Sunday, December 31, 2006

There are certain bands...

...that define you as a person. I don't know what it is or if you can define it, but this band right here was and is, me. It's how I feel, have felt, and will feel. Saw them live in 1983 on the Sunset Strip as a teenager, and they codified my love of ska. Enjoy...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Tired of these movies...

The White Savior Educator:

Definition: The white savior comes into a ghetto school full of underachieving poor black and brown students and saves them, despite the ignorance and resistance of the callous black administrators (who inevitably come around at the end because the white savior has proved that his/her methods are so much better and these kids are now worth something). The white savior is then carried out on the shoulders of the black and brown student.

It is Kipling's white man's burden personafied in film. It's also Hilary Swank in the new movie: Freedom Writers.

My objection is not that there are extraordinary white teachers teaching inner city youth. My objection is that they're overrepresented in film. I can only think of two films: Stand and Deliver and Lean on Me, that contained minority teachers as the hero. Other than that, white folks saving black and brown folks. I'll pass, in honor of the extraordinary black teachers who taught me.

A little 80s New Wave

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Night Before Xmas...

Xmas shopping done. The wife is easy to buy for. She loves gift certificates, and that's real cool with me. The boy is a little different. I stopped buying things that I liked as a kid and got with the program. He wants electronics. So it was the Nintendo Wii and DS this year.

I'm writing about 3K in words per night for the book. Tiring, but getting it done. More later...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Bestsellers...Done

It came in at 101 pages. Now, I finish Iconoculture obs. Then the book.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

About once a week...

Okay, I'm one scene from being done with my 434 script, with a two week break from writing Iconoculture articles from my editor Hans (my new hero!). So for the next couple of weeks, it will be nothing but my book until January 9th. And then, I will have accomplished the impossible: A one hour television pilot script, a feature script, and a non-fiction manuscript, all in about six months.

But for the next two weeks, I will blog about once a week. I will have complete focus on the book, so I won't have too many times to blog, but I know you'll understand. Holla at ya later!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Funniest Line of the Night...

Paraphrasing a line from Wesley Snipes' character in New Jack City given Snipes' current trouble...

"Am I not my brother's bookkeeper?"

From Crunk and Disorderly

Monday, December 11, 2006

Next Weekend...

I didn't go to a hotel last weekend to finish the book, but I'm definitely doing it this weekend. Figured I'd finish the 434 script first. Deadline for that, Friday. Working on it now. I want to go to class on Wednesday, but with no babysitter for Langston, I may have to drop off some pages at class, and then roll. I need some feedback on a scene. Don't know if it works or not. Oh, I have a KILLER idea for my next 434 script. April even came up with the KILLER title.

On Thursday, I have a trend article due for Icono. Since I'm devoting Saturday and Sunday to the book, I'm going to do about two or three observations per day, versus waiting until the weekend. Might actually work a bit better. I'm finding that I'm losing my relaxation time on the weekends as I get my obs done.

So let's recount: First draft of USC script done. 434 script about thirty pages away from being finished, but at the end of the night, it should be done to fifteen pages left. Icono, on track and up to date. TheYack: I have a few authors lined up for chats, and I work on it a bit more after Xmas. The Book: A lot closer to being done that my meter says.

Once everything else is done, I can clear my mind and make my book feel the way I want it. I will relax a bit and vow to NEVER overload like that again. But hell, at least I will know that I can do it. Oh, now that I think about it, I should be receiving my copyedit for the fiction manuscript.

Later...producing the annual UCLA Screenwriters Showcase...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Variety...and my email chat...

Below is an article that posted in Variety a couple of days ago about "progress" in Hollywood. I then had an email exchange with the author. Pleasant man, and of course, this is about ideas rather than anything personal. But I thought this would be good to read.

First, the article:

NAACP should acknowledge TV gains

'Ugly Betty'
America Ferrera as 'Ugly Betty'
HERE'S A NOVEL THOUGHT: Before the NAACP launches another campaign against television's perceived ills, would it set the cause back to pause and savor the group's recent victories?

Apparently so. Because after fatuously contending that Michael Richards' comedy club tirade is "a symptom of a much bigger problem" and emblematic of "an underlying current of racism in America," the NAACP scheduled, then canceled, an event this week to assail the TV industry for insufficient minority representation.

Certainly, TV still exhibits its share of shortcomings regarding race, but the NAACP chose a dubious time to level such criticism against television, coming in the midst of a very good fall for people of color based on those symbolic measures where the medium ultimately wields the greatest influence.

Such calculations are invariably subjective, but the two breakout stars of the new TV season are "Ugly Betty's" America Ferrara, who is Hispanic; and "Heroes'" Masi Oka, who is Asian. My third choice would be Lennie James, the black Brit who is the most mysterious character on CBS' "Jericho."

NBC's restored Thursday comedy lineup, meanwhile -- once attacked for lily-white casts on New York-set shows like "Friends" and "Seinfeld" -- now showcases diversity on "My Name Is Earl," "Scrubs" and "30 Rock." As for "The Office," that series not only boasts a multi-cultural cast but has brilliantly lampooned racism, as it did last week when an African-American employee was revealed to have done time as a white-collar criminal.

Some programs have also gone global, a la "Heroes," featuring natives of India and Japan. That's especially noteworthy given the narrow view U.S. television has historically assumed looking beyond its borders.

THE NAACP has singled out low employment levels within TV's executive and producing ranks as its next potential crusade, while the Rev. Jesse Jackson pithily lambasted news for being "all day, all night, all white."

Whatever the raw numerical data, though, once again, the symbolic advances are hard to overlook. As a prime example, consider producer Shonda Rhimes, an African-American, who presides over TV's hottest series in "Grey's Anatomy" -- a program that effortlessly displays a thoroughly diverse universe.

Hiring levels are of understandable concern to those pursuing jobs within the industry, but evaluating minority gains requires a more contextual analysis. In the past, equal attention has been paid to the separate question of onscreen imagery, recognizing that while the industry directly employs thousands, from a cultural perspective its product is watched by tens of millions.

Because there are never enough entertainment jobs to go around, the business's insular nature makes breaking down barriers difficult -- one of the hard realities of any closely knit club where merit can be subjective, and nepotism and connections frequently dictate who receives keys to the kingdom. As a consequence, the NAACP and other lobbying organs have every reason to keep reminding industry honchos to cast a wider net than the children of golf buddies and those they encounter at private-school PTA meetings.

Lobbying groups diminish their moral authority, however, when they appear unwilling to acknowledge when real strides are made, including those programs that convey messages about our ability to live and work together.

THERE IS ALSO HARM done by overreaching to generalize an incident such as the Richards episode. Beyond proving that the former "Seinfeld" co-star engaged in an ugly moment worthy of condemnation, seizing upon those slurs as evidence of an "underlying current" of racism in Hollywood or anywhere else makes as much sense as suggesting that Mel Gibson's drunken rant against Jews is proof of anti-Semitism among action stars or Australians. Nor does it bolster anyone's credibility, frankly, when cash settlements magically help soothe any wounded feelings among the aggrieved parties.

By exaggerating the significance of transgressions and turning a blind eye to progress, the NAACP risks doing a disservice to its legitimate gripes -- among them the occasionally distasteful depictions of minorities, through the wonders of editing, within reality TV.

In terms of symbolism, those programs warrant discussion, precisely because the portrayals are often the opposite of "Ugly Betty" and "Heroes" -- series that, in the best sense, represent genuine advancements within TV toward people of color.

Now, my response:

Hello Brian,

I read your article on the progress of minorities in television, and I was instantly reminded of a quote by Malcolm X. He once stated that if I have a knife in my back, and you pull it out half way, you can't call that progress. It's only when you pull it out completely and heal the wounds can you say you've made progress. This year, I'll graduate as an MFA screenwriting student from UCLA, and I'll be one of two African Americans in my class of 25 students. This is an early indicator of the odds I'll see in television. The fact that a Shonda Rhimes is so unique shouldn't be a cause for breast beating, but a reason to wonder why? In an age where mediocre writers, actors, producers, etc. are creating shows that air once and then get cancelled, who is going to give qualified African American writers/producers the opportunity to make shows that stretches convention and just may appeal to a diverse audience? No, the NAACP is right to ring the bell about the conditions of television today. The barriers to television for African American writers, producers, and actors are enormous. And the fact that television is just beginning to pull the knife out of the back is no cause for celebration.

Brian's response:
Well, for starters, thank you for the response. Here are a couple of points
to consider:
- The people currently in a position to employ you aren't the ones who
jammed the knife in when Malcolm was around, and not even 20 or 30 years
ago. So given that they've been bashed for this for some time, failing to
acknowledge progress is a piss-poor strategy. In the case of the NAACP and
especially Jesse Jackson, it's led to them being largely tuned out. I don't
see how that helps anyone.
- Shonda Rhimes is only significant because it sends a particular message -
namely, that if you can or have delivered a hit, people will line up to be
in business with you, regardless of color. She proves it can be done.
- Yes, you face a HUGE hurdle to breaking in. But so does everyone else who
doesn't have a mom or dad who runs a studio. The odds against ANYONE making
it are extremely long.
- Those 2 out of 25 odds sound terrible on the face of it, but just by
percentage of population, African-Americans are at about 12% of the U.S.
Would three out of 25 make a significant difference? And how many Latinos
and Asians are in your class? In most cases, blacks are overrepresented, at
least in terms of performing roles, relative to population, while those
groups are underrepresented.
- Finally, I'm sympathetic toward anyone trying to break in, and I wish you
all the luck in the world. But if you think the NAACP or Jesse Jackson are
going to help your cause employing their current approach, I don't think
that's the case, and most of the reaction I received from those within the
industry tends to support that conclusion.

