Friday, February 29, 2008

Oscar Party

I know this is late, And I've been meaning to write about the damn Oscar's all week, but I didn't really feel that compelled, and that's kind fo what I wanetd to write about. I figuerd enough time had passed that it wasn't even relevent anymore, but I read something this morning that made me decide to comment on it.

Apparently, this year's Oscar's was the lowest-rated since they started keeping track of that kind of thing, so I guess I wasn't the only one who felt apathetic about the whole thing. I actually did see No Country For Old Men, and liked it, but that was the only nominated movie I saw. The thing is, I used to see them all. I remember winning a couple Oscar contests in the past. I remember studying the trends and really enjoying making my predictions, and enjoyed usually being right. This year, I almost forgot it was even on. I tuned in an hour late. And wasn't that disappointed, because I don't even know who half the presenters are anymore.

A big part of it (as I've probably said before) is having someone to see all these movies with, and also to watch the show with (That's a long time for me to sit in front of my TV doing nothing.) For many years, I saw every major movie nominated for every major award. Honestly, I don't know how I afforded it, but the price of movie tickets is only a part of the problem. There are many problems, really. One os that it's sometimes a hassle to see a movie because the major theaters (and most theaters are "major" theaters these days) are always packed with IDIOTS! I love the Boston Common theater, but I wish I could buy it and see every movie there alone because there is not one time I've been tehre where it wasn't crowded with morons coming in late, talking, with cell-phones a'blazin'. And most chains are like that these days. It takes all the spontaneity out of seeing a movie because you eitehr have to get there hours before it starts to get a ticket and a decent seat, or order them hours in advance online and still get there early to get a decent seat.

I guess the second major problem is the fact that I'm uber-single, and if I'm going to go to the movies with a friend, I'm probably not going to see some weepy Oscar-bait. I'm going to see The Simpsons (or, knowing me, Ghost Rider, one of the best bad movies ever). "But, Durs, why don't you go alone?" you ask. A valid question, and I've done it many times, but who wants to do it all the time? Who wants to talk about the subtleties of the cinematography with strangers?

I think the third problem is the same apathy that kept people from watching the Oscars. I read one opinion column that said that we need more cross-over-type flicks, that are Oscar-worthy and make a boatload of money. Sure, because, y'know, that Gladiator was such a fine piece of American cinema.

In the end, it really doesn't matter, because in a few weeks, no one will even remember who won, anyway. I probably won't, but what really makes me sad is that it seems like my Oscar-fandom is a thing of the past, sitting in the same heap as a lot of the other things I used to enjoy and now just never get around to. I'm not sure if it's a sympton of depression, or just me growing up, but I really don't care to analyze it too much. And that is the real problem with apathy; I just don't care.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

All Grow's Up

If you're reading this (and I hope you are!), you may notice all the lovely new ads I've thrown up. This is because I am financially challenged at the moment. But that's really not the point (just a nice little by-product). The point is that I did it all by myself. Not even one phone call or harried e-mail to Jay (who would certainly have helped me, because he's awesome.) Of course, it's a lot easier these days to put these things up, since there are little widgets and stuff all over the place that say "Add to Blogger," but still, at least I knew what a widget was. Kind of. Well, all part of the learning process...

I tried to put up things that people would be into and things that I'd like to help out (like Riftrax). So I'm not a total stooley just out for people's money. I'll try to update it as often as possible, too, so the ads won't be boring. See? Always thinking of ya!

Anyway, there we are, so click away folks. Matty needs some mo' insulin.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

One Man's Trash...

Years ago, I was shown, a great website where you could buy used stuff cheap, and (thank God) sell it as well. I can't even begin to tell you how much money I've made on there, because a few years ago, they went into business with eBay (You may have heard of it), and I was able to combine accounts and feedback and have now amassed a respectable rating of 856 between the two sites (not bad for a guy who just sells his crap). These places literally changed my life, because now I buy things usually without regret, secure with the knowledge that I can sell it back on one of them if I so choose (this may also be one of the reasons for my enormous debt, but, y'know, the internets giveth and the internets taketh away).

