Sunday, January 31, 2010

Must...Think


h/t: DuelistG via takineko's Facebook

TNT Birthday Bash

At an Eagle Rock bar near Occidental College, various Team-in-Training folk celebrated assistant coach Liz's 30th b-day. The crowd was mostly college-age. You got the feeling that if a fight loomed, the parties would threaten to produce laptops and write something cutting and wry. Congrats to Coach Dave, who is now engaged to Bethany. As always, I was the first to leave. Not a drinker, my departure was timed to avoid the odd mawkishness that can appear after several cocktails. ('I think of you as an older brother. Let's go to Europe.')

Friday, January 29, 2010

Finally

Jumbo short story went out today, just shy of 15k words. The story put me in mind of a large, overweight child that wouldn't leave home. Then one day, boom, he's gone.

And there's a sad emptiness.

But mostly relief.

Necronomicon Video

Life changing literature.

h/t: badadvicegoodtimes via Viral Footage

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Salinger-Zinn-Rubinstein: Connect the Dots

Coincidence? Reclusive author J.D. Salinger, Marxist professor Howard Zinn, diminutive actress Zelda Rubinstein all dead.

All of natural causes.

All famous.

All old.

All now silent.

Who stood to gain? And why? Let's examine the facts: Salinger—literary giant, unpublished in almost a half century; Zinn—an academic giant who never stopped publishing; Rubinstein—very short actress, who starred in a film 28 years ago and never really cracked the limelight again. Here we see only the outward strands of an intricate web of—

Okay, let me start over: Salinger—rejected fame; Zinn—courted it; Rubinstein—had it and lost it. Fame is a four-letter word, but that word is also a sinister acronym. F.A.M.E. stands for—

Hold on here. I'm just warming up. Salinger—Catcher in the Rye; Zinn—People's History of the United States; Rubinstein—Poltergeist, a movie, which she didn't write. Two linked by art, one an academic, all involved in espousing world views that unmasked the hidden cauldron of—

Well, they are all deceased.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Short-Sighted

Doing the final polish on my 67 page "short story." MDW thought that it could easily be expanded into novel territory and very easily into novella world. I agree, but sending it out is all that concerns me now.

Struggling with this chi walking business. To work as exercise, it must first succeed as a means of propelling me across the living room to the front door. Since core muscles factor in, I'm exercising that area to increase strength. In the meantime, I've reduced my meal portion sizes as I try and drop 20 pounds. (For starters.)

But I will run once more. I'm not sure when or how far.

And if I want to build power, I can always print out my short story and press it over my head.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pitching National Geographic Channel

Revealing document find from 2003. Back then, I was trying to hone my studio pitches to a science. I found a notebook I'd kept on how much time and effort were going into each pitch, from studying materials, to rehearsal, to writing, to the actual meeting. Here's an example of a pitch I did for the National Geographic Channel.

They wanted an animated show. They had a few ideas and wanted original ones as well. Materials arrived for me on Aug. 5. I read pages and watched a video. Spent 6 hours writing ideas for what they thought they wanted, plus original material, plus several additional hours rehearsing.

Worked on my attitude and talked to a friend of mine in real estate. She suggested I stand when I pitched because my energy would be better.

August 14th was meeting day. I hardly got a word in edgewise. The junior exec. did most of the talking, but was clearly impressed with my ability to sit silently and smile. Another meeting was set with the senior exec. I was given character sketches for two ideas they liked and invited to supply said ideas with story, motivation, supporting characters and villains.

More hours spent thinking, writing, rehearsing.

On September 16, I got off the elevator and there was the senior exec. I was supposed to meet. She was backing up while talking to me and accidentally walked into a large floor plant, almost knocking it over. I said something like, "A close brush, yes?" That probably finished me.

In the meeting, the senior exec. was mostly interested in the idea I cared for least. Out of nowhere, she called the artist, put me on speaker phone with him, and listened as we swapped ideas on what a show with this character might be like. Very awkward. In the end, senior and junior execs. were polite and noncommittal, but I got the sense they weren't all that interested in my take.

