Monday, December 28, 2015

Star wars, among other things.

 Just a bunch of thoughts for that in-between time between 2015 andn 2016.

Watched George Lucas being interviewed by Charlie Rose and being almost Lucas's age I remembered very much the origin of Star Wars and who it's for.

Like most kids in the late 1950's, I went to see western movies which were the equivalent of today's action movies like Fast and Furious and super heros. But there was also something called serials.

Serials were sort of like a TV show, except they were shown in movie theaters before the

movie. They were usually around 10 minutes and always featured the hero ending up having to jump off a cliff or trapped in a mine with dynamite blowing up. 

The idea was - will he survive, or will he save the girl. We loved this little features which would often have twelve to fifteen "episodes". Most of them were from the late 40's and the special effects were very basic.

I remember Flash Gordon, a space serial and Batman also. The cost of these shorts were minimal, space ships looked like toys, probably because they were toys.

But we couldn't wait for the next one.

That's why, when I first saw Star Wars, there was something on the screen that was quite familiar. And that was the title words of what was going on, you know, they were moving away from us on an angle.

That was exactly what all the serials we watched had. 

And when the movie began to play I also realized that what Lucas was doing was exactly the same as those badly made serials. What was different, however, is that the technology was definitely far superior. 

Everything in Star Wars was a grand version of those serials.

And Lucas didn't forgot the western movies, Han Solo has his gun in a holster. A "homage" of the classic western gunfighter. 

And I liked it. But I also realized it was really made for kids. Just like the serials.

That's what Lucas wanted. He agrees that adults go to see Star Wars, I'm going this afternoon after the rush, but that this new movie was still meant for kids.

Lucas also was giving up kid movies and is now going to make adult movies, of which he can finance himself, given that Disney paid billions of dollars for the Star Wars franchise. So get ready for Star Wars 8 and more.

And Disney is already building a Star Wars ride on their Disneylands.

Everything old is new, as they say. They might look bad to you, but we loved them for what they were... stories out of this world.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Not what we're looking for...

Well, I just had my nice little TV pilot by Amazon. And in less than 12 hours.


I wasn't really sure about Amazon and how they judge anything. Especially when pros and amateurs are shoved in together. But that's what the future is.

I didn't really understand how their system works but it's obviously in favor of the pro's, of which I am. They just didn't really like my idea.

Not the first time. And it won't be the last.

I'm going to give you a link so you can read it too. And tell me what you think. 
Or not.

But I'm not finished yet, I do have some more contacts that can show the piece around and hopefully find someone who likes it.

Because that's what it's all about. Here's a great sample;

I wrote my Christmas story 6 years ago. It ended up on a pile of scripts at Hallmark. Several good directors offered to make it. But Hallmark said "No." Nothing happened until, 3 years passed and I got a call from someone.

She was a development exec/producer and said she really liked the script and wanted to make it. I said okay. She said "Who do I speak to?" I gave her my agent's name. She said okay. Just like that. 

But before she hung up I asked her why did my script sit on the shelf for 3 years. She said she found it and liked it a lot and thus Hallmark surrendered and decided to make it.

I asked why she liked it. 

Get ready.

Because the teenage girl in my script was just like her daughter.

That's why The Town Christmas Forgot was made.

Her daughter.

That's why I know I will sell the pilot. Sooner or later.

But back to the snub.

I don't really know how Amazon decides on a project. When I arrived here in 1990, my new agent set up meetings with literally every studio and network. I would show up, they'd offer coffee or water and we would talk.

I forgot to mention it, but I had a really good script, Emperor of Mars, that everyone loved. You've probably heard this before, but EOM was optioned 6 times. Twice with me as the director.

It was because they wanted to see me. They didn't decide on a project where they never saw the writer.

But that's what the algorithm or:

Extrapolation is an estimation of a value based on extending a known sequence of values or facts beyond the area that is certainly known.

That's what killed my pilot. 
You figure it out.

Sadly, those of you who read this blog are going to face whatever that sentence means and not get introduced to agents unless you're already famous. Or at least have a friend who's famous. Or almost famous.

