Thursday, December 13, 2012

First Reaction to the 2013 Golden Globes Nominations

Nominations for the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning and below is my first reaction.

Below are the nominees for:
Best Motion Picture, Drama
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

I've seen all except Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty, mostly because they haven't had wide releases yet, even though my film critic friends @NotherBrother have seen them both. Critics see everything :(

I won't really say which of those remaining three is my pick is because it might not be when I see the other two.

The other categories I’ve seen maybe 2 out of the 5 nominees and the television categories all my votes would just go for Modern Family and Homeland.

The only category where I've seen all the nominees is:

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Richard Gere, Arbitrage
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Daniel Day-Lewis was his usual outstanding self, very good performance in Lincoln. Richard Gere was really good in Arbitrage and one of the best things about the picture. John Hawkes in The Sessions, I didn't care for his character all that much (I know you're saying Damn! He was in an iron lung! *dankshrug*), but his performance grew on me. Very good performance. Denzel Washington gave about his best performance in years in Flight. Another very good performance. But it was Joaquin Phoenix who blew me away in The Master. The overall story in The Master was boring as hell, but Phoenix was just outstanding. A phenomenal performance.

Those are just my first reactions for I don’t even watch the Golden Globes. LOL. Even though I like to READ about them, for me it’s all about Oscar.

See the complete list of Golden Globe nominees at The Hollywood Reporter

Related Link
What I said about the Academy Awards

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Alicia Keys - Girl on Fire: Initial Impression

After listening to the album for the first time I can say I like it! The slow jams work better than the uptempo tracks, but a girl gots to branch out a little right?

My favorite track so far Tears Always Win

Read about the album Girl on Fire @ Wikipedia 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Meryl Streep Points Out Movies Geared at Women Make Huge Profits [QUOTE]

Meryl Streep, June 12, 2012 at the Women In Film Crystal + Lucy Awards

Excerpted from Entertainment Weekly’s “Tentpoles in Trouble” June 29, 2012
While presenting a prize at the Women In Film Crystal + Lucy Awards on June 12, Meryl Streep pointed out that “in the last five years, five little movies aimed at women have earned over $1.6 billion: The Help, The Iron Lady—believe it or not—Bridesmaids, Mamma Mia!, and The Devil Wears Prada…They cost a fraction of what the big tentpole failures cost…Let’s talk about The Iron Lady. It cost $14 million to make and brought in $114 million. Pure profit!
Webster's defines “tentpole” as "a big-budget movie whose earnings are expected to compensate the studio for its less profitable movies"
Alex Kurtzman (Co-writer of Star Trek, 2009) “I think those movies [tentpoles] will always be around. Because when they work, they work so well.”  

Friday, November 16, 2012

David Fincher's Kickstarter Success

The Goon Kickstarter is a Success!

November 12, 2012

The Kickstarter for The Goon is a bit of a touchy subject for some people. The ambitious campaign is now a success though some don't understand why a Kickstarter was neccessary. Why can't producer David Fincher simply write a check and it be done? Co-director Tim Miller said it best in an interview on Last Call with Carson Daly"David Fincher writing a check for $400,000 is not going to get this made. It's about getting the fans involved and showing the studios it's not just a Hollywood vanity project." The fans certainly showed up to support Frankie and The Goon as the campaign surpassed its $400,000 goal.
The purpose for the Kickstarter was for the creation of a story reel, an animated story board with voice actors, sound effects, and music added on. This story reel will span the entire film and gives potential investors for the actual movie a better idea of what Fincher and Blur studios want to make. The campaign was successfully funded yesterday with $441,900 pledged and donated by over 7500 backers, some donating as much as $10,000. The studio has broken down what will happen with the funds for the project in a graph (seen below).
Creator Eric Powell took to Twitter after the funding was reached to thank fans: "I can't tell you how much I appreciate you guys. Thanks for pushing us to do a kickstarter and thanks for pushing it! Won a major battle, Goon fans. To win the war we still have to sell the film." We certainly hope you win that war Mr. Powell.

The film would see Clancy Brown playing The Goon with Paul Giamatti as his friend Frankie. The Goon follows the adventures of a muscle-bound brawler who claims to be the primary enforcer for a feared mobster. The stories have a paranormal and comedic edge to them and concern ghosts, zombies, bog lurks, mad scientists and "skunk apes."

Friday, October 19, 2012

180 Degree Rule - Filmmaking [VIDEO]

A good break down of something that was drummed into our heads in film school.

