Monday, November 30, 2009

Technology FAIL!

So, basically, over Thanksgiving my computer crashed and my Blackberry crapped out. Fortunately, I saw it coming, and am awaiting a new phone and a new hard drive and RAM for my computer.

Everything should arrive by tomorrow, if not today, at which time I will be back online.

In meantime, not being connected is freeing and also a little weird. I have some great news and will post about it later today or tomorrow.

Hope you all had a great break.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey everyone,

No posts for the rest of the week. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Because I'm A Huge Seinfeld Fan...

As you know, this season of Curb Your Enthusiasm is all about the Seinfeld reunion. Well, the season finale premiered Sunday and the Seinfeld section of it has been posted to YouTube, so...enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The $20m Actor…Who Needs ‘Em?

There's been a lot of talk recently about how you no longer need a big star to open your movie. There's been several big-budget, star based movies that have failed miserably this year, and a lot of other movies, without big stars, that have done very well. So, now, everyone is thinking, "Oh, we don't need A-listers" whereas, maybe a year ago, it was all "Sorry, unless you have an A-lister, don't even bother me."

How does one make sense of all of this? You don't have to. All you have to do is keep working on what you're working on. In two years, when Bradley Cooper is the biggest name in movies, demanding 20 million per picture and his movies open huge, everyone will say "Sorry, unless you have an A-lister, I can't help you" once again. Hollywood, for some reason, has a really hard time admitting that it's really all about the story and how that connects with audiences.

I was watching West Wing this morning on Bravo and it was the episode from Season 2 when we learn how our main characters got involved with the Bartlett campaign. C.J. Craig works at a PR company and she gets called in because the Golden Globes were announced that day, and some guy that runs a studio (who has hired the PR company and C.J. Craig to promote his movies) is pissed that they only got two nominations. And he puts the blame on her, wants her fired.

C.J. stands up to him and says, "Well, I'm sorry, the fact is the movies were just bad. If they were unknown, I could have helped you, but people didn't nominate them because they were bad movies." (Something like that.)

Sometimes the movies are bad. Sometimes they're good. Sometimes they have stars and sometimes they don't. One of the things I've learned in my short time here is that the only trend in Hollywood is that there are no actual trends. Any trend in Hollywood is one to two years behind whichever picture started it.

Check out the articles below.

The $20m Actor…Who Needs ‘Em?
Hollywood rethinks use of pricey A-list actors

Thursday, November 19, 2009

3Questions: Jennifer Cooper - Casting Director

As part of our continuing 3Questions series, I present Jennifer Cooper, a Casting Director and owner of Jennifer Cooper Casting. She has been involved in casting upwards of 85 episodes of Network television. Her television credits include the Fox drama Drive, the CBS dramas Cold Case and CSI: NY as well as the CBS Paramount pilot I Witness. She has recently added 'producer' to her credits, working with CSI creator Anthony Zuiker on his Digi-Novel series, Level 26: Dark Origins.

HBAD: So, tell us, how did you get your start?

JC: I started interning with Mali Finn Casting as a part of an Emerson College internship program for graduating seniors. While working at Mali’s office, I was given the chance to work on some amazing projects such as, The Assassination of Jesse James, Lucky you, Running with Scissors and North Country. Once my internship was complete, I was hooked and hit the ground running, and with enough begging and utilizing the contacts I had made working for Mali, I was able to get a casting assistant job on Cold Case for CBS.

HBAD: What are the most difficult challenges you've encountered on your career path?

JC: I think the most challenging thing for me personally was learning how to slow down. Everyone tells you that you have to “pay your dues” which just sounded to me like I should “under achieve” and “take a back seat”. But looking back, I think about how much I have learned by allowing myself to learn from experience. As hard as it is to swallow, there are some things you can only understand by doing them, and it takes time to garner the trust and respect needed to deserve the opportunities. Finally, understanding that striking a balance between “not taking no for an answer” and “waiting your turn” was both the most difficult and rewarding lesson I struggled to learn.

HBAD: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in this business, looking to become a casting director?

JC: INTERN! Although it sounds crazy to have spent so much money on college and then turn around and volunteer to fall deeper into debt, giving your time in pursuit of really examining what you think you might want to do will go a LONG way. It doesn’t take long in this business to make friends and build relationships, and if you’re committed and hard working, people will take notice and open a door for you. I think the trick is to be prepared to walk through it when it opens.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How Is The Writing Going?