 So for the rest of this year, I'm finishing up my travel book, which I probably mention too much.

I'm trying to figure out how to put a link to my script so that you can read it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

4 Movies you should see - really.

Last Thursday while going back and forth on netflix and finding nothing, I discovered one of my forgotten favorite movies, Beautiful Girls. I can watch that movie over and over.

So what?

Over the past few days and talking to a few friends comprised of two writers, a director, two actors, an agent, a comedian and a locations manager.

They all agreed.

Here's what I figured out. Beautiful Girls is part of a group of four movies that have a lot of the same story, yet each of them is really good by themselves. And there is a strong connection. They are (in connection) a really good version of at least three generations.

American Graffiti 1973
Diner 1982
The Breakfast Club 1985
Beautiful Girls 1996

All of these movies are very similar to each other but the casts are very different, the 60's movie was basically my teenage story. Following that Diner was my brother's movie, The Breakfast Club was showing distance from my world, but not really. Beautiful Girls wraps it all up.

Let's look at each one closer;

American Graffitti made a lot of stars from that movie, including Richard Dreyfuss and of course, Harrison Ford and Ronny Howard who graduated from the Andy Griffith Show and to become a successful director himself. And at least a dozen others who went to movies and TV series. 

Graffiti was about graduating from high school, going out into the world that was waiting to tear you apart. We were the JFK people, three assassinations before 1970. Graffiti was just before that, when America was ready to go to the moon. And they did, but at a cost.

Diner was what happened to the graduates that followed my boomer generation. They were GenX and Diner reflected very much the same as Graffiti, the music was different but the story of a group of people was very much identical.  

The big names of Diner were Kevin Bacon, Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, all still working. Again it was built around males, rather than females, but that's the time it was. I think women have not yet caught up.

Breakfast Club, set in one day of highschool. And again a group of high school teens who were being punished. This time the cast was more mixed, although no ethic groups. That would come later. Actors in it were Emilio Estevzz (Charley Sheen's younger brother) and Molly Ringwald had reasonable runs in the business, but the others quickly dropped off.

Then Beautiful Girls with Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon and a small part for Uma Thurman. This story was about a group of guys again facing thirty eventually. Like Diner, they were of working man stock, not rich nor having any chance of it. The highlight of Beautiful Girls, however, was a 15-year old girl playing 13. Natalie Portman. She steals the movie (below).

Like Jennifer Lawrence does now.

So there you go. I could have mentioned Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but that wasn't a group like the ones I've mentioned. I also considered The Big Chill which probably could have squeezed into this group.

Then there was the music.

American Graffiti blasts every other movie, it had early 60's rock and roll every minute of the movie, and not just parts. It was wall-to-wall music so I won't even start, it would take another page.

Diner had similar music, maybe a lot more Black music being that the movie was set in Baltimore whereas Graffiti was in very white northern California farmland. 

Breakfast Club was set "somewhere" in Illinois and had GenX music although some Cream in there. By now the music industry realized that using real music from bands and singers could bring money. When American Grafitti got a ton of songs, the music industry realized that money was to be made. 

Now, if you want 30 seconds of a 60's song it could cost $100,000.

Beautiful Girls was set in Minnesota in winter. It had a combination of music, Billy Preston, Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" and "oldtimer" Neil Diamond. Otherwise the rest of the music was from bands nobody heard of.

So there you go.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Bad day

Started off with a bad day, or as my dad used to say, "gdsob". You can probably figure that one out. First my schedule didn't print right, on my inkjet. It printed my weekly schedule every day for three years but today, just thin lines.

Then I attempted to burn a CD (yes, an antique) but neither my PC nor my iMac would burn, saying that the 3 CD's I bought at a drug store wasn't empty? 

Again; gdsob.

Then, I tried calling a woman at the Canadian writer's guild aka WGC of whom I have been trying to contact for four months. No answer there either.

It's gonna be one of those mornings... or day's... or weeks?

