I want to write and tell stories.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Don't Know if Anyone is Interested?

Do any still remember Warrens little group screenplay experiement last year around September?

I had misplaced these files but found them tonight. I had actually written two versions of my part of it. I had two different ideas as to where things coudl go. I chatted iwht Warren about it and we went with the first one, but there was still a few things I liked about the second one. It could possibly have opened up more possibilities, not that we needed any more! Everyone seemed to be having a great time doing it. Just thought I would post it for nostalgia sakes more than anything else.

It is embarrassing reading them again, there are so many things I would change, amazing what a difference a year makes.

Hope you enjoy.


Attempt I


TRENT HAMILTON, Senator from the Northeast, so the nameplate on his desk says. Overweight, built to drive a desk, drinks too much, too often. Chairman of the Oversight Committee for Alternative Lifeforms. Not many other people have heard of it either.

HAMILTON is standing behind his desk, SYLVIA is off to one side.

(quavering voice)
You can’t threaten me, I’m Chairman of the Committee that lets you live here, I ca..can have you terminated.

He waves his letter opener at her as if it were a mystical wand that will keep the danger away.

Senator, that’s not a knife.

Sylvia whips out a large bladed knife and thrusts it into HAMILTON’S chest. A smile crosses her lips as she sees the shock on the Senator’s face as he slides to the floor. Hamilton’s finger falls away from a button located discreetly on the edge of his desk.

Where do you keep my records you DNA deficient dipshit? (Pulls the protruding knife upwards slowly)I want them to know who killed your pathetic ass. (Gently pushes the knife downwards)You wanted our technology, our DNA, but you wont let us breed on your planet, or live in peace? (Twists the knife to a horizontal position) What? Homicidal alien got your tongue?
Hamilton tries to speak, but no words come out.
Well some of us have had a gutful, or in my case, three gutfuls.
The knife is slashed horizontally, spilling Hamilton’s insides onto the floor.Sylvia moves to the filing cabinet where she places the knife on the edge, where the blood slowly drips to the floor. We see files marked “Senator Hamilton , Chairman, Congressional Oversight Committee in Alternative Lifeforms” Sylvia bypasses these.

She finds the section she is looking for.
Anogarabe, no, Venarath, no, that’s Will’s planet..where’s Quartarian?...hmmmm?
Sylvia removes Will’s file, studying it intently.
Maybe there is a way? (Smiling) Sorry Will.
Sylvia removes Will’s file, continues searching.
Got it!
Removes her file.
Baby, that ring is mine. (Admiring her left hand)It will look so good against my purple scales.
The door to the Senators office explodes inwards sending glass and wood flying. Black clad, heavily armed agents storm the room.
Don’t move! Freeze!
In one continuous motion, Sylvia drops the files, grabs the knife and hurls it across the office, impaling the figure next to the TEAM LEADER, as she dives into the bathroom and bullets pepper the wall and door, as it slams shut.
Her back is to the wall, she is breathing heavy. The Team Leader is shouting for her to come out.
(Getting angry)
They want to control my life, give me no choices, all for the privilege of just living on this fucking planet?
Sylvia stands, reaching over with her right hand she grips her upper lips and starts ripping, her face, neck, upper torso, everything, until we are left staring at this perfect alien specimen. Her purple metallic like scales shimmer, as the fluorescent light pulses above her.
Time to meet the real Sylvia boys.
Ready, on three. One, two..
The door explodes out towards the assault group, knocking them to the floor, senseless.For a split second, Sylvia is framed in the doorway, surveying her work, she is relishing this freedom.
Sylvia moves slowly through the downed team, collecting two machine guns, two pistols, and extra magazines for both. These, and the blood spattered files are tossed into a nearby bag.
Ready for the engagement party Will? ________________________________________________________

