Monthly Archives: March 2013

Character Name Poll!


So, for my “Degrassi Reunion” script, I’m having a bit of difficulty naming a certain character. His name is impending the writing process— he needs a better name. I’ve done some creative research — and narrowed it down to THREE names. Please participate in the poll and tell me which name you like best.>

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The Best Comedy on Television

I’ve heard from many writers and professors, “You know you’re talented when you can write comedy.”

Making someone laugh is a rewarding thing, but difficult to do on the page. I won’t say I can’t write comedy. I’ve never really tried. Don’t get me wrong. There are several comedy films I love. But as a writer, I prefer serious stories. However, I’ve been meaning to crack down and attempt a comedy, just to see how talented I am.

I mention comedy tonight, because I was wondering… if successful comedy is good writing, could we pinpoint a really, really well-written show? The answer is yes. It’s a sitcom. The show is dated, most of the cast has died… but the show still airs in syndication because it’s damn funny.

What show am I talking about?



Just in case you have no idea what that is… “GOLDEN GIRLS” began in the 80s. It follows 4 older women as they room together in a home. Their personalities conflict and make life extremely interesting.

The show went for 7 seasons.

Now, I’m positive I have many readers shaking their heads. They’ve probably never heard of the show and they are wondering why anyone would be interested in a show about 4 old ladies? It’s simple. THE WRITING.

At least in my opinion, sitcoms today are dead. They rely on cruel jokes or a character farts or falls down. Stories are one-denominational and forgettable. Minus “THE BIG BANG THEORY” I think it’s safe to say most sitcoms made nowadays suck.

THE GOLDEN GIRLS was different. The premise was solid. Each CHARACTER had a clear, direct motivation, and the actresses hired were the hottest tickets at the time. Lastly, the plots were often cumulative and often memorable. But, the most important thing about this COMEDY was that each episode was guaranteed to make you laugh.

You can’t explain comedy. Jokes from THE GOLDEN GIRLS aren’t knock-knock jokes. They rely on the characters and stories to make them funny. But, what I can explain, is one of the characters and how she was the blunt of most of the comedy.

Rose Nylynd, played by Betty White, was an extremely naive woman. Viewers of the show might call her “stupid”. But the idea was that Rose was so naive, she simply didn’t understand a whole lot of things from a logical perspective. Rose’s lack of understanding leads to many situations where you burst out laughing because she’s the only one who doesn’t get it. Rose also came from “Saint Olaf” where the townspeople were strange and stupid. In almost every episode, Rose would tell a “saint olaf” story. The story was meant to help one of the other women with an issue. But the joke was that the story never had a point or never made any relevant sense to the other women.

The point is, THE GOLDEN GIRLS, if not the best, is one of the best written television shows. If the premise doesn’t interest you, still give it a shot. Save it for a night when you really need to laugh. Cause you will. I mean, when you consider the show is from the 80s and is still being shown on reruns… that  must be a clue, right?

BONUS: Watch this short clip from the first episode and see what I’m talking about:

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Oz, The Great and Powerful


Anyone who knows me, knows I’m an avid fan of THE WIZARD OF OZ.

The 1939 film was the first film I saw, thus creating this unbreakable bond. As I reached childhood, I related to Dorothy’s loneliness and her wish to go some place new and magical. The Wicked Witch and her monkeys never scared me. I loved the songs, (minus King of the Forest) and I jumped with excitement every time Dorothy threw that bucket of water.

And now, here we are in 2013. And a new film has arrived. There have been others, but none have matched the popularity of the original. The closest to that kind of fame is the musical WICKED, A reworking of The Wicked Witch of the West.

Admittedly, when first hearing about “Oz” I wasn’t excited. With the original film, I found The Wizard boring and fast- forwarded through his parts. I thought, “Why would we be interested in his story?” Reviews for the film were not positive, mostly attacked Franco’s performance,

But. Anything “Oz” I will see at least once, as that “world” or “fandom” is my favorite.

I left the theatre pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t read reviews in full, but had heard the story was “not there.” I disagree. It was clear that this was a story of man attempting to find the goodness inside himself. Above this morale, it was a film about a magical land where Wicked Witches were so close to overthrowing a good one. Trust me, even for a person who isn’t necessarily a fan of The Wizard of Oz, there is a story here that you can follow easily.

