Is it Okay To Yell Movie in a Crowded Firehouse?

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Yes. Or, no. It depends on the scope of your 1st Amendment rights. But that’s not what brings us here today.  It’s because it’s the day before the green tree ceremony that you celebrate in your state/country.

There is a competition which I’ve entered every year since 2008, that has significantly changed the parameters of itself since its inception in 2003.  Those that know I’m talking about The 168 Project, may skip a paragraph or two.

My first year in this competition wherein teams get a week to create an eleven minute short film based on a Bible verse, I was on the team that won Best Picture, plus four other awards. I have very high standards as a result. I’ve been attempting to duplicate this feat ever since.

My site, My 168 Project, has been dedicated to creating at least one 168 Project film a year since its founding in May of 2010.  Tax deductible donations always accepted there, as I can’t post a Paypal button here. Well, I could, but it wouldn’t show up.

So as you know, we survived the end of the Mayan calendar. What you may not know is that everyone that thought we wouldn’t chose not to sign over all their property to me starting two days ago.

So, I sit here, the day before Christmas, contemplating what I want to post, and where. Well, I’ve already chosen here, and you’re reading roughly the thoughts I came up with during my morning walk. In the rain. In LA. Okay, it’s LA County, but you get the idea.

I had a crush on Dale Bozzio in the 80’s. Don’t tell my wife.

The last 5 years of The 168 Project, we would have verse selection in and around the beginning of February, as well as the production week. The festival would take place the end of March. 

That’s all changed this year. A company to be named later has taken upon itself to offer up some sort of wait for it, million dollar prize to the winner of best picture this season. How many people remember The Million Dollar Movie? Anyways, as a result, they moved the dates back to May like in 2005. So instead of disappointing my wife on our Anniversary as I usually have, now, I get to disappoint her on her birthday instead, as the 13th is the evening of verse selection for Southern CA teams, of which I am again, Team 33.

The team you may already be on 🙂

What this means for the unwashed masses is that instead of roughly 80-100 entries, they’re expecting about a thousand. That’s a 1 with three, count them three zeroes after it. Now, I’d like to believe that I know what I’m doing, and I’ve already spoken elsewhere about the changes that will come about in my life as a result.

The question is, how does this affect you? If you know, leave a comment. 

I was going to say something pithy here like, “I’ve upped my game. Now up yours,” However, I fear I’ve used that at least one previous time, and I don’t like repeating myself. After all, I’m not Little Sir Echo.

I’d like to believe it’s 72 and sunny in Redondo Beach, however, a simple check of weather.com, and the fact that I took a morning walk, belies this.

Adjust your expectations accordingly.

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What Do You Do for a Living?

 

 

A poker tournament in progress. Taken by me.

 

I got asked this the other day. I didn’t know how to respond right away, however, when I want to mess with people’s heads, I reply:

 

I play poker.

 

To which they’ll almost always respond,

 

You play poker?

 

Now, since you can’t hear the inflection in their collective voices when they respond, it’s usually in one of two ways. Either, unbelievably, as in, “What, are you nuts?” or, interested like, “Cool!”

 

The “What, are you nuts?” faction, herein after referred to as simply, ‘nuts’, usually walk away with a strange look on their face, after they’ve asked the follow up question with the sound of incredulity in their voice, and goes something like this, “How can you earn a living playing poker?” To which I usually reply, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you,” or some such other random movie quote, which doesn’t actually answer their question, simply because at its base, poker is a game of deception. And as we know, with any game, ultimately it can’t be won, it can only be played.

 

The fact is, I do, and it’s really none of their business how I do it. Unless, they wish to pay me for the privilege. Rates are available, and pretty steep. Just because I have the ability to teach, doesn’t mean that I want to. I feel that this reaction is judgmental as they’ve formed an opinion based on what I do, and not who I am, and I don’t need them as friends.

 

On the other hand, those that reply, “Cool!” usually become some of my newest best friends. People that I’d want to hangout with, when I’m not playing poker, or doing whatever else it is that I do on any given day.

 

Of course, the context of the question is sometimes taken into account. It comes down to where I am when I get asked. I was once at a poker tournament when someone made the grandiose statement, “There are no professionals here.” To which I replied, “I guess I’m not here then.” Now, at this point, I could’ve gotten up and left, however, I did achieve the desired effect, and took all his money later in the tournament. Then he got up and left, shaking his head all the way.

