Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fun?

Had lunch with Coach Katie yesterday. We talked of many things, including running. Katie felt I'd lost all sense of joy when it came to this sport of ours. Very true. Most of 2007 was spent training, being injured, and training again. So tomorrow I set out on a five-mile run without my watch. I'll run, finish whenever, and just chill. Mid-January I'll train again.

Next stop: May 4, 2008 - the Eugene Marathon! (That's Eugene, Oregon, a city that is to running what South Bend, Indiana is to college football.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blast From My Improv Past

In the early 80s I performed improvisational comedy with a group called the L.A. Connection. Our cast worked Friday nights. Afterwards, we'd buy a lot of beer, head over to someone's apartment and wait for SCTV to air at 12:30 AM. When it came to parody, they lived in the zone. Here's an old favorite starring Martin Short.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy T-Day!


A brisk run, writing, some phone calls to friends and family then off to the in-laws for chow and the Southern Cal game.

At some point this weekend, my darling wife and I will sit down to watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Starring Steve Martin and John Candy, this film is our Thanksgiving favorite. Released in 1987, "Planes" celebrates its 20th birthday. Next year, it can buy liquor.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Robots and Seniors

Oz didn't give nothing to the Tin Man, certainly not old peoples' medicine.

Strike Talks and Writing

WGA and Producer's Guild talks resume next Monday. Talent agents did a little back-channel negotiating and got things moving. We shall see.

Going from poi to Pai Gow poker, running partner Ernesto prepares for the Las Vegas Marathon now a mere two weeks away. This will be his first 26-miler since Honolulu last year.

Writing like a frenzied fellow on the second draft of my book, Dummy Fever.

An animated series I worked on this summer has begun airing. I haven't seen an episode yet, so I won't link. But the story editor told me most of the show's humor has been culled out to make way for a lengthy didactic message on proper behaviour for kids.

Just writing that caused me to slip into rem.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Writers Fight for Cyber Gold

Cutting writers in on internet revenue is a key component of the strike. The producers maintain they aren't making any money off the Web. Thanks to Little Miss Attila for this link showing what studio heads really think.

Another Blorthday


Number two, to be exact, since I started Write Enough. Somewhere I discovered a ranking system measuring blog traffic. I am the 59,000th most popular blog in the world.

From a practical standpoint, knowing my writing could be read by anywhere from 6 to 17 people a day does improve my prose.

Or at least compresses it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy B-Day, USMC!


A happy belated 232nd birthday to the United States Marine Corps. Yesterday, in units all over the world, the oldest and youngest Marines cut a birthday cake (or whatever they could scrounge) in honor of the Corps. Also "well done" to all our veterans past and present.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Craig's List Strike Nuggets

A guy this morning offered to picket in exchange for an introduction to an agent. (I think the post has since been taken down.)

Then there's this fellow.

(The above post has been taken down. But it said: "I Am A Scab!" The author then described himself as an "amazing writer"ready to work now and that the strikers were all "has-beens." I think it was put up by Les Moonves.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Big Darn Writer's Strike


Nikke Finke's sources say that if this dispute isn't settled by December, there could be six more months of strike-filled fun. Find out the latest at Deadline Hollywood Daily.

A friend of mine is an editor at Universal. His union local (I.A.T.S.E. or the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts [It goes on.]) has a no-strike clause in their contract. That means they can't walk out in sympathy. Nevertheless, he honks his horn and patiently endures the strikers' "slow walk" in front of his car as he leaves work.

Oddly enough, I also belong to I.A.T.S.E. and would hazard a guess that animation writing falls under the heading of "allied crafts." Long ago, they represented animation artists when artists and directors worked out the action on storyboards. There were a few "gag writers" such as Michael Maltese who came up with story ideas, but for a 6-minute theatrical short, you didn't need a script.

By the time I started full-time at Warner Bros. (1992), there were 65 half-hours to produce and the clock was ticking. Writers wrote scripts that were story boarded, inked, painted and animated. But we remained in I.A.T.S.E. In the mid-90s there was a push by the Writer's Guild to represent us. But our I.A.T.S.E. local must first release us from their jurisdiction. At a meeting I attended, a local official stated the national union wasn't interested in letting us join WGA. Furthermore, the local would side with the studios if that were necessary to block our transfer.

Some union. But they had pretty good health coverage that my wife and I dearly miss. Health coverage is based on the amount of hours you work on union jobs in a six month period. Alas, I haven't worked many. Over the last few years I've burned through my COBRA and now pay a hefty fee for mediocre coverage.

In any case, I don't know what happened between WGA and I.A.T.S.E., but, as I mentioned earlier, it's nice to be remembered.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Rogue Endurance Club

Toward the end of a marathon, you'll often see runners shuffling along, hunched over like the letter "c." Their core muscles (abdominal, lower back, butt, hips and pelvis) lack strength. Unable to stay upright, they grow tired and slower with every step. My former coach, Jimmy Freeman, runner and all-around shy fellow, will be conducting core strength and stabilization classes. This six-week series starts Tue. Nov. 13 on the Westside and soon after that in Pasadena. Click here for more info.

A spectator at yesterday's Olympic Trials, Jimmy has posted a few comments and photos.

Ryan Shay Dead

During the Men's Marathon Olympic trials yesterday in New York, 28-year-old runner Ryan Shay collapsed and died shortly after the start of the race. Recently married, Shay's death was a hard pill for elite marathoners to swallow. He was friends with race winner Ryan Hall, who set a new Olympic qualifiying record. Hall covered the 26.2 mile distance in 2 hours, nine minutes and two seconds.

Hall, along with second and third-place finishers Dathan Ritzenheim and Brain Sell, will represent the U.S. in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Congrats to our marathon team, but it's indeed bittersweet.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Strike

Details of the Writer's Guild strike will be announced today. Nikki Finke has a good round-up of the issues dividing writers and studios. DVDs, blogs, MySpace pages and other forms of new media occupy center stage.

Of lessor note, the Guild wants to represent writers currently working in the fields of reality TV as well as animation — me. That would be cool, since most TV animation doesn't pay residuals. But it sounds like one of those things you include in a deal in order to throw out so you can show you're being reasonable.

Nevertheless, it's nice to be remembered.

Good luck, writers!