It's for you.

Published: 4 years ago

A TV Writing Chatroom: #TheGreyBox

Blogs and other Twitter accounts about writing obviously exist, but I have yet to encounter a place where television writers are able to discuss and interact, let alone “in real time.” A Starbucks is fine if you’re living in the same block as one, and a small writer’s group is great if, well, you’re a member.
Besides your run-of-the-mill message board though, there doesn’t seem to be a place where a community of TV writers, aspiring and pros alike, can get together and talk. Incidentally, the best way to recreate that experience online, and without the barrier of geography, is an old-school chatroom.

Ladies and gents, I present to you #TheGreyBox.

Why?
I was looking for a space dedicated to television writers and spec writing where people could interact. Besides niche blogs and sometimes Twitter, there’s pretty much no place like that.
Through this chatroom, I’m hoping at least to be able to bring people with similar passions and goals together.
Even if you’re in LA, it is difficult for anyone to meet new people, let alone people dedicated to the same craft, and have honest conversations. Hopefully, an open, free and accessible place like a dedicated chat can help a little.

Where?
If you seem surprised that the name of the channel is a hashtag, don’t be (because it’s not).
The chat/channel will be on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), where all ‘chans’ are actually prefaced by the hash symbol.
For those not in the know about IRC, Wikipedia describes it as a “a form of real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing. It is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication via private message.“
It predates Facebook, Skype, BitTorrent, Kazaa, and even AOL Messenger, yet is still extremely active, simple to use, and just great. Twitter’s whole existence is pretty much based on IRC. The @ in front of people’s names? Those are OPs in the IRC world.

Not that I’m complaining about this walk down technolane but we have more pressing matters at hand.

How to access it?
The webchat version is available to all through the following site:
http://www.thegreybox.net
All you have to do from there is input your name, click ‘Connect’ and wait a couple of seconds.
Welcome to #TheGreyBox!

What now?
This post can only get us so far so if you can, please spread the word.
Of course if you don’t care about TV writing you can just hang back and watch the Titanic sink.
I’m hopeful however that you’re as excited as I am about this opportunity to meet fellow writers and (re)create an amazing community.
If you have ideas or thoughts about the chat, feel free to drop a comment below.

Write on!

Published: 5 years ago

Born to Run (Emmys 2010)

Already another award show?
It’s as if time isn’t standing still anymore.
Unlike when you’re stuck watching an award show. Badum-ching.

For once, the opening Emmy number was good (surprisingly). It was also a nice big ad for FOX’s Glee…on NBC.
I do have one major caveat though: Jimmy Fallon, please stop singing.
I mean it.
We could all tell you had a hard time catching your breath and you were pretty much completely off-cue during the live part of the song.
I do wonder why they didn’t use Auto-Tune like Simon Cowell.

The best moments of the night didn’t come from Fallon (as expected, like the Conan jokes), but from Neil Patrick Harris, Ricky Gervais, and even a clip featuring the Modern Family cast discussing ‘options’ with a fake suit.

The running-gag of Twitter jokes was as bad as that time we had reality presenters as actual hosts of the Emmys. Remember?
You shouldn’t be scarce on jokes when you’re hosting an award ceremony, that is all.

There were several awkward moments during the night, especially with some presenters. The first one coming to mind is the Matthew Perry/Lauren Graham duo that epicly bombed.
That was soon followed by John Krasinski forgetting his lines–even though the teleprompter was right in front of him.
Awkward.

This year was also the year of popular vote it seems, with lots of newcomers and fan faves winning. Jane Lynch, Jim Parsons, Eric Stonestreet, Aaron Paul, you name it.
And, yes, Bryan Cranston did deserve to win again!
I’m however sorry to point out that Eddie Falco was not the best choice as Lead Actress in a Comedy. She even admitted it herself.


Still nothing new under the sun regarding the Best Drama-type categories, which brings me to this now-popular joke: Will Erin Levy get fired for winning an Emmy? *rimshot*

Lost didn’t win anything.
I find it sad that Darlton actually used as their Emmy joke a true anecdote showing how poorly planned their mythology was. Though that’s old news by now surely.

