Tuesday, October 31, 2017

More Kevin Spacey fallout and the state of Hollywood...for now (some observations)

We all know I'm a big fan of MasterClass, so this was one of the first things I thought about when the Spacey sex scandal blew up: Kevin Spacey MasterClass dropped.

And right after that, he was also dropped from tonight's episode of This is Us. Earlier today, Netflix shut down production of the sixth (and final) season of House of Cards. The ripple effect of lost jobs and contracts is hard to fathom, especially for the people behind the scenes. Having worked in post production those are the people I worry about the most. A lot of people just had their personal lives and bank accounts disrupted through no fault of their own.

Spacey has also been stripped of an upcoming honorary Emmy and now the historic Old Vic, where he spent a decade as artistic director, has weighed in.

This "movement" to hold sexual predators in Hollywood liable for their behavior also claimed Andy Dick, who was fired from a movie today, and now Jeremy Piven is under investigation.

The boggling thing about this is how fast it happened. Sunday night I was poking around social media when Anthony Rapp's announcement sent shockwaves through Twitter, and within just a couple hours Spacey's response/non-apology/coming out announcement hit the internet and all hell broke loose. And less than 48 hours later, here we are.

Last week (after Harvey, before Spacey) I was thinking that if this zero-tolerance policy continues it could seriously alter the power structure in the entertainment industry, both onscreen and off. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see who falls and who doesn't. Spacey was a major player - wildly successful as both an actor and producer in film, television, and theatre. He has to be one of the most honored actors around: two Oscars, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, a BAFTA, multiple Emmy nominations, a Tony, two Oliviers and a Drama Desk award, countless critics association awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He would have gone down as one of the greatest actors of his generation, if not all time. And now that's all trashed, or at least badly tarnished.

I've read a few things about Harvey Weinstein telling people he'll be back, that this is only a temporary setback. I think that's delusional. I don't know how either Weinstein or Spacey - two of the biggest figures in entertainment - come back from this. Anyone who tries to help refurbishing their careers and images will be deemed as sympathetic to predators and unsympathetic to their victims. In both cases their behaviors seemed to be common knowledge in the industry, but ignored, presumably because of the success they brought with them. I've always loved Spacey as an actor, but I've also heard a lot of rumors over the years that he wasn't the nicest, most decent guy you'd meet in Hollywood (although obviously nothing as horrible as assault on a minor) but I also considered that to be typical of the industry. It's a moral cesspool. But if I've heard that much, I don't buy that active major players in the biz were oblivious to his behavior.

If industry giants like Weinstein and Spacey can be toppled within a couple weeks of each other, I'm not sure anyone is safe. And if their behavior is comparable, I don't think they should be. Personally, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. With social media and 24/7 news (online and off), Hollywood can't shield their bad behavior from the world like they could in the past. I guess we'll see who's next.

Updated: More shit just got real: Beverly Hills PD investigating sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein and James Toback. Buckle up.

Bah Humbug - Halloween edition

Sure, I laugh now, but back in my trick-or-treating days this would have been most unwelcome.

Monday, October 30, 2017

With all the unsavory news coming out of Hollywood recently, this made me very happy

Gary Sinise named Grand Marshal of the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade.

Great choice. Can't wait to tune in this year.

October Words of Wisdom

When you stop worrying about what others think about you and are more concerned with what you think about yourself, you will discover an unimaginable sense of freedom. --Sheri Bessi Eckert

Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul. --Joanne Harris

The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore. --Rumi

One of the most important things I've learned in life is to ignore what people say. I watch what they do instead. --Amanda Patterson

Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. --Adlai Stevenson

After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. --William Burroughs

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace. --Kate Chopin

Honesty has a power that makes a lot of people very uncomfortable. --Unknown

Beautiful things are everywhere, but sometimes, sometimes we look at them every day and we get to where we don't see them. --Bob Ross

May all your blues be the ocean and the sky. --Unknown

Always remember that where you are is a result of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be, from this moment on. --Hal Elrod

Provencal cooking is based on garlic. The air in Provence is impregnated with the aroma of garlic, which makes it very healthful to breathe. --Alexandre Dumas

I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living. --Anais Nin

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing.
--Camille Pissaro

The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire. --Sharon Ralls Lemon

Some people's idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage. --Sir Winston Churchill

Just because some people are fueled by drama doesn't mean you have to attend the performance. --Cheryl Richardson

Your face will change. Your body will change. The only kind of beauty that endures is the kind that lives in your heart. --Lori Deschene

Being alone has a power that very few people can handle. --Steve Atchison

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Spam alert: Email from DomainOrderExpiring.com

So earlier this month I received an unsolicited email from a company called DomainOrderExpiring.com, with an offer to renew a domain name that I own through GoDaddy but haven't actively used. Today I was going through emails that had gotten buried and took a really good look at it, hence this public service announcement.

