Archive for 2005
In my neverending quest to pander favour and avoid the excruciatingly numbing process of correcting QuarkXpress assignments, I’ve modified the blog flogs. Proceed with caution.
Aside from the public comments on the page-plus I posted below, several people have written privately for more. (My e-mail address is available on my profile page.)
To placate the teeming sprinkle, and to test the screenplay CSS I just installed, may I present the first bit of “Sheep’s End”.
- EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - AFTERNOON
- A man on foot and a smaller figure on a donkey travel a dirt road that cuts through a meadow.
- HAWTHORN strides with the easy pace of an experienced long-distance traveler. He wears worn leather armor of the barbarian clans of the western steppes. BREN, on the donkey, is an adult yelding, a race of little people. He's four feet of fearless ego.
- The companions travel light. The donkey packs a rolled tent, a few small bags, some rope, and a lute.
- They come to a large sign by the side of the road, which gradually climbs the ridge ahead. The sign is some sort of list, in an archaic alphabet. Hawthorn ponders it.
- Get off your ass and get over here.
- Bren slides off the donkey.
- Ho ho! You are so clever. Very funny, "my ass". Did you know I only wash my ass once a week? Ha! I try to get my ass a good rubdown once a day. Ha ha!
- Bren studies the sign.
- Can you read it?
- Of course. "Welcome to Sheep's End" and it has a list of tolls for the bridge and citizens pay half a crown, visitors pay five crowns, and elves and yeldings pay ten crowns. Ten crowns to cross a bridge? I've never been so insulted in my life!
- What about that time -
- I said I've never been so insulted in my life. Well, at least my ass is free. Although if I had two asses, I'd apparently have to pay another five crowns and - don't move!
- Hawthorn moves his hand to his sword pommel and freezes. Bren carefully removes his staff-sling from his back and loads a smooth slug from a belt pouch.
You know, that was about as much time as it took to mock up the image…. The only pitfall is that Blogger interprets the carriage returns in your layout, so you have to make everything one line – ugly in code, nice on Web.
Bonus good news:
I meet tomorrow with Robert the director for notes on the above and the subsequent 90 pages.
Elvi helped me figure out how to get Del.icio.us bookmarking links going. I did it for Alex, but why not add them here? I doubt I will get much Del.icio.us traffic, but if I do, I’ll see it.
The mildly bad news is that in the flurry of finally figuring this out, with kids banging away at games, with e-mail flying back and forth, I didn’t save a Photoshop image I spent three hours on. I DoS-attacked my own brain.
Time to shut down, catch “Corner Gas”, and then reboot.
See? Aren’t stories like this worth Del.icio.us-ing?
Through Fun Joel, I’ve learned of Michael Patrick Sullivan’s Red Right Hand blog. He’s another scribospherist.
He’s drawn my attention with his challenge to other screenwriters to post a one-page sample of work. So here’s mine. There used to be a GIF here, but the coded version looks so much nicer. (And if you pronounce GIF as “jiff”, I will slap you. Hard G, people! The G is for “Graphic”.)
This is part of the ten-page sample that so impressed Ian. Technically, it’s a bit more than a page. Sue me. The scene starts before this bit.
- INT. BANDIT CAVERNS - DAY
- OLD MAN
- Damned cave canaries. Think they're dragons. Always pooping on one's finery. Rude is what they are, I say.
- See! Cave canaries!
- Are you a wizard?
- OLD MAN
- Wizard? Pah! If I were a wizard, would I be stuck in some infernal cave, suffering a plague of cave canaries?
- (to Tesha)
- No offense, miss, wizard-wise.
- Have you occupied this cell all the while?
- OLD MAN
- I saw the hooligans lock you up.
- Why did you never call to me?
- OLD MAN
- Didn't I? Oh, I'm so sorry. I thought you were snubbing me. Now, which one of you will let me out?
- OLD MAN
- Don't bother the boy. I'm with him. I want to see you break it down.
