Friday, December 30, 2005

Oversimplifying Hollywood

You see it all over the internet and industry publications. An increasing number of commentators (columnists) are stating boldly that Hollywood is in trouble and without significant changes, the industry will spiral into the depths of bankruptcy and eventually burn itself out. Others spout statistics to prove that there is no box office slump at all.

Naturally, each commentator knows the root of the perceived problem. These roots span every possibility from bad movies, lousy scripts, and cheesy remakes to noisy theatre patrons, DVD sales, poorly run multiplexes, political conspiracies and alien invasions. So, what are those of us outside the golden gates supposed to think?

Well, I don't want to trivialize what may or may not be critical issues, but was any one of these commentators looking over the accountant's shoulder when Disney recorded $313 million in losses? Hiding behind the curtains when Harvey and Bob Weinstein said their goodbyes at Miramax? Doing the laundry when Dreamworks threw in the towel?

Hollywood is made up of people. The film "industry" is made up of people. People run the studios. People write the scripts. People direct the films. People keep the books. People scrape the gum out from under the theatre seats.

The economics that affect filmmaking are volatile, variable and complex and the direction of an organization is as individual and subjective as the politics, personalities, policies, and prerogatives of the people holding the reins.

If it rains in Seattle, do people in Kalamazoo, Michigan get wet? Only if it's raining there too and only if the people aren't indoors or wearing raincoats or riding in their cars or holding umbrellas or standing under an awning or camping in a tent or riding on a subway (does Kalamazoo have subways?) or crossing through a skywalk ...the variables go on and on and on. So what's the answer? Depends on where you're standing.

The same thing works in the film industry or any industry. Variables affect organizations differently. A badly timed release date and an economic nightmare in New Orleans might not leave a bruise on some organizations while breaking the bones of others. Sure, some factors are universal, but the impact is not.

The direction of Hollywood can't accurately be summed up in a single magazine column any more than the solvency of a company can be summed up in a single financial statement. And yet, we continue to talk about Hollywood. Why? Because we must! It's Hollywood! But in the words of William Goldman's Psychology of the Deal, "Repeat after me. 'Nobody knows anything'."

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Attainable Screenwriting Goals

Just finished reading a blog that discusses setting attainable goals as opposed to setting yourself up for failure. It mentions a few writers' goals that are not achievable or are only achievable at the will of someone else. Specifically, this blogger states that setting a goal to win the Nicholl in a given year is unreasonable because it is not within the sole power of the writer to achieve. While I don't categorically disagree with this statement, I do think it merits deeper exploration.

Let's use the three points cited with regard to establishing goals. Goals should be: (1) achievable, (2) within your own power and (3) measurable. Okie doke. Now, let's use those criteria against the goal: Winning the Nicholl in 2006.

Okay, first, is it achievable? Somebody wins it every year so apparently so. Second, is it within my own power? Hmm. Well, yes and no. I have the ability to write a great script but judges make the final decision. Third, is it measurable? I have the "regretfully" letters from Greg Beal to prove it.

So based on the three criteria, because subjective judges are involved, nobody should ever set winning a Nicholl Fellowship as their goal.

Although I agree, in theory, with these three criteria for setting goals, every person who has ever won the Nicholl wanted to win it and probably set it as their goal.

Could we, instead, set a goal of "entering" the Nicholl? That's insane. Any moron can enter.

Could we, intead, set a goal of "advancing" in the Nicholl? Well, sure, but again, the goal is not within our sole power. Readers decide who advances.

It's paradoxical.

So, what are we to do about it? Not dream big? Not aim high? Poppycock. Nothing about making films, not even writing one, is within anyone's sole power and films are only made when somebody dreams big, reaches seemingly impossible goals, and crashes through boundaries. Proof? Just try to get a film financed. Ask any producer if he didn't reach an impossible goal. Follow a director around a set for a few days and you'll wonder why his insides haven't exploded.

