Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Not Dead

Sorry, school started, and I'm still trying to recover from that. A lot is going on, most of which I probably won't blog about. That's what my moleskine is for (the new one's name is Jean-Luc).

Don't worry, though. I'm approaching a place where I think I'll be able to blog again. I'll tell you about how my FNL outline went for the online class, why I'm not making the Superhero film anymore (at least not for my senior project--shooting it on the side is always a possibility), and how my new senior project(a TV pilot) is going. And who knows, maybe I'll vent about how I'M doing, too.

Could this possibly mark a return to personal blogging? Tune in to find out!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

10 things?

I always inwardly made fun of the whole internet meme of “tagging”. I thought it was a cop-out from people who couldn’t write a real blog entry. But I think that was really just because I was never cool enough to get picked.

But no more, thanks to this douchebag.
“Once you’ve been tagged, as I have, you must write a blog post with ten weird, random things, little-known facts or habits about yourself. At the end, choose at least 5 people to be tagged, list their names and why you picked them. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says “you’ve been tagged” and tell them to read your latest blog.”

Okay. A lot of this is common knowledge to my real-life friends, but even for those of you who know me well, there are probably some surprises in there. Without further ado:

1. I hate cockroaches. Spiders, ants, mosquitoes…I have no problem with. But cockroaches just chill my skin in the way I imagine my skin would feel right before I die of skin being frozen off my body. I don’t know how this started or where it comes from. Maybe it’s because they feed on trash. Maybe it’s because I know they’re going to survive our extinction when the nuclear holocaust comes. Or maybe it’s the way that they don’t die when you step on them, they just kind of spring back with their tough hide and scuttle to hide behind the couch.

Seriously. They’re probably the best argument against Intelligent Design. If evolution is true, they’re truly a marvel of natural selection. But if it’s not, why would an intelligent, loving, God create something that…icky?

2. It’s hard for me to buy nice, expensive things, but way too easy for me to buy a billion cheap, disposable things. This has always been a problem for me. It’s way too easy for me to just eat out, see a movie, or buy a pack of Tangerine Altoids. They’re all gone within minutes (Seriously, you’d be surprised how fast I can throw back a pack of Tangerine Altoids), and I’ll forget that I even spent money at all.

But as soon as I buy something permanent, the guilt sets in. I don’t want to buy a movie, because I’ll know it’ll just sit on my shelf, unwatched. I don’t want to buy a new pair of jeans, because every time I wear them, I’ll remember how much they cost me, and how I should have just gone to the thrift store instead.

It’s something I’m working on, I think I’m getting better. I forced myself to buy Final Draft, and while it was completely worth it, it still was like pulling teeth.

3. Speaking of pulling teeth, I’ve never had my wisdom teeth out. Nor have I had braces. I am the only person in my family that can say both of those things. What can I say, I got the good teeth genes of the family.

(of course, I also got two fillings last Friday. Not sure what that means.)

4. Furthermore, I have 20/20 vision, and kind of wish that wasn’t the case. Ever since I was a kid, I thought that glasses were awesome, and wanted to wear them. But my vision was never bad enough to warrant a prescription. I wore fake glasses for a short (short, short time), but couldn’t bring myself to do it with any consistency. Probably with good reason; everyone hates a poser. Since then, I’ve learned to accept my place in the world as someone with good vision.

5. I was homeschooled. A lot of people know this; it’s not really a secret. But I needed something else to round out the list, and there are probably some other people out there that still don’t know this about me. It was a good experience, and definitely shaped the person that I am today.

I have a notion to one day put my homeschooling experiences on screen, either on TV or in Film. Or maybe even a play, I don’t know. But in any event, it’s a section of the population that has no real accurate representation, and I’d like to do that someday.

6. I played piano in my church band. I liked it a lot. Well, I like it a lot, actually. Because…I’m actually going to play next Sunday. 10AM, Sovereign Grace Church, Chesapeake, VA. Be there.

7. I wrote my first script at the age of 14. It was a spy spoof, ingeniously titled “A Spy Movie”. In truth, it’s really a bit generous to call it a “spy” spoof, since it really just referenced any movie that was popular at the time (Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, etc). And it’s also generous to call it a “spoof”, since it wasn’t…actually…funny.

But I was really excited about it for a time, and was planning to make it with my friends—although I never quite figured out how I was going to make buildings explode, and giant chasms appear on screen (I think I just said to myself “I’ll just get After Effects. It’ll be okay). As you could probably guess, I never actually made the movie. I DID make a trailer, which was enough to get other people excited about it. But our camera never worked, and we could never get schedules to coincide or locations secured.