Also with the story, I loved the twists that the writers took. In case you aren’t aware, “Oz” is actually like Harry Potter— there are a series of books that build onto the first story. While this film does include many of the books details, there are a few things that the filmmakers created on their own.


The main difference and perhaps most interesting change is the origin of the Wicked Witch of the West.


In this film, she doesn’t start out wicked, or green even. She’s a good witch, although, a little naïve, I would say. This good witch eventually feels betrayed by the Wizard and when she is tricked into eating a poison apple, her goodness is drained and she becomes what we know her as: A broom flying, black cloaked, green-faced wicked woman. This is what I loved most about the film. The Wicked Witch of the West is a famous character and these “changes” were welcomed and there’s a tint of humanity with her. The idea is she wasn’t always wicked.

Lastly, one must talk about the allusions to the original film—


Kansas is black and white, Oz is in color— and, Kansas characters have Oz Counterparts. That was a nice little nod to the 1939 film.

The film has done so well financially, that a sequel is already being written. The question on everyone’s mind is in fact, will the next film be a retelling of Dorothy’s journey? There’s much more material to go off of, but it just seems that Dorothy arriving to Oz is the most logical step. At the very least, if the filmmakers were following a chronological time line, Dorothy would come next. But, it’s anyone’s guess.

Here’s where I get personal. You see, it’s been a dream of mine to bring the book version of Dorothy’s story to the screen. I have no intention of remaking the 1939 film. But I love the story so much, I wanted to make a film on it. The book is very, very different, so I felt it was justified.

Part of me is saddened that this Oz film has arrived. Because, it ultimately means Hollywood very likely will bring Dorothy Gale back to the screen. Again, there have been Oz films since the original, but none have reached a level of love or popularity of the 1939 film. I wanted to be that writer that pitched to the producers that we need an oz film. But, it seems someone else has already done it.

If in fact Dorothy’s journey is what we see next, there a few bumps in the road that I wonder how the creators will fix. Firstly, in the Kansas sequence, Oscar talks with a woman named Annie. Annie mentions a John Gale proposed to her. She’s going to say yes. GALE Is Dorothy’s last name. So, it is safe to say we met Dorothy’s mother. But, the trouble is, Dorothy lives with her aunt and uncle. Now of course, everyone has a mother. But, are the filmmakers planning to give us a 40 minute prologue on how Dorothy ends up with her aunt and uncle? Is Dorothy going to witness the death of her parents? As far as I know, her parents are never mentioned in the book.

Secondly, we have Evanora.


While not specifically stated, it’s safe to assume she is in fact THE WICKED WITCH OF THE EAST. If you don’t know, this is the witch that has the magical slippers and gets killed by Dorothy’s house. It’s assumed she’s the East witch because one, she’s wicked already and two, her sister is the wicked witch of the west. The trouble is… nowhere in the film did Evanora pull out magic slippers. The only thing she had was a jewel around her neck that when destroyed, revealed her true form. So, again, the question is, If Dorothy shows up in the next film, where will the magical slippers come from?

Lastly, and this is the biggest issue… is Glinda.


My issue with her is the fact that she knows the Wizard is a fraud. In knowing this, why would Glinda allow Dorothy to travel to the Emerald City, just to be let down? Now, look, in the book and most likely in these new films, Glinda is not the Witch that meets Dorothy in Munchkinland. It’s the unnamed Witch of the North… but she is absent from this first film. And while Glinda may not be the one to first meet Dorothy— This Glinda appeared to have an “all knowing” power. She knew what was going on in Oz. Even if you take this power away— a little girl killing one of the worst witches is news that surely would travel to Glinda. How does Glinda allowing a girl go see a FAKE Wizard fit into her goodness? I also had a huge problem with Glinda and The Wizard sharing a passionate kiss. In fact, all three witches seen in the film have a crush on the wizard. A little “tension” between any of these witches and Oz are fine— but a full blown romance? It just doesn’t fit. Especially with Glinda. She isn’t that type of character. At the end of the film, she fell into pure love interest territory and kissed the hero. But, in the context of who she was, it made no sense.

And so, now we wait. We wait to see just what the next film will bring. Will Dorothy’s house fall from the sky? In all honesty, if another Oz film is to be made, that’s what I’d pay to see. I’d love to see Dorothy’s story again. And, I wonder just how it’ll all work out.


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A Missed Opportunity.

New York City.

It’s where the actors go. It’s where the writers go. It’s where the artists go. If you are into fine arts in any way, NYC is a place you must visit at least once. I have been there once before, in 2004. I got to see WICKED with Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenowith and I was in the third row.

