Saturday, December 17

A snippet

I need to revise my credo, here's a taste:

I believe that what it means to be Chicano today, as was once said, lies metaphorically in the hyphen between Mexican-American. It’s an ambiguous, at best, notion of identity. I live in two worlds, a white one and a “brown” one; where sometimes you are not “American” enough for the Americans or Mexican enough for the Mexicans. It’s a difficult path to navigate sometimes, knowing that I am of one of the smallest percentages of “my people” reaching an educational level this high. I represent “us” without ever having been asked, but such is the role of minorities in America.

But I often wonder if Chicano is a term that represents me. The term is taken a group of people who split from the Aztec nation, who fancied themselves the sons and daughters of Huitzilpochtli (god of fire, war and the sun). They called themselves the Mexica (Mechica), hence the derived Chicano. Some find it offensive, associating it with a militant ideal, others not so much. Myself, I really don’t know. Maybe I’m Spanglish, what writer Ed Morales, claims is a “metaphor for what a mixed race culture means – a hybrid language, an informal code…Spanglish is what we speak, but it is also who we Latinos are, and how we act, and how we perceive the world… it is an immediate declaration that translation is definition, that movement is status quo.” Or maybe I am just the son of a couple of Mexicans from Texas, from a family who has had roots there long before Mexico or the U.S.

Monday, December 12

Tengo un mil solo para usted

Beyond the Mat draft 9 has been completed. I finished it up late last night and did a read through earlier this morning and then sent it off to Van for his notes, thoughts. Seems like financing will go through early in Januaruy and the production is pushing along as planned. If things keep progressing as they are, my first feature film will go into production in late Feb., early March - right around the corner.

Blood Bond is in the director's hands now and I'm now playing the waiting game yet again to see if the project is given the greenlight.

Still no further word about Californio and the big three Nick and I sent it out to. We're still waiting to hear back from Sal Lopez, Julio Mechoso and others.We al recieved our first "non-connection" request to read the script from an agent named Suzanne Camejo, who produced a version of the Joaquin Murrieta story over 20 years ago for PBS.

Todo esta bien en mi mundo. Hasta.

Sunday, December 11

Walking Contradictions

Life has a funny way of throwing you curve balls during the writing process. I suppose it's all really a matter of how you deal with them that matters. If you can take that apparent hindrance, regardless of what form it takes, and make something positive out of it, that's what makes the difference. In screenwriting it's called a test of character.

There's plenty of reasons to turn tail and give up in this town, especially in this profession. I have the fortunate nature of personality that includes an overhwelmingly optimistic outlook on everything (it can often be a curse). But if it wasn't for this and the love and support of family and friends, I would have turned tail by now. Then there's that whole "talent" thing - but honestly who really cares about that.

Wednesday, December 7

My year in movies

The following is a list of movies I’ve seen since Dec. 6th 2004- Dec.6th, 2005. Many were intentional, some were mistakes, some were for reviews, all took time out of my life. And this doesn't even depict the countless hours watching full seasons of Smallville, Battlestar Galactica, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls and Lost, among others. I know its fascinating...

Dec. 2004
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Blade: Trinity, The Day After Tomorrow, New Police Story, Elf, Walking Tall (The Rock), Ocean’s Twelve, The Bourne Supremacy, Shrek 2, I, Robot, Spiderman 2, Collateral, Dodge ball, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: Extended Edition, The Manchurian Candidate (Denzel), Maria Full of Grace, King Arthur, Garden State, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Jan. 2005
Carnal Knowledge, The Aviator, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, Blue Crush, Hotel Rwanda, Kaena: The Prophecy, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Escape From New York, In Good Company,
Phantom of the Opera, Closer, Twilight Samurai, Assault on Precinct 13, Friday Night Lights, Coach Carter, Million Dollar Baby, Farscape: Peace Keeper Wars, A Very Long Engagement, The Devil’s Playground, The Big Red One (Reconstruction), Rosemary’s Baby

Feb. 2005
Irma Vep, Superman, The Incredibles, Beauty and The Beast (Cocteau), Un Chien Andalou,
King of Comedy (Chow), Land without Bread, Trip to the Moon (Short), Everything in this country must (Short), Constantine, The Bronze Screen, Heat, Viva Zapata, The Mark of Zorro,
Devil in a Blue Dress, Kung Fu Hustle (2), Get Shorty

March 2005
Bachelor Party, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Be Cool, Rocky II, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Rocky, Red River, Selena, The Bad and the Beautiful, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Redemption, Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (2004)

April 2005

Sin City (2), The Last of the Mohicans, Tom Jones, Pistol Opera, House of Fury, Witness, Fireman’s ball, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Silverado, Sahara, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Appleseed (2004), The Interpreter, Cellular, Time and Tide

May 2005
Chop Socky, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Looking for Mr. Perfect, Ju Dou, Kontroll, Ocean’s Twelve, Monster’s Inc., The Fugitive, 2046, Apollo 13, The Notebook, Sideways, Easy, Wet Hot American Summer, Unleashed, Son of the Mask, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2), Vision Quest, The Rookie, Flight of the Phoenix, Crash

June 2005
Say Anything…, E.T., Love Battlefield, Take down, Miracle, Friday Night Lights, Reversal, Before Sunrise, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Young Guns, Young Guns 2, National Treasure, Batman Begins,
Anchorman, DEBS, Batman Begins, Spanglish, Napoleon Dynamite, Finding Neverland, The Incredibles, The Driver, Land of the Dead,Champion (Korea), X Men 2, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, House of Wax (2005), The Jerk, War of the Worlds

July 2005
The Last Shot, In Good Company, The Nest (France), Coach Carter, The Pacifier, Almost Famous, Freaked, The Island, Prozac Nation, Hostage, Kung Fu Hustle, Man of the House,
Unleashed, The Jerk, Beyond the Sea

