Category Archives: TV and Movies

John Carpenter – the early years

So to make my quota of movies for the year, the boyfriend picks movies for us to watch. He’s introduced me to a lot of new movies I might never have tried on my own. Some of them quite good. Some are just plain weird.

We had a John Carpenter weekend this past weekend. Now, I like John Carpenter. I’ve seen a number of his movies and liked most. The first Carpenter flick up was They Live. Not a bad little movie. The acting could have been better. But overall I thought it was entertaining. I called the contacts in it before they happened. I found some of the actions of the characters to be ridiculous. If you could see something no one else could because you were wearing special glasses would you announce it in a crowded store that was filled with thing things you weren’t supposed to able to see?

Next movie up was Dark Star. At the beginning of the movie there was an apparently new intro that explained that the movie was a comedy. It also said one of the actors was on LSD while filming. Um, yeah, makes perfect sense to me. It was one very weird movie. I’m surprised they weren’t all on some sort of drug at the time. The best was the alien on board that was basically a beach ball. And the crew’s ability to talk to a dead crew member who is in cryogenic freeze.

I’m glad his movies improved over the years. Both ones that he wrote and ones he directed.

At the very least it’s two more movies for the year. Now, I’m off to work. Hoping to leave a little early to get more words in for NaNoWriMo.

Until next time…


Terra Nova plot holes

Don’t get me wrong. I do like Terra Nova but I think it can do better. I’m talking about the most recent episode from Monday, October 17. To talk about all the plot holes I’d have to watch all the episodes over again but I have a lot of other things to watch and pages to write.

So, where to begin? Let’s talk about how they knew the little girl was even out there. The thermal imaging scan. It can pick up a little girl but not a militia?

Okay, fine, they found the girl. She gave a sob story about being lost. They took her in. The leader of the Sixers arrived with a team of men to get the girl back. How lame was Commander Nathaniel Taylor’s threat? I hope the dialogue gets better. Fast forward to the girl saying she wants to stay and the Sixers leaving. Why didn’t anyone follow them? There would have been tracks. At least there should have been tracks.

The little girl said they moved around a lot but they’re living in trees and looked pretty settled to me. Of course she could have been lying. But let’s talk about the trees. No one noticed trees that look different? They would have looked different if they had homes built into them. And that’s another thing. Wouldn’t some of the leaves be dying in places?

The top two contenders for the spy are still (in my opinion) the scientist (the wife’s ex) and the guy courting Maddy. Please, writers, don’t make it either of those two. They’re so obvious.

With such potential it’s disappointing the writers haven’t done more. I know a lot of sci fi shows have plots that are similar. It would be nice though if the writers gave us some twists we’re not expecting. And some dialogue I can’t recite before the characters even speak it. I’d love to see some fresh writing in future episodes.

What do you think of the show? Do you love it? Hate it?

I’m testing a new Twitter app with this blog post so I hope it shows up!

Until next time…


Terra Nova is nothing new

I had been eagerly awaiting the premier of Terra Nova since I first heard about it in 2010. I was a little disappointed that instead of airing it in January 2011 as first indicated they waited for the 2011 – 2012 season. The complaint I have with Terra Nova is the same complaint I have with most shows theses days. There’s nothing new. As a writer and an avid TV watcher I beg the writers to please come up with new twists, better dialogue, dump the cliches.

Terra Nova was a bit too predictable for me in the first few episodes. I know you need archetypal characters but I found the characters to be stereotypical. And don’t get me started on the cliches. Speaking of predictable, the boyfriend could recite most of the lines before they were actually spoken. How’s that for predictable?

I hope I’m wrong but to me it’s obvious that the inside man the Sixers have is the guy who likes the teenage daughter. If it’s not him, then bravo to the writers for that mislead. If it is him then shame on the writers for making it so obvious. I guess only time will tell. I also think it might be the wife’s doctor friend.

I will keep watching to see if it gets less predictable. So far though it’s Earth 2 but on earth instead of a different planet. I was extremely happy that the drawings weren’t done by aliens at least.

I’d like to see some twists and turns. Some good dialogue. The possibilities are almost endless, especially because this is a different time stream. Writers, go ahead, surprise us.

Until next time…


Zookeeper not a keeper

I was lucky enough to read the Zookeeper script three years ago. It was dated April 18, 2007. I really enjoyed it. Back then I wrote:

Story: I have to say I really like this story. It was funny, cute, with likable characters. I thought it was a good family movie.

Characters: Andrew is very likable. He was a lot more distinct than Kate and Trent. The animals have distinct voices, more so than some of the people. Good job with making Trent unlikable but not in an obvious way.

Dialogue: The dialogue was good. Some parts were laugh out loud funny, mostly dialogue from the animals. I didn’t see anything really distinct in Kate’s dialogue.