Spike Lee: The Dolly Shot [VIDEO]

I never realized that Spike had as many 360 dolly shots as he did. Even though there are some crane shots mixed in here, great work by Richard Cruz.Watch it below

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Blue Man Group

I've been totally fascinated with this group since its appearance on the scene.Seeing them live is definitely on the Bucket List-Dankwa

How Blue Man Group Learned to See Green
Blue Man Group masked: From left, Stanton, Wink, and Goldman
By Dinah Eng
October 2, 2012

(Fortune) -- When the founders of Blue Man Group decided to get bald and blue, they had no idea that shooting goo out of their chests and teaching fractal geometry would turn into two decades of fun and a multimillion-dollar show business enterprise. Today an average of 60,000 people a week attend Blue Man Group performances in six cities around the world -- not including the touring shows -- at an average ticket price of $59, or roughly $3.54 million in revenue a week from sellouts. Co-founders Matt Goldman, 51, Phil Stanton, 52, and Chris Wink, 51, continue to write and produce the shows, perform for special events -- and have no thoughts of retiring. Their story:

Phil Stanton: I moved to New York in 1986 to study acting and pursue a career in theater. Chris was the first person I met on my first catering job. Matt and Chris had known each other since they were kids.

Matt Goldman: After college, I was a producer for Omni Resources, a software company. It was a time when punk rockers would walk by Wall Street guys in Armani suits, and neither would blink.

Stanton: We'd hold salons on Sundays with friends and started going to see performance art in town. We started to think of a show we'd like to see, and Chris came up with the idea of a bald and blue character.

Chris Wink: We were trying to create a character that was exposed and stripped down. We think of the Blue Man as being both a hero and an innocent, and baldness helps evoke both. The color blue just felt right.

Goldman: It was 1987 when we got bald and blue for the first time. We went up on the roof of our apartment to take pictures. The bald caps were $30 each, and we were freaking out about how expensive it was. We were all eating rice and beans. But we felt we had stumbled upon something very special that was bigger than us.

Stanton: We felt the '80s was a boring decade known for greed and excess, and thought it'd be fun to represent our first statement in 1988 as the "Funeral for the '80s." It was a ragtag event of several people in Central Park. We did a bonfire and got rid of icons like a Rambo doll.

Goldman: By 1989, somehow the group was just the three of us. We got on the roster with P.S. 122, a performance space, and they'd send us out to different cities.

Wink: We would work 14-hour days, then take off a week and build a show. We did all the work ourselves. There was no crew.

Stanton: Matt's software salary helped, and Chris and I put in money from catering.

Goldman: At first, everything we did was a losing proposition. People were paying $8 a ticket to see us, but it was costing us $28 a head. The joke became, Let's just hand these people $20 as they come in.

Wink: Before long, the show led to an extended run at LaMaMa [Experimental Theatre] and won an Obie Award. Before we knew it, we were at the Astor Place Theatre.

Stanton: In 1991, when we opened at the Astor, we had two producers who put up the show. They handled the rights for three years. We wanted to control our own destiny.

Goldman: We started Blue Man Productions in 1993 and started making crazy new instruments. When Phil cut his thumb on a power tool, our backup Blue Man had to make an emergency appearance on stage. For the first time, we had evidence that other people could play the Blue Man character, which had never occurred to us before. Until then, we had done 1,285 consecutive shows between November 1991 and October 1994.

Stanton: When we started to teach other people how to do the character, it was really difficult. It was so personal, because I felt like I was the Blue Man. Passing that on was hard, but it was joyous at the same time because we knew the show had to go on. We have written materials and a process for training now.

Wink: We didn't know it was a business back then. We were just pursuing what we were passionate about.

Goldman: With all we were doing, we needed a second show's worth of income to fuel it. So in 1995 we chose Boston for the next show because it was the shortest shuttle ride to another city. When we opened Boston, we weren't there all the time. A lot of people didn't read music, so we created a music template. We had to write an employee handbook because we were trying to create an organization where people treated each other with a bit more consideration than other offices. After Boston, it took on a life of its own.

Stanton: There were times we felt we were failing as a community on the way to becoming a company. One time we flew everyone to a show opening, and the next time, we couldn't do it. We wondered -- did we set up an expectation that we were no longer able to bring everyone along with us?

Goldman: Everything was a challenge. We thought if we had a third show, a three-legged stool would be the steadiest of all structures, so we opened Chicago in 1997. We found out the week before we were going to open that we would have run out of money and missed payroll. So instead of opening as planned, we opened the show a week early and started selling tickets for dress rehearsals, added shows, and made payroll.

