Sunday, December 30, 2012

Matt Millen & Drake

OK, 140 characters couldn't capture my disappointment in finding out the origin of this amazing picture

It made so much sense to me that Matt Millen would be a huge Drake fan. Alas, Maria Taylor's original tweet says that she taught him who Aubrey is.

(exhale) Matt Millen is exactly who should be buying Drake CDs and finding out that he doesn't even know who Drake is just moments after seeing this picture is a heart-rending discovery. It's like I was given a pot of gold and it was taken away from me. I had marshmallow extract bubbling away to create "real" marshmallows and I spilled it and had to replace it with stale store-brand marshmallows and that cup of hot chocolate was not only ruined because it wasn't as good as it might have been, it turned out that it was actually bad. If you had a blind taste test of my hot chocolate with store-brand marshmallows in it you would have guessed that it was a cup of mud. So, thank you, Maria Taylor, for this truly inspirational photograph but I wish you had kept the origin of it a secret.

A Day Of Football

Hopefully I don't slide into this tomorrow but I watched a lot of football today. That isn't the worst thing ever but I've got work to do and I've got a whole separate life to live. One where I get paid for writing instead of just writing as an escape from reality. This is a theme of my life. I'm sort of stuck dreaming instead of doing. How do you fuckers do it? I'm a better writer than lots of shitheads getting paid a livable amount to just pound on the keys. What is the entry point that I'm missing? That write for free shit is a poison. If the person not paying you to write is making money for what you wrote then you are a part-time (or worse) slave. This doesn't, of course, preclude spec writing. You need to have something to sell. A body of work. But... what? I don't get it. This whole selling myself thing has escaped me for 35 years or so. I just don't get it.

I was looking at the stats that The Black List put out today and I noticed that the second batch of scripts they rated got a little better aggregate score than the first batch. I've got to figure that has more to do with leniency than some mass jump in quality but here's the thing: I was in the second batch. And my scores were horrible. Below average no matter how they push it on me. I feel I've estimated myself too well for a long while now. It's a debilitating thing for me. I've been looking down on people that are objectively better at my craft than I am. I'd rather beat off all day than deliver anything of value. I meant that literally. Crap. I'm in a sinkhole. I've got to dedicate myself. 15 pages into the second draft tomorrow or I've failed. That's got to find it's way into a day of health and activity. Damn the world.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Spinning like a top

Back to the, back to the blog, y'all. What am I doing here? The same thing I always do: making excuses!

I haven't started my rewrite yet. I'm still pretty down about not getting a 10.0 review from The Black List. You see, I'm very realistic in my goals, so if I'm not universally and unanimously considered the absolute best of all time at anything I'm actually trying in, it's a crushing blow to my ego. That's at most a mild overstatement. But at the same time I'm pretty sure I've got the greatest idea ever even if I didn't pull it off 100% the first time around. So I'll head down that hole soon enough. Tomorrow night? Probably. I'll go ahead and turn on Lawless tonight and dream about how great it would be if John Hillcoat could see through the bad parts of my script and give me a call.

Yep. This blog drops panties. That's why it is so popular with spam commenters. Sell them dick pills, y'all!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The New Paradigm

In a couple of hours, the Mayan long count calendar will expire. This perhaps means nothing but it's the end of at least my lifetime's worth of speculation. I wrote yesterday about my own doomsday premonitions (well, maybe not quite doomsday) but I've never been one to put much stock in the Mayan calendar. Once I found out how closely my own private end day related to the Mayan calendar I pretty much lost interest in it all. I lost religion in it. It's just another piece of garbage jutting out from some collective stupidity.

So why do I feel compelled to keep going back to re-visit doomsday scenarios? This one about to pass has always been the monster of them all. I don't know what the next big one is after the Mayans. I love symbols of all stripes. I used to argue quite passionately in favor of the obvious symbolism in Tim Burton and Spike Lee's movies. They've both kind of gotten away from those styles that I loved so well but I'm thinking now that there, openly symbolic film language, is a field in dire need of exploitation. I'm working on it. Slowly, I'm working on it.

Hopefully the new paradigm is very sexual. I love sex and I'm addicted to porn. I hate prudishness. We should all be thankful for sex. It's the best thing in the world. Hopefully, more than anything, there actually is a new paradigm. I'm bailing on this post. I don't have a clear line of thinking and I'm sleepy. Good night and good luck sleeping through the apocalypse. If you see those ghostly riders, tip your cap to them for me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On The Verge Of Ending An Era

When I was 18 or 19 and puffed up on more self-importance than I knew what to do with and eager to be filled up on any and all types of medicines that I could put my greedy hands on I had this flash realization of an important date. I fixated on it. It felt like it was an important concern for myself and the rest of the world. I credit myself for it because it's slightly wrong in the face of the massive millenarian jocularity (and some devotion) around the end of the Mayan long calendar. My date is/was December 23, 2012. I plotted that as the end of... something. I didn't really have a specific project in mind.

I wanted to buy Super Bowl ads and billboards proclaiming Inche Clyffe Clique: 2000-12, The Generation of the Dead. Inche Clyffe Clique was the sort of (art collective?) that I had with my friends, and one cousin, but it wasn't really that cohesive. We recorded shit on 4-tracks that we never bothered to send to anybody for radio play or to play in shows. I painted stuff and plotted movies that I never wrote and outlined story ideas for books that haven't been written.

This all would have been happening in 1996 and/or 1997. I fancied myself as some kind of neo-Beat going wherever a bed was available. I criss-crossed the country by car and by train a few times between quitting school in the Spring of '96 and picking it back up in the Spring of '99. I watched a lot of movies. I worked some terrible jobs. I had no sex. I smoked a decent amount of weed and downed a lot of pills, a touch of psycho-tropics, a tiny bit of powdery substances. The sex thing wasn't on purpose but the rest of it was in service to some set of ideals that I might have never really had. I think I was in the thrall of fame's cult but I could have just been a moron.

