Friday, February 26, 2010

Gerbil Warming


RICHARD drags PATRICK into the break room by the arm excitedly.


Check it out! I found a time machine! I was able to send this gerbil through time!


Richard, this isn't a time machine, it's a microwave.

Richard cradles the smoldering corpse of a gerbil.



I think it's hot in the future.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Apple Spec...


STEVE JOBS, 55 bearded and awesome, sips his early morning coffee. He addresses the camera.


The other day I was out shopping for clothes when I thought...



A more attractive Steve Jobs holds a black turtleneck against his muscular form and switches it for another identical turtleneck. Suddenly he looks up in epiphany.


A computer should turn on instantly, and I should be able to locate files just by just typing the filename, and computers should be virus-free!



Jobs takes another sip.


Then I realized, Macs have done that for ten years.


INSERT: Apple Logo



Jobs smiles big for the camera.


I'm Steve Jobs, and apparently Windows 7 was my idea.

Props to Andrea for inspiring this one...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010



As MR. MYERS, 31 unshaven and bespectacled, scribbles with a stylus across his iChalkboard, the words are automatically replaced with the appropriate, government-approved font.


The commutative property of multiplication states that regardless of their values, x times y is equal to y times x.

The students observe complacently from their hoverdesks.



Everyone following so far?

The class laughs suddenly.

Mr. Myers looks back to the wall to see that the "=(" part of the equation has morphed into a sad face.



Does anybody know how to turn off emoticons on this thing?

Nobody offers assistance.



Fine, whatever, moving on... the transitive property tells us that if x is less than y, and y is less than three...

The "<3" rotates into a glowing red heart on the board.


(under his breath)

God dammit.

Err Plane


LIONEL BILLINGS II, 58 and lanky, adjusts his monocle and calls to his portly manservant WESLEY, 35 and fidgety.


Wesley! Please retrieve my things and procure the fastest plane ever built. To fly the plane I require the pilot with the most successful landing record ever achieved.


Very well sir, but statistically speaking, wouldn't that make him the most likely to crash?


Right you are! Very well. Get me the pilot who has crashed most recently.


Right away, sir!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dodgson! We have Dodgson here!


JOSH and PATRICK reflect on childhood aspirations.


I remember for two years I wanted to be a paleontologist.


Oh totally! Me too. Especially after Jurassic Park came out. I mean, that was like little kid porn for me. (beat) I mean... Wow, that came out wrong.


No, I get it.


Ok good.


You mean it was as addictive for you then, as child porn is for you now.


Exactly! Thanks for translating.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hollywood and Hijinks


PATRICK retrieves his keys to start the car but hesitates, distracted.


So, are we going straight to the Rock Band Party? (beat) What are you looking at?

Patrick's eyes follow a small group of people across the street.


Oh, nothing. The guy in the front there looked like J.K. Simmons.


I think that's J.K. Rowling.





Saturday, February 13, 2010

Second City Update

I mentioned recently that I would be signing up for the next available entry level writing course at the Hollywood Second City. It has since become available for registration and starts March 13th for $325. Three and a half hours every Saturday for seven weeks. I think that's a decent price, but I may not have it to spare when March rolls around. Only time will tell.

Friday, February 12, 2010



ANDREW, late-30's, unshaven and apparently sleep-deprived, stabs at his dinner plate angrily. His daughters, SUSANNA, 8, and POLLY, 5, eye their food reluctantly.



I miss mom's cooking.


Shut up and eat it!

The girls are unfazed by dad's outburst.


Aren't you supposed to microwave these?

On each of their plates sits a slim brick of popcorn kernels and butter-flavored chemicals.


If that's still on your plate when I finish this, I'm eating it.

Susanna tries to fork her unpopped envelope of dinner, but can't penetrate the surface and instead sends her food gliding off the plate onto the kitchen floor.

Polly starts crying.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Silver Screenwriting Competition Returns!

It's that time of year again! Time to put the final polish on whatever I got and send it over to Julie Gray for the third annual Silver Screenwriting Competition. The doors open for entries on March 1st and close tightly on May 1st, so that's my window.

Interesting development: In years past, part of the grand prize has always been to meet and have lunch with a working screenwriter. Last year, this meant lunch at the Ivy with Josh Zetumer, two time Black List nominee and writer of the then-upcoming Dune remake, which Peter Berg has since abandoned. This year they have really upped the ante via a lunch with Shane Black! Last year I made it a couple rounds into the contest, but as a result of this announcement, I have decided I will win this year, because he's neat.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Annies and Flapjack

On Saturday, the 37th Annual Annie Awards were given out to the Best Animated Features and Television Series of 2009. Pixar's Up took home big prize of Best Animated Feature, nominated against all of its Oscar co-nominees plus the sadly overlooked Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. I think we can expect a repeat of this decision when the Oscars come around, despite my aforementioned preference for The Princess and the Frog.

