The Summer of the Doctor: Introducing My Wife to Doctor Who (Series 1 & 2)

TARDISLet me begin by saying my wife is rightfully a little annoyed with me. I almost ruined a family tradition.

She is a teacher, and during her summer break we like to have themes for our TV watching. For example, last summer was the WA summer (which meant we watched nothing but Wes Anderson and Woody Allen films); the summer before that was Agatha Christie (David Suchet is a genius!); and before that- Charles Dickens.

For this summer it was to be the summer of the Doctor. Yes, Doctor Who, and I am talking just about the new series run of Doctor Who, starting with the 9th Doctor.

For years, we have had friends recommending we take on the series. And we even had tried before, watching random episodes to see what we think (we both had nightmares because of “Blink”), but it was not something we had taken serious… until this scheduled summer. Summer 2013- the summer of the Doctor.

Yes, that was the plan- starting with episode 1 and taking on each and every one of them together… Well… Until I very selfishly ruined it. Continue reading

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My Online Literary Experiment: Passing the 20% Mark

Updates, updates, who wants an update?

Calling From the Future…

So somehow, without my realizing it, I got a chapter ahead.

I know, I know this sounds impossible but it really did happen and I didn’t plan it in the least. It was all a nice little surprise or present or whatever you want to call it.

See, one of my goals in creating the book was to force my creativity to keep up to the demands I had put upon it. Put myself to the test, as it were. So the table of contents I created before I did the first chapter were done on a whim after a quick glance at the screenplay plot which is interestingly disappearing as the book charges forward, more on that in a bit.

Anyway, I wrote this really long chapter with two major points of action happening, it was only when I was about to share the chapter online that I realized I had made a mistake. Chapter 4 is the first part of that initial draft of the chapter, The second half was supposed to be a bulk of Chapter 5! So because of that little glitch in the Scott brain, Chapter 5 and 6 are almost done and Chapter 5 is scheduled for this Friday. Continue reading

The Nat King Cole Inside My Head

I am obsessed with The Beatles, I adore Belle and Sebastian, I’ve seen They Might Be Giants five times in concert, and I can’t stop playing the new Fiona Apple CD… but Nat King Cole is the musical comfort food for my soul.

I have read a few biographies about him over the years, and as amazing of a life he had, it’s always hard for me to connect him to his voice. Frankly, his voice is so engrained into my own life, it is hard to think that it once even belonged to someone else, as strangely as that sounds. I don’t feel his struggles against racism in his career and his growth from jazz pianist to just a singer fronting a band in a studio, lost in the business of just singing singles hoping for a hit, when I listen to his music.

I hear my own life in his voice, in his performing, making each recording I adore something akin to a special gift. Continue reading

My Woody Allen Summer: Recommending Summer Theme Watching

I’m in the midst of a Woody Allen summer.

Actually, it started as a W.A. summer, which meant my wife and I were able to re-watch all the Wes Anderson films we wanted, but since we were not able to get out for Moonrise Kingdom (finding a babysitter for two little ones like ours is always difficult) and I didn’t particularly want to see Bottle Rocket again, we are onto Woody Allen.

While others complain about the amount of reality shows and reruns on each summer, my wife and I have tapped into “summer theme watching” as an opportunity to explore the things we did not have time for during the rest of the year, our TV-watching bucket list if you will.

This W.A./Woody Allen summer is the third theme summer we have had, as corny as the premise of this all sounds—Does it make us sound like one of those overly cute couples that do everything together? We might be guilty of that in some ways.—the fact is it has been really great for us. Continue reading

Joss Whedon: Our Outsider Makes Good

I became a fan of Joss Whedon around the sixth season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I’m sure that honest admission at the start might already turn off some readers, but let me add that after getting hooked I bought all of the boxsets of the other seasons and used them to help draw in others, while using all of my skills at peer pressure and bribery (and sometimes even blackmail).

