What I’m doing today

Reading the live blog of the Prop 8 trial: http://prop8trialtracker.com/ It’s fascinating, the arguments are incredibly well-crafted on the pro-gay marriage side.  The judge is whip smart and seems to be really curious as to why the state is in the business of marriage in the first place.  I’d always sort of been leaning that way, that religions should be in the business of ‘marriage’ and states in ‘civil unions’.  They’re making some good arguments as to why the state does do ‘marriage’, I’m almost convinced, even.

God I want to be able to watch the trial.  The most amazing argument from the trial is essentially a feminist argument.  That the roles in marriage have been made gender neutral and equal, so what marriage is is going to be changed less by gay marriage than it was by equality of the sexes.  I’ve always felt that gay rights were a natural extension of women’s rights.

Also following the NBC nonsense.  Maybe the entire thing is an attempt to get free publicity and increase viewership.  I’ll tell you, I’ve developed a healthy respect for that Conan O’Brien character.  And not just because he picks apples with Mr. T.

http://www.tmz.com/2010/01/12/conan-i-want-to-work-for-nbc/

My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction.

Fair enough.  Of course, he’s even better on the intro to his show last night, in which he ripped NBC a new one.  My favorite line was “NBC announced that they expect to lose $200 million on the Winter Olympics next month. Is it just me or is that story hilarious?”

3 weeks to Christmas

I wanted to have my rewrite of Bible Con and first draft of Dyke for a Day done by Thanksgiving.  I also wanted to have a business plan for the former ready for my trip to SC at Christmas.  You know, so I could sort of test the waters for raising the money there.  So new deadline, Dec. 22.  Except I’m working days, nights and weekends.

It would help if my health wasn’t undermining my energy and I was less easily distracted by QI, which is my new favorite thing in the universe.

In other news, I got my feedback from ScriptSavvy, and for the most part the notes are very good.  If you really want decent notes on your script, I would send off to them long before I did to Zoetrope or any other script contest.  My only complaint is that the notes have a tendency to talk down to the writer, as though they aren’t terribly bright and don’t know anything about screenwriting.  I’m sure this comes from an attempt to guess what you can assume the author knows.  They don’t appear to have a terribly high opinion.

I got a 48, which is about 5 points off an honorable mention score, and 7 off a win.  I guess that means a strong rewrite could be a winner.  One thing I really don’t like about the Nicholl is the complete lack of notes, even for the people who advance.  That’s true of many contests, but it’s definitely a flaw in the Nicholl and a strength of ScriptSavvy.

Go to 47:55 of this YouTube video to be incredibly impressed by Senator Parker of NY.

Back to our Regularly Scheduled Programming: Pitching, Zombies, Glee and Otters

So, I have actually had a good couple of days.  I had a pitch with PitchQ.  They’re a service that records your pitch and posts it online.  I submitted a pitch to a specific call and got to go in and record it without paying the usual fee on the website.  It was a really great experience.  The guy behind the service is really cool, supportive, and open about the process.  He says they accept about 2-3% of the pitches they receive, and then have about a 1% success rate.

He also said if you’ve written a zombie script, you’re in.  Which reminds me that I have that zombie idea that I keep meaning to write about.  It’s actually web series in my mind — but maybe I could Love Actually that thing up.

And I found out last week that I got a promotion — I’ll now be Lead AE on a full season of a reality show, which is exciting.  It won’t start until February, but it’s a decent raise, and an excellent job.  I’ll even get to edit the webisodes, which I am stoked about.  Because I have a strong attachment to the idea that the web is the new distribution method… as soon as it figures out how to do that.

I also watched the entire first season (so far) of Glee.  Which I love.  Like, I want to work on that show because it is everything I love: musical numbers, awkward high schoolers, comically over the top bad guys you love, and occasional really touching and honest moments.  Also, the gayness.  The only thing that would make it better would be otters.

Jeeves and Wooster

Somewhat off topic, but how intentionally gay is this show?

Jeeves the American Woman

These are my concerned eyebrows

Uhh

Oh RAHther

I see you Jeeves

Jeeves, you bitch

Not at all Gay

EYEBROWS

Strange Dreams: Zombies, The Civil War, Count Olaf, and Obama’s Nobel Prize

From last night:

1. Zombies were attacking and every time anyone felt under the weather they had to be chained up outside on the roof until it was clear that they were not turning into Zombies.  I blame F for showing me Plants vs Zombies.

