Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

Brain Fuzz, The Hump, and the Threshold of Pain

I had lamented earlier that I was becoming all-consumed by my recent projects, but I have a feeling that it's mutated into something much worse.

I'm in that strange place with the current script I'm working on where I've just lingered over the hump. I'm officially half-way through, and I have a clear idea where it goes from here, to the point where I could give you a scene-by-scene breakdown. But the problem I'm finding now is that despite being incredibly patient and meticulous so far, all I want is for this thing to be finished.

What is this sudden impatience? The script has been a real pleasure to write, and though there will be plenty of work to do in the rewriting stages, I don't really understand what it is that's making me anxious to see it through.

This is, naturally, opposed by another feeling that doesn't strike me until I sit down with the intention of writing. I would like to point out my use of the words "...with the intention of..." because it's around that time that every other stupid thing on the internet catches my fancy. Yesterday, for example, it was a classic.

I go on to berate myself for whatever reason, but by the time Final Draft is up and running, my brain is covered in this thick film and the ability to focus, to hone in on the characters and the scenes that should be unfolding before me, is replaced by an urgent need to fill pages - resulting in cliche and generally unwanted text. For example, the eight pages that I wrote last week are probably going to be trashed by later this afternoon.

I find that there's a slight fear in proceeding. I'm almost afraid to see where this thing ends. The middle third of any script, I believe, is the hardest, and with everything being relatively strong up to this point, I will admit that I'm afraid I'm going to fly this ring right into an oncoming train.

My hunch is that I need to remove any and all distractions so I can focus again, slowing down my pace, making each word count. This probably means not being at home when writing. This probably means writing for longer periods at a time and clearing my schedule to help me accomplish exactly that. Whatever's going on right now does nothing more than come off as completely annoying.

In a perfect world, I could spend the next 72 hours in front of a computer (with a pot of coffee always in the queue) finishing this script so that I can work on the next, but we all know the reality of that pipe dream. For now I just have to suck it up and hop aboard whatever narrow focus I happen to find.

As Promised

Anyone interested in watching the final Spider-Man 3 trailer (not the trailer that was in theaters with 300), click here. Click the TV screen in top left-corner labeled "TRAILERS," and then the new one should be the first option. Enjoy.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Career Day

Yesterday, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts held its annual Career Day, which consists of various entertainment-themed companies setting up a table along the outskirts of a square, black room while a bunch of desperate seniors and alums try to land a job.

The reality is that the lines are ridiculously long (I believe the line for CBS was somewhere out the door), most places aren't hiring or are only offering internships, most of the jobs that aren't production based aren't even in New York (so if you're not a film major, good luck), and you're one out of a billion in a no-win situation. Your odds of landing a job out of something like that are about as good as winning the lottery. It's sad if you're not expecting exactly that. But then again, there's something equally sad about expecting to be let down.

Two years removed from college, obtaining jobs in the entertainment industry (in New York anyway) is still something of a mystery to me, though my hunch is that, as in most situations, experience begets jobs. I would propose that you just have to suck it up and gain your experience without pay. Does that mean interning during the day and waiting tables/being a prostitute at night? Maybe. Though not all companies hire from within, being an intern at least sets you up to be an assistant somewhere, and depending on what you want to do, there is plenty of overlap.

Cake Man was with me yesterday, and he's only now just graduating from NYU, and though he mainly wants to write, he would rather have a day job in an entertainment field. He's been scanning the usual websites and exhausting most of his contacts for months to no avail. He refuses to work in restaurants. I want to stay hopeful for him, but I honestly don't think it's going to happen.

While my views are obviously cynical, there is an unbiased truth that graduating from an arts school and trying to land a job in your field is incredibly difficult. What makes the situation worse is that in my experience at NYU, in two different undergrad departments, that reality is one that no one makes a real effort to prepare you for. It's obviously mentioned over the course of a four year education, but I wish it was hammered home, perhaps with doomsday-like emphasis. I wish someone had told me to start interning as soon as possible and to just stick like glue to wherever I end up senior year. I wish I'd been taught things, as a writing student, like how to write a good query letter. It might have been nice to see a list, no matter how small, of people in the business that are generous and will allow people right out of school to volunteer, give their time, offer their services. It's not pay, but with most, seemingly all, doors closed, it would have been nice to know that someone's door is open if you're willing to walk through it.

In the drama department, I wish everyone interested was allowed to participate in the agent showcase, but no. There were auditions, and less than ten percent of the graduating class was selected.