I keep thinking about that squandered time in my life. It's a funny thing looking back and thinking, "I could have made some serious bullshit and gotten away with it because I was just a kid." Somebody will usually take an ambitious youngster under wing just because of the youth and energy. All you've got to do is make something. I wasn't even finishing my little video shorts that I was making solely for the entertainment of my brothers. I'm a loafer, really, and a shy little twerp who is now and always has been a little bit scared of womankind. And money. Money sucks and it's scary because I am sure that I display all of my barn-raised lack of polish every time I open my mouth or get dressed in the morning. And I hate money for a lot of reasons. The fire, brimstone, and guilt might have never taken a hold of me in my Catholic school upbringing but the pious brotherhood of poverty is still my religion for better and for being the worst.

The end of the world isn't the scariest thing to me. The world ends? Fine, because I'll end, too, and what's scary about that? Nothing isn't scary. A world that was created by chance and lives and burns and dies and just goes away isn't scary. There's comfort there if it reflects at the proper angle. Being alive and feeling trapped and feeling less than and feeling like there used to be potential and now there is nothing but the rotting carcass of something that might be a soul that is taking up space where that potential used to be is a frightening, nuclear-scarred world of internal endlessness.

So the era, the Generation of the Dead is all but over and I don't own the world and I don't have followers or believers. Scrap rock isn't a genre. I've never recorded a Christmas album of songs that aren't thematically linked to Christmas and I don't hawk alcoholic water that competes with caffeinated water for shelf space at the nation's grocery store chains. Is this what regret means? Then I've got regrets and I've got worry. This is all it's fueling, though. I took my movie down from today. I don't want to pay storage for it. I'll get around to changing the story. I'll do it just the way I outlined it last week. I'll get the readers at The Black List to look it over one more time. I'm dead certain that nobody from CAA will be calling me after the holidays to tell me how much they loved the script or how John Hillcoat is really impressed and ready to start polishing the turd for flushing it down past a green light. I'll get it dusted off and if I settle for selling it to some indie producer to make it on a shoestring and it ends up being a corny waste of time, I'll get over it. I'm unimpressed with an existence on that local level but it's fine. This is a dumb little emotional cul-de-sac I've driven myself into, isn't it? I don't even really paint anymore. I can trace that one, at least. When I was in a group show and not only didn't sell anything but didn't even have a single patron ask me to explain myself the sails went in and I shut down. Fuck it. I am a fame whore in my darkest insides of my spirit. If I can't be a star at something I don't want to do it. Cheers to the new epoch.

I'm going to just end this ramble as abruptly as I felt compelled to start it but I want to explain the title if I'm able. The Verge is the original drawing of a cliff that I drew when I was 13 and wanted to design a logo that would be identifiable for anything that I worked on, something along the lines of what Eddie is to Iron Maiden. It was my personal little stamp that I could draw in the corner as a signature for drawings, paintings, et al. When I had collected some friends later in high school, and we were looking for a name that would work for whatever sounds we recorded, I pushed out Inche Clyffe Clique and adapted my signature drawing of a cliff to the name. Nobody loved it, I don't think, but nobody else had any ideas either so it just stuck. Inche Clyffe is the name my grandfather gave to the property in Florida that now sits underneath my mother's house. It is a rare (still short) bluff in the flattest state in the Union, and he gave it an intentionally silly name. He might have even spelled it Ynche Clyffe but I've always started it with an "I" just to make the pronunciation more obvious. So my title is a call back to the little drawing that I snuck in to all of my delusional daydreams and the ties it into my big delusional generationally compelling ad campaign for nothing. Does that make sense you, dick pill sellers? At least in the sense of what I was going for with the title? It works well enough for me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Death of Loving Werewolves

No more werewolf love in the Old West, do you hear me? That love shit is out, man. That shit is played out. In steps the gangster wolf. A cowboy wolf with nothing to do but kill. I'm still going to buy another read for the crapwolf I've currently got up on The Black List but I think I might have just found my story. If all goes as planned I will someday soon have to take this blog down to protect intellectual property. Screen grab it now and you can maybe sell it to some shitty website that pays for that kind of mock insider access! Do it now! I have had a bit of a eureka moment and am pretty well sold on a complete teardown and rewrite of Full Moon.

Anyway, I'm pretty manic but right now I feel very good about this outline for the cowboy-wolves:

1) Joshua is in a coma at his family's estate in Big Bear Lake. Lauren leaves him for dead.

2) Joshua has healed but is still scarred - he is working on the railroad between Los Angeles and the High Desert.

3) A bum is killed by a wolf near where Joshua is working.

4) Joshua is under suspicion as a wolf. He is shunned by his co-workers.

5) A werewolf attacks the workers camp and Joshua is nowhere to be found. Just as the wolf is about to kill the foreman, Joshua shows up IN WEREWOLF FORM and kills the attacking wolf. Obvs, Joshua is not the murderer that they thought but he is still a werewolf. He runs away.

6) Joshua wanders the desert. He sees another werewolf but can't get to it.

7) Joshua stumbles into the town of Calico. He isn't warmly welcomed. He reads a newspaper account of "Wolfie" - a werewolf that has been attacking Calico even when the moon isn't full.

8) Joshua is befriended by the saloon-keeper in Calico who tells him all about the wolf attacks. Joshua tells him that he is on a quest for revenge and the saloon-keeper offers to help in any way possible.

9) Joshua gets arrested for being drunk in public and while he is in jail "Wolfie" kills a prostitute.

10) The saloon-keeper bails Joshua out in the morning. They eat breakfast at the inn and then take target practice. Joshua is inexperienced with guns but the saloon-keeper teaches him some tricks. He also lends Joshua a horse.

11) Wolfie attacks again the next night! This time he is more brazen and attacks on Main Street while people are out at the saloon and the casino. The sheriffs are called but before they get there Joshua kills Wolfie, who turns out to be a punk in a costume.

12) Joshua is disappointed that he didn't kill a real werewolf. The saloon-keeper points out that it wouldn't have been the same wolf that attacked his family anyway.

13) Joshua and the saloon-keeper ride up to Big Bear Lake to see if they can find the wolf that cursed Joshua.

14) They come across some native desert people but can't communicate with them. The natives seem suspicious of the pair.