Overall thoughts:

This was a really engaging story. I was able to overlook the flaws and continue to enjoy the story. Loved the ending. Very nice way to tie it all up. Great symmetry.

This past weekend I saw the movie at the drive-in. I couldn’t wait to see it because I enjoyed the script so much. You know how you should always read the book first before you watch the movie based on the book because the book is usually better? The script was WAY better. The original script was written by Jay Scherick & David Ronn. The end of the movie had five people with writing credits. I didn’t really care that some of the names had been changed. His name was Andrew in the original script. There was no Stephanie. Gale was Trent. Gale was unlikeable in a really obvious way. Over the top way. Seriously, what happened to subtle?

I understand some of the changes made to the script. For example:

Zookeeper excerpt

It’s not really showing us the down side of being a zookeeper. The scene added to the movie did show that, though I thought it was over the top. I wasn’t thrilled with the ending of the movie. I thought the script’s ending was much stronger. Had much better symmetry.

So, maybe I should start watching the movies first before reading the scripts. Especially if there are more than two writers with writing credits for the movie. That way I might avoid disappointment. If this were a book it wouldn’t end up on my keeper shelf. The DVD will not be sitting on my DVD shelf when it comes out.

Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the dish. The proof is in the movie.

Until next time…


So you want to write for TV

If you read my blog regularly it’s no secret I love TV. Really love it. I think I loved it more though before I became a writer. I could just watch and get lost in the story. I didn’t pay attention to the structure, the character development, the foreshadowing, the clues. I was still in my teens. When I started writing books it was almost impossible to read books for fun. But it also affected my TV watching. I wasn’t buying story points as easily anymore. When I decided I wanted to write TV scripts I started paying more attention to my favourite television shows. I started keeping track of how many acts were in each episode. I paid attention to the structure, especially the procedurals.

The best part about wanting to write for TV is that when I watch TV it’s not goofing off. It’s work. It’s study. The study part was easy. The first teleplay I wrote was for my favourite show. I watched Supernatural from the very beginning. I mean, it debuted in my birthday month. How could I not watch it? I loved the characters. I loved the stories. I’m a huge fan of horror movies so the show was a great fix every week. The hard part was finding scripts from the show to study. I wanted to see how they did it. I found the pilot online but that wasn’t enough. I ended up buying two other scripts on eBay. I photocopied the scripts then started highlighting like crazy. Each character got a different colour so I could make sure I had the balance right. My first teleplay turned out pretty good. I wrote two more for the show then started writing movies.

Now, I’m back to wanting to write television shows again. I want it all basically. I have so many ideas, they need an outlet. Not all of them are novel ideas. So now I’ve got movies, TV shows, novels and short story ideas vying for attention. I’ve been participating in TV writer chats on Twitter. When my feature screenplay is finished and polished I will pull out one of my spec pilot ideas and start writing.

If you want to write for television (or movies) I highly recommend the following sites/groups/podcasts.

Screenwriting U – They offer classes on screenwriting that are simply amazing.

Scriptchat – They have a Twitter chat every Sunday on screenwriting.

TVWriterChat – Also has a Twitter chat on Sundays about writing for TV.

TVWriterPodCast – I just started listening to this podcast. Awesome! Lots of great information about writing for TV.

TV writers to follow – A database of TV writers on Twitter and their handles. Follow them!

Sources for TV scripts to study – TV Writing, More TV scripts, My PDF Scripts

The advice most writers who want to write for TV hear is that they need to move to LA. Well, that’s not really possible for me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t travel there for meetings. And a lot of shows actually film in Toronto. I would love to write for one of those. For that kind of job I would gladly brave the TTC. Well, the GO train, actually.

Now, I’m off to the day job. Then tonight working on the feature script. I’m loving the characters and the story as the script progresses.

Until next time…


The 2011 – 2012 TV season

I’m looking forward to some of the shows for the new season. Of course I love the idea of some of the supernatural/paranormal shows. Grimm looks great. Alcatraz looks interesting. I watched some of the trailers for the upcoming shows at the Upfronts 2011 Galleries – The Daily Beast.

I think this year I might be avoiding anything on CBS and ABC. Shame on them for not allowing their videos to be viewed in any other country except their own. The titles sound good and the blurbs sounded interesting but sadly I couldn’t actually check any of them out because they aren’t available in my country. I will be avoiding those shows, even the ones that appealed to me.

Loved some of the CW trailers. Ditto for NBC and Fox.

So, what am I really looking forward to and will most likely (definitely) watch?

Terra Nova
The New Girl

Possible shows to watch:

Secret Circle

I hope they live up to the premise. I guess we’ll see once the new TV season starts.

What will you be watching?

Until next time…


Hockey and Netflix

Had a great weekend. Slept in way too much but I guess I needed it. The weekend started Friday night with a Guelph Storm hockey game. It was the home opener. Great game. Guelph won 3 – 2 against Owen Sound. Too bad they didn’t follow it up with another win. In Owen Sound on Saturday they lost, big time. Then at another home game on Sunday they lost against Kitchener.

