There sure is a lot of random stuff on YouTube. This is the time of year when “nest cams” livestream baby birds. These are fun to show the kids: “Awww! Cute!” The purple martin is a kind of passerine that has become dependent on humans for man-made nesting structures. They are beautiful birds—and voracious insect hunters. The YouTube channel Purple Martin View offers a live cam inside multiple nests: They need around a hundred subscribers to reach 1,000, at which point they c
I don’t have a lot of regrets over my time at Film Score Monthly. Sure, I made a lot of mistakes and had embarrassing moments—but that’s just life. In general, I feel like I got the big decisions right, we did a lot of good work and had fun...I hope! But one thing I truly regret: that we did not build our message board to require real names of the users. (It’s too late, and would be far too expensive, to do that now.) We built the board so long ago (late 1990s) that all we di
Does anybody care what I think of the new Obi-Wan show? I finally watched it, well after everybody else, because we’ve been rotating through our streaming subscriptions. I mean, how much money can a household spend on this stuff? Sorry, Peacock—you may be great, but we’ll never know. First: I need younger fans to understand that at the time of the original Trilogy, we would have sawed off our right arms for entertainment of this quality. We had to wait THREE YEARS for a new m
Yesterday on our “Screenplay Power Hour” (neither an hour, nor full of power), Charlie Vignola and I talked to Isabel Dréan, who is living her dréan with no less than five Christmas movies in various stages of production. We talk to her about her screenwriting journey, recent success, and the doors it’s opened up for her. We really enjoyed meeting her and I’m not at all surprised that the screen cap from YouTube (above) shows us all smiling and laughing!
There’s an interesting piece in Vulture from an anonymous visual effects artist complaining about how hard Marvel is on the VFX houses. I see it’s been picked up this morning by other outlets. Anytime you have a “David vs. Goliath” story like this, it’s catnip to the media. I am presently researching the VFX for my Sky Fighter project (based on a short) and getting an education on the business. It’s an interesting field because, well, it’s kind of imaginary. You’re not buying
Here’s something I find mildly hilarious. Anonymous Content is one of the most prestigious management/production companies in Hollywood (if not the world). They represent an absolute A-list of actors, writers and filmmakers—everybody from Pedro Pascal to Emma Stone to Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail. I saw on imdbPRO their new address: 8501 Washington Blvd, Culver City CA 90232. If you used to subscribe to Film Score Monthly, does this look familiar? FSM was at 8503 Washington B
I finished watching Night Sky on Amazon—the eight-episode first season—and I mean finished. The show was canceled before I even started watching. This left me wary as I became invested in the characters—knowing how frustrated I would be at the finale. And sure enough, it was a cool cliffhanger and yeah, I’m hurt. (Spoilers over at screen rant.) Counterpart—also starring J.K. Simmons—was one of my favorite shows of the last 10 years, and it got canceled, although at least afte
This blog is not planned out. I have a “scratch list” of ideas which I sometimes draw from, sometimes not. I like doing a combination of longer “think pieces” (essays and would-be memoir excerpts) with short fun stuff. Sunday is a good time for random fun stuff. There is a YouTube channel called “Fish Man” and I probably know this fellow (from the FSM days) but maybe not? He rips all kinds of delightful vintage scores from the actual film tracks—so they’re compromised with an
There are some things that you imagine would be cool to do—but you never think you’ll do them. Fly a fighter jet or win an Oscar, things like that. So you don’t really think about them. But they’re concrete. There are some things you always want to do—and you do get to do them. And having had many of those experiences, they’re wonderful, but they’re so loaded with anticipation that you have to sort through complicated emotions when they actually happen. And then there are som
New on my screenwriting YouTube show, Lukas and Charlie interview literary manager DAN SECO of Empirical Evidence. A freewheeling talk about screenwriting and representation, thanks Dan! Also, I look forward to seeing fellow film music fans at the Basil Poledouris concert tonight. Tickets still available!
Last week I wrote about recent shows that are so weird and withholding in their story elements, I often find them laborious to watch. I forgot to mention that the two most noteworthy shows, Westworld and Raised by Wolves, oddly seem to share a musical aesthetic—and at least one very similar theme. Compare the above “dread of fate” theme from Raised by Wolves (I remember it being used a lot) with this one from Westworld: I think they’re both good—I just was confused trying to
Yes, there is a secret to Star Trek, and I’ll tell you! (I first wrote about this at trekmovie in 2015.) Years ago I went to a panel about Star Trek, and the moderator asked the question, what’s the appeal of Star Trek? Why’s it so popular after all these years? And the answer was, well, it’s an optimistic future. That was Gene Roddenberry’s vision, and a great one. So much science fiction is dystopian and awful, here was somebody saying no, the future is going to be great. H
Check out this Rolling Stone exposé about the Twitter army that backed Zack Snyder’s P.R. efforts to bully Warner Bros.—and was loaded with fake accounts. I don’t want to editorialize because I don’t want them to come after me! Although maybe that would increase traffic...?
Today would have been my friend Harris Wulfson’s 48th birthday. I’ve written about Harris before...and I don’t have it in me to do a deep dive today. My birthday is July 14th, another one of our roommates’ is on the 16th, and then Harris’ is the 18th. So what used to be a fun week (in the years after graduation) of wishing each other a happy birthday has become, since 2008, something quite different. (He also died around this time of year: suicide from mental illness complica
I watch a lot of television shows. It’s my field and I enjoy it. Lately I have noticed shows that preposterously withhold vital information from the audience. I am always careful about criticizing anybody on this blog, for fear that it is could be a time bomb that might blow up my career—but on the other hand, I’m pretty sure the creators of these shows are well aware of what they’re doing. The biggest example is Westworld. The writers seem to fetishize leaving the audience i
First off, thank you to everybody who sent me birthday wishes yesterday, I appreciate it! I am watching Night Sky on Amazon. I’m halfway through, so I won’t comment yet. The score is very good. I liked Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans’ work on another show that was canceled way too soon, The OA. But...uh, yeah, this is Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar. I could be thinking of a different Interstellar track. I don’t have an hour+ to listen to the entire album. It’s pretty obvious wh
Today is my birthday. Bastille Day! The way social media is nowadays, a lot of my peeps know (and have sent nice words—thanks!). What is my birthday wish? Why, something very practical—to make an indie comedy-drama on Martha’s Vineyard. Raising money for such a thing is always brutal—but you have to start somewhere. So I started with this pitch video! Thanks for checking it out—and let me know what you think!
I love this show! I don’t have anything intelligent to add. I just finished season three and enjoyed every sick, demented minute of it. Per an essay I saw online (which now I can’t find, of course), this show isn’t really about superheroes. It’s about fascism. This is one of the smartest, most subversive shows I’ve ever seen. It’s in the pantheon. The very top, of course: Idiocracy: But The Boys is right up there. Years ago I tried to write a subversive take on superheroes bu
British composer Monty Norman has died at the age of 94. There are obituaries all over the place but I would rely on Jon Burlingame’s at Variety. Jon wrote the book about James Bond music—literally! I believe in criticism and honesty...but right after somebody dies, I feel like, could we put a pin on the snark and just be grateful for somebody’s contribution? Norman was pretty defensive and protective of his most famous credit, yes—but composing the James Bond theme is a pret