15) Before they get to Big Bear Lake Joshua admits that he is, in fact a werewolf. The saloon-keeper is not surprised at all.

16) Joshua shows his friend around Big Bear Lake, including the general store that his family ran before they were killed. The saloon-keeper notes that the tourists are all business men up from Los Angeles.

17) The moon is full and there is a wolf attack in town. Joshua, in wolf form, chases after the monster. He is followed by his partner WHO IS ALSO A WEREWOLF!!!

18) They capture the beast who tells them that he is not the one Joshua is after - this is his first vacation in Big Bear. All of Collis Huntington's men come up there! Joshua is going to let him live but the saloon-keeper destroys the touristwolf.

19) Joshua and his friend are pursued by sheriffs. They kill his friend but Joshua gets away.

20) Joshua makes his way to Los Angeles.

21) He goes to find Collis Huntington.

22) It turns out they have a past together. Lauren is Collis' daughter and Joshua was due to marry her before the "incident."

23) Joshua takes up working for Collis in order to figure out which of his men might be his attacker.

24) Collis invites Joshua to a party at the California Club.

25) All of the patrons of the California Club are werewolves - every west coast captain of industry and politics is a werewolf!

26) Collis shows Joshua around the club. Collis admits to killing Joshua's family. Joshua kills Collis.

27) Lauren shows up at the crime scene. She is a werewolf, too.


So, would you watch that movie? Would you be excited to watch that movie? I think of it as Red Dead with Wolves (but the original version before the zombies came along.) I'm pretty excited. Let me know if you see any real problems and understand that there is a more in Los Angeles and Calico than I wrote here but I'm just going through the plot turning points and leaving a lot of the incidentals out. Also, every character has a name already but I can't remember them off the top of my head so I apologize for "the saloon-keeper."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Good Intentions vs. Self Image

I got a nice gesture from the folks at The Black List today, a tweet to allay some of my depression at getting a shitty review. It actually makes me feel a little bit worse by driving home what bothered me so much in the first place but it's a nice thing to attempt and it is truly appreciated.This is the message:

The average for ALL ratings (pros included) is 6.84. For uploaded scripts, it's closer to 5.

"So what, dipshit, is it that bothers you so much about this," my hypothetical readers might ask between hawking dick pills? Well, the idea of being an average amateur is frightening to me beyond all comprehension. A lifetime spent fucking around with words and getting a degree SPECIFICALLY in screenwriting almost 10 years ago has gotten me far enough to be an average goddamned hobbyist? Fucking hell, that's brutal. I fucking hate it. I don't really believe it's true but I have more expectation than ever that I'm delusional and the asshole teacher at Northridge that graded my thesis might be right after all. She just got an award for lifetime service or something this past spring. One of my least favorite educators I have ever known. I don't keep detailed records on these things so I wouldn't go so far as to say worst (though she graded a senior seminar on punctuality and regularly claimed I was late even when I was sitting down in a desk before she even got there) but it was an unpleasant experience all around. And now more than ever I feel like she had me pegged dead to rights in terms of my capabilities and career expectations.

I wrote yesterday about my review from The Black List. It's a sore subject for me but it's happened and maybe it'll help in the short and long term. I'm going to go ahead and re-work the script a little, it might end up a little bit shorter. But if I take down the version that's up there and come back with a new one that still get notes about what a shitbox I've shoved under their digital door, I might just give up writing and go... I don't know what. I've never had a backup plan but I've never bothered to be an adult before, either.

I'm not going to lose the high-minded "ridiculous" parts of the script because I don't have a problem with it. If it's funny or even a little off-putting, so be it. The biggest weakness of the script, per that review and perhaps per my own unrecognized feeling, is the plot. It's a revenge movie that detours into a broken love story. I had my reasons to go that direction but it is against the whole concept of a revenge movie. Single focus, single determination, only one possible end for the protagonist. I was trying to make it a little bit like Drive, perhaps, which is a different movie with a different motivation for the lead.

Maybe it's all good motivation? Maybe I just got a bad reader? Maybe I'm still going to be selling fish come next summer and I'll just break down and go on a really long bender. Look at me, a 35 year old hobbyist and real life Walter Mitty.

Sunday, December 09, 2012


So I got a review back from one of the professionals at the blacklist about my script Full Moon. It didn't go so well. The average score is 6.84. I got a 5. That is awful. I feel like a total shithead right now. I really thought I had done something good there. Well, maybe this was just the wrong guy to read it? Or maybe it can be dusted up? I don't know. The idea of throwing myself back at that story sounds like a bad time.

Did I get a bad reader and should I shell out $50 more for another read? This comment is killing me: " People searching for an intelligent film won't be interested in werewolf-cowboys." I'm interested in werewolf cowboys and I want something with some subtext. I got an average grade on exactly one aspect of my script, the dialogue, and even then, the part of the evaluation that made me laugh the most was this: "It's too absurd having werewolves speak in near Shakespearean dialogue."

I'm not going to argue the notes I got. If it's problematic for a reader it's a script problem. I can explain here what I was going for and if you care to tell me if this is a good idea, please do share. I wanted the dialogue to actually be era-authentic and I threw myself into a decent amount of research into what people and what buildings were populating L.A. and southern California in the late 1890s. I used a lot of fictionalized versions of real peopleand I tried to have them interacting with people that they would actually have interacted with. So the near Shakespearean dialogue is a nod to the more upper-crust folks of that time, not an attempt to write in iambic pentameter. I smudged a few truths and I threw in a lot of details that I think are cool that maybe don't have anything to do with telling a good story. Fair enough.