August 2005
Arahan, The Upside of Anger, Million Dollar Baby, Gattaca, The Girl Next Door, Star Trek IV, Broken Flowers, Lightning Bug, Kinsey, Danny the Dog, Four Brothers, XXX: State of the Union, Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Nausicaa

September 2005
Unforgiven, Steamboy, Transporter 2, Eros, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Jersey Girl, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, A History of Violence

October 2005
Serenity, Longest Yard, The Interpreter, Soldier’s Girl, A Lot Like Love, Motorcycle Diaries, 11:14, In the Mood for Love, Born into Brothels, Undead, High Fidelity, High Tension, Dracula (1931), Capote, Evil Dead 2, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, The Matrix Revolutions, Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary

Nov. 2005
Transmerica, Batman Begins, Happy Together, Freak, The Constant Gardner, Imaginary Heroes, Say Anything…, Safety Last!, The Freshman,Bad Education, Man on Fire, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Dec. 2005
Murderball, Mi Familia/My Family

Monday, December 5

Murder She Wrote

Via an email from our actress/producer:

"Mark Boone Junior basically said we should get the script to Gael Garcia Bernal and attach him. He also said we should attach a director in order to legitimize the project. But, he said we're doing everything correctly by sending out letters to Hispanic-content prod. companies. Once we have talent (actor, producer, director) attached, we can solicit investors.

...He said he would take the project under his wings, but that he's trying to get a script off the ground himself. So, basically, I'd say we're at ground zero. However, the good thing is that CALIFORNIO is in his head and if anyone is looking for a Western he'll let us know. "

Still no word from Sal Lopez, I imagine we'll hear something this week.

No word on Blood Bond as Kirk is in Hong Kong at the moment.

I'm off for now as I get to work on the 8th draft of Beyond the Mat (which may start securing investors, very soon - crossing fingers).

Tuesday, November 29

The Faith of a Writer

" 'An affinity for risk, danger, mystery, a certain derangement of the soul; a craving for distress... the predilection for insomnia' - these are some of the ingredients in the personalities of writers. Such are the people who create what Joyce Carol Oates calls 'the highest expression of the human spirits,' art. Oates writes that it requires solitude to create a counterworld, seeming to agree with Virginia Woolf, whom she quotes: ' A book should be unwriteable.' In other words, one can't lay it all out ahead. The writer is damned. While some used alcohol to rest, Oates admits an addiction to running. But Oates gives us something larger, something worthy of faith. She reminds us of the irrelevance of the writer's ego: 'The "artist" can inhabit any individual,' she writes, 'for the individual is irrelevant to "art." "


Californio query letters went out last week. So far we have received about 4 rejections, all from agents, two return to senders, from production companies, and one request for our resumes and a copy of the script from actor Sal Lopez (Sleeping Giant Productions). We've had an in with him for a while since the music producer for Nick's thesis film is Sal's nephew. We're hoping to hear from Edward James Olmos and a few other big guns soon.

Blood Bond has been polished and sent out to director Kirk, who in turn is supposed to send it out to Hyde Park, who in turn are supposed to get it out to Fox in hopes of securing some financing.

Beyond the Mat is going through its 8th draft and director Van is hoping to have a finished draft in the next few days, by me, to get out to a potential investor/co-producer who may be able to fund the entire thing himself. We shall see.

Monday, November 21

400 Horse Power

...Abro la puerta y camino fuera de mi mundo, el tiempo despliega para dar la bienvenidame, y el aire de la noche descanse en mis hombros como una chaqueta fresca. Empiezo el motor envuelto en la nostalgia. Es un maneja largo y lluvioso al pasado. Tiro mi colcha de la memoria alrededor de mí tibio, en momentos calientes, cruza cosido juntos. Y entonces recuerdo...

Monday, November 14

My mouth tastes like envelope glue

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

--Pablo Neruda

An amazing poet and writer, Neruda wrote a play about the life of Joaquin Murrieta. It's an interesting take, to say the least.

Query letters for Californio go out this week. Were going out to about 30 agents, producers and companies, including personal letters/requests from our actress to Moctezuma Esparza, Gregory Nava and Edward James Olmos.

Let the anxiety begin.

Friday, November 11

The definition of Chicano exists somewhere between Mexican and American

I've been racking my brain for a new idea. Something to slowly research off and on that I can work up to. The last few days The Braceros have been on my mind and I'm considering working on, at the very least, a treatment of their story. This ties into my own childhood, growing up in a migrant labor camp, the son of migrant parents - it's close to home.

"...the emergence of a demand in manual labor in the U.S. brought about by World War II. On August 4, 1942, the U.S. and the Mexican government instituted the Bracero program. Thousands of impoverished Mexicans abandoned their rural communities and headed north to work as braceros.

The majority of the braceros were experienced farm laborers who came from places such as "la Comarca Lagunera," Coahuila, and other important agricultural regions of Mexico. They stopped working their land and growing food for their families with the illusion that they would be able to earn a vast amount of money on the other side of the border.

Huge numbers of bracero candidates arrived by train to the northern border. Their arrival altered the social environment and economy of many border towns. Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, across from El Paso, Texas, became a historic recruitment site and substantial gathering point for the agricultural labor force.

The bracero contracts were controlled by independent farmers associations and the "Farm Bureau." The contracts were in English and the braceros would sign them without understanding their full rights and the conditions of employment. When the contracts expired, the braceros were required to turn in their permits and return to Mexico. The braceros could return to their native lands in case of an emergency, only with written permission from their boss.

Despite their enormous contribution to the American economy, the braceros suffered harassment and oppression from extremist groups and racist authorities."

Wednesday, November 9

Cha cha cha

I think I'm the only writer in the area I know NOT going to the Screenwriting Expo this weekend.

