Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Smoke & Mirrors

Today is my birthday, so this blog entry is a rerun while I try to see how many Free Grand Slams I can get by going all over Los Angeles...

From over ten years ago in 2006...

Yesterday I wrote 4 pages. The day before I wrote 6 pages. Three days ago I wrote 5 pages. I'm almost over the big hump with this page one rewrite on STEEL CHAMELEONS - all of the 100% new stuff is almost done. Soon I’ll just be rewriting existing scenes - most are getting a major face lift, and there are still some 100% new scenes left to write... but Act 1 is so completely different that as soon as I get through that it will be much easier going. Writing is boring stuff. Do you really care about that really cool idea I came up with on page 23?

But you might be mildly interested if I told you that Tom Cruise was attached, right? That makes it exciting - a real movie. I was visiting a friend at Cedar-Sinai hospital and got off on the wrong floor by mistake and ended up in the *Pediatric Plastic Surgery wing* where baby Surrey was getting some work done so that he looked more like Tom and less like the sperm donor (you wondered why Tom & Katy took so long to show him to the public? The kid's little plastic surgery scars had to heal) and after I accidentally witnessed this, Tom agreed to play a small role in my film - more or less what Jackie Chan did in PROTECTOR. But the great thing is, now that Tom's onboard, I was able to get Billy Bob and Julia and Marilyn Monroe in a very small role. I know she’s dead, but... (insert Monty Python ash tray joke here)

All bullshit.

This town is full of bullshit. It’s as if people who move here leave their values at home and bring the fertilizer. Everyone has some big deal going... in their minds.

Most of my Script Tips are either analysis of films or “this worked for me” advice. I tend not to share the things that didn’t work, or the lessons that I just refuse to learn. Hyping yourself is one of those lessons. Though I’m not from the mid-west, my parents brought me up to tell the truth and be modest about my accomplishments. If you’ve been visiting my site for a while, you may have noticed my resume “evolving”. In the beginning I never mentioned a single project that didn’t make it all the way to screen. Because my goal is to actually get scripts on screen, I considered the ones that were bought and shelved to be failures. I got paid, but they didn’t get made. Now I include them.

I also didn’t talk about *potential* deals that didn’t pan out. If a script that didn’t get made is a failure, what the heck is a script that didn’t even get bought? Who cares about how many meetings I got off that script or how many potential assignments I was up for - that’s all smoke. Nothing to show for that... But you may have noticed I include some of those things in my resume, now. That started when I was up for a rewrite job at 20th Century Fox... and didn’t get it when somebody else demanded a $300k producer’s fee if they hired me. This guy was *supposed* to be looking out for my best interests. That made me angry enough to talk about it.

But the main thing that contributed to loosening up my resume to include actual accomplishments that didn’t end up on celluloid? The amount of complete bullshit out there. When everyone else has Tom Cruise attached to their project (in their minds) and you’ve actually had two meetings with C/W while they were on the Paramount lot because they read and liked your scripts, why should I keep my real meetings a secret? One of the things I always say about printed film budgets is that if it’s an Independent genre film - divide by at least two. A guy who has made a low budget wants to make you think it cost more... and wants the distrib who picks it up to pay as if it cost more to make. If it’s a studio film - multiply by two. Studio films always go way over budget and they try to keep that secret - if you knew how much it really cost to make that bomb, the studio would look like a bunch of morons. I’m afraid that the same sort of inflation adjustment may go on when people read my credits, so why leave something *real* off my resume? Hey, I really did turn down the job adapting ANGELS & DEMONS. I *am* a moron!

But I draw the line at lying. That’s the lesson I just refuse to learn... and you won’t be seeing a Script Tip anytime in the future about padding your resume or misrepresenting yourself. Though the truth may be different than the way the final credits were attributed, I’m not going to take credit for something I didn’t do.

Which puts me in the minority in this town.

DID YOU WRITE IT OR TYPE IT?

