10/27/18

31 Days of Halloween

I know October is almost over. By now, you've probably seen the new Halloween, The Haunting of Hill House, and our sweet, beloved Hocus Pocus and Nightmare Before Christmas about 43 times. (And if you haven't, what are you waiting for?)

If you're all funned out, if your inspiration is waning, check this list I made a few years ago. It has suggestions you may have overlooked. Some are cult classics, others will be new to you.

31 Days of Halloween

Ghost Story is an important precursor to movies like What Lies Beneath. Robert Wise's The Haunting is the foundation for The Haunting of Hill House. If you're a chicken like me, there are plenty of cop-outs. I highly recommend Transylvania 6-5000 and High Spirits, flicks we simply must do more to push into the cult classic category.

If you're looking for some fun reads, I re-edited my dorky FanFiction (totally safe for work, the playground, church, etc.) Mulder and Scully Visit the Haunted Mansion.

I also shared my poem Monsters' Girlfriends via Twitter and Instagram. Because I'm needy. 

Happy Halloween! What are you watching?

10/17/18

Mulder and Scully Investigate the Haunted Mansion

It's almost Halloween and it's fanfiction Friday. I just had to do something about that.*

My favorite episodes of The X-Files were always "monster of the week". This term refers to a standalone episode that doesn't affect the overall story arc of the series. Very often, writers use these episodes to celebrate holidays or reward diehard fans with wish fulfillment.

In my opinion, the very best of these were The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas, Triangle and Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-MonsterIn the grand tradition of weird one-offs, I bring you my very own X-Files episode, wherein Mulder and Scully investigate The Haunted Mansion

If enough people ask for it, I'll share the second and third acts. (I originally wrote this in script format, but over the years, I've learned that nobody likes to read script format on the internet. So I turned it into fiction instead.)

Hello Giggles Articles

In 2016, I began contributing to Hello Giggles. I wish I had more time to write for them because I really appreciate an organization that amplifies the voices of women and girls.

And I'm proud to say one of my articles even made it into one of their editor's Best of 2016 lists.

Here are a few more of my articles:

10 Productive Ways To Celebrate Earth Day

8 Movies and TV Shows To Help You Feel Brave

I talked to Ashley Eckstein of "Star Wars" about empowering fangirls, running a business, and harnessing the power of positivity. (Hello Giggles called this one a "must read" and I wrote a follow-up here.)

What TMJ taught me about listening to my body

What I learned growing up with a mom who ran a singing telegram business

How Changing My Hair Color Taught Me A Life Lesson

How other women's stories of surviving sexual assault taught me to let go of shame

10/16/18

Today's Writing Exercise

Several months ago, my friend Trish recommended a writing exercise wherein you catalogue the lies your characters believe. I recently had the chance to try with my characters from Leaves. (A script in desperate need of fixing. I love it so much I avoid it. That's healthy, right?)

Results are below, and they give away a pretty big plot point.

10 Museums from Pop Culture (Real and Fictional)

I work in a museum right now. On my lunch break, I can wander up to the galleries or out to the gardens. I'm so busy I almost never do. But still, it's an option. For a dreamer, that's pretty ideal. 

For me, museums have always been places of great freedom. My cousins and I went to museums a lot as children. We played a game wherein we pretended to get lost just so we could be on our own all day. It was soooo long ago that if you were within the walls of the museum, you knew, you just knew, you'd be safe. We somehow always found our parents by closing time and they were never mad and it was just the greatest. (It worked at Disney World too.)

I'm too busy to do much more than have a gif party below in honor of these 10 Museums from Pop Culture, but I hope you enjoy. (I definitely saved the best entry for last.)

1. Indiana Jones in every movie (but the gif is from Last Crusade) - The National Museum at Marshall College



2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off - The Art Institute of Chicago


And now...a montage...



3. L.A. Story - Los Angeles County Museum of Art


4. The Mummy - Museum of Antiquities


5. Ocean's Twelve - Galleria D'Arte di Roma


6. Jab Harry Met Sejal - Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam



7. The Squid and the Whale - American Museum of Natural History


8. Ghostbusters II - Manhattan Museum of Art



9. When Harry Met Sally - The Metropolitan Museum of Art



10. Batman - Flugelheim Museum



What museums did I miss? Do you still love to get lost in a museum?

