The Tragedy of Bert

Our Tragic HeroFor the last six days I’ve been sick. I’ve had a fever that kept coming and going, a non-stop cough and I felt really weak. I slept away pretty much my entire weekend. Actually, my house has been the perfect storm for illnesses, with my son recovering from pneumonia and my daughter dealing with croup… but enough about them, let’s get back to me.

So while in one of my fever moments I started having a weird debate with myself.

Granted, this happens a lot but more so when a fever is included. And after one memorable (fever-induced) debate I have come to this conclusion.

Bert is the most tragic character in all of the Disney films.

Yes, I am talking about Bert, the lovable bloke from Mary Poppins. The one always up for an adventure and a song and dance. That Bert. And, yes, he is more tragic than Cinderella’s dad (who I still think was murdered by the step-mother) and all of the other lost parents in their cartoons (which is another good reason you don’t want your daughter to be a princess). Bert takes the cake and I carefully constructed this argument to prove my point.

This will not be a jolly holiday. Continue reading


The Writing Dream of Scooby-Doo: So I have this idea…

Mystery MachineSo as a writer I am struggling with something. Has this happened to you, my fellow writers? You get this great idea for a story and you can’t escape it. It is like a drug. The idea keeps you up at night; it fills up your notepad with ideas. You breathe this idea. And when you close your eyes it plays out in your imagination like a movie on the greatest big screen ever.

You live for the idea, and the idea lives in you.

Okay… now consider this all-engrossing idea with a big talking dog, a bunch of teenagers and villains in silly and elaborate costumes.

Yes, I am Scooby-Doo obsessed because of a great script idea I have. This is more than just a passing fancy. For example, last week, when I snuck away to work on my novel, I instead spent the entire time perfecting my outline for this script. Happily giggling as I did it the entire time.

I can’t escape Mystery, Inc.! It’s like I am stuck in one of Fred’s elaborate traps. And I dream of writing “Jinkies” in a script and hearing Velma saying it, knowing that I was the one who put that word there.

I need to write my Scooby-Doo screenplay—my creativity is craving it!—but there is a very, very good chance after I do it that is where it will end. Zoinks! Which makes all of the creative and inspired stress over this so much more painful.

Let me start this over and explain this better… starting with me, the author stuck in the back of the mystery machine. Continue reading


Our Oscar Theme Summer (Part 1)

I always wondered why the sword...Every summer my wife and I like to have theme TV watching. It’s a thing with us and is kind of a fun way to pass the hot nights, hiding away in our air-conditioned living room.

Okay, maybe it makes us sound a little cute. But what can I say? Yes… Yes, we are a cute couple.

Artistic, snobby, witty, literary, but very, very cute.

Last summer was a Doctor Who summer, working our way through all of the recent variations of the good Doctor. The summer before that was our WA summer, which were movies by Wes Anderson and Woody Allen. Then there was our Charles Dickens summer, and on and on.

This year we struggled a little over what we were going to choose. I was arguing a while for a “catch up” summer, which meant we catch up on shows that we never got around to watching (Orange is the New Black, for example). I get that it was an “easy out” choice, but there were just random things I was interested in and linking them was a little difficult.

Finally, we finally settled on an Oscar summer (no, there are no tuxedos and evening gowns involved), which means we are checking out the films we have not had a chance to watch yet. My main focus has been checking out some of the films nominated for Best Screenplay, which is obviously my favorite category.

