January 6, 2016
The forum is not, technically, all that neglected. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes in private workshop and classroom forums. But the public forum is terribly neglected.
I blame this on the great forum explosion of 2010. There was so much mad scrambling to do damage control and retrieval for the workshop and classes during that melt down, the public forum just got completely left in the scrambled tatters and never picked up again.
But there is a public forum.
It is a bit tragic is is so under utilized.
It exists pretty much entirely in one forum:
You can check out some of the topics if you’re inclined:
February 25, 2015
This is insanely awesome. In 1982, three 11 year olds in Mississippi fell in lover with Raiders of the Lost Ark so they decided to remake it! Watch —
January 8, 2015
In 1988, the Ayatollah Khomeini put a price on author Salmon Rushdie’s head. Rushdie wasn’t wanted “dead or alive.” Khomeini wanted Rushdie dead. I don’t know what the original price tag was for one dead author, but as of 2013, the price on Rushdie’s head was over 3 million pounds.
The Ayatollah is gone. The prices on artists’ heads are not.
In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot dead on a busy Amsterdam street. The first bullet took Theo off his bicycle. He tried to make it across the street. Theo’s murderer followed him on foot and shot him again. Then Theo’s murderer slashed Theo’s throat and stuck a letter to his chest with a knife. Theo was 47 years old. His crime was a short fiction film aired on Dutch public television depicting a Muslim woman’s difficulties in an arranged marriage.
In 2005, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s drawing of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban put him on Islam’s hit list. There have been multiple attempts to murder Kurt. He lives in a home rivaling a Brinks security office and under police protection to this day.
Also in 2005, Danish publication Jyllands-Posten’s former editors Carsten Juste and Flemming Rose made the hit list – for publishing Westergaard’s drawing.
In 2006, Swedish artist Lars Vilks made Islam’s hit list. He, like Rushdie and Wetergaard, is still alive. He sleeps with an axe by his bed.
In 2010, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker received death threats for their depiction of Muhammad in a bear suit in their animated cartoon. They were assured they too were on the road to Theo van Gogh’s fate. A photo of Theo with his throat slit and a knife in his chest was attached just to make things festive. The South Park guys are still breathing. Probably because stations caved and censored a lot of the episode.
In 2010, in response to the South Park threats, Seattle artist Molly Norris, who worked for a Seattle paper, publicly suggested an “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” Molly received so may death threats she quit her job, fled Seattle, and changed her name. As far as I know, she’s still in FBI protective custody.
In 2011, the Paris offices of satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo were firebombed, forcing the publication to move after its offices were destroyed. Editor Stephane Charbonnier, you guessed it, was on Islam’s hit list. Had been for a while, fending off litigation and death threats. Charlie Hebdo’s crime? A few satirical and not particularly tasteful cartoons featuring Muhammad.
Apparently Muhammad seriously does not have a sense of humor because In 2015, armed men stormed Charlie Hebdo’s new Paris offices with automatic weapons and shot Stephane Charbonnier and 11 other people dead.
There is now an Al Queada Most Wanted poster being passed around the internet showing Charbonnier’s face struck out in red.
Think about that. These murderers, these serial murderers, don’t just keep little photos of their victims to themselves they can cross your face off of. They put your photo on the fucking internet. With a big red X through it.
THAT is fucking blaspheme.
The above is the short list. There are more.
And that’s a long time span.
17 years. For 17 years, artists, filmmakers, satirists, journalists, comics, authors, editors, gallery owners have been threatened, attacked, murdered in the name of defending the honor of a man who heard voices in a cave and has been dead for 1500 years. In Switzerland. Sweden. The US. France. Denmark. All over the fucking globe, artists are targeted, intimidated, threatened, and murdered.
A few bad apples, I am told. Most of Islam is not like that, I am told. Most Muslims are just nice people trying to go about their daily lives, I am told.
You know what a few bad apples are? The Unibomber. He was a bad apple, with a couple buddy bad apples.
This is a fucking orchard.
It’s time to burn that orchard down.
