LEAKS IN THE PLOT

Every other show on television is a police or medical procedural and these productions go to lengths to consult professionals to at least give an appearance of verisimilitude; sci-fi similarly dialogues with the scientific community for inspiration and fact checking. This diligence is born of deference more than craft or curiosity, it is the elitism and power of lofty, status-quo figures that seem to compel TV writers' rooms to afford respect to certain corners of our economic hierarchy. Accuracy is a good thing, yet the elitism of the TV writers' room is quite apparent when it comes time to portray the lives of disenfranchised and poor people. Condescension and mockery seem to be the default brush wiped across Final Draft, but the writers themselves display their own laziness, bias and lack of curiosity when they fail to respect the representation of our cultures lesser classes. If they pay their grocery clerk, homeless, ditch digger, construction, housecleaner or unemployed characters much thought at all, they must assume that the real life people these crude caricatures are drawn from just aren't they type of people that would watch their show. 
This poor writing is apparent frequently, but I explored it further through an angle of plumbing. 

I have some knowledge of the trade as I am a failed plumber. The greatest challenges I faced in my pursuit of the trade were intellectual, and I found most plumbers I have known to have greater intelligence than the average holder of USC or UCLA graduate degrees in screenwriting. The frequency with which a plumbing issue is used as a plot device is interesting but utterly fascinating is the fact that I can think of zero examples where large details are not botched through the writing. These can be minor issues of trade vocabulary, but usually, the inaccuracies have as much to do with physics as they have to do with plumbing itself.

I take notes now when I run across examples, for a time I thought of writing a lengthy critical essay based on this premise. I made several trips to the Writers Guild Foundation library and read the scripts for episodes of Mad Men, Orange is the New Black and others to see where things when wrong. From scripts I have been able to get my hands on, it has always been in the script that inaccuracies and negative portrayals first began. I haven't written the essay, but I made a series of satirical videos where Roger Rooter incorporates my research into his reviews of television. 

Inserted here are a few examples of these videos. Since making these I have continued my research. The most notable example is Baskets, where an impossibly pressurized waste line created an impossible sewage disaster that was a significant story point across several episodes. Had the writer spent an hour talking to a plumber, they could have come up with two or three other ideas that would have been more accurate and visually interesting. Lack of curiosity and care for a large segment of humanity means you divorce your story from a segment of the population you want to reach and you lose the opportunity for inspiration and new ideas. 
 

An un-Civil War

I try to keep my politics of my site...not this time. 
A wave of secessionist wannabes is starting, and I will do my best to stop it.

Yes, California is leading the call for #CalExit. 
They are flying the Califronia state flag in support of their efforts
In copy/paste form (from my facebook regurgitations), here come my feelings about California secessions, "Yes, California" and all the people behind it...

 

Here is Louis J. Marinelli, the front "leader" of your secessionist movement Yes, California. 
This man, who wants to lead an independent nation-state of California, was born and raised in New York but spent a few years in Russia too. He has been a California "native" since 2011. 
His political activism includes working in the John Edwards presidential campaign, running the "Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman" and becoming a strategist for the "National Organization for Marriage". 
As a kick off to the coming Civil War, I would love to meet the first President of the California Republic in the alley of his choosing.

 

Shervin Pishevar looks to be the largest, angel investor in Yes, California , the leading driver of secessionist #CalExit calls. If you love what Uber has done for union cab jobs and what AirBnB has done for housing and rent, good news(!) he leads Sherpa Capitol, the Venture Capitalist firm that funds those companies. 
Born in Iran he is now proud to be a California "native". 
His political activism involves hosting a 2016 fundraising event for Hillary Clinton that raised 15 million and investing in Kony 2012!

Maybe he'll have a role in the Treasury department of the new Republic of California!

Does the average Californian know that our state flag is a racist symbol? 
It comes from the Bear Flagger's, white Americans that were "illegal immigrants" to California when it was still Mexico. They were violent, racist extremists that murdered Native's (about 200,000). Then they were encouraged to and gleefully started to murder Mexicans and Californios. 
The California flag was their flag.
Now a pack of bitter, tech capitalists that have lost a contest for the first time in their lives want to secede. They'd fly the flag of the new California Republic with no sense of irony or understanding of history. 
Telling, like I said months ago, this election is very much like the election of 1860. And here sore losers want to start a civil war. I won't march for Trump and I won't march for a Silicon Valley tyrant.

If Silicon Valley starts a Civil War I will stand against it. They will lose, just like they lost the last one (and yes I see bitter secessionists as successors of their Dixie Democrats). 
I could possibly be in support of the state joining Mexico.