Verdict? Sure, set reasonable and attainable screenwriting goals, improve steadily and measure your progress. That's important. But set a few grandiose goals as well. Without them, you'll never leave Idaho.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Screenwriting in a Barber Chair

Well, it's not a barber chair. Men go to barbers. Women go to salons. So, I guess I was in a salon chair. The point is I was bored and in no mood to share intimate details of my stressed out holidays with a perfect stranger with perfect hair, perfect complexion, perfect figure, and perfect fashion sense. My mother had gifted me with an ultra expensive cut, color, perm, style and whatever else I wanted at an elite salon so even though I felt like Quasimodo being coiffured by Esmerelda, one glance at the my split ends and trailer trash hair in the mirror was all the motivation I needed to stay put and let Miss Perfect Teeth do her job.

Now, remember that list of my idiosyncracies from another blog? No? You stumbled here by mistake and only stayed because you saw the words "perfect figure" and hoped I'd send you a nudie photo? Okay, fair enough. I mean, if you actually want a nudie of Quasimodo, that's your business. Anyway, among my idiosyncracies are aversions for bank tellers, clowns, balloons, King Kong and that absolutely terrifying plastic faced Burger King dude. Cripes, he's creepy! Oh, and one more thing I neglected to mention on that list... strangers putting their hands on me. Not that I mind a handshake, brief hug, or casual arm around my shoulder. I don't even mind girlie looking hands as long as they belong to a good friend or at least somebody I know, like, respect, or want to know, like or respect. But strangers? Don't friggin' touch me!!

So, there I sat while Miss Perfect Boobs told me how lovely I was and how cute this cut would be on me. I had not one drop of makeup on, my hair looked like my last cut came from a weedeater and I was wearing my Magoo glasses because the salon fumes burned right through my contact lenses. Uh huh. The picture of loveliness.

I had to get out of there! I couldn't stand another second but what could I do? She had half my head cut and was smiling sweetly at me. Even if I wanted to leave with one side of my hair down my back and the other side to my shoulders, I couldn't leave Miss Perfect Smile and hurt her little feelings. Then I heard him.

Remember Sal? No? Argh! Sal, as I explained in my "I'm Not William Hung" post of October, is that little voice of doubt in my head. Don't tell him I said that because part of the agreement we reached when we became co-writers was that I was only to refer to him as "voice of reason", not "voice of doubt".

Okay, anyway, Sal got my attention while I was in the chair and pointed out that I needed to be doing one of two things. I could either take mental and/or written notes of some of the choice dialogue taking place in the chairs around me or I could withdraw into that dimension that only writers know about where as God, I was stuck in the second act or somewhere along the fourth or fifth day of creating my own universe.

Oh, that Sal. He's usually right, you know. So there I sat for over two hours working out plot issues, rewriting dialogue in my head, taking a few notes in one of my multitudes of books that weigh my purse down so much I get ruts in my shoulder. I had two entire hours of uninterrupted writing time except for a trip to the sink for a rinse. Life was good.

Now, there is a downside to this story. I can no longer do that very cool and ultra sexy Catherine Zeta Jones thing. You know the one... Mask of Zorro. Yeah, that one. Zorro-wannabe slices up her clothes with his sword and only her hair protects her modesty when the shift hits the, I mean floor. Yeah, well, I can't do that trick anymore.

Oh, and one more thing. I decided I really do like and respect Miss Perfect so I booked her for a trim in six weeks. You know what else? She's not so perfect. As I reflected on my day, I finally identified her flaw. I refer back to paragraph three. She's a liar! Oh yeah, we're gonna get along just fine!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Salmon Swimming Upstream

Okay, it happened again. I just read a screenplay by a fellow aspiring writer and guess what? No conflict! Oh sure, the protagonist has a daunting journey, but everyone in the story is on the very same journey. There is nothing that makes the protagonist stand out. If everyone has the identical conflict, it's not a conflict at all. If every fish is swimming upstream to spawn, you have to point out the one I am supposed to care about by making him or his situation unique. Otherwise, there isn't a story.

I'm a Butterfly, I'm a Size 3, I'm a Screenwriter

Ever just get sick to death of those "positive thinking" people? It's not that I think positive thinking is bad. It's not. Bad is negative. Positive is... well, it's positive!

The problem with positive thinking is that it is not a substitute for hard work, improvement, and corrective measures and I am truly sick to death of motivational speakers who make it sound like it is. Positive thinking alone is worth squat!

I can say that I'm a butterfly all day and I can believe it, too, if I want to. But when I try to take flight off the top off the Plaza of the Americas, all the positive thinking in the world will not prevent the resulting splatter and puddle of crushed bones.