Further down the list, I had high hopes for Thurop Van Orman's The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, easily my pick for funniest animated series of the decade. Luckily for you, most of the series is available to watch on Cartoon Network's website. Unluckily for you, the aspect ratio has been fiddled with and the episodes are a bit funky to watch in places. Equally unfortunate is the fact that the Madagascar spinoff, Penguins of Madagascar took home the prize over Flapjack in both the Best Animated Television Production for Children category and the Best Direction in a Television Production category. Sadly Thurop's voicework as the lead in Flapjack went un-nominated (as did Brian Doyle Murray's Captain K'nuckels) and the award went to Tom Kenny's SpongeBob Squarepants voice.

The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack is one of the most beautifully produced shows I have ever scene. It follows the adventures of a young boy named Flapjack and his best friend the grizzled Captain K'nuckles, both of whom live in an enormous whale named Bubbie who acts as a surrogate mother to the pair. They both dream of someday escaping from their everyday lives in Stormalong to the legendary coasts of Candied Island. If you haven't seen it, you are missing out.

Hopefully Thurop will garner more nominations next year, but I predict some competition from one of Flapjack's own writers, Pendleton Ward, whose new series Adventure Time was thankfully picked up by Cartoon Network after Nickelodeon passed on the pilot. Ward, by the way, authored my personal favorite episode of Flapjack entitled Gone Wishin' (unavailable from Cartoon Network's episode list). I implore you to check it out. And for those who haven't seen the Adventure Time pilot, check it out on Youtube now. Executive produced by Flapjack's Thurop Van Orman and created by Ward, the Adventure Time series will feature the voicework of Futurama's John DiMaggio, SpongeBob's Tom Kenny, Star Wars's Mark Hammil, and Pendleton Ward himself. If I could write for any kids show, it would be one of these two for sure.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

AMC's Best Picture Showcase

For those who haven't already heard, AMC's annual Best Picture marathon is continuing this year as a 2-day program. Every year, AMC offers one ticket price to get into all Best Picture nominees. Because there are twice as many films this year, the Showcase will take place over two days (Sat. Feb. 27th & Sat. Mar. 6th). As for what's playing each day? It hasn't been announced yet, except that Avatar will play in 3D on the 27th. AMC is letting the audience vote for what will play alongside it. Ticket prices are as follows:

Program Information
Double the films also means more ways to enjoy the showcase! We’ll take care of you with a free large popcorn and unlimited refills.

Standard Ticketing Options:
- Two-Day Pass - Online: $60
- Two-Day Pass - Box Office: $50
- One-Day Pass (February 27 or March 6) - Online and Box Office: $30
MovieWatcher Ticketing Options:
- Two-Day Pass - Box Office: $40
- One-Day Pass (February 27 or March 6) - Box Office: $25

Signing up for the MovieWatcher program is free and easy. The list of participating theaters is available here and depending on the eventual line-up, I may see you there!

Friday, February 5, 2010

SXSW Headliners

The South by Southwest Feature Film headliners have been announced and I am already excited to see six of the seven. Here's the breakdown in the order SXSW listed them.


I already consider myself a fan of the mumblecore movement. For two years in college, I set and met the goal of watching a movie I had not already seen every day. As a result of the system, I was introduced to a lot of movies I might not have found otherwise. One that piqued my interest was called Funny Ha Ha directed by Andrew Bujalski. It's a low-budget, no name movie with actors that look like everyday people. It isn't artificially plot-driven or over-stylized. It's just a simple drama, with good writing and good actors.

What does this have to do with Cyrus? Technically nothing. But in researching Funny Ha Ha, I came across the term mumblecore and sought out films of the genre. This lead me to the Duplass brother's The Puffy Chair. Again, a simple story, with relatable characters who feel very well-rounded even at their extremes. Since then, I haven't been disappointed by a Duplass brothers' film and I recommend checking out The Puffy Chair, Baghead, and Lynn Shelton's Hump Day starring Mark Duplass. This collection of Duplass films leads us to an interesting evolution in the series called Cyrus. From what I can tell from the trailer, Cyrus follows the same formula as the rest of the mumblecore collection, but this time around the names are more familiar. John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, and Jonah Hill lead the way as our lonely protagonist, a new love in his life, and her grown son respectively. I promise it will be worth seeing, but seriously check the others out too.

Get Low

I know next to nothing about Get Low other than the plot summary provided on imdb.

A film spun out of equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend about a mysterious, 1930s Tennessee hermit who plans his own rollicking funeral party... while still alive.

That said, I already know I will enjoy it because it has Bill Murray in it and as the record shows, no Bill Murray movie has ever failed to capture my interest unless that movie also has Garfield in the title. Anyone who comes back with Charlie's Angels or The Razor's Edge should maybe give those movies another look. Or maybe even a first look.


Watch the trailer for this movie. Then tell me you don't want to see it and I will explain that you accidentally watched the trailer for Valentine's Day or something because this one looks amazing. I've heard it described as "High School Tarantino" and I almost had the chance to describe it that way myself, but I couldn't get from Culver City to Northridge fast enough after work for the screening I had tickets to a year ago. Either way, I can't afford SXSW so I am forced to miss another screening.


