Monday, June 29, 2009

The Book is Out!

I am proud to announce that my book, 26 Short Screenplays for Independent Filmmakers, is available now exclusively from the website The book is a collection of Creative Commons screenplays that filmmakers can use to make their own films. Each screenplay is tied to a type of film project. For example, there is a project called "The Meet Cute Scene" and it consists of two characters meeting in a really cute way. Other projects include "The Car Chase," "Pseudo-Documentary Style," and "The Horror Short." The idea is that an independent filmmaker can use these scripts to develop a portfolio showing his or her versatility.

I know everyone who reads this blog wants to support the book in whatever way possible, so here is a list of things you can do to show your support.

1. Buy the book. I know it is stating the obvious, but the more people who buy the book the more money I make. And I like having money.

2. Tell people about the book. To the best of my knowledge, there isn't a book like this out there. There are a lot of "how to make your film" books and "so you want to be an independent filmmaker" books, but there aren't any other "screenplay cookbooks" out there. And feel free to mention the website.

3. There are snarky T-Shirts on the website, too. Thanks to the power of Cafe Press, they cost more than the book. But, hey, T-shirts are cool and cool is priceless.

4. Make a short film using one of the screenplays and send it along. Every film made from one of the scripts gets featured on the website.

I know some people are not made of money and don't feel comfortable sending hard earned cash to an exciting and vibrant website. Not a problem, because there are things people can do to support the book for free.

1. Follow the blog at I will use this as a bully pulpit to talk about films, screenplays, and intellectual property law.

2. Follow the Twitter stream at This will be like the blog, but more fine tuned for those of us with ADD.

3. Follow the 26 Screenplays YouTube channel Everyone who submits a short film from one of the screenplays will be featured here.

So there you go. This is why I haven't been writing on this blog as much as I wanted to and why I probably owe you an email. Thanks for your interest and I hope you become as excited about this new book as I am.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Photographic Obsessions

There is no way to truly know how you are going to react in a stressful situation. You can mentally prepare for it, you can train for it, but when the actual moment happens, there is a moment of spontaneous, unrehearsed reaction.

And sometimes people take a picture of this. We call them mugshots.

There are some websites that specialize in mugshots. The Smoking Gun has a regular feature where they display police mugshots. I have followed this for years and have even used the for photoshop experiments.

For example, this mugshot of an angry young K-Mart employee:

Becomes a motivational poster.

And this fella who has had a hard life:

Gets a little love after a trip to Olan Mills.

So you can imagine the joy that shot through my cynical heart when the Denton police got its own mugshot twitter feed.

I am completely obsessed with this. Every time someone is booked, a new photo is posted. I have been known to click through these pictures for hours.

Part of me wonders why I am so obsessed with mugshots like this. Is this sense of entitlement and superiority because they are criminals and I have not been convicted of anything? Is it a celebration in the way people don't really look like Hollywood starlets or Glamor Shots? Or is it because I am awaiting the day I see someone I know in one of these line ups.

Maybe it is a combination of all three.