Wednesday, May 30, 2012

All the Nobody People

I'm grateful this is a month with 31 days. I need all the time I can get.

I was supposed to get some notes on a draft Friday. I didn't. This happens. It happens often enough that you learn not to make a federal case out of it. You get the notes when you get the notes.

But the bottom line is, nothing can happen until I make those changes. And I cannot make changes based on notes I don't have.

I turned in my first draft of this script back in November. I didn't get initial notes on it until late mid-January. This is why it takes so long for scripts to be written. These prolonged wait-periods. And everybody in Hollywood seems to LOVE holidays. If a holiday weekend is approaching, everyone in Hollywood runs off on vacation. Business and productivity seem to end preemptively in anticipation of suits running off on holidays.

MEANWHILE, you're standing there waiting to get closer to the *prospect* of getting a paycheck for the project you've been working on FOR OVER A YEAR without getting paid.

Starts and Stops.

I'm so f'n close and I'm still being forced to wait.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mágica Aventura

One for the Forgotten Childhood file. This one's a find. A movie I remember seeing on cable so many times as a kid. A movie I'd try to look up every now and again in recent years, searching for the fragments I remembered about it...

It featured a little boy and girl. And an older man with a white moustache who led them through adventures. I recalled a part of it featured the kids chasing a red kite. I thought it drew upon the stories of Hans Christian Anderson. I remember watching it in our old apartment in Starrett City—Brooklyn in the early 80s. (God, things were simpler then.) I remember the characters talked a little fast—a clear indication, in hindsight, that it was dubbed from another language.

How did I finally track this thing down tonight?

Good old Wikipedia has a fairly thorough list of every animated film, broken down by decade. Since I was watching this on cable in the early 80s, I looked through all the 70s titles.

In addition to finding some bonus forgotten movies from childhood, I found what I was looking for. To be honest, I skipped over the title a few times because it was so generic and there was no separate Wikipedia page set up for it.

1973's MAGIC ADVENTURE (or Mágica aventura)
Directed by Cruz Delgado

Produced in Spain. Featuring two children sent on a journey through the stories of Hans Christian Anderson.

I'm only familiar with the version that was dubbed in English. I think part of the appeal was its episodic structure: easier for the short-attention-spans of kids.

Unfortunately, the dubbed version I remember fondly doesn't seem to be widely available. And YOUTUBE doesn't seem to be much more of a help here. But it's another mystery solved. Another fragment of memory restored.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lurking Horrors

No matter how long it's been... once you wage a war with bed bugs, there's always that lingering paranoia... the worry they'll come back...

When the humidity spikes and the nasty business of the New York City summer begins, it's worse.

It's funny how dreams revise themselves as you grow older. You know what I'm working hard toward? The day I can clear my debts and afford to live in a really decent place. Not even some kind of palace or castle with a moat. Just a decent apartment in a decent location with decent access to a decent train. A safe haven I can comfortably afford where I can write and live and sleep in peace.

Isn't it great when your pipe dreams make you a little sad...?

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend, lurkers.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

City of the Unfriended

The ubiquity of Facebook is obscene. That fact that it grew beyond the boutique curiosity of Friendster is obscene. That fact that it's turned "friend" into a verb is obscene.

Kids... there was a time when you didn't have an official "friend list". Maybe you kept a little book filled with contact information, kept a mental list of whose company you enjoyed or didn't and to what degree.

In any case, periodically I feel the need to clean up the list. Honestly, it's an awkward mess as it is. Actual friends, people I haven't seen since high school, people I haven't seen since I left old jobs, strangers who relentlessly send me virtual farming items, a handful of cousins, entertainment industry contacts, randoms... it makes no sense. There's no way to program to that range.

And yes. There are the people who used to be friends. The people I consider differently.

Sometimes, you need to simplify your life by getting rid of some of the noise.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Flirting with Disaster

I've been living on the edge for so long, it's hard to remember an extended period of time when I wasn't courting ruin. Even now, as I'm in the midst of another Wait-Mode, when everything has the potential to change for the better... there is also, inevitably, the chance that nothing could change. That those specters of doom may choose to swoop down and decimate me.

