Ron Wilkerson

What Was I Thinking?

About My Bicycle Habit: Whoops I did it again!  Look at that guy on the left -- so smug and self-righteous. Now look at him on the right, humbled by a broken collarbone and four broken ribs. Yeah, on Tuesday, September 25th I crashed my bike trying to get through a gate to the LA River Bike Path that some city worker didn't feel necessary to open wide enough to actually allow a bike to pass. Yes, it's painful as hell, and yes, it serves me right. But there is an upside -- I took your mind off politics for a few brief seconds.  But, I promise,"bikie" will be back!  10.06.18

About On The WaterfrontWatched On The Waterfront last night on TCM.  If you've never seen this film, put it on your list.  It plays periodically on TCM. In my view, it's really an essential film.  I wrote a story about it (something of a review, but more of a history) in the Reviews Section. It's loaded with back-story about the Hollywood blacklist that I uncovered in my research for Dreamland.  07.21.18

About James Cameron's Sci-Fi Story: I've liked what I've seen from this show -- so far.  But I can't understand how they jumped from Forbidden Planet to Star Trek without even mentioning The Twilight Zone.  Rod Serling was one of the literary giants of the genre in that he used sci-fi to tell philosophical and morality-based stores that the networks wouldn't allow him to do in a real world setting.  Clearly, Rod Serling paved the way for Gene Roddenberry to do the same kind of challenging stories on network TV in Star Trek.  Gene's mantra that every Star Trek episode had to be "about something" (exploring moral and ethical dilemmas) clearly owed a debt to Rod Serling.  05.07.18

Update: Again, I liked the show this week on Sci-Fi Monsters.  But to discuss monsters in sci-fi without at least a nod to H.P. Lovecraft was unfortunate. 05.14.18

About The Oscars:
 I don't know what film will win the Best Picture Academy Award, but I know that the best picture I've seen this year (by far) was Darkest Hour. It was, of course, amazingly acted by Gary Oldman (with heavy makeup that, thankfully, didn't look like it was makeup), but it was also a really well-developed script, and brilliantly directed. The photography was superb and it was edited with really clever use of titles, and CGI that enhanced the storytelling. The moment when an overhead tour of a battleground morphs into a dead soldier's face is only one example. See it.    03.04.18 

About Recent Movies: It's that most wonderful time of the year -- when studios send out screeners to try to get my vote for WGA Awards.  I've got a bunch that I need to view, but one that I liked so far was Wonder Woman.  I loved the period setting and generally enjoyed the story more than I do the usual origin stories.  I especially thought that Gal Gadot was perfectly cast as Diana.  It kinda lost me in Act III, but I want to take a second look before I criticize.  12.02.17 

About The Orville: Didn't love it. Didn't hate it. It wasn't as good as Galaxy Quest (unfortunately) but it did have some of the irreverence that I liked in that film. Not sure how a show that's not really dramatic enough to be a drama or funny enough to be a comedy is going to play long term. But I probably liked it better than I will the new Star Trek Discovery (STD, seriously?).  09.11.17

Update: After watching a few episodes, I have to admit that this show has grown on me.  It has a kind of goofy reverence for Star Trek: The Next Generation that I find amusing.  But I sure wish that they didn't rely so much on the "idiot plot" to drive stories.  The idiot plot is where if one of the characters didn't do something idiotic there would be no plot.  In particular, the episode where the populace wore badges with up/down votes was a clever idea, but in order to draw our crew into the story, LaMarr had to do something completely idiotic.  In his case, humping a statue of a character sacred to that society.  They can do better. 12.02.17 

About Music: Happy 50th Birthday to Sgt. Pepper!  I can still remember exactly where I was the first time I heard it -- such an event that WKBW played it all the way through without commercials.  I was blown away then, and remain so now.  I've listened to Sgt. Pepper so many times that it is one of the few albums that I can play from beginning to end in my head -- which I have done on long drives when there was nothing good on the radio -- every song, verse and solo in exact order (and yes, that includes Within You Without You).  Many thanks to the Beatles (and George Martin) who gave Sgt. Pepper to the world.  Hope to be listening in another 50.  06.06.17

About Screenwriting: Saw a movie this past weekend that had none of the elements I stress as being important in the screenwriting classes I teach at UCLA Extension. No plot, no character development, no act structure, no character needs, no conflict. And I loved it. Guess when you have fourteen great songs (like "A Hard Day's Night") performed by the Beatles, none of that stuff matters.  02.13.17


About My Novel: My novelization of my feature screenplay, Houdini & Lovecraft: The Ghost Writer is now available!  It is published on Amazon as a paperback, Kindle eBook or for download to a PC. 

This story is an historical fiction about an encounter between famed magician Harry Houdini and horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, who was actually hired by the magician to be his ghost writer on a story Imprisoned With The Pharaohs, that was published in Weird Tales magazine in 1924.

I was fascinated by the relationship between these two men, absolute icons of their era, and the fact that they actually collaborated.  So I thought about a "what if?" scenario, and came up with the idea that there was, in fact, another collaboration between Houdini and Lovecraft, only this one became an adventure that was so horrifying and shocking that the true story couldn't be shared with the rest of the world... until now. 

CLICK HERE to read more about the story on the next page.