The Rules

Or, they may be guidelines. Not sure, as that’s for you to decide. What inspired this random rant? Unknown at this time, however, that’s the beauty of it. You don’t need to know that.

Disclose Classified information, only when a need to know exists. That’s a rule of those of us, or, those of you at this point, with a secret clearance, as mine has probably long since expired. That’s right, I’ve gone through the federal rectal exam as I called it for the first time over 25 years ago at this point. What that allowed me to do was program, update, troubleshoot, etc. hardware and software that most of you have probably never heard of, or will hear of. This is not the first rule, just the first one that came to mind.

Other rules which may or may not be Rule #1 include, but are not limited to, well, I’ll maybe make a list for Guy Kawasaki to read later, in another post. He likes reading lists for some reason. He explained why once, however, to find that link would take time. Which I don’t necessarily have. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Extemporaneous writing, if that is indeed what I’m doing now, might have some rules. I may not know all of them. That’s not what this post is about either. All I know is, there are rules.

There was a movie I saw in 1984, with the title, Hot Dog, The Movie, which was an opportunity for a young impressionable boy of 24 at the time to see big tits on the big screen. Not what the movie was about, unless you read more into the review by some guy on IMDb than I do, as I actually wanted to see it for the skiing. Which was pretty good, as I had just graduated from the green to the blue runs at Sierra Ski Ranch the December before.

The climax of the movie is a race for the mountain, which I’m sure is typical for the genre, at least at the time, in this case, called a Chinese Downhill. There’s an Asian guy in the movie that until this point, only spoke his language, not sure if it was Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, you get the idea, some Asian dialect. The funniest laugh for me, at least in this movie, was when they took a closeup of Kendo, ok, he was Japanese, as I just looked it up, and he says in perfect English, “What the fuck’s a Chinese Downhill?” One of the three times I’ll actually use the F word, as it loses its power with shall we say a colorful metaphor.

Anyways…. The guy with the bullhorn at the top of the mountain says,”The rules are, there are no rules.” Then, he fires the gun, and our hero and the rest start skiing down the mountain. One guy has a helmet with fireworks that lights as he starts. It sparkles and smokes, both giving his position away, and creating obstacles for those behind him, as they can’t necessarily see where they’re going. Amazingly, the smoke clears in time to see some incredible wipeouts. Those that were skiing for the prize alone, except our hero of course, met various challenges on the way down the downhill, and wipe out. (Insert Wipeout theme here, like this ūüôā The bad guys all worked in tandem, and if you didn’t know better, you’d think you were watching roller derby, as some of the weaker skiers were¬†effortlessly¬†knocked down by various members of the team of bad guys. Of course, the last two guys that make it ever closer to the finish line, are our hero, and our villain, and you probably don’t have to guess too hard who wins.

In conclusion, a small town just outside Redondo Beach, it follows that every situation has various rules, some are guidelines, (See Ghostbusters for relevant quote), however, coming into a situation, you may not know what the rules are. There are three ways to remedy this, and I’ve chosen actually a 4th, because well, I’m me. We’ll discuss the three ways to deal with, The Rules, next time.

Adjust your expectations accordingly.

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Yes, That’s Right…

I have no time to do all the things I’m getting paid to do. In addition, I’m creating new work for myself, that will at some point generate income. Therefore, to those of you that may read this as a tweet, or a post, or whatever, do know that I will get to everything within the next 12 hours, whether or not you’ve hired me to do it. Thanks!!!

I Don’t Know What I Know…

But I know that it’s big.

Either a line from a Mel Gibson movie that nobody really saw, or, my actual feelings at the moment. You may decide at the end, and comment. Of course, that might require that you read all the way to the end, so, you’ve been warned.

In an effort to gather thoughts for another blog post at a different site that nobody reads either, I’ve come to the following conclusions, in no particular order….

Of course, I should probably put a list in here, so that Guy Kawasaki will read further, however, that’s not the point of this rambling that may have a point to it, either.

Mark Cuban has a blog, where he wrote something about Fakebook privacy. That may or may not be what this is about. I’m actually more concerned with his copyright notice at the bottom, which reads, “All contents copyright ¬© 2010, Mark Cuban. All rights reserved.” Therefore, if I comment on his blog, he owns it? I don’t think so, Tim.

