I be a good righter.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Phase 2

Oh hey.

Anyone still here?


It's just me?  Okay.  Then here we go:

I'm mid-cycle.  The same things happen every time I write a script.  No matter what I do to try to stop the inevitable, it always happens.  And I'm at that point.  So, instead of dwelling on it, I thought I'd tell, well, me, I guess, about it.

It starts simply enough.  An idea.  An idea that is so impossibly great, it's going to result in not just bidding wars but potentially actually wars.  Like, Pakistan will find out about it and bust out their nukes just so they can make it.  I am just that brilliant.

So, I'll start writing.  Notecards, outlining -- there will be some sort of organization.  If there's research to be done, I'll lose myself, lose sleep, lose my mind trying to find out everything there is to know about the subject.  My desk, my coffee table, any given surface will be covered in research.  My computer will be clogged up with many links to random websites.  Books will be purchased, borrowed, stolen.  People will be called, be it the FBI, former Aryans, current princesses.  If I can get a hold of them, I will.

Notes will be taken.  SO MANY NOTES.




If it's a X Show meets Y show kind of idea, I'll watch hours of X show and Y show.

Then I outline.  Or sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I'm too excited, so I just get straight into writing it.  I'm well-versed in "techno babble".  I'm a genius at placeholders, be it names, locations, or full on scenes.

I just need to get it out of my brain and onto the page.

During this time, there is a lot of back patting.  "OMG, BooM, that is GENIUS."  Perhaps I'll tell folks about this great scene I just wrote.  Perhaps I'll keep my genius to myself, after all, soon the script will be written, and then SO MANY PEOPLE will be patting my back for me.

Forget that it's a spec pilot, it's bound to sell.  Even though that's not how it works.  It's so brilliant, that I will become the exception to the writing sample rule.  Forget that it's a spec of an existing show.  It's so brilliant, the creators will get hold of it, and not only want to turn it into an episode, they'll want to hire me as the new EP and air my ep during sweeps.  In fact, the show I've specced is probably on the bubble, but due to my genius, it becomes the Hail Mary pass that works.  And the Network will give the show three more seasons, because of my episode.

So, I'm writing this masterpiece.  And there will be a moment where I realize that there's an errant piece of yarn in one of the scenes.  So, I'll pull it.  This is one of those pieces of yarn that, no matter how detailed my outline, how well I've thought it out, it inevitably shows up.  So I pick at it.  And it begins to unravel the script.

Or maybe I've not been as detailed as I need to be, and I've put in one of those placeholder scenes, and I've realized I have no idea what goes there.  That it needs to be there, but putting anything there will change everything.

Or maybe it's just that I'm tired, and my brain is overworked.

Whatever it is, I get to phase two of the writing.  Where everything sucks.  The whole script sucks.  My writing sucks.  I'll tend to look at other scripts I've written during this time, and realize, yes, all these years I've been a hack.  That I should quit now, and save myself, my brain, and go into teaching mathematics or become a plumber -- at this point, I've realized I've bothered so many people to read the shit I've produced, that it seems karmically sound, as an idea, to clean up other people's shit.

There have been scripts that have been abandoned during this phase.  Where I realized the idea is the problem, and it will never be fixed.  There are scripts where I've persevered, and gotten to the next phase.

Finishing it.  Not so that it's completely done.  But so that it's something that is a somewhat cohesive draft.  Not quite the vomit draft, not really a first draft.  If I can push through and get to here, and have no bolded paragraphs or sentences (the way I indicate placeholder scenes/names/etc), I'm in pretty good shape.  Even if I'm still in hating mode.  If I make it through phase three, I'm golden.  Because then it's all about rewriting, tweaking, making.

Phase two is where I happen to be right now.  I'm a fucking ball of insecurity.  I am the worst writer to have ever walked this planet.  Basically, I should just be shot and put out of my misery.

What's weird though, something different is happening this time.  This idea is still the best I've ever had.  But, I feel certain that others are having the same idea across this fair city of ours.  So, I've figured out a really cool way to do it, I think.  I've reached out to writers I admire, because I believe so much in this concept, to help me get through this phase.  Thus far, across the board, people think it's a stellar concept.  I don't think producers will be beating down my door to buy it (as I thought two weeks ago upon the idea's inception).  But I think it's a solid concept that might garner me some meetings.

I'm taking a moment away from it, because I love it so much, that I'm willing to write a stupid blog post so that I can distract my brain from it for a moment and get back to it with fresh eyes.  Prior to this, if I was trying to finish it, I'd just push through, hating it and myself all the while.

It's tough to teach an old dog new tricks, I've heard.  I'm kinda jazzed about learning that I can interfere with my fucked up brain, and learn a newer, kinder way to deal with what I'm sure is normal writer fuckedupedness.

And putting it down here, these new tricks, have also helped me to feel a little invigorated.  To the point that I'm going to attempt to do a trick that the genius that is Jane Espenson does all the time:  A writing sprint.  For 60 minutes.  No stopping, no distractions, no phone, no interwebz, no TV, no self-doubt, no editing, no nothing.  Words on pages.  That's it.

Maybe I'll still hate it at the end of the hour.  Maybe I'll start to love it again.  Or me.  Or both.  Maybe I'll just go grab some pie, because pie makes everything better.

I won't know until the 60 minutes are over though, so...



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Girls! Girls! Girls!

So.  I watch "Girls."  Usually a couple of days after it's aired.  It's not my go-to show.  It's pretty much last on the list, actually.  And I'm not sure why I've stuck with it, other than I've been too lazy or too forgetful to take it out of my DVR.

