Log in

Zane Graves' Journal

> recent entries
> calendar
> friends
> profile
> previous 20 entries

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008
5:08 am - Notes to Self
Watching Mad Men has given me a new perspective on The Wales.

I'll never be able to sell The Wales using the "monster of the week" format's pitch, simply because it isn't a monster-of-the-week show: this is slowly pulling back a sheet off a sleeping person before they realize there's a stranger in the room.

(comment on this)

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
4:53 am - Introduction: Colbury County
This probably won't matter much to anyone. It's just here, almost as a note/rough draft of an intro to a book that'll probably never get printed of a website that I'll never make, but while I was brushing my teeth enough pieces came to me that I wanted to get them down.

The premise is that one of my backseat projects (for I do not have enough) is to make a website that's a digital "miniature town" like you'd see with a train set. You'd start and can wander the town and click on people and get stories about them. Short, 250 words or less in most cases, and all of the stories will connect to another.

Visually, I know what I want to do, and just need to master enough Flash to make it go. The point? None. Just for my own entertainment. Because it's what I've always wanted to do.

So if I did all this and it was popular and people were checking it out, I might do a coffee table book of the artwork with select stories pasted together (and maybe a DVD that just runs like a screensaver or a CD of the music that plays on the site). And if I did, this is what the introduction would look like.

The Meat and TatersCollapse )

(comment on this)

Sunday, June 1st, 2008
12:46 am - Hmmm...
Note for future idea: The Avant Garde Hemmingway.

(comment on this)

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007
5:14 am - Random Thoughts
As I was explaining the base concept for The Wales I came up with this one line summation:
Two people realize that those who investigate the noises in the dark don't come back.
Boiled down for all of you.

Also, while working on a scene for Siren, I expressed my internal hatred for the "transporter" effect on TV shows. Mainly, Charmed does it the way I hate. Someone transports/orbs/vanishes/flickers/wooshes away from one place and the scene goes on.

So what do we have?
"I'll go do that thing."
*shot of person leaving*
*shot of people sitting there waiting for them to leave*
"Ok, now we resume our dialog."
It's the "shot of person leaving." It's SOOOOOOOOOO TV. Yes, we see them leave, I get it. Have you seen Charmed? Do you have ANY idea of how many SECONDS per episode is dedicated to watching Leo or Paige orb away? I shudder to think of how many minutes of the series in total that makes up.

It's also awkward because the orbing shots are always composed so...oddly. You can TELL it's JUST a shot for someone to leave with the camera locked down so you can get the clean shot of the background. Also, when only the torso is visible, only the torso makes orbs. None of the person's "unseen" sections generate anything. What's up with THAT?

So I got to thinking about how to do transitions like that, and I think I came up with something that could be very neat to watch. I think my mantra for this particular style will be "Turn right on red."

(comment on this)

Sunday, August 19th, 2007
7:37 am - Coolest Thing I've Heard Recently
From IMDB Studio Briefing:
Several of Hollywood's top screenwriters are banding together as "collectives" to negotiate deals with studios under which they accept lower upfront fees for their scripts but receive a percentage of the movie's gross plus greater control over their material, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. The latest deal, the newspaper observed, was signed with Fox and a group called Writing Partners, who include the writers of such films as Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Little Miss Sunshine, Collateral, Scary Movie 3, and Big Fish.Each writer receives a $300,000 fee for his script, 2.5 percent of the gross, and will have a say over which notes from studio brass he's willing to accept and whether to allow another writer to come on board to work on his script.
That's just fucking AWESOME. About time, too.

(comment on this)

Friday, March 9th, 2007
So, I just looked up something on here (a whole TWO PAGES OF READING! However did I manage that in five minutes?) and I stumbled across something I had TOTALLY forgotten about.

Not a project, just the NAME of the project.

I was working on a screenplay (that failed, horribly, for many, many reasons, manily trying to shove too much plot into too tiny a time-frame), and didn't quite like the title. And recently was convinced I had one, but couldn't remember it. So I was trying to think of a new one.

