I want to write and tell stories.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Greed can be good.......

Hi All,

Been an interesting time. Have been bouncing between Cairns in the north and Melbourne(sorry James, I knew I would not have time so did not contact you, hopefully will have a night off next trip). Out all day and most nights. Only nights off was answering emails, doing spreadsheets, etc for work, but it is calming down a bit now.

Anyone else besides the dashing Sultan of Swoon interested in swapping skills outside of screenwriting(Note Well: I have no skills within screenwriting to swap, therefore can only offer ones outside of it :) )

Had an amazing week in Melbourne last week, when I was down there for a week long course the company runs. I had to experience the course so I could tell Franchisee’s about it if they wish to go on it. Yes, nice work if you can get it. :)

The amazing thing however was not the course(surprise, surprise) but meeting a couple from New Zealand. The husband is Canadian by birth, and grew up in Toronto, they became professional dancers, ballroom style(the type the Sultan of Swoon would be able to flow into on a dancefloor :) ) . Back in their heyday(both around 60 now) they worked on a few movies in Hollywood…….a few being 22…..one of them was apparently Deliverance……yes that little flop :)

They also worked with the following:

Lloyd Bridges – very nice man
Beau Bridges – apparently the same
Kim Bassinger – nice even though the white powder seemed to be flowing
Robert Mitchum – again, nice……

The list goes on….

This information was not spouted in an arrogant display to showoff, but rather we were chatting quietly and I kept digging for further information after he mentioned they had worked on a movie. They were very down to earth, nice people who I hit it off with straight away, and I just have a gut feeling he wasn’t lying. Anyway, AFTER he had told me this, I started talking about screenwriting and how I trying my hand at a few ideas I have. He offered to let me read the scripts he has stashed away …somewhere …..he knows he can find them, but they are just not that important to him, that part of his life is over……except for one part of it.

The best part…..for me anyway.

He still has a number of contacts in Hollywood and offered (I did not ask) to make introductions when I have something I think is suitable.

Pick jaw off floor, change underpants without anyone noticing……….

“HELL YEAH” was my initial reaction, but my brain managed to lock my jaw until “that is an extremely kind gesture and I would love that opportunity” came out, plus about another 50 thankyou’s during the course of the night. I don’t think offering to zip him up after a trip to the toilet was going too far…..

So, there you go. An interesting trip to Melbourne that just got better.

To give you an idea, it was loud but at one point I am pretty sure he mentioned that he is still in contact with someone who believes that “Greed is good”.

Greed maybe good, but contacts are better :)

Later guys, off to write some more.

PS Does anyone know what happened to Security Dog? His blog disappeared and he is not answering emails. Hope he is okay.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Everyone needs one......

a hip nick. Not a nip/tuck. During my quick 700km car trip home last night, which started at 3pm, I was wondering if we should refer to Billy as the Sultan of Swoon....

Thoughts? :)

This was towards the end of the trip around 10pm. Luckily the roads were wide.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Any doing TV spec's?

Silly question I know but is anyone doing a Law & Order SVU spec? I am fairly sure this one is not a popular one, but if you are, I came across an interesting story in the paper downunder that I think would make an interesting storyline for that show. Could possibly work in the Criminal Intent franchise as well.

If you are interested, drop me a line and I will email it to the first person who puts their hand up.


Friday, October 13, 2006

My Big Fat Greek Golden Retriever

Hi All,
Yes I am alive.
Well lots has happened since we last spoke, including the untimely death of Steve Irwin. I’ll be the first to say that I was always ready to have a joke about Steve and his methods, but I always admired his passion, it was infectious and limitless. His kids are very similar in age to mine and it really hit home about what would happen if I was unexpectedly taken. There is no way known he would not want to be taken from his children when they are so young, he had too much to do, most importantly, seeing his kids grow up. Just very sad he wont get that chance, and his young son Bob will never get to know his Dad, even though he will have thousands of hours of footage, he wont ever get that chance to experience Steve himself.