Later, my agent called to say they weren't all that interested in my take.

I added up all the hours. They totaled 23; almost a day.

Two months later, I was hired to story edit a show without any interviews or meetings or execs. falling into plants.

So I figure it evened out.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Post So Cal Deluge

A dry, chilly day. A friend up in La Canada was evacuated for three days and just returned home. And while the street was muddy, her home didn't undergo a moving experience. Back to sunny and dry with blue skies for another year.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Well-Armed

Visited my old doctor, re. a shoulder pain. He's a distance runner and we talked the Honolulu Marathon and running form. He was down with my plan of:

1. Acquire proficiency in chi walking.

2. Lose 20 pounds.

3. Slowly integrate chi running into chi walking.
Link
4. Continue strengthening my quads and glutes.

5. Perhaps work my way up to running 3 miles by this fall. (Guided, as always, by how well my knee holds up.)

This I shall do. In fact, here it is: I will run the Chapman University 5K in October. Not only is it a fall race, but you get a tech tee-shirt, medal, and timing chip - a veritable BMW of 5Ks.

My doc hadn't a clue about my shoulder, so it's back to physical therapy. But they all remember me there, so it'll be a small homecoming.

Keep Transcribing

Keeper does works of note re. Animaniacs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rules of the Beast

In two of my last three short stories, I have unique creatures, humorous and sinister by turns. Now I must define their powers and limitations. Even if that information doesn't show up in the story, it will inform my choices as I move into subsequent drafts. I'm starting to wear down in the home stretch. It's getting harder to crank out pages. But, I'm always reminded of the words of St. Augustine who once said, "Oh, stop crying and write something. Honestly, I wish an angel would come down from Heaven and beat you up." (I'm quoting from memory here.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Link to Warner Bros. Art

Scroll down on CalArt student Sam's page for her rendering of the Warner Bros.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hail, Donner and Blitzen

That would describe the weather during today's walk. With uncanny timing, I started exercise just as hail fell, followed by a downpour plus the above-named thunder and lightning. You can only be so wet at any one time, so I pressed on and finished. It was, however, the fastest walk I've done to date.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rejection Bouquet

Two short stories rejected this morning, both with personal notes. One note contained a rather arch tone I haven't encountered outside TV animation; the other note was pleasant, the editor enjoyed the read but passed on the piece. I'll send both stories out again this evening as I'm busy now writing the first draft of story ten, from my Ten-in-Six.

Emptying out more boxes. If I desired, I could recreate my last year at Warner Bros., from January to my lay-off August 11, 2000. But I'll pitch most of stuff. (I've lived a rich life without it for almost ten years.) Various notes and memos from Lobo on-line, winning the Emmy for Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain in May, and the Cambodia trip in July. Back then, I was parked on the 14th floor, around the corner from Brad Bird's office, and around several corners from the offices of Hanna and Barbera. I recall the day the tech guy cleaned out my hard drive. CD drives were just becoming popular and he loaded seven and a half years of writing onto one CD. I remember thinking, "That's it?"

Plus two-weeks severance.

And lots of good memories.

And a ventriloquist dummy of Moe Howard.

I think I had a sign on it that read, 'WB Executive.'

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Link to Leno Hating Article

Having bailed on late night comedy some years ago, I find the vitriol directed at Leno rather fascinating.

Pressing Business

Friend Ken found this photo of the original Iron Man.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Phoenix Rises Again

Rouman, Liz, Karla, and other Team in Training folk are in the Valley of the Sun for the Phoenix Marathon. Three years ago, I ran that course in temperatures under 30 degrees. (It maybe warmed up to the high 40s.) But a successful run and one I cherish. Go Team!

Walked today for 35 minutes; a little over two miles. No pain or soreness. I'll keep adding minutes and distance as I drop pounds. (Eventually.)