Last night I went to the WGA Christmas Party at one of those in-crowd hip/hop places that I wouldn't be caught dead in. And at $13 a drink (we got a ticket for one beer or glass of wine) I wasn't about to give this joint much money. 

I usually go with a friend of mine who coaxes me, but there are few real hot writers hanging around, and a lot of episodic types that I don't know. The place was on the 4th floor of that huge building on Highland and Hollywood Blvds and the street, at 5pm was packed with tourists and those sad people who dress up as Marilyn or pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars Wookies and the Dark guy. 

There was even a Chaplin guy, looked remarkably real. 

They do this for money, getting people to pay a few bucks to show people at home they stood with a fake movie star.

I'm putting my effort on the travel book I'm writing, you know, "How To Not Get Beat-Up In A Small-Town Bar". Today and this week, I have to work so I can put it up in early January.

More on this later. Something else isn't working...



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Getting behind and everyone's gone anyways

Got a little carried away with last week's holiday thing, even though I'm Canadian and our Thanksgiving is the 2nd Monday in October. So I get two Thanksgivings, eh?

What I mean above by "everyone's gone" is that it seems each year, the spread between American Thanksgiving and Christmas is getting smaller and smaller. The joke is that everyone is preparing their winter clothes for Aspen.

Well, I'm not going to Aspen.

I'll be lucky if anyone even asks me to come with them. Besides, who wants to hang around with famous celebrities and studio execs who don't want to hire women directors.

What I was and am doing is putting my web site for a book I'm writing. I figured this is the best time to put the whole show together. A refresher --

My "book" is a collection of short stories about my escapades traveling the lonesome highways and finding great truckstops and people who tell me about their lives. Again, my title is a little long;

How To Not Get Beat-Up In A Small-Town Bar

I finished the book in September and dragged it along for two months before I started to do my crowdfunding thing.

Crowdfunding - this is where anyone who needs money or who doesn't want to spend their money can raise money. Kickstarter is the big boy on the block and indiegogo is also big. What they do is give you a forum where people can donate money to your cause.

And it's legal. 

There are a few charlatans that show up but for the most part, it's pretty good for anyone who wants to create an invention or anything where start-up money is needed. 

Movies can be made this way; two years ago or so "they" raised $5 million to make a new movie of Veronica Mars, which was a series way back. 

But I'm not asking for that much. 
I just want $3200.00
And I won't get any of it, probably.

So that's what I'm doing now. Putting my crowdfunder together. I have a great artist who is doing pencil sketches for each of my stories. In addition I have to get someone who knows how to format everything to Amazon.

So what about the money? Who gives it to you?
They go to my website at and donate.


That's the catch. It's basically the same as the big companies work except that there's a limit on crowdfunding. 

So Monday and Tuesday I shot an opening in which I talk about why I need their help to make this happen.

Did you ever have to say something brilliant in less than 1 minute?

It took me 18 times to get it down -- the first day. Then Tuesday I didn't like Monday's so I redid it again. 

It's hard.

So anyways, that's what I'm doing until Christmas.

Oh... if you happen to be interested, I will be offering copies of my screenwriting book as a "Perk." You know, something special. Perks can be anything, and in my case it's copies of my two books as well as photographs and other stuff I haven't figured out yet.

So, sorry to be late, today I'm continuing this damn thing.

Besides, I don't ski anymore anyways. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

The "Others"

A week or so ago I received email from the Writer's Guild (WGA) of which I am a member. For the record I'm also in the Canadian writer's guild, WGC. I get emails from both but this time it came close to home, from WGA.

Once a year, WGA arranges to possibly find work for the following under the category of the following people;
Minority writers
Writers with disabilities
Women writers
Writers age 55 and over
LBGT writers.

In plain speak, this is the WGA's way of saying they're helping the above categories. And where do I come in?

Writers age 55 and over.

Or as my woman writer friend says, "older men are now in with women writers."

So what am I going to do? Well, go for it, eh. I am over 55, I think maybe 98 but that's more like I feel.

So what is it all about?

It means that all of the above can send in a TV script and or a spec script and maybe a screenplay, I'm not sure of all of it.

