Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On the Lot, or It's Still Real!

My fellow Fellows in the features side of the 2008 Disney Writing Fellowship. Tim Stitzel, an LA boy originally from San Antonio, Roberto Marinas, a Canadian, eh, and Anthony Sclafani, from New York. I'd take a bullet* for these guys!

*Bullet must consist of soft or semi-soft spreadable cheese. Some restrictions may apply.

The WGA had a dinner for us when we started the program. I couldn't stop smiling when I first set foot in the building. For 5 years I had driven past this place, staring at it longingly, and now I was one of their guests of honor!

Of course, I later discovered the WGA library is open to the public and I could have walked in any time. Ha!

The TV and Features fellows during happier times. Before things got...ugly. Ho! Not really, things have always been at the exact same level of attractiveness. Good times.

Trying to follow in the footprints (handprints?) of giants. Part of the hall of legends plaza in the Disney Burbank lot.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Previously, on Bangladoink...

Forget It, Tom, It’s Tinseltown
After 5 stressful years of me trying to make it as a screenwriter in LA, my wife and I moved back to Texas to raise our new baby daughter, Amelie, amongst family. I tried to put a positive face on, but, honestly, I felt defeated, crushed, like I’d given up on a dream.

This town'll chew you up, kid.

Deep In The Heart Of Texas
We moved in with my parents while I put the screenwriting thing behind me and looked for a “real job.” Couldn’t find one. Felt like a terrible husband and father. Still, my wife and daughter flourished, I'd never seen them so happy. And we were surrounded by people who love us. I figured it was a fair trade, my dream for my family's happiness. So I kept my dark thoughts to myself.

Mom shows off Amelie to extended family all over Texas.

It’s A Small World, After All
A few months later, hope from out of the blue: The organizers of the Disney/ABC Writers Fellowship called to tell me I was a finalist. It's a year-long program that pays you to write a screenplay while studio execs mentor you through the process of working in the studio system. It was incredible, after thinking I had failed at screenwriting, after months of looking for work unsuccessfully in Texas, I got another shot at the dream. It'd been so long that at first I didn't even remember I had applied to the program.

The Team Disney Bldg., where all the finalists were interviewed.

Enchanted, I’m Sure

Disney flew me out to LA, to meet the 14 other candidates for the 4 open writer slots, as well as the execs who act as mentors. Despite a few setbacks (like not getting more than 2 hours sleep during the 2-day event, and that in the back of a rental car), it felt like I'd won the lottery. At the very minimum I could get people to read my scripts now. And if I could just land an LA manager I could return to Texas and write from there. I mean, there were Ivy League candidates, I wasn't holding out much hope that Disney would choose me over these other talented people. (I later found out it's harder to get into the Fellowship than Harvard.)

Jason Reed, the Disney exec who worked on Enchanted.

I’m Going To Disneyland!
Two weeks after the writers strike ended, Disney called to tell me I made it into the Fellowship! I jumped up and down and squealed like a little girl, then my wife and parents joined in. We made such a racket that it freaked out my little girl and she started crying. My wife and I decided I’d move back to LA for the program, while she and my daughter stayed in Texas. Just before leaving, we bought our first house, which we could not have done without the Fellowship. Thanks, Walt!

Amelie and daddy in the backyard of her new home.

Walking On Sunshine

I’ve been in the program a month now, and I still have trouble believing this experience is real. I would say it’s a dream come true, but the fact that I don’t have my wife and daughter with me keeps the situation from being too perfect. Pretty darn close, though. The biggest media company in the world pays me to write full-time, while my girls are safe and happy in our new Texas home. Every time I drive onto the Disney Lot and walk to my office, I say in my head, “Thank you, God. Thank you, God” with every step I take.

On the lot with my spiffy new Disney ID card.

On the next Bangladoink: Episode II – A New Hope.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Comic Con Carne 07

San Diego Comic Con was crammed full of goodness this year. Met so many people, saw so many spandex costumes pushed to their tensile limits by many a bulging gut.

But let us begin with the loot, with this little jewel I lovingly call L'Spidey.

