Friday, December 26, 2014

Irreverent Conversations: Cat Piss

So, a friend and I were talking about my cats the other day.  This is a transcript.

ME
I really wish my cat would shut the fuck up.

SHE
What's he want?

ME
He wants to go outside.

SHE
To use the bathroom?

ME
Probably.

SHE
Well, get up and let him out.

ME
He's got a litter box.  He can go inside.

SHE
If you had to pee, would you rather go outside on a tree or inside in a box?

ME
I'd rather go in bed and have it be socially acceptable to be covered in piss.

FADE OUT.

THE END.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Surrender

The best Bond standard you've never heard. Also, the song I want to be sung to sleep to.

"The truth is now what I say; I've taken care of yesterday."


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Angels to Churches

Leaving Los Angeles would be harder were she not already taken.  It's been a ride, but I know where I want to be.  And it's not here.  It never was, despite the protestations of some who claimed to know me well.  A pit stop, this City of the Angels.  Nothing more.  An establishment of a face, of a talent, and - according to a publicist - of the hair.  Now that they're calling me, I no longer need to be here.

That's not to say I won't miss it.  And, quite frankly, we're not done yet.

Adelaide is on the horizon.  Never have I been to a city that screamed to me as it caressed me.  Never have I been to a city that wanted me to stay... that asked me to stay.  Until that South Australian adventure.

Still, and perhaps sadly, moving to Adelaide is a long way off.  Immigration restrictions aside, I owe a great deal many people a great deal many things, and I have to repay that trust before I set off on my own selfish journey.

But I know what I want to do.  And I know where I want to be.

One day... I'll know who I want to do it with.

Until then, c'est la vie.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Narrative Simplification

There's an adage in storytelling that the simplest things are the best.  While I don't necessarily subscribe to such an overarching statement, I cannot deny that it's often true.  More often than not, actually.

As a fan of both science fiction and the convoluted crime thriller, I can't help but have a knee-jerk reaction to that adage.  Simple?  Surely not... look at the complexities of, say, The Usual Suspects and MementoThe Matrix or Inception.  How brilliant are those stories?  And they're complex!!!

Except, they're not.  They're all extremely simple narratives, albeit their "worlds" may wear the facade of complexity.  In the case of The Usual Suspects, we're treated to a bluntly straightforward story made to seem complicated because of the manner in which Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) supposedly pieces together his cover story.  Remove the scene in which Customs Agent Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) realizes what just happened - all 10 seconds of it - and what's left?  Yep.  Simplicity.

Memento?  Find a cut of the film that's edited in chronological order, rather than the "A" timeline moving forward to a point and the "B" timeline reversing to that same point.  That's about as simple as a narrative can get.  Memento's complexity (and brilliance) comes from the editing.  Nothing else.

In both The Matrix and Inception, any illusion of complexity comes from the world each story takes place in, which - because of those worlds' twisted realities - takes a lot of time to explain to the audience, confusing some and downright discombobulating others.  At its core, however, The Matrix is merely a superhero/Greek myth come to the silver screen.  Inception, a heist movie.

I've been aware of this for years.  Probably since I've seen each of these movies.  But, I remain defiant, resistant, to the veritable essence of "simplicity."  Why?  I don't know.  Just stubborn, I guess.

As if to prove my stubbornness was correct, sometime around 2001, I set out to write an epic science fiction story.  It's gone through many incarnations... a partial script, then a short story, then a different short story, then a novel based on the second story, then a brand new script based on the second story (but not the novel).  Needless to say, there were a lot of characters, a lot of subplots, and it was... complicated.

I'd argue that it's necessarily complicated, because of the world the story inhabits (a la The Matrix).  The geopolitical atmosphere of the story's future Earth needs told!  The very structures of the militaries of the future need explaining!  The mission planning processes of future Earth's space agencies need to be shown!