It’s funny that the Emmy peeps recycled last year’s bottom-screen announcement, such as ‘George Clooney in 17 minutes’ or ‘True Blood cast in 21 minutes.‘
I mean really?
Is that what people watched the show for, or is NBC that desperate to get eyeballs?
Funny to think that the cast of True Blood is also seemingly as popular as Clooney.
At least this year they didn’t pull out the ‘In Memoriam in 30 seconds’ card.

Oh well.
At least a deserving series won for Best Comedy.

Published: 5 years ago

Athletes as SNL hosts are no good

Today it was announced that Yankee’s A-Rod “turned down multiple overtures to host Saturday Night Live.
As he puts it:

I finally figured out to make the game the priority. Ultimately I am a baseball player. This is what I do best and what I should be concentrating on.

I say that’s very good news.
However, some people seem to disagree:

What???? How could that be? Doesn’t he know that hosting “SNL” is one of the perks of being a superstar New York athlete? Turning down the chance to host “Saturday Night Live” is like telling Oprah Winfrey, “No thanks, I’d rather not be on your show.” It’s just not done!

This might be a good analogy if you were an actor/actress, or an entertainer.
We’re here talking about a professional sportsman.
I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but I doubt many people enter pro sports to one day host SNL.
“Geez I wish I could meet Lorne Michaels… If only I had 14 gold medals. I bet that would be a good way to do it.“
Not only that, but if I were an athlete even remotely interested in this, I’d reconsider simply based on the fact that, you know, I can’t act.

Need I remind you peeps of the last time a sports guy hosted the show?


Reading from a teleprompter is not the same thing as being funny.
Even Christopher Walken knows that.

This trend has especially intensified these last couple of years with Peyton Manning, LeBron James, Michael Phelps, and, point out above, Charles Barkley (arguably one of the worst SNL host of all time).
As we already saw last September, the latest seasons’ hosts (save for a few) haven’t really been varied, or even good.
We should rejoice that an athlete turned down Saturday Night Live and save us eye-bleeds (even for the wrong reasons).

Published: 5 years ago

The latest about Marvel and DC Movies

From the recent weeks, it looks like we’re going to get a Marvel vs. DC movies war in the next few years at the box-office. Development news are quick and can be confusing, so here are all the latest wrapped in a neat little article, along with my two cents.

Red
We start small (franchise-wise) with this an upcoming film based on a limited series created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner.
The movie, directed by The Time Traveler’s Wife’s Robert Schwentke and written by Whiteout’s Jon & Erich Hoeber is slated for a an October 22 release.
It stars Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malovickh, Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Julian McMahon, James Remar, and Ernest Borgnine.
Now that’s a cast.

Red is the story of Frank Moses (Willis), a former black-ops CIA agent, who is now living a quiet life. That is, until the day a hi-tech assassin shows up intent on killing him. With his identity compromised and the life of the woman he cares for, Sarah (Parker), endangered, Frank reassembles his old team (Freeman, Malkovich and Mirren) in a last ditch effort to survive.

The Losers
Based on Andy Diggle’s comic book series of the same name, the Sylvan White-helmed pic was written by Peter Berg and Zodiac’s James Vanderbilt.
The film comes out next month (April 23), and stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba and Chris Evans.

Five members of an elite United States Special Forces team are sent into the Bolivian jungle. The men find themselves the target of a betrayal instigated from inside by a powerful enemy known only as Max. Believed to be dead, the group makes plans to even the score when they’re joined by the mysterious Aisha, a beautiful operative with her own agenda.

This sounds like opposite–A-Team.

Moving on to actual DC Entertainment-related movies…

Green Lantern
The Martin Campbell pic has begun shooting with Ryan Reynolds as the lead. Co-stars include Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, and Tim Robbins.
The script was written by Everwood/Eli Stone’s Greg Berlanti, as well as comic-book writers Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim. Contact’s Michael Goldenberg subsequently rewrote the draft.
The film will feature Hal Jordan as the main character and Sinestro as the villain. It is expected to come out on June 17, 2011.

The Flash
Apparently, Lantern–writer Greg Berlanti is the leading contender to direct the cinematic adaptation of The Flash, based on a script by Jonny Quest’s Dan Mazeau. Nothing is really known at this point as the script was still being written back in October.

