My Life

C2E2: Day 3



The final day for C2E2 arrived quickly and I leapt from my bed with excitement. I was going to try once more to get Jeff Smith’s autograph and make up for some of the fail of the previous day. I threw on two completely different socks and my Sonic hood once again. I shoved my copy of BONE into my book bag and bounded down the stairs of the apartment. Getting into the car, I told Chewie to “punch it.” We did and stopped at the nearby Dunkin Donuts for some breakfast.

I usually never have any problems at that particular chain, but that day seemed to be “mess up everyone’s order” day. After about ten minutes of getting everything straightened out, we were finally on our way down to McCormick place for the last time.

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C2E2: Day 2

My Feet

My Feet

I woke up the next day, back in my apartment with a wicked hangover. Whatever happened during the Time Lord Orgy would forever be lost to the ether of drunken stupor. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and picked up my phone to see what time it was. Seven in the morning. I checked my alarm to see what time I had set it for and realized I woke up roughly an hour earlier than I had planned. Slowly, I dragged my ass out of bed and made my way to the bathroom to see if I could get some sort of grip on reality.

Looking at myself in the bathroom mirror was a sight to behold. My hair looked like it belonged in an anime, shooting off in every conceivable direction. The light in the bathroom shone too bright, a sure-fire sign that I was in the throes of hangover. My eyes were bloodshot and I felt like my wrists were about to explode Riki-Oh style.

It was time to start C2E2, Day 2.

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C2E2: Day 1

Twisty Face

Twisty Face

I arrived at McCormick place from the #3 King Drive bus line. Emerging with me was a fellow in a Green Lantern tee and a guy who reminded me of a once co-worker. All around us there were signs for a kitchen and bath expo aptly named K*BIS. Confused, we made our way to the building and to where we hoped C2E2 might be held. Business executives chain-smoked like it was the end of the world and their faces suggested that they couldn’t give a shit.

Mustering up all the creepy I could find within, I got close to Green Lantern Tee and Once Co-Worker and asked them if they knew where the convention was. Just to throw some humor into the mix, I asked them if they were in fact going to the convention. Once Co-Worker scoffed, said yes and said that his plan was just to go through the K*BIS convention. I liked that plan and followed too closely. Fortunately for them, I backed off when I realized what I was doing.

The convention was nestled away behind the Kitchen and Bath Expo with a bajillion banners proving it. We found ourselves on a walkway over the road which seemed to stretch on for miles. I read each of the marquees above us that encouraged us along our way and that we were “almost there.” One sign even said that The Dark Knight was filmed in Chicago.

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Eleven Day Steampunk



April 1st came around and two things happened: I completely forgot that it was April Fools Day and I began the screenwriting boot camp known as Script Frenzy. If you’ll recall, I wrote earlier about my plans to write two scripts to make up for the zero I wrote last year. Well, I’m here today to tell you that I’m done with my first script, LAMENT. It’s a Steampunk Western Revenge Flick about a father and a husband who will stop at nothing to kill the man responsible for ruining his life. There’s action, there’s drama and there’s enough steampunk to whet your appetite.

All in all, the script took me eleven days to write, averaging out about ten pages a day with a day or two off to keep my sanity. I discussed the beauty of outlining in my last post and the proof was in how easy it was to bang out the script. I essentially breezed through ten pages, checked my notes, and then soared through another. Naturally, my script ended at page 93.

Now you might ask, “Doesn’t Script Frenzy require 100 pages?”

Yes, it does. This was perhaps one of the more interesting aspects to my writing binge this past week or so. By around page 85, I started to burn out. When you burn out as a writer, the first thing that goes by the wayside is the prose. While you’re generally not supposed to flower your script with prose, the details help. I perused the pages near the end and realized that I had all but dropped the prose in favor of quick action text like, “Westin charges forward, shoots guy,” or “Westin kills bad guy.” On the first day, it was more along the lines of, “Westin steps off the train, letting his bag drop to the ground. He toys with the cigarette sandwiched between his lips and tosses it aside.”