P.S. While drafting this, I found, Museum People's Tattoos. It's a delightful blog I discovered by accident and I love it.

Also, there was a popular book titled From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler about a girl who sneaks into a museum and stays past closing time. They even made it into a movie. Any other nineties kids remember it?

8/13/18

New Short Comic - Swamp Ape

I'm so incredibly sensitive about human and animal welfare. That's not a brag. Frequent public weeping isn't exactly a superpower. I become overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness when I see others hurting.

But. I've recently discovered I can sometimes write my way out of the melancholy, like a lobster scooting backwards out of a trap. When I saw a particularly moving story about abandoned orangutans, I decided to write them a guardian.

Javi Laparra is the incredible artist. Justin Birch did the lettering. Here's our backstory for a famous photo...

Page 1


Page 2

Please consider donating a dollar to International Animal Rescue's Borneo Orangutan project. Unfortunately, nobody can help the orangutans except us humans. So, pony up. 

Writing Prompt

How about you? If you could re-write a wrong, what would it be?

Disclaimer Town

I have work to do when it comes to clarity. Everyone who reads this has to ask me questions about it. Which is bad. But I'm learning. I think this script is better than Author. I can feel myself getting a better handle on how to harness the turn of the page or the natural way the eye reads left to right and up to down for the benefit of reveals. You would think a lifetime of reading comics would make an initial attempt at writing them less clumsy. 

Alas...a clumsy effort is an effort nonetheless.

New Short Comic - Author

I'm still learning this format. It's hard. I'm obviously struggling with clarity. But the artist (Javi Laparra) and letterer (Justin Birch) I'm working with are tremendous. I don't want their work to go unseen just because I'm a perfectionist Debbie Downer.

I have three more scripts I'm currently redrafting that are better. Prey, Sunk, and Mothers. But this was my first attempt at a short comic. Two pages only. The concept has been knocking around my brain since college.

Obviously, the idea was fresher back in 2003. It's been done to death now. Back then, I was still really obsessed with Shane Black's The Long Kiss Goodnight. I thought about how funny it would be if an ordinary woman just thought...well, you'll see...

Page 1


Page 2



~

These were Patreon exclusives for a few months. A two page short comic costs me about $400 to create. If you want to chip in to help me continue creating short comics, essays, or anything else, consider becoming a Patron here: https://www.patreon.com/audreybrownwrites or sending a one-time donation to: https://www.paypal.me/AudreyMarieBrown

I'm so intensely thankful to the people who support me. I also take requests and commissions! This month, I'm writing a creative nonfiction essay about my grandma for Liz Tippy!

7/20/18

There's So Much You Don't Know About Angela Lansbury

Yes, I keep it next to my oil diffuser,
because I'm #basic. 
I'm writing an essay about how the brilliant Dame Angela Lansbury continues to stay relevant. She's not just a childhood favorite. She's a legitimate role model for a million reasons I'm currently trying to put into words.

I even keep a framed picture of her on my desk. It was a gift from my friend Jen about ten years ago. I've displayed it in every office since then. Is it a little weird? Sure. But I do enjoy watching people slowly figure out who it is, then try to get up the nerve to ask if she's my grandma.

Anyway, while I draft, I want to make sure you know about the Angela of three key eras. This is your homework, my friends.


1. Classic Film Angela Lansbury

To you, she may be the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney's Beauty and the Beast or a witch in training from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. But her career spans decades. There's another Angela most of you don't know. The one who got an early start in the studio system by taking on the "bad girl" archetype...and taking it on quite well.



In the unsung Judy Garland classic The Harvey Girls, she even got into a full-on fist fight with Judy. That alone makes the movie worth a watch, but so does Judy, the soundtrack, and this... 



2. Broadway Angela Lansbury

Angie once tread the boards for fifteen years straight and has since returned for many runs. She's a triple threat. She originated iconic roles and spent plenty of time in classic shows. (Mame, Blithe Spirit, and Gypsy just to name a few.) By her own account, she kept ticket sales rolling along and made sure she got ten percent of the take, to boot.

She also worked with her best friend, Bea Arthur, many times. How much do you wish you could go back in time and have a lunch date with these two?



3. Television Legend Angela Lansbury

My favorite role of hers is still that of Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. There's something innately empowering about the character. She enjoyed her time as a mother and a wife, she's clear about that repeatedly in show dialogue.