About a decade ago, I met writer who claimed to have written a movie in production at Warner Bros... he even had a copy of the script with his name on the cover. He made sure everyone saw it and everyone was impressed... and later we found out he *typed* the script. His job was to format scripts to mesh with the Warner Bros format - he worked in the secretarial pool at Warners.

A couple of years later I met a writer who told me he was the best writer in town. He didn’t stop there, though - he hired a publicity firm to spread the word. Next thing you know, he’s actually being interviewed in magazines as one of the new hot writers in Hollywood. He hadn’t sold a script, optioned a script, or even made semi-finalist in a contest. He just hired a PR firm. Now here’s where the story gets weird... someone believes the hype! He’s signed by some young agent at William Morris. That gets him ink in the trades - legitimizing the “hot writer” claims. It also gets him pitch meetings all over town... where he sells a pitch! They guy does have the gift for gab - he can convince you that he really is the best writer in town... until you actually read his writing.

I had never read any of his scripts until a couple of years ago. He went out of his way to keep them away from myself and any other actual writers. For good reason. He has these wild ideas that sound good until they end up on paper - I call them “underhanded pitches”. The problem is, the idea doesn’t make much sense if you think about it. In a pitch meeting, there isn’t time to think about it... but when you’re reading the script, you realize the idea just falls apart. Okay, now add poor execution. Because this guy wasn’t the best writer in town, he was kind of bland. All of his characters sounded exactly alike, all of his scenes were things we had seen before, and some of his stories were... well, you’ve already seen the movie, just with a different title. A friend of mine read one of his scripts and told me it was almost scene-for-scene AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. One of his scripts that I read was THE MECHANIC with the names changed and this completely ludicrous center-piece assassination that probably sounded amazing when pitched... but just made no sense on the page. Two of their scripts had SIXTH SENSE like plot twists at the end that came from out of the blue and were not even possible when you stopped to think about them.

So the poor execution (and turning in the script after their deadline) killed the first big studio deal... but they had already rode that hype to a couple of other deals. By the time a mutual friend had slipped me a couple of their scripts, they were telling everyone about the stars who were attached or interested. Oddly, none of those scripts ever got made, despite the caliber of stars attached.

HOW ARE THEY ATTACHED?

I was having coffee with a producer friend a couple of days ago, and he was telling me about his frustration with the bullshit in this town. He has some private investors who are willing to put up gap financing or completion funds for films with stars, a distrib, and the rest of the money in place. Every day he is brought projects... and the story is always the same. Someone claims they have Billy Bob attached, Paramount onboard to distribute, Gary Marshall directing, and half the money committed. . They just need the other half of the budget. The first thing my friend wants to know is - if you have these people attached and Paramount is going to distribute, why doesn’t the studio just put up the money? And that’s when the hype begins to unravel.

“Well, we know someone in distribution at Paramount, and they said once we have the film made they are *very* interested in considering it for distribution. We have this letter from them that says that...”

Folks, Paramount is a distribution company. They have acquisition people there whose job is to watch movies and decide if Paramount wants to distribute them or not. It’s not difficult to get that person to do their job. But they watch a bunch of movies and only select a few a year. Having Paramount say they’ll watch your finished film is not a distribution agreement.

“Well, we have this letter from Billy Bob’s agency, saying that he’s interested in starring in our film if we meet his price and conditions and schedule...”

Folks, actors - even movie stars - are just like us. They are in a business where they really don’t know where their next check is coming from... and if you’ve got the money to pay them, they will star in your movie... unless they have a better gig (that scheduling part) or if the project completely sucks and they don’t need the money (conditions). I know you’ve seen some awful movie with a big star and said to yourself, “They did this one for the money!” And you’re probably right. There’s a difference between Billy Bob really wanting to make your movie, and Billy Bob saying he’ll do it for the money.

“Well, we can get the script to Gary Marshall....” But he’s never read it.