Except, none of them are necessary to answer the question: what's the story about?  So I had to accept that I was full of shit, even while publicly defending these elaborate and complicated setups.  But, I secretly started to concentrate on the three main characters, whose plots are what the story is about.  Each with their own motivations, their own aspirations, and their own destinies.  I had to remove unnecessary subplots (they all had "fish out of water" intros, for instance, which are pretty much wastes of time).  What difference would it make that the three main characters aren't inherent to the mission at hand?  After thinking on that question for a very, very long time, I came to the answer: other than the amount of description and a few extra scenes involving "how they got there," almost no difference at all.

So, as much as it pains me to start cutting away the fat (the glorious, awesome fat), for the benefit of the story/script, I have to do it.  A rather large Hollywood production company had already asked to read the old script, but I knew it wasn't ready.  I knew the story was overrun by extraneous scenes designed to do little but show how cool my writing and ideas were.  But cool doesn't necessarily mean efficient.  Or even effective.  Unless, of course, cool is what you're going for... and you shouldn't be.  You should be going for good.  Cool only works if it's a by-product of good.  Cool won't help an over-long, under-developed, poorly structured script get sold.  Good does that.

And good things tend to be simple.  Problem is, simple is hard to write.

Ah, well... nobody becomes a writer to be cool, anyway.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Australia, 2014: Intro

This past Tuesday, I returned from five weeks in Australia.  I'll be posting pictures soon, but I just wanted to share that - were there such a thing - I'm pretty sure I found the city I "belong" in.

Holy shit, do I love Adelaide.

More to come...

Me bashing rocks together near some opal mines in Coober Pedy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Short Pajamas, 2014

Yep, we've got another Kickstarter campaign.

We've raised $17.5k for three short films, but we still need about $5k more.

Please help!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Wrote a Book...

So, I wrote a book, of sorts...

It's not really real.  Not really.  More of a thank you for the elite few who've believed in me from the get-go.  Believed in my talent.  Believed in my vision.  Stuck with me through the thickest and thinnest.  Never doubted.  Even when I gave them reason to doubt.

It's a small list, sadly.  Despite the many people I've met along the way... it's a painfully small list.  No ex-girlfriend is on it, to be sure, that's how small it is.

But I wrote a book, of sorts...

There are, at the time of this writing, only five copies of it on the planet.  Two are mine... one to read and one to share.  Two for my parents.  And one for my biggest supporter on the planet.

It's weird, seeing my name on a book.  Even thought it's not real.

But I hope to make my supporters proud.  Prouder still, as the years roll on.

We shall see.

(M)useless Proganda... 440 pages of whatever...

Until then, I'll let my pets be proud of me, because they're my one constant.  They rock, and they are my rocks.  How fitting.

Kay, Starbuck, and Sagremor... my loyal friends...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Road Trip Summary

From April 24 to May 21, I was on a massive road trip.

I'll go into detail soon (with photos), but I basically went from:
  • California to
  • Nevada to
  • Utah to
  • Wyoming to
  • South Dakota to
  • Minnesota to
  • Iowa to
  • Illinois to
  • Indiana to
  • Ohio to
  • Pennsylvania to
  • New York to
  • Massachusetts to
  • Rhode Island to
  • Connecticut to
  • Delaware to
  • Maryland to
  • Washington, DC, to
  • Virginia to
  • North Carolina to
  • Tennessee to
  • Arkansas to
  • Oklahoma to
  • Texas to
  • New Mexico to
  • Arizona to
  • Nevada to
  • California
Yeah, it was an ass-kicker.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Starbuck Meets All the Celebrities II

Yeah, so, today Starbuck ran up to this guy:



Yes, he of Bush fame.  Oddly enough, he was in the tabloids here a few days ago, with this picture:


Apparently, he's not much of a clothes horse, because he was wearing those exact pants in the park.  All in all, very nice dude and, yes, he loves Starbuck (I mean, who doesn't?).  Although I have to question his choice of dog breed (he was walking a Pomeranian).  My guess is that it's Gwen's.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Starbuck Meets All the Celebrities...

I love my neighborhood.  Lately, I've become highly critical of people who walk around staring into their phones and blasting music (or pretending to) through their ear buds.