I took crackers from the restaurant tonight, but not packets of sugar. I'm getting better.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Story Rejected

Volley and serve as one of my stories is knocked back by an editor, then resubmitted elsewhere. Fine. If they don't want "Perry the Owl Boy" then someone else will.

Paul Rugg Recalls Daffy Days

This notecard from a pilot script for a Daffy Duck series developed by Paul, myself and Doug Lansdale back in 1997.

Exception

I tend to avoid Downfall videos due to Hitler fatigue, but this one hit the right buttons.

h/t: DugganFilms via Tom Ruegger

Jean MacCurdy in Town

Down from the Bay Area on business, Jean, myself Tom Ruegger and the ever-busy Paul Rugg lunched out in tony Van Nuys. Not much to say for, everybody scrambling, doing what they can. Jean mentioned pitching Animaniacs to the Time Warner Board in New York, then following the studio big shots downstairs to limos, out to La Guardia, then aboard the Warner Bros private jet for a flight back to Burbank. Zip, zip, zip, and your across the country and home. Now its rather different. Anyway, good to see everyone again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

1994

More memories from the boxes. Here's my life at Warner Bros. that year.

Cleaned up my office after the Northridge earthquake rearranged everything. (And damaged the parking structure for about a year.)

Wrote a detective noir Animaniacs episode called The Big Nap which died quietly in script. (Alas.)

Went to New York with Jean, Tom, Paul, Nick Hollander, Peter Hastings, Randy Rogel, and Tom Minton for the Peabody Awards. We were introduced to the head of Time Warner, Jerry Levin, whose office temperature was around 106 degrees leading us to question his humanity.

Wrote songs for Animaniacs including Attila the Hun, U.N. Me, I'll Take an Island, and—with Paul Rugg—The Ballad of Magellan. Later, translated three of them into scripts. (My last episodes for Yakko, Wakko and Dot.)

Attended my first Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Tom and Richard Stone won for the Animaniacs theme song. (That was the year the wrong show was submitted by mistake.)

Developed an animated show with Alan Burnett called True Romance. I think artist Bob Doucette came up with the idea. I don't remember who did the artwork, but it was hilarious. An adult, soap opera parody, it officially perished after around five months. (Paul Rugg and Eric Radomski were also involved.)

Worked with artist Alfred Gimeno on a wild idea of his called The Diver. (If Alfred still has any of the artwork, I'll see if he'll let me post it here.)

Developed a live-action show with Alan Burnett, Paul Rugg, and Randy Rogel called Information Station. The idea was to blend surreal comedy with educational content. My notes aren't that clear, but there was one character named Danny the Front-Yard Dinosaur. An indolent beast, he lived in a lawn chair and ordered kids to get him cold drinks. (This show also took the dirt nap.)

Took a pass rewriting one of the first Sylvester and Tweety scripts.

Tom, Paul and I went to the theater in the Sherman Oaks Galleria and saw Ed Wood. ("Pull the string!" would show up in "Dance of Doom.")

Worked with Paul, Tom and Paul Dini on revamping Freakzoid. Wrote my first script with a character called Baron Magneto who was down with magnetism and threatening to attract every kitchen magnet in a four county area. (I can't find the script, and maybe that's not bad.)

We knew the WB was in the works and they needed content. Busy darn year.

Relentless

Like much of life you cringe, shake your head or laugh out loud.

h/t: e3nine

"Obsession is Not a Choice"

Thus sayth the blog, Forces of Geek. Comics, Steam Punk, and The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai are all on the screen for your obsession pleasures.
h/t: Retriever

Care or Die


h/t: JeremyCorray

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Let It All Out

Anonymously and online at jobvent.com

There's not a lot of love for Radio Shack.

Story Notes and Chi Walking

Friend and fine writer Ken got me notes back on my whopping great story (circa 15K words). Some good points, but so far the feedback has been positive. (One of the characters is a chemist, and, oddly enough, so is my father-in-law. So "dad" fed me some good chemistry stuff.) I think I'll wait until next week to tackle the rewrite.

