Just like really awesome candy

I’m, like, 10 days late responding to this tag from Will Dixon (your definitive source for all things Canuck TV-related). I wasn't ignoring you, Will, I just didn't see it.

I mean, how could I resist a what are you listening to tag? Answer: I couldn't. So, here are:

Seven speaker-shaking songs for the summer.

Liam Finn Better to Be

I’m not ashamed to say I’m half in love with Liam Finn, even though I, ahem, remember when he was born, having been a fan of his dad’s (Neil Finn of Crowded House). He’s got daddy’s gift for writing perfect pop songs, but he adds his own punk-rock spirit to the proceedings. Liam's many live shows are The Best I’ve seen this year. And his drumming is outrageously good.

Electrocute Just Like I Am

A perfectly formed pop song with a gorgeous bassline. Ideal for those of us who like our pop with extra sugar. I couldn't find this song online, but you can listen to a bunch of their other stuff.

Just Like I Am from electrocute on Vimeo

Benji Hughes Tight Tee Shirt

Ahhh. This is the song of the summer. Love the lyrics. Love the bassline. Love the Stevie Nicks /Bootylicious-esque guitar. Love the phrase “just like really awesome candy”. Love it!

Listen to it! http://www.myspace.com/benjihughes

Chris T-T We Are the King of England

Chris T-T is a hyphenate: sweetheart-genius. In the interests of full disclosure, he’s one of my best friends. But he’s also one of the most talented songwriters playing music today. This video is so beautiful, except for my embarrassing cameo at the end…

Chris T-T - (We Are) The King Of England from Sargent Records on Vimeo.

Ludacris Girls Gone Wild

The chorus is as dumb and misogynist as they come, but, shit, Luda’s flow in the verses gets me every time. And the production on this track kicks serious ass. The Neptunes at their finest. Plus, it's fun to pump out of my speakers while cruising down Sunset with the windows rolled down. No one expects to see ME driving when they look over…

There’s no real video (This wasn’t a single? What were they thinking?), but here’s one of those weird non-video YouTube things.

The Blow Pile of Gold

The antidote to Ludacris – this song is all girls on top. The Blow’s live show was one of the best I’ve seen this year.

Listen: http://www.krecs.com/html/press/medialisten.php?interest=139

Junkie XL Not Enough

Great pop songwriting + techno/electro production = a very happy me. Oh, and this track features vocals and songwriting from Willoughby and Electrocute. Full circle enough for ya?

Junkie XLNot Enough

If you've read this far and you have a blog, consider yourself tagged. If you don't have a blog, feel free to comment. I wanna know what's making your ears smile this summer!


Monsters in all the closets

Between the skunks in the basement, the bees in the tree, the pigeons in the attic, the possum in the trap, and working, buying cars, and being sick, there has been very little writing of any kind.

So I leave you with this for the weekend.


How to write a spec(tacular) pilot: Step two

It’s been a little while. Sorry. I’ve been wrestling with looking for a job, then interviewing for a job (five interviews for one job)*, then starting the job (I interview well), and trying to buy a car which will take me to said job. Which means less time to blog and less time to write.

It’s only been three days since I wrote anything, and two since I worked out, but I already feel... weird... displaced... yucky.

But, as Emerson Cod would say, that ain't none of your concern. You just want to know:

How to write a spec(tacular) pilot

Step one: Join a writers' group**

Step Two: Have a great idea

Most writers I know are having ideas all over the place. We all have our little portable notebooks filled with scratchings that we made during a dire dinner with the in-laws or while we’re supposed to be finding that perfect bouquet of donuts for our boss's latest conquest.

So I’m gonna go ahead and guess that ideas are not a problem.

But what about great ideas? Ones that will make a great spec pilot? Those can be slightly harder to come by.

Now, I’m no expert on what makes a great pilot. (Then again, neither are the people who decide which pilots get made and which get torched. The whole thing is basically a crapshoot.) But I can suggest a few ways to make your pilot easier to write, while also making it a stronger idea should you win the Let's-make-your-pilot Lottery and suddenly be faced with the need to write 12 more episodes.

