Sunday, August 16, 2009

To ComputerGirl

In response to your blog post.

While it is true that I mispronounced syllogistic logic during our meeting, I do know what it is.

There was a reason behind my madness, and that reason was to prove a point.  The point being that the average person would have so little clue as to what syllogistic logic is to the point where they would not even be able to pronounce the word.  Nor would they have any interest in learning about syllogisms, especially when you start quoting Aristotle.  They would not  watch a show about it.

Documentaries, while they are appealing to some, are usually shown only on public funded stations. There is a reason for that,  it’s because only a small portion of people watch them.

Whether you want to admit it or not (and the statement must have made an impact because you quoted it),  people want to see drama.  They want conflict.  They want to laugh.  They want to cry. They want to be entertained without having to think too much about what they are seeing.

You want people to watch your show, right?  Didn’t Sally ask me for my help because you wanted to put yourself “out there”?   I’m offering to do just that and I’m offering to incorporate your ideas into the show as well but you have to give a little too. 

I’ll tell you what,  do at least the first show with me and we will discuss doing the documentary on logic.  This way you can have the best of both worlds.  What have you got to lose?  Say yes.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


xtranormal is a site where you can make a movie just by typing in some text.   It’s seriously very easy.   I created this movie in about an hour and most of the time was spent figuring out what to say. 

The interfaces looks like this.


You simply type into your script and drag and drop all the effects you want to use, where you want  to use them.

And while you could spend a bit of time looking at all the soundtracks, animations and backgrounds.  If you have an idea in mind you could probably get through it rather quickly.

For the bloggers, this is perfect for that video blog you wanted to do.  And for screenwriters this is perfect for listening to that dialogue you had some trouble with.


Monday, February 16, 2009


Shiva is our latest screenwriting game/exercise. It is turn based, each of the players/authors has a character they hope will last until the finale. Because it’s fun and game-like we are trying to use this technique as a way of creating collaborative scripts. The aim is to create an off the cuff rough-draft script that imagecan be fairly easily turned into a first-draft. We’re finding that it’s difficult to give the script structure but we are working on it.

Our rough draft of Shiva is finished now and we are on the rewrite phase. You can have a look at the rough-draft we came up with but bear in mind that none of it was plotted and that there were 12 active collaborators that’s 12+ active characters and a hefty page count. The dream sequences can get a bit bizarre but they have no bearing on the story so you can pretty much skip them if you like.

The story is basically as follows:

A virulent airborne form of rabies decimates the human population and leaves the animals mad. Some people band together into tribes to try to survive in this strange new world but they are plagued by visions and dreams of a creature both frightening and comforting at the same time. It's calling them to it and they have no choice but to obey the call -- no matter how dangerous the journey may be.

Three tribes start from a different location: New York (New York), Detroit (Michigan) and Ottawa(Canada). They head for a startling climax at Niagara Falls where they meet up with the creature from their dreams: some want to kill it, some want to worship it. Whoever survives the dangers of the journey will write the ending.

We are having a contest to see who can come up with the best rewrite. Anyone is invited to participate. Deadline for the revision is May 15, 2009. Send the revision to me.

And we are planning some new game/exercises in the next couple of months, stay tuned for details.

Monday, February 2, 2009

In the second place

My script A Doll’s Life took second place in Movie Poet’s It’s Better to Give than to Receive contest.  I’m pleased about it.  My score was as follows:


It would have been nice to have taken first place.  The guy who did take first place is a formidable opponent and a nice guy and he deserves the win, though it was really close.  Here’s his score:


As you can see, only a 5% swing between Good and Very Good determined the winner.  The purple highlight on Very Good means that’s the vote I gave his script.

I wonder what I could have done with my script to change that swing vote.  I wonder if I should even worry about such silly things.

Anyway, thought this might be of interest. Cheers. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Strangers Script

Just read The Strangers script for the Script Club. And since the thread for this hasn’t started I thought I would share my impressions of the script here.

