Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Time to forget about writing lulls.

Have a very Merry Christmas, be safe and true to you and yours...

And if the kids are bad, show them this...

And a couple more...

Happy Holidays...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Blackout Came Before the Fade...

One of the things I think anyone comes to terms with in their own special way is excuses. I've got tons of them. The Ace in the deck is always the Full Time Job. The truth is, however, my job is pretty great. I'm a computer technician, software/hardware , on Vancouver's Metro System. It's our subway, 'cept it's raised in the sky- thus- SKYTRAIN is its name. (NOTE: Whenever I tell this to people that aren't from here they say "like a monorail" - yes, except no. Mono would mean one, we have many tracks)

But the job is good, I'm good at it, it gives me lots of benefits and usually a fair amount of time. So really- the only bad thing is that I'm up at 5am every morning, home at 2pm- and I usually find myself napping sometime between 4-7pm.

Well, still plenty of time to write? Right?

Lately it seems I've found other things to preoccupy myself with- Gift Buying has been #1. This is something I've always enjoyed, I like finding things for friends that I know they'll like, dropping it off at their house a couple days before Christmas. Done deal. I'm not someone who agrees to exchange gifts- I just get my friends things I think they'll enjoy around this time of year. It's my time, so I enjoy it.

This year has been a big one too- but that being said, I'm all but one present away from done. My brothers. Whatever it ends up being- it'll be at the bottom of a deep freeze- frozen solid. Merry Christmas Brother. ;P

Right, writing...almost forgot...

As I was so enthusiastic a couple of weeks (months?) ago- about a project that I've nailed the first act of...I've fallen off the path. Not the story, just the legwork on the trail.

And it started with this.

A week and a half without water. Running water. Vancouver was hit with massive storms that raised the turbidity level to record levels and effectively shut us down from some common day things. This became a bit of a thorn in my side- as the murky water wasn't going to wash my clothes (I wouldn't let it), I can only do so much with bottled water for cooking...etc. It really wasn't bad- it just put me in a bad mood. Kind of a lethargic attitude towards a lot.

And then this past week...sweet sweet past week. When the lights turned off. For me- about 60 hours. Almost three days. I got it back tonight. And shit man- my house was cold, arctic cold. Blankets and candles abound. But- I'll spare further details of stubbed toes waking up in the morning trying to find pants to wear.

This past couple weeks just sorta sucked a lot of life from me. Mentally at least. Getting up and finding the push to write just hasn't been there. Most likely because I'm weak. I know things shouldn't get to me so easily- but this past month they really have.

Fucking hell...

But, I did one thing to force myself back into the mood of story and tone...I started reading again- lots and lots (not much else to do beside a candle).

I had a goal for this script- and it seems I'll likely miss it by a long shot. So I'm disappointed with myself. I did however managed to fire up my laptop moments ago and lay out the next 60 pages in SLUGLINES. Something I've never really done- but hoped it'd get me going-

And it did. I know the second act to the end, now I just gotta fill in the blanks...we'll see.

Sorry Julie- this one might be a late present- I'll send some cookies instead.

Tonight, I'm sleeping with the light on and water running-

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Second Life

For a lot of people the dawning of the technological-information era has come like a swift slap in the face. Though it's often thought that the industrial revolution instigated the biggest changes in life as we know it, the modern-computer era has trumped that...easily. Some have found themselves still trying to figure out what Myspace is, or when the heck ipods became capable of showing better quality videos than the best tv's money could buy only 15 years ago (heck, even 10). Others have embraced the world of IM's, email on their phones and consumerism on ebay.

Then, there are those of the world know as Second Life.

Consider yourself behind the times, trust me.

Second life is an online program, or game, or simulation - that has become very much least to over 1 Million people. And at least some savvy businesses. American Apparel, the clothing company, opened a store this past summer in a virtual world. Some of you may ask what the benefit could be, some of you may know-

Here's the deal.

In Second Life you create an avatar, and depending on the time you spend and the amount of Linden Dollars you have (SL's Currency)- you can clothe this person to your liking, buy land or even an island, a car, a virtual laptop, furniture, tv' goes on. Linden Dollars are cheap- 200L dollars is about 3-5USdollars*(depending on where you're from). This can buy you plenty- but more importantly- its providing the makers with millions and millions. And now- the corporates are coming into the fray. Consider AA one of the first, there will be more. Many entrepenuers have made money, making objects of thier desire, to sell in this virtual world - which comes with a 3d modeling ability (the more you know, the better you can be).

And get this- there are news feeds. REAL news feeds...and virtual ones. You can get your real world news, in this program, or the news of current events happening within the program of Second Life. What about an update of a concert being held by Suzanne Vega? Yup- already happened. Of course, you had to be at the show- 'it was great'- and you could only have seen it/heard it if you were in the world of Second Life. They literally made a virtual guitar, that through commands on a REAL keyboard- played like any other guitar, in real time. Watch this-Suzzane Vega's Guitar in Second Life

It's a little bit intimidating- hell, who needs a second life when the first one is so hard to managed as is? Well, believe me- that isn't stopping people, and it won't. This will continue to become a very large presence in our world, virtual or not. The more companies take part, the more virtual money is traded for REAL currency, the more real this will be to everyone.

So- when are more artists going to take part? Could this be an outlet for magazine writers, novelists? Could you sell a story though this? I bet you probably could, or will in the future. And considering that- checking my data now- over 600,000 Us Dollars have been spent in the last 24 hours in this little online world- You could probably make a decent living.

It might not be something you 'need or want' in your life- but who thinks it could be their best aim at success?

*Currency changes, so figures could be slightly off.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Robert Altman, dies at 81

A sad day in the world of Hollywood...