It's that time of the year when we, women, have just spent weeks at the mall surrounded by seventeen year old pencil thin hotties. I can say I'm a size three and I can believe it, but that won't change the fact that nothing but my wrist will fit into those size three jeans.

Now, with some positive thinking, diet correction, hard work, endurance, and exercise, I could be a size three again. So, let's assume I am a size three. No, I haven't been there since I was eight years old but that is not the point. My scenario, so I'm a size three. The trouble is that positive thinking and hard work won't change the fact that I'm still 43 years old and now that I'm a size three, my collar bones stick out, my face is sagging and I get carpet burns every time I pulled my bra off. Not good. I don't want to be a size three!

Okay, now the last one. I'm a screenwriter. You know what? I am. Really. I'm not a produced screenwriter, but I am a screenwriter... a very good one, but not a great one.

I've written five screenplays. Of those five, only one is ready to show anyone. One is still in first draft form and three are undergoing complete rewrites because I was obtuse enough to think at one point in time that they were actually finished. They aren't.

I've got potential. But I'm not a great screenwriter yet and no amount of positive thinking will get me there without hard work.

Hmm. Obtuse. That reminds me. I think I'm late for my exercise class. No, I'm positive!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sewing Analogy Part Deus

Christmas Eve Eve Eve and I think I'm all sewn out. I've made some lovely quilts and blankets as gifts for friends and family but geez, it's time to get back to writing. However, now I have to wrap all these gifts and tie lovely bows on them.

Is there anything more pointless and mundane than wrapping gifts?

Can't I just wrap these blankies in newspaper with a card that says, "Merry Christmas, dear friend or family member, I love you, as proven by the twelve hours it took me to make this mediocre blanket that wouldn't bring more than $50 on eBay or $75 at the flea market so please don't bother trying to sell it and please don't look too closely at my stitches"?

You're right. The printer's ink would stain the fabric.

Funny how I can only sew so much before it becomes a chore and I don't enjoy it any more. Same thing with screenwriting. My brain has to take a break after weeks of nearly nonstop writing. The difference is that when I'm sewing (or gardening), I'm still sorting out screenplay elements as I work. While I'm writing, I'm not sewing a stitch.

Next analogy? How screenwriting is like gardening. Hmm. Uh, yeah. Yippee. Doesn't that make ya wanna rush right back here?

By the way, I still don't see a box under my tree that looks like that $2000 sewing machine in an afore-written post. Anybody?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Exclusively on DVD

Anyone heard this yet? A home entertainement editor at Variety, Scott Hettrick, says a Marvel Studios exec is considering approaching Disney with his next big idea. What idea? A live action film released direct to DVD. How is that new? Because he's talking about a full budget of $60 million or more and charging a premium price ($40 or so) for the DVD of a film that hasn't been shown in theatres.

On the positive side....
* $39.99 for the whole family to see premier in own home
* No movie theatre agony, crying babies and annoying patrons
* Fewer marketing and distribution costs

On the negative side...
* No movie theatre experience, giant screen, and explosive sound
* $40 is about twice what we pay now to wait for the DVD
* Straight-to-DVD has a stigma
* If the idea took off, it would cripple theatres

I can't imagine standing in line at Best Buy to wait for the release of a film anymore than I can fathom the logic behind sleeping on the sidewalk for the opening of Return of the Sith.

Is this the future of movies? The small screen? What would it do to DVD sales? I'm just not movie-savvy enough to speak intelligently about whether this idea has merit. But, I think it's a worthy experiment.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ten Times as Big as a Man

Anybody remember that animated King Kong series? Not old enough? Um, me neither. Ahem. Kong lived on Mondo Island in the Java Sea and fought prehistoric animals, injustice and occasional bad guys. King Kong was produced by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass for ABC-TV in 1966.

Would love to take a look at a few of those old episodes again.

King Kong you know the name of
King Kong you know the fame of
King Kong ten times as big as a man

Throughout the land you've heard about this wonder
Listen closely and you will here the thunder
Oft this mighty ape and he's a friend of man
So goes the legend The legend of

King Kong you know the name of
King Kong you know the fame of
King Kong ten times as big as a man

One day a boy, too young to know the danger;
Made a friend of this giant fearsome creature!
And the life they led on their island home became a legend, the legend of . . .

