I watched The Two Jakes for the first time last week. I had heard it was not very good...and sorry to say, that was my impression. Robert Towne supposedly never finished his script...and it shows. Things don’t make sense; you can sort of guess the missing parts, but then you’re spending time trying to decipher the plot, not being immersed in the reality. Nicholson also directed, and while he gave it his all, he looks exhausted on screen. The movie had an insane journey to bei
Does anybody know how to program a Wix blog so that it doens’t just scroll indefinitely for hundreds and potentially thousands of blog posts? By that, I mean it breaks into page two, page three—and maybe gives headlines so people can scan and find things? Asking for a friend.
Check it out—their new single, from their upcoming album. Apparently it’s made by the band’s current members using archival recordings by the late founder, Edgar Froese. Another track: My all-time favorite Tangerine Dream score is Risky Business. That movie’s a masterpiece.
I don’t often write about politics here because it never does any good. I could do without trolls finding and attacking me, and I don’t want to risk getting in arguments with friends. But boy is it bleak. I have to admit, I thought COVID would finally “break the fever” of people believing crazy things. If there was an actual cost—like death from a contagious virus—then maybe we’d all start to get on the same page...right? Nope! And my wife said, “I knew it wouldn’t change.” W
I am trying to avoid Wordle so I don’t become addicted to another time–suck. In lieu of that, may I recommend one of my favorite Star Trek sites? Forgotten Trek, by Nick Ottens, is a fantastic compendium of behind-the-scenes Star Trek documentation. It was dormant for around a year but just posted some entertaining updates. Enjoy!
I was wondering what to post today. This blog is not thought-out at all. By chance, a longtime reader wrote a few moments ago to ask if I have a better-quality version of the photo of Hugo Friedhofer, Lionel Newman and Edward Powell picture from the booklet to the Between Heaven and Hell/Soldier of Fortune CD. As it happens, I do! Here it is, above. All this is because our art director, Joe Sikoryak, made a comprehensive archive for posterity of all our work together. Thanks
Last weekend I took the kids to their second grade teacher’s yard sale. She had a couple of old landline phones for a few bucks. I picked one up and showed it to the kids: “Hey guys, what’s this?” They had no idea! I don’t miss landlines at all. But I do miss some important aspects of phone culture. There is a Dave Chappelle bit—I forget in which special—along the lines of, “When we were kids, the phone used to ring...AND YOU HAD NO IDEA WHO IT WAS. You had to answer. Hello?
Tony Tost is a writer–producer who created the Netflix–USA series Damnation, set in 1930s rural America. He’s a very talented intellectual who came from a poor, rural background, and is in the midst of a productive and interesting career. So the above pic is in his honor. He also has the single best blog I’ve ever read about screenwriting, a substack called Practical Screenwriting. And it’s free! I can’t tell you how stupid and useless almost every blog about screenwriting is
Holy crap, did everybody see the giant Vulture piece on Joss Whedon? I just want to say—this is one of Don Rickles’ lines, but I totally mean it—I never liked him. I’m not saying I predicted he was a harasser and a terrible human being, just that I didn’t like his work. Years ago I used to hang out at Shane Black’s house—sometimes, I was even invited. Buffy was appointment television there. I watched it once...and I didn’t get it. I know a lot of people loved it. (I am marrie
Would you folks like to see the list of my most-played music tracks in Apple music (formerly iTunes)? I don’t subscribe to their service, my library consists mostly of CDs I ripped and some tracks I bought by download. It’s probably not what you think from Mr. Film Score Monthly Nerd! The top–played tracks are almost all things that I discovered listening in the car to KCRW’s music programming (pre-pandemic, when I would periodically drive somewhere). If I heard a song I real
HBO has a new documentary about Bob Einstein, aka Super Dave Osborne, which brought a lot of smiles and laughs. It’s surprisingly short, 75 minutes, but seemed to be the proper length. For people who don’t know, he was Albert Brooks’ brother. I missed the Super Dave show on Showtime at the time. We had cable, but I just didn’t know about it. I first saw him on one of the late-night talk shows, introducing the famous “King of the Road” bit (above). I laughed my ass off. I like
Well, that was interesting! After some ten years of trying, a script of mine was rated an “8” at the Black List website (where writers can submit their work and have it evaluated). If you get an 8 or higher, which is hard to do, they tweet about it and send it out in a weekly newsletter to their industry contacts. I’ve lusted after that for years! So, a few observations: 1) When you get an 8, they give you two free evaluations (if you want them). Mine came back...a 6 and 7. B
People seemed somewhat amused to read my post from last week, “Pissing People Off.” I am probably using this blog too much to vent. It’s not good for business, or for me. Anything you write online is like a time bomb—who knows if it will ever go off? But it might. In general, I am letting things get to me, and it’s not healthy. My good friend Joe Sikoryak—hi, Joe! I’ll talk about you here—and I spoke earlier this week. He said I had a lot of good advice about screenwriting in
WRITERS: STOP ENTERING SCREENPLAY CONTESTS! WE’RE NOT “COMPETITORS”! 1. WRITERS SHOULD NOT BE COMPETING AGAINST WRITERS!!! Competition happens all the time professionally. But to get to the professional level, the only person you compete against—is YOU. It makes no sense to submit to a contest when your odds of winning, or placing highly, are preposterously low. Last year, Script Pipeline had many thousands of entries and elevated little more than several dozen scripts to the
We are sadly coming up on the one-year anniversary of a family tragedy, the suicide of my cousin, Lawrence “Larry” Gellar. He was only 30. His mother, my aunt Beth, sent out this collage, above, asking us to share it to remember him, and I thought, I can write a bit about him here. Unfortunately I am the wrong person to eulogize Lawrence because, being 16 years older than him, we just didn’t see each other very often. I saw him a number of times when he was a baby and a small
Here’s a treat. Some footage shot by ABC-13 in Houston circa 1968 from the location of Kelly’s Heroes in Yugoslavia. Don Rickles is my all-time favorite comedian. Take that how you will! Watch Clint Eastwood in hysterics around 2:15 as Rickles mocks his career: “Then he met Brian Hutton, our nine-year-old director, who’s not here unfortunately. He’s over on the set telling his friends the parts they have.”
Above is just some random image I Googled. Personally, I don’t make flow charts, index cards, notebooks, etc. It’s all in my head, until I make some notes for an outline, then I typically write a vomit draft (barely even looking at the outline). But everybody should find a process that works best for them! I previously talked about the single most important thing your script needs to actually get traction in the industry: the CONCEPT. Here’s part one, two and three. By the wa
Before I get going, can I ask a favor please? It’s super easy, there’s no catch. Can you visit my IMDb page? I just want to see if a few dozen people do this, if the “star ranking” goes up in any meaningful way. That’s all! Holy cow, I stepped in it yesterday. I got blocked by somebody on Twitter. I apologized profusely to her but was unable to salvage the (non–)relationship. There is a comedy writer named Cindy Begel whose Twitter feed I came across. She is super sweet and n
This will probably be the most presumptuous and ridiculous article I could write on this blog—wherein I, a lifetime loner and weirdo, with no appreciable filmmaking success to this moment, try to explain how to write realistic human behavior. But I believe in what I’m saying, so here goes! A few assertions (of many) to make clear where I stand: I think aspiring writers prioritize the wrong things: they worry about getting read and gaining access to decision makers—when really