We meet her in the pilot as a widow, but she's still a vital, involved member of her community. She then goes on to find world-wide success as a mystery writer, using the skills she's developed through research to solve real murders. She bakes bread when she needs to think. She travels extensively. She's always direct, but never rude. Not even to the actual murderers when she catches them.

Plus, she even helped Magnum P.I. once. Speaking of which, no, I'm not watching the new Magnum. I know you didn't ask, but I have a lot of feelings.


You get the sense from interviews that Angela Lansbury is a lot like Jessica Fletcher. She speaks confidently about making deals, demanding excellent pay and working conditions, and treating the crew well in this series of interviews from EmmyTV Legends.org. She understands her own agency.

On a lighter note, she also pulled hosting duty for the Academy Awards. Honest to God, sometimes if I'm having a tough day, I watch this just to cheer up. (She also did one-off, televised theatrical productions like this.)


Bonus: She also did a workout video. See? Renaissance woman. 



I think I've made my point. I'm one of those writers who writes to discover. I don't really know what I'm trying to say until I gather all my research and take a few cracks at it. I'm just as curious as you are about what's brought Miss Lansbury to mind in such a strong way lately.

I'll keep you up to date...



And also...

I still love the internet for making this.

6/28/18

Hammer Pants: The Making of a Nerd


What I like to call...the aftermath.
I turned into a nerd the way people in movies change into werewolves. All at once and completely against my will. 

Pictures of me from fourth grade play like a makeover montage in reverse. At first, the images show a normal-enough little girl with straight teeth and mismatched clothes.

(Please say the following line in the voice of Jacques Cousteau.)

Then...a rapid progression.

(Un-Jacques)

5/28/18

3 Things I Still Love: The Coen Brothers Devotion to Classic Film

1. Hail, Caesar!



Related Thing: Why Do People in Old Movies Talk Weird? & tracing the roots of the homage in Hail, Caesar!


2. Raising Arizona



Related Thing: I see Raising Arizona as following the classic mythical western template. There's no better example of that than the most iconic spaghetti western of all time, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Sergio Leone intended to create a satire. He accidentally elevated that which he intended to critique. He was simply too good at it.

(The most popular theory to emerge states that the three main characters of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly are Gods who have descended in the disguise of humanity to wage spiritual battle on Earth.)

The Coens have an innate understanding of how tight scriptwriting and intense focus on small details can amplify a seemingly run-of-the-mill story. A focus on simplicity of plot and clarity of character transforms a story into an artifact. Something audiences can read meaning into, as so many have done with Raising Arizona. (Many people posit that the entire film is Hi's dream sequence or slow death, populated by people he interacts with while serving time.)

In other words, good writing consistently stokes fan theory culture.


3. The Hudsucker Proxy



Related Thing: Pee Wee's Lament and relevant information about why I think Jennifer Jason Leigh's character is an overt homage to Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday.

5/17/18

New Comic and Podcast Episodes!

My Patreon patrons and past Leaves donors received a new two-page comic this week. In which our heroine isn't quite as tough as she imagines...


If you want to know more, hop on my bandwagon over at Patreon. Also, my very nerdy comedy podcast, Movie of the Year, churns out new episodes weekly. To quote the great Karina Longworth, join us, won't you?



4/27/18

Seven Predictions for Avengers: Infinity War

UPDATE: 1 out of 7. Yikes. 

To be honest...I didn't love it. I didn't go back to see it again, which is almost unheard of for me. So....yeah. Still processing.

ORIGINAL POST:

The great Marvel Rewatch of 2018 has concluded. I hit everything except the first two Thor movies.

(Sorry, big guy.)

The first Avengers was a masterwork of what-if scenarios involving established characters. I hope this movie also takes full of advantage of quirky pairings, inevitable personality conflicts, and comic book references.

Before I head out to Avengers: Infinity War tonight, I wanted to record my predictions.

Here are my top 7:

1. I think they all die, including one or more of the Eternals*. Tony's vision in Ultron was foreshadowing. The man is a genius. It wasn't just his fear Wanda saw, it was that big beautiful brain of his working through multiple probabilities.

There might be one survivor at the end. It should be Ant Man or Dr. Strange, but it will probably be Iron Man since he's the father of the MCU, by way of Jon Favreau. Whoever they may be, I think they'll use one of the infinity stones to go back in time or to an alternate dimension to change things for the next movie.

