Friday, January 29, 2010


I know McGrath won't find this very "funny", but Pee Wee Herman showing off Apple's new iPad is still pretty Friday Funny.

(If the embed doesn't work, click link at bottom of player)

Because it makes me smile.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Leon Take Your Break At Two

Writers, directors, producers...sure, we all have it hard. But acting? Acting is hard!

"I had questions to ask, and research to do,
Like why does Leon take a break and why is it at 2?"


H/T Adam Barken

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Anyone who knows me knows I've been a Minnesota Vikings fan my entire life.

And I can't blame Favre because even though he should've never thrown that pass that was picked off in the last 30 seconds of regulation, it was his stellar play all season that had the Vikes in the NFC Championship game to begin with.

Still, they really woulda coulda shoulda won. I ache a little right now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Continue Stocking!

I realize I'm years behind the curve here, but I've been doing some research into web-based drama/comedy series and recently discovered Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager. Most web series I've watched I really don't get. As in, I don't understand why they were considered appropriate for the internets since they just seem like conventional longer form drama/comedy done on the cheap and then sliced up into 5-10 minutes chunks (with hopes of getting noticed and receiving a deal to make as a conventional broadcast TV series I'm guessing? But if that's their ultimate goal, then what does that say about the web being the future?) I know The Guild has been held up as a success story, but take Acting School Academy or the adventure series Riese for example...they're decent though with kinda stretched out storylines yet good production values, but to what end? Why weren't they produced first as a conventional TV series pilot or low budget feature film? Who paid for them? Were they sponsored, and if so how come I'm not seeing the advertising prominently displayed with some of them? In this 'free' format, how are they making back their costs?

Seriously, don't get me started on the "how do we monetize?" question (the same unanswered question I've been hearing for ten years while also hearing TV is dead and new media is the future!). One article I read about how to create a successful web-based TV series actually had the quote: "We are not defining "successful" with "turning a profit."

But Chad Vader I got. Premise self explanatory. Episodes short and self-contained. Production values or lack thereof irrelevant. Therefore relatively inexpensive. The kids dig it which = lots of return traffic and DVD sales. It's fun. Friday fun!

Because it makes me smile.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Smaerd Gnibbud Pil

The other day McGrath posted this wicked entry HERE from Shorecrest High in the latest round of lip dub warz. Great stuff. But for me at least, the behind the scenes "how" they did it video is just as entertaining.

Remember, these are high school students.

Take note, directing wannabe's...the bar just got higher.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Sure. That too.

I've already written my love letter to Martin Scorcese before on this blog HERE, but still wanted to post the tribute to him during last nights Golden Globe awards. It was sincere, touching, even moving...with a wicked montage to boot (though concluding with the yet to be released trailer for Shutter Island was a serious fail, and in some ways reduced a brilliant career down to just a half-assed plug).

If you missed it, enjoy.

He's clean. Clean like his conscience.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I've Got ADD (Assistant Director Diagrams)

Two circles may intersect in two imaginary points, a single degenerate point, or two distinct points. The combined area of sets A and B is called the union of A and B, denoted by A ∪ B. The area in both A and B, where the two sets overlap, is called the intersection of A and B, denoted by A ∩ B. If the circles intersect in two points, the line connecting their two points of intersection is called the radical line.

In the following example, the 'radical line' would be the Assistant Director.

A Venn-like diagram to help explain film production. I like it. A lot.

Diagram courtesy On-set With An Indie Film Junkie

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weeds Not Worth It

Last fall, Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane did up some youtube clips taking on shows he was up against in the Best Comedy Emmy The Office. What I didn't realize at the time was that he also gave the same treatment to 30 Rock, and Entourage, and How I Met Your Mother.

And Weeds.

Friday funny!

It takes balls to put this kinda thing out there. Kinda like Jimmy Kimmel on Leno last night.


Because it makes me smile.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Everybody Needs A Copilot

This will only mean anything if you've seen Up In The Air, which I liked a lot, but man oh man....depressing. George Clooney plays hatchet man Ryan Bingham who flies around the country firing people for bosses that don't have the balls to do it themselves. But he also gives motivational speaking engagements...we're talking major Tony Robbins shit, as he puts it. And the film opens with Bingham in the middle of one of these presentations, standing at a lectern in front of dozens of attentive listeners. And while I was watching the film, and this scene specifically, I wondered: What if Up In The Air’s Ryan Bingham was the TV series writer’s answer to Robert McKee?

It might go something like this.

How much does your draft weigh?

Imagine for a second you’re carrying your story in a backpack...I want you to feel the straps on your feel them?

