Friday, December 30, 2005

My 2006 Schedule:

As I looked over what I have to get done in the next year, I realized that I have to do something I really hate doing. I have to create a schedule. The problem is not having enough time to do everything, but I just need to get a bit more disciplined. I have grad school with at least two scripts to write, a book to write, and then a documentary project. I can't "luxuriate" anymore by getting started with my day at 10am. And, I need to get in shape. The belly is getting swelly (as my six year old likes to say) as a result of a ton of travel and bad meals (and king sized snicker bars). So that means 6am wake ups and everyday workouts. The goal is to lose about thirty lbs. between now and 2007. I'll feel better, which means that I will concentrate better. And that means I will write better.

I've been writing a few scenes for my Sloan script. The script, tentatively named LATIMER, is about the African American inventor Lewis Latimer. It's starting well. I will begin work on MONEY SHOT, a name by the way the publisher wants to change, after the New Year's. My first task is to go to the Adult Video News Award in Las Vegas this January. For three days, I will be interviewing every black porn star, business person, etc. in the industry. My plan is to do all of my interviews and research between January-June, and write the book during the summer.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Annie Hall...

As I've stated, I have to work at learning the language of film. I've never been a huge film buff. So I'm watching movies. And one of the movies I'm watching is Annie Hall. A great movie, it is also instructive in one great precept when it comes to scenes. The idea is: Get in late and leave early. Annie Hall does it great and I think I'll watch it over and over to make sure my own scenes are this tight.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa!

Tomorrow, I'm shopping all day, so I wanted to make sure I said Happy Holidays to everyone before I forgot!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Back From Vegas...

Hey y'all,

Just spent three days in Las Vegas to watch Cal wax BYU. A good time was had by all, but the old school Tropacana had no internet access, so I'm just now answering any posts. Check ya later!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Nine Months...

2006 is going to be the Year of Writing for me. I talked to my new editor, Anita Diggs, and my next book has a September deadline. That's nine months, kids. Oh well, JGTSD.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Finalist for Sloan Foundation...

It is official. I'm one of ten screenwriters at UCLA who's a finalist for the Sloan Foundation script contest. So that means a few changes. I have to write this script for my advanced screenwriting class next quarter. So I need to get cracking with my research. The script is due in April and there's a $10,000 prize.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Act One...

So for our advanced screenwriting course in the winter, we have to pitch. For one professor, he wants ten pages of your script instead of the verbal pitch. Fine. So I went over my ten pages with a fine tooth comb and discovered something. I like working on my script in ten page chunks. My Act One needed work because as one of my classmates correctly noted, it was too long. So I started cutting. Anyway, the effects of the flu are starting to wane, and now I can concentrate on working on it. Our classes begin on January 9th, so I have time get my Act One tight.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

This Week...

Well, the Ross family is down for the count with the flu. And it hit us all at once. Where it came from, I have no idea. Maybe it was from the airports or hotels? Anyway, the wife is knocked out, I'm delirious, and my son was so sick that he crawled up into our bed. If you know my son, who is damn near hyper, that tells you something. What else could happen this month? Death, flu, maybe locusts? But for all that, things are looking up.

1. My agent sold my non-fiction version of Money Shot on Monday. Not a lot of money for the advance, but it is a go. Plus, my agent was able to get a nicely sized kicker put into the contract if I reach a very obtainable number of books sold. That was nice. I sort of felt like I was an athlete who had to run for X amount of yards for a bonus! And for the first time in three books, I have a new publishing house and new editor. That's both exciting and scary. The tricky bit will be writing it while in school. But then again, I wrote my first book while working full time. JGTSD* is my mantra.

2. Grades are in for two classes, Hal and Richard: A's in both. I just turned in my final for my film marketing class. I'll find that one out later.