Every citizen of the world is affected by US foreign policy. Seceding would hurt our ability as individuals to change evil US policy. As a state I don't see us as great carriers of virtue either, we were the state of Reagan after all! We usually vote center right, evidenced that we couldn't even abolish the death penalty. 
It feels good for a small margin of liberals to declare themselves the good guys and hold themselves in higher regard than the rest of this country. An independent California would just be another (potentially militaristic) neoliberal, globalization, capitalist disaster with new Silicon Valley oligarchs. 
I would be open to considering joining Mexico because we have a lot of cultural similarities and our economy could potentially work as a stabilizing factor and lead to more humanitarian, fair relations with D.C.

You will proudly turn a thumb to the rest of this country and call them xenophobes and racist. Then you talk of fleeing to Canada, or starting a new country, possibly joining with Oregon and Washington. How is this not racist and xenophobic? You fantasize about a great white flight, potentially to the great white north. Then leave this country to a tyrant, a series of tyrants to follow him? Shut up and fight. You aren't going to secede. Anyone who tries to secede, especially under a racist flag, especially if they are goosestepping behind a Silicon Valley wannabe despot, I will fight with everything in my power.

This plot, led by a pack of cowardly Silicon Valley Vulture Capitalists that hide themselves from their own websites, should be roundly mocked. The proponents putting money behind it should be found out, called out and shamed for the racist, crybaby sore losers they are.

In my mind we can start a conversation about joining Mexico. With shared history and historical precedent for this land being Mexico, it makes sense. We have a lot of common culture and economic interests that would tie well into each other. Doing so could normalize DC and Mexico relations and stabilize some of the chaotic political sectors of Mexico.

Beyond that, I am a politically tolerant person with room to discuss many points of view. However, my tolerance ends with this ridiculous scheme for secession. I will call it stupid wherever I see it pop up.

Added an old spec....

 Was watching the excellent Fuller House yesterday, then this morning read a discussion in a forum about writing spec spin-offs. Most people gave the excellent advice of "don't do it", "it'll never sell", "intellectual property"....Then I recalled I wrote a spec spin-off a few years back called, Gibbler. It set up a world where Kimmy Gibbler was spending her thirties recovering from addiction and living on the fringes of society in the Mission District. It's not great or anything, but was a fun excercise. So I posted it up to the television script section.

New EP of Quality Sketch

Episode 11 of Quality Sketch is up. I am always up against a clock to get these edited and through. It was one of the more fun tasks of my week but I always wish I had just a little more time to tweak things in editing. Like everything I do it is a tug of war between fun, economy, time and quality!

Writing and other progress...

With fellowship season here, I have had to stop work on editing of the Future Doo-Wop novel. Just a bit too far behind on writing that is more mission critical.  That will be on pause until I feel a bit more caught up. I am posting a new spec for Man Seeking Woman. I am currently revising a feature script that I will post soon and writing a pilot. 

I am not too psyched about the Man Seeking Woman spec. It is a show that on its face is tonally loose and carefree so I felt fairly empowered to write in its world. Having done it though I came to realize that for a program with a moving target it feels hard to tell if I hit the bullseye. I can safely say I didn't. My favorite episodes of MSW have very distinct acts, with a unique hook to each of them . They don't all do this but, my favorite ones do. I attempted to do this in outlining, but the dense plotting I did made the whole thing overlong so I felt compelled to stay riffing on a play on noir that I was going for. But I am happy that I took a romantic comedy trope theme/idea and explored it from an obtuse and heightened angle like the show often does. There are other moments.

Happy to have written it though and on to the next thing. Things are chugging along!

New Future Doo-Wop page with weekly updates

I've been rewriting the Future Doo-Wop novelization one chapter at a time. If anyone is reading along I would love feedback, questions and notes! This is my first novel and I have no formal editing services so any input you have would go far to improving the work.

There will be a new chapter posted weekly to the page.

EP 9 of QS is up

...added the 9th episode. This one has a few Thanksgiving bits that were super fun to do. AS usual it was a slapdash hurried effort to get it out on time, so there are edges rougher than I wish they would have been!

beating NaNoWriMo

I passed the 50k mark yesterday and "won" NaNoWRiMo. It was easier than I thought I would and I ended up with something I think could be worthwhile with heavy revision. I kept pushing beyond the 50K and will try to finish out the rough draft before the end of November 

NaNoWriMo update

I announced I was going to try writing my first book in my first NaNoWriMo . This post could have been about how I failed at that, but surprisingly I am on track so far. I often announce an endeavor that isn't to be and it just falls to the side, but that may not be the case this time. 