Why?  Because you never know who you're going to meet.

This morning, for instance, my dog ran up to this guy:


He was out for a morning stroll, was in a bit of a bad mood, but let Starbuck lick his hand and even pet the needy bastard.

For those of you who don't know, that's Gary Cole, who played Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald in Fatal Vision and Andrew Klein (Ari Gold's partner) in Entourage.

Anyway... just saying... put your fucking phones away.  The world is passing you by.  Right, Starbuck?  Right???

Hmm... guess not.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

RoM 05: Voting Closed

Voting is now closed for the 5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne."  The winner will be announced on February 26th!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

RoM 05: Voting

VOTING: "RIVER OF MNEMOSYNE"

The river has stopped flowing!  It's time to get out of the water and vote on your favorite entries.

In order, vote for your Top 3 in the comments.   Remember, you must have submitted a Muse 1 AND a Muse 2 in order to be able to vote.



You have through the 24th of February to vote.  The winner will be announced on the 26th.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

RoM 05-9: "Renaissance"

Patti is in the for the ninth and final Muse:

"RENAISSANCE"

This should be the ninth and final part of your overall entry.  Remember, there will not be a vote until all the Muses are in or we run out of time.

If you have no idea what's going on, check out the rules for February's challenge here: 5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge.



*Don't forget to submit a Muse if you are one of the first EIGHT to link an entry. If you do not, your link will be deleted and you will have to re-link. Email JeffScape with your Muse!

Don't sign up until you've posted the entry on your site and link that entry directly (not your blog home page).  Post as soon as you're ready.

The complete list of Muses:
  • Muse 1: "If I Could See People's Fears"
  • Muse 2: "The Fallen Beginning"
  • Muse 3: "Alone Never Felt So Crowded"
  • Muse 4: "Psychosomatic Warfare"
  • Muse 5: "Children of Cronos"
  • Muse 6: "In Surreal Time"
  • Muse 7: "An Air of Evanescence"
  • Muse 8: "Running Blind in a House of Mirrors"
  • Muse 9: "Renaissance"

Monday, February 10, 2014

RoM 05-8: "Running Blind in a House of Mirrors"

The eighth Muse:

"RUNNING BLIND IN A HOUSE OF MIRRORS"

This should be the eighth part of your overall entry.  Remember, there will not be a vote until all the Muses are in or we run out of time.

If you have no idea what's going on, check out the rules for February's challenge here: 5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge.



*Don't forget to submit a Muse if you are one of the first EIGHT to link an entry. If you do not, your link will be deleted and you will have to re-link. Email JeffScape with your Muse!

Don't sign up until you've posted the entry on your site and link that entry directly (not your blog home page).  Post as soon as you're ready.

The Muses so far:
  • Muse 1: "If I Could See People's Fears"
  • Muse 2: "The Fallen Beginning"
  • Muse 3: "Alone Never Felt So Crowded"
  • Muse 4: "Psychosomatic Warfare"
  • Muse 5: "Children of Cronos"
  • Muse 6: "In Surreal Time"
  • Muse 7: "An Air of Evanescence"
  • Muse 8: "Running Blind in a House of Mirrors"

Sunday, February 9, 2014

RoM 05-7: "An Air of Evanescence"

Baino is in for a third time!  The seventh Muse is:

"AN AIR OF EVANESCENCE"

This should be the seventh part of your overall entry.  Remember, there will not be a vote until all the Muses are in or we run out of time.

If you have no idea what's going on, check out the rules for February's challenge here: 5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge.



*Don't forget to submit a Muse if you are one of the first EIGHT to link an entry. If you do not, your link will be deleted and you will have to re-link. Email JeffScape with your Muse!

Don't sign up until you've posted the entry on your site and link that entry directly (not your blog home page).  Post as soon as you're ready.