Got in a chi walk today. I think I'm getting it a little. For a time, I hit a groove and was moving smooth, but then I overthought the mechanics and fell out of synch. Three times a week, over and over until it takes. Or I decide eating a lot is real fun. Maybe both. I'd like that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

All They Want Is Fame and Herring

Swedes Lunki and Sika pound the Hollywood pavement in quest of celebrity and fast krona.

Long Haul

Seven and half-hours later, I've finished another draft on story #9 for my Ten-in-Six. This one's called "Movie People," and explores the morality of eating and who ought to decide how much you have and when. I'll let 9 cool and start on 10. Getting them all written in five months will be an accomplishment. That'll leave me the sixth month to find homes for nine unsold stories. Noooo problem. -:)

And I've five more stories after that in various stages. That'll be the next stage, hopefully to include writing one story in the first person for a change. And maybe one story that isn't completely linear. And maybe one with lots of French words so the reader feels dumb, per my old faculty mentor.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wrath of Con

Plenty to pick at GeekCalender.

Jack Kirby Heirs Fight For His Rights

The Fruits of Work-for-Hire. Jack Kirby's heirs are in a legal tussle with Marvel over rights to Kirby's work. The noted artist crafted memorable characters such as X-Men and Spider-Man. Alas, as the article below concludes, the heirs are probably doomed to disappointment. It would be like Paul Rugg and I suing Warner Bros. for rights to Animaniacs characters. Kirby worked-for-hire, meaning Marvel paid him a salary and kept all rights forever to anything he created. At first it seems like a wondrous deal, but eventually you'll die poor.
Marvel Sues to Keep Spider-Man, X-Men Copyrights
Posted using ShareThis
(Photo: flimgeeks.com)

Sing a Song of Facebook


h/t: perrybarton via Obi's Sister

Sunday, January 10, 2010

20k's Worth of Photo

Scroll down as Coach Kiley shows off the scenery at the Lasse Viren 20K (12.4 miles.) This Malibu trail run is named after famous Finnish runner, Lasse Viren who scored four Gold Medals at the '72 and '76 Olympic Games, (twice winning the 5K and 10K). I'm not sure, but I think Viren brought the word 'fartlek' to American running. In addition to being a way to publicly say 'fart,' the Swedish word for "speed play," taught runners to alternate speeds during training to build up cardio. Thanks Lasse, rest well in your dank forest land. (Photo: juanjosemartinez.com.mx)

Team Meeting

Went to meet Ernesto at the Brookside Clubhouse restaurant. Ran into a table load of Team in Training chums. They were celebrating the last training run prior to the final Winter '09 event—next week's Phoenix Marathon. Some will run, others coach ala me last year. Several are leaning toward triathlons of various lengths. I could, at least, practice the swimming and cycling parts so I have someone to train with. But that would require a commitment.

This afternoon, I sent writing samples to a video game company. Their site, and automated email response, were light and whimsical. Perhaps they'll have some part-time work to supplement the kingly income I'm drawing from short-story writing?

Much talk at the restaurant today about chi walking, initiated by me in response to the question, 'Are you running again?' I have been chi walking several times this month, feeling mild soreness but no pain. Soreness usually falls between what I might feel running and riding in a golf cart, which covers a fair amount of sensation.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Colin Clocks In For the 'Ghan

Via Facebook: Colin's finally out of Kuwait, back in the 'Ghan, heading out of Kandahar, enroute to the job site. Come back safe in July.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Anubis Markets

Thanks to khalptah for putting this together. The morning of the "Mission: Freakazoid!" recording we got a rare call from the studio saying the original name for the supermarket chain was taken and we needed a new one. I suggested Anubis because I figured even the Egyptians wouldn't name a supermarket after the god of mummification and the afterlife. So far, that theory stands.

h/t: khalptah

New Sherlock


Well, perhaps Limbo. But plenty of fun stuff in Sherlock Holmes. Downey Jr. and Law sometimes come off like gay roommates, and the film suffers occasionally from quick-cut syndrome, but there's plenty of good lines and robust CGI action afoot.
(Photo: covershut.com)

