Friday, September 30, 2016

Josh Barkey: 2016 Nicholl Fellowship Finalist

Last Thursday at around eight p.m. I got a call from Greg Beal, director of the Nicholl Fellowship. I asked how he was doing and he said that he was tired, but happy to be making some fun phone calls. Then he told me that my script MARLENE THE DIVINE had been selected as one of thirteen Nicholl Fellowship Finalists.

That's when I started saying, "thank you."

I must've peppered a few dozen more "thank yous" into my incoherent babbling as he filled me in on the process, and asked me to please not tell anyone but my significant other until the press release went out on Monday.

We said goodbye. Then I got off the phone and cried a little.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Only Trump Can Prevent Forest Fires

How does an Orange Slug make a run for the White House?

Why are millions of Americans willing to ignore his business incompetence, endless deceit, misogyny, racism, selfishness, unkindness, and cruelty?

Answers are not forthcoming.

It's fear, sure... but of what?

Perhaps an explanation might be found in a closer look at one of Trump's largest support-groups: the sell-our-souls-for-a-cup-of-power Evangelical Christians.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Whilst editing pictures I took at my sister's wedding, I got to thinking about why.

Why do we do this? Why do we snap these moments? Are they merely, as my wife says, "pictures of diminished memories"? Do we rob our life-experiences of fullness by attempting to hold onto them? Should we burn the cameras and the snapchats and the facebooks and venture boldly out into our moments, knowing that we'll die and they'll fade... believing somehow that this all is okay?

As you can imagine, I'm a LOT of fun at a party.

Sammy the Snake

Although Sammy the Snake and I only met once, I feel as though we made a real soul-connection.

He dropped by my writing desk and looked in, and I could feel him peering deep inside me. Sure, yeah, he could've been wondering how to get past the glass to sink his teeth into this juicy, pink, over-sized mouse-baby... but I think it was something more. We looked into each others' eyes for a minute. Then another minute. Then an eternity... an eternity in our hearts.

I'm gonna treasure this beautiful moment for pretty much ever, probably (sniff, sniff).

Saturday, August 20, 2016

predicting Trump, circa Y2K

Back in 2000-ish, Barbara Ehrenreich published a book called Nickel and Dimed, in which she chronicled her year spent attempting to survive on low-wage jobs in America. Her experiment did not go well, but the subsequent book sold more than a million and a half copies and "fueled nationwide campaigns for a living wage." Campaigns which, of course, worked perfectly. Because poverty in America has been eradicated. Obviously.

I feel like quoting the entire book, then calling you up one by one and forcing you to read it. That would probably be illegal, so instead I'll just quote the bit that I think explains the Trump & Bernie phenomenon that we've been witnessing this past year-and-a-bit.*

This extended quote comes near the end of the book and without the preceding pages as context will lack some of the raw impact... but I still think it's worth your time:

Monday, August 15, 2016

In which the Oscar-Winner reads my film script...

Screenwriting contests suck.

Heck, all art-contests suck. They take something that's mostly unquantifiable (art) and they rank it. Which is just, y'know, rank. For artists, the process of entering contests is painful, fraught with anxiety, and usually ends with a lot of muttering under the covers about how the system is rigged, and what do you expect in a world where Donald Frickin' Trump is a "serious" candidate for U.S. President?

For this and other reasons, I hate screenwriting contests and have sworn not to enter them after this year. Still... it's pretty swell to be able to report that:


As if that weren't cool enough, in the semifinalist round of the Nicholl Fellowship all scripts are read by four members of the Academy (the people who do the Oscars). This year, two hundred Academy members have volunteered, of which around twenty-five percent have either won an Oscar or been nominated for one.

So right this very second, an Oscar-winner could be reading my script!!!

Pretty cool, right?

Also, not-cool, because I submitted very nearly the first draft of the script to the Nicholl (to meet their deadline), and I'm now four drafts further into it and GROANING that it's possible that Steven Freakin' Spielberg could be reading what I now think of as a vastly-inferior draft. Ouch!

Zero complaints, though.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Josh Barkey: 2016 DOUBLE Nicholl Quarterfinalist (and oh yeah, also DOUBLE Page Contest quarterfinalist, too)

So, yeah.

I just found out that my scripts THE SUICIDE CODE and MARLENE THE DIVINE are Nicholl fellowship quarterfinalistsputting them in the top 357 scripts out of 6,915. In the biggest, most prestigious contest out there (the Nicholl is run by the Academy). Which is nifty.

Those same two scripts are also currently quarterfinalists in the Page Screenwriting Contest.

Both the Page and the Nicholl have relatively early deadlines (compared to a couple other contests I've entered), so the drafts I submitted were pretty early and therefore (in my opinion) pretty sucky. Which is my way of being not-optimistic, so I won't be disappointed.

Still... pretty cool.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

choosing a love story

  1. There are always a wide variety of possible explanations for another person's actions. This applies to the actions of celebrities as much as it does to your mom, or to gypsies you see sidling (sneaking? dancing?) through the shadows in the park.
  2. You cannot know what's going on in another person's head. You can (and probably sometimes should) try to tell a story to yourself that will explain another person's actions... but you're going to get that story wrong. There will always be factors that you will miss. To believe otherwise is to choose arrogance over wisdom.
  3. If you listen to the voice of wisdom, it will also tell you that the story you choose will affect the person you will becomehow you will live and move through the world, and what you will come to believe about the people who occupy that world. 
  4. As a result, this story will dictate (for all intents and purposes) the sort of world you will actually come to live in.
  5. Therefore... choose the story that fits most comfortably with the best possible world. Be wise and cunning as a fox, yesespecially in situations where it is important for you to make informed decisionsbut also be humbly charitable, remembering that your judgments change you far more than they will ever change those upon whom you pronounce them.
  6. When in doubt... choose doubt. Doubt and its attending humility will lead you on the path of love.

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