Tuesday, December 20, 2016

First of all...


As some of you long term readers of this blog, there are a bunch of other people that amaze me some time. And just to remember, this blog began in August 2009.

We've been on this 7 years. And a lot of words. For those who just started, you really should go back to the beginning, especially the TV series blogs that lasted for almost a month or so. It was quite a difficult show and a lot of fighting in the writer's room. And also get a chance to see a real movie star of the 60's era and how she saved my life one night in a bar.

The bar scene is also in my book "How Not To Get Beat Up In A Small Town Bar".

Yes, that's the title. The book is about my traveling across U.S. and Canada and even Paris. Stories about the people I met. Check it out on Amazon.

But what's even better is this --

There are a lot of readers on this blog. A lot. Look --



Amazing. 

And I'll buy anyone a coffee when you're in town, or already in town. Any time. Sherman Oaks.

But there's more...

The Ghostkeeper deal is done, we're going to do a Blu-ray version of the film with Code Red distributors. It should be out in the new year.

And another deal is getting more attention. One of my scripts. Wouldn't that be nice for 2017.

Meanwhile, go have Christmas, enjoy with family or friends.

Friday, December 2, 2016

New screenplay to try...


Finally decided on my next spec script. Haven't really written one since S.O.B., the pilot that's running around looking for a home.

In case you forgot, it's about two women who had married the same man, not at the same time. One was in her 50's, the other was 22. And they have inherited their ex husband's a falling apart Private Investigation company. Actually a store-front on Ventura Boulevard.

And the S.O.B. isn't what you think. Rather it is a real estate term referring to homes being on the south side of Ventura Boulevard have more esteem than the south side. 

Thus S.O.B. South of the Boulevard

It's already been registered so I'm not worried. 

So my new one is a TV movie, of which I spoke of in the last few blogs. While the old TV movies ended around 2008, I am going for the new "TV movies" which can still connect with some networks like Hallmark (yes, the Hallmark company makes lots of them) and also Lifetime and SyFy networks.

True, there isn't the amount of TV movies around. But there are series all over the place and new networks I haven't even seen yet have short series. TV is certainly taken over theatrical movies and I don't really think that the Oscar lot isn't all that great. In fact the last few oscar players weren't all that good either.

So my new movie, also registered, is a flashback movie, a young girl getting married falls down just about when she is to get married and is suddenly back in the 1960's searching for a lost family heirloom that her grandmother lost when she was to marry. And to make it even a little more I'm throwing in the moon landing.

The moon landing?

Well, it was the 60's, after all. Why not? 1969!!

I'm just starting to play with the story, using my favorite software, Power Structure. No sales here, I just like it.

And finally, I'm going to show you a script that has been hanging along since 1985. 

Before  Strange Things.

Before Walking Dead.

Two words: Burger Zombies.

 
 Beware.
 

Monday, November 28, 2016

What ever happened to TV movies.





As I mentioned in the last blog, TV movies were my money-makers. Back in 1990 and up to 2008, I wrote a half dozen movies and rewrote other writers screenplays. It was the glory days.  Roswell was one of my TV movies.

Until...

Survivor.

Survivor killed the TV movies. And if you're not sure what I mean, it was this. Survivor came along and changed TV forever. What is Survivor? Most of you probably have seen it on CBS, you know, the bunch of people put on an island and had to survive to win a million dollars.

Why did it kill the TV movies?

Because it was a lot cheaper than having to hire actors and screenwriters. Just needed some guys with video cameras and a few writers to help the survivors come up with good ideas. 

My TV movies cost usually around $3 million up to $9 million. Of course I just got scale but scale was pretty good too.

Suddenly TV movies were gone. We actually had that party in the last days of TV movies.  I remember big parties at Hallmark, where they'd show their movies to great parties. 

Then after Survivor came all the other survivor-type shows, you know, Kardashians and every other type of humans, and at low costs.

Until netflix.

Just around a few years ago, Netflex began making their own movies. And suddenly it all changed. TV movies of a sort started up again. Hallmark made two kinds of movies; the expensive ones and the cheap ones. 