The final frame or bonus scene will probably be a Back to the Future-esque scene of the lone survivor meeting Captain America during World War II. Cap will say, "Who are you?" The character will smile and we'll cut to black.

2. Black Widow will die protecting Captain America or vice versa. Those two are bros4lyfe. Actually, Cap owes her more than a few favors by now. If we're never gonna get a Black Widow movie, I hope our talented and illustrious spy gets more of the attention in this movie and the next. She's second in seniority out of the entire cast. Please give her more to do.

3. Someone will use the time stone to send Cap back to see Peggy. OR they'll use the mind stone to make him believe he's back in time as a way to temporarily distract him or take him out of the fight completely. I know, I know...wishful thinking and how I am the king of it. I just really want a Peggy cameo.

4. Thanos will be more reasonable than we expect. All great villains must be correct in some way in order to be compelling. Marvel is great at sympathetic bad guys. Loki was kinda right about how humans were made to be ruled or dominated during vacuums of power. Ultron was right that we were killing the planet. (For the record, I still love that movie and I don't understand the mass hatred.)

Random relevant quote: "You're not wrong Walter, you're just an a*@hole."

5. I hope Red Skull shows up. I realize that's not much of a prediction. His absence still bothers me. I've always believed he was meant to be the big bad of Marvel's phase one. I thought the tesseract opened some kind of generic version of the bi-frost and transported him...I don't know...some kind of place.

I thought for sure he'd show up in Thor's universe at some point until all those reports surfaced about how much Hugo Weaving loathed the makeup process and swore to darken Marvel's door no more.

But it would be really great if he ponied up for a cameo to tie up that loose end.

6. One or more of the female characters form friendships. So many of them have been relegated to being the only woman on their team. It would be great if one of the Wakandan warriors commented on this in a humorous aside. Come oooooon, Bechdel...mama needs a new pair of shoes.

7. I think Hela could be percieved as the Goddess of Death and I think that's who Thanos is smiling about at the end of the first Avengers when Wesley from Buffy in prosthetics says, "...is to court death." Run on sentence, I know. I'm just...I'm amped. As mentioned in point number 4, I think Thanos will have a rock solid reason for being the Mary Poppins of murder.

I have a lot more thoughts, but I'm almost too hyped to put them down right now. I've thought maybe Vision or Loki might somehow pose as one of the other heroes at the end because said actual hero is dead. And I don't know...other stuff. Is it Christmas morning yet?!

I'm pretty much a sugar-crazed toddler right now. I've been worried about Infinity War and worried about the Russo Brothers making things so dark that the movie won't be fun to watch. But the spoiler-free reviews I've read say otherwise, so I'm officially excited.

What do you think will happen in Infinity War?


*I originally called the Eternals "Celestials" because I'm a dingbat sometimes.

4/12/18

The Great Marvel Re-Watch 2018: Part 2

Just finished Iron Man 2. I really love this movie. The story is rock solid. Soundtrack? Excellent. The references to Epcot are a delight. But two things really stood out for me after this viewing.

1. I really need to listen to The Clash more often.


And...

2. The people who really love you will push you to be your best. If it weren't for the tough love Tony gets from Nick Fury and team, he'd literally be dead. It's the people who see our potential and call us on our self-sabotaging garbage who really care about us.How'd you like to have Nick Fury as a life coach?

 

Truthfully, I skip the Thor movies. I feel guilty about it. But...no I don't. So it's on to Captain America: The First Avenger next.

3/27/18

How do you prep for Marvel May?

I usually do a Marvel March prep run for Marvel May. I'm only through the first Iron Man, so I'm looking forward to continuing my re-watch.

I must admit, I'm a little worried about Infinity War. I'm the weirdo who preferred Whedon's tone to the Russo Brothers. I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron seven times in the theater and loved it.

I also prefer the tone of Ant Man, Spiderman: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok to the more serious Captain America sequels. I go to the movies to have fun and forget my troubles for a little while. Some writer/directors think that raising the stakes means making things as miserable as possible. And I know the comic version of Infinity War pretty well. It's not gonna be fun watching the heroes I love die in a bloodbath. So...yeah. Not as excited as usual this spring.

Here's the other reason I love my annual Marvel marathon. I get to revisit each movie and boil them down to a takeaway or two.

