Sunday, September 19, 2010

What I Learned From "The Town" (small spoilers!)

The Town is a very good movie (honest!) directed by and starring Ben Affleck. It is about some folks who rob banks and shoot policemen. Here's what I learned:

Bank robbers lead lives of quiet desperation, broken by moments of insane violence.

I am glad I am not an assistant bank manager. However, if I were an assistant bank manager, I would certainly hope I had comprehensive health insurance.

You can have a soul even if you're a vicious bank robber.

Gals love those six pack abs.

If you were a criminal once but changed your mind and used what you learned as a criminal to arrest vicious murdering AK firing psychopaths, said sociopathic cop killing psychos will not think much of you.

Always wear a bullet proof vest.

Threatening a fellow by telling him extremely grim secrets about his past that you were partly responsible for causing could have negative repercussions. Extra added difficulty ensues if you makes references to removing the fellow's father's "balls."

Ladies, when you find out the nice chap you've been dating is actually a bank robbing sociopath (with several even crazier friends) who was stalking you after taking you hostage in a violent bank robbery, it may be time to reconsider your relationship.

That said, gals definitely like the six pack abs.

Oh. And ALWAYS wear a bulletproof vest.

If a vicious criminal shoots multiple police officers during a robbery and actually gets away with it, then gives you some of the stolen money so you can disperse it to charity, that's okay. Young people deserve a hockey rink built from stolen money.

FBI agents are ruthless, cold-hearted bastards who will actually use someone's work history as an oxycotin drug-dealer against them to stop the sociopathic bank robbers who kill police, open fire with automatic weapons on busy streets and engage in violent car chases that causes multiple accidents.

Did I mention the soul? And the six pack abs?

Be very careful when associating with the fellow who says he won't go back to prison, no matter what. He is liable to make poor choices when confronted by the authorities.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Toronto, New York and L.A.

I've been in Toronto for the last few days writing and rewriting away on "Falling Skies" (coming next Summer! TNT! Executive producer Steven Spielberg! Aliens attack and we fight back!) and managed to come down with the king-Daddy of colds, which certainly helps with the ol' inspiration. ("In this scene, the aliens run out of tissue!") At any rate, we're in "so far so good" mode -- we're starting to see cuts of episodes and preliminary FX and all sorts of cool stuff. The only unfortunate part is knowing these shows won't air until next Summer... that's a long time!

For what it's worth I'll be in NYC for the ComicCon on Oct. 9, so if you're in the neighborhood drop on by. I haven't done a NY show in twenty years and it's about time! I see my old BSG crew-mate Katee Sackhoff will be there, as well as my "My Name Is Bruce" pal Bruce Campbell. Could there be a BSG/Evil Dead crossover movie in their future? We can only hope!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wrtier's Block...

Mark Evanier has an interesting post up about the writing game, deadlines, writer's block and other extremities of the craft. His piece is at...

He suggests an interesting way to break writer's block, which is to write something totally off the problem topic and hope that breaks the log jam. I'm sure it works for Mark but that really isn't for me. If I'm banging my head against the wall trying to figure something out, last thing I want to do is write something I can't even use. Usually I pull away from the computer and sit down with a yellow pad (it has to be yellow, narrow-ruled and not legal size -- yes, it's weird, sorry!) and start making notes to myself. Somehow the process of handwriting as opposed to typing can occasionally liberate some ideas that were otherwise trapped.

(To continue with the writer-voodoo theme of only using a specific type of yellow pad, for a long time I preferred to copy-edit a paper draft with an orange flair pen. Not red, orange. These days I don't do nearly as much with paper, but I still have some orange flairs on stand by just in case...)

However, getting back on topic, I've only had a couple real moments of writer's block. And both were quite some time ago. In both instances, I was on a loose deadline, they were feature scripts, and I was trying to execute notes given on a previous draft. Taking and doing notes is a skill unto itself, and when the notes contradict your understanding of the story, or seem to be making something worse, it can be excruciating.

But nobody ever said it would be easy. Mark continues to explain that he has little patience for writers who complain about how painful the process can be. Aside from the fact that bitching and moaning about your job is as American as (pick iconic item of choice), I've only met a few professional writers in my day who just can't wait to get to work. If you're one of them, I salute you! If you're not, join me at the bar later tonight and we can discuss another round of goofy notes...