Thursday, December 4, 2008

Where to say what...

I forgot about this blog for awhile, I have updates and thoughts on the whole event, but think I will just complete the thread below with a quick summary of what happened that fateful Sunday.

I did bomb during the Bold Films pitch.

My Aussie friends wasted my time in the morning, hungover-ing, and the promised ride to the convention center never materialized. This left me scrambling to get to the pitch in time, driving through the smoky haze of fire-plagued SoCal and dashing down Fig, I made it with a few minutes to spare. I did the Gone Postal thing and Return of the Superbas, I think, was floundering and then I just started making shit up.

I talked about the story of a guy who came to a screenwriting conference on a flier cuz his grandma died and he had to meet with lawyers in LA anyway and a friend was starting his bachelor party and a bunch of Aussies were in town and he got loaded the night before a pitch and drove like mad to get to it and the production company rep liked his idea, the movie got made and he made a million dollars.

At least he laughed. Who would believe a story like that, he said.

So, I walked out of there at almost 11, picked up my semifinal scene which missed the finals by 5 points, and was wandering the nearly empty halls getting bummed out, and then thought oh what the fuck I'll go back and buy some more tickets.

I get in line and have no idea who to pick cuz I forgot my program and people are coming at the table from both sides and I'm waiting patiently even though I'm clearly getting cut in on and I don't care...I look down at the ground and there's a penny so I pick it up and it's from 1974 (don't know what that means yet) and the guy in front of my starts buying tickets and he says Gunn and something else, and I just step up, look at the times and buy two of what he said.

I borrowed someone's program and found out Gunn Productions did College Road Trip and Adam Sandler stuff, and think this is right in my wheel-house. I walk out, have a smoke and contemplate a way to adapt the bachelor party/Aussie idea. Make the protagonist an unemployed graphic designer, best man organizing an expensive bachelor party/road trip which he'd planned before he got canned and his wife wants him to bail on it because it's too expensive. Long story short, it's a comedy. A bachelor party/road trip/wedding movie, where there's no bachelor party, road trip or wedding.

Gunn was at Table #9 which is my lucky number. I walk up in my Dodger Spooner and she says nice shirt and I say oh are you a dodgers fan and she says no red sox and I say well at least we got manny from you, well, rented him, and she says we could have manny he's rude.

We had rapport.

She liked my pitch, offered some advice and then asked to see pages. I wrote down my email address for her, walked off feeling happy, gave away my second golden pitch ticket to someone I'd met at the expo in the days prior then bolted to go start writing the thing. I was heads down working on the thing for the next two weeks and finished it on Sunday. However, I still haven't heard back from Heather at Gunn.

I've started publishing it scene by scene with commentary here:

More later.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Morning and I'm running late

So, the semifinals of the CS-Open scene-writing contest was held at 7:00 PM last night; I'm not making excuses (OK, I am making excuses), but that is not usually my time of peak performance. I tanked.

I attempted a scene with a high degree of difficulty, a veritable Triple Lindy of literary acrobatics. The premise was something like: your protagonist double-crosses his ally and his ally is double-crossing him. I tried to stage it in a 2nd Grade classroom where two boys attempt to cheat in order to win some unknown prize. About midway through the hour and a half, I realized I'd written myself into a dark corner and was well and truly fucked.

I decided to have the boys speak as Shakespearean actors in juxtaposition to the condescending tone of Miss McGonagal their teacher. A problematic child named Nadine ( runs out of the classroom giving our boys the chance to conspire.

It was a bad idea poorly executed.


Now the Australians are mucking around, hungover and stinky. I'm going to have to say farewell and drive myself cuz they're never going to rally. Blistering drunk last night after my trainwreck of a scene.

I've got a 10:35 pitch with Bold Films and I'm not feeling terribly bold. At least we're in the AM, though, which is nice.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What's the 'O' stand for?

It’s morning now, paper-boy early and I’m back at the folks’ place trying to capture the mood of the expo yesterday, I didn’t sit through a single session, it was all pitching all the time. My first meeting with Manheimer went well, I thought. She asked for my email address which I took for a good sign. I felt more loose for the second one with Cine LA, but didn’t stick it, got lost talking about myself (a bad habit of mine). I’m a writing narcissist, in love with the sound of my own scratching pen. I spent my youth listening to my mother tell stories, gossiping on the phone and it’s reflected in my story-telling. It’s like the truth but better. Which reminds me I overheard this guy talking about Freud…
“Freud had a primitive conception of the human mind. If I am going to understand how the human mind processes a film visually, I need to know…
(drowned out by buzzsaw noise. I was outside and there were construction crews setting up for the auto show).

“There is forgetting…”
(In new pen. Fuck, another pen bites the dust.)
This guy must be a filmmaker or cinematographer, he’s talking about Freud and working the viewer based on the views of psychology vis-à-vis Freud’s.

“Transferrence…Difficult moments cause defense mechanisms – there are 23. Freud’s daughter had a better grasp, vital…”

Baah…Gotta go.