Attempt II
TRENT HAMILTON, Senator from the Northeast, overweight, ruddy complexion, built to drive a desk and drinks too much, too often. Chairperson of the Oversight Committee for Alternative Lifeforms. Not many other people have heard of it either.
HAMILTON and Will are sitting on either side of the desk.
So McCarthy, what the hell went wrong?
It was just a bad run, it happens from time to time. We’ll be...Hamilton thumping the tabletop.
Not on my watch! You fuck up again, and I’ll nail your ass so bad, you’ll be begging for Bubba to take over.
That was just a training run, that’s what we have them for. Have we ever not completed a mission?
No, and there better not be a first time either. Here is the final information you need.
He throws a file across the desk, we can see it is labeled Committee for Alternative Lifeforms, Operation Sharp Forge, Top Secret is stamped across it.Will is looking decidedly unimpressed, pissed is definitely the word.
Glad you didn’t leave it until the last minute.
The committee can’t afford exposure on this one, it is too big, we could not possibly cover any fallout.
Through clenched teeth.....
We own your ass, remember! You came to us for help. So, when we say jump, you just ask how high?
Will stands up, shrugs slightly, his mouth suddenly opens, and then continues to open impossibly further. His human face is pushed aside as his alien face morphs out through his mouth, pushing his human face back like a cowboy hat resting on the back of his head.He places his face inches away from HAMILTON’S.
His scales are coated from the residue inside the human face, it is dripping down his face, and onto his extremely sharp teeth that seem to have appeared from somewhere deep within his mouth. Hamilton is both mesmerized and terrified.
Listen you DNA deficient dipshit. You’ve got our technology, you have our DNA, you got what you wanted! We want to live in peace, not fight your goddamn battles!
Will is so close now, residue is dripping onto Hamilton.
This is it. The last one! After this, you can find yourself another doughboy to plow.
(feeling cocky)
You can’t, we have an agreement.
Will sits back down, and gets all comfortable in his chair, crossing his legs. His human face is still hanging off the back of his head like a grotesque human cowboy hat.
Want to test that agreement in a court of law here in the good old US of A? Be my guest. I better make sure my face is all right for the camera’s. There might be one or two TV crews interested in chatting to me.
We would tell the Agnorians where you all are.
I realize that. That is why your lovely wife is on her way to somewhere safe.
Geez is that the best you got? I was going to divorce the silly bitch anyway.
That silly bitch has the gold and cash you had stashed. and, you can close that Swiss bank account now.
You filthy bastard! I’ll..
Venarathian actually, but you can have it all back, once we’ve finished this job, and are settled somewhere safe. You just make everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, understand, it’s time for us to disappear. We are only doing this last job because it is something that has to be done.
Will stands, and moves to leave the room, he stops and faces Hamilton.
All we want is some peace, why is that so hard for you to understand.
Will exits the room, he pulls out a mobile, dials a number and yanks his face back over his head, adjusting it with one hand as he waits for the call to connect.
Coates? Can you get some more of that adhesive ready... Don’t ask. ______________________________________________

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas from DownUnder

Well ‘tis the season to be jolly. What do we have to be jolly about? Lots. We’re still alive and kicking :)

I was watching something the other day with my son, and from this I fully realised the situation where one little letter can change the entire meaning of what you are attempting to get across to readers of your scripts. Exhibit A below:

Wag the Dog, written by Mamet, well-known political thriller. On IMDB this is the synopsis.
When the president of the United States is about to get caught in a sex scandal 14 days from the election it is time to create a war. Perception and reality, life and death all flow from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.


Follow me……

As we…….


A ……

Solitary ……


You now get……..

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tiny error, huge change. Just thought that was worth exploring, plus it allowed me to really practice those full stops.

Next I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Below are some individual thank you’s for various scribosphereans:

In no particular order....

1. Billy Mernit(The Sultan of Swoon): Congratulations on your book deal Billy, thank you for all your insightful writing over the last year. It is always entertaining, interesting and educational to read. Plus you post photos of JA, so really that is just cream on the cream.

2. Jessica Alba: For being Jessica Alba and accepting the lead in Billy Mernit’s adaptation of his novel. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Billy you did manage to write in more of those bikini scenes didn’t you?

3. Craig Mazin: Thanks for the articles on your site about the WGA etc. It gets any of us hopefuls thinking about where the fence post sits before we (hopefully ) become members. Also, thanks for the Artful Forum, especially the Ask a Pro section….amazing and fantastic!

4. Bill”Mad Pulp Bastard” Cunningham: For the rants and information throughout the year. Always educational and always fun. The way I look at it, if I use the tips to reduce costs in the shoot, then it leaves more money for the fun bits! Merry Xmas Bill! Hopefully that thing will come off( and I am not talking about a body part)

5. John Rogers: For being able to accurately record and explain middle America and other countries thoughts on the responsibilities of our leaders, even though not enshrined in law, certainly in morality and ethics. Well done!

6. John August: For the endless amount of information and guidance he provides, plus the Death Star quote for SUV. That has given me numerous laughs, my wife hates you though.

