Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chillin' in Minny...

Flew into Minneapolis for the annual Icono company confab. My girl Donna, who does advisory for the African American unit, was in one of those VW commercial type accidents. She and her partner were hurt, so that has been pretty depressing. But they'll be okay. A little pained, but okay.

It's around 10 degrees right now, but I'm not looking to venture outside of the hotel anyway. More later...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Where I am...

Thanks for being patient, as I've tried to let my brain rest a bit. I'm still waking up at 4:30am each morning, but at least I've been getting to bed around 11pm. So, I'm getting a bit of sleep, and my body isn't trying to crash around mid day. So here's what I have on tap.

Icono: Last week was a weird week for me. I had good observations to write about, but the brain just wasn't firing on all cylinders. But I have an understanding editor, so no worries. Anyway, things are going along pretty smoothly, and I'm getting ready to flow out to Minneapolis next week for our all company confab. I'm actually looking forward to it because since we work in isolation, it's kind of like a field trip to see folks in the flesh. But being that I'm TERRIBLE with faces, it'll be a bit of torture for me as everyone will know me and my name (there are only three black folks in the company, and the other brother is about sixty) so it's not to hard to know me. But it should be fun.

Lecture: Spoke at Morehouse on Monday and I must say that these Morehouse men are impressive as hell. I made the determination that Langston will be going to Morehouse. I will be building a building at Morehouse. The Ross Center sounds good. The Lawrence Ross Center sounds even better.

USC Script: Met with Krystal, who has to be the only other person who is as busy as I am. She is acting as a showrunner for a USC pilot they're shooting, and also doing her thesis, which is my script. We have a hard deadline of February 22nd. I took down her notes, and I'm going to bang out a second draft by next week.

434 Script: Took a break from it. I know this story so well, I think I'm going to write about thirty pages this weekend. Really, it's sort of a no-brainer script, at least as a first draft.

Showcase: We have our first Showcase meeting tomorrow. This is where we let all of the first years know the deal. It's funny, I remember looking at the dour faces of the second years last year, and wondering why they were so lifeless. I understand now.

TheYack: The Publishers Weekly article came out and I've been deluged with different companies suddenly wanting to partner with us. We'll see what people have to say. I'll talk next week and then talk to my Anderson Business mentor about the needs I have for TheYack.

The Book: My editor is still reading the book. I need to find a new foreward person since my initial one flaked. Also, she wants some more analysis. Fair notes. I just need to know how long I have to do that analysis.

Slaveryland: Going over the manuscript, and I still like it. Actually, I REALLY like it. I have note inserts that tell me that I've been working on this novel for two years, which is a long time for me. But I think it's my next fiction manuscript to shop.

The wife and the kid are heading up to the Bay Area tomorrow. One of our best friend's, and the person who introed the wife to me, is having her 40th b'thday. So there's going to be a party. I'm flying up on Saturday so I can get my Icono work done in peace.

The Divine Nine is selling like hot cakes on Amazon. I got a random royalty check from William Morris for some book club revenue. That was nice.

My beloved Manchester United lost a heartbreaker to Arsenal. It still hurts.

I know I'm forgetting something, but I'll think of it later. Oh, I'm working with a trainer for the first time tomorrow. Getting my fat ass back in the gym.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Time Warner Cable and Internet is Terrible...

Ever since Time Warner took over from Adelphia (not a great company either), my cable and internet has been truly f*cked up. I have been dealing with sporadic outtages of both, to the point that I'm sponging Internet from a neighbor's unsecured line. Reboot, boot, reboot, doesn't matter. This is a perfect argument against monopolies and for market competition.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Still the funniest ad I've ever seen...

Here's an uncut version of the Office Linebacker.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


With my brain relaxed after sleeping most of the day, I've turned my attention to Slaveryland, my fiction manuscript. I haven't opened it in six months, but it still reads pretty good. I think this will be the next fiction manuscript that I have my agent shop.

I was doing a bit of a recap of my writing career and I started to get a bit amazed. I started writing full time in 1995, and since then, I've had five books published in both fiction and non-fiction, and I'm about to graduate from UCLA's film school. Not too bad. The next decade will be just as exciting, I'm sure.

This Weekend...

For the past couple of months, my sleeping pattern has been insane. Really insane. I've pulled so many all nighters that my body really wasn't even looking forward to sleep. But after I finished my book, I found myself still up at 5am without a lick of sleep. And I think it caught up to me. The past week, I had huge aches and pains, along with a massive sore throat. And being that April's at work, I still had to gut it out and do all of the Daddy things, such as pick up the kid from school. But last night, I went to bed at 4am, which was an improvement for me. I woke up at 10am, and I've decided to stay right on the couch for the whole day.

That said, my brain feels nice and free. It'll be more free with more sleep.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Book Is Finally Done...

Fin. The End. Done. Outta here.

I can finally sleep at night.

Monday, January 15, 2007

So close I can taste it...

Okay, in this process of writing my non-fiction book, I have found that some of my actors aren't the most reliable people. Seriously. I'm technically done with the book, but I want to include three others. However, they've flaked damn near every day, so I don't think it's going to happen. It's a pity because I wanted their voices heard, but I can't force people to do what they don't want to do, even when they say they want to do it.

