Office Space
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I love the movie Office Space. It cracks me up every time I watch it.

I never thought it was scary though... I must have missed the horror element.

OfficeSpace Recut

Check it out.
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10:13 AM | Permalink | 1 comments
Screenwriter Forced to Write Totally Inappropriate, WTF? Part
Thursday, November 09, 2006

Even though you are the architect of a multimillion dollar project, the visonary genius who places the protagonist just so he will experience the most angst, never forget you are just a peon. Hopefully a well paid peon, but peasantry nonetheless, endless toiling at the hands of The Man (the Man who signs the check, but still. Freedom don't pay the bills - usually)

LA Times article here

Brett Ratner insisted that his screenwriter, Jeff Nathanson, write in a part for Roman Polanski on... get this... Rush Hour 3. Because the one thing this Chris Tucker/Jackie Chan franchise lacks is Satan's child and Holocaust ghettoes.
No word on if there's going to be a part for Michael Mann as Indiana's wacky yet lovable sidekick with a fondness for knock-knock jokes in the upcoming IJ4 sequel.
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 7:04 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Well, I haven't touched my script since last Thursday. Banged out 3 pages this morning before the 4 year old woke up, then realized, it's WEDNESDAY. Gotta do better than an hour a week! My target deadline is Thanksgiving for the first draft.
My problem is... procrastination. But only because I like this writing.
I really enjoy this story. Every time I review my outline or start a new scene, I'm excited. I think that's my problem - I rarely, if ever, have large chunks of time to devote. I'd rather not start than be interrupted, because it's a pain in the butt to leave my darlings to take care of the other... darlings. Maybe I'd do better if I was in a grim place, of forcing myself to crank out pages. As it is, it feels like a guilty pleasure, and if there's one thing that will bring a Catholic mom down, it's guilt. Especially if pleasure is involved. I don't want to dive in knowing I can't go for a long swim.
Also, my plan to work on it at night, after the kids are in bed, is failing. I thought it would be perfect, as I'm definitely a night owl, but it's just not working out. I blame my husband, who not only is a great guy that I want to spend time with (would it be easier to hole up with the laptop if he was a jerk? Probably.) but who also knocked me up, again (not that I wasn't a willing participant, but women always get to blame the man when pregnancy gets to be inconvenient or painful). Thus, 8 pm hits, there's still dinner to clean up (8 people, 6 of whom are age 8 and under. A Herculean task). I'm tired. Really tired. The couch is comfortable. Husband has taken to lighting fires in our first-ever fireplace to 'relax'. There's no resistance.
We'll see if this morning thing works better. My other grand plan was to write during naptime, but I've been napping too. Hey, I said I was tired!
One thing I hate about being pregnant, is the doctor laughs off concerns. Like this:
I'm so tired all of the time. Not a little worn out, not 'could maybe use a nap', but make another pot of coffee, it's 2 pm and I'm out of steam... take a nap at 5 o'clock or drop where I'm standing tired. "Normal", she says.
My feet hurt. Sometimes I can hardly walk. I have 3 different inserts in my shoes that make standing tolerable (not comfortable). "High arches. Hormones. Normal".
Sharp stabbing abdominal pains? Normal. Foot cramps and charley horses? Normal. Wake up every hour on the hour? Normal. Pee every half hour? Normal.
Sometimes, I wish I had a disease and people would wring their hands and shake their heads. What a saint, they would say. How does she do it. Take a break. We'll take the kids to Disneyland for two weeks while you recuperate. Maybe I can work a vicarious tragic heroine into my plot somewhere.
More likely, it'd be like A Christmas Story, when Ralphie fantasizes about soap blindness. Hysterical melodrama, not inspiring overcoming of odds. I could send off some specs to the Hallmark channel...
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 6:05 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Pimping the Program
Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Variety reports that Final Draft software bought Scr(i)pt magazine.

I can't say the news excites. I don't own Final Draft, and have never used it. I don't really have an opinion on the software, actually. My problem is that they now own the magazine.

I read Scr(i)pt for the articles. Really, I do! Trust me, the pics are nothing to drool over. This buyout has me worried though, about the integrity of the articles. Are there going to be unbiased reviews of software? Are we going to get an honest evaluation of Movie Magic vs. Final Draft? Interviews with spec-ers who have recently sold, will they honestly report it if they claim "Best thing I ever did was get Sophocles?" (Like that would happen. It's rhetorical, ok?) I guess I have an inherent distrust for blatant conflicts of interest.

Am I going to hear about new products in their magazine anymore? Is everything going to be tainted by the Brand? Will they only advertise contests that offer Final Draft as the prize (I've never understood that. The last thing a prize winning screenwriter needs should be software. Either they already own it, or they have something else that already works for them.)
They are also redesigning the magazine. Probably trying to find alternative advertisers - gotta replace all those competitors.

