Friday, April 18, 2008

It's official

I have reached the point where I simply want thirty pages to magically appear by themselves.

Yes, I enjoy writing. But I far prefer HAVING WRITTEN. I'm on page 43 and just about to really start on Act Two (actually glad I took so long as it's made a MAJOR change in story in the interim) but it's crazy how you can start procrastinating on things that you actually WANT to do.

Or, in my case, want to HAVE DONE.


Okay, on to page 44.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ah, the ways in which we procrastinate

Here's what I should be doing:

-getting a new outline and treatment for the screenplay that I'm supposedly writing for SCRIPT FRENZY

-writing a list of video game characters that I can bring to me VO managers meeting next week

-calling my doctor about getting my prescription refilled


Here's what I'm doing:

-this pointless blog

-scouring the usual four websites

Someone please give me some cash and a movie deal.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Last year, I was talking to my friend Dave about a play I wanted to direct and "write." It would have three parts, connected with a middle story. The first part was called "Cathedral" and was about a guy who was stuck in a room and would only be released once he built "the cathedral" - it turns out that anything he wrote appeared, so he had to look at his wasred life and create meaning... thus building the cathedral.

The next section was going to be an avant garde version of THE TELL-TALE HEART by Poe. I planned to have a giant eyeball on stage watching the actors at all times.

The interconnecting piece was about a guy leaning next to a coffin, telling the coffin these stories. A voice from the coffin confirmed that the guy was burying his friend alive, a la CASK OF AMONTILLADO. At the end, the guy leaves and the coffin opens and the audience sees a rotten corpse - the main character is obviously insane. The whole piece was going to be called RAVIN'.

All this talk of Poe got us thinking about a better way to tell the CASK OF AMONTILLADO story than my idea. We talked a lot about our favorite pieces by him and why we liked them. We talked about set pieces and the best way to get this show to go on a stage. We talked about colors. We talked a lot. (Coffee was very much involved.)

This led to a surprisingly quick very detailed outline and first draft of the play RAVIN' - obviously meant to make people think of THE RAVEN.

After handing the play to my friend Jav ( who is a screenplay genius, and a number of friends and relatives, I polished and did a second major revision and came up with the first truly great piece of writing I think I've ever done. One of the suggestions was to change the name to something less obscure like POE or NEVERMORE. NEVERMORE fit perfectly.

Now it's just time to get it produced. People tell me it reads more like a screenplay than a stage play. Honestly, if it gets produced, it could be on board a cruise to Tahiti. (Actually, since I'd be there for the premiere, a cruise to Tahiti would be just fine thank you.)

So this play got me back into writing. It was the catalyst for my unfinished novel and my Screnzy script that I hope to finish soon.


NEVERMORE - An excerpt

INT. lenore’s bedroom, night

The moonlight shines through a large windowpane, illuminating the room. Silken purple curtains hang from the windows, beneath which is a window seat. A closet door stands SL and a tall bookcase filled with girls' dolls, some books, and various small trinkets stands SR of the window.

The bedroom door, SL, opens to look directly at the Queen-sized bed covered with a blood red bed cloth and a gothic headboard pressed against the SR wall. Poe's trunk sits at the foot of the bed. His dressing robe hangs from the US bedpost. US of the bed is a night stand.

The door opens and Poe stumbles in, carrying a candle. He closes the door and locks it behind him. He shuts his eyes and breathes heavily.

His eyes open to see the trunk at the foot of the bed, which he stares at for a drunken moment. He sets the candle on the window seat and kneels down in front of the trunk. He opens it.

He reaches in and pulls out his writing notebook and tosses it on the bed, absentmindedly. Then he reaches back in and pulls out the shovel. He inspects the dried blood and bits of hair that cling to it. He touches the blood and tastes it. Satisfied that it is real, he sets it down into the trunk, then closes and locks it. He stands, swooning, and moves to the window where he parts the curtains enough to open a shutter and let the cool air waft in, rustling the curtains.
He breathes in the clean air and stands in front of the window, relishing the feel.

Poe unbuttons his shirt, turns to the bed, and decides to forego changing into his bedclothes. He lies down on the bed and sighs. After a moment, he stands, blows out the candle and thumps back down in the bed.

The wind rustles the curtains.

A cloud uncovers the moon, illuminating the room in a ghostly glow. The wind comes again, with a whisper like a woman's sigh.

Poe shifts in his bed.

"Here I lie, my soul on Heaven's shore/Dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before."

Poe mumbles from bed.

Do you remember, Allan?

Poe rolls over and shoves himself further under the covers.

