Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"The Indigent And The Haunted...

...cling to me."

That was a Jay Leno line he told to Letterman way back before Jay took over the Tonight Show (and was still funny). He was referring to being on the road doing standup and the types of characters and personalities that would corner him after a show.

I used to work at the local and on for about eight years from age 16 to age 24. I started out as a lowly Junior Page...primarily responsible for putting returned books, records, cassettes, etc. back out on the shelves - though I learned a lot about life whilst 'back in the 'stacks''. See, there were eight of us pages, seven teenage girls and me. The Magnicent Seven were highlighted by Glorious Gloria who was sweet and simple and liked long walk and talks...and Wicked Wanda, who was very well developed for her age and would say so - a young male library workers wet dream.

But I digress...

I was then promoted to Senior Page, and was able to check out items for patrons (and take overdue fines). Next I moved upstairs to the audio-visual dept., and as a Clerk 1 did the above as well as overseeing the records and audio cassettes, plus cleaning and lending the vast collection of 16mm films (before they slowly began to give way to video cassettes). I ended up downstairs in the basement selling tickets and projecting movies for what was essentially the city's only rep film theatre.

Prior to working there I practically lived at my local building of books. Regular readers of Uninflected might recollect I grew up essentially without a television, and so I read like a fiend. They knew me by name as I would trudge, bike, bus each week over to the nearest library and take out at least 8-10 books. I was the kid the librarians would ask the opinion of a book to know whether to recommend it to another patron...cuz I'd read them all.

Good times, my library days. Good times...

And while I was there, either visiting or employed, there were always 'the regulars'. Usually loners, eccentrics, oddballs, kooks...most were homeless or suffering from schizophrenia or mental illness...they were people that lived at the library more than I did. And they would park themselves in their usual chairs or corners around the library and wile away their days in the one place in town they were more or less left alone.

There was Doris, wigged and sporting too much lipstick and mascara... parading around in a fur coat all year long. And Zane, who paced and muttered loudly before spontaneously cussing and swinging wildly at an invisible assailant. And of course, Donny, who carried a large bag of rubber balls and would stack them around his chair and talk to each of them, sometimes even kissing one.

I remember being a bit freaked out by some of these people and their behavior when I first encountered them...but they were harmless and soon became familiar faces. I'd nod and say hello. And most times they'd acknowledge me. Some would take the nod as an invitation for conversation...oh my, some of the discussions I had.

"The indigent and the haunted cling to me..."

I still 'heart' my local library. These days, however, it's less for the books and more for the privilege of borrowing series TV dvd's. A couple weeks ago it was 'X Files - Season 8'. This past week it was 'L&O: Criminal Intent - Season 1' and 'The Complete Freaks and Geeks' (the latter to rewatch...swoon). And when I go I drag my kids along and insist they explore a bit and take out a couple of books. I try to impress upon them how much the library meant to me growing up, but it's tough. They usually grumble and ask 'When are we leaving?' too often.

See, times have changed. Nobody goes to their library like they used to...not with all yer computers and internets and video games and TV shows and movies. Seriously, I've gone and found the library near empty of late. Found it quiet...too quiet...and that's pretty sad if you ask me.

But a lot of the regulars are still there. I recently went through the interesting experience of my son getting freaked out seeing a now gray-haired Donny kissing his rubber balls (yes, still!). I had to convince my son that Donny was 'okay' and to not be afraid and that I actually kinda liked seeing Donny still kicking around joint. My son gave me a strange look. Then Donny glanced over and nodded at me. I smiled and waved back. But instead of responding, Donny looked around a little anxiously and then began putting his balls back in his big netted bag.

And right then and there I wondered if Donny and all the other 'regulars' had been looking at me all these years and thinking:

"The indigent and the haunted cling to me..."

SONG&ARTIST? - "You were caught on the cross fire
of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!"

Pollack Does Walken (And The New Yorker Does Time), not prison, nor Time Magazine...but 'time' (as in tick tock) in the movies in a fascinating and very well-written essay about non-linear narrative techniques being used more and more in recent mainstream films (Babel; 21 Grams; Syrianna; Momento) and what it all means...."wooooo" really, it's a good read.

And swinging to the other end of the pendulum, an excerpt from the foul-mouthed yet hilariously insightful documentary about one baaaaad ass joke, 'The Aristocrats'...(though this clip is pretty clean, relatively speaking)...Kevin Pollack imitates Christopher Walken...

"Ask the name first, then get 'em out the door..."

From the intellectual to the infantile, something for everyone.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Black (Donnellys) And Blue (Bruises)

Parental unit update: latest series of tests seemed to rule out that's a good thing. Next set of tests will try and determine what did in fact cause blackout and seizures. Downside is any seizure at all means no driving a vehicle for at least 6 months...that will need some planning and figuring out. At any rate, other than bruises continuing to mysteriously appear and a few short spells of disorientation, health is definitely improving. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and best wishes...very thoughtful.

But nevertheless, a stressful weekend. I needed a distraction...

And found it in 'The Black Donnellys' premiere tonight...New York's Hell's Kitchen...four tight Irish American brothers...gritty dramatic television a la Showtime's 'Brotherhood'....DMc either had an hour long woody or was cursing at his tv set: "...that's my life you're trashing, Haggis!"

But seriously...fav tv critic Aaron Barnhart digs it so it must be good, and it is...but in a 'not really mainstream primetime major network series' kinda way. Which means, I dunno...I don't really see it lasting, so let's enjoy it while we can. But note to NBC, I know you were looking for the big lead in from 'Heroes', but these two shows don't jive together at all. Pair Donnellys up with one of the Law & Order's (SVU?) because I see a lot of the Heroes crowd turning off.

So other than wondering if the 'narrator' was a series convention or just a pilot device to introduce us to the world and characters (as in, I'm not sure if I'd like it to continue), it was a good solid hour of tv. Kudo's to Paul Haggis and company. And speaking of Haggis, Barnhart concludes his review by pointing out:

Paul Haggis, by the way, is Canadian, which may explain why he wrote the only live-action prime time program ever to air in the United States about a Mountie ("Due South").Well, turns out there's a Canadian connection here, too, however tangential: The show's title, "The Black Donnellys," is a reference to some sort of notorious event that every Canadian apparently knows by heart. Unfortunately, the information at makes the case sound horribly complicated — like the two-line rule in hockey — so I'll leave it at that.