7. Alex Epstein: Crafty Alex, another book out about TV. His blog is also a must read. Always some good information coming through and he is always willing to give advice to schmucks like me.

8. Jane Espenson: Wow, just wow. Amazing addition to the scribosphere this year. Between Ken Levine and Jane, what else could someone like me ask for? (Yes, Jessica Alba, but that has to wait)

9. Dennis(Dead Things on Sticks): Bill’s sparing partner and I love the debates. Two passionate and informed gentlemen waging an old fashioned war of the words. Great stuff. They even agree sometimes.

10. Ken Levine: Like Jane E, Wow. We all know how much we love his blog. Nothing else to say except a big sincere thank you.

11. Mac: Little known Mac. Thanks for those Aussie newsletters. I appreciate the time you take on them. Even got a lead off one :) Hopefully I will have the DVD of my short in my hand in February some time.

12. Todd: A kindred spirit. Battling plotholes and crappy dialogue. We’ll make it! :)

13. Warren: Warren has been quiet this year, but I am always thankful for his amazing blog. All the best for the new year to him.

14. Patrick Rodio: Patrick has been gracious enough to share his success and lessons(no matter how painful they were)with us to show us how hard it is, but all it does is make us more hungry. Best of luck for all your ventures in the new year.

15. Ted Elliot and Terry Rosio for Wordplayer and all those great movies. Saying anything else is really a waste of the alphabet.

16. Maryan for Fencing with the Fog: While all us other wannabes are slacking off, Maryan keeps blogging with much more grace and clear thinking than I could ever muster with all the best drugs available. Always a pleasure to read her blog and I wish her all the success.

17. Clarkblog: Damn good read that I wish I could get to more often.

18. Red Right Hand-Mat: Fantastic TV blog Shawn has got there. I hope he goes far, his knowledge and passion shines through.

19. Shawna: a big thank you to Shawn for her continuing updates on what show’s are happening, etc. Helps immensely in sorting the wheat from the chaff when the winds blow the shows Downunder.

20. Charlie & Dave: The B Dudes. A charming saga this year to follow. The Siege may end, but other stories will rise to replace it I’m sure!

21. Phil Morton: Looking forward to receiving Phil’s CD, it will be great I’m sure. His blog has been very helpful to me over the past few years. Thanks for that Phil!

22. Lee Goldberg: Love Lee’s blog more so just for his sense of humour and interesting articles and stories he shares. I love how he does show how hard the work is though.

23. Josh Friedman: For making Snakes and sweatpants cool. No small feat. Thanks for the laughs Josh.

24. Scott the Reader: Fantastic blog that is a must read. Scott, for all the tips which are too large to recall, a huge thank you. I am truly looking forward to using his notes service.

25. Fun Joel: Another big thank you to Fun Joel for all his great posts this year. Another blog I read often.

26. Bill Martell: Bought Bill’s book on writing action movies earlier this year, and he has the same knack as Phil Morton. They can break down complex ideas into easily understood terms and processes. Great book, helped a lot, going to re-read soon. Thanks for your blog and daily tips Bill, invaluable!

27. Danny in the UK: Showing that a Pom has brains and is a top bloke as well. Best wishes for the next 12 months.

28. Ras: She has been on a great ride this year, and hopefully next year will be her special year where she cracks it. Thanks for sharing!

29. Let Me In – Sal: Another person sharing their amazing ride. Thanks for all the stories Sal, intriguing and thoroughly interesting. Best of luck for 2007.

30. Do Cats eat Bats: Steve, knocking on Hollywoods door with a few successes, fingers crossed 2007 is his year. Certainly deserves it, he has a sharp mind.

31. The Constipated Writer-JD: Battling through a self funded feature Generator, I hope it goes well for him.

32. Writer Gurl: Moving to LA soon, I don’t think she is there yet. Another sharp mind who I think will crack it one day. Best of luck Rose!

33. Assistant Atlas: The “Deep Throat” of Hollywood. Great fun read, and educational about the goings on of the bricks and mortar industries of Hollywood. Hope his new media plans pan out for him. Thanks for the stories Atlas.

34. How to Write Screenplays Badly: Bloody funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the laughs guys!

35. Development Hell: Christine, IT guru and screenwriting wiz. Thanks for sharing your processes and here’s to a great 2007!

36. Security Dog: You’ve dropped off the earth, but I hope you are well. Top bloke from all correspondence I had with him. Merry Christmas I hope you are having a great time wherever you have landed.