This time, Iron Man felt like a poignant reminder that sometimes a sickness, and what we have to do to care for ourselves in the face of one, can create a super power. I live with a chronic illness. I'm looking into every avenue I can in the hopes of a cure. I use every treatment available to me. (I'm currently looking into stem cell therapy.)

In his first couple appearances, Iron Man is isolated. His scattered focus means he's not spending too much time feeling sorry for himself. He just does whatever he needs to do to stay alive. He even drinks anti-inflammatory green juice. He goes through ups and downs, overmedicates from time to time.

But Tony Stark is spurred on to live as much life as he can because he knows death set up camp on his doorstep.



Tomb Raider Reaction - Respect Your Action Heroine Elders and Let People Have Their Feelings

I held back on publishing this for days. Mostly because it's a topic I've written about repeatedly. I promise this is the last post I wax poetic about the action heroine's cinematic past.

As a writer, sometimes you have to ask yourself who you're trying to persuade. When I feel compelled to defend what I love, I think I'm writing to old bullies. Old boyfriends. It's time to move on to my own characters and scripts

But one last time for the people in the back. This is why Tomb Raider matters.

3/20/18

The Bachelor Is Over and The Bachelorette Is Now Filming!

Here's what I think we should do about that...



Seriously, people. Every day, we vote with our dollars and our viewership. Ignore this dumb garbage, and it all goes away.


3/13/18

American Idol Is Back

...and it weirds me out, you guys. It occurred to me last night while I was falling asleep how funny it is that we have a show called "American Idol" when that word has such an ancient, negative context.


I can't handle it when the celebrity judges emerge and the audience freaks out. Or when a contestant loses it over a celebrity. Maybe it's my own past of fangirling out coming back to haunt me...



Back in my day, there were no reality shows. And I walked uphill both ways...ugh...I'm too tired to even finish that joke. The point is, I'm old. It just makes me laugh. Golden idols, amirite? I know it seems a little silly, but I always think of this around Oscar season too.



Ancient religious references and nomenclature in modern pop culture is something I'd like to write about in more depth, actually. When you start looking for those themes, you see them everywhere.

Jurassic World Won't Be For Me, And That's Okay


This will begin as a blog about Jurassic Park, then it's going to turn into something else. What? You'll just have to see.

(Or you know, make inferences from the title.)

The brilliant and talented Michael Giacchino posted this image on his Instagram yesterday morning. I love this man's work. My husband introduced me via The Incredibles score and like many others, I then followed him through LOST and the rest of his prolific career.

In fact, I was just writing about his Star Trek score the other week.

I also love Colin Trevorrow's Safety Not Guaranteed. It was a beautiful, funny, perfectly cast indie film that had a wonder-provoking finale that made me cry happy tears. I think he's a talented director with a specific vision.

I also love the Jurassic Park franchise. In fact, I love dinosaurs. In first grade, our teacher told us we could write an extra credit report about a specific dinosaur. I went home and wrote twelve. Plus an extra report about ducks for reasons adult me simply cannot fathom. Why did that seem like a logical addition? We'll never know.

The point is, young Nerdly Nerdlington over here never does anything halfway. I think that's a pretty common trait among geeks and nerds. We'll come back to that...

3/12/18

The Haunted Mansion TV Series

I'd watch! I think the usage of the paintings as a plot-framing device (Get it?!) is a brilliant conceit.

If you're in the mood for more Haunted Mansion stuff, you can read this, or my suuuuuuuper nerdy Haunted Mansion/X-Files mashup from an old blog.

I had a pitch for a Haunted Mansion theatrical live show worked up back in 2007, but I'm still saving it in the delusional hopes that someday I might actually get to share it with the right people. (See: Disney execs.)

  

3/9/18

A Reel Pitch Fest: Borgin and Burkes - The first Harry Potter TV Series!

Hey! Here I am in this thing:



Here's the TV show I accidentally stole the idea from:



And here is the charismatic and criminally under-used Louise Robey who starred in the series. She has a very His Girl Friday, Rosalind Russell, ocassional Rita Hayworth vibe. If I ever get a proper film or TV series up and running, I'll look for her!


I've said it before and I'll say it again, while I work up the gumption to go through official channels (I'm redrafting for a handful of contests right now and I have some comedy shorts ready to enter too.) if you find this and you're a cool executive type looking for writers, hire me! I'm prolific, hard working, and irritatingly optimistic.