My Christmas story, The Town That Christmas Forgot, cost just under $1 million. And actually it came out quite good. Even the WGA rates were higher also. 

There is a sort of market/film festival thing that happens every fall, AFM, American Film Market. I put my Ghostkeeper movie into the market around 1981. It was mostly a market from other film markets in order to sell to American markets.

Mostly though, these Europeans and Asians had films that few people ever wanted. This year companies trying to sell to US markets were having a hard time.

But Netflix led the way, not only to movies but also episodic series. 

I haven't really discussed the market for films that would play for artistic films, the ones that often get oscar awards as well as the Independent Film Festival, which takes the art movies just before the oscars.

I'll add more towards the week... in the meantime, this TV movie I wrote was made in 2002. It's a kid's movie but it gives me a lot of residuals every year. Good old Ben (he's the bear).



Monday, November 21, 2016

When does a writer quit...




Since I'm a boomer, I get a lot of questions as to when do I quit writing.

The answer of course, is never.

A friend of mine says that only when his face hits the laptop. And then he wants us to put the laptop with him in his grave. When I asked why, he said "In case a get a good idea."

Writers who really are writers will continue to write something for the rest of their lives. As for me, I am working on a youtube channel video based on an "Uber-like" story, a different 5 minute story for five days.

I'm also trying to resolve the Ghostkeeper Blu-ray situation so that everyone gets something. 

Then there's the spec S.O.B. pilot I wrote last spring. I got notes and am going to work on that spec pilot to smooth it out.

And I've got three scripts floating with producers; one is about a jetliner that mysteriously turns towards the Pacific and the pilot can't turn it back. The other is a real fun one, Burger Zombies. I wrote that back in 1983, it's been optioned a few times and maybe this time will click. 

The other script is one I don't really like, I wrote it for a director friend and it's been floating around too. I really don't like it but if someone buys, that's great.

So that's what I'm up to for now.

And most of you out there, probably millennials and a few boomers as well as younger writers are probably starting, or want to start or are already on a series or a feature. And you probably don't need to read this, or dispute it.

Features have changed, I was one of the TV movie group, we wrote a lot of TV movies from around 1985 and ended in 2008. Something happened then.

Survivor.

Survivor came out of nowhere, put a bunch of people on an island and they fight to win a million dollars.

It came along with no actors, big budgets or anything.

And it wiped out TV movies for the most part. We, being writers in WGA, actually had two "Death of the TV Movie" parties at the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, of course.

What happened after that decimated the whole TV movie killed a lot of us. It wasn't until 2010 that I sold a script to Hallmark.

But that's another story. Friday. 



Friday, November 18, 2016

Ghostkeeper stalls






Well, still not able to get the two distributors together. My take is that instead of one taking USA and the other taking Canada and GB. 

I want all three in the same house, so to speak. Because it'll have more power than divided versions of the movie. And by doing so it will help me raise funding for Ghostkeeper 2. 

It's not unusual with distributors, in my case the original distrib did the DVD version 5 years ago.  The new guy has a little more power, I think, by joining GB, USA and Canada.

So hopefully I can get them together... 

Ghostkeeper 2 artwork was done for me.


 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Trouble with Ghostkeeper


Well, just when I thought I could get a deal from an international distributor, things changed. Ghostkeeper had a U.S. distributor for 5 years and ended January of this year. Nothing happened until the international distrib emailed me to see if he could get rights for at least three countries, GB, USA and Canada.

I thought this was pretty good.

But then I find that my old distrib had already made an HD copy to use for Blu-ray. And it cost a fair amount of money. And he wants U.S. distribution.

So now I have to figure out what to do. The U.S. distrib really has no rights to Ghostkeeper now, as his rights expired last January.

And the GB distrib wants all rights.

So now what?

Two wolves after me. Like in the sketch above for Ghostkeeper 2.
 
The US distrib said I told him to make a Blu-ray, but I know I didn't, as I thought Blu-ray is mostly over. Maybe it isn't.