I had an immediate problem with this script because even though I  had seen the movie, the writing style did not evoke images for me.  I’m not sure why that is but some scripts seem to play the movie out in my head, other’s don’t.  This was of the latter variety for me.  Needless to say I found the read kind of slow.

I thought the overall story was ok.  Not really scary for me because I don’t live in a remote situation but for a horror film it wasn’t bad.  I also thought the characters had a bit more depth than usual in a horror film.  At least he tried to make them three dimensional, which is more than most people do.   Even the villains have a bit of depth in this one.

If there is a clear protagonist in the script then it would have to be Kristen.  However, she does a bit too much helplessness for my tastes, especially toward the end. 

Probably the biggest problem I have with this script is the same problem I had with the movie.  It is never clearly explained why Kristen said no to James’ marriage proposal.  Oh, they hint at it but it is never explained to my satisfaction.   Maybe I’m missing it or perhaps the author just wanted to drive me slowly crazy trying to figure it out.  Who knows?

As far as differences between the script and the movie go, there were a few.  Most notably the beginning and the ending were changed.  There’s a detective V.O. in the beginning of the script that isn’t present in the movie.   There are numerous small exchanges of dialogue that I don’t remember in the film but they could have just not been memorable.  The whole  business with James’ victim being a friend is different in the script, in the script his victim is a neighbour – otherwise it plays the same.

For me, the largest difference between the movie and script is the villains.    They come across differently in the script.  They seem to have more depth, more insecurity.  This is completely lost in the film where the villains come across as too professional.

All in all the script wasn’t a bad read.  It was about as enjoyable for me as the movie – without the pictures.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Logan's Run Remake

image Last night I had a Logan's Run double feature, I watched the movie and I read what I think is one of the screenplays for the remake in 2010 (it didn't have the correct name attached but it felt right). What did I think? And I'm going to try and do this without any real spoilers.

Well first we should refresh our memory on the 1976 version. Logan our sandman protagonist encounters a runner that has a special symbol around his neck. The controlling computer sends him on a mission to seek out Sanctuary. He follows up some leads most notably Jessica who he found on the sex circuit. With her reluctant, at first, help he sets out to find Sanctuary and meet those that help the runners find it. They end up in a ruined earth and meet an old man and his cats. Logan transforms he is no longer the sandman seeking Sanctuary, he has been freed. After killing Francis, the antagonist (or at least his helper) he goes back to free everyone.

image A long time ago I read the book Logan's Run. I don't remember many of the details but I do remember it was very different from the movie. The new screenplay for Logan's Run is not as different from the original movie (it is obviously inspired by the movie not the book) but at the same time it's radically different. I liked it but at the same time I missed some of the stuff that was removed.

I guess I could tell you what was removed, technically that isn't a spoiler. You won't see any of the following in the remake.

No Box, they don't meet on the circuit, no romance, and no old man and his cats.

As a matter of fact, the new script has changed so much that some of the characters have even switched sides. Plus there is the introduction of new characters that must be there to offset the removal and changes in the old characters. The biggest change is the location, the remake happens in space. Yes, in space. And the habitat has cats.

This next section doesn't really tell you anything specific about the script but does include my interpretation of how the three main characters have changed. Logan in my opinion is not the protagonist in this script, he is a main character but he does not undergo a transformation and his goal never changes. For this matter, I don't really think Jessica's undergoes a transformation either but I think she is more likely as the protagonist. Francis does undergo a transformation in this script, he goes from antagonist's helper to protagonist's helper during the course of the story. This is one of the biggest changes in the remake and is offset by a newly introduced sandman character.

The remake relies much more on plot than the original did and it also has much more fast paced action. It has a pretty solid structure and in my opinion it is a much better script than the original. I'm looking forward to seeing the remake when it comes out, even though they'll probably muck things up a bit during production.

