Monday, November 17, 2008

and While in LA

I've posted about the beautiful art of this woman before. Well, she's sharing a space called thinkSpace at 4210 Santa Monica Blvd. in groovy Silverlake, CA. It's an excellent little gallery and a great show. Recommended!

Selling Out: Postlude

It is now over, and I'm back in CT recuperating from jet lag. NEVER fly a redeye coach, for any reason.
The last hellish hours of my journey aside, I admit some pleasurable experiences this weekend: Saturday night at the Figueroa Hotel, by a turquoise lit jacuzzi and pool (no swimsuit, alas) under a bright open sky with cactuses and afrobeat music all around. This is a happy place indeed. (Just a look, above.)
(In the interest of fairness, I stayed at a lovely vintage hotel called the Mayfair on 7th Street. A very nice room and staff. I'm just emphasizing that the Figureoa is something special.)
Do I love LA? Kinda. Sure it's horribly polluted, and vastly indifferent. And everyone there is so annoyingly pretty. But there's lots to love too, and lots of opportunity for a visitor with a plan and some common sense. This is truly the Wild West: untamed, savage, stunningly beautiful and ugly at once. The meanest of mean streets, the trendiest of trendy, the sleaziest of sleazy. Like the little city within driving distance called Las Vegas, it's all about extremes.
I've learned a bit about travel, though. Going carless in LA is a very bad time. The Metro is ineffective and hard to navigate; the cabs are overpriced and clueless. Sad, but true. And did I mention never to fly coach?
Oh yeah, and I learned that selling me and my work is a good thing after all. I fully intend to do it a lot from now on, wherever I am, and wherever I go next.

Enough jet lagged ranting. Now here are photos:
(Blogger layout is idiotic. Just click the links for a closeup.)

View from my hotel, north:

And West

Lunch in Little Tokyo was Saturday. Look for this pagoda:

Found this Buddhist temple on a sidestreet:

And, dude! Palm trees downtown!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Selling Out: Interlude

Oh man I'm tired. Day 2 and pitch sessions are heating up. It is now dusk in the crater of the LA Convention Center, and the air is a lovely shade of orange smoke.
There were classes yesterday from Syd Field, Dave Trottier and others, plus a reading by Richard Price from the upcoming "Lush Life" and his hilarious observations on the writer's life. I met some great people at the Millenium Biltmore reception, and experienced wild times on Hollywood & Vine after hours.
A fantasy camp after all? Maybe. But for those who want to taste the script writer's life, it's essential. Will I return next time? No way. Once in boot camp is enough.
But wait, there's more. Tune in Monday-ish (after all, it's California).

(EDIT: indeed, that was smoke and not smog. Condolences to all the residents of Orange County left homeless by the wildfires this week.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Selling Out: Prelude

Last weekend I attended the Final Draft Take a Meeting script pitch 'fest' in NYC. How it will fare as a networking event time will tell, but this novice author came away with vastly improved confidence in his ability to sell his screenplays.
Next stop: LA. I'm writing my first mobile post, at White Plains airport waiting for the call to board. My worry though, is that I have invested financially and my soul as well, in a Fantasy Camp for movie auteur wannabes. Baseball and rock music nerds have theirs, why not us?
I hope I'm wrong.

PS Photos will come up when I get home. Can't upload on a Sidekick. Yet...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Undecision Time!

Well, it's now hours away, and I have to say my peace before the whole dreadful mess comes to a close.
It's been close, and I have been awed by the performance of both candidates - to the point where at certain times, I really was undecided. Undecided? Me?
Yeah, as a former Nader voter and disgruntled but proud American, it's obvious who I'm voting for tomorrow. But I still harbor some respect for McCain, and hope for a Congress and/or Senate that will carry out his fight against bureaucracy and bloat in government. That is their job, more so than the President.
As much as I dislike McCain's mentors, his racist fans and his anti-choice rhetoric, that's not why I've been asked to vote tomorrow.

Ah, voting - that time of year when people who can't balance a checkbook are asked to decide which total stranger is best qualified to oversee the finances of the world's most powerful nation. I can't afford a condo and I have to decide whose financial vision is more plausible? Are they kidding? This is worse than when I pulled jury duty.
Luckily Obama led the debate on China and Saudi Arabia, the two countries giving us the most unfriendly rivalry at this time. This is what the president does, not write checks for everyone. He (sorry, Hillary) maintains our security and our rights. First and foremost.
Are you more secure and more confident of your rights today than you were 8 years ago?
And having answered that, are you confident your candidate will improve your lot in these areas?
Go vote.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Did you attend the WFMU record fair? How about the Chiller Theater 2008 Expo? I hope you had a better time than I did...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Slamdance Semi-Finals

Hi this blog is not dead. Well, I didn't make the Top 50 but I sure did make the top 350+ out of many thousands of entries, and that must mean I did something right.
Coming soon: The Horror Competition!!
In November: pitch fests in NYC and LA!