It seems easy to drop the US guy but he did discover two Ghostkeeper 35mm films and gave me one. The GB distrib only has an offer, but a good one, he'd incorporate GB, US and Canada.

I thought about it over the week-end and wondered how I could get both of them together somehow, US distrib has the HD master which costs a few thousand dollars but the GB distrib has more places to take Ghostkeeper to.

Well, this morning, I'm still trying to figure it out. 

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wow!




Just want to thank all of you who came back to my "lost blog" again. Just great.

And just a note about my movie The Town Christmas Forgot, the poster above and showing on Hallmark or probably somewhere on youtube. It has showings on:

Thursday       Nov 10 11pm
Saturday        Nov 19   7am
Saturday        Nov 26   1am (for the late-nighters?)
Wednesday   Nov 30 3pm

Yeah, it's family fare but I'm going to break the script down maybe end of the week to show you how I came upon the story. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Ghostkeeper returns





 
Last week I got an email from a British distributor who wants to do a Blu-ray version of Ghostkeeper, the feature suspense movie I wrote and directed in 1980. The image above is for Ghostkeeper 2, Never Go Back.

Strange how things like this come back. A few years ago a U.S. distrib found two 35mm films intact in a storage place in New York. Since all I had in the way of video was VHS. The U.S. distrib wanted to make DVDs. I made a deal and it was done.

And now, the British distrib is ready to do a Blu-ray version which would be really cool. Ghostkeeper isn't a great movie, but there's enough people who like it. 

So there.

I would also like the Brit to sell in Canada as well, as it's a Canadian feature film. I'm sure that won't be a problem.

Here's the "30th" anniversary version made 4 years ago.



The original version is mostly like this version.
 
Here's a few internet reviews:  Sorry I couldn't keep the sentences correct.

  “The methodically paced Ghostkeeper is an exercise in disciplined mood generation, its
bare claustrophobia is for those who prefer their chills straightforward and can be a
most rewarding snow trap”. Imdb.com


“Ghostkeeper is strangely satisfying, the last 20 minutes are tense and horrific, it kept me
gripped and threads the middle ground between psychological and supernatural horror.”
Mjsimpson UK


“Ghostkeeper is surprisingly professional-looking for its low budget.” (Alberta
Magazine)


“Performances are a notch above those in American horror fare,” (Calgary Herald)
 

“A remarkably eerie and very atmospheric horror film… actually very well put together
and is consistently entertaining… If you liked the 1980 stalker film Prom Night, I’d
recommend seeking out this spooky little Canadian Gem.” horror_freak/Oregon
 

“Ghostkeeper is a pretty creepy and atmospheric horror film which will keep you
guessing until the end. The acting is solid and the atmosphere of fear and total isolation
is well-captured. 8 out of 10”. HumanoidOfFlesh/Poland


“Poorly distributed during its (initial) release, this well done low-budget film is quite
better than one might expect.” teptime/Las Vegas


“Sadly unknown spooky little gem, definitely one of the better ‘80’s horror films, this
unknown little chiller should be a familiar entry in the genre, got little attention which is
really too bad because of how good the film is." larsenjanda/USA


“Ghostkeeper is a truly bare boned affair. Filtered with only a few characters, located
mostly in one building and featuring very little gore, there’s still something so…uh…
good which even now after thinking about it for a couple of days, I just can’t explain.”
Amanda By Night."


Here's the original film shoot in 1980.

 More to come...
 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Back again, again


 


Yes, I'm still alive and moving forward. Coffee is ready.

All is well, some good news on my script Chase, which was optioned by two French people in Paris, producer and director. I mentioned it around 4 years, maybe 3. 

Chase is about a man who thinks he sees someone kidnap a girl on a street in L.A. He begins to follow the "kidnapper" and realizes that his memory changes the story every time. So much that he isn't sure of what he saw.

The script was rewritten in French and was to be a French movie. I was fine with that, anyone who wants to make a film from any of my 38 spec scripts is okay.