I wanted the whole thing to be an allegory with a more or less New Deal-style progressive bent. All of the rich people are werewolves. Get it? Is that a dumb idea? Perhaps so. Apparently so. The protagonist, Joshua, is beat at every step he takes. He was supposed to get trampled by the corporate machinery seeding his homeland but he didn't get killed so he has an offer: join us and become a monster like the rest of us. Forget about what's hurt you and just become another provider for pain. Well, he isn't going to do that so he tries to kill the man he sees as the puppetmaster of his own misfortune. The tragedy of it is that even if he kills Collis Huntington, there is no end to the amount of murderers in charge and there is no cap on the power and destruction they can wield. To top it off, the woman he loves, the only reason he didn't kill himself already, is actually the monster that destoryed his family. Joshua doesn't ever learn that and I didn't go out of the way to do more than allude to her as the killer but that's the conceit I was working with. So, maybe it's too high-minded for a werewolf-cowboy movie but I don't think that's really the issue or even a possibility. You can wedge an issue in anywhere you damn well please. Horror stories are even conducive to that sort of thing (witness Godzilla, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Aliens, et al) because you're playing on the audience's worries. If I didn't get to that place it's an issue of hackery and slovenliness. So, I'm done with that.

I've talked myself into getting another read. Hopefully I get a little more detail but I'm thinking that this story just might not work. Which is sad. I'm a step closer to bailing entirely on screenwriting. Goodbye, you piece of shit degree. Thanks for literally nothing.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Monkeys, Men, and Other Beasts

"The Island of Dr. Moreau is starting right now on Movieplex!" Are there any sweeter weords in the English language? Yes, there are. But there are few things as enjoyable as watching a big budget, big effects movie with nothing but a concept to hold it all together. I probably shouldn't admit that if I'm going to get people to pay me to write big budget movies but for all I know that's exactly the right way to think about these things. Moreover, maybe that ship has sailed and it doesn't even matter. It just keeps going.

I unabashedly love some terrible movies. There are plenty of hyper-pretentious movies in my list of favorites but I'm a sucker for Transformers movies (I got over the boiling blood and just broke down and loved them after the second one) and have trouble turning off even the least of Godzilla flicks. If you expect good things from me you should consider yourself warned. The best saying I've coined or purloined is "Embrace the seediness of your existence." I love L.A. because I love dreck.

There is some poetry to crass commercialism. Artistry of total cynicism? Sure, why not? It sounds like a segment on NightFlight. Expensive junk is a hell of a tableau. I hope to paint in it some day. Seriously, there is a certain integrity of purpose if you are only focused on money. It may not have anything good to say about people but at least there is an honesty that can be culled from the deep awfulness of a movie like Indy 4 or Days of Thunder. I'm making more of it than I have the discipline to really explain in a pinch but trust that there is something to it all.

It's not only action movies that deserve a lusty hate watch. Right now I've got a movie called Rappin' in a mailer sleeve just waiting to be watched on up. I've paid good money to go watch dance movies in the theatre. Untamed Heart is going to be on TV in the coming weeks. I can't wait to watch it again. He thinks he has a baboon heart!!! Maybe I'll come back to this. Comfort from low-brow entertainment is some kind of shutdown device that I'd like to tear apart and diagram. Now, back to the dick jokes.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Money Changes Everything

It's really hard to find people who will help you stretch yourself intellectually and artistically but it is really almost impossible to find people that will put you in the moneystream. I don't know how to do it and I don't think I'd recognize those people if I were close to them. I would advise anybody thinking of paying for a class to listen to "producers" talk about how to become successful that the idea of a successful producer stopping what they are doing to go cash in some pesos at the local symposium-holding building by "divulging secrets" is horribly funny. I cry myself to sleep over some of these things. I feel I am a schlub. Have you ever seen the movie Ruben & Ed? I think of myself as Howard Hessman's from that movie, scheming success and not really working for anything. I may have already become that middle-aged loser.

What jarred this into me tonight? I rode the Metro to work and back today. On the train there was a large Mexican man who was very loudly proclaiming the virtues of being an old gangster and being a Christian gangster. He was behind me so I didn't get a good look at him but at some point during his sermon a down-at-the-mouth-seeming 40-something black guy pulled a red clown nose out of his jacket pocket and wore it. He was calling the loud guy a clown but the loud guy didn't see him or comment on him. That guy with the clown nose was a hero in my life for 13 seconds. After I transferred to the bus I ended up in a weird position - the front of the vehicle. A homeless lady with torn pants that showed off quite a bit of skin was near me, the normal old people that ride up in the front of the bus were near me. In the back of the bus there was a skin-head looking white guy that was laid out on the bench at the end of the bus. The bus driver warned him a few times to sit up. I got excited when she stopped the bus to go back and threaten him ("I'll kick you off!"). A fight between a bus driver and a homeless/crazy person is a great way to be entertained. Alas, in spite of her continued antipathy towards him, she let him stay aboard the bus. Which sucks for me because for some reason he ended up sending next to me. He tried to kind of bully me farther into the seat to give himself room. I kind of tensed up and knocked him back towards the aisle a little bit until the people sitting in front of us left and he moved up there. He was wearing a walking boot and kept yelling at the bus driver, "What street is this?" It wasn't great. I hate that guy. That doesn't answer why I got so down about not knowing where to become a beautiful and wealthy butterfly, though, does it? Maybe it does. My head is a swirl.

I will leave this post with this video of a live version of a song from one of my favorite records ever.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Writing Just To Write

If there's one thing that's always interested me in folklore it's the idea of selling your soul to the devil. If there were a devil that offered me a bunch of money or something for my soul I'd have a tough time saying no. It seems like the devil should have a phone bank somewhere staffed with plenty o' operators calling around to poor areas and offering several hundred dollars a pop to buy souls. "Need cash in a jiffy without giving up anything your currently using? Sell your soul to us!!"

It seems like a good deal. I'd have to hold out for seven figures but the devil has so much money that it shouldn't be an object. Basically what I'm doing here is begging for a job as a lobbyist. NORML has lobbyists, I think. Isn't that what they are, a lobbying group? The idea of making weed legal seems like a spiritual calling even though I haven't smoked in years.

