So why all the extra busy lately? Well, for one thing, I spent every spare moment of Fall 2007 in the never-ending suck of moving after Bait Shop World Headquarters was forced to relocate, thanks to the ongoing crusade to convert every building in North America into overpriced luxury condos. So long, Skehan Street! You will be missed (though not by my wife, who much prefers our swanky new digs)!
After finally scoring a Master's degree from U-Mass Boston, I was planning to spend the remainder of 2007 writing and schmoozing...but then came the move and the damn Writer's Guild strike, which put the kibosh on even the possibility of any new screenwriting gigs in the near (or even distant) future. Speaking of which...
CLICK HERE TO FAST-FORWARD PAST MARXIST WGA DIATRIBE
...though I'm not as versed in all the details of the strike as I should be, it seems the nub of the matter is: every time new technology comes along and changes the business model of the entertainment industry and/or adds new revenue streams, the corporate "suits" figure they'll keep the lion's share of the newly generated profit for themselves. Then, when the creative types clamor for their share of the new revenue, the corporate side points out how much money the top-grossing stars, writers and directors make, saying, "Hey, they're already rich enough...why do they need more money?" The thing is, we always hear about how much celebrities earn, but we rarely learn the names and salaries of all the anonymous corporate figures out there, making it seem like actors, writers and directors (not to mention sports figures and musicians) are the only ones making ungodly sums of money...
...but anyway, when the unfamous corporate types refuse to cut the artists a slice of revenue from the new technology revenue streams, the artists go on strike and it's a big pain in the ass for everyone and eventually the corporate types make some concessions and the strike ends and the whole thing settles down and then flares back up again about 10-20 years later.
As a (frequently unemployed) WGA writer, I support the Writer's Guild in their strike. For one thing, while it may seem that super-rich screenwriters don't really need more money from podcasts of movies and t.v. shows they've written, you could say the super-duper-rich corporate types ALSO don't need more money, but unless everyone's planning to just donate the new revenue to charity, then it should be divided fairly.
But, MORE IMPORTANTLY, not every writer, actor and/or director IS a super-rich Joe Eszterhas type. Lots of writers (myself definitely included) don't get the sweet multi-million dollar paydays, and there can be long gaps between jobs. If there wasn't a union looking out for our interests, the corporate side of the equation would do its best to pay the creative types as close to zero as possible, at all times.
So, yes, compared to, say, a coal-miner's strike, the Writer's Guild strike may seem petty and ridiculous, like rich people fighting with rich people...and, to be honest, that's partly true...
...but when creative people create something of value, they should be compensated at least as fairly as the executives who spend most of their time STIFLING creativity (unless, of course, it suddenly becomes profitable, at which point they take credit for it).
P.S.: Just for the record, not all creative types are good and not all corporate types are bad. All this strike talk just kinda fires up my inner Norma Rae.
Also, David Letterman RULES and Leno and Ellen DeGeneres can suck it.
Anyway, despite and/or in addition to all of the above, 2007 was jam-packed with crazy, mid-life crisis activity. I spent July and the first week of August shaping young minds at The Burt Wood Summer Arts Festival, where I wrote and directed another mini-indie, the teenage ghost story 3:15 (coming soon to a YouTube near you)! Then came a directing gig for the maiden voyage of The Plymouth Community Theater, as well as the usual courses at CCAE and Brookline Adult Ed. and a very groovy new job teaching an online screenwriting course for UCLA Extension...keep an eye on their website for spring and summer courses you can take in your bathrobe from the privacy of your own home! And, in other online education news, I'm currently beta-testing (i.e., still tinkering with) my own online screenplay consulting website, New England Screenwriters, so tell your friends!
...and, in further creative online content news, I recently began cannibalizing my beloved unproduced screenplay Test Drive for a weekly pulp fiction serial on SHUFFLEBOIL, a new website featuring the work of many beloved Bait Shop celebrities, including the Polack (website reviews), the Baron (film/tv reviews), Ms. Hoopla (reality t.v. analysis) and site founders John & Jana (cartoons, reviews, stories, commentary, etc.). Check it out now, before it gets all touristy! (And stay tuned...an e-comic adaptation of the late, great Prick is currently on deck for 2008!)
Another big project taking up time in 2007 was The Meat City Beatniks, the upcoming crime & show biz musical indie feature from Ol' Bait Shop Productions. We're about two-thirds of the way through the shoot, and I'm (very ambitiously) hoping for a Boston premiere sometime in Summer 2008, so stay tuned for more updates on that (and, in the meantime, be sure to check out the delightful coming attractions trailer)!
But wait! There's more! The Psi Symposium (a sort of Unitarian X Files) recently published an excerpt from my work-in-progress afterlife novel Building Heaven in their annual journal, and my number one New Year's resolution (besides wrapping Meat City) is to finish that sucker and finally dip my toes in the publishing world this annum.
And finally, congrats to Apocalypse Bop alumnus Jenni Pulos for her newfound celebrity fame on Bravo TV's Flippin' Out! Woo-hoo! (Sorry about the crazy boss, though!) And further congrats to the Burt Wood School's Valerie Amaral, a.k.a. Miss Massachusetts 2007!!!!
Anyway, 2008 is shaping up to be even MORE busy, so stay tuned for future updates here (and, more frequently, at The Ol' Blog Shop) and have a Happy Year of the Rat!