Posts Categorized: Film & TV

The Temptations of A Married Man

One of my favorite neologisms is “tivodultery,” coined earlier today, at my request, by my friend James. It describes the act of watching a TV program on your own when you normally watch it with your spouse.

The reason I needed James to come up with a word for this act is that I am being tempted to commit it.

I’m currently a week behind in Lost–I just got back from a week in Cannes. And tonight is the season finale. And my wife is in Helsinki on business and won’t be back until Friday. And we’ve watched every episode of Lost except one together.

BBC Scripts Online

As I’ve mentioned before, the Brits think Americans make better TV writers, and Americans think it’s the other way around.
If you’d like evidence of just how much TV-writing talent there is in the UK, the BBC has made an archive of downloadable TV scripts available online. It includes scripts for British soaps like Eastenders, dramas like the new Doctor Who, sitcoms, and radio shows as well.

The Truth About Mordachai

Every year at the Jewish holiday of Purim, my friend Rob Kutner–a writer for The Daily Show–gets a puts together a comedy show to raise money for charity. In past years, I’ve written sketches for it.

This year, he asked me to make some short films for it: political attack ads featuring Haman (the villain of the story) tearing into Mordachai (the hero). I’ve uploaded them here.

The World Revolves Around Me

This New York Times article is about two old friends of mine, one of whom was in my college comedy improv troupe and went on to work with me on Dennis Miller Live. The article (which was brought to my attention by one of the troupe’s founding members) is written by yet another former member of my college comedy improv troupe, and it ends with a reference to Jose, who is another of my former Dennis Miller Live co-writers.

Home Town Teams

For several years, the UK-based Aardman Animation has had a partnership with the LA-based Dreamworks, which has resulted in Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, among other classic films.

This week, the partnership ended.

The LA Times opened their article on the news with, “Battered by the box-office failure of ‘Flushed Away,”‘DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said Tuesday that it had formally severed ties with the movie’s British maker, Aardman Animations.”

The Hated Redcoat

As an American screenwriter living in the UK, the most common question I get asked is: “Why are the bad guys in American films always British?”

Simply put, to an American, British accents sound smart and sophisticated. You want your villain to be smart and sophisticated, because that makes it all the harder for the hero to triumph. And giving him an English accent is a fast and easy way to do that.

Hard at Work

As I like to remind Lauren, there are certain advantages to being married to a full-time writer. She never has to be the one to stay at home and wait for a delivery, and most nights, I’ve got dinner waiting for her when she steps through the door.

But there are certain disadvantages as well. One of them, no doubt, is that sometimes your husband calls you at 5PM on a Wednesday to tell you he’s just walked out of the first free movie screening of his afternoon, and he’s on his way to his second.

Should I go to film school?

When I got my Master’s from USC, the digital revolution hadn’t quite kicked in. But now that it has, I usually tell people not to bother with film school. DVGuru offers 10 reasons why–8 of them very good. I disagree with #8 (“You can’t teach art. Can you?”) and #10 (“You either have it or you don’t.”)

I believe that everybody has an intrinsic maximum potential in any field–artistic or otherwise–and that education is the way to maximize that potential. But I agree with DVGuru that, nowadays, the best way to educate yourself is to beg, borrow, or buy a DV camera and a computer, and start shooting and editing movies. And that goes for writers who just want to write–even if you ultimately want somebody else to direct your work, you ought to direct a few of your own short scripts, just for the learning experience.


It’s been a little while since I wrote about screenplay theory…

Over at The Artful Writer, Craig Mazin has posted an interesting bit of theory on the relationship between theme and plot structure.

Craig sees theme as:

A proposed argument, e.g. “There’s no place like home,” “It is better to love and lose than never to have loved at all,” “The unexamined life is not worth living.” In this sense, “theme” could actually be referred to as “The Answer.”

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kurtz

An actual, untouched scan from the TV listings in last week’s Time Out: London:

Yes, that certainly would be the high point of the series…