I thought it would be interesting to keep a running tally of the films we have checked out and some of my thoughts on them. Here are the first five: Continue reading


Time on the Yellow Brick Road: 13 of My Thoughts on The Wizard Of Oz

1939-wizard-of-oz-blu-ray-yellow-brick-road1.  My parents claim that the first movie  I saw in the movie theater was The Wizard of Oz. I have to trust them on this, because I have no memory of it. A complete blank. My first movie-going memory (and possible first memory) relates to Star Wars. That memory stuck, and I can still bring it up in my head to this day. So if I really did see The Wizard of Oz with its magical munchkins, flexible Scarecrow and stiff Tin Man… well, I would have remembered that, right? How could my childish reaction be, “Whatever…”

2.  When I was growing up The Wizard of Oz meant something. This was back in the day when people didn’t own their own video recordings of it and it would be shown on TV only once a year (usually on CBS). And at that moment you knew you were watching it with everyone else. I could go to school the next day and talk about it with my friends (and we did). With the purchase of our first VCR I made sure to record it; however, I must admit re-watching it that way, fast-forwarding through the commercial breaks, lost some of the magic for me. For I knew in my heart I was watching it alone then.

3.  I also had, growing up, a record that was the soundtrack for the film. It was not merely the music, but most of the audio track of the film. No narrator voice, just the actors and the song cues. I remember sitting in my room, in front of my little record player, with eyes closed imagining the film in my mind. Everything alway seemed a little bigger, cleaner and grander in that imaginary version.  Continue reading


The Joy and Inspiration of Scooby-Doo

Our heroMy new book MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE has been released via in eBook and print.

 I thought it would be fun to write on some of the influences for the novel.  This week I will discuss my obsession with the kids who drive The Mystery Machine.

It has always amazed me how few people get Scooby-Doo, Where are You. I’m not talking the kids or the parents or simply those who find it while flipping through the stations. No, I mean the producers, the directors, and the actual writers of the characters. Yes, Hollywood never got the friends of Mystery, Inc.

One of the first articles I ever wrote for the internet, back in 2001, was related to the genius of Scooby-Doo (I was venting in the article about my dismay around the casting and scripting around the first Scooby-Doo live action movie; that was even before I saw the disaster of a movie), and how surprised I was then (and still am), how wrong they were being. Honestly, who could blame those producers? When the actual cartoonists, after the original series’ run, rarely gave the property any respect; turning it into a device to showcase B-level stars or worse having Scooby chase 13 real ghosts.

Real ghosts? Seriously?

That idea right there is almost more damaging to the fictional reality created for Scooby-Doo and his friends than the introduction of Scrappy and Scooby’s other relatives. Even as a young kid that questionable variation to our hero’s adventures, in I am certain an attempt to steal some thunder from Ghostbusters, made me groan (and don’t get me started on the character of Flim-Flam).

When I was studying film writing, I once said in a class that I would love to adapt Scooby-Doo someday for the big screen. Some thought I was joking and laughed, others looked at me as if I was crazy, but one got where I was coming from and we both shared a nod. See, in the right hands, Scooby-Doo is awesome in its simplistic horror madcap comedy spree.

Jinkies! Pass the Scooby Snacks. Continue reading


Are the Oscars Really Necessary? (2013)

I always wondered why the sword...I wrote this post last year about the Oscars called Are the Oscars Really Necessary? This is how the post begins:

The Oscars always make me feel a little queasy. Award shows in general around the arts make me feel that way.

Oh, I’ve won some writing awards (it’s the reason why my books MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS and MEGAN were published- they were both honored in a writing competition), and was very grateful, but it still feels odd to me. I have no problem telling someone that a story they have is great, for example, or another writer that their story needs work, but to say one is better than the other… there is that queasy feeling again.

You can read the rest of the editorial here.

As I stated in the editorial, awards around the arts always make me feel a little uncomfortable… but… in saying that… I hope Argo wins.


Reblog of The Amazing Spider-Man Review

This is going to be controversial… Let me just say it quick, like ripping off a band aid, but I think The Amazing Spider-Man was the best comic book film this year. There I said it, everyone can take a breath. On Friday it comes out on Blu-Ray and I recommend you check it out. Forget the (lousy) first film trilogy, this is a more human, more real story, you feel the hero’s journey more. That’s not to say Avengers and Dark Knight Rises weren’t fun, they were; it’s just that this film meant more to me in the end… And I would never have considered myself a fan of the webslinger before this film. It converted me. Here is a link to the review of the film I wrote for Green Spot Blue.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

I have a new film review up on Green Spot Blue.  It is a review of The Amazing Spider-Man.  Here is a snippet from the beginning:

For years, Peter Parker has not been able to catch a break.

