Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Top 10 Life-Affirming Movie Moments

The top 10 life-affirming movie moments according to -

1. It's A Wonderful Life
2. Spartacus
3. Casablanca
4. The Shawshank Redemption
5. Saving Private Ryan
6. Blade Runner
7. American Beauty
8. Silent Running
9. Dead Poets' Society
10. Victory

Go here for the list with moment descriptions.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Is Coming

Christmas preperations and parties have kept me so busy I haven't had a chance to write in a week. I am guessing it will continue this way until the first of the year. Anyway, I hope you have a very merry Christmas!

The John Denver/Muppets Christmas CD remains my favorite to this day. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Golden Globes Nominations



All I can say is that I have a lot of catching up to do. There are so many great movies that I haven't seen yet. As you can see from previous posts, when I get to the theater it is almost always to see a "family film". It is a bummer always having to wait for the DVD to come out. Oh well!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Fred Armisen

And even more Fred Armisen.

I just can't get enough of Fred Armisen!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

25 Best Musicals

I think I previously wrote about my love of musicals. Musicals make me happy. What more can you ask for in a movie?

Here are the top 25 musicals according to -
1. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
2. West Side Story (1961)
3. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
4. Cabaret (1972)
5. Mary Poppins (1964)
6. The Band Wagon (1953)
7. A Hard Day's Night (1964)
8. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
9. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
10. Love Me Tonight (1932)
11. An American in Paris (1951)
12. Swing Time (1936)
13. On the Town (1949)
14. Grease (1978)
15. Hairspray (2007)
16. A Star Is Born (1954)
17. Chicago (2002)
18. The Busby Berkeley Disc (2006 compilation)
19. The Sound of Music (1965)
20. Funny Girl (1968)
21. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
22. Gigi (1958)
23. The Music Man (1962)
24. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
25. Once (2006)

Personaly, I think their list is way off. Any list of best musicals that includes South Park loses me completely. The Sound of Music definitely belongs in the top five. And I would further argue that a top 25 list should include Guys and Dolls, Easter Parade and My Fair Lady (Although, perhaps they are not including it because Audrey Hepburn didn't actually do the singing.)

I am guessing that they guy they made put together the list is not a big fan of musicals? What do you say?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Rewriting Again

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. - Scott Adams

After drifting aimlessly for a while, I decided to go back and rewrite my After Alice script. I tend to say that I like rewriting more than I like writing. I guess the grass always looks greener on the otherside, because I am missing the days of staring out at a blank page.

What should I keep? What should I toss? I keep second guessing myself. The whole process feels very overwhelming right now. I guess all I can do is work hard and hope that in the end I have made it something better and not something worse.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

My DVD player died. I haven't had much luck with DVD players. I have bought expensive ones. I have bought cheap ones. They all die. Hmm. On second thought, I think it might be more accurate to say they are killed. I have a sneaking suspision that having four children has a little something to do with rate I have to replace DVD players.

I am hoping to find a good deal this weekend. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kiddie Corner Movie Review

I have four children ages 15 to 7. Needless to say, most of the movies I get to actually see in a movie theater are aimed at kids. I thought I would make a comment or two about the last few movies I have seen for those of you who are also stuck in the kiddie section.

The Game Plan
It is a tradition for my family to go see a movie on Halloween. There was only one PG rated movie playing and this was it. I cringed, but what is a mother to do? It is $60 and an hour and a half of my life I will never get back, but the kids seemed to like it. At least the Rock is easy on the eyes.

Fred Claus
Fred Claus won out over The Bee Movie in a 3 to 1 vote. I am a big Vince Vaughn fan, so I tried to be hopeful. I must say the movie did have its moments and the kids loved it. It wasn't quite as good as Elf, but it wasn't nearly so bad as the Tim Allen Santa Claus movies.

I have been looking forward to seeing this movie since I caught the trailer awhile back. It looked like it would be right up my alley and it was. I love musicals. The world would be a better place if only people would randomly burst into song throughout their day. I try to sing on a whim where ever I am as often as I can. It is my little contribution to world. Anyway, the movie was a great balance between humor and sweetness. It worked for me. The kids thought it was great, too. Although, the Susan Sarandon character scared the heck out of the younger ones.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a great day with your friends and family!

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - J.F.K.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ask A Ninja

I have come across some pretty interesting videos on the net about the writers strike. This one has to be the strangest. Hey, who doesn't love a ninja?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Borrowed From Films did a survey to find out which movie lines we use the most in everyday conversation. Here is their list:

Top Ten Film Lines

1. "I'll be back." The Terminator
2. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Gone With The Wind
3. "Beam me up, Scotty." Star Trek
4. "May the force be with you." Star Wars
5. "Life is like a box of chocolates." Forrest Gump
6. "You talking to me?" Taxi Driver
7. "Show me the money." Jerry Maguire
8. "Do you feel lucky, punk?" Dirty Harry
9. "Here's looking at you, kid." Casablanca
10. "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." Dirty Dancing

That is the dream, isn't it? Imagine writing something that is so memorable it becomes a common catch phrase.

(Note that all of the lines listed were spoken by men. Are we not writing great lines for women? Hmm.)