Always remaining on the cuttering edge, I have now discovered, a site similar to, but no money changes hands (except for postage). Only items are exchanged between teh parties. All swaptree does is facilitate the trade by putting the parties in touch with one another. And like and eBay, all you have to do is put in the ISBN or UPC symbol and they take care of teh rest. And you can even import your amazon wishlist into swaptree so they know what you want and can tell you if there's a trade available.

For example, I had two copies of Serenity on DVD (the special edition, and the DELUXE EDITION, or something), and certainly didn't need both. So, I listed and instantaneously was given several options that I could trade it for. I opted for Team America: World Police. I was told who to ship it to and when (which I did), and a few days later, I received my movie. So, now two people with extra crap lying around now have different crap.

The most popular items seem to be books, but there's also plenty of DVD's and CD's (probably because people just copy them and don't need them, but I'm not into that. I like my cover art.), as well as games, but those seem to be rare, probably because there's still a market for them where you can get real money for selling instead of just trading it. Books, on the otehr hand, people seem to have plenty of, and people don't seem to want them after they've read them.

So, that's my plug for swaptree. It won't exactly help you get rid of stuff, but you can definitely swap some trash for treasure on there.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Curse of Film School

So, I went outside a few minutes ago to check out the lunar eclipse (which, when I was a kid, seemed to be a big deal. What happened there?) and despite the chill, wandered around a little on the grassy part between the access road and actual Comm Ave. What I found cooler than the eclipse (because I'm that ego-centric) is that when my lights are on in my living room, you can actually see my film reels from the outside. I had never looked at my apartment from the outside at night with the lights on (because if I go out at night, I tend to turn the lights off, see?), but it is a pretty neat decoration that I'm betting very few people have. I wonder if anyone ever walks by and notices and thinks they are cool, too. Or if they think I'm some sort of budding filmmaker. Or if they think I'm an old coot who never throws anything away.

I'm certainly not a budding filmmaker. I was asked the other day by a professor where I went to school, and when I told him Emerson for film, he asked if it was film studies or actual filmmaking, and I had to admit filmmaking, even though I admitted to kind of hating the actual process of making films. The good thing was he agreed, and I was able to preserve some dignity that I mostly concentrated on screenwriting once I made my discovery (too late to really do much about that film degree, but whatever). The idea that people in the movie biz can film two scenes and call it a good day still baffles me, and let's not get into the fact that nearly half the film is made in post. I think the killer for me may have been the realization that most of the dialogue is looped in post-production, meaning all those great speeches and quotes I have memorized, with the perfect inflections in the speaker's voice to add to the tone of the work, are probably done months after the scene itself has been acted and the actor has had plenty of time to think about it. Somehow, it devalues the whole experience for me.

Screenwriting is the last part of movie-making that still has some purity to it; no green screens, no looping in post, no CGI. And I'm not a purist by any means, and I know there are still good indy movies out there (Believe me, not any faster or more enjoyable when it coems to making those), and that there's still plenty of creativity that goes into making movies, but still... Robert Rodriguez likes to point out that any Joe Schmoe with a computer and the right software could have made Grindhouse (After all, he did cast his dentist and his nieces in it) but that, to me, is almost part of the problem. I mean, just because I can sit on my ass in my apartment, edit some clips together, post it on Youtube and call it my opus, doesn't mean I should.

That is the curse of film school; I have taken the classes, read the texts, studied the greats, and now rarely can enjoy watching movies. I know too much (Don't believe me check out my facebook movie thing). I know how much money it takes, I know how much time is wasted each day on each set, I know where and how it should have gone, plot-wise, and I know that I would have made a terrible director. And I can't go back.

But I'll always have bad movies to enjoy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I submitted my prose adaptation this evening, really and truly hoping it's good enough to get some future work out of it. Some of that stuff was a little tough to adapt for 7-10 year-olds (the naked ninja boy, the girl showing him her ass), but I did my best, and when I felt that it would be too wierd, I just skiped it. I went over it with my friend Paul today, he suggetsed going completely What's Up, Tiger-Lilly? on it and changing the whole story around. What can I say? It's a different culture, but they have very little hate crime in Japan, for what it's worth.

In completely un-related news, I saw my friend Brian and his wife this weekend. I know I've said some bad things about marriage and stuff in the past, but it was good to see him again, and he seemed to really enjoy himself at the Looney Toons Marathon we saw at the Brattle. It seemed like he doesn't get to do this kind of thing very often, so I was glad to help him out with that.

