Monday, October 26, 2009

From My Cornfield Days

Jon McLaughlin attended my first college, Anderson University. I've listened to some of his music, but this is the song that really stuck with me. Probably because it's terribly sad, and that's the kind of music I enjoy. :)

PS. He totally has happier songs too, if you're into that sort of thing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gleeked Out

I had a dream that I finally made this confession. I know it's not going to boost my popularity and may come as a shock to much of America, but here it is:

I don't think I like Glee.

I can applaud the hour-long comedy format, the relief and confidence that a popular new show must give the TV industry, and the catchy and Broadway dream inspiring musical numbers. I've watched all the episodes and will probably continue, so I guess they got me. But here's what I don't like --

TIRED PLOTS. Every week the story seems like an echo of before. Will gets distracted from Glee. Glee Club almost dissolves. Rachel storms off again. Or, in a variation, the football players have to choose between Glee and football. Glee Club almost dissolves. Fin struggles with his feelings for Rachel. Ken gets jealous of Will. Glee Club almost dissolves. On and on and on. Think of some new stakes, please! We know Glee Club isn't going to be canceled, whether it's threatened by its adviser's wandering attention span, lack of members, or deficit of popularity.

Saving grace - Sectionals are coming up. A NEW STAKE! Will Glee do well at sectionals? What will threaten their success? How will they overcome it? If it wasn't for this episode, I would fear that Glee would be treading water for the rest of the season. There's no forward motion.

THE ROMANTIC STORYLINES. This is my biggest problem with Glee. Why in the world is your strongest romantic pairing between a guidance counselor and a MARRIED man? No matter how much I like Emma - and she's one of my favs - I absolutely cannot root for her and Will. Sorry. I don't find infidelity attractive. I don't really care if it's clear that Will and Terri aren't right for each other. You dance with the one who brought you. And you stick with your wedding vows!

My prediction on how they're going to work this out - You can't have Will leave Terri for Emma. No one likes a home wrecker. He has to break up with Terri for reasons independent of Emma. The baby secret or some other unforgivable fault of Terri's will severe Will from his wife. There will be no marital counseling, either. This may not happen for a while, since you have to keep your romantic tension going as long as possible. But seriously, Emma - don't take your married crush wedding dress shopping with you. And Will? So much for "discouraging" her.

I have the same problems with Quinn-Fin-Rachel, but I find Fin less morally delinquent in his emotional confusion. But here's my biggest question about this romantic triangles - why is the girl the boy with such a shrew? I learned that the strongest choice you can make as a writer is to present your character with two equal choices - equally bad or equally good. So why are Terri and Quinn such controlling, love-sucking characters? Wouldn't the better, more conflicted choice be to make them just as attractive as their romantic rivals? Then it wouldn't be just a moral choice for Will or Fin. Terri tries, sometimes. She's just an idiot. I'd like to see Quinn act like she loves her boyfriend. Then her whole dilemma of "I love my boyfriend but I'm carrying someone else's baby which he thinks is his or he'd probably leave me" would be so much more interesting.

Sue Sylvester is the best part of the show. My favourite episode was when she and Will had joint control over Glee. Probably because there was a lot of her and none of Emma.

Look, the micro writing of Glee is great. I'm still watching it, aren't I? But the broad brush strokes? I've started to doubt. And yes, I love the musical numbers. But how much of a risk was that? Let's take songs everyone already loves and add some flashy choreography.

Glee, prove to me that you're more than a morally confused, wheel-spinning show ripping off the success of other artists. And I hope New Directions kicks butt at sectionals.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Now the Crossing Guard Knows Me Too

I remember now why the only reason I was productive my last year at Michigan was because I had a graded deadline. Life has been picking up, the new job, socializing (finally), embracing the crazy traffic patterns of Jersey. I don't know if it's because writers indulge in anything that helps them procrastinate or if it's because I take the Zach Helm approach to writing. But either way, I've hardly had guilt pangs about not writing all this past week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Well the truth is

One of the employees at the coffee shop down the street from school recognized me today. It only took going there twice a day for a week. I think he might be the owner. I hope this translates into good things for me. For instance, today the barista bumped my tea up a size. Was it good karma, flirting, or just slacking on his part? I'll draw my own conclusions.

Since I finally have a paying job I've made a plethora of travel plans - though technically, I've yet to receive a check from this paying job. Back to my favourite US cold spot in a few weeks and an epic Las Vegas/LA trip with best friend for New Year's. There are also rumors of spring break plans (um, I get TWO spring breaks. That's right. I mean, the elementary school kids need breaks to relax from the stress, you know?).