As an interesting side note, there was more to the survey. They also asked the people which movies they would like to star in. Women chose Dirty Dancing and Pretty Woman. The men opted for Star Wars, Die Hard, and James Bond films. I told you it was interesting - ha!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Online Petition

"United Hollywood has created an online petition for you to be able to add your voice (e-voice?) to the growing numbers who are supporting the writers. Sign the petition, and spread it around to everyone you know who thinks that writers deserve fair compensation for use of their work." - from the United Hollywood blog

In support of the WGA strike

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

S N L Sums Up Writers Strike 2007

Here is the skit I wrote about a few days ago -

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Musical Meme

I was tagged by the lovely Julie O. Here are the instructions (copied from her blog) -

So here is your assignment for today, dear readers. Find a song that inspires you to write something, whether it gives you an idea for a script or just puts you into a better frame of mind. AND/OR (don't you love choices) peek into the lyrics and find a stanza that sums up the theme of whatever script you're working on. It's quite uncanny how the two circumstances go together.

If possible, post a video of the song to really get people into the mood. (Yep, I'm aware of the irony of using Internet clips during the pissing contest. I like irony as much as bitchiness.)

Then, send the assignment (by e-mail or posting to one of their blog entries) to 5 other writers to do. Inspire the world! Or just some random people from your blogroll, like me. Then pass it on like a gonorrhea outbreak on a Degrassi episode. Woohoo, TV rules!

I often listen to music when I am trying to set a tone in my mind for whatever it is that I am writing. The song that best fits the screenplay I am working on now is definitely Learn To Be Still by the Eagles.

Here are a few lines from the song that tell the story -

How do I get out of here
Where do I fit in?
Though the world is torn and shaken
Even if your heart is breakin’
It’s waiting for you to awaken
And someday you will-
Learn to be still
Learn to be still

Tag! You're it!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Using Your Power

SNL featured an excellent skit on the writers strike during the Weekend Update. It's great to see writers using their talent to make the point. Great job!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Headlines

Hollywood writers ready to strike...
Some of the most popular shows on US television could be forced off the air if writers go ahead with a strike over pay. Scriptwriters are threatening to log off their computers on Thursday if a last-minute deal cannot be reached over royalty payments. (and so on...)

I don't have much to say about the possible strike. I do hope that the increased media attention will increase the general public's awareness about the importance of the writer. A little more respect and appreciation for movie and television writers would be awfully nice.

Well, I am off to Artful Writer to see what Craig Mazin has to say about the state of things.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Writing Plan

I met up with my writing partner last night. We have been working on three scripts in various stages of completion since early summer. We had last been working on a high concept comedy, but we have decided to do an overhaul on my After Alice dramedy first. We also plan to finish the comedy script before the year is out. I am really pleased with the plan. Now the trick is sticking with the plan. *fingers crossed*

Saturday, October 27, 2007

IDA's "25 Best Documentaries"

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the International Documentary Association (IDA) has announced a list of the 25 best documentaries... (read more)

The complete list of IDA's "25 Best Documentaries" is included below:

1. "Hoop Dreams," directed by Steve James, Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx
2. "The Thin Blue Line," directed by Errol Morris
3. "Bowling for Columbine," directed by Michael Moore
4. "Spellbound," directed by Jeffery Blitz
5. "Harlan County USA," directed by Barbara Kopple
6. "An Inconvenient Truth," directed by Davis Guggenheim
7. "Crumb," directed by Terry Zwigoff's Crumb
8. "Gimme Shelter," directed by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin
9. "The Fog of War," directed by Errol Morris
10. "Roger and Me," directed by Michael Moore
11. "Super Size Me," directed by Morgan Spurlock
12. "Don't Look Back," directed by DA Pennebaker
13. "Salesman," directed by Albert and David Maysles
14. "Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance," directed by Godfrey Reggio
15. "Sherman's March," directed by Ross McElwee
16. "Grey Gardens," directed by Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer
17. "Capturing the Friedmans," directed by Andrew Jarecki
18. "Born into Brothels," directed by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski
19. "Titticut Follies," directed by Frederick Wiseman
20. "Buena Vista Social Club," directed by Wim Wenders
21. "Fahrenheit 9/11," directed by Michael Moore
22. "Winged Migration," directed by Jacques Perrin
23. "Grizzly Man," directed by Werner Herzog
24. "Night and Fog," directed by Alain Resnais
25. "Woodstock," directed by Michael Wadleigh

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Off the Shelf

I mentioned taking some time to read. I did read some great fiction, but I also read "Digital Moviemaking" by Scott Billups. The book is full of technical information which took me a while to get through. Billups comes across as a bit of a prick, but the book is very helpful. I am using the information as part of the decision making process for buying a camera. I have read enough pros and cons about every make and model to make my head spin. I am trying to sort through it right now.

Next on my list is a book by Steven D. Katz called "Shot By Shot".

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Giving Up the Ghost?

No. My blog isn't dead and neither am I (sorry to disappoint some of you). I had some down time after writing a first draft of my third feature. I haven't been very focused on writing or blogging, but life is for living! In any case, I am back.

I have been doing research for my documentary. My time has been consumed by studying both my subject matter and the art of documentary making. Whether or not I will be a success is yet to be seen, but I am excited to give it a try. It has been keeping me busy. There is a lot to learn.

I haven't tossed writing by the wayside though. There is yet another delay in finishing up my current spec., but I am holding out hope of having a final draft before the year is done. I am also thinking about working on some rewrites for After Alice, my first script.