2. I was writing a paper for a history class in High School where my old student teacher who is now married to my step-cousin, Mary Leslie, was the teacher.  I was writing a really long involved thing on how the conflicting policies of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and their actions in divorcing the British Government and forming their own led to the Civil War.  If this is in any way true, I have no idea, but it sounds interesting.

3. I shot Count Olaf and planted his fingerprints on the gun to save the Baudelaire children.  They came to live with me in California.  This is strange because I haven’t even read all those Series of Unfortunate Events books.

4. This turned out not to be a dream, but I thought it was when I woke up.  The zombie dream woke me up and I felt really terrible — nauseous — so I looked at my email on my phone.  I had an email from HuffPo about Obama winning the peace prize.  That didn’t make any sense, because I’ve never gotten email from HuffPo and also what?  When I woke up I decided it was a dream that sort of made sense that it would happen some day if he ever managed to end the war on gays, drugs, health, Afghanistan, and/or Iraq.  But then it wasn’t a dream, and I was confused, because he hasn’t done any of that.

Actually, I feel a bit sorry for Obama.  He already had enough pressure on him, this is just adding to it.  It’s politically sort of not that great for him because he’s got nothing he can really point to and be like “Yes, look at what I did!”  I think we treat him like a man who can do a lot more than the system allows him to.  In reality, decisions are made by a bunch of assholes in Congress who play to their bases instead of the good of the country.

We’re currently occupying and waging wars in two separate Muslim countries and making clear we reserve the “right” to attack a third.  Someone who made meaningful changes to those realities would truly be a man of peace.  It’s unreasonable to expect that Obama would magically transform all of this in nine months, and he certainly hasn’t.  Instead, he presides over it and is continuing much of it.  One can reasonably debate how much blame he merits for all of that, but there are simply no meaningful “peace” accomplishment in his record — at least not yet — and there’s plenty of the opposite.  That’s what makes this Prize so painfully and self-evidently ludicrous.  – Glenn Greenwald

First Act: One person officially liked it

Woo!

Minor adjustments and it may be ready to ship off!  I’m still waiting on one reader to send their thoughts, but it’s always so exciting the first time someone reads something you’ve written.

I also signed up for Zoetrope.com where I put up Bible Con to get thoughts.  I have to review 4 other scripts to read it, but hopefully I’ll be able to do that by the time anyone actually reviews it.

First Act: Complete

First acts are probably the easiest. And I write short anyway. This one clocks in at exactly 22 pages, written in just over a week. 9 days coming out to over 2 pages a day, though that’s certainly not how it was written. 12 last weekend, 10 this weekend. Nothing like my 15 page a day peek last summer, but then, I have a full time job and several part time gigs.

I am going to polish it up and send it to the manager guy sometime this week. Although it’s a first draft kind of, it’s not really.

I first wrote out the idea as a short film, which I shot 2 summers ago. Then, last summer, I wrote out a 4 page treatment and character profiles. And then, last fall, I did 40 index card outline. And then I hand wrote it the last month. So the typed version is not really a first draft, but it still feels fresh, new and exciting.

Hopefully I can get some feedback before I send it off to more judgmental eyes.

Tomorrow, the editor starts on the show I’m working on. I’m hoping to get to know him at least somewhat.

Sometime this week I need to meet with the actress whose reel I’m working on. She has some notes on it. Unfortunately, for what she’s paying me, I can’t afford to spend much more time on it, so hopefully when we meet this week we’ll be able to put it to bed.

I also need to finish this assembly/rough of the short I got last weekend. I’m about halfway through, but I wanted to be done tonight.

I also wanted to have the pilot for this web series written. I just need to sit down and bang something out, even if it’s crap, to get it off my plate. I’m just having a hard time drumming up enthusiasm for a 3 page script. It’s so little to work with.

The web series that I worked on and was going to post supervise and edit isn’t going to be happening. The deal they were getting was just unmanageable, which is a shame.

I have no idea what I’ll be doing as a job come Nov. 2. I spent the day e-mailing back and forth with my G.G.Aunt Margaret. I’m learning a lot about my family history and it’s all very cool and strange at the same time.

Tonight was the last night of my antibiotics for my weird strep, which the doctor thinks may be the cause of my severe fatigue and dizziness. Thank God, because I’m having to really focus on keeping it down. Nothing like knowing you can’t throw up because you’ll lose your medication.