When I was a kid I had a nightmare about a picture of a hand. I've probably bloggerized this story before but my archives are so... 116 posts in 7 years is it? Wow, that's not prolific at all. Anyway, I dreamed that we had a picture of a hand on the wall of our TV room. It was gray and hairy and the background was dark, like the hand was reaching up from hell. The hand was balled up in a fist. In my dream, my parents told me and my brothers that the hand could drag you to hell if you stared at it fro too long. Which makes sense. If you've got a portal to damnation, leave it where the kids can see it. Anyway, the dream goes on to me and my brothers playing some sort of game where we are running in circles through the TV room, through the windows, onto the porch and back into the TV room (got it? We were climbing through the window and running for some reason) while our parents sat on the couch watching TV. Of course the hand caught my eye and I got grabbed. I was slowly pulled into the picture while my family watched it slowly happen.

The Devil is one of my favorite icons for some reason. I loved the demon in Legend. I loved any movie that featured a deal with the devil. Lord of lies? Lord of the flies? Great. I remember that passage of the Bible. Also, the part where the Devil tries to tempt Jesus in Gethsemane (I think that's where it happens) and he shows him all the awesome stuff that you can get when you join The Devil Team? Jesus had bigger goals, I guess, but I would've jumped all over that deal. Plus, in some christian book or another there was a picture of the Devil handing Jesus a loaf of bread and ever since I saw that I've tried to find that perfect looking loaf of bread. Fucking, devils, man. There kind of fascinating.

Maybe this offers some kind of insight into my soul. Maybe you are reading this and thinking, "Hmmm, I could use a backup soul in case my current one starts to break down." Maybe you are The Devil. If you are The Devil, I have to admit that in spite of my eagerness to sell my soul to you I have no desire to eat poop. If you are unaware of why I say that, it is because The Devil lures little kids to be bad by telling them to eat poop. Look it up, it's in the Bible.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Offing the Horse

So I've got bad news, kids. It will take another 2 weeks or so before my script gets reviewed by a certified The Black List reviewer (I've had trouble with the spelling on here) so it will be a little bit longer before my low seven figures ship comes in. Take heart, though, Christmas and the end of time will happen on schedule even if there are no presents available for the masses.

I'm sort of desperate for something big and brand new. Money, experience, excitement, something that is different from what I have been doing since I kicked the bucket on top of my scuffling. I liked not having a job but I wasn't very good at it. Maybe movies will never work out for me. That's probably OK. You know what movies I wish I could make? A movie about a bear that works in an office with people. A movie about a school teacher that falls in love (unwittingly) with a serial killer before he gets caught and then she just continues on being his girlfriend while he's in prison. A girl dies and decides to kill God, whether or not she gets accepted into heaven. A girl teaches a guy how to pick up women and then tries to keep him for herself. A movie about a visionary businessman that has an office that is really fun to work at but the other businessmen around him perceive him as a threat and fight to shut him down. Do those sound like star vehicles? Oh, yeah, a movie about a serial killer that drives around hitting people with his car. Blockbusters, every last one of 'em. Yeah, maybe I should figure out some other way to get rich and famous and relaxed.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Never, ever thought I'd have to resort to...

I'm just back from dropping off "lab work" at the hospital. A little something referred to in polite company as "stool samples." Let me tell you something about collecting those suckers: it's really disgusting. I had to poop into a "hat" and then use a little, teeny, jagged spork to break off little chunks of feces and drop them into each of three little pill bottles filled with liquids, stir it up, seal it, shake it up and then bring it to your nearest lab for the studies of fecal phenomena. The shitting in the hat is the worst part. In spite of how much I have always wanted to shit in a hat, ever since my then-girlfriend's cat shat in my hat when I was 18, I'd never considered that the hat might be a white plastic thing that would somehow amplify the smell of shit throughout my bathroom. I lit matches, I burned candles, I still smelled shit even after I had showered. Stool samples aren't for the faint of heart, yo.

Ever since I went to the doctor on Friday and he (not my normal doc) told me that I had to submit stool samples to the lab I've had this little modified snippet of a Cee-Lo rap running through my head: "I never, ever thought I'd have to resort to stool sampling." The actual line says drug smuggling, not sure why it was my reaction but it was immediate and has held serve. The song is one of my all-time favorite raps and, for better and worse, was Cee-Lo's introduction to America. It's at the very end of the first verse of Outkast "Git Up, Git Out" and I would love to post the music video for you but I didn't realize they shuffle the verses and shorten the song for the video. I'll give you this instead (I found a site once that had embeddable sound files but I am bored by this already):

Close enough. If you listen long enough you will hear Big Gipp say "eat my shit..." and maybe that explains why this song makes me thing about playing with dumps. Have fun today. Let your poops live a normal poop life and don't try to extend them by shitting in a hat. I assume anybody reading this site is a coprophiliac. Don't do that, y'all, it's gross.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

One Gun

There is only one gun in Square City and whoever owns the gun owns the city. The owner of Square City is The Mayor and The Mayor doesn't usually last more than a few months. You can buy protection up to a point but you can't stay awake forever.

Mike Weis is just some dumb kid that lives in Square City and makes his days kicking bottles down the street before he goes home to eat the gruel that his mother slops down on a plate for him. Gray, orange, green, with toast, with buttered toast - it's the same almost every day. Mike is old enough to have a job and he could probably use the money but he's content in his way to mope and complain more than to actually do stuff.

Mike has a girlfriend. He's a good looking kid even if he looks like he was dressed by a homeless shelter trying to sell "the lifestyle." She's a cute enough girl, Karen Cares. She's got ambitions in the world and she thinks Mike is a higher rung than the other guys in town. Karen is a standard literary trope, she pines for a better world and tries to trick her sad-sack man into growing some vision and determination. She stares out the window at night looking at the moon and clutching things to her chest.

There are jobs to be had in Square City, it's not so run down as you may have heard. The jobs aren't going to make you a millionaire or put your face on the pages of celebrity rags but you can get buy and do well enough to buy an apartment and a car and raise your family. Mike could be happy with a job as a garbage man or a post man. He's not a creative sort, by nature.

Karen and Mike and every kid who lives in now or who has ever lived in Square City knows about the gun. They know when they see a Mayor coming that they should crane their necks and see what kind of opulence he gets to take for granted until he gets what's coming to him in the end and soon. They see the large men who walk around in front of and behind The Mayor and they wonder where does one find these large men so soon after ascendency since there is no obvious supply of these men. Maybe there is a depot on the west side of town.