Does every Canadian know this story by heart? I mean, I'd heard about it (though not sure where or when), but it wasn't like some bedtime story we all got told. And isn't the two-line rule in hockey caput now? Barnhart!! "shakes fist" Ah well...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

When Life Is Like A House Episode...(With A Little ER Thrown In For Fun)

An exhausting, tension-filled, emotionally challenging, not while watching the Oscars, but while at the side of one of the parental units after they suffered a seizure induced collapse.

Gashes, convulsions, bruises, neck injuries...EMT's...ambulance rides (first time ever anyone in our family calling "911") ...emergency rooms...neck braces and back boards...lots of blood...orderlies using restraint (it's very shocking to witness a parent flailing and striking out and saying 'who are you?' and 'where am I?')...x-rays upon x-rays...hospitalization cards...IV lines and sedatives...CT scans...sutures and stitches...beeping monitors...pacing corridors (wondering things like: "I sure hope they mop down that ER room after each patient because there's blood smears everywhere.") ...eventual righting of senses and bearings...some recognition and admittance...relaxing a bit...waiting for a room...more CT scans (wondering "...what does anomolous areas in CT scans mean and if this was a 'House' episode, when would he call for an MRI?")...more tests...getting a and cards...books and magazines...tiny tv's...fitful sleep...waiting for specialists...ultimately, more questions than answers...

Unfortunately, all of the above took place on my parents 50th wedding anniversary weekend. I'm sure they would've prefered a cake. For now, it seems, everything seems to have stablized for the parental unit in question....however a week of testing now awaits. But a tip of the hat to emergency room doctors and nurses everywhere...that's one gig I know I couldn't handle, and I'm grateful there's good people out there who can.

p.s. Way to go Marty!

SONG&ARTIST? - "I've been first and last
Look at how the time goes past
But I'm all alone at last
Rolling home to you."

Friday, February 23, 2007

"It's Only A Model..."

Friday Fun in the form of a rhyming game (as in, what rhymes with Camelot?) from Monty Python, the masters of funny things like silly walks and singalongs.

Because it makes me smile...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Whedon Power!

Well, if I've learned anything this past 24 hours, it's that Joss Whedon and the residual effect of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' is more powerful/expansive/far-reaching than Hart Hanson and 'Bones'.

How do I know this?

Well, this modest little outfit called Uninflected Images averages around a 100 visits a day. When I posted the Hanson interviews last month, they were linked to about a dozen sites and visits jumped to around 200 a day for that week...peaking at 262 on one day.

Yesterday, my little ramble about writing tv mysteries with several references to Whedon was linked up to Whedonesque, and visits here have averaged well over 100 an hour since then. An hour. This day isn't half done and there's already over a thousand visits.

Makes the head swim. Or speculate about the possibilities.

Like how can we use the internets to help fix Canadian tv?

Or even help me get another gig.



Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Same As It Ever Was?

For the sake of Canadian TV, let's hope not.

After several weeks of uncertainty and unrest, yesterday Shaw Communications agreed to resume its payments to the CTF (Canadian Television Fund), and today Playback reports that after a hiccup last Friday, the ACTRA strike has been resolved...again.

So, there you go.

Of course, there's a lot of talk of inquiries and studies to take place and committees to be formed to make recommendations to revamp the industry. And the talks will be led by government officials and the CRTC and broadcaster and cable representatives, and I'm sure the unions will be in there somewhere - but where will we...the creatives and Or better yet, if we are there at the table, what do we want?

I'll say it again...what do we want?

First, go check out what the Mad Pulp Bastard at DISContent thinks about the Canuck TV situation, and then read his suggestions to make it better. A lot of his ideas are very reasonable.

And then go by The Legion of Decency and let Jim Henshaw know what you think might help. I don't know much, but if I know anything, it's that Jim will do his damnedest to get heard.

Let's not sit on our hands. It's not over, it's just beginning.

Twisting And Turning...

Now that I'm so old (and wise?), I'm going to talk a little bit about writing TV mysteries because it's at the front of my brain right now. But I'll try to be brief as I'm not much for tips and I'm sure Epstein or Espenson or August or whoever has already covered this topic much better than I ever could.

First, decide whether your mystery is "open" (meaning the viewer knows whodunit from the start), or whether it is "closed" (meaning we the viewer find out what or who the killer is the same time that the hero does).

Paraphrasing Lee Goldberg from the Mystery Readers Journal:

An open mystery works when both the murderer, and the viewer, think the perfect crime has been committed. The pleasure is watching the hero unravel the crime, and find the flaws you didn't see. A closed mystery works when the murder seems impossible to solve, and the clues that are found don't seem to point to any one person, but the hero sees the connection you don't and unmasks the killer with it.

According to Goldberg, 'Columbo' mysteries were always open. In more recent television shows, we see open mysteries on 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent', even 'Heroes' and 'Dexter' are open to some degree, and a lot of the 'X Files' were open mysteries (as in we usually knew 'who' or 'what' was up to no good, we just didn't know 'how' they were doing it)....but just about everything else on tv these days are closed mysteries or a mix of the two (as in they start closed, and then open up). The CSI's, the Law and Order's, Medium, Criminal Minds, Cold Case, Without A Trace...and even more dramatic shows like House are all structured around a closed mystery.

Some shows (like House) will hold off solving the mystery and revealing the killer (or disease) until almost the very end (Act 4, or is it Act 5 these days?), but most shows reveal the killer/'monster either at the mid point or by the end of act 3 so the hero can 'catch' whoever or whatever the bad guy is. (I say whatever because I'm primarily experienced in genre mysteries (sci fi, paranormal, etc.) where the bad guy can be a bad 'thing'.).

And when it comes to constructing the plot for good genre mysteries (Supernatural; Eureka; Stargate; X Files; Buffy; Angel; Dresden Files; etc.), there is one question to always be asking:

What is it...what is it really.

(In the case of procedurals and investigative mystery programs like 'Veronica Mars', the mantra becomes: Who is it...who is it really.)

Take that tip to the bank, baby.

We put this principle into practice constantly on 'Outer Limits', 'Earth: Final Conflict', and 'Psi Factor' (as in, if it looked like a werewolf wreacking havoc, it damn well better not turn out to be a werewolf). And we studied and learned from the master, Joss Whedon.

Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly) and his disciples execute this principle to perfection in their shows. It was always a closed mystery, and would usually remain that way until the mid point or end of the third act. If you thought Buffy was losing her powers and Giles was out to harm her, it would turn out that Giles was preparing his Slayer for a rite of passage test set for her 18th birthday. Or if Buffy thought some swamp creatures were eviscerating members of the school swim team, it would turn out that the swimmers were actually turning into creatures themselves because of all of the steroids the coach was feeding them.

What is it...what is it really.

