Sunday, December 31, 2017

Favorite Reads of 2017

I read an astounding number of books this year, more than I ever have since keeping this blog, close to ten years ago.  But in a lot of ways it was a year like no other, on the national scene, local scene, and in my own extended family, and like a lot of people I burrowed down and read a lot.

Since I read a bit more, I turned this Top Ten list to 11.  Here are my favorite reads of 2017.  Enjoy!

Glaxo by Hernan Ronsino

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera

Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt

The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson

The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo by Ian Stansel

The Girls by Emma Cline

Tender Wings of Desire by Catherine Kovach

Saturday, December 23, 2017

And Over A Village, He Halted His Craft

 This post first appeared in I WAS BIGFOOT'S SHEMP, which you can subscribe to from this blog.

It's been a while, but as one might suspect this is the time of year where job and family day life eclipses b-movie night life.  It's the holiday season, but the weather is holding, so director Mark Polonia is still hammering away on the three screenplays I wrote for him all at once to shoot back to back.  THE HORRIBLE ASP is done, SEQUENCE SIX largely in the can, KRASNIKOV in the batter's box.  I like to use code names like the writer Warren Ellis, even though I am not under nondisclosure on these, but I wouldn't be surprised if more leaked out about these, soon.  It was a fun exercise to meet the challenge of writing three screenplays in a breakneck six weeks and I hope people have as much fun watching them as I did writing them.  Although there is always somebody eager to tell you that you suck.

I called the first one THE HORRIBLE ASP because I was listening to that REM song, but I gave the other ones specific names that are hints to what they are about.  If anyone can guess why I code-named the other two SEQUENCE SIX and KRASNIKOV I promise to send you a DVD of each when they come out.

Since I wrote THE GIRL WITH THE GRINDHOUSE HEART for myself, I had the rare luxury of going back and doing a rewrite, which I think makes it better, based on honest feedback I got from a screenwriter friend.  It's best to remember it's not your baby, but you are delivering somebody else's baby, and to take constructive feedback when you get it.  My favorite was "This is really YOUR script," which I loved, because I wanted to write something I would like to go see, another luxury.

Whenever I write a screenplay I like to keep a "Secret Soundtrack" in my head.  The actual rights to one of these soundtracks would far exceed the cost of, let's be honest, probably all of my movies, combined. Here is the one for THE GIRL WITH THE GRINDHOUSE HEART:

Brand New Key, Melanie

After the Gold Rush, Neil Young

There’s No Way Out of Here, Unicorn

My World Fell Down, Sagittarius

Flagpole Sitta, Harvey Danger

Sin City, Beck and Emmylou Harris

Folsom Prison Blues, Everlast

Pepper, Butthole Surfers

My Little Town, Simon and Garfunkel

Who’s That Lady?, The Isley Brothers


I have a big announcement that I am trying to keep the lid on until the first of the year, even from my loyal e-newsletter people, but I promise you will be very close to the first to know.

Until then, enjoy the holiday, and thanks for sticking with me.