And what do I find? The title I settled on.

(comment on this)

Saturday, February 24th, 2007
6:24 am - The Nature of Narrative Fiction
It seems that most drama is entirely about the connections and relationships people have to each other. Stating the obvious, yes, but I think I need this note here for future reference.

Secondly: I started plotting out the first episode of The Living and realize that I'm breaking a pretty huge rule of narrative structure right in the first episode. Fuck, right in the first scene.

First thing do is set up your characters: you show them who they are, then you drop an inciting incident on them, which causes them to go on their journey. In a film, the first ten minutes are "getting to know them" and then something happens that changes that and sends the plot moving along.

Well, I realized that all of that setup doesn't exist. At all. In the first episode, the inciting incident happens thirty seconds into the show, and after we meet only one character. By the time we meet anyone else, the change has happened. And I realized, this is probably the most import element of the series.

If I did it the traditional way, and had a normal setup, meet everyone, grasp the dynamic, then change it, I'm constantly saying, "This is how they are not the same" instead of, "This is how they are." It's a subtle, and I think fairly important distinction.

(comment on this)

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007
4:26 am - Men's Children Are Crybabies
You move away. From someplace you lived all your life. Let a few years pass, then reunite with your circle of friends.

It's familiar, you know the world you've come back to, but all the references and jokes they make are in relation to things you didn't witness, and have no clue about. You can dismiss them without much concern. Then you find out everything that's going on RIGHT NOW is because of those innocuous comments.

Children of Men starts out, a lot like that.

If you've seen the trailer, you know what happens. It's 20-something years from now, and the last person to be born was just killed at the age of 18. Women can't have children, the world is in a state of total-fucked-upness, and there's a girl who is pregnant and needs to escape the country.

And that's about it.

Somehow, in the film, with the innocuous comments piled around it, it was easy to miss a few bits here and there. Why was the world going to shit, exactly? Why was Britain going gung-ho for complete deportation (oh...terrorism, right, the "T" word gets dropped a lot, with no real explanation about why)? What was up with all the religious folks wandering around?

Part of me like this. It was full and rich of an entirely different world from our own, yet not entirely. I'm not a big fan of having the characters explaining what they all read know. So this would have been right up my alley, had the film not one giant flaw.

But before I start going after this thing like a pinata with a tire iron, let me say, there ARE elements of this film I rather enjoyed. The actors are finely cast, and do quite well to sell this future. The sets (if you can even CALL them sets, almost everything feels like a location) are designed and decorated to an inch of their life. And the camerawork is nothing short of mind-blowingly astonishing.

But that's the second flaw of the film.

Now, I'm a sucker for non-editing. Super-long takes turn me on. The X-Files episode "Triangle" for one. The end of "Objects in Space." All great stuff. So watching Cuarón take it to the extreme and have ten to fifteen minutes without a cut, is pretty awesome.

At first.

And then it keeps happening. And it's not so bad until the very, very end, at which point I realized something was going on with the film.

By cutting away, showing other people's reactions, or what other characters are doing at that moment, help give us a broad view of the world. Only focusing on one or two people at a time (most often one), makes it more personal. Smaller, in a way.

And that's the fault. The story? Is just too damn small for the world they made. The plot is exactly outlined in the trailer. Man helps girl try to escape. And it's very captivating, and shot very well, and very gritty and raw. But in the end, nothing is said. The film is like a child who got everything they wanted for Christmas, unwraps the presents, but doesn't even touch them, and instead is more fascinated with the wrapping paper. Every powerful image (many referencing the Holocaust, at that) evoked was just carelessly tossed aside and ignored. The result is every Armageddon big budget action flick told with an art house asthetic. At one point I watched Clive Owen on screen and thought, "In the American version, he'd be played by Tom Cruise....and it'd be tailored for Americans..." and realized that all that meant would be wooden acting: everything else would have stayed in place. Yeah. That's what it's like.