Lastly, I joined an online screenwriting group. It is nice to have a supportive group of fellow struggling amateurs to get feedback from. And reading their scripts keeps me focused.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Passing the Time

The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book. - Samuel Johnson

I've been busy reading. Reading will always be my first love.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Perk

Apparently, there is a perk for being a second rounder in the Austin Film Festival. I was offered a "special discount" - woohoo! I guess it pays to be a crappy writer after all!

I have wanted to attend the Austin Film Festival for three years now. I thought that 2007 would be my year, but it isn't. I just have too much going on in my personal life to take a trip at this time. I am bummed. I was looking forward to learning new things and meeting new people (especially long-time online acquaintances). Oh well. There is always next year.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Victory In Inches

Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.--Louis L'Amour

Today I had one of those victories that is so minuscule it hardly deserves mentioning. Yet, on a day when I am feeling defeated any victory, no matter how small, is a welcomed gift. I received a letter from the Austin Film Festival notifying me that though I had not made it to the semi-finals I had advanced to the second round. Being in the top 10-12% of nearly 4,000 entries isn't exactly a grand slam, but it gives me hope.

It was my first screenplay. I had rushed it to completion to make the deadline. So, even though After Alice was not a contest winner I am encouraged. Though I have a long journey ahead of me, perhaps, I am headed in the right direction.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I turned over my first draft to my writing partner a week or so ago. Once he completes the rewrites we will have a first draft - woohoo. In the meantime, I am stepping away from the story with the hope of coming back to write a second draft with a fresh perspective. We will be doing a couple of major overhauls on some characters in the rewrite. We also plan to adjust the pacing in a couple of sections. But thus far, he and I are quite pleased with the shape the story has taken.

The adventures of writing with a partner continue. More about that next time...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

First Draft Almost Completed

Ten more scenes and I will be finished with the first draft of my latest spec. This is my third feature length screenplay and it definitely has the most potential of any I have worked on thus far. This has made me feel a certain amount of pressure not to screw it up. I so badly want to do justice to such a great concept.

The script is going to need plenty of rewriting and polishing, but I am quite pleased overall. I will just be happy to move on to the next phase. I prefer rewriting to writing.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Quiz - Child Actors

Ah, the life of a child star. There is always danger when success outstrips experience; there might also be meddling parents, and pitfalls associated with having too much too soon. And let’s not forget the ever-tricky transition from child actor to serious adult, difficult to make with integrity intact.

Test your knowledge of child actors.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Best of Luck With All Your Future Endeavors

I bumped into IQCrash in the Artful Writer chat room this Spring. We didn't know one another well, but we had crossed paths a few times before. We compared our outstanding procrastination skills. We chatted about our concern with the upcoming Nicholl Fellowship deadline. I decided to make a bet with him. Now, let me say here that I don't usually bet with strange men I meet on the internet, but it just seemed like the thing to do at the time. In the end, I won. I rushed my script to completion and sent it out.

I had struggled for nearly two years starting scripts that I never finished. The victory for me was jumping the hurdle and writing FADE OUT. It needed some work, but I was out of time. I had missed the Nicholl deadline last year and was terribly disappointed with myself. I decided to send it this year, because I needed to create some sense of accomplishment for myself.

Yesterday I received my "Regrettably, AFTER ALICE was not one of the 254 entries selected as a Quarterfinalist..." letter. It came as no surprise. Even as I read it I smiled a little, because I have no regrets.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Coreys

Having hit puberty in the 1980s I was, of course, a fan of "the Coreys". In fact, I had a mega-crush on Corey Haim. I watched Lost Boys dozens of times. I loved Stand By Me, Licensed to Drive, Dream a Little Dream, and Goonies.

It was sad to see two talented guys lose everything to drugs. They are poster children for all the evils of being a child star. They both were quality actors, especially Feldman, and I have often wondered why they have not been able to pull off a Barrymoresque comeback. They deserve a second chance.

When I saw the advertisement for The Two Coreys I had to tune in for the nostalgia. I expected it to be just another reality television nightmare - and it pretty much was. The show was less than dynamic, but it did make me laugh a few times. The basis of the show seems to be Haim fighting with Feldman's uptight, insecure, immature, b*tchy wife. I am not sure that I will bother to tune in again, but it was fun to reminisce.

Feldman doesn't look too worse for the wear. Haim hasn't fared as well, but there is still a spark of the mischievous boy he once was when he smiles. Who knows? Maybe, against all odds, they will find their way back.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm It!

I was tagged by One Slack Martian to post 8 things about myself. It is times like now that I wish I was more interesting. Oh well.

Here it goes -

1. I spent almost 6 years living on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan (1993-1999).

2. Edith Wharton is my favorite author.

3. I have moved 12 times in the past 15 years. And 24 times in the past 31 years. (CORRECTION: I was thinking about it last night and I have actually moved 27 times in the past 31 years.)

4. I have had plastic surgery (Yes, my boobs are real).

5. I met my writing partner in a chat room.

6. During the past 5 years my husband has lived in Puerto Rico, Guatemala, India, Guyana, Barbados, etc. He is currently living and working in Angola.

7. I am in the beginning stages of making a documentary.

8. I listen to The Essential Billy Joel more than any other CD.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Spec

I had intended to take the summer off. I was burnt out from writing. It wasn't fun anymore. I needed a break. Plus, my kids are off for the summer, so my time is limited anyway.

I really enjoyed the break!