There's also the small hope that a show will turn the corner, and capture some small piece of my heart.  It's been bleak days though.  Which has nothing to do with the show, and everything to do with the fact that the media at large is debating whether or not this show is an illustration of New Feminism.

It.  Is.  Not.

I mean, the show feels like it should be.  Like everyone who watches it should nod their head and be like, "YES! THIS IS WHAT IT'S LIKE!"

You know what?  It is what it's like.  I've had the long-term boyfriend who was just so fucking nice.  He was the best boyfriend anyone could've asked for.  Caring, attentive, vulnerable...  It was AWFUL.  Like, frillz.

I know.  I'm a dick.  But, you know what?  Most chicks are.  And "Girls" endeavors to show this kind of relationship.  Because it is real.  And, frankly, it's uncomfortable seeing it on screen.

I've also been the girl who's dated the guy who clearly just wanted to have "fun."  Well, clear to everyone else but me.  My friends would try to talk sense into me, and instead of listening to them, I'd cling to some vague sentence he'd said months ago, postcoitally and potentially drunk.   This is real life for a lot of women.  And it's what Hannah's going through on the show.  And it sucks to watch it on screen, because when it's not you?  You just want to punch the person going through it.  Never really remembering that you've been that idiot, too.  Cuz who the fuck wants to remember those moments?

These are not new ideas.  This is not New Feminism.  In fact, the last show to actually affect feminism is a show that most feminists abhor because they refused to see such drivel,  "Sex And The City."  No show prior to this had mainstreamed sex for women.  Had opened the door to the idea that women could actually go out and fuck a guy and not end up the cliched, clingy woman waiting by the phone.  I mean, yeah, they had those moments, too.  But what PERSON doesn't go through that?  Women don't have the market cornered on wanting to be loved.

In fact, I'd love to see a show about men that's like that.  That's not all glossy and Los Angeles, a la "Californication" or "Entourage."  A legitimate look at men and relationships.  "Boys," if you will.  I'd write it if I had any clue how to.  And that's why "Girls" is so successful as a show.  Because it's written by Lena Dunham, about Lena Dunham's experiences.  About her world.  It's got a very personal feel to it that I could never do justice to for a script about four 20-something men dating.   Merry Kwanzaa to whoever steals this idea.


The reason for this post:  A few episodes had been languishing in DVR hell.  I caught up on them last night.  As there was literally nothing left to watch in my DVR, and Bravo was re-running "Tardy For The Wedding."  And, the strangest thing happened.  I started to care about the characters.  Maybe because Hannah seems to be getting a backbone.  I don't know.  What I do know is that my ambivalent viewership changed last night with a peripheral character uttering one perfect line of dialogue.  I can now, because of this line, consider myself a kind of fan of the show.  That one moment of perfection?

"You ass-fucked my friend's heart."

It's so suited to the character.  It's nonsensical.  But it makes perfect sense.  It illustrates exactly what this dickhead did to this guy's friend and how this guy feels about it.  It's just... perfect.  And, for now, "Girls" is safe in my DVR and may even be watched on Sundays.  I mean, let's not go crazy, not when it airs.  But probz after "Game of Thrones" and "The Killing."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Off Topic At The Five And Dime.

Back when I was 17, before I moved back to Minneapolis, I was living in Salt Lake City. I was just out of high school, and was spending my days working at a B Dalton, hanging at a coffee shop called Bandaloops, and generally trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life.

One night at Bandaloops, I met a guy named Chris. We hung out, drank coffee, and generally hit it off. He was at a similar crossroads in his life. I had my eye on moving back to MN. And I was always honest about that. So, perhaps I kept myself somewhat closed off to any potential we might have had. We ended up dating for about a year. He loved me as genuinely and honestly as any man has in my life.

He still lived with his parents. They were older than most folks, as Chris was a bit of a surprise. His mother was a sweet, loving woman who loved his father with the same honesty that Chris loved me. His father, Mike, was... troubled. I'm not sure what was wrong with him, but he had a slew of medications that his wife made sure he took throughout the day. Mike spent most days in a ratty velour bathrobe, sitting on his easy chair, listening to records.

One time, he put on a song by Nancy Griffith. And went back to his chair and listened. It evoked some memory and he sat there sobbing silently. I held his hand. He seemed appreciative and held mine back. The song ended, and he put on something else. I don't remember what. To this day, every time I hear this song (not often), I think of it as Mike's song.

Today, I was sitting at the top of Laurel Canyon, stuck at a red light. And Mike's song came on my iPod. I didn't even know I owned it. And I sat there, a tad misty-eyed, thinking about Mike. This memory of him front and center. And I thought that I was not unlike Mike, those years ago.

I broke up with Chris before I moved back to MN. A few years later, when I went back to SLC for a visit, I ended up at Chris' old work. He was there, still working the same job. I realized that if I'd stayed... I wouldn't have moved forward with my life. Chris and I grabbed a coffee, and I apologized for being with him when I knew I was going to leave him. Turns out, he'd met a woman soon after I moved. They were engaged. I was genuinely happy for him, and was able to leave SLC without regret. At that time, Mike was still alive.

Occasionally I think about Chris and hope he's happy. Today, I really hope that wherever Mike is, that he's got his robe and his Nancy Griffith album.

Here's to you, Mike!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Am Shameless Or: How I Dated Frank Gallagher For One Night

The other night I was at a local dive bar. Not unlike any other night, really. On this night, however, it was totally dead. It was me, a friend, the bartender, and a couple of extremely drunk girls who were in town visiting from... out of town, presumably.

