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Oct. 8th, 2006

I've moved...

I'm still unpacking the boxes and cleaning the place up but you're welcome to stop by. The address is:

http://thisismystory-deano2000.blogspot.com/

See you there. Oh, and I could always use a housewarming gift.

Oct. 6th, 2006

keepin it going

just wrote a great entry but deleted it. Frick.

Heading out to get my drink on now so I'll have to update later!

Oct. 5th, 2006

Change...

I may not stay here much longer.

It's been really getting me down.

I think it's time for something new.

Blogger?

I know I've threatened before, but now I think it's time to 'call it' with LiveJournal.

I've got to tell you that the layout sucks. I've been having probs with uploading pics for as long as I've been a paying member and its never changed. Now, I'm trying to revamp my blog, but I can't post my favourite links on the side or get rid of all those "tag" links. What a mess.

I'm out of here!

Oct. 4th, 2006

Here you go...

Wow. I actually got a comment today asking me to post more. I was about to call the whole thing off – kill it even. Maybe I should reconsider.

Blog stays, you go!

Okay, but this time I’ve got to do it right. Better graphics, more pictures to distract from my crappy writing, and maybe a few links to the things I think are cool on the net.

Who am I kidding? You all want to know about crazy sh*te. The crazy sh*te that happens to me and the people I know.

Okay, yesterday Jean and I were walking through Central. As we came in front of Marks and Spencer’s, one middle-aged woman was tackling another. They punched and wrestled until the fell to the ground. When we all saw what was in the lady in pink’s handbag we knew what the story was. Shoplifting.

I had never seen anything like this in HK before. I’ve seen it all over the rest of the world but never in HK. Of course one lady was the undercover security, but the other one was like a Tai-tai. Like, all dolled up in heels, LV bag, and Chanel Blouse.

As she picked herself up off the ground as try to appear dignified, but all it did was make me feel more sorry for her. Embarrassed really. Possibly it had something to do with the security lady leading her by her cuff back into M&S.

All is well with Jean and I. She found a new hobby. Writing. Yup, I guess I’ve worn off on her because she’s now writing a story about life on Koh Phangng, an island next to Koh Samui. Earlier she had been collecting stories about Thai girls in HK, but now she thinks that’s all been done before.

Work is going well. Actually, it sucked for about a week as I suffered massive writer’s block, shock, and self-doubt. (Oops, that doesn’t rhyme.) I think the cause of it all was Jean. Once she started writing she started hogging the limited creative air in my apartment. Now, she’ll go to bar 109 to write and I’ll go to Pacific Coffee. She doesn’t even drink but she goes to that bar because she digs the music and the view of the street. I go to P.C. because although a friend swears by it I can’t drink and write. But on coffee…I can tear it up.

So far so good on the cartoon. Should have the pilot tweaked to perfection by the end of this week. Actually, it’s an okay script. I think it’s got some cool ideas and some funny jokes. Actually, I wrote a great joke tonight. I actually laughed outloud at it. I never laugh outloud at anything I write.

Last night Henrik and I argued for over an hour about a joke. Long story short: I think I won.

Jean and I are playing badminton regularly, which means we’ve gone twice.

We had dim sum for the first time in 6 months today. What is wrong with me? Although I must say that I’m using my Chinese more now than when I first returned. It’s because Jean and I are eating more local food.

Weekend before last Jean and I pulled a “7am Bridge” day. At the end of the night there was a fat 400+ lb Scot that wanted to beat me up. I have no idea how that happened. Then while waiting for the bus a few days later I saw him on the street. I hid.

Saw studio 60 twice. Liked it more the second time. It might stay on the hard drive. But just like someone else commented: “show the ‘big three’ being funny”. I’m just not a fan of behind-the-comedy-scene shows that aren’t funny. Larry Sanders works, but some many others weren’t. I wonder what it would be like if David E. Kelly work Studio 60.

