Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I had just finished a 104-page draft of my latest action story which started with the basic idea of bounty hunter chicks who blow a lot of shit up. Typically, what starts out as something that simple and I start reading, researching and mapping out a plot, it usually evolves into something more complex. As a spec writer, it seems like we have to worry much more about character, structure and plot than what we finally see as a final product in movies these days. It’s not that everything out of Hollywood sucks, but scripts usually devolve into something more simplistic to appeal to a mass audience. I suppose it also helps that they have the millions of dollars in their arsenal and the external gimmick of action and effects will supersede everything that spec writers have to prove they can do on the page. It’s not like I don’t like simple action movies, but it just better be one kickass action flick if the structure and everything else is going to suffer.

The tough part about writing an action script and trying to make it look exciting on the page is that you don’t have the visceral imagery to pull you in. Most of the time you have to pull back on how it would actually be shot or seen so you can minimize black pages because at this point in screenwriting you have to appease the readers who theoretically should be concerned about the basic 3-act structure because much of the time their knowledge on that is only limited to the Syd Field’s Screenplay 101 paradigm to every dotted I and crossed T. Unless we’re producing and directing our own projects, the struggle of a spec writer is writing something that can get past those underpaid readers. So, in some ways you have to convince them you know what you’re doing with the first page.  

The plus side is that I can write whatever the fuck I want and the way I want.

[ This was a like to download the first 30 pages, but since I'm redrafting the script, it's no longer available.  Sorry, but will repost soon. ]

The Crackerjacks. At one time this was called The Collision Twins because originally it was about two women who were so similar in behavior and dialogue that they would seemingly be best friends, but just couldn’t stand each other at all and fumble through the plot. As a conceit as a spec writer I then realized that when readers would read the dialogue one of the responses I could get, “The dialogue between the two women are too similar that they seem like twins.” So, I did the buddy thing and decided to differentiate them in ways to make them separate entities. This also expanded my plot and more characters were added. With a wide array of characters who were all the best at what they do, the story became about all of them—the crackerjacks.

The Heroes:

Caroline Gravenhurst. She was an ex-CID special agent who had been unjustly blamed for a slush fund conspiracy that got her kicked out of the military along with the resident villains (Uncle Brickface and Buck Naked) based on the false testimony of Colonel Charles Bruckner. The only line of work that she could remotely find that had anything to do with law was a fugitive recovery agent where she did well for herself.

Sheena Bruckner. Originally named Betty Bruckner, but because of my disdain for Betty Draper on Mad Men, I changed it. So, you may see in my Facebook page a lot of art where Sheena is called Betty. But in the end, the script calls for her to be named Sheena. Anyway, she’s ex-Army Colonel Charles Bruckner’s daughter who has gotten mixed up in Whitley Bruckner’s (her brother) bail fiasco that was supposed to be kept out of the press, but when Caroline is hired to track down Whitley Bruckner, Sheena is a step ahead to try and keep her brother out of jail. Then Whitley goes missing Caroline and Sheena are forced together to track him down before the likes of Uncle Brickface gets to him.

Brunt Tabernacle. The young rookie who was originally used to communicate to the audience how the bounty hunting game works, but he became more useful as the plot started to develop.

The Villains:

Uncle Brickface. Uncle Brickface was a character I wrote about before back in 1999 in a script called The Flies of MegaWatt Lounge, but I’ve retired that script as I realized it needed a major re-write especially how my writing style changed not to mention so many movies have come out that have either have completely similar scenes like the freeway chase in The Matrix Reloaded or the basic plots. He was a gangster who had stolen a lot of money from gangsters to become this criminal mastermind to rule all over other criminal entities. He’s not much different here this time around either. Only he’s stealing money from government slush funds to go after a corrupt colonel who used these funds for his illegal purposes.

Buck Naked. He was originally a subordinate character to Uncle Brickface, but as his character fleshed out he became much more of a reluctant villain as his family is held hostage to hunt down the son of the colonel that burned Uncle Brickface.

