Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010
Waning Moon
Cloudy and humid

It hit 90 degrees in Central Park yesterday, which is just wrong. It was only 80 out here, but still . ..

Did some good work on the urban fantasy. I’ve written what I outlined, so I’m flying blind for a bit, then outlining more.

Acupuncture was great. The traffic, in both directions, was a nightmare, and I wasn’t in as bad shape as I usually am. She also worked on my knee.

Came back, did a little more on the urban fantasy, but mostly had to let the treatment settle. I’m reading PD James’s book THE LIGHTHOUSE, which is very interesting. She moves POV in various chapters, but is consistent within a chapter, and shows us the mystery through several perspectives. I haven’t read her books in order, so I’m a little lost in the arcs that have developed over the series, but not so lost so that it’s distracting. It’s also set on a fictional island off Cornwall, and makes me miss Cornwall.

I’m learning a lot by breaking down this show on a craft level, so thanks for bearing with me. HUMAN TARGET was on last night, and, I’m happy to say, back on track, at least as far as I’m concerned. i nearly skipped it because the premise required such a far suspension of my disbelief, but I’m glad I watched. The writing and direction were much better this week. The two episodes I had a problem with were directed by the same guy, and this was directed by someone else. Huge difference. His work was really solid, and he let the actors fly, for the most part. Jackie Earle Haley’s Guerrero had the hair that reads well on camera again, AND he got to be very active in this episode, with actions including taking out a sniper and driving an ambulance. This production must OWN that frigging ambulance, because it keeps turning up in episodes. And I have to take a second to praise the crew on this show — the demands of this show means they’re flat out busting their asses at an enormous rate. It’s amazing that the continuity of the show is as good as it is. I’ve been there, I’ve had to watch for continuity, at least as far as wardrobe, so wardrobe and hair continuity and prop continuity are things I tend to notice. And it’s damn hard, especially when you’re working outside and so many factors can’t be controlled. You do the best you can and you hope that, if something doesn’t work, it’s small enough not to notice, or they don’t decide to use the take with the continuity error because the performance is better and the director figures no one will notice. Other than hating the Guerrero hair last week that read so flat on camera (in contrast to the texture it usually has), and that had to have been a much-discussed choice, not an error, I’ve picked up very little continuity stuff that bothered me — and not enough to write about. Script inconsistencies — that’s something else. But even that — they’ve been good about looping references and coming back to follow up on things set up in earlier episodes, and I admire that. As far as last night, Haley had both the writing and direction support to really shine, except for one scene, which I’ll get to later. It was set in New York, and, while the stock footage and art direction were more realistic than, in, say CASTLE (a show I enjoy for the dynamic between the actors, except they don’t even try to get the locations right, and it’s so obviously shot in LA not NY, but they pretend it’s NY and it bugs me), it still was obvious that it wasn’t New York. There were logistical lapses in the script — if Gerard AND Chance had hunted Connor, why didn’t Connor recognize Chance? And once Victoria spouted off about the uselessness of fencing lessons, you knew, in the final fight, she’d come out swinging a sword. Really, that could have been handled better. Not to mention that it was either a broadsword or a claymore in the fight scene, and if she took fencing lessons, she’d have learned epee (accent won’t come in, sorry), foil, and sabre. Totally different fighting styles. I fenced, remember? AND had stage combat training. So stuff like that drives me nuts (yeah, I know, short drive). Loved the actors who played Gerard and Connor — well-known faces, and the actor playing Gerard was just a guest on something or other I saw a few days ago. It might even have been CASTLE. The last Guerrero-Winston scene bothered me — it felt like the producers or someone had demanded it, and it was inorganic to the rest of the episode (and some of what’s been set up in the series). It was written so that what Guerrero said was somewhere between a sulk and a whine. Had the director of the previous two episodes been at the helm, I have no doubt he’d have forced Haley down that path. Fortunately, both Haley and the director of this episode were smart enough not to make that choice. Still, it didn’t ring true to me. Haley’s had to fight the direction in this show before, depending on the director — this was the first time he had to fight the writing. He almost pulled it off — he did the best he could with what he was given, and he’s so damned good that you want to roll with whatever choices he makes. But, let’s face it, once Guerrero sets his sights on something or someone — he’s going to win. Or die. Period. That’s what’s been defined in the character, and to have it challenged with something as weak as the context and content of that particular scene, rubbed me the wrong way. I also felt Chance should have been watched, in that last scene in the graveyard, to put an ominous button at the end of the episode. Next week is the season finale, and it’s supposed to show us Chance’s conversion to good guy Human Target. I don’t know if the creators’ reality can live up to what I’ve imagined, quite frankly, although I’m happy to see the character of Baptiste is back — he was so good in my favorite episode of the season.

Regarding the urban fantasy, I realized I have to go into NYC sometime soon and walk the neighborhoods where I’m setting the story. I’ve set in around City Hall, Tribeca, and the fringes of Chinatown and LIttle Italy. I’ve certainly spent enough time there,and I’ve shot on location there (part of it takes place while a cop show is shooting). But, as I sit here and write it, I’m drawing a blank on some important details. Pulling up the city maps isn’t helping. I have to get down there and WALK it.

