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Posts tagged as “Cannes”

Seven Years of My Life 101 (or Life of Alex)

And now for something completely different. Or exactly what this is all about.

We’ve seen the evolution of TV Calling’s content (and form). Today, I’ll be talking about, well, me. Alex. The man behind the machine. Or the keyboard.

This site is named A TV Calling for one simple reason: television is my calling. I created this website to chronicle my own journey into the TV writing business.
I used to talk daily on this site. After all, it used to be a more traditional blog. Fortunately for readers, it evolved into what it is now. (But what is now?)

You can track seven years of my life through this site. I feel old.
When I started A TV Calling in June 2008, I wasn’t even in Los Angeles. Or the US. Or the Americas. I lived in Paris (not the one in Texas).
As I wrote in the very first post of this site:

If all goes to plan in 5-year time I should be in L.A. for good.

700 days later, I had moved from one side of the world to another. I was living in Los Angeles.

For people who are wondering how I got to live and work in the US–I won my green card. In the lottery.
On October 2, 2008, I registered.
On May 28, 2009, I got the white envelope.
On March 13, 2010, I received my Green Card.

I explained the entire, lengthy process in “How I got my green card“.
Before I had it, I looked up all my alternative visa options, then listed them in details in two parts: Visa Breakdown (Part One) & Visa Breakdown (Part Two). There’s also the post about the application process for the lottery.

Yes, it was, and still is, fairly off-subject with the whole TV writing business thing. But I’ve had a couple people request direct links to these.
And we’re talking about my life here!

I get to be a little off-topic at times. A lot of the times.

There’s that time I mentioned I had a Furby.
There’s that time I had issues with one of my hard-drives. And that time I had HDD troubles yet again.
There’s that time I posted a photo of Waldo.
There’s that time I posted a photo of my suitcase.

It’s relevant!

Oh, in June 2009, I chronicled my ten days at the Cannes Film Festival, or as I put it: “How I Survived the 62nd Cannes Film Festival”. There was just so much to say (and show), that I did it in three parts:
Episode I: The Sleep Deprivation Menace (Thursday, May 14 to Sunday, May 17 2009)
Episode II: Attack of the Celebrities (Monday, May 18 to Wednesday, May 20 2009)
Episode III: Revenge of the Films (Thursday, May 21 to Sunday, May 24 2009).

On September 2009, after the Fringe bashing I mentioned yesterday, it was officially reveled that I am an asshole.
It’s always a good laugh to read flaming comments, so here it is for the seven year anniversary:

If you honestly think that your stupid post will steer people away from watching Fringe, YOU ARE SADLY MISTAKEN! Grow up, asshole!


In August 2010, I moved to Los Angeles (meaning I’ll celebrate my five-year move this year).
Incidentally, it was then that I cut back on the personal meanderings.
Maybe I should get back to that at some point.

Several of the Scribosphere Carnival topics were related to my own processes. One was about my TV writing workflow:

Unlike some writers, I actually prefer to write in the comfort of my own home instead of going out to a coffee shop (and spend $5 on a latte).
With that said, I like to create an appropriate “space” for the magic to happen. Even if my desktop is in the bedroom, I will try to physically separate the “writing workspace” from where I sleep by moving stuff over to the living room.

Another (lengthier) one was about criticism: how to give it, how to take it, how to get it. Did that sound dirty?
And the very first Scribosphere Carnival was a time-capsule from 2013 for the year 2014. I was hoping to nab a writer’s assistant position by then. Things didn’t work in my favor. Alas.

So. Seven years later. Where am I? Who am I? What am I?
Existential questions we won’t get the answer to.
But one thing’s for sure: life is hard. And that’s that.

Looking back at seven years’ worth of personal content makes me almost teary-eyed. Or my allergies are acting up again.
I hope to continue aimlessly writing about my journey on this big ball of dirt hurling through space.

Let’s conclude with one of my favorite quotes, and the one thing summarizing everything we’ve seen up to this point: “Never give up, never surrender.”

By Grabthar’s hammer, what a site!

Seven Years of Featured Posts

Let’s begin the celebration of seven years with some of our classic TV Calling featured posts.

It used to be you’d pin a post to the top of your blog, and call it featured. Well–
“Featured Post” is somewhat of an outdated concept with this site, especially since we’ve never really had a slider to begin with (*shudder*). TV Calling has been a mostly linear design, with a few in-depth articles highlighted occasionally. And since I now only post worthwhile content, everything is highlighted (i.e. everything is a de-facto featured post).

We’ll take a closer look at the TV writing and TV business sides in more details (starting tomorrow), but in the meantime, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a few forgotten gems from our earlier days.

Our very first featured post was, unsurprisingly, a crazy rant of mine on why I hate French “television”.
Although the French TV industry still has a lot of catching up to do, it’s refreshing to see the amount of progress from 2008. In fact, I’m writing this very post from Paris (not the one in Texas) so I’m getting to see a few recent French TV shows. Not the worst.
It’s also funny to see that a few French shows have even made waves in the US (namely Les revenants).
I also attended last October at the Writers Guild Theater the second edition of “Direct to Series”, a “showcase dedicated to French television series”. No, I didn’t bawl my eyes out.
Speaking of International fanfare, a few of my other earlier featured posts were about visa/green card issues. We’ll get back to those when I post about “Seven Years of My Life 101 (or Life of Alex)” on Saturday.

When it comes to story issues, I wrote back in 2008 about mythic structures and hero psychology.
The instigating post was mainly focused on The Dark Knight (I had just seen it), in relation to the concept of flawed (super)heroes.
The second one, still an off-shoot about hero psychology, was on Joseph Campbell’s books–and how others have tackled a variety of issues through the prism of screenwriting.