Now I want you to pack it with all the tricks you have in your writer’s toolkit. Start with the little things. The premise and the overview. The set up and the exposition. Inciting incident and complication. Feel the weight as it adds up. Now start adding the larger stuff. Your beats, plot points, rising action, resolution, your climax. That backpack should be getting pretty heavy at this point – go bigger. Your B-story, your act breaks, the cat you want to save...stuff it all in. Your theme...get it in there. Your structure – whether you have five act television pilot or a two part to-be-continued, I want you to stuff it into that backpack.

Now try to write.

Kinda hard, isn’t it? This is what we series TV writers do to ourselves on a daily basis. We weigh ourselves down with so many story possibilities we get blocked and can’t move. And make no mistake – in TV, moving your fingers fast on the keyboard is living.

Now I’m going to set your backpack on fire. What do you want to take out of it? Plot? Plots are for people who can’t remember how to feel. Drink some glingko and let the plot burn. In fact, let everything burn and imagine waking up the next morning with nothing.

It’s kind of exhilarating isn’t it? That’s how I approach every episode rewrite.

Okay, this is where it gets a little difficult, but stay with me. You have the same story, but a new backpack...and this time, I want you to fill it with characters. Start with bit parts, walk on’s, friends of friends and passersby, and work your way to the people your main character trusts with their most intimate secrets. First, the secondary characters – relatives, best friends, co-workers, colleagues, and relatives...get them all into that backpack. And finally your main character’s husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend. Get them in there too.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to ask you to light it on fire.

Feel the weight of that bag. Make no mistake, your main characters’ relationships are the heaviest components of your TV screenplay. Feel the straps cutting into your shoulders. All those negotiations and arguments and dilemmas and secrets. But all that conflict equals drama. And drama equals story.

Now set that bag down. You don’t need to carry all that weight. But your episodic screenplay does. And if you have to rewrite a draft fast, let your characters show you the way.

Some animals were meant to carry each other. To live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star-crossed lovers. Monogamous swans. We are not one of those animals. The slower we move, the faster we die. We are not swans. We’re sharks.

We’re TV writers.

EDIT: Having just read the ugly arbitration backstory between Jason Reitman and original screenwriter Sheldon Turner regarding this screenplay, I now wonder how the above speech may have sounded if it was given by Turner. And the backstory certainly gives new meaning to the 'needing a copilot' line

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'd Rather See Open Mic With Stalin

Yes, another Hitler video with subtitles...but it's about the ongoing Jay Leno / Conan O'Brien NBC late night talk show debacle, and it's pretty damn funny.

I really do wish Jay would just go away.

And after you've laughed at that, go watch Letterman give his two cents on this nasty bit of show bid-ness HERE and HERE.

You gotta love Dave.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Prophecy > Legion

Legion tells of God's loss of faith in humanity, so he sends his legion of angels to wipe out the human race for the second time. Mankind's only hope lies in a group of misfits holed up in a diner in the desert who are aided by the archangel Michael.

"When I was a little girl, my mother spoke of a prophecy..."

Actually, voice-over actress woman, I'm thinking your mother spoke of a wicked 1995 movie entitled The Prophecy from which 'Legion' seems to have borrowed a lot, rather blatantly in fact.

"Humans... and how I love you talking monkeys for this... know more about war and treachery of the spirit than any angel."

Rent "The Prophecy".

Friday, January 08, 2010

A Jungle Is No Place For A Cellist

The first mockumentary? Most people reference This Is Spinal Tap, but I'm thinking it was Woody Allen's Take The Money And Run - the life and times of Virgil Starkwell, inept bank robber. Of course there was the classic "I have a gub" holdup gone wrong...but the school marching band cello player ranks a close second, and is certainly Friday Fun worthy.

Because it makes me smile.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Se7en + 3nthusiasm = Funny

It's like telling a joke, really. Take the set up of existing characters and circumstance from the movie Se7en. Then throw in a little twist at the end of the scene. The result? Dramatic tension magically transforms into a very funny punchline. It's wrong in oh so many ways...but I guffawed.

H/T Daniel Redenbach

Monday, January 04, 2010

Sons Of A Certain Age Can Spell Some Super Anarchy

Two great TV series make their Canadian debut tonight on Super Channel.

First up is the Season 2 premiere of FX's Sons of Anarchy. If you haven't seen it yet and need some Sopranos-like tee-vee crack, this gritty drama set in the biker world of southern Cali is must see, seriously. Check out a preview HERE. Season One was awesome and by all accounts Season Two is even better (yes, the second season has already aired in the U.S., but hey, what you gonna do). And furthermore, creator/showrunner Kurt Sutter has a wicked blog HERE.

And immediately following SOA is the series premiere of TNT's Men Of A Certain Age. Starring Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher, it takes a funny, and sometimes poignant, look at three friends hit hard by middle-age. Yes this series has also started airing down south, but the reviews have been great, and I strongly recommend you check it out.

Check them both Canada, only on Super Channel.