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Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

After the read-thru

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Just finished my first re-read of the screenplay’s first draft after leaving it on the shelf for two and a half weeks.  And it is worse than I thought.  As I said to friend earlier, it’s filled with so many holes, Clint Eastwood could take a shot at it and miss.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve read lots of screenplay material — workbooks, blogs, and screenplays I could find floating around out there on the ‘net.   Actually sitting down to hammer one of these things out, though, has made the whole thing so much more real.

I started making a detailed chart of the plot, aiming to fix the weakness the first draft highlights.  I still have some pay-offs in desperate need of a set-up.  I’ve even started playing around with changing the MacGuffin.  And, the whole thing still needs a title.

A word about the MacGuffin — coming up with something compelling, without making it look silly, is a real talent.  The perfect MacGuffin — to me, at least — was the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark.    

Three months to deadline, folks.  So, blogging’s gonna be light for a while.  I’ll pop in here and there, but I can’t promise anything really substantial.  I, and the rest of the volunteer staff that used to contribute to Infuze are all waiting for this site to take off.  When it does, I’ll hopefully be returning to movie reviews.  Till then…

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Written by taj

April 3, 2008 at 10:26 pm

How I got the wife to watch The Doctor

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I’ve been trying to get Charis to sit down and watch Doctor Who ever since a friend loaned me Series Three.  She’s been less than enthusiastic.  So, building on the idea that marriage is compromise, when she asked me to watch the premiere of The Bachelor last night, I saw an opening.  And I took it.

I promised her I’d watch The Bachelor if she’d give the Doctor a chance. 

She screwed her face up in that look that says she knows she’s been defeated, and she caved a few moments later. 

Last night, I endured all 90 minutes of that shallow and insipid vision of romance, and by the end of the ordeal, Charis was just as disgusted as I was.  So you could say that two good things came out of this—Charis will have to watch Doctor Who (a deal’s a deal, after all), and I’ll never have to watch The Bachelor again. 

Score.  

Written by taj

March 18, 2008 at 8:50 am

A Project in 12-point Courier

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It’s probably time to let you all know why there haven’t been very many posts lately.  So…

The short of it: A while ago, a friend of mine and I started toying around with the idea of entering one of the screenplay competitions this summer, and we decided to go for it.  I’ve spent the last six weeks hammering out a first draft.

The long of it: Last summer, after a largely uninspiring season of television, we just sort of asked the question to each other, “Well, if we could do a show, what we create?”  We’re both writers, so the dots aren’t that hard to connect.  We started developing characters in July and let the plot grow around them.

We ended up with was an ambitious little idea that, after finishing the draft last week, has started giving me cold sweats.  I’ll write a little more about that as things develop – lots can change between the first and second drafts of a story, and I really want to give this the kind of attention it needs.

All of that to say two things.  One: blogging may be very sporadic over the next several weeks. Lots of reading to do before I start cracking on the second draft.  Two: I’ve added the link to John August’s web site in the sidebar.  John August has written for film (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and television for years, and is gracious enough to share some tips and techniques, as well as a few of his scripts, via his site.

Now, I have to go and endure an hour of The Bachelor.  More on that later.

Written by taj

March 17, 2008 at 7:11 pm

After six great weeks, “Lost” loses some momentum

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I know a handful of readers here follow Lost, so, here are a handful of thoughts on last night’s episode:  

A few moments piqued some interest, particularly the further revelation that Charles Widmore has more to do with the island than despising Desmond for breaking his daughter’s heart. The “Tempest” station and the whole thing about the nerve gas, however, really could have used some more exposition.

For a show that has recovered a lot of lost ground (no pun intended) in the last several weeks, last night was an unfortunate throwback to some of the same storytelling mistakes that tripped them up last season. A modest plea to the writers: stop trying to create drama by repeatedly resorting to having people receive a blow to the head from the butt of a gun. We can all see it coming. And as for Juliet, well…

When Juliet first appeared last season, her troubled-divorcee-turned-manipulative-thug persona made her at least seem compelling. Her constant double-crossing added some complexity for a little while, but as we learned more about her, she quickly turned tiresome. Now she’s little more than a contrived element in the island love quadrangle that just gets in the way of the story.

My mother-in-law did pull out one observation last night that I hadn’t considered. Juliet’s tangled (and sophomoric) character motivations illustrate the “each one did what was right in his own eyes” philosophy quite well. And we can see how those choices have made her broken and easily manipulated. I just wish the writers could handle it with a little more subtlety and care, and maybe move her character forward with something a bit more substantial than a kiss.

Written by taj

March 7, 2008 at 11:03 am

TV Review – Knight Rider

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Some friends have asked my opinion, so I’m gonna make this real quick:

The plot tries hard to look original while playing with too many clichés; the car looks cool, but only amounts to flashy product placement considering how many times the camera zeroes in on the Cobra emblem; and each character (save for Bruce Davison — wasted here) looks like a perfect candidate for Stephen J. Cannell should he ever decide to resurrect 21 Jump Street

Just plain awful. 

Written by taj

February 27, 2008 at 5:42 pm

STRIKE ENDING!! – LOST may close season four with 13 episodes!

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So says co-lead writer Carlton Cuse.

That’s five more episodes than the ones they had in the can going into the strike; just three short of the intended 16 episode goal.

According to the link, Cuse says that the writers will wrap up season four’s storylines, condensing some plot details, and will end where originally planned.

Two weeks in, Lost looks primed to overcome the plight of last season’s numerous blunders (Nikki and Palo, Jack in Thailand, and bunnies with little black numbers painted on their sides…sheesh). Last week’s intro of four new characters hit all the right notes. Still keeping my fingers crossed that the showrunners can bring back the magic of the first two seasons.

Written by taj

February 13, 2008 at 12:20 am

The best show on television returns January 31st

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LOST. Season Four. See the promo here.

Thanks to the writer’s strike, we’re only going to get eight episodes this year (as opposed to the 16 that were planned).

Written by taj

December 21, 2007 at 7:09 am

Posted in Television, Writing