Thursday, August 31, 2006

Robotic Fisticuffs

If you're like me, you stopped paying attention years ago about how quickly robot technology has been developing. And then one day you wake up and see something like this:

Then you think, if these little guys can combat each other, is the premise of The Terminator really that far off in the future?

And then you crap your pants and have two thirds a case of beer before you can surf porn again like everyone else.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Electric Cargo

Ya gotta love it:

This power strip, shaped like the container ship that brought it from China, is terribly handsome, the kind of thing you'd want on your desk, rather than under it. I like that it seems designed to look best when covered in giant, strip-hogging transformer bricks that resemble containers.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Arousal, Draft #1: 67% complete

After a small break due to The Chosen 1's revision time requirements, I knocked off another 7 pages of Arousal today. Took me 2 hours to re-read the first 66 pages and get a feel for the script and how the tone has changed so dramatically in this second half.

Watch this space.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Standing Still

Improv Everywhere is a flash mob group which recently did a mission at Home Depot with 225 people that's just too cool not to talk about—

Wait, wait... what you say? What's a flash mob?

A flash mob is:

...a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, do something unusual for a brief period of time, and then quickly disperse. They are usually organized with the help of the Internet or other digital communications networks.

I first heard about Improv Everywhere from this fascinating NPR interview on This American Life (Act 2), where they did an improv at Starbuck's consisting of "seven undercover agents meticulously repeating a five-minute slice of time for twelve consecutive repetitions. Starbucks employees and patrons were frightened, confused, and ultimately entertained as they found themselves stuck, without escape, in the middle of a time loop."

What makes Improv Everywhere so special is that they perform something magical and mysterious in an age devoid of magic and mystery in commonplace living. Of course, there are risks that the pranks—intended to be purely benevolent—can backfire horribly, but their usual result is to give their audience something to talk about for the rest of their lives (which is a reward worth the risk, in my opinion). What might only happen in a fantasy story suddenly comes to life, unexpectedly and without explanation. As with their Starbuck's mission, the customers (and staff) felt by the final repeating loops that they could actually predict the future! What childlike feelings that must invoke... and imagine how it would feel to shake your head when it's all over and wonder, "I just witnessed something truly magnificent, and perhaps might never see anything like it again."

Anyway, Improv Everywhere's latest mission was to enter a Home Depot store one Saturday with 225 people. Their goal was to have everyone in the flash mob—at precisely the same moment—act in slow motion for 5 minutes. Then go back to being normal for 5 minutes. Then stay completely frozen for 5 minutes. Then go back to being normal, and eventually leave the store.

See the results:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Series To Die For

The West Wing, Farscape, Firefly, Deadwood, and Six Feet Under. The first season and half of Ally MacBeal, Chicago Hope, Alias, and the first five seasons of ER. Nearly every episode in that magnum rocks.

Right now, my latest additions to that magnum are are Lost and Battlestar Galactica. If you've missed either if these shows, you're missing the cream of the crop of network TV. Here's why Lost is worth watching and here are 13 reasons why Battlestar Galactica rules.

So let's go shopping on Amazon:

Haven't seen Season 2 of Lost? Now you only have to wait until September 2nd until they'll be out on DVD. (Season 3 starts on October 4th.)

If you've been waiting as patiently as I for the next 10 episodes of Battlestar Galactica Season 2, get ready to be happy—they'll finally be on sale September 19th!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

My Birthday Evite Answer Key

Please find below the answer key to my 38th birthday party Evite. All boldface text is a correct answer. Some of you did better than others. And some of you will have trouble getting your calls returned this production cycle.

I'll be bringing...