Brian Lowry
media columnist/chief TV critic

And then, my rebuttal:
I'm a bit puzzled. Are you saying that before Shonda Rhimes, there weren't African Americans who could have delivered a hit? I'm fine with celebrating Ms. Rhimes' success, but to point to one successful black writer/producer as a trend, or indicates something larger than one instance is disingenuous. It is not about the success of one, but the lack of opportunity for the many. Too often, African Americans are supposed to be satisfied with the bare minimal gains in television employment, while we watch the less talented get opportunity after opportunity. And you're right, my analogy wasn't about whether or not that people employed today are the same as were around when Malcolm X lived. I wasn't born then. The analogy was about how we should judge progress.

However, the film and television industry is one of the few places were access tends to be limited to ones peer group, or personal interest. Fine. That's life. The schools I've attended, the organizations I've joined, and the contacts I've made, probably gives me a lift over someone else. But without diversity in the industry, you've automatically relegated individual minority success as aberrations in an industry designed to stamp out aberrations.

Without higher level African American executives employed by either the studios or networks, who understands pitches that may not fit the narrow personal experience of a white executive? Sure, you might find someone who understands the "universiality" of a story, but what if that story is as narrow as a "Seinfeld"? And before we point to projects like Ugly Betty, which is simply an adaptation of a show done on Mexican television, let's understand that they are rare and infrequent.

As for over/under representation of African Americans, what is the representation of white executives in television? Are they over represented via the population? Actually, since film and television mainly occurs in California, what is their representation versus the population of California, a majority minority state? My point being is that African Americans/Latinos/Asians are looked upon as adjuncts to the main body of the entertainment industry, which are white employees. Inroads into the industry for these groups is looked at as being a "necessary evil" rather than a way to for the corporation to reflect society. Their presence has to be justified, while white employees don't have to do anything like this, simply because their presence is a given, almost a right.

As for the huge hurdles, I'm not worried about that. One doesn't write for pay without understanding the huge hurdles involved. Call it confidence or arrogance, but I'm optimistic about my television future. But that's neither here nor there. I'm fine with the playing field being tough, unrelenting, and geared toward the best quality possible. However, when I pitch, or send a spec script, or interview for a job, it is the industry's responsibility to make sure that the decisions being made about who to buy, who to reject, and who to employ, are done with a staff that looks like the audience they're serving.

I'm not surprised you've received a lot of reaction against the NAACP or Jesse Jackson. One, Jackson is a polarizing figure, so for some, regardless of the topic (milk for school children, food for the poor), if Jackson advocated it, people would be against it. Fair enough. And I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the respondents led off their posts to you with the "I'm a black..." as they agreed with you. For some African Americans, the idea that someone is stirring up controversy, or is drawing attention to the Hollywood's difficiencies, is a threat to their own employment. Who wants to walk into a room having to answer for the views of someone you've never met? But that's not the point. For all of his faults, and he has many, Jackson has the national voice to place attention on a subject that network executives would rather not either talk about or have to deal with. And I would suggest that network executives tune out at their own peril. One of the most loyal television watching demographics is the African American market. Whether those eyeball watch "Smith" or "Grey's Anatomy" can be the difference between a show being successful or cancelled. And one last thing. Never forget that the first major protest for the newly formed NAACP was against the entertainment industry. The reason? D.W. Griffiths' Birth of a Nation.

Hey, besides all of that, thanks for the luck!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday all ready?

Had a bunch of Iconoculture work to do this week, and more this weekend. I killed about twenty more pages for my 434 script, and I'm about thirty pages from finishing. But I have to put that aside to finish my book. This weekend, I'm going to get a hotel room and bang out some major work. I may have to do that a few times until the first week of January. That's when I said I'd get 'er done. Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to retry to contact interview subjects who have been incredibly elusive. If I can't find them, then oh well, I'll move on.

So the priorities now are: Icono, the Book, my 434.

Got notes back about my USC script from Dave and as always, his points were on point. He said that it reads more like a cable script versus a Network script, and that my act breaks need to have POW! type action. Also, there's a lot of talk about actions versus the actions themselves. And I need to broaden where the action takes place. Right now, it all stays pretty much in one place. I agree. But then again, it's a first draft. After icono, the Book, and my 434, I'll deconstruct the script and rewrite it with those hard breaks. He'd sent me a couple of scripts to look over and I'll do that too. But it's definitely not ready for prime time yet.

Lectures: For some reason, for the first time in six years, my February is pretty bare when it comes to Divine Nine lectures. Folks are interested in booking March for some reason, but February is pretty empty. Normally, I'm booked about ten or fifteen times in Black History Month. But there's still time. We'll see.

The wife got a job this week and it's back in the industry. The time away was good for her because I think she was burned out on music companies getting bought out or dissolved under her feet. So I'm adjusting to the daily pickup of the kid, and getting back in the kitchen. My kitchen skills are a bit rusty, although I rolled a beautiful stuffed chicken breast last night (my version of Chicken Kiev: Garlic and Herb soft cheese, crabmeat, scallions, all stuffed into a chicken breast, and then covered with a light mushroom sauce. It's slap ya momma good.)

Oh, but this month is royalty month, and boy do I like that! So those checks were put in savings.

That's all for now...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Halfway done...

Okay, this weekend, I finished the USC script. It's a first draft, so ya never know how it really turned out. It's hot out of the oven, full of plot holes, a bit of on the nose dialogue, some novelistic description, and a couple of underdeveloped characters. But other than that, delicious from first word on.

Krystal will get me notes on it in two weeks, so that gives me an opportunity to finish what's next on my list, which is 434 script. I'm not done yet, and I may have to ask my teacher if I can bring Langston to class. April just got a gig, so I need to pick him up on Wednesday. We'll see. It's our last class, and it may be easier to just miss it and get Langston going on his homework, dinner, etc. Three hours is a bit much for a seven year old after having been in school all day.

On the immediate: Finish writing my final tonight and then write on the 434 script. Turn in the final tomorrow. I'm going to try to finish my 434 script by this weekend. After that, I will do nothing but work on my book. Anita gave me another extention, but this is the last one. I need to get it done by first week of January. Funny, but I've never missed a deadline, but this is one SLOW book to write. That said, I will have successfully completed all of the writing projects I overburdened myself with after the book is written.

Next quarter, I'm going to take it easy. I'm going to take my time and write my 434 script, and then add a spec script to my portfolio. That's all. Close to graduation in June, I will start thinking about my next fiction and non-fiction projects.

I don't know if I mentioned it, but TV-One, the black cable network, approached me about producing a show. Along with my boy Ben in the producing program, and MK, we're going to start work on it summer 2007. It's a great opportunity, and the PERFECT post graduate project to work on.

So the future is so bright, I've gotta wear gazelles.

PS: The Lakers are winning regularly, Manchester United are first, and Cal just beat Stanford, again. The only downer: The Raiders are putrid. At least Bob Newhart isn't our offensive coordinator anymore. Just about seven games too late.

Happy Alpha Day everyone! 1906-2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

Finishing my USC Script...

Right now, I'm finishing my USC script and it's rolling right along. Krystal needs it by Sunday and it'll get done by then. I like Krystal. She's all about keeping to her schedule, and is the perfect counterpoint to my methods of working. This is going to be a first draft, and a rough first draft, but I think by the time I get notes and get it honed in February, we'll have a nice little drama pilot.

BTW, I received the cover for my Kensington fiction manuscript, and I must say that they hit it out of the park. REALLY nice. I won't say the name of the book due to my Iconoculture work, but it really fits. It's provocative, but so is the book. I'm guessing that these two books will eliminate me from office, but that's probably a good thing. lol

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back at Home...

Okay, here's the week agenda. I have four Icono obs to do for last week. The computer went down for a bit but it's back. I have about twenty pages to write for my 434 script, The Bestsellers. That's due by Wednesday. And my USC script is due by Friday. I've driven 2800 miles in one week, and I need to get my locs done asap. But I can see the light as my writing projects are one by one getting closer to completion. Holla at ya later.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Life at a La Quinta Inn...

It's about one in th morning, and we luxuriating just outside of Las Cruces, NM. In about an hour, I'll get the crew up to keep on stepping toward Dallas. More than likely, we'll get there around mid afternoon.

The wife has been fighting a cold, never fun on a road trip, but the boy has been having a ball. You forget how "exciting" hotel rooms are for a seven year old, but man, Langston reminded me. Can I bounce on the bed? Can I spin in the chair? Can I get something from the vending machine? Can I watch Cartoon Network? Yada, yada.

This is going to be a working Thanksgiving, by the way. I have four observations to write, and I need to finish the first draft of the USC script. My boy Dave referred me to a friend of his who writes for NCIS (who says film school doesn't work?) and he gave me some tips for setting up the five act structure. The tips reaffirmed what I was doing, and how Krystal and I set up the beats for the story. So go Krysal and Lawrence!

For my 434 script, I'm now into the second act, having rewritten the first act five times. But those rewrites were well worth it. Remember, my goal is to have a better first draft than I had during my first year.

The old weight loss thang is completely out of the window right now. I'm out of shape and about to gorge myself with food. I'll get back on the Lifecycle after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Sweet Spot and Other things...

For the past week, I've given myself a bit more time to sleep. I'm now going to bed around midnight, but something strange is happening. At 4am, I wake up. Apparently, my brain is relaxing and then going over my script. Problems with The Bestsellers are becoming much more clear, and like my boy in A Beautiful Mind, the answers are lighting up in my head. So I've been rushing to my whiteboard and writing down what I've figured out. Rest and illumination? Sign me up for life!

Anyway, I'm rapidly rewriting the first thirty pages of The Bestsellers, and then shooting them off to my classmates and prof for quick critiques. This is pretty par for the course for me as I constantly plow, rewrite, and then plow some more. I'm not looking for perfection, but a solid first draft. Everything else can be rewritten.