Versus. She evolved as well. She was originally a sniper that accompanied Buck Naked and would take out undesirables from a distance if Buck Naked ever gave a certain signal. But then working her into the plot became much harder because of page count, I kept her close to Uncle Brickface’s security team.

Stuff I Read and Researched While Preparing to Write The Crackerjacks

I read Modern Bounty Hunting by Rex Venator and You Can Run But You Can’t Hide by Duane “Dog” Chapman. The Helicopter Pilot's Companion: A Manual for Helicopter Enthusiasts by Helen Krasner, Principles of Helicopter Flight by W. J. Wagtendonk and much of my research was done through articles on certain subjects online. I watched Family Bonds and a lot of Dog the Bounty Hunter. Also watched a lot of strange CID investigation videos that I happened to acquire while visiting their official website. 

Saturday, March 06, 2010

STEPFATHER '09: Terry O'Quinn's Legendary Performances Didn't Need a Nip/Tuck

In the early 70's John List shot his mother, wife and 3 kids in the backs of their heads.  I guess the oldest son was at a game or something, so he made himself lunch, drove out and picked up his son, brought him back to the house and then shot him in the back of the head as well.  And then after his son "twitched" he shot him 10 more times.  Then he informed everyone that the family would be out of town for a long time and he just ran off and sprouted up in several different states all over the US.  The bodies weren’t found for about a month.  This inspired crime novelist Donald E. Westlake (The Hot Rock, The Hunter , aka Point Blank with Lee Marvin, The Outfit, Drowned Hopes, etc.) to write a short story and screenplay that would be made into a 1987 movie called The Stepfather starring Terry O’Quinn.
When The Stepfather franchise began, it was right around the time when slasher films were out staying their welcome and something like this was a welcome change.  I think I watched them all if there were only 3 of them (the third one minus Terry O'Quinn, but plus Priscilla Barnes) and they pretty much degraded in quality over the years.  But now with the epic Hollywood movement of non-stop remakes and shit, here's The Stepfather 2009 which starts out just like the first film--totally inspired by the images of the John List case and then just turns into dull a domestic drama.  I say drama because there’s nothing really horrific or thrilling about this.  It’s basically about a seemingly nice guy who enters a family’s life and is hiding something.  That something of course is a mass murder, but for the stretch of the movie it’s just about a man trying to get along with the family, but not really succeeding.  A lot of the movie veers off with a young teen couple who listen to would-be cool music to appeal to the kids in the audience much like Disturbia and lessening the tension of the thriller.  I mean, that’s what I’m paying to see—the thriller not kids listening to music.
It’s hard to say where this went down.  The script, the director or the producers with too much input.  JS Cardone actually wrote one of my favorite horror movies of 2001 called The Foresaken and it would seem like he would be a good choice for this.  But then he goes ahead and starts doing what he did with the Prom Night remake and that’s spending too much time trying to apply some sort of likability to the young cast which almost always chews up an hour of screen time (or 75 pages of screenplay)—a trend I’m disliking more and more over time.  But just because they have young, pretty faces, doesn’t mean they’re engaging for that hour.  At least have the plot cooking along to at least negotiate around the potential of having uninteresting actors.  In this case, it’s not so much that the actors aren’t interesting, but they’re given very little to do.  They mostly sit around in a pool, kiss each another and say stuff like, “Don’t you think my stepdad’s a little strange?”  I’m sorry, you just can’t build tension sitting in a pool, sucking face unless said stepdad is tossing in buckets of starving piranhas and pouring sulfuric acid on your fingertips to prevent them from climbing out.  That said, the pool is well shot.  And that brings me to something else.
Yes, the movie is well shot.  They got a decent DP for this.  But a well shot movie is just the beginning.  Interweaving even a half-decent plot isn’t all that easy, but at least keeping the tone and pace of the film should be priority.  That is, of course, if the pacing is designed for teens that like to order pizza during the second act and only tune in at the last 10 minutes when people start screaming, then yes, it’s perfectly paced.  But I for one actually like to watch movies.  Like most people, I’m not often fooled by the outcome, but I do like to see how things progress dramatically.  As much as I loved Terry O’Quinn’s performances in the franchise, at least there was something always moving along. The performance and the evolving story was just a cohesive meld.  Dylan Walsh, whom I always remember as the dude with Amy the talking gorilla in Congo, does an okay job, but I think would’ve only benefitted with more mounting incidences along the way. 
So, should you watch The Stepfather 2009?  Well, if you liked When  a Stranger Calls with Camilla Belle and Prom Night ‘08, then you will love the shit out of The Stepfather

