Thursday, March 26, 2009


I’ve been writing stories since the fifth grade. The first stories I rememebered writing I still have. I was a big snow skier and after stumbling across an unmarked video tape of my fathers that turned out to be ‘Hot Dog’ the movie snow skiing became my subject for my first continuation of stories. For a freakin’ fifth grader that film was AWESOME-- Boobs, cussing and skiing in Squaw Valley, CA. Well, my friends, (from Viewmont and Grandview,)--- Many of my fellow friends on facebook-- Starred in these four page episodics where love, skiing, drama, and competition unraveled on those eighty pages of total bogus fiction. Reading it now I find myself laughing my ass off. They were terrible, but they were a start. Then I continued to fumble through grammatical and story errors with my underground newspaper I did in high school-- BUT, I continued to do it. If nothing else, the Hot Dog stories began my Writer’s Journey.

What’s funny was until about 2002, all my stuff was horrible. Then I wrote these three scripts, Open Barstools, Epic and The Dirty South. Years passed and I continued to write. Then in 2005, I opened up those scripts I had written and it seemed that those 3 spoken about were still halfway decent. That’s when I knew I may actually be getting better at it. Then came ‘Meter’ which was a 15 page script that was literally 3 years in the making. So when people praise that script they don’t realize how long it took me to get it there. Nonetheless, that film and script put me over as a legit screenwriter and got me enough attention to be put on a list of contract writers. Fairly recently, I have received a few ghost writing jobs. Ghostwriting is pretty simple. Someone gives me a script, says I need you to beef up this or that element of this script. Sometimes they want you to rewrite, the whole monstrosity over, sometimes just add layers to a character. I get paid accordingly to what they want done. The cool thing about ghostwriting is on top of the rate you get what I call “shut up” money which is basically an extra amount on top of the rate because they don’t want to give you credit or royalties. (Most of the time it’s because the writer is not very good, but wants to take all the credit for a good script.) I don’t mind what the stipulation is. I tend to do fairly well rewriting other peoples’ scripts where the story is already intact as opposed to starting from scratch. It’s minor money but it’s money nevertheless-- And you can’t beat sitting around in your underwear on Monday’s, watching movies and rewriting scenes to films you will one day get to see. That may, (I SAID MAY,) be cooler than making them.

Here’s an example of what this job entails. For privacy purposes I am going to use my friend Ennix Xiong’s BAD ASS KILLERS. This script is quite good, but Ennix just needed a little spice in some of the character’s dialogue. This is an exchange between the lead and his sarcastic roommate.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Year on A Sheet of Paper

2009 from a short glance doesn't look like much but it may be the busiest yet. Two films. Two documentaries. Two Kids. And a butt load of landscaping to do in between.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Going Back to My Roots

So going back to my roots for a couple of months to prepare a small film we’re shooting on the P2 to kill some time, (and brain cells,) I’ve prepared a ten page script based on another Rick Deal short story, entitled “Friend of a Friend.” The story was originally called, “Two Wrongs,” which name I have decided to stay with for “cinematic” purposes. With half of the same crew as we had with Jeopardy, I plan to shoot this picture in 48 hours. It is all one location and only requires a select few props. Since the size of the film is scaled down 75%, my preparations and plan will be as well. This is what I’m calling an “Experimental Film,” in which a script has been written but will not be followed and unlike all my other pictures, I will not being using a shot list, complex boards, or breakdown sheets. I’m gonna’ wing it focusing more on directing the actors than what the proverbial shot or newsstand look like. Many of the same people are back from Jeopardy, just some in different roles. It should be a fun little film to do.

Like this entry from the past, I have a ritual of making a small portable notebook with all the necessary papers etc in it. Jeopardy’s book ended being the second biggest I had ever had to make. It was a 2” soft 3 ring binder that was so packed at the end of the first day, it had to be held together with rubber bands.

Two Wrongs, nowhere near that. For this one it’s back to my rear pocket with a 5” inch Moleskin used especially for Storyboards. In it I have a fitted script taped to pages with gaffer tape. With that includes the KEY shots I have to have in the can so I sketched them out to keep me from forgetting along with my notes and sketches of the 4 ONLY props needed to be constructed. Simple, basic, like the film shoot will be. I am looking forward to working with the men and women behind the making of Jeopardy again. This one should be much less stressful and hopefully if we’ve all learned something-- Just as good.

My Jeopardy Production Notebook

My Wrongs Production Notebook

Monday, March 9, 2009

Call My Agent!

I know now why agents, directors, and even key grips are protected by managers, other agents and private phone numbers. I actually had always planned even if I “made it big” to be a guy that was easily approachable. Maybe now-- Not so much. The Jeopardy Premiere is two weeks old and the phone calls and emails are only now starting to dwindle. People calling with their movie ideas, soliciting their unthought out ideas and wanting me to make their movies yet they have no scripts and no money. People... The economy is bad but number one-- I’m nobody. I’m not the guy on the TV with the question marks on his jacket with the next best money making idea. I’m a guy on the cusp of a career. I have no pull. None-- And I can’t help you. I’ve got my next two years filled of projects and plans lined up and there is a very small margin for additional anythings.

Now as crappy and high on the horse as it may sound, let me share something with you. The cold calls with ridiculous ideas like “acid trips” and “refurbished Quentin Tarantino crap” (That only Quentin can do, people,) are not only a waste of my time but also yours. I gave you the benefit of the doubt by listening and I’m only mad at myself from doing so. So then you call me names as I simply say, “I’m not interested.” So I retort with this: While you guys were out partying, struggling to pay your bills because you were an under achiever slack ass who sat around waiting for Daddy’s or the Government’s next hand out-- I was working and honing my craft-- Getting knocked down and getting back up. I was being told I would never make it. I was told my career choice was a figment of my imagination yet with every passing tomato to the face, I continued to work my tail off. Years after many misses, I suddenly began to hit and the work, humiliation, fear, anger and victory continued while you blamed getting married, having kids, the economy, the President and anything else surrounding you for your short comings. Guess what, I have all those things listed above and I KEPT WORKING. So excuse me if I’m short on somebody who hasn’t done his/her homework like I have. And excuse me for reigning on your under achieving parade. You will never see me roll in to a plumber’s shop and pitch those guys on the next great rubber washer, so the next time you want to pitch me “Pulp Fiction on LSD” or “The Pineapple Express - Hickory Style” I’ll tell you what everybody else says to fend that ridiculousness off: “Call my agent.”

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