Friday, November 30, 2007

And The Strike Slogs On

I haven’t really done any writing since the strike started.

I’d like to say it’s in solidarity with the WGA. And maybe it is, subconsciously. But it could also be that I’ve been lazy.

I’m totally behind the WGA though, so I am in solidarity with them, actually. In fact, I’d like to hear someone really explain why the writers should not get these very reasonable shares in profits. Explain it to me, with a straight face, and swear on your mama that you believe it in your heart, and I’ll buy you a Camaro.

You deserve a Camaro.

So, since I’m not working on the action script, what else can I tell you?

Um, my dad hasn’t hit any more deer.

Thanksgiving was good -– had the turkey in the smoker all damn day and man was it tasty.

Oh, we’re just about wrapped up in the distribution deal for Dismal. Now comes the pain in the ass that is deliverables. Great. Can't wait.

And at work, we’re shipping the rough cut of our new pilot to History Channel tomorrow for Monday delivery. It’s really good -– I hope they like it.

‘Cause I’d like to keep receiving a paycheck.

And now that I’m comfortable with it, I’m compiling a list of Industry Contacts to send The D Line to. Will likely do that after the strike ends, so as not to appear a scab.

I'm no scab.

And hey, you indy filmmakers out there, Moby is offering free music for use in non-commercial films and shorts. Check out:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

El Jefe

Saw Springsteen Sunday night in DC.

Holy shit.

What a storyteller. I mean, yes, obviously, he can write great lyrics and tell stories that way. But he’s also a master at using the songs to weave a larger tale.

His song choice, the way he arranges, reinvents and plays them live, his pacing, knowing when to be serious with a subtext-laden blues, when to just have fun with balls-out guitar rock, how to make 30,000 people laugh or scream or cheer all at once –- everything comes together in one great story you can’t put down.

Throughout the night he threw some lovely jabs at the Bush administration and the way they’re pretty much fucking up everything they touch. Then when he played "The Promised Land," dedicating it to a young soldier sitting in a wheelchair stage left… it totally changed the meaning of the song compared to what it meant to me when I was a kid.

I won’t go into a song-by-song breakdown. I could, but I won't. But listen. Even if you don’t love Springsteen’s music, you should go see him on this tour. You will not be disappointed.

And if you’re like me (the first album I ever bought was Born To Run, purchased at Cap’n Bullfrogs in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont when I was 10 years old -– and I’ve been a constant fan since) you must go see him on this tour.

The six-song encore was worth the price of admission itself: six back-to-back, knock-down, drag-out, rollicking songs that just blistered from beginning to end: "Girls in their Summer Clothes," "Growin' Up," "Kitty's Back," "Born to Run," "Dancing in the Dark" and "American Land."

Whew. I’m still exhausted from it.

Actually, come to think of it, that "Kitty’s Back" alone was worth the admission price.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Whoa. Two Posts In One Day.

Saw this on the Kung Fu Monkey.


Deer, Old Dad

I like to take note of little events in real life which, if I saw in a movie, would usually make me chuckle and think, That wouldn’t really happen…

Because these things do happen. Greg and Emily post about them all the time.

And they’re good to keep in mind, as a writer.

Like the other day when my dad hit a deer.

I grew up in Vermont and my parents, my sister and her family and my little brother and his family still live there. There are a lot of deer in Vermont. And they haven’t quite figured out the whole moving vehicle thing yet, as a species.

My mom is down here with us this week and so my dad, being a man, decided to go over to my brother’s house for dinner, I’m guessing largely so that he wouldn’t have to thaw out another frozen meal my mom no doubt stocked the freezer with. So much work to thaw after all.

So he’s flying up County Road –- yes it’s called that –- in his pickup in the darkness of a countryside evening (sounds like a Garth Brooks song, don’t it?) and a deer bursts from the side of the road and he slams into it.

Now this can be very dangerous. Not as dangerous as moose, but dangerous. Moose, man, those things kill people all the time. They’re super tall, with skinny legs and they’re wicked heavy –- so if you hit them, their little legs snap and their huge body crashes through your windshield... and you’re dead.

This happened to the father of one of my mom’s students a couple years ago. It happens a lot.

Deer can screw you up too, if they come through the windshield -- and even if they don’t they can cause a wreck that can screw you up.

Sorry, one more aside, then back to the story. In high school up there I worked in a car wash. Worst. Job. Ever. Washing cars in Vermont in the winter, when car washes in Vermont are busiest because people wanna get all the road salt off their cars. My clothes would literally freeze.

Holy shit, these tangents are killing me. But what I was saying about the car wash is that a lot of people had these deer whistles attached to their side mirrors. They were designed to blow a high pitch whistle when the car was moving and there was air flowing through them, the thought being the whistle would ward off deer.

Two things: I bet it didn’t work, and they almost never survived the trip through the car wash anyway. God knows how many of those damn things I cleaned up from the bay while smoking pot with my best friend Jim during breaks.

(Maybe not the worst job ever, come to think of it…)

Back to my dad.

So he hits the deer on the passenger front side -– big bam, scared old man, much more scared deer. Dad stops, the deer’s gone.

Exhale. Continue drive up County Road to Patrick’s house.

There, he checks his truck, sees lots of damage, grabs Patrick and goes back to see if the deer is there, see if they can help it.

Aren’t they sweet?

No sign of the deer, so Dad calls the State Police, as you’re supposed to do. This is where, to me, it gets funny.

The dispatcher takes Dad’s info, then says she’ll report it to animal control. She then asks, “If we find the deer and it’s freshly dead, do you want us to bring it to you?”

So: kill a deer with your car in Vermont… get meat for the winter!

Dad declined, by the way.

Okay, it probably wasn’t worth all that reading of meandering prose, but it does tell me that suspension of disbelief needn’t be that difficult. The world’s a funny place…

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Getting Closer

Quick update on Dismal.

Our attorney, working with EP Jeff, has decided which of the five distribution offers is the best, and they’re calling that company today.

We did some negotiating with that company before the entertainment lawyer stepped in –- having a brain and a bit of experience, it was easy to spot the crappy portions in the deal, and the distributor struck those down quickly upon request. So I think we’ve already negotiated it to as good a deal as we can expect, and I’m hoping the paperwork will happen quickly so they can start selling this thing. It should go fast -– our attorney is an LA guy with plenty of clients way bigger than us so they shouldn’t screw around with him much.

So… hopefully you’ll be able to buy, rent, on-demand and otherwise watch it soon.

And, to you true indies out there, take this simple piece of advice: don’t sign the first distribution deal you get, no matter how excited you are. The first draft of any deal offered is not going to be in your best interest -– that’s a simple fact. The distribution company will always try to make the terms best for them at first -– that way if you sign it, they make out better. I can't even fault them for that. But there’s always room for negotiating.

Do a little homework, talk to some people who have struck out on the path before you, then respectfully point out where you’d be screwed. If they like the product, and if you’re not asking for ridiculous stuff yourself, they’ll compromise. They all did with us.