This is going to be a working Thanksgiving, as much as I'd like to just chill. Today, I'm finishing a couple of trend articles for Icono, and then tomorrow I'll finish my observations. We have a shortened schedule, so it'll be easier to finish in one day. I also have a proposal to forward to MK. It's a post graduate documentary project.

The USC first draft script is due December 1st, and then Money Shot on December 14th. It's going to be one helluva couple of weeks coming, but once I'm done, I'm done. My Spring should be a breeze, with only scripts to write.

I went to the Cal game and they damn near broke my heart. Win the game and we get to the Rose Bowl. We didn't. Nothing like listening to an obnoxious USC fan recite the words to their song about one hundred times. At least the Lakers are playing well, Manchester United keeps winning, and Cal plays Stanford in two weeks. We should beat them by 80.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Ultimate Goal...

I want to be the first African American to win an Academy Award for screenwriting. To hell with those who say they don't care about awards. I like awards. I like big awards. And I have stories that are award worthy. Sure, there's that little thing about writing good enough to actually have a script purchased, but that's simply a matter of time. Five minutes. Five days. Five months, Five years. Five decades. But a matter of time. And then after that, the award. You watch me.


It's a quarter till 5am and I'm working on my script. It dawned on me, as I stay up all night for the umpteenth time, that when writing, you spend a lot of that time pondering. Your brain relaxes and begins to work out what you're going to write. I wonder if I put myself in a meditative state, could my brain relax to the point that storylines become more clear, or dialogue more crisp? Or maybe I'm delusional because I'm up all night for the umpteenth time over the past three weeks? Anyway, I'm at the end of Act I and we're in week seven. We don't meet next week because of Thanksgiving, but I'm going to write during our time in Dallas.

Started the USC script, and it's moving relatively quick. It's definitely going to be a first draft, versus anything polished, but I'll have plenty of time to work with it later. And then there's Money Shot. Let's just say that the first two weeks of December are going to be writing slug fests. But I'll get 'er done because I don't want ANY work left for late December or January. I want a relatively clean writing slate for the Spring and Summer.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My Day...

I worked on Iconoculture stuff today, writing the observations I collected throughout the week. My editor asked if I could also do some Gen-X observations along with my African-American obs. I was like hell yeah! I'm interested in how people are forgetting about Gen-Xers and have moved on to Gen-Yers and Millenials etc. Anyway, knocked those out.

Talked to my mom about Thanksgiving. We're having a ton of fam over and I think I'll drive the fam unless I can find a really good flight. The trip to Dallas is not that bad, particularly if you have Sirrus or XM Radio as we do. Thanksgiving for us is like Christmas and New Years rolled into one. We eat so much, and it's all good.

Tonight, I'm going to continue writing my script tonight. Tomorrow, I meet with my boy Ben from the producers program. MK, Ben and I have a post graduate project to do. Also on the agenda this week, finish my USC thesis script.

After Thanksgiving, it's two days in a hotel room to finish Money Shot. I can see the end y'all. I can see the end!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Did I Mention...

How happy I am now that my country has been taken back? How optimistic I am about the future now that my Democratic Party has broken through the Bush hold on this nation? Go Democrats!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Needed a break and got it...

The brain was a bit stressed over the past few days, and so I shut it down. Did my observations, and cleaned up the work of the previous person in my position. Didn't work on my 434 script today, but I did finish the first 10 pages to my satisfaction. This week, I'm going to change up and do about two observations per day versus waiting to Saturday. That way, I can save the weekend for writing my script. By Wednesday, I'll have at least another ten pages. By this weekend, I'd like to get to page 40. If I can get to the end of the second act by Thanksgiving, then I'm good to go.

I have the USC thesis to work on. I've started it, but it's in the infant stages. I promised Krystal that I'd get a first draft done by Thanksgiving, and that's probably right.

I can finally see the end of the quarter coming. Yes, I still have a BUNCH of overnight writing sessions left to do, but everything's starting to come together. After Thanksgiving, I will take a weekend at a hotel and knock out 2/3rds of Money Shot.

And TheYack is going swimmingly.

PS: Went to the gym tonight. Felt great!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Today I rested...

You know how you're so tired that sleep is no relief? Well, that's how tired I was. I slept all day long. My brain kept telling me to get up and write, but I ignored it. I slept, woke up for an hour, and then slept again. And now I'm refreshed. I have my Icono work to do, but I think I'll start it this evening.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I've gotta destress...

Seriously. I'm feeling mad tension right now. A lot of projects, and not a lot of time. My script received WONDERFUL notes during my last 434 meeting. I'm still doing my fourth version of my first ten pages. But I stayed up all last night, writing pages and also watching Kinsey. Very interesting movie. Anyway, my fellow students gave me an idea about how to really punch up my inciting incident (my main problem) and getting these two authors on the road. Pressure and choices along with something like dynamite to get them together and on their journey.

I'm too tired to go over everything else I have to get done, but y'all know.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I'm very sleepy.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pressure and Choices Part II

Okay, so I've had the bright light that characters need to be pressured to make choices. It's what all of my instructors have told me since day one, but like most lessons in life, it didn't hit the brain until last week. So what did I do?

I already had the beats written. The beats plot out the script from Page one to the end, and show me where the structure is in the script. Next, I broke down the scenes in the first ten pages via what was at stake for the characters, and what choices did they have to make? Seems logical, but wasn't. But when I did it, the motivations of the characters came alive. I'll put it this way. With the beats set, but the choices and pressures of the characters not set, each character was walking down the same path. They were close together, talking to each other, but never touching, and never saying anything that affected the other. Now, with the pressure and choices, my characters are bumping, elbowing, and talking to each other in ways that affects their moods, attitudes, and how fast or slow they make their way down the path, either together or alone. So with that, the next four or five hours will be dedicated to rewriting my first ten pages.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pressure and choices...

Okay, so I'm on an America West flight from the East Coast to Los Angeles, and I'm watching The Devil Wears Prada. The wife and I saw it in the theaters and I found myself really liking it. Didn't know why, but I did. But as I watched it for a second time, I figured out what it was. Meryl Streep's character put the young protagonist under immense pressure, and didn't let up. Choice after choice was tough, tougher, and even more tough, which appealed to my sense of drama. So by the time our young protagonist walked away, she'd finally made a choice that although tough, was true to herself.

As I write The Bestsellers, that's something I must keep in mind. It's also tough to do when you have only ten weeks to do it. You're really writing the skeleton of the script during this ten weeks, and so you kind of don't have all of your choices really plotted out. I mean, your script has all of the right plot points, but the if you want to really rachet up the pressure, I think it requires that second, third and fourth draft. But I'm going to try. Each scene, I'm going to turn the screw that much more.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

TheYack is live...

Go check it out at

TheYack is live...

Go check it out at

Friday, October 27, 2006


was a whilwind. I took an overnight flight from Los Angeles to Hartford, Connecticut. I had a regularly scheduled phone meeting for Icono that I thought I'd miss, but I was happy to make it. After that, I had a WONDERFUL lecture at Central Connecticut State University. Great kids with a great attitude.

I have a full plate of stuff to do, per usual. I have to correct some sourcing stuff with my articles at Icono, and I want to put more articles in. That's a weekend thing. My ten script pages for UCLA garnered great notes and I'm making corrections as we speak (4:30AM EST). I'm jut going to keep writing and see if I can get a bit ahead. Right now, we're all technically behind.

Okay, gotta get on a morning plane. Holla later.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Very Productive Weekend...

Finished my beats for The Bestseller. Took out an element that was unnecessary in the story. I finally have the tone down. Wrote ten pages of script and I feel like I could write twenty more right now. That first year at UCLA is kicking in. Whereas I walked into UCLA not know a script from a hole in the wall, now I feel confident enough that I can write something and see the problems. And when my classmates find issues, I have enough tools to address them. I still say that if I learn anything in life, the skill of identifying crap is the most valuable. So, ten pages done, and only about ninety left to go.

I'm excited about Icono because Donna is going to let me in on some calls with clients. Being that I like the business side of marketing, that will be an added bonus to the writing. I think I have the Icono voice down, and now it's about cleaning up mistakes, and making sure I input things correctly. No biggees.

The fiction manuscript has a name, but it seems as though it's too provocative for Kensington. Manie has gone to the mat for me, and I want to keep it.

Still need to write more for the non-fiction book. Still, one thousand words a day should do it. I've been chipping away at it.

This week, a lecture in New Britain, Connecticut.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I figured out what happened...

When I started writing this story during the summer, I knew what type of tone I wanted it to have. But when I got to class, I sort of forgot. But something Tim said in class resonated. He said that road trip scripts are the easiest to write because people have to get from here to there. That is probably true. What I forgot is that I want to write a different type of road trip script. My road trip script is not one where there are a bunch of gags. I'm just not a gag guy. My script is one that Mike Leigh might like. Two women, forced together, and yet very lonely. If I keep that in mind, it'll make writing this script much easier.


I think I'm trying to torture myself. Went to my 434 with my beats, but really, still didn't like the story. Trying to change one character to a man had kind of messed up my story. So I ditched that. But then, I started changing elements that didn't need to be changed. There's one storyline that needs to be ditched, and that came from comments in class. I agree. But I'd started cutting much deeper, creating a boring road story that was neither here nor there. So I'm going back to my original story, cutting out some back story, and then rewrite my beats. Hopefully that will work. Need to write ten pages by Tuesday, which will be the first ten pages of the script. Next week is week 4 and I need to get in gear.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Still Working on my Beats...

It's 2am, and I'm still working on my beats. I know that I probably have holes in the story, and as I write the beats, they become very apparent. I shouldn't keep going back and forth through the beats, and just get them done, but that's a weakness of mine. So I plod on. I think I'll write until 3am, and then finish up in the morning after going to the gym.

