Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Ideas For An Old Movie

If you're into cynicism (and who isn't?), you might have seen Joel Gallen's Not Another Teen Movie, a hit-and-miss parody of the teen movies and the cliches that they've become (Gallen is now hard at work at follow-up, Romantic Comedy, about... well, you know).

Feeling somewhat inspired by Gallen's efforts, I'm launching a similar project, with the working title Not Another Old Movie (it won't actually be called that. I just wanted to give people an idea of what it would be like). I'm hoping to throw together various bits of old movies - Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Citizen Kane, etc. - into one big rollicking satire of a film.

And, yes, I'm aware that this may flop. That's why I want to try it.

What I'd really like is for you, dear reader, to help me along. What old movies are near and dear to your heart, and should not be left out? What old films are crying out to be satired?*

Also (and this is more difficult, but I'd like you to give it a shot), what stereotypes do you see in old movies? In teen movies, it's a piece of cake - the big jock, the funny fat guy, the token black guy, the mean cheerleader, etc. Same for romantic comedies, or horror movies. For old movies, it's trickier - most of the movies we remember didn't just resort to form, but didn't something new and exciting. But some of them did. And some of them created the stereotypes we can't get away from today.

My definition of old movies will be: anything before 1960. That's not set in stone, of course, since Breakfast at Tiffany's was made in 1961, and it will be included. But it applies to the old movie rule, where Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) would not.

That's the dog and pony show, ladies and gentlemen. I'd love to hear from you. I'm gonna need a lot of help on this one.

*"Satire" is not a verb. Do not attempt to such literary stunts at home. I am a professional.**

**Not really.

Disassembling the Dream

So this is Los Angeles.

I don't know what all the terrible fuss is about. It's a city - a nice city, with palm trees and warm weather, where it hasn't rained for six months because that would somehow ruin it all. And sure, there's a mystique to it - all around you, movies are being made, right under your nose shows are being produced, and anyone you pass could be someone famous, or formerly famous, or will be famous soon. It's a little exhilarating. And yes, the traffic is bad, and the smog is nasty, and costs a million dollars to park in any one of the four parking spaces available at any time. So it's everything you would expect - but it's not breathtaking or terrifying. It's a city. I'm over it.

Still, I like it. I'm soon to be interviewing for Scott Free Productions home of Ridley and Tony Scott, which is one of the companies I was hoping for. In fact, my interview with our internship co-ordinator went like this:


BEN, a nervous young film student, knocks on the open door and enters cautiously into the office. CHRIS, the co-ordinator, looks up.

How about Scott Free?




I'm hoping my interview at Scott Free goes in a similar direction. Early reports say that I'll be reading a lot of scripts and writing out my opinion on them, making photocopies, maybe sitting in on a few conference calls, and if I'm lucky, going to the L.A. film premieres this fall (Scott Free will be releasing Domino and In Her Shoes in October, so here's hoping. I might even meet Keira Knightley. This is what is known in the business as "counting your chickens before they hatch").

More updates as events occur, in addition to script updates. I can always use a hand in that regard. I'm in the midst of my third draft of my eight-minute film, which I'll then throw out to look for criticism. In addition, I desperately need to write another draft of the coffeeshop drama (tentatively titled From The Diary of a Player), and I'm hoping to pick up my break-up drama (known as Stage Three at the moment) and have a hack at that. All three scripts will appear on the website soon enough.

I'm about to start a new post, though, begging for ideas, again. I've received so many good ones for the romantic comedy that I've decided to try it again. Help out if you can. I think you'll find it fun.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Stranger in a Strange New World

I've finally joined the Land of the Hip and Connected. I have a cell phone. You want to call.


I'm home. For a second.

You see, it is now early Friday morning, and I leave for Los Angeles early Saturday morning. This does not leave a lot of time. And my sleep schedule from seven hours of jet lag is throwing me off quite a bit, though it's only to be expected.

