Apr 292011

Got held up at work today, so I wasn’t able to make it to class. Still, looking forward to helping out tomorrow at a small, inter-school tournament. Hoping to get some work in reffing.

Saw this on the internet and think it’s great. Walter Reed VA Hospital has wounded soldiers training BJJ to help them reduce stress, build strength and regain dexterity after injuries, even to include loss of limb. Check it out.

Finally, on the Scriptfrenzy front, like Charlie Sheen, I have tiger’s blood in me and I am a WINNER! I got to 106 pages last night. I’m going to finish up the story tonight and then work on a revision. I have a couple of volunteers to give me some critique and I fully intend to take you up on it.

 Posted by at 7:12 pm
Apr 212011

BJJ was good last night. I am SO out of shape, but we started with light rolling to get warmed up and Ethan showed us a couple of sweeps from half-guard, for when the opponent switches his hips and is facing back towards the legs.

I was pretty exhausted. I felt like I rolled well, technically, but man, I was gassed fast.

On the screenplay front, the project is marching right along. I’m at 82 pages now, and working on winding down Act 2. The story is pacing pretty well, in that my protagonist is crashing hard. The world is falling apart on him, and he’s rapidly reaching the point where he’s at his most defeated. It’s from here that he begins the climb to the climax of the movie in Act 3.

I got home from class last night, ate a piece of pizza and got to writing. I was so into the dialogue that I realized after the fact that I’d written something about one of the characters which was a complete surprise to me. I had to laugh, because it wasn’t in my head, but after I started writing out the scene it just made complete sense. And it’s going to work really well in the context of the story.

Slidey, I haven’t forgotten about you. What I’m going to do is finish this rough draft and then get one rewrite in. There are some obvious things that I need to address before I have what I’d consider a working first draft. If that makes sense. Having read your writing, I would really appreciate any feedback you have, so I’ll definitely forward you a copy. Look for it in the first week of May (if not sooner.)

This is also an open invitation to anyone else. If you’re interested in helping me out, drop me a line in the comments.

 Posted by at 1:34 pm
Apr 102011

52 pages as of today. While works been crazy and some minor medical stuff has been going on at home, I have, amazingly reached the halfway point in my script.

I’ve promised myself NOT to edit the script until the first draft is complete, but I’m making notes of places to rework and ideas to flesh out characters who are, as yet, very flat.

But I am still really happy with the story. I have no idea if it’s a “good” script, but it’s definitely shaping up to be something I’m proud of. And I’m looking forward to finishing the first draft and then going back to tighten it up.

So far, the hardest part is not editing. No editing.

 Posted by at 8:57 pm
Apr 042011

Friday was fun.  I made it to class, was feeling a little nauseous with about 10 minutes left.  I tried to sit out and was… encouraged to go one more.  Big Rick went “light” with me.  I add the quotes around the word “light” because of the relative nature of the term.  Light with a 300 lbs brown belt isn’t like light with most people.

I made it, though, and am looking forward to class tonight.

On the screenplay front, I broke 30 pages yesterday.

I went up to Seattle for a write-in, where some of the local writers get together to meet a little and write a lot.  I found out that there’s a local tradition here in Seattle where you incorporate a devil ducky…  that is, a rubber ducky with devil’s horns.  I guess it’s a nod to a local toy store that sells them.    I got the rubber ducky into the script in a way that I’m pretty happy with, but realized that I’m writing a screenplay in which I have not added one explosion.  I need to add one at some point…  gratuitous explosions are the hallmark of great cinema.  Or maybe not.  I don’t know.

I don’t intend to spam the blog with my screenplay, but if anyone is interested in reading it, I’d be happy to hear what you think.  Drop me a line in comments and we’ll work it out via email.   As I mentioned before, BJJ is definitely a big part of the story, but it’s really, at its heart, a redemption story about a guy and his relationship with his son.

 Posted by at 11:51 am

Monday Training and Scriptfrenzy Update

 BJJ, Writing  Comments Off on Monday Training and Scriptfrenzy Update
Mar 302011

Made it to class on Monday.  Was my first day to train in two weeks.  I’m pretty much over the sinus/head cold, but I felt weak and very lethargic.  Now, a couple days later, my hips flexors, thighs and calves are KILLING ME.  I’m so fat and out of shape at this point, it’s like starting over from a fitness perspective.

I’ll be able to get back to class on Friday.  Tonight, I’m on baby duty.  Goal this week is to get in three times, which I can make if I manage to get to Sunday’s class as well.

ScriptFrenzy starts in two days, so after work, and after class, I’ll be settling in to write at least the first four pages of the script.  I need to average at least 3 1/3rd pages per day to stay on track.  I don’t see that as being a big obstacle, as long as I know what I need to write.  I’ve learned a lot about the process of writing a screenplay over the last week.  I’m sure we’ve all referred to a movie as being a “formula movie.”  Honestly, though, I had no idea how formulaic the process of writing a screenplay really is.  My impression now is that a screenplay has more to do with a closed form poem than a book.

Step one: Write a logline.  A logline, as best as I can tell, is a single sentence that summarizes the essential plot of the movie.  The exact structure of a logline varies depending upon the source, but what is consistent is that it needs to be relatively short (under 37 words), summarize the essential plot while simultaneously distinguishing that plot from every other similar idea in existence.

Step two: Write a plot summary.  Longer than a logline, the plot summary is, I’ve come to learn, supposed to be one or two short paragraphs that synopsize the story.

Step three:  Write a 15 point beat sheet. This is the formula.  It’s eerie how many movies of all genres fit this formula almost to the minute.

Step four:  Map out the scenes.  According to someone named Blake Snyder (no idea who he was, but his name pops up all over the interweb on this subject), a movie has 40 scenes.  So, at this step, you get out the 3×5 cards and summarize the scenes based on the beat sheet, and then put them in order.

Step five:  Finally, write the damned script.

Step five point five: Drink a beer or two.  Or 10.

Step six:  Force every friend you have to read your script.  Get honest feedback from at least one of them.

And it goes on from here.

All that having been said, here’s what I have so far.  For your reading pleasure, my logline and my summary:

In the Game:


Years after his divorce, an aging martial artist struggles to reconnect with his teenage son while training for the largest Jiu Jitsu tournament in the world.


Mike Jenkins is an out of shape, depressed, 30-something who’s spent the better part of the last decade trying hopelessly to repair his relationship with his ex-wife and his son. His ex-wife, Sue, uses her custody of their son like a weapon, and uses Mike like a free, on-call babysitter. His son, Dave, considers Mike a loser, aimless and alone.

When Mike sees a group of older boys harassing his son, he intervenes, using Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills he’d learned long ago. Instead of being the hero, Dave’s embarrassment at being rescued by his dad only makes the situation worse. Mike returns to the mat and begins training again in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu hoping to compete in the sport he loves. Along the way, he discovers that to be the father he wants to be and earn the respect of his teenage son, he must first learn to respect himself.

Yes, I’m going to incorporate BJJ as a backdrop to the story, because, what the hell?  I like BJJ and it’s an awesome sport.  But the emphasis of the story will be in the relationship between the father, Mike, and his son, Dave.  That’s the point.  We’ll see how bad it sucks as the month presses on.  Stay tuned.

 Posted by at 7:43 pm