It's just not enough.

It LOOKS like a great film. It FEELS like a great film. But it doesn't have the POINT of a great film.

(comment on this)

Monday, December 4th, 2006
10:24 pm - One of the Most Astute Things I've Heard from TV Lately
"It's funny how our enemies never change: in WWII they recited Mein Kampf while shoving people into gas chambers, and during most of my professional life they shot you in the back of the head while quoting Marx and Engels. And now they misuse the Qur'an: same people, different books."

(comment on this)

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006
6:20 am - But For Your Flesh-Eating Pleasure...
Zombies? .... Gettin' ARRESTED?!

FIrst off, looking at the mugshots, I can tell I'm hanging out with the wrong Sternbergs. Cause none of them have dreads. That'd definately inhance my Sternberg experience, sweet red accent wall or not.

Secondly, Marie Katyanne Kibbe. I just don't know what to so. She kinda looks like that girl that somehow got into the party, and no one bothers to kick her out cause she's standing really quietly in the corner, not making a fuss.

I WISH I was just saying that because she is the only one without some crude "zombie makeup" effect going on, but that has almost NOTHING to do with it.

(comment on this)

6:15 am - The Update That Wasn't
So I saw The Fountain a few days ago. And somewhere along the way I've managed to not succeed in nabbing myself the hella swank soundtrack. I DID end up picking three CD's (Rasputina's A Radical Recital, a random Killers CD [trying to feel out if I really like them or just like "Somebody Told Me"], and the re-release of The Nightmare Before Christmas with Marilyn Manson, Fiona Apple, and...*sigh* Panic! At the Disco! performing stuff for a bonus track...that sigh was because Panic!'s track WASN'T bad).

But more to the point, I can't seem to write anything. Because Aggro1 is the best fucking DJ ever to live, and remixed three songs I really REALLY dislike (ok...I HATE two of them, and the third has just never wow'd me).

The songs?

"Curl" by the Sneaker Pimps (never made me go wow, from what I remember).


"London Bridge" by Fergie.

And "Sexyback" by Justin Timberlake.

This should be the worst fucking thing EVERY to be concocted in the bowels of the interweb, which only makes how awesome it is more mindblowing. I spent two listens of this song with my mouth agape, slamming my fists into my skull, trying to ease the paradox into submission. It's like trying to follow the circuits of a calculator as you punch in two plus two, and somehow watch it pop out a goldfish.

(comment on this)

Monday, November 13th, 2006
3:19 am - No More Sex For Me: I've Achieved Perfect Orgasm
The Fountain and I have had an odd relationship.

At first I'm all, "Oooh, YES!"

Then I saw the teaser and was, "Ohhhhhhh...no."

Then I saw the trailer and was all, "OH! YES!"

But now...now....NOW....

The score is performed by the Kronos Quartet and Mogwai.

I'm convinced Aronofsky made this movie JUST for me.

(comment on this)

Thursday, September 21st, 2006
4:29 am - The Face of Facelessness
Themes are always one of those fickle things for me. It's important to have a solid one for any piece of work to actually work and be a cohesive whole, but I still have flashbacks to eigth grade english in which I just couldn't wrap my brain AROUND it.

But really, I was all about it. For a long ass time. If something doesn't fit in, I want it gone, especially with fiction.

I like there being a question. Preferrably one that's not easy to answer. It's a rather academic-means of creation, but I certainly find nothing irredeemable in that. Currently, I'm sitting on one question that I like for The Living: "Is this worth saving?" And like in academics, you must prove yourself twice: prove yourself right, then prove yourself wrong, see where it lies.

Another thing that must be examined is the meaning of things. Zombies are different than ghosts: ghosts are the essence of someone who has not left, who lingers on, a long-cut thread that we cannot quite shake from our clothes. Zombies, on the other hand, are more a social fear: they are the people we see every day, perhaps even our loved one, mindless and souless, lacking identity, consuming all they can with unyielding violence. They are the face of facelessness. All that we fear of "others" and fear ourselves becoming.