Also, I was 14, and thus couldn’t drive.

But we got a trailer. Maybe I’ll show it to you guys sometime…

8. I legitimately LOVE the Marx brothers. I hate pretentious film dicks who put every movie made before 1940 on their favorite movie lists, because they’re a FILM major, and should obviously like that stuff. I mean, I can respect and even enjoy the films of Orson Welles, John Ford, Howard Hawkes and the like, but I would never list any of them among my favorite movies.

Not so with the Marx brothers. Duck Soup is probably one of my favorite movies, and I can sit down and enjoy almost any Marx brothers movie as an afternoon’s entertainment. I legitimately laugh at Harpo’s physical comedy, Groucho’s wit, and whatever Chico did that was funny. Honestly, Zeppo was BOOOORING, but that doesn’t stop the Marx brothers from rocking hard.

9. My Dad works for Pat Robertson. Yes, that Pat Robertson. The one that called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, claimed that 9/11 and Katrina were God’s punishments for the homosexuals, and the one that talks to God everyday. My dad’s worked at the Christian Broadcasting Network for 20+ years. He’s a remote cameraman, which means that he travels the country (and the world), shooting testimonies, news stories, whatever Pat Robertson happens to need for his daily broadcast.

Furthermore, I’ve been ON the 700 Club. This happened a lot when I was younger, and they needed kids for the re-enactments. I’d usually get paid in ice cream, but every once in a while I’d get a check for my trouble. This also happened recently. During a school vacation at home, my Dad needed a rebellious college-age kid to smoke and booze it up in the background of some person’s sinful past life. And I was more than happy to oblige. And this time I was paid in pizza.

10. I have recently decided that my greatest desire in this life is to see the Earth from Space. Honestly, this has always been true, but it’s really become much more real within the past couple of months. It started when I saw the IMAX 3D film “Space Station”, narrated by Tom Cruise. The giant, two-story tall, three-dimensional images of the Earth were simply awe-inspiring…even more so with the realization that these images were completely absent of CGI. This was real. And ever since then, I’ve just become more emotional whenever I see a picture of Earth from space, or think about space travel in general.

The most exciting thing is that space tourism may just be a reality within my lifetime. I might someday get the privilege to pay a years’ salary to go into space for 15 minutes, be weightless, and see the fucking earth.

What an exciting world.

Now, for tagging:

1. Josh – Because he’s commented on my past 3 posts, and that tickles me.
2. Peter – because he gave me kickass notes on my script (see below).
3. Amanda – because she’s moving to LA, and really gonna try to make this whole TV thing work. Best of Luck.
4. Andrew - Because he’s an interesting guy, and I’d like to see what 10 things I don’t know about him...
5. Mackenzie – because she went to Italy. Probably TONS of things I don’t know about her.

Go, DO IT!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kickin Ass in Final Draft

Man, I finally just kicked my BSG Spec's ass. More or less.

I got some kickass notes from Peter, which more or less tore my script a new one (in the most positive way imaginable), and I immediately set to work re-writing it. Thankfully, I had a week of vacation coming in which to do nothing but write. Unthankfully, I was going home for said vacation, away from the computer lab - and thus away from final draft.

So, I finally forced myself to bite the bullet and I bought the durned thing. And let me tell you, it is kickass. I mean, it was kickass before, but now it's on my mac, so it's obviously kickass x2 now.

Anyway, I had to re-write a lot of scenes, and add in a couple more. And it's the new scenes that were giving me trouble. One in particular. The scene in question was necessary in order to develop the C plot (which was almost non-existant in the last draft), but I couldn't find a way to make it work. I did 3 different versions with different configurations of characters, locations, and tones for the scene. They were all definitely not kickass. They actually kind of sucked. Characters just kind of came out and stated the theme, or started to talk about their dramatic back-story with no real motivation to do so. Basically, there was no subtext to speak of, everything was on the nose, and it was all incredibly cheesy. And if you've ever gotten cheese stuck in your nose, you know how much that sucks.

But then, at around 9:30 tonight, I finally realized what I needed to do. I intercut the scene with another one, and now, everything is inexplicably fixed. The things that were totally cheesy when spoken out loud were now inferred by the other scene. And there's this great tension between the two scenes that I really love.

Basically I kicked it's ass.

And it feels good.