The wife and I had a date and saw Helen Mirren in The Queen. I'm a huge Helen Mirren fan, having seen her in HBOs Elizabeth, and I wanted to see her play the modern day queen. Her performance was fine, but centering the story around the death of Princess Diana was a drag. I was more interested in the Queen at center stage, rather than watching her under the giant shadow of Diana. I give it seven stars out of ten.

Tonight, as I write my beats, I thought I'd watch a nice and violent Sam Peckenpah film. Cross of Iron is a favorite. Lots of blood and guts. Seems old fashion now, but at the time, all of Sam's movies were shocking. is finally in capable hands. If things work out well, it'll be ready for beta next Friday. If things go slower, then we're talking about Halloween. Regardless, it'll be up and running by the end of the month. The design is tight, and the coder knows what he's doing.

On the home front, my son is reading like a champ. Makes me very proud. His school work as been so on point that he's getting outstandings in almost every category. Every category except religion. Oops. As a good Catholic, I should have that handled, but they've changed things since I was a kid. The Hail Mary is different. Not to get all Mel Gibson on you, but who said we could take out the "thees" and substitute "you"? It's throwing me off. Anyway, I need to step it up.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Writing Beats...

I actually enjoy writing the beats to my script. Beats are a sort of road map for the script and it helps me understand what the scene is supposed to accomplish or establish. Usually, there are about sixty beats. I've been working on and off and so far I've written about ten. I think, and then rethink, the scenes. And since I think Tim will marry us to these beats, it's better to work out any issues with the beats, versus writing scenes and not knowing where it's supposed to go.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Changed Mind...

Decided against making one of my characters a man. Sure, it makes it more commercial, but I couldn't figure out a way to make any story relevant and comedic. Also, I lost a bit of what I was going for in the story, which is two women from different backgrounds becoming friends. Pretty simple that.

This is going to be a grundgy week, meaning I'm not letting anything get in the way of writing. Get stuff done is the mantra. Right now, I am taking out some of the subtrefuge I had at the beginning of The Bestsellers, and tightening it up. Then I'm going to write the beats. That's due on Wednesday, but I want to get it done by tonight. Then, I'll start writing the script. This is week 3, so I'm a little behind, but I'll catch up. It's weird, but this year feels slow and I feel like I really haven't got my brain into it yet. I think it's because of all the projects. Boy, I can't wait until it's Xmas and I'm done with the book, the script, and the television script. I won't write anything for a month. May not even turn on my computer. Yeah, right.

Weight Loss Update:

Start: 219lb
Now: 218lb

Only got in one workout over the past ten days, mainly because Iconosphere messed with my schedule. I'll get in at least three per week starting tomorrow.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I fired the developer of my site. I've developed quite a few websites over the past decade, and this guy was full of more excuses than Mark Foley. Anyway, got rid of his ass last week and you'll probably see me on the People's Court getting my money back. Talked to my lawyer and he says I have a open and closed case for a refund. Offered the guy a chance to make a partial, but surprise, didn't hear from him. I did my part in offering him a chance to not pay everything back. Now, the Small Claims will do their part.

But not all is lost. I had a backup plan, and should be ready in two weeks. If I'd gone with my original plan, would have been up and ready around September 1st. But now, we're looking at two weeks. C'est La Vie.

BTW, my Raiders are terrible.

Friday, October 13, 2006

This Weekend Goals...

1. Write five observations for Iconoculture (reduced quota for this week due to Iconosphere): DONE
2. Write 5000 words for MS
3. Write summary of the fiction manuscript
4. Write character description for fiction manuscript
5. Rewrite story for The Bestsellers. Figure out whether to do a beat sheet or Tim's overview (IN PROGRESS RIGHT NOW)
6. Write beats for Secrets & Lives (DONE)

This is going to be a great week for my writing. My Thursday producer course isn't meeting this week, so I only have my Wednesday 434. So for this week, I'm waking up and focusing on NOTHING but writing. It's time to make serious headway, particularly on MS, on all of my projects.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


The past two days have been spent at the Beverly Hilton at the first Iconosphere. It's our confab where clients come in and learn about the company and also get a chance to meet Iconoculture folks to tend to only talk to on the phone. The same goes for intra-company. We all get to see each other and in some cases, meet each other for the first time.

You can always tell how a company views itself by how they hold these confabs. I like how Iconoculture did this. Holding it at the Beverly Hilton was a great touch; first class, and nice for your clients. It shows that you value them. And as employees, I could feel that we were all excited to be there. Not that fake excited that happens when everyone hates their job, but an excited that comes with believing that what you do REALLY does have a value. That's how I felt as I answered client questions. And that's all you can really ask out of a job.

On the UCLA front, we read your stories, and Tim (my 434 teacher) asked if you would be interested in making one of my characters a man. At first, it didn't make sense, but then I thought about it and wondered why I hadn't thought of it. He said that it could make the story more commercial, and baby, I'm Mr. Commercial. So I'm changing the character. Next up: Treatment

The books: Need to meet with Lexington, but just haven't had the time. He's been cool about trying to set it up, but I think it'll move to next week.

Meeting with Krystal on Friday to go over the episodes.

I need sleep.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Working On...

My assignment for Tim's 434. Before I start writing The Bestsellers (and ignore the page count on the right. That's going to zero 'cause I'm starting over), we need to write a two page story (which is down from the three I'd written before), a letter from the protag and antag to their lover, and then an obit for both the protag and antag. Lastly, I need an obsession for the protag and antag. Cool, almost done. I'm at the obit right now. I'll be done within the hour.

Went to the gym this morning, and did a full 45 on the Lifecycle. Felt good. Tomorrow, I'm getting up at the crack of dawn to do another 45. I have to be at the Beverly Hilton by 8am for Iconosphere. That'll be all day, and thank god my day is clear. Speaking of classes, it looks like I'll be taking only two classes. And that's probably good because I still have an ass load of writing to complete. But after December 15th, I'm free of commitments. Until then, I've got mad shit to do.

Holla at ya later...

Listening to:
Violent Femmes
Jack Johnson
Nic Armstrong
Ben Lee
Del Amitri
The Exies

Sunday, October 08, 2006

What I accomplished...

I think writing my observations on Saturday (for the job) is going to work. I'm spending the week looking for things that I think are interesting, and surprisingly, there are a lot of things. Plus, my contacts are starting to come through with interesting article they're writing. So that's pretty good.

I wrote ten this Saturday, and I only have five to do this week because we're having a company confab called Iconosphere. Iconosphere is a presentation where we talk with our clients about what we do and how we do it. Not a bad idea. I'll be there on Tuesday and Wednesday to offer advice and also help out the main African American strategist.

I'm finally in Tim Albaugh's 434 class, and everyone who's taken him has sung his praises. He's a cool guy and I'm hoping, as with all of my 434 classes, to learn something I didn't know. I want each script at UCLA to be progressively better.

Our first assignment is two write a two page story, a letter from our protag and antag to their mistress (or in my case, their master? My protag and antags are women), and the obituary of both. I've rewritten the three page story to The Bestsellers, and made it much more sharp. Amazing, but all this summer, I thought the story was crisp and cool. The minute I know I have to turn it into someone, I can instantly see the holes. Next, I'm going to finish the rest of the assignment.

Tomorrow, I'll see if I can get into the documentary course to fulfill one of my critical studies requirements. The Kevin Smith thing meant that I missed the first class. Hopefully, that won't be a problem. But we'll see. It looks like I'll have class all day on Monday until 10pm, and then partly on Wednesday. That's 18 units, which will take me to 62 units. I only need 72 units to graduate, so theoretically, I could take two classes in the winter quarter and then pass on my spring quarter. We'll see.

As for the book, didn't really get a chance to write. But no worries. Ten weeks till D-Day. The new goal is to write 5000 words per week, keying on Tuesdays and Thursdays as the main writing times.

For Secrets and Lives, I need to meet with Krystal. Dave Johnson, my 434 teacher last spring, has agreed to read it and offer advice, which is cool. I need to flesh out the character sketches Krystal and I worked on, create a story for the pilot, and then do a beat sheet. Krystal needs to plot out the thirteen episodes for her thesis, but I think I'm going to let her do that. Ted Frank told me that this is really unnecessary if a series gets picked up because when the writers get together, the stories have to be approved anyway, so there's no reason to plot it out. But I'm pretty sure Krystal has to do it for her exercise. Now that my schedule is getting set, I can schedule a regular time to meet with her.

I need to write a summary of my fiction manuscript. I submitted a couple of potential titles, but honestly, I'm not happy with them. It's my fault because nothing come to mind. But it'll come.

More than likely, I'll need a hotel weekend to write. Don't know when, probably sometime in October, but it'll be soon.

I paid my UCLA reg fees last week, so it's time to head to the gym. So the official weight loss countdown begins tomorrow morning when I head to the gym for the first time in about eight, no ten weeks. Remember guys, it's 35lbs in twelve weeks. I'm about to get as fit as Issac on Celebrity Fit Club. lol

Friday, October 06, 2006

Dropped the Kevin Smith Class...

Had to do it. One, the time commitment was going to be waaaaaay to much for me. Thought the writers would be on a fixed schedule, but no haps. Also, I think I've noted before that I'm a believer in red flags, and this class was full of more red flags than the old Soviet Union on May Day.

Better to get out before you sign your name to the dotted line and be happy, versus trudging through and be angry. All opportunities aren't created equal for every person. The brilliant Howard Suber once said, and my screenwriting friend Phil reminded me (and Phil dropped the class too), that the best and smartest thing you can tell this industry from time to time is one simple word: no.

Just got back from speaking at Albany State, and I've got to tell you. When you speak at an historically black college, it's like speaking in front of your family at Thanksgiving. It's fun as hell, people you''ve never met treat you like you're a long lost relative, and they try to fill you up with as much food as possible. And the food is ALL good. I spoke at 10am after flying into Atlanta at midnight, and then driving three hours to Albany. Told the Holiday Inn cat at the front desk, the one with the ponytail, but bald on top, that I needed an eight thirty am wake up call. Uh, never happened. No biggie. This isn't my first time at the rodeo. I go to sleep at four am, but keep the television on. That way, I wake up periodically. Works like a charm, except you don't get a solid four hours of sleep.