How It Feels Finding My Voice As A Writer Again


But I don't really want to knock you out. I mean, not physically. Just metaphorically. With my ideas, you see. I also keep thinking of that Gandalf quote, "I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide." So I guess that makes me Gandalf...and also Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli? Plus Fangorn forest. 

I don't know. I'm not gonna overthink it right now. I think that was my problem in the past. I'm just gonna follow my own tagline and Embrace It. 



I need the actual quote isolated though. Hold onto your aspect ratio...



P.S. When this scene aired in theaters for the first time, I was the uber nerd leaning over to my friends and saying, "They edited Ian McKellan's voice together with Christopher Plummer's!"

Also, I know we all have feelings about this movie, but I love this bit of score and it runs through my mind a lot when I'm feeling like my real self. I think because it's called "Return".


It's the bit that starts at 1:17 that really raises the little hairs on the back of my neck. I love it.

I don't know where my career is going next and I kind of love that. But I'm gonna choose excitement.



P.S. Every time I think to myself that I'm just going to relax and "trust", I think of this song immediately. I guess I should feel weird about that since the song is used ironically in juxtaposition with a character who is using the public's trust in him to literally murder them.

And also, the lyrics are DARK, you guys.

But...it's from Batman. So. It stays.

3 Things I Still Love: The Film Documentary Edition

I watched 21 Years: Richard Linklater on Hulu last night. His identity never congealed for me until then, though I loved his movies without knowing they were "his". Once, I named a turtle I kept seeing at Epcot "Richard Linklater" for no justifiable reason. (It just felt like the right thing to do at the time.)

Anyway, now that I've seen the doc, I'm in full geek obsession mode. Here are 3 film documentaries to watch ASAP.

1. "Ricky Ticki Linklater"


Related Thing: Blank on Blank and a list with which you may disagree.

2. "Richard Stanley climbed into a tree today and wouldn't come down." Anyone who has ever directed anything at all will understand that quote at a quantum level. I'm not using "quantum" correctly, am I?


Related Thing: H.G. Wells was right about a bunch of stuff & so was Star Trek.

3. "Does everyone have brown gloves?"


Related Thing: Burden of Dreams & Werner Herzog on Parks and Rec

Bonus: I was captivated by Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond but/and I think this guy is at least partially correct about Jim Carrey. Actually, that was politeness talking. I think he's entirely correct. Nobody gets a free pass on a set to be a jerk in the name of artistic expression. That's egomaniacal and unprofessional. The studio was right to withhold that footage and I hope Jim sends apology gifts to the people he troubled.

3/7/18

Spaceship Librarian & The Chosen One

I recently started a Patreon Page.

In February, my patrons received the full script for Issue #1 of my comic Spaceship Librarian. You can get it too for just $1. I don't even mind if you sign up just to read it, then un-sign up. No shame.

You can also go to the website SpaceshipLibrarian.com and poke around for free. There are a few sample pages drawn by the very talented Jen Hersey and lettered by Justin Birch.

In addition to what I share with Patrons, I also share free writing with everyone. So far, that's been in the form of a fiction story titled The Chosen One.

Here's Chapter 1

And here's Chapter 1.5 and Chapter 2

You can also read a smattering of past articles and fiction stories at AudreyWrites.com. Just click on Stories at the top of the page, then go nuts. There's also Leaves the Comic and of course, I have this here blog all up and runnin' again.

3/1/18

Happy March

Las night, I dreamed I was making a movie titled Motorcycle Jane and Danny Trejo loved the script so much he took a lead role for free and donated all the motorcycles. That's gotta be a good sign, right?


Last March was a waking nightmare. Let's hope this one is redemptive. Like the plot of my forthcoming action script Motorcycle Jane

Just kidding...or am I?

2/28/18

3 Things I Still Love: The Political Satire Edition

1. "It will be difficult, difficult, lemon difficult."


Related Thing:  Zach Woods and Steve Coogan elsewhere. (There are currently three Trip movies and a bit of TV as well. The last movie, The Trip to Spain had an ending that left me utterly shocked.)

2. "If you want to win a vote, scratch a bigot's itch."


Related Thing: This is the song Sallah sings. It's from the HMS Pinafore, which is classic and timeless. Simpsons nerds will know it from this episode. Star Trek nerds will know it from this. It's often mistaken as being from The Pirates of Penzance. (Another Gilbert and Sullivan joint.) It's not. But this is!