Obviously I’m still a bit bummed on the Nicholl Snafu but I’m excited that there are possibly going to be phone calls this week. I really should have busted my ass to get a new draft of Bible Con done, but who knows, I may have gotten rid of whatever made it SF material.

And their cock up (sorry, too much Gordon Ramsay) was good in the sense that I broke 200 visitors in a day by posting it. And I discovered a few new screenwriting resources because message boards linked to me and sent traffic my way. DoneDeal and Zoetrope, if anyone is curious. I’ve never been much a part of the online screenwriting community because I know so many writers in the flesh, but it could be a cool avenue.

And if I haven’t said it before, Greg Beal is a class act — he’s everywhere online apologizing, explaining, and taking people’s thoughts into consideration. I’m really impressed with him. Now, if he could get some different people working the phones…

First Day As Story Assistant; Argument with Apparently Illiterate Religious Types

I just had to sign a confidentiality agreement which says I can’t reveal the nature and details of my employment.  Does that mean I can’t tell people what I do?  Like, if I was an editor on Toddlers and Tiaras, would I have to be like, “I work on a show in some capacity, that’s all I can say.”

Weird.

I am working on a show, I won’t tell you what it is, but it is a show I absolutely adore.  So far my duty seems to be to go through the last season to find high drama/conflict clips to put together for montages in a reunion type thing.

I had a religious argument with a bunch of people who seem to lack… well, brains.  A friend of mine posts these relationship questions on her facebook page, I often respond because almost all of her friends are extremely religious southern African Americans, and I like to be a different POV.  If anyone can tell me what CN is saying, I’d love to know.  I think he’s saying that the Devil wrote the constitution…

Two major questions I have:

1. Why is having faith an acceptable reason to not look critically at your belief system?

2. Why is it OK to demand atheists be well versed in the Bible when they disagree with a theist, but not OK to demand that theists read secular philosophy to argue with an atheist?

—-

The discussion

SJ: According to the Biblical tale, woman was made from man for man. Where does this fit in our postmodern society? Is there room for submission? What is the role of the woman to the man?

CN: 2 submit and be his help mate… As in da man is da provider and protector who is supposed 2 love his wife like Christ love da church…

AFM: I think it fits in the same trash bin as things like stoning children for disobeying their parents, not wearing clothes of mixed fiber, and the belief that homosexuality is wrong. Just because a belief is old doesn’t mean it’s worth anything. The role of woman to man is the same of man to woman, mutual respect and interdependence.

BJ: All sin is wrong whether it be murder or homosexuality it’s wrong. As far as mixing of clothing it was to show distinction between God’s chosen nation and the other surrounding nations he didn’t want them mixing with other nations and engaging in their customs or worshipping theirs gods. As far as the stoning of children or anyone we ought to thank God for sending his son to remove the ordinances that were against us (Colossians 2:14). Blame Eve for the role of a woman but submission to your husband isn’t forced like it was in the days of Mr from the color purple or Ike Turner. Submission is a form of respect for your partner by allowing them to operate in their divine roles…it’s called compromise with each other and obedience to God’s word but if you are not obedient to God’s word how can you expect to compromise?

AFM:”if you are not obedient to God’s word how can you expect to compromise?” Um, by talking and discussing things and coming to reasonable conclusions. I don’t need an invisible dude threatening me to choose to do something moral. That’s just silly. As for homosexuality, how can you put that in the same boat as murder? Murder takes away someone’s life. Homosexuality doesn’t take anything away from anybody.

SeJ: Oh my goodness! I’m so glad I know where I stand…whew!

CN: Well da best way 2 put it all at da end is either U gon follow his word or U not… God gave us free will.. He gives us an option… He allows us 2 make da decision 2 love him or not… Its not complicated, but people make it dat way and try 2 use everything in their own way and outta context… God gave us dominion over da earth, which yes Eve was manipulated out of, but things didn’t change until Adam ate da forbidden fruit, because God made him da head and gave him da specific direction 2 not eat of it… It was his job 2 tell his wife not 2 and even in her disobediance he should have not eaten of it…But dats da free will.. Now thru his son which is still God(Jesus Christ) he gave us 2 new laws dats still prevelant 2 da 10 commandments, but is more in line with Grace and Mercy… Which is 2 love God and love ur neighbor as U love urself and so on and so on… Its deep but U just have 2 seek dat wisdom and knowledge and he will answer..

