Archive for January, 2008

Script Updates

Last night was the third meeting for my Script writing class, but the first time my work was ripped apa… I mean, critiqued. And I fully agree with one of the biggest points, regarding a major scene that I had submitted. It was, after all, my first (formatted) scene that I was drafting, and was writing more to get something on paper… some of the information may get recycled, but I decided that a majority of the scene, the way it was originally written, anyway, would be gone during the revisions.

Now, for more statistical information. My “master” script is currently about 13 pages, with about another 5 that are written, and “in progress” for next week. Personally, I am thinking (hoping) that the final “draft” length is around 100-120 pages. For the terms of the course, I need to have about 65 pages. I am guessing that means “quality” pages, which is what I would like to have, anyway.

With that said, something which I know is going to be a bit problematic (and may seem weird when looking at my work, compared to the rest of the class), is I am writing this script a bit irregularly. I am not writing from the beginning, and slowly plugging my way through to the end. I am writing from around the spectrum – writing the individual scenes and sections, and piecing them together inside the “master” script. It’s what is working for me, to get my mileage up.

Go me.

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This one is totally random, and any guys that read this will be able to identify with it. Ladies, just consider yourself “clued in” to one of the strangest things in the human male psyche (just in case you are interested)… And it is something I was reminded of after I got done with my class last night…

Most public men’s rooms are designed so there is a section of urinals, and a section of actual toilet stalls. At restaurants and retail stores, there are usually only a few, maybe three of each, at most. But in larger men’s facilities, there is a surprisingly common phenomenon.

Making space. Quite simply, keeping an open urinal between two people, as long as traffic permits. In the event that there are both open stalls and open urinals – but not enough to maintain the “spacing”, a guy will go to the stalls. Only in the busiest of times will someone not see that space left…

Random, I know, but at least it’s out of my system now…

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Surprises Over Potter

It has been several years since I first read Sorcerer’s Stone, but I recently reread it (as a class requirement). Personally, I forgot some of the details from the book, and when we watched the movie (again, in class), I was thinking about how the items were abridged for the movie.

However, in the course of the discussion (namely, why it has been considered contoversial), someone mentioned the ending to book seven… part of it, anyway. There were students in the class that were like, “What? Harry what….?” I, personally, was shocked at their reaction. First, with the amount of press that the book received…. Second, um, hello… based on the sales it had, you are telling me that you haven’t read it yet?

What rock have they been under?

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Updates and Moderate Grumbles…

It has been a few days since my last tidbits on information, so here’s the new skinny.

I have finished my first 10 pages for the “Four Corners” script project. Already starting on that item from my resolutions list. I say “my” as opposed to “the”, since I am not really going chronologically. I am writing in scenes and segments that I will later be piecing together in the correct order. I know the general story line (have for years, actually), but there are certain scenes that beg to be written at different times. How it will all turn out, I don’t know, but I am enjoying the ride.

At the same time, I am using Final Draft – a software package that was suggested by Ben (and others), and that I got back in the summer. I honestly cannot think of an easier way to learn the form (at least, from a layout perspective). I tried using another piece of software the other day (after first using Final Draft), and while the interface was similar, I had already been spoiled. At least I know what I will be using for drafting my scripts. Enough of the commercial, time to do more updates.

I had my first massage last Thursday night. MC had arranged one for me as one of my Christmas gifts. Ugh, I did not realize how tight my back was before I went in! If you’ve never had one, I highly recommend the experience.

There has been significant progress in another item in my resolution list: the office. I have managed to clear 75-80% of the “stuff” that was on the floor. I actually had more completed, but with some of my school items, I have had to sacrifice a little, for the short run.

There is one thing I am not thrilled with about academia: reading patterns. I like reading, but I like to (try) and focus on a single work, going from beginning to end, and devoting my full attention to it, immersing myself in the world the author is trying to create. If you notice my “Currently Reading” list (which, as of 24 Jan 08), has four titles “in progress”. That bugs me a bit, because I have to stage my reading time a bit better. Of course, the other side is that if I don’t layer my reading, I could easily end up stuck with things unread for class. Like “Grapes” – at about 450 pages, if I don’t start now (knowing how dry, no pun intended) that read may be, I may not finish but the time it’s time to be discussed next month.

And about my readings: Yes, I am rereading HP Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s been years since I have read it (after the movie came out), and it is required for my “Film” class. And, no, I have never actually read either Grapes of Wrath or Huck Finn before (also for class). So, in that respect, I guess I am also putting a dent in my reading goal, as well.

And on Tuesday, before my class, I ran a sub-10 mile. And I still had a little bit of spring left! I still have a long way to go, if I want to try and actually last through a biathlon or short (5K-ish) race, which I would like to do.

Which pretty well catches us up… I’ve already gotten a couple more pages written for the script, and am working on arranging another trip for later this year, as well as some “lighter entertainment trips”…

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Happy Days

Well, still working towards my 10 pages that will be due on Tuesday night, as well as awaiting my “textbooks” (funny thing is, I already had half of the “required” books anyway… and some of them I had gotten years ago for other classes or reasons…)… So my weekend will be filled with working on cleaning the house, and writing.

And reading. On the “fun” side of things, I am one short chapter away from finishing Babylon, and between reading my textbooks, I am going to try and make a concerted effort to push into my “other readings” – especially trying to work my way through Lodger.