And I'm ready to move on to something else now. (like the superhero script? Andrew, are you still there?)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Emmys!




The Emmys totally got it right this year. The new changes to the system were a long time coming, and completely shut up all those with doubts about how well they'd represent the best of the medium. Remember last year when "24" and "Grey's Anatomy" were allowed to make the list when shows like "Lost" and "The Wire" were completely snubbed?

Well no more. The "Critics Circle" replacing the "Blue Ribbon panels" was a great idea. Now people who actually WATCH the season's run of shows will help to decide the nominations. Now long-term, serial driven dramas like "Friday Night Lights" and "Battlestar Galactica" can be recognized, instead of formulaic shows like "House" or "Boston Legal" which can come out with an occasionally touching stand-alone episode submission for the win. And the 3-year nomination limit really freed up the field, too. The Sopranos could easily have gotten a swan song pity-vote this year, when there are so many other deserving shows on now.

I just hope that this is Battlestar's year, they've only got one more year to make it work, and with the new and improved rules, it might actually happen.

P.S. Here's what really happened.

P.P.S. In all seriousness, congratulations to Ron Moore on his writing nomination. I'm sure he doesn't read this blog, but if he does, just know that I'll be watching on the off-chance he kicks some mobster ass.

P.P.P.S. I'm not really that mad about the Emmys. It's about what I was expecting. This post was really just so I could photoshop that picture..

Friday, July 06, 2007

It is finished...



Well, I did it. I sent my Battlestar spec off to the Carl Sautter Memorial Television Outreach Program. I wish I had finished it a week ago, because saying that I just sent it off to the Disney Fellowship sounds a lot better. Well, it is a lot better. But whatever. I finished it.

And that's a first for me. For once in my life, I feel like I can legitimately call myself a writer. Because I've actually written something. And finished it. It feels good.

It's kind of a relief to have it done. I'm probably gonna submit to some other ones, like the AAA Competition, and the Screenwriting Expo competition. If you guys know of any good ones, let me know. And if anyone wants to take a look at it, just shoot me an e-mail at matthew.samuel.thornton [at] gmail.com.

P.S. Because I was in such a rush to get it out, I didn't think to snap a picture for the blog. So the picture above is my reciept for paying for postage. Yeah, I know. Lame.

P.P.S. In other news: because of the Jewish conference, I've had the soundtrack to This stuck in my head all week.

P.P.P.S I got off work an hour ago. It's 1:30. I'm working tomorrow at 7:30. And for some reason, I'm blogging. One of these days, I swear, I will sleep.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Overheard at the Jewish conference...

INT. FALCON EXPRESS - DAY

A LARGE JEWISH MAN with a bushy beard is eating his meal of chicken tenders and fries. He talks to a SKINNY JEWISH MAN, who wears a Yamulke on top of his bald head.

They are in the midst of an argument.

LARGE JEWISH MAN
Yeah...when non-kosher, even-toed
ungulates can fly...

SKINNY JEWISH MAN
(confused)
What, you don't think cows'll ever fly?

LARGE JEWISH MAN
(irate like only large
jewish men can be)
No, Pigs! I said non-kosher, even-toed ungulates!




Sometimes I wish I could write dialogue like this.

In other words, I'm taking a break from the rewrite that's had me holed up in Hess computer lab all day.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The highs are great, if you can survive the lows

Well, I'm gonna take the UCLA Extension class. It starts July 11th, which works well for me, since I have until July 7th to finish my Galactica spec. That gives me a couple of days to watch the entire run of Friday Night Lights (current choice for my next spec), and whatever amount of Lost I can sprinkle in.

And yes, I finally succumbed to pressure, and started watching Lost. I've finished the first season so far, which has some of the most excellent writing I think I've seen on television. Then, I started season 2, and after the first two incredibly frustrating episodes, I was kind of depressed. It didn't make sense that a show whose greatest strength was delivering wonderful unexpected-yet-inevitable twists (both in flashbacks and A-stories) would serve up such predictable and, well, boring stories for their opening episodes. (Brian the roomate said that he feels the Raft episode "Adrift" is the series' worst. I haven't seen as much as him, but at this point, I'm inclined to agree). But it got better. Once it settled into something of a status quo, it got much more enjoyable.

In othervwords, I am quickly turning into a Lost fanboy. The hardest part is staying unspoiled. Watching shows on DVD is a great experience, but it doesn't come without its risks.