Director Robert Altman Dies at 81

Robert Altman, the legendary director behind such modern classics as MASH, Nashville, The Player, and Gosford Park, died Monday night in Los Angeles; he was 81. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed, and a statement released Tuesday afternoon stated that Altman died from complications due to cancer; the news release also said that Altman had been in pre-production for a film he was slated to start shooting in February. When he was presented with an honorary Academy Award just last year, Altman revealed that he had been the recipient of a heart transplant within the past ten years, a fact he hadn't made public because he feared it would hinder his ability to get work. One of the most influential and well-respected directors of modern cinema, Altman's work was marked by a naturalistic approach that favored long, unbroken tracking shots and overlapping dialogue (as well as storylines), as well as improvisation, usually among a large ensemble cast. Though now regarded as one of the premier American filmmakers, Altman had a career that reached both popular and critical highs as well as lows, as he burst onto the scene in the early '70s with very acclaimed films, but had a string of commercial and critical failures as well. All told, he received five Oscar nominations for directing MASH, Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts and most recently Gosford Park. Other numerous awards include two Cannes Film Festival wins (for The Player and MASH), a Golden Globe (for Gosford Park) and an Emmy (for the TV series Tanner 88).

Born in Kansas City, Altman attended Catholic schools as well as a military academy before enlisting in the Air Force in 1945. After being discharged, Altman tried his hand at acting and writing in both Los Angeles and New York before returning home to Kansas City, where he started making industrial films for the Calvin Company. After numerous false starts, Altman finally made the full move to Hollywood, and in 1957 directed his first theatrical film, The Delinquents. Though it didn't start him on the road to fame, the film was good enough to secure Altman work in television, particularly for Alfred Hitchcock and his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television series. In 1969, Altman was offered the script for MASH, which had been rejected by numerous other filmmakers. The movie, a black comedy set during the Korean War (and a thinly veiled attack on the then-raging Vietnam War), was a rousing commercial and critical success, scoring Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Director and, most famously, inspiring the successful TV sitcom, which took on a very different tone. His films after MASH included the revisionist western McCabe and Mrs. Miller and the updated California noir The Long Goodbye, but it was 1975's Nashville, a multi-layered film centered around the country music capital and the wildly divergent Americans who converged there, that would be his next major success, also receiving Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Director.

After Nashville, Altman more often than not found himself on the opposite end of the spectrum, with films such as the acclaimed but sometimes puzzling 3 Women as well as the commercial flop A Wedding and, most notoriously, the Robin Williams version of Popeye, which was technically a hit but seen as an artistic failure. Altman worked constantly through the '80s - his films included Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Streamers, Secret Honor, and Fool for Love - but it wasn't until the HBO series Tanner 88, about a fictional candidate's run for the presidency, that he found favor again. In the early '90s, the one-two punch of The Player (a biting Hollywood satire) and Short Cuts (based on the stories of Raymond Carver) put him back on the map, but he followed those with the less well-received Pret-a-Porter, The Gingerbread Man, and Cookie's Fortune. True to the ups-and-downs of his career, Altman was back on top with Gosford Park, a British-set ensemble film that combined comedy, drama and mystery, and marked his first Best Picture nominee since Nashville. His last films included a revisit to the world of Tanner 88 with Tanner on Tanner, and just this year, A Prairie Home Companion, based on the radio show by Garrison Keillor. Upon receiving his honorary Oscar last year, Altman appeared to be in fine health, but reportedly directed most of A Prairie Home Companion from a wheelchair, with the Altman-influenced director Paul Thomas Anderson on hand.

Altman is survived by his third wife, Kathryn, their two sons, and a daughter and two other sons from two previous marriages. --Mark Englehart, IMDb staff

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Split Personalities

I had a baby a few weeks ago. It was beautiful, enlightening, inspiring and daunting. Then it did what others have done in the past, it broke into two. Fraternal, not identical.

Of course, the actual prospects of me running around with drool on my shoulder (not mine) is about as pleasant to me as a cheese grater to the face...but this is writing we're talking about- right?

It came about in Austin, Tex. I loved this concept that began to stew so quickly, as they often do, and I was set to write. Made some notes, laid out some points and figured 'hell, lets go at 'er'. About 4 pages in it dawned on me like a sledgehammer in the groin from an angry ex..."this isn't exactly how I planned it".

The conceived child wasn't anything like I planned. Different eyes, different tone of voice, different hair even. It could have been the milk mans idea.

I realized that I had two very distinct ideas, and the only through line One is an idea that wants to be sci-fi/ I've thrived with in the past. The other, wants to be something more personal and inviting - which happens to be nothing like me or anything I've written.

I had them fully separated eventually and sat with them for a little. It's an easy choice - go with the one you can do well. Sadly I'm not smart enough...and I've gone with the one I have no clue about...

As of now, Act 1 is the most put together Act I've ever written. And it's scary personnel (though I won't tell you how). I only hope I don't falter too much and run away or lose steam in the 2nd and 3rd Acts....we'll see. But the other little baby seems to have formulated itself as be addressed later.

How many times has this happened with you though? Your ideas split up, rightly so, and born into two different ideas. But not just different scripts...I mean completely different- style, genre, story...etc. All from one idea?

The end.
ED NOTE: Jamie wasn't really in the mood to write anything of merit, but had 15 minutes to kill. Currently, the 15 minutes has him pinned down like a tourist on a train full of Gypsies...

And can you hear it? Can you? Christmas is 6 weeks away. And if you don't's the only thing I actually stake claim to enjoying- so dash my spirit and I'll fucking skin you alive. ;)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween

May you, and your children (if applicable) enjoy a very ghostly good time...

THE PRESTIGE - Comepletely Spoiled

This is my critical look at THE PRESTIGE. This is basically nothing but spoiler- so if you're waiting to go see it...go see it...and don't read. Clear? Mmmmk.


The Prestige (2006)
Written by Jonathan Nolan & Chris Nolan based on the novel by Christopher Priest
Directed by Christopher Nolan.
Starring; Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and Micheal Caine

How much disappointment do you derive from a movie where the answer is so clear, you've guessed it half way through, only to be proven completely correct? Ask yourself that before watching The Prestige. And then go see it anyway.

