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Week 7

July 25, 2011

Found some work at the beginning of last week, effectively throwing off the Week in Hell. Breaking Bad seasons 2-3 and a new puppy didn’t help things easier.

I’m having trouble focusing at the moment, it may be because I’m reading and passing around too many projects. So many, in fact, that I think I should just outline them.

WATCHING.

On Friday, I watched Barry Lyndon, Battles Without Honour and Humanity, Captain America – The First Avenger. I have also completed Breaking Bad Season 2 and moved on to Season 3. Justified is still hanging, occasionally being ingested. I’m hearing ravings about Warehouse 13 and will look into that shortly, if only because it’s shot in Toronto.

READING.

As for reading, I’ve been fickle, I suppose. I float between the odd short story by Hemingway, only to pick up Elephant Bucks by Sheldon Bull, only to continue reading the biography of Harry Houdini, only to read 50 pages of Chabon’s Yiddish Policeman’s Union, only to put it aside and read 100 pages of McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, a movie I completely over-watched when it came out and haven’t been able to ingest it since. It’s the #2 most-repeated theatrical experience for me, coming in at 4 times watched in a theater, beaten by The Dark Knight by only one more viewing.

Then I went out and bought (!?) Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I’ve also got that Murakami on the shelf begging to be started, Bolano’s 2666 begging to be finished so I can use the translated language for a short film.

And I downloaded the Check-List Manifesto because I was told it would revolutionize the way I do things. I am, after all, an achievement junkie who, after reading the above, probably takes on too much.

WORK.

I’ve been drafted to help some research that could lead to, what I refer to as, design work. For me it would be research and writing on the subject because I have zero design skill (coding, construction, development), but it would be good to for to get in on. I think that every writer and creative should be keeping up with the broad sector that is design because it helps to expand the mind by even reading about those who are pushing on the future with everything they have. I’m thinking of the BERG here, from whom I’ve just received SVK.

SVK is a comic written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Matt Brooker (D’Israeli), shipped with a special light device made by the BERG which reveals hidden ink messages built into the comic. A story about surveillance and tapping into people’s thoughts, it’s really a nice outing from everyone involved. It’s far from a perfect, or ground breaking, addition to the medium, but it’s a very nice piece of work that does effectively make people think of something different. That a comic doesn’t have to just be a linear pile of paper. There’s other, stranger things to do with the medium, and Ellis and the BERG have proved that, if only by scratching the surface.

WRITING.

Draft 3 of MAGIC should have been shelved for a while, but there’s a chance that I could have someone read it, so I’m paying close attention to it again. It’s been reviewed, correctly, by a few. I lack a balance between the procedural elements of a mystery and the fun dialogue bits. But that might just go into my, essentially, ill-experience with crime as a repeatable, or cyclical element rather than longer term of cinematic versions.

CRIME is on its way. I’m for sure at the boiling point. I’ve got some character names coming up and around somewhere and I’ll, if I’m good, have a Moleskine for it in two weeks. The setting has evolved to include a Native Reserve next door to put some, as I call them, shit-kickers into the mix rather than deal with men in suits trying to be Scarface. I should find a spot for a bank heist. That’s always good TV.

HOTEL is the code for a short film I’m intending to be at the first draft by next week. It’s taken the place of MINOTAUR, which I decided to put aside until I get a good look at some additional mythology. HOTEL is an interesting one. A interesting place, an interesting time, all events taking place exactly next to a piece of history that no one knows about but me and the journalists who wrote about it. Now I just have to figure out characters so I can figure out what they’re going to bloody talk about in a room for 20 pages.

Something else I’ve been thinking all too much about is Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency and the pilot that didn’t get picked up. This won’t matter, and there’s a million other people in line to tap into the Global Frequency before I could ever get my filthy hands on the subject, but it does occur to me that the symbol of the Global Frequency should have been the most important thing in the pilot (which was leading to a series based around a cop and a super smart girl). The symbol is a phone which taps you into the Global Frequency. Having it makes you a unique kind of brilliant which means that you can save the world in some capacity. The phone lights up and you are on the Global Frequency, connected to Aleph and Miranda Zero – Mission Control.

In a world where I spend more time by volume with Coca-Cola as a brand than I do my own grandparents, why can’t a symbol be the connections to narrative. Why not let the Global Frequency be something particularly international, working towards either a greater arc or having a procedural series where you are not bound by geography, genre, or type, anchored exclusively by the symbol.

A cop in San Francisco must hunt down a Russian Sleeper Agent with a malfunctioning nuclear bomb in his head. Next episode, an Indian Doctor must break away from the hospital to stop a terrorist plot from being executed in Mumbai. Next episode, a former soldier must break into CERN to shut it down and release everyone in the facility.

Not quite an anthology show, as characters can be repeated and utilized in any variety of means as the series progresses, but the only connection you need, the only thing you are guaranteed to need to know about any of the characters living the most challenging day of their lives in front of you, is that their phone goes off and they are on the Global Frequency – today, they must save the world.

THIS WEEK.

This week, I return to observing the Writers Room and hopefully have the pleasure of beginning my sociopath Work-Out schedule. Maybe postcards. I’ve been thinking a lot about postcards.

Onward.

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