Of course, this is just one aspect to telling a good mystery story. To take it to the next level, you also need to pick an overall theme to flesh out the episode. Whedon would take something dramatic like 'breaking up with a friend' or 'losing your virginity' and let the character conflict drive the drama in conjunction with the unfolding mystery. Yet he always kept you on your toes, and tended to not only play the 'what is it...what is it really' card in the overall story, but even within individual scenes.

Here's the opening from his pilot for the 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' TV series...



The buildings of the affluent Southern California school gleam darkly in the moonlight. We TRACK about the campus – it's deserted.

TRACK through the halls. Nothing.



We track along the wall, past the maps and drawings tacked up on it, past the window, which SHATTERS in our faces!

It's just a single pane, knocked in by someone's hand. It unlocks the window and slides it up.


The intruder is a college age BOY, a timid GIRL beside him. She looks about nervously.

Are you sure this is a good idea?

It's a great idea! Come on.


As they climb in. She peers around some more as he shuts the window behind them.

You go to school here?

Used to.

It's nice.

It gets better. Come on.



He leads her through the back of the school theater and


which is lavishly dressed as an over-sized alley set: a huge wooden fence, trash cans, etc. It looks suspiciously like the set of CATS. She wanders through it a bit.


Suddenly the curtains open, revealing the empty auditorium, and the foot lights come up. The boy has worked all this from the side of the stage. He comes up to her.

Cool, huh?

I'm sure we're not supposed to be here…

He moves to kiss her, but she turns suddenly, real fear crossing her face.

What was that?

What was what?

I heard a noise.

It's nothing.

Maybe it's something…

Maybe it's some Thing…

That's not funny.

He looks about them. The place is dark shadowy. She cowers behind him.



There's nobody here.

Are you sure?

I'm sure.


She bares HORRIBLE FANGS and BURIES them in his neck.



Simple. Clean. Effective. And with a Twist. A nervous girl is led into a school by a horny boy. It's late at night. It's a little creepy. He's a little creepy. We're nervous. We're concerned for her well-being. And it turns out he's the one we should have been concerned for. A perfect example of good 'what is it...what is it really' mystery story-telling, from the man who had Buffy the vampire slayer fall in love for the first time with...a vampire, of course (albeit one with a soul).

Not to over simplify things, or to suggest that there's not more to it all than this...but you'll be a lot further ahead in the game if you begin with...

What is it...what is it really. two cents about writing television mysteries. Go knock one out of the park.

SONG&ARTIST? - "Romeo was restless, he was ready to kill.
He jumped out the window cause he couldn't sit still.
Juliet was waiting with a safety net.
He said "Don't bury me cause I'm not dead yet"..."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Presents Of Mind...

...otherwise known as 'clever gifts', which is what showed up in the comments section of the previous post under the profile Happy 45th Birthday Will Dixon. With a blog and everything.

Very clever. Tip of the hat.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Speaking Of...Not Much At All

I'm having a hell of a time coming up with anything interesting to write about, so here's some odds and ends.

Anyone who's doing their homework has already perused these lists of ordered pilots for the upcoming U.S. fall tv season. I'd happily write about what shows the Canadian networks have in development or have ordered pilots for...but we don't roll that way up here. I'm not sure what way we roll exactly anymore (and frankly, am getting a little exhausted debating about or analyzing the Canuck system), but regarding the American pilots, the consensus is pretty uninaminous...yawn - less serializations, lots of procedurials, lighter dramas. Which doesn't really mean anything because a unoriginal sounding premise can still sparkle once it hits the our tv sets...

Speaking of homework, I'm still teaching the University tv/film producing class. And as usual, I'm amazed that by the second or third class I can peg every student into one of three categories. Out of seventeen students, 1-2 seem to have their head in the game and show a lot of promise; 8-10 are just treading water...they're trying and aren't idiots, but just don't have that spark; and 3-4 who shouldn't even be there (miss every other class, don't contribute when in class (lots of resting head on desks), hand in half-assed assignments, etc.). I try to get excited about turning around some of those in the middle and helping bump them up a notch. But otherwise, it's pretty discouraging (sorry if any of the students are reading this, but it's true - if offended, prove me wrong).

Speaking of pretty discouraging, I found it shocking that this class, made up of 3rd and primarily 4th year students... many of whom are graduating this year...had never heard of Playback Magazine (Canada's film/tv industry newspaper). And only two had heard of Variety...heard, not even read. I'm not sure if this is more of an indictment of the students, or the film and video program at the school, but I impressed upon them how important it is to stay connected to what is going on out there.

Speaking of staying connected, I'm always interested in what 'the kids' are into these days. So I also found it discouraging when I asked: "What are your fav tv shows? What is appointment television for you?"...and the first answer I got back accompanied by several nods of agreement was...Youtube. Youtube? Um...that's not a show, guys. I pushed harder, and eventually heard someone say 'Dexter' and 'Heroes', someone else say 'Entourage', mentions of the odd Life Channel or Discovery Channel series, then the 'Daily Show' and 'Colbert Report' got some nods...very little knowledge or interest at least in Canadian shows (though one of the keeners said he downloaded 'Little Mosque' and had watched every ep - didn't love it but was willing to keep an eye on it).

So I asked again for the list of shows they watched regularily just to keep tabs on what the rest of the world was watching or even for good story-telling models...lots of shrugs and blank stares. When I asked 'why not?' - all I got back was... 'I hate commercials' and 'Most of it's boring'.
A bit of a discussion ensued, but it turned into white noise for me...How do I come up with ideas for shows and series that might appeal to these guys...the 18-30 year olds? The Youtube Show?

Speaking of 'the kids', my NY bro sent me this interesting article from New York magazine entitled 'Say Everything'. It's about the internet/blogging/texting/myspace generation and their tendancy to put anything and everything about themselves 'out there' for the world to see and read. As it says, the future belongs to the uninhibited. The kids just don't seem to care that much anymore as public and private becomes more and more blurred. The article closed with this:

Right now the big question for anyone of my generation seems to be, endlessly, “Why would anyone do that?” This is not a meaningful question for a 16-year-old. The benefits are obvious: The public life is fun. It’s creative. It’s where their friends are. It’s theater, but it’s also community: In this linked, logged world, you have a place to think out loud and be listened to, to meet strangers and go deeper with friends.

And, yes, there are all sorts of crappy side effects: the passive-aggressive drama (“you know who you are!”), the shaming outbursts, the chill a person can feel in cyberspace on a particularly bad day. There are lousy side effects of most social changes (see feminism, democracy, the creation of the interstate highway system). But the real question is, as with any revolution, which side are you on?