1. Create a finite world
Where oh where is your pilot going to be set? Want to use your location to create conflict? Then make it a place your characters can’t escape. They need to be stuck with their annoying neighbors, the mysterious black smoke cloud, or Buddy Garrity. That’s why the housewives are so desperate, and the Lost-ers are so, uh, lost. They can’t leave their finite world (the island won’t let - cue spooky music).

Let’s think about this from a different perspective. The Heroes perspective. That show is all over the map – literally. When things get bad the characters can just fly away or time travel to somewhere less dangerous. What fun is that?

2. Flaw-up your characters
It’s tempting to write a nice story about some nice people doing nice things. I mean, you want to like your characters, right? You want to think they could be your friends. Which is cool. You should want to be friends with your characters.

Just make them the kind of friends that end up getting you arrested, or hitched in Vegas, or on the red-eye to Europe without any luggage. Or all three. Don't make them the kind of friends who encourage you to save for retirement and increase your mortgage payments in order to decrease your… yawn! No one on TV thinks about their mortgage. They’re too busy having sex with their paralyzed best friend’s girlfriend.

3. Find your football
In my writers’ group, we like to say that a pilot needs its football. It’s a Friday Night Lights reference – duh! Your football is not, strictly speaking, what your show is about, but it is the framework upon which your whole show hangs. Call it your Vampires and Demons (Buffy), your Sex (Sex in the City), your Rich vs Poor (The OC), your Murder and Mayhem (every police procedural and Pushing Daisies), your Political Adventures (West Wing), or your Sororities and Frats (Greek). It all amounts to the same thing.

You’ve gotta find your football.

Well, actually, you don’t. But your life will be a whole lot easier if you do. Football will transform your idea from:

Small town boy unhappy in small town


Small town boy unhappy in small town when invisible potatoes start to reveal to him the deepest, darkest secrets of the townspeople. In code. Tuber code.

Which one would you rather watch?

10-Second Restaurant Reviews
Porto’s Bakery, 315 North Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA

You’d think Porto's was the only lunch place in Glendale
nay, in Los Angeles
The way the patrons swarm like flies around a particularly
potent compost heap
But the food's not like compost, in that it's not rotting and it
tastes rather yummy
Even if you're sitting on the sidewalk, roasting like an invisible tuber
in 104 degree heat

*I've stolen Josh's method of putting bracketed comments in small text, because I like it. Thanks Josh.

**For writers in LA, you can join a new networking/social group for TV writers and their friends. It's going to be the best group in LA, and I'm not just saying that cuz I started it. When you come to the first networking event, you’ll surely meet others who need some critiquing partners.


Celtx is out of beta

Celtx 1.0 is here.

As many of you know, I love this little piece of free screenwriting software.

With the new release, they've added lots of features, including a template for scripting comic books. Neat. But most importantly, they finally finally finally got their forced page break to work. Now we TV writers can be happy using Celtx, too.



I promise I will get back to regularly scheduled blogging soon. I'm just trying to get my life organized and my Pushing Daisies written before I start a full-time job (contract) on Monday. I'm steeling myself for the huge lifestyle switcheroo. No money, lots of free time will soon be lots of money, no free time. I'm not complaining though. Could be no money, no free time, which is what a lot of my friends get.


Like a London bus

Don't blog for ages, then three come along all at the same time.

I just wanted to pitch in on this whole Denver alien thing. I was all Scully about it until I saw the below video. It's a super-enhanced version of the original, with sound and everything. I think you'll agree, it is quite compelling.


Not to gloat but...

I just wrote four acts of Pushing Daisies in two days. I now have a first draft and can move on to my favorite stage. Rewriting!

There's nothing like having a deadline, some free time, and a kick ass outline.

10-Second Restaurant Reviews
El Atacor #11, 2622 N. Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90065

fluffy mashed potato
folded gently
in a deep fried taco

warm and safe
under a blanket
of salad and sour cream

10 potato tacos
for 10 bucks
at 2am

really could
change your life