Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tofu Steak Tartar

From 2007...

I was going to do an entry about standing in line at the DMV, but what the hell could I say about that experience that would be original?

Then, Lindsay Lohan was arrested this morning for drunk driving again... and I was shocked. Didn’t she just get out of rehab about a week ago? How could she possible be driving drunk already? She had on some sort of ankle alcohol monitor - she displayed it for the paparazzi before entering some night club. How could she drink with that thing on?

In Hollywood, everyone goes into rehab. It’s almost a Get Out Of Jail Free Card - if you go on the Tonight Show and admit you screwed up but are getting help, and with the help of your family and your sudden interest in religion, you will get through it. You spend some time in rehab, and by the time you get out everyone has forgotten that you plowed into a family with your SUV, killing a few people. But a year after you get out of rehab... you do something stupid again, are arrested, and go back to rehab. The Promises rehab facility seems to have a revolving door - the same celebs keep checking in, cleaning up, being released... then checking in again.

Lindsay Lohan was hanging out in bars and clubs *before* she was 21 - I thought that was illegal. Plenty of kids have fake IDs, but we *know* how old Lohan is. So how did she get in...

And after she was released from rehab, and turned herself in to the police for her last drunken vehicular incident, and was released on bond, what does she do?

Go clubbing!

Everybody knows that the best place to go if you have a drug and alcohol abuse problem is a crowded nightclub filled with people drinking and doing coke in the bathroom.

The problem isn’t just drug and alcohol abuse, it’s the choice of lifestyle. Why would you continue the very behavior that got you into trouble in the first place - ankle bracelet or not? The *purpose* of a bar is to serve alcohol. So what the hell are you doing there if you aren’t supposed to drink?

In this grand and glorious country of ours, most people do not go out clubbing every night. They do not spend every waking hour going from one drinking establishment to the next. They have *lives*.

In my previous post I mentioned that when I was in my 20s I could drink and then function the next day... but I didn’t spend every night drinking! I had a full time job at Safeway Grocery working the swing shift (3-Midnight) and was also a full time student at Diablo Valley Community College (recently in the news due to a sex-for-grades scandal), plus I was writing scripts and making short films. Yes, every once in a while Larry, Juan, the crew and I would have a beer in the store parking lot after our shift was over and try to throw paper bags over the letters that spelled SAFEWAY on the awning over the doors... and sometimes on our weekends we’d meet in a bar somewhere and have a couple of beers... but our lives did not revolve around going from club to club drinking. We had lives! I was writing scripts and making movies and going to the movies and reading books. Larry was scuba diving and trying to sleep with every female over the age of 16 who came into the store. Juan had a bunch of kids at home and was constantly taking family camping trips. We all had better things to do than club hop. Like... laundry.

The problem with all of these folks that keep getting busted for drunk driving and going to rehab, only to be busted a couple of weeks after they are released: they need to change their *lifestyle*. If you want to remain sober, don’t hang out in places that exist to serve you drinks. Find some hobby, some purpose in your life, other than going clubbing.

McVEGGIE AND FRIES

In London, every McDonalds and Burger King has an extensive menu of veggie burger items. These burgers look and taste like beef - you wouldn’t know the difference if they didn’t tell you it was 100% vegetable - great for vegetarians! Over there they seem to have a high percentage of the population that have gone vegetarian, and the fast food chains are targeting them.

I have eaten many veggie burgers - not because I’m a vegetarian, but because I’m a fat guy with high cholesterol who loves hamburgers. I’m a meat eater, and I want to eat something that tastes like meat... but won’t send me to an early grave (well, *earlier* grave - I still eat too much bad food).


If I were a vegetarian I would never eat a veggie burger.... I’d just eat vegetables. There’s an intent thing involved. Making vegetables taste and look like meat is the first step to eating a real hamburger. As the vegetarian played by the great Gerritt Graham says to his supposedly vegan girlfriend in the movie HOME MOVIES: “First beef, and now this!” If you are a vegetarian, and your intentions are to only eat vegetables, then eat the friggin vegetables!

