T-to-the-A

Posts Tagged ‘people’

“I am looking for a very good screenwriter”

In Screenwriting, The Daily Drool on May 8, 2010 at 8:41 am

I got this email the other day: (You have to click on the screenshots to actually read them- I didn’t know how to make ’em fit correctly)

To which my initial response was (mentally speaking) Yeah, get in line sister.  Ain’t everyone in LA got some kind of “Life changing” story idea?  EVERYONE?!  But I wrote back- you never know what people are all about…

Her response:  (by the way, it doesn’t look like it’s here, but click on it and it will open up to read)

Wow!  Talk about a hard sell!  But there is just nothing here that makes me want to get involved.  Sounds like a lot of work for no pay, and in all honesty, if I wanted to work for free, I’ve got plenty of my own ideas that I believe in, that I can develop free from the restraints of adhering to someone else’s “Vision” and, with less drama.  Because let’s face it, doesn’t this whole letter just scream “DRAMAAAA-(tongue hanging out)-AAAAH”?

Now, is the producer I’m working with buying me yachts?  No.  But he’s taught me a lot (as did the ghostwriting job before him!) A lot about what you have to be willing to put up with and bend to when working on someone else’s material.  Most lay-people have an idea without any notion of the amount of work it takes to actually develop that idea into a workable, compelling story.  Most lay-people lack the skills necessary to ride the wave from idea (seed) to full blown dramatization (tree) – and instead you wind up trying to make something akin to a story out of a hard lump of unwieldy potential (stunted log-bush thing that needs to just be put out of its misery)  Most lay-people fail to recognize that asking me to devote months or years even, of my time to a project, for free, is like asking an architect to draw up plans for a house, a super-awesome mansion that will be the envy of the world, for free – You wouldn’t do that, would you?  And here I’ve spent my whole life amassing the skills necessary to be able to create something that (most of the time) stands tall, strong, and dramatic – how about a little respect?  (And if you’ve got a few minutes, check out this hilarious post by veeery successful screenwriter, Josh Olsen A History of Violence, on what it is like to be asked to read material all the time by people like Little Miss Email here.)

Which is to say, in all likelihood, were there pay attached, I could scuttle my own projects to the side and at least take a crack at listening to her further.  I fgured my response would either elicit a real offer of some sort, a confirmation of budget, or silence.  Instead I got this:

Now, didn’t she just validate all my concerns?

High risk… HIGH RISK?  I am living HIGH RISK of my own, why on earth would I want to absorb hers?  I moved home to live in my parents’ house so I could focus on my own writing sans LA pressures… I poured my Sallie Mae loans into a high-risk, big-dreams education with no gaurantee of return.  I handed my twenties over to a city that eats people for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.  I have risked everything to get where I am now… all in the hopes that tomorrow it will all begin to work, to make sense, to fill up the coffers as it does my heart and soul, and she wants to talk to me about risk?

But no, she doesn’t want to talk to me about anything… she’s just looking for a really good screenwriter.

And really, I think it’s a pretty amusing exchange.  She’s got some guts, some determination, and she sounds like a godamned saleswoman – maybe she will find someone to help her get her project off the ground.

But it ain’t me.

Anyone want her number 😉

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You’re damned if you do…

In Essays, The Daily Drool on April 24, 2010 at 10:24 am

Alright, time for another Volcano post… because now the blame game begins.

Look, I’m all about pro-active discussion “What did we do right?  What could we have done better?”  But inevitably, whenever a disaster strikes, what happens is that everyone starts blaming everyone else and nothing productive comes of it.

In this AP article:

Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson (A true capitalist) has labeled as unnecessary the Europe-wide ban on flights prompted by concerns the volcanic ash could cause problems with airliner engines.

“A blanket ban of the whole of Europe was not the right decision,” Branson said. “Planes have to put up with sandstorms in Africa, the engines are designed to put up with a lot more than existed.”

I imagine, had they NOT instituted a Europe-wide band and had there been any problems, Mr. Branson would still be pointing those angry fingers but with very different words.

Because people are the masters of “Blame”-  we love to shell it out and hate to have it shelled out upon us.