But now, it looks like it might actually go, ironically it might be turned back into English. 


I'm still also trying to build an online screenwriting class based on my UCLA screenplay course way back in 2003. My book "The Working Writer's Script" which I mention often was what became of my classroom stories and lessons.

I'm also working on a new spec pilot which I think I mentioned before, a story set in the Mojave Desert, dealing with the people who manage to make out a living of any sort. I should have a 1-pager soon for you to read.

And my Christmas movie is gonna be on again on Hallmark although I've noticed it's on some other kind of broadcast or streaming, at least I think. Will give you dates next week.

Also gonna make a book out of this blog which, as most of you know, started in August 2009. 

So... here we go again "back to the future".




Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Back in the USSR




Deciding on whether I do a online class on screenplay writing, based on my blog and of course, my UCLA classes. 

This time it's going to be new and fresh... and lots of real writers and producers and all that. More ttle bit of the Beatles to open this blog, I'm still alive and ready and with more to go. As they say on talk shows "I'm excited". Or something like it.

I still don't know how it's gonna work but it's going to be something different than just another blog, in fact, maybe a website itself. Eh?

With no reflections on what's going on now.  Politics too, as well as stuff I don't even know yet. Lots of pics and stories and more of the wild west of movie making.

But it's gonna be fun and truth and maybe even learning stuff.

No going back. No Uber rules.



 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Beginning





Sorry to be gone so long, busy on another project of sorts. But now I'm going to start something new for me, sort of like an online class in screenwriting.

Well, actually like an online class in screenwriting.

But there's more than that.

I want to build a site that offers a few more things. Stuff like professional writers and directors who will read and comment on work of the students.

It's still in the works, but getting closer. 

That and a possibility of selling two screenplays. But more on that later.

I'll be building the project in between other work for awhile.

In the meantime, I'll continue my usual stories and rants.

 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I'm back...

 

 Well at least I'm beginning a new start in one way and yet in another. And it will be something bigger if it all works out. I'm gathering the pieces and hopefully they will all be there for everyone.

I'm considering a little village of things in what will be for people to read, write and even take a course or two on screenwriting.

That is if I can get it all together.

But I've done it all before.

And hope all of you come back too.

Only the beginning...

 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Well, this week is the 7th year of my blog. I never expected it to go any further than a month or two. But here we are, from 2009 to 2016. Amazing.

You should go back over the last years, there's a lot of great stuff back there. 

I'll be back by Friday.
 

 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016



Still burned out, should be back to the blog by week-end.



Monday, July 25, 2016

Rough week



Gonna have a rough week, will try to post later.


Friday, July 22, 2016


  Sorry, I got behind this morning... but here's the real reader's report. And only 3 pages of 11 pages in total.


So this is a real reader's report as compared to that 3/4 page with "strengths" and "weaknesses." So have a look at this, I just entered 3 pages but if you want more email me. The markings are mine.






So, this is only 3 pages of 11 (I lost the first 2 pages) but I think you can tell which is a good readers report and which isn't. She had the script overnight as mentioned and we went to a bar to read it over.

I was a little bit egotistic at that time but even with that I realized she was one hell of a reader. 

So which reader's report would you want to read. As I mentioned, the $50 reader trashed most of what wasn't really bad at all, but hey, they gotta make that $50. 

Go look at the lame reader's report and put it up against only 3 pages of her 11 page readers report. 

Needless to say she was worth a lot more and I would work with her anytime, anywhere.




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What a real reader can do


I found a few of the real reader's pages to show you how someone with talent when reading other people's work can really help you.

I'll post her pages Friday.

 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Where the writer gets trashed...

 ...So this is what happens to "the rest of the story."  

So you read two stories back about being a writer and being a real writer. But it's not all that good also. 