I've finished my "draft 2.5" of Galactica, and about ready to start on the next one. I should have the script printed, holes punched, brads in, and in the mail by Friday (I work on Saturday). So I'm definitely down to The Wire. Which, coincidentally, is another show I should probably start watching.

And while I'm updating in every part of my life, the Messianic Jewish Association of America has descended upon the campus of Messiah College. This is by far the largest and most stressful conference of the summer, so obviously it happens the week where I realistically need to do nothing but write.

Oh, and we're seeing Transformers tomorrow.

This should be an interesting week.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Warning, this post contains a lot of quote marks.

I'm taking a break from my re-write to blog for a bit. Half because I need something to do in the space between re-writing the teaser and act one, and half because of the immense guilt I have for such a long space between real updates.

If you have no life and you've been visiting regularly, You might have noticed that my status bar went from "Galactica spec" to "Galactica spec, 2nd draft" to the now puzzling "Galactica spec, draft 2.5" Allow me to offer a feeble explanation. The original draft of the Galactica Spec was outlined on Spring Break, and went to teleplay on Easter break. I finished it about 2 1/2 weeks ago.

For those who were keeping count, that was 9 weeks. Damn

And, like all of Ernest Hemingway's first drafts, it was shit. There were a lot of space battles, which I found exciting, but when I re-read it, I realized that they really didn't add up to anything. The conflict was weak, and poorly defined, the characters reacted in convinient and inconsistent ways, and there were subplots that went absolutely nowhere.

So, for my "second draft" I did something really smart. I threw it all out. Except for the three scenes I had for the "C Story" (which promptly became my new "A Story"), I repeatedly and happily pressed the "delete" key. And then I wrote a quick "second draft" (quote-unquote), which focused more on people than space battles. Okay, people and robots. Sue me.

I "finished" that draft about 5 days ago. I put that in quotes because there were a lot of holes, and places where I needed to write real dialogue, or even entirely new scenes. But I had something to print out, and set in front of me and my Pilot G2 click gel-pen. And now, after almost a week of analysis and planning, and scribbling all over the script, I've just started on an actual re-write. The first of many.

I was shooting for the Disney Fellowship deadline, which is July 1st, but it doesn't look like I'll be able to scramble it together in that time. Oh well. There's always next year.

Right now I'm aiming for 2 deadlines: The Scriptwriters Network Television Outreach which is July 7th, and the Creative Screenwriting Expo Competition which I'll have until July 31st for the normal deadline, and August 14th for the last minute deadline. The Scriptwriters Network is appealing because all entries recieve feedback - and I'm kind of hungry for feedback.

Speaking of which, any of you guys (real life friends or not) is more than welcome to take a look at it when it's done. Just let me know via comments or e-mail. I'm out for as much feedback as I can get.

And I'm not really sure how to segue into this request, so here goes. I'm out for some advice:

I'm thinking about taking a UCLA extension class online over the summer semester. I've heard things about how UCLA classes are a great way not only to get feedback on your scripts, but also an opportunity to make contacts within the industry. The class I'd like to eventually take is an intermediate TV writing class, which results in writing a full spec (with notes from the professor and the class). And of course, it has a prerequisite: *gasp* a beginning TV Writing class. It results in a complete outline for a TV episode, which is something that'd definitely be useful for me. A solid outline would have saved me a lot of grief with this spec.

So I'm thinking: I'll take the prerequisite now, while I'm not doing anything (except working on my final project script with Andrew. Oh, and working. heh, yeah that), and when I move out to LA and get settled, I take the intermediate class. I get a spec, and contacts. And guided experience, which isn't that bad of a deal.

The summer class starts July 11th, and it costs $575. What do you guys think? is it worth it?

Friday, June 22, 2007

I am 8 years old again




http://indianajones.com/community/news/news20070621.html


Oh man. 2008 cannot be farther off. (farther off? further off? farthing off? furlong off?)

Oh yeah, and I'm still alive, I promise.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

This is me not acknowledging that my last post was a month ago.




I've noticed (quite obviously) that I don't blog nearly as much as I used to, or at least my posts are not as personally revealing as they used to be. Most of that I keep in my little moleskines. They're such a trendy thing to have nowadays, but I honestly only started buying them because I had a Barnes and Noble card at the time, and I wanted a notebook that wouldn't fall apart in my pocket. And man, are these sturdy notebooks.