Who do they/me send it to?

To current showrunners, people who are writer/producers. They're the people who make decisions as to who to hire and who to fire and who deals with the networks and other stuff. 

But first it goes thru WGA biz and then the showrunners will read all of the submissions, maybe a few thousand, maybe less. Then they pick the ones that might have the chops, as they say.

And what happens?

You, me and anyone else of the group can get to meet the showrunners and even maybe get a script deal out of them. Or stay with them forever.

So I sent my S.O.B. script to them. By the way, there are no names on the script, so as to make sure that the showrunners don't know who sent a script and friends don't sneak in.

This is a difficult thing to deal with in another way. Everyone on that list above is valid for this kind of deal. But most of them are unhappy about one category.

Writers over 55.

Why? Because we're the majority group - men - old men. 

So is it fair? Remember there are no names on the scripts so showrunners don't know if the script they read is from an LGBT writer or an old man or an angry woman. And they are angry. 

There's a great article in last weeks LA Weekly about it and I'm going to try to post it on my blog later.

What do I think? I think I have a greater chance being a man since there's more of us than the other groups. Having said that I will now realize I have lost my chances. A Catholic thing. Don't brag.

But I am a good writer for women's roles, and I can verify it. Jody Foster's company, Smart Egg called me in because they didn't believe a man wrote a screenplay they were contemplating. If you want more, I can send that too.

It's a tough one, and I really wouldn't want to be in any of the other groups, I like where I am. 

But whomever wins a shot with some showrunners, we're a lot better than DGA aka Director's Guild of America. 

They're not doing anything like WGA at all. My director friend over 60 is very angry because nobody hires him anymore.

But he's done well for himself, and doesn't really need the money. Just a movie now and then.

So should I take a potential writing job from a woman because the majority of writers over 55 are probably twenty times as many as women. Maybe forty or fifty times?
First of all, there is no guarantee for me to get a job.

And since the scripts have no names, it's pretty hard to see who gets a job.

One story; I was working on a series in Vancouver with two male writers and a female intern writer. I was there for 2 weeks and noticed immediately that the two male writers had the girl running for coffee and errands.  On the third day I took her aside and told her to tell them to get their own coffee and all the other crap.

She slowly did that, with my help and ended up in my office learning a few things here and there. I left after the 2 weeks and she thanked me for the help. Ten years later I saw her at a studio and she was now a showrunner herself. And she did remember me, very much.

So you can't say that I was one of those jerks.   

But I've said this more than once and I repeat it;

The best thing about writers is that they can write. They don't need actors or crews or directors! Everyone else on the crew has to be hired, the actors, the camera "people" and the director. Writers however, depending on how much money they have or need, can always write and sell something.

I've sold five spec scripts and have about twenty more hanging on "the shelf."

Content, as Machio Kaku says, will always be needed a hundred years from now. 

Writers don't need anyone in order to write a story. Just a reasonably working laptop or whatever.

Remember, they need us more than we need them.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A smile for Paris

Like all of us, I was really upset with the terrorists who took so many innocent lives. My French producer lives in central Paris said his close friend took a bullet but fortunately is recovering. 

The producer (and director) will be making my script Chase (La Poursuite).

It's a very difficult issue, living here in the U.S. and Canada. Canada is especially distant from most of the world's troubles and mostly because Canada isn't familiar to most troubled places.

I was in Paris four years ago with my brother and found a nice little hotel in the Republique area just off Blvd St. Denis and stayed for a week. We had the perfect Paris experience, I hadn't been there since I was working in Luxembourg on a film.

I also met some Algerian men, I think I mentioned this in a past blog. Anyways, Dave and I would wrap up each evening with a few glasses of wine. Each night, I noticed a barber shop for Africans and also noticed that the barber shop was always loud. Lots of arguments. 

On our last night I decided to go across the alley and ask them what the arguments were. That's when one of them, a big guy, approached me and pointed saying I was John Malkovich. I said no, but he said yes.

He took me inside, introduced me and suggested all of us go for wine at that little place Dave and I went to. I found out that the arguments were about sports and politics interestingly enough. 