It’s my understanding of copyright law, that when I put something in a fixed form, like this blog entry, or a comment on another blog, that I indeed own it. Of course, it could be argued that anything posted online is inherently fluent, and therefore, not fixed, as it can be edited by whomever has permission. The DMCA was written to prevent just this, in reality, of course, The Law!!! being what it is, affected this attempt to bend the will of copyright law to those who would claim ownership of all things ‘net, (Read, Disney, et al), and created new categories heretofore¬†unforeseen¬†of intellectual property.

Which may allow Mark Cuban to own my comments. It will probably never be tested in court, however, it would be fun to try. Of course, he has more money than I will ever have, so, he’d win. Does that matter to me? Yes!!! I don’t think he can own my thoughts in this way, however, the legal system being what it is, at least in this country that I love, would allow him to stifle any opinion contrary to his, simply because he has more money. Fair? No, of course not.

But it is what it is, and it beats whatever system is in second place by far. I’m thinking that I should like the fact that Mark Cuban feels he has to own my comments on his site, because it means he feels that they’re important. Which they are of course, or else, I wouldn’t be making them there, or anywhere else for that matter.

Have we in Web 2.93 terms, advanced to the point where nobody owns anything? I know that nobody knows anything, but of course, William Goldman said that first. And he was right. But he may also have been wrong. Unless it’s the Universal Nobody. Because clearly there are many nobodies who do indeed know a lot of things. But none of them are in power.

Like Mark Cuban.

Who needs to own the comments I make on his site.

Adjust Your Expectations Accordingly.

Green is the New Red

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Sovie...
Image via Wikipedia

Better dead than red. How many remember this? No one? Okay, how ’bout, McCarthyism? Strike a chord? The root word of Communist is, commune. Everyone lives together in perfect harmony, as it’s also the root word of community. Everyone shares with everyone else, and all are equal, as everyone’s contributed something. Great in theory, anyway, but we all know how that worked out, right? Without getting into the politics of the 50’s, it boils downto, Socialism on steroids, and the USSR, or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, collapsed under its own weight in the early 90’s. I could look up the exact date, but my mythical deadline is way past. In any case, see Animal Farm, and 1984, both by George Orwell.

Now, where were we? Well, as previously discussed, I’m always in Redondo Beach, except when I’m elsewhere, and we don’t know where you are. Well, you do, or at least you should. If you don’t, you need to go back to remedial Bulletproof Monk school.

Oh, and if you truly believe it’s ok to be unique, just like everybody else, you probably don’t need to read on. As you’ve already drank the metaphorical Koolaid downto the dregs. That’s right, you’re on dregs. There, I said it. Now it would seem that I’m simply typing to pad my word count, so, I might get to a point soon. Sooner if I could type faster.

See, the problem with Socialism, is it’s borderline Communist. And yet, there are those that are okay with it. The other problem is, it only works on a small scale, not in a macro environment, like a large country. Like Russia. Aside: I took two years of Russian Studies at ‘SC, but apparently, I had to give them back. The bigger names you hear about on the far left feel that since they have all the money, it doesn’t matter if they give some of it away in the name of higher taxes to provide for the less wealthy, simply because they wish to remain in power. Free money is a toxin, actually.

I was forming this thought mentioned in the title long before I read something similar to this story, which prompted me to write. The sad truth of the matter is, those that believed Communism was okay, are mostly the same people that¬† have become environmentalist wackos. The whole Green movement is designed to make sure that those that have the power stay in power, and those that don’t have access to a wind farm, continue to pay for ‘inferior’ methods of power generation and consumption, at a higher rate, eventually pricing everyone out of the market, except for those that have indeed, gone Green.

The Law!!! will kick in at some point, as it inevitably does, and hopefully someone will call Bullshit, even though Penn & Teller probably already have. I think it was in the 3rd season, actually. I just hope we’re not too late….

Adjust Your Expectations Accordingly.

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Commented on “Credit Writedowns”

Wow. Didn’t have to sit through the rest of 60 Minutes to see this. Thanks!!!

Ok, my take, on this whole thing, and what prompted me to write more than a simple comment that can be tweeted out is this:

Conan may believe that he didn’t get screwed, and that’s fine. However, there are those of us that did. Get screwed I mean. Leno IS the bad guy in this whole thing, as originally, he stated he was going to retire when he originally gave the tonight show away.

As it got closer, he realized that he still wanted to do it, however, they’d already hired Conan to takeover. This started a chain of events, and of course, The Law!!! kicked in, and as you know, whenever that happens, everyone gets screwed.

NBC can justify their move by saying Conan’s ratings were less than Leno’s. What they forget to mention, is the reason for that was that Leno’s ratings at 10p, were not up to expectations, and as a result, local news ratings at the various affiliate stations were down, to the point where they were stating they were going to change affiliations.