I'll explain the reasons for my delay in getting home in a later post, which is quite a story and involves me spending $800 I don't have and not brushing my teeth for five days, so you better believe it's a doozy. However, the jet lag's starting to rip me apart and so it's definitely time to turn in. Before I do, though, I've put up some pictures that I gathered from my time in Romania. I didn't take the pictures myself, for that I give credit to Sarah, Andrew and Peter Lucaciu, and my dear old mum. Despite my lack of involvement, the pictures, I feel, neatly encapsulates a lot of what life's been like for me in Romania, and saves me from a lot of unnecessary anecdotes about chasing kids down hallways at 10:30 at night and throwing them back in bed. Though Elizabeth and I had a wicked sleepover with the kids that I might babble on about later.

To return to the subject at hand, I've divided the pictures up into three categories:
  • Orphans! Because that's what you came to see. Because they're just too cute to ignore.
  • No Orphans! Because who likes cute? Besides, hasn't every single one of us, at one time or another, said quietly to ourselves, "I'm a-sick of all these orphans!" Be honest. Oh, and it deals with some of those nasty tales going around about a possible summer fling with John Calvin.*
  • Orphans? No Orphans? Because you don't know what's there. And you've got to know. You just do.

*Warning: some material may be inappropriate for Methodists and children under six.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

As Promised, Pictures From Romania

I hate long loading times, so I've posted these first pictures from Romania over here. True, there are only two of them, but I hope to eventually have many more pictures from Romania, including all twenty of the kids, so I figured I'd set the standard now. Enjoy.

Bullet Points are easy to read

  • I've been working the night shift at the orphanage almost every night the past week. It's my favorite shift, so I don't mind that I've had to work extra hours. I'm willing to give up basketball to be there to put the kids to bed. I just think that somebody should be there to go to each bed and tell the kids, "Good night, I love you." No three-year-old should go to bed without that.
  • The night shift gets tougher, though, since each night I get begged harder to stay behind. The hardest is the last room, where all the oldest kids are, since they're three and four years old, and they actually understand that I'm leaving for the night. Gabi tells me to sit down next to her bed and stay the night with her. Sanda comes over to order me not to go back to my house. Nati comes and crawls in my lap. Pamela offers me her bed. It gets harder every night to say no. I'd honestly stay if the workers let me.
  • A new team is here from Wyoming - they're the first big team whose principle language is English since the beginning of the summer. It's nice to have a loud dining room again. One bought a duckling in the marketplace today ("Sixty cents!" he said. "It was a bargain."). Naturally, it's incredibly cute, but the little thing won't shut up. Plus, there's poop everywhere. Its name is George, or maybe Wilson, depending on who you ask.
  • I'm trying to befriend the stray horse who has been hanging around by the clinic. She's an old, swayback pure white retired cart horse, and I have dreams that someday we'll become such good friends that we will ride bareback together everywhere. She remains skittish and aloof, but I hold out hope that I'll break through, and we'll be best friends, like the Black Stallion and whoever rode the Black Stallion.
  • In the meantime, I've been riding around on a bike that Chris found. It's an rusty red grandmother bicycle from the seventies, with three speeds and "Free Spirit" emblazoned on its side. It also has two flat tires and a lot of loose parts, and so the Romanians laugh whenever I ride by. I don't care. I'm trying to teach myself how to ride with no hands. I'm up to a full second.
  • I finished the first draft of one of my screenplays, and sent it out for critique to a few people whose counsel I trust, and who I figured probably didn't have much of anything better to do, anyway.* Never underestimate the power of intelligent people with too much time on their hands. I might later post a second draft and submit it for general review to any readers who also seem to have more time than they know what to do with.
  • And finally, my dad sent me some pictures that he took of me with the kids at the orphanage. I'll post them soon, possibly within the hour if I can get them up in time. If not, you might have to wait another week.

* This is what's known in the business as a "defensive comment." If anyone complains that I didn't ask for their opinion on my script, I can simply reply: "Oh! Well, I figured you were too busy." Of course, if you made it this far on the post, we can be pretty sure that you weren't.