Christopher Nolan does an impeccable job layering this movie, not just through his capture of moving images cross-cut through un-linear narrative, but through the writing of this incredibly well told story. The basic some is - two rival magicians competing to out do each other. But it cuts far deeper into obsession and sacrifice.

As I already asked, are you disappointed when the answer is so obvious? That's what the Prestige asks us, in a nut shell. The notion is that a magician has 3 acts- The Pledge, The Turn, The Prestige. That he can make something so ordinary seem so extraordinary. And the reason for magicians never giving up their 'method/secret'? Because is so simple, they'll be worth nothing to you afterwards. Common theme throughout the film is sacrifice. In the opening act you see the age old - bird in a cage - disappearing act. How does the trick work? Simple (once you know it's worth nothing), the cage folds crushing the poor bird inside while the magician pulls out another bird, previously stowed away. The Prestige, as this film declares, is not in making the bird disappear, but in making it reappear. Dual imagery/interpretation is something played upon in this movie throughout.

Borden (Bale) and Angier (Jackman) are the rival magicians who have come through the ranks, learning their tricks, always in close competition. Borden is particularly good at seeking out the 'method' while Angier is far better with 'showmanship'. Both however, are completely obsessed with their craft, its perfection, and most importantly- being better than the other. So much so that Angier eventually loses his emotional attachment to the memory of his wife, who died as a result of Borden’s mistake, in pursuit of Borden’s new 'secret'. Borden, meanwhile, seems to be a fickle spouse as a result of his dedication. So much so, that his wife even says "Some days you love me, and some days you don't. Some days you love your magic more."

As the rivalry gets nasty, 1 dead wife, 2 fingers and 1 show now gone, the magicians seem to part ways, not yet even...but focused. That is until Angier goes to see a new trick by Borden called "The Teleported Man". The trick? He bounces a plain rubber ball at one end of a stage and enters a door, coming out through another door on the stage, to grab the ball. It takes him as much time as closing an opening a door, clearly an impossible feat. So impossible, Angier becomes obsessed to the point of sacrifice.


So how does he do it? As Cutter (Caine), Angier’s illusionist engineer (he builds the tricks that Angier uses) reasons - he's using a double. But Angier doesn't believe it, even though he ultimately redoes the trick with one and shines it up a bit. It's too simple just to be a double in Borden's 'Teleported Man', though, and after having his rip-off of the trick sabotaged by his rival, Angier seeks out the real method, by both decrypting Borden’s diary, and capturing Borden’s engineer for ransom (the Method to the trick). When Borden gives it up, he leads Angier to Nikola Tesla (played so well by David Bowie...say what?). This is where the obsession hits a new gear.

Angier awaits the construction of something similar to Borden’s trick, a machine that will literally teleport Borden from his contraption to a new destination. But the machine doesn't they think. What it does in fact, is duplicate. After testing it on hats and then a cat, they realize they are copying the person within the machine and they are appearing somewhere else. Once the calibration is adjusted- Angier has the ultimate show - a real 'teleported man'.

But, how can he do this when he's simply copying himself? How would he deal with the multiple selves he creates? Simple...He kills himself. 100 times, in 100 shows. In his final show, he sets one last trap for his rival. He allows him onstage to view the contraption, and fairly sure that Borden's acute ability to spot the trickery (in this case a trap door), he knows Borden will find his way down beneath the stage where he will be able to helplessly watch Angier die in locked water cage- the same one Angier’s wife died in - as a result of Borden's ill tied knot which she was unable to slip...setting this whole grudge off.

Throughout the film, we see Borden on trial and then awaiting execution, from this framed murder scene.

Glossing over many points here though...We find Angier obviously alive (his cloned self), headed to dispose of this machine that Tesla created for him, and shortly after Borden has been hanged. And what happens? Ain't it so obvious? He's shot and killed by Borden, who also happens to be swinging from a noose. But how? Well, Cutter was right- he always had a double. A twin.

Now this is perhaps the most simple 'twist' imaginable, and some may feel cheated without looking deeper into the film.

The theme of the film is about simple things appearing spectacular, they don't hide this, they embrace it. And if such a plain thing like having a twin is the reveal, how do they utilize it so you're not cheated?
Well, Borden asks, as does Cutter throughout the film- "Are you paying attention."

How far does obsession go? (I mentioned something so hit up on the film it seems to be just a thumping of characterization) But it goes further than you'd imagine, to the point of always living 'half a life', shared with your twin brother. This includes a wife..."I know when you love me. Some days you mean it, and some days you don't." Also, for Angier - his obsession runs so deep that he's willing to kill himself by drowning himself every night, 100 times. He's willing to sacrifice himself- though this could be because of something his engineer says to him when his wife drowns to death - "I once knew a sailor, he said drowning...was like going home." Would he have done this if cutter had said, as he does near the end of the film - "I lied you know. That sailor...he said drowning was pure anguish." Probably not...but his better instincts had been blind the entire time.

Another interesting little thought- is how simplistic Angier's trick really is. Aside from the supernatural- it's essentially the 'bird in the cage' trick, where one is killed and replaced by another. Something Angier says is amateurish and cruel until he seemingly acknowledges something Cutter has mentioned before "You'll have to get your hands dirty sooner or later."

Another hint of how far Angier goes to copy and perfect Borden’s work are the two diaries (the one that Angier steals and the one Borden is given while awaiting his death in prison.) Angier discovers after decrypting the book and reaching the end, that it's a fake, a nice little sendoff from Borden. Well, it also happens that the one Borden has in jail, is also a fake, with slightly better showmanship.

