My Bad

December 12, 2008

I should really change this The Abandoned Blog.  It’s not that I don’t have tons of things to write about in regards to My First Kiss.  It’s just that it’s getting to the point in the process where there’s a sensitivity factor, being that I have no idea who reads this…if anyone.

My general progress report is that things are moving along swimmingly.  I finished the rewrites with the director’s input and things have been prepared and stuff is happening.  Got it?

In the meantime, since I’ve been bad about checking in, here’s a cool photo I took last night of an original bad boy at a screening of The Wrestler:


Kinda looks like he’s doing a Johnny Depp impression.


Don LaFontaine

September 1, 2008

If you don’t know the name or the face, you definitely know the voice.  I’d guess he was the narration voice on over 85% of the movie trailers over the past 30+ years.  You know, that clear, perfect-sounding, booming voice that enticed you into the theater to see a movie.

Unfortunately, that voice has now been silenced.  Don LaFontaine passed away today at Cedars-Sinai hospital after being admitted on August 21st with a blood clot on his lung.

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to know Don.  It was a crazy time.  I was hanging out with the nephew of the owner of the biggest trailer company in Hollywood.  They did all the biggest movies and a lot of the smaller ones too.  Don worked there a lot.  And was also a part of that particular social circle.  I’d see him at the uncle’s parties – Oscar, Golden Globes…whatever – and occasionally at his place for various reasons.  Yup, it was a crazy time.

I always found Don to be a great guy.  He was super-sharp and had a good sense of humor.  And there was that voice.  Booming.  He could scare the shit out of you just by opening his mouth.  Didn’t even matter what he said.

R.I.P. Don LaFontaine.  Movie trailers will never be the same.


July 25, 2008

Does anybody really love writing?

If you’re honest you would admit that writing is torture.  Especially screenwriting.  I mean really.  What kind of idiot toils away year after year for a no-chance-in-hell opportunity to make it in an industry that, for the most part, has its head up its ass?

Why? I ask. Why write?

Hopefully it’s not because you want to make a pile of money.

Hopefully it’s not because you want to receive adoration.

Hopefully it’s not because you wrote your two-minute Oscar® acceptance speech and you don’t want it to go to waste.

Hopefully it’s not because you want to see your name on IMDB.

Hopefully it’s not because you want to spend the majority of your life in a room by yourself.

I’ll stop there even though I could easily continue the list ’til next Tuesday.

There’s really only one reason…

You should only put yourself through the torture of writing if you have a story that you have to tell.

If you don’t have a story you’re wasting your time.

Time you will never get back.

The Dark Knight

July 18, 2008

No worries.  I’m not going to give anything away about the movie.

I never met Heath Ledger but I’ve known a lot of guys like him.  Guys that checked out way too soon.  And like those guys, it’s sad that Heath’s not here to enjoy the fruits of his labor.














At least he left a legacy.

Just like those guys.

Big Heart City

June 16, 2008

It seems like light years ago that I shot the stills on Big Heart City.

Wait a sec…it was.  Before this blog even existed, I wrote about it over on my other blog, Everybody I Shot Is Dead.

Dateline: August 12, 2006 – .

Dateline: August 29, 2006 – .

And FINALLY this little movie is getting its due.  Big Heart City producer Peter Basler (my producing partner on My First Kiss) was just in Vegas for the CineVega film festival and next week Big Heart City is screening and competing in the Los Angeles Film Festival.

 That led to the following blurb in the Los Angeles Times which includes one of my photos:

I’ll be at the June 24th screening at the Regent Theater in Westwood since I heard they’re doing the Red Carpet for that one (yes, I’m a Red Carpet whore).

Hope to see you there!


May 15, 2008

Our director for My First Kiss is the only person I know who may be busier than me.  So, when it comes to getting together with her for a story meeting it can often get pushed back from our original date.  That’s what happened this time.  Peter and I have been trying to meet with her since I got back from London three weeks ago.  After getting pushed back a couple of times, we set up for 3pm yesterday at her house.  I emailed Peter to confirm with him and was surprised that I hadn’t heard back since he’s usually right on top of things.

It wasn’t until yesterday morning, just hours before our scheduled meeting that he sent a text message: I’m in Kansas City.  Baby decided to come early!  Tired.  More later.

What?  I was in total shock.  I knew his wife was pregnant.  We were originally hoping to shoot the movie this summer and he was concerned that he wouldn’t be there 100% because they were having their first baby.  I also knew that his wife was on a business trip last weekend.  What shocked me was the baby decided to bounce out over two months early. Nothing like getting a head start on life.

Welcome to the world Kiefer Jordan.  You’re one lucky guy.  You picked really great parents.

Sure enough, our meeting didn’t get pushed back this time.  And it was a really good one. Eight hours of leaps and bounds progress. Which I will post about when I finish the script polish this weekend.  We missed you, Peter…but couldn’t be happier for you.



February 27, 2008

First let me say how royally I screwed in anything that had to do with women in my Oscar® picks. Oh well, I always did relate better to the guys. I was fine with Tilda Swinton winning for Michael Clayton. It’s a great movie and she did a fine job. I just found myself more emotionally engaged in Ruby Dee’s performance. And at least Cate didn’t win for obliterating what was/is brilliant about Bob Dylan. Maybe I’ll have more to say on that when I see the movie, but I doubt it.