That’s huge.

I don’t necessarily know how that works, as I live in a major city, therefore it’s not an option for any network here, as they’re the network. However, it’s my understanding that affiliates sign on for the National feed from whatever network, and back in the days before cable, this was an issue of long term contracts, and who had the best shows, say if you live in Cedar City, Utah (just as an example), your local station there has chosen one of the big three or four, at which point, at 11p, you do your local news. After which at 1130, you go back to broadcasting your network of choice.

As a result of Leno’s ratings not being up to par, local affiliates like the theoretical one above, threatened to pull the plug as it were, and go somewhere else, the choices being ABC, CBS, or Fox.

NBC literally pushed the panic and eject button almost at the same time, as Conan mentioned in the interview.

As a result, me as a viewer of some shows on NBC, although these days, less and less, as it would seem their entire Entertainment division suffers from what we’ll call Leno syndrome, can’t seem to put any good and decent shows on the air, I have been passively boycotting the network and its shows, and actively speaking out to anyone who’ll listen.

And again, I predicted bad things for NBC back when they made the monumentous decision to be the 5th place network back when they first announced that Leno would have a primetime show. But of course, no one listens to me, except you, my three readers….

Adjust your expectations accordingly.

Originally posted as a comment
by Batman
on Credit Writedowns using DISQUS.

How To Write a Screenplay

Not to be confused by the book of the same name, if indeed it exists. Although, I may have inadvertently posted a link to it in the past. In any case, everyone has their unique perspective on what makes a good screenplay, and for the most part, they’re right, as far as they’re concerned. Get your good screenplay into their hands after you take their advice, and you may very well hear them say, “That’s a good screenplay!” as they hand it back to you, with a stack of voluminous notes, or, more likely a rejection letter. Sometimes, you don’t even get that. I’m still waiting for one from Stan Lee’s company, but that’s not what this is about.

Most of the advice out there is generic, and given by everybody, and of course, should be listened to. At the same time, this advice may not speak to you, which is why you have a stack of rejection letters next to your pile of award winning screenplays. Rejections include, but aren’t limited to:

  • We’re not looking to take on new projects at this time
  • We don’t make movies in this genre
  • While brilliant, we feel the audience for this is too small

Three polite ways production companies in the past have told me “No.” I’m sure I’m forgetting most of the rest of the rejection letters I haven’t received, simply because, I was brought into one company, thinking I was about to sign a contract, and they told me why they wouldn’t be able to make my film, and took up 15 minutes of my time. I could name the company, by there’s a slight chance I may work with them in the future.

How are these decisions made?

If you’re lucky enough to get your script in the hands of a decision maker, which we’ll define as someone that is able to take your stack of 120 or so pages of brilliance and turn it into a movie that will play at a theatre or drive-in near you. As always, if there aren’t any of these near you, move.

To continue, of those 120 pages, the above named producer might not read any of them. He hands them off to a reader with a check for $50, and in return, gets back a page or three of coverage, as to why your screenplay sucks. Then he has his secretary write his company’s version of a rejection letter, and you may or may not get one. Well, lately, they’ll make a phone call to an agent, and have a polite conversation. Or, they’ll put the agent on a ‘list.’ Don’t be on it.

The reader, can’t live on $50 a day, so, he’s reading 5 or 10 scripts a day, more over the weekend, if he’s a freelancer. If he works for a studio or a production company, it’s probably part or all of his job description, for which he can earn a meager living, until such time as his script is made into the next big budget production.

What this means to you, and as always, I’ve buried the lead, is that he’s not going to read all 120 some odd pages of your screenplay. I know this, because I was once told when I was handed a script to cover for the first time, “Read the first ten pages. If you like them, read the last ten. If you like those, then read the rest. I’ll want your coverage in an hour.” This was when I worked at a distribution company, no less.

This is why you have to grab the ubiquitous ‘them’ in the first ten pages. Ten is good number, as Monk would tell you. My advice is simply this: If the first nine pages aren’t interesting, I’m not reading the tenth. I’ll take that one step further. You need to be interesting in the first 8 pages. This is actually a recursive function, and you need to grab me on the first page, otherwise, I’m not turning to the second one.

Can you write a one page screenplay?

In proper format, no less. It’s harder than you think, however, there’s a few contests out there that ask you to do exactly that. Because if you’ve written a really good one page screenplay, and it’s more than one page, I’ll probably turn to page two. A real page turner, as they say in the trade.

I look forward to your comments.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

e You next time.