I've got a potential new job/ collaboration lined up with a commercial director (a ten year vet), who is trying to break into features. He's got his first one lined up and is looking to develop more ideas with a Chicano/Latino screenwriter. That'd be me. I sent some samples and I'll hopefully meet up with him next week to discuss this further. Could be cool and exciting. We shall see.

Friday, November 4

Paper Throwing Stars

I'm in writing limbo. Actually I'm just taking a break from Beyond the Mat and Blood Bond as they enter their next stages of development/pre-production/hell. Been keeping kind of 'lax the last few days, toying around with the outline of Coyotes and slowly getting things for the rewrite on that one going. I feel a rewrite on that script right now could really make it a MUCH better script, especially with Nick's help.

I meet with the Beyond the Mat producers to finalize the script for the most part, or at least I think so. They're having a BIG investor meeting the first week of December, so things are starting to pick up pace in many areas.

Blood Bond, still no word. But the little fucker has a way of staying alive just when you thinks its been shot dead and buried. I'm hopeful. I have to be. It's a damn fun little script and with the slew of other horror hybrids out there, this one is easily a cut above. Kirk and I have been playing phone tag the last few days. Maybe he'll actually call me with some good news when I pick up next.

Nick and I are going the query letter route with Californio in hopes of landing an agent. We pulled out a friend's copy of The Hollywood Representation Directory, we compiled a list, we're checking it twice and gonna send out those letters and see what kind of response we get. The main plan is to circulate the script, to get as many eyes reading it as possible. So if any of you out there are up for a little western/Mexican-American Braveheart action let me know I'd be happy for the read/feedback/help and would gladly read something of yours as well.

Day jobs suck. I need to write more.

Any of ya'll know ANYTHING about the writer's training program as linked over at the WGA?

Saturday, October 29


Last night Jen and I went to see Capote, which wasn't as engaging of a film as I wanted it to be. Performances were awesome all around, especially Hoffman in the titular role. I was particularly enthralled by Clifton Collins Jr in his roles as Perry Smith.

We also went to see a print of Dracula which was a truly awesome experience. We saw it at the Echo Park Film Center. I want to get involved with this place. They work to empower people, especially young adults and children, with the knowledge of using film and new media to help give them a voice. I like that.

Thursday, October 27


Kirk just finished reading the latest draft of Blood Bond. He enjoyed the hell out of it. Aside from a few wrinkles he wants to iron out over the weekend, the man is pleased. To be quite honest its a damn good piece of genre writing. It's not trying to be anything more than it is and that is a pulp, fun, entertaining, scary, vampire action movie. He even complemented my maturing, my growth as a writer. Now he's just negotiating with Hyde Park to get things moving. Time ticks on...

Tuesday, October 25

Ticking Clocks

I recently completed yet another pass of Beyond the Mat and discovered the producers and director are trying raise a budget of around one million dollars. This bodes well for me if it goes through seeing as I get roughly around 2 percent of the budget plus a possible bonus and back end deal still to be negotiated. But overall I feel like I'm being kept in the dark about things but I guess that the nature of the beast. I'm excited about the project and I honestly feel like it will be a good solid film.

I also just emailed the latest draft of Blood Bond to the director. That was Sunday, I still haven't heard anything from him about it. I'm sure it will be a few more days before I hear anything at all. It'd be nice if Hyde Park/Fox gave a big thumbs up to the project. One less thing.

The uncertainty over all these things is becoming a bit of a strain. I know one of them will hit, get made, if not both. I just hate being in a powerless position. Hopefully this will change somewhat when one or both get made.

Californio is still lingering in various people's hands, waiting to be passed along and read, etc. Anyone know of any Latino producers/filmmaker interested in a Mexican-American Braveheart - western?

The repetitive nature of my writing here is becoming somewhat tiresome. I want to try to open things up a bit more and write about more things pertaining to my writing, my life, etc. We'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, October 19

A Better Person

Language, however brilliant and precise, cannot contain, control, or make perfect sense of the chaos of personal experience.

I've been writing for over ten years. I've gotten paid to be a freelance film critic, a writing tutor, a journalist, optioned two scripts and a treatment. I've been nominated for a few awards, won a few a others. When I first started out I thought I'd be content writing about movies. Nope. I soon discovered I wanted to write them. I turned towards theory and analysis. Maybe I could go the academic route. Nope. I wanted to write them. Graduate school came and went.

The writing experience, the growth as a person, my awakening, if you will, has all lead me to where I am now as a screenwriter. I have the skills, have learned the craft. I've got talent. I just need more people to notice. I need to get the word out. Working with Nick as a co-writer is helping to get me to that next level. I know we're close to breaking in. I've got my foot in the door, now I just need to bash it down.

I know I lack experience as far as "world travels" go but I know I've experienced enough to get me started as a professional. I've had enough universal experiences to be a relatable writer. My passion and voice is finding it's way into my current projects. Still, I know I could do more. I want to travel and experience new things, new adventures, get on a plane and go. As soon as I can afford to I will. I want to get my writing to the next level. I'm a good writer. I want to be a great one. I know I can be.

Beyond the Mat is now in it's 6th and half draft. I say six and a half because after I finished the 6th draft last week, I met with one of the producers (which was supposed to be both of the producers and our lead actor) and went over the dialogue with a bit of fine tooth comb. I think the results were good overall but when the director saw that we had gone ahead with a rewrite without his input, he was slightly disappointed. I figured he had given us the okay, that the producers told him what they wanted to do. He hadn't because they didn't. Sigh. No one ever tells the writer anything. I'm trying to smooth things over. Not there has been terror raining from the sky as a result; it's just an unfortunate bit of miscommunication. I think the next draft of the script will fall somewhere in between 6.0 and 6.5.

I think the meetings with investors went well. Hopefully they did, 'cause this struggling writer needs to get paid. My day job is sucking ass right now. The pay is great, the people are nice but they're not giving me nearly enough hours.