The Silencing of Theo van Gogh
FBI Warns Seattle Cartoonist About Threats
Salman Rushdie bounty increased amid anti-Islam film controversy
Al-Qaida’s ‘dead artist club’
Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier crossed off chilling al-Qaeda hitlist
Swedish Police Hide Threatened Cartoonist
Seattle Cartoonist in Hiding After Death Threats
The Danish Cartoonist Who Survived An Axe Attack
Jihad Against Danish Newspaper
South Park censored after threat of fatwa over Muhammad episode
France manhunt: Police raid homes, arrest several suspects after Charlie Hebdo massacre
Paris Killers Got Wrong Door Before ‘Decapitating’ Magazine
Satirical Magazine Is Firebombed in Paris
November 10, 2014
This is pretty cool. I’d be there if I were in L.A. It’s the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Awards Presentation & Live Read this Thursday and tickets are free.
February 27, 2014
Showed up on Jezebel the other day, all about women needing stronger [or at least with better dialogue] roles in Hollywood. [I’ll give you the link later, hang in there.] It features a youtube clip of actress and producer Olivia Wilde.
[From House, you punks, start reading the fucking credits.]
It’s titled “Olivia Wilde Crushes It When She Talks About Women in Hollywood.”
Olivia Wilde totally does crush it too. [I’ll give you that link too if you stick around.]
[Stop scrolling, you attention deficit bastards, there is method to my madness.]
The problem is the Jezebel writer, Hillary Crosley, doesn’t “crush it.”
[Sorry, Hillary, I’m sure you’re a lovely person.]
Here is how Hillary’s “go girls” article ends:
“First you get the producers, then you get the power, then you get the women.”
Cute. But. No. Though it is a darling twist on the protest quote “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
That is Gandhi right?
Hollywood is not Occupy Wall Street. Hollywood is a corporate living breathing high school metaphor — that is supposed to make a profit, not topple banking corruption or withstand pepper spray in New York parks. And the emphasis there though it should maybe be on “high school” is on “make a profit.” As in “huge fucking profit.” And if you don’t get that? You don’t get Hollywood.
In Hollywood, producers don’t bring in the money – or the power.
Producers in Hollywood are matchmakers. They match talent [actors, actresses, directors, writers] with projects [books, adaptations, concepts, specs] and studios [studios are the purse that is highly corporate and also linked into more corporate deals like “distribution” which is often with other studios and often highly problematic and is also another subject entirely that would take a whole other post so moving on].
Or, using another metaphor, let’s pretend we’re planning a home coming dance.
Yay! Back to high school!
Producers are the party planners. Producers bring everyone together, but producers in Hollywood aren’t paying for the dance or directing the dance. They are just matching all the right players up so it sounds like a really fun party and everyone goes, “Hey, great party, fuck, everyone will come, let’s do it!” Then the studios supply the cash and you know, if you’re bankrolling the party, that gives you some say. But if you throw [bankroll] a party and no one comes to the party [no cover charges, no drink sales, ahhh!]? Like, the homecoming queen and king say, Fuck you, dead party, we’re going to the country club instead?
Dead in the water.
So that’s why the [prom queen] talent can have more clout than the studio [bank roll]. The talent [prom queen] is the core of the equation. Because if the prom queen boycotts your party?
No fucking party.
Did the metaphor work?
So the power, making Hollywood films? Resides with studios [the money], and with talent [the people the studios will throw money into a project with because if those people boycott future parties?, no more parties].
So how does this all boil down in terms of hot female lead and hot dialogue for female characters projects in Hollywood?
You don’t go to the producer. You go to the toughest female Hollywood talent on the block, with or without tats, they have served their time and fought their way up through the hierarchy and have the clout.
This does not mean producers are not important. Producers are crazy important. Mostly the party would not even happen without producers. But do you know who Gale Anne Hurd is? [God I hope so but doubt it. Go IMDB you fools. Ahhh!] How about Robert Evans? [No? Ahhh!]
In other words, Miss Crosley? You got it wrong.