Anyway, ever since I bought one nigh on two years ago, I've always had one at my side. At first they were just there to capture inspiration as it came to me (a purpose they still serve), but they eventually became the place that I would write just to figure stuff out. Sometimes this meant free-writing a rant inside it, sometimes it meant that I'd write a stream-of-consciousness short story in there. I even liked some of the stories, not enough to publish them, but enough to develop them into ideas that would actually work.

Also, I've developed the habit of naming them. After fictional characters, of course (and then, later, actual people)*. My first one was "Toby", followed by "Malcolm", "Gordon", and my newest addition, "Edgar". Yes, they're all men's names. Feel free to speculate as to the meaning behind that.

Anyway, I've been filling them up more and more quickly. Toby took me almost a year, Malcolm about 9 months, and Gordon was less than a semester. And I, inexplicably am proud of that fact. Probably because it means I'm writing more (even if it doesn't show on this blog.**

But don't worry. I'll try to keep blogging, whether it's about screenwriting, my favored notebook brands, or fine wine selections. Or people that piss me off. Whatever it is, I'll be here.

...Sorry.

* Bonus points to whoever guesses to whom each refers. Hint: most are pretty geeky, and all refer to more than one person i.e. If one's name was "Kara", then it would refer both to "Kara Thrace (Starbuck)" as well as "Kara Zor-El (Supergirl). Got it?

** Except of course for my progress bar. 45 pages! Aren't I such a big boy?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Just links.

This is the sadddest/funniest thing I've read in a while regarding verbal child abuse. Especially since from the sound of it, he was apparently still in character as Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock.

Also, interesting thing number two.

That is all for now. I'm off to Hollidaysburg, PA to spend the weekend at the home of the illustrious Matthew Wells. A lot of people are gonna be crammed into his house - it should be a fun time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Getting into the habit

If you've been paying attention to my little progress bar over there to the right, then you may have noticed that I've actually been writing recently. I know, weird.

I've been trying to get into a habit of doing this for a while, but it's always been difficult for me to balance writing on top of both work and school. I know, I know. That's kind of pathetic, seeing how many people do so much more in much more difficult situations. If I were honest,I would say it's just because I'm naturally lazy. Just getting up the motivation to get off of the internet and into Celtx is half the battle. (thank God I'm not honest, then)

But now that I actually have an outline, and have a specific goal to achieve, I find that I can usually crank out 2-3 pages a day, which satisfies me. I wrote a ton over Easter break (since I wasn't really doing anything else), and it's leveled out to about a scene a day since then.

Also, I've been writing in the computer lab instead of my room. This is for 2 reasons: (1) They have Final Draft, which is way better than Celtx. It's weird, because it's really just little things that are different, but it's a lot simpler and a lot more intuitive. And it's on every computer on campus, so as long as I have my outline, I can write virtually anywhere.

And (2) I just can't write in my room. I don't know what it is, but everytime I sit down to write on my laptop, with Dan and Andrew around, my mind wants to do anything but write. This usually results in me breaking my high score in Quinn yet again, or just checking out facebook/aintitcool/blogs incessantly. For some reason, it's easier for me to focus in a computer lab, even though there are tons of people around (there are 11 other people in my lab right now - every computer is taken).

Eh. You gotta do what you gotta do. And I'm doing it.

19 Pages so far. Apollo and Hotdog have both just launched into space to do battle with toasters.

Hoo-rah.

Friday, April 06, 2007

What I did last weekend



Last week was crazy, otherwise I would have blogged about this sooner. But now I have time, and I can tell you: last Friday night, myself and a few of my fellow freedom fighters engaged in some culture jamming on the behalf of Governor Worf.

Let me explain. Last semester, in Philly, my roomate Brian gave me a most thoughtful christmas present: a Governor Worf action figure from Tower Records. (Tower Records was also going out of business at the time, and thus the figure only cost him $2.) For those unfamiliar with Star Trek:The Next Generation, allow me to give a short history of the character.


Lieutenant Commander Worf was the first Klingon in Starfleet, and served on board the Enterprise (and later on the the Defiant as First Officer, and Deep Space Nine as Strategic Command Officer), and had a repuation as a ruthless warrior and all-around badass. But that is not the action figure I recieved. No, This figure was based the character as he appeared in the series finale ("All Good Things..."), where he was shown in the future as an old man, a greying bureaucratic Governor of an obscure Klingon colony . Essentially, it is the least bad-ass action figure you could possibly imagine.

But I, being the nerd that I am, loved it and kept it for the treasure that it is.