This is a movie about obsession and sacrifice, that cloak of theme is so apparent it almost leads to misdirect - yet another theme, not just in the movie but with magicians...their entire 'act' is misdirection, seeping not just into their performances but their entire lives (something laden throughout the movie, best displayed with the Oriental magician posing as a weak, frail old man, who is actually a very strong man. Posing as weak in his entire life, to misdirect his audience no matter what - Something only Borden spots- again with his uncanny ability to spot Method- which makes sense when you find out he's been doing it his whole life, as well.)

There is plenty more, though it may start to sound repetitive. But I'd like to hear what some of you think, if you've seen it. And even if you haven't and don't plan to (and I've ruined it anyway) - How far can you take characterization and theme with such a clear and transparent ending? Does it work for you? Does it make it feel cheap to you? Generally I'd say yes, especially with today’s common 'knock em out in the end with something they don't see coming'. But The Prestige does such a good job at making the obvious so simplistic, you don't really believe it- but that's also the point of everything magicians do. They want that doubt. So layered and thorough...I will have to see this film again, and probably again...But I want to hear from you guys- what did you think?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

BBQ, Beer and Kittens

I wasn't sure what to expect when I lifted off (and touched down) 3 times on my way Texas...Austin that is. I had ideas of cowboys and guns, and music galore. I was correct about the music, but I missed the boat on college kids.

6th street was a fairly wild place, and if not for Murray, and some serious MUAY THAI, MOTHERFUCKER- I'd perhaps have only the AFF to speak of.

Yeah, I was there. Among a throng of experianced and not-so-experianced writers, producers, groupies, etc. I met a boatload of people I had only know as screen names with complimentary blogs to paint a broader stroke- but seriously, you just don't know someone until they're sitting on your lap. Or eating cheescake from it.

But aside from the people, which were honestly awesome- the experiance was something I wasn't really anticipating. Not that I got what I didn't expect, I just didn't really know what to expect, period. I walked away from it, 4 pounds heavier, and a little more weighted in something else.


I'm not a very good writer- I admit that too frequently. But, it lingers over me anyway- I'm untrained, young and perhaps no so good with English. Drop out not so good. But the one thing I always thought, or was told, was that even if I couldn't write the way professionals wrote, I still had my way of telling things. And above all else- that's what I learned from the pros. That's what I got told over and over again.

Shane Black
John August
David Milch

All notable. All talents worth aspiring too. And they all said the same thing- Write the way you write. Because that's your key into the forbidden palace, that's the backdoor. No one else will write like you, or me, or Shane Black. And that's what makes all of our stories unique, gives it that little pop of something else.

And that's what I think I needed to hear. We'll see...I've never been a personal writer- never instilled anything of my own emotions into scripts...I'm going to change that.

Anyone that wants to can read my next spec. It's an autobiography of sorts...which a smidgen of fiction - you can decide which is which.

SO what did you learn, if you were there? What was it that you needed to hear?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Platform Wars

I have been rewriting, taking notes, rewriting- writing stuff I don't know anything about...etc...

And preparing for Austin in a week.

I'm not good with updates. But will do something in a week or so, prior to the AFF.

Just thought I'd post this. I've been saying since day 1 that this was only a matter of time. This battle will not be won by any company in my opinion. People felt ripped off when BETA and VHS did this little dance, they won't be so quick to jump on either bandwagon again. People will want backwards compatible DVD players- and cross-platform HD/BLUERAY DVD players...don't believe me?


NEC chip plays HD-DVD, Blu-ray 2006-10-11 15:18:25

BEIJING, Oct. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- NEC has announced it is ready to distribute a new controller chip that may bring a cease-fire in the battle between Sony's Blu-ray and Toshiba's HD-DVD. The new NEC chip is designed to play both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray content.

The price of the chip is around 84 U.S. dollars and NEC has said that will reach estimated shipments of around 300,000 by April next year.

NEC said another key part, an optical pickup usable on machines using both new DVD formats, is being developed by another manufacturer.

"We are in talks with that company so that the pickup can be built into a new line of personal computers due to hit the market next spring," an NEC official said.

Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs are the same size as the current DVD, but each use a more advanced laser technology to expand storage. These new formats offer massive storage capacity, a must for High Definition content, by using a shorter wavelength blue laser.

High Definition videos/pictures contain more pixels and scan lines in a frame, and are able to present objects in more significant detail. Both formats can accommodate High Definition video content of resolutions up to 1080p.

Thanks to this greater storage capacity, the uncompromised, multichannel audio content is made available: more advanced Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, which offer up to eight channels of audio, are all supported by the new formats.

The unification of the formats may be the best bet to end the format wars. NEC is not the first company trying to figure out how to end the conflict between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

In June, IDG News Service reported Samsung's intention to explore the possibility of creating a dual player. Enditem

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Take this Screen!!!

All I see is black. Thick, un-margined black.

So I decided to turn my computer on, and what'd I find? Who the fuck plays this type of an evil joke on an unsuspecting person? Apparently I did. Sadly, the humor was lost on me.

I've had this ability- kinda like a super power in a really bad comic- to waste days and days reading other peoples scripts and then turning on God.

God, if you're not privy, is a slim, pale, caring beauty. One that understands my needs and comforts me through the good and the bad, and even the pathetic syntax that spouts from my mouth and fingertips. God know's when I'm neglecting, or when I'm being neglected. But God's message is clear- "Find me and I shall comfort you through the darkness, make work for your idle hands, and I will not freeze before you get to save your game."

It's nice of God to do these things for me. And come with an assortment of games at only 59.99 US. God even comes with a remote control, two controllers, and a 20G hardrive. Where would I be without God?

The easy answer would be "getting laid, dipshit." Silly girlfriend with crystal clear answers. Silly.

The truth is that I'd be here, on my computer, writing the Greatest Story Ever told- AKA- my new spec. And so, under threat from aforementioned Silly Girl that if I didn't do so she'd throw God out the window, I am. Slowly. Too slowly.