King Kong you know the name of
King Kong you know the fame of
King Kong ten times as big as a man.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Stitching a Screenplay

Singer XL-1000
Sewing Machine- Makes all your Dreams come True…

Well, that's what the advertisement says anyway. And, if any one of you is in the mood to spend $2000 on me, this machine is what I want for Christmas.

But, will this sewing machine really make all my dreams come true? What if I didn't know how to sew? Would it still make all my dreams come true?

I've been sewing throw size blankets and quilts for the past few weeks for friends, neighbors and relatives for Christmas. It really doesn't save me any money, but it's more personal than buying a throw off the rack at a department store and I can use my friends' favorite colors, characters, or themes. Plus, sewing gives me time to think, reconcile defects in my screenplays and work out plot issues.

So, this is my take on screenwriting courses, books, software, websites, and conferences. It's kind of like sewing. Yes, another analogy! Just hang in there. This one will pay off.

Sewing isn't just knowing how to stitch anymore than screenwriting is just knowing how to clack on a keyboard. What if my seams are crooked? What if I use brown burlap on everything I create? What if I'm following outdated patterns or my sleeves are uneven or my hem is too short? There are those pesky bobbin jams and needles that need replacing and all those loose threads you gotta do something with. Maybe I'll take some shortcuts because I only want to spend twelve hours on a project, not the forty that it needs. What if my overall finished project just isn't very interesting, attractive, or useful?

Here's the point. I can buy the most expensive and elaborate sewing machine in the world and if I don't know how to use it, I'll read the manual or get somebody to teach me. But that doesn't mean what I create on the sewing machine will be anything somebody would want to buy. Neither will screenwriting courses, books, software, websites, and conferences mean a writer will create a screenplay somebody will want to buy.

There's just not a magic potion, silver bullet, shortcut, or wand that replaces experience, practice, natural creativity, and hard work.

Oh, and one more thing pointed out by a colleague (thank you, Lola!)... a few bad stiches doesn't necessarily detract from the beauty of the overall finished product. But, conversely, perfect stitching won't help a bit if it's a really ugly dress.

Friday, December 16, 2005

On Selling Story Rights

So, Winnie the Pooh is getting a girlfriend! I have to wonder what author A. A. Milne would say about the new television series which will include a six year old girl. Walt Disney Company spokespeople say the female character is not a replacement for Christopher Robin who was based on Milne's own son. The new character is being written in to help with the interactive nature of the series. Argh. Even in the Hundred Acre Wood, I hate change.

Now, this calls the attention of my very little brain to the complexity of owning rights. If I sell my mint 1965 Mustang fully restored to near original condition, then I don't have a thing to say about it if a beatnik sews love beads and dangly balls on the headliner, replaces the pony seats with pickle barrels, and paints psychodelic flowers on the doors.

I guess the same thing goes with story rights. Christopher Robin Milne died in 1996 and I don't know what rights the family owns versus what rights the Disney Company owns. So, if Disney wants to write a six year old girl into The Hundred Acre Wood, I suppose that's their prerogative.

Maybe Disney would consider naming the six year old girl after the author's wife, Daphne. Of course, regardless of her name, Eeyore isn't going to like the new character because he dislikes change more than I do and has very strong views on writing, too.

"This writing business," says Eeyore, "Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it."

Wonder if that's what he'd think of my blog?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Writing Talent or Skill?

I can't count the number of arguments I've read on various boards about whether writing is something people have a gift or knack for versus a skill that can be taught and learned in the classroom. Most arguments end with some kind of combination of natural creativity and acquired skill. Hmm. No comment, but I do have one very interesting analogy that may or may not fit.

Several weeks ago, I was forced to choose between missing one son's district cross country meet or another son's flag football game. The solution came in the form of my youngest son's team-mate. "We'll take him home after the football game" offered the team-mate's mother, "and if you aren't home by 1:00 p.m., we'll just bring him along with us to the archery tournament."

Her son was competing. Mine had used a bow and arrow once at a rennaisance festival this past spring in one of those booths where you get a prize based on the targets and distances you hit. He was thrilled to see a tournament. Okie doke. Problem solved.

