Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Films Without Romance

Still waiting for suggestions of really good films (yeah, I know that's subjective) where there's no romantic plot or sub-plot. Documentaries and horror films don't count. Just as I did with dead protagonists, I'm searching for common denominators. Yes, such films do exist. Master and Commander, for example, has no romance except the love of Captain Aubrey for his ship and the sea and his service to the Navy.

So, please help by pointing me to films without primary or secondary romantic storylines. Ready, GO!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Horse Finally Won

Say what you will about On The Lot, production value, host's cleavage, contestant talent or lack of it, or whatever, but for the first time in reality show history, my favorite finished first.

Of course, I don't watch any reality shows except American Idol so that's not saying much.

But don't tell me Will wasn't the best. I don't care. He's a Texan. That right there ought to be enough for me. But his films had charm and heart (does that make him a director with charm and heart or a good writer?) and Will himself is such a cutie patootie with a receding hairline that I was hooked from the beginning. Oh, and my son's name is Will so there ya go.

My biggest complaint about the show? Uh, these contestants are DIRECTORS, not writers. Either judge them SOLELY on directing skills or give them writers next year to help them execute their ideas if your gonna slam them for story development.

Wait. If you give them writers, then one director will, by luck of the draw, be assigned a better writer than another so there's no real way to level the field, is there? But then, do real directors have a level playing field when it comes to working with writers?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

An Uninvited Role

Producer John Singleton was just driving along, probably listening to some tunes and thumping on his steering wheel, when bam! Life ended. Right there. On his car! Not his life, but the life of a stranger.

A jaywalker stepped in front of John Singleton's car yesterday and there was nothing he could do. She died. Singleton did everything he was supposed to do. He called an ambulance and waited for police. He wasn't under the influence of anything but geez, the poor guy has to live with that movie playing in his mind for the rest of his life and know he played an uninvited role in ending the life of a woman.

Most of us have accepted that we're probably not going to control the manner of our own deaths but being unable to prevent participating in the death of another? Seems like we should be able to do that. We fence our pools, install smoke detectors, inspect our food, fasten our seatbelts, label poisons, sign our roads, test our cars, tie up our dogs, lock up the guns, child proof our medicine bottles, put flame retardant pajamas on our kids, bolt, tag, inoculate, latch, inspect, ticket, legislate, and STILL somebody's granny wanders off in the middle of the night and freezes to death in a ditch and STILL some poor mother wakes up every morning to realize she forgot to take a stuffed animal out of the crib and her infant suffocated on it.

Despite our best efforts to avoid it, death happens. And, every time it does, somebody wishes they had done something different to prevent it. I'm in no way saying that we shouldn't legislate safety standards. We should and we do. And yeah, drunks belong in jail. But death is not always preventable. Neither, apparently, is our participation in somebody else's.

Maybe the woman who stepped out in front of John Singleton was ill or distraught or distracted. I dunno. But she is culpable. Yet I bet Singleton wishes he'd taken a different road that day.

Sooner or later, every one of us finds ourselves in a situation where we wish we had taken a different road. But the cruel truth is that often, the roles we play in life and in death are forced upon us.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Interesting Nicholl Note

Greg Beal posted this on Zoetrope August 2nd --

"As we ran out of time this year, I was not able to place all of the notes on the bottom of letters that I normally do. Only the 'next 100 scripts' received notes. We are going to follow up with e-mails to the top 10% and top 15% groups, probably next week."

Haven't heard of anyone getting such email yet.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Fraud in the Room

Sometimes, as a screenwriter, I feel like a poser, like I'm pretending my Winnie the Pooh pajamas are an expensive negligee. Other days, I pity the person who thinks a scratchy lace nightie is better than a sports bra and flannel Tigger shorts. But now that I'm on a brief hiatus from screenwriting, I'm finding my inner writer to be a bit problematic while doing my coursework.

For example --

Describe Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" and explain what is meant by the term self-actualization.

Wonder if "go to http://www.unknownscreenwriter.com/" will suffice as an answer?

Must focus. Next question.

Of the ten principles advanced by authors Osborne and Gaebler to reinvent government, name and briefly explain the three human based types of government that call for the empowerment of comm unties/neighborhoods, citizens, and government workers.

Three. Hmm. Three types of government. Three. Three. Three acts. It's begging me to write it. Hear it? It's saying, "Please, write me, crazy government lady. I'm a mind numbingly lame evolutionary municipal screenplay that nobody will produce or even read and you should have 'nerd' carved on your forehead for even thinking of me but you are compelled to outline me anyway because you're a sad little person who needs a nap -- and likes Smurfs."

Yeah. I'm a fraud.

But not in my pajamas.