There can obviously only be so much emphasis placed on career planning or job placement in an arts school, and if the philosophy happens to be that "our students are doomed, so let's train their brains out so they're as good as possible when the leave," I guess that's okay. Or was. Tisch is going to cost students (including an estimated 11K for room and board) over fifty-thousand dollars next year. That is a cool $200,000 for a BFA in the arts.

And there's really no better way to help students get a job than a handful of disinterested companies taking over a small black-box theater for three hours?

It's nothing short of a shame, and walking back to my completely non-arts related job after the event ended, I was with three of my friends, all League members, all having graduated since December, and I could see those first hints of betrayal. They gave so much time and effort for their education, loved their teachers, gave their classmates their all, and they were rewarded with unemployment and maybe the dawn of the most taxing emotional period of their lives to date.

I'd like to tell them that it gets better, but two years later, I still get bitter about it. Every once in a while. It's something people should know about and prepare for, and schools need to start focusing on job placement. Otherwise, it's getting less and less practical to break the bank on undergraduate education.

This isn't to deter anyone in a prestigious arts school, or some argument against them in general. There are ways to be wise to the circumstances and to prevent unemployability. But it needs to happen early on. And it might actually be more important than the training itself.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and though if given the option, I would still come to NYU, I would do almost everything there differently.

Write on...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

An Explanation

I guess my reaction to the subject matter of my previous post deserves some kind of explanation, and though I can't give a very good one in under 4,000 words, I'll do the best I can.

If you didn't know, and I don't suspect I've given anyone reason to, Superman is my favorite superhero. He pretty much always been, with the exception of a year or two in 1989 after Tim Burton's Batman came out. Without delving too deeply into my psyche, I would say this is because Superman has the traits that I aspire to, namely being a leader and, well, being the best.

From a literary and dramatic standpoint, I can see where Superman creates problems: he's a boyscout, there has never been any real limit or guidelines to his powers, and he only has two weaknesses (Kryptonite and magic...but the magic thing has never been all that clear). While Batman has a psyche that creates all sorts of themes (I'll argue that Batman is completely psychopathic, which, to me, is part of the appeal), Superman's themes revolve a lot around being an alien and dealing with being a savior. He became Atlas, to steal from the myth, and more or less did that to himself, but it's hard to make the most powerful being in the universe a sympathetic character. He's perfect. In other words, he is boring.

And yet...he's Superman! Has it really come to the point that we can't find a story about him that's worth telling, that's worth creating for the big screen? Everyone has some relationship with the man of steel. I absolutely refuse to believe otherwise. Hell, almost everyone my age at least watched one episode of Lois and Clark. I'm not saying you have to care, I'm not saying you even have to like him (Cake Man, for one, isn't terribly fond), but have we finally left the age of heroes?

And by this I mean to suggest that this is, and has been maybe for decades, the age of the anti-hero: the everyman with the burden of a gift, with the deficiencies of self, whose actions are all a little selfish, even when selfless. Is it that we're looking for heroes that are like us? Instead of looking up to heroes that are somewhat better?

I remember when I used to watch the X-Men Saturday morning cartoon on Fox Kids, and I'll be the first to admit, Cyclops was nowhere near as interesting as Wolverine, but the burden on Scott Summers' shoulders as leader was no less real than Logan's inner torment. But then, it's a bad example. He is one of us, after all, a human, even with a mutated eye beam gene. Or something.

But Superman is not one of us, and his backstory, his legacy even, are the very things that will always make him an outsider. We can't aspire to be Superman, because we're all human. We're not from Krypton, we don't have powers enhanced by Earth's yellow sun. We can never hope to be faster than a speeding bullet. We can't leap tall buildings in a single bound, and though we can fight our own battles, maybe even choosing to stand for truth, justice, and...well, you know, there will always be that limit, that barrier. When we fail to be super, we will always have an excuse.

Is it because we're learning that there is no one fighting our battles for us? Our leaders are untrustworthy? Has the idea of power been soured by politics and war to the point that the more powerful a hero, especially when he's absurdly powerful, the more unappealing?

There are no answers, but maybe I understand Superman in a way that he's, honestly, not usually portrayed. I understand that while he's pummeling monsters and stopping bad guys (World War III is coming, DC fans), he has his own struggles -- concerns distinctly alien, but ones that make him human. He was raised as one of us. He can't be all that different.

An appearance in a JLA movie is no consolation either. But that's an entirely different entry.

No Superman Sequel?