But, I am back to writing. It is sooner than I had planned, but the timing feels right. I am having a great time working on my new spec. Writing is fun again!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hear Me Roar

I was blog surfing today and came across a link at Kid Sis in Hollywood to a wonderful article by Lynda Obst:

Chicks With Flicks

In this—the season of Knocked Up and Entourage—Hollywood has a little woman problem. One producer’s lament for a lost Camelot.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More Movie Watching

Saturday I took my oldest (15) and my youngest (7) to the theater to see Ratatouille. It was a strange concept for a movie, but it was mostly enjoyable. Both my kids got rather bored at times. At one point I found my 7 year old sitting upside down in his seat. Personally, I had a hard time getting over the fact that they were rats. There is a scene where the main character and a zillion other rats scamper and scurry into a river. It made my skin crawl. It isn't one of my favorite animated movies, but overall it was pretty good.

I caught one of my favorite old films on television a couple of days ago. Ladies They Talk About is an early Barbara Stanwyck gem. Lillian Roth sings beautifully in the film.

I also caught half of A Few Good Men. I had almost forgot how wonderful a movie it is. I feel quite certain that Jack Nicholson is the greatest actor ever. It is sad to see him aging so rapidly now. There will never be another like him.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Writing About Not Writing

Yeah, I am still not writing. I am beginning to miss staring blankly into Final Draft, wracking my brain, and brooding. That said, I am really enjoying the break.

I have used some of this extra free time to watch movies. I have been to the theater more often than usual this summer. I saw Shrek 3 twice. It isn't as good as the first two, but it is decent. The kids enjoyed it. My ten year old daughter especially like the inclusion of the princesses from other fairy tales. We liked Surf's Up. We also liked Evan Almighty. It had its share of flaws, but it was a good family film. As for rental movies, I have been watching the Indiana Jones films. I never tire of them!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Time Out

I am taking some time off from writing. It isn't a long term break. I just need to spend time focusing on the other parts of my life. My kids are out of school for the summer and my husband is in Africa, so I don't have a lot of extra time on my hands. I have also had some extra stress in my life which has zapped all of my creative energy.

Due to my lack of time for writing at present, IQCrash and I have decided to go separate ways. We had a good time writing together and I learned a lot from the experience. In any case, I wish him all the best!

Right now, I am enjoying the time away from the keyboard. I have decided to use this time to catch up on some of the movies I haven't seen. I am also trying to fit in some extra reading.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Endless Summer

My dad is a surfer. My husband has been all over the world surfing. Now my children are really getting into it. My father took my kids to meet Robert August yesterday. They were so excited! They, of course, then wanted to watch Endless Summer.

Speaking of surfing movies, we went to see Surf's Up this week. The critics didn't like it, but we really enjoyed it! We had been planning to watch it since we first saw the previews, because my dad is an old surfer from the 1960s and his name is Zeke - my kids were amused by the coincidence. Anyway, we thought it was a fun movie.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Coen Brothers

I am currently reading a book called The Coen Brothers by Ronald Bergan. The book isn't fantastic, but there is enough interesting information to make it worthwhile. I wish there were more insights and less filler. In any case, the book has inspired me to add some of their films that I have not yet seen to my Blockbuster online list.

Raising Arizona has been a favorite movie of mine since I was a kid. Do you have a favorite Coen film?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Foiled Again!

I came up with what I thought was a great idea for a screenplay. The idea was original and interesting. My writing partner agreed that it had a lot of potential. The more we worked on it the more we liked it. We came up with a fantastic logline and title. We were making progress on story ideas.

And then it happened... again. My partner stumbled upon an article about a movie in development with a very similar premise. The movie appears to be stuck in development, but what do I know? In any case, we were unable to find any information about the plot other than a very general overview, but even then the major concept seems fairly identical.

So much for "original". Foiled again! (haha)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Note Giving

I have received a lot of notes on my writing over the last few months. I feel very fortunate to have so many helpful and supportive people in my life. The notes, of course, helped to improve the scripts. They also improved my writing skills. Knowing where you excel and where you stink is extremely valuable knowledge! I believe that you need to "go with your gut", but when you are starting out it is good to get a measure of the accuracy of your intuition.

Yet, I had one continuous nagging feeling throughout the process. By the end it was clear to me that I don't give very good notes. I have always tried, but I seem to have fallen short (perhaps here would be a good place to put in an apology to those who have been on the receiving end of my note giving talents). I took notice of the notes I had been given and tried to figure out what made each helpful. I plan to use this information to improve my own skills.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Knock Off?

A Canadian author has sued NBC Universal and director Judd Apatow claiming they ripped off the premise of the hit movie "Knocked Up" from her book of the same name.

I don't know the details of this case, but I am going to guess that this sort of thing happens fairly often. If you have a great idea, it is probably safe to assume that at least a dozen people have had the same great idea. Today I read David Anaxagoras' post about shelving a script upon the discovery of several similar scripts in development. After working on one of my scripts I discovered that there were at least four other writers within my small realm of knowledge working on projects with basically the same premise. Truly unique concepts are precious and few.

The Dark Side

But even when I was just a struggling writer sleeping on the floor of my apartment, I found working screenwriters to be terrific and generous.