I’ve talked to Gary Marshall before. He has a theater across the street from Priscilla’s Coffee Shop (where I used to write every day for maybe 8 years) and sometimes he comes in. The famous Bob’s Big Boy is across the street the other way, and I’ve seen him there, too. I can easily get a script to Gary Marshall... what he does with after that is another thing entirely. There are two garbage cans between his theater and Priscilla’s. Even if he decided to read it, that’s no guarantee that he’ll direct it. Most likely, it will end up in one of those garbage cans, anyway. Access to a director or a star or anyone else is meaningless.

I had a meeting with a “producer” I had never heard of before at his office on Sunset. He’d “heard good things about me”. I was there for maybe 30 seconds before he began name dropping stars he was working with on other projects. And he wanted me to write a script for Big Name Star. He kept promising me a meeting with Big Name Star... I wrote a treatment, got notes (supposedly from the Big Name Star) and they asked if I would rewrite the treatment for free based on Big Name Star’s notes. Sure. Then they asked if I would start the script before they cut me a first draft check, because Big Name Star wanted to read it... and I balked. I asked for that promised meeting with Big Name Star. Turns out, they had partied with Big Name Star several times in the VIP room of some Sunset club... they had provided the cocaine. Now, I’m sure that actual films have been made based on relationships like this, but none with my (unpaid) screenplays.

My producer friend told me he’s been brought about 50 projects over the past month - all have supposedly had stars and studios and directors and partial funding... and not a single one of them *actually* had any money or people attached. It was all smoke.

And here’s the part that bothers me the most - he told me that none of the scripts he read (maybe half of the 50) were even close to good. Most were bad ideas poorly executed. One he had on his desk that day was riddled with typos and mis-spells. I’m not talking about a couple of things here and there, I’m talking about up to dozen mis-spells on a single page! (but Billy Bob was attached.) Even though the “producers” with these projects were full of crap, they were still getting all of these scripts out there to real people like my friend. And sometimes the bullshit becomes reality... and they get made! (More on that in an upcoming blog entry called Trilogy Of Terror.)

The moral of the story - the lesson that I refuse to learn - is that bullshit works.

BELIEVING THE BULLSHIT

One of my tips on my Guerrilla Marketing CD is to figure out some way to make an impression when you meet with someone. That’s advice that I give but really don’t use myself - I’ve seen it work really well for others, though. That doesn’t mean I don’t accidentally make an impression - I’m a big guy, 6'4" and not exactly thin. So people might remember me by size. But for a while when I had a manager and scripts going out wide and a bunch of studio meetings, I would ride my bicycle to any meetings at Universal, Warner Bros. or Disney. I live in Studio City - close to all three - and when you drive they always have you park on the opposite side of the lot from your meeting. Never fails. Studios tend to have these guest parking structures that are nowhere near anyone’s office. On a bicycle I could literally park at the front door. When I met with Will Smith’s company they were on the Universal lot - in a bungalow way the hell down by the mighty Los Angeles River. I would have had to walk *miles* from the parking structure to get there! What happened is, at those three studios, some folks knew me as the “bicycle guy”. I had a meeting with a producer a few months ago, and he asked if I rode my bike. I told him I drove (he’s in an office on Wilshire, now) and he was mildly shocked that I even knew how to drive. Maybe this bicycle thing isn’t the best image to have in the film biz.

I have a screenwriter friend who has created his own image... and come to believe his own bullshit. I find this strange. I’ve known him for over a decade, and it’s funny to see the conflicts between *his* reality and actual reality. More amusing than most of the comedies I saw this summer. If you listen to him, he was on staff at a TV show, and both Fox and MTV thought he was a really hot writer. A TV star read and flipped over one of his scripts. Etc. As someone who was around through all of this, it happened very differently. My favorite story is his TV show staff job - ask him and he’ll tell you about going all the way to the top and actually getting on staff before the show was canceled. He believes this. Once when I was invited to a screening, I brought him along... and who do you think was there? That TV executive who hired him on staff! So he decides to go up and say hello...

And the guy doesn’t remember him at all.

For a while I thought it might be that he didn’t ride a bicycle to his meetings or do anything else to make an impression... but then the TV executive goes down his list of people on staff the season they were canceled... and my friend’s name is nowhere on that list. The funny part is - my friend is trying to convince this guy that he’s mistaken! He keeps reminding the executive of things that happened... in my friend’s mind.

