Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Changing of Sunlight to Moonlight

I haven't done a meme in a long time; this is one that I did that is popping up all over Facebook like meth labs in the hills of Kentucky. And is about as addictive. So, here's 25 Things About Me:

-I met my wife on a blind date in January 1987 and we were married that October.

-I have been knocked unconscious a lot, including every job I ever had (except the last one, where I passed out, and the current one, which the meter is still running on).

-I was the first person to win a Letterman Scholarship at Ball State for scriptwriting. When I stood up to accept the award, being a young smartass at the time, I thanked the Smith-Corona typewriter company and the creator of White-Out.

-I was given tickets to the Letterman show as part of the scholarship and my wife and I went to see the show in 1988. The studio was smaller than you would think. The guests that night were Isiah Thomas, Chris Elliot and Terrence Trent D'Arby.

-Much to the chagrin of practically everyone I talk to about it, I always read the last chapter of a book before I start it. And no I did not get that idea from Billy Crystal in "When Harry Met Sally."

-I have been involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters since 1987 and have had three Little Brothers. The one I have now is 13 and the first one I had is now, unbelievably, 34.

-As an adjunct faculty at Ball State University I was the advisor for a student group that produced a minority public affairs program. I am still proud that they named their annual Outstanding Leadership Award after me.

-I was flattered to see that the short films "The Hook" and "The B-Team" both have characters named after me.

-I was the Ball State Daily News Freshman Writer of the Year in 1985. I had not yet learned to type and wrote all my stories in longhand.

-My nickname in high school was "Ace."

-I have never learned to play Solitaire and don't understand a lick of it.

-I also could not blow a bubble with a gun to my head.

-The very first movie I ever remember seeing is "The Barefoot Executive." The first movie I saw when we got HBO as a kid was "The Last Remake of Beau Geste." The first R- rated movie I saw was "Alien."

-My favorite comic book character growing up was, for whatever reason lost in the dustbins of history, the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick. I used to call him "Pot Head Flash" before I knew the subtle connotations there, as he wore a winged Mercury helmet. It is still my favorite superpower.

-When I was a kid, there were three measures of coolness: seeing Star Wars at least 13 times, being able to go see the R rated version of Saturday Night Fever instead of the PG version, and being able to stay up all night watching Sammy Terry. I only could do one of these.

-In general I do not like to watch a movie over again, nor do I like to start watching a movie if I miss the beginning.

-I listen to ELO's "Out of the Blue" and The 5th Dimension "Greatest Hits on Earth" over and over when I need inspiration.

-I have probably read "Catch-22" by Joseph Heller more times than any other book.

-I loved "The Prisoner" TV series so much I never watched the last episode because I never wanted it to end.

-I have walked on the Great Wall of China and stood in Tianenmen Square a year before it took on a new meaning.

-The first record I bought for myself was "Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd from a garage sale across the street--it still hand the stickers in it. The first one given to me was a .45 of "King Tut" by Steve Martin by my friend Todd Merickel in 7th grade. The last 8-Track I bought was "Wings Greatest Hits." The first cassette I owned was Tom Petty 'Hard Promises." I played it with the 8-track adapter. The first CD I owned was "Ten" by Pearl Jam.

-To my secret shame, the first rock concert I went to see was Adam Ant, with The Romantics as the opening act, at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis.

-Like most teenagers in the early 80s, I was briefly in a punk band. It was called The Johnnies.-

-With a friend, I hosted my own cable access show in Muncie, Indiana, called Back Issue. It was about comic book collecting, and we produced around 75 episodes circa 1997-2000.

-I have always drawn my own comics, made my own zines, shot my own movies on Super-8 and video. I now know this is called DIY but we used to call it being a nerd.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

High on the Mountain of Love

Tonight the snow is falling heavily and I am tucked in reading, relaxing, after firing off the first draft of my nondisclosure sci-fi script last night. This one had evil clones, killer robots, one mushroom cloud, a planet or two blowing up, and a sinister android who I couldn't help but imagine wearing a foxy pantsuit like Julie Lipton wore in The Mod Squad. The usual fare.

This wise movie veteran congratulated me on getting the script knocked out, rightfully calling it "Draft #1." There's always a lot more work to do.

My O.M.G. Tim Shrum (in this case, meaning Original Microcinema Gangster) gave me a shout out here, so I am giving one back. If you like my blog, his is ten times better.

Until rewrites, I am at

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Third Rate Romance, Low Rent Rendezvous

2009 has been cold and miserable so far, and disasters seem to lurk around every shadowy corner, but this morning I am sitting in front of the fireplace while the snow gently falls outside and all seems peaceful with the world.

2009 has also been interesting. In 2008, if you opposed the president you were a dirty traitor who wanted the terrorists to win. Now, in 2009, if you oppose the president you are a patriot only trying to save America from the evils of socialism (except for the government intervention in the fates of the auto companies, which shouldn't be considered socialism, naturally). It's funny how the world goes 'round.

The Guardian put out a list of Science Fiction books everyone should read, and at first I said "Wow, I've read 22 of them," and then I said, "Wow, I need to read a lot more of these." Check the full list out, in three parts, beginning here.

This dude wrote, "Statistically speaking, there's at least one person on Earth who's a fan of Eminem and Benny Hill and Doctor Who. This video is for that freak." How he knew I existed, I'll never know.

I just finished a really good book called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and wondering if I have the brainpower to read The Savage Detectives as I'd like.

