Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My favorite part of Oscar season

I can't remember the last time I really cared about award shows, but I do love this particular Oscar tradition from The Hollywood Reporter: their annual Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot. In THR's own words:

Each year around this time, THR sits down with an Oscar voter who, under the warm cloak of anonymity, spills his or her true feelings about the current season's crop of contenders. Not just who or what got his or her votes, but also exactly why and how he or she came to those decisions. It's not meant to be a scientific analysis; it's just the candid, unsugarcoated opinions of one voting member (out of 7,258) of the most important and powerful movie club in the world.

It's definitely brutally honest and not sugarcoated, and it never is, which is why this annual article is my favorite part of Oscar season. Reading them, it's almost like they're the opinions of normal, non-Hollywood moviegoers. It will be interesting to see how this voter's choices fare this weekend when the awards are handed out.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February Words of Wisdom

It's hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it's damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person. --Bill Murray

I've always hated being gossiped about. When I heard that people were talking about me, I consoled myself with what my mother Ruthie used to say: "Birds peck at the best fruit." --Bette Davis

I'm totally in control of this tiny, tiny world right here at the typewriter. --Joan Didion

Half of life is lost in charming others. The other half is lost in going through the anxieties caused by others. Leave this play, you have played enough. --Rumi

The rules are simple. Take your work, but never yourself, seriously. Pour in the love and whatever skill you have, and it will come out. --Charles Jones

My motto is, "If we can think it, then we can write it." We can always improve upon it later. --Patrick Ryan

I think writers should write exactly what they want to write, and nothing more, nothing less. --Roxanne Gay

Do not just slay your demons, dissect them and find what they've been feeding on. --Unknown

The more you care about what people think, the more they own you. --Marie Forleo

It is splendid to be a great writer, to put men into the frying pan of your imagination and make them pop like chestnuts. --Gustave Flaubert

Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly. --Van Morrison

I was always a storyteller. I just didn't know it. I never shared the stories I made up inside my head when I was growing up. I never wrote them down either. But I can't remember a time when they weren't there. --Judy Blume

Be like a tree, let the dead leaves drop. --Rumi

Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people. --Karen Salmansohn

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Imagine how he'll celebrate his 30th

I don't know what else to say, so...Local man arrested for DUI after riding horse onto freeway to celebrate his 29th birthday.

I love how calm the horse is in the pics. At least one of them was sober.

I can't decide if this guy is the biggest dork ever, or is going to have one hell of a story to tell at every birthday celebration he attends for the rest of his life.

Also, well played Santa Fe Springs CHP.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Needy cat is needy

I get home from a day of family stuff and attention-starved cat who is used to having me home all day long at her beck and call is galloping around the apartment like a needy mustang.

Just wanted to get that down in writing. Also, hilarious.

Her: You are my world.
Me: Well, that cat food ain't gonna buy itself, and neither are you.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

When first drafts attack

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got as a fledgling writer was the importance of understanding that first drafts are shit. They just are. The whole purpose of a first draft's existence is to just get your story down on paper. Then it can be fixed. It's not for public consumption because anyone who reads it (unless they're another writer who understands it's at a really raw stage) will think you're a crappy writer. Writing, as the saying goes, is rewriting.

Another thing that's been on my mind lately is to start submitting well before deadlines, instead of at 11:59:59 pm on the due date like I usually do.

Why do I mention these things? Well, because they've come together the past couple of days as I work on a short story for an upcoming anthology with a deadline of March 23, almost exactly one month away.

The story, which we'll refer to as Hollywoodland (because that's its name) was my submission last year to the Malice Domestic anthology Murder Most Geographical. It wasn't selected and now that I've dragged it out of mothballs to repurpose it for another anthology, I can see why.

It's awful.

Not the story, which I think is fine, but the fact that it reads like a first draft. No wonder it wasn't chosen. But it went out like that because I threw it together at the last second because inspiration didn't strike until the last minute. And also because I am a terrible procrastinator. Kidding, I'm unfortunately really good at it. Point is, because instead of giving myself time to do what turned out to be a much needed rewrite, I sent it out into the world in its sorry first draft state. I feel like I should apologize to the judges at Malice who had to waste their time on it. In fact, I will: Sorry, you guys. My bad. Won't happen again.

I got a lot of work done on it yesterday and a bit more today, and it's in much better shape. My next few days are going to be busy with family stuff, so I won't get to spend more time on it until Sunday. My goal is to have it whipped into shape and submitted by next Wednesday, the last day of the month. That will give me two submissions for the month, meeting that goal again. It also gives me some breathing room in March, because I don't have any other hard deadlines until April and May. I need a new TV spec to replace my Better Call Saul script that is now outdated, so that's probably next in line, as well as the next Sisters in Crime Los Angeles anthology, which is due May 15 and will need to be done well in advance so I don't repeat mistakes of the past.