Let's just say this:

I am crapping excellence onto these pages right now. It’s like I took a laxative for genius.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Writing Process: Part 1

(Who writes long hand anymore? Actually, I have a notebook and a beautiful Mont Blanc fountain pen that I use constantly when I'm jotting down ideas and writing out my thoughts on a project. But...I don't write scripts long hand. I just thought this picture fit the blogger "public domain" cliche nicely.)

Nothing better than starting off a post with parentheses.

Anyway! Since Travis and I have started working on a new script, and this new script happens to be an assignment-like situation, where we're developing the project with a production company, I thought it would be interesting to provide you, my loyal readers, with a look at the process Travis and I will go through developing this script. How does something like this happen? What steps do we take before writing the script? Do we outline? Do we treatment? Things like that. So, why not take you along with us?

I've read numerous books on screenwriting but they're all a little bit academic. "All you do is write out your story using action and dialogue. Done!" Easy, right? That's the thing. Because there's so many different ways to actually write a screenplay, it's hard to write a book about it. The other thing is that it's kind of boring. Who wants to read a whole book on how someone wrote a script? Maybe this will be just as boring...but you didn't have to buy it and it will be much shorter.

So, you know how the fairy tale begins. Our script is given to the producer. Producer reads it, really likes it, just not for them. But, BUT! Finally, he goes to himself, "I have an idea and I think these are the guys to write it." So, he calls us in for a meeting. We go in and he pitches us an idea.

"I want to do a comedy about _______." (I can't reveal what it is we're actually working on yet...sorry.) I think this topic is ripe for hilarity, I really love what you guys did with Glory Days and I'd like to develop the project with you, internally, here at our production company."

The rest of the meeting, we toss around some ideas that we're coming up with in the room. Loose ideas, who's our main character, what exactly is the plot, what other movies does this remind us of? What funny things could be in it?

Following the meeting, Travis and I did what we always do when starting a project...we put it off and grabbed something to eat. Then we talked, mostly about the short timeline...which worried us a little bit. And we just settled into the fact that this was a great opportunity and if that means we need to not have a social life for the rest of the year, well...that's what we signed up for when we started this whole journey.

Normally, when Travis and I are writing mode, we work every night, (unless, of course, the Lost season is airing, in which case we take Wednesdays off), however, with this intense deadline, we decided that we'd write weekends as well, if we felt we needed to.

Despite our vow to drop everything, the following week we had some plans that just couldn't be broken. However, the beginning of development is often light. You can only spend so many hours "coming up" with ideas before your brain is fried and that's what we spent the better part of last week doing. Our producer scheduled a meeting with us on November 13th to see what we had and focus in on what we wanted this script to be.

So, Travis and I spent most of our time coming up with the story beat by beat. We use a beat sheet that covers the major turning points of a story: intro, catalyst, first act turn, fun and games, midpoint, bad guys close in, third act turn, climax, and so on (there's a few more sprinkled in there but that pretty much covers it). We do this in order to start figuring out the structure of our story.

Structure really is everything and if you're able to have these major beats written out, then you always know where you're writing to. If you're only on page 27, you don't to be thinking about the end, you have to be thinking about getting to page 50, the midpoint.

We also started developing characters. Who is our main character? Who is the bad guy? Who are the supporting characters?

What we wanted, when we stepped into our meeting, was to be able to say, "here's a few ideas for the story, here's a few character ideas, here's some set pieces" and then use that as a jumping off point for feeling out the producer. Remember, this was his idea, so, he's got something in his head about how this thing is, and we need to be able to tap into that, while at the same time, making it ours...which is probably why he didn't just hand us a scene list and say "Just turn this into a script."

That stuff in hand, we went in for our meeting on Friday. As mentioned, the real purpose of this was to spitball ideas and focus in on the direction and tone of the script. Plot will come, that's not the difficult part. Things like tone (is this a grounded comedy or an absurdist comedy) and character (is our hero have a "hero to zero to hero" arc (like in Glory Days) or is is more "zero to hero?") can totally effect the plot and execution of the script, so that's what we wanted to get a better handle on.

And we did. We had a great meeting, we got a lot of things sorted out and we were off.