Lecture, then to a luncheon, and then on a puddle jumper back to Atlanta then LAX.

Monday, October 02, 2006

What I'm Listening to...

The first day of school is done. Went to the Kevin Smith class. MUCH better. We're still working on stuff, but much better atmosphere. Tomorrow, I pitch Linda and then send Tim a summary for my 434. I speak in Albany, Ga. as I close out the lecture schedule I'd made prior to Iconoculture. BTW, this is what's playing now on my iPod. If you're never listened to Prefab, you're missing out...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Work to do this week...

Observations for Iconoculture written. Tomorrow, I will write all day on the book. The hope: 5000 words. All day. I'll start by getting up in the morning and watching Manchester United versus Newcastle. And then NFL all day. I feel bad because grad school and my work really limits how much family time I can allocate, but Langston is going to his art class, so at least he gets to get out of the house. My book is due in ten weeks, and that means I need to write at least five thousand words per week. No execeptions. It's gonna be a hellava ride. Still working on a name for the fiction manuscript. Need to have that and cover ideas, which I might add, is the first time I've been asked about cover ideas since the Divine Nine. But I really can't complain about Kensington covers. I've pretty much liked them.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Hold Me Back...

So I land this morning, run to the Lot C bus at LAX, hop in the Jeep, speed down a CROWDED 405 freeway, roll into the UCLA parking lot, and arrive at the Kevin Smith class about fifteen minutes late. So I miss a segment on what the hell we're actually doing. No sweat, so I think. This meeting was scheduled a day before, where the professors changed the times, fucking up my flight schedule from San Jose. And it added sixty eight bones to the credit card and a 5:30am wake up call is the result. But I have my ass in the seat. The professors strongly encouraged us to attend, but you COULD cop out and not show up, which some people did. Again, my ass was in the seat.

So one professor talks yada, yada, yada. Great. Got it. My boys are in the class, and what I missed, I'll get later. So next on the agenda is the head of the producing dept. She starts talking the usual yack about the class, what's going on, how great we are, etc. Then she asks if we have any questions. Cool. Here's my chance to find out what I missed. I ask a question. She says that should have been gone over. Okay. But the other professor says that I came in late. She then turns with steely eyes and says no one ever comes in late to her class. Huh? This is grad school, not homeroom. People have real jobs, and mine happens to take me to San Jose, Palookaville and all points between. So I stare, tripping that she's calling me out like I'm at St. B's. She then says that in her class, if people are one second late, they get a grade less. So I'm stewing. I'm tired, sleepy, and now super pissed. I'm STILL fucking pissed. That's cool. I think she may remember that last year, I was the only screenwriter to attend the so called Town Hall meeting and questioned why we don't have classes on television. She didn't seem pleased by that. Well, I pay good scrilla to learn about television. She talked about some class that happened years before I got into the program. Great. That'll help me.

Anyway, I talked with my screenwriting boys and they had some great ideas. We'll try to see how "cutting edge" this class is going to be. It's all experimentation, and I think we can do something interesting. But that shit has me jacked.

Do You Know The Way To San Jose?

It's 7am and I'm chilling at the San Jose Airport. Last night, I spoke at San Jose State, and had a great time. The students were enthusiastic and it was a great lecture to start the year with. I rarely speak in Cali, even though I live here, so the short commute from my sofa to their podium was delightful. I had to take an early flight because there's an explanatory meeting for this Kevin Smith class. Can't miss that.

Each week, I'm responsible for ten observation articles, and I think I'm going to always research during the week, and turn them in on Saturdays. I've quickly learned that everything that I think is a good observation, doesn't necessarily resonate with me a couple of hours later. Better to give them good information than filler.

According to my editor, they need a title for my fiction manuscript by the end of the weekend. Nothing is rolling off the brain right now, but I need to give it the college try. If I pick a title that I hate, I'll hate it for eternity. Maybe I should choose something Latin or German, just to be different. Yeah, maybe not.

Next week is the official start of PITCHING for 434s. I'm going to have to write a pitch for one teacher because I'm flying out for another lecture.

Participated in our annual "Inside Baseball" session with the 1st year students. This is when Hal and Richard give them the official scoop about the department, and generously I might add, allow the students to give the young'un the real scoop on what to do, how to do it, and where to go. The first years were full of the same questions we were, everything sounding like pig latin to them. A lot were worried about how many classes to take, and a surprising number of critical studies course questions. Funny, but I really wasn't worried about those classes. And even more surprising, considering these are screenwriting students, not a lot of writing questions. But it's probably for the better. We'd only scare them. lol

Honestly, I feel it's best to let them bask in the whole "I'm in the UCLA Film School fool!" feeling, and then let the reality of the work set in later. There's sort of a transition that happens when the work becomes more and more part of your life, and the whole prestige thing begins to fade a bit. Not that you're not proud to be in the film school, but you're more interested in writing a good script, finishing a good scene, or getting rid of that damned on the nose dialogue. Let the relatives brag on you, you've got work to do.

Did I mention that I had lunch with Ted Frank, the exec from NBC? And did I mention that it was the single most informative, outstanding, lunch I've ever had? The man has wisdom and I'm thunderstruck that he's been generous enough to impart it to me. I have big time goals, particularly in television, and he really helped craft my year long plan to achieve them. I knew I had to write a spec script at some point in time, but he gave me some good advice on the type of spec to write and when to have it done. Soooo, since I'm going to be chock full of project until December, I'm not going to try to write anything that's not on the agenda right now. It would be unrealistic and poorly done. But I am going to watch and record episodes of two dramas I'd like to spec. One will by Grey's Anatomy, and the other a procedural like Law and Order. I know those shows like the back of my hand, so I know the voices, plot, etc. If I can have them done by March, life will be good.

Alright, it looks like we're going to board in a few minutes, and my Southwest "B" boarding pass is my ticket to a middle seat. So I'll holla at ya later.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


After thinking about it, I think I'm adjusting my weight goals. I was watching Celeb Fit and folks were losing about 15% of their body weight. I started thinking, maybe that's what I'll do? I'll lose 15% of my body weight. So I will go from a husky 218lbs to 185lbs. I haven't seen that far south of two hunny since I was married in '92. But hey, what's the world but creating outrageous goals? Thirty two pounds lost in twelve weeks. That's a doable goal.

So as Harveh would say, beginning this Monday:

"Yoh tahgit wait lawse foh this week is foh pounds. Good luck to ya."

Starting Weight: 218lbs
Weight Today: 218lbs

School's About to Start...

On Sunday, another 2nd year screenwriter (Robyn) and I organized the annual 1st year Screenwriting party. A bit of beer, a bit of pizza, add a few speeches, about twenty five battle hardened 2nd years dispensing advice and you're done. It's funny to see the students so enthusiastic, ready to conquer the world with their words. It makes you remember that writing (for money in particular) is the best job in the world, and to get a chance to spend two or three years doing it damn nirvana. So a great time was had by all.

Met with Krystal, my USC Starkie compadre and we fleshed out the characters for our new, upcoming, blockbuster television show. It was real fun because she knows what the hell she's doing. I hate incompetence, and also hate NEAR competence. I like people who know what they're doing, and then do it. I have a funny feeling that we're going to do damage in this industry. The Brotha and Sista Wreckin'shop in television. I love it.

We start pitching 434s next week, however the Kevin Smith class requires me to be on campus at 6am on Monday. Wow.

This week, I'm writing a bit more book, I meet with Ted Frank on Wednesday, and then fly to San Jose to speak at San Jose State on Thursday. Next week, it's Albany State in Georgia. And then there's a new gig at Central Connectict State in mid October.

With Iconoculture, I'm still trying to get the voice down. I have a ton of information to write about, but I want to make sure that I get it right. I think I have to get out of the straight journalism style and move to an editorial style (hence my title of African American editorial strategist). It takes a bit to understand that I CAN have an opinion on what I'm reporting. Time to give it a bit of edge.

As for getting back in shape, when the quarter begins, I begin. Right now, I'm at a lumpy 218lb. So it's back to working out. I may, although April laughed, get on my mountain bike and ride the four blocks to campus each day. I can see me riding to campus, but being mad pissed riding back. But anyway, the goal this quarter is to move from 218lbs to 200lb. I figure that the folks on Celebrity Fit Club can do it, so why can't I? And this give me an excuse to do my Sgt. Harvey Walden imitation:

"Yoh tahgit wait lawse foh this week is foh pounds. Good luck to ya."

It all starts on Monday.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Everything is set...

In about ten days, I'm going to start the most challenging year of my life. And the future is mighty bright. A book in copyedit, and another one due in December. I have two other manuscripts half way done, and I can afford to leisurely finish them. Lastly, the publisher wants me to update the Divine Nine. So on the book front, I'm set.

As for UCLA: I have my normal 434 script-o-rama, the Kevin Smith project, and the collaborative thesis script with the Starkie.

And for the Iconoculture, I have my observation and trend articles each week.

As Grady would say, Good Goobally Goo.

My mantra is to work efficiently, work constantly, and work intelligently. Focus. Focus. Focus.

This weekend, I'm going to post my proposed daily schedule. It's going to be a bit crazy, but as the year progresses and projects are finished, the load gets progressively lighter. I will have no free time for the foreseable future, but if you want success, you need to go for it. I hate people who get hung up on "coulda, shoulda, wouldas". Be like Nike and Just Do It.

Competing in Film School...