(comment on this)

Saturday, September 9th, 2006
3:12 am - And the Illusion Is...This Looked Like A Very Different Film
The Illusionist

Victorian magic movie? I'm in.

However, when I jokingly guess the plot twist when the inciting incident happens...well...

This wasn't the movie I wanted it to be. That's not to say it's a bad movie, by any means. I just had much greater expectations.

The Magician Reveals The TrickCollapse )

However, I had a great converstaion with a guy in line who was talking about The Prestige. Apparently this year's philosophy was, "If one Victorian magic movie doesn't suit their fancy, they'll have another." And THAT I'm looking forward to.

(comment on this)

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006
4:36 am - For Those Who May Wonder Such Things
Having been quite the troublemaker, Eris, Goddess of Discord, was notably NOT invited to a wedding attended by Hera, Athena and Aphrodite.

Doing what she does best, she inscribed a word on a golden apple and tossed it in, and the three Goddesses began to squabble over it. Paris was chosen to mediate, and in true fashion, was bribed thrice over. Hera offered political power, Athena grace in battle, and Aphrodite promised the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris being a man, offered the apple up to Aphrodite. I imagine she snatched it away, with a wicked grin on her face, lording it over the two other Goddesses before he cleared his throat and she said, "Oh yeah, her name's Helen. Go nuts."

Did Eris know Paris was a dupe and think with the little head? Did she even know what the largest ripple would be from this seemingly minor stone tossed into this tranquel pond would be? Or did she just hope to make two women hate a third and the fall out was just gravy?

I don't know. But for a while I've been looking for the word she wrote on the apple (since the story was always "she wrote a word on the apple") signifying it was "to the fairest."


(comment on this)

Sunday, June 4th, 2006
4:11 pm - Wish List
Note, for future reference, I DO need a smaller MiniDV camera. Or three. Yeah. Three. Plus wireless lavalier mics.

And find whoever started the nuclear reactor at the school and kill them. That shit's ALL up in my grill.

(comment on this)

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006
5:02 pm - What the Deuce?
Did...did someone I go to college with write the upcoming horror film See No Evil?


Ok, a brief look on the interweb says no.

So, I went to school with a Dan Madigan. I was in a few short films with him. I gave him a fat lip and tossed him through a door during my buddy Josh's 275 final. He was also in MY 275 final project. He also destroyed my black trenchcoat on some project (I don't know how, all I did was build the catacomb wall).

He was focusing on screenwriting.

And then See No Evil is written by a Dan Madigan...


But apparently the guy who wrote the movie used to work for Disney, and near as I can tell, the Dan I know hadn't done that. Unless he had done that since graduating.

I mean, he COULD have written this while in school. I mean, everyone I knew was working on a screenplay. And Dan IS a huge fan of horror films.

Sunday I'll give Josh a call (damn time zone/work schedules/LARP schedules). Maybe see if I still have Dan's number and give him a ring.


A SECOND internet search turned up the Dan Madigan I know. And I don't think it's the same one, since the one I know also has an IMDB page.

(comment on this)

Saturday, May 13th, 2006
4:04 pm - Stoled Article
At least, not yet. From The New York Times.

Why the World Doesn't Need Hi-Def DVD'sCollapse )

And you know what? I agree with just about ALL of that.

(comment on this)

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006
6:57 pm - Projects and Self-Imposed Deadlines
So animation won't happen until I get some cash to put into a decent think-box. That's not new.

But, at the moment, I realized I'm cutting myself off from doing things I'm CAPABLE of. At the moment the LARP thing is taking up way too much think-space. But that's fine, because LARP season ends for me part-way through May. It won't pick up until late August/early September, with the exception of NPC training day and the one-day convention in Manchester, which is all, oooh, two days. Whatever.