It was at your aunt's funeral. You had come up from school and we went to the burial together. They were beautiful services at the church.

A woman's shadow creeps from the shadows, the fingertips moving along Poe's body.

We watched as they lowered her into the ground. I remember the dirt being thrown onto the top of the casket making a horrible hollow sound. It reminded me of my parents' funeral.

Poe is uneasy in bed.

A beautiful young woman emerges slowly from the shadows.

When the crowd began to disperse and walk back to the house, you took my hand and led me away. It was November, and the grey sky had been hanging heavily all morning. You took me deep into the cemetery, away from all eyes. And then you kissed me.

Poe moans in his drunken stupor.

You had never kissed me that way before. It frightened me. It excited me. You brought me to the ground and I could feel the tiny sting of the grass blades through my dress. My head was full of so many thoughts and all I could think of was the color red. At the first crack of thunder, you entered me.

Lenore moves to the bed.

The clouds opened up and I remember the first raindrop striking my face just as I began to cry. You stopped kissing me and I was left with your mechanical motions and the cold wind against my thighs. I turned my face from the weeping sky and saw the tall tombstone looming over us. There was a skull engraved high atop the stone and an epitaph etched carefully into the granite: "Here I lie, my soul on Heaven's shore/Dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before."

Lenore stands above Poe, watching him sleep.

You shouldn't be here.

Neither should you.

You're not here. I've ...... I've dug. You're nowhere to be found. You're not real.

The sleep of reason produces monsters.

Poe opens his eyes and looks up at Lenore.

Oh, God.

Lenore smiles at him.


You must leave, Allan. Tonight. While you still can.


Lenore leans in and kisses him. Poe breathlessly sinks into the kiss.

I'm so sorry.

Poe opens his eyes and looks at Lenore.

I know.

I loved you. I had our future planned. We would marry and move away from this place, away from the memories that haunted us. I was prepared to do anything for you. Nothing would stand in my way. Until I found them.

Lenore stands and walks away from Poe.

Why did you keep them!? You must have known that they would be found eventually! If not by me, then by someone here at the house!

There was no one here at the house.

The caretaker, a maid, someone would have found them!

But it was you.

How could you do this to me? I've loved you since we were children! Why him?

We've had this conversation before, in this room. Are your intentions the same on this night, I wonder?

Why did you do it!?

Because I loved him. As I love him still. What you have done cannot break the bonds I share with Monty, bonds we have shared our entire lives. You call it unnatural. You were a part of the beginning, Allan. You remember: the three of us out in the worker's shed together. The innocent games we played, the curiosity. But you went away, Allan. We lived a lonely life here, Monty and I, and there were few children in town. We needed each other.

As companions! As a brother needs a sister!

We needed more.

A beat.

Did you never love me?

I loved you deeply. The two men in my life who have protected me and nurtured me after the death of my father were the two men whom I
loved unconditionally: as fathers, as brothers, as lovers. My affair would have ended had you asked for my hand, Allan. I was capable of making a choice, but you never offered one.

A beat.

I couldn't. Not after... Not after reading his letters. And not after our weekends here together. It's not right! I didn't plan for things to end the way they did! I didn't mean to.... I didn't....

I know.

But where are you? I came here for you, but you've gone..... I was... digging... someone must have found you. Dudley? He seemed so sure... Where are you?

Lenore slowly moves to the bedroom door, silently taking Poe's notebook from the edge of the bed.

You must still be here. There's been no investigation. The authorities haven't been contacted, so.....

You must leave, Allan.

Lenore slides her hand into the pocket of Poe's robe and palms the small key.

(not hearing)
Whoever moved you has kept it a secret. But who would keep the secret of a dead body discovered in a cellar....... Unless..............

Poe looks up at Lenore as she opens the bedroom door and slips out into the hallway.

Oh, God.

Monty knows.

From down the hall comes the drunken, blood-curdling scream of Monty in his chambers.


Lenore slips out of the room, leaving Poe staring in horror.A cloud covers the moon and the room slips into darkness.

BONEDUST - An excerpt


Burly DOCK WORKERS carry heavy cargo from a ship to a nearby WAREHOUSE and return to pick up the next load.


As the WORKERS return to the ship, a small gang of THIEVES sneaks into the WAREHOUSE to pillage. They crack open crates and grab what they can.One THIEF, a grizzled thin-framed man in his fifties, cracks open a crate marked NATIONAL GALLERY - FRAGILE. A JADE BOX with ORNATE CARVINGS falls out of the box and onto the cement floor with a loud thud. The thief squats down and picks it up, examining it.