3. Met with the agent from Paradigm and had a GREAT meeting. He was REALLY cool, and I told him I'd send him my script this Spring. Next quarter, we write our full script in our advanced screenwriting course. I'm going to take the script I was writing in Hal's course, the agent liked the idea and even noted that he'd been reminded of my script's main character the day before, and then finish and polish it. My goal in Hal's course was to learn the fundamentals and not try to get cute with my writing before I knew what the hell I was doing. As I've been rewriting, I've gained more confidence that I know where I'm taking my script. But that's just Act I. I have Act II and Act III to write. Before I start writing those, I'm going to re-read Hal's book about those Acts.

4. BTW, we have to pitch our scripts to our perspective professors. That shouldn't be a problem for me since I talk alot, but I need to be precise about what I'm saying, and not rambling. So I've got to practice.

5. I'm still waiting on word for the Sloan, but I'm going to start work on my research anyway. My story is based in the 1920s and I need to do some research on Flushing, Queens and Harlem before starting the script. If I'm going to do a period piece, I want to see a photo of what a particular area looks like. I need to know what was in the neighborhood and what wasn't. I like accuracy.

6. UCLA MFA writer, MK Asante and UCLA MFA producer Ben Haaz (who is a dynamo) and I are working on a documentary proposal for next summer. We just got good news and it had nothing to do with Geico. We were looking at two directors for our project and we've just begun talking to them. One is a heavy hitter with NFL films and the other has won two Academy Awards. Ben and MK know them both and we found out that the NFL guy is interested in our project. Ben is contacting the Oscar winner during the break. It's a great project about sports and race.

Okay, time for Thera-ful and some chicken soup (I made it homemade. Remember, I can burn)

*Just get the shit done

Friday, December 09, 2005


Thanks everyone for your condolenses, both public and private. We had a beautiful memorial service for my father in law, and it was a testiment to his life that folks came from far and wide to attend. We got back this afternoon and it feels good to be back in my own house. After eight days in a Castro Valley Holiday Inn (that was being renovated CONSTANTLY!!), it seems like we haven't been home in weeks.

But December means royalites, and I had a royalties check waiting for me when I got home. That was cool and provides a nice Xmas for all. I'm still waiting on decisions for Money Shot, both fiction and non-fiction versions. Either would be nice.

For UCLA, I missed the last class of the quarter, but the professors were super cool about it. My intro to screenwriting class ended with the professor deciding to give everyone credit. Aces! With my marketing class, Terry decided that we all did so well on our midterms that we'll simply have to answer a few questions for our final. Aces again! And for my 431 with Hal, we got notes back. Each time I get notes about my Act One, it continues to be answers to questions I can't see. I'm not skilled enough to recognize problems in my scripts, at least not yet. I continue to have problems with on the nose dialogue. I think I can work on that. My goal for my 431 script was to learn. Again, this is a form that I'm not familiar with, so I felt it a bit arrogant to think I could start running before walking. So right now, after one quarter, I feel that I'm standing up straight and learning to balance myself. I can walk pretty cool and but still a bit unsure. I'm going to take this winter break to work on the notes for my Act One, plus I'm going to send it to some friends for additional notes. After that, I'll keep rewriting it.

We start our advanced screenwriting course on January 4, and we have to pitch it to our professors. I have a story I'd like to write, so I think I'm going to do something different than what I did this first quarter. But at the end of this year, I want three complete scripts.

Still haven't heard about the Sloan, so if my story has been accepted.

On December 13th, I have a coffee meeting with an agent from Paradigm. As an alum from Loyola High, there are numerous connections with Hollywood, and some have been very gracious about meeting with me. I'm not bringing any writing samples because they aren't ready, but we're just going to talk about what I should do to grow my career in Hollywood. When a script is ready, then I'll schedule a second meeting. As part of a second contact, another Loyola alum who's a CAA agent has asked to see my script when it is ready. I will vet that script FULLY before I send it out.

But for now, it is rest on my oh so sweet couch. Tomorrow, Cal plays Kansas in basketball and then Loyola goes against Esperanza for the CIF Division One Championship. I'll be there watching them win at the Home Depot Center.