Most of the time The Mayor makes a display of the gun since it is the symbol of his reign and the only thing keeping him in control. He can have it in a box or glass case or in a velvet bag or a holster, but the only legitimacy to his position is held within the gun. Even police don't have guns. It has been 38 years since there was another one in the city walls. There used to be more than that. The Mayor, the first one, won his position by killing all the other guys fighting for the crown. He rounded them up, twelve in all, shot them and melted down the weaponry to make a bauble. That was how Square City became what it is.

That one, the first Mayor, actually lasted a long time. He was The Mayor for 16 years and only lost it because he had a heart attack. One of his bodyguards saw he was dying and realized that if he called for help somebody else might become The Mayor and bring in his own new bodyguards. So the large man reached down and let his sunglasses fall off his head onto the ground as he picked up the gun and the bauble and walked out of the room to announce that he, erstwhile bodyguard of The Mayor, was now The Mayor himself.

Square City has been in flux ever since but it hasn't really slipped in fortune. If anything, the place was more down at the mouth under the first guy than any of the others. When he died it opened up a new set of possibilities where, with a good sense of timing and a little bit of luck, every kid that grows up in Square City can have his own day with the gun and live the glorious but terminal life of The Mayor.


Saturday, December 01, 2012

Sports! Sports! Sports!

Well, it's really time to start serious work on my next script but it is a dark and terrible place that I am choosing to explore. I don't want to do the due diligence I need to do to understand human trafficking if I'm going to actually figure it out. It's really a movie about Jerry Sandusky but it's going to be a horror movie about an old guy who kills people and drains there blood. So, football.

I missed the Alabama-Georgia game but I was really hoping to sink into some football oblivion tonight while my fiancee is out of town and it's just me and the doggie sitting on the couch. Then the madness happened at Arrowhead this morning (for future reference, this is the madness of whence I speak) and I've been feeling in a funk all day. I'm still feeling a little bit sick and it's possible that's not helping but the Jovan Belcher story makes me feel a little bit nauseous. It's just a disgusting story. And it's the kind of story that I've sort of drafted myself to if I'm going to really make a life of writing horror stories.

This post isn't really going to be about anything, per se. I missed posting yesterday and I feel compelled to make up for it by posting now. Maybe I'll write a little story later on and post that to freshen myself up a bit. At least I'm not facing any major illness from my stomach and my legal problems are pushed back a few months. If you've got stomach pains and diarrhea, good news! It's probably viral! Bad news! It's going to take about 10 days to leave you the hell alone.

Oh yeah, I did want to write something about the script I'm trying to turn into money, the werewolf-western one. I've had it up on The Black List for 2 days now and I'm getting antsy. I have no idea how long it takes to get reviewed but I feel like my self-esteem is counting on something nice just a little bit too much. If it gets shredded for some reason (unlikely, I suppose, on a site that is dependent on people paying monthly storage to feel like they might become a piece of Hollywood machinery) I will feel like I've wasted 2 years chasing a story that can't get made. This is silly. There are literally hundreds of companies that will make a movie just because they have a script. Even if it isn't worth money to me I should still give it a chance to become something more tangible. But this is where I am, waiting for my metrics on the website to show that somebody, anybody has downloaded and read my script.

Don Henley - Last Worthless Evening by jpdc11

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stomach Ailment

OK, so this script that is clearly destined to make me millions upon millions of dollars is now in the cycle and ready to start spinning around for me. I think you can sign up to read stuff on the site even if you don't post stuff on there but I could be wrong. It's here if you are so inclined:

Enough about that. It's in the universe now and I can't save it. Or, fuck, I don't know. I paid to get it read by somebody and I was of course imagining that whatever staff there is for that site would just be sitting around waiting for a script to post and then they would devour it. Or, better yet, the reader would see my irresistible logline and shred their computer trying to pull out morsels of the amazing script. If you're willing, tell me if this shit is confusing or even stupid:  

A young lawyer who has been attacked by a werewolf sets out, with the help of an old cowboy, to avenge his family's deaths and reclaim his true love in the budding Los Angeles of 1895 but must first learn to control the monster that he has become.

That's what's up there right now as an ad/beacon for whoever it is that reads scripts from for pleasure and sport. Would you read that? I've been kicking at and fighting this story for 2 years now and I still don't even know if that's it. Is that the story I just wrote? Is that how you sell the story I just wrote? Guess we'll find out. Honestly, if this is one plank on a road to just getting repped I'll be happy. It's kind of gross to be as old as I am with no agent or manager ever considering that all I really want is to be a cog in the studio machinery.

Tonight would be a great night for a bunch of drinks on the couch in the dark while eating microwaveable hamburgers and cheap potato chips. I'm not going to do that for one big reason: the fiancee does not look kindly on frozen White Castle. It would be hard to enjoy my awfulness and rejoice in the seediness with a judgmental set of eyes and a bunch of lights turned on and trained on me.

But I have another reason, too: I've been having stomach cramps and diarrhea for the last week. It feels like something is eating me. It doesn't hurt all the time but every time I go from sitting to standing there is some level of discomfort. Maybe I was poisoned at Thanksgiving? Or maybe I have an ulcer? I've got to go into the court tomorrow for a conference call that I wouldn't have to deal with if I just shelled out a little for a lawyer. Maybe that's what's got my stomach clenched. I'll find out tomorrow. Hopefully I'll walk out and the pain will go away or maybe I'll actually get the doctor's appointment that I meant to inquire about today and I'll get some answers that way.

Sorry, there's no video for that song and I forget where I go to get audio files. You should probably have started playing it when you opened this post and then it could play while you read or doze off. Oh, well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Climbing Under The Blcklist

I am, in some ways, a writer. I have always thought of myself that way even though I suppose I am well removed from any professional duties as such. At least for now. I have a degree in screenwriting, which is basically useless, but I do have some little tricks of craft that I know because of classes and I do know all the correct books to use as a guide and the proper formatting programs to use so that I can seem like I am serious about making a career go of the thing. I've tried making that go of the thing in the past and it cratered horribly. (I'm assuming that is an acceptable jargon for running out of money in 9 months and going back to the job I had quit in order to force myself to become a professional writer.)

