Tenspeed & Brownshoe: October 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

All in a days work as we keeps it real out here.

Thank you for the story about the audition. It tickled me so.

While I don't have anything as epic and ridiculous as the "Forty degrees is cold" guy, I do have a good one from the land of ON SET where I find myself so often.

SO, we're shooitng a prison torture scene where one actor is holding another actor's head under the water; and the guy with his head in the bucket is going for the academy award of course...
Oh, wait... I should go back.
The director is this woman who has like, bronchitis (she thought) but it turns out it's really bad asthma. And we are in an abandoned building with no heat or running water, so it's fucken cold. And there's dust and shit; and probably asbestos.
So she's got a coat on, and all that; and a pink winter hat with a pompom- and a face mask breather thing . And horn rimmed glasses.
Okay got it?
Mask, glasses, pink pompom.

So drowning guy and his tormenter are doing a great job on this really long scene where there is no cuts so we have to do it as few times as possible and it's hand held and there are sound people and cable wranglers scurrying around behind the DP and the whole thing...
Well, she like loses it and forgets that these guys can ACT and while the guy is struggling with his head under the water she stands up in the middle of a take and shouts,
Twice, just like that. And blew the take. So I yell cut, like they hadn't already, and everyone looked at her like, "What the fuck- that was the one!?"
I thought that was awesome.

I have heard that STUDIO 60 was not doing well, I seem incapable of getting home on a Monday night. And no I don't have fucken tivo, because I will never care about TV that much unless I am on it, or wrote it. (Or Kevin and Larry produced it - which means I am on it or wrote it.)


it's brownshoe loooking at life from both sides now.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The NO NO's of Auditioning

Over at Ken Levine's blog, Ken has graciously and humorously shared some of his audition stories with actors coming in and embarrassing themselves or other people in the room. Currently, I'm in the middle of a slate of projects and we just had our first round of auditions yesterday. This has inspired me to write about some of the things that I love and hate about auditions:

Don't look at the producers or director when auditioning.

Unless the director is reading the lines himself with the actors, there will always be some sort of "reader" when auditioning. Some actors make the mistake of playing it to the director/producer in hopes to come off more powerful. Guess what? It doesn't. It's actually rather off-putting. Especially if the scene contains an intense argument. I can't tell you how hard I laughed when an actress looked over at my Director of Photography and called him a "white cracker bastard!" P.S. Don't worry, it's adapted from a Langston Hughes story and not a Chris Rock monologue.

Don't destroy the room!

Yet another argument scene. One actress thought it would be dramatic if she ripped off her necklace, her watch, and proceeded to systematically destroy the room while performing. Well...it wasn't. And she was wearing beads. And it broke, sending beads all over the floor. A nice little present for the next actor coming in. So now after her, the room looked like the last scene of The Burning Bed.

Read the script...

The most outrageous thing that happened yesterday was a guy who came in to read for the lead. He came in dressed like he was gonna rob a Korean liquor store. The story takes place in 1940. Already, I could tell he wasn't really prepared. Anyway, he starts reading the sides...literally. He never looked up. And if that wasn't bad enough, he delivered all his lines like DMX. We politely reminded him that the movie takes place during the 40's. So he starts again and this time he starts to shiver while reading his lines. The director stopped him and asked what he was doing. The actor responded, "Yo, 40 degrees is cold, nigga."
I laughed for 10 minutes straight.
True story.


Friday, October 20, 2006


For the past couple of weeks, all I could hear about was how much people didn't care for NBC's Studio 60. Personally, I really love the show. Or...I loved it. The show's premise is actually kind of similar to my own situation with my co-director and co-producer, Larry Strong. Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford's characters (Matt and Ben) are scarily close to Larry and I. Even more incredible, we were hired to direct a new sitcom the day the show premiered. So naturally, I felt a kind of...I don't know, kinship, with Studio 60.

Recently, that's changed.

There are a few reasons why people don't like this show. People within the business object to the far fetched premises of the storylines. There was one episode where a staff writer stole some jokes from another writer and Matt & Ben made everybody redo that segment. Twice. This of course is so far from reality it wasn't even interesting. They never checked on any facts and it was just silly.

But I think what most people are objecting to is the Writing for Studio 60. Every single scene contains some sort of reversal. In one scene last week, Amanda Peet's character starts reciting some statistics and then Whitford's character says, "You're using a crib sheet, aren't you?" And of course she pulls out a crib sheet. Which wouldn't be so bad if that didn't happen IN EVERY SINGLE SCENE.

It's too much and it destroys any hopes of taking a scene seriously. In essence, scenes never have any stakes. Which is fine for a comedy like Arrested Development but totally wrong for an hour long drama (with elements of comedy). If they tone down the reversals, I think the audience would react a bit more favorably with the show.

I'm still watching Studio 60. I think you should do. But Aaron Sorkin needs to just let his great cast get through a scene without virtually mugging to the camera. Besides, NBC needs to keep more scripted shows on the air and less Deal or no Deal shows...