By my very nature, I'm a VERY competitive person. I like to test myself, prepare myself, and then compete in order to see if I can win at various competitions. If we're playing dominoes, I'm going to whomp you up, talk about you as I do it, and then psychological f* with you to the point where I'll have YOU pick the domino out of my hand that will continue your demise. I'm that good.

But one of the more unfortunate things about this thing called Hollywood is that we compete against our friends. We send out scripts, folks judge them, and some get hired for the job, scripts get sold, while others don't. Then suddenly, things can quickly turn on their head. The people who got hired get fired, the folks with sold scripts never sell anything else and end up selling insurance, and the person who was overlooked at the beginning is now thanking the Academy. You just never know.

I bring this up because I was picked to be one of the screenwriters on this Kevin Smith project. On one hand, I'm excited because I'm sacrificing time with the family, my financials, etc. in order to get and exploit opportunities like this. This is an opportunity to work on a real production that will be seen by thousands of students on the college network MTVu. But on the other hand, I feel absolutely terrible for my buddies who didn't get selected. Actually, I feel like someone kicked me in the stomach. I'm the type of guy who wants every good person I know to have success, mainly because I believe that if you help, inspire, encourage, and give of yourself to others, you get paid in spades. I think I learned that when I was a high school student at Loyola High in LA. Men for Others was our motto and I never forgot it.

Competition in this biz is a way of life, and you can't avoid it. But I really wish there was a better way. I sure would sleep a lot better if there was.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Welcome Back, Tia!

I see my girl Tia is back! I'll answer your comments later today or tomorrow. Who else is reading the blog? It's always hard for me to know. If you're reading, send me a quick hey.

Back working on the book. My white board says that I'm to be at 35,000 words by the end of the month. Nine days, and fifteen thousand words. I'm writing right now, and I still have Iconoculture stuff to do, so we'll see. I have to average about one thousand words a day to get this book done, so time to get back working. Now that I know what Iconoculture is going to take to get done, I'm starting to feel an equilibrium. I can do this, because I always knew this, like Brutus.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


The indestructible Powerbook G4 became destructible two days ago. The hard drive crashed, so it was a nervous trip to my boys at Mac 911 in Santa Monica. Been going there forever and they give you great personal service. So, with a new 120GB hard drive, new DVD (that had crapped out about two weeks ago) and a general clean up, the G Money is good to go. Oh, there was one issue. One of my NBC scenes was adios, so I had to ask my boys to see if they'd kept a copy. One had, thank god. Speaking of the NBC scenes...

I sent them in today. After vetting them with three of my UCLA screenwriting comrades, along with Hal's comments, I made changes that I think made them work. Scenes out of context are hard to do, but I think I did it without making them pure exposition. We'll see.

Just finished my expense report for the Minneapolis trip. OH, I FORGOT! Now, sit down. Hold on to your seat, because you won't believe it. I FINALLY received my check from Savoy magazine. No, seriously. I have to give Hermene one bit of credit. She did send it on September 5th, but it was sent to my old address. But ya nevah know when you spend a year and a half waiting to get paid. But three cheers for being a PRO-ACTIVE and aggressive writer!

Things to do:

I need to write about two thousand words on the book.
I have about three more observations left and two trend articles for Iconoculture. I'll do those tonight.
Kensington wants me to do an update of The Divine Nine. We'll see.
I meet with Ted Frank from NBC next week, and I need to schedule my appointment with Johnathan Rodger at TV One. I'm trying to coordinate the upcoming school schedule, with my need to go to NYC, blah, blah, blah.
I lecture at San Jose State next week.
Working on the characters and plot of Secrets & Lies.

One of the good things is that a lot of my schedule will be knocked out one by one, freeing me a lot.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Observations from Oakland...

Langston showing me his "Hulk" face...You don't want to make him angry...

Flew all day from Minneapolis and landed just in time to meet the wife and son at his parent/teacher conference. I'm VERY cognizant of how important it is for me to be at my son's events. There will be no therapy sessions for Langston because Dad never cared enough to be there. No siree. Not the kid. Also, no one will ever say that Langston's dad wasn't around. It's especially important for little black boys to understand that it is the norm and not the unusual for his father to be at every event and involved. And I'm happy to say that tons of fathers were at St. B's last night.

So I chilled at the crib for about twelve hours before having to head out to LAX for a trip to Oakland. Southwest, which never really lets me down, was an hour late. So that meant I was about thirty minutes late for my meeting with Donna, the head of the AA unit at Iconoculture. The crackberry was decharged, so a warning call was out, which just makes a bad sit even worse. But Donna was MAD cool. We had a great convo and I think this brother and that sister can make a great partnership because we know what the hell we're doing. And NEVER let black folks who are experts get the opportunity to shine. We'll break records kid.

So right now, I'm chilling in the Oakland Airport Holiday Inn Express, and you know, I really do feel a bit smarter. I'm a "Gold Priority Club" member, which just means I spend way too much time on the road, and so they gave me one of their newer rooms. At first, I thought, whoopee. But when I rolled into the room, it looked like a legit suite. Two flat screen televisions, one over the bed and another at the "living room". Just the perfect place for me to write. And write I will do tonight and tomorrow.

On the immediate agenda is to finish my NBC Showcase scenes. They're due on September 20th, and after having received notes from a few folks, I'm ready to make some changes. I'll do that tomorrow during the day. I have an interview for the book later Saturday night. Speaking of books...

Had a bit of conflict with Kensington that I initiated. Can't really go into it, but there needed to be some bell ringing at the publishing house and I'm not sure anyone was listening before I took a hammer and started banging that bell. Anyway, Manie did a good job repping me in this, which makes me respect him even more. He may not have agreed with my strategy (which he didn't) but he still did his job. But at the end, I feel a LOT better about the control I have as it pertains to writing books.

One last observation...Mike Epps just ain't funny. Seriously. He just ain't. And sometimes I think the divide in the black community can be determined by those who think he's hilarious and those who thinks he's a hack who relies on saying "nigga" to get a laugh. Maybe it's just me...

Takin' it back to the '80s...I'm Audi 5000!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In the land of the Purple Rain...

Hey all,

Been kicking it Minneapolis for the last couple of days. Flew into Prince's city on 9/11. LAX and the plane were so empty, I could have thrown a football down the length of the aisle seats and never hit anyone. But we did have a treat in first class. Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul were in first class. The wife knows Randy and says he's mad cool, and he was when I introduced myself.

The training was surprisingly pleasant. The people friendly, and Iconoculture has a product that I can TOTALLY get with. Basically, it's a wholistic versus quantitative approach to marketing. I think I talked about how author Daniel Pink said the MFA degree is the new MBA degree. Iconoculture is a perfect example. I get started on writing articles in the next day or so. is closer to beta. The non-functional design is up, so you can take a look at it. Just don't click on anything.

My Raiders got blown. Manchester United beat Celtic (yeah!). Cal plays Portland State on Saturday.

I fly out tomorrow and then fly into Oakland on Friday.

...To my boy Phil, congrats on the twins!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Got Some Stuff Done...

Cal won today, which is the most important thing. But other than that, I wrote the treatment for Secrets & Lives, the pilot script I'm writing for Krystal, the USC producer. I figured I'd knock that out asap because I'm flying to Minneapolis on Monday for training. I'll fly out of there on Thursday, and then fly up to Oakland on Friday for another Iconoculture meeting. While in Oakland, I'm going to take care of some book business.

Next on the agenda: Finish filling out the benefits forms.

Tomorrow: I'm on the fundraising committee for my Fraternity, so we have a brief meeting. I'm also meeting with the programmer for my site. I'm not very happy with his lack of updates, but all is well if he gets it done right and on time.

The Book: I will write about a good thousand words tomorrow, just to get my oil going. During the week, I will split time between gathering info for Iconoculture during the day, and writing on the book during the night.

Starting my movie watching again: Watched Being John Malkovich again, but this time as a screenwriter. Charlie Kaufman is brilliant. But I think folks know that.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Wonders of Red Bull...

I'd never drank Red Bull before this week, but it really does give you that spark. I know I'm years behind, but damn, the drink is the bomb. Now, can I just come down from it???? LOL

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I'm sleepy, but I have a bunch of things to do.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Officially Full of Projects...

This morning, I went to the gym. Yeah. I got on the Lifecycle, and only lasted thirty minutes. Boo. But, it was a start.

I had my first day at Iconoculture, and I've got to say, folks are mad cool. Really. From the head down. There's a ton of company terminology and methodology to learn, and I'm going to spend time this week getting it down.

On the book front, I accepted my editor's offer to extend my deadline to December 14th. You know how in the movies, fireworks go off when good news happens? Well, that's what happened when I received her email. Now, I can plot out my interviews over the next few months, versus trying to cram them into a month and a half.

Lastly, I've picked up my last writing project for the year. Krystal, the sister in USC's Stark program, and I are going to collaborate on a television pilot. She will use this pilot as her thesis. Hopefully, as we both graduate from our respective universities, we'll have sold it to a money bags network. Bully for us!

But that's all for the year. I was going to take the Kevin Smith class, but that will take too much time. This quarter, I'll take my 434 and one critical studies class (I think the documentary course). I'll do the same thing in the winter quarter, and then flow out of UCLA with another 434.

For the year: Iconoculture, 434s, the book, and this pilot. Each requires a part of my brain, and steady concentration. But I got up today with my game face on. I like that. Keeping me busy keeps me focused.

Monday, September 04, 2006

NBC Scripts...

No work on the book this weekend, but I did write two drafts of the two scenes I'm submitting to NBC showcase. I sent them out to my boys for notes, and I'll polish them this week.

Tomorrow, I have an Iconoculture welcome call at 9am, so I'm getting up early and going to the gym. The gym, that thing I've neglected as I've consumed boxes of Breyers Ice Cream bars. Not very good. Not gained a bunch of weight, just feel lumpy.