So here's the original "strengths" as the reader at the Black List wrote it.
Strengths:
The premise of a presidential heart transplant is strong and commercial. It takes a personal need with a ticking clock, and transforms into a global crisis with a journey at its center. It's a smart base for an affordable political thriller which still has worldwide stakes. Making the protagonist a doctor was an intelligent decision, and introduces a fish out of water element that always plays well in a thriller. The setting - a chase from Paris to Luxembourg - is perfectly commercial.

That's the one you read last time. Sounds really positive, I should get meetings at least, if not an option. But this is where the reader begins to show how smart he or she is. I've been through a lot of readers and the only thing I could describe is this --

-- everyone is different. 

I've seen notes anywhere from 1 page to 20 pages (of which this 20 pg was good).

But this one I got from Black List is just plain dumb.
Weaknesses:
The biggest issue is undefined and unresolved antagonists. The "tease" of a conspiracy at the end is not enough, and only emphasizes a lack of answers. We absolutely need to know who Ulani is, who he's working for, and get a sensible explanation of their motivation. OK, maybe I can add the character's motivation, or not. I call this even.

From the standpoint of character, not enough romance or closeness develops between Doc and Judy. Neither Doc nor Judy are personally invested in delivering the heart: what drives them? Too much of the plot is under-explained or outright implausible. This is way too easy to say something that is basically their choice or mine. The signing of the papers to pass the presidency is not established as necessary, and is a false drama - its failure has no consequences. Here I say he/she is wrong. Using a word like implausible is just telling me he/she wishes they could write this.  And what the hell is "false drama." The reader is now showing off to his/her producer. None of that paragraph means anything.

Additionally, it's not realistic that the speaker is taking the presidency. It's not possible through the means suggested (impeachment doesn't remove a person from office, is exceptionally slow, and is only an accusation of a crime). The lack of believable usurpation seriously undermines the stakes. Again, the reader says it's "not realistic". Of course it's not, it's a movie!! Their realism and mine are clashing here. And the reader missed the point, unfortunately I can't post the entire script. Or maybe I can? Hmnn.
 
There are many small plausibility issues. E.g.: why would a random doctor be drafted for such a critical mission, why would the terrorists have a satellite link to the heart, how could world governments be totally incapable of securing the heart, and why wouldn't Ulani kill Doc and Judy. "Why would a random doctor be drafted for such a critical mission." Because that's what I wrote. There's too many how's and whys? Chances are that the reader is young and wants to impress their boss. 

fyi My first produced movie for Lifetime was a first draft. I finished it in 2 weeks and handed it over on a Friday to the AD and they started shooting Monday. Honest. Maybe a few changes in dialog or locations.
 
 Prospects:
THE PRESIDENT'S HEART has a commercial premise and setting, but needs work on its execution before it will be seriously considered for purchase or production. This could be the death of this screenplay as this person definitely is contrary, they say it's a great script and then they tear it to pieces. If a story is good, it's good to anyone who reads it. It's a rookie, for sure. 

But if you want a good set of notes, I still have them. I had my Side by Side screenplay and didn't really want to get the production company's reader (or in this case she was an "exec". She took the script home and came back the next day. I was totally embarrassed, she came up with one great thing;

Rather than trashing it, she offered alternatives. 

Yes. Alternatives.

I still have those notes and I should maybe post them, if I can figure out how to do it on this darn thing...

But you can see the notes from the kid, just killing the story rather than helping the story. I learned that teaching UCLA classes, "if you trash someone's work, then offer some ideas."

I'll try to fit the exec's notes on this blog, if I can, I still read them now and then. She knew her business and loved movies and looked for the best in a screenplay, not the worst.

And more readers than you think envy the writers often and trash them just because they can. It's easier to trash a script then to champion it. So if you ever get trashed, there's more chance that they are envious but also that you can recognize good readers among them. After all a lot of them get paid $50 to read your script. This one did I know for sure.

And you will find good readers.

And you'll know it.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Who ya gonna call...




Bill Murray, Rick Moranis, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Dan Akyroyd.

or:

 
Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate Mckinnon and Leslie Jones

Okay, so it's unfair. Or is it? 

The reviews are "mixed" as they say. The studio hopes the new version make at least $40 million. We will see. 