This picture feels like me right now, with my crippling debt, relatively low income for where I live and for my education level, and my basic fear of just talking to people about anything. I seriously look for ways to write to everybody and avoid opening my mouth and squeaking about any problem or concern that might be roiling my brain. To this end, I've decided to post my recently completed werewolf-western script to I got the invitation to join the site. I'm not sure if there is any screening involved. I put my name on a form and a couple of hours or a day or two later I got an email invitation to join. I'm not sure if the site is actually any type of window into selling a script. I know that scripts featured on the Black List have been sold, sometimes for really good money, but those were scripts that were already circulating. As an effective shut-in, even the friends I have that could potentially circulate my script more or less don't even know me these days. This is at least half my fault, for the most part. I don't go out (costs money) and I don't invite people over very often (not that anybody is inviting me over or accepts said imaginary invitations). So I'm in this rut and cul-de-sac with a tidal wave close by that might crush me and sweep me away to Kansas. I don't want to be a newspaper man or an errand boy or a retail manager or a salesman. If I'm not able to sustain myself as a writer or a painter I will never feel comfortable in my own skin.

So the point of this is to say that I've got the notion to journal (ouch) my attempts to sell my script, starting with the posting of said werewolf-western on sometime tomorrow. After I get paid. And can afford twenty-five measly dollars. Which is painful in my gut to admit because it is proof that I am a navel-gazing sucker with no obviously marketable skills. Cheerio. Also, I'm basically a child with no concept of savings or thrift. If I ever win the lottery I'll be dead of a drug overdose within a year. Anyway, check back daily to see if I've made progress or given up!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Scratching My Brain

On my way home today I saw a dead dog on the side of the road. It was at the northbound connection between the 91 and the 110. I don't know if the dog had caused an accident but there were two cars stopped just ahead of where he lay and at least one of the travelers was emotionally distressed in a way that seemed incommensurate with a minor fender bender. It was a singularly awful image.

The dog appeared to be a large pit bull but I can't be sure of that. I think rigor mortis had set in and there wasn't a lot of blood visible. Just one bent paw hanging off of a straight front leg and the head bent at an impossible angle. The neck was clearly broken but it might have happened after the dog died.

As I made my way past the death scene I became aware of a gross little coincidence. A Florence + The Machine song with the hook, "the dog days are over," was playing on the radio station (98.7FM Rockoholics station). I felt like puking or like I was on the cusp of vomiting.  It was sort of like a headache but instead of pain there is an itchy hollowness, a thorough discomfort and sadness. I don't know of any way to assuage that feeling. It's the same thing I felt while watching Magic Mike. If there had been a tall building to jump from I might have taken my chances.

I listen to the radio sometimes while I drive. It feels a little anachronistic now but I didn't have a cable to connect my phone to the stereo. So there I was with a song I was unsure of my feelings toward and was trying to make up my mind until I saw that dog's appendages suspended in the early evening air like a broken tree branch. I lost track of the song until I was past the corpse.

Some things make me really hate being alive. It's not shame or anger. On some level I like both shame and anger. It's a hopelessness that sets in from time to time that makes me really wish that I could be ripped apart molecule by molecule and spread across the universe. Not to be dead but to just not be at all.

I feel horrible for animals in a way that I can never feel for an adult human. Tragedy with people makes more sense than some dog that, perhaps if I had known the dog I would have hated the dog, really doesn't have much say in what goes on with its life. If the dog's owners had trained it (or not trained it, depending on the circumstances) to live close to a feral state in its manners it still wouldn't know any better and would be exploding inside as it got tossed off a truck bed (or whatever vehicle) by the one being the dog really knows to love. That just bothers me in ways I can't own up to.

I'm not really a total sucker for the Sara McLachlan commercials because I just keep thinking, "this song is painful," and, "Sara, how about you chip off a few mil and leave me the hell alone?" But the animal faces do get to me. Somehow I ended up driving home thinking about how easy it is to see through the matrix but how hard it is to actually fight it or leave it behind. I have an unfathomable amount of debts that I'm currently scared to pay because it would mean eating a lot less and maybe even moving into a more dangerous place. I have my dumb comforts that aren't very comforting and the dead dog punctured me for a few hours. I'll be fine. I'll probably wake up back in my normal haze tomorrow morning. My string of self-loathing came to a head when I remembered Jessie Bernstein saying, "just because something disturbs me I like to think it is important." Well, the weird air still pervades my being. But I'm not as sick as I was earlier. I still want to scratch and smush my brain until it stops itching me.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


So I'm here, not sleeping, chasing internet nothings and I somehow ended up reading this thing from Complex about Tupac's murder. I'm not an avid conspiracy theorist and I'm not much of a gossip hound. As much as I enjoy hearing and propagating gossip, I don't seek it out habitually. But there was something in there that really caught my attention. I didn't know this video existed until now:

I don't know who it is that actually shot this footage so I can't attribute it to them. This is the cleanest version I could find. It's pretty weird to see it. I feel like this should be a bigger deal but, then again, it may already have been a huge deal and I missed it. Leave your messages in the comments trying to sell dick pills or brides or whatever.

Sigh. I don't have much to add. I've always been a bigger Tupac fan than a Biggie fan. I'm too old now to care about what is and isn't authentic in music, I just like the attempts at higher understanding from Tupac a little more than the storytelling from Biggie. Those are intentionally reductionist readings of their work but I'm not trying to solve anything. I'm on a little nostalgia kick, feeling old, and wondering how much of a spiral I could put myself in trying to figure out the who's, the what's, and the why's of these guys getting killed when they were so young.