- Bren eagerly nods in agreement. Hawthorn resigns himself to try. He kicks the door - nothing. He shoulders it - it creaks, stays put. He takes a running start and throws his weight against it - a bigger creak, but it still doesn't budge.
- A canary flies to the door and settles on a crossbar. The door groans and falls outward. Hawthorn leaps out of its way. He looks at the fallen door, grunts.
- OLD MAN (CONT'D)
- I think you must have loosened it.
- Tesha giggles. The old man steps into the hallway. The canaries follow. Some fly ahead up the tunnel.
- Do you have a name?
- OLD MAN
- Oh, I do, you know. But what is it?... No, that's not it exactly.... No.... Wait - my mommy always sewed a name tag in my clothes.
- He reaches back for a tag at the back of his collar. The canary on his shoulder flies up to avoid his reach. The old man circles like a dog chasing its tail. He grabs the tag and tugs it far enough forward to read.
- OLD MAN (CONT'D)
- Aha! Handwash!
- Welcome to our little band, Handwash.
- OLD MAN
- Thank you... Bren, was it? I never forget a name.
I just watched the trailer for “Munich”. Wow.
Maybe it’s just because I’m partial to Israeli accents. Maybe it’s that the success of “Munich” will lead to a movie about 101 Squadron.
Dreamworks SKG once upon a time optioned the first chapters of Ehud Yonay’s “No Margin for Error“, chapters that tell stories of the squadron during the Israeli War of Independence. Steven Spielberg is on record saying he’s interested in the story.
David Mamet’s script on the squadron’s first Operation Velveta (the ferrying of half a dozen beautiful Spitfires from Czechoslovakia to Israel is also floating around the industry, unoptioned as far as I know.
Old readers will understand my passion (all those links up there belong to my Web site). I don’t care if it’s my half-assed 101 Squadron screenplay (hopefully to become full-assed one day) that makes it to the screen, just as long as it does. Although, if it’s not my script, I sure would like to be a researcher on the film.
These guys are real heroes, volunteer heroes – although they hate being called heroes. Tough. Even were a production to get underway tomorrow, few of the remaining survivors would get to see it. Still, the knowledge that their story would make the silver screen (there has been one TV documentary) might be satisfying. It would be to me, but you knew that already.
GoDaddy, the registrar I use, doesn’t have an easy way for customers to submit new IP addresses; the company asks you to make the DNS change on your own host’s DNS machines.
Apparently, my own host does not maintain DNS servers.
Ergo, updates to my blog, on the server with the new IP address, weren’t showing up yet. So I’ve reverted to the old server, and if Blogger would stop choking, the last two messages and a comment would appear, as would an addition to the blogroll, Ken Levine.
On the bright side, I am wrist-deep into correcting.
If you are reading this, it means that 101squadron.com successfully transferred to the new servers I mentioned a number of weeks ago. The problem lay in the FTP config file. My extremely helpful host spotted the problem with some server admin software: the config file was not checking the “Allow overwrite” option. All is good now, and I wait for the new IP address to filter through the Net.
Let’s see, what else…. I was quiet as a mouse while reading the newspaper in the kitchen yesterday morning – quieter, perhaps, since I heard scratching noises behind the fridge. The wall behind the fridge is an exterior wall, so the noises could have been a squirrel on the roof or climbing the brick. I need to get those new traps down – oh, Elvi just told me she set one behind the TV cabinet. I’ll put another down in the kitchen.
I still haven’t corrected any assignments. I really ought to do that. I’ve taken a two-day vacation, although I have completed some short spurts of work for Alex, including notes for the latest draft of the pilot script.
I have the kids’ resumes done, and we got their school photos, which will serve nicely as head shots. All I have to do is write a cover letter and mail the package.
My back is killing me. I twisted something while scoring a goal Tuesday night. Yesterday, I had to come to a standstill while walking to school from my parked van. It’s not a constant pai, thank goodness, but it acts up. I had to ask a delicate student to carry my bag back to the van for me, but I traded that favour to her in return for a lift to the Metro.