Oh. Dear. God. NO!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


The League, as you probably know, is a group of "superhero screenwriters" who encourage, aide, abet, teach, and critique each other in their work (and sometimes lives...). However, to say that we're exclusively screenwriters can be misleading. For the purposes of why we've banded together, having the common goal of writing for the screen is as useful for breaking into the industry as it is for bonding us together. However, we also know that some ideas simply cannot be forced into a medium into which they do not fit.

Imagine one of your favorite movies. I'll use "Glory" for mine. It's a great Civil War movie, with great character and great, but also important, battle sequences. If the author of that story was a playwright and a playwright only, "Glory" would have been about the debate to have an all black regiment. It would have been about politicians discussing the battle. And, if audiences were lucky, it might have culminated in the "giant battle" onstage, or, in other words, about twenty actors with rubber guns running around and jumping into the air when a "cannon ball exploded at their feet." It wouldn't have been the same story.

And it works the other way around. Some plays are great, but would make insufferable films, because there are certain elements that define the mediums. Very few artists can successfully ignore those and make a movie that's really a play but still captivates the movie-going audience. And vice versa.

All that said, as writers, we must recognize when we have an idea that transcends our normal medium. In fact, it can be helpful to try one's hand at writing all sorts of things. I know that for me, personally, I have ideas that seem destined to be only screenplays, or plays, or graphic novels, or comic book series, or novels. And though I'm in a league of "screenwriters," if you imagine the eight ideas I have in my head right now as lights in the dark, the one that is burning the brightest is meant to be a play. I acknowledge that. For my own sake, I had better start writing it now, or soon the light will syphon energy from all the others, until it is the only light still burning in my head.

Helpful Site

I was on earlier, and through an article on the Shazam movie, I stumbled upon screenwriter John August's ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Big Fish," "Go") blog, which he updates frequently. He started the site as an archive for all of the screenwriter helpful hint articles he wrote for, and has since answered many people's questions about writing. I encourage people to check out the site, and read through the archives to find any answers to questions they might have. I especially liked his article about the pleasurable anonymity of being a writer, which can be found at

So check out the site and, if you have on that no one else has asked, ask him a question. He seems to be pretty dedicated to helping aspiring writers out. (I thought it was especially important that, in his ask a question section, he specifically states that he will not respond to people individually, because the site is there as a general help for all, not a means through which one or two people seek to be given a leg up.) Hope you find something interesting there, I did.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

And So It Begins (Part 1)

Part one of our four-part opening revolves around LoKor's arrival on Earth and, more importantly, his discovery by Cake Man. If nothing else, it seems fitting. Blogger, for all it's perks, is a bit faulty when it comes to posting pictures. Unfortunately, to see the strip in its full visual glory, you will have to click on it. Needless to say, I hope that you do so.

(Click image to enlarge.)

(All that being said, please, if you haven't done so, take the time to read Cake Man's earlier post. While I've made an attempt to stay away from the sentimentality involved with the formation of this group, he nails it, and touchingly so. Save it, bookmark it, and come back to it when being an artist is a little harder than you expected.)

Write on...


I just re-watched M. Knight Shamylan's "Unbreakable." I had forgotten how much I liked that film. Don't get me wrong; I remembered liking it, but not to the degree that I do. It's a little slow-paced at times, yes. I'll give that to its critics. But it is a well told, intriguing story, both for comic book and non-comic book fans alike. And, let's face it, more importantly, it got made. That's a testament to it in itself.

The film really makes one (er, it made me) think about the superhero genre, and how, more and more, super heroes are just a way to make everyday extremes and "impossible" situations more believable. We're bred to believe in this world where when one grows up, he or she puts on a suit and goes to work, either by car or on the train, and then comes home at the end of the day, sick of his/her job, and ready for dinner. But is that what we're really here to do? Is that what we want to do?

Those of us who subscribe to The League's boards, who read the columns posted here irregularly want more. We want to be able to avoid those lone car rides and train treks, the gridlocks and commutes. We want to avoid the ties and the offices. We want to avoid the cubicles. We see the world through different lenses, and we try to convey that to others, either through acting, writing, painting, film, or any other number of things. We try to be different, to stand out, and, perhaps, to help fix the world bit by bit, day by day, in our own ways. In short, we try to be the super heroes of our day. We don't have the strength and flight capabilities of Superman or the intelligence and will power of Batman perhaps, but we have something they do have. We have a desire to stand out. To be different. To help. For what is art, if not an aide for the public? I cannot seriously believe that an artist creates solely for his/her benefit. There is a world beyond the artist, and he is aware of that. Whether he participates in it regularly or not is not up for debate. But a painter wants people to see his work. A writer wants someone to see his plays and read his books. And an actor wants someone to see him, wants someone to be moved by him. And all artists want to make a difference through their work.

