Friday, July 20, 2012

Reflections on a Real Tragedy

I love movies. Love em. But my favorite, my favorite is going to a movie in the theaters. I have experienced more moments of magic sitting in a dark theater watching an incredible story unfold before my very eyes, than I have had in my real, somewhat banal existence.

And I will admit that I am that rare loner movie go-er. I go to escape, to take a break from the riggers of thinking about whatever seems to be occupying my mind, or consuming my thoughts. I can become obsessive … and movies help.

Last night I went to a movie that I had been looking forward to seeing for some time. Last night I was not alone. Last night as I watched one of my favorite superheroes battle one of the best super-villains ever to grace the big screen, I sat with my little sister and my little brother. It was special. It was. The whispering to each other when something cool or unexpected happened, the laughing in unison at the corny one-liners … we shared it all with a theater of like-minded individuals.

It was, as cheesy as it sounds, it was magic.

Meanwhile, some 900 miles away at a similar venue in Colorado, a night that was supposed to be similarly magical, turned to horror… to incredible, devastating tragedy as a real life villain took the theater by way of a sickening siege.

There are no words, none. And one cannot compare tragedies, that’s unfair. But I have only felt this way about one other tragedy, the other tragedy. Where I now have this inability to think about anything else as I try desperately to wrap my head around what happened.  Was this movie targeted on purpose? Was it just because he knew a crowd would be gathered there? Who would do this to people, to children, just looking for a few hours of smiles, laughs and cheers?

That’s that obsessive side I mentioned coming out.

But this hit home. This hit me, to borrow a cliché, where I live.  As a hobby, I write screenplays. I, literally, think about life through movies, in “three act structure,” in “character arc,” in “cinematic scope.”  I have found truths about myself and life generally both in watching movies and in writing them. Movies are the first place I turn when I need a friend, when I need to let go, when I need to escape.

Last night as I shared that with two people I love, that I care about greatly, I briefly thought about how lucky I was, that I have this. This house of wonder to go to and enjoy and live an amazing life vicariously. That I can sit at a coffee shop for hours, where I can live and watch my own movies unfold in my head -- And that I can share in it all with others, that we can all share the magic together.  

Today my obsessive demeanor takes hold and that’s all I’ve been thinking about. Today I think about those that have lost that magic forever, those that were taken too soon and that were marred, in all likelihood, for life.

I can’t help but think and ask myself, could I go back? Could there ever be some semblance of magic found again?

I don’t know. Maybe that is far from the most important question. I don’t know. Maybe just having a life to live and to be grateful for that, when others weren’t so lucky is the more important thing. Not being able to enter a theater again, the PTS, all that … all that is second to being alive, to having loved ones to hold and share life with.

I don’t know. My heart and my prayers go out to the victims of this incredible atrocity. And more than that, I hope one day, whether it be soon or a little ways down the road, one day I hope they all can rediscover that which brought them, and all of us, there in the first place. I hope to share in that magic with them again.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A special Congrats and Shout Out to an Old College Pal

Gorgeous and talented. Just like all my friends ;)
Last night I had the extreme pleasure of watching my old NYU friend Katie Lowes on the new show "Scandal." She plays the naive and perky Quinn Reilly. I for one thought she did great!!! The show also happens to have a premise that is right up my alley. Love a good political/crime drama. Congrats Katie and all the best! I predict HIT!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Well boys and girls. My first prediction on this site may have been wrong. Smash had great numbers last Monday. But yesterday, it fell 26% in the ratings. That is a HUGE drop! Even with the huge Voice premier lead in last week. What may be Smash's saving grace is that TV ratings across the networks saw low numbers compared to last week, and no one really know why.

Smash will be on again next week. A nice bump would help, and at this point, a bump is likely because of the big dip it just took.

However, and this is important, Smash led in the key demo for the 10 o'clock hour. Something NBC has failed to do all season 2 weeks in a row. This is actually fairly good news for execs over there, and helped NBC be the big ratings winner this Monday with most overall and in the key 18-49 demo.

It is certainly NOT time for NBC to panic yet, but the butterflies are probably starting to fly a little, as they've been down this road so many times in the past five-ten years. Smash still has life though, and next week will be a key week as far as its indication of Smash's future. Another drop, especially one of this size, could be catastrophic. But a recovery, even a relatively minor one, will show this week's numbers were something of a fluke.

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Great News!!!

Four movies open over 20 million for the first time ever on a non-holiday weekend. Great news for the hollywood folk!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ARTICLE: What Can You Tell From a Trailer?

Smash Hit? I think YES! Let's Find Out ...
"Smash" is coming to NBC. As noted in previous posts, NBC has been struggling to find an audience. At least one that doesn't tune in for reality weight loss shows. So this last season, as noted in other previous posts, NBC went out and bought a lot of ... well, Pilots. Also known as "ideas for shows."  One of these was Smash. It will air Monday after the Superbowl.

What I'd like to do is run a bit of an experiment. Will Smash be a smash? Will it give NBC some much needed momentum going into the new year and eventually sweeps? I know I know, this is a movie blog site and we've already talked a lot about TV already. Screw it. It's my site I can do what I want.