There's already been some trashing, actually a lot of trashing of the new female version, directed by a male.

What do I think?

Well, it's not really fair. For instance I dont'e care for Kristin Wiig, she's more of a character actor, not a star. Melissa is definitely a star and the other two I don't know at all.

And when you look at the 1984 version, you have 5 solid stars. Everyone in the world knows them. So it's not really fair to compare. 

Will I see it? Maybe somewhere up the road, when it's on netflix or any other streamer. 

As a boomer, I'm getting to realize that the GenX'ers are starting to crowd the field of movies being made. In my mind, we had the 2nd great stars; names like Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Doris Day, Elizabeth Taylor and many more with the first ones who were Bogart, Tracy, Hepburn, Gable.

And the millennials have Kate McKinnon.

Ouch.

Well? 

Nobody can match the originals, in the same vein as Brad Pitt being Frank Bullitt in the new version of that movie, coming soon to your personal venue.

But Ghostbusters will make money and the movie industry will make money.

And that's what it's all about. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

When are you a writer...


I have a friend who lives across the street and who is totally sure that he will win with his latest screenplay at some screenwriting contest. Actually two contests. He's sure because he's a writer.

I told him to not waste his money.

But he tells me that his scripts are really different. He's a lot smarter than the average writer and his scripts would show it. After all, he's a writer.

I hate to tell him, but his title is more like aspiring writer. You don't get to be a screenwriter until you get a film made, or at least optioned. Bummer.

And as I said, most of my writer and director friends agree that most of those screenwriter festivals are scams in a way -- a chance to get aspiring writers to spend their $50 or more to be discovered as the genius they are.

I always measure aspiring writers by two different takes;
The first one is the person who doesn't really need to ask a pro writer questions. 
The second is the one who asks the pro.

A few days ago I met two writers; one I knew and who has written one screenplay and now another. He's the one who knows it all -- and his work is poorly written as he copied a real script from a real movie. But he knows it all.

The second aspiring writer across the table was more humble, he still hasn't made a sale but he keeps trying. Then he mentioned that he taught some classes in screenwriting. Which leads me to my book.

Yeah, yeah, my book on screenwriting. The template of the book was that it was based on one of the screenplays that was made for Hallmark. 

I know. Hallmark?

Well, women love those movies and I even got a few letters from them. And Hallmark pays. 

The book also has a lot of real-life episodes, how to handle producers and actors and directors as well as a multitude of good real-life anecdotes from the battlefield. 

Which makes me wonder how deep the above screenwriter could go without actual battle scars. 

A week ago I had a nice email about my book in that an online screenwriting group was using my book in some of their classes. That always makes me feel good as I think that online screenwriting classes are better than on-site classes.

But getting back to the beginning.

You are a writer when you have made a sale, or even an option as I mentioned before. And I still feel that most of those screenplay contests are just a way to get some money from aspiring writers.

So what do you do?

I always recommend The Black List, which I mentioned before this blog. I don't own any stock in it, it's just that they are real. No contests, just readers from studios who will tell you if your screenplay is good or bad.

Here's an example of what a reader said about my screenplay --


“The premise of a presidential heart transplant is strong and commercial. It takes a personal need with a ticking clock and transforms into a global crisis with a journey at it’s center. It’s a smart base for an affordable political thriller which still has world-wide stakes. Making the protagonist a doctor was an intelligent decision and introduces a fish out of water element that always plays well in a thriller. The setting – a chase from Paris to Luxembourg – is perfectly commercial.”  Black List Reader.

But it wasn't all good... stay tuned.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Sorry, post is a little late




I'm late again, had a hard wk-end and a lot of preparation for a shot at a pilot I wrote some time ago and it resurfaced. At least the heat isn't all that bad in good old Sherman Oaks. 

I'm considering putting a script on The Black List, it's a good place to put your screenplay on and you can get some attention if your script is good. Basically the Black List (not the TV show) is where producers and writers and anyone else who wants to see scripts that might get made.