The artist is today's superhero, and as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, "With great power comes great responsibility." If you have the power, use it. This world is often an ugly place; help us paint it pretty colors.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sneak Peak

On a quiet night... begins.


Viacom, YouTube, and One Big Mess

As you may or may not have heard, Viacom (parent company of Paramount, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central amongst others), is suing Google for over one billion dollars due to copyright infringements incurred on the Google-owned site, YouTube. The details are worth perusing, and with a flair of journalistic integrity, you can read about it here.

While I think Viacom has a case, given how much it costs to produce anything - and if they're not seeing any of the profits that Google's reaping from their material they should be upset - this isn't a problem that's going to go away with a silly lawsuit. Technology is so advanced (and thus so accessible) that just about anybody with any decent computing hardware can either create or obtain a digital copy of something. The NY Times article (aforementioned) mentions that NBC, after striking a deal with Google, is still frustrated over YouTube and is considering creating a rival website for its own content, but is that actually going to solve anything?

The great thing about YouTube is the sheer scope of its content. You can literally find anything - from Bro Rape to Thundercats clips to UCLA police using excessive violence to remove someone from a LIBRARY - and it should be noted that people are actually taking the time to upload these files and make them accessible to others. People actually want to share! Let me try that again:

People actually want to share!...

...and probably because they can. To use a cliche, because I can, the world is getting smaller (end cliche), becoming more digital, and computers are turning into TV's. So Viacom succeeds. Big freaking deal. So what? Twenty minutes after the Daily Show airs that very night, someone's gonna post something they found hilarious, at least 100 people are gonna find it, and then it will be taken down. Wash, spin, rinse, repeat. It's not like people are making the decision to NOT watch these shows because they know they can watch little five minute clips of them online. We're also becoming busy, and the collegiate and post-collegiate demographic that is making up the majority of YouTube users and viewers are looking for a quick fix. We're already getting by without your shows, Viacom. We can continue to if you like.

It's another case of corporations not willing to adapt to technology and, thus, society. It's stubbornness, it's bullheaded, and it's futile. YouTube, if nothing else, is the best commercial money can (or cannot, or should) buy. By suing Google instead of working with them, by removing their content from YouTube, Viacom and friends are shooting themselves in the foot. People, young people especially, don't like being told what to do. Especially if they don't have to do it.

And that, ultimately, will cost you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Tropic Thunder," Production Weekly

Production Weekly is reporting that Jack Black has signed on to star in, Tropic Thunder, to be directed by Ben Stiller. While the idea of these two men teaming up seems intriguing (Stiller will also be acting), it's happened before, lest we forget.

To everyone's credit, the concept of Tropic Thunder seems pretty solid, if not chuckle-worthy: while filming an action movie, things go horribly wrong and the actors are forced to become the commandos they are playing (although can they possibly defend themselves when firing blanks?). Throwing Robert Downy Junior into the mix playing a 4-time Oscar winner can't hurt either.

And while I'd still like to get excited, given the actors alone, if we take Ben Stiller as an example, it's obvious that some material works really well for his comedic abilities, whereas other material...well, doesn't.

The problem for me at this point is that I'm having trouble getting a feel for this movie. Stiller has directed, for example, Zoolander and The Cable Guy. Two funny movies. Two totally different styles. In looking at the credited writers, Etan Cohen wrote and directed a movie called My Wife is Retarded (I had to make that bold because it's not like I could italicize it more for emphasis), and according to IMDB, the second writer, actor Justin Theroux, has Tropic Thunder listed as his only writing credit.

Not that any of this really matters at this point, given that the film isn't set to be released until July of 2008, but suffice it to say, we'll be tracking it here at League HQ.

FYI, Production Weekly is a great site loaded with breaking news in the industry (of the good variety. This, not so much.) You can also subscribe to a weekly production breakdown service, but at a price . Regardless, it's worth bookmarking.

Write on...

Another Take on "300"

While it may come off as redundant to post a second review for 300, the movie did make $70 million dollars this weekend. This is courtesy of Norphen, and if you would rather, you may also read this review on his blog.



Let's Send Spartans to Iraq - Problem Solved!