So that leaves the summer mostly event free. So I realized I can totally write/direct/shoot/edit something and have it out and finished before LARP season picks back up.

Easier this time than when I had to shoot A Murder is that I have the plot mostly worked out. I'll need to shoot some test footage to see what time of day I can get away with filming this (it takes place at night, in a dark house, but knowing how fickle video can be, light-wise, as well as the post-production proccess I plan on using, I could get away shooting during the day).

So right now, on the drawing board, is The Room. I'll need a location or two, a handful of actors (but there's no dialog), some props, and a large light source (which will be the biggest problem, or not...that'll also require some creative film testing).

(comment on this)

Saturday, April 29th, 2006
10:50 pm - Random Bits, Plus Research
I knew I had to get out of the house for a reason. I had another episode of The Wales in my head, screaming to be let out. And out it did.

I'm getting enough sense of the series that I can plot episodes, when they need to happen and what needs to happen inbetween them. It's like watching a snowball accumulate in slowmotion.

Currently on the schedule are three "new" episodes: two of which have little to no dialog. This makes for THREE episodes of television in which there would be significant (if not complete) lack of dialog for the hour. The first, of course, is the first season finale of The Living, "Shiva" (formerly "Because the Night").

For The Wales, I have "The Long Way Back" in which almost all of the episode takes place within a car, driving from one location to another, in the middle of the night. Sounds lame, doesn't it? That's part of why I think I have to do it, because sometimes being in the car by yourself is the most frightening thing in the world, especially when you take an out of the way backroad detour to try and lose a car behind you and it keeps following.

Then there's also the other Wales episode I wanted to do for a while (but kept forgetting about since it wasn't in my notes). Also a car one, in fact, in my mind almost became the same episode as "The Long Way Back" until I realized that they were two entirely different arcs, with two entirely different endings. So splitting them up was easy, and I'm convinced the best choice to put them at two seperate points in the series.

However, I really want to gank a title of a short story that I did not write for the episode title. At least, bastardize it because it's just a perfectly me title: Incident (On and Off A Mountain Road) (by Joe R. Lansdale). I'd lose the mountain bit, but would really LOVE to use the title, but shouldn't. So I have to come up with something on my own (oh bother).

Essentially the episode is based on my first car acccident which happened at 12:30 AM on a road I was unfamiliar with. I had taken the wrong turn leaving someone's house and ended up going down a dirt road and coming out in East Haddam. I started to panic and tried to take a 25 MPH turn at about 40, and my car was embedded in soft dirt. So I had to walk to civilization. When I was in the middle of nowhere. And I walked for about five hours before someone gave me a ride to the nearest payphone, and I ended up in Portland (I didn't know where I was, and the guy was unfamiliar with the area so took me towards Middletown). If all works out, I'd love to film it where I had the accident, if only because there are some neat things to see in the middle of the night along that stretch of road that I am now familiar with.

For the episode that popped out of my head today, I realized there was a perfect "character study" episode with some of the supporting players (since I've mostly focused the series on Spence and not Elise, and I certainly want there to be room for them to BOTH be strong characters, not end up with The X-Files syndrome in which Mulder got to solve all the cases and the bigger paycheck but Scully was the more interesting character). However, I'm having trouble with a title (I often work title first...sometimes I change the title, but that's rare: most of the time the title directs where I want to go with the mood and feeling, which will help how the story lays down).

So my brain going back to Neil G., I remember the three wives of Adam: Eve, Lilith, and the unnamed one. But having an episode named "Eve, Lilith, and the Unnamed One" is a little clumsy, and "The Three Wives of Adam" will point the finger to who the mysterious third character is (while I'm sure leaving it on a name basis will leave some mystery for the audience). But sadly, there is no name for the "third" woman (actually the second wife, the one Adam saw made before his eyes who he turned away from before she even spoke) and need to come up with something suitable. I'm sure if I knew Hebrew there'd be a word or name to slide in there that would totally work.

(comment on this)

> previous 20 entries
> top of page