Their "offer" is that for a cool $75, I can renew the domain name for one year with them, rather than with GoDaddy, which charges me a whopping $16 each year. In fact, DomainOrderExpiring.com is so sure I won't want to pass up this golden opportunity that the email itself is an invoice complete with due date and payment terms.

Pardon the slopping editing. They had my home address on it, which didn't make me happy at all.

Oh, and another thing: This domain name doesn't actually expire until next April. So in addition to paying way more than GoDaddy charges, if I was gullible enough to take this offer, I'd be double-paying for the domain name for almost six months. Or so I initially thought.

Because as it turns out, the email only looks like a domain renewal. Check out the fine print:

So I decided to go to their website to check out DomainOrderExpiring.com and see what their deal is. Maybe their site will clarify their "services" and explain why they're soliciting me as a customer. So I typed in the URL and this is what I got:

This is literally the only thing on the screen.

Well that's not terribly helpful. But I think that's the point.

The sad thing is that they've probably ripped off countless people with this scam. Here's some links I was able to find about these and similar schemes from GigaLaw, Scam Detector, SangFroid Web Design, Hen's Teeth Network, and Domain Name Wire. A quick search will doubtless turn up many more.

Friday, October 27, 2017

This is a recording: MasterClass hits another home run

Hey there, aspiring actors, want to study acting with Samuel L. Jackson? Of course you do. And now you can, and as a bonus, it won't even cost you $100:

More info can be found here.

Other notables sharing their areas of expertise on MasterClass include Martin Scorsese, David Mamet, Serena Williams, Shonda Rhimes, Steve Martin, Reba McIntire, Dr. Jane Goodall, Gordon Ramsey, Garry Kasparov and Herbie Hancock. Do check it out.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"Better Call Saul" theories abound

Ever since Better Call Saul - the prequel to Breaking Bad that follows Jimmy McGill on his journey to becoming Walter White's sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman - debuted a couple years ago, there have been a lot of theories flying around the internet among fans as to what exactly triggers the change in persona. In addition, we've also been shown him post-Breaking Bad as Gene the troubled Cinnabon Manager, leading to questions (and theories) about his journey from Albuquerque to that mall in Omaha.

One of the biggest questions in the minds of viewers is the eventual fate of Kim Wexler, Jimmy's sometimes girlfriend/sometimes legal partner who has become beloved by fans. The character of Kim was first introduced in Better Call Saul - she never appears and is never mentioned in Breaking Bad (or in the Omaha sequences) - so most theories posit that something awful or tragic happens and she either completely walks away from Jimmy/Saul, or she meets a horrific end that pushes Jimmy over the line firmly into Saul territory for once and for all.

I don't know how feasible it is, but here's a theory that would mostly spare Kim (much to the relief of fans) but might be a little too hopeful IMO: Does Kim Wexler end up as Saul Goodman's behind-the-scenes partner?

I hate to say it - while it's not a terrible idea - I think it's just a little far-fetched and driven more by viewers love for Kim and a desire for Jimmy/Saul not to have to lose her than by what fate probably awaits her. Plus I can't see Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould taking that easy of a way out. I don't know what they've got planned for Kim, but I can't help thinking she isn't going to get off that easily. Whatever they come up with, I'm sure it will be brilliant but probably not a happy ending.

I didn't watch Breaking Bad until after it had completed its run (my loss) and so didn't realize that this type of theorizing in this universe isn't new. It seems that some fans thought Walter White got off too easily because despite his death, he was able to see his family one last time and arrange for them to eventually get the money he had been so desperate to leave them. This fan on YouTube has the idea that Walter White's gunshot wound wouldn't have been fatal, meaning that he would have recovered to stand trial, go to prison (at least until the cancer killed him), been exposed to the world and deprived his family of the money. And he goes to great lengths to explain why. GREAT. LENGTHS.

Hate to admit it, he does make some valid points. Would love to know what Gilligan and Gould would have to say about it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Oh, the drama!!!

Alex Guarnaschelli posted this on Instagram:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The return of TV Tattle

TV Tattle is back! Again! Norman Weiss's TV news link site that refuses to die is back yet again. I thought it was really gone for good when it stopped updating as a part of TV Insider, but it has returned from the dead again, and I for one am glad to see it. It's kind of like Deadline for normal people.

TV Tattle has been around in some form since 2000. Back in the day, when I worked in post production and tracked shows in development and production, it was one of my go-to online sources.

Welcome back TV Tattle!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Some interesting advice on introducing your protagonist

From Script Reader Pro, here is their No. 1 Hack on How to Introduce Your Protagonist to the audience.

Basically their advice is that the first time the audience (or script reader) sees the protagonist, he or she should be actively engaged in what they will be doing throughout the film, what the article refers to as "character essence". Here is a great example from the article:

How is Indiana Jones introduced?

