Sunday, August 21, 2005

Liars and psychopaths...

I belong to a web community of screenwriters. Amateur screenwriters to be precise. (You can check it out at The purpose of the site is to allow aspiring screenwriters to upload their finished screenplays and for aspiring filmmakers to upload their short films. Then, the site submits them, randomly, for peer review. Basically, it's free coverage! You review scripts/films, and then you get your stuff reviewed. It's the old "you scratch my back, I scratch yours" dealio. Pretty simple, right? Apparently, not to some people.

When you sign onto the site, you're required to agree to certain rules of conduct. Which includes certain things very similar to the Ten Commandments. Common sense things like, oh, I dunno... thou shall not steal other peoples' scripts, thou shall not bear false witness, just little stuff like that... in other words you promise to behave like a decent human being. Some people just don't seem to "get" this concept.

For instance, this guy showed up on the message board the other day, claiming to work at CAA, and spouting off about what you need to do to "make it" in Hollywood. Basically, he had this really stupid Eddie Haskell like scheme involving major suckage applied to whatever derriere you could get your lips close too. So, after a buncha "Shut up and siddown, you're an ass" posts in response, we all find out (to no one's real surprise) the guy's a fake. OK. Fine. You're an idiot. We knew that already. Buh bye.

What did this get him to use these multiple accounts and pretend to be someone he's not? Beats the hell outta me, I ain't a psychopath. Why would someone do this sort of thing? I dunno. I don't DO stupid shit like that. It'll get you banned faster than you can SAY "Banned." Plus, you know what? We talk about your dumb ass after you've been kicked off the site. Yes, yes, we do. And, uh, no, it's NOT good things. No one is defending your lying ass. We have no sympathy. You don't deserve it.

Sometimes people will come onto the message boards and challenge the system. Most of the time, those kinds of challenges are dealt with professionally and politely by the mods, and often times, the site owner (a partner of Kevin Spacey's by the name of Dana Brunetti) will come onto the boards, chit chat with them, find out what the dealio is and make a decision. His decision is FINAL. After all, it's his site, he owns it, what he says goes. Thems the rules. Most of the time, everybody's cool and life goes on in an amiable kinda way. Sometimes, a member will blow a tire and go completely off track. If they act up too badly, they're usually suspended, after a warning or five. (They're MUCH more patient than I would be, trust me.) There have been cases in which some hot head spouted off, got suspended and then made his/her peace with the powers-that-be and was allowed back onto the site. Hell, one of them was even a mod for a while.

Lately, however, there seems to be people who INSIST on coming back onto the website using another alias without patching things up first. (Sometimes they use multiple aliases in that instance too... wierd, I know!) Now, you'd think that might be all hunky dory, since YOU ain't pissed any more, but you know what? It ain't. Act like your Momma and Daddy raise you to be something besides a lying dog and apologize for your bad behavior. After all, you didn't get suspended 'cause you were being an absolute angel, did ya?

Besides, you're gonna get caught. You're not special. Others have been caught and you will too. All those who think that, in today's society, a HUGE website like that is not going to be able to track which city you are logging into their site from, along with which ISP you're using, PLEASE raise your hands. I'll wait.



Yeah, that's what I thought.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The things you can overhear (or even partake in)...

You can't make this stuff up. (ok, may you can but I can't.) So, I'm at the gay boy's bar a few weekends ago, hanging with my best friend Dave. We're idly looking at what eye candy is available. We both know the other one's tastes and we'll point out someone we think the other will like.

As I scan the bar I saw this guy come in. Fit Dave's tastes to a T! So, I elbow Dave and the conversation goes like this...

Hey. Look at him.

Oh, yeah. I know him.

You do?

Yeah, he works out at my gym.

Really? What's his name?



Friday, August 12, 2005

Talk to me, baby...

I adore how people talk. Deliciously delectable morsels of dialogue that drop, ever so casually, from a stranger's lips can make me salivate. Most people, since they are not writers, don't know when they've said something that I'm drooling over and will probably try to use in my work. A joke, an unintentional blunder (think mega pickles), a particularly eloquent declaration of aggression, or lust, or even... love, they've all moved me. Ah, the power of words. As a screenwriter, the spoken word (as written by us) is one of the most important tools we have in telling our tale. Since I can't come up with all the various ways people talk to each other, voices in my head not withstanding, I consciously eavesdrop. No, I'm not placing bugs or anything. (No need to alert the Feds!) But, if you happen to be standing in front of me at the grocers, talking to your friend, you can bet the crumpled 20 you're holding that I'm listening. Not so much to the things you are talking about but for the delivery, the flow of conversation, or even that little morsel of conversational chocolate. Sometimes, my friends will deliver that perfect little tidbit and not even be aware of it. But, as a writer, I am. Boy, am I ever.

How about y'all?

Monday, August 08, 2005

"“Yipee-ki-yea, mother-fucker"

Yeah, Bruce Willis said it first. BUT. It took a screenwriter to write the words so ol' Brucie baby would know what his character says. So, this post is for all of you who look askance at an aspiring screenwriter, those who say things like "Are ya SURE ya can do something like that?" Or.. "Seems like a buncha work to me." Or, the ever popular "Really? I didn't know you could write." Well, you know what? I can. I can write just fine, fuck you very much. And, I have independent corroboration of that. Just got it in my email today. See, I sent out a short script, as a writing sample, it took what felt like an eternity for the producer dude to read. BUT. It was worth the wait, cause I got the sweetest email from him today. It said, in part, "I liked your script- good pacing, good feel for characters, genuine feeling dialogue." and "I liked what you do."

Music to a screenwriter's ears. Manna from heaven for a writer's starving soul. a reminder to all those chasing down their own dreams... never stop working to make your dreams come true, and when you get the bogus "support" just mumble under your breath. "Yipee-ki-yea, mother-fucker"”

Tha goes to ALL you half hearted "supporters" out there.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mega pickles...

A few days after the E-Bay fiasco, Bob got his camera. When he was showing it to me, he enthusiastically pointed to the front of it and blurted out "Look, it's got 4 mega pickles!" Now I know, and he knew, and you know he meant mega pixels, but that was soooo cute, I now call it "mega pickles" too. Every time I see a camera boasting of it's capabilities, I convert it to " mega pickles" in my head. It makes me smile, just like Bob did.

The day E-Bay saved Bob's ass...

One day, a couple of years ago, I got a frantic call from Bob. It went something like this:

ME: Hello?
BOB: Help me!
ME: With what?
BOB: I think I just bought 14 digital cameras off E-Bay!
ME: What!? How'd that happen?
BOB: I dunno! Help me! It's over Fifteen Hundred bucks!
ME: Well, what am I supposed to do?
BOB: I dunno! Just get here!

Throw the phone on hook,

explain to the dog that Uncle Bob is in no shape to play with her so she'd best behave,

jump in the car,

careen over to his place to find him damn near in tears

ME: Ok, now what?
BOB: I dunno! I tried emailing them but I can't find an email address!
ME: Got a phone number?
BOB: NO! That's why I called YOU.
ME: Whaddya think I'm gonna be able to do?
BOB: I dunno, just DO something

After much frantic searching on the internet, calls to 411 and I-800 info, we discover there's literally no way to contact E-Bay! None. I thought he was going to cry. Until. E-Bay called HIM.

E-Bay: Mr. XXXX, are you sure you want to buy 14 of the exact same digital cameras?
BOB: Oh, there is a God, thank you, thank you, thank you. NO! I don't want all of them. I just want ONE.
E-Bay : Very well, sir, we'll take those charges off.

Moral of the story? Don't be so damned impatient. Click the "BUY IT" button once. Then wait. Or else you're stuck with what you order. Unless, you click it so many times even THEY get the idea something is wrong.