I was there for the TV star who flipped over his script - what really happened was that he gave the script to a crew member on the star’s show... and nobody really knows what happened next. In fact, nobody really knows whether the crew guy gave the script to the TV star. The crew guy says he did, but he has his own little dream world going on. But to hear my friend tell it, the star wanted it to be his next project... then he was offered something else by the Network and did that instead.

Truth is - he’s never had a paying gig. You’d think with all of the projects he talks about, one would have actually ended up as a paycheck. Nope. But he still believes that he was on staff for a TV series and had all of these stars drooling over his scripts.

IS HONESTY THE WORST POLICY?

I tend to be very self depreciating about my career (as one of my characters might say - “Does he really have any other choice?”) - I have referred to my films as crappy on many occasions (usually when I’m speaking to a crowd) and often call them forgettable. Whenever anyone says they’ve just rented one of my films, I always say “Writer offers no refunds.” Though I had high hopes for every single one of them, they grew up differently than I had planned. Now I’m left in the same position as some serial killer’s mom - they’re my kids and I love them... but I’m sorry for the pain they may have caused you.

Everyone tells me I shouldn’t do this. That I should hype the hell out of my films. I’m still on the fence on that one. If The Washington Post reviewer was smoking crack and gave NIGHT HUNTER 3 (out of 4) stars, I have no problem mentioning that. That’s a fact - I have the newspaper somewhere in my office “closet of doom” to prove it. But I often will mention my theory that it was a drug related incident. I’ve seen NIGHT HUNTER - it’s about vampires and it sucks. Some good scenes made it to the screen, but most did not. Most of the things I really loved about the script are nowhere to be found in the movie.

I always refer to IMPLICATED as “Victim Of Director” and tell everyone how terrible it is. Recently a friend of mine rented it, and I warned him how bad the film was... and he told me how surprised he was that it was pretty good. He enjoyed it. Talked about some scenes and dialogue and characters he really liked. He thought it was better than some recent theatricals he’s seen. He thought I was overly critical.

Maybe I am. I know what the script was - and it’s so much better than what’s on film. But, I’m sill going to warn you - this is not a good film.

Here’s the problem - When people ask if I’ve written anything they’ve seen, I always say “Probably not.” Most people haven’t seen anything I’ve written. Most producers haven’t seen anything I’ve written - and never will. So the only thing anyone in this business will ever know about my films is what I tell them. Their only source for information is me. So shouldn’t I stand up for my own movies? Shouldn’t I tell people how great they are? (even if it’s not entirely true?) Maybe I should hype the heck out of my movies?

IT’S THE BEST SCRIPT EVER!

I wonder if the other writer with the PR firm getting his name into all of the papers believes his own press? Or does he know it’s crap? I never can tell. Whenever I talk to him, he acts like the press release stuff is true. He’s since pitched a project to 20th Century Fox, who bought it... then the project died for some reason. He says it was studio politics - someone with a vendetta against him. I know he turned in the script late (again) and that the studio hasn’t assigned another writer to the project - and isn’t looking. I also know that his agents at WMA aren’t doing anything for him anymore, and nobody seems to want to hire him. Maybe the bullshit caught up with him?

This town is full of producers who have never produced anything, projects with big name stars “attached” and people who can help you get your script to the right places for a fee. Take it all with a grain of salt. When someone says they’re a producer, ask them what they have produced (then ask for a screener copy). Look up people on IMDB and also try to find (and watch) their films. And even if everything they say really does check out - be careful. Sometimes the bullshit artists get enough people to believe them that some of the bullshit comes true... even though they are still bullshit artists. Just because a producer has a real poster on his wall for a real movie starring Nicolas Cage does not mean that he’s for real.

All I know is that if people only believe half of what I say is true, I’d better start saying that I’ve had *36* crappy movies made. Oh, wait... I mean *brilliant* *Oscar worthy* movies made. And Tom Cruise starred in every one of them.

