Monday, November 20, 2006

Free parking

Getting ready to head back east for Thanksgiving with the family, I noted with interest this story in the Baltimore Sun. As old parking meters are gradually replaced with new hi-tech ones, the city's downtown partnership is putting the obsolescence to a good and charitable use. The "Make a Change" program allows you to donate to homeless services by feeding the repurposed meters. Instead of precious parking minutes, however:

When someone drops a nickel, dime or quarter into one of the "Make a Change" meters, a pointer on the dial slowly shifts from "despair" to "hope." You don't get any more hope for a quarter than a nickel and to ward off despair, someone would have to stand at the machine forever with a bottomless bag of change.

A nice sentiment for the holiday, even if it is kind of a made-up one and our forefathers mostly exterminated the native Americans with whom the harvest festival was purportedly begun. Thankfully, this year there will be no hungry Americans around the dinner table (just some with lower food security than others). We are truly blessed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WGA Confidential

Not that it matters for me at the moment, counting myself among the thousands of other screenwriters who have yet to meet any of the credit requirements for the Writers Guild of America, West, i.e., actually getting paid for work produced. But as I continue the process of adapting my writing to the form and style of the screenplay, it still feels hard. Fun and satisfying, but hard. Little did I know, however, that it does get easier. Indeed, if Larry Arnstein is to be believed, the first rule of Write Club is that you're not allowed to talk about how easy Write Club is. The others I suppose you have to learn the hard way.

Tangentially, the WGA library is named, in part, for writer/director Melville Shavelson. It was fun to see him in a news story from 1981 on the then-gee whiz personal computer. According to the report, this was a "small" one.

Not quite the laptop-at-a-Coffee Bean-table of 2006.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Back in Black

Another one of the big-name screenwriters from the golden age of the spec script (the 90s), Shane Black, resurfaced last year with the well-received Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Black made his bones on big studio action buddy pics, like the Lethal Weapon series. His scripts, if you haven't read any (and you really should), are models for the breezy, post-modern style of screenwriting that now seems everyday. After receiving $2 $4 million -- the highest spec sale up to that date -- for The Long Kiss Goodnight, Shane dropped off Hollywood's radar screen. Now he lives in Austin and is content to write and direct movies on his own terms. Austinist caught up with him at this year's Austin Film Festival for an interview on his past and future career.