You get the idea.

The other thing that also seems to fall by the wayside is the dialog. The first few days of writing (roughly 30-40 pages) saw some interesting dialog between the characters, stuff that gave you a decent idea as to what made them tick. Granted, we’re not talking Tarantino’esque yakking, but something useful for a first draft. By the last page, no one was saying a word except for the villain and he repeated himself to an annoying extent.

“Hey,” you might interrupt, “weren’t you supposed to do two scripts?”

Busy month, indeed.

Outlining Is Useful After All



They teach you in film school that outlining your films is an important step in the screenwriting process. Oftentimes, students ignore this lesson and just wing it, letting the characters do what they “were meant to do.” This was the method I applied to writing my very first feature for Screenwriting II. I wasn’t going to let planning and plot construction ruin MY masterpiece. My characters were going to take me on a journey and it would be this grand adventure through amazing-land.

Well, I was an idiot.

You have no idea how easy it is to sit down and start writing your story when you have the basic groundwork set out in front of you. Protagonist goes here, here and here in act one. Fill in the blanks. BAM! I’ve always known that outlining is a good idea, but I’ve never really put it into practice until lately. I can already see the results as the story is more organized now in my head and I’ve got a firmer grasp on the plot than I did a few short days ago.

Also, I’ve got an end to my story. None of my scripts prior to this have had endings and it’s made finishing them something of a challenge. It’s unbelievably difficult to plot out a journey you don’t know the end to. The possibilities become TOO endless and the “what-ifs” start wasting valuable time, time you could be spending on the actual script itself.

Maybe some people out there in this cruel world can sit down and write a feature without ever outlining a single thing, but I know I’m not one of those people. Having as much planned out as possible before I sit down to write is an absolute must.

A Most Ambitious Frenzy

Script Frenzy

Script Frenzy

Last year I failed Script Frenzy. I had a good idea, but I just didn’t have the commitment to the event that I needed to see the project through. From a writing perspective, I had gotten too mired in plot and “revise-as-you-go,” a screenwriter’s worst nightmare. I would open up my script during those 5 days I wrote and start from the beginning, tweaking everything until it felt as succinct and ready-to-sell as a final draft. By that fifth day I was burned out and done with the whole mess, so I stopped and went about my business.

Well, that’s not going to happen this year. I’ve decided to overcompensate for my failure by writing two scripts this year for Sript Frenzy. That’s right, two scripts! The idea is that I will get my first script done within the first ten to fifteen days, and then spend the last part of the month working on my second feature. I plan to budget at least ten pages a day to my script and then write some kind of rambly-ass post on here to update how things are going.

This will be a very very very interesting April.


On Tim Burton’s Alice

I love the Alice in Wonderland story. In fact, I read the book a few times in high school, watched the old movie, played the hell out of American McGee’s Alice and often thought about how I’d take a stab at the story if I ever got the chance…you know, should I ever pursue a career in writing. Well, thanks to Tim Burton, I won’t have that chance for awhile. He’s gone ahead and adapted my favorite kid’s story into what looks to be a quirky flick about the Mad Hatter and an all out chess war straight from Narnia.

Wait, wut?

There’s a lot to this trailer that intrigues me in terms of direction and style. Everything in the real world is a drab caricature of Pride and Prejudice, and has enough gray tones to make you instinctively yawn. Wonderland itself looks dark and demented and all kinds of crazy. So far, so good, but what about the story that’s hinted at? A war? Alice in armor? Chess pieces clashing together like this was Middle Earth? Granted, this is only a trailer and I shouldn’t be so quick to judge, but I’m already on amber alert here. I’d really like to enjoy this film when it comes out (count me there on opening night), and I hope Burton’s silly love affair with Mr. Depp doesn’t detract from the world that I know and love. But with a trailer like this, it’s hard to be all out enthusiastic.

At least they HAVE a Cheshire Cat. Yeah, that’s right, SyFy’s Alice!

On New Years Resolutions

Jon on the run!

Jon on the run!