This is the one I am most excited about. I plan to see this several times in theaters... in IMAX if possible. If you didn't follow The Lonely Island with Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, and Andy Samberg, I suggest you look into it. Then I recommend checking out every episode of the 'Bu. All of this is necessary to fully appreciate the magic of this team. After you are done with the 'Bu, find the Pilot for the sadly abandoned Awesometown. Then, right when you think you must be completely prepared, watch every SNL Digital Short from the last five years. The people behind MacGruber are the people who have almost single-handedly kept SNL afloat in the wake of Tina Fey's departure. Then watch Hot Rod. Now you are ready for MacGruber. But if you need more I recommend some of Will Forte's other lead roles like Clone High and The Brothers Solomon. That should do the trick. Oh, and the entire McGyver series, which is available streaming now from CBS's website. MacGruber hasn't even come out yet and it's already almost my favorite SNL movie. If you think a 30 second sketch can't fill an entire film, I invite you to rewatch A Night at the Roxbury with fresh eyes. The trailer already looks promising and it's about time someone gave Kristen Wiig a significant part in something hilarious. I've been a fan of hers since the first season of The Joe Schmo Show and she delivers some of the trailers most quotable lines. I'm also curious to see if they maintain a detail that came up in one of the more recent MacGruber sketches, that his full name is MacGruber McGyver and Richard Dean Anderson played his father. Fingers crossed.

Micmacs à tire-larigot

Another filmmaker who has yet to let me down is Jean-Pierre Jeunet. If you aren't familiar, he has directed some of the most beautiful films to come out of France in the last decade, and that's saying a lot. I recommend netflicking Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, Amelie, and A Very Long Engagement. Even Alien: Resurrection is worth a watch. His latest is called Micmacs and deals with a romance against the backdrop of arms dealers. How can that go wrong?

Mr. Nice

This is the one of the seven with which I am not familiar. Sounds neat though. Here's the official SXSW summary...

The true story of Howard Marks. He was Britain's most wanted man. He spent seven years in America's toughest penitentiary. You'll like him.

The Runaways

Even though I haven't particularly enjoyed Dakota Fanning's recent work, or for that matter, any of Kristen Stewart's work. I am still interested in seeing them take on the roles of Cherie Currie and Joan Jett.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bad News/Good News

Hey folks! Sorry I haven't posted more this week. I'm in the process of moving and my computer is in a box somewhere so today's update is made via work computer.

The nominations for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards were announced this morning and I am both excited and upset. In the interest of ending on a good note, I will begin with my problems.


1. Best Picture - There should not have been ten nominees. I enjoyed District 9, but if you have no intention of giving Best Picture to a movie, why nominate it? I understand it's an "honor just to be nominated" but really what we're doing is adding five losers to the Awards show. Five more faces in split screen, awkwardly applauding someone they aren't. Inglourious Basterds is my pick this year, but if Pulp Fiction didn't win, I'd be surprised if the Academy gives it to Tarantino this time around. I'm surprised and pleased with Up's nomination for Best Picture, marking the first animated Best Picture nominee since the introduction of the Best Animated Feature category, but I think I can see the Academy's exit strategy here. When Up wins Best Animated, is that supposed to make up for the Best Picture loss? Unless they give it both, which I guess they would have to if it gets Best Picture. Of course, it could also take neither since I actually preferred The Princess and The Frog.

Also, Avatar deserves only technical nominations.

2. Best Visual Effects - I can accept that because the names might be unfamiliar to the general public that only three visual effects teams get nominated each year. I also accept that Avatar was nominated here out of obligation and will probably win. Also, District 9 (which for the record should win) is an amazing technical triumph that didn't cost several hundreds of millions of dollars or an entire decade to produce. But really? Star Trek? You think Star Trek looked better than Transformers 2? I know it's hip to hate on Michael Bay (frankly I love the guy) but even if you take issue with the story and the acting, you have to admit that Transformers looked incredible. Other than forever revolutionizing the way we use lens flares, I don't see the motivation for Star Trek's nomination. (Note: all this applies to the Best Sound Editing category as well.) Ok, on to the good stuff.


1. Best Supporting Actor - While I have heard nothing but good things about Matt Damon in Invictus, I am happy to see Christoph Waltz getting the Heath Ledger treatment of not being nominated against anyone who might win. Waltz was amazing in the film, and he will be amazing in a great deal many more films, and I'd hate for the Academy to switch it up and give it to the second best guy at the last second. It's looking like they won't, but then again, Crash won Best Picture.

2. Best Original/Adapted Screenplay - I am ecstatic to see that Avatar was not nominated for Best Original Screenplay or Best Adapted Screenplay.


As a side note, I am pleased to see The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus get a nod with Best Art Direction. I understand that the visual effects team didn't get a mention because producers don't trust Terry Gilliam with their money anymore, but it's nice to see the creative vision acknowledged.

In summary, I will probably watch the Oscars this year, but it's up to the Academy whether or not I will watch them ever again.