I start playing these mental games. Somewhere between superstition and magical thinking. Bracing myself for the worst never seems to help. Thinking positive doesn't seem to have an effect, either. (Maybe because magic doesn't exist?)

I guess when you've no control over something, it's common to try to make these unspoken negotiations with The Universe. To manufacture arbitrary rules for things you have to do (not step on cracks), so that if you don't get what you want you've got this scapegoat (I broke that one rule). It offers the illusion of control.

And then there's what I'm trying to do right now. Which is to not dwell on it excessively.

There is the clear patching of ground right in front of me and I just try to keep moving forward.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cold Approach

I tend to be a little surprised whenever random strangers on the street ask me for directions. Especially when there are a lot of other people around for them to approach. I've got tattoos and a tendency to walk around with an expression that says, "Don't bother me..."

... or maybe that's not being communicated.

Maybe I'm inadvertently walking around with an expression that says, "Hey, ASK ME ANYTHING!"

Certainly there's something that encourages people to approach me.

Not just any days, either. Specifically days and times I don't want to be bothered. Days I'd much rather simply be the invisible man.

What is that, I wonder?

That superficial, perhaps split-second vetting process that a stranger conducts before deciding to approach another person.

An oddity. A freak.

Chances are, it's often something that not a lot of thought is put into. An impulse. Sometimes something flattering, other times something insulting.

Maybe it's just that I always look like I know where I'm going. Especially when I don't.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Great Googa Mooga Scam-A-Palooza

The First Annual Great Googa Mooga Festival was a resounding... wait for it... DISASTER!

Billing itself as an "amusement park of food and drink", the disorganized fun-kill infested a corner of Brooklyn's Prospect Park on May 19th and 20th.

Free admission if you managed to score some admission passes made available online in advance through the organizer's shitty, crashing servers. Or you could fork over $250 for a VIP pass.

Celebrity chefs came slumming, selling scaled-down samples of their food for inflated prices.

The beer and wine tents were not accepting direct cash. You had to go to a poorly-run "Googa Moola" kiosk and transfer cash to a card... but when we went on the 19th, their computers crashed and they worked out an alternate system where they gave you red raffle tickets for cash. If you had any extra tickets at the end of the day, you wouldn't be able to get a refund for your worthless tickets — and the beer and wine were selling at different prices, so I guess they were assuming you would know in advance what you were going to drink and how much it would all cost. Also, for good measure, you needed to buy a cheap $2 "Googa Mooga" branded plastic cup in order to sample the beers.

I ended up spending $36 for three beers.

Over-priced, over-crowded, long lines, completely disorganized. For music, we watched a few minutes of a Van Halen cover band. And the only celebrity "chef" I saw was Coolio, who was signing copies of his cookbook.

I didn't have very high expectations going in but the experience was far worse. The Great Googa Mooga Experiment turned out to be a massive rip-off. A warning to future generations: do not go near this spectacular clusterfuck.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gorey Meets Lovecraft

This article introduced me to the work of John Kenn Mortensen, who started drawing these pictures of monsters on Post-It notes. They've got a Lovecraft by way of Gorey vibe to them.

You can purchase JKM's book Post-It Monstres.

This week, I've created a series of animated gifs from these drawings. Clicking on the picture, on any day, will bring you to JKM's blog where you can see more drawings.

Good luck this week, World.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Burn the Orphanage!

Finished my latest revision last night and sent it out, BITCHES.

And I was in the weeds all week, staying up late and not making my own progress milestones every night, and I still somehow managed to get it done last night and send it through. FUCK.

You know what this means.


Everyone, out of my fucking way...

[I will be at the 1st Annual GoogaMooga Festival in Prospect Park on Saturday, with friends. Enemies, steer clear.]

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Donna Summer Has a Posse

LaDonna Adrian Gaines
December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012

Donna Summer has a posse.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Everyone Shall Sleep

Okay, two things I shouldn't be doing right now because I'm on a deadline...

