Wednesday, December 26, 2007

364 Days shopping days left!

Now that I’ve got your attention…

I’m not a big fan of Christmas (above picture not withstanding). My experiences growing up weren’t all that good. I’m not sure it would have mattered if it weren’t for the society surrounding you that places such a high priority on your Christmas haul. I dreaded going back to school after Christmas break. The obligatory “What I got for Christmas” essay was painful and to this day I wonder if the teachers ever realized. Sometimes I made stuff up, other times I just didn’t do the assignment. God blesses everyone my ass…

My wife is the polar opposite of me when it comes to Christmas. Her family goes ape shit with presents and shopping and holiday cheer and all that bullshit. I’ve done my best to stay cold but over the years my lovely wife has warmed me up. Then my son arrived.

The first few years he just rolled around and ripped paper. This year he was four and a half and it was a blast. We took him to see Santa and he actually sat on his lap this time and gave him his list. He watched Christmas movies all month. On Christmas Eve he sprinkled oatmeal on the lawn for the Reindeer. We made a ginger bread house that barely stood up. He ran around with a constant grin for days.

Christmas morning was awesome. Santa brought him all the things he asked for but one which, disturbingly, he remembered and asked Mom if Santa forgot the skateboard he wanted. Mom told him Santa probably thought the scooter was good enough for now. She's on her game when it comes to all things Santa.

As a side note-- how fun is it to remove toys from their packaging these days? Either they are vacuumed sealed like they are being shipped in cyro-statis to fucking Mars or their tied down with steel twisty like suspected Al Qaeda. For the love of time and sore fingers can we please back off the security measures? My son was continually hoping up in down in front of me dying to play with his new toy and I couldn't find the hidden tie down holding the fricken toy hostage. The pressure was amazing.

Anyway, we stayed in our jammies all afternoon, played with his new toys, and watched “A Christmas Story” two and a half times over the course of the day (Best Christmas Movie EVER). He told us over and over how much he loved his new things, he was such a good boy. My wife made sure everything was perfect for us.

It was the best Christmas I’ve ever had.

Oh and the Seahawks won. GO ‘HAWKS!!!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year… and shit.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holy shit I won something!

I met Blake Snyder when he came to Seattle to talk to the Northwest Screenwriters Guild. He is the author of two screenwriting books; “Save the Cat” and "Save the Cat Goes to the Movies”. He is a really fun man to listen too and his screenwriting techniques are fun in my opinion. The books are good reads and I recommend them.

A few weeks back Blake posted a contest on his blog

Basically you had to pick three names from a list of made up ones from email spammers and create one or two word sentences for each one, totaling 100 words. This little rule escaped most folks as they went long on their descriptions. You can read the entries in the comment section of the link above, but here were my entries...

Jim Endecott Says: December 10th, 2007 at 3:03 pm

Millie Willimeter, 89, a retired schoolmarm and town harlot, loves her 69 cats and knits banana hammocks. “I’ve just always been able to size up a man, born with it I guess.”

Jane Puppums, 21, a junior at Chico State majoring in Custodial Avoidance, loves long walks in the mall and collects credit cards. “I live everyday like it’s the prom!”

Ollie Gause, 45, a mechanic from Dear Lick, Ohio hates foreign cars and thinks the metric system is trick-or-treating solo. Favorite color: Foreign Oil Black.

When slap my ass and call my JUDY! I won. Mainly it was because others don’t follow the rules. Let that be a lesson to you! I was thrilled to get a personal email from Blake complimenting my on my entries when I posted them. I was floored when I won.

In the grand scheme of things it’s small I guess but to me it’s huge. It’s my first “win” in the writing world and I think it’s pretty damn neat and I am proud as hell

Thank you Blake! So I have both books and his software headed to my house right now. Merry F’N Christmas to me!


Monday, December 17, 2007

The more I know the less I know.

The scribosphere is a vast cyber-verse that is full of all types of theorycraft regarding screenwriting of which I am thankful… most of the time.

I had a dream the other night that I got caught in a huge tsunami. I kept telling myself that as long as I held my breath and covered my face I would be ok…. (Don’t ask, it was a fucking dream OK.) Eventually surfaced and I was fine.

I think it was my way of telling me that even as I read the tidal wave of blogs and articles on the subject of screenwriting and feel like I am drowning I just need to hold my breath and swim for the surface.

Tomorrow I suspect my evil subconscious will be adding sharks… It’s just how I think I guess.

Sunday as I watched the Seahawks vomit all over Carolina’s field their shitty version of offense I got really fed up with all the frontloaded preconceptions of what a story and screenplay needed. I said fuck it and wrote the scene I had been working on in my head for quite awhile. It was completely out of sequence and it is not complete as is it will be intercut with another scene but it felt good, it came easily and it was fun.

I remember a workshop I attended by Cynthia Whitcomb where she said that she would sit down and flip through her scene cards as she wrote. If she didn’t see the scene she went to the next card.

Somewhere in the shuffle I keep forgetting that. My vision is clouded with the big picture. The 110 page, act broken, twist filled masterpiece that you need to have before you peek your head into the screenwriting world. Sensory overload and frankly I think it prevents me from writing.

