Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More About The Loyolan

The local student run newspaper, The Loyolan, never seems to get it right. The vast majority of the writing, in my estimation, is extremely mediocre, the articles dull and the editorial staff simply annoying. The latter issue is more and more grinding on my nerves. It's clear to me that the Editor of the newspaper, Stephen Murphy, is intent on running whatever article will stir up the student body into a fervor, no matter how stupid or inane the content. This attitude was what I first satirized when I joined the humor section of the paper. I should have known better.

My article was ignored. The first excuse I was given by my Editor was that he might "get in trouble" for running a fake news piece, which is an utter lie. IF IT IS FILED UNDER THE HUMOR SECTION (OFTEN TIMES IN A SEPERATE INSERT) PERHAPS PEOPLE MIGHT GET THE MEMO.

Of course the real reason I got the axe was that my article critiqued how the newspaper was run. Nonetheless I continued to write.

My next article dealt with the uproar surrounding LMU students who throw parties off campus. God forbid.

Anyway, I'll continue to write and continue to submit articles to my Editor who will most likely continue to ignore me. And once he ignores me I'll post them here. Who knows by the end of the year maybe I'll have enough articles to create my own insert.



Westchester, CA- In the Westchester community residents were up in arms over the recent revelation that a university, Loyola Marymount, had been hiding for over 75 years. Allegations came to light recently when Westchester residents expressed concerns that 18-24 year old residents seemed to be partying on weekends. Noting that this behavior was indicative of a college community, local Westchester leaders took up the charge to search and discover any college that might be in hiding.

One fictional resident, who shall remain anonymous said, "You know, I've had my suspicions over the years that a University might exist around these parts. It really became obvious when I started seeing these kids in sweatshirts with the letters LMU on them. I thought at first it might be some rival gang from Inglewood, but with all the partying, I put two and two together."

Other residents expressed shock and anger with the revelation of the University's existence. Another anonymous fictional resident said, "I think we need to start endlessly complaining about this. There is no reason a University should exist in the Westchester area, absolutely no good can come of it- plus, I mean, we were here first." Others agreed. "Had I known that a University was stealthily hiding in Westchester I never would have moved here."

No comment was given by the University, nor any explanation as to why the residents seemed clueless as to its existence.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Step Outline

In filmmaking ideas rarely go straight from idea to screen. There is a very precise process that filmmakers and screenwriters go through to make sure the movie they have in mind is the movie they end up shooting. One of these processes is the step outline, which is basically a sort of narrative summation of the script. It's most akin to reading the back of a paperback before you buy it.

There are a lot of advantages to putting in the time and effort of a step outline. Firstly, it's a hell of a lot easier to write your script afterwards. Having everything in order and sketched out makes focusing in on the details of the screenplay that much easier. Secondly, if someone in the business wants a detailed summary and you haven't prepared a treatment- the step outline is the way to go. Lastly, a step outline details the twists and strengths of every scene so you lose unnecessary scenes that aren't moving the story forward.

Here's a scene from my step outline, followed by how it played out in the first draft of my script.

1. Susan’s Frustration

Susan sits on the phone in her posh looking office, speaking loudly about how she doesn’t care if the Chargers are headed to the Superbowl. She reminds the person on the phone that if they care about the brother’s well being he will be there. She hangs up and smiles pleasantly and addresses the camera, saying that organizing an intervention for her two brothers is worse than setting up for a multi-million dollar stock broker convention. She says she is happy that the therapists are filming the intervention and hopes the brothers will use the videotape as a constant reminder—but then she is interrupted as her phone rings. It’s her mother. Susan looks annoyed as once again she is headed for an argument. Her mother doesn’t think her sons have a problem. Exasperated, Susan says that if she won’t attend voluntarily that she will come to the house force her into the car.

Putting the phone down, she again looks at the camera. We see her notepad of names that she glances at. On it are many names each with a line drawn through them, except for Rob and Mike. She picks up the phone and dials. With a bit of a smirk she says hello to her brother Rob and tells him there is a wine tasting being put on by the local Irish pub downtown. Susan says that she has already put their names down and will see the two of them, this Saturday at 11. Angrily she informs him that no, they won’t need to bring any of their own collector’s wine for comparison purposes. She recovers and tells him to be there with Mike at 11 sharp.

Scene’s central conflict: Susan needs to get the intervention organized
Scene’s strong points: Background/set-up/character introduction, humor of tightly wound sister vs. laid back family

Note the conflict and strong points that I mentioned above. In the script version it was constant guide for what I needed to say vs. what I wanted to say. And now the script version (film nerds- not correct margins):

SUSAN, a 40 year old executive, sits at her desk on the phone. Her posh office is sleek, modern and clean. Her dress is reflective of her position, a dark expensive suit. She looks annoyed as she continues her conversation.


I don’t care if the Chargers might go to the Superbowl- you are going to be there... If you care about Rob and Mike you’ll be there and you’ll be there sober and not hung over Billy. I’ll see you Saturday. Leave your cooler-

But Billy has hung up. She looks up and folds her hands.


Planning this has been harder than the CEO convention I worked on last week. I’m glad the two of you are here to document this from beginning to end. Rob and Mike need to understand the sacrifices everyone is making for them.

Her train of thought is interrupted as the phone rings again.


Hello mother... Mother, we’ve been through this the boys DO have a problem. Mom, your car isn’t broken... I swear I will throw you in my car... Fine, I’ll see you Saturday. Good bye.

Susan regains her composure and smiles.


Only two more left.

On Susan’s desk is a notepad with a list of names. All the names have a line through them except for two: Rob and Mike. She picks up her phone and dials.


Hey Mike. Did you get my email about the wine tasting? Good, so you and Mike will be there? Excellent, you have the instructions? Make sure and be there on time. No, don’t bring any wine of your own. I don’t care if you want to compare tastes. Be there on time. I’ll see you Saturday.

She hangs up and sinks into her leather chair.


Well, that’s everyone. This should go perfectly.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The 40 Minute Essay

Last week I was overloaded with essays. I had a 7 page Screenwriting treatment to work on (more on this in the next update), a huge Asian History paper, a music assignment and finally a philosophy paper. One of them was going to have to get the shaft in terms of my attention. I chose philosophy- not because I don't enjoy the class, but because I am well versed in philosophy and figured I could cook up a reasonable 4 page essay in a short period of time.

In between classes I dove into my room and in 40 minutes I had typed what I thought was a pretty damn good essay.

I was wrong.

My professor laid into me harder than some of the biggest hits I've taken in hockey. I'll quote a few of the better items.

In reference to a lengthy discussion I misattributed to Socrates.


In frustration with one of my later claims that I also misattributed to Socrates he simply put a huge X through half of one page.

Later he emphasized how stupid I was:

"BUT this is NOT [the right] argument!!"

At the end of the paper he re-emphasized what a piss-poor job I had done:

"3 big problems here: You have not really made [any] point.

You have mistakenly included the wrong argument... and failed to work out the [right] argument.

Your arguments do not [answer the question of the paper]."

In short, I got rocked and deservedly so- my paper sucked.

(Note: this is dangerously close to the sort of blog posting I hate about people's personal lives- I realize this. However, I'm in the midst of working on a screenplay, which I will detail late and honestly thought my professor's comments were humorous. - Greg)