Because the truth is, we’re living in frontier country right now. We can take guesses at the future, but it’s hard to gauge the effects of a drug while you’re still taking it. What happens when a person who has archived her teens grows up?

Will she regret her earlier decisions, or will she love the sturdy bridge she’s built to her younger self—not to mention the access to the past lives of friends, enemies, romantic partners? On a more pragmatic level, what does this do when you apply for a job or meet the person you’re going to marry? Will employers simply accept that everyone has a few videos of themselves trying to read the Bible while stoned? Will your kids watch those stoner Bible videos when they’re 16? Is there a point in the aging process when a person will want to pull back that curtain—or will the MySpace crowd maintain these flexible, cheerfully thick-skinned personae all the way into the nursing home?

Interesting questions, no? And speaking of nursing homes, this old man's heading back to his 'young boy coming of age on the prairie' script while watching 'Rockford Files' reruns.

Happy Family Day/President's Day.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

This Could Very Well Lead To The End Of The World...of Warcraft

South Park episode. 'Make Love Not Warcraft'.

Friggin' brilliant.

ps watch ASAP as it will probably be taken down soon.

Misdirection...In A Bad Way

Got in my quota of tween movies yesterday. There was Disney's 'Jump In' on Family Channel here in Canada...the highest rated family movie ever to premiere on the Disney Channel in the U.S. since 'High School Musical' (or maybe it even outperformed it). A by the numbers 'Rocky' meets rope-jumping story that didn't offend, but didn't push any boundaries. For that, my kids loved it.

Because first, it was off to the theatre with my ten year olds to see 'Bridge To Terabithia'. Word to the wise...all is not as it appears to be.

Marilyn at Glutton For Culture gave a heads up as to what to expect from the film. A few reviews also indicated it wasn't as it was being advertised (as in a 'Chronicles of Narnia' clone), and it was in fact, more like 'Stand By Me' or 'My Girl' (or for us old folk, 'Old Yeller').

**Spoilers Alert**

Terabithia is a serious coming of age drama, and one of the main characters (pictured above) dies. It comes out of left field, and you could've dropped a pin in the theatre....followed by whispers of 'X isn't really dead, right?'...followed by streaming tears when they started to realize that a main character really had died.

'I dropped a few,' my son admitted as we drove away from the theatre. But not before exclaiming 'Terabithia SUCKS!" My daughter was even more vocal in her displeasure.

They were SOOOOO incensed. On and on into the night, they kept asking why and how and who would make a movie that did that...and me trying to explain that what happened was maybe the point because life can be like that didn't help.

Because of their expectations when entering the theatre.

My kids are growing up. And starting to realize that death is part of life. But they didn't expect to or want to feel that at this movie. They felt blindsided...and rightfully so. The film was promoted as a fantasy adventure...I swear they used every frame of the 'magical forest creatures' in the commercials because there really wasn't that much. Very misleading.

That said, it's not a bad little movie - quite good actually...but not the bill of goods that was sold.

'Old Yeller', 'Where The Red Fern Grows', or 'Ring of Bright Water' are some of my earliest memories of films that left me upset, dropping some tears. But I don't remember being tricked, or feeling angry.

My kids, however, were PISSED. And for this, Disney should be ashamed for the way they advertised 'Bridge To Terabithia'.

Friday, February 16, 2007

More Bones and House(s)

Variety reports today that Fox Television renews the tv series 'Bones' and 'House' each for another season (Diane squeals).

Fox is showing some early love for "House" and "Bones," picking up both for next season. News is no surprise for "House," which will enter its fourth season this fall. Show, which launched to tepid numbers, eventually burst into a mega-Nielsen performer and now is one of Fox's top-rated tentpole dramas. "Bones," meanwhile, hasn't yet turned into a blockbuster but has seen its fortunes improve at the net, turning into a decent player for Fox.

Season to date, "House" has averaged a strong 7.1 rating/18 share in adults 18-49, as well as 17.4 million viewers. It's Fox's top-rated scripted skein, and No. 3 among all webs with adults 18-49. As for "Bones," the drama has averaged a 3.1 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 season to date, as well as 8.8 million viewers.

But according to the Neilsen ratings, 'Bones' has been topping 11 million the past several weeks, prompting the early renewal I presume (though I figure Hart's appearance here at Uninflected is the real reason).

Ah, the joy of the early pickup. As brutal as early cancelation must feel, the early pickup must feel spectacular.

Congrats to Canucks Hart Hanson (Bones) and David Shore (House) for their well earned success...very nice.

Forget It, He's On A Roll...

John Doyle and DMc seem to think the creative community making tv in Canada could use us a Bluto (or at least an Otter). 'Animal House' meets Jim Shaw, Bev Oda, the CTF, and the that would be some serious Friday Fun. But until that day...

Because it makes me smile...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's All Fine And Good Until It Happens To You...

As writers we're constantly begging, borrowing, stealing...from our lives. And especially in series television where you have to quickly come up with interesting and unique characters (usually secondary or guest roles). And it's a challenge to make these characters feel and sound unique each and every time. So you borrow from the lives and traits and quirks of your family and your friends and colleagues...the people you know. It's your 'go to' bag of tricks.

Over the years, I know I've named a lot of characters after friends of mine. And I'm sure I've borrowed a trait or two from someone I know and plugged it into 'the ornery detective' so as to flesh out his character a bit. It's okay, it's what we do...

So yesterday I was sick as a dog, and was watching with one eye 'Stargate SG:1' on the Space channel. And there was an episode on called 'Heroes' from Season 7 I believe. It was an unusual episode that ran outside the box a bit (which is prone to occur with most long running series - 'X Files' and 'Buffy' and 'Angel' all started turning themselves upside down after a while). It was framed around a reporter doing a documentary behind the scenes of SG:1 and thus mixed video/interview footage with dramatic footage. And this storyline was intercut with a SG:13 expedition mission over on a planet somewhere.

Anyway, the leader of this expedition was played by Adam Baldwin and his first scene began with his team arriving via a stargate and heading out to do some exploring.

And something in what the Baldwin character said or how he said it rang a faint bell for me.

Then he was referred to as Colonel Dixon. I sat up a bit. And then the following scene played out (lifted from the Gateworld: Stargate Transcripts website)...

Still offworld, SG-13 walk through some trees.

DIXON: Yeah, all night screaming, projectile vomiting, nuclear diapers. You have no idea. The reason they make them so damn cute is so you won't smother them in their sleep.

WELLS: Sir, you have four kids.

DIXON: Yeah, why do you think I love my job so much? Don't get me wrong I love the little buggers to death but trust me, having four kids makes going through the Stargate and facing off alien bad guys look like nothing. This is relaxing.