Trailer for the 1987 Original

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PG-PORN: The Motherfucking Deluxe Edition!

Here is the run of 2008 and 2009's PG-Porn along with the IGN and uncensored episodes (which you may need to be logged into YouTube for) along with selected YouTube behind-the-scenes from James's Channel and from Spike's PG-Porn behind-the-scenes tab.  I did the titles on all of them except for High Poon.

Spike.com/pgporn Episodes:

These are the ones that were filtered through Spike's censors, but there are some great episodes here like the one with Alan Tudyk in High Poon (another favorite).

PG PORN: Nailing Your Wife

Helpful Bus (Censored Version)

The IGN run. These were two episodes that started after the premiere of Nailing Your Wife, but before they started to air on Spike. A Very Peanus Christmas is probably absolute favorite of the bunch. I love them all, but I dig Christmas the most.

The Uncensored Episodes:

You may have to sign in to YouTube to watch the uncensored episodes. Otherwise, you've already seen Helpful Bus above with some low-calorie censorship.

This was not only censored to shit, but was also taken down from Spike.com. I think James made the choice to take it down rather than to have it chopped up.

Behind the Scenes from James's Channel:

James Gunn and Michael Rosenbaum

James Gunn and Michael Rosenbaum's Horsecock

On the set of Helpful Bus

Aria Giovanni watches herself on PG-Porn

Behind the Scenes from Spike.com:

Go behind the scenes with Serenity's Alan Tudyk and Belladonna in the latest episode of James Gunn's PG Porn.

Ride along with James Gunn and Bree Olson in an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Helpful Bus.

Sasha Grey sits down with PG Porn creator James Gunn to talk about what it was like to work on "Roadside Ass-sistance."

Get an exclusive look at Sasha Grey on the set of James Gunn's PG Porn.

Get an exclusive look at the voluptuous Aria Giovanni behind the scenes of PG Porn.

James Gunn works his magic behind the scenes of PG Porn.

Nathan Fillion prepares to nail Aria Giovanni in an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at PG Porn.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Long Beach Flood 2010

Just recently, last summer actually, I returned to Long Beach to visit where I grew up. Took nearly 300 pix of where I hung out, went to school and eventually blogged about it. Long Beach: Returning to Willmore City After 18 Years. The name Willmore City comes from William E. Willmore's failed farm community that would later become Long Beach.

All this week, SoCal has three storms coming in. Yesterday was the second with a tornado warning and the YouTubing started. A third one is on the way. Good luck to all my brohams in LBC.

Forgive some of these videos. I tried to pick short ones. I realize this isn't as tragic as say the war in Iraq, Haiti or all the other shit in the world, but this is a place where I grew up. I know these streets where these videos were taken. Even my old street Roswell and high school fell victim to the flood.

Here's one of a bag lady floating through the water.

Here's one of a dude canoeing through the streets.

Parking garage flooding

River flow of someone's apartment complex

A dude stops to show us how the flood as affected some.

My favorite place to eat, Casa Sanchez, was flooded.