Which reminds me….I totally dig Boston Legal.

That’s all I can remember for now. I’ll post this now and then check the spelling later. Time for dinner.

Sep. 22nd, 2006

Work...

Work is fine. I guess it's great, really. Getting paid to be creative. Write jokes, fun scenes, and silly characters. But it's not without its own unique form of stress.

For example, I'm exhausted from having to say "no" to so many of Henrik's ideas because either they're not very good, they don't match the series, or they don't solve the creative problems at hand. His mind is still in development mode and we are entering pre-production mode on a particular episode! It becomes distracting when he is continuously adding new ideas and characters, and I always end up the bad-cop trying to reel him back in to the tasks at hand.

He recently came up with a type of creature that will be in the background and add to the visual. Something that would be equivilant to a bird in our "world". These creatures will not be involved in the stories yet and they have no interaction with the characters, except to fly by or be visible in a scene. However, Henrik has been talking about them non-stop for four days! We even dropped off scripts for the first few episodes at the animation studio yesterday and all he talked about was these frickin creatures. Now the animation guys probably think they're a major character in the scripts!!

It's also tiring having to explain or convince him of so many things that I think experienced TV people would just know. For example,

He wants this to be big and deep, and with lots of layers, but he's adding so many elements that it begins to dilute the significance of the elements we do have. For example, we need a sport in our "world". Well, he wants two sports. Now our show is certainly not sports-oriented but because we're dealing with "school kids" having a sport they're all into would seem logical. We could write stories that involved the sport and how important it is in they're world. However, I feel that if we have two sports (AND a game-like activity) we risk losing the dramatic significance of it. The show will only address the sport in a couple of episodes...maybe every 6-7 (I'm guessing) and if I have to split that time between TWO sports then there's not much invested in either one because the audience hasn't seen it or heard the characters talk about it very often. It's like: Friends didn't have two coffee shops they hung out with, Dr. Huxtable didn't like jazz AND classic rock, Harry Potter didn't have two sports. I think we have to pick one sport and SELL it to the audience. Get them to invest emotion and understand into it, so that when we have the big "competition" episode there will be much more on the line. Do I make sense?

So instead of Henrik just seeing it, we argue...a lot. It's okay because we never take it personal and the best idea usually wins (that involves coming from both of us...and Patrick).

I guess this is the creative process. Man, I get worked up about it though.

Then I thought about it last night: Is it possible we could jump the shark before we even complete the first episode???? Haha, I mean we can bring in all these new angles, characters, and elements when we need them - later, after a few years when we run out of ideas. What if a sit-com started its run by introducing a long-lost cousin or adopted a cute kid right in the pilot? Other than "Webster" they tend to save those ideas for when they need that finally creative push that will take us the rest of the way to syndication, right?

I don't know. Okay, Jean's awake. Time to go workout. Yup, you heard me correctly.

Sep. 21st, 2006

Sore fingers...

It's been a while since I updated. Let's see, what new in the world:

Canada gave the US false information on muslim computer geek, which caused him to be detained at JKF airport and flown to Syria for about year of torture. Frick. Is this crap ever going to stop? It's really getting ridiculous. I'd like to post something about blowing away the whole Bush administration but someone would pick up on it, miss the joke, and ship me off to a secret CIA prison for torture.

Coup in Thailand. Aren't these suppose to be exciting. Hearing from Jean and her friends in the Thai shop downstairs, this one is not. Heads of foriegn state are frowning upon it, but come on, it was the only way to get that smuck out of power. I know, I know, the US has never been involved in a coup.

Enough US bashing. How about some praise for what they do best: TV, movies, and music!

Watched "Devil Wears Prada". Nice little film. Great date movie.
Been watching a lot of "Classic Albums" and "Behind the Music". Love those shows.

Okay, how about an update on me:

1) I bought a guitar, hence the sore fingers. I figure since Jean sings I should get back into playing. I haven't played since I picked up Kirby's guitar about a year ago.