WELLS: Then why'd you have four?

DIXON: Well, one's pretty bad but you figure you got to have two so the little guy can have a brother or sister right? Then you have two boys and the wife says she wants a girl, so you figure, hell, three can't be much worse than two right? But you don't relise your brain is fried because you haven't slept and after three, four is no big deal. So then you're so deep in that nothing seems to matter anymore. It's chaos. You just try to make it through each day alive. In the end you spend all the energy you have left trying to get them into bed, only to lay awake praying they don't get hooked on drugs, hurt, or worse, wind up dead in an alley somewhere.

WELLS: Can't wait, sir.

DIXON: Ah miracle of birth my ass. I'll tell you what a miracle is...birth control that works.

SG-13 walk into a clearing. Before them is an ancient city.

DIXON: Well, I'll be damned.


And it seems pretty clear that Colonel Dixon is me. Or more or less based on me. I looked it up online and the episode was written by Rob C. Cooper...and years ago, Rob and I'd had a version of that very conversation when we worked together on 'Psi Factor' - a 'life with kids and when to have kids' discussion. He was yet to be a parent, I had just had numbers 3 & 4 (twins).

"Hey, that's my life you're talking about here, pal?"

Oh right, Beg, borrow, and's what what we do.

Anyway, it was kinda cool...a compliment of sorts - but the episode was a two parter...a 'To Be Continued'. I presume Rob was paying his respects by naming the character after me, but until I watch Part 2, I don't know if Colonel Dixon gets to be 'a hero' and is reunited with his kids? Or is he the goat or bum or even worse, gets his ass shot off by the Goa'ulds.

We shall see.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bye Dwight...

Some mid-week levity as Joss Whedon talks about directing an episode of 'The Office', replete with his very own special stamp of the 'Buffy'.


Okay, template silliness behind me, the shotgun shack known as Uninflected Images is back in business...same as it ever was...same as it ever was. And not to worry, I'll soon restock the links shelves on the sidebar.

Thanks for your patience and always, it is appreciated.

Oh, and Happy 'Valentines' Day. Share a smile, feel the love - keep those ventricles pumping...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How's This Template?

I dunno anymore...and after NY Bro sent me an email marked 'Urgent' and stating:

Will, that new template is horrible, looks like an old binary system Mac from 1985 – go back!!!

...I felt pressured to try something else.

Look, my bar is set pretty low...'not embarrassing' is actually what I shoot for...but still wanting it to be at least somewhat appealing to the eye.

Too much red? Go back to what it was? No one cares...

EDIT: Okay, back to reasonable facsimile of what it was...done.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Just Don't Freak Out, Okay?

Blogger went goofy on me tonight. I tried to embed some Feedburner text into the template and it squeezed everything into some kind of vertical ladder from hell... each template 'fix and save' just made it worse.

I panicked, I admit it.

I went into the other templates and clicked the first one I saw. This is it. Not sure if I like it. Or if I'll keep it. And there's no sidebar. No blogroll. No reference links. No Technorati. Nothing.


So until regular service's Moon on a Swing...

And Famke with a Gun.

In honour of pilot season, of course.

Don't Call Us...Slow

Sloth rock from SNL.

Quick watch before NBC takes it down.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


It's not Halloween, but if you want to hear a real-life horror story...tip toe over to the Legion Of Decency and read about Killer Karla.

I'd managed to block this nightmare from my memory until Jim brought it all to the surface again with this post.

It will mess you up.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Spread Your Hands Wide...

...and embrace the Robson Arms second season premiere this weekend. The quirky comedy? drama? dramedy? (I was never quite sure) begins airing tomorrow (Saturday Feb. 10) here in Canada on CTV at 9 pm with special guest star Leslie Nielsen.

Like Denis McGrath and David Moses have already mentioned, promotion for the show has been next to nil. And I did have a hard time finding any cool pics (not that it's all about sexy photos...but ya know, it doesn't hurt) - here's one of a lovely young miss with John Cassini who plays the smoothtalking super.

Tune in and see if it sticks. Here's hoping...

His Name Was Eric...

Friday Fun from SNL and the very 'first' dancing fool...

Because it makes me smile...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Moving Music Boxes...

"Could we try the piano over there, hun...?" Who hasn't heard a version of that line one time or another...

My mother was terrific for it. I used to walk in after school and hear: "I'm getting tired of how this all looks...let's try the piano over there." Um...ex-weeze me? I'd launch into a logic counterstrike..."But mom, that means moving the sofa here, which means it won't face the fireplace, and the coffee table won't fit, and blah blah blah...." I'd even try to draw a picture to give an idea what it might look like - but she'd hear none of it.

"Nope. I need to see it."

So I'd sigh, then me and my brothers would hump the piano across the room, after taking the sofa and the coffee table into the dining room of course...and she'd look and think and look and think... and then we'd have to move the sofa and coffee table back in and put them where the piano was...sort of (it'd never quite fit afterward). And then we'd inevitably hear one of two things: either let's try it over here now OR let's put it back the way it was.'s perfect!

This is a friggin' piano remember! A big cumbersome heavy instrument with intricate parts and delicate keys all put together to make beautiful music when played well…

… sort of like the plot of a TV script.

Television series usually run at a breakneck pace once production begins, and the writing department has to work quickly and efficiently. As luck would have it, McGrath posted today about the glorious experience that can occur during the note giving process if everyone's on the same page. I don't dispute anything he says, but am coming at the process from a slightly different direction over here at Uninflected (besides, I've been tinkering with this post for about a week and didn't want to just ditch it). Because so often we're at the mercy of producers or exec producers or network executives who say it's just not quite working for them. ”Can you try this?” Wait a sec, let me rephrase - it's more like: "Here's what I want you to do."

And I’m not talking about a subtle dialogue tweak, I’m talking about changing it from the girl trying to make the volleyball team to her deciding to join an escort agency...MAJOR changes.

Now I'm a 'let's talk this through and see if it might work' kind of guy. And some might see that as a way of getting out of doing the work (let's face it, as a general rule, we're all lazy fucks (writers, men, etc.)), but I contest it's to see if the new suggestion will work...really be better, not just different. When redecorating a living room, different can be okay. But when running a writers’ room, and churning out stories and scripts in a timely fashion for an insane schedule, ”different” for its own sake is just cruel, especially at the last minute.

See, until you're deep into a season, you turn in a story pitch or an outline three months before it is scheduled to shoot. You get some general reactions and a few notes; everyone is pretty complimentary - all smiles and chuckles. You go away to write your first draft feeling pretty good. And then it's crunch time, so if you get asked to move the piano during prep, it can be like being punched in the gut.