Friday, October 13, 2006

UPDATE: The trailer I put up for the film, Grindhouse, was taken down because it was apparently stolen from the studio. Sorry, everybody. But take my word for it, the trailer was outrageous!


So this has nothing to do with screenwriting, production, or anything like that.

It's a trailer.

A movie trailer.

And quite possibly the most outrageous movie trailer I've ever seen.

I'm trying to find out if I can pre-order tickets...


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

So...I really hate reviewing television shows and movies. I try hard not to do it but sometimes it has to be done. Has to? Why does it have to? Man, I'm full of crap.

Anyway, there are two shows on television that I think people really need to watch and there's another show that I'm close to holding vigils to get it off the air. The first show is: DEXTER

Dexter is just such a great show. I never really watched Six Feet Under and I didn't know about Michael C. Hall. Well as it turns out, he's fantastic. Hall plays a serial killer who murders other serial killers...while working as a forensics officer. Great premise. And yes, I'm a bit biased because the show also stars Lauren Velez, the star of my film, Serial (are we all sick of me promoting my film yet? I am...). Lauren is also a stand out because she's playing a character she's never really played before. Basically she's a hot and bothered police lieutanant who wants some of that Hall killer love. Nice. Everyone...watch this show. It's great.


Okay. Now I feel like kind of a dick but this show is soooo awful I just can't ignore it anymore. Enter: THE MEGAN MULLALLY SHOW.

This is just the worst talk show I've ever seen. This may seem hard to believe but it's even worse than The Magic Johnson show. Maybe someone should have told her that she's not a talk show host. Conan O'Brien. That's a talk show host. Megan Mullally is a comedic actress...not the same thing. Which is evident from watching the show for just 2 minutes. Her monologue consists of either one of two things.

1. It'll either be a horrible, horrible song.


2. Some really ill advised taped segment with Megan mugging to the camera.

It's just such an awful show. If you don't believe me. Watch this video of one of her songs.

Did you get through it? The entire thing?

I doubt it.

And why in God's name does she wear the exact same outfit EVERYDAY? The Megan Mullally wardrobe consists of these items: Tight Blue Jeans, some sort of V-neck Cosby sweater, a large collared blouse underneath the Cosby sweater, a blue blazer, and her glasses.

She's also the worst interviewer on the planet. She pretty much sits her guests down on a couch, sits on top of them, and then (I'm not making this up), makes her guests sing a song. Nothing beats watching Isiah Washington's uncomfortable face singing, I'm not sure but I think it was "Copacabana".

I think NBC kind of beat me to the punch but please cancel this show. Ok, that's it.
I'm a terrible person.


Thursday, October 05, 2006


Brownshoe, I swear, it's more common then you think! Just 3 or 4 months ago I got a script where the entire thing was about some guy getting his kidney stolen.

It's so stupid.

And a total urban myth. Then again, I'll take 50 movies about Kidney Harvesting over seeing Rosie O'Donnell's bare ass any day...


piss bag ?

Let me ask... what scripts do you read where someone stealing someone else's kidney is old hat you have seen a million times?
That is so random.
I mean yeah, bad guys are never really dead the first time, no matter what happened to them- and that thing the hero can do (or his dog) in act one will be called upon when life depends on it in act three; and no character will ever die in a Ron Howard film- and the car doesn't start at first, but then at the last minute does- and if you blow it with the love of your life by not opening your heart in time, they will follow through with their plans to move far far away and you WILL be forced to run foolishly after some form of public transportation...
But someone wakes after a tryst to find a KIDNEY REMOVED?
I try to get around but shit... you say so.

This is Brownshoe, as always the last to find these things out.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I really try my darndest for this site not to be one of those blogs that just reviews everything on television but I couldn't stop myself from writing this.

I'm a fan of Nip/Tuck.

At least, I was until last week's episode. Well...I haven't quite given up on the show yet (I mean hey, I stuck around after all that Carver crap) but last week had a plot device that has to be the most over used, cliche ridden, ill conceived ideas that I've had the displeasure of reading in a ton of really bad screenplays.

The Nurse on the show was picked up by some hot chick and woke up the next day...missing a kidney.

I almost threw something at my television set. I can't tell you how many scripts I've read that has had this similar plot device. It's ALWAYS some hot chick that picks up some guy, they have sex, he wakes up with some sort of note saying that his kidney has been taken, and then he looks at his side and there's a neat little scar where his piss bag used to be.

So here's a little note I'd like to post for all writers:


It's silly, contrived, and absolutely UNshocking. Every single person who has ever read something with this plot device has rolled their eyes. It's bad.

Cut it out. You're better than that.

And if you're not...well...


So I am walking along as I do, and I see a sign for "Laser Vision Correction" - and I think, this must be where Superman goes to get his Laser vision fixed.