Godzilla vs the Smog Monster

Started my new job yesterday, we won't go into what I do there because I promised this blog would not contain technical stuff. At the moment I'm a bit bored and unhappy with all the reading I've been doing. Things should improve though.

image Tonight as I type this, I'm watching Godzilla vs the Smog Monster (Gojira tai Hedorâ). This is my favourite Godzilla movie. Besides the swinging 60s feel and message. This one even has some animation it. It's loads of fun and Godzilla even gets to be a hero during it. You didn't know Godzilla was interested in the environment did you? I probably will long be done with this blog entry before it's over. I wish I could find the discotheque scene on You Tube but no dice. Here's a couple of snippets of it anyway.

Sunday Night at the Movies

Last night I was just about to add a post to my blog when I accidentally deleted it. I felt like such an idiot. Here is what I remember from that post along with some extra. Had a bit of a movie night on Sunday.

imageIf you've been following my blog, you know that I needed to watch The Strangers because we are doing the script very soon with the Script Club from Simply Scripts. So I watched it. It was a similar sort of movie as Halloween and even borrowed some imagery from the movie, a masked killer sort of thing. It managed to keep an adequate amount of tension throughout, while trying to deliver a bit more character than usual. This would have worked well, but the acting by Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman was pretty average.

I'm not saying I didn't like the movie, but I thought it could have been better than it was. I had a couple of issues with the story itself. First of all they never quite explain why there is so much drama between the young couple at the beginning of the film. They sort of explain what happened to cause the struggle but they never fully explain her reasons. Trying to be oblique and artsy in a movie where that sort of thing clearly does not belong.

The other thing was that I had a believability problem with the killers. Toward the end of the movie they make it pretty clear that they haven't done this killing thing very often - or at least one of them hasn't. Yet for some reason they are able to appear and disappear with such mastery while they terrorise the young couple and they never make a mistake once. Never get seen when they aren't supposed to be seen, never get clumsy, never have any problem at all with their reign of terror. This to me was unrealistic.

Lastly, this movie really didn't scare me much. If I lived in a remote location and was home alone then I probably would have been terrified. But my neighbours are very close and this sort of thing didn't strike me as something that would easily happen here, so it really didn't bother me. I'm sure I'm not the only one that is going to feel that way about it.

image Earlier in the evening I watched Fracture. This was a fairly run of the mill but well-written thriller, a courtroom/catch the killer at his game sort of movie. The pacing was good and the story interesting enough. It was recommended to me by the girl at the video rental place because she likes Anthony Hopkins. And she must really like Anthony because his performance, to me, seemed like he was pretty much going through the motions. Whether that really affected the movie all that much is up to how much you like Anthony.

The other performances Ryan Gosling and Billy Burke were quite good. It didn't knock my socks off like The Illusionist did but then again I'm not even sure why I keep comparing the two in my head. They were vastly different movies.

The best part about this was the DVD because it had alternate endings. I watched both. I liked the one they actually used the best.

Anyway, that's it for me. Tomorrow I start a new job and I have lots I want to do before I head off to bed tonight. Will I get it done? Probably not but I give it a try anyway.

Back to work

Today was my first day back to work after the long holiday. I'm feeling surprisingly good after the workday - perhaps it was that afternoon cup of coffee. To be honest it made me shaky when I first drank it, now it seems to have mellowed.

The Script Club at Simply Scripts has almost decided to review The Strangers by Bryan Bertino. It should be interesting once we start - which should be in a few weeks. You should drop by and have a gander at what we say about the script. This time we should mostly have watched the film and should have an entirely different spin on our script review. We should cover what has been dropped from the film and what has been added (if anything). I'll provide a link once we start.

The other thing happening over at Simply scripts is the Shiva game. It's a screenwriters game but we are trying to produce a writable script using the technique. I'm trying to inject a bit more story into the game script. I was trying not to have to write too much of the story beforehand, but it looks like that is not working. The next time we do this we will have to include more of a treatment.

That's about it for tonight. Working on a webpage but I won't talk about that in this blog. In the background Star Trek TOS is playing in the background. The episode where Spock goes Amok. Love that word.