Now...the way Travis and I develop and write scripts changes from script to script. When we wrote our first script, the thriller, we had spent the better part of six months, off and on, developing the idea, thinking about the idea, letting it gestate, while we finished up college. I had also been developing it for a year prior to that. When it came time to actually write it, we spent time beating it out, talking about the character and after three weeks of that, we started writing. I wrote the intro. From there, Travis began writing ahead and went back and rewrote what he had just written. By the end of ten days, we had the 2nd draft of the script.

When we wrote Glory Days, the plot was really, really easy. We spent most of our development time coming up with the character and then carding out the script (where you write the scenes on cards). We didn't do a beat sheet or write an outline/treatment. We just knew this character and the world. When it came time to write it, Travis and I actually wrote it together, side by side, one of us throwing ideas or dialogue, the other typing. We still managed to complete a 150 page draft in 10 days, just executed it differently.

When we wrote our third script, a very small indie project called Dig, we actually wrote it using iChat. See, the idea is two characters, one location...that giant conversation. So, to power through all that dialogue we tried something different: Travis played one guy, I played the other and we actually sat down and had a conversation on iChat, which then became the dialogue for the script. In order to do this, however, we had to spend a lot of time really getting to know these characters, so we did a lot of development on it.

For our last comedy script, we did everything. We did a beat sheet, we carded it out, we wrote a treatment, we wrote the script.

Point is, what we end up doing to prepare for the actual writing is usually whatever feels organic to what we're writing.

In this case, I have no idea why, but following the meeting on Friday, I sat down in a coffee shop and started writing, in outline form, the back story. I started with our character and just started pounding out the back story. Travis then started beating out the new version of the story, by scenes, and I kept writing what will become a 20-25 page treatment. (I just started Act II and I'm already on page 8). Why go this route? I have no idea. It just sort of happened.

Because we're developing it with our producer, we don't want to just hand him a beat sheet. We want to give him something of substance, an outline/treatment, that gives him a really good idea of what the script will be. An outline/treatment the best way to do that.

So, as of now, Travis and I meet up every night, where he works on the scene list and I adapt that scene list into an outline.

Stay tuned for The Writing Process: Part 2.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where to Write

When I originally started this blog, I made a list of topics that I could possibly write about. After the first month of posting, I've kind of veered away from writing "articles" and have focus more on aggregate posting, updates, or project based blogs (W&CK, Mateo, Glory Days). Everyone now and then, when searching for something to write about, I'd return to that list I made. One of the topics on it was about "where to write." I haven't written about it up until now because I always though it was a bit of a boring blog. Because Travis and I haven't really been hardcore writing, I didn't have an recent personal experience to make it more than "Well, there's coffee shops, at home...and wherever else..." which are things you already know, and quite frankly, just isn't very interesting.

But as Travis and I have gotten back in to serious writing, it's actually become a topic of conversation between us, so I thought I'd share it with you. Maybe it's still boring...I don't know.

Travis and I have written in a lot of different places. We wrote our first script at Cafe Vita in Seattle before we moved down to Los Angeles. Why Vita? Well, that Summer Travis worked full time at a place down on Capitol Hill and I was self-employed, doing projects for my production company. My days were often free but Travis couldn't do anything till after work. It was easier for me to drive over to Seattle and meet up with Travis, who worked next door to Cafe Vita.

It was a great place, well-worn, good coffee and open late. (Travis and I were just talking today about our marathon writing sessions for our first script. I'd meet up with Travis around 6, we'd grab a bite, and then write until midnight.)

Then, Travis and I moved to LA and we really didn't know where to write. At the time, we felt that LA was void of coffee shops. (Newbie confession: we tried writing at Urth Cafe thinking it was something different than it was.) So, we worked on Glory Days at the kitchen table of our apartment and at the apartment complex's cafe (we didn't have Internet at the time and the cafe provided it for free).

We also worked at the Farmer's Market Starbucks for a while. When I was writing The Ronnie Day Project I did most of it there. It wasn't until after I had returned from my 3 month, Ronnie Day Project Post-Production vacation in New York that Travis told me he had found a great coffee shop where he had been doing a lot writing.