Vices, virtues and dilemmas should also not be forgotten in the world of screenwriting. Identifying the “moral premise” behind a story is essential to understanding why this particular story touches us, affects us. It is also what will ultimately give dimension and consistency to a great story. Few books deal with this in direct correlation with screenwriting. The Moral Premise by Stanley D Williams appears to be right on target by clearly and easily linking past and present stories, both in theory and practice.

On the other side of mythical stories and structures we have what is inside the character’s head, the character’s psychology. A lot of books have been written on the subject but few aimed at screenwriters. William Indick’s Psychology for Screenwriters seems to be one of the only books I have come across dealing exclusively with this. Comprehending the psyche of your characters can only benefit your writing and your story, especially in the television medium where characters are the medium.

Deep stuff.

As pointed out previously, the concept of “featured post” has been phased out, with most articles now relating to TV writing or the TV business. We did have occasional floaters to mark events.

In 2009, Lordy had a series of very interesting guest posts on unsung artists (at the time): Don Bluth and Craig Ferguson. Of course, Craig Ferguson has since become more well-known, but Lordy’s posts are still worth the read.

I talked about technology, with the iPhone, the iPad, and the future of eBook readers.
I had a one-off interview with CSI:NY’s Hill Harper. Because why not.
I ranted about the unsavory televised spectacle that was Michael Jackson’s funeral.

During the first year of TV Calling, I wrote 11 movie reviews (8 based off of the screenplay).
My most popular was The Cabin in the Woods, which finally came out in theaters over three years after my article.
Others include The Box, Watchmen, Star Trek (the reboot), Inglorious Basterds (Cannes 2009 version), Buried, Prisoners (four years before it came out), Orbit (still waiting on production), Unknown White Male (two years before release), MacGruber, and Paul.

Movie talk still continued after. In the days of Ed Norton’s Bruce Banner, I took a look at “The latest about Marvel and DC Movies” and I brought up “five under-the-radar movies you should watch.” (A few of those have since gained notoriety.)
Given Hollywood’s fascination with IP, I had a talk about “Hollywood’s Trivial Pursuit of Games” (get it?), and most recently how “You die a brand or live long enough to become an IP“.
I also wrote about the advent of 3D (and Avatar) in a big way with three dedicated posts on the issue.

And, for some reason, there were these two amazing posts about: the Weinstein Company being on the verge of bankruptcy while doing a movie adaptation of the 1970 Broadway musical Pippin (“Pippin my studio: The Weinstein way of dealing with problems“); and Taylor Lautner trying to be Stretch Armstrong (“Taylor Lautner: Badder, Bulkier, and Sparklier“).

Good times. I can’t wait for the TV writing advice.

Oscar thoughts (2010)

Well, that surely was riveting (not).
Sure, The Hurt Locker probably wasn’t the best 2009 movie, but nowadays I’m happy if good work is even recognized.
So, yay.

I was pleasantly surprised by Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number.
At least they know who to call for these sorta things.

On the other hand, this didn’t really show much confidence in Alec Baldwin/Steve Martin’s duo (not even seen on stage until the fifth minute).
Twice the host, half the screentime.

The banter following their arrival felt tame at best.
It almost seemed as if they were listing a bunch of famous celebrities in hopes that fangirls all around would “squee”. Alas that wasn’t the case.
Clooney certainly didn’t seem to care about the ceremony.
The jokes themselves didn’t feel much inspired.
Case in point with James Cameron’s “micro-roast” that revolved around, you guessed it, 3-D glasses.

Did anyone else notice that, right after Steve Martin made his joke about Christoph “Jew Hunter” Waltz having hit “the motherload”, they cut to…Ethan Coen?!
Bad taste much?

I was surprisingly surprised at one win: Best Foreign Language Film.
Seemed as if Das Weisse Band was going to get it. Ended up going to El Secreto de Sus Ojos.
Yes, I’m happy about that.

Another shock came when Michael Giacchino was given the Oscar for Best Original Music.
No, I wasn’t shocked because he had won, rather because he hadn’t won before that.
Indeed, this was his first Academy Award ever.
What a shame it didn’t happen sooner. Though great speech.
Incidentally, I’m actually listening to one of the Lost soundtracks as I’m writing this.
And a note to Jennifer Lopez: it’s pronounced Ja-Key-No.

Continuing on the Lost-related talk:
If you were thinking that J.J. Abrams, or, hell, even Terry O’Quinn/Michael Emerson, were going to win an Oscar way before the guy playing Minkowski, think again.

If you’re wondering about that “Kanye West” moment, as people are calling it now, check this out.

Up winning best animated film was a disappointment.
I wish Coraline or Fantastic Mr. Fox had the award.

What’s up with Colin Farell being Jeremy Renner’s actor-buddy on stage and talking about SWAT?!
Weren’t TPTB able to get, I don’t know, any co-star from The Hurt Locker?
Seriously, who thought we would hear about that SWAT movie ever again, let alone at the Academy Awards?

Anyhow, the horror tribute was a bit weird since it included a bunch of movies I’d describe as belonging to the “fantasy” genre (Edward Scissorhands to name just one).

Speaking of, the award for the scariest moment of the evening goes to:

Who knew a comedian painted in blue was going to be a highlight.
Haven’t seen that on TV since a guy named Tobias.

Notice my total lack of thought regarding the major categories.
That’s because I don’t have any.
I’m obviously happy for Bigelow (they took their sweet time to make the historic kudos).
Big “duh” for all the other wins.
And that’s about it.

To finish us off, here’s the genius Modern Family promo they made especially for the Oscars: