December 2, 2013
November 27, 2013
In the interests of getting the book name and link out there as much as possible, the plan here is to give away free books over the holidays.
HOW: ::Contact::: me and submit your proposal for a group or site giveaway, let me know how many people are in the group and what sort of deadline or date scenario you have in mind. If it alls sounds good, I’ll supply the book.
WHERE: Groups with an online presence of some sort that can spread the word and link back to the book site are best. But in person groups and meets are also a possibility if they are influential and get the title circulating among members.
WHEN: Any time between now and the first of the year.
WHY: To get the book title out there and circulating and gaining some recognition factor outside my immediate realm of influence. Anyone on my sites or connected directly to me already knows the book’s title and/or probably already has the book. The idea here is to have giveaways in venues not directly linked to me to get the title circulating in new places.
WHO SHOULD DO THIS: Anyone with a significant writers membership and/or online presence.
WHO PICKS THE WINNERS: It’s up to the organizer to pick winners. I’ll supply the book. I’d also like to know, if and when this flies, how many people entered or were present for the book drawing.
PS: Max will be a #Scriptchat guest December 29th, 8 PM EST, discussing “Do’s and don’ts to get your screenplay read, sold, and produced.” A lucky #scriptchat attendee will receive a free copy of The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide.
November 18, 2013
Probably this is only hilarious to me. It is actually kind of a catastrophe but still hilarious to me.
[This may be because "catastrophes" historically for me involve brushes with death but I consider the "brushes with death" catastrophes mostly comedic too so my "catastrophe" meter is skewed.]
[Wait, back up, catastrophe therapy kickstarter project yay!]
Here is the new workshop shirt close up:
I wore that shirt at AFF. Other workshoppers wore that shirt at AFF.
Tell me if you see the problem.
Nobody did until today.
I am so cracked up.
*I’m sending out new shirts to everyone who bought the wrong shirt. Also I’m framing the wrong shirt.
November 16, 2013
STATES STILL TO GO: As of November 16th, 2013, we have 4 states to go before Christmas. I am not sure we will make it, but my partners in crime are optimistic. [Crazy partners in crime!) If you can nail one of these states you are a hero:
*There are asterisks or questions marks next to states people say they are picking up.
*We still have one total dead zone: North Dakota. Oh North Dakota how you mock me.
*Delaware is shady as fuck too.
November 12, 2013
And funny to me I have to share it.
Also I am not even going to tell you how many “Now I’m pissed off” blog posts are in the Celluloid Blonde archives that I never pushed “publish” on. But they are in there.
[Thanks to Ana Maria Montoya for sharing it.]
14 Ways to Tick Off a Writer
~by Rebecca Makkai
~originally published on Ploughshares
“I love throwing rocks at tigers in the zoo,” you say, “but now that the weather’s cold, I need an indoor activity.” Look no further. Writers are fun and easy to annoy. Minimum effort, maximum rage. Try these 14 simple tricks, and you might never need to pay for the Large Cat House again.
1) Go on Amazon and give the book one star because “the plastic wrapping was slightly ripped when it arrived from the seller.”
2) Ask what the new book’s about. After the writer answers, say, “Oh, that sounds exactly like that T. C. Boyle book that came out last year. Have you read that? You have to read it! Yours sounds exactly like it!”
3) When interviewing an author on the radio, make sure to give the wrong title for her book. Just wrong enough….
November 11, 2013
A martial arts class once, and the ancestor master from China was there.
There is a serious hierarchy in martial arts, and this man was THE ancestor of the classroom I was in.
I was a baby in that class. It was Wing Tsun.
Someone showed me how to do a move. I tried it. And got it wrong.
The master tapped me hard on the clavicle and said, “Learn.”
Here’s something I notice about writing instructors in the US.
We don’t tap someone on the clavicle after the first mishap and say, “Learn.”
We repeat ourselves about five times going in in the hopes they’ll get it right the first time and then, we cajole them after they get it wrong and repeat.
And repeat again.
I wonder sometimes what would happen if I just punched someone in the clavicle and said “Learn.”
I’m pretty sure my students would say I already do this.
But I really don’t.
November 4, 2013
A doctor handed me a bottle of pills once. Well did not “hand” them to me. Prescribed them. I was in a pretty bad place. They were supposed to fix my head. That bottle was full of pills too.
I didn’t take them.
I sat on them for three months. Then I flushed them.
Later someone told me that bottle of pills was worth a lot of money on the street and I should have sold them. I guess I flushed $1,000 street value in pills.
