Jun 29, 2006

Wonderous Discovery

I recently find that I am frequently talking to myself, just slightly aloud, just slightly under my breath. Sometimes, I just mouth the words. This is clearly the beginning of my unraveling. I'm a really, really excited about it.

Jun 28, 2006

Too Much in the Midst of It

I wonder if I'd be happier if I wrote more. I wonder if I'd write more if I ate more. I wonder if I'd weigh less if I exercised more. I wonder if I'd have more energy if I exercised more. I wonder if I'd write more if I had more energy. I wonder if I'd be happier if I wrote more.

The boredom of work is exhausting me. I can't focus in the face of all that tedium and distraction, mixed in such perfect balance.

I went to the free 11:00PM improv comedy jam at the UCB Theater on Monday. Mel, from work, was there, and he got called on stage to perform. Robin Williams was also there, and he was on stage, improvising ridiculously with folks from the neighborhood. It was the most fun I've had in a long time.

Jun 25, 2006


I am worn down to the nub. And shortly, it will be two years since I've been in a romantic relationship.

Jun 21, 2006

What Makes People Change?

I've been thinking about the moment in every story when the hero makes either a life-altering decision, or has a life-altering realization, or both. The epiphany that allows the hero to change, or motivates them to remain steadfast against the temptation to surrender.

Again and again, I find myself dissatisfied with these moments in the stories I tell (and elsewhere). Again and again, I find myself working and reworking and reworking this moment. And I've been thinking, I've been realizing: the more real I am able to make the characters, the more alive, the more difficult it becomes to believe that they'd change, or have a realization that strong, all in a fictionalized, focused moment. Perhaps I do not believe that people have these realizations. Perhaps I too often doubt that people make these hard choices while the time is still ripe.

Yet, I refuse to be that cynical. It does not sit well with me, and not only because it would trap my work in art houses, at best, and I want to reach a wide range of people, not just intellectuals and movie buffs. I want to believe that people can, and do, make these decisions, do have these realizations, can have these moments where they take charge of fate. I want to believe that I have them myself, and may have another someday. I want to believe that I am here because of such moments. But they are so hard to recognize, so hard to dramatize -- without falling back on formula, without simply fullfilling accepted plot expectations.

I beleive my mind will be focused on these moments for some time. Perhaps from now on. They are the atoms. It is obvious. It is no revelation. All must come from them. I feel it. I feel it like a thorn in my mind. A nagging problem to be solved. A place to find another piece of myself as a storyteller and a person. What is my answer to the question: "What Makes People Change?"

What will make people change? What will motivate people question their reality and answer their dreams, or question their dreams and answer to reality? Where do these realizations come from? Where does the bravery to change come from? How can those small moments be condensed, focused, and dramatized into a single, powerful movement? A moment with a hero, an inspiration. A moment with a real person, doing the extraordinary? How do I believe that happens?

I don't have the answer. But having seized on the question is exciting.

Jun 18, 2006

Between Gears, But Still Moving

I've gotten a good bit done over the last week or so.

I finished a revision of Zaniness Ensues, my blog codename for the short that I intend to film, my big plan to break in as a writer/director, and I'm pretty happy with it. The old crew seems to approve, and the guys at work also approved, which was a surprise and a relief. I feel very good about it, and as a thank-you, I spent too much time today working on a "Paul Giamatti War Machine" animation.

I also finished another segment of the Just Us League Behind the Scenes, though I'm still waiting on interview footage of Benni and Shaun, and also Shaun's brother's video footage. I'm hoping it will fill out the early parts of the day, where I have gaps.

While laying around, I worked out a few kinks in my mental outline for the feature-length version of Zaniness Ensues. It will tap into some experiences of my own, and give the story a nice twist.

Structurally, I've been thinking a lot about ten-minute segments...

Since it will be part of a plan to get myself an agent, I hope I'll have the will and motivation to actually complete this feature, the first I've started from scratch in more than a year. My progress on Ladies & Gentlemen has been stalled by a sense of futility, which may be accurate. The same sense stopped Burying Amelia Waverly about six months ago, immediately following the failed revision of Storybook Park, whose failure had Gordy Hoffman telling me to make something marketable, which gave birth to Zaniness Ensues.

It seems that my productivity relies on the project fitting into some sort of larger plan. This is not romantic, but probably for the best.

I could have gotten more done this weekend, and more done today in particular, but have felt rather sluggish. I saw Nacho Libre yesterday, which wasn't bad, but hasn't left much of a lasting impression on me. I spent the rest of the day on Behind the Scenes editing and uploading. I await feedback. I also bought a new set of speakers for my computer, so that I can finally hear what I'm listening to. Thus, I spent too much of today listening to "News from Lake Wobegon." Laying around. Feeling stuck between gears.

I should have started work on the Just Us League website, but didn't want to get caught up in that big of a project. Such things swallow me whole, make a day vanish in a snap, and I needed rest. Thinking room. Being productive means getting sick of sitting at the computer. So, I made several visits to my bed. I had pleasant, dirty dreams. I failed to do my laundry. I ate hamburgers and hot-dogs, smoked cloves and drank beer. I trimmed my bangs and walked the dog. I reflected in my live journal, dreaded going to work, took a benedryl, and went to bed.

Jun 9, 2006

Time and Thought

Our new short film (J.U.L) is up and running at the dvxuser.com contest, HeroFest. Embarrassingly, the forum discussion about it has been consuming more of my time and thought than it should. Which is to say, it's gotten some time and thought. It doesn't deserve any at all.

Meanwhile, I've been editing the Behind the Scenes footage for the same, and it's been going slowly. Yes, it's all digitized, which is an achievement. But I've only got about a minute of edited footage, and I'm still waiting on a tape from Shaun's brother. I must be patient. I don't want to go too far before I've seen the footage available on that tape. My method doesn't easily allow for last-minute entries. Things get too tightly interwoven to easily revise.

Which is similar to the problem with Zaniness Ensues. Apparently, an inherent problem of the fast-moving, interwoven style that I like so much. A problem I'm going to have to teach myself to solve.

And that's where most of my time and thought has gone of late. Struggling unsuccessfully with the script for our next short, the one I'll direct, Zaniness Ensues. I think it's quite good, and it has the potential to be a real crowd pleaser. Plus, it's well without our budgetary constraints. We can do it right.

But I'm just not satisified with the ending. I've been writing, tinkering, stressing, pondering, relaxing, but still no real breakthrough. The final movement just doesn't live up to the rest of the script, and it's got to exceed it. I need it to go somewhere unexpected. I need it to hit home. I've got to nail it. And I haven't yet.

So that will be my weekend. Editing footage and rewriting against a vast unsolved problem.

Jun 3, 2006

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

All I can say about today is: it's hot. And tomorrow it might get up several degrees above 100. And, in no way unrelated, I saw "An Unconvenient Truth" today. If you haven't seen it, go. Take everyone you know. Where there justice, this movie would be number one in the world. Then again, if there were justice, the movie would be unnecessary, stating facts that everyone already knows.

Despite the heat, I was able to capture more than two-thirds of the Behind the Scenes footage for Just Us League. Unfortunately, it's going to need more to make something coherent. But that's something to worry about tomorrow.

Tonight, I see if I can sleep without turning on the A/C.