- Bill

24 comments:

Unknown Screenwriter said...

Outstanding "trenchy" (is that a word?) stuff!

I was at one of your seminars a little over a year ago and I distinctly remember you apologizing for your movies... LOL.

What you probably don't know is that several of them have become "cult favorites" among truck drivers.

I've been at several FLYING J truck stops over the last couple of years and there's always some DVDs of your movies in the bin and I've actually overheard truck drivers recommending a few of those DVDs to other truck drivers.

Now at first, you might think this kinda sucks but I think it's fucking outstanding! These are REAL PEOPLE taking the time to recommend those movies to their friends.

No bullshit.

Unk

Webs said...

There's bullshit everywhere. A few years ago, I had a guy try to tell me he was drafted by the Red Sox out of high school.

Without the Web (not invented yet), I contacted the Sox office and had them fax me a list of draft picks. Robin wasn't on it - no surprise.

Still, I figured the guy might have had some germ of talent on which to base the fantasy, so invited him to sub for my softball team.

He had an arm on him, granted, but I don't think he managed to put bat on ball even once.

wcmartell said...

The guys who repair my car are impressed by my body of work.

- Bill

Oscar Snarque said...

Bill,

Well said, highly introspective, and totally "on point".

Reminds me of my own "horror stories" in the Biz, but heck, too many think "That's just ShowBiz!"

Maybe it is, and maybe the "Bullshit Factor" pegs the boards, but it doesn't make it any easier to stomach.

Funny how one usually never hears or reads about this BEFORE they get into the Biz, but it's no secret that the town is permeated with a layer of bullshit so deep that they ought to be able to grow mushrooms.


Oscar Snarque

PS: And for once, my post is shorter than yours, by a long shot.

wcdixon said...

Better than outstanding...out-fuckin-standing stuff!

I have waded through that bullshit off and on for the past eight years, and it got to the point where I had to step back for a bit, just to breath. You hear about it, but until you've tried to navigate it...man.

Yet there are those who love it, thrive on it, and get films made. Gut wrenching. But the reality. If you want to swim with the sharks, you have to find some way to deal with the bullshit. I'm still figuring out how.

Thank you for getting several sold/made and still remaining someone..."Though not from the mid-west, my parents brought me up to tell the truth and be modest about my accomplishments."

And honesty is always the best policy.

English Dave said...

Great post Bill. If you don't mind I'll plagiarise the idea for my own Blog for us UK'ers.

emily blake said...

That was a treatise (is that spelled right?) on bullshit. Nice.

I have a friend I love dearly who is just like that. He teaches with me, but he writes really gory yet pretty good horror films. He has me read them on occasion because I'm a dynamo at finding errors. He was a Nicholl semifinalist once.

He's always telling me about the managers and agents and producers who are looking at his scripts. He told me he wanted to pass one of my scripts on to this manager who loves him, but I don't want a manager, do I? He almost got an agent, but decided he didn't really want one.

An unproduced writer doesn't want an agent? My ass.

Then he said he was working a deal to executive produce a TV show and that he'd certainly bring me on as a staff writer. He still hasn't figured out that I know much more about the way TV works that he does. I could smell the bullshit coming off that story for miles.

But just in case, I told him thanks and that sounds pretty damn exciting. Congrats.

Because that's the Hollywood way too. Never burn your potential bridges.

RJ Schwarz said...

I think one of the things that helped Schwarzenegger lead the pack of action stars is his endless self-promotion.

He was on Howard Stern pitching the Last Action Hero (not considered his best) and refused to say a bad thing about it, refused to be sidetracked by the distractions thrown his way.

If I was a studio exec that would rate high with me, he's looking out for my money even beyond the point where he's contractually obligated.

On the other hand how many writers go on press junkets?

English Dave said...

''On the other hand how many writers go on press junkets?''

Oh they go. But nobody notices them. lol

Stephen Glauser said...

Great article. Thanks for the great read.

Erik said...

Being self-deprecating is no more honesty than being a bullshit artist. It may be more ethical, but it's not anymore right.