Act I has started with a bang, and like a Gypsy with your wallet; I can already see the finish line. Too bad I've got gimpy knees and hate running.

Months of procrastinating under the guise of actual 'paid work' I've decided it's time to at least hobble along. But I've given myself a deadline. Oct. 10th. And with God whispering sweet nothings in my ear, this seems unlikely. I've written scripts faster before, but this one deserves my time. At least not in between shifts of my new Bishop- NHL 07. How do you all get away from distractions? Kids, kittens, games, wikipedia, orinformational websites? What are your great ways to block the outside world, besides just turning off the TV?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rise of the ....CCortex?

CCortex is planned to complete a 20-billion neuron simulation of the Human Cortex and peripheral systems, on a cluster of 500 computers - the largest neural network created to date. Different versions of the simulation have been running since June 2003 on the company data center.

Artificial Development intends CCortex to be a state-of-the-art simulation of the human brain. With 20 billion neurons and 20 trillion connections, CCortex will be up to 10 000 times larger than any previous attempt to replicate, partially or completely, primary characteristics of Human Intelligence, and could be the first neural system to achieve a level of complexity rivaling that of the mammalian brain. According to AD, CCortex will be able to 'replicate' "pattern recognition, verbal and visual communication, knowledge acquisition, and conscious-approximate decision-making capabilities."

CCortex aims to mimic the structure of the human brain with a layered distribution of neural nets and detailed interconnections, and is planned to closely emulate specialized regions of the Human Cortex, Corpus Callosum, Anterior Commissure, Amygdala and Hippocampus. The simulation is planned to provide feedback and limited interaction with reduced, simplified functional versions of other nervous and sensory systems such as the Brainstem, Thalamus, Cerebellum, Retina and auditory processing systems.

CCortex is intended to perform a number of tasks previously unavailable to traditional computing by recreating the complexity and functionality of those cortical regions that are most likely responsible for processing higher-level functions of human intelligence.

Anyone else thinking...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Over Ocean, And Behind Closed Doors

Lou Ye

I have not seen this film. I hope to...but I may never realize that hope. And so it would seem- neither will Lou Ye. He faces a ban for the next 5 years.

Here's the article:

Lou Ye In better times, I hope more to come.

Chinese authorities have banned the film director Lou Ye from making films for five years because he failed to seek permission from them before his latest work, set against the backdrop of the Tiananmen uprising, was screened at the Cannes film festival.

Mr Lou's film Summer Palace is to be confiscated and income from it seized, the Xinhua news agency reported. The film impressed audiences when it was shown in the main competition for the Palme d'Or this May, but already troubles were rumbling with China's state administration of radio, film and television. The censors denied the film approval as Cannes opened, and members of the production team flew back to Beijing during the festival to negotiate with officials.

Later in the festival a number of Chinese journalists covering Cannes were summoned back early to Beijing.

The epic-scale film charts an intense love affair that begins at Beijing University in 1989, against the turbulent, exultant backdrop of the Tiananmen Square protests - using chilling archive news footage of tanks rolling in to the square. But the euphoria of both the protests and the love affair quickly fades, and the story follows the characters as they split up and pursue their different paths.

The portrayal of the optimism and idealism of the protests sharply contradicts the official version of the events as counter-revolutionary riots. And, in a culture where showing sex in art is strictly off limits, the film contains at least eight explicit though tender sex scenes.

Mr Lou has had brushes with the authorities before; he suffered a two-year ban from film-making after his thriller-like, Shanghai-set Souzhou River (2000). At Cannes, he said that to "make sure that the film can be released in China ... I would agree to remove any scene they want." But such is the quantity of provocative material in the work that it seems unlikely that would be possible.

As for the Tiananmen Square scenes, he said: "The action does not just concern 1989, it covers 1989 to 2003. 1989 is just one year in that period ... during shooting, I always forget about this kind of issue, of what's banned and what's not. Now it's become a personal issue and I will have to find a way of improving my way of working."

This is the Article

Sad state of affairs to be sure, but not uncommon.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

"I'm a TOOL"

With a little flicker on the iPod, winamp, cd player, record spinning thingymagig- a lot of writers find themselves tapping out to tunes they've grown up with or recently found. I'm no different, I suppose. I often find setting and tone within the music I choose.

And then sometimes it's just fun to rock the fuck out.

This past two weeks, I've been in Vegas and Washington for my one and only Vacation this year (some would say that's lucky)- I went down to the gorge and watched TOOL. For those that don't know them- they're an industrial metal or a prog-metal band depending on your classification. Not everyones cup of tea.

But man, oh man...oh man...

If for one night in my life God ripped off the ceiling and asked me to join him for a few hours- it would probably equate to this concert. 25000-30000 people in the open Gorge near Quincy Washinton, surrounded by vineyards...feeling the earth quake with every strum.

It didn't get me thinking about writing some thunderous powerful story. It just made me realize that people on top of thier games have the ability to come, conquer, and leave you breathless.

This is what my scripts need to be.

I'm going to go drown myself in a pool of self-doubt now.

Friday, August 25, 2006

So Far...So Good?

Test images from my upcoming comic. No text, and some images ommited for reasons I won't share yet...

Hate it, love it?


When the time is proper, I'll start posting finished pages...I gotta get all of them right, and then sit down and edit/letter with the Letterer.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Shining Prospect of having 30 Days Of Night

Steve Niles is a twisted son of a bitch. Scratch that. Ben Templesmith is a twisted SOB. Well, perhaps in unison they just creat a hybrid of twisted bitchery that devours itself and flings its excrement upon glistening white banks of snow- just to show you that it could.

Whatever your fancy, these two continously prove that they are cast aways from the norm and we're all much better off for it.

I myself tend to dislike horror- films, books, comics. It's mainly due to the same reasons I don't like comedy. There's just not enough to think about. But that's my issue...