AFM: Genesis also has two creation stories, one of which presents men and women as being created at the same time, so the bible itself isn’t in agreement on whether women are created from men or not. The first account says male and female [God] created them (Genesis 1:27), which has been assumed by critical scholars to imply simultaneous creation, whereas the second account states that God created Eve from Adam’s rib because Adam was lonely (Genesis 2:18 ff.).

CN: U also have 2 take in consideration dat God didn’t literally write da bible tho he has all power 2 change any word in it… He had man 2 write wat was going on so therefore it may not be wrote in exactly da order we prefer.. Just as da fall of satan and da other angels.. Its not known if dat fall was during man or b4. Dats just one of those great mysteries dat won’t be discovered till dat great day of judgement… But with dat said it still doesnt mean take a part from da bible and try 2 justify da wrong. He gave us rules 2 live by 2 be prosperous and 2 C Heaven. Why, because he knew man would manipulate da world. Have u heard freedom of speech, but U can’t say a man made bad word… Right 2 bare guns, but u catch pistol cases 24/7 cuz in order 2 obtain a gun u gotta have dis and u gotta have dat. Da constitution and everything is deceived by da devil… All I can say is if u wanna find out then study as U would anything else, but in dis particular subject, belief and faith is needed.

AFM: I can’t actually read anything you’ve written Courtney, but I have read the bible and you’re right, you need a certain amount of disregarding reality and faith in the nonsensical to understand it. I really recommend Bart D. Ehrman for some really interesting and accessible biblical scholarship which examines all the inconsistencies as well as the overarching messages contained within the different books of the Bible. It’s useful I think for both the faithed and unfaithed to really understand what it is they’re professing to believe in or not, as the case may be.

BJ: The Bible is plain and simple either you serve God or not but you are going to serve. If you are not serving God then who do you serve (1 John 3:7-8)? People should really study his word before babbling off their erroneous philosophies. When I said sin is wrong, that was Bible but maybe in attempt to convey the seriousness of sin and God’s take on it maybe I should have said there’s no difference in homosexuality and liars or homosexuality and stealing…would that be more appeasing? For those who no me “the invisible guy” know that I’m really not the appeasing type so I’m taking one for the team.

BJ: The Bible isn’t in chronological order…Chronological Bibles are for sale invest in one and it will really open your understanding

AFM: @Bethel That’s nice and all, but I still don’t get how a thinking person could actually believe that someone loving another person is a bad thing. I don’t really care about God, I care about people. Your irrational hatred of homosexuals makes it clear that you put your own belief over actually taking care of the people around you, physically and emotionally. Whether it’s chronological or not, the books don’t agree with each other. They tell the same stories differently, and they don’t agree on what it all means. I’ve read the bible, I’ve read the scholarship, I know what I’m talking about, but it’s not clear that you do.

BJ: @ Ashley I’ve studied the whole Bible in its entirety I didn’t just read it I studied it. Inordinate affection of any kind is sin because it goes against the nature which God intended but since you and I aren’t on the same team this whole conversation is pointless because I love God with my whole heart and with his love I love his people but like you said you Don’t care about God just his creations which befuddles me because isn’t the creator greater than his creation? The Bible does say if this gospel be hid it is hid to those that are lost.

AFM: I have studied it, I was raised in a church, went to Sunday school, went to bible camp, went to university with a major theological school. In all these places I spent a lot of time with the bible and learned that I cared a lot more about reality than fiction. I took the time to understand what I’m talking about, why don’t you study Darwin, Hume, Bentham, Paine, and Epicurus before deriding anyone who has chosen not to believe? Or is your faith of such weak stuff that it’s all you have, anything else might break it?

BJ: My faith in God is just that strong that I chose him over any man’s vain philosophies. You don’t know me you don’t know the journey I took to become a believer of Christ so don’t make assumptions because you don’t know what i’ve studied. I know Darwin, Hume, Paine, Bentham or Epicurus can save anyone from hell’s fire. Like I said you and I are not on the same team we do not serve the same God so our conversation is pointless and starting to become a circular argument. I can tell you right now that there is nothing that you or anyone else can say in this entire world that can shake my faith in God.

