Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Interview up at cecil vortex

Friday, June 8th, 2007

I have a very long (and hopefully interesting) interview about creativity up at cecil vortex. While there’s a lot of material in it I’ve written about previously, this interview is a pretty good primer on my brain and work habits.

CV: How do you use your day-to-day life to feed your writing?

JA: When I was writing for my first TV show I found that I was sorting through life with a filter: what could be “in” the show and what would stay “out.” If I heard a song on the radio that I liked, I was mentally putting it into the bin for the show. If someone said something interesting — or something boring but in a particularly interesting way — I would literally stop to write it down.

That was probably necessary for the show, but I don’t think it’s particularly helpful for real-world sanity. I began living a large part of my life inside the show. That break from reality ultimately became one of the main story points of The Nines — what are a creator’s responsibilities to his creations? At what point was I allowed to walk away from the universe I’d created and get back to my real life?

I think I’m healthier now. I certainly always have my ears open for interesting phrases, but I don’t feel like I’m in constant collection mode.

You can check out the full thing here.

I talk with my hands

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

Back in March, I was a panelist on a Writers Guild Foundation forum about publicity — specifically, how film and television writers should approach promoting themselves and their work through the media. As I wrote at the time, it seemed to go pretty well.

This afternoon, I was ego-Googling and discovered that clips from the seminar are available on YouTube:

The audio’s not terrific, and so you’ll probably need to turn your speakers up. This is the main section with me; there are two other parts focusing on other panelists, which you can find if you click through to the main YouTube site.

Chris Day, the head of publicity for UTA, references a memo I wrote around the time of Big Fish. You can find a .pdf of that here.

Comments for Jane Espenson

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Jane Espenson runs a terrific blog offering advice on writing TV spec scripts. If you’re at all interested in writing for television, it’s worth checking out.

Jane’s site has two quirky aspects. First off, she consistently notes what she ate for lunch. Second, she doesn’t offer any online mechanism for reader feedback. Not only are comments turned off, but she doesn’t even provide a contact email. Instead, she lists a post office mailbox. You’re supposed to write a letter the old-fashioned-way.

That’s her prerogative, certainly. But it makes it difficult to point out simple errors she might want to correct. For instance, this post from last week:

I’m sure there are many of these out there, but tonight I’m just presenting the first documented clamshell that has captured my attention. Remember these lines?

You smell like aftershave and taco meat. (Blades of Glory)
You smell like beef and cheese. (Elf)
You smell like sweet red plums and grilled cheese sandwiches. (The Wedding Planner)
You smell like old people and soap. (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)

That last one is from my script for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is the Gene Wilder version, and doesn’t feature that line.)

A simple mistake, easily corrected. But how am I to tell her? I suppose I’ll need to write her a letter, and find a stamp with which to mail it.

This got me thinking: Since she and I probably have a significant overlap of readership, why not provide a feedback mechanism for her? So here’s what I’m going to do.

Next Monday (April 30th, 2007), I’m going to print out this post and all attached comments and mail it to Jane. So if there’s anything you’d like to ask her, or a response to something she’s written, just leave it as a comment on this post.

Remember, these comments are for Jane’s blog, not mine.

Me? I’m having Quizno’s for lunch. A mesquite chicken sandwich, no bacon.