Blood Bond is progressing nicely as well. After rereading the script and realizing that the major patch and polish wasn't that major after all, I can safely say that the script is working really well. It's great pulp fun and once the rewrite is done I think it will have a shot. Hyde Park here we come.

We should be hearing about Californio soon. Major player gets it within the next week (hopefully). Our actress is getting it out to Mark Boone Junior for a read. We're still trying to set up a meeting with other people as well. Nick also received a request from a production company to read some of his work. He sent them our latest draft. Hopefully we'll get more calls from as a Nicholl's quaterfinalist.

My comic book with Mark is on hiatus for a bit, he's knee deep in Joy Buzzards work and other commitments. We'll get it done soon.

Wednesday, October 12

In a dark corner

Working on Beyond the Mat, draft version 6.0. Met the new co-producer, Teresa, on the project. Even more great energy to an already wonderful group of people. Van, the director, flies out to Seattle this weekend to meet with some investors. If all goes well he'll bringing back a sizeable chunk of the budget. Fingers crossed.

I'm taking over the reigns of the rewrite on Blood Bond. Met with the director to make sure we're on the same page as far as the rewrite is concerned. It's going to need a major patch job with a lot spit and polish to fix some stuff up. I'm confident I can handle it. Time is of the essence.

Califronio goes out to a major player in the coming week or so. Trying not to think about it too much as I'm sure it will overwhelm me if I did.

I'm writing with a bit more confidence and walking with a little more pep in my step.

Tuesday, October 4

Not So Random

Everything is going well. Writing has been consistent and good. Blood Bond is moving along nicely, we'll have a draft done in the next week or so and have that off to Hyde Park soon. Wish I could say more but that's pretty much where it's at. Writing the film has been quite the process for myself and my co-writer (RS), he's one of the most intellegent people I know and has come a long way as a storyteller. He's been a mentor and friend and deserves for this to happen. He got me excited about working in the Vampire genre and giving it our own unique twist. Hopefully my treatment, his changes, our polish will be enough. We shall see.

Californio, there's lots to say. But I'll hold back for now and say that we've got some very promising progress being made. It's being hand delivered to an important person this weekend. It's got me terribly excited. I'm down right giddy (it's not the only reason, more on that below) The 4th draft is being polished up after Nick and I rewrote it over the weekend. It keeps getting better. I love this story. I hope you all will, too.

Beyond the Mat is slowly progressing. I'll be statrting on the 6th draft of that in the coming weeks. There are mainly financing hurdles right now. I think if the director focused more of his energy into making it happen it would. 'Nuff said.

Reviews are going well. Free DVDs are nice.

Tutoring (i.e. the day job) is picking up and I like MOST of my kids.

My family is doing well. (i.e my parents, older brother and sister, their families)

I'm giddy for another reason. A real reason. Or at least the possibility of it. One that I'm not terrified of. One that I'm looking forward to. One that makes me smile. And it's all very unexpected. I like that about life.

I've got a lot to be happy about right now. Right now. I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can. I like to think I've earned it.

Saturday, September 24

Blood Bond

Spoke to HK Director, if the rewrite goes as planned (based on a treatment he and I reworked back in November) Blood Bond will go into casting in November.

Thursday, September 22


Apparently the meeting at Hyde Park went well. I say apparently because I wasn't there and HK director met with co-writer no. 2 to discuss this all with him. Co-writer no. 2 informed me that Hyde Park wants to make "Blood Bond"now but it still has ties over at Fortune Star Entertainment. I'm not quite sure about the logistics of how that all works. But of course, they want us to fix it before they move on anything or make any kind of commitment. Co-writer no. 2 and HK director will be overseeing the rewrite based on the reworked treatment the director and I came up with almost a year ago. I'll be doing a polish as co-writer no. 2 gets pages done. I suspect that we will be spending about a week on or so on it and then pass it along to Hyde Park for the next step.

There was one meeting at Nu Image/millennium films that we pitched nearly two years ago that went very well. We optioned that sucker (for a very small amount) but nothing ever came of it (a sci-fi Matrix-esque idea called "Quantum Ascension").

I don't want to get my hopes up. It's just the way of things. I've had other meetings before with other scripts that never quite went anywhere. My confidence in such things is waning.

Monday, September 19


Beyond the Mat draft 5 was finished over the weekend. Things are progressing nicely with the project and I'm excited to see what the director and producer come back with as far as notes are concerned. They're gearing up to shoot a 5 minute trailer for investors the end of next month.

In other news, Hong Kong director is taking one of our old scripts, Blood Bond, to Hyde Park Entertainment this week for a meeting. Hopefully the right people like it.

Thursday, September 15

Uno, dos, tres

Writing is going well. Beyond the Mat (the wrestling movie) just acquired a producer, who primarily works in reality TV and has been looking to jump aboard a promising indie script. I guess that would be this one. We had a story meeting with the director, producer and lead actor last week and it went over famously. Working in a group has never been so easy and synergistic. Awesome notes. Script is being rewritten (5th draft). And I'm excited. Sweet.

Californio (Mexican-American Braveheart) made it to the second round of the Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition (top ten percent). It was our first draft of the script. So that's good. We're now on the 3rd draft working towards a fourth. We received some awesome and very positive notes from a professional reader... "I think this is a really solid screenplay. I like the setting, the story and the characters quite a lot. Braveheart meets Zorro meets Robin Hood, all in gold-rush California. It should be a movie." Side note: There would be no Zorro is it were not for the legend of Joaquin Murrieta (who the film is based on).

My co-writer and I are also prepping other projects to sell ourselves as a writing team. He made it pretty far in the Nicholls and is being included on the list of people who go out to studios/producers/agents, etc. I'm going to do a polish on the script (another western) that he entered into the competition. He's doing a rewrite on Los Coyotes (US/Mexican border action/drama), which were also considering turning into a comic book. We're also working on a treatment for another script and coming up with a few rough ideas to pitch if necessary.