Correct answers included:

7 layer dip (always a favorite)
Hagen Daaz Macademia Nut Brittle (mmmmmmmm)
Caffrey's, from the tap (tough to come by, as you would have to import it from England)
Natalie Portman (because she is stupendously talented, easy on the eye, and is probably cool to hang with)
Matt Damon (also because he is stupendously talented, easy on the eye, and is probably cool to hang with)
John Mayer (also because he is stupendously talented, easy on the eye, and is probably cool to hang with) (plus he might break out into spontaneous guitar playing)
Hootie (with a voice like that, how can you not want to spend time with the guy?)
Money to fund my first feature film

Preferred party game?
Vollyball (correct!)
Bocce Ball (correct!)
Rock-Paper-Scissors (fast, fun, interactive—correct!)
Croquet (correct, but only as a discussion starter)
Badminton (way fun to play and to watch)
Chess (fun, but not a party game)
Tiddlywinks (um... no)
Table Quarters (maybe)
Slaps (yeah!)

What is Ross' favorite film of all time?
The only correct answer was:
It's a Wonderful Life

Which film could Ross watch over and over?
Trick question—there were numerous correct answers:

The Usual Suspects
The Matrix
The Fifth Element
Ocean's Eleven
The Red Violin

How often does Ross blog per week?
Also, a trick question:

Not on a film shoot: 4-5 per week
On a film shoot: 1 per week

What... is Ross' favorite color?
Taupe ("They say taupe is very soothing." Which movie?)
Polka Dot
Red—NO BLUE! AAAAAAAaaaaaaa (This is, of course, the correct answer.)

Quick, word association—Ross' head?
Balding...oh no you DIHn't! (please remove yourself from the guest list)
Huuuuuuge Martian head (acceptable, but only because my wife has mercilessly teased me about this for years)
That tuft is excellent (Correct! Coined by David Roy, Esq.)
My God... my God... (technically incorrect, but we will accept your answer because you are cute)

BONUS POINTS FOR ORIGINALITY: Dance Floor (Coined by Lucas Ihrig; not included among the answers)

Screenplays have...
1 brad
2 brads (correct)
3 brads

Every stalwart screenwriter knows scripts with 3 brads won't even be used to light a producer's fireplace. The fact that feature film director Curtis Lim answered 3 brads can only be explained by his ironic wit. Nice try, Curty—tou're still getting a SWAG bag at the awards in March.

Number of titles currently on Ross' Netflix queue?
401-450 (The exact number is 445)
OCD (Come on, guys—I'm not that bad, am I???)

Star Wars or Star Trek?
Yes (correct)
Yes (correct)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

No more movie theatres?

Finally, someone is saying it out loud: movie theatres, as a viable and reliable income stream, are doomed. Not completely doomed, of course—TV did not kill radio, it simply forced it to restructure itself more efficiently alongside new media outlets—but the day of the movie theatres as a social gathering place will soon be coming to a close.

The increasing popularity of iTunes and Netflix, the relative costliness of movie tickets ($10 is too much—why not $5?), and the proliferation of commercials before movie previews... each of these elements is nailing the coffin shut for movie theatres. The frequency of commercials at movie theatres is the dealbreaker for me: if I've already paid money to watch a film, why THE FUCK am I watching a commercial? In fact, if I have to watch commercials at home, then why wouldn't I just stay home instead? At least at home, the commercials are free.

So can they really be surprised when fewer people pay money to go to the cinema? Even stalwart filmmakers who love to go to movie theatres?

What also concerns me is the long-term social impact of the demise of movie theatres. No longer interacting in large social groups is bound to somehow change our society, though we might not see its effects for many years. Whatever becomes lacking in our social interactions, though, will likely sprout out somewhere else. The rise of "urban tribes", for instance, is a direct result of no longer having a strong (and nearby) extended family.

by Chris Gore

Imagine a world without movie theaters.

No multiplexes. No arthouses. No way to communally experience a film.

That day may be coming sooner than you think. Each year theatrical box office receipts decline as the DVD becomes the preferred method for audiences to watch movies. And coming up just on the horizon is movies available for download — which may eventually become the way we all watch films. (”Eventually” meaning once the major studios choose a piracy prevention method that they can all agree upon as well as a cost per download structure acceptable to consumers.)