Shazam! (aka Captain Marvel)
You should Google him if you dont know who he is.
Although at one time a hot movie, it has now kind of fallen out of grace altogether.
The whole behind-the-scene fiasco was greatly detailed last year in a blog post by John August.
Bottom line is:

The project [is] dead.
By “dead,” I mean that it won’t be happening. I don’t think it’s on the studio’s radar at all. It may come back in another incarnation, with another writer, but I can say with considerable certainty that it won’t be the version I developed.

Batman 3/The Caped Crusader
Apparently, the Nolan Bros. are setting this Batman movie as the last one in their trilogy.

Without getting into specifics, the key thing that makes the third film an great possibility for us is that we want to finish our story. And in viewing it as the finishing of a story rather than infinitely blowing up the balloon and expanding the story … I’m very excited about the end of the film, the conclusion, and what we’ve done with the characters. My brother has come up with some pretty exciting stuff. Unlike the comics, these thing don’t go on forever in film and viewing it as a story with an end is useful. Viewing it as an ending, that sets you very much on the right track about the appropriate conclusion and the essence of what tale we’re telling. And it hearkens back to that priority of trying to find the reality in these fantastic stories. That’s what we do.

Dr. Freeze won’t be part of it, but besides that, as you can expect for a Nolan movie, nothing else is known at this point.

Superman Reboot/The Man of Steel
Again, not much (if anything) is known about what this third reboot will be about, only that David Goyer mused with a Superman idea that Nolan…

…immediately got it, loved it, and thought: That is a way of approaching the story I’ve never seen before that makes it incredibly exciting.
[…]
A lot of people have approached Superman in a lot of different ways. I only know the way that has worked for us that’s what I know how to do.

Translation: Superman will be set in a bleak environment with creepy mindfucks and an omniscient Lex Luthor.
You know what, I’m not really anticipating this one…

A studio has been keen on pursuing Marvel properties: Tom Rothman’s 20th Century Fox.

Wolverine made Fox loads of cash, so what does it mean for the rest of the franchise?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2
Probably one of the top priorities for Fox and its comic-related films.
The sequel will start shooting sometime next year and will focus on the Wolverine/Mariko relationship in Japan.
The fighting style will also be different.
Although they’re using the already-written arc by Chris Claremont & Frank Miller, they called in Chris McQuarrie to “tighten the story”.

X-Men Origins: Deadpool
Don’t worry about continuity, the Deadpool in this movie won’t be the same as the idiotic version you saw in Wolverine.
Says X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner:

I want to ignore the version of Deadpool that we saw in Wolverine and just start over again. Reboot it. Because this guy talks, obviously, and to muzzle him would be insane.

And for you guys doubting as to whether or not Reynolds will indeed play the lead rest assured that Ryan Reynolds has been for years the driving force behind the Deadpool stand-alone movie.
Donner herself declared:

I don’t see it as a problem that Ryan [Reynolds] is also playing Green Lantern. I mean, look at Harrison Ford — he was in Stars Wars and Indiana Jones at the same time and everyone was fine with that. Green Lantern could not be more different to Wade Wilson.

The writers behind the project are none other than Zombieland’s own Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick.
Contents of the film are still yet to be fully developed:

We’re outlining it pretty seriously right now. We’re in the early stages. We just absolutely adore the character and the comic. And tonally, it’s right up our alley. He’s the unstable, smart-ass, self deprecating guy — and they say write what you know, so [we’re perfect for it].

What is getting me excited about this is the character will definitely have its same comics attributes, including breaking the fourth wall (not something you usually see in a blockbuster-type film).

X-Men Origins: First Class
Who is writing this? Well our good friend Joss Schwartz. You can feel the “young hype vibe” already.
Okay I’m kidding, the writer has changed: it is Street Kings’ Jamie Moss.
Although at first a surething for Bryan Singer, it now looks like he won’t be directing the movie after all.
Reported HitFix:

Fox is actively searching for directors to step in and helm the film, with discussions with at least two other filmmakers as recently as last week.
The filmmakers that they’re approaching now about directing “X-Men: First Class” are good names, guys who either have real experience in the comic book movie medium or who have heavy credibility with fan audiences. Names that would make fanboys happy from the first moment they’re announced.

The studio probably doesn’t want to wait long until it gets this thing going.