Stanton: We have associate directors, who were among the first Blue Men after us, who do the bulk of the training. Performers aren't hired and cast until they go through a six-week program. We start with music and character work, and they have to learn different things for the show. The Blue Man character involves different modalities, like the Hero, the Group Member, the Scientist, and the Shaman. We have them occupy those modalities, and do improv, as well.

Goldman: Over the years we've diversified with shows all over the country and the world. We made an arena rock show, put out a few albums, and got into writing music for movie scores.

Stanton: Quality control is ongoing. The associate directors visit each show three times a year and have weekly contact with Blue Man captains in each city. They watch the shows and do workshops with the guys, but performers have to find their own Blue Man. All the shows are a little different. Matt, Chris, and I go around and see the shows, but not as often. When a show opens for the first time, the three of us go out. For example, for the Las Vegas show [opening Nov. 14] at the Monte Carlo, we'll be there for six weeks to tweak things.

For the most part, the three of us now concentrate on dealing with the business, working on new material, and growing the business. Chris and I don't have our own offices. We work out of a conference room. Matt has an office at the Blue School.

Wink: We have more than 140 students in the Blue School, a not-for-profit school that we started.
Goldman: We've put creativity, social-emotional learning, and choice-based learning into every aspect of every subject taught.

Stanton: We're a brand that has to diversify to get to the next level. We're looking to expand the theatrical business and go into other media. We're interested in creating a company that will go on after we're no longer on the earth. We're trying to find people in other disciplines who can understand our aesthetic. I suppose expanding our creative bandwidth is the beginning of a succession plan.

Goldman: We didn't want to be celebrities. We wanted to say something, almost as cultural sociologists.
Wink: We constantly change the show with the times. I really like trying to find the kernel of where our next piece will be. There's a sense that, even though we do silly things, there's wisdom in the fool. We still feel like young kids coming to work every day, and the spirit of the project has made us better people.

Our advice

Goldman: Know your strengths -- and weaknesses. Assess the risk, and bite off what you can chew. No one person has to have all the skill sets, but you have to hire people who have them. It's about collaboration, quiet leadership, and having fun.

Stanton: Keep talking. We've always believed in consensus, so if there's a disagreement, we talk it out until we come to an agreement.

Wink: Work together. If you can be a good collaborator, it's like having a superpower because you can connect your gifts with that of someone else. The point is to get the work done and not look out for your own celebrity or money. I stopped trying to have my own career, found some friends, and worked with them.

Unmasked: Stanton, Wink, and Goldman

This story is from the October 8, 2012 issue of Fortune.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Part One) - Mini review

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a four-issue comic book limited series comprising The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Triumphant, Hunt The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Falls, written and drawn by Frank Miller, originally published by DC Comics under the title Batman: The Dark Knight in 1986.

The Dark Knight Returns tells the story of a 55-year-old Bruce Wayne who comes out of retirement to fight crime, only to face opposition from the Gotham City police force and the United States government.

The Dark Knight Returns Part One seems to be a methodical adaptation of the comic book. I've never read the comic book, but splitting the series into two films seems wise. Nothing seems rushed and also nothing seems to drag on. It all seems systematic and tells the story in a natural fashion. Bruce Wayne doesn't immediately return as Batman as we see his thought process and reticence. It all seems natural.

Forget all that right? You want to know about the action. Well the action is really good especially the hand to hand combat scenes with Batman and his main foe. It’s like damn! [POW] [BAM] [KRAK] LOL.

Even though this is “Part One” there is a complete story here and an intriguing cliffhanger. Another really good film from the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, their 15th!

SIDE NOTE: Fans of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy will definitely notice plot details lifted from this story for his films series especially The Dark Knight Rises. The inspiration is reciprocal as you can definitely notice the Hans Zimmer (scorer of the Nolan films) influence on Christopher Drake’s score for The Dark Knight Returns

See the Wikipedia page for The Dark Knight Returns Part One (WARNING: There are spoilers in the plot description )

My review of the WHOLE Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy here

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Really Great Feature Article about 'Modern Family'

The cast of Modern Family
The pilot was ordered to series in May 2009. Rather than tease it with a minute of footage as ABC did the others at the upfront presentation, the network boldly opted to air it in full -- the first time a network had done so since NBC's ill-fated Joey. "It goes down as one of the greatest professional moments of my life," says [Steve] Levitan [Executive Producer] of the Lincoln Center screening, during which he watched a packed auditorium erupt in laughter at several points during the 22-minute pilot. 
When you know something is good, it's good! I thought that pilot of Modern Family and the subsequent season was the funniest I had seen in a while. Not surprised that a network had that much confidence because it was that good! The article linked below details what it was like to put together the show and work on the show now. A really great read for all Modern Family fans.