I want to grow the story. Write the fun, pivotal “trailer scenes” that gave me the idea for the story in the first place. Then go back and write some more scenes that complement those and so forth. Who knows, I might be completely crazy. But I find when I do sit down with just an idea crazy shit starts popping into my head as I write that I find a lot of fun.

It’s all about finding my stride. I don’t believe I can follow any one person’s technique. I am going to have to write to find my own. Self flagellation for the win!

That is all.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekend Update

My wife and son drove down to California to see her Dad for the holidays. An empty house sucks and they will be gone for a week. Showering has become optional and dinner consists of cereal and lunch meat straight out of the package. My wife, bless her heart, bought me all sorts of meat and vegetables to cook. Eating healthy is a distant second when having to do dishes is involved.

I saw Beowulf this weekend. I liked it, good stuff. My buddy commented on the Angelina scene as we walked out to the lobby, “No wonder Brad is hitting that”. I concur.

I fail to understand why people, young and old, think that they can act like total jackasses when they go to the theatre. Talking through the movie, laughing at inappropriate times, eating like fucking pigs, you name it. Well I reached a boiling point on Friday.

Two guys and a girl, high school’ish, were behind me and a few seats down. They were yacking it up through most of the trailers and in the beginning. At one point where Beowulf was screaming in victory they were laughing out loud. When one of the maidens with big hooters bent over to clean a table and they were bulging out the girl loudly stated a few times that they were “gross”. For the record they weren’t and the guys beside her were strangely quiet. I suspect she will be buying a set once she realizes that men like that kind of shit.

I let it go for a bit but they were really ruining the movie. So I stood up, walked down the aisle, leaned over the seat directly in front of them and said, “We all payed our money to see this movie, I would like to enjoy IT instead of you”. Paused for a moment and walked back to my seat. I used a very low tone so only the three “trouble makers” could hear me.

I was sincere, polite and didn’t use the normally colorful language that I am prone to. They were respectful and quiet the rest of the film. In fact I would say that they got into the movie and perhaps even enjoyed it more. It just pisses me off that it even has to happen.

Seahawks won the division with a 42-21 spanking of the Cardinals. Congratulations and Go ‘Hawks!

Seems like WGA-AMPTP negotiations took step back last week which is unfortunate. Twenty years ago the AMPTP might have got away with acting like buttheads then releasing a statement to the press that they own and spinning the shit out of it. What’s puzzling is apparently they haven’t really kept up with the times. The newspapers are becoming obsolete. There are hundreds of new information streams available to the public that they have no control over. Information, good and bad, is free flowing. It’s up to us to read them all and disseminate in our own minds what is going on...

Or just read Nikki.

My take is the AMPTP are being assholes and the WGA is being a little stiff on some things. Figure this thing out so everyone can get back to work. Merry Christmas guys.

Writing is going OK. I am having some good discussion about my logline over on Blake Snyder’s forums. I don’t have a writers group here in Seattle so it’s nice to get some feedback. Thanks guys.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Writing in Pain

I received a “deep cleaning” to the right side of my mouth at my last dentist appointment. I was schedule to do the other side but canceled it until the first of the year. I don’t want to be in uncomfortable pain through the holidays.

For those of you who don’t know what a “deep cleaning” is, it’s where they numb the shit out of the side of your face and proceed to dig way down into your gums and pry out all of the crap that’s settled in there. I’ve read it’s supposed to be good for you. Well I hope so cause one week later I am still a wreck. I am on a steady dose of Ibu and Tylenol. My gums do look better except the area around my wisdom tooth. He had to dig in a little deep there cause it’s nestled up against my cheek and it’s taking awhile to heal.

If ever I needed a wake up call to floss everyday I got it. Other things I have learned are; gargling with saltwater isn’t as bad as I thought it would be; gargling with hydrogen peroxide is. Man that shit is nasty.

I’ve also discovered that, at least for me, it’s kind of hard to create when you’re in pain. Every night since, “the cleaning”, I sit there with my laptop staring at the screen. I know what I want to write. I’ve played the scenes out a hundred times in my head. I just can’t shake the dull throbbing of my gums. It’s like an air horn that interrupts my thoughts anytime I clench my teeth or my tongue brushes a sensitive spot. I’ve also found this to be the case when I am mad, really depressed or worried about something.

I am not sure if this is something that, over time, as you get more experience writing you can push through or if it’s a common problem. To me a professional writer would have to be able to write under any condition and all kinds of pressure.

Right now my writing “space” seems very fragile. I have to be in a good mood and have my story “loaded” in my head where I can visualize the characters, setting and tone. Only thing I can do is forge ahead the best I can.

A few other thoughts:

The BCS is total horseshit and the bowl system overall is outdated and retarded. So here’s to all us football fans who get to see Viagra’s Rock Hard Man-Meat Bowl between two 5-7 teams instead of a thrilling 16 team tournament that they could still piggy back onto with their sponsorships.

Seahawk’s rocked the house last Sunday. Eagles are a tough team to beat at home. I was listening to the game on the freeway coming back from a road trip and screaming at the radio, “Don’t kick it to Westbrook”! Well fuck me in the beard they did it anyway and almost lost the game. Little mistakes like that make you a mediocre team.

I watched Polar Express with my son last night. I really enjoy that movie. My son also informed me that he was not happy that Christmas wasn't here yet and that he didn't want to wait anymore. I told him I would take it up with the big guy.

That is all.