4:00 Session
Again crowded. Sat outside (see Freud) wanted a cigarette, didn’t have on.
Victoria Wisdom – she looks like a skinnier Tracy Ullman. Stands up there after griping about not getting her apple juice and starts with:
“You all are writers and you’ve been talking about writers. I’ve got a different psychology…”
(No shit, she said ‘psychology’ – I think she used the word wrong, but still…)
“I make movies. You have to learn how to find opportunities.

(Something about an email from thee Dali Llama)

“Learn the rules so you can break them.”

Amen, sister. A-fucking-men.

Then I have a bunch of notes trying to incorporate what she was talking about into my Gone Postal story, which I don’t have to go into here, you can see how it looks now, here: http://

To summarize her session(s) (because I stuck around for her next one, as well), they kicked ass. I totally reworked my pitch, it was the most insightful and practical sessions I’ve gone to so far. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Howard Allen and Mark Sevi, they were really good at teaching the craft, but you can write the best script in the world, but if you don’t know how to sell it, you got a popcorn fart.

Ugh, it’s now 6:44 in the am on Saturday and I’ve got twelve hours before I write in the semi-finals of the CS-Open scene-writing competition.

I’m feeling kind of sick, I threw down two naproxen on top of four cups of coffee at 5 in the morning, and I’m no mathematician, but that’s an ugly equation not even quantum mechanics can solve.

That’s OK, I made some sausages, all will be well soon, don’t you fear, no don’t you fear little belly, you’ll have pork product soon, that’s a good boy, who’s a good boy…

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fuck you, flashing curser

gotta run...

Made it to the semi-finals of the CS-Open, baby!

11-14-8 6 PM at the rip-off Italian place across the street from Staples
(Scrawled on my notes from my second attempt at the scene-writing contest. I adapted the Gone Postal idea to the premise, just as I’d adapted The Cat idea to the first session.)

So, I wrote this shit in black (referring to the aforementioned notes) for the second screen-writing competition, not knowing I could have picked up my first one. After I go through the angst of writing another one, they tell me I can pick up the first which got a 92. I was already IN the semifinals.

I think the second one was pretty good, too.

I asked the woman what would happen if I got two, thinking maybe I could try to do two in the next round, but she didn’t quite get me. I was too happy to stick around and try to explain.

Sam Adams Sad Adams, Martin Frick, funny.

Whose a guy gotta fuck to get a beer in this place? Amateurs.

I can’t believe I spent $35 here last night for a beer a glass of jug wine and leftover gnocchi. The only thing worse is coming back. Fuck, N-EL.

Two lesbians sat down next to me and I think the far one thought I was trying to pick up on her girlfriend. She was from Ohio, going to the Laker game, apparently they’re 7-0, don’t know who won last night.

In a hurry...

JB meets and falls in love with Rosie, the proprietress of a pawn shop, her brother Hector is the Meth Kingpin of the Pacific Northwest. He hooks them up with Spencer, a well-connected lawyer, pulling the strings behind the scenes to foment revolution.

Spencer is Adam Sandler, a great role like Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder.


15 minutes to pitch. Everyone is walking around telling their stories, practicing their pitches. It’s hot. I stole a chair and am sitting at a window sill because all the tables in the Galaxy Café are full. Gotta shut down, I’ll post this later, probably from home.

Tell me more...

Johnny Boston botches the job, gets shipped back to Seattle where he learns everyone he’d trusted had tricked him, and his love interest, Rosie (Penelope Cruz) has been kidnapped by her brother, Hector (George Lopez). To redeem himself, Johnny organizes his crew, takes a USPS semi and a convoy of support vehicles south to the last bastion of the Federal government in the western states, Orange County. After a shootout at South Coast Plaza Johnny’s arrested by the Feds, but not before he shoots and kills Hector, in front of Rosie who informs Johnny she’s pregnant with his child.

Friday the Fourteenth

Fuck me, but that was grueling, CS-Open scene-writing contest. It reminded me of taking a final when I was at Berkeley; long tables, an empty blue book, You get a question you have no idea how to answer so you gotta make shit up. Being a slacker in college, missing classes and then going into the final blind prepped me well. 1:45 first pitch, Manheimer – mafia, heist neo noir, dark comedy
2:05 Cine LA international locations, thrillers

Perfect for Gone Postal
It’s a political thriller with the sensibilities of The Daily Show
Think drunk James Bond meets Hitchcock’s accidental hero in North by Northwest.

Hapless loser (Luke Wilson) works the night shift at the Post Office, he and his buddy (Wyatt Cedak) steal the junk mail and sell it as recycling to get beer money.

It gets out of hand, all the post offices in the Northwest start doing it, attracting the attention of the mobster who has amalgamated recycling into his waste management business. Marco, who is really a Jewish kid from the suburbs fashioning himself as a Mafioso, blackmails them into using the USPS distribution network to run drugs and guns. To extricate themselves they turn to a man who is masterminding the secession of the Western States of America.

Johnny Boston is trained (a la Sarah Palin) to be an emissary on a diplomatic mission to Korea in search of international allies for the new WSA.