Whut’s this, now? This could be worth som’thin’.

He carefully opens the box.Wisps of a white sand-like substance rise out of the box and waft directly into the THIEF’S nose. His BLUE EYES widen and he begins to choke and cough, dropping the JADE BOX to the floor.A SECOND THIEF runs to his side and tries to stop him from making noise, but it is too late - the DOCK WORKERS are returning.

Billy! Billy! Come on!

Leave 'im or we'll all get nicked!

The two THIEVES abandon their friend who convulses onto the ground, clutching at thin air.The DOCK WORKERS catch sight of the FLEEING THIEVES and run into the warehouse, wielding CROWBARS.The THIEF takes a final retching heave and closes his eyes, limp. A moment later, his eyes open. They are now GREEN. Calmly, he stands up and with a refinement previously unseen, he brushes himself off and looks around, as if his surroundings were completely new to him.

'Ere! What the hell d'you think you're doin'!?

The THIEF, whose name is now SARDE, looks at the approaching DOCK WORKERS, unfazed by their menacing gestures.

D'you hear me!? You know what we do to thieves on our docks!?

The DOCK WORKERS are now very close and stand with CROWBARS raised, waiting for someone to make the first move.

Gentlemen. I appear to have become misplaced. Could any of you tell me where or when I am?

The DOCK WORKERS look at one another, perplexed. DOCK WORKER ONE sees the JADE BOX on the ground.

Yeah. An' I can tell you where yer gonna BE, as well! The hospital, mate!

DOCK WORKER ONE attacks SARDE with his CROWBAR. Without flinching, SARDE catches the CROWBAR in one hand and pries it easily from the DOCK WORKER. The other WORKERS look on in disbelief.

It is apparent that I am not welcome here. I apologize. I will make my way onward, then. Good evening, gentlemen.

SARDE bends down and picks up the JADE BOX, searches in his overcoat, finds a POCKET and places the BOX inside. With a polite nod to the shocked DOCK WORKERS, he walks calmly out of the warehouse, dropping the CROWBAR onto the ground carelessly.

DOCK WORKER ONE is infuriated and rushes toward SARDE, picks up his CROWBAR and lifts it over his head to strike. Without turning around, SARDE gently flicks his left wrist, as if fixing a cramp. DOCK WORKER ONE is hit full-on by an invisible force that sends him flying through the air several feet before landing on his back near the other WORKERS.

They stare at SARDE as he turns the corner and walks out into the night.

STRINGS - an excerpt


There’s just something about toucans that make me more at ease. I wish I knew what it was. You’d think watching those damn Froot Loops commercials for years I’d be averse to freaky-looking talking birds, but when you take a look at the real thing, they’re just….. soothing. Like an animal wearing a sunset on it’s nose. Just peaceful. Macaws aren’t bad, either. Maybe it’s a color thing. Maybe it’s that they’re all tropical and I’d rather be in the tropics than in my office at any given time of day. That’s probably closer. God knows I’ll never be able to afford to take a vacation in the tropics, so I do the next best thing: I collect postcards. Probably about two hundred in all. I use ‘em as wallpaper. I keep my favorites directly across from my desk on the door. That way I can peacefully ruminate on a big fluffy toucan while waiting for the door to burst open and somebody to attack me with a large blunt object.

I was staring at a toucan, hoping for someone to do just that, but sadly, the man sitting across the desk from me kept talking and nobody came to my rescue. His name was Wally. Sad already. The thinning hair didn’t help his cause. But really, I wasn’t that surprised. You read enough Dashiell Hammett novels and you start to believe that private investigators sit around their dirty office all day long, praying to get a client so they can support their whiskey habit, when all of a sudden a leggy blonde waltzes into their room with a murder case they can really sink their teeth into. Twelve years down the pipeline and you’ve been helping old ladies find their cats, taking photos of overweight ugly people having affairs so that their overweight ugly spouses can cry all over you about it, and listening to jabbering idiots like Wally talk about themselves for hours before getting to the point.

“I mean, that’s all good and everything, I’m thinking, right? I mean, if she wants me, she wants me, but that doesn’t mean I have to like her, am I right? I just go along for the game and, y’know, see if I can tickle her fancy by the end of the night, get what I’m saying? Yeah?” He gave a snorty laugh and winked at me. The snort took me out of my toucan trance and forced me to actually look at him. I returned the creepy smirk he was giving me. He took this as a cue to continue. “And the thing with me, right, is that I’m very goal-oriented. With everything. Even sex. Like Tonight, I said to myself, Tonight, I said, I…… am going to come.”