And that's how we found our way to Insomnia Cafe. We landed on this place because it was close for us, even after I got married and moved into an apartment with my wife. Insomnia Cafe really feels like a place to write. In fact, there's a huge amount of regulars who seem to be there every night. You take a break from writing, chat with other people, meet people, and the come back to the computer and keep writing. I've always felt my creatively soar there even though, thinking back on it, we haven't actually written an entire script there.

Most of the writing we did there was rewrites on Glory Days and our thriller script. We wrote a couple of TV specs there and did a lot of development. We wrote our smaller indie script Dig at my house, over the course of 10 days and 10 bottle of wine, because we needed the Internet to write it (that's for another post) and Travis' roommate (and one of my best friends) was always home with his girlfriend watching TV.

Then we drifted away from it. And when my wife and I bought a condo in North Hollywood, followed by Travis moving to an apartment downtown, we moved away from Insomnia completely. Travis and I began writing our next script, the one we were forced to abandon, bouncing back and forth between our places. I now had a dedicated office, which I thought we would be using all the time, and Travis didn't have a TV...which meant his new roommate wouldn't be inclined to bother us by watching re-runs of Rock of Love.

Because of driving distances, time, etc, we'd often split our time between each place. Travis had a weird work schedule that had him working weekends, with three days free in the middle of the week. Sometimes we'd write during the day, other times at night, but mostly at our homes.

But we weren't able to break through anything. I think there's something that becomes a little bothersome about writing at home. It's too comfortable. It's too easy to get up and grab a snack or a drink and interrupt your writing. It's too easy for a wife or roommate to get to you. It's too easy to surf the Internet. And it's nearly impossible for me to get any work done if I'm writing at home alone. Forget it. I can edit, I can prep for directing, but being at home, alone, and writing is an impossible feat for me.

Anyway, most of our writing was put on hold for a couple months this summer as I had a few music videos to direct and edit and Travis worked on the treatment for our musical.

Now, after getting the assignment, we've been re-adjusting back into writing mode. The week following the good news, we worked down at Travis' place. The Starbucks there isn't bad but it closes at 10 and we usually try to write from 8-11.

Following our development meeting on Friday, Travis had to go take care of some personal shit and I decided to go work on a write up incorporating the new notes. Since I was in the area, I thought why not go to Insomnia? It's always been a great place to write.

So, I did. I got my cup of coffee, settled in and started writing. And I continued writing. And continued writing. And before I knew it, I had three pages, single spaced, covering the entire back story.

Travis called me when he was finished and was like, "Where you at, homey?" and I was like, "Yo...G, I'm like, busting up all over this page, for reelz, at the Insomnia Cafe." And he goes, "Very nice. I do not want to mess with your flow, so I will come over and we'll write there." And I said, "Yes, brilliant!"

(Our conversations are almost always like that. We're friends to all linguistic styles.)

So we did. We planned to write this past weekend, both days, but my wife and I were getting a new car on Saturday and it ended up taking all day, so I wasn't able to meet up with him.

Sunday, we were trying to decide where to write for the afternoon and decided to go back to Insomnia, so we did, and we got a lot of work done. I'm not a superstitious guy, but I'm a big believer in continuing with what works. Odds are we'll end up writing during the week at Travis' (it's a time management thing that I don't really want to get into) but for now, Insomnia does seem to be working for us.

How, in any way, does this help you? I don't know. I just thought it was interesting. Quite possibly the only thing about writing in a coffee shop in Los Angeles is that everyone else in there is also writing. And it definitely makes you feel like the odds are against you. But if a coffee shop is where you get the most work done in the least amount time then why not take advantage of it?

Hell, if you need a break, you can people watch. You never know, you might just see a character for your next screenplay.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

3Questions: Josh Stolberg - Screenwriter

As part of our continuing 3Questions series, I present Josh Stolberg, a screen and television writer who's credits include Honey I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, Sabrina: The Animated Series, Pirahna 3D, Sorority Row, Good Luck Chuck, The Spellman Files (Barry Sonnenfeld directing) and Man-Witch (Todd Phillips producing).

As a screenwriter, his job " involves a fairly broad spectrum of writing. It can be anything from submitting a ‘spec’ script (writing it without getting paid) in hopes a buyer will bite, to writing a job on assignment that a studio pitches to the writer, to selling a pitch in which the script doesn’t exist yet. I’ve also worked punching up scripts in round-table situations (usually one or two days, writing jokes or helping to solve plot problems)."