The “job” that I found through Nearmiss, with Ian, is less paid work than working with Ian on one of his own ideas. That’s not as good as it could have been, but on the other hand is better than a dismissal.
My December is a busy one, however. I have a ton of correcting to do for my classes. I have JOUR 428/528 to design. I also have “By the Book” to outline. That’s three small sentences, but it’s easily a month’s work.
Then there are the chores I really ought to have done by now: calling Bill for the movie research work and getting my kids a theatrical agent. I have their resumes done and headshots – it’s only the cover letter to go.
Ian was gracious enough to allow me put off work with him – yes, I’ll do it for giggles, apparently – until the new year.
Sadly, NSD seems dead. I can’t even rouse an e-mail response out of the publisher. E-mail from bewildered subscribers has begun to trickle in. I don’t know what to tell them. The positive in its demise is that it frees up my time, but the bad far outweighs the good. It also lightens my pocketbook by what was a significant chunk of my income. It was the only actual writing that earned income, but I suppose I could try to rev up the freelance magazine career. I could replace the income, for sure – Reader’s Digest (Canada) is always happy to pay me loonies for my research – but the problem is replacing it with paid writing, or with editing which is what I’m much better at anyway.
Another problem is the cash NSD owes me – and the writers, but mostly to me. My last paycheck was in June, and if the last few months turn out to be gratis work – well, at least it won’t cost me thousands to find that out (but more about the accounting practices of the former Strategy First some other night).
Another project I’m nibbling at is Bioware’s Neverwinter Nights story contest. Do a good enough job on a small module and they’ll consider hiring you. On the other hand, there’s no way I’m moving to Edmonton to work for them, so I may spit out that bait.
I hate the marketing aspect of the freelance career. Serendipity is so much easier.
Elvi’s band, the Disciples of Ursula Big Band (DUBB) has a minigig Dec. 11. They have entered Emergenza, an international battle of the bands sort of thing, and so that night will only have a half-hour of stage time.
It’ll be an important half-hour, though, as a number of New York-based music execs will be in that night specifically to see DUBB.
The show is at Le Petit Cabaret, 4538 Papineau. The night’s first band starts at 7:30 p.m. DUBB is scheduled to go on at 9:30. Of course, there will be DUBB T-shirts, thongs, and CDs on sale. And beer.
The next show after this is Jan. 7 at le Petit Campus on Prince Arthur, but Elvi won’t be at that one.
The band’s music is available from the iTunes Music Store, by the way.
JOUR 202 came to a close today. I still have two classes to teach in JOUR 319 because of the vagaries of classes scheduled on Mondays.
I have signed on with the agglomeration of screenwriters to which Nearmiss recommended me. Part of the application was a ten-page screenwriting sample. I sent in a bit from Sheep’s End, from the assault on the bandit camp to the encounter with the old man. (Sound like Dungeons & Dragons? Well, if you like D&D;, you will love “Sheep’s End”. It’s what a good D&D; movie would be like. Feel free to ask to read it. It will only cost you some notes of the not-bank kind.)
Anyway, Ian the big boss guy loved it, “very impressed”, he wrote. Silver Pictures, are you listening? Ian offerred me work right away. So “By the Book” may go by the wayside. Until that’s firmed up some, I’ll continue to plot out “Book”.
Alex has graciously geared down on the work he had for me. It’s a slow period and I asked him not to look for make-work projects while I get down to my own writing. Working for him is teaching me a lot, is making me contacts, and is a blast, but it takes time away from my own writing.
Bonus Google search of the week:
The latest, greatest search to forward someone to my page is “a ten letter word that starts with e that is a part that closes the path to food to the trachea and lungs”.
This stuff cracks me up. And why the heck is someone who can’t think of “epiglottis” working on crossword puzzles?
(OK, folks – how many guessed “esophagus”? Losers! That is anatomically wrong, and only has nine letters.)