I was living in LA at the time, studying writing at the University of Southern California, and I was startled by the news story that his show was able to jump stations. Now, I remembered the movie and couldn’t believe that this was the same thing we were talking about. That idea? Really? All I remembered about the film was that it starred PeeWee Herman. Yet, the idea, and the accomplishment of such a TV production feat impressed me and led to me turning on the show and giving it a shot.

That old blind Scott feels like a very different person from the Scott writing this. I want to shake my head in annoyance at him, throw something at him or even bitch slap him. In the least, there should be some ridicule and taunts. Continue reading

My Six Favorite Comedies

I am a comedy snob.

I don’t laugh at fart jokes or burps, and most sitcoms bore me to pieces. Some of this elitism is because I studied comedy writing and seeing behind the curtain can take the surprise away (and much of comedy is about delivery), my upbringing since my dad introduced me to Monty Python at a young again, but most of it is just, frankly, because I am a comedy snob. And because of that, I have never laughed at a single scene in a single American Pie movie…

Not a single scene.

I expect more.

I expect more than stereotypes, pratfalls, sarcasm, easy parodies, and physical body humor. You can keep your Three Scrooges (even though I do like some of the Curly episodes), I’ll take the Marx Brothers any day of the week.

Here, in all my snobbery, are my six favorite comedies:

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

When the American Film Institute (AFI) did their list of 100 laughs, they did not include a single Monty Python movie.

Not a one.

Their justification is that the films chosen had to have significant financial or creative production elements from the USA. Fine, whatever (even though, I would argue that the films were distributed and produced by a few Americans and American companies), but yet, they included A Fish Called Wanda on the list. Is it because two of the main cast members were American? Should I point out that Terry Gilliam of Monty Python (director, actor and writer) is American?

No, this doesn’t make sense to me either. Continue reading

Recommending Woody Allen…

When I was 14, I wrote a letter to Woody Allen.

I’m pretty sure it was a long letter (I never skimped on words), detailing how I wanted to grow up and be just like him. It’s not like I really wanted to be him, per se; I just loved the idea of the freedom he had to make the stories he wanted to tell. See, even then I could tell this was a storyteller not only having the creativity in abundance, but the capability to let that creativity reach its heights.  As an adult, I am even more floored by his ability.

So my letter begged for advice. What did I expect from him? I couldn’t say, I was a kid trying to latch on to some kind of a future, like any typical young teen. Maybe I was hoping he would send me a plane ticket and take me in as an apprentice?  He didn’t write back, of course, but he did send an autographed picture, which I still have today.

There is a chance that Midnight in Paris, Woody’s most recent film will take home the Oscar for Best Screenplay (It is also nominated for Best Picture), and I think well deserved. Of course, Woody won’t show up for the award.  That is not Woody’s way, and I find that also very bad ass.  Simply put, he is too busy making his movies to stop and take an award for the past, he is already on the next story, the future.

These, as a Woody fan, I would recommend as first dips into his library. Continue reading

This Writing Guy’s 9 Romantic Movie Recommendations

I’ve always found romantic films, and especially romantic-comedies,  to be the weakest of the movie genres. It’s formulaic, it is ridiculous many times, and usually inconceivable that one character would actually be interested in the other (Because, let’s be honest, in every romantic film one of the leads is a jerk that doesn’t really deserve the attention of the other).

When I first started writing screenplays, I really wanted to fix this genre; expose it for all its weaknesses. I created a serious romantic comedy, a silly romantic comedy, an experimental romantic comedy, and even a musical romantic comedy. Suffice to say, none of them got made, so they are now all enjoying a very nice home on a burned CD someplace in my house. Was it because I wanted to avoid all the formula gimmicks that they met their demise? For example, the chase at the end to prove the love, the annoying supporting characters (Don’t get me started on Love Actually and the mind-blowingly dumb storyline of the waiter that comes to America looking for love), etc. Who knows?

Well, I could go on and on and speculate on why they are still around (Let’s all agree on a lack of dumb luck they are still only on paper), but instead here are my favorite films about love.

There is not one Nora Ephron film listed… Not a one. Oh, and no reference to Titanic either (I mean, she seriously dropped him like a load of potatoes the second he died in the cold water, didn’t she?). Continue reading