If the music industry is any indicator, the film industry will soon follow into the download zone. CD sales dropped 7% last year as downloads on iTunes increased. (Itunes passed the one billion music download mark a while back.) Tower Records recently announced that they are closing all of their stores and filing for bankruptcy. This shouldn’t surprise anyone as their entire business is built primarily on sales of CDs, which are declining far more rapidly than many are willing to admit.

Where did all the people go... they’re busy downloading.

In response to these trends, a recent LA Times story has stirred up a bit of controversy. The piece entitled “Far Removed From the Multiplex” by John Horn, asserts that teenagers would rather watch films on their computers than go to the movies. And who can blame them? Going to the movies is expensive (you can buy about two DVDs for the price of one evening at the movies) and the experience is more often miserable due to the increasing number of bad movies, endless commercials and annoying patrons. The piece brings up some interesting facts from a recent survey including:

Nearly half (47%) of respondents ages 12 to 17 say they would watch a movie on a PC, well above the interest in doing the same on a cellphone (11%) or video iPod and similar devices (18%). A similar share of those 21 to 24 said they would watch movies on a computer, although they are much less willing to do the same on a cellphone (6%) or video iPod (7%).

The distaste for the multiplex accelerates as children become young adults; 44% of those ages 21 to 24 are seeing fewer films. The Times/Bloomberg poll findings mirror a recent study by the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which found an even sharper drop-off over a five-year span.

It’s a fascinating read and the industry will have to pay attention or suffer the fate of Tower Records. Read the entire piece on the LA Times site or, if you have trouble getting to the site, I’ve included the entire piece in Film Threat's Blog section.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What Power!

Reporters spend their lives observing world events, but never become the subject of scrutiny themselves... so you can imagine my surprise when I clicked on this link to find that Guy Holloway—one of my dearest friends with whom I have remained in contact despite long stretches of time between some of our correspondences—has not only started his own blog, but that his first blog entry was about me!

Cheeky bastard... I'll fart you back a blast or two! (In case you thought I suddenly got gratuitously profane, that's an Aristophanes reference from The Birds or The Frogs or The Aardvarks or some other such play he wrote with animals in it.) (Although I guess Aristophanes was pretty gratuitously profane, huh? What dramatic purpose, when you think about it, can flatulence ever serve?)

Guy's primary character flaw is that he reawakened my interest in chess on the first night we met, at a cast party at his house. After that, too many Saturday mornings were spent at his Paris flat musing about literature, drinking tea, and playing with fancy wooden chess pieces atop a plastic green and white fold-out board. It wasn't long before he showed me the old bar where Oscar Wilde used to play chess whilst in exile in Paris. Yesterday, I finally returned the favor by introducing him to Its Your Turn. A hit—a palpable hit!

I've added Guy's blog to my list of blogs, simply because I know Guy well enough to suspect that his blog is bound to be replete with enough Hollowayisms to equal and even surpass my Rossonianisms. Guy is far more the world traveller than I, mainly because living in Europe provides him with a geographical advantage. His blogs will most certainly illustrate that bohemian flair, if not his mischievous Anglo-Saxon wit.

Guy and I love recycling the more amusing stories we've shared—his girlfriend once almost set their flat on fire from not tending to the oven and then sincerely responded, "Why are you making such a big deal out of it? It only happened three times." Another time, I recall entering his flat and seeing 20 cases of Heineken beer in the hallway stacked all the way to the ceiling; when I inquired about them, he said they were free and added, "The irony is I don't even the like the stuff." Or the time I watched Guy purchase his first pair of jeans when he came to visit in New York.

And then there's our favorite story—how we both still laugh ourselves to tears when we remember ourselves thinking cutting edge computer technology once included the Timex Sinclair 1000, a computer so far ahead of its time that it was actually made by a watch company. To outmatch its competitors, the Timex Sinclair included a whopping 16 kiloByte memory expansion. What power!