Here's the thing -- screenwriting has been so slow. I think the polish is the worst draft ever. When I was a student, I rarely proofread my work. I hated it. One draft, written the night before, here ya go, Prof, it's an easy A. I've finished making the hard copy notes, but now I have to go through it AGAIN and actually make the changes. Also, my Act IV is about six pages too short. Which means writing more scenes. Creative energy, where are you? Also, I have to change some character names. They are just bulky and awkward. Changing names at the polish draft is bulky and awkward too.

I thought the polish would be over by now. So I'm giving myself another deadline. Saturday. It will be in the (e)mail by Saturday.

And yes, I do have a favourite student. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's nearly mid-October

The month has gone by remarkably fast (I think the job has helped with that. One of my favourite stories of last week was when one of the boys asked me why I had a nail in my nose.) I wouldn't mind it slowing down some. Fall is my favourite. However, once we get done with October it's November (I just know my months so well) --

National Novel Writing Month.

I know I talk about screenwriting mostly, but my writing roots are in fiction. I haven't participated in NaNoWriMo in a few years now, but I have completed it three times, and it's always a good time. My favourite experience was when two of my college friends participated with me and we'd go to the library and have word sprints. My novel that year was a space opera with all characters named after Shakespearean characters. Should I try it again this year? I've been thinking about novel writing, but my main road block is that I haven't really come up with a great idea yet nor has that been a priority for me. And speaking of priorities, I want my screenwriting to take precedent over NaNoWriMo. So can I do it? Can I write a 50,000 word novel, keep consciousness during my job (so early...), be dedicated to my screenwriting, pursue my other personal goals, and take continuing stabs at a social life, all during one month?

I'll probably decide October 31st.

Also, NBC cancels Southland before it airs. I don't know -- there just seem to be a lot of TV shows with tired premises this season. What made Southland different than any other cop show? NBC also has Trauma (hello, ER) and Mercy (Grey's Anatomy for nurses). Maybe you won't have to cancel your shows if you come up with a new and compelling premise.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Do not have the energy of a 2nd grader anymore.

Having a real job is draining, whew!

Really really screwed up the DVR tonight. No Bones or Office. :(

Busy busy long weekend coming up.

And, just for the record, I completed a readable draft yesterday -- two days before my self imposed deadline. Then I made a batch of cookies to celebrate (mmm, yes, it's sort of related). I have one more polish I want to do before I send it to anyone, a few minor alterations I thought of while rewriting, but I am satisfied with my progress. Anyone who owes me a favor, you'll probably be getting a plea for a read around this time next week.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I like car-dancing to Sean Kingston's "Replay"

Today was my first day at the day job. I'm working as a teacher's aide for a second grade classroom. It's crazy and a little overwhelming, but I think I'm going to like it. Everyone I've met so far has been really great. It reminds me of camp in a lot of ways. Our children line up in classrooms before school, once we're inside we say the pledge and sing a patriotic song, and the teacher raised her hand for quiet. It made a good first impression on me.

I had three different Michigan experiences today. The first (and I think the most awesome) was when I saw one of the other second graders (not in my class, sadly) with Michigan 'M' face tattoos on both her cheeks. She is being well trained. The second was a University of Michigan decal on a car. And the third was when I was at Starbucks and I inadvertently saw the wallet of the guy I was behind of in line. He had a Michigan student ID card. (So of course I asked him if he was an alumni and then had to awkwardly defend any assumptions that I was a creeper because I was looking at his wallet.)

Finished Act III of the pilot rewrite. I have until Friday to write Act IV (which requires the most actual rewriting, of course), I'll take a day or two to make minor alterations and polish it up, and by next week it should be read-ready. I also implicated myself into a script swap in about a month with a former screenwriting professor. That's great because it'll give me a hard deadline to work towards. But I'm going to have to jump on that as soon as I'm done with this draft of the pilot, and I haven't even decided which script I want to pursue.

Also, I saw a guy bike riding on route 17 tonight. Anyone from Jersey knows how ridiculously insane that is.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Last day of summer vacation

Tomorrow (Lord willing) I start my new job. Today I took advantage of the incredible fall weather and my last day of freedom. Here are some of my favourite pics from the day.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Do I notice a trend?

I was watching FlashForward tonight with my family when I realized the male leads from three of my favourite shows are all FBI agents: Seeley Booth from Bones, Paul Ballard from Dollhouse, and Mark Benford from FlashForward. And now there's Vaughn the CIA agent from Alias.

So the real question is: is this a reflection of TV trends or a reflection on me?