Warren over at The Screenwriting Life has a great post about sequence structure. This is the method I learned while going to film school at Chapman University. It's a great process and worth a look.

Monday, September 12

Friday, September 2

Change of pace

This journal has become the Survival of New Orleans blog. In less perilous times it was simply a blog for this guy to talk smack and chat with friends. Now it exists to share firsthand experience of the disaster and its aftermath with anyone interested.

Thursday, September 1


For the last few weeks I have been vying for an internship that, quite frankly, would have kicked ass to have. Yesterday, I received my rejection letter in the mail. At least they had the courtesy to inform me about it. Most of the people who were applying for it where at least 5 years younger than me but I'd like to think my qualifications were/are exceptional. Ah well, there shall be others. But I would have kicked ass at this one.

I've been spending the last few days working on comic book scripts. I rewrote issue one of my collaboration (When the Sleeper Wakes) with Mark Smith. I have four scripts to read for my work with the other guy, Matt, and need to get back to him asap. I'm also kicking around the idea of turning one of my screenplays into a comic book. Decisions, decisions.

Californio (western) has garnered some very positive feedback from a professional reader, which is making us all the more excited about the project.

The director of Beyond the Mat (wrestling), the movie I'm getting paid (gasp) to write has just found us a producer, who's credits primarily include reality TV shows. The guy has read a lot of scripts and immediately wanted to make himself apart of ours after reading it.

More later.

Thursday, August 25


Just a quick update of my progress on all the f'ing writing I've been doing as of late.

Californio: The Ballad of Joaquin Murrieta. 3rd draft completed by my co-writer and I as of last week. Being read by our actress friend and waiting for feedback so we can get it into tip top shape before she sends it off to Gregory Nava and any other industry folks we can think of.

Bow & Arrow now retitled Beyond the Mat (by the director). Finished the 4th draft a few days ago and has been sent out to readers for feedback. Director says its 90% there. Work for hire is interesting that way.

Los Coyotes. Action/Drama set against the backdrop of illegal human trafficking. Is there any other kind? Currently in its 3rd draft as of March 2005, being read by my co-writer/roommate/all around bad ass, Nick. Thinking about reworking it together for instant strength/cred as writing partners.

The Sleeper. Comic book. Issue one has been completed and will undergo a rewrite over the next few days. Issues 2 and 3 are in the outline phase and the whole thing will span about 5 issues. Futuristic, sci-fi adventure with a Bruce Campbell flava'. Co written by Joy Buzzards friend and myself. Could be a potential comic book, feature film, video game kinda thing.

Possibly writing another comic book with another fellow I met at the comic con this year. He's close to signing with AP comics. We'll see how this progresses.

Linda Quan. Two feature screenplays based on this character. She's a bad ass. Like a female James Bond, only cooler. A third script idea is bouncing around in my head. Picture someone like Kelly Hu playing Jason Bourne, without the whole messed up memory thing. This is my Hong Kong version of the dollars trilogy.

Starting research (albeit slowly) for my next script. It's gonna be huge.

Somewhere in there is the still the possibility of the Taiwan project. Hong Kong director/producer is still talking to his people about getting the film off the ground. He's also trying to get one of our older projects off the ground - it needs a MAJOR rewrite.

Did I mention I also write DVD reviews for an online website?

Sunday, August 21


Remember the old prizes in crackerjack boxes? Well the prizes suck now but the stuff hasn't lost it's flavor since I remember it as a kid.

Anyhow, had a grand ol' time meeting fellow screenwiritng bloggers and the like at Joel's gathering this afternoon. Good times, good conversation, good people. In attendance:

Warren from Screenwriting Life, Fun Joel himself, Gary of Screenwriter's Podcast, Bill of Disc/ontent and his producer buddy Roy, Emily of E.B. Langton, Neil from Citizen of the Month, and my good friend Ingrid. Bill's got pictures, too.

Wednesday, August 17


From Steven T. Seagle's "It's a Bird"

"One thing writers have in common is the need to procrastinate. People don't understand this, but it's NOT avoiding work, it IS work. Going to lunch, cleaning the house, walking around eavesdropping, reading... all of it informs the process of pulling a story out of nowhere. After you've burned through the two or three tales that are born into your brain you have to siphon the rest from your environment. So, when I need something for my stories -- I open my eyes and ears to the world around me -- because I never know where the next idea, or scene, or line of dialogue is going to come from."

Now, back to writing.

Tuesday, August 16

It's all part of the process

As I've been looking over other screenwriting blogs and the like, over the last few days I've noticed some discussion on process - the way in which each of us, as individual writers/artists go about doing what we do. The only uniformity I see is in the fact that we all love to write and that we all write in different ways. I find that my process is ever changing. It's like water in that it kind of takes the shape that the particular project deems fit for it. As an overall blanket explanation of how I write, I'll toss this out.

I usually start with revisiting my "credo," which is exactly what it sounds like a personal manifesto of sorts that you put down on paper so that you are forced to look at your beliefs, thoughts, ideologies, etc. and take a real darn good look at them. I think it's a great exercise that really puts what your passionate about in the forefront of your mind.

Subsequently I like to watch films or read books/comics that are within the same genre of what I'm writing. It just helps me get a feel for the genre, type of film, etc. This of course is usually done on par with an extensive amount of actual research into particular things that need to be looked into about said script, story, character...

My actual process of writing is tricky, I write, for now, during the afternoons primarily, a few hours each day. A year ago I was a morning writer, before that, it was nights and EARLY mornings. Every project was different and still is. If I'm working on multiple projects, like I am now, I try and alternate days or time of day in which I focus on a particular project. Sometimes I like noise (TV, DVD's, music), though I still have yet to try writing in coffee shops or public places. Maybe the time is ripe to start trying. I had a professor, who said he wrote in 15 minute chunks, followed by 5-7 minute breaks over a stretch of 6 hours. Everybody is different.