Comparisons to Sin City are inevitable. 300 is another Frank Miller comic adapted into a feature film sporting real actors in totally digital environments. It's the second film from director Zack Snyder, who had one hell of a debut three years ago with the stellar remake of Dawn of the Dead. The man certainly ups the ante on his own skills, and the movie itself provides a fair amount of satisfaction.

The film is a stylized take on the legendary Battle of Thermopylae (Greek for "hot gates"). A rampaging Persian army is overtaking all of Eastern Europe under the command of Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), a gigantic man who believes himself to be a god, and the city of Sparta is in the empire's line of fire. Unable to secure the approval of the city's council, the fierce King Leonidas (Forceful work from Gerard Butler) defies tradition and gathers 300 of the finest Spartan warriors to take on Xerxes's army of over 250,000. To try and turn the overwhelming odds in their favor, Leonidas lures the army into a narrow pass at Thermopylae and aims to use the close quarters to his advantage in the coming war.

And what beautiful war it is. After having spent the first half-hour making sure everyone in the audience knows just how hardcore Spartan soldiers are (especially by kicking a Persian messenger into a seemingly bottomless pit while shouting "This is...SPARTA!" The line has become ubiquitous in the movie's trailers, but in reality the scene is fairly drawn out, making for an unintentionally humorous build-up to that line), they go to work on the Persians with exquisitely choreographed battles, with blood splatterings worthy of Jackson Pollock. The Spartans are trained from childhood to be warriors, while the Persians are mostly unwilling slaves. This gives the Spartans an early advantage, but can they really hold out against this huge army? Especially in nothing but capes and loincloths? (In Miller's comic, they all fought naked, which would have secured an NC-17 for the film adaptation faster than any of the numerous decapitations and impalements shown).

A problem with 300 is that though everything is very exciting and fun to watch, there's almost no emotional attachment to what's going on. This was the same with Sin City, though nothing in that over the top noir was meant to be taken seriously. This film, while more concerned with how cool everything looks than historical detail, is still based on real life heroism on an epic scale. Such phenomenal bravery really ought to provoke more emotion than 300 ultimately does.

The movie got a hostile reception when it screened in Europe; many film scribes thought that an army refusing to give up against a hostile Arab army was a metaphor endorsing the current War in Iraq. I find this fairly ludicrous...anything that talks about the virtues of freedom and democracy is suddenly pro-Bush? It would be just as easy to frame the film as representing Iraqi insurgents fighting against a much bigger nation led by a man with delusions of grandeur. The war depicted in 300 is a simple sort that we don't see in today's times. No faulty intelligence, no corporate profits. Just an army trying to take over your home.

Even though it's all fairly superficial, 300 is still a good time at the movies and should be especially popular with men. (Women will have to settle for the sub-plot featuring Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) dealing with corruption among Sparta's elite) The visual effects are great, but I can't help but feel like they are a mixed blessing. They are ideal in a situation like this where a filmmaker is trying to capture the distinct visual style of a source material, but if we ever get to the point where the majority of filmmakers rely on all digital backgrounds, it will get old quick. Anyone who has seen some of the great sights Earth has to offer knows that no digital trickery can top Mother Nature. That, however, is an issue for another day. B+

Monday, March 12, 2007


Just as LoKor brought you Venom, I bring you Rorshach. This is a leaked image of the violent yet quiet character from director Zack Snyder's upcoming adaptation of "Watchmen." The image was pulled from, which I accessed through

By the way, for anyone interested in comic book and graphic novel adaptations to film, I highly recommend

"300" - Battle Hardened

Sorry this review is coming in a little bit late. I had to battle my way through Xerxes' army on the way over here, with just one other person at my side.

As LoKor pointed out, "300" was the top film at the box office this weekend. Not a big surprise. Nor, really, is the general reaction to it. "300' is a long, bloody, albeit sometimes very pretty picture to watch. The basic premise is 300 Spartans stand up to the entire Persian army, because they have been ordered by Greek wise men not to engage in a full war.

I think that the best way to review this film is by using the old saying, "you get what you've asked for." Knowing full well that this movie is about 300 men trying to stay alive against insurmountable odds for as long as possible, no viewer should go in expecting anything less than at least 3/4 of the films 117 minute running time to be spent on the battle field. However, that aside, there's no reason why 1/2 of that time had to be spent in slow motion. Sometimes, yes, for effect, seeing a beheading or an impaling in slow-mo can be cool. Yet not every beheading or impaling should be in slow-mo. Slow motion was used so much throughout this film, that I was actually wondering what some of the violence would have looked like in real time. I worked on a film last summer where the director wanted nearly every shot to be a dolly shot. Well, yes, dolly work looks good on the monitor. It will look good every time. However, that does not mean that when all is said and done, he could neglect the fact that he had dollyed the previous scene, and could therefore do it again. The same goes for the use of slow-mo in "300;" it looks cool here and there, but I feel like the filmmakers forgot they had used it 12 times already, so they used it another 48 times. Enough was enough.