You want to make hot female driven projects? You do not start with “the producers.” You start with the toughest women in Hollywood.
And when I say “tough,” I don’t mean prison tats. I mean, they are the prom queens of Hollywood. They have such powerful track records with the studios, have starred in so many films that made the studios so much money, if they say, I want to make this or star in this or produce this or direct this? The studio suits will say, “I can’t risk you not showing up at my next party, I will write this check.”
There is a caveat.
[There always fucking is a caveat. This is Hollywood. Bummer.]
“If this party fails, you go to Tough Hollywood Babe With Clout Jail” and stop making me fund parties no one shows up to.”
That means the tough girls in Hollywood have something to lose every single time they back something. See, if the suits get really pissed? They could screw up that other thing we don’t have time to talk about — distribution. And something we haven’t even mentioned here — promotion. And to cannon ball past all that? That’s a lot of effort. And why would they do that for another woman instead of for themselves making profit off a film that is important to them, stars them, and will keep them and their film career alive another decade or more?
And that’s another subject that would make this post too long. So. Let’s go back to the original point.
You want more women dominated films in Hollywood? You want better roles for women in film? You want better dialogue for women in films? You don’t talk to the party planner [producers]. You talk to the prom queens [tough ass kicker women actors and directors and writers in Hollywood — and the big prom queens are the actresses, you can’t fire them halfway through principal photography without dropping millions, everyone else is fungible].
Wait, I promised you the Olivia Wilde clip too. Here you go yay!:
Also, I should link you to the Jezebel piece. Sigh:
PS: Dear Jezebel Peeps: If you need someone who actually understands Hollywood on the payroll? Hit my link. If I’m too busy or expensive? I’ll refer you.
November 9, 2013
Amazing I still have this photo? That is Mr. Butts in his rocket pack. Originally he had a globe helmet he wore for the movie but the helmet photos were too smoky for the magazine so we gave him a space hat and put his space pack on him to shoot these for the Dog Fancy article.
I am holding anchovi pizza off camera to get this pose [every dog has his weakness] while Fabiana Cesa who I went to film school with and who is great with a camera shoots the pictures.
Mr. Butts was a major player in Plan 10 From Outer Space directed by Trent Harris starring Karen Black which I crewed on in college.
There is an entire Dog Fancy article and also a Cinefantastique article on Mr. Butts [yeah yeah yeah, you didn’t think I was paying tuition in college?] if I get time I will put them up and link them in. For now, you just get the really sweet dog. Also, the “Holy Mother of Christ, no tongue, Mr. Butts!” story is not currently online. But could be. If you ask nice.
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?
August 27, 2013
So foolishly Saturday night I went dancing in totally inappropriate shoes. [Hey, I did not know I was going dancing, I thought I was going to a comedy club. And I did that too. The dancing was a surprise event that came after.] Then for good measure, I trotted up and down unfriendly stairs in said inappropriate shoes, did two shots of some really suspicious cinnamon flavored brew, and slammed my [bad, okay, they are both bad, but I picked the most bad for this stunt] knee into a hard surface just to bring that baby home.
The knee is not feeling very forgiving. My knees have never been forgiving. In the words of a past ortho doc, “So pretty on the outside, so ugly on the inside.” So I am a little hobbled here, but hey, the knee has not demanded the knee brace yet. Ooh la la, I can still wear shorts and pretty dresses — if I don’t go crazy on the shoes. [Yeah, don’t count on that.]
Meanwhile, in other news. If you were planning on that free bumper sticker with swag, you missed out. That ended Sunday. But the swag is still cool, free [bribe!] bumper sticker or not, and there is cool new book news on the horizon.
:::THE BOOK::: is now available at Book People [Austin], Book Soup [West Hollywood], Cinema Books [Seattle], Samuel French [Hollywood], and coming soon to Trident Booksellers and Cafe [Boston]. Yay!
[Check out :::WHERE TO BUY::: for the current list of booksellers.]
Also we’re talking to Book Soup about an author event. That would seriously be yay, though involve [uh ohs] me getting on a plane.
