Friday, April 07, 2006

How Many Have You Seen?

WGAe has announced the 101 Greatest Screenplays! How many have you seen? I'm going to do a count later (after I've run some errands)... I know that it will be embarassingly low.

Here are the Top 10:

1. Casablanca
2. The Godfather
3. Chinatown
4. Citizen Kane
5. All About Eve
6. Annie Hall
7. Sunset Blvd.
8. Network
9. Some Like It Hot
10. The Godfather II

I've seen 4 of the top 10... Pathetic!

Tags: ,

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Peeling Back The Layers

If you don't watch Lost on ABC, I'm telling you now to get your hands on the first season (available on DVD) and watch the entire season in time to begin watching Season 2 reruns come June.

Give it a chance! If you are underwhelmed by the 2-hour premiere, I implore you to stick with it. It is worth it! This program demonstrates to me what good writing is all about. It is a breath of fresh air in a sea of reality.

What does it have, you ask?

Layers Characters and stories that are complex. Built in such a way that you want to keep peeling the layers back to find something new, different and magical. Bit by bit we see the "why" behind the actions and events and, more importantly, we care.

Details. Every single detail is thought out and planned with such precision. Are you one of the viewers that made the map the most TiVo'd moment in Lost history? There is such creativity on this show and it is a great feeling when a viewer catches a detail and realizes it was intentional. It's like a brotherhood...

Interdependencies. Every interaction and every experience has purpose. In a good story, you see how these interdependencies connect us. And connections run amok in Lost.

What If? Factor Monsters, voodoo, phantom airplanes dropping food, disappearing soccer players, horses, polar bears, mystery hatches, man of faith vs. man of science... These writers take thinking out of the box to a new level.

Don't be afraid to peel back the layers - it could be hot molten lava, sweet creamy pudding or just plain onion breath - but it's our job as writers to take that risk. It's the only way that we can really bring truth to our characters and to make the viewers care.

Tags: ,

Sunday, April 02, 2006

When Change Disrupts Your Flow

"I have this theory of convergence, that good things always happen with bad things. I know you have to deal with them at the same time, but I just don't know why they have to happen at the same time. I just wish I could work out some schedule." - Diane Court, Say Anything
I've always felt some kind of connection with Diane Court. Of course, she is the glamorized, Hollywood version of me and her story has a few twists and turns very different from my own, but I relate to her. And I often find myself thinking about this quote, more when things go wrong than when they go right. Thanks, Cameron, for the inspiration!

There are days when I have a very difficult time seeing the good things. Please understand, I know there are those omnipresent good things: a wonderful family, a good job, a roof over my head and food on the table. I also know that having these things makes me better off than a large portion of the world. Like most people characterized by obsessive compulsive tendencies, I don't spend nearly enough time appreciating these gifts.

At the end of the day, that's what it all boils down to: time. The fact is, there isn't enough of it. Nonetheless, the expectation to do more with less remains and you damn well better smile while you're doing it!

For the past couple of years, I have had the good fortune to work for a company that has supported a telecommuting culture. This has worked out tremendously well for me because the office is an hour and half commute each way. Days that I was able to work from home gave me an extra three hours in my day. Those of you that work full-time, have kids, a life and a household to manage understand how valuable three hours can be. Fortunately, my cubicle was recently relocated to an office site that is just under an hour away. While the commute is much less painful, I would still telecommute a few days a week primarily for efficiency. Sadly, the company culture is changing and telecommuting is to become a thing of the past.

Gone! 15 productive hours from every week. The pressure continues to grow as I try to figure out how to do it all with less time. I feel like that girl in the anti-drug commercial who looks like she's been compressed by a trash compactor. I suppose the solution would be to do less but then what gets sacrificed? It's not such an easy choice to make.

I'll adjust, I know. My life has always been about shifting and accomodating to change and, in the grand scheme of those changes, this is a minor adjustment. As my sister pointed out, most people have to schlep into work to punch their card. And she is right.

Thank you. Consider this the end of my rant as I suck it up, spend an extra $40 a week in gas money so I can rejoin the commuting ranks and punch my card for "the man."

That is until Diane's theory of convergence is proven and I sell a screenplay and become "the man."