3. Because nothing screams, "I'm not actually powerful," quite like listing the things that make you powerful. Politics and colonialism, amirite?


Related: This. It is not from The Mikado, but to bring it full Kelsey Grammer, this is.

BONUS: Nothing to do with political satire, I just like it.

2/26/18

25 Essays (or Video Essays) I'd Write (or Create) if I Had The Time

Why don't I have the time, you may ask? I'm busy taking freelance work to pay my bills. I'm grateful I have said skills to pay said bills, so that's not a complaint.

And I know it's risky to go around throwing theses, but I want to make some of my ideas public now in case Net Neutrality makes it harder for me to share them in the future. God forbid. The fight is still on, FYI.

A lot of these come from my days of teaching film waaaaay back in grad school. 

If I didn't have to freelance anymore, I'd be creating content like this on a regular basis:

1. What's an Ephod? a.k.a. How God works in the Indiana Jones Universe

2. Conflict Trends in Film and how they reflect the decades in which they appear (or How I Went to see Star Wars and Every Preview was about war)

3. How Conspiracy Theorists Mistake Comedy Writing for "Predictive Programming"

4. How (and why) Modern Blockbusters Repeat the Theme of Physical Sacrifice

5. The Most Popular Film Genre of Each Decade, Beginning in 1900

6. Craft and Artistry on Film: How the Visual Representations of Sewing, Baking, Painting and More Are Used in Movies

7. How Movies Change With Us As We Age (and why our changing perceptions matter)

8. The Parody Effect: How Familiarity Transitions Horror Icons From Feared to Revered

9. In Defense of the Mary Sue (both male and female)

10. 10 Under Appreciated Costumed Performers

11. 10 Times Film and Television Characters Probably Had Migraines

12. Trends in Actings Choices: Pop Culture Moments vs. Bad Technique

13. How Pop Culture Answered Conservative Christianity in the 90's and 00's 

14. The 7 Types of Conflict in Film

15. The Only 2 Types of Story in Film

16. Common Character Types You Can Find in (almost) Every Story

17. 10 Opening and Closing Images from Famous Films

18. 10 Opening and Closing Images from Beloved TV Series

19. What is a Story Arc and How Does It Function?

20. Pop Culture Criticism 101: Learning the Difference Between "That's bad," and, "I don't like it."

21. Why The Big Sick is the Greatest Modern Rom-Com of the 21st Century (To Date)

22. Tracking the Origins and Patterns of the Religious Words We Use in Modern Colloquialism (queen, king, blessed, etc.)

23. How News Headlines Are Chosen (according to my former professor who worked at CNN)

24. What Are Style Cycles at Film Studios?

25. 10 Historic Uses of Symbolic Color In Film 

What's that, you say? You'd like me to create such content? Here's how you can help! Support my brand new Patreon page and visit this page and click on Stories where you can read about some more content I'd like to create. 

Or, we can create a corporate sponsorship or pay me directly to create one of these. I'm worth it, I promise. 



Labyrinth Returns to the Big Screen

According to EW.com, Fathom Events has announced that Jim Henson's classic Labyrinth will return to movie theaters across the country on April 29th, May 1st, and May 2nd.

For many of us, this will be our first chance to see it on the big screen. There were three things that could make me run screaming from the room as a kid. Slimer, Thriller, and the scene from Labyrinth where all the goblins are hiding under the crib. It's a brilliantly framed shot and a bold choice for a kid's movie.

So, are you going? I am! Tickets are on sale here, and they're going fast!

















Coincidentally, I was just writing about this very under-appreciated David Bowie song the other day. I was saving it for later publication as an edition of Good Geek Stuff, but why not throw it in here?

This David Bowie song from the Labyrinth soundtrack still speaks to me. I feel it where I feel all beautiful music, rattling around in my chest cavity somewhere.

Growing up in the age of the VCR, it was easy to fast forward through opening credit sequences. But I always listened to this entire song, utterly captivated.


What's your favorite under-appreciated Bowie song? When did you first hear it? Why did it stick?

While you think, enjoy the song in it's original context. It packs a bit more of a punch this way:



P.S. I'm 100% certain that Labyrinth is why so many of the stories I write have magical men showing up via interdimensional portals. i.e. The Chosen One and Leaves.