I waited.

But that was apparently all he had to say on the matter.

“Mr. Long—“

“Wally,” he corrected me, beaming his creepy smile and winking.

“Wally. At the risk of sounding too blunt, why the fuck are you in my office?”

He was a little shocked by that one and I thought I’d maybe start getting somewhere now, but pretty soon that smile crept back and he pointed at me.

“You’re good!” he said. “You caught me off guard! Switched it up on me, right? ‘Cause that’s your job, yeah? Switching it up on people?”

“Actually, my job is to sit here and drink copious amounts of caffeine, staring at my phone until somebody calls or walks in here and needs me to do a job for them. What do you do?”

“I, uh….. well……” He stopped looking at me. His burbling was a sure-fire sign that he was about to get out the information that he was obviously hesitant to divulge. “You know, I work at a bar.”

“You work at a bar. Doing what?”

“Y’know, like, behind the bar. Like, doing behind-the-bar stuff for the bar guys.”

“Jesus. Wally, I’m not a therapist. I’m a detective. Now why don’t you tell me what’s so goddamn important that you want to come in here and spend five hundred bucks a day for me to figure out for you.” Wally stared at me like he’d been slapped. “They call us ‘dicks’ for a reason, Wally.”

“My wife.” See? I knew we’d get around to it eventually.

“Wife, huh?” I asked him as I stood up to refill the empty coffee mug on my desk. “The one you’re goal-oriented with in the sack?”

“She’s….. I think she’s with another woman.”

“Wally, I deal with this all the time and I can—wait. Did you say another woman?” Wally nodded, staring down at the floor. I sat back in my chair. “Huh.” I began having vivid daydreams about how much I was going to enjoy taking pictures for this guy to prove the affair was actually happening. “So, what exactly makes you think she’s with another woman? And Wally, when you say another woman, you mean she’s done this before?”


“You’re not a woman, are you Wally?”

“No! What the hell kind of question is that!?”

“So the ‘another’ was simply you misusing the English language.”

He glared at me with frustration and anger, slowly turning the shade of a well-cooked lobster. “I didn’t come here to get insulted!”

“You didn’t not come in here to get insulted, either. You came to pay me to see if your wife was having an affair.” I like to remind them of the payment thing as often as possible. “I just happen to be a very large proponent of the English language and I don’t like to hear it get misused. To quote Shakespeare, ‘Words spent in vain are seldom scarce.’ I try to remedy that wherever I can.” I took a long sip from my coffee to emphasize this point in a very professorial manner.

“You’re wrong,” Wally said, shaking his head.

“Well, that’s your opinion.”

“No. I didn’t come to have you prove that my wife was screwing another woman. I want you to kill her.”

I hate when people spring surprises on me when I’m mid-sip – I stain more shirts that way. After I wiped the coffee stains from my shirt and the papers that I keep on my desk to make clients think that I work, I looked back at the grimacing, lobster-colored man. “I’m sorry. Did my name get misfiled in Yellow Pages under Hit Men? Where the hell do you get the nerve to come in here and tell me that!? You realize that I’m a Private Detective and hold myself accountable to the law just like policeman? And while I keep this close to the vest, anybody asking this sort of thing is someone I’m morally obligated to report to higher authorities.”

“You’ve done it before.”

Now it was my turn to get flustered and angry. “You get the fuck out of my office. Now.”

Wally stood up. “I’ll pay you double-time.”


“Triple!” He fished in his pocket and pulled out a large wad of hundred dollar bills and slapped them on my desk. I hesitated. A big mistake. “Just do it like the last one.”

I stood and reached across my desk, grabbing Wally by what was left of his hair and slamming his face down onto the fake mahogany wood. “Look, pal, you’re gonna take your money and walk out of here. You’re gonna forget my name, my face and that you ever heard about me. Then you’re gonna go home and do what any self-respecting man who’s wife is fucking another woman would do and ask her if you can watch. Got it?”

“Yeah,” he croaked, his teeth scraping across the wood of the desk.

“Good.” I let him go. “Now get lost.”

He stood up, regained as much composure as a spineless weakling can under the circumstances, and walked to the door. I smiled. It’s not that I enjoy being a bully, but putting people in their place is a right that I think should be exercised daily.

“By the way, dick,” Wally said before walking out. “It’s ‘When words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain.’ If you’re gonna be so fucking pretentious, at least quote Shakespeare right!” He slammed the door, shaking the tinted glass embedded in the wood.

Putting people in their place should be an offense punishable by firing squad.