Aspiring screenwriters? A mixed lot, I’m sorry to say. Fear can lead to the dark side. - John August (Screenwriters' Dinner)

I read this comment on John August's blog with interest. I don't want to comment for fear of saying too much, but I will say that I can't disagree with his statement. I have had the fortune of meeting some wonderful aspiring screenwriters. I have also met a few creeps. Fear masquerading as arrogance is no replacement for true confidence or talent. It is nice to have the friendship and support of other people taking a similar journey. I guess the key is avoiding those that reek of desperation.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Austin, Austin, Austin

Last week I sent two scripts off to the Austin Film Festival. I hope to attend the festival this year. Among the panelists will be William Broyles Jr., Audrey Wells and Eric Roth. It will be very educational, no doubt. I am sure there will be many interesting people to meet at such a gathering as well. Yet, I always visualize myself as the girl sitting alone at the table in the corner. I never feel like I fit in. I tend to imagine people looking down their noses at me, if they look at all, wondering what I am doing there. Something of a Sanjaya, but without the great hair.

In any case, today I am beginning to work on a fourth rewrite of my last spec. We received some very interesting and helpful notes over the weekend and I look forward to implementing some of them.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Missed It!

I went back to brush up my AFTER ALICE script before mailing it off to the Austin Film Festival. I was happily reading along when WHAMO there it was... a typo. I felt physical pain.

This spring I had hoped to finish the script in time for the Nicholl. I knew placing was a long shot (like one to a zillion), but I thought it would be fun to give it a try anyway. Worst case scenario, I lose a few bucks. After getting off to a slow start, I gave up hope of submitting this year. I was a bit bummed about it, but kept on writing with my eye on 2008. All of the sudden it began rolling. I finish just in time for the 2007 Nicholl... one day before the deadline, to be exact.

Unfortunately, this left no time for it to sit a few weeks and then return to it with fresh eyes. I did the best I could to proof read it (but sometimes my eyes just auto-correct). I also had my sister read it over to look for errors. But, something was missed.

It isn't the end of the world, of course. Yet, I wanted it to be in the best shape it could be in when I sent it out. Too late now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fox's 'On the Lot'

I watched On the Lot last night. This article pretty much sums up my first impressions. I will probably tune in again next week, but with the hope that the show will get better as the number of contestants narrows.

The worst part of the show was watching the contestants try to pitch based on loglines they had been given. It was actually painful at times. Some of the people clearly had zero knowledge of how to pitch or even what it means. Others were victims of their nerves. I, too, go completely blank when I get very nervous. I cringed for them.

If that was not bad enough, they then had to form groups of three to write, direct, and edit a short film in just 24 hours. Having to work with strangers is very difficult. In college I had fits over group projects (perhaps I don't work well with others). It is unfair to judge someone on the work of others, particularly others that they did not select for any professional merit.

I would have enjoyed the show more if it had shown some of the short films that had been submitted. These challenges were at times interesting, but not what I had expected.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Art of Compromise

Writing with a partner has many ups and downs. I have learned a lot from the experience. There are many benefits, but as Ted Elliott said, "It doesn't make it easier." The art of compromise is constantly at the forefront.

The biggest asset to working with another writer on a project is having two different minds which are generating ideas. One of us will make a suggestion and the other person will improve the concept and so on. There is much to be said for writing chemistry. We have definitely come up with ideas together that we would not have come up with alone.

Yet, when you have two people with different notions of which ideas will work best and which direction to take the story it can be stressful. When do you compromise? When do you fight for a concession from the other guy?

My writing partner and I are currently working on a rewrite of our script. We have both had to bend. In the end, the story is not exactly what either one of us would have written, but it is, hopefully, something better.

So, I will take two aspirin and prepare for our discussion on the latest notes we have received.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

FD For Sale

Have you ever had one of those days that just made you want to quit?


I hope to feel better tomorrow. Otherwise my FD goes to the highest bidder.

Do I hear $.05?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What's Up Next?

Though the current script is still a work in progress, I am beginning to think about what I plan to write next. There are a couple of ideas I have toyed with over the past few months. My partner also has some ideas that we have discussed pursuing.

My first script, After Alice, was a dramedy. I was nervous about the comedy aspect. With some help and encouragement from a girl who knows comedy I forged ahead. I ended up with a script that made those who read it laugh. I was funny! Who knew?

I was then approached by my partner to do a comedy. I was a little intimidated by the prospect, but with the little bit of confidence I had gained writing my last script I thought I should go for it. It was a blast. Writing comedy is fun! And whatever our script may or may not be, I think it is funny.

What is up next? I don't know yet. I am at a place where I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I am keeping my mind open to genres that I had not intended to try my hand at writing. Why not?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One Draft Down

Last night my partner and I finished our first draft. It was exciting. We had done it! The script needs some work, but it is on its way. We have decided to take a moment to breath before we begin the task of rewriting.

This crazy partnership experiment worked. It worked really well. We managed to not only resist the temptation to cause one another bodily harm, but we had a lot of fun! In the process, we learned a lot about our strengths and weaknesses and how to use them to our best advantage. I guess "rebel without a cause and sound of music" do make a good team.

So, what will I be doing with my night off? The same thing I do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!"

Friday, May 11, 2007

No Smoking!

I just read this BBC article and this CNN article concerning the announcement by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) that it would now take smoking into account along with sex, violence and adult language when classifying movies. I was interested because both the script I finished in April and the one I am currently working on involve characters that smoke.

What are your thoughts about the announcement?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Lesson Learned?