And though Niles doesn't encapture all that I find grand in storytelling- he does a damn good job at making me worry that I'm missing something. And Templesmith makes sure I know.

The eerie images sprawled along the grotesque and bloody pages of the series 30 days of Night are proof- 10 fold. A great vampire premise (and seriously- how many times have they really been great?) about the little town of Barrow, Alaska where once a year darkness falls for 30 days. And the story picks up in due course...and the blood begins to trickle.

I won't disclose the series, because it's been out for a long time- losing some luster in recent spinoffs like - 30 days of night- IN SPACE...But, I did want to mention - and threaten- that the film adaptation of the series is in pre-production. And damn god men and women- don't fuck this one up. Anytime a revered series goes to film it's a dice roll- we've seen it countless times. Sometimes it's bankable, sometimes it's laughable. 30 days' should fall somewhere in the 'I Shit my pants it was so good' category, assuming they do it right. And appropriately...

David Slade takes the helm. And if nut grinding is something you look for in a movie- this may be the man for the job. Hard Candy, a low budget thriller, was a dark romp that can make the manliest of men cringe- and not in a good way. Let us hope he keeps the same intensity.

I'd also like to note- Ben Templesmith is currently doodling, among other projects, FELL, written by the best writer around- INTERNET FUCKING JESUS - AKA Warren Ellis. Fell is perhaps one of the best series going for the price- largely due to Templesmith's perfect imagery for the mood, and Ellis' spot on story telling. Though, FELL will likely never become a movie- it's definitely worth the reads.

Solid Reading

Just wanted to drop a link, perhaps even try to keep posting.

Writing has become hard for me. I'm stuck amongst editing a script I wrote, that three people have rewritten- just to give back to me to edit- so I can later polish before filming; a treatment for a script I've rewritten 5 times that needs to be sent away prior to my one and only vacation this year, come Sunday; and more importantly...

Kicking my lil buddy's nuts from across the country. Lil buddy being my artist. See, this kids a good guy, mostly. Solid artist. Very solid, actually. But he's young...and sometimes it shows. He gets caught up in things he doesn't need to, finds reasons not to get work done, or to wait for approval...and so on.

Difficult to blame someone whom is not being paid to draw, or myself for not wanting to write when there is no glimmering payday at the end of the caved in tunnel I seem to have found myself running through.

Motivational skills abound from my blackened heart- can't you tell?

Anyway- while I drift slowly over the keys and pretend to smash out something of merit, I have happened to take a few moments to read a new comic, published by ONIPRESS.

I've never really liked too much Oni has put out, but I am selective with what I buy- Not because of financial reasons or high standard snotness- but because I could care less for superhero's and re-contrived storylines better suited back twenty years- ever so apparent even through the new 'updates'.

But this one I dig. For many reasons. Tight writing, with some quality to the dialogue that really a lot of comics lack. Art is fit for the style- though I tend to like detail...this still works.

WASTELAND- New series by Anthony Johnston & Christopher Mitten. Worth a read. I had never heard of either of these two- but I fail to remember don't hold it against me if I should have. But in the brief pick ups of comics last week I saw a cover that stuck out- saw the black and white- read a brief page and saw that it clearly wasn't the average new release. As a result of the first and second issues...I will continue to follow.

So should you...

Now- find me some option rights!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

WIll you do it well, Or will you do it awesome?

With 2 sweet flicks already behind them...they take on another.

I've seen the trailer, will repost with a better version ASAP

But man...this just gets a fan boy popping in his pants...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Watchmen gets...yet another Director on board...

After many failed attempts to start this comic-adaptation...

Zach Snyder is set to develop and direct the DC comic graphic novel, Watchmen for Warner Bros. Pictures.

The series was created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons set in 1985 in an alternative history United States where costumed adventurers are real and the country is edging closer to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Watchmen tells the story of the last remaining superheroes and the events surrounding the mysterious murder of one of their own.

After many attempts at a start of previous production, Warner is not releasing a production schedule for Watchmen.

Apparently, happy with the job Snyder did with the Montreal shot 300, another Frank Miller adaptation following the likes of Sin City, Warner has decided to add Snyder to the list of directors that at some point have tried to get this movie running. They've also hired Alex Tse to pen the feature. Not confirmed is whether this is a rewrite of the David Hayter attempt or not.
Rumors have come and gone. Paul Greengrass was the last director on board...but the project fell through.

Long ago, Terry Gilliam was brought onto the project but Joel Silver failed to raise proper finance for the film. Also, while interviewing Alan Moore, Gilliam asked him what he thought would be the best way to make the film come to life. The response?

Moore; "Don't".

I personally don't see how anyone could make this movie a viable adaptation. The comic was so outrageously great but so distinctly outta this world. It's not like Batman, or Sin City or even Superman. The things the comic takes for granted, that the reader easily gives in to, is not something the movie going public will likely be willing to. I fear, this project will yet again stall, for good or ill. And even if it does get made...I don't see it being one of the successes of comic adaptation. Moore was right.


Just a great, great decision. This was a show that picked up in it's 3rd and 4th season, really finding it's groove. I can only hope that they attempt to bring back a lot of the same writers...We'll see.

Here's the blurb...

Comedy Central has bought up the rights to produce and air new episodes of Futurama.

The cable channel is bringing back the series, from Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, which first aired on Fox from 1999-2003. The Hollywood Reporter says at least 13 new episodes will be produced for the first time since the series ended; the new batch is part of a deal the cable network made with 20th Century Fox Television last year to pick up syndicated rights to the show's 72 episode library.

Comedy Central also has an option to air any new episodes produced; no word on when the new episodes of Futurama will air.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Comics and the other men...

So to my faithful 3,3 daily readers out there (I'm assuming this constitutes; a man, a woman, a child, and 3 gold fish)- Where have I been? What have I been doing?

I know, I know. Shouldn't keep y'all waiting so long.