My friend and I got around to talking about "Shameless" in between various Britney Spears/Lady Gaga/Journey tunes (jukebox choices from the drunken, (now) drunkenly dancing girls). I mentioned that I'd been thinking about speccing the show, but couldn't seem to come up with an episode idea that fit within the world of the show. I don't have a million brothers and sisters, I've never had to scrape that hard for money, I've never been very good at coming up with schemes for getting money. Probably because I've never had to scrape that hard for money...

In this blog, I've talked about how I fancy myself a method writer. I used to be a method actor. Or that's what I was taught when I was in college, as theater is what I originally studied. Turns out, I was a horrible actor. I had had my suspicions that I sucked, but the point was really hammered home one opening night when, after my non-stellar performance, my boyfriend at the time met me in the dressing room with a dozen roses and a book on how to become a stage manager... we're no longer together, obvs.


Because I was taught method acting, that's somehow seeped into my writing. I like to immerse myself in the worlds of the shows I'm speccing. Or, if I'm writing a pilot, immerse myself in worlds that are similar to the pilot I'm writing. So, it's probably fitting that I was at a bar that's reminiscent of The Alibi Room on Shameless. And it's fitting that I'm friends with the Kevin-like bartender. And that I happened to be there with another writer.

I started talking about the aspects of the show that I like. How Frank does this, how Fiona reacts that way... and slowly a story idea started emerging. We ordered more drinks, and I started writing notes. Would Lip really do something like this? Where's Deb?

I watched the drunken girls at the end of the bar as though I was Frank. What would he see watching them? Would he notice their watches? Where they placed their purses? If they paid in cash or by card? What did he need and what could he get out of them?

I ordered my friend and me some more drinks and went out to smoke. One of the drunken girls had just come in, she'd left her purse out there. What would Frank do? We know what Fiona would do, as there was an entire episode revolving around her finding a purse on the El. So, what would Ian do? Or Karen?

What I did was return the purse immediately, and then returned outside to smoke and think and plot. The drunken girl followed me out and bummed a smoke. She asked me what I was doing. I had my notebook in my hand. I told her I was thinking about Frank. She surmised that Frank was my boyfriend. I guess, in her world, people think about their boyfriends outside bars and write about them in their notebooks when they're out for a smoke...


For the time being, I suppose Frank is my boyfriend. So I went with it. I told her about how I worry about how much he drinks. I worry about our future together, as I'm old-fashioned and would like to think that he'd be able to take care of me financially. And how I'm not sure that he can.

She asked if I love him. I suppose that I do, I told her, I can see the good in him. He loves his mother. He seems to love his kids, in a really fucked up way. She asked me a bit about that. And asked if I wanted to have kids with him. I told her that I felt like his six kids was enough for us to handle. She nodded, she understood.

As we stubbed out our smokes, she told me she was rooting for me and Frank. She hoped that it would lead to something important and real. Because I'd told her that, at times, it felt like he wasn't real and was just a character on a TV show -- she totally got that. She's been there, she said.

In the end, she helped me see parts of Frank that I probably wouldn't have seen. I felt it was probably the most interesting way I've ever looked at a character. And I ended up with a very interesting beat sheet by the end of the evening.

And a not-so-interesting hangover the next morning...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Being Kyle Killen

So, listen. I want to crawl around in Kyle Killen's mind for a minute. See what goes on in there. He seems to be fascinated by the same subject that takes up a lot of my brain space.

For me, it started with "Sliding Doors." A movie I've mentioned in this blog a number of times. In some ways, it's the Butterfly Effect (not the movie) or Chaos Theory. The idea that a small moment begets chaos. And that chaos, in this movie, splits Gwyneth Paltrow's life in two. Essentially, she's living two parallel lives. And in this, her two paths lead her to the same ending in vastly different ways (oh hey, John Hannah!).

Years later, Liz Tigelaar wrote a fantastic pilot called, "Split Decision." It was, essentially, the same idea. On her first day of a new high school, in the lunch line, a girl's life splits in two. In one life, she becomes the popular girl. In the other, she's the nerd. Presumably for the series, we would watch her navigate her parallel lives. Not only did I want to watch this, I desperately wanted to write for it. Alas, it was not to be, as the network gods chose not to pick it up. I wonder what their parallel lives would be if they'd chosen to pick it up? I bet it would've been a smash hit! I mean, come on... I have great taste in all things but men.

Fast forward to Kyle Killen's pilot, "Lone Star." This was not necessarily about a man who led parallel lives, but it kinda was. I mean, it wasn't some magical reason. The dood chose to live these parallel lives. He was a con-man. Married in one city, dating a woman in another. He was going in for the long con, while dealing with some serious internal and external struggles. I believe the show got yanked after two episodes. A real shame, because it was amazing.

ASIDE: I understand TV is a business, that money needs to be made. I also understand that some shows need time. To grow, to flourish, to build an audience. It's heart-breaking to see network shows that have so much potential get tossed out with the bath water. I'm wracking my brains to think of any cable show that got yanked before its time. "Party Down" comes to mind. I love me some Rob Thomas, and that show was hilarious, but, perhaps, too insular. It still got two seasons. It still got a chance.


So last year, I read this pilot by Killen. It was called "R.E.M." I had no idea what it was going to be about, and I'll admit, I thought it might be about Michael Stipe. It wasn't. It was about a guy living parallel lives. A man who was in a horrific car accident with his wife and teenaged son. In one of his lives, his wife is still alive. In the other, his son. In both lives, he sees psychologists, but both psychologists are vastly different in their approach. One psychologist believes that this is the man's coping mechanism, that the other life is just an intricate way for his brain to deal with losing his son. Grief can wreak havoc on one's psyche. In the other life, the psychologist believes the guy is leading two lives. Also? The man's a detective. And in both lives, he's working a case. But two separate cases, that actually inform the other.

