Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On Script Notes....

So I handed in the latest draft of the show I was hired to write...

I got my notes back "It's still a little flat IMO"

I have written this script so many times I can't keep count (even though it says 5th draft... it's more). I don't get it. I don't get what they want. They keep telling me to write it like my other stuff - but it's exactly like my other stuff...

I feel like this guy...

I'm gonna curl in a ball now. If crying is good for the soul, sobbing uncontrollably must be even better...

Monday, June 22, 2015

City in Crisis through a Green Prism...

Well as of Sunday night, "City in Crisis" is done and delivered!

Thanks to seeing it a million times during production, it's hard to gauge if something you've created is working on any level by the time it's done. Just the way it goes... So what's the solution?

Well I have one... some may not like it.

I went to my basement, cued it up on the biggest TV, shut off the lights, and (most importantly) I got baked.

It's nothing new, but I've always said that watching something stoned is like watching it for the first time. You notice shit you might not notice otherwise, and can step outside your usual expectations.

So I watched all 5 episodes - which run about 4 minutes - in a row, and just took it all in.


Well, I think it's pretty good anyway... ha.

Nothing like laughing at your own jokes. Of course a lot of the laughs were due to my great voice talent, who also came up with some gem's along the way.

After that little viewing, I'm more confident in screening it for the studio I work at. Sure there may be crickets, but I REALLY feel like I need that experience. I need to see an audience either laugh or flat-out hate something I've done. Either reaction will be entertaining!

Will link to the project when it goes live on Mondo next week.

Friday, June 19, 2015

"Write in your own voice..."

The plan for this blog is to update regularly and cover pretty much anything that comes up while pursuing my goal for entertainment industry domination. However, as I sit here staring at only the SECOND post, I have no idea what to write about...

So I asked myself, "What am I working on right now? Maybe I should just post about that..."

"Well you're doing the rewrite on 'The Future Blows', write about that..."

"Can I? I mean... what about non-disclosure and such?"

"Did you actually sign a non-disclosure?"

"I dunno... did I actually read any of my contracts?"

"Good point... well you could write about the experience without talking about the actual show..."


Okay, so right now I'm writing on a show called 'The Future Blows'. It's not my show, I was brought in to punch it up and write the pilot. It's an animated short being made for Mondo Media, and it's maybe the most I've ever had to rewrite on something. It's just not working (at least according to the producer at Mondo)

And the reason it's not working is due to my writing... but here's where it's confusing...

I co-created (with my writing partner, Calvin) an animated show for Mondo called "City in Crisis". It was a hard sell, but when I sent them the 5 scripts for the first 5 episodes, they jumped all over it. I was praised for my style of writing "It's great! You're writing is hilarious without actually having any 'jokes'!!"

Oh okay... cool thanks! *no jokes?*

So they not only green-lit my show, but then asked me to do punch up on a few of their other shows - with the main one being 'The Future Blows'.

So I did a pass on the show, retaining the characters and personalities, but reworking the world a bit. I wrote a pilot outline and after approval, moved on to script. Overall I was happy with it.

But then the notes came back.

"Not funny... there are no jokes"

So I did another pass and it got approved. Phew.

So then it went to the next stage... an animatic. Now since this is an animated show, the animatic is just the storyboards for the episode cut together to give an idea of the length and timing of the scenes. There is also dialogue included from the voice actors.

Now the first animatic didn't go over well, so I asked to take a pass at it myself (as I've said, I'm an editor for my day job) and after I did a cut, I figured it was working pretty well, maybe just needed a different voice for the main character...

Then I heard back. "Don't like it. Not funny. There are still no jokes. Make it sound like 'City in Crisis'. Write it in your own voice..."

BUT I DID... It's exactly the same kind of humor as City in Crisis.

But being so close to a script, you can't exactly KNOW if it's working or not... and the guys at Mondo have a good ear for this kind of thing, so, okay... another rewrite it is!

So while I write this blog, on my second computer screen is the script for The Future Blows, and once again I'm tying to write it in my own voice... with jokes... that aren't jokes.

It's going to be a long day.

Side note...

At 6:00 today I hand in the final exports for the completed "City in Crisis"... It should go live next week on Mondo Media... I will keep everyone in the loop.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Where to start...

Have you ever seen the flick, "GATTACA"? Great movie! 

Well there's a scene in it - and sorry if this is a bit off, as it's been years since I've watched it - where Ethan Hawke's character is doing janitorial work inside this NASA-like company (GATTACA), and watching a rocket take off from the building roof top. As a guy who's dreamed of going into space, but couldn't because he's not genetically built to, his view is great, and heartbreaking. Through voice over we hear the line:

"I was never more certain of how far away I was from my goal than when I was standing right beside it."

Image from GATTACA with redundant quote

I've had that moment myself.

I was editing on a project for a pretty big directing team, and at one point ended up sitting in their office on the Sony Pictures lot. Being from Vancouver, Canada, and mostly working on local TV and web projects, this was huge for me.

I made editing calls... argued choices... it was really a feeling of "making it".

At the end of the day, as my cab arrived to take me back to the airport (and thus back to Vancouver), I shook hands, said "seeya later", and walked out the front gates of Sony.

It was then I instantly recalled that scene from GATTACA. You see, while it was great editing for these guys, that's not what I usually do. In fact, though I AM an editor, editing is not what I want to do - big picture wise. Editing is something I to pay my mortgage. I, like most people in my industry, want more. I want my own projects made.

When you work in the entertainment industry you learn pretty quickly that you are either running the show, or just a cog. There are A LOT of cogs in this entertainment machine. Some cogs are paid more than others - some have more of their expertise involved in the final products than others, but for the most part, they are still just cogs.

So this feature I'm an editor of, has another editor: my business partner - we'll call him Calvin. Calvin was telling me that during one of their meetings, the directors were commenting that everyone in this city (LA) has a script. The guy mowing the lawn... they guy bringing around craft services. Everyone has a script.

So really, when people ask me what I want to do in this industry, what my long term goals are, I usually just say "Win the lottery"

Winning the lottery is selling a script or property.

Well turns out you can win the lottery... only it may just be 10 dollars on a scratch and win.

I got my own show sold. I wrote all the episodes, and it got me more work... but I can't say it went down as I hoped.

So this blog is basically going to be about attempting to TRULY win the lottery. It'll be about the industry here in Vancouver, Canada, and how shitty it can be. How hard it is trying to become a wheel when you are barely a bent spoke.

At the same time I'll likely post about stuff I love in this industry that I have nothing to do with, but that inspires me. I'll also post about projects I had a LOT to do with, that may just be plain embarrassing.

I'm not going to talk a lot about my personal life (cuz who cares?) and I will try not to name, names (though any project I post of my own will have my name all over it, and it wouldn't take Batman to figure out who every other person mentioned here is).

For example, when I was working with those two directors at Sony, I smoked a joint with them.

Too obvious?

Anyway, I've been itching to post my thoughts somewhere (to rant... to praise...) for a while now. And I guess this is the site.

Is it going to be every day? Maybe.... but likely not.

Guess we'll see...