Think about it… when’s the last time you found yourself the guilty party?  Did you accept the blame or shirk it?  Try to justify it with some long-winded rationalization?  Do you ever find yourself issuing an “Well, I’m sorry, but-”

Why is it so hard to stand in front of a catastrophe and accept responsibility?

Why is equally difficult to stand before something terrible, something beyond human blame, and not have someone to burn at the stake?

Because we are obsessed with and terrified by power- the power we have, the power we want, and the power that eludes us.

The world will continue turning, that volcano will continue burning, and the airliners will try to wring as much money out of this as they possibly can.  The EU will stand behind their decision to close the skies (and they SHOULD), and weary travelers the world over will pay the price as the bickering and blaming goes on and on and on…

Things just keep getting crazier…

In The Daily Drool on April 19, 2010 at 10:36 am

Look, I want to talk about people – and how they kind of suck.

There’s a freakin’ volcano erupting in Iceland, and stranded passengers are protesting at airport counters. PROTESTING WHAT?

Sure, this is inconvenient, and expensive, and everyone needing to travel by air/working in the air travel industry in Europe is getting screwed.  But there’s nothing to be done about it, so just bend over and shut the hell up.

People get angry and feel the need to rant and rave over things.  They pile up their baggage and start throwing tantrums, because it makes them feel (for the moment anyway) that they are doing something.  “I’m upset!  Look at me be upset!  Adopt my upset and call it something else- call it, responsibility.  Let that fester and then hand me something out of guilt/annoyance/or just-for-some-peace-and-quiet,for-the-love-of-GOD… because that’s what I want.  I want YOU to soothe my upset, you volcano-creating air-travel evil mastermind!”

But people don’t like to surrender.  They don’t like to feel at the whim of any force.  And they hate, HATE, HATE to lose money.

So the airlines are asking for handouts because they can’t fly and they’re blaming the EU for not having some sort of contingency plan in place to make un-healthy skies flyable, and I’m sitting here thinking to myself “Gee, people are really dumb.  It’s a GODDAMNED VOLCANO, in ICELAND, and why is it the EU’s job to reimburse the airplane industry for that?  Why do ticket agents need to be assaulted by protesting travelers? ”

The answer is that people are selfish and globally ignorant- we pay attention to ourselves first and foremost and get angry when we can’t have our way.  We think of ourselves as highly evolved creatures, yet we are prone to the madness of mob-mentality at practically every turn, bludgeon each other to death over things like what name we should pray to, and proclaim promiscuity causes natural disasters.

People. Are. Stupid.

And the sooner we just own up to it, the sooner we stop carrying ourselves around this planet like demi-Gods, the better off we’ll all be.

When Mother Nature Steps In

In The Daily Drool on April 17, 2010 at 10:04 am

A lot of excitement has been bubbling in my imaginative mind over the implications of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull (ay-yah-FYAH’-plah-yer-kuh-duhl).  I’ve been reading about it all day long, totally transfixed.  But not until this article did I have anything to say beyond a massive “Wow!”

Basically, it’s an article about eeryone’s worries – worries about travel, worries about politics, about health, about “WHAT THIS MEANS!” for all of the minutia we humans orbit… and as I was reading it, I just found myself muttering (yes, muttering like a crazy person) “You can’t control this! So how about a little awe and respect”

I mean, here are masses of people at the mercy of a force waaaay beyond our influence – isn’t there a kind of beauty in being forced to press pause for a moment?  No guilty “Gee, I should really be doing x,y,z” because, guess what, A FRIGGIN VOLCANO HAS YOU GROUNDED!  How about enjoying the divine peace of being in the same boat of collective suspension…

All work and no play makes Atlas a grumpy Titan!

We spend so much time thinking that we have all this power, that we have so much under our control- when it’s really all just an illusion cooked up by the Ego.  All we really have control over are our decisions.  The actual outcomes of the choices we make and the behavior of others or of the planet… all of this is out of our hands.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to stop playing Atlas, and just carry what we can actually manage for a change?

But there are a whole host of people out there stamping their feet in frustration… frustration with the force of nature.

I don’t know about you, but that seems like a waste of time to me.