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Guy!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Throwing Rocks at a Tree

There's an old saw that likens telling stories to forcing your character up into a tree (act 1), throwing rocks at the tree (act 2) and then bringing your character back down out of the tree (act 3). For instance, if you watch King Kong, it takes 45 minutes before the boat even gets to Skull Island and in that 45 minutes, you get to understand and relate to all the characters so that when Kong finally makes his entrance—at 1 hour 10 minutes!—the audience (hopefully) cares about the main characters because they're like people in a tree getting rocks thrown at them. And rocks hurt.

I mention this because writing Arousal, my horror screenplay, has changed colors unexpectedly: writing the first half of this script has been qualitatively different from writing the second half, both in the tone of the script and (perhaps unsurprisingly) the speed of its writing.

The first half of the story establishes the characters, sets up the situation, "loads" the plot. It's like weaving a massive tapestry which really turns out to be a series of interconnected slip knots... because when it comes time to move into act 2, everything gets messy real fast.

And so it is that the second half of the script is where all hell breaks loose. The first half has been mostly dialog and how the characters interrelate, hinting at sub-text... whereas the second half is fleshing out action and getting the fuck out of dodge as fast as possible. You'd think the first half, given all the exposition you need to cover, would take longer to write than the second half, but it's exactly the inverse because—in a first draft, anyway—action is hard to write succinctly and compellingly. For successive drafts, action will probably take a back seat while I spen 80% of my attention on improving sub-text and tweaking character interaction, punching up sub-plots, etc.

I've also been studying the horror genre to gain insight on audience expectations: Prophesy, The Hills Have Eyes, High Tension, Wrong Turn, Dawn Of The Dead. In each film, the characters are put into a situation they can't easily get out of, and we love to squirm as we watch them wriggle their way out of it. There is usually a good twist, too, where the main characters are forced to make a split-second decision to run for safety and leave their loved ones behind, or stay and protect them as the cost of losing their own lives. Most importantly, there always seems to be some dark twist at the very end... sometimes even after the credits roll.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Head colds suck, Laptops rock

I'm so done with sleeping. I've slept an average of 14 hours every day for the last 4 days and I'm really so over it. I'm starting to get headaches because I'm sleeping so much... I never thought I'd say that.

Somewhere in the last week, I caught a head cold. I keep thinking I'm getting better and then another loopdy-loop comes and I'm simply unprepared for how fatigued I become. If this is anything like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I should be thankful I do not have it.

Having said all that, laptops are the bomb—I recently purchased a MacBook and, without even getting out of bed, I've been able to browse CNN, check my email, review Myspace, blog, and even watch movies. Best of all, I've been able to write my screenplay wherever I wish!

Given that magnets have always been the arch-nemesis of hard drives, I feel I must give a shout out to the Apple boys for including a magnet on the lip to make it close easier, and a magnetized AC plug to prevent your laptop skittering away when some poor soul trips on your AC cable. (As fate would have it, I just watched my cat unsuccessfully jump to our 1 inch windowsill... and when she fell back down, she landed square on my AC cable while my laptop stayed neatly in place. Come on—that's cool!)

Drugs for this morning:
* 4 Ibuprofin
* 2 Tylenol
* 1 DayQuil
* 2 Halls cough drops

Friday, August 11, 2006

Arousal, Draft #1: Halftime (50% complete)

Sorry, no breast reveal during the show. That might make me get hate mail.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Screenplays Ho!

Terry Rossio's Wordplay site has this quote about Disney CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg: way he gets so much accomplished is that he's eliminated 'ramp time' from his life. He comes into a meeting on the phone, finishes the call, and is ready. He doesn't need to warm up, or 'ramp up' to the meeting. And when it's done, he's out of his chair, off to the next thing—he doesn't seem to need to unwind, or 'ramp down' afterwards. When you think about it, how much time do all of us spend just getting ready, or recovering afterwards?

There's a scene in The Hunt For Red October where a high-level government official walks into his office and scans over all his mail... which has been neatly laid out on his desk. Sixteen years have passed and yet I still remember seeing all that mail laid out and thinking to myself, if only I could be so fortunate to have a helper to maximize my time like that... It's always seemed like 90% of my time is simply "wasted" in preparation for that golden 10%.

