Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Sunday, October 24, 2004


Keep Them Writers Writin' Rawhide!

I took a teaching job, in part, because I thought it'd be good to have summers off. I figured I could have all that concentrated time to write. I could write stand-up and screenplays and sketch shows and any other type of writing that starts with an S. It would be like I was a professional writer. I'd be getting a paycheck and writing full-time. The summer didn't quite live up to my expectations. In my plan, I would have time and energy to finish at least two screenplays, maybe a spec script (also starting with S, thank you) and complete a sketch show. In reality, I got not quite that far. I had two graduate classes this summer which, while only taking place once a week each, ate up a decent chunk of my time with reading and papers and such. Then we went to Europe. Now, let me make clear, I'm not bitching about our trip. I wouldn't trade it for anything (except maybe a couple million dollars, which would allow me to quit my job and...nevermind. Let's just leave it that I wouldn't trade it for anything.) It did, though, eat up the entire last month of my summer and meant that I got to do basically zero writing in August.

Now, though, I'm trying to get back into a disciplined writing routine. I'm trying to make sure I do at least some writing every day. I taped a list of the things I'm supposed to be working on onto my computer. I'm exceptionally poor right now, which means, at least in theory, I should be able to take all the time I might otherwise have spent going out or taking trips to other cool East Coast cities or watching movies and channel all of that into my writing. Couple problems, though.

My biggest problem is that I'm a lazy, undisciplined fuck. We have this thing called the internet. I like to use it. I will sit down to write and then decide to check my e-mail really quickly. This leads, of course, to a quick session of surfing all of the sites I visit every single day. Or it leads to me playing "one quick game" of euchre on Yahoo games, which truly should win the Pulitzer Prize for Timesucking.

The other problem also has to do with my being lazy and undisciplined. I've got about ten screenplay ideas, all of which are on low simmer in the back of my head. I'll work on something, get it to a certain point, then smack into a wall. I'll have two thirds of a script done, then lose interest. I'll sit down to write the next scene ten times, always ending up hating what I've written and erasing it. I'll suddenly get an idea for a new piece and be unable to get that one out of my head long enough to wrap up the one I'm almost finished with. I have very little control over my mind. (A good example of this just occurred: I mistyped "very" and my brain went off on a tangent for a good three minutes about how that annoying cartoon character/piece of merchandised crap Strawberry Shortcake used to say shit like, "I love you berry much," substituting berry for very in every sentence. Worse than the fucking Smurfs and their bizarre "Oh my Smurf! I've got to take a huge Smurf!" patois.)

So what movies are fighting for space in my leaky cauldron of a brain? Here's the short list. (And these have all been registered already with the Writers Guild as well as having their own IMDB entries.)

I'm working on a script about two robots who fall in love, immediately after which they are both rendered obsolete by a new style of android. They are melted down and parts of both of them are used in a new robot, who then, because a large part of it is in love with another part, masturbates constantly. I've got two working titles: We, Robot or Herbie the Wankmachine, both of which I think could be used to great effect.

I also have a rough draft started for a politically-charged thriller about this anarchistic prankster--who I see being played by either Angels in America's Geoffrey Wright or Punk'd's Ashton Kutcher--who wages a war against the government. I see him egging congress, maybe putting a flaming bag of dog poo on the front porch of the White House. Then the administration lets him out of jail to help fight an Iraqi practical joker who's come to town. It's whoopie cushion versus fake vomit, with the fate of the free world at stake.

There's one that I see as an old-style hand-drawn cartoon in which a young boy and his dog get lost in a magical corn bread. They have to eat their way out and also help the tiny race of corn nugget-people who live in the bread. They're being chased by this Jabba-esque bowl of chili who wants the cornbread all to himself.

I like documentaries a lot. I have ever since seeing Brother's Keeper in'93. The documentary I'd like to see would follow a ragtag group of nail technicians as they struggle to open and maintain their nail salon on the mean streets of Bangor, Maine. I'm thinking of calling it Tooth and Nail. Or maybe Nailsafe. Or something along those lines.

I've always been a fan of the comics, so it's a natural that I would dream about adapting one for the big screen. Toward that end, I've been in touch with the creators of Mary Worth. I think a three-hour flick about an old woman giving advice has Crowd-Pleasing Oscar Bait written all over it. I'm picturing Angela Lansbury or Beyonce Knowles for Mary, with a special guest appearance by Aidan Quinn as Ennui.

Biopics are always big business, which is why I've been working on a movie about George W. Bush, to be cast entirely with monkeys in diapers. They will make the Iraqi invasion scenes so cute!

The one I'm most excited about, though, is the story of twin brothers who share a psychic link. One of them goes to clown college and the other one joins the FBI. Then, the brother in the FBI turns up missing and his bosses have to bring in the clown brother so he can use their psychic link to track the FBI brother down. I can picture the climactic scene in my head: the clown brother breaks into the villain's hide-out and uses a seltzer bottle and a rubber chicken to fend off an army of ninjas.

My question, then, is which one of these is the most compelling? Which one of these will be my calling card to the major studios. I'm not getting any younger. If I want to be the one writing movies for Jimmy Fallon, I need to get cracking. So I should go get to work right now. Right after I play one quick game of hearts.

I'd see "Herbie the Wank Machine" at the $.99 theater, maybe take the kids. All the rest I'd let slide till I could get em through Netflix.
i disagree. i'm more interested in the magical corn bread. (that may just be because i'm hungry...) ooh and the one that you said you would cast aidan quinn. i like him.
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