Happy Monday, Internet

As you were.

2/23/18

So, I Do This Now: A Reel Pitch Fest - Episode 7 (+ An Interview with The Mexican Vampire Woman)



The thing about being a writer and director is that you must be able to speak up for your ideas. Did you know they make you say them out loud? Did you know you also have to be good at saying them out loud to actors, producers, and anyone with money?

This is a challenge if you hate your own face. Or voice. It's ironic that the gripping self-consciousness that makes some of us creative is also what prevents us from creating a finished product. Unless curling up in a ball or being socially awkward is a product, in which case, I am a captain of industry.

So anyway, I started a YouTube *show* though I don't feel like you can call it a proper show if there's no biz afterward. I mean, it's just me recording videos with QuickTime on my laptop. No lights, no audience, no key grips. Just...my face. That I hate. 

But the other thing about being a writer and director is that it's fine if - oh, say - you have really big teeth and a tiny upper lip, because you don't have to win any pageants to do your job.

So again I say...I started a YouTube show.

It's called A Reel Pitch Fest. I share ideas I have for movies. Sometimes they're original, most times they're prequel, sequel, or remake ideas. Because why the heck not?

My goal is to get better at pitching and communicating. It's definitely not my goal to have one of my ideas go viral and get discovered and be given merry loads of cash to immediately put several of my movies and short films into production. That would just be grandiose.

I've been test driving it for a while and there are 7.1 official episodes on my YouTube channel. Here's the latest. I'm not usually in a car...so...sorry about that.


I'll share each new episode here on my blog as they release every Friday. If you want to play catch up, here are links to the other episodes.


Also on my YouTube channel? An interview I did with the Mexican Vampire Woman back in 2011 during my correspondent days that randomly got 8,000 hits one night after I transferred it from Vimeo because they changed some of their rules.*

Oh, internet, you wily minx. You're so unpredictable.


*Long live run-on sentences AND also long live Maria Jose Cristerna, the Mexican Vampire Woman, who is a really nice former lawyer and mother of four.

2/22/18

Good Geek Stuff: The Uma Thurman/Quiet Amidst Chaos Edition



I've been thinking of this scene a lot lately. Horrific events in the news trigger something in my brain. My mind calls upon soothing memories to quiet the chaos. I don't know what it says about me that so many of them are movie-related.

It's just how I'm wired.

Buffy's 10 Greatest Speeches

I recently wrote a three part series for FangirlBlog10 Times Buffy's Strength Came From Her Words. The most excellent editor, Tricia Barr, found a way to frame the series via the Hero's Journey.

As a companion piece, I gathered all the speeches I cited here in one place. They are from YouTube, so some of them are slightly sped up or slowed down. I think that's a fair price to pay considering most of the videos I could find on the topic were those annoying listicles where a snarky narrator talks over all the good parts.

I just want the speeches. Pure, unadulterated clips.

So here, in chronological order and my humble opinion, are Buffy's 10 Greatest Speeches. You'll notice the moments become more potent as the series progresses. That's no coincidence. Buffy grew stronger and more self-assured with each episode, so it's natural the dialogue followed suit.

(8, 9, and 10 are my personal favorites.)


2/21/18

3 Things I Still Love: The Awards Show Edition

Sakes alive, I love awards shows. Actually, scratch that. I don't love awards shows. (See THIS VIDEO at 4:37 for relevant commentary.)

I love the opportunities they create for wild cards to ruin the reverent hush of a high-falootin' audience. And also, I like pretty dresses. To quote Cordelia from Buffy, "What, I can't have layers?"

Just a couple days ago, I ventured down the rabbit hole of fun awards show moments. Which brings us to this week's edition of 3 Things I Still Love: The Awards Show Edition. (This blog is nominated for best repetitive copy. Fingers crossed! Fingers Crossed!)

1. Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell at the Golden Globes


2. THIS. Forever and ever this, this, this.


Bonus points to Jack McBrayer for his delightful bit. I'm cheating and sneaking this moment into my list too. "But Audrey, then it won't be three things." Quiet, you!

3. Conan's 2006 Emmy opening has basically been recreated by every host since. It's that good.


Sometimes they do it really well. And speaking of Steve Carell again, here's this delightful little bit.

BONUS: Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly at the Oscars


What moments did I miss? Share links in the comments!