You need to learn how to be proud of your work in a way that makes people understand that you did your best, and it's better than they see of the screen. Make people believe that if they see something they like in a film of yours, it's to your credit, and if they find something they don't it's the producer/directors fault. It's something you believe anyway, right?

Good Dog said...

Bill,

Absolutely superb.

Coming from the same kind of background, I tend to be modest about achievements. After all the years working in the entertainment industry in one form or another, it amazes me the levels people go to big themselves up.

When it comes to tireless self promoters, who have a body of work behind them, I'm envious of their drive. (Although that tends to come from a shitty childhood).

But the bullshitters... I've learned to laugh at their absurdity and obvious insecurity.

It was either that or be waiting for my date with the electric chair.

As for being stung... I helped someone out by designing a program for an event years back. It was done for cost and, because I was being hammered by deadlines, wrote the copy and delivered page layouts but not final artwork. When I was given a copy of the finished thing, the guy had credited himself as the designer, with text by me.

Of course, he did the whole thing the next time and it was a complete abortion.

However much bullshit the bullshitters shit, it catches up with them.

Earlier this year I was the ghostwriter for an actress, writing close to 70,000 words in just over three weeks to meet the deadline. Before the people at the publishing company had finished reading the book they offered another book. She immediately texted me. I said I'd do it for more money.

In the meantime, the actress has got a literary agent, from the look of it got a book deal. Although, somewhat cryptically, her last email mentioned that they think she's a laugh, but have asked her to start again.

In the end, the bullshitters get bitten in the ass. Well, we can hope. While we sleep well at night.

Jim Bradshaw said...

"Now I’m left in the same position as some serial killer’s mom - they’re my kids and I love them... but I’m sorry for the pain they may have caused you."

I actually "Laughed Out Loud" at this. No bullshit. Thnx Bill

Anonymous said...

Great post!

"Next thing you know, he’s actually being interviewed in magazines as one of the new hot writers in Hollywood. He hadn’t sold a script, optioned a script, or even made semi-finalist in a contest. He just hired a PR firm."

Practically everything that's published in the media (and I'm talking about the traditional media) is stuff that's been handed to them by PR firms of some sort or another.

Ok -- "practically everything" is a slight exaggeration. But it's a fact that talented bullshitters and hype-artists can certainly reap rich rewards by careful manipulation of the media. For a spell, at any rate.

To change the subject slightly.

Several weeks ago I met an old acquaintance who is enjoying a fair amount of success internationally (as an actor). He told me that his film is going be produced by a reputable Hollywood prodco. A script is in place -- or couple of drafts have been written and the writer was still writing -- and the shooting will commence in late 2006 or early 2007.

I thought this was wonderful news because I know this project means a lot to him personally (I knew about this project beforehand). Naturally I was also keen to know about all the the nut and bolts, how he'd actually achieved all this. So I asked him a lot of questions which he readily answered. By the end of our conversation I was wondering to which extent he was bullshitting me and to which extent deluding himself.

My conclusion was that he was mostly deluding himself. But it's also possible, even likely, that he wasn't totally deluded as regards the chances this project has. It has already gained him considerable media attention which is is a purpose in itself.

Anyways, and because this is threatening to be a totally pointless story. The only thing I vividly remember from our long conversation is the guy's attitude towards film scripts. Or to writers.

At one point I had innocently asked if the writer they'd hired was a WGA member and he said no -- acting all horrified like. He told me WGA rates are totally outrageous. Noone in his right mind hires WGA writers.

So apparently this Hollywood proco is not a WGA signatory. Which is all fine and dandy. Except for the fact that this film is not low budget. He'd described the story to me in lush detail (actually I already knew the gist of it, from him and from other sources) and it is inherently biggish budget. Not for one or two reasons but for several reasons. The actual budget of the film reflects this. It's big. So you've got these budget-artist who are of the opinion that WGA rates are totally outrageous.

This guy's attitude towards writers is memorable because he evidently thinks that the actual writing of the script is a relatively minor matter in the whole enormous undertaking. Practically a side issue.