It's simple really. In the vast universe of Scribewisdom, Scribe-o-sphere, or procrastinating spec monkeys, there is an endless amount of high quality input and serious watchdogism of the industry and those within it. This is one of my favorites. This, even after he lambasted some of my comments regarding our own industry (that can be no doubt attributed to my own narrow, and thick skull). But it really is a great blog. Also, for all things television Shawna has continued to unleash predictions, lineups and solid comments.

These two typically keep my days full of reading and self loathing. There's something about looking at how others perceive the industry with such depth that I get lost in how I perceive it...and so, I revert into a nutshell of a fetal position and seek solace in my youth and inexperience.

But that's selling myself short.

So are y'all (3.3 of you) wondering what the hell I'm on about? No...oh, then stop reading and proceed to some better blogs. I'll wait.


My experience, as short and budding as it is- lay in low to no budget deals and a whopping large project that's eaten about a year and a half of my life-
My comic book.


A little back-story-

I wrote 3 issues of this, and with the gracious help (and free to boot) of an energetic and possibly autistic artist managed to get three previews ready.

Myself and my editor (and damn fine gentlemen so long as you don't find yourself naked in bed with him) went down to the Holy Grail of all comic Festivals last year. We embraced the nerd in ourselves and others...and took it for what we could.

And what was that-

Well, 7 meetings. All from word of mouth...
From this we garnered interest enough to have 3 offers, 2 of serious merit. And none of feasible means...

We basically were told the concept, the art and the writing were great for some first-time comic slubs...and we were then promptly escorted to the table of hell.
"We'd like to offer you a deal"
"Yes, you will be castrated of all artistic integrity and get enough money for about 3 boxes of Kraft dinner. Interested?"
"OH RLY!!"

Again, some serious fetal action, a cramped back and some limited options...
But limited options are what we were born from, and will continue to breed with.

We have since taken on the notion that we have something people wanted (of the 3 offers all wanted the film rights..."say mother-fucking what?"), but weren't willing to allow us to continue on. So we've retreated and restructured our battle plan...and now we are beginning the assault- so to speak.

All three issues have been revamped in narrative. We spun a 180 on the protagonist, for reasons I will explain when the time deems fit, and we've now come up with something far more cohesive, far more coherent and far more desirable. We are setting out on our plan to have all three issues ready for publication by years end.

And we're doing it ourselves. We're ponying up the cash. We're setting our limits and are expectations and we're making this our project- not for others to simply buy (or buy us out of!!)- but our project and our story to tell. This is something we want to tell the world, this is our sweat and blood (no tears, not yet).

And why does this impact the Scribeworld? At all? Well, it doesn't...yet...

But the comic was not born in it's current form- It was breastfed by my passion of screenwriting and storytelling. This- was a trilogy I planned and penned the first of. It's also the only script I ever turned down any form of offer on. Now that's 2 forms of medium that this 1 story has had offers on...and us involved deemed to important to us to simply sell off. (maybe it's $$ figures...but we won't admit it)...

So this is a journey ,(you're more than welcome to get off at the nearest stop) and I'm going to slowly over time explain all the things that it takes to break a story you want to tell to the world- all by yourself.

Feel free to stay awhile. Ask questions at will. Just don't offer to cut me out of my own sweat and blood manifested on pulpy matter- I'm not dealing that way anymore.

I'll get to screenwriting observations when I have something to add, or something to reveal...otherwise- all you're getting is the progression of a medium into all forms managed and even some imagined.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Right of Passage--

Systemaddict...It's coming...FALL 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Transference of Inanimate Objects

Any good writer holds an uncanny amount of useless knowledge to conjure up at given moment. And it really is these little 'details' that so often stay with the audience moments, minutes, days, months or years after even just one viewing of a film. The little things that breath substance into the subtext.

Some writers are unequivocally and inexplicably able to pull these 'beaut' moments seemingly out of their creative asses. But is it really inexplicable?

Probably not...

I've recently taken in 10-20 scripts, some from professionals and some from friends. There is a glaring discrepency throughout some of them (from column A & B mind you)...and it seems to be these details. Or rather, heading to the root of the problem, from the writers research. It's one thing to make something viable for both the audience to understand and for the character not to exceed their backbones for the sake of making the plot flow, but its a completely different story to short change your characters of their natural god-given (you!!!) abilities.

I think it becomes clear that research has not been done on your part, when your "33 year old, smartest mind in the Institute" can't explain anything beyond "don't put metal in the microwave."

You need to know the topic so well, as the writer, that each and every character has those moments, that only they would have. They show their true skins in the way they interact within their world, or when they are taken out of it---

How much research do most of you do? Honestly? And I'm not talking watching movies about the same subject, I mean the subjects themselves....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

40 Days of Pain 120 Pints of Beer & 3 Completed Scripts...

As a "aspiring screenwriter", I think the onus you put on determination is often blindsided by reality. Think about walk into work (your office and/or living room) and look around. What is there? A boss? No. A pet? Sure. A punch in clock? No. Multiple ways to waste away time? The list of porn sites, video games and wikipedia links is too long too list, but they're there.

So who the hell is going to tell you to do anything?

It's easy for you to twidle your thumbs...or anything else for that matter- instead of getting down to work. But here it was for me, a small contract and a competition. The Nicholl Fellowship is one that many enter and few succeed with The ones that do are obviously talented and the ones that don't, well...who knows.

I don't think I'll advance. Not because I don't believe I can be a good writer...just because I don't think my craft is as complete as it could be (is it ever?). So why enter then? That's simple. Cause it was a test. It's easy to hold back and slowly pace yourself, which may very well be an inner working of fear and rejection, and it's easy to just assume the odds are too slim. But, in the words of 'The Great One'- "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

No kidding...

So I decided to play boss, because no one else was willing to. I had 40 days to complete a set amount of work, the pressing matter of a small assingment and something for myself.