Well, both boys came home with medals around around their necks that afternoon. Yup. Even though my son didn't own a bow, had not practiced, trained or ever competed with a bow and arrow, he entered the tournament at the last minute on a lark. The other boy's mother signed him up and paid his fee on a gut feeling. What do you know? He won a bronze medal!

So I ask you. Skill or natural talent? Either way, I have a Genesis competition bow to purchase for Christmas.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Rock Star

I've often mentioned my sixteen year old son, the runner, who frequently teaches me lessons about life, endurance, willpower, and courage. Just click on any of my posts that compare marathon running to writing. That's my son, Will, in the pics. Funny thing is, the boy has no idea how much I've learned from him.

Tomorrow, Will becomes a Rock Star. That's what White Rock Marathon runners are called as they run a 26 mile race in downtown Dallas that goes around White Rock Lake. Proceeds from the race go to the Scottish Rite Hospital and I cannot begin to adequately express the irony of this whole situation.

When Will was an infant, he had his entire skull reconstructed, was on a heart rate monitor until he was a year old and underwent additional surgeries for a cleft palate and to reconstruct his inner ear. He had the very best doctors. The same doctors who separated the Egyptian twins at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, rebuilt my own son's head.

Today, corrective surgery for craniosynostosis is not as invasive as it was sixteen years ago when they sawed off the back of Will's head, disposed of the curled bone, removed the bone from the top of his head and broke it into little bits to piece the rest of his skull back together. Imagine putting together a 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle with only 40 pieces. That was my son's head after surgery.

Since his head was like oatmeal, he had to stay in a walker and wear a helmet. A fall could kill him so we couldn't allow him to walk unless somebody was right there to catch him if he stumbled. He was developmentally behind other children his age because he couldn't run, swing, climb, and explore the way other children did.

Portions of his skull are still as thin as a piece of notebook paper and he has several spaces and pinholes where the bones never connected. No developmental issues at all but even a mild blow to the head could result in a fracture or concussion. He can't participate in many sports and for a competitive high school jock, that seems almost cruel to him at times.

There was a time sixteen years ago when I put Will to bed every night not knowing if he'd be alive when I woke up in the morning. Today, the little boy who wasn't allowed to learn to walk, runs! Oh, how he runs!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Writing through the Cold

This is Texas. The thermometer on my truck said thirteen degrees this morning. Ouch. Cold weather is so depressing that I sink into a funk every year when it arrives. This year, it arrived with a vengeance.

The power went out in much of my iced over county Wednesday night and mine was one of 3200 homes that had no heat. So, my family huddled in the den by the fireplace and listened to the blizzard of sleet do its best to crack a window. It succeeeded.

Now, when I say family, I'm referring not only to my sons of varying degrees of height and foot putridness, but also to an assortment of animals including one cat, the dog, a small blue fish and a horse. Well, sort of. Sculley (yeah, I named her during the X-Files days) is half Collie and half whatever jumped the fence to visit her mother. I am convinced it was an ancient Caspian horse with exceptional jumping ability.

Sculley lives in a small corral by the barn in the back. She's my walking/running partner. Watching her run must be something like watching those wild horses run along the beaches of Assateague Island. I'd like to go one year and watch the annual pony penning. Anyway, I only just discovered that Sculley is a notorious couch hog and thank goodness she likes Tic Tacs.

So, that's how we stayed all through the night and through yesterday, even after the power returned. We drank hot chocolate and ate leftover homemade chicken noodle soup. Then I sat in my late father-in-law's late third cousin's late mother's heirloom rocking chair and tried to write the beach portions of my latest screenplay. Don't try it. You can't write about a beach while shivering.

But every time Sculley jumped from the sofa to the kitchen (yeah, that far), my mind kept going back to those remarkable horses swimming across the channel. Naturally I was thinking how cold that water must have been and by the end of the day, I had an outline of a Chincoteague story. Oh sure, it's been done. My kids have all read the adventures of Misty. But my story is not about a horse. What's it about? Yeah, you think you've figured it out. Nope. Not a dog either.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hell on Ice

I'm a Texan. I love Texas. For me, there's no better place, unless we have ice. It's been a couple of years now since Dallas/Ft.Worth had a nasty ice storm and alas, our reprieve may be over. Cold weather depresses me anyway, but ice? Well, that's a living hell!