The story is the actor's (and personally I think the story is very interesting, unique even).

Talking to him it became evident to me that his view of the screenwriting process is extremely uncomplicated;

Story is king. If you've got a great story you simply hire someone (who has experience in the field) to convert your great story into script-form to make it shoot-ready. It's as simple as that.

But to wholly change the subject:

You are clearly determined to keep a manly black blog (instead of a sissy white background one).

Oh, well.

My son taught me a nifty trick the other day (which I suppose only works for macs).

Press Control + Option + Command + 8 and the whole screen goes negative, colour-wise.

Cheers, Anna

Laura Reyna said...

Agree. Outstanding post! :-)

moviequill said...

What a great post, Bill. I am on the road writing (currently in the Tulsa Hilton lobby) and I am taking a break to read. If I had to choose one of your scripts from your site to read (of the ones available) what is the "best" one in your humble opinion? I have some time to kill and like reading in my down time

Anonymous said...

I think you make the right decision to tell the truth. It is your honesty and self deprecating humor that I like.

A. M. said...

Lost my virginity... They aired one of your babies on TV last month. Late night here is B-Action territory (or porn. Apparently, some flicks are both). The moment it started I thought "I know this... but I haven't seen it, I'm sure. WTF?" Sure enough I'd read the treatment/sp on your site.

Yep, it was THE sex-in-the-sub movie, Crash Dive. You got your residual cheque, right?

Dudikoff way cute. Basic-Instinct-terrorist-babe way too ugly for pretty boy victim. That shower scene OMG. I could have done without that Sleepless-in-Seattle sub as well, but what the hey.

They also aired Freefall (with cutie patootie Eric Roberts) and some other flick with the ugliest cast ever. Both were very clunky when it came to their weird-ass "romantic" and (second flick) C-porn scenes.

Made me wonder if they should use writing teams.

Freefall felt as if even the editor didn't want anything to do with the steamy scenes and cut them together without looking. Continuity? Mind-boggling.

So your baby was one of the cuter ones. Fun to know beforehand what you said about the script/production. ;)

"Sold" movies definitely need to be on the CV.

Re: the b.s. It's refreshing to have a personality - that may stick out from all the white noise generating b.s. folx.

Re: Bike. Remember your first agent? Remember the car he drove vs. the car you were looking for when you arrived at the airport? Yep. Some of the non-verbal things you actually *do want* to communicate. It's like setting up your character. Once established via certain car, certain watch, certain shoes etc. you may say whatever you want.

Great rant, Bill. Tom and Katie are with me (we're working together on a BIG project) and they agre said...

Great rant, Bill. Tom and Katie are with me (we're working together on a BIG project) and they agree.

--Joe Unidos

Aric Blue said...

I only wish the bullshit was limited to the Hollywood area. It seems to be spreading across the country.

RJ Schwarz said...

Bill, perhaps off topic, but have you considered taping audio commentary tracks for your movies. Mp3s that can be played while the DVD runs.

Such a move might turn some good scripts that were abused in production into further self-promotion and learning tales.

Just a thought. Mike Neilson of MST3K is doing that sort of thing from a comedy angle but writers comments would be more fun.

Anonymous said...

first time i've read your blog, bill, and one of the best pieces i've read, smoke & mirrors. honesty. dunno how or when, but i expect to see your name honestly on an A picture.
-ObiDonWan

Anonymous said...

Repped by WMA on bullshit alone?

Wow. I gotta try that one.

Screw writing scripts.

wcmartell said...

Audio commentary:

Funny you should mention that, as I once planned some audio classes that would be like a study guide for movies like ROAD WARRIOR, etc.

And I thought of doing a CD commentary that I could package with my films - but the 80 minute thing kind of screwed me up... and I still don't know exactly how to handle the *film's* audio elements (on a normal commentary the film audio track fades in and out - allowing people to comment on dialogue, etc). This is on the horizon, though - and maybe having MP3s online might be the way to go.

Thanks.

- Bill

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