Humorous Bear Video

Try this at home, it's Okay.

h/t: m36ad3th

Thursday, January 07, 2010

More From Boxes

As I continue to sort, I uncovered a stack of magazines from my publishing days. That was a depressing, transitional time as I had graduated college, collected fiction rejection notices, started and stopped a novel, and tried acting again. I got involved in a play that was months in rehearsal with actors dropping in and out of roles—they were smarter than I—and an eventual opening that failed in every way except getting reviewers to attend. Boy, did they attend. They attended with a vengeance. My fellow thespians and I were blistered. (Except the male lead, who staggered in at curtain drunk on his ass. He was praised for his "passion and energy.")

A few months later, I applied for an internship at a magazine and got it. Thus began the year 1989, which turned out to be life-changing. I met my future wife at the magazine and started improv classes with Acme Comedy Players. (Called Sweeney's workshop back then, after our founder and director.) From there, eventually, came a Warner Bros. animation script that Sweeney and I wrote together. (His wife is Sherri Stoner.) And from that came a shot at writing a script for Animaniacs.

Now I'm sending out fiction and collecting rejection emails.

I hope I don't meet another wife or start improv classes again.

Whatever happens, I'm not doing another play.
(Photo: boyomovers.com)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ahhnold Madness



Takineko keeps tabs on Schwarzenegger Month as the Guvanator's past returns in many forms for our viewing amusement.
(Photo: moonbattery.com)

Link to Tips for Unemployed Show Folk

Unemployed or underemployed (Me!!) in show biz? Voice Actors in the News shows you how to sort the wheat from a sea of chaff on Craig's List.

Books for Joe

Via Facebook: Colin Wells reads One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, still "kuwaiting" for a flight into Afghanistan. He reports he's safe, but bored.

Stopped by the gym today. Quite crowded with everyone and their new year's resolutions. By February, it'll ease up.

Update on my Ten-in-Six:
One sold (Night Chills).
One on-deck with a 1 in 3 chance of being picked for publication.
Five in various editorial slush piles. (Actually more than that. The last story I submitted went to three publications all of which allowed simultaneous submissions.)
Three more stories to finish.
(Photo: history1900s.about.com)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Writing in the 80s

Some facts about my writing career just resurfaced as I emptied out old boxes:

My first published fiction piece was in an artsy mag called Chimera. - 1983

I wrote a pretty funny short story that I only sent out once back in 1986. Last night, I sent it out again.

For a time, I wrote poetry. - 1981

Comedian Tom Dreesen, who used to open for Frank Sinatra, rejected three jokes I sent him. - 1981

From 1985 to 1988, I sent out a lot of short stories, all rejected. The whole process was labor-intensive, from typing to return envelopes to postcards signifying arrival, to finding out months later that magazines had closed or moved without a forwarding address or weren't interested in what I had to sell. Then I decided whether to rewrite the stories or press on. (That last aspect hasn't changed.)

I have a lot of old boxes. - 2010.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Kuwait For Colin

Via Facebook: Colin Wells cools his heels, awaiting a flight back to "work."

Run, Emil, Run

Injured tendon and all. Mr. Perpetual Motion rolled down the Rose Parade route with other runners and now weighs the damage in light of a full 2010 running calender.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Monstropedia is Beast of the Web



Monstropedia catalogs creatures of all varieties, from rocs and selkies to dragons and cryptids. I use this site for speculative fiction ideas. Plenty to chew on - so to speak. (Photo: rottentoons.com)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Randy Beaman's Pal Returns to 'Ghan

Home safe for Christmas after his first tour, Colin Wells spent New Years in the Mideast, enroute back to the Afghanistan for a second deployment with the Strykers. Good thoughts and prayers to Colin and his unit. Let's hope they return to us safe and whole.

h/t: NanBel3377

Swedes Welcome You to 2010

Where every neighbor is a friend.

h/t: EduPresent