The questions are many, the answers few. We'll see how it all turns out - there's always Creative Screenwriting.
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 7:39 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Empathy quickie
Friday, October 13, 2006
From a review of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning on a deliciously snarky site, Pajiba:

The characters’ brief introductions skirt the boundaries of meaningful involvement, but are much too short and rushed to really let the audience feel empathy. And where empathy doesn’t go, interest is not likely to follow.

So true, and good advice to keep in mind when writing this stuff! And by "this stuff", of course I mean weeks and months of blood, sweat, tears and vodka to produce 110 pages of Oscar worthy magic.

On another note, I am published!
SpongeBob's New Friend

Devil May Care

Published, but not paid. Well, paid in "exposure", which could mean nothing or everything. It will give me a portfolio to show in order to land paid work, allow me to practice working on a deadline, and give me an outlet for all of those useless factoids I come across while procrastinating online. I do work better when I'm not connected to the wireless network, that's for sure!
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4:44 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
My character technique
Thursday, October 12, 2006
I haven't been writing around here for a little while, and that's not the only place. I haven't done anything to my script since Sunday, either.

My time to work on it is either between the hours of 12-2pm or after 7 pm, and I've just been too tired to do anything more than lay on the couch. Yesterday I went to bed at 6 pm and didn't get up until 6 am.

I have been thinking about it, though.

I tend to write in my head before I ever commit to paper. I have a pretty good outline (beats laid out, a 19 page 'scriptment'.) Now I'm fleshing out scenes; where should they take place, lines of dialogue. I've always done this, had practice conversations in my head. I can be shy, and it's something I do to make myself more comfortable, to rehearse what I'll say, what my boss will say, what I'll say back, etc.

It was really, really good practice. In order to effectively use the technique to conquer self consciousness, one has to properly and adequately predict the other partie's response. One must get into character.

This is how I get into my characters, how I find their voice. I imagine tone of voice, word choice, pauses. I try out snappy banter and quick comebacks. It seems to work for me. I've tried writing out biographies, mapping their imaginary childhoods, but that never did it for me the way just talking to them constantly does.

I also find myself, lately, predicting responses. When at the grocery store, I'll actually think about what kind of, say, jelly, my protagonist would buy. It would be Welch's grape. She's very practical, and quality counts with her. Also, Welch's is the cheapest name brand and comes in jars you can later use as cups. Her sister/sidekick, would buy Polaner's All Fruit. It's much more expensive, comes in a fancier jar, has highbrow commercials involving dinner parties and British accents, and is all-natural. There are uncommon flavors, such as blueberry, pineapple, and black cherry. As an extremely image-conscious earth mother, these things are important to her. Another character wouldn't buy jelly at all, but would force himself to be satisfied with a martyr-like plain peanut butter, or dry toast.

Myself, I buy my jelly at the dollar store. They have good quality jelly with 3 ingredients: Water, strawberries, pectin. For a dollar - can't beat that deal, and I have quite an issue with Red Dye #40 and High Fructose Corn Syrup.

You get my point. My movie takes place more or less in one location: the house, and the backyard of the house. But I can tell you what kind of car each of my characters drive. Where they go for coffee. What they do the day after Thanksgiving.

What character techiniques work for you?
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4:13 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Just words
Thursday, October 05, 2006

A lot of people seem to look down on writing as a non-profession. As in, "Why don't you get a job that pays you regularly and doesn't make you drink?"

There is also a subtle bigotry, the Jungian universal thought:
"What's the big deal with putting some words together?"

After all, they are just words.

Here in South Carolina, our Governor is recovering from a "slip of the tongue". Just some words, but might cost him the election.

You see, when talking about the budget, he declared "It's like dancing with a tar baby".

Now, I'm not from the South, and was unfamiliar with the expression. Of course, I recognized tar baby from the Brer Rabbit stories, and so my first impression was that it was racial.

It's not. I checked Merriam Webster; they have one definition:
Main Entry: tar baby
Function: noun
Etymology: from the tar baby that trapped Brer Rabbit
in an Uncle Remus story by Joel Chandler Harris
: something from which it is nearly impossible to extricate oneself
I also checked the Urban Dictionary, which does list it as a racial slur, but that's the FOURTH definition. The first three are here: Tar Baby
Just words.

Reminds me of the person (was it a college professor?) who had to apologize and resign for using the word niggardly, which also is not a racial slur and doesn't even share an etymology.

So, here's my advice for all those "It's just words" folk.

Write 100,000 words. Yes, you can use them more than once. Actually, better make it 200,000. Then, edit out all the words that don't make a good story.

Way to go! You just finished your first novel.
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 8:14 AM | Permalink | 0 comments