The Muses so far:
  • Muse 1: "If I Could See People's Fears"
  • Muse 2: "The Fallen Beginning"
  • Muse 3: "Alone Never Felt So Crowded"
  • Muse 4: "Psychosomatic Warfare"
  • Muse 5: "Children of Cronos"
  • Muse 6: "In Surreal Time"
  • Muse 7: "An Air of Evanescence"

Saturday, February 8, 2014

RoM 05-6: "In Surreal Time"

The sixth Muse:

"IN SURREAL TIME"

This should be the sixth part of your overall entry.  Remember, there will not be a vote until all the Muses are in or we run out of time.

If you have no idea what's going on, check out the rules for February's challenge here: 5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge.



*Don't forget to submit a Muse if you are one of the first EIGHT to link an entry. If you do not, your link will be deleted and you will have to re-link. Email JeffScape with your Muse!

Don't sign up until you've posted the entry on your site and link that entry directly (not your blog home page).  Post as soon as you're ready.

The Muses so far:
  • Muse 1: "If I Could See People's Fears"
  • Muse 2: "The Fallen Beginning"
  • Muse 3: "Alone Never Felt So Crowded"
  • Muse 4: "Psychosomatic Warfare"
  • Muse 5: "Children of Cronos"
  • Muse 6: "In Surreal Time"

Friday, February 7, 2014

RoM 05-5: "Children of Cronos"

Baino is in again.  The fifth Muse is:

"CHILDREN OF CRONOS"

This should be the fifth part of your overall entry.  Remember, there will not be a vote until all the Muses are in or we run out of time.

If you have no idea what's going on, check out the rules for February's challenge here: 5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge.



*Don't forget to submit a Muse if you are one of the first EIGHT to link an entry. If you do not, your link will be deleted and you will have to re-link. Email JeffScape with your Muse!

Don't sign up until you've posted the entry on your site and link that entry directly (not your blog home page).  Post as soon as you're ready.

The Muses so far:
  • Muse 1: "If I Could See People's Fears"
  • Muse 2: "The Fallen Beginning"
  • Muse 3: "Alone Never Felt So Crowded"
  • Muse 4: "Psychosomatic Warfare"
  • Muse 5: "Children of Cronos"

Thursday, February 6, 2014

RoM 05-4: "Psychosomatic Warfare"

And the fourth Muse is:

"PSYCHOSOMATIC WARFARE"

This should be the fourth part of your overall entry.  Remember, there will not be a vote until all the Muses are in or we run out of time.

And if you have no idea what's going on, check out the rules for February's challenge here: 5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge.



*Don't forget to submit a Muse if you are one of the first EIGHT to link an entry. If you do not, your link will be deleted and you will have to re-link. Email JeffScape with your Muse!

Don't sign up until you've posted the entry on your site and link that entry directly (not your blog home page).  Post as soon as you're ready.

The Muses so far:
  • Muse 1: "If I Could See People's Fears"
  • Muse 2: "The Fallen Beginning"
  • Muse 3: "Alone Never Felt So Crowded"
  • Muse 4: "Psychosomatic Warfare"

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

RoM 05-3: "Alone Never Felt So Crowded"

Patti picks the third Muse, which is:

"ALONE NEVER FELT SO CROWDED"

This should be the third part of your overall entry.  Remember, there will not be a vote until all the Muses are in or we run out of time.

And if you have no idea what's going on, check out the rules for February's challenge here: 5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge.



*Don't forget to submit a Muse if you are one of the first EIGHT to link an entry. If you do not, your link will be deleted and you will have to re-link. Email JeffScape with your Muse!

Don't sign up until you've posted the entry on your site and link that entry directly (not your blog home page).  Post as soon as you're ready.

The Muses so far:
  • Muse 1: "If I Could See People's Fears"
  • Muse 2: "The Fallen Beginning"
  • Muse 3: "Alone Never Felt So Crowded"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

RoM 05-2: "The Fallen Beginning"

Baino picks the second Muse, which is:

"THE FALLEN BEGINNING"

This should be the second part of your overall entry.  Remember, there will not be a vote until all the Muses are in or we run out of time.

