Tuesday, September 30, 2014

EVERYTHING IS FINE!!!

The crazy thing is, I know a lot of people who'd be more offended by John Oliver's swearing than by what it is he's swearing about.

Here We Go Again...

In yet another installment of my 2014 "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" saga, my feature-length script POUNDERS has made quarterfinalist in the drama category of the Big Break Screenwriting Contest.

Well, I guess I could still be a bride on this one, since they won't announce semifinalists until the end of October. This was a more recent contest and I submitted an updated draft... so who knows? But given my results thus far (and my brooding, pessimistic nature), I'm going to go ahead and assume the worst.

It's still a lovely thing to be acknowledged in some way, and in this case making the quarterfinals puts POUNDERS in the top ten percent of nearly seven thousand entries. So YAY for POUNDERS, and YAY for another shot at catching that elusive bouquet.

Last year my only contest "success" was a Nicholl quarterfinal spot for my script KILLING HARPER. But this year, to date, POUNDERS has been a finalist in the Atlanta Film Festival Screenwriting Competition, a Nicholl quarterfinalist, a Bluecat quarterfinalist, and the aforementioned Big Break quarterfinalist; my script PINK has been a quarterfinalist in the Scriptapalooza contest and a Second Rounder in the Austin Film Festival; my script FOUNDER was a quarterfinalist in the PAGE screenwriting competition; and my script ONLY THE GOOD was also a Second Rounder in the Austin Film Festival competition.

I spent WAY too much money on contests in 2014, and I shan't be doing that again. But I will be entering my latest script, GINSENG, which is about thirteen points more awesomer on the awesome scale than anything I shot out there, last year.

2015, baby.

It's AAAAALLLLL happening!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Joe-Juh

I've been off in Savannah the past two days to shoot a kickstarter video for my next collaboration with director Ben Joyner, a short film I wrote last year called ABDUCTED that I think you're gonna love. Check out what lead actress Charlotte Kate Fox had to say about her role:


Charlotte Kate Fox "Female Roles" (ABDUCTED) from Ben Joyner on Vimeo.

Friday, September 26, 2014

on being a nobody...

Writing is a solitary, lonely endeavor that strains toward a hope of connection, against all odds or evidence to the contrary.

I ask: Am I a nobody? Will I ever find that connection?

Here's a funny, lyrical little short film that just made me feel a little less alone in this journey of Making. It's got a lot of familiar faces, and I think you'll like it.


THE NOBODIES from Bluff City Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Give me a break!

     "For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
     'Blessed are the merciful' in a courtroom? 'Blessed are the peacemakers' in the Pentagon? Give me a break!"


- Kurt Vonnegut, in A Man Without a Country

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BE A CLOWN

Are you ready for me to fix the world?

Me too.

Unfortunately, the world has repeatedly bludgeoned me over the head with the Message that it is not interested in shaping itself to my will. Something about an unwillingness to subsume the volitional abilities of the seven billion(ish) obviously-less-capable human inhabitants of this planet into my ego-maniacal Plan for Their Lives and blah-blah-blah-what sort of a deity do you think you are, Barkey?

As a result, I've decided to accept that I'm only ever going to do tiny little things. That this blog, for instance, will be little more than a place for me to, in the words of Kurt Vonnegut, "fart around."

Rather than sit here and presciently prescribe permanent palliative panaceas to the problems people perpetually put upon themselves, I'm just going to post pictures, play word-games, and pout.

And alliterate.

See, I just spent a lovely afternoon with an old friend who disagrees with me endlessly about how to expunge the policy problems we keep proliferating, and I was totally tempted to come on here and blather on about how to fix them. I thought about tapping away at these keys to argue that, yes, I do believe that the upside-down kingdom Jesus was promoting was, in fact, meant to be taken as a guide for forging a national identity, and for creating policy (or perhaps dismantling national identities, and making policies of any kind unnecessary). I thought that if I could sit down and argue passionately enough, then maybe my friend (and also you and that other guy) might for once start seeing the absolute Rightness of my thinking and bend your ridiculous minds to my will. I wondered, if I could make a clear enough case for America to throw its considerable resources at being known as the "stupidly-generous country," if that might make a difference. I thought that if I argued for self-sacrifice and humility as a course of national-scale action, we might possibly hope to achieve the sort of revolutionary results of people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and oh yeah... that Jesus guy. I considered making the argument that to say, "The world is just like this, so we have to be prepared to blow bad peoples' brains out," is just an ugly form of cynical defeatism, and that hope is to be found in nothing more nor less than the message of the Sermon on the Mount. But like, all of it - even the crazy parts.

There was this glimmer in my mind that if I could write all this with enough clarity and passion, that the cruelty of the mindset that "We've got to get them before they can get us" might reveal itself, and we could all just set down our weapons and, yes - you warbling, warmongering wombats - sing Kumbayah together in the park.

But then I realized that I was being ridiculous. The upside-down kingdom is insane: Do good to those who persecute you? Love your enemies? Turn the other cheek? Give 'til it hurts?

Nonsense.

Nobody's ever going to buy that. That would require us to play the long game and, in the words of Tielhard de Chardin, to "trust in the slow work of God."

That's nowhere near as sexy as bombs and bullets.

Fuggedaboutit.

Instead, I think I'll continue to steer this blog toward a place where I do nothing but talk about stories. Where I post video-clips, and quotes-on-art. Where I make jokes, and photoshop silly pictures of my face on Bob Ross's body, and all the other bodies of the funny ha-ha.

And cetera.

Not because I really believe that stories and jokes and silly pictures will cure the world's ills, but because I am a storyteller and I don't know what else to do.

Fiddle while Rome burns?

Well, yes.

Because when you start to seriously believe you're a Cassandra (to mix my ancient cultures)... well, what else is there?

Be a clown, be a clown, be a clown.



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Monday, September 22, 2014

meet Eric Roth...

The Academy's been making these short-film glimpses into the creative processes of some of our greatest storytellers. Check out this one, on the writer of such films as FORREST GUMP, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, MUNICH, and many, many more.

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