About Where I've Been: Sorry I haven't posted for months, but we've been in the midst of a move. Said goodbye to our Sherman Oaks home (of twenty years!) and moved to the suburbanopolis that is Woodland Hills, CA. We're in a very nice neighborhood, and because we're now in a townhouse, I won't have to spend weekends doing yardwork when I'd rather be writing. Looking forward to posting a lot more in the coming days. 09.15.16
About Game of Thrones: Spoilers ahead. OK, in truth, I loved last night's episode "Battle of the Bastards." But, wasn't it just a couple weeks ago I said that they were writing too many "last minute saves" of characters by other O.S. characters? Well, whoops, they did it again. And as much as I was happy to see Littlefinger's Knights of the Vale come to the rescue of Jon and his ragtag army, thus allowing Ramsay Bolton to get his justly deserved comeuppance, I mean, really? Sansa knew that Littlefinger had pledged his army if needed. And it was pretty obvious that he was the one to whom she sent a raven asking for help. But why not tell Jon Snow about this? "Oh, by the way, Jon, I did ask a friend if I could borrow thousands of cavalry troops. Maybe it's a good idea to put off the battle with Ramsay for a day or two?" OK, I know that I'm always willing to cut a bit of slack for shows that I really like, so I'm willing to forgive GOT here. Besides, the opening battle with Daenerys and her dragons was just spectacular. But how does she manage that timing? Getting not just the dragons, but the Dothraki hoard to arrive on cue just as she was making her point with the Slavers. OK, I'll stop thinking now. 06.20.16
About Game of Thrones: Spoilers ahead. For the most part, I enjoyed Game of Thrones "Blood of My Blood" episode last night, but I did feel that Cersei would NEVER let Tommen get so close to the High Sparrow as to experience a religious conversion. That strained credibility. Cersei is too smart/devious to let that happen. I'm hoping that it's a fake. We'll see how that plays out. I do like the idea that Arya is apparently leaving the Faceless Man fraternity. Those people are BORING. Also, aren't we seeing just a FEW too many last second rescues by characters previously O.S.? Here are a few off the top of my head: Bran and Meera rescued by Benjen (last night), Sansa and Theon rescued by Brienne (a few weeks ago), Daenerys rescued by Drogon (probably the best one) and Jon and his troops rescued by Stannis and Davos (last season). There are probably more that I can't remember offhand. Is this becoming too obvious a plot device? Next thing you know, Bran will "warg" back in time and stop the blade from falling on his dad! 05.30.16
About Silent Films: Watched the last part of F.W. Murnau’s German vampire film Nosferatu (1924) the other night on TCM, and then DVR’d his version of Faust (1926) which I finished watching tonight. It’s amazing how a film that was made 90 years ago, when the medium was only a decade or so old, is still so captivating. It’s also incredible that there exists a complete two-hour version of this film when so many films from that era have been lost. It sometimes requires a bit of patience to watch some of these old films as the pace is so much different from what we watch today, but the visuals that F.W. Murnau creates in Nosferatu, and especially in Faust, are so imaginative that it’s worth the investment. An interesting side note is that Emil Jannings, the German actor who played the devil’s agent Mephisto in Faust, made Nazi propaganda films for Goebbels during World War II. Life, once again, imitating art. 04.15.16
About Legend: Watched Legend (2016) last night for the second time and enjoyed it even more than the first time. It's a really interesting story about the London gangster brothers, Ron and Reggie Kray, both of whom are played by Tom Hardy. It was a good year for Tom Hardy with The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, and this film, which I think showcases his acting better than either of the other films. He's really quite remarkable. The script by writer/director Brian Helgeland is good (especially the first two thirds) but doesn't really have a rewarding third act. But, maybe the Kray brothers didn't have a great third act themselves. Anyway, if you're a fan of Tom Hardy, this film is not to be missed. 04.01.16
About Great TV: There's a lot of really enjoyable TV on these days, and that's even before Game of Thrones debuts for the season. My current TV favorites: Better Call Saul, Gotham, The People vs. OJ Simpson, The Walking Dead (though, lately it's been losing me because of incredibly stupid decisions by characters who I thought were smarter), and Vikings. I'm still mourning the loss of Downton Abbey. Flirted with, but not yet convinced: The Colony. 03.27.16
About Great Films: Really enjoyed watching Stagecoach (from 1939) tonight on TCM. One of the best ensemble movies of all time Many wonderful characters, and a story perfectly structured around the character decisions of the Ringo Kid, played by John Wayne in one of his first lead roles. What's really remarkable is that the Act III battle essentially happens off-screen, and it's perfect that way! Claire Trevor as Dallas, the hooker with a heart of gold just tears your heart out. Lots of great character actors and beautifully drawn supporting parts: John Carradine, Thomas Mitchell, Louise Platt and Andy Devine. Directed by John Ford with unbelievable stunts by famed stuntman Yakima Canutt. 03.26.16
About My New Year's Eve With Isaac: It was the millennial New Year's gig when my band opened for the great Isaac Hayes. I was standing near the
stage when one of the show organizers came up to me in a panic. “Do you
know the words to Aude Lang Syne?” I said that of course I did, and he
said that I was needed immediately. Isaac was to go on in just a few
minutes, and while he knew the music, he didn’t know the words to the
most famous song New Year’s Eve has ever created. MORE 12.31.15
About My Pal, Buffy: It’s always so hard to say goodbye to a member of your family. We took Buffy to the vet today for an ailment that we knew could be the end. It was cancer, and pretty advanced, so we had to make that tough choice. Buffy was at least fifteen years old, perhaps more because we never knew her actual birth date. Read more about her HERE. 12.29.15
About Time! Typed those words on a new screenplay today. Always feels so good, even though it's only a first draft. This script was an odd one, not really like anything I had done before. Kind of like a Frank Capra movie with a sci-fi twist. It was an idea that I fell in love with and wrote 60-odd pages. Got stymied by some plot and character beats, and closed the file. For FOUR years. Then, a month or so ago, in the midst of teaching another online class in screenwriting for UCLA Extension, I decided to take the advice I was giving my students at that time. I went back to the basics, wrote a new beat sheet for the story and fell in love with it all over again. Wish I could tell you what it's about, but I'm highly superstitious of doing that, at least until it's on the market. Just wanted you all to know that it's never too late to finish something you started. 10.24.15
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.
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...
CLICK HERE to read more about the story on the next page.