HBAD: So, tell us, how did you get your start?

JS: I started in theater in Junior High School. My interest started to shift toward directing in the theater program at the University of Vermont. After college I moved to Hollywood and started from the bottom. I worked in television as a Production Assistant, and later as a Second Unit Director before going back to grad school at USC. My first few years out here were about learning the business from the ground up and building a network of people with similar moviemaking tastes and interests.

My first big break was getting an agent who immediately hooked me up with a staff job on Honey I Shrunk the Kids. I had sent out about 800 query letters to nearly every agency in Hollywood, and was lucky enough that ICM was the agency that bit. While working on Honey, I continued writing features on spec. During the hiatus on the show, I made my first sale on a spec script called Bad Nougat (a romantic comedy about a relationship counselor still in love with his ex-girlfriend). It wasn’t a big sale, but it allowed me me to leave Honey and work full-time in features.

The next big step happened when my manager fixed me up with a pretty amazing writer named Monica Johnson. She was more established and looking for someone to write with after she stopped working with Albert Brooks. Together we made a more substantial sale on a script called Closers (about a company that choreographs the perfect date for clients). It was a big splashy spec sale and was really the launching pad for getting my being known as a writer.

HBAD: What are the most difficult challenges you've encountered on your career path?

JS: The biggest challenge is that as a writer, only 10% of your job is actually writing. The other 90% is getting your next job. Taking meetings. Writing pitches. Delivering the pitches. Building business relationships with the execs and directors that share your sensibilities. Even once you have an agent you’re selling him or her on your next project. The more excited they are, the better job they can do selling it.

By nature, most writers are creative folks, not salesmen. But you have to adapt and grow into it. When the studio is hiring you as a writer, they aren’t just hiring you for your skills, but also because they look forward to working with you, giving you notes, hearing your ideas.

There is another challenge in balancing the business of writing with the creative side. What I would love to write, isn’t always what Hollywood wants to make. So it’s always a struggle trying to pin-point what Hollywood WANTS, and then tailoring it so that the work is exciting to me.

A lot of that is just finding the right idea. If it’s a good idea, the script usually writes itself. It’s a lot easier to write a good script than a bad script. A bad script drains every ounce of your energy because it’s like pulling teeth to make it work.

HBAD: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in this business, looking to become a screenwriter?

JS: Of course you need to do your homework. For a writer this means being a reader. Buzz through as many screenplays as you can get your hands on. Read them critically. Pay attention to when they introduce concepts and how they evolve.

But the best advice I can offer is to take the extra step. You can read about screenwriting all you want but it really comes down to ‘doing it.’ WRITE. Write as much as you can.

And know this… 99% of first scripts are horrible! I can’t even read my first script without spinning into a depression. Be prepared for this. And don’t let the rejections get to you. I really can’t understand how most writers think that their first scripts are going to win them an Oscar (Diablo Cody is the exception, not the rule). Think of it like this: it’s like golf, in the sense that when you’re on the practice range, you’re probably going to duff a few before you nail one 300 yards.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mateo's "Get To Know Me" Music Video in Rotation on mtvU

Well...the title pretty much says it all. I just found out that the video I directed for Mateo's single "Get To Know Me" will be put in rotation on mtvU! Exciting news.

In case you've missed it, here's the video:

Mateo - Get To Know Me [Official Video] from Mateo on Vimeo.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Update: Great News on all fronts


Last week (Friday to Friday) was a pretty crazy week for Travis and I. (Did we sell a script? Not yet.) First, there was the news from our Glory Days producer that a big agent with big talent clients read our script, loved it, and has now passed it on to his top four clients.

Then, that same day, Travis and I had a great meeting about another script we wrote, a thriller, at a production company, whose CE expressed interest in the script. She's now passing it on to the other CE at the company and we're awaiting word.

A week later, this past Friday, Travis and I went in for a general meeting at a production company run by a big comedy director who had a major hit this year. (I apologize for being so vague with some of this stuff but Hollywood tends to be a secretive place and I don't want to jeopardize anything by revealing what is going on until something has actually happened. I hope to let you in on this company soon.) A friend of Travis' is a CE there and Travis had given Glory Days to him to one, get feedback, and two, see if the director would be interested. Travis's friend, and the director's producing partner, both really loved the script. Unfortunately, it wasn't really the director's type of material. Nevertheless, the producer wanted to meet with us. And that's how Travis and I found ourselves sitting in a West Hollywood office on Friday.