Inside 'Modern Family's' Billion-Dollar Winning Formula and How Season 4 Might Change Everything

The cast and creators of TV's biggest scripted hit, which recently saw a high-profile salary negotiation and has one of the least conventional writers rooms in the business, tell THR about holding onto viewers' interest and the upcoming plot changes that could cost them their ratings crown.

Read the entire article here


Monday, September 17, 2012

What is #NFOTD?

People who follow me on social networks might wonder what #nfotd means in some of my posts. Well first I’ll let you read about it from the person who created it, Cinematographer Cybel Martin
At some point during the day, I watch at least one film that I’ve never seen before. My Twitter friends know this as my #nfotd or “New Film of the Day”.  
The practice began in 2009. I was DP’ing a Bollywood inspired feature film for director, Arun Singh. He was educating me on Classic Indian/Bollywood films and recommended many films to watch. I had also befriended a ridiculously smart and visually savvy friend, Radhika Rai who gave me plenty of contemporary Indian films to watch. My exposure to and knowledge of Indian films was limited, so I promised myself to watch at least one a day. After a few weeks, I opened the practice to any film I'd not seen. The benefits of #nfotd can be another article. Briefly, they increase my visual vocabulary and options I can offer my directors. How do I find films? Netflix, Hulu, TV/Cable, the library (you can reserve DVDs), film screenings, screeners, theaters and YouTube.

Now I came across this @NotherBrother twitter account where I follow Cybel. I thought it was a clever hashtag for people like me, a filmmaker and student of cinema.

I tell people all the time I’ll watch ANY film for I’m a filmmaker and I think I can learn something from it. To that end I always seek out NEW films that I’ve never seen before. People are always surprised when I say I never saw *insert classic or highly regarded film here* “You never seen ________?” is the usual response. LOL. As hard as I try I can’t see every film and many of the ones people call “classics” I’ve never seen. So the hashtag #nfotd fits right in when I see a new film which nowadays seems to happen more than me rewatching a film.

I try to review as many films as I can. You can find my full reviews at the blogs:

I also try to post smaller more concise reviews at the movie review/info site Rotten Tomatoes here

People who follow me on Twitter will also usually get some additional on the spot commentary, but not much  during the film for I like to absorb the full experience because it is my first time ;-)

You can read the full article Cybel posted If I Am Not On Set, Do I Still Exist? How A DP Works When She’s Not Working here

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How Barack Obama Made His Fortune

Early photo of Barack and Michele Obama

has a very comprehensive article about just that. Click their logo above to read it

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wreckage and Rage: The Making of Alien³

From Digital Bits, 11-3-03
The documentary on Disc Six, now simply titled The Making of Alien³, was originally called Wreckage and Rage: The Making of Alien³. More than thirty minutes of material that was produced for this documentary was cut at the last minute. You might be wondering what difference thirty minutes could make in a three hour documentary. A big difference.

Gone now is much of the honesty and truth about the hell director David Fincher went through on the production. Among the footage lost were actual moments with Fincher on the set, where you saw his frustration and anger. You saw his struggles with producers. You heard from Sigourney [Weaver] and the other cast and crew members talking about the problems, and what a raw deal Fincher got. You even heard from the film's producers and Fox executives talking about what went wrong. Simply put, this disc was about as good a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Alien³ as you could ever hope to get, short of Fincher returning to address the production himself (and he WAS asked to do so, but declined). Unfortunately, what you get now, while it still does contain some of the above (including material that you've never seen before), it sort of teases the stuff you really want to know, then glosses by it.

UPDATED: Digital Bits 10-25-10
Wreckage and Rage, was censored by Fox back in 2003, with some 21 minutes cut prior to release - footage detailing director David Fincher's struggles and frustrations on the set. You'll be pleased to know that ALL of that lost footage been restored, making this the most complete version of the documentary to date.
THIS ^^^ restored version is the one I'm currently watching. Be prepared for an update afterwards.

UPDATE: November 20, 2012
I forgot to update this, but Wreckage and Rage: The Making of Alien³ was an excellent documentary. Throughout this extensive 2 hour and 40 minute doc you could see what kind of pressure a studio can put on a director, especially a first time one and Alien³ was David Fincher’s first studio picture.