Etonne, the big Algerian said it was hard to get jobs there. And BobX, the barber shop owner was always afraid he might lose the barber shop. The others also felt it was difficult to make a living. But for now, we were all friends, I think there may have been one who was suspicious but when I showed him my 4-yr old pic he had to laugh.

It's the photo on the blog cover, how could you not like that kid?

Sadly, it occurred to me Friday, my brother emailed and wondered how those Africans were doing, and realizing it would even be harder for them, as employment was rare. I wish I had a solution. 

And I wish I can see them again sometime soon to drink and laugh and talk about our lives, good and bad.

Anyways, I'll post something else in the next day or two.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The long and short of TV series.

A long time ago a TV show consisted of 39 episodes for a full season. As of today, we're looking at possibly 2 or 3 episodes for the season.

It seems that the networks are realizing that if a new TV show comes on air, and gets bad ratings, they used to dump it.

But no more. Why?

Because there could be a market for a dud TV show, it could go to netflix or hulu or all the others, even if it's only a handful of shows. So that great show you and 100 other fans get to watch it again, and get this---

- the buyer might even make a few more episodes. Maybe it was the wrong network, that's all. That's already happened with a few shows. NBC canceled it's Community series and then turned it around to Amazon.

So what's happening is that we all get to see whatever series there is, 26 episodes is/was the usual now with 13 episodes for the first "season" and then, if the ratings are good, it stays. If not then now it can go to some new network just building and they can buy it. And at a cheap rate.

What does it mean?

It means we can see more TV shows than ever. Over and over.

The funny thing is this; other countries have always been doing 4 to 10 episodes for an entire series. Britain is one that does that a lot. They'll do maybe 4 episodes of a series then maybe 4 more next year. You know, those slow-moving 2 hr shows with great English actors?

You can see this now with the smaller networks like TNT, A&E, USA, Bravo and more odd networks coming into view as we speak.

All I want to see are the hundreds of the sixties and seventies TV movies, of which one was Stephen Spielberg's first movie, called Duel. Great movie.

But is it too much?

There's never too much... right? So what's good for writers? After all, this is a writer's blog. 
 It means that there will be need for more writers. And that's a good thing.

Michio Kaku said so. 

Who's he? Well, just one of the most famous theoretical physicists on the planet.  And he says this...

"There will always be need for content"  (or something like that).

Content is writing. So don't worry. Just come up with ideas for the next 5-episode TV series.

And we can watch more TV series.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Town That Christmas Forgot

 Here's one of my Hallmark movies, just in time for Christmas. It's showing from today till Sat 11/14. I thought maybe some of you would like to know how I wrote it.

Many writers make up stories but I find that my stories, which come from real life, are far more entertaining. Once again, the script was made up from real-life. A lot of people said I should write a spec screenplay for Christmas as there's always a good market for Christmas movies. It took a few days to come up with something from my real life and came out in three separate parts.

The story is about a rich family who get trapped in a small town in the mountains when their expensive car broke down and they had to stay overnight as the vital car part had to be brought it. They were stuck.
1. So... the idea of a car breaking down came from a trip I made with my ex-partner and her three kids. We were driving from Eugene, Oregon back to Canada after Christmas holidays with her parents. Somewhere near a town called The Dalles her Ford Maverick suddenly ripped through the car hood.

I couldn't remember how we were rescued but a tow truck came along and took us to a small town where we realized we had to stay overnight so the garage mechanic would fix it. This meant overnight and the tow truck driver was extra friendly, telling us where to stay, where to eat, etc.  My partner's daughter was in a frenzy as she realized she'd be late for New Years while the boys just hung out. Next day it was fixed and we drove on.

2. The next part was the town itself and it came from two sources. First of all, I needed a dying town and this came from a documentary I was filming years ago. My director friend and I stayed in a small coal-mining town that was dying, people moving out, all that.  I also grew up in a small town (539 pop.)3. 

3. And the 3rd part was from my childhood in a very small town where every Christmas we had a big talent show which, in a town of 539 people, had some surprising talent singing, dancing and our finale, the Grade 6'ers would put on a tumbling act.