1) I was watching AMERICA'S GOT TALENT (which I've never seen before but Howard Stern is one of the judges now).

2) I'm writing a blog entry during serious writing hours.

Quick comment...

One of the contestants was this male nurse. A middle-aged chap, Brazilian immigrant. Saved up money for 6 months to travel from Utah to San Francisco with his wife and daughter to audition for AMERICA'S GOT TALENT. They really laid it on thick with the editing to build up his backstory and how much this means. He was going to sing opera. Howard speaks first, admitting that he's never been a fan of opera but that he was looking forward to someone changing his mind about it. The crowd goes silent and the frumpy male nurse with the thick accent begins to sing...

What's he sing...?

"Nessun dorma" from Puccini's TURANDOT.

The crowd goes nuts. The judges eat it up. His wife and daughter are in tears in the wings. He gets moved onward in the competition.

Here's my question: what's he going to follow it up with when he has to perform again?


Because EVERYONE sings "Nessun dorma".

"Nessun dorma" is the one opera song that everyone is familiar with, even if they don't know the name. It gets used everywhere. It is the opera song for people who don't like opera. It's definitely the only opera song that I'm familiar with. (And I've actually seen the entirety of TURANDOT at the Metropolitan Opera House: IT IS THE ONLY OPERA I'VE EVER SEEN.)

At least Susan Boyle had a wealth of Broadway showtunes to pick from after her big Les Miz cover broke her through. What's foreign-man male nurse going to do for a follow-up?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dictionary Definition of the Word SPASTIC

It really is a matter of holding down two jobs. The temporary office gig that is not really helping me to pay off debts but rather is the one thing that is keeping me from plunging far further and faster into the red. And then, for the scant clasp of hours I have when I get home after the office, the writing job that I've yet to get paid for. The writing job that I won't get paid for unless the draft I create is good enough to convince a gauntlet of people to invest in it.

All this to fight for the possibility of affording a normal life one day.

Every day, trying to do better than the previous day.

Every day, refitting the blinders so that I can try to better focus on what I need to get done.

These are a different brand of dark days.

This week is important. Every day is important. Every hour must be accounted for.

This is hard but it is not impossible.

This will work.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

God, I hope I get it!

I am totally out of my league here and everybody knows it... Why did I even go to this audition...? It's always the same faces... Maybe I should go out for something that doesn't specify "alien"... I could probably pass for Eurasian... AHHH, who am I kidding...?! No one ever writes good roles for aliens...

If they see me in the next fifteen minutes, I could probably make it back to work within my lunch hour... All right, FOCUS ON YOUR MONOLOGUE, FOCUS ON YOUR MONOLOGUE... Hi, my name is Alien #1, I'll be doing a selection from Edward Albee's THE ZOO STORY...
"What I am going to tell you has something to do with how sometimes it’s necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly..."

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Maurice Sendak Has a Posse

Maurice Bernard Sendak
June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012

Maurice Sendak has a posse.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Taking a Plane Break!

Been listening to a lot of Scott Aukerman's "Comedy Bang Bang" podcast the past few weeks. It's almost like a parody of comedy interview podcasts. Starts with a straight-forward celebrity guest interview which segues into more of a loose improv scenario as other guests are added to the mix, playing characters. As improv goes, sometimes it works better than other times, but Aukerman does a good job of pulling it all together.

Episode 109. Aukerman's interviewing Lonely Island/SNL's Andy Samberg, with Adam Pally on deck playing a stoner character. Any time Aukerman hears a plane flying by, he stops the show and makes everyone sing a "Plane Break" song—which basically involves them exclaiming "Takin' a PLANE BREAK!!" over the opening of Jet's "Cold Hard Bitch".

I think explaining why something is funny is the best way to make it EVEN FUNNIER: Whereas the obtrusive sound of a passing airplane is normally an annoyance for a professional podcaster, Aukerman turns it into an exultant celebration.

ANYWAY, the song stuck in my head and I looked it up on YOUTUBE... but couldn't find it.