X-Men Origins: Magneto
That’s one heck of a movie that’s been on the studio’s backburner for some time.
Problem is that it’s really been too long in the making.
The technology used in X-Men 3 to “de-age” Ian McKellen has a prohibitive cost that would financially block the movie. And casting a younger McKellen is proving more than difficult.
In addition, the Magneto storyline is probably the least of the studio’s concerns at the moment.

Sony is also looking at its own slate…

The Amazing Spider-Man
Well by now you’re probably aware of the whole Sam Raimi debacle.
Marc Webb is currently set to direct a James Vanderbilt-penned adaptation of Spidey.
Yes, it’s another reboot.
What’s more apalling however is that Sony already announced its intention to release the movie in 3-D (on July 3, 2012).
If you’ve been following this blog for some time now, then you know that I’m a 3-D supporter, but only when put to good use and with good reasons.
When a studio forces down your throat a technology even before a single word has been written, this is not art, it’s pure business.

Venom
No real new info at this point on this spin-off, though Topher Grace is still expected to return. The character would be changed to more of an anti-hero, with Carnage as the antagonist.
Seabiscuit’s Gary Ross has been signed to direct a script by Reese & Wernick.

Besides Iron Man 2, the Marvel Studio is behind some of the most anticipated superhero movies in history.

Thor
Okay, bad choice to start us off. It certainly is not the most anticipated movie on this list, though the cast and crew does look pretty good.
Chris Hemsworth has the lead while Tom Hiddleston plays the film’s villain, Loki. Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Jaimie Alexander and Idris Elba are also present.
The movie is currently being directed by Oscar-Nominated Kenneth Branagh (certainly not someone you’d expect for a superhero movie). The script however was made by Poseidon/I Am Legend’s Mark Protosevich.
I somehow don’t see the two of them mixing together…
Who knows how this is going to turn out.
In the meantime, here’s the official description:

The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

The First Avenger: Captain America
The movie will be helmed by Joe Johnston (from Jumanji and Jurassic Park 3 fame) while Chris ‘Human Torch’ Evans was just announced as the one carrying the shield.
Like Lautner in his time, Evans will surely need to bulk-up for the role, and make the sharp contrast between the 98-pound weakling that is (was?) Steve Rogers and the muscular alter ego.
I’m not entirely psyched about the casting, especially since this is a period piece (the movie starts in WW2 and should end with him being frozen in ice and discovered by S.H.I.E.L.D.).

Ant-Man
This one is very uncertain, though Scott Pilgrim’s Edwar Wright & Joe Cornish have already penned the script.

[The movie is] about Henry Pym and Scott Lang, so you actually do a prologue where you see Pym as Ant-Man in action in the 60’s, in sort of “Tales to Astonish” mode basically, and then the contemporary, sort of flash-forward, is Scott Lang’s story, and how he comes to acquire the suit, how he crosses paths with Henry Pym, and then, in an interesting sort of Machiavellian way, teams up with him. So it’s like an interesting thing, like the “Marvel Premiere” one that I read which is Scott Lang’s origin, it’s very brief like a lot of those origin comics are, and in a way, the details that are skipped through in the panels and the kind of thing we’d spend half an hour on.
[…]
Because that character isn’t one of their biggest properties, it’s not like a tentpole deadline. It’s more like me and Kevin Feige saying, ‘Let’s make a really good script.’ We’ve always agreed on that — ‘Lets make a good script that works, that’s all about a great genre film, and that isn’t necessarily relying on anything else.

The Avengers
We finish this round-up with the superhero movie to end them all.
Will Hulk make an appearance (albeit as a baddie)?
One massive thing’s for sure though: Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine), Scarlett Johansson (Natalia Romanova/Black Widow), Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), will all reprise their role in this über-pic.
Although there are some issues about mixing the techno-world that is Iron Man with Thor’s more supernatural outlook,
Zak Penn finished a few weeks ago a draft. Whether it is finalized is still to be decided, especially given that there is still no director on board (Favreau is only exec producing).
A few other questions have still not found any answers: Will Hawkeye, Wasp, or even Ant-Man, be part of the team? What about Ed Norton reprising his Bruce Banner role?
I’d say yes to all, if only as cameos.

The plan is for Marvel to release one of the Avengers at a time. First Iron Man 2 on May 7, 2010, then Thor on May 6, 2011 followed by Captain American in July of the same year, and then again in May 2012 with The Avengers.