I am making good progress on act two. The second act always scares me a bit, but it is going surprisingly well. I am working from a great outline (something rare for me). It has made act two look much friendlier. Hmm... perhaps I just learned a lesson!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Girls vs. Boys

I like the idea of having a writing partner that is a girl like me. We see the world through female eyes. We understand the mysteries of womanhood. Let's face it, there are just things that guys will never understand.

But, my writing partner is not a girl. This makes for an interesting creative dynamic. We bring two different sets of views on life; the girl view and the boy view. I think this adds a lot to the writing.

This also can cause conflict. Here is an example from our discussion last night:

Him: She wouldn't say that.

Me: Yes, she would.

Him: She wouldn't say that. It's cheesy.

Me: Girls say things like that. She would definitely say that.

Him: You love cheese. I'm telling you, she wouldn't say that.

Me: Yes, she would. And she'd cry.

Him: She wouldn't cry.

Me: Yes, she would. A girl would totally cry at that moment.

Him: No. I don't want her to cry. What is wrong with you today?

Me: I have PMS. Do you really want to fight with a girl who has PMS?

Him: I have lost my will to live.

Me: Fine. She doesn't cry.

I lost that one. As Charles De Gaulle would say, "Annabel has lost a battle. But Annabel has not lost the war!"

Friday, May 4, 2007

Last Night

Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me
I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed
She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb
In the shape of an "L" on her forehead

We were really rolling on the new spec last night. Then my partner took a five hour dinner break... I am guessing something shiny or jiggly caught his attention. But, it worked out. I went over to chat with some old buddies at Artful Writer (Ronson and three guys all, oddly enough, named Dan). My favorite cowboy agreed to read "After Alice". He is very busy right now, but I hope to get some feedback from him before I send it off to the Austin Film Fest . The deadline is a few weeks away, so I have time to fiddle with it.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Under Pressure

Mm ba ba de
Um bum ba de
Um bu bu bum da de
Pressure pushing down on me

Less than five hours after mailing out "After Alice", I began work on another spec. This spec represents a big change for me. It is a different genre and I am working with a partner. Oh, and did I mention we are trying to bang it out in 30 days?

I have toyed with the idea of writing with a partner for awhile. I like the idea of collaborating. Writing is a lonely business and there is something comforting about having someone running the race with you. So, when I was approached with the idea of teaming up I jumped at it.

My writing partner and I are very different people. It is like, "Rebel Without a Cause meets Sound of Music". Yet, it works. We get along swimmingly. We balance each other out.

We are working along at a good steady pace. The first three days we got an amazing amount accomplished considering the amount of time we spent laughing (we think we are quite humorous). Last night we learned the key to writing together is writing separately. It only took an hour and a half of bickering about the description following the introduction of a minor character to figure this out. But, we are back on track now.

We set some very ambitious deadlines. Fortunately, I work pretty well under pressure. Yet, there is that rebellious part of me that balks at writing just because I know I have to do it. Hence the reason I am here talking about writing rather the getting the job done.

Under pressure
Under pressure

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

I mailed my script off to the Nicholl yesterday. Right now it should be somewhere between Wilmington and Hollywood. My first contest... how exciting!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I Did It! I Did It! I Did It!

I have finished writing my first completed feature! I did it! This excites me for many reasons. First, it is done in time for the Nicholl. A few weeks ago I had given up all hope of making the deadline. I began writing screenplays over a year and a half ago and had yet to write an entire feature. This one I began last July and I now finally get to see the results of all that effort. But, the thing that excites me most is that I stuck with it. I am a girl with a million ideas, but no follow through. I am notorious for starting projects and then dropping them. But, not this time! This time I did it!

I made minor corrections (typos, spelling errors, etc.) on a paper copy yesterday. My sister got out her red pen and went over it to double check. Today I just need to enter those adjustments into FD and it will be ready to mail.

Today I am a screenwriter!!!

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Little Thing Called Hope

I am approximately 2 to 3 pages short of a completed spec. It still needs some polishing, but it is almost finished. I am a happy girl! I will be mailing it off to the Nicholl on Monday. I don't anticipate placing, but I am excited anyway. It is a step.

In other news...

Once in a while one in our ranks crosses over to the other side. There is excitement. It's a collective high. And it got me thinking...

We are excited for the success of another struggling screenwriter because we know the hard work that goes into it. We appreciate their great talent. We have spent hours chatting together about the challenges we all face in this rat race.

But, I think there is more to it...

The dream we are watching come true isn't just any dream. It is our dream. It reassures us that it is possible to suceed. It gives us hope.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Tagged Again

I'm like a sitting duck over here ;)

This time I was tagged by IQCrash to list 5 of my goals. This would seem like an easy task, but it really isn't. Which ones should I list? I'll tell you some, but the rest are mine to keep to myself! ;)


1. Raise healthy, happy, successful children

2. Be a good person

3. Sell a screenplay

4. Learn to speak French

5. Lose those 10 pesky extra pounds

Here comes the part where I am supposed to tag some of you. Wait! Don't run off and hide just yet. I have so few readers that I can't afford to scare any of you away -heehee! You get a pass from me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ideas Are All Around You

I am often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” The short answer is: everywhere. It’s like asking, “Where do you find air to breathe?” Ideas are all around you. - Twyla Tharp

It is very interesting to learn where people get their ideas. It is true that many ideas seem to come from out of nowhere. Yet, there is nothing new under the sun, so the idea can surely be traced back to some spark the thinker previously encountered.