I found a particular book useful, which is about learning and loving the process of creating your art called Art and Fear (written by Ted Orland and David Bayles). I learned about in one of Robert Rodriguez's audio commentaries (Spy Kids 2 I believe), which in their own right kind of make you want to get off your ass and create/write/draw/paint/shoot a film all in the same day.

I've also managed to learn to accept my procrastination, embrace it really. I found this in Steven T. Seagle's It's A Bird graphic novel, where he discussed writers and the art of procrastination. He explains that what we deem as procrastination is just another form of absorbing the world around you, gaining ideas, mind still working on the inevitable deluge of words to come. I'll get the specific quote when I have the book on hand.

That's all for now. Happy writing.

Monday, August 15

Sun Burger's

My co-writer and I just finished the third draft of The Ballad of Joaquin Murrieta now retitled Californio and we're celebrating by polishing off a bottle of champagne (he scored like ten bottles from his brother's wedding) and "chillin" with our new roommate (check Gearhart photography on the links) and his girlfriend aka my best friend (check Sundberg Studio on the link) at our new place after just getting home from seeing Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers (pretty damn good flick in true Jarmusch fashion). That was a long sentence. Nevertheless, this is a good moment.

Wednesday, August 10

And so it goes...

Getting comfortable with the new apartment/area is taking some time but I think I'm adjusting nicely. My two roommates are great guys and very good friends (one is my co-writer). But I'm easing into rewrites on Ballad of Joaquin Murrieta which has since been retitled Californio. My co-writer and I are a little over 50 pages in and will most likely have a new finished draft by early next week. After that we'll send it out to folks and get some more feedback for the next draft. Once things are in a place we're both comfortable with it, it's on to getting it to Gregory Nava and a few other interested parties. To say the least, the rewrite is going well. I'd almost forgotten how much I really enjoy writing with my co-writer. We're contemplating starting a treatment for a new project, with various possibilities as far as what that project will be.

Bow & Arrow, according to the director, is about 80% where it needs to be (as far as he is concerned). With the exception of dialogue (my weak point) he feels this next draft will get us right where he wants the script to be as far as story and structure is concerned. I grow fonder of this project the more I work on it, the characters are loosely based on people I grew up with and I find myself pouring a bit of my own memories of high school into the mix. It's been good fun and will most likely be my first feature film to go into production. Damn, that's pretty "fracking" cool!

Not sure about the status of Taiwan but past projects with H.K. director are seemingly getting a second wind of life. I'm tempted to give him my Coyotes script and seeing if he might like to direct it, considering it's very much in tune with the tone of one of the other projects.

I got some reviews to write. Peace.

Wednesday, August 3

Human Traffic

Coyotes: Term used to describe the people who illegally traffic immigrants across the U.S. and Mexico Border.

My "thesis" screenplay down at Chapman University was about this very subject. It's an action/drama that followed a style more akin to John Woo's Bullet in The Head than Soderbergh's Traffic and in retrospect I think it needs to be an equal balance of the two. The script follows the story of Jesse Cerda, a young man who goes to Mexico to reunite with his sister, who has been putting him through school, only to discover that she is the head of a human trafficking operation involving immigrants from as far away as Hong Kong.

My co-writer, who didn't work on this project, will possibly be doing a rewrite, along with myself. The director of the film he is currently editing is looking for a potential new project to direct, seeing as he might be able to get a considerable amount of funding from a producer he regularly plays tennis with (who has a deal to develop Mexican-American themed projects, which seem to be growing in popularity -- FINALLY!). I proposed rewriting this script to my co-writer and he seems enthused about the prospect of doing so. It gives us a quick one two punch with our western in tow and sets us up as a writing team (which we really want to do).

Still have yet to start our rewrite on Ballad of Joaquin Murrieta, which is still progressing along nicely in the actress's hands. She's sending it out soon to some folks for feedback and the possibility of gaining some interest in the project.

Both comic book projects are still in the works.

Third draft of the independent feature (Bow & Arrow) has been completed and making it's way to various investors.

Friday, July 29

For your listening pleasure

I'm a huge fan of books on CD, especially Harry Potter on CD. The audio renditions of Rowling's books are, frankly, brilliantly executed. Jim Dale narrates/reads and personifies every character with a distinct style through his voice work. I just finished the 6th Potter book today - it kicked my ass, but in a good, slightly emotionally draining way. Sigh.

There is a passage that I love from the book and every time I read it or listen to it, it fills me with some sort of innocent giddiness. A childlike elation of discoverying something new. It's the way it's written, the pattern of the words combined with the moment of the book that's unfolding right before you (All well done) and most likely my own mood and frame of mind.

I am reprinting it here for good measure. It contains spoilers about the series so if you don't want it sullied for you don't ready any further. It's the first and last paragraph. Highlight at will:

"Harry looked around; there was Ginny running toward him; she had a hard, blazing look in her face as she threw her arms around him. And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her.

After several long moments — or it might have been half an hour — or possibly several sunlit days — they broke apart. The room had gone very quiet. Then several people wolf-whistled and there was an outbreak of nervous giggling. Harry looked over the top of Ginny's head to see Dean Thomas holding a shattered glass in his hand, and Romilda Vane looking as though she might throw something. Hermione was beaming, but Harry's eyes sought Ron. At last he found him, still clutching the Cup and wearing an expression appropriate to having been clubbed over the head. For a fraction of a second they looked at each other, then Ron gave a tiny jerk of the head that Harry understood to mean, Well—if you must.

The creature in his chest roaring in triumph, he grinned down at Ginny and gestured wordlessly out of the portrait hole. A long walk in the grounds seemed indicated, during which — if they had time — they might discuss the match."


Wednesday, July 27


Things have been a bit jumbled as of late, with the move to L.A. on the horizon (this Sunday). Life at the old apartment is sparse, seeing as my roommate has already taken up habitation of the new condo (he's got work that requires him to be in L.A.). Wrapping up my life in Orange County has been rather drab and boring to say the least. All that's really left outside of moving is returning a cable box and making sure mail will be forwarded come August.