Last year I wrote up a post about my new years resolutions. Out of the 20 I posted, I ended up completing only one. So this year I decided to re-think the resolution thing and come up with more attainable goals so I feel less pathetic when the 2011 rolls around. Although, I have a feeling that history will repeat itself like it usually does and I’ll be writing a post similar to this one next year. Yay for New Years Resolutions, eh?

Anyway, here’s the list in all it’s listy glory.

  1. Finish a final draft of Year of the Con, my nerdy road-trip comedy.
  2. Acquire an Agent and a Manager to help sell my script and future ones I write.
  3. Complete writing of two web series I want to produce.
  4. Get at least one of the web series produced.
  5. Write a third screenplay.
  6. Get Photoshop CS2 and Flash 8 back on my compruter. Srsly, the newer ones blow.
  7. Write every day.
  8. Find either a better-paying job or a second job.
  9. Start up my old webcomic.
  10. Go to more shows.
  11. Go to a rave.
  12. Go to at least 2 nerdy conventions. Dress up for both of them.
  13. Go to comic con.
  14. Write a sci fi novel.
  15. Complete Script-Frenzy this year and do NaNoWriMo again!
  16. Write a spec script for a sitcom, hour-long drama, procedural, and whatever you call the ooey gooey goodness that’s on HBO and SHOWTIME these days.
  17. More dates. Some blind dates perhaps.
  18. Do one of those speed dating things and have at least as awkward a time as Steve Carrell did in The 40 Year Old Virgin.
  19. Drink more cranberry juice. So delicious.
  20. Get a suit. I’ve got the pants. Just need to get the rest.
  21. Co-write a film script with someone.
  22. Hang out more with friends and be less of an anti-social bitch. God, srsly.
  23. Do two things I would never otherwise do.
  24. Get my toon to level 80. God, srsly. I’m such a terrible nerd.
  25. Visit at least 2 Friendfeed people. ROAD TRIP!
  26. Take Killer (my cat) to the groomer. Be able to afford that.

Here’s to the new year!

Let the Busy Times Roll

Hey all, I’ve been fairly busy the past week or so with extra work, which is why I haven’t updated this thing or ranted about some inane topic that you probably don’t care about. So, I thought I would just give some twitter-like blurbs about various things throughout the past week.

– Patrick Swayze died. Add this to the list of reasons why ’09 sucks.

– Kanye West decided that he wasn’t douchey enough and humiliated Taylor Swift during her award speech. But hey, that’s what the voice of a douchey generation does.

– I made it to level 30 in WoW. I hope I can get caught up to the newest expansion so I won’t feel so left behind when Cataclysm changes everything.

– Social networks continued to be social.

– The diet coke of Facebook was released. It reminded me of what I liked about the older iterations, namely the simplicity.

– I didn’t see any movies in the theater.

– I started watching This American Life, the tv show.

– I thought about working on my comic, but got distracted with the internet instead.

And there you have it. I’ve been busy.

On Snow Leopard and Upgrades

With the exception of security updates and the occasional ZOMG THIS IS BROKEN NEEDZ FIXIN patch, I’m not all that big on upgrading my softwares. A big part of me thinks, “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Unfortunately, that’s not how the computer industry works and in no time flat I’m running out of date software and getting prompts left and right to update my OS or face certain terror. It’s almost like they hired H.P. Lovecraft to write these warnings. I’ve most recently felt the push to upgrade with the newest version of the Mac OS, Snow Leopard. I dismissed the update off the bat, citing no real need to update. In fact, my software still works fine and my laptop still runs like a dream.

And then I heard that Snow Leopard was $30, and that you could upgrade straight from Tiger (the version I have). My first thought was, “Wha-?” But then it kind of clicked for me. What if this was a way to encourage people like me to take the plunge and upgrade? I mean, $30 to Apple is better than nothing, right? Apple isn’t really known to try to reach out to the non-fanboys like myself, but this update almost seems like a peace offering of some kind. “Hey, we’d like your business. Here ya go.”

Of course, I could just be under-thinking this.