I want to post videos here but there isn't a video for Long Kiss Goodnight. That song, Hit Em Up by Tupac, and Drop A Gem On Em by Mobb Deep (which also appears to lack a video) should always be played together. I'm gonna go buy a copy of Murder Rap and go to sleep.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Turn Off The Internets

I'm a bad writer. I'm bad at a lot of things but most of them are meaningless. I think I have some kind of desire to fail in my life. I have had a ton of time to get something done and make a direction for my life but I've never sold any of my own ideas. The stuff I have sold were adaptations and the one thing I wrote for Marcello Thedford, the horrible movie that I never got paid for, the basic premise was his idea. I wrote that stack of shit paper in 3 days, though, so it doesn't need to take that much time to bang out a draft. I'm using that as a challenge. I've got til Saturday night to finish another draft of my werewolf script. I mean it. Really I do. Shut up, Tori Amos.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mindless Entertainment

Nothing I said in this online customer support conversation is untrue. Still, I did it more for transgression than for any honest need for customer service. Sigh. Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf isn't gonna watch itself. So I'm gonna Eifling the shit out of the rest of this post. Copy and paste:
Thomas (ID: K8Y) (Responding)
Thomas (ID: K8Y): Hi, my name is Thomas (ID: K8Y). How may I help you?
Steven Starkweather: Can you figure out a way for me to not have to reset my f$#*ing g**$amn set top box every time I want to use the stupid watch anywhere features that your company sold me on to get me to sign a 2-year contract?
Steven Starkweather: My DVR appears to be offline
Steven Starkweather: Again
Thomas (ID: K8Y): I’m sorry to hear that you are having an issue with the web site.
Steven Starkweather: I just spent a damn hour and half on this stupid chat maybe 4 days ago for the same problem
Thomas (ID: K8Y): I know that this can be frustrating I have had this happen to me.  I’d be happy to resolve that for you Stevem.
Steven Starkweather: It's a hardware problem, not a website problem
Thomas (ID: K8Y): Sorry Steven.
Steven Starkweather: It really bothers me that I am being charged by your company in bad faith
Thomas (ID: K8Y): Yes you are correct it is the receiver doing this.
Steven Starkweather: If your products don't work as advertised then you are failing to live up to your contract and you need to release me from my contract with no penalties
Thomas (ID: K8Y): But that is because the soft wear has an issue.
Steven Starkweather: OK, then you need to do more testing of the software before you release it
Thomas (ID: K8Y): We know about this problem with this receiver and are working on a update.
Steven Starkweather: That doesn't do me any good until it is released
Steven Starkweather: That just tells me that your company is willfully releasing malfunctioning equipment
Thomas (ID: K8Y): I am sorry a new receiver will do the same thing.
Steven Starkweather: I get that. Again, that means I signed up for your service under false pretenses
Thomas (ID: K8Y): I am sorry that this issue was not told you.
Steven Starkweather: I need something more than instructions (for the third time) on how to reset the box. I need compensation for the waste of time and the aggravation that comes with this.
Thomas (ID: K8Y): We are hoping by the next update this will be fixed.
Steven Starkweather: Oh, come on, is there some kind of company rep who is going around telling people before they sign up, "This service we advertise and have built up out customer base by advertising doesn't actually work the way it's advertised. Hope that's not a problem!"?
Thomas (ID: K8Y): We do not have a time of release yet for that update.
Steven Starkweather: That's fine, but you need to credit my bill for the huge waste of time that trying to make this shit work the way it's supposed to work has turned out to be.
Thomas (ID: K8Y): The sales rep are told to sale they do not have access to this information.
Steven Starkweather: This conversation is kind of amazing. You're telling me that the company is knowingly selling faulty equipment. If we had some kind of regulatory commission who gave a damn about stuff like this I'd go make a complaint to them.
Thomas (ID: K8Y): The sling works the site has some issue and some receiver have some issues.  This is not release do to it will be fixed.
Steven Starkweather: But it's not fixed now and you've been taking my money for it under the guise that it works the way it's supposed to. That is a malfeasant act
Thomas (ID: K8Y): I understand it not work properly with your receive now.
Steven Starkweather: I know. You understand. Great. Make it right. Give me some type of credit or something
Thomas (ID: K8Y): The only thing you can do is return the Sling for a full refund if you want.
Steven Starkweather: But I would have to pay shipping charges on that. So I'd still lose money.
Steven Starkweather: And I'm still locked into a 2-year contract that was signed under false premise
Thomas (ID: K8Y): Once the update is release you can buy the sling back and be able to use the online service.
Steven Starkweather: Do you understand the saying that time is money? The fact that I have already lost x amount of time messing around with this means that I am not getting the service I am paying for whether it works or not (heavily siding on the not side) which represents a monetary loss to me.
Thomas (ID: K8Y): I am sorry that you had to spend a lot of time regarding this issue.
Steven Starkweather: Your apology is touching but doesn't actually mean anything. I heard horror stories about Dish before I signed on but thought you couldn't be any worse than DirecTV. I was clearly wrong.
Thomas (ID: K8Y): I am sorry you fill that way.
Steven Starkweather: Fill that way? Did you just call me fat?
Thomas (ID: K8Y): Feel that way.
Thomas (ID: K8Y): Sorry for the spelling error.
Steven Starkweather: It's ok.
Thomas (ID: K8Y): The only thing I can try to do is send you a new receiver but it will have the same soft wear.  But it might fix the problem.
Steven Starkweather: You already said it wouldn't fix the problem?
Thomas (ID: K8Y): Correct but that is the only thing I can do for you.
Steven Starkweather: Seriously? No programming credits or anything? The big problem is that is messes with my ability to use your products
Thomas (ID: K8Y): I am sorry no we do not charge for access to the website.
Steven Starkweather: Ah, well, what can I say. I hate your company. I'm not going to send back the receiver or whatever other b.s. because that's just running to a standstill and adds 3 or 4 more layers of aggravation to my already exceptionally dissatisfying overall experience with Dish
Thomas (ID: K8Y): I am very sorry about all this frustration.
Steven Starkweather: I'm gonna disconnect now and try to make my DVR sync with my online account again. Maybe I'll run into you again later tonight when that doesn't work or only works for 15 minutes. My hopes aren't high
Steven Starkweather: If you aren't my next c.s. rep, have a good night
Thomas (ID: K8Y): You too.
You have disconnected.