I took my family to the zoo a few years back it was a couple of weeks prior to the “Baby Bob Incident” and it was a thoroughly entertaining performance he provided us. It was school holidays so Steve was about doing his thing. The zoo is about 30 minutes from where I live and he went to the same high school that I did, he was just a few years ahead of me. I never met him or knew him, but came across a number of people that went to school with him and knew him in, what was his current role.

No-one had a bad word to say about him. He was what he was. Passionate, definitely extroverted, but he got the job done. I was surprised how much I felt myself thinking about his family and the loss to the world due to his death, when you consider I was not a rabid fan like some people are. I can only put it down to the situation where he has left behind a young family, something I definitely don’t want to do. Reminder, more exercise, less beers.

His passion is something I have been thinking about. Do I have the passion for screenwriting that he displayed for his interests? I think I do. Simple statement that does not reflect his level of passion, but passion can be displayed in many forms. I have found this outlet in screenwriting, I love it, thoroughly enjoy it, and now cannot imagine not doing it. It is a gnawing, intrinsic feeling and desire that just wont go away.

When I was job hunting a few months ago now, it was an interesting situation, for the last decade or so I have hardly needed a CV, definitely not one that was anything well laid out or that “sells” me. Normally I would be contacted by someone who knew someone and an offer would be made. Technically headhunting, but I don’t want it to sound more than what it was. I worked hard, knew my job and was reliable, something a lot of employers a looking for, so I got offers.

During my recent bout of unemployment, which truly was a bucketload of fun, all my normal contacts had nothing at that moment. So I revamped the CV a bit and started applying for roles that appealed to me, not necessarily in my area of expertise of hospitality but jobs where I knew the skills I have acquired. Funny thing happened, I was not getting any replies, let alone interviews. I couldn’t understand it, quite perplexing really, no-one loved me anymore J

I then sat down and really looked at my CV and it struck me that, yes if you knew my capabilities, and I had been recommended, it would be fine, if you didn’t, I’d throw it in the bin as well. What to do? Rewrite J

Sharpened it up considerably, also went over the application letter with the proverbial fine tooth comb. What do you know? Next couple of jobs, the requests for interviews started flowing in. That’s where I was down to the final two for running the zoo near my place.

So, in effect I did a page one rewrite on my employment history. Yes, I could have done it without what I have learned through writing screenplays, but I truly believe that the techniques I have learned whilst writing screenplays where a major component in the success of that document. Also proves the point of the need for rewriting our screenplays with a fresh eye J

Moving on, I must congratulate James over at http://screenwriting101.blogspot.com/, one of his shorts was chosen in the Project Greenlight show here in Oz. How good is that!! I had the absolute pleasure of meeting James in Melbourne a few weeks ago. I was hoping to blog about that earlier but I have hardly had time to catch my breath. More on that shortly. If you don’t know, Project Greenlight is on Cable each Thursday night here in Oz. I don’t have cable at home so I am hoping to catch a few shows when I am on the road in my new job. Going to get my first chance tomorrow night! I am up in Cairns at present finishing off this long overdue blog. That’s blog guys, with an L. I read the short James entered about a year ago, and it was a very funny concept. I was going to say I hope the director is faithful to the script. Unfortunately, since I started this entry, it has screened and lets just say there was some minor changes. In the same way WWI changed the French countryside. Wasn’t much left. Some liked it, some felt the original was better. I feel the latter was much smarter and funnier. Still severely disappointed they changed Death’s name tag from Jim Reaper to simply Death. However, James has a screen credit, I am absolutely rapped for him.