So this would become the basic idea of the story and I called it Christmas In Nowhere.

That's the whole idea. 

Now I had to change some things;

First, we didn't have an expensive car and we weren't rich but I had to create that family so that they were strangers to the town and they had a different take on it. I also created the townspeople from my own memory of 539 people. Easy.

Secondly, I created several characters who lived in the town and who would interact with our rich people. Then I had to take out one of the real kids and my ex, because three would be too many. So I settled on the 12-yr old girl and 10-yr old boy.

And of course, an old man who looked like Santa and was angry at the town mayor. 

Then I needed more conflict so I decided to copy those talent shows from my home town. But I needed one more thing.

The town mayor said they can't have a Christmas show. But his wife is set on having one.

And that's where the rest of the outsider family enters. 

The wife is on the mayor's wife side.
The husband helps the mechanic.
The daughter finds a nice looking 13-yr old boy.
And the 10-yr old boy discovers that the old Santa and mayor had a bad past.

And so the out-of-town family, because they're more objective, help the town to finally end with the big show.

The script hung around for nearly five years until an exec development person read it and it was made. Someone at the network changed the title to The Town Christmas Forgot.

Here's the list of screenings starting today.

The Town Christmas Forgot (4 days) - Thursday 11/5 (8pm)
                                                                      Friday      11/6      (6am)
                                                                      Friday      11/13    (2pm)
                                                                      Saturday  11/14 (8am) * PST times


Monday, November 2, 2015

This week

Just thought I'd show you my weekly projects status, the top projects are priority, meaning someone might actually want something I have. This page is renewed every Monday, don't know if you can see it up close, I think so.

I sent my S.O.B. pilot to WGA as they have access to showrunners on the basis of minorities. These being women writers, LBGT writers, handicapped writers and of course, over 55 writers which is ME.

If the showrunners like it, I might get a shot. If not, I still have access to people here anyways.

I've always had this sort of "dream list" for years, I renew every Monday as mentioned and I probably focus most on the top names.

One project is one of my oldest scripts and it got a lot of attention for awhile back in 1990 and then forgotten. And last week a director friend suggested I should put it out again because, as he said, it's relative.

So get ready for BURGER ZOMBIES.

Yes, a 25-year old screenplay that was way before the zombie craze. So, maybe someone will want to "jump on the wagon" with me and get the g-damn thing off and running (as my dad would say.)

Here's a poster we did up.

Whattya think, eh?

Does it work for ya?

Or am I too late for a Z-pic?

Actually I should show you some other pieces of "art". 

And here's my 30th anniversary of Ghostkeeper.

The irony here is that the movie is about five people in an empty hotel in deep snow in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. It's a British distributor who decided on doing his version, complete with south american temples and palm trees.

The real version, actually the 30th anniversary is the normal one. 



Monday, October 26, 2015

The disadvantages of writing anything, anymore.

My director friend and I often talk about the fact that we've probably seen every kind of storyline there is. Being boomers, we go back to Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy and of course, Casablanca. We weren't born then, but we got to see them on TV. 

Black & white TV, that is. My parents got their first color TV in 1962.

But adding it all up, we've seen everything at least a dozen times over. I've watched The Searchers for at least fifty times.  And the Three Stooges too.

So does that mean it's all over for writers?

If it's any help, theoretical physiscist Michio Kaku says that there'll always be room for content (aka writers). And there'll always be room for new audiences.

But the only issue that I can see is this; there are supposedly 10,000 screenwriters in WGA, nobody knows the real amount but it's somewhere around there.

And there's a few thousand aspiring writers who graduate in film from college or other schools. And some of them never even wrote a screenplay. Maybe a lot of them.

So, if you're looking at the numbers, don't. It'll just make you sick. Especially when you go to wherein writers leap at any type of writing gig that producers (or supposed producers).

You can find producers looking for writers and for the most part, they want writers who have studio credits or Nichol award writers or anyone who has a script, or wants to write.