On other fronts, tomorrow is MLK's birthday and I always take a minute to thank him for giving me all of these opportunities. I don't believe my achievement come from my individual genius, but the sacrifices of others who paved the way for me, so I'm grateful.

It's 434 time at UCLA and we pitched last week. Listening to a room full of people pitch their scripts can be both exciting and eyeteeth pulling painful. I imagine that as first years, we gave the same long winded pitches that the first years in my particular pitch session gave, but whew, that can hurt your soul. In one class, I started the pitching and I hoped to lead by example. My pitch lasted exactly thirty seconds. Not a second more. For some, the opening sentence didn't end until a minute later. People tend to think that if they simply talk more, then what they're trying to describe will be clearer. Nothing could be further from the truth. Stand up, get to the point, sit down. Next. Yeesh.

I'm contemplating whether or not this will be my last 434 script at UCLA. I graduate in June, and I may spend the last spring quarter doing a rewrite versus doing another first draft. But I would kind of miss the whole 434 process if I did decide to skip it.

My 434 for this quarter is going to be a comedic spoof of a genre. That's all I can say. lol

On Tuesday, with the book finally done, I will begin working out again. I gained WAY too much weight during this helacious period of writing, but I get back on the work out horse on Tuesday. I even have a UCLA trainer for three times during the week. Gotta look good by graduation.

Anyway, it's 4:40am, and I'll probably be dead tired this evening. I know I was dead writing all day today.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


If you live in Chicago, look for articles about the movie Stomp The Yard, and quotes from me in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. I'll also be in Newsweek next week. My stance, I support the movie but worry about its long term affects on Black Greek life. That's not the responsibility of the producers though. They just want to create a good movie. And from what I've seen so far, it appears they succeeded. But we're going to have a whole buncha folks coming into our ranks, only wanting to shine on stage. And that would be a shame.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

What I'm listening to right now...

A little old school...


Went out for beers last night. Had a pretty good time. Found out that I didn't win the Sloan, but that's okay. The two who split the prize are REALLY cool. Plus, I can't complain about not winning. I've been overwhelmingly blessed to date, and the contest itself sort of goes against my film school mantra which is to NOT compete against my classmates. Compete against your self. Continue to write against your last script.

Today, I have about two hours of interviews with Lexington, and then about three more hours with two other stars, and a professor. And that should finish my book.

As for my UCLA schedule, Mondays will be a beast, but tomorrow will be pretty interesting. I have a critical studies class, and then I meet with a television agent from Gersh about possible representation. Wish me luck. After that, I have my 434 pitch meeting. The way it works out now, I'll have class on Mondays, and one hour of teaching on Fridays. That leaves the rest of the week free, which is phenomenal. Nothing will get in the way of Icono now.

Oh, I did a couple of interviews for the Chicago Sun-Times and Newsweek about the new movie Stomp The Yard. There was some controversy about the film because my Fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, initially called for a boycott of the movie because it used our images without permission. The makers of the film are Alphas, so things got sticky. I actually support the Brothers via making art, but as an Alpha, I was duty bound to support the boycott. But after about a week of haggling, Sony and Alpha kissed and made up, and it's all good. The next question, however, was whether showing black fraternities and sororities stepping good for our overall health. My inclination is that probably not, if it's not balanced against what our real purpose is. We over emphasize stepping by a LOT, and I mourn the fact that current generations of black Greeks don't recognize it. We're not entertainers, but a lot of us don't know that. I love stepping, but never as a substitute for who we are. Hell, the Sun-Times reporter was asking me about mid 30s folks who were traveling the country to step! That's a damn shame. We've got to do better.

Friday, January 05, 2007

re: My Book...

I can see the light. The book will be done by the end of the week. And thank the Lord because I'm exhausted from writing it. Classes begin at UCLA on Monday (and also for Langston), and I've agreed to teach a section for an intro to screenwriting class for undergrads. That's going to be fun, and as folks say, you never learn as much about something until you teach.

I have some Icono work over the weekend, but this will be the last time that I'm so burdened with a book, Icono and school. Book done, Icono becomes really fun. I still love my job talking and writing about what I know. I have to go to Minneapolis for the all company meeting in three weeks, so that should be nice and cold. But hey, I'm an Alpha. In the meantime, I'm predicting what a lot of y'all will be doing in 2007. But I'm a bad mutha like that. I've found that I can now hear bits and pieces of conversation, internet discussions, and think to myself, 'hey self, that feels like something I should investigate.' Been getting some praise from our clients, but they don't even know. The AA section had been dead for a while before I got there, and I'm about to blow their mind with the things I'm finding.

But this weekend is going to be a BIATCH. I'm about to close the deal on the book with Red Bull, too many King Sized Snickers bars, and about 48 hours of writing straight. By Monday morning, I should be hallucinating. But hell, this is the last time that will happen. These last four months were the writing equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. I did it, but I ain't doin' it again.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sorry Y'all...

I've been writing my ass off to finish my book. I'll post more in the next week or so when the book is done.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year Everyone!

I just have to say that I have been incredibly blessed and 2006 was a great year. Too many things to list, and too many friends and family to thank. But here's hoping that 2007 leaves you healthy, wealthy and wise.