A Casualty of the Writers’ Strike

Up till now, I haven’t written anything about the ongoing WGA writers’ strike because, well, it really hasn’t affected my project in any way.  Funny how half of Hollywood has been shut down because of the strike and, yet, it’s the little guys that can keep plugging away at their projects.

Now I’m bringing up the strike because, unfortunately,  fan-favorite I-Man director, Greg Yaitanes, has been very much affected by it.  The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Greg is among those whose overall deals have been terminated with Fox.  Fox and several other studios are invoking the force majeure clauses of their contracts, which they have the right to do during labor disputes (strikes), in an effort to save themselves money. 

How much longer this strike will go on is anyone’s guess, although current talks appear to be making progress.  (Hey, at least they’re talking now.)  In the meantime, Greg is now a free agent.  Hmm…I wonder if he would be interested in directing a little independent feature film?

Paul is Back Again in “The Wire”

Paul Ben-Victor Paul Ben-Victor is again reprising his role of Spiros “Vondas” Vondopoulos in tonight’s episode of The Wire.  The episode is entitled “Transitions” and it airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. on HBO.  But do check the schedule as the episode will be repeated several times throughout the week.

You’ll want to tune in to next week’s episode also because Paul will be in this one too.  The episode is called “Reaction Quotes” and it will air beginning at 9:00 p.m. next Sunday, February 3, 2008, with repeats also airing throughout the week.

And thank goodness for those repeats.  I found out almost too late that Paul was also in last week’s episode entitled “Not for Attribution.”  Fortunately, they are repeating this episode twice tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m., so you still have a chance to watch it.  Again, check the schedule for the time in your area.

Paul at Sundance

It appears that Paul Ben-Victor is at the Sundance Film Festival right now.  I came across a picture of him posted on the Movie Every Day website blog.  The picture was taken yesterday.  Currently, I don’t have any information as to whether one of his movies is playing at the festival or not.

To see the picture, scroll through the photos posted in the blog post entitled “2008 Sundance Film Festival Day 4” until you get to Paul.  He’s in the second to the last photo.

I Need Your Brains

Group ThinkingThis is a request to all you I-Man fans out there.  I’m doing a research project and I need to pick your collective brains.  I’m looking for the titles of movies that are similar to The Invisible Man in terms of genre, style, and/or tone.

To be even more specific, they must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have been released within the last five years.
  • Must be a movie, not a TV show.
  • Can be a theatrical release, a TV movie, or a straight-to-DVD movie.
  • Must have been released in the U.S., but can also have been released in other countries.

This isn’t a frivolous request.  I’m doing this research for the film project and I can’t think of anyone better to ask than my fellow I-Man fans.  After all, you are the ones who know and love the show.  I need as many similar movies as you can think of, so if you can please put on your thinking caps and help me out, I would be very grateful.  The more, the better.  If you want to explain why you think a movie is similar to I-Man, I would be very interested in hearing that, but it isn’t necessary.  Don’t worry if you’re listing some of the same movies as someone/everyone else.  It’s actually very helpful to me to see which movies you agree upon.  

Please reply here in the comments section.  If you’re reading this from the mailing list, remember that the mailing list is read-only, so please don’t hit reply to the email.  Instead, just hit the direct link at the bottom of the email to get to the blog.

Your help is very much appreciated!  I hope to hear from you!

Pre-ordering I-Man DVDs

If you’re itching to show your support for the I-Man DVDs that are being released on March 25, I highly recommend that you pre-order your DVDs.  Pre-ordering will help NBC/Universal to gauge how much interest there is in the DVDs.  Strong initial sales just might help to facilitate the release of season two.  We all want that, right?

You can pre-order the DVDs right now directly from the NBC/Universal store.  They will ship them on March 25.  The suggested retail price for the DVDs are $59.98, but through the NBC/Universal store they are $44.98.  I can’t think of a better way to let them know that there is an audience for this show.

Pre-order I-Man DVDs 

Treatment Update

Back in October I told you about the screenplay treatment that the writer had turned in.  So you might be wondering what’s happening with that.  Well, it got put on hold for a while.  Why?  Because I got sucked into the homework cyclone and it wouldn’t let go.  That Story Analysis and Screenplay Development for Film and Television class I was taking ended up eating just about every free moment I had and then some for the past few months.  While I regret that it slowed down the project, I think the benefits outweighed the negatives.