An investor I once saw speak about designing business systems said that embarking on projects is like setting sail with a ship: you can either be in the ship, or be on the ship. Being in the ship means you're a sailor, executing orders, doing the humdrum that you have to do... but it also means you have no idea where the ship is going because you're in the ship, below decks. However, to be on the ship means to be above decks, to see the horizon, to determine the bearing and to give orders to your crew. It's a struggle for most people to shift from being in the ship to being on the ship, especially if they've been raised to take orders and not to give orders. Being on the ship is about determining your own course, or at least being aware of where the winds are pushing you. Everyone has to be in the ship at some point, but it's equally important to see where you're headed, too.

And so it was that I realized I've been in my ship for a long time. Sure, I've had glimpses of being above decks, but I haven't really found a way to constantly see where I'm headed and make the fine course adjustments as necessary.

In June, I had the good fortune of working for an advertising company. On Monday mornings, advertising companies hold a "traffic meeting", which is simply a status update of every active project in house. Its purpose is to get clear with everyone attached to each project what their role is and when they need to finish their part. The Traffic Manager is the captain above decks, pointing at the shoals and telling the sailors which sails to run up and when to turn the rudder. The Traffic Manager stewards the company's future, one project at a time.

A Traffic Manager's primary tool in this role is a Gantt chart, which is bar chart graph that visually breaks down projects into bite-sized sub-projects with clear deadlines. In advertising, the Gantt chart peers out over a 3 month horizon and shows you week by week what needs to be accomplished.

Then it hit me—couldn't I also benefit from having my own Monday morning "mini-traffic" meeting with a Gantt chart? I needed to be clear about which projects or sub-projects I was currently working on and how complete each stage of that project was. Only then could I accurately determine which fires needed to be put out and which fires could be left alone for awhile.

This led me on a fruitless serpentine search for decent Gantt chart software for Mac OS X. After a lot of false starts (this bed was too expensive, and this one was too hard to navigate), I became discouraged that my Gantt chart brainstorm idea would have to be abandoned.

And yet, because I'm an OCD freak, I scoured the net and unearthed a way to create a Gantt chart in Excel, a program in which I am highly proficient. By using Excel, I was finally able to list all my main projects—Safe Harbors, Arousal, Ghoti, The Chosen 1—and identify the most urgent sub-projects I needed to address, and also determine how far along I was with each of them.

Below is a small snapshot of my Film & Writing Gantt chart, which I update almost daily and review every Monday morning (Key: vertical black lines = weeks, red vertical line = today, green bar= % complete, orange bar= % incomplete, ):

So who cares, right?

This morning, I took one look at my Gantt chart and saw that, at only 21% complete, I was waaaaay behind schedule on Arousal. According to the Gantt chart, today I should be 51% complete (56 pages). That ability to see very clearly where I wanted to be—and where I actually was—pushed me into afterburner mode: now I'm just over 33 pages (34%) and still chugging along. I'm betting I'll make it to 45 pages before I lose steam tonight, but today my Gantt chart served its purpose beautifully—it forced me stand on the ship and scream at my crewmates, Put some back into it!

Arousal, Draft #1: 39% complete

As expected, I only made it to 43 pages by end of day. Still, I'm cooking!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Eye in the Sky

When I see a story like this, I can't help but think what Ben Franklin would have thought about something like this. And how might he have changed his views on defending liberty if he had lived in a nuclear age where a guy with a suitcase can kill millions of people at once? In fact, it would be pretty entertaining to put George Orwell and Ben Franklin in a room together...

Video cameras on the lookout for terrorists
Monday, August 7, 2006; Posted: 2:52 p.m. EDT (18:52 GMT)

NISKAYUNA, New York (AP) -- It sounds like something out of science fiction.

Researchers at General Electric Co.'s sprawling research center, are creating new "smart video surveillance" systems that can detect explosives by recognizing the electromagnetic waves given off by objects, even under clothing.

