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Archive for June, 2012

The Oatmeal: How movie theaters SHOULD be laid out Jun 29

God bless the twisted sense of humor of Matthew Inman and his website, The

This particularly hilarious comic, and argument for an improved movie theater layout, was recently brought to my attention (click image for larger version at

Into the dome...Into the dome!Click image above to visit and see a larger version.

The only thing I disagree with — sitting next to elderly folks. I once sat in front of an old lady who loudly reiterated every single line of dialogue to her deaf husband, for the ENTIRE movie.


Category: Diversions, Humor  | 2 Comments
The Role of an Agent Jun 27

Fire WomanI’m currently enjoying the “Network Hollywood: How to Market Your Script/Build Your Career” online course, with Tom Benedek (screenwriter of Cocoon). It’s part of the curriculum at the Screenwriting Master Class — an online screenwriting university of sorts.

One of the members of my class mentioned that they had recently spoken to an agent at a major agency, who offered this great quote:

We [agents] are not in the business of starting a fire, we’re in the business of fanning the flames.

Isn’t that a great metaphor to help clarify the role of an agent?

Agents aren’t going to hold your hand and help you write a great script (although they may point you in the right direction). They’re going to do their best to generate buzz and sell it for you.

Category: Agents  | Leave a Comment
Tips from Screenwriter Rhett Reese (Zombieland) Jun 25

Rhett ReeseA few weeks back I went to the Great American PitchFest and had a blast. I posted my overall impressions here. And also discussed a couple of free classes I attended, here and here.

Today I’m writing about the third free class I attended — an interview with screenwriter Rhett Reese (Zombieland, Monsters, Inc., G.I. Joe: Retaliation). I found Rhett Reese to be an extremely affable and generous guy. He truly enjoys teaching and helping aspiring screenwriters.

Here are some random tips from his interview (along with my usual paraphrasing) that I found interesting.

Tip #1: On breaking out of one genre after you’ve found success there…

Hollywood straps you with the “golden handcuffs.” You tend to become associated with one genre. But it’s possible to “reinvent yourself by degrees.” For example, if you’ve had traction with an action movie, you could write an action comedy next. Then if that one hits, you could write a comedy, etc.

Tip #2: Before you send your script out to decision makers

… start on a new script. That way “it’s easier to take rejection, because you’re already invested in a new project.”

Tip #3: “Make your characters very entertainingly ONE THING.”

“Simplicity is your friend when it comes to character. Keep it simple.” Play up the one thing that makes your character stand out.

Tip #4: “Never write past your punchline.”

He gave the example of the following line:

“The last time I was in a woman was when I went to the Statue of Liberty.”

It’s less impactful if you were to say it as follows:

“The last time I was in a woman was when I went to the Statue of Liberty in New York City.”

End on the button.

Tip #5: To be successful as a writer…

… you need to be like the T-1000 Terminator. In your career you’ll be routinely shattered to a million pieces by criticism and rejection. The successful writers will be the ones who can “relentlessly and robotically let these pieces coalesce.”

Heads-Up: Aaron Sorkin on ‘Rock Center’ Tomorrow Jun 20

I just found out that Rock Center with Brian Williams will be airing a piece on one of my favorite writers — Aaron Sorkin — tomorrow at 10 p.m. on NBC. I’ll definitely be watching (or DVRing).

Here’s the preview clip:

Category: Aaron Sorkin  | Leave a Comment
Freaky Friday Videos Jun 15

Because it’s Friday

Here are the videos that have been haunting my dreams this past week.

Burning Love

Have you seen this parody of The Bachelor yet? It’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while. Thanks to Yahoo throwing some money behind it, the production value is exceptional for a web series.

It also stars some pretty big names including Ben Stiller, Malin Ackerman, Kristen Bell, and another famous actress who makes a surprising appearance in episode 2.

Here’s episode 1:

The other episodes can be found here. New episodes air every Monday and Thursday.

Bieber Creeper

So apparently Justin Bieber held a contest where girls were supposed to post a video of themselves singing a “Girlfriend” version of his song: Boyfriend. The result was one of the creepiest, funniest videos that will make you hope Justin Bieber has an army of security guards.

It now has 5 million plus views and shows no sign of slowing down:

Those eyes! [shudder]

Hand Thing

If you think the above video was creepy, you should stay the hell away from the one below. This video, featuring the character of Shaye Saint John, is equal parts brilliant, deranged and hilarious. Whether you love it or hate it, one thing’s for sure — you will never forget it.

Seriously, words can’t prepare you for this video. You’re just going to have to watch it.

Shaye Saint John

“WTF?” incarnate

If you’ve still managed to keep your sanity, you might wish to check out this great Geekosystem article on the madman/genius behind the Shaye Saint John character and many more disturbingly funny videos like Hand Thing. Just make sure all your doors are locked first.

What videos have been haunting your dreams this week?