For Iconoculture, I'm continuing to set up my list of experts. Bought about seventy dollars worth of black magazines, and I'll soon be on their comp list. I have to fill out all of the employee docs and fax them into the company. I need to continue to send emails to NABJ members about receiving their articles.

As for the book, I'll write another two thousand words tomorrow. I'm pretty focused now, and I don't think I'll have a problem writing a lot more regular. I still have some interviews to do, but I should be around 60,000 by the end of the month. The original deadline was October 15th, but my editor should get back to me about a new deadline.

Manie will be taking care of some business at Kensington, so that should be interesting.

At UCLA, I'm on the 1st year orientation party committee. Nothing much, but I have to get pizzas, beer, etc. On the stress level, this is a one.

Cal got blasted, spoiling my football weekend. is ten days from beta launch.

Received more information about the Kevin Smith class. Even at this late date, it's still pretty vague. We have to submit an audition paper by this Friday. I'll take one of my scenes and turn it in. It's also one of the few, if only, class where we have to give up our rights. At UCLA, we keep the rights to our works, unlike USC if I'm correct. So this has caused a bit of a tizzy among students.

Need to schedule trips to both Oakland for Iconoculture and NYC for the book.

I've very, very, glad that I wrote the story for my fall 434 script. That's one thing I don't have to think about.

I have a full day tomorrow, but what's really cool is that I like that. Keeps me focused. I also like that as I finish my projects throughout the year, my load lightens. By the time I graduate, I should only have Iconoculture, my Masters degree, and loads of time to write whatever project I want to write, be it more books or screenplays.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Come a Long Way Baby...

As September begins, school is back on the horizon, and so I think it's a good thing to say where I am, and what I have to do.

1. Took job as African American editorial strategist, Iconoculture. I start next Tuesday.
2. Money Shot (Non-Fiction) due October 15th, however editor says I can have more time if I want.
3. Untitled Fiction: More Later...
4. Invited to write three scenes for NBC Diversity Showcase: Due September 20th
5. School begins September 28th. Along with my 434, I think I'll take a doc class
6. Beta on September 15th

I have to take a couple of trips this month. I need to fly to Oakland to meet with my Iconoculture supervisor, and then I need to roll to NYC.

As the year goes on, my writing load will actually lessen. Money Shot will be around 75% done by the end of the month. So that will drop off soon. Untitled fiction is waiting for edit, so that will drop off. After that, I will only have two consistent writing assignments: My Iconoculture work and my quarterly script. And then, after graduation, the scripts will drop off. Slaveryland will be added to the schedule at some point, but that's about 40% done already. For 2007, the only question will be what I will choose as my next non-fiction book proposal, and where my television/film writing career is heading. I may have a write for hire gig for a script Krystal from USC is developing. So, we'll see.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It's Official...

It's a official, y'all. I'm the African American Strategist for Iconoculture. Basically, my job is to observe trends within the African American community, so businesses can create strategies to better approach their African American clientele. It is the best of both worlds for me, as I get to write to my heart's content, while I scratch my business itch by studying the African American consumer. Remember what I said about disappointment creating new opportunities (re: NBC/NAACP Fellowship)? Well, here's proof.

I'm ready to go, and although my official start date is on September 5th, I'm already beginning to work.

Taking a meeting...

The little boy was dressed in his smart Catholic uniform for his first day of school. My son is absolutely wonderful, and smart as a whip. HOWEVER, he's been lip syncing part of the prayers, and at a Catholic school, that's a no-no. I can't have that, since that makes me look bad. So it's ten Hail Mary's a day for him.

Today, I had a great meeting with a sister who goes to the USC film school. She's in the Stark producing program, and I think we really vibed. As I write or develop projects, I look for producers in the UCLA program that I can work with. At UCLA, I have two, and now I have a person at USC. She really likes Men of their Times, and thinks with some tweaks, it can sell. I was very impressed.

With the job beginning on next Monday, I'm changing my schedule a tad. From now on, I'm going to bed at 1am, versus my mad early morning hours. I'll start my day at 7am. Six hours of sleep and I feel like I'm on vacation.

The background check is done,and the reference check will be done tomorrow. I have a conversation with the CEO of the company tomorrow morning. After everything is finished, I will then start contacting my contacts. I've got a BILLION contacts in my roladex, so it's going to take a bit.

Added about 500 words to the book. I think I'm going to average about 1000-1500 for the rest of the time. On the weekends, I'll do a little bit of editing to make sure this thing makes sense.

For the NBC scenes, I've taken a script I'd already written, and mined it for a good scene. A little craftwork, and it'll be good to go. My other scene will be created from Bestseller, while the third scene will be a dramatic one from MOTTs. I'll finish them, send them out to my boys for critical notes, and then re-write them. No muss, no fuss.

After a few stumbles, continues to develop. I will see a draft tomorrow morning.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

In My Head...

He's John Basedow...he's gonna show you reach your potential...and to turn your...whole life around! Fitness Made Simple!

John Basedow is either making a gazillion dollars or he just wants to indoctrinate us into his mullet and muscles cult. I just don't know.

Making progress on the book. Just wrote about 1500 words, and I'm not even done. It's 1:17am, my normal writing time, and I feel footloose and fancy free. I think I may write about one thousand more words, and then relax on Sunday.

I've been invited to write two new comedic scenes for an NBC Diversity Showcase, so I'm thinking about a few different situations. They're not due until late September, so I can write them at my leisure.

As for UCLA, I'm a mentor for three eager first year students, and I talked to one of my mentees two days ago. I think it's difficult to explain what you get out of UCLA until you actually experience it, because then your goals will become very clear. Does that make sense? Anyway, I tried to give her some good advice.

Yesterday I talked with one of my frat brothers about applying to the producer program. He will excel, but I think he's not sure about spending two years in school. I made the pitch, but I'll have him talk to a couple of producers in the program.

Next week, I'm going to talk to my agent about my fiction project at Kensington. Can't say now, but I want a few changes. More later.

The new job is doing their background check. That should be done next week. My background is pretty sterling, so no worries. My start date is Sept. 5th. I'm itching to start.

Manchester United has won three out of three to begin the season, Arsenal has only one point, and Chelsea has already lost a game. I know that doesn't mean crap to most of you, but believe me, it makes me as happy as watching the Lakers win by forty.

The little boy goes to school on Monday, and of course the ole Catholic school changed the uniform, crest, and everything else, so it's a whole new wardrobe. Thanks St. B's!

No chocolate. No exercise. But still lost three pounds to 214lbs.

Been going over my daily schedule. With the new job, I need to keep my schedule nice and tight. I think I'll get up at 6am when the wife does, and head to the gym for a good hour workout. That gets you up and ready for the day. After that, I'll break the day up with research, writing and then class. For the job, I have to use my contact to find things, and I literally have about one thousand of them. So as soon as I get the okay, I'm going to start calling them and telling them what I'm doing. That will be a part of my schedule. And instead of staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning, I'm going to go to bed at 1am. I only need five hours of sleep a night, and I can get a lot of rest in on the weekends.

More later...

Friday, August 25, 2006


I opened Slaveryland for the first time in a while. I started writing it over a year ago, and then put it up because of my other fiction/non fiction work, but I read it and although it's not finished, it's pretty damn good. And with the current controversy around Mark Burnett's decision to divide teams by race, Slaveryland moves from an absurdist piece to one rooted in reality, which is mad strange. But that's why writers are tasked with writing about things that are absurd. You never know when the absurd will turn into the everyday normal. So getting it's own progress bar once again is Slaveryland. It's an extreme low priority compared to my other projects, but it'll be the next fiction manuscript I submit.

Good News...

Hey all,

Good news! I accepted a formal offer from the company today. The only thing left is for them to talk to my references, which is a formality, and then I start on September 5th. I'm ready to go. Once everything is official, I'll tell you who I'm now working for.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

No Writing Last Night...

Last night, I decided to rest. But today, two thousand more.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back on schedule...

Said two thousand words, and did two thousand words. It's 3:45am right now, and I'm going to stop. But feel another two thousand for tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Can we say that our president is insane, and that Iraq is a quagmire? I mean, Jesus, one hundred Iraqis are dying each day and we keep on keeping on. So frustrating. And I swear that our current administration doesn't care.

Two Thousand Words...

I'm going to write about two thousand words today.

Big Day Tomorrow...

After four interviews, a writing sample, and a credit check, I have a conference call with company executives where my sample will be grilled. Sort of like having to defend a thesis, I imagine. I look forward to it.

Hey, have you ever learned something simple, but so damn helpful, that you wonder how you survived before you learned it? I got my dreadlocks washed at Heroik Entertainment in Leimert Park by my boy Akeem. He had has locks tied in a way that kept them off the back of his neck. Now, I've been trying FOREVER to get them off my neck, particularly when it's touching 100 degrees in LA. My locks go to the middle of my back, which is cool and all, but when it's hot, my neck feels like it's on fire. So he showed me a tie up that works, and daggumit, I can't stop putting my locks up. I'se free y'all.

Writing tonight? Still thinking about it. No chocolate today, but I made a delicious batch of chicken chili for the fam. I may play a bit of dominoes, and then open up Money Shot. If I feel like writing, I will. If not, I'll give myself the night off.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

An Addict...

Maybe it was all of those Pepperidge Farms Soft Baked Milk Chocolate Cookies I bought at 2 for $5? Maybe it was that bag of Doritos? I don't know, but whatever it was, I think I've had my fill. 217lbs and feeling fat. No, make that hot and fat, and there's nothing worse than that. My chocolate has been helping me write, at least that's what my brain has said, but the old waist band is beginning to stretch. So it's cold turkey once again. Back to eating healthy Kashi bars and eight bottles of Dasani water. The gym, a place I haven't visited this month, has an appointment with me. The goal this time? Purge the taste of that evil chocolate from my mouth, eat nothing by chicken for the next few months, avoid carbs like the plague, get back on the situp/pushup regiment, and go to the gym for 45 minutes of Lifecycle per day, at least three days a week. I HAVE to do this because in two weeks, the danger period of my life begins. That's the start of football season and the delicious foods and drinks associated with it. So goodbye bad munchies, and hello healthy food. In reality, it's really not that bad. I think I only stop eating healthy when I get bored, and this time, it probably won't happen until the winter. 210lbs, here I come.