I didn’t care. I cared that I didn’t take them.
I cared that my head worked. Or didn’t — but in ways I understood.
If you’re an artist, if you’re a creative, you fear the fuck out of anything changing the stream in your head. You can’t afford to fix anything because it might break what matters.
Doctors thought I was dying. They handed me a bottle of pills. Okay, not “handed,” prescribed.
They said, “You must take these.” I said, “Do they effect your head? Your thoughts?” They said, “Sure, they’ll totally fuck up your head, but you’ll be alive.”
I said, “I have to finish a script, I’m not taking your head poison.”
I didn’t take those pills. I flushed them too.
See a pattern?
There are a lot of stories about writers who break. Or maybe not break. Maybe they were broken going in. But who… collapse under the damage.
I know why.
Writers fear being “fixed.”
“Fixing” a writer might mean breaking what is important and matters. That ability to reach into the ether and touch and bring back a piece of God.
We do that.
We reach into the ether and touch and bring back a piece of God.
Writers don’t know how or why we have that gift. But we are scared as hell changing anything about us will take that away.
That’s why there are so many broken writers.
We are afraid to fix anything. That might break our bridge to God.
November 3, 2013
I ran into —
Joanne Lammers at Austin Film Festival. Joanne is a friend and really cool and is the Director of the Archive at Writer’s Guild of America.
I have known Joanne more years than I will say in public but to put it in perspective, one of those babies was a bump in a hot dress at a big awards ceremony when we first met.
Joanne was out at AFF with a really cool WGA exhibit featuring archives like Billy Wilder’s original scripts and the typewriter the original Psycho was written on. [That type writer weighs like a hundred pounds too so kiss your laptap and say "Thank you dear God, that I live in a time in which moving the writing machine does not include a hernia and blow up donut" --- also they didn't have blow up hernia donuts back then either, those poor bastards.]
One of the things Joanne said to me was how surprised she was a lot of exhibit guests [and people lined up around the block so I give credit for that, that is pretty cool, but still, there's a question here] and these exhibit guests are, you know, “writers”? How many of them looked at script pages in the presentation and and looked mystified and said, Wow I didn’t know they wrote what the characters were actually doing in the scenes.
This of course confused Joanne because she was wondering, Well what are these people writing or even doing at a writer’s conference if they don’t know that? And, haven’t they ever read a script before? Because all scripts — okay, all good scripts — do that.
People trying to write scripts who have never read scripts was not as much confusing or mystifying to me because even though it is totally confusing and mystifying that anyone would actually attempt to write a script without actually reading one? Ever?
[Isn't that like trying to write a symphony without learning how to read sheet music? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?]
I have been around on the internet long enough to know it happens. Over and over again. [I blame Final Draft! Anyone can write a movie! Just buy this software! Ahhh!] I also have seen the appalling statements online that go something like, “Oh I don’t write anything that characters do physically or that actually happens in scenes physically or describe any settings or action at all, the director will do that and I would be stepping on his toes if I put that in.
Really? Writing the movie would be “stepping on the director’s toes”? Because, you know, no movie? In the real world, no movie on the page usually spells, no director signs up to direct. But I digress. Bottom line —
You should wonder, if you aren’t writing action or setting descriptions or what characters are doing or, you know, a movie? What is the director actually supposed to sign on to direct?
I’ve never met a director who wanted to write the script for the writer since the writer didn’t actually write it. I meet a lot of directors who want to change the fuck out of an existing script. Just not so many who want to write the script that doesn’t exist.
Let’s ask a real question. In a poll. Yay!
How many film scripts have you read?
October 20, 2013
The most difficult things for me to do is designate.
I have people to designate to, too. They are qualified. The are smart. They can do the work.
Also I pay them to be smart, to be qualified, and to do the work.
I made videos of how to do the work for these smart designated people too.
Seriously those vids are so in depth those smart designated people could follow those vids and keep things going if I were dead.
For a long time.
Here’s the thing. I am faster. Doy. I am immediate. Doy. I created the matrix they are in. Doy.
So a lot of the time, the impulse is, rather than send a note telling someone to do something? Just do it.
I suspect that “do it” impulse rather than “designate it” impulse is killing me.
One person cannot do everything and it is insanity to not hand work off to smart capable people who can do the work.
I do give myself points for hiring those people in the first place. Okay I don’t always hand work off to them. But I did freaking hire them.
That totally points on some level to a sense of self preservation.