And if you have no idea what's going on, check out the rules for February's challenge here: 5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge.



*Don't forget to submit a Muse if you are one of the first EIGHT to link an entry. If you do not, your link will be deleted and you will have to re-link. Email the admins (all of 'em) with your Muse!

Don't sign up until you've posted the entry on your site and link that entry directly (not your blog home page).  Post as soon as you're ready.

The Muses so far:
  • Muse 1: "If I Could See People's Fears"
  • Muse 2: "The Fallen Beginning"

Sunday, February 2, 2014

RoM 05-1: "If I Could See People's Fears"

We're officially back and we're going down the river... for a fifth time!

Cutting right to the chase, the first Muse is:

"IF I COULD SEE PEOPLE'S FEARS"

Don't forget that this is only the first part (hopefully) of your overall entry, and there will not be a vote until all the Muses are in or we run out of time.

And if you have no idea what's going on, check out the rules for February's challenge here: 5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge.



*Don't forget to submit a Muse if you are one of the first EIGHT to link an entry. If you do not, your link will be deleted and you will have to re-link. Email the admins (all of 'em) with your Muse!

Don't sign up until you've posted the entry on your site and link that entry directly (not your blog home page). In the meantime, leave a comment and let us know you're game!

Post as soon as you're ready.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

5th Annual "River of Mnemosyne" Challenge

Announcing:

RIVER OF MNEMOSYNE, 2014

Welcome to the FIFTH ANNUAL "RIVER OF MNEMOSYNE" Challenge.  Please read these rules carefully.

The Challenge

1. For the challenge, you are creating a single overall work (in any format) that will encompass all of the posted Muses this month.  Each participant may only submit one (1) entry for the challenge. Basically, your first post is "Muse 1," your second post is "Muse 2," etc. There will be nine (9) designated Muses for a total of nine (9) chapters.

2. The goal is to tell a complete story (be it visual or written) through all nine Muses, but you can end your story at any time; after any Muse. To designate your ending, just write a big "The End" at the end of your final entry.

The Muses

3. The first Muse has been selected at random and your first entry will be based on that. The subsequent Muses will be chosen based on the fastest submissions. The first person to link an entry picks the first Muse. The second person to link an entry (any entry) picks the second Muse, and so on. In all likelihood, this means that the people who link in positions 1 through 9 on the link widget will pick the nine (9) Muses.
  • To submit a Muse, simply email the admins (their contact information is on the left sidebar) with the Muse.
  • New Muses will post at 12:00 AM, EST, the day after an admin receives the submitted Muse (no more than one Muse will post in a day).
4. Participants will link their blog entries using a link widget.  We will be using one widget for the entire exercise, so participants need to denote the chapter number of their specific entries each time they link.  Example:
  1. Johnny Fresh (Muse 1)
  2. Linda Linda (Muse 1)
  3. Johnny Fresh (Muse 2)
  4. Johnny Fresh (Muse 3)
  5. Linda Linda (Muse 2)
  6. Robert Radical (Muse 1)
  7. and so on...
5. Do not skip Muses or do them out of order.  Also, do not combine Muses into one post.

6. Other than that, do as much or as little as you'd like.  You can dictate your own pace; approach this at warp speed or just mosey along.  It doesn't matter how far along you are compared to how far along the other challengers are.  Your entries for the first Muse can be linked starting February 2nd.

The Vote

7. Voting begins on the 16th and you'll be voting for the participant's overall body of work. If you don't vote, you can't win.  Anyone who posts a "Muse 1" AND a "Muse 2" is allowed to vote, regardless if they continue on in the challenge.

8. In addition to normal voting, completing Muses 1 through 9 will add bonus points to your final vote tally (the value of the bonus points is based on the number of participants). 

9. The winner will be announced on February 26th.

Feel free to barrage me with questions and suggestions.

Irreview, Book Review: The Nutshell Technique

I have, to date, read well over two dozen books on screenwriting and its related mediums (theatre, specifically).  While most - if not all -...