Listening to...

Inglewood's own Jazzyfatnastees...Underrated and underappreciated.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Go there. My boy from film school, Dan Johnstone gave me the word about six months ago, and it's the bomb.

Friday, August 18, 2006


I think I'm going to get a massage. There's a place in Brentwood, right around the corner from UCLA, called the Massage Place, and are the best. I played soccer again last night, and I feel stiff. My wind is getting a bit better, but damn, I still can't get used to the fact that I'm not 21 years old, or even 30. A brotha is getting wore out.

I had my pen ultimate interview with the company I hope to work for. Again, things went great. So now, I only have an hour conference about a writing sample. That's on Tuesday. Hopefully, things will be settled after that.

On the writing front, I have a bunch of stuff ahead of me. So I will write tonight, through the morning, and through Saturday. I think I'll stop on Sunday and take the fam out for Mexican food.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Another Photo from the Way Back...

One of my frat brothers sent me this photo. It's my sands Marty Smith (smiling) and me (pontificating), after we just finished running our annual stepshow. A beer or two may have been consumed. Caption not my own, but of course, it's quite true. lol

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Car Trouble...

Nothing better than driving the Jeep up to the Dodger stadium parking lot, and then smelling acrid smoke. And then having the Jeep stop in its tracks...with about one thousand cars behind me.

Took the little boy to the Dodgers/Giants game last night, but we didn't see one minute of the game. Had to call Triple AAA and get the Jeep towed to the Jeep dealership. Hopefully, it's something minor, but I think my clutch is fried. So that's a chunk out of the old budget.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Miss Snark...

Is the best damn blog on the book industry in the world. Seriously. Miss Snark is a literary agent and she, like most agents including my own, is blunt and straight to the point. I suggest ANYONE interested in writing a book click on the link to the right.

More writing tonight. Word count to be updated soon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Joe Had To Go...

It was a happy day yesterday, as Joe Lieberman was defeated in Connecticut. To often, he's been out for himself, and I don't care what people say, his public love fest with George Bush hurt the Democratic Party. Too often, he presented himself as a person who would take the sting out of Democratic criticisms of George Bush, and for that, Joe Had Ta Go.

Now, Democrats are starting to get away from the Democratic Leadership Council's Republican-lite philosophy and are starting to gain a backbone. And I for one will continue contributing to candidates who show a backbone. It does me no good to elect Democrats who are too scared to believe in anything. And I think Lamont's win got the attention of the Democrats who've been so insulated in DC that they don't understand the pulse of the country. The Republicans are pulling out the same old crap about cutting and running, but as my Texas grandfather used to say, that dog don't hunt anymore.

Phase One of the Killer App...

Phase one of my killer app for authors and book lovers is underway. In about five weeks, it will be complete, and I promise you, it will be the talk of the nation. Seriously. That's all I'll say.

Today, I've been writing. I haven't updated the word count, but I will at the end of the night. The goal, get to 15,000 by Friday, and 20,000 by Monday. Not a problem.

Sorry I haven't Blogged...

Took the son to a Dodger game two days ago. Looked over my Money Shot notes. It's 2:30am and I'm not writing right now, but the idea is to write about five thousand words between tomorrow and Friday, and then roll with about five thousand over the weekend. By next Monday, I should be at 20,000, which would be a good point to be.

Tomorrow, I have to talk to a few people that I've been trying to interview for months. One is that porn talent scout I meant to interview. I left a message, but nothing.

It's all coming together, but I think I'm just in the writer's blah mode. I was talking to my friend and fellow writer Eric Dickey, and he was saying he's in the same place. Can't fight it, just gotta go with it.

Still don't know what's happening with my manuscript at Kensington.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


I'm reading the 48 Laws of Power, and in this modern version of Machiavelli's The Prince, you really see how ruthless one must be to gain power. I guess that's why it appeals to a lot of hip hop artists, who are attracted to its principles. With anything, you have to make a decision whether the ends justify the means. But it's a great read.

It's 2am...

It's 2am and I haven't started writing yet. I've been watching a Discovery Channel documentary on three sistas who are video dancers. They all live in Toronto and each comes from a different circumstance. One is a single mother on welfare, another is in college, while another has danced since childhood. Each thinks that being in hip hop videos will make them stars, so they chase their dreams, sometimes working for nothing. It's obvious that these women are being exploited, and you might even think they're delusional thinking that they'll find fame as video dancers, but that would be wrong.

Everyone has to have a dream, something to get themselves up in the morning. The sista who puts on too much makeup and too little clothes, has a dream. It's just whether you understand the best way to make your dreams come true. What saddens me is that people get on their dream path without preparation, so they are doomed to fail. It doesn't matter how rich or poor you are, or how educated you are, if you don't have an informed plan, then you will either fail or spin in circles. And that's why one of the dancers ended up still dreaming, another deciding to travel the world, and another on tour with Missy Elliott. Guess which one had an informed plan?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Had a great time...

The wife and I went to my friend Dana's fortieth birthday (any brothas out there looking to meet a sweet and good looking sista, holla at me and I'll forward your info to her) and had a ball. Her fam is from New Orleans, so they second lined around the club. Hadn't seen that since my boy Rob and I would spend summers down in the Westbank eating gumbo, fried fish, crawfish, drinking Jack and playing golf while fighting red ants. Much fun had by all.

We found a babysitter in our neighbors daughter. She just has to be the sweetest thing on earth and did a great job. Langston was in bed, and on time. She's about to make a LOT of cash babysitting.

Time to get back to work. This weekend, I think I'm going to try to get to the 15,000 word mark.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I'm Rollin' Y'all...

It's 1:47am, I'm well rested, and I feel like my groove is back. I'm in Chapter Three of Money Shot. So far, I'm written about 700 words, but I think I can hit the 10,000 word mark by the end of the night. That means I'll be one eight done, and over a bit of a hump. I'm still on schedule, but can't have anymore lapses.

On another front, Johnathan Rodgers from TV One emailed me today. To say that Mr. Rodgers is a role model for any black man thinking about working in television is an understatement. He ran the Discovery Channel and put it on the map, and then became the CEO of TV One, BET's rival. He said there may be a possibility to work together and so I'll keep an eye on that. Remember what I said about keeping your head up for more opportunities?

Wrote a little bit on Bestseller. Not much because Money Shot has been flowing. Time to get back writing.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Today's Output..

Only about four hundred words today, but no sweat. Tomorrow, I'm going to contact one of the porn talent agencies and see if I can interview a few of their women clients. I'm looking for a woman who's about to start her first scene.

Good news on the NBC/NAACP scene. Even though I didn't get the fellowship, the fellow from NBC said that he wanted to meet with me after he got back from vacation. That's TREMENDOUSLY generous of him, and I'll meet with him in two weeks. See? Never get down because something doesn't go your way. Keep plugging away. I know this is cliche, but it takes many, many hammer strokes on marble to make a sculpture.

I need to see what's happening with my fiction project at Kensington. With Karen gone, they're going to assign another editor to it. When I last talked to Karen, she'd said that I'd receive the manuscript back with her notes around this time. Obviously, things have changed. So I'll call Manie.

It's 2:44am, and I think I'm going to write a little bit more on Bestseller. I SOOOOOOO have a better grasp of what I'm doing now. I've had a full year of watching movies (which I don't normally do) and the light bulb has come on in so many areas. Begining my 434 script now does a bunch of things. One, I'm going to do twenty units so that I can coast in the winter with only my 434 left to graduate. After that, I can figure out if I want to pay for my Spring quarter or just prep for book releases.

But I can also relax by writing Bestseller now. The ten weeks is pretty stressful, so why not see how it works when the stress is off? Lastly, I can use the 434 time to rewrite the script according to my 434 teacher's instructions.

Another thing. Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jersey Girl, et al) is teaching a podcast type of class this quarter. I applied and my writing partners in the program (Phil, Simon, Dave, etc) have applied too. This is going to be a good class.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Finished for the Night...

I did about one thousand words tonight. Not bad. Again, if I do about one thousand words a day, I'll be cool. I'm almost done with chapter 2, which is a sex scene. All of this is really a rough draft. If it gets to close so that I'm not able to turn in a polished manuscript by October 15th, then I'll ask for a few more days. Maybe to November 1st or 15th? Usually folks build that in anyway.

Also, if anyone wants an autographed copy of The Divine Nine: hard or soft cover, let me know. Or is you'd like a copy of Friends With Benefits, holla. My publisher just sent me a couple of boxes. The Divine Nine hard are $33 plus about $5 shipping, with the soft being $17 with $5 shipping. Friends is $14 with $5 shipping.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Well, I didn't get the NBC/NAACP Fellowship. My boy Yule got it, and honestly, I can't complain. He's a good brotha and a great writer. It's disappointing, but if I've learned one thing in the past is that I still need to keep my eyes open and ready for the next opportunity. I'm a great believer that when something doesn't go the way you want, another opportunity is right there waiting for you. Call me an optimist, but that's how I stay sharp. And that has guided my career so far.

Anyway, getting sick is a great weight loss program. I'm currently 213lbs, and feeling like shit. But I'm light as hell. I had a craving for smothered steak, garlic and butter rice, and french cut green beans, and damned if I didn't make slap ya momma good smothered steak, garlic and butter rice, and french cut green beans. Boy, that felt good.

Alright, time to write more porn tonight. I'm back on the word count, and I'm going to stay up late. The goal tonight: 3000 words to get the count to 10,000.