The news that makes me really happy today, though, is that the dates for the 2008 leg of the extended Snakes and Arrows tour has been announced. The closest date will be in Charlotte near the end of the tour (unless I decide to go to DC… no thanks). There is also news of a live CD in the works, which I am currently guessing would be from the original 2007 tour… of course there is also rumor of a concert DVD project as well, which really starts my year of right!

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Returning to the Classroom, Revisited

Now that both of my classes have met for this week, and all of my course materials are ordered and en route, I have some updates.

If you remember me mentioning a classroom “that I remember sitting in for my Intro to Fiction Writing”? Well, it turns out that that very same room is the space I sit in for my Tuesday night course. The decorations (furniture and paint) have changed quite a bit, but it’s the same room. “No freakin’ way,” I mumbled as I walked up to the door, inwardly giggling in reflection of that post the other day.

I also stand very well correct that I will get a lot of writing accomplished this semester. The goal for the script class is 65 pages by the end of the semester (or complete a script). “Homework” for next week: 10 pages. But getting quality pages – not so much a concern right now (I do have to learn the form, after all), but by the end of the semester the quality will be one of my main concerns.

In other news, I have my my first trip of the year to the rec center (last night) and am in slight pain today – muscle soreness from lack of recent (ab)use, but it does feel good. Thanks to the little bit of work that was done in the summer and early fall (which, I was trying to force some results on a tight timeline), I have given myself a decent enough place to start.

I was able to run a mile in about 12 minutes (timing and distance are not 100% accurate as I was going by a clock, not a stopwatch, and did some extra distance in the 12 minutes). The idea here, while that time may seem insanely slow, I am having to deconstruct my past while doing this. There was a time when I was able to roll out a mile-and-a-half at around 10 minutes, with energy to spare – but the last time I actually had to run anything close to that was in the fall of 1999, and close to 40lbs ago. Between my bout of muscle atrophy in 2000 (long story), and 3 years of restaurant management I am starting from close to scratch. I’m not thrilled with the time, but I know I have to rebuild, so it is a decent enough place to start.

Now it’s time to try and get some scripting done…

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An Example…

… of stupid people pissing me off. I personally try to avoid discussing politics or religion – they are very hot topics with many people, and I detest soap-box pontifications that tend to devolve into personal attacks. But, I recently received this in an email message…

I am intentionally only displaying this as a “small” image. If you have an ounce of free thought that you like to exercise, just trust me that it is bad. The main statement is about a pending “picket” of USMC Camp Lejeune in response to the Lauterbach case.
You know, it’s funny (and sad)…
1) Last time I checked the information on the case, the issue WAS between a man and a woman – where are they making the connection to homosexuality, using the Lauterbach case as their base point?
2) I appreciate their right to “free speech & demonstration”, but I think they are missing part of the point – they are trying to “picket” one of the main organizations (the USMC), and Locations (Lejeune) that is responsible for allowing them the freedom to picket.
3) They are also doing the one thing I despise the most – aligning on a fundamentalist point-of-view, and taking scripture out of context and using it for their own agenda (like plantation owners that would often quote “Servant obey your masters”, and conveniently leaving out the part that say “Master, take care of your servant”.)
According to a Letter to the Editor in the Jacksonville paper, this group is the same one that pickets the funerals of fallen soldiers. “At the most horrible moment of your life, the loss of a child who fought in a war to defend our rights, [they] show up to yell and scream horrible things to those attending the funeral. They hold up signs that tell you your family member deserves to burn in hell.” The person who wrote the letter goes on to say that, “They [the WBC] have twisted the Bible into a war against the US military and have decreed that God hates the Marines.”

I looked up some information (thanks to Google & Wikipedia), and was really disturbed as I read more about the WBC. First off, they are not “Baptist”, in the fact that they are an independant church (and, often called a cult). The label fits.

I can see a church having an anti-homosexual agenda – while I don’t agree with targeting people based on sexual orientation – it is not a new idea. They [the WBC] don’t like it, fine, I got that. The disturbing points start coming from some of the other picketing that they do. At funerals – for fallen soldiers (from the Iraq war), for those that died during the West Virginia mine collapse, at the Westwood Mall reopening (after the shootings in Dec 2007), as well as proposed pickets of the funerals for the victims of the Amish school shootings (2006) and the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. They are also staunchly “anti-everything except us” (including Muslims, Jews, Catholics and Protestants alike), going so far as to state that virtually everyone except their group will be found in hell.
They apparantly believe that as long a woman remains “pure”, she will not have a period – “as menstration is a curse from God upon lustful women” [They apparantly have never taken biology classes. And as I read that, I could not help but think of Stephen King’s Carrie.] Their view of the US Military is almost as intelligent: that “soldiers did not join the military out of a sense of patriotism, but because they are “lazy, incompetent idiots” unable to find work elsewhere” [coming from a military family, and initially pursuing the military myself, I have two words for them. Bull. Shit.]
The other disturbing item that I read, is that the “congregation” (of about 100 people), is essentially one family (maybe, about 10-15 people are not actually related), and that any marriages must be “from within the church”.
Personally, I despise their type of fundamentalism. Yes, they have a right to their opinion, and the right to voice that opinion, but their comes a point when they should learn to respect the fact that most people (like myself) really don’t give a damn about their opinion – other than the momentary flash of anger and frustration that some people can be so narrow minded and hypocritical.
And, I’m sorry, but can any church with “fag” in the website address really be taken seriously, and not instantly seen as a collection of people that needs a lot of therapy?
But, maybe that’s just me being… I don’t know… an open-minded, thinking person.
Maybe they need some “special kool-aid”… or asbestos suits?
Your thoughts?

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