A couple of posts down I wrote that I had an idea the neatly wove together the loose ends in my script. I had been brainstorming and mulling the problem over for days. The main problem I was having was trying to logically connect two characters to one another. And then voilĂ ! I knew the answer!

Today I was thinking about the happy moment and I realized something. The idea hadn't come out of thin air. I had watched a rerun of a television show I like... the storyline was somewhat different, but it had sparked the idea in my mind.

So much for my genius!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Over and Over

Today I was thinking about movies I love. That lead to me thinking about the movies I have watched the most amount of times. The movies I have watched over and over again aren't necessarily my favorites, but I thought it was interesting. Most of my repeat viewing occurred during my preteen years, but I still do it on occasion.

Movies I have watched the most times...

1. Dirty Dancing
2. Girls Just Want to Have Fun
3. Lost Boys
4. French Kiss
5. Better Off Dead

What about you?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Duct Tape Solutions and Light Bulb Moments

My father is of the belief that anything can be fixed with duct tape. He has spent his life putting action behind that notion. Has this love of the duct tape solution affected yet another generation?

Wednesday I went to bed with the satisfaction of knowing that I had 68 rewritten pages. Then I came to the horrible awareness of how I had fixed them. I had tied up the loose ends. I had strengthened my story. I had improved the characters. But, I had done it with duct tape.

I had been struggling with aspects of the story that just would not work. I tried and I tried. Finally, I brought out the duct tape and forced them to stick. There were characters that I tried to mold. I bent them and beat them. They would not arc. Finally, I just taped them up.

I thought that I had figured it all out, but I hadn't.

Then Thursday I had a light bulb moment. It was one of those moments when everything becomes clear. I had an idea so fitting that I couldn't believe that I hadn't thought of it before. It doesn't tie up the loose ends. It weaves them into the pattern.

I now find myself back almost at square one. I will be starting to re-write yet again. But, I am not discouraged. I don't care if I rewrite this screenplay 10 times. I care about getting it right.

"There is no great writing, only great rewriting."
Justice Brandeis

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Games People Play

I was tagged by Matt Hader to name 5 things about myself.

Five Things About the Exciting Life and Times of Annabel Lee

1. Annabel Lee is my legal name, but not my given name.

2. I lived in Japan for almost 6 years.

3. I have had three knee surgeries and need a fourth.

4. I have never lived in the same house for more than 2 years, with the exception of one three year stint.

5. I want to be Nora Ephron when I grow up.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hindsight is 20/20

I received some very helpful notes last week! I realized that I had made a major mistake. I had made adjustments to my story shortly after I began writing it. I then made more adjustments after getting notes from Scott the Reader. Each time I made tweaks here and there to change certain aspects of the story. In retrospect, I should have done more than tweaking. I needed to go back and alter the outline from top to bottom (or bottom to top).

I have spent the past several days revising my outline. I think I have tied up all of the loose ends that were waving wildly in the wind. All in all, I think my story has a clearer, sharper focus.

I have rewritten about 58 pages. There is still a lot of writing to do. I am knee-deep in Act II. Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

If anyone asks...

... tell them I'm a writer.

I have long struggled with the question of what makes a person a writer.

1. writes (books or stories or articles or the like) professionally (for pay)
2. a person who is able to write and has written something
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

I had never considered myself a writer. I had certainly never called myself a writer. I always feared the horrible sequence that would surely follow if I ever had the nerve to make such a declaration. Someone would, no doubt, ask me what I have written. What they would really be asking me is what have I sold or published. I would then have to hang my head and walk away deflated.

This week something changed. Someone called me a writer. It made me think about how I define the word writer and how it applies to me. I realized that I will be writing for the rest of my life, because it is something that I love to do. My writing may one day be purchased and viewed or read by the masses or it might remain forever locked away in my computer. But, in the end it doesn't matter, because I was a writer.

This past week my life was changed because my perspective was changed. Thank you!

Monday, April 2, 2007


This is how I tend to work:

1. I struggle trying to do things my way.
2. I ask for advice.
3. I hear the voice or reason and recognise it as such.
4. I continue to struggle to make my way work.
5. I realize that only a fool does not listen to reason and wisdom.
6. I make the needed changes.

Talk about doing it the slow way! I am getting better. I will now occasionally skip steps 4 and 5.

Friday I decided to stop and go back over the notes from Scott. Saturday I implemented another change he had suggested. The script is looking better for it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

She Fell Flat

Yesterday I was in the mood to read a great script. I chose Thelma and Louise because it is one of my favorites. I had been reading less than ten minutes when a giant light went off in my head. The woman in my script is flat. She goes through motions, but lacks character. It was like a knife in my heart. I knew more about Thelma and Louise in the first 5 pages than I knew about my character in the first 58.

I will go back and fix it, but first I have a lot of thinking to do. I know what my character does in the story. In order to correct the problem I need to go back to the why. Why does she do those things? What is her motivation? What is her passion? What is her greatest desire? fear?

I was very depressed about my discovery yesterday. I am still a bit bummed, but it is a lesson. I will correct it and my story will be better. Hopefully, I will be better.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Agents and Managers and Producers! Oh, my!