Fast forward to this semester. Back in Grantham, I move in with Dan. Upon seeing the glory of Governor Worf, we unanimously decide that something needs to be done with him. So we elected him Governor of our dorm room; and thus Miller 212 became Worfengrad. Using the Legos I had brought with me from home, we constructed a throne for him--complete with an ear-level stand for Prime Minister Yoda (a must for every scheming power-behind-the-throne).



Fast forward (again) to a few weeks ago. I get a mass e-mail that elections for the Student Government Association are coming up. For those who don't know, SGA elections are kind of a joke. Almost all of the people running were completely unopposed, thus making the act of voting for them utterly pointless. I mean, you might as well vote for a fictional character, it'll make about the same amount of difference.

And so, taking a page from Defective Yeti's book, I decided to launch an election campaign for our dear Governor. Or, more specifically, a propaganda campaign. What follows are the results:





I think the funniest thing is that there were several people who thought that they were for an actual candidate. If only. There's no write-in on the ballots, otherwise I have no doubt that we would have actually won the election.

Oh well, there's always "Worf 2008"

Monday, March 26, 2007

I'm going to be novel, and NOT quote Bob Dylan lyrics in my title.



MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SEASON THREE FINALE. CROSSROADS, PT. 2

I really should be doing homework, but I can't stop thinking about the Battlestar Finale last night. And since I've built up to it so much the past couple of posts, I figured I might as well bring my Galactica blogging to a close (at least for the next 9 months).

Like I said, I really can't stop thinking about it. I woke up at 6 this morning, and throughout the course of the day, I have been turning it over and over in my mind, letting it all sink in, and I'm still not close to any sort of final conclusion about the episode. I mean, there are things about it that I'm absolutely in love with. The trial ended well, and Lee's speech was surprisingly effective - it seemed to bring everything that's happened so far in the series full circle, without feeling explanatory in any way.

And, unlike some, I completely bought the whole "All Along the Watchtower" part. For some reason, I didn't have a problem with the newly-discovered Cylons mysteriously hearing Bob Dylan, and I certainly didn't have a problem with the awesome, Bear McCreary-ized cover of the song. I think that it drove home the eerie idea all of this really is happening in our universe. You get so used to these characters and situations existing in an entirely separate sci-fi/fantasy world, one that doesn't have any real relation to ours, that when you get slammed with a song you recognize and/or the above image of our own little ball of water, it reminds you that, oh yeah...they are looking for Earth, aren't they?

Speaking of the song, I must admit--to my shame--that I was not as well-versed in Dylan (or Hendrix, or Dave Matthews, or a billion other bands) as I really should have been. The song seemed strangely familiar, but I had to Wikipedia it before I got. I'm sorry, Ron. I'll be sure to brush up on my classic rock before Season 4.

(As an aside: that wikipedia page said something very interesting that I had previously forgotten: "The 10th chapter, 'Two Riders', of the classic comic book series Watchmen concludes with the superheroes Nite-Owl and Rorschach riding their hoverbikes to the villain's Antarctic base to confront him. As the villain watches them approach, his pet wildcat growls at the sight in a scene that corresponds to the final lyrics of the song — lyrics which are quoted in the last panel of the chapter." All that to say, that this song is, I think, inherently a "3rd act" song--something which has a sense of a previous history of events, and a strong indication of something ominous to come. And also: Zack Snyder is a moron if he doesn't put this song in his upcoming Watchmen movie. A Frakking moron, I tell you.)

And even the return of Starbuck was happy for me (even if it does ruin my spec script). I had always assumed she was coming back, although I really didn't think is was going to be this soon. And I don't think she's a Cylon--she's something more than that (and she better not be inside Lee's head. That would make me angry. And I'm rather unpleasant when I'm angry). But her "death" and subsequent return all felt planned to me, and I don't mean just by the writers. There's obviously something more going on for Kara Thrace, and that's something that I'm very interested in to see how it pans out.

And speaking of pan out, it was worthwhile to bring her back even if only for the whiplash-inducing, Men-in-Black-style zoom out that followed. Hoo-boy. Made my fanboy nerves tingle.

That's the good stuff. That's the stuff that makes me excited for next season. But the thing that's bothering me, and the thing that I can't decide whether I like or not, is--obviously--the revelation of the final five. Or four of the final five, whatever. Maybe it's just because I need time to accept that, yes, they really are Cylons. And yes, they really are Cylons. Otherwise, the writers are lying to us. And nobody likes liars. Partly because they go to Hell. Right next to the child molesters and people who talk in the theater.

How can they be Cylons? I've read on boards that "we need to redefine what what we think a Cylon is...", but even with a LOT of redefining, we still have to redefine who we think Tyrol is, or who we think Tigh is, or who we think Anders is. I mean, it's obvious that the writers didn't know this from the beginning of the show, and it was put in here to keep with their tradition of earth-shattering season finales. To use comic book terminology, they've retconned their backstories--masters of revisionist history that they are, they've changed what we thought we knew about our favorite characters, and to me, it all feels fake. It's fake, and it's a lie to the audience, because they didn't write them knowing this, and they don't have a believable rationalization for it. At least not where I'm standing. To me, it just seems terribly convenient that "a switch went off, just like that", and they're Cylons now. That way, we don't have to worry about things like continuity and character arcs.

But like I said, I go back and forth on this point. Tomorrow, I may very well be fine with it, and be cheering for our newfound Bob Dylan Cylons to save and protect humanity against their evil mechanical brethren. Like I said, we have to redefine what we think a Cylon is, and looking back from the end of the series, I may see this as one of the highest points of the entire show. It all depends on how they pay it off.

I think the real reason that I feel disappointed was that this wasn't a "normal" Galactica finale (if there is such a thing). Usually, after a good finale, I'm excited, the characters are in danger, and I can't wait to see what happens next. This wasn't a "Oh my gods, what's going to happen next" finale. This was a "Oh my gods, what the frak just happened?" finale.

Let me say it this way: Imagine if season 2 ended with just "One Year Later". The story jumped a year, but the Cylons didn't come. You'd be thrown, for sure, but would you HAVE to see what happened next? What made Season 2 was one of the greatest cliffhangers of all time was that not only were we catapulted into a new and unfamilar world, but the writers then gave us a half-hour to see it. We had time to recover from the paradigm shift, to get used to this new arrangement of characters, and understand the new basic structure of the world. And THEN, only once we had figured out "what the frak just happened", did we hail the conquering Cylons. They let us turn a corner only to put a wall in front of us. A wall with poison spikes.

And this finale had no spikes. We turned a corner. That's great, but do I really have to wait 9 months before I can go further into the maze?

And like I said before, I could change my mind. Hindsight is 20/20; I might just be saying all this simply because it's new and unfamiliar. A year ago, I had complained about the finale for season two, but looking back on it now, I see it as one of the most daring moments in television. And that's something that Battlestar Galactica is, if nothing else: daring. It's not a perfect show, but it reaches really high. And when it really hits those high points, it frakkin' nails them, and nails them like no other show can. And, loyal fanboy that I am, you can bet your ass that I'll be there in January, watching along with the rest of you.

If only so I can figure out what the frak actually did happen...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

No, not this one...


Well, as you might have guessed by looking at my sidebar, I finished the outline for my Galactica spec. It took me pretty much the whole week, but I was able to hammer out every beat of the story, and put it into a six-page document. I was hoping to start writing pages this week, but that outline would just not let me leave it alone. But, according to Alex Epstien, one week is the preferred amount of time to beat out the story. And that's working full time. I'd like to get this thing written in 2 weeks, but I'm not sure how possible that'll be with school and work and such trivialities. I will be staying at school for Easter break, which should give me a few extra days to write. Or is it day? how many days do we get off for Easter, again?

Oyg, and that reminds me--I have to go back to school tomorrow. I haven't even thought about school for the past week. And I have a paper topic due on tuesday, a monologue due sometime this week, and I'm sure there's other stuff that I can't think of at the present moment. But instead, I'll blog about writing a Battlestar Galactica spec script.

Speaking of which, I'd really like to get my hands on some produced scripts of the show. I've looked all over the internet, and found nothing. No free .pdf downloads, no semi-legal scripts for sale, not even eBay turned up anything useful. Unless, of course, I was interested in finding scripts from the 1978 Glen Larson version; there's tons of those. So, on the off-chance that someone is reading who has the means and know-how to get me one (or a couple), then by all means: help a brother out.

I only mention it because I tried to start writing pages today, and I realized I don't know how any of it looks on the page. What do you say for "instert that one stock effects shot of the fleet here"? Or, what's been annoying me more, is what are all the characters called? I'd assume Adama isn't "Bill", and Lee would just be "Lee" (not Apollo), but what do you call Lt. Anastasia Dualla? Especially now that she's married to Lee, which means her name isn't even Dualla anymore. Or is it? (I don't think it's something they've really addressed in the show yet. I mean, is Starbuck "Kara Anders"? I don't think so. But then, Sharon is now "Sharon Agathon")

It's a little thing, yeah. And I'll just press on and write whatever seems right to me, but I'd sure like to see how they do it for real.

And all this talk of Galactica reminds me that we've got one more episode left of the season. I probably don't even have to say that I am extremely excited--these past couple episodes all seem like they've been building toward something. Something BIG. I've worked really hard to not be spoiled this time around--no BBoards, no Aint It Cool articles...I even took my "Battlestar Galactica" newsfeed off my Google homepage (oh yeah. I have a Battlestar Galactica newsfeed on by Google homepage. As if you didn't already know how much of a nerd I am) I only hope that I get back to school in time to watch it live with Chad and company.

And I hope to the gods that whatever happens tomorrow night doesn't mess up my spec.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

This post brought to you by your friendly neighborhood fanboy

Okay. Updating. I'm going to get into the habit of doing this again. That wasn't a declarative statement, by the by--it was an imperative, a command directed towards myself. I am GOING to get into the habit of updating.

But yes, much has happened since last post, although most of it was not of consequence. I saw movies, dropped classes, watched Battlestar Galactica, stopped watching Studio 60 (Gods, it was getting so boring) saw more movies, worked a lot (a LOT), started to GM a Star Wars RPG campaign, and managed to write a good bit somewhere in between.

But now I'm home on spring break (you know, spring break? That one where it SNOWS. Frakking schitzo Pennsylvania weather), and so I've got a chance to breathe.

More on the writing part, I've recently decided to shelf the spec TV pilot that I've been working on off and on for the past year or so. I still like the concept and I hope to come back to it someday, but it really just didn't seem to be going anywhere. I feel like it's pretty good, but there's just something missing in it that I can't quite put my finger on. Something that would push it over the edge from being pretty good to awesome.

That and I just can't figure out how to end the damn thing. Either it resolves way too much and seems cliche and convenient, or it resolves next to nothing, and you wonder why you would want to go through all of that just to end up where you started.

So yeah, instead I've started work in earnest on my very own Battlestar Galactica spec. It's my first real stab at speccing an existing TV show, so I decided to go for the jugular, and write the one that I know the best. And by that I of course mean that the one I travel off campus each week to watch, the one that I always download from BitTorrent immediately after watching, just so I can listen to the podcast commentary, the one that I own every available DVD, despite having all the episodes on my hard drive and watching them first-run on TV, and yes, the same one as the poster that's currently fastened securely to my Dorm room wall. That one.

I just finished breaking one of the subplots, and I'm still interested and excited about it. There are problems to overcome, of course, but they're much more fun problems. Because they're on Galactica. That's really what I like most about the show, and what made me want to write for TV in the first place. They've got all this great stuff going on, with complex and realistic character motivations and relationships, deep political commentary, an amazingly intricate soundtrack (which I just happen to be listening to right now. Bear McCreary is a genius), all of which that rivals any other drama on the air right now.

But what makes Galactica better than Lost, or 24, or Rome or Deadwood, is that they do all of that IN SPACESHIPS. And as any twelve-year old Matt Thornton would tell you, spaceships are in actuality the coolest thing ever.

But now 21-year-old Matt Thornton has to get back to doing what Spring Break was really meant for. WRITING!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dreadfully sorry. I realize I've had an extreme case of not posting as of late. And since my last post was this thing about not posting in a while, that makes it sting all the more. But just know I've been busy. Well, except when I was home. Then I wasn't so much busy as I didn't have a stable internet connection. Which, like being busy is strangely anathema to posting.

(P.S. Did I use anathema right? I'm really not sure)

Anyway, I spent all of January in a creative writing class, where we were FORCED to write everyday. It was torture. Well, not really--it was actually a lot of fun. It was really a great experience to be writing so much that I had almost no free time to myself. I can only hope that one day I'll be paid to have a similar experience.

Anyway, I wrote about 30 pages of poetry and fiction, about 15 of which is actually good. And one of the stories turned out to be a beginning of a larger work that I may even go out and finish one day.

And now the spring semester has begun, and I have even less time to do anything. I spent about an hour writing, planning for that 2nd pilot I talked about last time, planning out characters, relationships, possible plotlines and such. I think I have a lot more work to do on it, but it seems to be coming along well.

Okay. Now I have to read poetry. Later