Sunday, January 31, 2010


New web episode of "Love That Girl" sitcom on TVOne starring Tatiana Ali. Really interested in these new web shows and how they allow artists to create, shoot and upload their own content.

Quote of The Day

"When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day's work is all I can permit myself to contemplate."
- John Steinbeck

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Absolutely CRUCIAL screenwriting blogs - not technically about screenwriting, or even a blog, but Rainn Wilson (The Office) has created a great space to think like a philosopher and that can't hurt the writing process one bit.

Quote of The Day

"Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public."
- Winston Churchill

Soul Train Classic Episodes

Last night got to attend premiere of VH1 Soul train Documentary and got misty eyed on more than one occasion reliving the Saturday mornings of my youth. But was also insanely inspired by the dancing, set design, wardrobe and performances.

I saw a panel at the WGA recently where the writer of HBO's Warm Springs said, writers block is a result of not "creatively re-charging your battery by taking in- non-work related art." When you feel creatively stymied: Watch a great movie (that has nothing to do with the project you're working on), go to a comedy show, a concert, a museum, and I would like to add…

Re-watch the Soul Train episode that you've Tivo'd. It airs Saturday, February 06 9:30 PM ET/PT ON VH1.

BTW, quote of the night at the event's Q&A panel last night was by Don Cornelius - "A dude with a jock strap on Soul Train. It was never gonna happen. We didn't do that sh*t."

Friday, January 29, 2010


Today is a big pitch for me. I've never had a child, but labor pains during child birth seem like it would be neck and neck in terms of pleasant experiences compared with pitching. And the bigger the pitch, the more the pain. I have to take something to go to sleep the night before, talk to myself for hours about how great I'll be - they'll love it. they'll love it?

And yet still, there are some of those pitches, like the one I had with Halle Berry where I started sweating profusely, couldn't talk, breathe, and sat there in some sort of post-traumatic-stress reenactment of the time I was in WWII trapped on the beaches of Normandy.

Another lovely incident happened with Jada Pinkett Smith, when I full-on started hyperventilating in a meeting.

The thing is - you take a writer, the one person who has decided for a living to sit in a room by themself and shine a spotlight on them and tell them "dance monkey dance!" They don't always deliver.

I thought it was just me, then noticed that almost all of the seminars I'd go to at the Writers Guild had some Oscar award winning writer giving tips about getting over the jingly jangly's as I call them.

Now, that's not to say I ALWAYS get the jingly jangly's or that they bring me down like the great elephant when I do. (side note: Halle signed on to that project that I was so freaked out about, and I've sold a show to NBC after a mini-meltdown in the meeting with the powers that be, sometimes people just understand).

But, here are the best things I've learned about beating them so if you have a pitch coming up, or are too nervous to approach someone that you'd like to pitch, here are some tips, if it alleviates even 20% of the anguish, I've done my job.

1. Overprepare. Practice on your friends, business associates and partners, representation as much as possible. That way if the worst part of the pitch is your nerves it'll be okay, at least what you're pitching will be on point.

2. When the assistants come out and ask if you'd like something to drink - say yes! if they have tea - try that, it's very soothing, and it gives you an excuse to blow on it to cool it down, when really you're practicing conscious breathing.

3. Wear a jacket, or a shirt over another shirt, or a blazer. Really, the worst thing is to just wear one shirt that gets soaked through because of your nerves now you are not only a nervous baboon, you are a wet nervous baboon.

4. Bring your pitch with you on notecards or on paper in as organized a manner as possible and read from them if you have to. It's easy to get lost when you're jittery.

5. Remember to keep telling yourself in your head, "there's no reason to be nervous. I can do this." And I stand beside you in wishing you well and believing with you - that you can.

Quote of The Day

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."
- William Wordsworth

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist."
- Isaac Asimov

Anything is possible

Film is a tough pursuit, or so they say. I've had my share of blood, sweat and tears in its devotion, but... maybe it's only as hard as we think. In some esoteric "secret" style, it may not be any harder than getting a job as a secretary (especially in this economy).

Afterall, I write this to you as I procrastinate work on a script for which I am getting paid to write. So I can say with all certainty that it does happen for people who weren't born into it, or didn't start "on in the inside."

Short story. My mom bought a lottery ticket today. She told the guy at the counter she didn't want to waste her $10 so she better win, he told her you just gotta have the right attitude. She won $2,500. The morale of the story is real people do win the lottery. And since making it in Hollywood is often compared to winning the lottery, for the record, real people do make it as screenwriters (although from this blog, you may not understand why I am one of them). And instead of thinking about how hard it is, let's just for today think about the fact that anything is possible.