My Flash Portfolio v 3.01

Now with a more interactive and fun kind of face, although the two highlighted pieces - my casino game, and my personal wealth calculator (this may be more universally useful than I had imagined) - may still be buggy. I invite you to play, twiddle, break them and let me know how you did it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Moondance 2008 Semi Finals

I'm very happy that the Moondance '08 competition nominated The Propeller as a semi-finalist. It also got a Blue Star at Trigger Street - that's an old draft that bears little resemblance to the script as it is today.
I'm traveling to LA in November for the Screenwriters' Expo, with the intent to sell my scripts (and see the Wild West again), so if there are veterans of the Expo or Angelenos out there reading this, don't be shy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Flash Portfolio

I've completely overhauled my Flash website. It has five clips nested in an interface which took about 12 and 1/2 hours to create in MX. (Not all at once, as Steven Wright observed.)
UPDATE July 08: I've added a new SWF, a calculator designed to show off my OOP programming. What I would like is for this to load the final page into your spreadsheet, so a user can do a week to week budget of what they save. (Ideally this would be available to Paypal donors ;) but we'll have to see the reaction first.) I also want to add more options for week to week budgeting. This is just a work in progress, as it always is. As for the main menu, I fixed some of the weirdness on the different layers. I don't want to overhaul the whole thing again but I do want the page to have a more active look.
I hope you enjoy my hand-drawn style of animation, because this is just the beginning.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Beverly Hills Film Festival 2008

Have I mentioned that I'm a finalist!? The fest has been running all week, and tonight is the awards ceremony, including honors for writers. I entered on a very old draft of The Bloody Duchess, which has no chance in hell of winning and plus I can't afford the outrageous airfare to LA right now.
If any other entrants followed this link from the online exchange, firstly, welcome to my blog! And congratulations to us for placing, and especially to whoever gets the grand prize. Options and nice weather is what I wish for everyone!
UPDATE: Congratulations to the top 3 winners! The director estimated over 500 scripts were entered, and 69 were chosen as finalists. The top 14th percentile isn't too bad, is it?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Almost An Evening, by Ethan Coen

Hot off winning an Oscar (finally!) along with directing brother Joel for "No Country For Old Men", Ethan Coen hits the mean floorboards of Greenwich Village with a trilogy of plays, now running at the Bleecker Street Theater. And his Beckett influence jumps to the forefront here, although there's still room for his signature slapstick and jaundiced eye.
F. Murray Abraham, who's got an Oscar himself, is the most recognized name in the cast, and (with Lebowski-esque hair, natch) plays God, literally - and then plays playing God. He also delivers a f-bomb laced monologue that had me and the whole theater rolling. Carlin himself would be proud. The whole cast, eight actors playing over twenty roles, is aces. The other leads are Tim Hopper as a shady Briton who has a crisis of character, and Joey Slotnick as a man who can't get out of his doctor's waiting room. Enjoy!
Tickets are readily available, or you can make a reservation and get a cool personalized ticket package at And the requisite link: Maybe one day we'll see that fourth play?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Remembering The Wire

Five seasons, 60 episodes, and at least a dozen distinct storylines later, the grungy, truthful, uncannily real series is retired from HBO. It just gave me a reason to pay for cable, and I hope carved a path for more shows that will redefine their genres the way The Wire redefined the police drama.
One interesting aspect is the way it not only illuminated the world the detectives and their quarry, the druglords, create and inhabit, but it also illuminates other professions: dockworker, teacher, newspaper writer and editor, coach, priest. Compare this with the insulting two dimensional portrayal created by a lesser TV writer for, say, CSI. They may have read a little about someone like Cutty the boxing coach, or the Sobotka family of the Baltimore Stevedores union, or Gus the overly ambitious cub reporter. They may have read about a Detective Jim McNulty too, or Omar The Terrible (the only openly gay gangster I've ever seen, and a character for whom the word 'sissy' is quite inappropriate), or Stringer Bell. This show, however, is written by people who were these people, or neighbors or best friends or even family of these people. And David Simon and Ed Burns, leading a crew of superb writers (including star novelists like Dennis Lehane and Richard Price) were in a rare position to not have anything held back in telling their stories.
Not to mention the cast. Clarke Peters as The black Sherlock Holmes, Lester Freamon. John Doman as the cruel and conniving Major, then Deputy Commissioner Rawls. Wendell Pierce as the dapper Bunk. There's a whole lot of characters here, a guide to which can be found here: And lots of changes are made in the finale "30", which may feel disappointing but is entirely appropriate to what the show means. The Wire is about the world, and specifically urban America, the way it really is: good guys don't triumph, underdogs don't win, and power doesn't ever fail. It's not pretty or heartwarming, but it's true.