In the end, this film, like the Spartans, is strong enough to stand alone... but know what you're in for. It is a very macho, blood and boob filled flick, where when the men aren't engaging in a "mine is bigger than yours" on the battlefield, they're doing so by seeing who can shout the loudest, most manly things. Is it a pretty picture? Absolutely. Is it a pretty good action movie? Yes. Does it sometimes get repetitive? Yep. Did I always understand why the Spartans gave up their shelter and tactical advantages to just jump into the oncoming army and fight? No, there were only 300 of them. That was dumb. Bottom line: see it if you want a good bit of escape for 2 hours, but certainly do not let any hype you might hear influence your expectations. You will most likely be let down.


P.S. Don't you just love it when critics try too hard to come up with a clever title, and it doesn't wind up giving even the slightest hint of what they thought of the film?

Box Office: "300," FTW

Not that it took a whole lot of skill to predict, but let's just say I called it.

Not one to disappoint, by grossing $70 million this weekend, 300 made a cool $42 million more than it's closest competitor, the rambunctious Wild Hogs. As I also speculated, Zodiac missed it's one chance to shine in its opening weekend. It came in this week at number 5, raking in only $6.7 million, trailing other such cinematic juggernauts as Bridge to Terabithia, and, you guessed it, Ghost Rider.

According to Yahoo News, 300 should break the box office record for best March opening, besting last year's Ice Age 2 ($68 million), and doing so on roughly 850 fewer theaters. Fan boys unite!

Moreover, Yahoo News is also quick to point out that 300 stands to have the third best opening weekend ever for an R-rated film, trailing only The Matrix: Reloaded, and The Passion of the Christ. You can check out the entire Yahoo News article here.

Looking ahead, it should be interesting to see what next week's drop-off will be. While the numbers are strong, almost everything I've heard about 300 has been mediocre at best, summed up by a prediction made last week by Norphen:

Me: at least we know it'll be manly and intense...for whatever that's worth.

Norphen: Yeah, though in some ways I could see that being a flaw. If every line is as obscenely overdramatic as the "THIS IS....SPARTA?!?!?!111one!" I could get bored with it

Cake Man should have a review of 300 posted soon. Be sure to check back here for updates.

Write on...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Batman: Black and White

I recently read that "Batman: Black and White Volume 3" is set to hit shelves in May. For those of you not familiar with the "Black and White" series, each volume is a collection of roughly 20 short Batman tales and stand-alone Batman drawings. The collections, which are printed in only black and white, hence the title, give artists and writers the chance to explore some aspect of the Batman mythology or legend without worrying about disrupting continuity or working within guidelines about what can and cannot happen in a Batman story. The stories are the ten-minute plays of Batman comics. The gloves are off, and there is 100% artistic liberty at hand.

Such collections are ideal, not just for the writers, but for the readers, as well. We seem to be at a stage in comics, not just Batman, not just DC Comics, but every comic book company and character, where large, multi-issue story lines are in vogue. However these stories rarely do anything to further the characters. Most of the time, actually, they seem to set the characters backwards, rehashing past events, bringing the dead back to life in unrealistic and undesirable ways, and undoing the great works of ten or twenty years ago. Quite frankly, the story arcs -if they can be called that, since I often feel that writers get the first part of an epic greenlit, then don't know where to go from there- are wearing thin. And old. Very old. Hackneyed. And the worst part? As long as comic book movies continue to draw people into the theaters, no matter how bad the films or comics they're based off of are, the companies that produce this material will continue to flood the market with sub-par, mediocre-at-best story lines.

So until the industry takes a breather and lets the writers cool off until they have another knockout storyline for the loyal readers, May, and with it, "Batman: Black and White Volume 3" cannot come soon enough.

Black Sheep!

Best. Movie. Ever.

Imdb. Official site.

Friday, March 09, 2007

In It

I'm working on a couple of different projects right now, one for a class and another is a collaboration with a friend of mine who graduated from NYU Film in '05. In both scenarios, I'm far enough into the writing of the actual script, and far enough away from the laborious prewriting stages that I'm willing to officially state that I'm past the point of no return.

There is no turning back. Both must see themselves to fruition.

