Morning Cat

The great fluffball contemplates life, philosophy, and the desperate need to eat all the cilantro outside.

Taken with a new app I just downloaded today. It’s an iPhone app from Smugmug called ‘Camera Awesome’. It’s slick and easy to use. It’s a free app that charges you for additional presets/filters. But if you never want to fork over 99 cents for those, it’s still quite useful. Download It

Never look at a reference book while doing a first draft. You want to write a story? Fine. Put away your dictionary, your encyclopedias, your World Almanac, and your thesaurus. […] O.K., so here is your choice: either look it up in the dictionary, thereby making sure you have it right – and breaking your train of thought and the writer’s trance in the bargain – or just spell it phonetically and correct it later. Why not? Did you think it was going to go somewhere? […] You can check it … but later. When you sit down to write, write. Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.

Stephen King

{from the inspirational ‘Advice to Writers’ site}

How Scott Myers Writes a Script

I’m always interested in how creative people work. What do they do first? Do they outline? What applications do they use? Do they do it in silence or with music? In a crowded coffee shop or in a reinforced bunker? If you post a blurb about how others create (especially when it comes to writing) I am there. John August has a nice series going about writers and their worskpaces – johnaugust.com . It might focus too much on the nitty gritty for some (“I will only write on a mahogany desk with my Macbook and Final Draft while sipping earl grey tea, hot.”), but I love that stuff too.

Scott Myers, however, recently concluded a 10 part series about his own writing process (screenplays specifically). Read about how he goes from the concept to the outline to the 2nd draft and everything in-between. It’s quite educational. You can find links to all 10 parts here: “How I Write A Script” by Scott Myers.

Soak Your Brain for Creativity

Turns out, being sleepy or drunk can be a great thing for the creative type. A scientific study says so. Hooray for science for reinforcing “bad” habits!

Wired found a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago where they gave students alcohol (they get credits for that?) and tested them at various times to see how they performed on creative tasks. It turns out that being able to focus, using all those rules/tricks you’ve developed over the decades, can sometimes be detrimental to the creative process. Turn that off, allow your mind to not limit itself, and you might stumble upon the answer more quickly. Of course, if you need to suss out a math problem or even outline your entire story, you probably want a bit of that structure back.

Their summary was particularly apt for me:

Don’t chain yourself to your desk. Instead, set the alarm a few minutes early and wallow in your groggy thoughts. And if that doesn’t work, chug a beer.

I find that groggy half hour when you first wake up to be a great time to write. Don’t talk, don’t listen to music, don’t do anything but get your computer (or your pen/pad) ready and start. It’s amazing what an unrestricted brain will come up with (sometimes amazingly bad, but still, amazing).

Full Article

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang – Script Review

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang by Shane Black

(formerly titled You’ll Never Die In This Town Again)
126 pages. Dated November 21, 2003

These won’t be reviews in the traditional sense of the word. I won’t be giving scripts star ratings or grades or anything of the sort. For one, I’m clearly not qualified to be doing that. Secondly, that isn’t what I think is educational about reading screenplays. I’m reading screenplays because I want to write screenplays. I want to see how others do it, how they build characters, how the action unfolds, how the formatting works (or doesn’t). That’s my goal.

So, in these “reviews” I will be coming at it from the perspective of a beginning screenwriter. The stories and characters are still important, but I will mostly be focusing on the flow and the structure. Spoilers will be marked as such.

Shane Black sold his first script when he was just 22. It was a small arthouse film called Lethal Weapon. It starred some Australian guy. You probably haven’t seen it. Anyway, he went on to write (and sell) quite a few other action scripts over the next decade. He quickly earned a reputation for writing action mixed with witty dialogue that played with the genre’s conventions. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang was his directorial debut after a long hiatus in screenwriting. Ok, here we go.

Continue reading →

What?

Netflix Knows Best

In their infinite wisdom, Netflix has recommended “Fruits Basket” as one of the top 10 streaming movies for me. There it sits alongside “Henry V” and “The Hustler.” What is this grammatically awkward movie about? Well, here is what Netflix has to say:

Yuki Sohma is a teenager whose family harbors a strange secret: If any of them are hugged by a member of the opposite sex, they transform into animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Kind of puts my fear of hugging into perspective*.

I miss the days when my TiVo would see that I enjoyed The L Word, Desperado, & Blazing Saddles and decide that I was a gay Mexican cowboy who only enjoyed Spanish language programming with guns and/or gay content. Good times.

*I’m just afraid people will steal my wallet.

Oh Naturale

Spotted a truck on the freeway with a name that gave me pause: Naturalist Carpet Cleaning.
Was this:
  • A cleaning business for atheists who only believed in the natural world?
  • A risqué service that would tidy up your house in the buff?
  • A personal cleaning service for naturists who also don’t believe in frequent bathing?

Because really, if it’s the latter, I think underpants would be more efficient.

Stay tuned for some screenplay material coming up (thoughts on loglines and my first screenplay review). Nudity will have to take a backseat for now (a popular location for nudity, coincidentally).