As detailed above you do get:
honesty and truth about the hell director David Fincher went through on the production. Among the footage lost were actual moments with Fincher on the set, where you saw his frustration and anger. You saw his struggles with producers. You heard from Sigourney [Weaver] and the other cast and crew members talking about the problems, and what a raw deal Fincher got. You even heard from the film's producers and Fox executives talking about what went wrong. Simply put, this disc was about as good a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Alien³ as you could ever hope to get, short of Fincher returning to address the production himself (and he WAS asked to do so, but declined). 

In the doc you also find out that Sigourney Weaver maintained a lot more control over the story than everyone previously thought. Without revealing any spoilers, Sigourney says herself on camera that it was SHE who decided to take the Alien³ story in a different direction than what happened in Aliens (Part 2). Everyone blamed Fincher for that, but it was Sigourney.

Wreckage and Rage: The Making of Alien³ is on the fifth disc of the ALIEN ANTHOLOGY BluRay set (Pictured right) and one of the best DVD/BluRay Extras I have ever seen in its comprehensiveness. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dexter Script Update #8 - A Night In The Process


Saturday, August 11th I decided to write several scenes and tweet some photos of my progress. Below are the tweets.

Sorry there wasn't more info, but it is the Internet AKA the WORLD WIDE web. 

Click the graphic below to read all of the 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dexter Script Update #7 - The Tools


No not tools like Dexter. I do in depth  research on my scripts, but not THAT MUCH depth. LOL

Dexter and his tools

Below is a picture of my “screenwriting folder”

Like I said in previous Dexter Script updates, I do in depth research on my scripts and still very much of it is paper, even though I try to minimize that now as much as I can. Pretty much since I was in college I’ve been using that folder to keep all of my paper research. Sort of like a ritual for me that I plan to keep up as much as I can. LOL

I’ve also used a voice recorder since college too. While rewatching Season Two I took lots of audio notes and below is my tweet about it.

Before smart phones I was using it and it’s still useful. Writing is done mostly in your head as you are thinking about…anything. Often times I might be watching the news or a movie or television show and an idea might HIT me.  Instead of finding a pen and paper I record it.

These are just some of the tools, besides a computer of course, that I use to write scripts. 

Click the graphic below to read all of the 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sneaky New Marketing Tools in Hollywood

Surprise! The New, Sneaky Ways That Stars Are Promoting Products

Friday, August 17, 2012

What I Really Thought of 'Game of Thrones' Season 2

Many people online have said that Season Two isn’t as good as the first one…well I’ll join that chorus, it’s not.

It was ok, but it seemed like a lot of double dealing that went NOWHERE. The one bright spot was MORE TYRION.

Tyrion Lannister played by the great Peter Dinklage (pictured above) had more to do and that was great!

Even though Arya Stark is one of my favs, expertly played by Maisie Williams (pictured above) her storyline seemed middling too. I’m like every week is she gonna get caught? Which was the point, but I felt that her “undercover work” went on too long. It too seemed to go nowhere. 

The rest of the Stark kids were cool. Someone who was not really on the radar in Season One really stepped it up in Season Two and that was Robb Stark. Who knew he such a master warmonger. Even though we didn’t see any of them (I understand budget constraints) Robb was winning battle after battle.

I really liked Jon Snow in Season One, but again he seemed middling in Season Two.

Joffrey Baratheon, the King, is a wicked, twisted little bastard, as excellently played by Jack Gleeson (pictured above). He is young and naïve and I surmise all the young kings from actual history actually were. I hope they weren’t as big an asshole as Joffrey, but the immaturity of youth with that much power can’t be a good combination.

Daenerys and one of her dragons
Lastly I must mention the whole Daenerys Targaryen or as she is called the Khaleesi, stuff. Daenerys and her damned dragons. Ugh. I assume the dragons play a huge part in later seasons and such, but at this point I could give a damn.

Emilia Clark in makeup as Daenerys (right) and not (left)
The actor Emilia Clarke does a well enough job, but I don’t think she projects the strength, fortitude and gravitas the role seems to require. I wasn’t a fan of the Khaleesi even in Season One.

As in Season One the penultimate episode of the season, Season 2’s “Blackwater” was the best. It finally showed a major battle and gave Tyrion a chance to shine.
Tyrion in "Blackwater"
If I didn’t mention anyone else from Season 2 they probably weren’t a real factor to me. The whole season seemed like one big long setup for events that I assume will play out in later seasons. The Season 2 Finale ending was intriguing, but was more of a shrug to me. Hopefully Season Three will pay off a lot of the storylines presented in Season Two.

The Rights Stuff

I love to read about the business of show business. Below is an article depicting who has the rights to tell certain stories, specifically Marvel stories.