I took this as my burden to create an easily accessible version of the bit for the internet.

I've crudely animated the audio clip in Adobe Premiere Pro 2:

You're welcome.

Friday, May 04, 2012

MCA Has a Posse

Adam Nathaniel Yauch (MCA)
August 5, 1964 - May 4, 2012

Adam Yauch has a posse.


Everyone Attack.

There's a reason why boxers say you should always punch up to the next higher weight class and never punch down. By taking on fighters in a higher weight class, you enhance your own reputation. When you take on fighters in a lower weight class, you elevate them to your level and inevitably diminish your own reputation in the process.
—from Polimerican
The networking thing I went to on Wednesday night was a complete waste of time. One of the problems with going to a lot of these things is that most people haven't done as much as I have, or haven't worked/struggled on the same level as I have. They're at earlier stages. Which is fine but if I start talking about some of my current struggles, no matter how careful I try to be, it can sound boastful.

And yes... occasionally there may be a particularly insecure asshole who'll feel compelled to try to take me down a peg. Because he feels threatened.

Wednesday night, it happened to be someone I've met a bunch of times before.

You can see the change happen. When someone's trying to play it off as, "Oh, we're just having a laugh here..." —but then it's clear, because of their impressive lack of talent, that they're really just trying to hurt you in a vain effort to make themselves look/feel better. The weird thing was, I could see it sooo clearly Wednesday night. I could see what was going on with this poor, pathetic, drunk idiot.

And I chose not to get pissed off or engage him. Because it was so obvious that he was the one who felt threatened. And my apathy toward him just seemed to make him crazier. I took off without fanfare.

So. Here's the deal. I've got to be more careful about where I spend my time because some of this shit is just useless to me. I've shown kindness to a lot of people but what's the point?

Earlier Wednesday evening, I got some really good feedback on my latest draft. This project could be something special. Felt so good after the call, even the shitty networking cesspool I attended didn't get me down.

I've got some serious writing to do.

Enjoy your Friday, people. You made it. Chase your dreams with the curiously inspiring Perfect Strangers game..

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Everybody Was Frightening!

I'm writing this ahead of time because I'll probably be a little hungover on Thursday—so I can't talk about how the feedback on the script draft was, or mention anything that happened at the social engagement I had to hit after the call.

Hopefully it all went smoothly and I'm still alive.

If the call happened, the ball's in my court again. Wait-Mode off, Writing-Like-A-Maniac-Mode ON.

It's Thursday. "Converse Day" at the production office's Spirit Week.

We've got a long way home.

For your outside reading today, a story that reminded me of my friend Nick Gaffney for some reason. A photographer/writer living on a country farm who was having a little trouble with foxes. (Not the Cherie Currie kind, unfortunately.) Read Jon Katz's story HERE.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

She Thinks She's the Passionate One

It's "Spirit Week" at the production office where I'm working. (I had to look that up to figure out what it was.) Each day, a new theme dress code.

Tuesday: "Band t-shirts".
Wednesday: "Nerd"
Thursday: "Converse Day"
Friday: "Cinco de Mayo"

Tuesday, covered.
Wednesday, sorta covered.
Thursday... might be a little tricky.
Friday's... way too open.

Clearly, my spirit is the glue that keeps the office together.

Tonight, 8pm, I'm supposed to get some feedback/notes on my latest draft... but I can never be sure it's happening until the call actually happens...

Afterwards, I've got to hit a social engagement I agreed to. It's downtown. Tribeca. What a long day.

All I want to do is get this script to where it needs to be. Every little delay is an agony.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

His Eyes Are as Red as a Sun

I've got a lot to prove. To a lot of people.

The entire spectrum. Family. Friends. Frenemies. And yes, all you full-blown enemies out there who are sadly still compelled to read this. (You know who you fucking are.)

Validation. That's a more positive spin than REVENGE.

And still—all of that's icing.

I need this win. More than ever. I need it on every level.

I'm in WAIT-MODE and the clock is ticking.

We have arrived at May. 2012.