It's exciting, but it's scary. And distracting. And annoying. And great.

As it's such a visual medium, I find that I'm always working through the words in my head until the picture becomes clear. From a literary standpoint, I can start a scene knowing what I want to write, but the actual execution, the physical manifestation of the text, can be altered by the simple clarity of the moving image. It's that quest, to be able to see what I'm working on, that tends to consume me.

It's like a drug because the moment the picture is right there, there is an overwhelming urge to drop everything and get my ass in front of a computer (even better if it has Final Draft). Even then, after writing the scene to the point where it meets my own ridiculous standards, after I'm laughing at the jokes on the page and feeling for the characters, knowing that it's the perfect segue to the next big sequence, the story lingers in my head, leaving me waiting for the next big image to strike.

It's lovely and addictive, and I'm at a point where I fancy the idea of being able to sit down for 7 to 8 hours a day to write. However, that's not an option, and so the snail continues to crawl, and the advice of writing teachers urging that it's okay to write just one page a day sounds on par with verbal torture.

If there's a conclusion to be drawn, I can't yet grasp it. I'm sure all of this is okay and typical. And while the time spent to write this might have been better spent working on at least a couple pages of either script, I have no problem using this infinite white space, brought about by the code of someone who looks at html and seizes, to vent, to clarify, and to share.

Write on...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


This courtesy of Norphen:

(click to expand image)

This is from the exclusive clip of Spider-Man 3 that aired during this week's Heroes and later on It's a still shot taken from what was probably half a second of footage shoved into a small montage directly following an extended clip of Peter Parker attempting to evade Harry Osbourne as the New Goblin.

Obviously neither I nor Norphen have any legal right to reproduce this image, but what did Sony expect? With this much technology, I was stunned to see that this image didn't appear 6,000 times when I did a Google Image search for "Venom."

Fans at this year's NY Comic-Con were privy to the first Venom-centric Spider-Man 3 trailer over the weekend, and I'm a little surprised that it hasn't been released to the public yet. Oh well. I'll be here waiting. Let's hope pictures like these satiate our appetites.

Write on...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Gee, Thanks Sony

This kinda speaks for itself.

Box Office, WTF?

I had to spit out my coffee today when I saw the box office numbers from this past weekend. It turns out Wild Hogs, yes, that biker movie staring John Travolta, Tim Allen, and Martin Lawrence (we'll spare having to directly associate William H. Macy with this picture), absolutely CRUSHED Zodiac by about 24.9 million.

I'll give you a minute to read that one more time.

I guess when I think about it, it shouldn't be all that surprising. I'll give Touchstone credit where it's due: the ads for the film made no attempt to mask the irony of having John Travolta and Tim Allen star in a movie about a bunch of old guys who are way past their prime and have to do something desperate to...rediscover themselves(?)

It did come off as silly and quirky, and downright odd, but I suppose that's better than whatever the hell Paramount did with promoting Zodiac. How do you promote a serious movie released on the first weekend of March without SERIOUSLY PROMOTING IT!? Why wasn't Jake Gyllenhaal everywhere the past two weeks? Why weren't there, like, seven ads during the Super Bowl? How do you not make a fuss about the upcoming film directed by the same guy who was responsible for Se7en (yes, that is technically how it's spelled) and Fight Club.

Sad thing is, this was probably Zodiac's best shot. If you're into watching box office numbers and such, it'll be interesting to see how much 300 grosses this weekend. The fan boys alone should push this thing to some record-setting numbers (for March, anyway).

I'm looking forward to the upcoming Wild Hogs sequel, which will pit everyone's favorite gang of over-the-hill bikers against, you guessed it, Ghost Rider!

I would just like to take this opportunity to offer my services to whichever company agrees to spearhead production:

I think it really captures the essence of the film.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the Facebook community (all 60 of you as of this morning). I should make it clear that though there will be some original content for the Facebook group, it really only served as an advertisement. Ultimately, we'd like most eyes to land here.

Content, of course, is the key. And believe me, we're working on it.

Oh, and score one more for geeks everywhere.

Write on...

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday Opts.

Came across these and thought someone might be interested.




Past entrant Craig Clyde sold his script to LifeTime Network and is
currently filming in
Washington. He credits Scriptapalooza for the connection.

Why should you submit your script to Scriptapalooza?