'Daredevil' falling back to Marvel
No extension for Fox; Carnahan's take 'up in smoke'
By Rachel Abrams, Variety

With its extension request rejected, 20th Century Fox will have no choice but to allow the rights to "Daredevil" to go back to Marvel, marking the second major character to revert back to the superhero shingle since Disney bought it in 2009.

Under the current terms of the agreement, Fox has to put the pic into production by Oct. 10. But late Monday night, Joe Carnahan, Fox's pick to direct the film, indicated that the actioner wasn't happening at the studio.

"Think my idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids," Carnahan tweeted, followed by "We shall see. Time is NOT on anyone's side."

Marvel will regain control of the character sometime after the October deadline passes, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

The Punisher, which had been at Lionsgate, marked the first character to revert to Marvel since its 2009 sale to Disney. The Mouse House cannot exploit characters including Spider-Man, Venom, Ghost Rider, the X-Men, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer, Elektra and Deadpool because the those characters were already licensed to other studios. Rights-holders that can prove films are in active development retain those rights in perpetuity.

Marvel began fully financing its own slate of projects in 2005, beginning with "The Incredible Hulk" and "Iron Man." Before that, Marvel licensed its characters out to other studios, with vampire hunter Blade the first to get the bigscreen treatment by New Line in 1998.

Marvel licensed Spider-Man to Sony in 1999, while Thor had once been set up at Sony before Paramount picked up the rights in 2006.

As John Couture at VideoETA points out "The studios that option these rights own them in perpetuity as long as they prove that they have a film in production every so many years. This is the primary reason that Sony rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man, so that the rights to the character would not revert back to Marvel."

"As proof of concept (and awesomeness) Carnahan turned to Twitter and YouTube to show off two sizzle reels that he created. (For Daredevil) They are both very similar, but the NC-17 version contains a lot more violence and really shows the dark places Carnahan was set to take this character." Read the full VideoETA with VIDEO here

Even though Joe Carnahan is not going to make the picture with Fox he didn't develop the picture for free. I'm sure he got a nice "development deal" sum to develop the Daredevil picture. I don't have any citation to back that up, but those type of deals are "par the course" in the Hollywood. Of course they hope your work is realized, but if it doesn't you still get paid.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dexter Script Update # 6 - The Write Path

Actually wrote some of the Dexter Script tonight and that's why I actually started WRITING instead of taking notes and thinking about it.

As I was writing I thought of a new plot beat. In writing you can't preplan everything, you have to sometimes write where the characters take you and that’s when you find the “write” path.

Click the graphic below to read all of the 

Dexter Script Update #5 - In The Interim


Yesterday I finished rewatching Dexter Season Two and even though I've seen it before it was STILL great.

After seeing the first five seasons of Dexter, Season Two is my favorite and that's why I chose to place the plot of my spec teleplay AFTER Season Two and BEFORE Season Three which ironically is my least favorite.

I plan on following up on certain innocuous plot threads from Season Two and use them as a character beats in my "DexterScript".
Scene from Dexter Season Two
I chose to set the events of my episode in this Season Two/Season Three interim because I think that's when Dexter was still at his most "inhuman" and he wasn't encumbered by his personal relationships that developed over later seasons. I also think it’s cool to write my own small sequel to my favorite season.

Click the graphic below to see all of the 

Read what I said about Dexter's first five seasons here

Cool Trivia About 'Dog Day Afternoon' or Why Al Pacino is So Awesome!

Last weekend was the first time I'd ever seen Dog Day Afternoon (Don't judge me!) and this is what I said after viewing it.

#nfotd #DogDayAfternoon was excellent! The classic everyone says it is! Great
direction by SIDNEY LUMET & excellent performances by the WHOLE cast with
another especially outstanding performance by the one and only AL PACINO

Also my usual modus operandi after I see a movie I like is to read more about it on Wikipedia and IMDb (the Internet Movie Database) Below is some of the trivia I found about Dog Day Afternoon and on some my comments in red.
The original working title was "Boys in the Bank." Director Sidney Lumet hated it because he thought it made the film appear to be a "light, fluffy comedy," and he had it changed to "Dog Day Afternoon." I think that was the right move! That original title did make it seem like a "light, fluffy comedy"
The entire film is mostly improvised, though around the script. After rehearsing the script for weeks with his cast, Sidney Lumet took the improvisations that were made while rehearsing and made that the official screenplay. Excellent choice by Lumet. Really lent itself to the spirit of the picture.
Director of photography Victor J. Kemper stuck with practical lighting for most of the film, relying on the fluorescents inside the bank. Too cool! Great choice and it lent the proper aesthetic to those scenes.
Although he had initially agreed to play the part of Sonny, Al Pacino told Sidney Lumet near the start of production that he couldn't play it. Pacino had just completed production on "The Godfather: Part II" and was physically exhausted and depressed after the shoot. With his reliance on the Method, Pacino didn't relish the thought of working himself up to a state of near hysteria every day. Lumet unhappily accepted the actor's decision and dispatched the script to Dustin Hoffman. Pacino changed his mind when he heard that his rival was in the fray. An example of true artistic dedication. In hip-hop lingo he goes H*A*M.
Halfway through the production, Al Pacino collapsed from exhaustion and had to be hospitalized for a short time. After production was completed, he decided to stop doing films for a while and return to stage work. Again, dedication!
John Cazale was cast at Al Pacino's insistence, despite being nowhere the age of the real Sal, who was 18 at the time. Sidney Lumet was opposed to the idea because the actor was clearly inappropriate for the part. However, when Cazale came in to read for the part, Lumet was sold on him within 5 minutes. Another reason why Al Pacino is so awesome!
John Cazale in Dog Day Afternoon

Again I thought this was an excellent choice. I had only seen Cazale as “Fredo” in the Godfather pictures and while clearly an actor it was good to see this other side of his acting talent. Cazale’s “Sal” was brooding and menacing a 180 degree turn and clear departure from the inept Fredo.
John Cazale in The Godfather Part II
 “During his six-year film career, he appeared in five films, each of which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter. He is the only actor to have this multi-film distinction.”-Wikipedia
 Dying of Cancer just three short years after 'Dog Day', it was good to see another aspect of a fantastic actor.

For the lengthy phone conversation between Sonny and Leon - largely improvised by Al Pacino and Chris Sarandon - director Sidney Lumet was faced with the problem of what to do when the film in the camera ran out as it was only good for 10 minutes worth of film. He solved that problem by starting a second camera up just as the first was due to finish.
Chris Sarandon in Dog Day Afternoon
Sidney Lumet made Al Pacino do the phone conversation with Leon a second time even though his first take was perfect. Lumet's reasoning was because he saw how much the scene took out of his actor and he wanted Pacino to look exhausted, as the character had been holed up in a bank, and a highly stressful situation, all day. I didn't even recognize Chris Sarandon in this. Excellent performance! He was a damn mess! That phone conversation was one of the great scenes in the picture. So beautifully acted.
Frank Pierson wrote the screenplay. At one point Al Pacino's character says to one of the bank tellers, "Get your mind right." The same line was constantly used throughout "Cool Hand Luke", a movie also written by Pierson. I always thought "get your mind right" had its etymology in the black community. LOL
The production shoot lasted 7 weeks with crews and cast working day and night. Due to director Sidney Lumet's speedy style of working, the film was completed 3 weeks ahead of schedule. An attribute to a great director!

In the end one of the great things I liked about this picture’s great direction was that it was just that—great direction. No fancy fast cuts or wildly revolving camera angles. I don’t even think it had dolly shots and such that I can think of and if it did it was kept to a minimum. Again bang-up directing job by Sidney Lumet, but ultimately the success of this picture was…

External Link
You can read more IMDb Trivia: Dog Day Afternoon @

Dexter Script Update #4 - No Breaks


I realized this morning that Dexter is my first teleplay that I've written, and there have been many, that is NOT a network show, meaning I don't have to worry about commercial breaks.

When you write a spec teleplay for network television you must keep in mind "mini cliffhangers" to keep the viewer coming back after the commercial break. For instance on an episode of Law & Order the suspect is usually finally arrested after a lot of evidence has been gathered. "You have the right to remain silent..." commercial break...then you see the further development of the case.

For Dexter none of that matters as it's for cable television and runs straight through for 50 minutes or so (commercial television only allows for a 44 minute episode).

There must still be the usual plot points and story beats, but I find the freedom of writing a teleplay without the constraints of commercial break dictated mini cliffhangers refreshing.

Click the graphic below to see all of the 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dexter Script Update #3 - Quotes & Tweets

The people who follow me on Twitter that I've been updating my random thoughts as I develop the spec teleplay for the show Dexter. Below is just a tad of what I've been tweeting.

July 2, 2012
I found this quote via Twitter last weekend and LMAO. It is perfect as I continue to formulate ideas for the Dexter Script.
I have also been doing major work on the background for Dexter's antagonist for the story. 

Fans of the show know that Dexter does not kill with reckless abandon, he lives by a "code" and does his own investigation to determine the guilty before he delivers his own brand of justice.  Having a predetermined extensive background on the antagonist will make it easier to incorporate those facets into the script. Otherwise I would have to stop the flow of dialogue and think of those aspects as I write. 