This pilot, as you may have guessed is, "Awake." It will air in March on NBC. A much better title, in my opinion. I recently watched the pilot, as NBC has put it up on their site and iTunes is offering it for free. I liked it a lot, but didn't love it. And I can't put my finger on it. It was beautifully shot. Pretty well acted. Pretty great direction. But something was just... off. And I worry that it will get yanked before it can find its footing.

After some thought, I'm beginning to wonder if it's NBC. The fact that it's a network show. I can't escape the feeling that Kyle Killen's incredible scripts deserve the care and nurturing that a cable network could provide. I mean, clearly the man is a brilliant writer. But I think the pilot is too glossy, too produced. It needs an indie feel. The room to really get deep inside this man's psyche. To get dirty and scary. There was one moment, where he doesn't know which life he's in. And he can't find either his wife or his son. And he flips the fuck out. But the moment is short-lived. And it's got a series of quick cuts and jump cuts to help us feel as disoriented as he does. But... it's pretty. And slick. And very network-y. And I feel like on Showtime or f/x, it wouldn't be like this. It would be gritty and dark. Like a show about a man who's lost his wife or son should be. Or a man investigating a little girl's disappearance should be.

Or like the script was.

Basically, I would kill to write for one of Killen's shows. Even if it meant I'd only be employed for a few months. But I would like to encourage Killen to develop relationships with the execs over at some of the cable networks, because frankly? I'd like to see him have a long-running series.

Maybe in his parallel life he does.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm Not Back.

Seriously. There's nothing to talk about in television or my life.


"Shameless" is not happening on Showtime. It's not, like, the best show ever. I'm definitely not speccing it. But I am totally enjoying the second season because the characters are all completely likeable and never, you know, kill anyone. (In reality, I'm glad Steve's somewhat back, because Steve/Fiona keeps the show grounded, so Frank can go fuck up whatever it is he's going to fuck up this week).

"Game of Thrones" is not about to begin its second season. And this show definitely doesn't have the distinction of illustrating how perfectly one can write a boring talking-heads scene and make it insanely not boring. Or have the distinction of showing how horribly wrong a talking-heads scene can go.

Lemme back up a second. I took a class a long time ago where the instructor was adamant that in any talking heads scenes, one or both people involved should be doing something interesting. Cooking dinner, fighting a demon, what have you. It, according to him, makes the scene more compelling. I've tried to do this in a number of my scripts, and have found that he was completely right.

In GoT, there were two separate episodes that did exactly this. In one episode Tywin and Jaime are discussing the future. During the entire conversation, Tywin guts a stag. Entrails spilling everywhere. It is potentially the most gruesome, compelling conversation I've ever seen on screen.


In another episode, two women are having some amazing sex in the background while a dood takes us down exposition alley. I've watched this scene three times now and still have trouble concentrating on what he's saying, because, um, THERE ARE TWO WOMEN FUCKING IN THE BACKGROUND.

So, I guess the lesson learned is have your characters be doing something interesting, but not too interesting...

So glad that I could talk to you guys about something that happened a year ago. Sorry that I don't write or call. See,

As well as writing, I've also taken up roller derby. It's kinda fucking awesome. It's also a huge time suck. So, like, I don't have a lot of time to be writing blog posts... though, I do have tons of time to surf the interwebz. Priorities, yo.

Basically, I'm not back. I don't plan to be back. But maybz I'll see y'all in a couple of days when I post again.



Thursday, July 01, 2010

Complete Motherfuckin' Freedom

Okay, I've made a couple of attempts to make this post about TV writing when really I want to talk about music, there is no logical segue, it seems so...

Jumping right in, I've been into punk my whole life. Have enjoyed a life-long crush on Ian Mackaye. Found Bob Mould to be a lyrical lyricist, I probably quote him a little too much in my Facebook status updates. And, "This Band Could Be Your Life" rates highest on my list of favorite books.

So, no one was more surprised at how much I embraced rap than I was.

See, I moved to Washington D.C. when I was 14, I was a pierced, Manic Panic'd, ripped everything, asshole -- I fell in immediate love with Commander Salamandar in Georgetown, and I wanted Anarchy in the U.K. (still do, but for different reasons now). Sorry Mom and Dad for past me.


It was in D.C. that I met my then best friend Shannon. We were an unlikely duo, as she was more gangsta. I introduced her to punk. She introduced me to rap. I stuck with the rap, she hated the punk. But we both loved scary movies and stealing our parents' beer, so we became besties.

Within two years, I had to move again, to Utah, where I went to a Catholic High School. All the public schools seemed to have heavy Mormon influences, and my Sikh mother felt Catholicism was the lesser evil. I'm not sure she was right, but this post isn't about religion. When I got there, I was still punk. Neither Shannon nor my parents could get it out of me. But, I couldn't stop listening to rap. I mean, Ice-T was infuckingcredible. And the back and forth on Too $hort's, "Don't Fight The Feelin'" was inspired. And "I Ain't Tha One" by Ice Cube, well, I could so relate (how, I'm not sure, since bitches wasn't takin' me for my money).

I like to pride myself on bringing rap to my very whitebread Catholic high school, and fucking up those kids more than they would've been on their own. Yes, moms and dads, I was a bad influence on your kids. With a little help from Dr. Dre!


This is a long round-about way of getting to Eminem. But, hey, I'm verbose and it's my blog, so...