For the past three months I’ve been completely immersed in learning to analyze the basic elements of a story:  premise, plot, structure, character, and dialog.  Our teacher would assign a script for us to read and then we would have to write a log line, a synopsis, and an analysis of the script covering each of the basic elements.  We would have to comment on what works and doesn’t work and then give an explanation why.  Then we would give our recommendation as to whether the script should be considered for development or not.  This is the exact same process a reader goes through for each script he or she analyzes for a producer or studio.  For someone who loves to read stories and then pick them apart, it’s a good job.  The downside is that you end up having to read a lot of stories that may not be to your liking.  It can be quite a challenge to put your personal taste aside and try to look at a story objectively.

Some of the most interesting assignments we were given involved reading a script that had been produced and then watching the finished movie.  We then had to write a comparison/contrast where we identified what had changed from the script to the screen and how that had affected the movie, for good or for bad.  It’s amazing how much some movies changed, while others stayed fairly true to the script.  Films are such a collaborative medium with so many people having an input that it can sometimes be hard to discern where the changes are coming from.  Sometimes it can be due to decisions the director makes.  Other times it’s due to decisions made in editing.  Sometimes the acting isn’t there.  And sometimes it’s a combination of various factors.  But whatever factors influence the final product, I found it to be disappointing to read a promising script and then watch it get poorly executed on film. 

So these past few months have been extremely busy and educational for me.  I’m happy to say I got an A in the class.  I’m not going to claim to be an expert, but I do think I’ve got a decent grasp of the basics.  So would I ever want to become a reader/script analyst?  In one word, no.  The reason that I say this is because whether you enjoy the story or not, as a reader you still have to read and give feedback on it.  Producers don’t have to do that.  Sure, they will get stories that don’t interest them, but they aren’t required to read them.  Usually, reading a short synopsis, treatment, or the first few pages of a script is all they need to do to know whether or not it is a story they should invest some time in.  Of all the stories I read in the class there was only one that I would have been interested in producing.

As a producer I would much rather spend my time looking for that special story that I can get excited about or else working on one that has the possibility to be really good.  This brings me back to the treatment.  About three week’s ago, I was finally able to sit down and start writing development notes.  Development notes, for those of you who may not know, is feedback that producers give to screenwriters to help guide them in developing the story.  In the notes, the producer points out areas that work, areas that need work, and can even offer suggestions and ideas that the screenwriter can use or get inspired from.

In my enthusiasm for this project, I offered a ton of ideas and suggestions.  At that point, the writer suggested that we write two treatments.  It’s an idea that makes a lot of sense.  As I have said before, I’m not the only one who decides which story we do.  The decision also belongs to the cast.  I have to like the story, but so do they.  So writing two treatments gives us twice the odds that at least one of them will be something they are interested in doing.  What happens if they don’t like either story?  Well, then it’s my job to start all over and look for another story.  I keep looking until I find the right story.

Because the writer is busy working on the original treatment, I’m taking on the job of writing the second treatment, which will be a co-authored venture.  The treatments are basically two different versions of the same story.  The goal is to get both versions in tip-top shape before the cast reads them.  After they have gone through as many rewrites as needed to get them in great shape, I will then be getting at least a couple of outside opinions on them from experienced, professional writers/analysts.  Getting feedback from pros in the field is absolutely vital and I wouldn’t even think of submitting anything to the cast that hasn’t been thoroughly looked over. 

So stay tuned and as we make progress on the stories, I’ll keep you posted.  

Halo Minute Countdown

Here’s a fun little live streaming show that was shot on New Year’s Eve and hosted by Mike McCafferty and Dawn Cody.  Jason Makiaris makes an appearance in it too. 

If you’re a gamer, you’ll probably especially like this because these guys spoof those countdown shows by doing a countdown of the top ten Halo games of all time.  I should warn you that there is some profanity in this video, but it is very minor.

Halo Minute Countdown Commercial

The New Year’s Eve Top Ten Halo Countdown