But many times the suggestions comes with the caveat: "You’ve already done most of the groundwork, it should only take five minutes to rewrite it." Nothing takes five minutes to rewrite. That’s like saying a shot will only take ten minutes to shoot!

Sidebar: You'll hear that all the time on set - can we just grab a shot of this; it'll only take ten minutes. NOTHING takes ten minutes. You got to talk about it. Get the actors in, discuss it...the director of photography needs to light it, the camera team need to move the camera and check the angle. Then you've got to rehearse it, sound has to get their levels, hair and makeup need to do touchups, wardrobe needs to check the clothes, and then you try to shoot it...but if it doesn't work just right - multiple takes. All in all, if it's a new setup, 20-30 can count on it. In a 10 or 11-hour workday...'grab a shot' a couple of times and you can eat up a lot of time.

But I digress...back to dealing with notes and executives and networks. Being 'not quite a hit' show can mean constantly battling the notes barrage. Here's a blurb from a LA Times article with our friend of the blog Hart Hanson talking about 'Bones':

"A show on the bubble is a bit like a high school romance," said Hart Hanson, one of the show's executive producers. "We're the girl going out with the quarterback, and he's always looking for the next cheerleader. We have to wonder how long he's going to go out with us. If we do everything he says, he won't respect us, and if we do nothing he says, he won't respect us either."

Today’s reality is most TV series are on the bubble. Why? Because there are very few bone fide hit TV series on the air, and the 'no touchy' showrunners (as in “no touchy my scripts”) are few and far between (though John August seems to think 'Heroes' has that privilege). Most shows are struggling...just trying to run far enough ahead of the bear to live another season.

Sidebar 2: Far too many networks and execs, in my opinion, cling to the numbers/ratings benchmarks of several years ago as 'where a show needs to be to be a hit.” As a result the Execs are unfairly down on a show after only a few airings. This goes for Canada as well. Not every show can have the freaky ratings like the Idol franchise. The bar needs to be lowered or adjusted somehow.

Back on the highway again. Since few shows are deemed 'hits', you constantly have execs and networks trying to make your show into a winner. I remember one network exec started off every big note session with..."here I am to save the day." Talk about a surefire line to put your story department on the defensive and/or feeling inadequate. But when you don’t have a hit, it's tough as a showrunner or head of the story department to defend or rebuff the exec’s notes.

"I need to see it."

Add to the equation the illusion in Exec land that a script/story isn't real until it's in prep and about to go to camera. I once heard a network exec ask when the draft in his hands started shooting...and when he was told 'next week,' he actually replied: "Okay...time to get serious with my notes." Whaaaa?! What were all the suggestions and comments on the outline and first draft? Him just goofing around?

Because believe me...if you write it, the notes will come.

Sidebar 3: I've worked with a few golden boys - Rob C Cooper (Stargate SG:1) is one of them. I remember after an hour long phone debate and haggle with the network over one scene and a couple of lines of dialogue (none of it was dealbreaker stuff, just choices...scene point of view, etc.), Rob said that he'd love to sit down all the company and network execs on a Saturday night as the show airs and show them how fast the scene flies by. How all the minutiae of what’s being debated ultimately don’t affect the characters or overall story. He said he hoped this little exercise would enlighten them enough to exclaim: “We spent an hour debating that? What were we thinking?!" Then he thought about it a second, sighed, and says: "Probably wouldn't matter. Fuckers."

But I don't want to give the impression that all company or studio or network execs are idiots, not at all. Most are very smart driven creative people with good ideas. And their schedules can get jammed up like ours in production can. And most times they don't really have as big a problem with the script/story as their notes would's just that they are being driven by this need to make it a hit (since its not). And hits must warrant drastic change, right? But unfortunately, when you combine the 'we need to get the numbers up' with the psychological aspect of the exec who only notes seriously when the episode is heading into prep or production, you can be faced with the task of moving music boxes. "Could we try the piano over there, hun...?"

Where am I going with all this? A while back, DMc asked:

Hey Will: you know the whole tendency that others have remarked upon that most scripts go one revision past where they were really great, and at their best. Have you encountered any way, tricks or tips to keep that from happening?
Well...yes, there are some ways to keep it from happening, at least somewhat.

1. Make them feel like you’ve made their changes. I've worked with smooth talking showrunners (Cooper was very good at this), those who had this remarkable ability to remain calm and positive, even when hearing the most inane, drastic changes, and somehow managed to cajole and manipulate and spin the boat around and eventually right the rudder with out too much damage to the boat. These guys could make the notegiver 'feel' like their notes were being addressed and changes were implemented without it actually happening (or at least to the extent they thought). And that was pretty cool to witness, and a definite skill to have in your arsenal...but not everyone can do that well. And it ultimately becomes a bullshit game instead of actually making something better. And extremely time consuming.

2. Give ‘em guts and glory. I've worked with hyper exec whose big plan was to 'swamp' the company and network with material. Write really fast (but not necessarily good) and 'we'll send them two outlines one day and two scripts the next day and two revised drafts the next day and we'd just bury them!'

(Personally, I always hated that plan, and spent a lot of energy trying to talk him out of it. It meant we (the writers) were killing ourselves to get stuff written only to have to go through the process all over again once the company/studio or network actually got around to looking at the material - generally when it went into prep.)

3. Bob and weave. I would always be diligent about getting pitches/simple story beatsheets sent over, talked through and signed off on...and then I hid out for as long as possible. Don't get me wrong, I'd spend a lot of time keeping the network/studio up to speed on the current work and what stage it’s at, while holding off actually submitting material for as long as possible. I would say, “It’s not quite there yet,” even if it was ready or nearly ready. All in an effort to keep the note 'give and take' time as short as possible.

Another blurb from that same LA Times article about nurturing middling TV shows echoes that strategy...

Like most second-year shows that didn't blow up the Nielsen ratings, "Supernatural" has undergone a creative back-and-forth with both the network and the studio in a bid to draw the largest possible audience. Eric Kripke, the show's creator and an executive producer, described the process last season with the now-defunct WB as "fairly amicable" but admits it was not without its tensions.

The show's creative team and the network clashed over scripts and story lines. Sometimes the creative team backed down, and other times they found even more "creative" ways around the impasse.

"The huge advantage any TV producer has on their side is the breakneck schedule, and I'll fully own up to taking great advantage of that a time or two," Kripke said. "If we pulled the script for the [network's] story suggestions, that means shutting down production. There's not any time for that, so we'd have to move forward."
I can only speak from my experience, and I'm not advocating this as being the way to go, but I know and understand of which Kripke speaks. And I fully endorse exploiting that advantage to its fullest.