Grand Prize: $10,000
All the reading is done by 60 production companies
Entertainment Weekly Magazine calls us 'One of the Best'
We promote the top 13 winners for a full year
5 scripts in the 2006 Competition have been OPTIONED
Finalists, Semifinalists and quarterfinalists get requested consistently

About Scriptapalooza:

The Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition, was founded in 1998, and has
generated heat, publicity and a reputation that demands respect.
Scriptapalooza, Inc., along with its various divisions was created to
nurture talent and create opportunities. Storytellers come from all over
the world and from all walks of life, because of the simple fact that
everyone has a story. Scriptapalooza’s goal: to seek out that storyteller
and honor their script with a grand prize of $10,000. Each year dozens of
production companies and literary representatives sign on as participants
to read our winners, resulting in many scripts being optioned, sold or
outright bought.
323.654.5809 office


American Theatre Magazine Invites Applications for
Affiliated Writers Program

Deadline: April 30, 2007

Supported by the Jerome Foundation ( ), American Theatre magazine's Affiliated Writers Program for early-career arts writers is designed to foster the development of a corps of cultural journalists, feature writers, and theater critics who are knowledgeable about the field nationally; contribute to an increased public demand for serious criticism and in turn persuade editors nationwide of its importance; and work to enhance the viability of American Theatre magazine as a forum for the publication of high-quality critical writing that is national in scope.

The program is open only to writers based in Minnesota and
New York City.

The program will select two to four writers a year (with writers eligible to repeat the program). Each writer will receive an annual stipend of $3,000 in exchange for three to four articles as assigned. Travel expenses for agreed-upon projects are also covered.

Complete program information is available at the Theatre Communications Group Web site.

RFP Link:

For additional RFPs in Journalism/Media, visit:

May I Suggest...

Though I'm not one to usually recommend books that claim to give you an insider's view of the industry (due to a healthy combination of egocentricity and skepticism), if you're looking for a title that won't crack your spine with the weight of everything you need to do to be successful, may I suggest K. Callan's The Script is Finished, Now What Do I Do? (4th Edition).

As you've probably guessed by the title, the book makes no attempt to hide its subject matter, and thankfully, unlike some writers, Callan manages to check her ego at the door. While she doesn't try to hide the near impossibility of cracking the industry shell, she manages to present a realistic strategy, based largely on quotes from industry insiders, and breaks down a (seemingly) endless list of possibilities that, by the time you get to the full agent and manger lists in the back, you feel like you have some options. Ultimately, she comes off as supportive, albeit with an if-you-absolutely-must-do-this-it-wouldn't-hurt-to-consider-these-things-first-here-hold-my-hand attitude.

Believe me, this is a positive review. The book is definitely worth the twenty dollars it will set you back. As for subsequent editions, it may just behoove you to sit in the bookstore and update your outdated copy with a pencil and a lookout.

One of our members is in job searching hell, which is only exacerbated by the fact that he's a few hundred miles away. While I enjoy the stability of my situation (to remain confidential, but let's just say it's office, bliss), even my eyes have been roaming.

Of course, one of the places to which I recently applied just released their 2006 numbers, ending up in the red by about 185 million. Oops.

Perhaps a little research would be in order.

Write on...

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Warm, Toasty Welcome

So, January might have been a bit of a stretch. It seems that some of our members had to do some pesky graduating, some going back home before returning to Gotham, but the reunion is exciting. I'm counting the days.

Though everything seems vague at best, allow me to clear some things up. As the subheading under the web page's title so aptly suggests, we are a screenwriting collective. Our goals are twofold, which I will expand upon now.

1. The development, honing, and maintaining of our craft, particularly through:
-Workshopping new projects and rewrites.
-The rounding out and developing of ideas. A springboard, if you will.
-Staged readings, open to the public, to test audience reaction and the "sellability" of scripts.
(This may or may not lead to the formation of a League acting company; we'll see)

2. Career Development
-Researching and submitting scripts to agencies ("Mailing Nights").
-Seeking out production companies that accept unsolicited screenplays.
-Finding, researching, and submitting to film festivals and screenplay competitions
(- Potentially starting an off-shoot production company that would, well, make movies.)

And while those are the goals for The League itself, this blog, and eventually the website that it turns into, will hopefully become a community, a place where people can track the insights and adventures of the The League's young members, but also engage in the sharing of information and experiences through comments to the blog posts (which will always be a staple). Here's what you can come to expect:

-A running blog, authored by all of The League's Members, offering varying perspectives and styles as we tackle this industry head-on.

-As the theme is that of SUPER HEROES, we'll be hosting a web strip ala Penny Arcade.
(naturally those personas, are tbd and forthcoming.)

-Did I forget to mention downright badassery?


Welcome to The League.