There are heaps more people I would like to thank, but running out of time to get this posted before Xmas eve. Be assured if I have left a comment on your blog I probably visit as often as I can and I am either entertained or educated. Not a bad deal, so thanks for that.

To all, I hope you have a great Xmas and a fantastic New Year, may your plot holes be small, studio notes non-existent and your budget huge.

Talk to you again soon.

PS I have no illusions that most of these people do not read this blog. Just my own way of publicly thanking them for their input into my education as a screenwriter. They are all valued.

Monday, December 11, 2006

What happened?

Don't know about you guys, but well, I'm stumped. The world is no longer balanced and I think my Christmas is ruined.

I received only two pieces of spam over the weekend!?

How the hell am I supposed to stock up on viagra for if this continues?

Moving on from this threat to world stability(I am sure Koffi has set up some sort of commission to deal with this problem, guessing it will be as effective as that marvellous Oil for Food program)

Onto more important things. I have been downloading the podcasts from CS web over the last few months(same ones as Maryanne and thousands of others), but I have not listened to them much, as normally if I am at the computer(dont have mp3 player in car) I am actually working(try to keep that to minimum) or working on screenplays and therefore don't want to concentrate on the excellant podcasts, too distracting.

Anyway, I have been trying to find a convertor that allows you to convert an MP3 to a form that will allow them to be played on a CD for when I am in the car during those long road kill laced trips I am taking lately. Anyone know of any? I have tried a few but they dont seem to be doing what I want. Would love some help.

By the way, BEST name for a road I have seen in my travels.....SPLIT SOLITARY ROAD...love it. How do you split solitary? Best town name....SOUTH KOLAN....its motto has to be "When you've had the shits with the world, move to South Kolan. Yeah, I know, but I had to, just push through it.

My own thought of the day: "The easiest money you will ever make is doing a job you love"

Hope everyone is well. Chat to you later.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Greetings fellow blogosapiens.

I hope you have been well and all your spelling errors small and your set-pieces huge and expensive.

With my the big-action-kill-all-who-breath screenplay, I have been wrestling with the villain. He is a sort of ex-pat terrorist, the other terrorists weren’t sort of focused enough for this guy, bombing schools was just too namby pamby for him.

The problem was coming up with a character that contained a flaw that would ultimately lead to his downfall. We all know he is going to fail as soon as the movie starts, he just has to be as interesting as possible during the process :)

I was speaking to an owner of a hotel last week who was, well, to put it bluntly, being a dick. All I was trying to do was help him and he didn’t want to listen. We finished the call, and BINGO! It struck me, here is my character, he has the perfect flaw, he is intelligent but can be too wrapped in his own ideas, so he doesn’t see Miss Venezuela for all the other countries in the pageant (that is a lot better visual than trees and forests :) ) So was very excited to make that breakthrough. So, someone who is actually pissing me off, now gets to die in a horrible way, sort of.

Moving onto other things, my wife and I have been watching Studio 60 and loving it. Like a lot of fellow bloggers, we are on the in as far as understanding how TV shows work(about as in as Pluto is to the sun). So having a little knowledge gleaned from people like Ken Levine, Lee Goldberg, etc. it has been fun to watch. I sort of understand what some people have been complaining about, but did not agree with them until the last episode B12.

With all the writers in Hollywood(and wanting to get in) they could only come up with one as a replacement? Ken Levine was unavailable :) ???? It could have been Aaron Sorkins chance to have a dig at Hollywood and bring in some more mature writers en masse with a wealth of experience made up and ratings could have gone go up.

Also, the Sarah Poulsen character not being able to tell a joke? What was that? Okay, like Ken was discussing the other day, not all good comedic actors can make up their own material, that is totally understandable, however, not being able to memorize and deliver lines? Me thinks that would fall into the sacking category for an actor? Am I wrong? Okay, unless they look like Eva Mendes crossed with Jessica Alba(only the good bits, that begs the question…..are there ANY bad bits there?)

In my work I’ve cracked 11000kms since I hit the road in early September, and my frequent flyer miles are up enough I can fly my wife and daughter to Cairns to see her family. Leaving me and the little man at home to eat ice cream and watch the Wiggles. In case you missed the bad news, Greg is leaving the Wiggles due to poor health. That update is a convenient message to all parents of young children. I still want to see a death match between the Wiggles and the Hooley Dooleys, the Wiggles would walk over them.

Started typing this on the plane and finishing up in the hotel room with the West Wing playing in the background. Time to hit the sack. Have fun all blogosapiens!


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