 

Usually, if I get asked the question at the poker table, I tell the other players that I’m a filmmaker, except as noted above. I do this, simply to mess with the players’ heads. Most of the time, if I can get you to talk about anything else while at the table, you’re not going to be concentrating on the game. It also helps that I am indeed a filmmaker, and a pretty good one at that.

 

Yes, there’s more to poker than life. No matter what it is you’re doing for a living, ultimately, it’s none of my concern. Tell me what you want. I’m not going to check you out or anything. There’s no background check involved. Of course, I’m not going to ask in the first place. Unless of course, I want to mess with your head, or, put it on virtual film.

 

Disclaimer: I originally wrote this in late November of 2008, and it was published shortly thereafter on the now defunct Idea Masters™ site. This was #6 in that series.

 

The Olympics 2012: The Social Media Rules

The Olympics 2012: The Social Media Rules.

Simple, right? The fatal flaw in the system should be obvious, but for the right-handed people, let me explain. I am neither a participant, worker, or volunteer at London 2012, therefore, these ‘rules’ don’t apply to me.

Thanks for playing, IOC. We have a lovely parting gift for you.

 

The Correct Answer Is…

All my life. As this is not Jeopardy, I’ll give you the question: How long have you been acting? As I’ve touched on before elsewhere, I’ve fully embraced the Shakespeare quote, “All the world’s a stage…” etc.

Whether you’re in the industry, or even the business we call show, or not, it’s imperative that you embrace the fact that you are indeed for the most part, acting. You could be acting up, or out, or even re- but make sure you know that you are in fact, being observed.

I know this may sound like morning pages, as opposed to mourning pages, however, one, it’s the afternoon, and B) I’ve thought a lot about this today, based on these are the words you are reading, put in some semblance of order, and extemporized here for your pleasure.

Now, what brings you here, and more importantly, me here today is the need to acknowledge that I may have more experience in my areas of expertise, simply because I’ve been on the planet longer, and we have roughly the same level of ability to accumulate information at similar rates. This may be why I started in the industry as an actor, however, I’ve added writer, director, producer and even magician to my resumé.

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I inherited that last one, but that’s probably a story for another time, on an entirely different blog.

I’ve achieved various levels of success, which can be read about at my site devoted to all things 168 Project. If you go there, be sure to come back and comment here as well.

This may goto the part where people believe they can be only one thing, however, as someone that I respect once told me, you can be more than one thing at once. Which is why some may refer to me as a filmmaker.

I made a choice this 168 season to put myself in front of the camera, simply because I believe that’s where I was led. This may create an article at the aforementioned site, that I linked to previously.  Not sure yet.

I’m not sure that I’ve hit my artificial word count yet, so, I’ll continue. A magician is truly an actor, playing the part of a magician, and the converse my be true, as all of the above disciplines goto the art of illusion. Some of my older readers may remember the logline for the original Superman movie, “You will believe a man can fly.” Lot’s of visual effects work later, we did. This includes the various incarnations of Superman as a live action TV series, as well as the sequels that came and went.

Unless they’ve been able to hire an actor that can fly that I don’t know about. In any case, how many remember the TV series from the 50’s, when the villains would attempt to shoot Superman? The bullets would harmlessly bounce off, and when they ran out of bullets, they’d throw the empty gun at him.

And then, he’d duck!!!

Doesn’t make sense, does it.

All I know is, that most superpowers have been demonstrated on screen, or in print, and there’s a VFX guy out there that can reproduce them.

However, you have to be able to imagine that they exist, by writing about them first.

Which may answer another question entirely.

In Lieu of Actual Writing….

I present to you, today’s edition of, It’s, The Law!!!

I’ve been receiving some random tweets lately, as @replies, or @mentions for those that know. Actually, they really aren’t that random.  The latest one looks like this….

Now normally a Block and Report Spam action makes these go away pretty quickly. Tried that, didn’t work.

Sent a friendly tweet recently to the offending party. It may be a ‘bot. Ok, I can handle that. Found out who controls the ‘bot.

Got into a heated conversation pretty quickly. The next step is to report all accounts to the fine folks at Twitter, and get them to take action.

Now, to be fair, he says it’s a but that they’re attempting to fix, however, as I’ve written previously elsewhere, this may have taken place intentionally.

I will give them 24 hours to fix.

Stay tuned.

Oh, and as always, adjust your expectations accordingly.

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 🙂 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.

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.