Friday, August 1, 2008

A Post Without Movies is like without Topless Pics (or: Kelly Kapowski's Quest)

Luckily, neither, today, are without.

(and, btw, become a regular visitor to - if you love trash celebrity gossip, biting/witty commentary, or topless pictures - you'll LOVE the SF (as we cool people refer to it as) - and don't worry, the nips are "starred" out, so it's safe for the kiddies (read: not really))

Endorsements aside, let's talk about life. Tony's life, for that matter...

Okay, so foolish dreaming has been a long-standing facet of Tony's life. In order to compensate for the normal order of his life, thus far, he's spent an instituitional amount of time imagining all sorts of delusions of granduer.

At some point a few months ago, during an experiemental period with mushrooms picked from my backyard, Neil Patrick Harris came to me on a pony - wait, no, that was Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - no, it was David Bowie, circa 1986 Labyrinth - nope, that was Flight of the Conchords (man, are there any good celebrity hallunications left?)...

Okay, I've got it - motherf@%3C$ing Tiffani Theisen (Kelly Kapowski, baby) appeared me to, clad in clingy, dripping wet celophane and revealed to me that I was to embark on a quest. A quest unlike one I'd embarked - but one I had been preparing for my whole life. Well... parts of it. The dreaming parts... That specifically related to the quest.

Okay, the quest...

Move to LA.

It's not secret that I want to write (well, to the people who know me), I mean, hell, I spend my spare time rattling away at a blog that no one reads just for the sheer pleasure of writing. So, it's been my dream for almost ten years now to write screenplays. Well, okay, so more than just write (cause I have been doing that), but to actually sell them - to have a career in "the biz."

About 18 months ago, I decided that instead of telling people "I've got a degree in finance, but I really want to get into writing" and do nothing about it, I'd actually start writing. Cause, well, you can't be a writer unless you start writing. I mean, I had folders and folders of anything from a basic idea for scripts, to dense outlines (my largest one reached nearly 40 pages, and I still have no actual script to show for it (but about four years of work)), but I hadn't finished a feature length script since I wrote an adaptation of the short story "Horror Weekend" when I was 15 (and, boy, let me tell you - if you want script writing at its best, check that baby out. You'll enjoy endless pages of me, droning on about whatever I felt like (my personal favorite is probably a ten minute scene where two characters discuss Jeph Loeb's "The Witching Hour" and Kevin Smith movies - which, by the way, has nothing to do with the plot or characters)).

It took me a bit to get going, but around the time I graduated (with a business degree - I know, I know, wtf for sure), I was watching "The Faculty" (which didn't age well for me), and I noticed that I had never seen a Teenage Zombie movie. You know, "Breakfast Club" meets "Dawn of the Dead." So, I started writing some teenage stereotypes and tweaking them - the old "The is the perception, this is the reality" and coming up with a situation that would stick them all together for a zombie invasion (perhaps, epidemic is a better term, zombies don't really invade, they spread like herpes - which, by the way, is no fun, so children beware).

I won't get into it (though, someday, when I'm coherent and famous, I'll post it for the mocking pleasure of all those frustrated unpublished/unpaid writers), but it took me about 11 months to write from first word to "final" draft. I say "final" cause I might go back to it and fix it up - it's not perfect by any means, but I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Well, in an effort to do something with my work, I entered it into the Slamdance Horror script competition. There were over 700 entries, and after an agonizing few weeks, I learned that I didn't even place in the top 100. What added insult to injury was the fact that my script ("Graduation Day") placed below such stellar flicks as "Porn Star Zombies" "The Bum, the Witch, and the Whore" and my personal favorite (which I will always remember as a reminder that people thought this was better than mine) "Yact Zombie Christmas: A Lesbian's Worst Nightmare" (swear to dog, that was the full title - and, yes, it beat me).

But, life wouldn't get me down. I was inspired by local events and the effect they had on me, to write my next script "A God-Fearing Man" - a complete departure from "Graduation Day" in every way. I wrote "God-Fearing" out of an emotional reaction and dilemma - and was really close to the material. It wasn't a plot movie, it was a character movie that didn't come with answers, just questions. The script was extremely difficult to write - partly cause it was so different than what I had written, that I didn't know if it was good or awful, I was entirely uncertain of myself. It was exciting and fun and scary all at the same time.

In under six months, I had gone from idea to the draft I submitted to competitions. In the process of rewriting, I got really good reviews from some of my readers - people who had tore everything I'd written up to that point apart. I was astonished, but realized, unless you have an emotional connection and feel for what you're writing, it won't be good. I loved "Graduation Day" but I wrote it for fun, not because it meant something to me.

Well, it was during this process that Tiffani came to visit me. It was a scary visit because it meant I needed to do something more than just sit around (in Utah, not even LA) and wait for my career to find me. It meant I needed to give up what I had (in many ways) and move to where it could happen.

So, faithful, noble reader, here's my plan (and I will update as things don't work out, er, I mean, progress). I took "A God-Fearing Man" and entered it into three competitions:

Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition

Slamdance Feature Writing Contest

Creative Screenwriting AAA Contest

The first announcements for these competitions will be this month, so stay tuned to hear about my crushing defeat (If I get beat by that damn "Yacht Zombie Christmas" again, I'm pulling out the straight razor).

This is my first line. My hopes - highest, will be to win any or all of them, secure representation, get my name out, sell my script, and get an assignment. That's a lot to hope for (almost too much, but where are we, as a race, if we can't dream), so, at the very least - to get recognition. I'd love to just secure representation - or have my script looked at. Living (right now) from a distance, the most I'm hoping is to give me something to jump into when I shortly move to the area.

Onto my second line. During the rewriting phase of "God-Fearing," I, of course, started working on my next script. Inspired by my current job, and the current idiots I have to occasionally work with (don't worry, they're not reading this), I started writing a corporate thriller comedy (I've had multiple titles, but I can't find one I like, I'll let you know).

I'm in the final stages of rewriting it because I'm entering it this week as a writing sample for my application to the Disney Features Writing Fellowship. This bad boy is the beez kneez if I can pull it off (enter: loud, doubting laugh). Disney will hire you as an employee for a year and teach you, network you, and have you develop content for them. I won't hear back until December(ish), but I'll let you know when I do.

So, there are my main plans - as they fall away and crash and burn, I'll fill you in on other ideas. But, basically, we're looking to move in January down to LA. We've looked (online) at Beverly Hills, West Hollywood area, but we're open to wherever is good.

So, that's the quest. I've reported it now, so I'm held accountable to you, faithful reader. Wish me luck and I'll let you know if you're luck has worked for me (or against me). And if I fail, it's all your fault!

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