Goals: 2016

goal

2015 was a rough year. Those who’ve been here know that all too well.

But despite the hardship, I still got a lot done! I finished The Engaged Life (2015 goal #1) and got it into two festivals, I took two parts of a four part screenwriting workshop that completely transformed my writing, and I wrote a short (from the writing class) that I will make early next year. I also produced a short and an educational video on Hindi dance, I ADed and PAed on several projects, and I even did a podcast on the box office giants throughout Hollywood’s history.

On the writing front, in addition to the two part class I took and the shorts I wrote, I wrote lots more flash fiction and have continued to improve the 5000 word neo-noir I wrote last year. I’m now submitting it to literary publications and plan to adapt it into a feature once I finish my writing workshop.

I also did a lot outside of filmmaking and writing this year. Inna and I celebrated our one-year anniversary with a brief best-of-California trip, stopping at Big Sur, Davis, Tahoe, and Lone Pine. We took trips to Palm Springs, Newport Beach, and San Diego, and I even went on a desert camping trip as well. And last but not least is Christmas and New Years, which we’re spending in Costa Rica (blog post coming soon)!

Other cool things I did this year: I saw Florence and the Machine as well as 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Nightmare Before Christmas with live music at the Hollywood Bowl, listened to an Aerosmith concert from a hotel balcony, drove on a dried up lake bed, visited the house with the top rated view in Malibu, started playing soccer again, refereed the Los Angeles city section high school soccer championship, shot a shotgun and a handgun and an AR15 and a .357 magnum, went to four weddings, took apart a school bus with only a wrench and a screwdriver, and met lots of cool, interesting, wonderful people!

Oh yeah, Inna and I also adopted the best freaking dog in the world.

leia

In 2016, I will:

1) Finish my writing workshop and write the big short I’ve been searching for.

2) Make said short.

Now it’s time to get it done!

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My Thoughts On Television (and some reviews too!)

The Walking Dead Season 2 One Sheet Television Poster game of thrones bloodline Parks_and_Recreation_Season_6_Box_Art unbreakable kimmy schmidt lost Big_bang_theory_poster11 orange is the new black breaking bad wire true detective mad men poster

There’s lots of movie stuff on this blog, but what about television? We’re in the Second Golden Age of Television after all, and TV has never been better. Television is so good that it’s actually stealing lots of talent from film (we have 24 to blame for that, the first case I know of where a film actor switched to TV and saw his profile rise) and pretty much all the good writers (minus writer/directors and half of Aaron Sorkin) are writing for television these days. Knowing this, why don’t I write more about TV?

The truth is, while I love film, I’m not much of TV person. Yes, television and film both tell stories with pictures that move (and sound), but the stories they tell are very different. Movies are dynamic, they are about the most important event in a person’s life, the event that causes them to change forever. Television, however, is about the character’s life before or after that event; the characters are static, they don’t change. They are the same week after week, which makes it comfortable to spend time with them, and enjoyable too since they are “likeable”.

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Blue Mornings Available Online!

My short slice-of-life drama Blue Mornings is available to watch online for the first time! Enjoy!

Starring: Caitlin Rose Williams, Ari Frenkel
Director of Photography: Christopher James Tobias
Composer: Jeff Icuss

13 Choices Amateur Filmmakers Make

The sequel to the 12 Choices Amateur Screenwriters Make, here are 13 choices that amateur filmmakers make.

1) All the writing choices I already mentioned (duh!)

2) Stupid camera shit, like:

  • Dolly zooms

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12 Choices Amateur Screenwriters Make

amateur pro

Screenwriting is hard, I know; I’m still learning how to do it right. I also know that it’s not just writing that is hard, thinking like a writer – like a professional writer – is also hard, probably harder in fact.

In the last year I’ve posted several requests for short scripts, and as a result have read over 500 amateur screenplays (or at least the first five pages, or at least the first page). In doing so, and also in looking back on my own writing and my experiences in writing classes, I started to notice certain things, certain signs that scripts and the writers writing them are not up to snuff. That they are amateur, with the same voice and experience as every other amateur out there.

Also see: 13 Choices Amateur Filmmakers Make

Note: this post is not about execution. Things like bad grammar and typos, inactive protagonists and low stakes, unnatural dialog, these are all signs of amateur writing but they are on the execution front and there are plenty of blogs that cover these topics already. This post is different. This post is about common choices amateurs make. And while technically it is possible for an novice to write a professional quality script after making these choices, it is not likely and if your writing falls into these categories, it’s very likely that you are an amateur, that you are thinking like an amateur, and that your script is the same as every other amateur script out there.

Okay, here goes:

1. Writing about writers

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History of Cinema – An Infograph

I love film and I love film history; back in February I even did a podcast on it! Hollywood in particular has a super dynamic history, constantly responding to changing demands and social values, all the while absorbing cinematic influences from all over the world.

If you study film, you’ll start to learn about movements and waves. These occur when the confluence of talent, support, and timing come together just right, causing an underrepresented cinema to explode onto the international scene. These cinemas are often national cinemas that are popular in their own country but not internationally, but sometimes (especially recently) they comes from Hollywood’s own backyard. For example, right now, in addition to Hollywood being in the Franchise Era, we are also in the midst of the Mumblecore movement, the Second Black Wave, and New Queer Cinema, and on the international front we are currently experiencing the New French Extremity and also new waves from Mexico, South Korea, Romania, and Iran.

Because there’ve been so many waves and movements in the history of film, all producing great films and filmmakers, I decided to organize them. The result is the entire history of film (Hollywood centric) in one infograph.

history of film (smaller)

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History of Cinema – Omissions

If you haven’t seen my History of Cinema chart, go here to check it out! With this post I will list the biggest omissions from the chart. First up, filmmakers:

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