have a little more of a break from it, though.

My managers still have to read it and have a chat with the producer, so that should hopefully at least buy me this week to work on this new project.

I just want my life to get a little better.


Sunday, April 03, 2011

Wouldn't you like to get away?

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Fear of Missing Out.

It's early evening on a warm Saturday night in Manhattan.

I am alone in my Tomb where I have been for the better part of the past 24 hours. Trying to finish the second draft of a script so that I might possibly dare to send it out this evening.

My social life is in shambles. It seems that there are waves of time when I don't have any friends to go out with.

I don't have a fear that I'm missing out: I have knowledge that I'm missing out. I have a fear that I'm going to die alone and my body won't be discovered for weeks. Is there a cute acronym for that?

Okay. All right. Those are the negative thoughts.

The positive...

Just finished the second draft of this script. It's tighter. There's some cool new material in it. If we can get it off the ground and set it up at a decent studio, that will be great for my career. The sacrifices I've made to write this script (nights out that I've missed) will be paid for. There are far greater nights out ahead of me if I can just stay strong through these bleak hours.

Okay, I'm going a little mad, ha ha. Losing my mind to the isolation. Need to have a little more faith in the future. A little faith in all tomorrow's parties.