Until later, catch me at

Saturday, January 17, 2009

About A Ghost From A Wishing Well

Blistering, relentless cold has seeped in from all corners, ten and fifteen below, with a half-foot of snow and a sinus infection like a ten-penny nail floating around in the juice sloshing behind my eye. Other than that, 2009 has been great so far.

I did add a new resolution to my list. I am going to be better about giving script coverage. If you sent me a script in the last three months--okay, the last six months--and I never responded, please re-send your script to me at and I swear on a stack of Hard Case Crime paperbacks to read it in the nearer rather than distant future.

I also know I owe some peeps some emails, but I'm starting with baby steps.

Really, when the weather gets like this, there is nothing to do but hunker down--and in my case, knuckle down on some script rewrites. Loyal readers know that I have been working on a non-disclosure sci-fi project since before Thanksgiving that I thought would be done by now, but has gone through several rewrites of the first act. Several people familiar with this project have wondered aloud to me whether doing so much re-writing bothers me. Allow me to turn my thoughts away from this brutal winter and offer some of my sporadic screenwriting advice that so many come to this blog to receive.

A script is not your baby. You are delivering someone else's baby. Thus I do not mind writing and rewriting until the producer or director gets exactly what they want. The more it fits their vision, the more likely it will get made. When somebody tells you they can "see" what you've written, you know you are onto something.

I can hear loyal readers asking, 'but what if it's your original script?' The truth is, even though I like to write specs in the summers, mostly for my own amusement, every single script out of the 20 projects I have worked on the last eight years have started with somebody else's idea. Either somebody has a monster suit or access to a neat location or knows a girl willing to have red kayro syrup thrown on her while she's taking a shower or has been given a mockbuster title to develop or something.

Most directors and producers eventually figure out that coming up with ideas isn't the hard part. It's sitting in a chair writing it all out instead of, for instance, watching the NFL playoffs. Thus, do not write me an email and suggest a great idea, and if "only I write it" we can split the money. It is not a bubbling brain but a cast iron butt that wins the race. At any rate, I have a rewrite to finish and perhaps have the next project beyond that percolating. If only people would stop making me sign these accursed nondisclosures and, as I have suggested, go back to wearing tinfoil hats to protect their thoughts this blog would be a lot more fun at times.

To reward myself later tonight, hot Mexican food, cold wine, warm brownies, a glowing TV screen.

Until even later I am at

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Shadow From The Starlight Is Softer Than A Lullaby

Ice and snow on a brittle Sunday morning. Last night we were kept from going to a nice restaurant an hour away by icy roads, so we went a half-mile away and had sandwiches and milkshakes at the local diner, then came back here and played cards and had a nice "found evening" after all. We watched George Cukor's The Women and I wondered aloud how a 70 year old movie could be fresher and funnier than the one made with Meg Ryan a year or two ago.

However, I watched Son of Rambow a night or two before, and it is the kind of movie I wish I had written.

I went to the library and the two books I was most interested in--Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives--were both on the New Books shelf, both in English translation, and both authors are already dead before their time. Makes me think I need to start writing faster.

I am working on rewrites of a sci-fi script under nondisclosure and looking ahead to a potential project.

Although winter is seemingly just getting underway, we are all ready for it to be over and are contemplating an escape to warmer climes for Spring Break. My Colts and Ball State Cardinals getting beat on mercilessly doesn't help.

Now this is a bright star in the sky; though I liked it so much that, to my brother's undying chargin, I never watched the last episode because I didn't want it to be over.

Until later, I am at

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

This Week He's Mopping Floors, Next Week It's The Fries

2008 is in the history books. On the day job front I was extremely busy, empty nesting on the home front (until we got the puppy) and steadily working on the freelance front. I had taken 2006 off from screenwriting because of changing jobs and challenges at home but came back in 2007 with a record (for me) seven freelance projects (after thinking I was probably out of the loop and nobody would hire me anymore), hopefully a few of which will be on screens or shelves in 2009.

This year I did rewrites on the horror film Mental Scars for Richard Myles, a second pass on a sci-fi script I did in 2007 under a nondisclosure, and finished the year working on another sci-fi project under nondisclosure with the same producer (nondisclosures make for boring blogs, though). Which, with a few fits and starts on some other things, was just busy enough.

Instead of writing a spec script this summer I started schooling myself on New Media to sort of figure out what that Next-Gen model is going to be. Having gone to college with an electric typewriter in 1984 I still have a lot to learn. But I did pass five years and one thousand posts on this humble blog. I got very interested in Creative Commons and released some of my work under those licenses.

I got to go to the San Diego Comic Con and Columbus Ohio's Small Press and Comics Expo and Bloomington's Cinephile Film Fest and did a lot of other straycationing, but my beloved Microcinema Fest skipped a year.

I gave myself another Ultimate Nerd Challenge, this time to read 50 books in 2008 (and succeeded), along the way discovering Samuel R. Delany and re-discovering Philip K. Dick. I got to play the new D&D 4E. After five good years a website I helped launch, Microcinema Scene, folded with ReWind Video into a new site, Common Film.

John Polonia, a legendary b-filmmaker who I collaborated on with many projects, unfortunately died suddenly in February. A nice tribute to him, featuring a few of my humble words, appears on the Monster Movie DVD which came out that year.

This year my goals are about the same; lose (more) weight, guide my kids through their lives, teach my puppy more, work smarter, write better.

Until later, I am at