Less skilled writers would've maybe chosen to introduce him at home talking to someone on the phone about the Ark. Or on a routine dig somewhere in a desert.

Sure, he's actively doing what defines him to a certain extent in these examples, but what shows us the character essence of what Indy's really all about?

Yep, being chased by boulders, dodging poisoned darts and leaping chasms clutching a precious golden artifact.

In other words it all comes back to the old screenwriting adage of show, don't tell.

Often, the action at the beginning of these films is completely unrelated to the eventual plot, but it's there in order to show us straight away who the hero is.

I found this piece of advice particularly interesting since aspiring writers are constantly told not to include anything that doesn't move the story forward. But there are exceptions to every rule, and setting the scene for the entire story to follow appears to be a very effective one. Imagine Raiders of the Lost Ark with Indiana Jones in that suit and those glasses in the classroom being the first time we see him, and the image it would have established in our minds, that this is a man of a buttoned-down academic world, rather than a man of death-defying action.

Opening with that action sequence also makes Indy relatable despite his larger than life heroics because we are shown that he has a flaw or weakness that pretty much everyone can understand: his fear of snakes.

Do take the time to read the whole article - it's really great food for thought. I know it's something that I'll keep in mind in the future.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Life comes at you fast. Even faster when you're an idiot.

Almost every time I've seen college kids in the media lately, I wonder how they're going to survive when they get out in the real world. I wonder when they find time to actually study and learn anything when they're so busy wreaking havoc on their neighborhoods and assaulting anyone who doesn't march in lockstep with their beliefs and opinions, and even protesting having to do college student stuff like taking tests and you know, actually being taught something that might be useful to them now and in the future. And don't even get me started on the coddling and "safe spaces". Good luck in the real world, kids.

They are so out of touch with actually educating themselves about something before developing an opinion about it, that it's a real kick when they get smacked with the reality stick, and bonus points for getting it on video and sharing it with the world. I give you college students who get their hate on over President Trump's tax plan, but love it when aspects of it are presented to them as being authored by Bernie Sanders. And then are told it's actually Trump's plan. Enjoy!

"Parents that have children go through a lot..." Parents. That. Have. Children.

Lots of face-saving going on after the big reveal, but I'm not buying that they actually learned anything from it. Come on people, learn to think and not just having knee-jerk reactions. You might learn something that will surprise you, like it's possible to agree with someone on some issues even if you don't agree with them on everything. It's a big world out there and not everyone is going to be just like you. Deal with it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Yeah, pretty much

Oh good, it's not just me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How to write good

If you've read even only a few of my blog posts, you know how guilty I am of number 6. Like writing death penalty guilty.

H/T to PAGE International Screenwriting Awards on FB for the image.

Monday, October 9, 2017


That sound you make when you discover you have an author page (however paltry) on Goodreads.

Baby steps.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


Not much new to report around here. Threw my back out of whack earlier this week, so I haven't been able to get much done that doesn't involve me being in a sitting position or laying on my side. That heating pad is getting a workout.

Today would have been my Dad's 77th birthday, so here's a happy, beachy picture of him.

Kona Jim

A beautiful weekend is wrapping up and it's making me feel really at peace with the world. Except for the part when I walk around I shuffle like a little old man. That part kinda sucks.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Writing tips from Harlan Coben

I got a chance to see best-selling author Harlan Coben interviewed by Michael Connelly last year at Bouchercon New Orleans. He was an interesting guy. And here are his awesome writing tips.

It's all good advice, but I think my favorites are #3 and #5. They also give you a good idea of what an interesting interview he was.

H/T to Publishers Weekly on Facebook.

Monday, October 2, 2017

20 Window Seat Book Nooks to die for

I wouldn't kick any of these out of bed, but some of them are downright the stuff of dreams: 20 Window Seat Book Nooks.

My favorites:
#1 - By the sea
#7 - On a boat
#13 - Pemberley
#20 - Spectacular mountain views

And the winner...

#17 - String lights. Seriously, I could live in this nook.

H/T to BookBub on Facebook for the heads-up. Also, check out the comments at the link - interesting to see which ones everyone is picking.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

More Kids? HECK. YEAH.

So word is out that the Kids in the Hall might be getting the band back together: Kevin McDonald Says Group is in Talks for New Miniseries.

Although this is great news, it may be a while before we actually see any episodes. Per the linked article:

McDonald emphasized that the talks are in very early stages, since it's tough to get all five members together at once. "It's so at the beginning, we're not able to even get conference calls together. There's always one or two of us that are kind of busy. 

I don't care, it will totally be worth the wait. In the meantime, I'll have to bust out the DVDs of their show and Brain Candy.

I was thinking of putting some of their videos on this post, but there's too many to choose from. Just go to YouTube, search Kids in the Hall, and kiss the rest of your day goodbye!