Scientist Peter Tu and his team are also developing programs that can recognize faces, pinpoint distress in a crowd by honing in on erratic body movements and synthesize the views of several cameras into one bird's eye view, as part of a growing effort to thwart terrorism.

"We're definitely on the cutting edge," said Tu, 39. "If you want to reduce risk, video is the way to do it. The threat is always evolving, so our video is always evolving."

Scientists at the GE complex, a landscaped, gated campus of laboratories and offices spread out over 525 acres and home to 1,900 scientists and staff, and others in the industry hope to use various technologies to reduce false alarms, cut manpower used on mundane tasks and give first-responders better tools to assess threats. The country's growing security needs also provide an opportunity to boost business.

The United States and its allies now face a new "Iraq generation" of terrorists who have learned how to make explosive devices, assassinate leaders and carry out other mayhem since the U.S. invasion of the country more than three years ago, said Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Bush Administration who now runs his own consulting business in Arlington, Virginia.

"These people are far more adept and capable in many respects than al-Qaeda before 9-11," he said. "They don't appear in any no-fly list or terrorism data base."

Since 2002, GE has spent $4 billion buying smaller businesses to take a bigger share of the $160 billion global security industry, a market that includes everything from building security to narcotics detection. The company expects $2 billion in revenue from its security businesses this year. That should rise to $2.8 billion in 2009, said Louis Parker, chief executive of GE's security unit.

Philadelphia-based Acoustech Corp. and Providence-Based FarSounder Inc. received Homeland Security grants to develop systems that can detect underwater threats such as divers with explosives.

"Ever since the Department of Homeland Security was put into place, our business has gone up," said James McConnell of Acoustech. The three-person company takes in $500,000 in revenue a year.

Systems currently run about $1 million from other vendors so the companies are trying to make systems that would be more affordable for port authorities and other waterfront facilities around the country such as power plants and oil refineries.

"We've had a lot of customers calling and asking for a solution to the problem," said FarSounder founder Matthew Zimmerman.

Such cost-saving measures could benefit New York City, which in June, had its share of federal anti-terrorism grants from the Department of Homeland Security cut by 40 percent to $124.5 million.

Cressey said the country has to find the best ways to protect itself and that includes investing in new technologies for things like ports, airports and mass transit systems.

The U.S. government is spending $1.1 billion this year to fund anti-terrorism technology research and has spent about $3 billion over the past three years, said Christopher Kelly, a DHS spokesman.

At General Electric, researchers are working on software that allows cameras to separately track people and the items they are carrying to help detect when suspicious packages are left in airports, stadiums and other public places.

One such system is already being tested using video from London's Victoria train station, part of the transit system hit by suicide bombers in July 2005 in which 52 people were killed and another 740 wounded.

Cressey said there are about 30 million video surveillance cameras in the United States shooting about four billion hours of footage every week. Relying more on computers to go through that footage would allow manpower to be better used elsewhere and perhaps lead to faster recognition of possible threats.

Among numerous other projects, GE is working on baggage scanners that use advanced X-ray and CT technologies to detect traces of explosives faster and with greater accuracy and shoe scanners that use quadrupole resonance, similar to magnetic resonance imaging, to improve screening of passengers' shoes while they are still on their feet.

Still, many officials warn that technology cannot replace humans entirely.

"You can't get too reliant on these things," said state Sen. Michael Balboni, a Long Island Republican and chairman of the Senate's committee that oversees homeland security issues. "If someone finds a way to bypass them, they can use the technology against us. You have to expect that enemies will find ways to get around it."

Friday, August 04, 2006

OTS Script Supervisor

It occurred to me that some of you might want to see what I spend most of my time doing. The short answer, of course, would be: "Obsessing." The long answer is a little more complicated.

Currently, I'm an Associate Producer and Script Supervisor on a feature film called The Chosen 1, a horror story about a child who can see other children who have been murdered. As a "scripty", my job is to ensure that (1) what gets shot is properly logged for the editor to make sense of, and (2) everything in the script gets shot.