Here's what I think:

1) Great cast led by Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing and (singer?) Katherine McPhee. Two huge starlets that can attract an audience.

2) Great premise in starting a Broadway show about Marlin Monroe. It's unique, it's fun it sets the stage for a lot of great drama (ha ha ... pun intended). And you get to claim one of the most iconic figures n pop culture as a theme (that is especially genius I thought). Also as I've worked on Broadway (well not ON Broadway, but I worked in a Broadway theater for some time) I can tell you the characters and people that are attracted to that environment are larger than life and span an array of types. It's a great premise that hopefully will prove to be a lot of fun!

3) Schedule. Monday at 10pm is a fascinating time slot. It will depend a lot on what is airing opposite it too. While a Monday 10pm time slot will never get you HUGE ratings, it still has potential. As always, this is going to be a point of contention though if the series starts out flat.

4) The market for a show like this is growing. Let's be honest, this show will attract a lot of different types that don't have a lot of other options on television right now (gay guys and WASP-y grandmas, I'm looking at you). Glee is by far the closest and that show is (was?) HUGE! This is not merely a Glee knockoff though. It looks kind of like an Aaron Sorkin show meets Glee. Time will tell how well written, directed and produced the show is, but I like its chances.

So this the trailer I saw that got me thinking ...

 I'm curious, let's hear from you ... what do you think will happen with Smash and why? If you're an NBC exec, what are you worried about? What are you excited about?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sorry It's Been So Long ...

I haven't gone away. I'm finishing my thesis for law school, final draft due TOMORROW! (And I'm kind of behind .. yikes!) For now I'll leave you with this! A must watch for any aspiring screenwriter! Q&A with 'Little Miss Sunshine' writer Michael Arndt. Great kernels of wisdom littered throughout.

Little Miss Sunshine: The Shooting Script from Cody's Books on

Friday, November 18, 2011

ARTICLE: New Regency Studios. Heaven or Hell?

The Devil? Is that Prada around her neck?
Let's take a little trip into the weeds of Hollywood, shall we? The real nitty gritty of it all. Where the rubber really meets the road.

Hollywood, at its core is a business driven first and foremost by people.  It is about relationships. When you need something, and everyone in HW needs something, who can you call to get it? Movies and television are at their core collaborative efforts.  Talent, ambition, drive, creativity ... all of this helps on an individual level, but when push comes to shove none of that is going to matter if you don't get along with people, if you don't have strong relationships. Because your talent and instinct and ambition may help get you off the ground, but in the end you as an individual in Hollywood are only as good as those who are around you. And that's true whether you're James Cameron starting out and making The Abyss or the PA (Hollywood's form of the grunt) trying to get your opus into the hands of the director - if you aren't someone who people want to work with, you best be related to somebody who people do.

And I mention Cameron, because he seemed to start off that way - personable. But now it seems according to rumors, he's not. But he has built such a legacy that people want to work with him still. HW wants to be in the James Cameron business. But most HW folks are not nor will they ever be James Cameron. So for most, these relationships will matter for their entire tour of duty.

So it is with that, I read about the move of Carla Hacken to New Regency, who was a former Executive Vice President at Fox 2000, with a certain degree of fascination.

There were essentially two paradigms:

1) The article itself. The article painted a very rosy picture of a studio looking to be a home for "filmmakers." On its face, great news for creatives!  Carla Hacken was responsible for finding and launching The Devil Wears Prada and Walk the Line, two extremely successful films (both based on existing material ... but we'll let that slide. For now). So for her to go to a place that wants to focus on making films first, sounds like a match made in heaven.

Then I read the comments.

2) The comments. Deadline is read by many HW insiders. So keep that in mind as you read this selection of comments by its readers:

"15 years in the biz and Carla’s one of the most miserable people I’ve ever worked with. Hooray for Hollywood. Carla Hacken has “made” films such as Walk the Line and Devil Wears Prada? Really? MADE? Wonder what the directors, writers, cast, and crew of those films think about that."

"I wanted to wait and see if anyone else would post the truth about what a miserable, psychotic person Carla is. Thanks for making my day! I know this for sure, having worked with her."

"Carla is disorganized panicky and very unhappy. She has taste but no ability to handle stress. Brad has made terrible move. He will find out soon enough."

"One of most miserable, meanest and rudest. Ugh."

"Uhhhhhh. So, the new regency offices will now house brad weston, Alexandra Milchan, and Carla hacken? Sounds like a blast. Gonna be some great karma going around that place. Wonder who comes out in the top of that heap"

My Favorite: "Today is the day the hope died at New Regency. God I hope Brad [CEO of New Regency] is looking over these comments and coming to understand the heinous error he has just made."

THE TAKEAWAY: Well, to be honest we'll have to wait and find out what exactly this means. We'll have to wait and se exactly how long Carla lasts at New Regency. We'll have to see if New Regency starts making more money, which will certainly help her position. Money still talks too of course. HW movies are a business remember. And talk of her taste was, even among the blog-posters, far from criticized and even lauded.

Carla Hacken. We'll be watching her career with a certain fascination now.