I've heard it said that we, Texans, can't drive in the snow. That myth can just be busted right now. We rock in the snow! We get our four wheelers out for the short trips and our kids fight over whose turn it is to wheelie out to the barn and back.

For the longer trips, we shift our trucks into four wheel drive and plow through the snow on banks and highway medians while we watch those misplaced yankies in their Volvos idle in traffic behind creeping sand trucks.

And, since it hasn't rained in 129 days, those of us who have sorely missed the sport of mudding (that's joy riding your four wheel drive truck through insanely deep mud), would love to make snow angels! No, that's not lying in the snow and moving your arms. It's taking your mud flaps off, gunning the truck and peeling out so the snow in your wake looks like angel wings. So, yes, Texans can drive in the snow. The trouble is, we don't get much snow.

What we get here is usually a thin sheet of ice that makes highway driving so treacherous that the roads are littered with wrecked cars and jack-knifed eighteen wheelers. It's not even safe to walk or take your four wheeler out because every few minutes, that sickening sound of crunching metal can be heard as another car veers off the road and slams into something or somebody. Schools close because the roads are too hazardous for buses. Hotels fill up so people don't have to make the drive back out to the suburbs from work and stranded parents scramble to find a place for little Johnny to go until they can make it home.

There are no shortage of jokes about Texas weather. I don't know if it's that way in other states but the saying goes that if you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes. Well, I'm waiting.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Window Sticker Mentality

You've seen them. I'm talking about those brag decals on back windows. Parents put a sticker in the rear window of their cars with a football or cheerleader and the name of their kid beneath it. You probably don't hate them. I do.

My sister has them on her car and says they are a way of showing support to her kids. To me, it looks like a way of validating yourself through your kids. These decals seem to say, "I'm an insecure person who needs to feel like I've done something right in my life so I put this sticker on my window to show you that my kids will amount to something, thus making me a worthy user of the precious oxygen in this world being threatened by deforestation, ozone erosion, and perfume sprayers at department stores."

Here's what else some of these stickers say to me:

CHEERLEADER, DRILL TEAM, DANCE - Hey, look at me! I was an outcast in High School that couldn't get a date even if I paid my brother and now I'm either an overweight housewife, self absorbed socialite, or cafeteria lady but my daughter is a hottie and therefore, you may call me "mother-of-hottie!"

FOOTBALL, SOCCER, BASEBALL - I was a jock and my kid will be a jock. That's all there is to it even if it means he warms a bench all year because he knows more about slide rules than sports. And, hey! Where do the rules say you can't do calculus homework in the outfield?

KARATE - Nobody will give my kid a swirly.... ever. Me? No. I never had a swirly. I was born with chronic inner ear infections and I only hyperventilate at the sound of a flushing toilet because the whooshing makes my asthma act up. Really.

Yeah, I know. You disagree. Most people with kids seem to disagree with me on this whole window sticker thing. If kids want to put a sticker on their own car when they get one or a patch on their jacket that says, "I went to State UIL competition singing Les Boheme", "I am a junior olympic wrestling champion" or "my bull sold for $6000 at the state fair" then good for them. It's their accomplishment and I won't flinch when I read it at a red light. I may even honk and give them a thumbs up for not being one of those bleary eyed kids sitting in front of a video game all day.

There's nothing wrong with bragging about your kids and having pride in them. I brag about mine all the time, even talk about them on a blog!

What I'm saying is that it's dysfunctional to take credit for our children's accomplishments, even if we are the ones that pushed them, drove them to practice, paid for their private lessons, reminded/bribed/threatened them to practice, and bought their uniforms, jerseys or pink leotards.

Seriously. Let the kids have the glory. You think Carly Patterson's mother has a sticker on her bumper that says, "my daughter won the olympic gold in 2004"? Nope.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dead Man's Chest - Pirate Fever

If you are a fan of Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio and haven't seen the trailer yet for the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean, stop what you are doing and go find it online. It made my palms sweat. But, in truth, I am more excited for the continued success of these two writers' careers than I am about actually seeing POTC 2. While they deserve whatever blessings providence bestows, they didn't luck into suceess. They earned every bit of it. These men work hard, share their knowledge, and do whatever is in their power for their fellow man. Ted and Terry are not only extraordinary writers. They are exceptional human beings. You'll just have to trust me on this one. I don't kiss and tell.