Here are more pix from the street I grew up on. Once again, good luck out there.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

THE X-RAY EYE SOCIETY (Deluxe Edition)

This entry is a collection of blogs originally posted on myspace.com/xrayeye which also appear in the script as part of the plot.  Keeping The X-ray Eye Society separate from some of the things I say, said, do and did on MySpace was important in the sense that it's a script designed for kids and ultimately family fare.  The MySpace pages is loaded with tunes, games, gadgets and other childhood junk.  But more importantly the story was embedded into social networks and was interactively part of the storyline.  After I finished the script I more or less abandoned the page.

The flash movie below was resized by 25% from the original size.

So here are the blogs as they appeared on MySpace.

The New X-RAY EYE SOCIETY Site is Up!
Originally Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2007

Well, it's sorta up. Here's the preview of the flash page that's featured at WillmoreCity.com. I've tried to keep everything contained in the flash seeing that MySpace has a funky way of linking. The script is complete and I've went from an 84-page rough draft, to a 98-page re-draft and after it was all said and done with all the trims and fixes, I ended up with a tight 88-page script. There will be excerpts soon. The excerpts page in the flash is disabled for now, but there's plenty of other stuff to look at.

I disabled the flash movie here because it plays music as this bog loads. If you want to check out the movie, you can check it out at The X-ray Eye Society page.

Originally Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 


Okay, this is pretty much a copy and paste from the Ablazin' Devil Head blog.  With some new stuff.  The Ablazin' Devil Head will be my primary account, but I wanted a fresh account where I can talk about other things like tunes, toys, comics, TV, repressed childhood memories and snacks.  Well, also to pimp the script. 

There's plenty of pix in the gallery, so check 'em all out if you want.


If you celeb/exec-types are squeamish about copyright-violation consider this my poorman's release form.  "I will not sue you or pursue legal action if you should come up with something similar".  I believe that'll hold up, but everything below is sparce anyway. 


The new script is nearing completion. It's both unlike anything I've written and yet, it's kinda typical.  The unusual part of this story is that it's a fun-for-the-whole-family kinda flick.  Hard to say if it's a family flick, but it's certainly not a kid's flick.  The kids range from 7-12 and the younger the kids the more evil they are--it's part of the plot.

Without getting into too much of the plot, the story's about a group of resourceful kids who solve mysteries and one day they come up against something huge.  My attempt with this story was not to make something original, but to use something you've seen before and spin it into something unique.  Where a lot of kid/family movies fail for me is when they purposely go out to make the adults dumber and goofier than they would really be.  I think that's one of the failures of Holes.  While I do enjoy the movie, I coulda done without some of the cartoony adult performances.  I tried to place everyone on an equal intellectual playing field. 

Not only was this story designed as a mass appeal kinda thing, but also to bring back some creepiness.  There's something about younger kids involved with the supernatural that adds a little more urgency.  Whereas before I had written about kick-ass heroes that feared nothing but failure.  Here, their friends and other kids' lives are at stake. 

Oh, and before anybody asks, "No, it wasn't hard to keep the profanity outta the script."

Oh, here's one of the character designs: Luther Hoodwinkle.

You all may or may not know, but there's an X-ray Eye Society MySpace page.  Actually, you're already here.  Not much is on it, but there's a few games, tunes, toys and shit.  I'll be fixing it up little by little.

In Other News...

Never heard back from Limp Bizkit or that other dude.  So, Feeding Frenzy is still on the shelf.

I'm outta the running for the 2006 Fade In Awards, but hey, I sure as shit got farther than I ever thought I would. 

The Gibbon project is comin' along a bit slow.  A lot of The Gibbon was initially designed to be black and white, but the color just makes it look like I Ted Turnered Casablanca. So, I'm having to re-do some of the art to make it more color-friendly instead of just black and a few flecks of color.

Oh, did a new design for that James Gunn character.  You can score some of this stuff and more at the JGAS Store
. All proceeds go to Rover Rescue and James will match every dollar.  At least that's what he said.

Anyway, later, folks.  I'm hungry.