So, what have I been doing after my little writing sojourn? Soon after that I started in my new role and first thing was a week in Melbourne for training. Early starts, late finishes and a case study to present on the Friday. It went very well, and I did well in the case study. Again, the techniques from screenwriting held me in good stead with the case study. I had a sort of Mentor in one of the existing Field Managers, and I chose to type out my case study rather than just have notes written down to present. My mentor and I were working on our case studies each night and he was having a chuckle, he remarked that it sounded like a newsroom over on my side of the desk and he was looking forward to reading my version of War and Peace. It was only about 4 pages but I was constantly rewriting as I was going along. It ended up a nice little document, and the MD of the company even ended up requesting a copy which I was quite chuffed about(and shitscared I might make a fool of myself J )

After presenting it Friday, that night James was gracious enough to travel about an hour and a half to meet with me. It was truly a pleasure to spend a few hours chatting with James about screenplays. I do hope that I get to meet more fellow ASS’s in the future. It was then he told me about his success with Project Greenlight and we had fun toasting to his success.
After Melbourne, I flew straight to Perth for the companies annual conference. A week of earlier starts and even later finishes, alcohol, and work. I had the chance to meet a large number of my franchisees that I will be working with, so I was on show as the new guy, and had to impress(see don’t be an idiot) So, no relaxing, always on show, and ended the week very tired. From there, flew home on the Thursday, had Friday to get ready for my mentor to arrive the next Monday and we were then off for several days around Brisbane, Gold Coast and Tweed Heads, part of my territory, for on the job training. After that back home for a few days with the family. Spent a few days getting the home office in as much order as I could, then was on the road for three or four more days, back home, then off again now around Northern NSW. I am was writing this in Coffs Harbour at 7am in the morning. First chance I had gotten to devote time to it.

In between all this we have had Father’s Day, our 10th Wedding Anniversary (my wife deserves a medal for putting up with me), and we have a new addition to the home. A puppy! Lovely little Golden Retriever. Since I will be travelling a fair bit, I wanted a dog at home for security and with the kids still young, they get to experience growing up with a puppy. Something that every kid should get I reckon. The title refers to my 2 year old son. We named the puppy Merlot. His pronunciation is Meelow……sounds Greek to me.
Here is our new attack dog in action.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I am settling into the new role, lots of driving,(really looking forward to receiving Phil Morton’s CD to listen to in the car, 6000km in about 6 weeks) lots of time to think about my screenplays and have come up with some new set pieces for the one I am working on at present. I have loaded Final Draft on the work laptop and now that I am feeling comfortable on the road, more time will be devoted to it each night.

After watching Red Eye recently I had an idea I wanted to throw out there to the Scribosphere. At the beginning of Red Eye there was a scene at the hotel where there is trouble with a checkin and they have to call Rachel McAdams character for assistance. Guess what? The way it unfolded was wrong. It would not happen that way in a hotel. So what I can hear you say. The sad thing is, if they had spoken to someone who worked in a hotel, they could have actually increased the tension and the conflict in that scene even further. They missed an opportunity because they did not know how a hotel works. It got me thinking, we all write about areas that we don’t actually have intimate knowledge of. We research, experience(where we can) and try and get it right. If we are tenacious and/or tricky we might be able to find an expert in that field and talk to them. As an example Todd from Moviequill asked for anyone that had worked in the banking area. I had worked in a bank when younger and was able to give some information to Todd. I think I was helpful there.

What struck me was there are dozens of people throughout the Scribosphere, each with their own unique area of expertise. Why not tap into that?

So my thought is, each of us could list our area of expertise and perhaps help each other with those particular area if one of us needs it. Personally, I can put myself forward as one to come to in the area of hotels and hospitality in general. If you want help with a hotel scene as far as what would or could happen, drop me a line. If anyone else wants to, put your hand up and let us know your area of expertise. The scribosphere is a network, lets use it to help ourselves.

First person to put their hand up for expertise in stripping wins J

I am at page 80 on my latest and getting near end of the second act with heaps still to go. I am thinking this is going to bloat out to about 140 odd pages. Then the rewrite starts, once I have it somewhere I am happy at, it will be the first one I throw over to Scott the Reader to massacre review. I am keen to get it finished and trimmed to get feedback from Scott. Once I have that done and implemented any changes (unless of course it is perfect J HA!) I would be happy to shoot it out to a few out there that enjoy action movies. Can’t hurt(too much).

Heading off now, have fun all, and will try and blog more often. My Outlook calendar has never been so full as in this job, but the best thing, loving this new role, and fingers crossed, so far it seems to be going well.


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