By all accounts, it was a general meeting (nice to meet you...put a face to the name...what are your working on...well, keep us we're not buying anything from you right now...please!) Travis and I discussed the night before the very limited comedy pitches we had and figured we'd feel it out.

Now, here's something to keep in mind. As I mentioned in the last post, Travis and I had decided to write an indie feature that we've been wanting to work on for a while. We were tired of forcing things and wanted to work on something we REALLY wanted to do.

So, we go into this meeting, basically expecting it to be like most of our meetings. We meet the producer, we chit-chat about a really awesome, custom movie poster they had done for one of their movies, and then he said, "So, I really like Glory Days, I don't really know what you have going on right now, but I have an idea I want to throw at you." We said sure, let's here it. So, he pitched us a hilarious idea (one we probably should have thought of) and said that he wants to develop it in house, and he wants us to write it.

Whoa! Our first assignment. Then, lays it down, "This project is a priority and I would love to have a script by the new year."

Say what? As in, the "new year" two months from now? With three weeks of holiday breaks in between? THAT new year.



In essence, Travis and I are giving up our lives for the next two months to try and get a script written for this guy. He wants to sell it, he wants it to make 150 million, he wants a big star, who was in his last movie, to be in it, and let's put it this way, this guy's last movie made 180 million. And that was during a slow time of the year.

The fact that this is our first assignment, that someone is trusting us with his idea, believes that we can do it, really means a lot. It's a great break for us. The other great thing about this is that we really should have another comedy script and this gives it to us. And it's a funny idea. So, needless to say, we're excited.


In other news, I got a nice shout out on for the Mateo "Get To Know Me" video I did. You can check out the post here.


With all that's been going on, I haven't had a chance to finish up the edit on Tim Kubart's video for "Superhero." Tim and I have been going back and forth for a week or two with some changes and I have the last of them to make before sending it off to James for color. My goal is to find time to finish that this week.

Since we're going hardcore on the script now, any free time I have is almost completely devoted to writing, including weekends, until December 20th. (My wife and I go back to New York for Christmas for two weeks, so, I'm not quite sure how that's going to work. Hopefully, timing wise, we've already got a first draft of the script by then, and are just rewriting, something done easily when Travis and I are apart.)

Because of that, posting on the blog may get light for the next couple weeks. I'll try and keep things updated but I just might not be posting everyday. Bear with me...if I sell this script, it could help the blog take off.


I've managed to do 25 straight weeks of 3Questions interviews. Last week, I just didn't have an interview ready to go. I've been working with a friend of mine who has a lot of contacts and is willing to help me out. So, I should be getting more in soon and I will continue posting them as I do. I'm glad you guys are enjoying them.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Neill Blomkamp on Directing 'District 9' from

There's a great part halfway through when he talks about aspiring directors needing stamina...something I've never really thought about but have always known was important.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Glory Days, Editing "Superhero" and What's Next?

I've been trying to write this blog for a few days now. It's been tough to find the time and the energy to write something up, considering that my blogs end up being so long. I definitely have some things I want to write about so I'm not sure why this is so difficult...

So, now it's 11:38 PM on Tuesday night, the puppies are sitting next to me on the couch, Seinfeld is on TV, and I've decided to try and get this blog written.

Glory Days

So, after the bad news we got on our newest comedy script, we got some great news on Glory Days. I can't really say too much because I don't want to jinx it or build too much excitement.

Several weeks ago, our produced submitted our script to a big comedy talent agent, at a big talent agency, for his client's consideration. We didn't hear anything and then finally, after trading calls for a couple days, our producer called us to tell us the agent loved it and had submitted it to his four biggest clients. I can't say who but they are names you would definitely know.

So, it's another great step along the way. Who knows what will happen, they could all say no, but we have a talent agent on our side, who loves the script, loves football, and will hopefully champion it. It's a huge step forward and we're all excited to see what comes next.

Editing Superhero

On Friday I finished the rough cut of the music video for Tim & the Space Cadets. It took me a while to get that first cut together, even though a week and a half is really quick. What made it difficult was the amount of performance footage I had. In addition to the six or so angles I shot of Tim performing, I also had all of the band footage.