Originally Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 

               EXT. TREEHOUSE - DAY

               A straggly, old mutt chases ECKS (10, male) and JAC (10,
               female) up into their treehouse.  The dog BARKS and SNARLS
               daring them to come down.

                         We're trapped up here now?

                         He doesn't hang around for long.

               INT. TREEHOUSE H.Q. - NIGHT

               They both look down in the dark pit of night seeing the dog's
               eyes staring back at them.

               Jac scowls at him as he CLEARS his throat looking over at Old
               Man Jeckle's backyard.

                         I can climb out to that branch that
                         hangs over Old Man Jeckle's
                         backyard, snatch an apple and
                         distract the dog.

                         You mean with Scratch in the

               In the backyard looms a creepy-looking scarecrow they call

                         Psh.  That's just an urban legend.

                         That's just the kinda talk that
                         gets people in trouble.

               But Ecks is spooked.

               EXT. TREE

               Ecks climbs along the branch that arches to the ground the
               farther he goes out.  The dog jumps and SNAPS at him seeing
               the branch is too short.


               Ecks makes a flying leap over the fence as the dog SCRAPES at
               the wooden fence.  Ecks looks back at a knothole in the fence
               seeing the evil dog staring back at him.

               Ecks runs across the yard, then drops to low-crawl under a
               window that shows OLD MAN JECKLE's flickering silhouette
               watching TV.

               Ecks looks back, as the dog's snout nuzzles its way under the

               INT. TREEHOUSE

               Jac sees the dog preoccupied with the fence that she climbs


               The dog crawls under the fence chasing Ecks across the yard.
               Ecks finds refuge on Scratch's crucifix.  The crucifix
               trembles as Ecks hugs Scratch.  Ecks is spooked.  Ecks tries
               to push away from Scratch as the post gets top heavy and
               leans toward the dog. 

               Ecks reaches for a ripe apple hanging off the tree that's
               just out of reach.  The post starts to lean getting him
               closer to the apple, but budges it just enough that the apple
               falls into his sleeve, rolls out the bottom of his shirt and
               disappears somewhere on the lawn.

               The post inches toward the dog as Ecks is forced to hug
               Scratch to keep the dog from getting him.  But the dog
               WHIMPERS and backs away.

               Ecks sees the dog is spooked too.  Ecks crawls down and holds
               up his hands.

                         Hey, you go your way and I'll go
                         mine, pooch.  Call it square.

               The dog scurries off as the scarecrow tackles Ecks.  Ecks
               SCREAMS and wrestles his way out of Scratch's garb.  He
               notices the post just came loose. 

               That's when Jac arrives and SPOOKS him holding up an apple.

                         Hey, I got an apple.  You like
                         apples, right?

               He looks at her for a moment.

                                   JAC (CONT'D)
                         While you were busy with the dog I
                         hopped outta the tree.

               Ecks picks up the scarecrow post and sloppily stands it back

                         Don't eat the apple.

                         Why?  It's already picked.

                         We don't need it now.  Just leave
                         it here.

                         Is this one of your arbitrary
                         morality moods?

               Ecks storms off as it starts to rain.

               INT. JAC'S ROOM - NIGHT

               Rain BEATS against Jac's bedroom window when she shoots up
               out of her sleep seeing Scratch's silhouette creeping past
               the window, but it could be the tree outside.  The apple sits
               on her nightstand.

               The front door CREAKS open making her cringe.  HEAVY
               FOOTSTEPS come towards her room.  She crawls under her bed as
               the door opens -- lightning CRASHES.  Shadows dance all over
               the room.  Jac shuts her eyes tight.  She cracks one eye open
               as the lightning settles.  All clear.  She takes a breath.

               She crawls back into bed seeing the apple missing and wet
               footsteps leading out of the room.  LIGHTNING CRASHES.

               She stares out her window seeing Scratch missing from his

               INT. ECKS' ROOM - NIGHT

               Ecks is asleep as Scratch leaves the apple on his nightstand.
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