This time, however, was for another play. My mission was to see Jake Epstein perform the role of Peter Parker in SPIDER MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK. Jake Epstein, if you are unaware, played Craig Manning on Degrassi once upon a time and has now entered the realm of musical theatre. Spider-Man is my favorite superhero, so I decided I was going to go to a matinee to see Jake.

It was Sunday, February 24th. It was Three PM. I was in the third row. Center. I was ready. A woman, Kim, who had scored the seat next to me thanks to the discount ticket booth, was anxious to see the show. I told her how I had come all this way to see Jake and I was nervous about a possible meet and greet afterward by the stage door.

The show began. P1000938

Peter Parker came up from beneath the stage. The lights came on. And… Jake looked different. His hair was longer and lighter. He seemed thinner than I expected. And then, when he opened his mouth, I realized… it wasn’t Jake Epstein at all.

Now, I had two choices. One, I could sit there for 2 and a half hours and be angry. I could mope and demand my money back. Or, two, I could sit back and enjoy the show. Kim, next to me, must have noticed my slight discomfort. “That’s not Jake, is it,” she whispered.

I decided to sit and enjoy.

The actor who was before me was Reeve Carney, the actor who regularly plays Spider-Man. My discomfort went away in a few minutes, after I thought about this whole situation: Sure, I wasn’t seeing the actor I had hoped to see. But this was THE Spider-man. This was the guy that had won the role full time. This was the guy they wanted to belt out the new tunes.

And, I saw why. Literally, by the time Reeve was BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS, I was content with seeing him. His voice is unlike I’ve ever heard. Clearly a singer. Clearly someone who could sell out a theatre. Obviously, a guy who could sing you the ABCS and make you melt as his voice swelled. I enjoyed Reeve’s performance in the role.

After the show, I went to my hotel and asked Jake what happened. I got a response:


I’m a spiritual person. And I was sitting in my hotel room, wondering just why God had decided to have this occur to me. Seeing Jake Epstein was my sole purpose for going to New York. And, admittedly, I was quite saddened that at the last minute, a schedule switch had occurred.

Now, many people reading this may disagree that God had any involvement at all. And, if he in fact did, I’ll never know his reason for it. But, I came up with the fact that I was highly nervous about meeting Jake. I mean, to the point of almost barfing nervousness. So, I figured God decided I wasn’t quite up for the encounter— so he made it impossible. And, there’s nothing wrong with seeing the FREAKING MALE LEAD, anyway. (As many people have pointed out….) :


The next night, something else interesting happened. I had scored tickets to Newsies through the Discount Ticket Booth. After the show, I got lost. My phone GPS was acting strange and was changing its route to my hotel every few minutes. My directionality is horrible and I get lost easily.

So, it’s about 10:15 PM. All the Broadway shows have ended. And my GPS has sent me to the way of FOXWOODS THEATRE, where Spider-Man plays.

As I walk toward the theatre, I realize something. This is the back of it. And I pass a door that says STAGE DOOR. And then… I see a young man talking to a couple who are holding Playbills in their hands. HOLY SHIT, I think. Holy Freaking Shit. I get just a tad closer and realize the couple is talking to REEVE CARNEY, the ultimate Spider-Man, who I saw just the other night.

And finally, I realize that I’m going to need to walk past them to continue on my journey to the hotel. I stop for a minute. My nervousness begins. Here is a chance to get a photo or at least say hello to SPIDER-MAN. And again, I think about God and believe this is an opportunity. I know you wanted to see Jake. But here’s someone just as famous. Be bold. Take a risk. Ask him for a photo or autograph.

All this happens in a matter of seconds. I wonder if I should take this chance. I mean, usually, a stage door is BLOCKED BY A TRILLION PEOPLE. But, here, there’s just TWO people and REEVE.

However, I decided I was just too nervous. I looked down and scurried past them and went on my way.

Do I regret my decision? Of course. God or no God, I had a chance to talk to a REAL ACTOR and I didn’t take it. I’ve never met anyone famous before.

The lesson here is that life gives you chances. These chances are meant to make your life worthwile. But, you have to take them. I didn’t take this one and I’m kicking myself for it.

I’m sure I’ll be in NYC again. And, my hope is, if I run into someone famous, where they aren’t busy— I’ll take the risk of at least saying hello.

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