Personally, I’m against vegetarians for reasons spelled out by, I think, Sam Kinison: As humans, we need to maintain our place at the top of the food chain. So many people are becoming vegetarians that we are losing our place at the top of the food chain, and in the future Chuck Heston and his space ship crew will be captured by COWS! Cows! Cows that have evolved because we don't eat them anymore! And they will bring Heston to Daly City to be punished in front of the cow ruler... an evil Cow Queen who lives in... The Cow Palace! The only way to stop this is to keep eating those damned dirty cows....

I WANT TO BE A SCREENWRITER

When I should be writing, I’m often visiting screenwriting messageboards answering people’s questions. The ones that always confuse me are “I want to be a screenwriter, but I don’t really like writing” or “I can’t write” or “I want to be a screenwriter, but I need someone to help me come up with a story, or a character, or a scene idea, or a line of dialogue, or...” I don’t know how to answer these - because they are asking me to do their work for them. To do the creative part of writing. Um, if someone comes up with the story and all of the characters and scenes and dialogue for your script, doesn’t that make you just a *typist*? If someone else is doing the creative part, what is left?

Hey, we all get stuck and need someone to kick-start our imagination every once in a while, I’m talking about those people who want someone else to do their thinking for them - the writing for them. Look, if you want to be a screenwriting, you are going to write screenplays.

And screenwriting is work.

Lots of boring work.

Work that isn’t glamorous or exciting... and most of the time no one in the world will ever see your work.

If you are only after the glamor of screenwriting (whatever that is) and you don’t want to do the difficult, boring writing work part... well, you will never be a screenwriter and will never experience the glamor of premier screenings where the audience of celebs and stars applauds every single name in the opening titles... except yours (they never met you, they *did* meet the craft services person who supplied donuts on set every day). Or that guy gesturing for you to get off the red carpet and find another way into the theater. Or... well, there really is no glamor in a screenwriter’s life. There’s lots of boring work...

Or, maybe lots of exciting work. Depends on what you want in your life.

If you want to stay sober, change your lifestyle so you are not going to places where they serve drinks every night. If you want to be a writer, don’t hang out with people who just talk about writing and don’t *be* someone who just talks about writing - instead... Write!

If you really want to write screenplays, write some screenplays!

- Bill


Also from 2007...

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

Yesterday’s Lunch: Maple Oatmeal.
DVD: Another DVD I bought on my birthday was KELLY'S HEROES / DIRTY DOZEN double DVD. Kind of a Donald Sutherland & Telly Savalas double bill. I watched both, and realized that DIRTY DOZEN was the model for the movie S.W.A.T. - check it out! My friend Larry, who played the uptight Police Chief guy - same character as Robert Ryan in DD! Sam Jackson is Lee Marvin's character! The whole thing plays out pretty much the same in both movies - even though it isn't obvious. Both films have tough guys who don't deal well with authority given the task of getting a bunch of anti-authority individuals to work as a team... and the Authority guy hoping they screw up and trying to screw them up... only to be outsmarted by the end and look like the silly suit that he is... then the team has a mission that tests all that has come before.
KELLY'S HEROES is a text book example of putting two opposite characters together to create drama and conflict (and comedy) within the team. Donald Sutherland plays a hippy tank commander in WW2 (???) who ends up in scene after scene with tough guy Clint Eastwood. All you have to do is put those two guys next to each other and you have a scene! But the script has them constantly butting heads (and personalities) because they have to work together. This film was obviously the model for THREE KINGS - guys who start out pulling a robbery during war, but end up doing the right thing. In KH it's more *accidental* than in 3K, but the results are the same. Both are fun films - the kind of big team war flick they really don't make anymore.
Pages: None on the new spec, but I designed the labels for the Naked Class CDs and even ran some... plus I'm working on the bonus CD.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who knew one could be inspired by a post entitled 'tofu steak tartar'? I'm referring to the last part, and your recent reiterations that writers write cannot be overly stated. Time to git 'er done.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

“I want to be a screenwriter, but I don’t really like writing” or “I can’t write” or “I want to be a screenwriter, but I need someone to help me come up with a story, or a character, or a scene idea, or a line of dialogue, or...” I don’t know how to answer these - because they are asking me to do their work for them."


~
This is a wonderful blog, Bill.

I want to be a screenwriter...but only for a little while.

I have loads of stories...I can tell a story at the drop of a hat...just give me a word...and I can tell you a story.