I've liked mainstream rap -- hell, I still do Salt 'n' Pepa at Karaoke. Run DMC is on constant rotation in my iTunes. And, well, I'll always loved the Beastie Boys. But, Eminem. I never really knew what to do with him. I mean, my sister adored him for fuck's sake. My little sister. Just by adding the "little" should explain why it wasn't cool for me to like him.

But then 8 MILE came out. I went begrudgingly, not wanting to give this punk ass whiny bitch any of my time or money. I guess I did know what to make of him. But after 8 MILE, my attitude changed. He wasn't whiny. He was scrappy. He was inventive. He was amazing. And his lyrics... well, who the hell doesn't love "Lose Yourself?" It's about as mainstream as it gets. The theme's totally relatable. The writing is stellar. The rhythm is insane. It's probably my favorite song.

Oh, here we go, here's where we relate it to writing: I listened to "Lose Yourself" on the way to my first ever meeting. I really felt I only had one shot, one opportunity. I blared that shit and sang along. I probably looked insane at 9 AM. I also ended up going into the meeting with the mindset that I only had one shot and one opportunity and this was it. Which means, I was beyond nervous, put way too much pressure on myself, and ended up not getting the job. Now I listen to classical on my way to meetings.


So, I listened to RELAPSE, Eminem's last album. Eh. Not great. And I chalked him up to a One-Life-Changing Song Wonder. And I kinda forgot about him. Well, I guess the guy went into seclusion after (during? Before?) his addiction to Oxy or something. And I guess one of his D12 brethren, his best friend, Proof, got killed. And I guess life kinda got hard for him for a couple of years there.

Most folks wouldn't come out of hiding. Hell, with my year, I'm having kinda a hard time of it myself. Which might explain this post and my newest love. That love is,

RECOVERY by Eminem. The entire fucking album is like song after song of updated "Lose Yourself"s. It is seriously the most infuckingspiring album I've ever heard. Ever. Its lyrics are... fuck I wish I could write that well. I mean, this kid BLEEDS all over these songs.

I got busted crying today, YES CRYING, as I was at a stop light listening to "No Love." Busted by the guy in the car next to me. I think he's listened to the album. He smiled at me, like he understood. Like everytime he writes, he thinks of a verse from the song. Like I do. He looked at me like the song changed his life, too.*

Eminem (Feat. Lil Wayne)

"I'm alive again, more alive than I have been, in my whole entire life I can/ see these people's ears perk up as I begin/ to spaz with the pen, I'm a little bit sicker than, most shit's finna' to get thick again/ they say the competition is stiff, but I get a hard dick from this shit, now stick it in/ I ain't never givin' in again, caution to the wind complete freedom."

That's what I've got. Complete freedom. And I can't wait to finish this script... or you know, spaz with the MacBook Pro.

What? I never claimed to be Eminem, Though, I do got me some bitches and ho's. Cuz' I be gangsta like dat.

*He may have been laughing at me, because I'm pretty sure I looked like the female version of Michael Bolton from Office Space.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A dollar late.

I hate Matt Nix.

That fucker keeps creating the shows I want to be creating. The pilots I should be writing. I just never realize this until after he writes them. Asshole.

Okay. I would totally settle for writing for them. And by "settle for writing," I mean I would, "kill small children and puppies and rainbows to scrape shit off the writers' shoes -- whenever needed."

The jerk even incorporates little moments that I'd love to incorporate into my scripts. I just never realize I want to until I see Mr. Nix and his merry band of writers writing them. Except for one moment. I mean, he still wrote it, but it's a moment that I would love to have written -- there was just never any opportunity to in my scripts.

Wait. Let me back up. Just in case you don't know who Matt Nix is, and haven't taken three seconds (depending on your internet connection) to look him up, he's the creator of BURN NOTICE and THE GOOD GUYS. I really, really, really love both of these shows. In case you hadn't noticed.


So, in this week's ep of THE GOOD GUYS, entitled, "$3.52" (written by the aforementioned asshole) Jack and Dan (Hanks and Whitford, respectively) are ensconced in a high-speed chase. They're the ones being chased, by a couple of bad guys in separate cars. Jack and Dan are in a beat up, old hot rod with a shot tranny (no, not a transvestite with a bullet wound). The car's not able to go as fast as they'd like it to. And, unfortunately, the bad guys are gaining. To the point that the bad guys pull up on either side of them, guns drawn.

This is a familiar moment. It's in a lot of high-speed chase scenes across television and filmdom. Usually the good guys gun it and get away. I have grown very weary of these scenes. And may even have groaned when I saw this scene. I thought to myself, as I always do...

ME: Why the fuck don't they just brake? I really gotta write a scene sometime where they fucking brake.

Just then, at that very moment, before I could think up some more profanities, and before I lost all respect for Matt Nix, Jack and Dan braked. Which meant the bad guys ended up shooting each other.

It was awesome. As awesome as it's ever been in my head.

But he wrote it first.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Well, hi!

Wow. It's kinda dead around here.

Kinda my fault, huh?

Well, I didn't really have much to talk about. Not that I do now. But I missed you. My four readers. I have no idea if you're even still out there! I mean, I'd think about you from time to time and the things I'd like to talk with you about. Like, HUMAN TARGET, which I loved. And the LOST finale, which I hated. And everything in between.

Or, how at one point, hungover, I decided to check out WEEDS. I did. It was awesome. I was seriously humbled as a writer. Interesting concept there, BSG humbled me and happens to be a show I began watching whilst extremely hungover. Looks like I should start watching shows hungover? Or stop? Or...?

I wanted to talk about writing specs of existing shows, but I can't even conceive of speccing any shows (except maybe WEEDS (but I don't really write half hours)). So, I'm stuck with a billion pilot ideas. Where the fuck does one start... besides at the beginning, smart asses?