So far the script development is chugging right along and I'm thinking of new ideas daily.

Click the graphic below to see ALL of my

Friday, July 27, 2012

How Spike Lee Discovered Music Artist Judith Hill

MOVIES: Spike Lee Makes Musical Discovery for 'Red Hook Summer'
Dan Hyman, Rolling Stone
January 20, 2012

Last August, just five months shy of the world premiere of his latest film, Red Hook Summer, Spike Lee belatedly discovered its musical centerpiece. While attending a Michael Jackson tribute concert at Los Angeles' W Hotel, the acclaimed director was stunned by a performance from Judith Hill (pictured above) , a young, unsigned artist who had been slated as a backup singer for the late pop star's This Is It world tour. After Jackson's death, Hill made waves with her stirring rendition of "Heal The World" at the singer's 2009 memorial service.

Lee was quick to approach Hill backstage after the show. "If you've got any music to submit, I've got this movie coming up," Hill recalls the director telling her. Says Lee of the classically trained musician he cast as the signature artist in his new film, "She's a phenomenal talent. She can sing with the best of them."

Ten of Hill's songs, mostly soulful ballads, are featured in Red Hook Summer, one of several music-centric films premiering this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The film, which Lee is calling the fifth installment in his "ongoing chronicle of Brooklyn," is spiritual: It tells the story of Filk, a young Atlanta boy whose mother leaves him for the summer with his God-fearing preacher grandfather in Brooklyn's Red Hook housing project. Lee felt it essential that the songs he chose for the film, as well as its score, live up to its heavenly aura.

To that end, he enlisted longtime friend and collaborator Bruce Hornsby, who'd previously scored the director's 2009 ESPN documentary Kobe Doin' Work, to create "very stark" background instrumentals. "There's no strings, no orchestration," Hornsby tells Rolling Stone, describing his scoring for the film. "No dressing up. It's just very bare-bones piano."

Hornsby and Lee met twenty years ago through jazz great Branford Marsalis; Hornsby's music is featured in Lee's 1995 film Clockers and 2000's Bamboozled. The pianist, most famous for his 1986 single "The Way It Is," has otherwise turned down several opportunities to score films over his career. "I've been really selective about who I've worked with in every area of music," he says. "But I know I would always do it for [Spike]."

Much of the anticipation surrounding Red Hook Summer stems from how little about the film is actually known. Until the director sent out a cryptic tweet on the first day of shooting last summer, he'd kept an airtight lid on any news surrounding the production. "That was done on purpose!" Lee says now, with a menacing cackle. And how did he keep things so quiet amid today's know-it-all blogosphere? "We've got baseball bats," he deadpans, before specifying: "Willie Mays and Hank Aaron Louisville Slugger bats."

One nugget that did cause chatter, however, was Lee's confirmation that Mookie, the Sal's Famous pizza delivery boy who first appeared in his 1989 classic Do The Right Thing, would be making a reappearance in Red Hook Summer. But the director is quick to downplay the character's role in the film, noting that many of his previous Brooklyn-based films have used recurring characters. "When the pizzas were delivered to the hostages in Inside Man, it was from Sal's Famous Pizza," Lee says. "The two cops who murdered Ray Raheim in Do The Right Thing, they reappear in Jungle Fever, and they also reappear in Clockers. These [films] evolve and keep on going and interact." (It's actually "Radio Raheem" NOT "Ray Raheim"—Dankwa)

When Red Hook Summer premieres this weekend at Sundance, Lee is making sure all of its key musical players are on hand to celebrate. He's flying out Hill and her band to play at an after-party, and Hornsby will also be in attendance. Lee is hoping they'll get the opportunity to jam together. "I've been rehearsing my band," Hill says excitedly. "We're getting ready for it."

Sundance, says Lee, "is gonna be the place to be. We have a party at night and then after that we just party with the DJs till four in the morning."

LISTEN to Desperation at Rolling Stone by clicking the icon below

Check out her Official Website 

I first heard this song when I watched the promo below for Red Hook Summer and I instantly liked it. When Desperation came out on July 17, 2012 I bought it to support the artist. 


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Post Script
I’ve been fortunate enough to know my own musical discovery.I’ve been friends with superdope music artist Reina Williams  for years and I was fortunate enough to direct her first music video (that’s me and her pictured below on the set of the video).

Her work has already been on a lot of film/TV shows, but I would like to one day FEATURE her a la how Spike Lee featured Judith Hill for the soundtrack for his feature film. One day