But it could have "flashbacks"...which scream, "you lazy bum." or it could be too soft and mushy and be minus an antagonist...which doesn't work in a screenplay.

For me, and I'm sure for many writers, in trying desperately to write a script...it isn't the love of writing a screenplay, it is making the kind of money (from writing a screenplay) that will allow you to do what you really want to do with your life...that's all. (For me, that would be writing stage plays.)

People ask questions (at least I do) in most cases because they have been invited to do so (as you so graciously do on your message boards.) Not because they want you to write a script for them, but just because they geniunely felt that your knowledge was expert, and that if they could simply embrace some of that, they could perhaps be on their way to greatness as well...maybe?


Thank you Bill,



Great blog!

Dante Kleinberg said...

The problem is most professional screenwriters make a lot more money than the average income, and since the IDEA of writing a movie SEEMS easy...

I want to write because writing is the only thing I enjoy that could possibly pay anything. If I could only ever make as much money as I do now in an office (which is not much) with no possibility of a raise -- I'd still do it.

The Moviequill said...

"was hanging out in bars and clubs *before* she was 21 - I thought that was illegal"... back in Michigan you can be 18 and get in, just can't get a hand stamp to drink

Christian M. Howell said...

Great post. The revolving door is a great piece of luck for the Lohan's of the world.

I am working on 4 scripts concurrently right now and I may have to slow down as there seems to be smoke coming from my ears.

I agree totally with Dante. I make pretty good money as a SW developer and if I could make just that writing I would be happier than, wow I can't even think of anything.

Of course my ultimate goal is a box office disaster that gets a nod from uncle Oscar, but that's another story.

Until next time,
Keep writing as writing is the revealing of the soul.

Maestro said...

>"The problem is most professional screenwriters make a lot more money than the average income"

Bill's "debunked" this before, but in a nutshell:

The average income (from screenwriting, obviously) of a WGA member is around $100k. But the average WGA member is also "unemployed" half the time. So cut that $100k in half to $50k.

Then--Bill is an exception here--deduct 10% for your agent, 10% for your manager, 5% for your attorney, and 1.5% for the WGA, and that $50k is now $36,750.

Granted, $37k is far from poor, but it also isn't that far off from the average (pre-tax) income in the U.S. It might even be a little low for California which generally has higher wages and a higher cost of living than the U.S. on average.

As an aside, the problem with a rational analysis of addictive behavior is that irrational behavior--i.e. the inability to control one's behavior despite obvious and significant negative consequences--is one of the defining characteristics of addiction.

Addiction to internet trolling, there's an interesting thesis...

M

pooks said...

Kelly's Heroes! I hadn't thought about that in yonks, but damn that was a good movie.

Thanks for reminding me!

Of course, I'm probably one of the few people on earth who actually liked Paint Your Wagon....

Brett said...

I own both HELY'S HEROES and PAINT YOUR WAGON on DVD and watch them a few times a year.

Hoowah.
.
.
.
B

wcmartell said...

Funny - PAINT YOUR WAGON stars the stars of KELLY and DIRTY... singing together!

- Bill

English Dave said...

''This is a wonderful blog, Bill.

I want to be a screenwriter...but only for a little while.

I have loads of stories...I can tell a story at the drop of a hat...just give me a word...and I can tell you a story.

But it could have "flashbacks"...which scream, "you lazy bum." or it could be too soft and mushy and be minus an antagonist...which doesn't work in a screenplay.

For me, and I'm sure for many writers, in trying desperately to write a script...it isn't the love of writing a screenplay, it is making the kind of money (from writing a screenplay) that will allow you to do what you really want to do with your life...that's all. (For me, that would be writing stage plays.)

People ask questions (at least I do) in most cases because they have been invited to do so (as you so graciously do on your message boards.) Not because they want you to write a script for them, but just because they geniunely felt that your knowledge was expert, and that if they could simply embrace some of that, they could perhaps be on their way to greatness as well...maybe?''

Huh??? Says it all really. lol

I too want to be a screenwriter until I earn enough to say fuck off. No belay that mateys! I want to be a screenwriter until I earn enough to say fuck off and they actually care and don't fire me.

Nope hold fire again. I want to be a screenwriter until.... you know what? I think I just want to be a screenwriter.

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