Now, see, in the past, I'd always been of the mind that I could only work on one idea at a time. I'm kinda a method writer, where I like to immerse myself into the world about which I'm writing. For example, when I wrote a WITHOUT A TRACE way back when, it was about a skinhead who goes missing from prison (they did the same idea a year later -- but, they did it better), I watched nearly every season of OZ. I read scary motherfucking posting boards. I... basically, I had nightmares for the four weeks it took me to write.

But since the passing of this year, I've got ADD. I can't sit still. And because I don't feel like immersing myself for weeks/months in any of the worlds I want to create, I just wasn't writing.

But then, a while back, I lamented about all of this to a friend. She looked at me like I was crazy and suggested I just write whatever I felt like writing that day. Then I looked at her like she was crazy. Mainly because she is. She was also right. So, that's what I did. To get back on the horse.

Of course, to avoid writing (which I'm WAY better at; I am procrastination's mistress), I'm now posting again. We'll see how long this lasts...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yoga folks is scary, yo.

So, I'm out getting lunch for the writers. Nine times out of 10, restaurants will be running behind on my order. It's usually a biggish order, since some people like to piggy back on our order (THEM: "OOOOOH! You're going to that place? I love that place! Since you're going there already, could I just..." ME: "Sigh. Sure."). So, I make sure to tell the restaurants I'm going to get there a good fifteen minutes before I'm actually going to get there. Which gives them PLENTY of time to make the food.

Aside: Don't get me wrong. I love love love my job. I'm not a clock-watcher. I don't tend to count the days 'til the weekend. But this week, I've just been really tired and run down and can't seem to catch up on sleep. And finding out on Wednesday morning that it wasn't, in fact, Friday morning, as I thought it was when I woke up, was heartbreaking.

So, it's been a long week. And I'll admit I didn't see the sign that the parking area was for the Yoga place until The Incident. I just parked in a spot and headed to the restaurant down the way. Where I waited for 20 minutes (even after the 15 minute padding) to even see the food where I could then double-check everything was right, which always takes a good five-10 minutes. I'm carrying the food out of the place and heading toward the parking area, when I see it.

A note on my car. I can see, even from my distance, that it looks angrily written. In Sharpie. I get closer, and see that it's from the Yoga folks whose parking lot I've parked in. And that they are threatening to tow me. Or something. I don't actually get to read the whole thing, because the owner comes RACING out in her cotton/spandex mix and starts yelling at me for parking there. Apparently they have a class, and her students need a place to park.

We're talking about ONE PARKING SPOT.

But, I apologize profusely. I mention something about the food being late. Which brings on a new bout of screaming. I just apologize again and head back to the restaurant to collect the remainder of my food.

When I come out this next time, there are a couple of Yoga students next to my car. They're all holding their yoga mats (all in bright, non-soothing colors). They're all in their yoga gear. They look like a yoga gang. 4 rlz. They're all yelling at me. I apologize again. Indicating my food, and saying the restaurant was late and...


But apparently, these three women had to find street parking. They apparently had NOT done the math.

One. Fucking. Parking. Spot.

But seriously guys, I thought I was going to get a beat down. With a purple (or orange) yoga mat.

Finally, I got fed up with their drama and pushed past them. To them I said,

"Hope you gals have a great class and you find some fucking zen; you clearly need it."

After I sped off, I was feeling pretty zen myself. Apparently mouthing off to Beverly HIlls' housewives has a calming effect on me.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Call time.

Right. Okay. So, I'm pretty tired today. You know why? Some fucking production down the street was noisy as hell last night and woke me up WELL before my alarm was due to go off.

I sat there in bed, listening to the trucks and the gennies and the fucking assholes outside yelling about the trucks and the gennies and where to park and...

And it's hot outside these days. And I have no AC, so I have to keep my windows open or boil. Y'know?

So, yeah. I'm laying there. Stewing. Thinking about how many fucking notices I get warning about various productions in the area. And how I never call to complain about all the noise they make and... I decided I deserved some compensation. It's been a long week getting to this long weekend. So, I stumbled to my living room where I found the filming notice. And I grabbed the phone and was about to dial when I noticed something strange.

My show's locations manager was listed as the contact.

In my dazed state, I couldn't figure out why. I figure she probably works on a bunch of productions (I'm pretty bright when I'm woken up).

Um. In case you haven't guessed by now,

My own fucking show woke me up. And I almost complained.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Playground fever.

So. The Anonymous Production Assistant has thrown down the gauntlet. He's telling all you folks not to read my blog. He keeps telling you this. And you keep ignoring him. Good on you, mates. Because, seriously, it's totally clear this is his way of pulling on my pigtails. And I'm not going to sink to his level.

Instead, I'm going to cry and go tell the teacher.

In other news, I'm catching up on last season's shows. I'm FINALLY catching up on FRINGE. And considering speccing it. I've always been pretty bummed that I showed up late to the whole "Wanting To Be A TV Writer" thing. Seriously, why did no one tell me I could do this?! But, had I known what I wanted to be when I grew up, I TOTALLY would have specced an X-FILES. And now, I can. Granted, it's a slightly watered down version, but yeah. So I'm cooking up some shit in my brain and looking forward to finally writing again.

In answer to LadyUranus' question:

"So, looking through your archives, I have a quick question-- did the internship lead directly to the job? I had a sweet internship, but it seems to have lead to nothing, and I'm wondering how to leverage it."

