Posts Tagged ‘writing’


Eat, Pray, Go Crazy

April 19, 2011

There’s a few podcasts I listen to semi frequently. One is a science podcast called RadioLab. The most recent full episode available on itunes is about negotiating with yourself. One segment has an interview with Liz Gilbert (who wrote Eat Pray Love) where she talks about a conversation she had with Tom Waits (back when she used to write for GQ).

She describes how he spoke about the creative process, and honestly, it just makes Tom Waits sound crazier than I’ve already heard.

He was talking about how every song has a distinctive identity that it comes into the world with and in needs to be taken in different ways.
And he said, you know, that there are songs that you have to sneak up on like you’re hunting for a rare bird. And there are songs that comes fully intact like a dream taken through a straw.
And there are songs that you find little bits of like pieces of gum underneath the desk, and you scrape them off and you put them together and you make something out of it.
And there are songs, he said, that need to be bullied. Where, he said he’s been in the studio working on a song, and the whole album is done and this one song wont give itself over. He said everyone’s gotten used to him doing stuff like this, where he’ll march up and down the studio saying [yelling] “The rest of the family’s in the car, we’re all going on vacation. You coming along or not? You’ve got ten minutes or else you’re getting left behind!” you know? And you’ve got to shake it down sometimes.

Anyway, the point is that another way to think of creativity is as something external. It’s something you need to talk to, discuss with, something that will give you gifts and run away when you don’t treat it right. Sometimes you sweet talk it, and sometimes you’ll fight with it, but the thing is that it’s an it. It’s not you, it’s not nothing, it’s a real thing.


So, if you hear me arguing with no one… it means that I’m crazy. But also – just maybe – productive.


That Guy At The Nose Of The Airplane

April 16, 2011

I’ve been stuck on this pilot I’m writing for a long time now.

I remember a time 2 months ago when I felt I was a short toss away from scripting. Seriously. And now, I’ve been in meltdown (too soon) for way too long. I finally talked to someone about what was holding me back and it helped. Not tonnes, but some.

Today, that same friend sent me a (mostly unrelated) link to a blogpost about screen writing. It helped a bit more.

I’ve spent the past hour reading old posts from another screenwriting blog I used to frequent and – yep – feeling better.

Anyway, here’s an interesting excerpt from that last blog that really has nothing to do with my problem, but it’s a fascinating perspective on TV as a genre.

Simply put, I think when we talk originality on TV we’re using a different mixture, or recipe, than when people talk originality in art or in the novel or even the movie. Originality in TV to me is more akin to originality in popular music. [those itals are me]

When you hear an unbelievably catchy song on the radio (these days, if you’re talking a new song you haven’t heard before, I’m probably talking, on the satellite ratio) the thing that gets you is that most of the time it pulls off an impossible trick: it simultaneously feels and sounds fresh and familiar. Maybe there’s something about the bassline or the chord progression, or maybe it’s built upon a sample from an earlier song you liked…but to me the pleasure comes from feeling that it’s both new and familiar – both receptors in your brain go crazy, and that’s why some songs you hear for the first time and go, “that’s amazing!” and you love it right away.

I think that’s kind of like what we do in TV. TV is about constantly pulling off the impossible trick. When you drag people out to a theater (and I’m talking about viewers here who aren’t 18 year old boys with no sense of history) you have a bit of a higher burden on creativity — it needs to not be something you’ve ever seen before, or if it’s even the slightest bit pastiche, it better be great pastiche, like The Departed. Same is true of a good novel, I think.

Anyway, the whole post is a great read if this thing is… your thing.


New English 2

February 20, 2011

In case you forgot, I’m a bit of a word smith.

I present you with the new word:



Me: Hey man, how’s it going?
Friend: Not bad, except I’m at the office on a Sunday.
Me: Balltropolis!



6 Acts

February 2, 2011

Remember when tv shows had 4 acts? No? How about 5 acts? Still no, eh?

I just read a pilot from last year with 6 acts. It works, but it’s… man. Crazy to think that 5 years ago I wrote a pilot with just 4 acts in it.



March 18, 2010

In both art and story, Anders loves Maria is truly beautiful.

It’s a (completed) webcomic following Anders, Maria and the people around them, as they handle the ups and downs of life over a short period of time.

I’ve been reading it in chunks over the past few weeks and just a few minutes ago I finished it.  One of the qualities of longer lasting webcomics is the quality of the work, and how it changes over time.  You can see a marked difference in the first page and the last.  There’s changes in the colour palette, the line work, and the overall style.

One thing that stayed true throughout was the voice, the raw (honest?) language and unapologetic mannerisms add a flavour of… authentic.  By the end of it, Anders, Maria, Bjorn, Johan, and others all seem very real.

Anyway, if you have time, definitely check it out.



February 19, 2010

Today is Friday.

For me, Friday is just like every other day of the week.  It’s a day where I probably won’t do something for money (that sounds sexy/gross!) and it’s a day where I’ll waste most of it procrastinating.

Take today, for example.  My alarm went off at 8AM.  To convince myself to get out of bed at 8AM, I programmed the coffee machine to make coffee at 8AM.  Unfortunately, wanting-to-stay-in-bed Alex is too smart for sieze-the-day Alex, in that I remembered the machine will keep the coffee warm for 2 hours.  I stayed in bed, intermittently having the craziest dream (that I can’t remember… sigh) between brief bouts of sleep, kinda like hitting the pause/play button.

Eventually I got out of bed, made myself some breakfast.  Fail #2 of the day: I am no good at timing breakfast.  Either the coffee I poured myself goes cold, the omelette goes cold, the toast goes cold, or I don’t look cool enough while chopping up a banana.  Or, like today, ALL THREE!

After eating my lukewarm (not lukeworm) breakfast, I decide it’s time to get to work.  Instead I spend time reading stuff on the internet.  Web comics (future post!), nerdy news sites, real news sites, art link blogs, food link blogs, blog blogs.  I’m really good at the internet, guy.

THEN it’s time to start working… after a shower.

Ok, I sit down to work, but what happens? The phone rings.  It’s about a money job.  I spend half an hour talking to two people: one who understands technology, and one who absolutely doesn’t.  Ok, that’s out of the way.

The phone rings again! Another money job.  My final days before I lose my life to “regular employment” are not very productive.  Another half an hour talking about equipment, operators, days, rates, and our plans for never seeing loved ones ever again.

OK.  Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to get started.  Instead, I look at houses on craigslist.  Why am I doing this?  Because I am SO GOOD at procrastinating.

Now it’s 1:45, and I have 15 minutes (instead of 6 hours) to impress myself and actually work on this spec.  Unless, of course, I think of something better to do…


Lost Sons

February 1, 2010

I considered not posting about this.  I actually held off for about 4 days.  But it’s on my mind and I’m excited so here it is.

After 6 months of hard work, 9 months of writing partnership, Aaron and I have finished the First Polish Touch Up Version Draft whatever.  Basically it’s at a place where we’re ready to show the world.

World, consider yourself showed.


p.s. it’s a Western.