I need to see the Native American Museum for another project, and that’s in the same neighborhood, so I may combine the two. The city’s not that far away, but it’s gotten so expensive to go in that I try to combine as much as possible. I’ll take the notebook and the camera with me and get some details.

I’m working out of town for the second half of next week, so it might have to be the following week.

Decent morning’s work on the urban fantasy, but not as good as I’d like. That’s because I’m feeling my way through it, rather than following notes on sections I’ve already figured out. I’ve also got a couple of B plot lines to weave in.

I want to thank Diane Parkin for the Beautiful Blogger award. I really appreciate it. If you don’t read her blog, you should. It’s fantastic, and she’s so on top of her creative life, she inspires me on a daily basis.

Back to the page, and, ugh, the taxes.

Devon

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Yesterday was a lousy writing day. I kept getting chills/fever and be out of it for a few hours. Then I’d feel better and try to get some work done, then it would hit again. One lung is fine again, but the weaker lung is still in trouble. It’s the one that always took longer to heal all those years when I struggled with constant bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis (from the time I was a kid until I was in my mid-thirties). I’ll focus on lung clearage and keep trying to rest, and should be back to sort of normal in a few days.

February’s well-booked, and most of it is filled with gigs that aren’t dependent on the web host — thank goodness, because, yet again, 1and1.com was completely useless yesterday. I could read email, i even managed to respond to ONE — and then, nothing.

I tried to download the FTP thing that’s supposed to make it possible to pull my webmail files and IT DOESN’T WORK ON A MAC. In fact, I didn’t even hit the download button, because it clearly states it’s only for Windows. Now, why the hell did they tell me to use it when it doesn’t work on a Mac, and I’ve clearly told them in every email that I’m on a Mac? Fucking idiots, pardon my language.

And, honestly, i felt too lousy to keep looking for something that worked. I’ll have to get back to that when I’m feeling better.

Didn’t get much writing done. Frustrated with the play because the tone’s too heavy and it’s supposed to have a lot of humor in it. I can’t write it and then layer in the humor, because the humor has to grow organically out of character and situation. So I have to attack it from another angle.

The WIP is going slowly, but okay. This particular catalyst happened, the new character is in to add to the conflict, the chemistry’s working, yeah, now if I only had the energy to keep up the kind of pace I had in the last couple of weeks.

Watched some TV yesterday. Liked HUMAN TARGET episode better than the first two in some ways, but there were a few things that really bothered me. They probably won’t bother most of the audience, but they bothered me. First of all, again, I knew who the villain was in the first shot in which the villain appeared on screen. Second, I never feel there’s any actual threat from the villains, because they’re not well-developed characters. For the hero to really shine, the villain has to be a good match and a real threat. In the first three episodes, they haven’t been. Third, they never named the poison — they had Guerrero make a vague reference to it being “airborne and lethal.” He’s my favorite character, but, um, DUH. And yes, it came through the vent, but was it released into the overall ventilation system, or just in the single apartment? Not naming the poison (a creative team choice, not an actor choice) was a lazy and illogical choice on both writing and research levels. In spite of the cute banter between Chance and the female op about the ear piece, again, a lazy creative team choice. She’s a pro; she’d expect him to have an earpiece. It made her look unprofessional. If the villain was really such an important DC mucky muck, he would have had an apartment, not a hotel room.

Things I liked: Jackie Earle Haley’s work, which is why I keep watching the show. I was never familiar with his work as a child/teen actor, just his work as an adult, and I really like it. HIs performance in LITTLE CHILDREN ranks up there in the top handful of performances I’ve seen in my life that I find completely unforgettable — and is one of the few film performances on that list — most of the others are theatre performances. I should be familiar with his earlier work — we’re close in age — but it wasn’t stuff I watched, and once I started working in theatre in my late teens, I was working all the time and didn’t get to see much unless it was the work of people I knew in the theatre. I like the rapport between the three leads — it doesn’t even bother me that there’s not a regular female character in the mix yet, the way it usually would. I liked the touch of having Guerrero read the manual for the defibrillator. It would have worked better had Chance not done the same thing in the airline cockpit last week, but will work even more strongly if, next week, Winston uses a manual for something — that gives us a tie between the three of them; they’re all ready to learn whatever they don’t know to get the job done, and they don’t come into the situations knowing everything. A none-of-my-business creative choice: Rather than finding the antidote in a hotel fridge, I’d rather Guerrero pinpointed the poison, the antidote and either knew how to make one or knew someone who could. Again, that feeds into several shaky logistics in the writing, and I might be more aware of the details because of my own research into poisons and the close way I followed the several news stories that were the basis/inspiration for the episode. The look and style of the show are good; I like the way the actors work together. The pace was better in this episode than the previous two. The writing’s still a little surface for me; too many logistical lapses (which could be fixed in a word or phrase; you don’t need a big scene) and the villains need to be more three dimensional and more lethal. But as long as Haley’s around peeling back layers of Guerrero. I’ll keep watching.

Back to the page today, and some stuff to get out to my new publisher. I’ve also got to go grocery shopping — a woman cannot live on red wine and mayonnaise alone.

My characters call. I must respond.

Devon