Writing wise I feel like I'm in pretty good shape. Now if I could just get another acceptance, that would give me two years running. And would be fabulous.

Above image snicked from the internets. If it's yours, A) Great work! and B) Let me know so I can give you credit.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Soup is back (sort of, with swearing) and it is glorious

Just watched the first episode of The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale on Netflix and it filled every hole left in my television watching life since E! Entertainment (!) (?) horrifically cancelled The Soup a couple years ago.

In episode 1, Joel poked fun at Korean and South African TV shows (what, no telenovelas?), reality TV, re-enactment TV (hey, I've seen that episode of Married with Secrets), celebrity guests, his network and their programs, local news broadcasts and of course The Bachelor. We got our first, "We did not edit this..." and appearances by Jason Priestly and a couple of Joel's Community castmates! Even Mankini made a welcome return! And as an added bonus, there are no commercial breaks to fast-forward through. Win win win win win win, etc. Oh God bless you, Netflix. GOD. BLESS. YOU.

There are some differences. Joel is much more casually dressed and there's some grey in the facial hair. But the snark and humor are intact and that's what we always tuned in for. E!'s loss is Netflix's gain.

"The show Sisters Wives is about many things. Polygamy... Okay, it's just pretty much about polygamy." --Joel

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fer crying out loud, dreamers, I need my sleep!!!

Well, this explains a lot. The question is, who is keeping me up at night? And why don't they stop dreaming about me so I can get some rest? Dream about someone else for a change, this insomniac needs her shut-eye!

H/T to Coastal Living on FB.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Quarterfinalist in the Scriptapalooza TV Competition

Got an email today advising me that Scriptapalooza announced the results of their latest TV writing competition and I was thrilled to find out that my Better Call Saul spec made it to the quarterfinals in the 1-hour spec category.

Considering I never used to even place in these competitions, it's nice to see some results. Also, there were a total of 257 1-hour scripts submitted, so at most, only 10 - or at most 13 if you include the other quarterfinalists - were considered better than mine. Not too shabby.

My name in print.

Full results are here.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Saturday, February 10, 2018

When Grandmas kill

This is an old article, but someone (I forget who) linked to it on my Facebook feed this morning and I was riveted. John Reed at Vice writes about his grandmother, who he suspected of poisoning those around her, including family members: What Do You Do When You Think You Have a Murderer in the Family?

I think it hit home because my Grandma Loomis was an amazing cook (unlike Reed's grandmother). But when we got drowsy from eating her cooking, it was because it was so good we stuffed ourselves, not because she was poisoning us. But the writer in me immediately made the connection - a character whose food is so good that not only do people not realize she's poisoning them, but she's the last person anyone would suspect!

All joking aside, that's got to be a tough burden to carry, the idea that someone you love may have been a killer - and may have caused the death of your unborn child. Usually when I see these stories it's because the murderer was arrested and convicted, and it's all out in the open. In this case, grandma may really have gotten away with murder and that there's nothing he could do about it by the time he figured it out seems to have left Reed without any much needed closure. It's a fascinating read, check it out.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Strangers on a sitcom

Have you ever watched an episode of The Brady Bunch and wondered how Mike and Carol met, or what happened to their previous spouses? Craig Pittman at Slate has a theory about the show that was a mainstay of his childhood viewing: Mike and Carol Brady Murdered Each Other's Spouses and Married Each Other.

Hear him out:

But after a while a question occurred to me: How did Mike and Carol hook up?

The show conveniently skips over that question. You never learn what happened to Mike's first wife or Carol's first husband. The kids never mention their original mother or father. The kids' grandparents never visit after the wedding. Only once, in the series' pilot, did anyone display a photo of one of the missing parents. 

Clearly, something had happened to these two families that was so traumatic no one dared to bring it up. But what? Nuclear meltdown? Alien abduction? Evil clown attack?

One day, while watching another channel's afternoon movie - the Alfred Hitchcock classic Strangers on a Train - suddenly I saw, with a startling clarity, the answer to my mystery: Mike murdered Carol's husband and Carol killed Mike's wife. It was a crisscross killing.

Do check out the article, it's pretty hilarious. And besides, he could be right. It would explain why it was never brought up on the show.

Notice you can't see their hands? That's because THEY HAVE BLOOD ON THEM!!!