Because Kitchener is so close to Guelph there were almost as many Kitchener fans as there were Guelph fans. But I have a tip for fans of the visiting team. Don’t tell a fan of the home team to shut up. Even if that fan disses your team. You are after all a VISITOR. We out number you. Oh and to the hockey groupies, following the team to their away games makes you look even more desperate. Stick to the home games.

And the even bigger, better news from last week – we got Netflix! I came home after work and the boyfriend was already watching a show on the computer. He’d just finished signing up for Netflix. We’ve already watched a few movies and a couple of TV shows on the big screen TV. For $7.99 a month it’s a bargain. It gets annoying when some of the shows say Not Available. But there are still lots to choose from. I have a feeling we’ll never run out of things to watch. The best part is not having to return anything to a video store. And Netflix offers way more choice than TMN. Sorry, TMN but it’s true.

Now I’m off to work. If I get there early enough I might be able to leave a little early.

Until next time…


Vampires anyone?

This post is so late it’s already Saturday. See what happens when I actually have the day off. I was busy trying to come up with a theme and header for a website.

I watched a movie a few weeks ago that remain nameless because I don’t need to add anymore fuel to that fire. It was about vampires. That’s all I’ll say. Except, I’ll also say I really, really, really didn’t like it.

Tonight the boyfriend and I watched a different vampire movie. We rented Daybreakers. He gave it a five out of ten. I might have given it a bit more but not much. As concepts go it was pretty good. It’s so hard to do the same but different when it comes to vampire stories these days. They’re everywhere. But this one managed to give vampires a new twist. The problem was with the execution of some scenes. One scene when a vampire is exposed to sun he can survive for almost twenty, thirty seconds. Other scenes when a vampire is exposed to sun they disintegrate right away. You can’t have it both ways.

This gets me thinking about my vampire book more and more. I still really want to finish it. One thing I need to do though is find a new twist. Something to make it the same but different. Haven’t done that yet. Although, the movie I saw that will not be named didn’t really do anything different with the vampire myth. And that movie was huge.

Well, off to bed.

Until next time…


Space week

It’s a holiday Monday so this post is really late. We spent a lot of the day moving things around. We’ve got the library almost ready to be a library now.

National Geographic Channel Canada is having space week this week. I can’t tell you how excited I am about that. I love shows about space. And there are so many of them this week. The boyfriend isn’t too happy about the amount of space my space shows are taking up on the PVR though. I had no choice though. We were busy organizing the house and wouldn’t be able to watch them all. Plus some of them (Aftermath, the one on the Big Bang) could help with revisions with one story and research for another.

So let’s see, what did I tape. A ton of episodes of The Known Universe, Aftermath, Death of The Universe, Monster of the Milky Way, Origins: Back to the Beginning, Origins: Where are the Aliens, Alien Worlds. And there were probably more. I can’t wait to watch them all. Who knows when that will be though. Way too much to do around the house and with the writing to watch much television.

I’m off to get ready for my writing sprint.

Until next time…


Brilliant TV

Did usual errands on the weekend. Went to Canadian Tire to pick up bookcases for the library. Went to IKEA to pick up DVD cases for the living room. Grocery shopping so we’d have the necessary ingredients for dinners for the week.

Then we settled in on some television watching. I’ve always been a TV snob but for the wrong reasons. Before it was for the production value. I love being Canadian but I hated Canadian TV. Until Flashpoint and The Border. Those were good shows and didn’t look typically Canadian unless there was a shot of the CN Tower. But now I’m a TV snob for good writing. Not just good. Brilliant. British TV is the absolute best. We’ve been watching an old show called Jonathan Creek. Love it. It kind of reminds me of Murder, She Wrote only WAY better. And it’s not so hard to believe he’d be looking into the murders in the episodes. I love a good murder mystery. And these are really good.

We watched more episodes of Merlin. Love that too. I’ve always loved historicals. And King Arthur and Camelot have always intrigued me. Of course this is before Arthur is king. I’m loving it so far and my only complaint is that we don’t get the episodes here at the same time as they air in the UK.

Next up was a new show. Sherlock. All I can say for that one is BRILLIANT! The Sherlock character is great. I love the characterization. I love the dialogue. I love the interaction between Holmes and Dr. Watson. I’m so glad there’s going to be more of that show.

And of course we can’t forget Doctor Who. Amazing show. I can’t wait for that to come back. As with all the other shows my one complaint is we don’t get it here right away. I just hope we don’t end up months behind like we’ve been in the past.

Because of the boyfriend I’ve been watching a lot of British TV. And I have to say most of it is really, really good. The dramas, the comedies. Great television.

I’m off to work now. Can’t wait to see what we’ll be watching tonight.

Until next time…