There were a number of factors -- which, I believe had mainly to do with networking my ass off and getting some really great contacts. See, I'm not entirely positive I was a shoo-in for the job. I'd had little experience -- gaining more by the minute under the tutelage of some really fucking awesome people. Honestly, I have no idea HOW I got the job, so I'm only going by assumptions here. It, I think, mainly came through recommendations, which is why I mentioned the networking. From people working on the show to people who'd worked with people who were working on the show. But, I really really don't know if this was the case.

I'm truly sorry I can't be much help in how you can go about leveraging your own position. Good luck!

To ImportantHollywoodAgent:

They even make good coffee!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to get Splenda.

Okay. So, I do a coffee run every morning. It's very involved, loads of coffees to get. And I've developed mad skillz surrounding this simple-seeming task. I've been known to do a three tier tray run (which means that all the people who I walk by like to say random things like, "Hey! What time is it?" They think it's hilarious, until I transfer the three tiers to one hand and give them the time.)

Aside: I also get lunches. And a few days ago The Anonymous Production Assistant was waxing poetic about how it seems a strange route from getting lunches to becoming a writer. Now here's the thing. I can understand the confusion... if the job entailed ONLY getting lunches and coffee. Now, perhaps I'm in a different kind of situation. I don't know. But, my entire day is not consumed by lunches and coffees. My day is consumed by research and the room and proofing and... all the things that are making me become a BETTER writer. Because of these things, it seems a normal path from assistant-dom to Writer-dom. Because my days are one hundred percent about making our show the best show possible -- and learning how to do that from some pretty fucking incredible writers.


So, yesterday, I was at Starbucks. Doing the usual. And there was a huge crowd around the sugar/milk counter. So, I just kind of found a spot where I could just reach in and grab a Splenda. I didn't notice, during my reach, that one of the milk jugs had hooked into the cleavage of my low-cut T-shirt. So, as I straightened up from the reach, the jug latched itself to my shirt and let gravity do its thing. That's right. The jug pulled my shirt completely down. Basically, I flashed ALL of Starbucks.

I have to do the same coffee run in a minute here.

Thankfully I'm wearing a turtleneck...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let's get started.


Where were we?

Oh. That's right. The complete suckage that has been 2009.

The (soon-to-be-ex) Hubby acts like a prick, suggests divorce as an option, I freak. A week later, I get a panicked email from my (now) boss. He needs me to start immediately. As in, the day he's sending the email. I just can't start that day. I'm in bed. Recovering. I don't think I can ever get out of bed again.

I'm staying at my dad's at this point. And on one of the few times I venture out of my room I mention the email. My dad rallies me. This is the job I've been working toward. For a fucking long time. This is not the time to be knee-deep in a pity party. This is the time to divert my attention and "revel in what the Lord is bringing me." Dad's words, not mine.

So, I call my (now) boss. Tell him that I can start the following day.

My job is as an assistant on a Kick Ass TV Show. I don't want to get into a hell of a lot of detail, because, you know, I'm not completely anonymous here. No one really is on the internet, I've found.


There isn't a lot of point to this story. I'm just sort of trying to figure out how to talk about my job in a way that I would want to read about it without, you know, actually losing my job.

So, you're just going to have to deal while I figure it out. 'Kay?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2009 can bite me.

Hard. In the ass.

The tally is:

Gained: One job.

Lost to death: One grandfather, one best friend from high school, one incredible teacher from high school.

Lost in general: One husband to insanity, friends, my mind.

Medical conditions: Sprained my ankle, Uncle had stroke, aunt has brain tumor, as does sister. The latter less serious than the former.

Car accidents: One.

It's been a rough fucking year (and that was just February - June). So, I've not been posting. I hope to do so more. Less about the depressing losses/medical conditions, and more about that one magnificent gain -- which is slightly more on topic with this blog. And a literal life-saver.

Basically, bitches... I'm back. Grab a fucking beer or ten.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Dots on the head, not feathers.

So, uh, today I met this woman. She seemed very nice. We got to my name, which is a popular Indian name. And as so many people do upon hearing it, she asked its origins.

ME: It's Indian. I'm half-Indian.

She kind of looked at me strangely. Usually people do when I explain that. As mentioned before, I just don't look it. Apparently that's not why she was looking at me strangely.

HER: Then you should know that the correct term is "Native American."

ME: ...

I explained my mom's from India.

But she still seemed put out that I didn't use the term Native American.

Sigh. There's no pleasing people.

Monday, January 26, 2009

(Not so) Happy Town.

So, for the past two years I've been working on a pilot called DEATH OF A SMALL TOWN. It takes place in Minnesota. You'll be able to see it on the small screen next Fall on ABC. Except, the show you'll see on ABC isn't mine. It just happens to be a very similar premise in the exact same location.

There's this great part of DEATH, which isn't in HAPPY TOWN, about some freaky folks who are opening up a museum. That was an episode of LIFE a few week's back. I didn't write that either.

I'm heart-broken.

And I'm sick of being a nobody.

A nobody who can't pitch their ideas to anyone.

A nobody who's got a lot of great ideas and knows it because people keep doing her ideas.

Guess it's back to the drawing board. But seriously, guys, it's getting harder and harder to pick the bootstraps up.

X Marks The Spot.

There've been a lot of developments in my internship. Like the phone call where I was told I couldn't do it. That sucked. Turns out that I couldn't do it because I'm not a student. And California Law doesn't allow slavery, I mean, unpaid servitude. I mean, unpaid internships... unless you're a student.

Being a thinker, I called up UCLA, where I take a lot of classes. And got myself enrolled into an internship class. The pre-requisite for enrolling in this class is that you have an internship already set up (you also have to have $600, so there's that). For those of you who think my life so glamorous that you want to emulate it to a T. This is how you do it. Add red lipstick, and you're good to go.