It's not a contest, rather scripts get read from so-called professional script readers and it costs $50. Then your script can be shown to other writers and also producers as Black List has a very good reputation.  Very often, some of their choices of films, which may be hanging around for years, get made.

But most of the scripts don't really get too far because the ones that Black List picks out often become award winners.

Have a look anyways, The Black List. I think it costs $20 to join.

You can see it on the blog, first one under STUFF.


Anyways, more tomorrow... 

Monday, July 4, 2016

It had to happen...



...sooner or later.

It is something that I dreaded. More than anything. 

I noticed it accidentally while I was driving last Friday, going somewhere. Then, at a stoplight I noticed one of those film crew signs, usually taped or stuck onto a stop-light pole.

I always have a look to see what movie was being shot. It's pretty common here in the valley since several studios are in the area. But that's when I saw it.

Bullitt

One word and a generation is going to be very unhappy. I shook my head, cursed and drove away. Why?   Why?

Bullitt is going to be remade.

Bullitt is one of our signature movies, one of the best. So if you don't know the movie, this is a quick study. The movie was released in 1968 and became a classic cop and bad guy movie that virtually everyone saw.

And it was arguably the best movie that Steve McQueen made, even if there were a few other good ones. He was great in The Magnificent Seven and even better in The Great Escape

But Bullitt belonged to him.



San Francisco cop Frank Bullitt. Get it? Who loses a bad guy and has to find the guys who killed him. Simple plot, right?

But the movie  belonged to McQueen with the exception of one other item. And that was his 1968 Ford Mustang with more power than any five car today. 

So now, back to the crew sign. I had remembered someone would probably remake Bullitt but somehow we boomers thought nobody would dare remake it. I glanced through the Hollywood papers and there it was.

Bullitt was going to be remade, and to bring more insult, Frank Bullitt would be portrayed by Brad Pitt. I will not say those two words again.

Why was the original so good? It was one of those "Perfect Movies," like the original Terminator, like Casablanca or The Searchers. Perfect movies aren't always the biggest or the best, they were just... perfect. Casting, location and the 1968 Mustang.



You can ask any real filmmaker what their perfect movies are. You'll be surprised but chances are you've seen them too.

Now, you will hear about the "Best car chase ever," although the millennials will have their own choices. Bullitt didn't have CGI effects, just real driving and some of which McQueen did himself. And racing through the hills and streets of San Francisco at high speed still works when you watch it. Because it's real.
 Whenever you hear someone say "the car chase", everyone else knows which one.

Sure, the car chases now, all fixed with CGI are ballet-like but the Mustang was real and the bad guys and their Dodge Charger were real. Everything was real.

So what's my beef?

How about this...
Yep... my own 1968 Mustang. Bought it in 1969 and had it for years. The perfect car even today. I paid just under $2000 in 69.





Yep, my own 1968 Mustang. I bought it one year older, 4-gear 302 Ford engine. All I wanted in life. 



Me an' my Mustang 2nd-hand, waiting for me in a car lot on a winter cold evening many years ago. I was in my Jim Morrison mode, my ex and I had problems with the Mustang in 1972 on a road trip across Canada and had it repaired in a small town called Kamsack, Saskatchewan. It was also where a cafe refused to let us have lunch and told us to get out of town.

So keep your eyes open for Bullitt, now played by "that actor." But between then and now, go screen a copy of Bullitt.

There will be protests. I think many will refuse to even say the name of "that other actor" who's married to Angelina.




Friday, July 1, 2016

One bad week...


Sorry to be so late, this week was one hell of a time, reworking several things as well as a potential move from a place I really like, actually 25 years. Hard to deal with that. 

I should be back Monday for sure... although that's a holiday for Americans, but I'll do the blog anyways.  I'm beginning more work on a potential website where I would have the blog, but also classes in screenwriting.

I'm thinking of 5 to 10 students and would be totally identical to the UCLA classes I taught before. I have excellent recommendations from my previous UCLA students.

Could be interesting and a whole new world.