AFM: Obviously I don’t know you, and you clearly don’t know me.  Everyone has individual journeys, all I’m asking is that before you dismiss my point of view offhand you allow for the fact that I did come to it from a place of learning and study, not from a place of shallow rejection.  And if you were truly trying to understand other people rather than lump them into some category of Damned, you’d be willing to look at their perspective rather than making assumptions.  Nothing I recommended for your reading would make you stop believing, it would merely allow for you to understand that there are other perspectives in life that allow people to make good, moral and just decisions, regardless of whether they’re religious or not.  But again, you show a preference for being overly protective of your faith rather than understanding of the humans that share this world with you.  If it’s that important to you to hate on gay people, fine, just don’t expect anyone to think you’re a very good person.

BJ: Don’t try to make me out to be something I’m not because I harbor no hate towards gays or anyone else I don’t care what people do with the free will that God gave them. I’m just flabbergasted that you feel that you are the only one who comes from a learned perspective and that you are the only person who have looked into different philosophies. Don‘t make ignorant assumptions of someone else’s intellect because you assume they are not as keen on a subject as you people don’t like intellectual arrogance.

AFM: You’re the one who said I needed to read the bible as though I was coming from a place of ignorance. Don’t make accusations you don’t like hearing thrown back at you, someone might accuse you of being a hypocrite.

BJ: I said study it because anybody can read it

AFM: Do you see how that’s the exact same thing you’re saying I shouldn’t do? How is it OK for you to assume that I haven’t studied the bible but not OK for me to ask you to study other points of view? You are a hypocrite and a not particularly astute one, enjoy your ignorance and misplaced vitriol.

BJ: When I said study I was talking to everyone that’s why I said people should study not Ashley and if that makes me a hypocrite Ok I’m a hypocrite….YOU HEAR THAT FACEBOOK WORLD BETHEL JOHNSON IS A DUMB HYPOCRITE.

AFM: Yeah, I’m pretty much OK with that.

Project Runway 606; unimpressed

I mean seriously, this was a challenge that could have been so badass.  Only one person did anything interesting with it.  Epperson, or however the hell his name is, did this really cool Firefly inspired denim coat dress thing that was balls out.

Hell yeah

Hell yeah

Everything else was boring, uninspired, or just plain bad.  I’m sad pretty Ra’mon got kicked off, but his dress was hideous.

But the most interesting thing was the possibility of a Project Runway romance.  And it’s between a straight guy and a lady (what?!).  Yes, Carol Hannah (of SC!) and Logan are into each other.  Fascinating.

Carol Hannah is the Nicest

Carol Hannah is the Nicest

Also, I hate Nicolas.  He’s whiny, annoying, and boring.  Jeez, everyone is so boring.  Even Gordana whose accent makes me want to root for her.  Plus, I was totally wrong about who was going to win and lose, and I hate that.  Nic can’t be eliminated next week, which means at least two more episodes of his bullshit.  And Beautiful Blue Eyed Ra’mon is gone, and while he’s made some messes, he was at least interesting.

I feel like I don’t know you anymore PR.

A real person read my script

We’ll call these people S and T. S is a manager/producer type, T is S’s assistant. F, my creative partner, has a connection with S, in that she really loved Prombies!, the short he and I made that was about erections turning boys into zombies, and she has been in touch with him a couple times about his interest in directing some fairly middling (read:bad) zombie comedies.

Anyway, F was kind enough, with some heavy pressure from myself, to suggest that they read my script when I found out it was a quarter-finalist at Nicholl. Well, I immediately got a “Please send it” but, as the months passed, although I was diligent with follow up, I figured it would never get read.

And then it got read, and he likes it. And he wants to see all my writing. The only problem is that the only polished thing I have other than the feature, is a Television Spec for Mad Men. It’s not a bad spec, but it’s also not much use for people who produce features. Luckily, I have the first act of another screenplay, Dyke for a Day, written, but in severe need of polishing. He wants to see it ASAP, so I’m going to spend the weekend writing.

I’ve also been in contact with a few people from Craigslist about editing or working on some different projects. One is a short, the other is a feature documentary that appears to be about Gay Jews.  <3

I have a pitch with a web producer as well.  I’m going to go make that phone call now.  Fingers crossed!

Things in Theatres I want to see: The September Issue, Fame, Paranormal Activity, Jennifer’s Body, Capitalism: A Love Story, Coco Before Chanel, Bright Star, Whip It, Anti-Christ, The Men Who Stare at Goats