But one thing I couldn't help think about was that, awhile ago, I wrote about why I do the things I do (the pricey haircut, the clothes, the 150 sit-ups, etc.) when no one seems to notice other than my lesbians friends. Well, I think I know now. The other day, Brian mentioned to me that Stacy didn't like the way he parted his hair, so he kind of had this mop thing going. It looked fine. It was just different for him, who used to meticuloulsy brush every hair on his head before putting on a hat.

See, since the dawn of homo sapiens, when cave-dwellers began using fire and manipulating utensils and writing on cave walls, the females of the species told them, "Not in the living room, honey." And so they didn't. That's fine on one hand, because those men needed help, and most men today still do, so I don't blame the women for trying to help guys along. I blame the men for constantly submitting (there's that word again) to them. Fucking write on the cave walls if you want. It's your cave, too. If we all just communicated better, especially about likes and dislikes, I think most relationships would be better and last longer. I mean, maybe I'm crazy because I haven't had a real relationship in five years, but from what I've observed, it just might work.

End of sermon.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Waves in the Comics Industry

I have a tradition of writing something about Valentine's Day every year on Valentine's Day. A couple years ago it was a drunken tirade about it on Last year, it was probably much the same, except I deleted that old blog because it was filled with drunken tirades.

This year, I'm not going to do that, because I don't seem to care either way (Although I didn't wear my traditional black, if that means anything.) I think I just put that up there to continue the tradition. I'm actually writing about recent events and what I hope will become a new gig for me. So, here I go:

--In San Diego back in July, John introduced me to an editor for Viz Media, a company that puts out a lot of Manga books. John thought that my writing experience might help me get in as an English Adapter, basically someone who refines the Japanese translations so tehy are more suited for an American audience. I e-mailed him some writing samples back during the summer, and he said they may have something around the first of the year.

-- Last week, because I was so poor and in need of some sort of income, and because it was teh first of the year, I e-mailed him again just to stay on the radar. However, when I read his old e-mail from the summer, I saw that when he said the first of the year, he meant meant '09. Undaunted, I e-mailed him anyway. He seemed to remember me, and said he would "put me in the system," as it were. So, he said I should do a test to see if I was up to the challenge, asking me to adapt Dragon Ball Chapter 1 for 7-10 year-olds, and he sent me a pdf copy. I was excited, until I read the book. It was pretty out there. This little monkey guy was running around naked, kicking a fish, this girl was showing her ass to him and peeing in the woods. How the Hell am I supposed to make that suitable for 7-10 year-olds? And what do 7-10 year-olds read?

-- I stoppped by New England Comics to see if I could find a copy of the book to go by, but they were sold out. Michelle, who works there and I see almost every week, offered to call the Brookline store to see if they had any, and then got the idea to ask the guy working at that store, Ben (who is Asian, so it was a bit of a stereo-type) if he could help a brutha out.

-- I journeyed to see Ben, who echoed my sentiments when he saw the comic (Whoa! There's the dude's junk!" I believe were his words). I was almost thinking that I was being set up to fail. he suggetsed completely divorcing myself from the story (which was ridiculous) and concentrating on the dialogue. Also, John sent me a copy of a script from his lettering days, so I could at least get the format down. So, I was slightly better off.

-- All last weekend, I worked at this thing, and Sunday night, I sent John a copy to see if I had it down. He had some suggestions, but we couldn't talk about them until Wednesday (and here I was trying to get it out fast to show them I was a good worker). When we finally talked, I only had a limited amount of time, but he said I should change more. So, I went back at it. I'm glad I waited because his advice was sound. And finally, even though I didn't get John's final thumb's up, I sent it off to Viz on Wednesday night.

--Minutes ago, I heard back from Viz. Three e-mails, one acknowledging they received it, one asking for a resume and list of people I've worked with(!) and another saying my adaptation was good, but they're doing a lot of adapted fiction now, and it would be a good idea to take a stab at adapting it in PROSE(!!). So, I guess I have to write some prose about this little naked dude kicking a giant fish.

So, that's where I stand. This better lead to a lot of work for all teh crap I'm going through. If it doesn't lead anywhere, I'm deleting this post and no one will ever know I did any of this. No one!!!