I'm not sure if this is answering Denis' question, or if there even is a right answer. Keeping that script from going one draft too far I think directly relates to the power of the showrunner, and when s/he can say “no” without fear of getting fired.

Regardless of the strategy, extensive rewrite suggestions can come once the script is on the table. So get it solid in-house so you can defend it creatively and logically. Then use excuse of impending production to fob off any major changes. "Uh, we've already cast character as a him, so it'd be a big deal to make it a her. And we already started building the police precinct set, so it'd be a huge deal to change it to firehall."

Because when you've already done the roundy-round on an outline and again on the draft, you shouldn't be asked to try ‘moving music boxes’ when it goes to camera in a week. If you're going to be asked to move the piano, it should be when first entering the room, not after everything's been unpacked.

SONG&ARTIST? - "It's nine oclock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
Theres an old man sitting next to me
Makin love to his tonic and gin

He says, son, can you play me a memory?
Im not really sure how it goes
But its sad and its sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger mans clothes."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Going Green...

I get a lot of emails asking for information about how to immigrate to the U.S. and the process for applying for a green card. It's a bit of a monster topic and I haven't really got the time or energy to map it all out. And like McGrath, I was born in the U.S. so didn't have all the hoops to jump through that the rest of you will (here's the U.S. Immigration website)...and there's still a whack of hoops to navigate even with that advantage.

For example, in the case of a U.S. citizen returning to the States, you can get your Social Security Number fairly quickly (presuming you have a passport) - but if you're bringing along a spouse and/or children, you need to begin the paperwork of essentially sponsering them into the country and obtaining their green cards soon after they arrive/join you. That process can take years even though they rise up to the top of the priority list by being related to or immediate family of a U.S. citizen. And those family members should be prepared not to travel outside the U.S. once the application process is underway - or expect to apply for temporary travel visas or documents well in advance of any travel they might want to take.

Another thing (Denis), you as the returning U.S. citizen have to submit a minimum of your previous 3 years U.S. tax returns, presuming you haven't been filing in the States every year. That was something I learned...there's an expectation in the U.S. that you need to file every year no matter how long you've been out of the country or where you might live (whereas you can be a Canadian citizen and live elsewhere and are not expected to file Canuck tax returns each year). It's just a fairly substantial accounting and potential taxes owed cost to factor in.

For the rest of you looking for legal permanent residency, essentially you are wanting to obtain an employment related green card by getting sponsered as an alien of extraordinary ability. From one of the zillion websites that discuss this process:

Getting an employment related green card is generally one of the best options available. It is important to note that the time it takes to process employment based green cards can range quite a bit. It is possible for EB-1 and EB-5 applications to be approved in less than a year. EB-3 applications on the other hand can take five years or more. These are the five types of employment related green cards to consider:

EB-1: This is for aliens with extraordinary ability such as researchers, outstanding professors or multinational business executives or managers.

EB-2: This is for aliens with advanced degrees who have an employer or sponsor or aliens with exceptional ability.

EB-3: This option is for unskilled workers with an employer or sponsor, skilled workers and professional workers with a university degree.

EB-4: This is available for religious workers

EB-5: This is an option for aliens who are able to invest $1,000,000 and create at least ten new full time jobs. It is also possible in certain limited situations that an investment of $500,000, if it creates at least five new jobs, may be acceptable.

First order of business, get an immigration lawyer. The paperwork is mountainous and there are oodles of little ways to get tripped up...or be considered a low priority and stuck at the bottom of the pile (and believe me, it's a tall pile). Getting work on a tv show/movie or with a company is usually the next order of business, but I know of some colleagues who were essentially sponsered by their U.S. agent (the agent acting as employer and making a case for the promise of work). Adjustment of Status is another option that comes up (more for spouses or children of citizens or green card holders), but better to hear a lawyer explain that one.

Anyway, it's a long haul undertaking - and if it's something you're seriously considering, start looking into it now.

SONG & ARTIST? - "It's not easy being green
Having to spend each day
The color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red,
Or yellow, or gold
Or something much more colorful like that"

Monday, February 05, 2007

The One Word Movie Title pitch game...

That last post was supposed to be a joke...but nobody's laughing.

So crashing ahead, here's a challenge to pass the time. Try coming up with a one word movie title, a one sentence logline or synopsis, and a poster line (another blogger did this last year and it was kinda fun). An example...


LOGLINE: A mild mannered writer must summon up his dark side and engage in a trash talking put-down contest with the other tenants in his apartment complex to try to win dibs on the most desirable suite in the building.

POSTER LINE: "War of the words..."

The art of the quick and dirty's all about being clear, concise and efficient. And it's harder than it looks --- Who's the hero? What does he want? What stands in his way? Who's the antagonist? What are the stakes? All said and done in just a title and a sentence. Madness you say? Probably, but practice does make perfect...

Sorry, no prizes...just some good clean fun and the satisfaction of accomplishing something in these dog days of February.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I'm Gonna Say...

...Colts by 14 - no wait, by 12. And call it hunch but I think the Indianapolis defence is going to come up big. For fun, I'll guess 29-17 is the final score.

And for some reason, I'm sensing Prince should perform 'A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall' instead of 'Purple Rain' at halftime. Again, just a hunch.

Okay, let's see what happens...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I Say Regina, But You Say....?

There was a horror feature shot out here in Saskatchewan about a year and a half ago. At the time it was called 'Harvest', then 'Untitled Pang Brothers Project', and is now being released as 'The Messengers' (in theatres yesterday).

Here's an excerpt from an interview in MovieWeb News with the teenage star Kristen Stewart...

Is this a genre you want to continue in?

Kristen Stewart: I would love to do more suspense and horror; I would kill to do a slasher movie, cause I like watching movies like that.

Where was the film shot?

Kristen Stewart: Regina, Saskatchewan; I call it 'Reggie,' I can't bring myself to say that name too much.

Was it a real farm?

Kristen Stewart: Yeah, I think they built a house for another movie, Tideland, Terry Gilliam's movie; but we took that, and altered it.

I'm not here to promote the film as much as to comment on her statement about the name of this provinces' capital city...Regina (pronounced Ruh-jahy-nuh).

Several years ago, a good friend of mine took a trip over to London. He returned raving about this new tv show he'd seen there...something called 'The Office'. He tells me the concept, and says it is set in Slough, which, in his words "...was perfect because it's like the armpit of England." He proposed developing a simlar show and setting it here because, his words again, "...Regina is so the armpit of Canada."