A genuine 1979 Mego Spider-Man still in its original package. I snatched it from a toy bin seconds before another guy reached for it with shaking hands. Twenty clams seemed kind of pricey so I was going to let the guy have it, since he seemed to be hyperventilating and all. Then I noticed something odd - L'Homme Araignee? Holy nuts, it was a FRENCH Mego Spidey! The packaging even refers to "Thor the Mighty," "La Torche Humaine," and my favorite, "La Chose" (click back image to enlarge)!

I elbowed aside the mouth-breather and claimed my prize. Someone else getting their mitts on this treasure? I say thee nay!

This little baby is a Halo postcard signed by Brian Michael Bendis. It's actually not even from the Halo book he's working on, but he was a mensch and signed it anyway. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I towered at least a foot over him.

Which brings us to the pinnacle of my Con trip. I met Brian Michael Bendis! Not only that, but I gave him a copy of my book, "Wanted." To which he replied, "That's great, man, you're doing it, you're creating." Then he chucked it under the table, so, yeah, short-lived moment of glory. Even so, it was pretty damned cool to meet - and I don't think this is too much a stretch - our generation's equivalent of Stan Lee. I got New Avengers artist Leinil Yu to take our picture, but he had the camera set on video instead of picture, thus negating the stereotype about Asians and their innate skills with cameras.

And now more Comic-Con 07 highlights. Roll 'em!

Terry Moore? Hmm, not ringing any bells. What is it you've done, again?

Zander Cannon, you get to continue the seminal comic series "Top 10," thereby directly following in the footsteps of comics legend Alan Moore. Hope you remembered the antiperspirant.

Artist Adam Hughes gives his "sexy" look.

A wooden robot. Which makes him a... Eh, it's too easy.

Holy smokes! Kal El takes a nicotine break. Moments later he lit some other dude's cigarette. I believe this was the evil version from "Superman III," the one where he also gets hammered and then gets laid.

Artist Ethan Van Sciver demonstrates where his yellow power ring will snugly reside, once he figures out a way to instill fear via No. 2 pencil.

What little boys dream of when they first hit puberty.

Monday, January 08, 2007

2007's Gonna Punch You In the Face! Yeah!

A belated happy holidays to all my friends and family. This last year was an exceedingly busy one. Throw in a two-hour commute each day, and it doesn't leave much time to blog. But rest assured, I got my eye on you.

Wishing you all the best in what surely will be the rockinest year ever.

And remember...

God loves you!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How to Stay Young

Recently, a friend asked if kids these days still say, "He's the shit," to indicate someone is at the top of his game, firing on all cylinders, etc.

Such slang is sadly outdated and will instantly label you as a decrepit old goat and/or a Republican.

Point in fact, kids now say:

"He's the tits."

"He's the balls."

"He's pleasing to the palate."

"He's so crotch!"

Next time you want to impress someone under 30 with how hip you are, you may use any of these phrases with equal confidence. I tell you this because I care about you and don't want you to look foolish.

"Stay crotch, my friends."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Who's the Daddy?

I am, that's who!

First my book comes out, then that same week my beautiful wife, Nina, tells me she's pregnant. We're going to have a little chunkster!

I'm so excited.

And scared.

And excited.

I'm a first-time daddy and a published author. God, I just want you to know all is forgiven for the hell I had to go through in high school. The horrible skin. The crippling insecurities. Getting rejected by anyone with ovaries... Seriously, God, every single girl? And that incident at prom with all the purses - was that really necessary?

I expect an exceedingly cute baby.

Yaaaaay chromosomes!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Global Domination: Step 1

Sweet cracklin' oats, my book "Wanted" is finally out! The cover's a little, oh I dont know, electric neon orange? But aside from that minor quibble I couldn't be prouder.

Besides, orange is the color of courage. In fact, I believe "orange" is the Navajo word for "He who draws too much attention in the battlefield and gets many arrows lodged in his chest." Indian languages are remarkably efficient.

But back to my accomplishments. "Wanted" was originally a screenplay. Somehow, I took a left turn at Albuquerque and it ended up as a novel. My great hope is that I can option the movie rights and perhaps even get a crack at writing the first draft. That would be a tremendous professional and financial boost. I believe the Apache term for it is "ka-ching!"