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.