Then a couple weeks ago, this article appeared in MacLeans magazine naming North Central Regina the worst neighbourhood in the country..., yes, the worst in the country. Everyone around town got their tits in a knot about the story, and it is subjective, but it's also hard to argue with a lot of the facts.

Back on point. All of the above is tough to overcome, but to top it off, there's the name. Regina. (again, pronounced Ruh-jahy-nuh)

If you grew up here, the city's name just was what it was. Nobody questioned it. Or made fun of it. It never crossed anyone's mind. When we moved to Toronto, there was some ribbing...but more to do with the place in general. As in: "You're from where? Regina? Oh, I'm sorry." But when we moved to Los Angeles, holy crap.

"Regina? Ruh-gina??!! Like Vagina?" Seriously. I heard from my older daughters that they were getting a lot of teasing from their peers... "Hey Vagina girl!"... or..."You know where she was born? Vagina!!" Much pointing and peels of laughter apparently ensued. At first I thought they were exaggerating, but not after witnessing it for myself one day picking them up from school. Pretty astonishing.

It got so my kids stopped telling people where they were born and raised, resorting to just saying Canada (Saskatchewan tended to get a confused look and the inevitable...Huh? or Where?). Mentioning Regina became a "no no". And that's probably a good thing...Ms. Kristen Stewart's comment in the interview above tells me there would still be grief endured today.

Not sure of my point here, other than it was annoying. And also confusing. If you happened to be from Luck, Wisconsin...would American's gasp and say: "Huh? Yer from F*ck?!" Or if your name was Delores, would you ever hear "What? Like Clitoris?!" (okay, post-Seinfeld maybe).

And it wasn't just me...I've heard many a similar story from numerous Reginians when I decided to share my little tale. And I've been told it's probably as simple as 'you say to-may-to', and I say to-mah-to' - but I'm starting to think there's something deeper and more sinister afoot.

I need a cutesy punny line to close this me out here. All I got is...

Nevertheless, it's tough to defend your hometown as a tiger when everyone else sees it as a pussy.

SONG&ARTIST? - "All my friends are so small town
My parents live in the same small town
My job is so small town
Provides little opportunity..."

Friday, February 02, 2007

Some Comedy With Those Fries?

In commemoration of Letterman's 25th year on the air, some Friday Fun in the form of a much younger Dave taking orders at a McDonald's drive-thru...

Because it makes me smile...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

And I'm Not Wearing Any Pants...Worldwide Pants, That Is

Tonight marks the 25th anniversary of David Letterman as a late night host. Charlie McCollum at the Mercury News pays a nice tribute to the man I more or less grew up with. Bill Murray was a guest on that very first program when it was over on NBC, and Murray will be the guest again tonight.

Television shows come and go, people and friends come and go, bands and music come and go, but I can't think of too many other things (other than my inane devotion to the Maple Leafs and the Vikings) that have been a part of my life for so many years. From the early days of Larry 'Bud' Melman and Chris Elliot and Velcro Suits to Monkeycam's and his Streeters and Stupid Pet Tricks and Top Ten Lists (and of course Paul and the band), I watched the Letterman show pretty religiously. His dry wit and sarcastic detachment may have rubbed some people the wrong way, but it spoke to me. Amused me. Influenced me. I know I've used the phrases: "don't try this at home", "...and we all know how painful that can be", and "this is only an exhibition, not a competition...please, no wagering" more often than I care to admit.

Jumping forward in time, you either liked Jay...or you liked Dave. I would actually weigh someone's preference when deciding whether to pursue a friendship or relationship with a person. I liked Jay when he was a guest on Dave, but when they squared off, I liked Dave. And liked people who also liked Dave.

Thank you sir, for entertaining me all these late night years.

EDIT: or what Denis said...who, as usual, says it all but better.

January Be Gone...

...Lee over at The Light It Hurts is thrilled to report in his recap of January that he: increased his blogging thricefold (is that even a word?), redesigned his blog, moved to a new abode, paid his bills (I think that's what he meant), and has been to the gym a lot and now looks pretty good naked...all in all, a pretty good month by his estimate. But he remains down on his writing, and by that, I presume his screenwriting.

What does it mean to be down on your writing? I read it so often out there, the bitching... moaning... kevetching that either your writing's not good enough or you're not writing enough or something's not working or clicking or whatever - what are you people looking for? What are you expecting to happen?

I only ask because most of the complaining isn't accompanied by a reason for you to be bitching, like - an agent refused to take you on as a client...or, the show rejected your pitch...or, the studio/company passed on your script...or, you didn't make the finals of the screenwriting competition ...or even your spouse or best friend read your script and thought it sucked...none of that. Just complaining...

Well I've got news for you...most of us, even those who get paid for it, think our writing sucks. Or it isn't good enough. Or that it could be better. It's normal to feel that way. And if you're writing scripts as a hobby, fair enough...bitch and complain but state up front that you don't really expect anything to come of it. But if you are writing scripts to break into the film or tv get 'produced'...then shut up and write. And then get your stuff to into the hands of people that can at least give you a legitimate reason to bitch and complain.

If you are a regular reader of any of the blogs on the sidebar you already know all the rules and the do's and don't's, you know it takes hard work and disipline and smarts and yes, talent. But if you're just measuring your abilities by what you and only you see on the page, you're going to be down on your writing most of the time. Get it out there...solicit feedback...welcome the critiques...make it better...move forward....and hopefully upward and onward.

Rant over. Sorry.

My January was pretty uneventful. I did, however, hit 50 blogs linking here and had almost 5,000 visitors this month which was a little wild (thanks to Hart)...and though it's nothing when compared say, to the Craig Mazin's of the world (he recently stated he regularily hits 40,000 hits a month)'s not bad when I consider I've told next to nobody about this blog. People have just found it.

And there's been several lengthy in particular from New Zealand, who over the course of past several days has spent hours and hours at Uninflected wading through the archives right from the first post to the present. I observed this in a bemused state of wonderment...who is this person? Why are they reading eveything? What are they getting out of it? Is it someone I know (I doubt it)? They're back again...why? At any rate...hello New Zealand person! Hope you enjoyed the sights...drop us a comment if you can.

So that's it...yes I'm still a little cranky and it's ungodly cold and I'm glad to see January behind us. Oh, and my writing sucks.

p.s. this post was what we in the directing biz call a 'oner before lunch' in, 'there's only enough film in the mag for one take and it's almost lunch so you get no rehearsal and no edits, just one shot and that's it' kinda post

p.p.s. in no way was this a slag on Lee...he merely provided the inspiration