It amounted to 3 feature screenplays being finished.
1- 8days
1- 9days
1- 23 days...

Had it not been for the Ephemere (a great Quebec beer)...i probably woulda just slept it off. But I neglected everything and got it done. Are they the best? Probably not. But anyone whose ever sat at a real job knows...the work has to get done. When you work independently- the standard to which you rate the quality is your own (barring prod interference). And that brings me to my dilluted point. How does the standard you hold yourself to, raise if there is no one watching over you and telling you to do it better?

Get it done. Then get more done. Then write so much more that it hurts. Just bang out so many pages, read as many damn scripts, books and articles that you can manage and just get it done. Anytime you look back on old work, whether it's writing or programming or office see what you didn't the first few times. And then the next few times. Rinse, Repeat.

I've now come in at writing 10 specs total so far...I've optioned 3 to small, monopoly money, companies. After completing my 10th, I realize how much better the 9th coulda been...and so on down the line. But you'll never know how much quality you're putting into your scripts until you validate it with another. It's a lot like growing up, you can always look back and say "man, if I only knew this back woulda been so much easier"."That's my opionion anyway.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Dreamescape -- news---

For anyone that knows, or doesn't...

Dreamescape is an optioned feature that's been tossed around north of the border for awhile. After some rewrites, some more rewrites and then some went out this week to the two companies that have been going back and forth discussing co-pro...

And I got my first response today--

"James- man. It all makes so much more sense. We have a way more clear vision now. Good work."

Right. Okay. Good.

This is, I suppose, what I was going for...I'll update more later. When i'm not so depressed about it. Toning down an idea to the point that every dipshit understands it is something I just can't get excited about. But, all's well that ends in a pay day.

Sincerly yours~

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

So, I figure, the reason I started this was to somehow see myself in the same light as the other people in this little globe of scripting...that's really just turned into a community of screenwriters bitching or tossing updates or congrats...or any other fucking thing they can pass on-- in a blog. That's right, no more writing the lessons you want to pass on in a movie that hopes to live through the ages. No, now we have blogs. Same message, bout half the effort.

So here goes my first real post on writing--

This, is me (wave hello). I suppose, god forbid, I am a writer. Features mainly, novel in progress and some other non-sensical crap somewhere in the oven...

You do not know my work. You do not know me. You have not heard of me, or know anyone that does. This is all okay. Because that's not my priority in life. My only priority is give me life some direction so I don't swallow a bowl full of meth, or start going to church on a head full of acid. Cause lets be honest...the priests don't need that and neither do I.

I managed to finish up on a rewrite yesterday...a spec I optioned some 18 months ago( reoptioning etc...)...and after a year and a half of notes, a couple of rewrites, it's safe to say one thing-I have no clue what the hell I started out with but I know this script isn't even close. I can kill babies, that's not a problem...but I honestly can't tell you what the hell this thing I've just written is. It's not me. It's not typical. It's probably not any good. And I'll probably make money because of all of the above. But lets move along...

Why do I write, if this is the end result? Well for one, rent. And secondly, because I still get to do things for myself that don't matter shit all to anyone else. Where I don't need to pile down 3 pots of coffee just to get through the night editing my own piss grammar and spelling (yes, I know...fuck off)--'s for this...this is why I actually still love it...

Yeah...cause I can write stuff...and then some dude across the county draws his version of it...and it looks this fucking cool. No producer giving Director taking his own spin on it...nope. Just some dude, drawing something cool, because you inspired the images inside him. You inspired creation. That's why I still love writing...cause we can all be catalysts and not just whores...that being said- original prints are going for 40$ canadian. (which is about a can of pop and a burger...he's a starving he'll probably accept just a piece of lettuce).

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"There's a lot of ways to view the world. Why pick the way you learn over tv? Cause it's usually wrong. Have you ever seen a positive drug story on the news? Never. News is supposed to be objective isn't it? It's the news. But, every drug story is negative. Well hold it...I've had some killer fucking times on drugs. Let's hear the whole story."

"Same LSD story everytime, and we've all heard it- Young man on acid thought he could fly, jumped out of a building. What a tragedy....

"What a dick. If he thought he could fly, why didn't he take off from the ground and check it out first? You don't see ducks catching elevators to fly South. He's an idiot. He's dead. Good!

"How about a positive LSD story for once?"

"Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed into a slow vibration. That we are one conciousness, experiancing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death. Life is only a dream. And we are the imagination of ourselves....Here's Tom with the weather."
~bill hicks...

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Art is the clothing of a revelation"

Often, this is a notion tossed around and disregarded and used simply as nothing more than gateway to explanation of the misunderstood. It should not be so. Revelation is a selfish act, a certain inexplicable conscious realization of the esoteric plane, internalized and then manifested into a productivity of measurable change. Art is, can or should, this clothing of ones measurable change and to explain it is to lose the very grasp of its meaning, as it is altered through different eyes.

“Participate joyfully in the sorrows of life”

The clothing of such revelations does not come from standstill motion in life, nor the revelations themselves. They are realized only in the participation of ones surroundings, be they known or unknown. Without a thrust outward, there is no inward reaction. Only through change can one see the past clearly. Hindsight is not 20/ is the remnants of death and the rebirth of hope.

“This is an essential experience of any mystical realization. You die to your flesh and are born to your spirit. You identify yourself with the consciousness and life of which your body is but the vehicle. You die to the vehicle and become identified in your consciousness with that of which the vehicle is the carrier. And that is the God.”

To embrace life is not to embrace others, but to embrace ones self. It is not life to repeat another’s words, but to create your own as change by such words previous. There is nothing past, present or beyond, which you do not create for yourself- no matter its reflection on the conscious plane or its embodied soul in the subconscious-- that which you do not embrace, does not become real, does not permit change, does not create a revelation- does not create art. Those that seek to have you explain your art- do not embrace their own.

create your own - this is mantra