Depending on the script, I sometimes take a more active role in translating the script from a reading script into a shooting script. The differences between each version of the script are self-explanatory—a reading script is written to be read, and a shooting script is written to be shot. (Most novice screenwriters write screenplays as shooting scripts, which is distracting to a reader unless the script is already greenlit to be produced; a shooting script contains details like camera angles, dolly shots, transition directions, etc., which are extraneous to most readers.)

When creating a viable shooting draft—because I'm a shade away from autism—no detail is too small for me to edit. I correct bad grammar, bad spelling, unclear stage directions... everything in the script is fair game to keep me from being distracting during filming.

Here's a excerpt from the script I'm currently massaging. All the red type are my edits:

Perhaps the most most signficant thing I do for actors is collapse stage directions into "wrylies", which are parenthetical asides telling an actor how a line should be read. The term "wryies" stems from a line being delivered wryly. For example:

You stupid cow!

What? What did I do?

Generally, I'm against wrylies because they're a lazy way to tell an actor how to act and good actors probably cross them out anyway. If a character's lines are written well, there's no need to tell them how to deliver their lines because an actor will gather a sense of the character from the lines themselves. As in the example above, the parenthetical asides are gratuitous. Number of times Shakespeare used wrylies: zero.

However, wrylies are useful for actors if they describe action the actor needs to know:

—————(to Kelly)
You stupid cow!

—————(lowering his gun)
What? What did I do?

On The Chosen 1, I'm doing a fair amount of this line editing, collapsing information to make it more efficient for the reader, the actor, and for me. I couldn't tell you how many hours I've already spent on this, but it's a passion, so I don't really see the time pass.

As Captain Reynolds once said, "This is what I do, darlin'... this is what I do."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Red Letter Day

Can't say why just yet. But stay tuned.

Mel Gibson's Apology

I'm sure most of you know by now that Mel Gibson was arrested on a DUI charge. What you may not know is that he said some very belligerent things to the arresting police officer, some of which were anti-Semetic.

This must have been a low point in Gibson's life. Relapsing into addiction and doing hurtful, regretful things... it's excruciating to watch talented people (especially affable people) fall, but what must it feel like for them? They have to live with their actions forever.

Gibson came out almost immediately to acknowledge that what he said and did was wrong and that he apologizes to whomever he has hurt. Gibson did not have to make this apology—like most people who foul up in the public eye, he could have simply muttered a few words like, "yeah, I shouldn't have done that" and scurried into a hole for the rest of his life. The guy is so big, after all, that he doesn't really have to account to anyone anymore.

But we all have moments of weakness and accepting responsibility in a timely and complete manner is an example we should all be striving towards. If only everyone were as courageous as this, and be accountable for everything we did...

Here is Gibson's full apology:

Statement from Mel Gibson
Tuesday, August 1, 2006; Posted: 11:43 a.m. EDT (15:43 GMT)

(CNN) -- There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.

I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.

The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God's child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.

I'm not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.

I have begun an ongoing program of recovery and what I am now realizing is that I cannot do it alone. I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery. Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.

This is not about a film. Nor is it about artistic license. This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have. It's about existing in harmony in a world that seems to have gone mad.

Post Scriptum: This post has started an interesting discussion over on Myspace.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Arousal, Draft #1: 22% complete

Still trudging along, against the current of other (paid) work:
Pages today: 2 4/8
Total page count: 24 2/8 (of 110)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Gamer's Digest

Saw this today:


Moms and dads, crack your knuckles, stretch your wrists and hunker down in front of the television or computer monitor -- it's time to confront the monsters, villains and other baddies lurking in your children's video games.

Got me thinking... what parents need need is a kind of Reader's Digest for video games so that they can know what age range is appropriate for their children playing particular games. But what is "appropriate", anyway? You could have pictures of the violence in the game, along with a "frequency" meter on how many other children are playing this game—that would guide parents well enough, don't you think? I'm sure you could set up a web site with Wuicktime files of gameplay, too...

All I want is a finder's fee!