For the last chorus of the video, Tim and the band had a costume change, so I started with that section, finding it easier to cut because it was such a small section and there weren’t any narrative shots I had to put in.

Once that was done, I moved on to the main performance. It took me awhile to figure out where to start. I finally cut the song down into sections and decided that most of the video should focus on Tim and if I needed to cut in band shots, I could do that later. Once I made that decision, things got much easier for me.

Having finished cutting the performance I was able to start laying down the narrative sections of the video. Aside from a few hiccups, mostly with finding a way to cut the shots down to fit in the time allotted, I got everything laid down on the timeline.

I took a day away from it, came back, watched it, made some tweaks and finally, on Friday, send it off for review by Tim, the producers, our DP, and a couple of other people whose opinions I trust. They all got back to me the next day and loved it. Tim had a few minor changes, which I addressed over the weekend. On Monday I sent off the new cut and am just waiting on Tim for feedback.

If he okays it, then it's off to James, my colorist, and the video will be done soon after. The thing I'm trying to figure out now is how to differentiate between the performance and the narrative. They were both shot at the same location with the same light and I'd like to find a way to separate the two. I'm not sure how to do it yet, that's a discussion I need to have with James and Paul. Either way, I can't wait to see this thing color corrected and in full-res. After the W&CK video, I know it's going to look awesome!

What's Next?

After our latest script got shut down by the news that there's a number of other similar ideas already out there, Travis and I were really feeling lost. We hadn't really been feeling the latest script anyway and felt like while we liked the idea we were really writing it because we should write another comedy.

But that's not really how we banged out our last two scripts, a thriller and a comedy. We wrote those because we really liked the stories and really wanted to write it. We wrote what we were interested in, not what we felt we should write.

Here's the thing...if you write a comedy script, it's great to write more comedy scripts, not a thriller or a small indie movie. Hollywood likes to label you as "the comedy guys" or "the thriller guys" so it's best to stick with the same kind of stuff...but that's just not the way we work. We're into stories...not genres. And we've written two well-received scripts from different genres.

On that note, Travis and I have started working on our next project, which is going to be a low-budget indie movie. We're going to go out and find financing for it and it's going to be my feature directorial debut.

We're going to spend the rest of the year developing it and then, starting in the new year, Travis will go off and write it.

It's a story that we really love and we're really into which will mean we can write it quickly and write it well. It's a project we've had in our heads for a couple months now, gestating, so I think it's very promising.

So, that's what we're going to write next, because our gut(s) tell us we should and that's what has gotten us this far.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is Hollywood always in panic mode? Ari Emanuel's history lesson

There's a great article over at LA Times from Patrick Goldstein. Everyone in Hollywood, especially those who have yet to sell something and aren't making a million dollars a year (me!), is feeling the pinch these days.

The spec script market is in the toilet; fewer movies are being made even though, oddly enough, the budgets seems to be getting bigger (Transformers 2, Avatar, etc); and stars have less cache then ever before. Except, perhaps, in the 1970's, which is what the article is about.

The one thing I constantly keep in mind is that movies will always be around. Sure, things have definitely advanced but there's really not that much difference between The Great Train Robbery and The Dark Knight. Following that, the movie business, like any business, is cyclical. There are ups and downs. After television took off and the studio system was broken up, we were down. A few years ago, we were up. Right now, we're down.

Is it the end of the movies? No.

Sure, studios are cutting back, they're only making movies they think will work (sequels, tentpole movies) and when they fail, they cut back even more. Soon, however, when cash starts entering the market, when light bulbs start selling again, and when we have a few breakout hits on varying budget levels, things will pick up. The studios can't stop making movies, even though their parent companies would probably like them to, so they need to keep looking for the next big script.

The question is, who's going to write it?

Check out the article below.

Is Hollywood always in panic mode? Ari Emanuel's history lesson

Monday, November 2, 2009

Building an afterlife in The Lovely Bones

A couple weeks ago I posted a link to an article on video on Peter Jackson's new film The Lovely Bones and I mentioned that I was curious about how they imagined heaven, since there's obviously no concrete examples to base anything off of and trying to transcend human understanding of place and time is near impossible.

There's an article over at about just that element -- the afterlife.

Check it out: Building an afterlife in The Lovely Bones