And in other cool ass news, knee willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be playing softball in the upcoming Gridiron Heroes Celebrity Softball Tournament September 13-14 in Schertz Texas [that’s by San Antonio for the geographically impaired] so if you want to see mind over matter, come out to the Gridiron Heroes event and watch me run on this punk ass knee. Yay!
I promise to wear appropriate foot wear and swing that bat. Also I throw in home via Second and yell “Not the face!” a lot [my short stop days are over shut up] and should be doing a fabulous Kirk Gibson impression from the year The Dodgers brought that baby home. Except I’m shorter and blonder. Bottom line, It should be entertaining as hell, if you like to see small blondes run and curse a lot.
AND. It’s for a :::DAMN GOOD CAUSE:::
See you there.
Your Gridiron Heroes Adams Girl
*BTW, we have done hot crazy Gridiron Hero action here before. Oh yez, last year we did the hot poker tournament and auction. Stop in. We’re not going anywhere.
February 28, 2013
Julie is one of my students. I would love to take credit for everything she has accomplished, but I can’t. I am her teacher, I guide. I’m a good teacher and a good guide. Hell, I’m a good writer, if it comes down to that. But. A guide can only guide someone willing to be guided who has drive to push through. I could be walking someone up Kilimanjaro, but it would not do any good if that person said, Oh I’m tired now, I think I’ll turn back. And it wouldn’t do any good if I said, Hey, try to avoid that edge. And the person being guided didn’t listen to me and walked over the edge. So there is this fine line of taking credit for the student’s accomplishments. Because, if the student isn’t special, well all the guiding in the world won’t stop that student from quitting or walking over that edge.
That said? I’m mad cap proud of Julie Howe. Here is her recent post on the Austin Film Festival blog:
AFF GUEST BLOG: JULIE HOWE IN SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT HEAVEN:
I know what you’re thinking. “She must be directionally confused, poor thing.” But hear me out because I actually do own a compass and know the difference between north and south.
When Matt Dy first rang me back in 2010 to say Joyce San Pedro, a producer based at Sony and an AFF judge and panelist, wanted to meet with me about my script, I was thinking he must have meant to call someone else — some OTHER writer who may have had the same last name as me — and he hit my number by mistake. Happens, right? Thankfully, it wasn’t a butt dial.
I’m one of those lucky writers who caught a break thanks to Austin Film Festival; as well as to an army of fellow writers who were generous and kind, brutal and honest, and most of all just plain supportive. As a result, my 2010 AFF comedy script is in development with Joyce San Pedro and Alex Siskin. It’s not a studio deal; it’s a handmade independent production deal. And I didn’t leave the baby on the doorstep and walk away. Instead, I made an arrangement with the producers that included involvement from start to finish. I wanted to learn, I wanted to know what it was really like to make a movie, to be part of a team. I didn’t know if I would be chewed up and spit out like a stale Chiclet or be able to hold my own. Not to mention being able to hold my tongue when necessary while still holding true to my vision.
As luck would have it, I was taken under the wings of the good guys and I’m thanking the gods of screenwriting I didn’t end up stuck to the bottom of somebody’s Nike. Those who championed the script from the beginning, Joyce San Pedro. Michael-Ryan Fletchall and Alex Siskin, opened the door for me and I ran through it like my hair was on fire. Let’s face it, I’m not a kid. I’m staring down the point-blank barrel of middle age. I want my shot before Medicare kicks in or I start thinking my purse belongs in the refrigerator.
I owe my tenacious attitude not only to the opportunity afforded me by Austin Film Festival but also to an amazing writer’s group called 5150 whose founder Max Adams, won the screenplay award when AFF was a pup. From the beginning of my tenure in the group, Austin Film Festival was touted as THE festival. Everyone in the group aspired to place well in the screenplay competition. Needless to say, winning was unbelievable and surreal. Like I had brought home 5150’s version of the Stanley Cup (yeah, I’m from a hockey state!). I would not be where I am without the help and guidance of these wickedly smart, talented peeps.
Although this all sounds like rah-rah cheerleader fluff…