I am currently a few hundred words shy of twenty thousand words towards my fifty thousand. I am pacing at about 2,000 words a day, all while also writing three pages of screenplay and putting in work on the new episode of Quality Sketch. And of course the day job. Sleep and life can wait though. 

Halloween check in

Halloween passed and I didn't get to mark the holiday as much as I would have liked, meaning I had no opportunity to get drunk and hyphy.  I was pretty happy with my costume,  Ernest P. Worrell, as I've been on an Ernest kick, re-watching all his stuff and listening to the excellent podcast, Ernest Goes To Podcast. 

I mostly just got chance to wear this for some work functions, so I'll likely re-use it next year. That said, work was pretty fun/hectic this week. We put on a big Halloween show that I got to put on a lot of fun and creative hats for. I am pretty proud of the kiddie song, BOO I co-wrote with Danny Hesse for the occasion, you can hear it at about the hour fifty mark.



Sexy Gumby

Concept design for my dream Halloween costume, Sexy Gumby. 

Hopefully next year.


First (last?) NaNoWriMo

Maybe I'm a psychological self-flagellant but I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year. I have never written a novel before but  have played with the idea of adapting a TV pilot of mine. Seems like a good time and low stakes scenario to indulge this itch. 
I also need to complete the first draft of my new feature script in November so I'll be a crazed person by December. 

Episode 8 of Quality Sketch is out

Up on the page and youtube is our 8th episode of Quality Sketch. Each episode takes about 4 hours of production time and 40 hours of editing to create. Reliant on the talent of an all volunteer production crew and of course the talented comedic performers that come in and share their sketches, a lot of work goes into each episode. But mostly it's a lot of fun and experimentation !


POSTED A FEW SKETCHES

Just posted up two sketch scripts, one is new, the other older. 

WD-E-40 is a commercial parody - what if E-40 was selling spray lubricant?

THE GENTRIFICATION OF PLYMOUTH was one I was hoping to actually produce. It was important to me that I could find a Native American performer to be a part of it and help rewrite it. I didn't, so the sketch won't happen this year.



Crowdfunding form letter respose

One thing I loathe is receiving requests to support a crowdfunded campaign from someone who has never indicated to me that they have taken the time to check out any of the things I have made. 

There have been instances where I have supported the crowdfunded campaign of others and gotten zero acknowledgement or thanks. 

I have never personally created or marketed such a campaign. I am actually not opposed to doing so and may try it in the future. But I plan to have some ettiquette to the way I go about it, and actually support those that support me.

Here's a form letter I created to respond to the worst offenders.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF

Added short - PISSER

Just added a short script, PISSER to the site here. There may still be a few drafts left, but I'm wanting to get this out there. This is based off the very first feature script I wrote more then ten years ago. I lost that script in a computer crash, I think it also exists in an old AOL e-mail that I have no idea how to find. I was so upset over losing not just that script but a huge chunk of creative output when the computer died, that I was very much stunted creatively for some time. 

The premise of that script has stuck with me for a long time and I have played with the idea of re-writing it. This short came about because I realized the conceit of idea would work well on a smaller scale. Also, it solves the issue I always had with the clumsy third act of the feature. 

I am hoping to actually produce this. If I can rally a few other folks who are excited about the premise, I would love to make this my next project. I think the outrageous concept, if executed with realism, is something people would want to see.

I think every writer or creative person has toyed with the idea of writing reviews/ being a reviewer. I don't say critique, because I see some academic and cultural merit to that, while I increasingly see Reviewers as  sad, filthy piss-heads. It struck me that, as I have tried my hand and more things and create more of my own unique things, I lose any interest in judging others work. There is exceptions, it can be fun to have an outburst against something I perceive as hack and I have written reviews myself in the way way past. But the more you understand the rarity of an idea and the difficulty in executing it, once you see others misunderstanding of your own expression and know that you will be guilty of this fault towards others, it all becomes very so what and why.  I guess this is a rant or review on Reviewers.

I plan to expand later: to talk about why I don't write screenplay coverage professionally anymore, why I am an anti-perfectionist and other related topics.

 

 

 

Boat trailer loses wheel

Yowza!

During my morning commute I saw a boat trailer lose one of its tires on the 134 near Pasadena. The tire skipped across three lanes of traffic then hopped the medium across the other side, bouncing against oncoming traffic. I fully expected a head on collision, but like a Frogger champion the tire skirted danger and rolled all the way to the other side, avoiding about seven or eight lanes of  traffic. 

I was so amazed with the tire that I found the truck and tow, now being dragged on its axle and shooting sparks, barely interesting. As I passed I managed to get a quick cell shot.