The catch is that most of these jobs are also for free.

One producer had these demands for him having interest in your project. But you have to show him your idea and your first draft and the first season's scripts and a co-partner to produce and a deal with a network and and all the arcs for the next two seasons.

My answer would be: What exactly did this producer do for anyone? And in reality he has made one movie and owns trucks for movies. 

The idea of getting writers for free was rare until hundreds of schools and colleges and universities began throwing out screenwriters at a frenzied pace. I know this because I taught UCLA extension classes for screenwriting.

I taught variations of screenwriting which began with a complete screenplay in eight weeks. Of that class, I actually got about ten screenplays from ten of them and the other five almost finished.

My next course, however, was now "the first act" and so on, in which I realized UCLA was extending classes to make more money. We had the first act course, the second act course, etc. etc.

So with all these writers coming out, and already a flood of writers who have never found a job, there are a lot of writers out there.

So where are the jobs that Michio suggests?

It's not on, nor The Black List, nor any of those useless sites.

Some of it is "code", but that's not really writing. 

The only real thing, is to find something that you really like, a story you've always wanted to write or a story you have written. You've read my blog on how I created the spec pilot and how it became real. 

And this is the hardest part. You really have to like your idea, you tell all your friends or anyone who will listen. You have to sleep with it and wake up at night to put down a note or two that you may have dreamed about. I use a little recorder that I've learned how to manipulate in complete darkness.

Your idea has to become your life even if it takes years. My screenplay Emperor of Mars was written in 1989 and has been optioned six times or so, and I still push it. BTW you can read a little of Emperor of Mars on Amazon. I think I have a link on my Stuff on the left side of the blog.

And don't let anyone say it's useless.

Because as long as I have been in the "business", someone has always told me every year for thirty-five years  that "this (fill in the year) year has been the worst there ever was."

And I'm starting a new screenplay in a week.

Monday, October 19, 2015


I didn't really give you the whole idea I was working on, just got carried away with Lost. Lost, the series doesn't really have anything similar to my idea. S.O.B. So why did I watch Lost?

First of all, the full title of my pilot is: S.O.B. - South Of The Boulevard.

And you thought it meant something else.

The term South of the boulevard comes from real estate people who sell properties in Sherman Oaks and Studio City, both are now very expensive. But the salespeople often say it's better south of the boulevard.

This refers to Ventura Boulevard (remembered in Tom Petty's song, Free Falling "All the vampires walking through the valley move west down Ventura Boulevard."

I always wanted to use that term in a story but didn't have anything I liked, except for a small private Investigator office in an alley, now gone. I had a clip the office used to advertise in the LA Times every Friday I think.

Then I reconnected with my ex-wife, Brenda after 26 years, we never really disliked each other and I just lost track of where she was. That happened when her niece found me on FB. Since then my ex and and I email and I visited her twice, all very good.

Then my writer's mind took over.

I had lived with another woman,Carole, and we split up also. And we kept in touch and still do.

Then I wondered what would happen if both women met? Would it be friendly, or quiet or a dozen different things neither of us would even think of.

Then I upped the relationship with some imagination. From here, it's all made up.

What if the husband divorced his first wife, both of them in their 50's. And he remarried a mellennial aged 22. 

Now we have conflict. Right?

But what happens when the husband dies in a hit and run accident?

And then both women are called to read his will. Naturally they don't like each other and the age thing doesn't help. 

But they learn that the husband left his private detective office to them. Would they want it?

What if he had some wacky kind of insurance policy?

The kind that offers $1 million to the two women if they stay with the office for a full year?

There. That's how I created the story,  it all began with that little notice in the LA Times and reconnecting with my first ex. Only took me 20 years. Well, only the P.I. ad. The plot and story took me about 4 months. 

What about Lost?

I watched the episodes, but was more interested in how the writers kept moving it forward although it felt a little desperate. What I got out of it, was how to move a story forward, not that I didn't know it already, but a refresher was due.

And living "off Ventura" gives me all the information I can get, it's all around me.

Now all I have to do is sell it. That might take 20 years.
Or not.