I’m not talking about with the villains like Doctor Octopus or the Green Goblin, or with the girls, like Gwen and Mary Jane; no, I am talking about his issues with pop culture.

From questionable musicals to badly-written TV shows (Ultimate Spider-Man, which does not live up to its title at all) to lackluster movies, Peter Parker has had to endure it all. And he has, not losing an inch of his popularity along the way. That is a feat for any creation, even a superhero.

Growing up I was always more of a DC Comics fan, always feeling like there was “too much” going on around…

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Seriously Bruce?!: Taking on the Logic of Becoming a Batman

Growing up, Batman was always my favorite superhero.

Why was I always drawn more to Batman?

Well, frankly, because under the right circumstances I could have been Batman. But that is true not just for me; you could have been Batman. We all could have been Batman!  (The same can’t be said for Superman or the Flash sadly.)

All we just need is a heck of a lot of money and a devastating experience in one’s childhood and we are in that dark cape… Sadly, for me, my parents are perfectly healthy and I am not rich.

Of course, this is the logic of a kid discovering a comic book at the age of eight, it is not the logic of a sane adult. I mean, we adults, when considering becoming a masked vigilante, would think about the police, fingerprints, what if we get shot, what kind of training, how do we buy supplies, how do we get medical attention…. The list goes on and on when an adult tries to consider this employment opportunity. In the long run, it does not feel like the best option or more people would be doing it, besides the random “unique” individuals we see on television roaming our streets. Continue reading


The Playhouse Rationalization: Introducing My 4-Year Old to Pee-Wee Herman

“What is that?!”

I knew that accusatory tone too well. My 4-year old usually pulls it out of his arsenal when he catches me doing something secret in front of him, like taking bites of a cookie I have no desire to share with him (that weird conundrum parents get in when they want to set a good example, but, damn it, they also want a cookie).

This time the tone was related to something I was watching on Facebook. Jimmy Fallon had Pee-Wee Herman dub his voice into a The Dark Knight Rises trailer (You can see it here) and it was awesome.

I was having a hard time holding back my laugh, but watching that trailer was kind of off limits for the boy. While my son loves Batman, Christopher Nolan’s films are definitely out of his age bracket; hey, sometimes they feel out of my age bracket (I had a hard time getting near pencils for a week after seeing The Dark Knight). Continue reading


So tomorrow Brave opens. I already have tickets to see it with my son. I have to admit I am pretty excited about the film, especially since all of the ads we have seen are from only the first act of the film. I love going to the movies and not knowing what to expect, it is so rare that occurs. There is also going to be an ad in front of the film for the new Monsters, Inc. film. I have to admit I have some misgivings about Monsters, etc. While I loved the film, my son (who is four), has not yet considered the idea of monsters under the bed or in the closet. I feel like showing him Monsters, Inc. (or the new one) will just open a can of worms that will be impossible to put back in; he has quite the imagination.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

Being a parent of young children has made me an expert in a few different, new, and exciting fields.

You need to talk about superheroes, I am your man. If you want to discuss which lullaby CDs are best, and more importantly, work, talk to me.  Which TV shows for kids might actually educate your child, I’m an e-mail away. Also, if you want to know about Pixar, I have an altar for them in my house.

Well, maybe not a real altar, but it does feel that way sometimes. Of course, can you truly use the word altar to describe a state that seems to have taken over your whole house? From the toys on the ground to the boy dressed like Dash from The Incredibles.

In my house, simply put, we live Pixar films.

Heck, when I discovered I was going to be having a daughter, her…

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