So, what was I going to talk about besides nothing? Progress? Yes, this is about the progress on my rewrite. Holding myself accountable for what must be done. I got past Page 52. And now as I write this, I can’t even remember what is on page 52, what I was stuck on and how I got past it. Hang on. Let me just check on that. Ah, yes, that scene. I read it now and I still can’t remember what was sticking me. Guess that means I solved it and moved on. I know I switched the characters lines. And then changed about 90% them after the switch.

Then I moved on to the next scene, ready to make more changes but turns out it didn’t need any. The stuff I changed in the preceding scenes made this particular scene have even more impact and meaning. Nice surprise. Got the next section set up, which does need – wait, need is the wrong word – which does want some changes. And I’m moving on, looking forward to the next stumbling, the next stuckness…you know, those places where you can drive yourself nutty and then surprise yourself with your creativity. That’s the real joy of writing.

Oscar® Picks

February 23, 2008

Disclaimer:  I’m not picking what I think will win.  I’m picking what I think should win. I’m also only doing the major categories since they include the movies I’ve seen. I would only be guessing in the other categories.

Best Screenplay (adapted): Joel & Ethan Coen for No County For Old Men (They had me at “Friendo”)

Best Screenplay (original): Tony Gilroy for Michael Clayton (Far more interesting and original than frontrunner Diablo Cody’s Juno – if she wins she should give her Oscar® to Ellen Page)

Best Director: Joel & Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men

Best Supporting Actress: Ruby Dee in American Gangster (When I saw the footage of Cate as Dylan before the movie came out, I wondered why Bob Dylan did get a cease and desist order. I admit I haven’t seen the movie, but come on. I also thought she crucified Kate Hepburn’s memory in The Aviator, which she won for, so what do I know?)

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men (This was tough because I also think Tom Wilkinson was brilliant in Michael Clayton but I’m going with Javier because he said “Friendo”)

Best Actress: Julie Christie in Away From Her (Although I haven’t seen La Vie En Rose so I could be wrong. But Julie Christie gave a brilliant performance…rent the DVD and check it out)

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood (I had some problems with this movie but not with Day-Lewis. Also loved Paul Dano’s performance)

Best Picture: No Country For Old Men (with Michael Clayton in a close second)

Enjoy the movies!

Page 52

February 23, 2008

Miraculously, I worked out that troublesome inciting incident scene I was complaining about in my last.  I used a trick I learned from Tim Talbott (you can google him – I’m too lazy to look up the link code). The basic idea is to put yourself in the scene with your characters and have a conversation (read fight) with them through the dialogue.  After about 8 pages of me interrogating them and allowing them to berate me, we came out of it with the scene I wanted.

After I got that one figured out, I blazed through to page 50. Then I got a sore throat. Followed by the phlegm wars. I hate all things that are sickness. I am the worst sick person on the planet. I retreat to my bedroom and refuse to come out until I kick it. For the first few days, I muddled my way through a couple of pages. My brain just hasn’t been anywhere near writing mode. Which sucks, because I really wanted to have this rewrite done by this weekend. I’m feeling a bit better now (aside from a sinus headache a a potential cough that I’m keeping at bay) so I’m back at it.

Sort of.

Now I sit at Page 52, knowing what I want to do but having trouble getting myself motivated to put the words to paper (er, computer file). Wondering if it’s because I’m still kinda sick or because the changes I’m making to these scenes are not brilliant enough to bother.Think I’ll hit the grocery store, then have another one of those Tim Talbott dialogues with my characters and let them have at me. If it’s still today or early enough tomorrow by the time I stumble through, I might post my Oscar® predictions. The Oscars® are tomorrow, right?


February 7, 2008

Yup. That’s what I’m doing right now.

Because I’m struggling with a scene in my rewrite. Since my last post, I’ve had two big story meetings. One here at my office with Peter and Julie. We had all made our own notes and we met to go over the script. It was a civil meeting – sometimes these things are not – and by the time we were done I was very jazzed and full of new and better ideas to take the story to what’s often referred to as ‘the next level.’

I was so excited that I began the assemblage of said notes while I waited to hook up with the director for her notes. That finally happened last Friday at her house. I arrived at 3pm and didn’t leave until some time around midnight, after a very yummy feast of homemade chicken meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans.

I went through all the changes I wanted to make, which she liked, and then we spent a lot of time talking about all the characters. One of the things that wasn’t as fleshed out as it could have been in the last draft was the backstories and character arcs of some of the people the girls meet on the road. And the idea that the things those characters say need to tie into the story and resonate down the road.

If I can write what’s in my head – that’s much harder than it sounds, people – then I think my really good script can become really great. I say that as I am here procrastinating because I’m struggling with one particular scene. And it’s not just any scene. It’s the scene that sets their journey into motion, aka the inciting incident (scene). The whole thing is swarming around in my noggin and if my two girls don’t start spitting out their words soon I’m going to beat the words out of them.