I also need to meet with the internship coordinator at the Studio. I need to bring my paperwork (a letter from UCLA confirming I'm enrolled), myself... and a lipstick gun?

The reason I ask is I think I'm not actually going to a studio. I think I'm being recruited into the CIA. Here are my directions:

You’ll be entering the studio via the X Gate. Have a photo ID ready for the gate guard; he/she will instruct you on where to park and direct you to our location. After parking, make your way across the lot to the X building. Upon entering, head left following the sign to XXX Studios/Xth Floor Reception. Take the elevator to the Xth floor and use the desk phone to dial X-XXXX to notify us of your arrival. Someone will then greet you and guide you to our location.

It's really the penultimate and the last sentences that convinced me. I'm surprised there's no retinal scan.

This message will self-destruct in:






Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama.

Because I had to be somewhere at 9:30 PST, I listened to the swearing in of President Barack Obama in my car. I'll admit that, because I'm a big baby, I pulled over at one point because I had some things in my eyes. They're called tears.

That didn't last long because of the commentary. Look, I get that the commentators are paid by the word. Or something. But seriously guys, think before you speak.

FEMALE COMMENTATOR: And Marine One has taken off.

MALE COMMENTATOR: Uh, it's not called Marine One if the President isn't on it.


MALE: He's not the President anymore.



FEMALE COMMENTATOR: And the biggest highlight of today is seeing those girls skip across the stage!

Now. I didn't see it, so I can't say for sure that it wasn't the biggest highlight. But, I'm fairly certain it wasn't. I'm fairly certain that honor goes to our new President being sworn in (some slight mishaps there, but, you know).


President Obama. I am not going to tire of hearing that for, like, ever.

President Barack Ofuckingbama.

Congratulations America. I'm proud to be one of yours again.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Third installment. This one's going to be weird, because I've only seen the episode once. And that was when it was rerun on TNT, back when I was writing a LAW & ORDER spec. So, 2002 - ish. During that time, I watched the show three times a day -- or, you know, every time it aired. Which means that most of the plot has vanished into a weird amalgamation of a million L&O plotlines. Yet, it was the biggest revelation of my not-yet illustrious writing career.

LAW & ORDER -- "Blood"
Written by Craig Tepper and René Balcer

I've been looking around for a synopsis of it, because I barely remember the story. I can't find a detailed one anywhere. The best I can find is from tv.com:

"The paternity of a black baby given up for adoption by a white mother who later fell from an apartment balcony might provide a clue to her murderer, but it also unearths some long buried family secrets that it seems more than one person would kill to keep hidden."

What I vaguely remember about it is the at the get-go, we think the white victim was having an affair -- as evidenced by her giving birth to a black baby (both she and her husband are white). Perhaps tried to hide it from her husband. I believe the victim was an extremely wealthy, upper-crust white woman. What I do know is that she came from racism. And held racist beliefs. I believe that her husband killed her because she found out his secret. And was going to divorce him. And that would leave him penniless. I think.

Here's what I do remember of the episode: The husband was black. He just looked white. He passed as white. And he kept his history a complete secret. I know it was well-written. I know that I was thinking at the time that this was the writing level I needed to achieve if I was going to get anywhere in TV writing.

I also remember thinking: Fuck. This should be my story.

See. I'm half-Indian. But I don't look it. I look as though I just leapt out of a Guinness ad. All pale skin, freckles, red hair. And yet, my mother is from India. I grew up Indian; lived in India when I was younger (don't even get me started on the arguments my mother and I had over American clothes v. Indian clothes). I've also enjoyed the benefits of being ethnic, I got switched to a grade school that was closer to our house because of my ethnicity. And for the diversity programs, well, I'm diverse.

There was a time before the election when tensions were getting heated that I got embroiled in a fierce racial debate with an online group. At one point a person mentioned that I was "passing" as white. I've always thought of the term "passing" as a derogatory term. As though one's ashamed of their ethnicity and makes the conscious choice to go with the group that looks most like them and the group they're not ashamed of.

Basically, I was offended by the notion. Even though it's clear that's what I wanted to do when I was younger.

But, that is what this guy in this episode was doing. I think being black, for him, was some secret shame. And I understood the character's feeling. Because, when I was younger, and I was trying to fit in, I dressed American. And I "passed."

I can't imagine marrying someone who was a racist. But this character did. I think, on some level, he was as racist as his wife. He hated black people just as much as she did.

I thought about this character a lot. And I was reminded of him when I got that "passing" comment. I was reminded of him when I interviewed at CBS for their mentorship program and the woman asked me about three times if I was sure I was Indian (I am). There was even an awkward moment where the woman asked me if my mother, perhaps, was English and moved to India and... she isn't. And she didn't. (I didn't get into the program. It wasn't a huge surprise).

But, I get it. I don't look Indian. I don't have a dot on my head. Nor am I wearing a sari. Oh, and I don't have dark skin.

The "passing" comment. My experience with CBS. Growing up in a white neighborhood, being embarrassed of my heritage. The looks on people's faces when I tell them I'm Indian. All of this is fodder for some interesting stories, I think. But I never thought about it. Because to me, it's just normal that I'm a mixed chick who ended up white. It seems completely mundane and boring to me.

Or it did.

Until I saw "Blood." And saw my story. A mixed-race person who looked white. And all the potential secrets that could come out of it when a baby comes out black (based on the Punnett square, my hubby and I have a one-in-four chance of having little brown babies).

It was like that damned window in "The Friendly Skies." Because I'd lived it (or seen it a million times), it didn't occur to me that there was something interesting about it.

"They" say "write what you know." This is the episode that taught me how to do it.