In writing news, I'm about finished with the third draft of Bow & Arrow. The story is coming along nicely, but I still feel the dialogue and characters lack a needed spark, which I'm hoping to solve in the coming weeks. Re-writing on The Ballad of Joaquin Murrieta will most likely begin right after the move; the ball is still in play on that one, moving along slowly but surely. I'll be making a call later today to a writer/editor I met at Comic Con about working on a potential comic book with him (he's signing a deal with APC comics soon, I believe). Hopefully that will go well.

House warming party in a few weeks. Looking for work after I'm settled. All in all, life is good. As my friend Walker would say, "I'm livin' the dream."

Thursday, July 21

Movers and shakers

I really don't like it all that much and considering the next week and a half will consist of mainly just moving things won't be fun and writing won't get done at least not at a normal pace. Two weeks from now I should be flying high and doing quite well in the new place and adjusting "la vida" in Los Angeles.

In writing related news, my co-writer informed today that he spoke to our actress/producer friend who is interested in The Ballad of Joaquin Murrieta. She recently landed a big part in a film and will be flying out for six weeks to work on that project. However, before she leaves she wants to get the script into the hands of Gregory Nava which is of course terribly exciting. The next few weeks should prove interesting. I pray that he finds it a story worth developing. Crossing fingers.

Monday, July 18


Back from Comic Con, which was a great and overall exhausting experience. This was my sixth year in a row and every year it gets crazier in terms of the sheer amount of people in attendance and things to see and do. Whew.

I ran into an old friend from undergrad while there and talked shop. We just caught up some and exchanged contact info. Cool guy. I really just used the time to get away for a mini vacation of sorts now that I have to deal with the realities of moving (having a bad back doesn't help - damn you high school football). Did a little netwokring and spoke to my friend who writes The Amazing Joy Buzzards about our collaboration together, which we're looking to get off the ground very soon here. I also met another writer who has a deal with APC comics. He's got a few books in development and is looking for a writer (or two) to work on some of the other books he is developing with various artists... so that seems promising (especially considering a few of his ideas have interest from Sam Raimi).

More to come.

Tuesday, July 12

Dejame Entrar (Let me in)

I've been MIA the last couple of days, mainly taking a few days off and prepping for my move to Los Angeles. My current roommate (and awesome co-writer) found a pretty sweet spot in the Los Feliz (Fe-leez) area of L.A. It's an exciting time to say the least. The actress/producer interested in our Ballad of Joaquin Murrieta script lives nearby, which bodes well for quick meetings with other creative folk she might want to introduce us to. This has put a few things at a reasonable pause. The landlord is giving us what amounts to half a month to move and not have to pay rent until the start of August. Awesome. We're still trying to set up a meeting with another producer/actor who is an important person in the Mexican-American filmmaking community. Plus our actress friend wants to get it to what you'd consider the "it" producer of Mexican-American films. As always, we shall see...

Bow & Arrow is going quite well. The director gave me some really good notes yesterday and I will start my revisions probably as soon as I finish this post. He seems excited about the script and has already sent it off to our first potential investor. He wants a finished revisions by Thursday, which I think is doable.

Comic Books. My buddy Mark Smith, who writes The Amazing Joy Buzzards published by Image Comics wants to discuss a writing opportunity that we've both been rallying around off and on for the last few months. It's a cool little sci-fi/action story with Army of Darkness style characters (i.e. Ash). He wants to meet and discuss it more at the Con this weekend and hopefully we can get this project off the ground. Writing comics = one dream come true.

More to come.

Thursday, July 7

Taking Care of Business

My co-writer met with the actress yesterday and spoke to her about our script (The Ballad of Joaquin Murrieta). To sum up she loves it (she had some notes, but who doesn’t) and wants to play the female lead, not to mention she wants to produce the project with us. She’s up and coming, which bodes very well for us. I think she’s nearly perfect for the part; she’s got tons of connections and is hoping to get the script into the hands of some very influential Latino filmmakers.

It’s exciting. I’m excited. This has been very important project for me the last few months – really since November of last year. It’s the second project I’ve work on where I knew I was working with my voice (even if it is shared). At first it was something I wanted to do on my own (writing wise) but when I pitched the idea to my co-writer he flipped. He’s far too talented and intelligent not to work in film. I knew he was the right person to write this project with and he was. Working together is about as easy as it comes. The best part is, is that we really do work well together. Our ideas mesh wonderfully and with a good polish they are seamless.

Now that we have the actress interested and to see someone else, a complete outsider, have the same enthusiasm for something you love is just an overwhelming feeling. She wants to protect it and help us see it through to fruition. Still I know there should always be a certain level of reservation about things like this (just to be safe) but her enthusiasm is genuine. We’ve got another established actor/producer we want to show it to and are in the process of setting up a meeting with him as well.

Now it's a matter of trying to find a few more contacts, interested actors, producers and the like. Here's too good hunting.


Bow & Arrow is going well. I gave the script to the director and he liked it (as far as the first draft is concerned). He gave a few comments so that I could polish it up for an investor meeting next week and the week after. He’s also sending to Cherry Sky films (they co-produced Better Luck Tomorrow), where he has connections.

The Hong Kong director I’ve worked with off and on for the last few years is also in town for the next week and wants to meet up..

And I’m going to Comic Con next week. Awesome.

Wednesday, July 6

Back on Tour

The Amazing Joy Buzzards, check it...

I went to undergrad with this guy and to see him do good work in a medium he loves is refreshing. He's been wanting to team up on some stuff, but with his busy schedule who knows if it's possible. Then again, you never know. But his success inspires me. The book is a fun read and for those of you attending the Comic Con be sure to check him out at the Image booth.