My friend Lara put it this way –

…a couple centuries ago, hundreds of ppl would have died, a god would have been named Eyjafjallajökull, bards would have sung songs, while children quivered at the thought. Have we really come that far? Do we really think we’re in control? Please; a little respect and awe at least!

Yes, the volcano bards, the glacier priests, dancing in the ice and ash… these are my people – those who are watching in awe and splendor.  People hearing the Earth roar with fiery, gaseous glory- You are infinitesimal by comparison !  All your piss and vinegar are but fists in the face of my hurricanes.  Write me a song!  Set down that pillar and dance.

Come Together

In The Daily Drool on February 13, 2010 at 10:49 am

People can be a whole lot like cattle.  I think it’s part of why I can get so claustrophobic in crowded places, my imagination terrified by the possibilities of a stampede.  Masses of people have been known to do all sorts of horrific things- oftentimes eschewing individual thought in favor of stupidity – sometimes often to tragic ends.

But, like yin and yang, there come spots of sunshine… combined efforts – groups of people working together en mass – that inspire you… that show you the great possibility, the promise, of humankind.

And it’s this duality that is so striking to me.  This potential for “either”.  We are, after all, just people.  We are bound to dip into the dark and grey on occasion.  We are none of saints or sinners, but more likely a microcosmic representation of this yin/yang juxtaposition… confronted daily with choices that either negate or reaffirm our primary affiliation.  Am I plus or am I minus?  Am I present or am I satellite?  Am I me or am I us?

Then this morning I watched the new “We are the World” video (some of you probably saw it on TV last night before the Olympic Games started) and I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face at the passion put into making this video, and the energy put into helping the people of Haiti.  And I was moved by the goodness, by the hope, by the music of their spirit.

Because we are capeable of such greatness!  Of such love!  It’s reaffirming to see it in action, even as there is so much fighting everywhere around us.

I’m not a believer in in “MAN”- I don’t think we are the end-all/be-all of this planet, this existence… I believe instead that we are but one part, one piece, a piece with the ability to love and protect this place, our home, or to destroy it.   And we are in a constant state of moral, ethical, and spiritual evolution.  We should strive to be our best selves because all that we do is reflected around us… we really are, in some ways, the world – it turns and turns regardless, but our social structures, the way we have chosen to live, is based on our collective design.  Why not try to make it better?

And I’m not sure where all this is coming from except that there is something joyful and life-affirming in seeing people coming together to work towards a redemptive purpose… To help someone else.  To step beyond the self.  To stir other hearts to listening.

It’s a sweet bit, along this sometimes tart and sour path to humanity.

Road Signs and Eyeballs

In Essays, The Daily Drool on January 11, 2010 at 5:00 pm

There is an interesting thing that happens along Tennessee Ave. over here in Los Angeles- traveling east/west, it alternates stop signs so that (as you travel along) you may have to stop at the next intersection, or you might get to blow right through while the unfortunate North/South’ers must wait… or you could all have to stop and play “Who’s on my right?”.  The point is, there’s no consistency, so you can’t assume that just because you’re stopping and waiting a turn, everyone else is too.

I mention all this because it never fails that someone comes trekking right along, stops, and starts to go before honking at you insanely for driving through the intersection like you’re supposed to – oblivious to the fact that THEY are the one’s NOT PAYING ATTENTION. You see, they’re only looking at their own signs… their own road.  And you, lovely little you, are but an intrusion on their journey.

And I think that’s interesting.

How many times in your life do you run into people who are suffering from a similar degree of “tunnel vision?”  I bet it’s often, hell, I bet some of you are even guilty of this yourself.  We can’t ALWAYS be paying attention to EVERYTHING after all.

But there are some major self-obsessed douche bags out there walking around and I’d like to just say that when I meet them, I kind of want to launch them into outer space, because they’re not making life any easier for the rest of us who share planet Earth… you know what I mean?

Because it’s not just courtesy to look both ways before pulling into the intersection, it’s life saving.

There are too many people out here, and too many issues on the table NOT to be looking around yourself, to in fact, try to look BEYOND yourself, as you cruise on down the life-path.  This world has a much bigger population than YOU!

So, slow down!  Take a breather.  Look up from your self-obsessions and self-loathings, and your self entirely, and pay attention!

You might learn something.