Posts in: March 2004

The Experiment

I’m taking an experimental film class this semester, and if I haven’t already pointed this out, I’m not a huge fan of the whole experimental thing. I dunno, though; it’s a slippery slope, experimental filmmaking. Some of it tries so desperately to be art that it’s crap. At the same rate, some of trounces about believing it’s crap and ends up…well, not art, but not crap, either. Good.

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Owning Owen

As I have every Wednesday since the start of this semester, I got to school around 4:30. My class starts at 6, so I have a good hour and a half to eat dinner, grab a cup of coffee, and hang out with a couple of girls I had a class with last semester, both of whom have a (different) class at 6. We shoot the shit about whatever, and we realized last Wednesday that they seem to have screenings every Wednesday night. This is sorta frustrating, since we all have class and can never attend the screenings (although I probably wouldn’t even be down there if I didn’t have class, so…).

This week, though, they kinda went all out for whatever the screening was (it turned out to be 11 shorts by 11 different directors, strung together as a feature under the guise of being an “exquisite corpse” experiment—lame!). They set up a bunch of tables set up and set out a huge spread catered by Yang’s, the Chinese place down the street (which, by the way, is a terrific restaurant). I had just eaten, so I wasn’t as excited as I probably would have normally been about free food, but the girls both got some plates of shit before class.

As we talk every week (this week, despite the distraction of possible free food, was no exception), I am always, always, always on the lookout for Owen, my arch-nemesis.

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Perfect Pitch

I’d been having trouble in my pitching class for the past couple of weeks because, frankly, the type of screenplay we are taught to value and aspire to write are not conducive to pitching. When you write a character-driven story, it’s usually difficult to describe it in terms of plot (which is, overall, what you do in a pitch), because the plot is usually pretty hackneyed (which is okay, because the characters are supposed to make your run-of-the-mill story interesting). And if you don’t have a retread of a storyline, you have a plot that’s so complicated or unusual that it’s impossible to make any sense of it without a long description of the characters, which is a pitching no-no.

When you pitch, you’re trying to sell a script to an executive who wants something exciting, or bold, or original, but most of all, you’re selling them something that will make money. And they get very, very afraid when you tell them you have a story about this really great character. Unless you’re Mike Myers. But he doesn’t have to pitch.


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Title: Madame Bovinia

Genre: Comedy/Experimental

Length: 11 pages

Draft: Second

Logline: Disenchanted with her home life, a young woman wanders off to the big, bad city and gets more than she bargained for.

Click the image to download.

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How to Humiliate Yourself in Public Without Really Trying

Yesterday, after my Spike Lee-August Wilson class, people were talking about me. I’m not being paranoid, as I usually am. It was sort of obvious, since there are only three other white kids in the class, and I was the only one who hadn’t left, that it was me they were talking about when I heard murmurs of “crazy white boy,” and so on. I didn’t really know what it was they were saying, or why they were saying it. I decided I’d shut it out of my mind and just go home. It had been kind of a crappy day.

So I walked down the stairs, and I ran into some dude who was trying to find the fourth-floor library. He was going up the main stairwell, which doesn’t have access to floors 1-5 (those are the library floors), so I had to explain to him how to first get to the library and then find the elevators and stairs. He was foreign and confused already, so instead of being able to explain it, I had to actually walk with him down the stairs and show him where to go.

So I did, and I turned around and left, and the guy turned after me and said, “Thank you,” and then snickered. I stopped, turned around, gave him an odd look, he gave me an odd look, and then I turned back around and started the long walk to the subway.

People at the Congress Hotel, a block away, have been striking for a long time. Since last summer, or earlier (maybe spring?), so I’ve gotten used to it. They’re annoying to have to walk past, but I sympathize with the strikers as long as they aren’t making a ridiculous amount of noise. I’m not sure why, but yesterday, all the strikers were women. I walked briskly by them, as usual, and all of a sudden I heard an amused chorus of “Wooooooooo,” as if I’d just walked by them completely nude, followed by amused giggling.

What the fuck was going on?

I kept going. I got on the subway, rode home, and as we approached Cumberland, I got up and waited by the door. I looked at my seat, since I’m crazy and obsessive-compulsive, to make sure I hadn’t forgotten the nothing that I’d pulled out of my pockets when I got on the train, and then I saw it.

A big red comb. Right there on the seat.

The comb was not on the seat when I got on the train; otherwise, I wouldn’t have sat there. How’d it get there? I don’t know.

Did I have a comb stuck to my ass during my entire walk from my class to the subway? It’s possible. It would certainly explain all the weird snickering and hooting.

So now, in addition to the 14 million other things I check before I’m ready to move anywhere, I now have to thoroughly brush off my ass to make sure nobody’s comb is somehow stuck to it.


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The Ambassadors of Funk

One of the more amusing albums I’ve downloaded in recent months is one called Super Mario Compact Disco. It’s pretty simple to figure out the concept of this album: various well-known Mario tunes, remixed and full of overly cheerful rap lyrics extolling the excellence of Mario and his friends. It’s arguably the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life, but much like Rhapsody, it’s grown on me like moss.

For those of you out of the loop, my longtime traveling companion died after eight loyal years of service. After burial proceedings and a subsequent memorial service, I started looking into a replacement model. I know it seems a little fast, but I feel like you have to move on quickly or you never will. Know what I mean?

So I finally decided on one of those RioVolt MP3 CD players. I’ve got a couple of CD-RWs, and I’ve just been burning rips of the albums I’ve been listening to lately so I can enjoy them on the road instead of paying attention to the driving task and the IPDE process. One of these albums, needless to say, is Super Mario Compact Disco, which I tend to blast. I find it singularly amusing (and by “singularly,” I mean I’m the only person who finds it funny) that, when I play it, I become one of those people I make fun of who has the bass turned up really loud so you can hardly hear it, but yet it’s just crappy Mario songs with hip-hop backbeats.

Which brings me (finally) to the actual story. Last night was Saint Patrick’s day, as I’m sure you all blearily recall. As such, when I was driving home from my class around 10:30, there was a not-all-that-surprising-but-still-unusual amount of traffic. Most of them were swerving to and fro, driving ten under, and braking about 500 feet too soon. I wonder what that was about.

Anyway, I got to the intersection at Higgins and Mannheim*, and I was sitting at the red light (the first car in the left lane), waiting for it to change, when a car pulls up beside me. It, too, had bass blaring at extraordinary volume. I ignored it.

Then, I heard the engine revving. I turned my head toward their car, giving the driver my best bad-ass look (it’s not very good). It was four guys—two in the front, two in the back—all looking very gang-bangery and faux-tough (seriously, their bad-ass looks were about as good as mine). They seemed pretty intent on racing me, so I knew what I had to do.

I lowered the bass slightly so the chromatic tones of the Super Mario Land theme could be distinctly heard over the bass.

I rolled down the passenger window.

I said, “What, you wanna race?” in my best deep bad-ass voice, and all the while, remember, I still have my stone face (not to be confused with my stoned face) on.

And they started laughing. Really, really hard. And then they sort of shrugged me off, like I was either not worth their time or too amusing to want to harass.

I would have been offended, except it was exactly what I had planned.

It’s nice, I think, that I’ve finally managed to thrust into the public eye the things that make me privately titter and find that they amuse others as well.

Although I’m still not sure whether they were laughing with me or just at me.

* I apologize if my sad, lifelong obsession with maps is ruining the flow of the blog. I just feel the need to supply a photographic frame of reference whenever I mention specific locations like Adult World.

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