Tuesday, July 5

Breaking in

The following is an email a friend of mine received after unwilling one of the head writers of a television show I managed to get contact information for. My friend emailed and received a very insightful response. With their permission (and sans any identifiable information) I am posting it here:


How's it going? Yeah, it's a tough gig, breaking in. It took me quite some time to get to a good place. And I had the same thing as you, where I was working production jobs, trying to get a break. And it's rough, because you rarely get free time to open your mind up to being creative.

I wish there was some magical advice I could give on what to do, how to do it and when to carry it all out. But really, it's just this, as far as I am concerned: if you are hyped up to write and want to dedicate your life to it, just stick with it.

I did, and even though there were times where I was really down and wondered if I would ever get a "real" writing job after doing all my specs and getting rewrites on loser indie films, I just kept going.

Even though that meant writing at home for awhile, and then taking a job to replenish the bank account, and then writing more, and then working more, I did it. So if you can do that, more power to you.

If you can get a job working with writers, that can really turn out to be a plus in a lot of ways. A lot of writers got their chances to move up by working as an assistant in the writer's office. Myself, included. The trick here is to know when to push yourself as a writer. Because you still have to do a good job, and they don't want to be bothered hearing about your aspirations all the time. But when it works, and they already know you and trust you, then you're in.

In television, a lot of it is getting in with a show runner/exec producer who likes being around you. There are tons of mediocre writers floating around in TV, and I've seen these people rise up. And it's obviously not from their scary talent. People hire writers in TV knowing that they have to spend tons of time in a small room with them, breaking story.

From my experience, you can get into TV writing one of two ways. Working up from an assistant is one of them. The other is, you come in cold. You have an agent pitching you as a new talent, and hope you can get someone to bite.

Agents always want what you haven't written, it seems. So be ready with everything. [Specs such as Six Feet Under, Smallville, Alias, The Sopranos and West Wing] might be considered old by now, in the agent world, because that was the hot spec show a few years ago. Now it's The Shield or Nip/Tuck, Lost or Desperate Housewives. And the agent would also probably suggest that you have a ... script [in the same style as the show you want to write for]. And also an original pilot. Sometimes a one-act play would be good to have, or a short story that shows your "voice."

Once you have what the agent needs to sell you, then it's very helpful. Staff writer positions are hard to come by..... So if you know anyone at all in the business, and can hit them up, you should. Agents won't deal with you unless you have a referral.

Well, I don't know if I've helped you at all. Feel free to e-mail me any specific questions you have, and if I can guide you, I will...

Best of luck,


Monday, July 4

Once again...

First draft of Bow & Arrow has been completed. It came out to about 95 pages in Final Draft 7, which is about 15 pages shorter than I had originally anticipated but a good length, overall, for a first time film. I'm emailing it to the director tonight, who is showing it to a potential investor this week. If all goes well - the man said "bonus." I cross my fingers. I feel good about the first draft as a whole. It needs work, of course. But I think it's a great jumping off point. Now, to set it aside for a a few days.

I've been contemplating turning one of my screenplays into a comic book. A friend is the writer an co-creator of The Amazing Joybuzzards, which has been published via Image comics. Both of my scripts are action oriented akin to Queen and Country. Both scripts could use a polish but I think are ripe for exploring. Decisions to be made.

In other news, my co-writer got our script to an upcoming actress who, after having read only the first 40 pages of the script, seemed to love what we were going for and wanted to set up a meeting this week.


Wednesday, June 29

Assassin's Tango

I love action movies. But I am no fan of Michael Bay, although admittedly his latest (The Island) does look rather appealing. Those who know me are aware of my deep love for Hong Kong cinema, old school John Woo (Face/Off was his last great movie in that mold), Robert Rodriguez, Johnnie To, James Cameron and so forth. When action films are done well they can wonderfully meld the brainlessness of pop entertainment while giving us something deeper and more complex to consider. Great action films do that. Mr. and Mrs. Smith was a great popcorn flic almost in this style. I'd written a pair of action films with a strong female lead (the same one for both) in this vein. If there was ever a sequel for Mr. and Mrs. Smith I'd love to be the one to write it, the possibilities are endless.

Still there is something to be said for the new flux of female action heroes invading the cinemas. It's something Hong Kong has done for as long as their cinema has been alive. And frankly, I love it. I love writing strong women. It's what I do.

I really need to write a film with a strong, Latina as the lead. Woo hoo, watch out!

I'm Waiting For The Man...

Progress on Bow & Arrow (the independent feature) as of this post. 77 out of 110 pages (Final Draft stylin')

Monday, June 6

Never grow old...

Life. I'm at the crossroads. I recently graduated with my MFA in something or other and I'm not quite sure what that means. I'm a master of some fine art, I think. The pressures of "what are you going to do now?" has never seemed greater or more real. To be honest, I don't know. I think that's okay though. But I do know that I want to write, be a writer. I am a writer. Right out of graduate school. And that's okay, too.

A friend and colleague recently offered me the opportunity to write an independent feature he intends to shoot in the fall. A coming of age wrestling story, about a Vietnamese teenager raised by white parents. It's got potential. I love the research part, most of the time. I'm discovering new things about "Boat people" and "Operation Baby Lift" which all seem rich for harvest. I know this is the key to making this more than your run of the mill coming of age/sports story. I want to tell a good story, plain and simple. Plus it's a (small) paying gig. So that's nice. I'll try and keep ya'll posted.

In other news, a director I used to work for has just offered me a job co-writing and shooting a film in Taiwan in August for two months. A friend (my co-writer with this director) has also been asked to come, which would be great. The director is offering to pay for travel and expenses while in Taiwan (he's possibly even going to pay my rent here for the time that I'm gone). If he can guarantee all of this, I'm as good as there.

Opportunity knocks... I just hope life doesn't get in the way.

Sunday, May 15


Just getting things up running, more to come soon...