I have been toiling away at my most recent attempt at screenwriting. Some days I feel that I am beginning to get "it". That is not to say that I feel I am any good at writing screenplays, just that I think that I am starting to understand how to do it. Other days I sense I haven't a clue. What keeps me writing is a strong belief that practice really does eventually make perfect. And though I have a long road ahead of me, I do feel like I am walking in the right direction. It gives me hope to see that the script I am working on now is far better than the one I worked on before it.

Yesterday I read an interesting post at Alligators In a Helicopter. I am sure Scott has read an unimaginable number of bad scripts (including mine). I find it interesting that so many bad scripts make it into the hands of readers, because I assume that they were given to the studios by agents.

There are only two places I would dare send a script at this point - contests and readers. I sent part of my screenplay to a reader for evaluation. I think it is a great learning tool. I don't feel bad that my script isn't terrific because he knew it wouldn't be when he offered to take it and I was, after all, paying him to tell me how much it sucks. I also hope to enter a few screenplay contests this year. I think contests by nature are fun and exciting. I am paying them, so I don't feel bad if my screenplay isn't fantastic. Contests aren't perfect, but I think they can be a sort of litmus test to tell you when you might be ready to venture into deeper waters.

Why is Hollywood knee deep in bad scripts? My uneducated guess would be desperation. People so badly want to make it that they throw everything they have at it - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Amateur screenwriters are an interesting assortment. It is a dream for some. It is a hobby for others. One day you feel a sense of comradery within the group. Other days you feel like one rat among a million trapped in a sinking boat and all you want is out.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Venture

I pledged to submit to the Nicholl Fellowship screenwriting contest this year after not being prepared to enter by last year's deadline. I was already accepting defeat yet again this year and coming to terms with missing another deadline when I ran into IQCrash in the Artful Writer chat room last week. We started with a discussion that turned into a competition regarding our superior skills in the art of procrastination. Clearly, we needed motivation (among other things). He encouraged me to make the deadline. Ready or not - jump!

How could two first-rate procrastinators make a May 1st deadline? A bet, of course. How much wisdom there is in making bets with strangers you meet on the internet is a whole other story. For now, I have a bet to win! This isn't just any bet. This is a two tiered bet.

Will it work? Do you want to bet on it?

In the meantime, write on!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Million Miles Away

The big news is, of course, the Writers Co-Op. It is very interesting and I am curious to see where it leads. That said, I am not losing sleep over it. It is a million miles away from where I am standing. So, it is back to the old grindstone for me!

I have a new reason to push forward! More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I am often reminded that this business requires networking. Yes, you must write brilliantly, but you also must know someone (who hopefully knows someone, who knows someone). This is a troublesome fact for me. I am not a networking kind of gal. I am not a people person. I am not outgoing and friendly.

Today, I missed a networking opportunity. I was at the beauty salon and a man walks in for his hair appointment. He begins talking to his stylist about the movie he is about to start working on. My ears perk up, because I am familiar with it. My brother-in-law is an extra on the film, which is about to start filming here.

If I were Mr. William Martell, I would have seized the moment and struck up a conversation with this man. He could have been someone of importance or he could have been a schlep. Either way, he is more connected than I am.

Ugh. This is a dirty business. There is nothing like stepping on the heads of others as you climb the towering ladder of success.

The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore. - Dale Carnegie

In my defence, I did have a head full of foils. I looked like a space creature from a 1960s space flick. So, maybe it wasn't the best time for networking after all!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Script Notes

Last week I send my budding script to Scott the Reader for feedback. I felt like I really had "something" this time around, but I wanted confirmation. Yeah, I know about the whole pay a professional reader vs. ask a friend argument. Due to turmoil in my personal life I lost touch with most of the screenwriting relationships I had made. More importantly, I have had Scott read for me before and I think he gives excellent notes.

Back to the story.

He sent me very good notes - clear, constructive, and detailed. There was good news and (of course) bad news. Shall I start with the good news?

He like the premise of my story. That is a great start! But, what made me really happy was discovering that I am self-aware to some degree. The things he said didn't work were the things I knew weren't working. The things he liked, I felt good about as well.

Now for the part where I was shredded. There were characters that weren't working. There were areas of the plot that didn't hang right. A bit of spot-on dialogue. Let me say, I was mortified about the on-the-nose dialogue. It is a something I hate, yet I have a horrible tendency to write that way. It makes me think of my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Callan, who would constantly remind us to show the story and not tell it.

He made several suggestions. Some of his ideas were ones that I had previously considered. He also suggested things that had not occurred to me. I have been mauling them all over for days. I have weighed the options. I feel ready to chose my direction and head out boldly.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Into the Abyss

Blogs dedicated to screenwriting fall into two categories - blogs written by those few living the dream and those written by the many chasing the dream. There are more than enough screenwriting blogs out there. So, why am I adding yet another to the already congested information highway?

There are many screenwriting blogs I visit. With a few exceptions, my visits are sporadic. Yet, I keep coming back for more. I visit the pros for valuable information and advice. I visit the amateur (or as the optimists say "pre-pro") blogs for encouragement. Writing is generally a lonely undertaking, but it is nice to be able to connect with others that are on the same journey. I like to know that I am not the only one struggling with a scene, a character, an outline ... or fear.

I have nothing valuable to add to the screenwriting world, but I have decided to pour my musings into the abyss. If I alone read this, I hope it helps to push me along and keep me focused. If others happen to stumble upon my page, I hope it encourages them to keep plugging along.

"To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping." - Chinese proverb