2) We bought badminton rackets and are heading over to the sports centre to later this morning. It's not expensive and the facilities are great! We can workout there too.

3) We 'locked' two scripts, which means we will chose the pilot from one of them and I don't have to perform anymore re-writes on them. We also met with another animation company who is excited about the show. They're just a small outfit but they've done some big projects like the Pang brothers new film "Recycle".

4) Looks like my folks might come in December. Super cool. We'll do a side trip to Thailand so Jean can show them around.

5) I've been waking up early pretty regularly. It's nice to be up around 7:30 when the city is slightly quieter.

6) I've also been battling sickness. A day or two and I should be 100%.

Wow, my heads not as clear as I thought I would be. I'll update more later because I can't remember what else to say.

I'm going to have a coffee and watch Gn'R Behind the Music. (now this is on-demand TV)

Anybody have other recomendations for shows to watch. I think Prison Break is next.

Sep. 16th, 2006

Role Reversals

Last night was like the bizzaro world.

First Role Reversal: On the way to dinner, Jean and I gave directions to a pleasant new arrival to HK. By his calm demeaner and politeness I could have sworn he was from Canada, but he was from American. LA in fact.

Jean and I ate dinner at that great vietnamese place in CWB. Total garlic fest. Luckily, we both down equal doses so we could handle each other. To those that we talked to throughout the night: we're sorry.

Then we hit a bar and played some pool. Jean has really improved her game. I guess the teacher becomes the student. She won the table from this arrogant business-kid and then beat me! There was a rowdy group of twenty-somethings trying to take over the table.

Second Role Reversal: This was this one guy that we particularly dislike. He looked like George Costanza and kept telling the same story to his friends over and over again. Something about living in a beachhouse in California, buying everyone drugs, having a pool table, and making $250,000 US a year. The guy would not shut up. And then he was trying to hit on Jean and trying to be my new best friend. This guy was a total loser. On one hand I felt sorry for him, because you knew he was just saying anything to get attention, to be loved. But he was a total twat. I could have sworn he was American, but he was from Canada. I was dumbfounded. Then he said, "Montreal" and it made total sense. English-speakers from Quebec tend to be asses.

Jean lost the table there and we darted out the door. Hit Klong for a drink. Place wasn't very busy and there were two 40-something guys (who probably looked good when they were in their 20s and 30s) trying un successfully to dance and hit on this Filipino girl with giant breasts. These guys looked like they were your typical California preppie turned yuppie, but getting greyer and less cooler in their khakis and polo shirt. You had to feel sorry for them. Will I turn out like that?

Next was Bar 109. Jean really liked that place. She was having such a good time that she is responible for our Third Role Reversal: Jean let loose and had 3/4 of a mojito. Dang they are great there. I've never liked them before but now. Frick. Anyway, Jean went to the edge and was good and hammered after nursing her single drink for almost two hours. We did have a great conversation though.

Henrik showed up around 1am. We ordered more drinks (none for Jean) and when those were finished we headed to LKF.

Henrik's buddy wanted to go to Bar George so we did that. We tried to have a mojito there but they were awful. Couldn't even finish them. Jean had a coke.

Soon after that we "called it" went home and...

Sep. 15th, 2006

Whatever...

I swear there was some sort of earthquake last night. Around ten o'clock our entire building shook for about five seconds. It was quick and short but Jean and I both felt it. (insert sex/lack of stamina joke here)

So Jean is here. Things are fine except that something feels different now. It's on my side, and I think it's caused by how paranoid she is that I'm going to break up with her. She's had two "Thai Girl Breakdowns - Lite" since she's been her, but has assured me that it's all out of her system now. It must be due to the fact that she has literally given up everything to be with me. She has very little money of her own, she has put-off a career, and now relies on me for everything. I don't think she likes that feeling. Were something to happen to us, she'd have to start from scratch again. Of course that's a huge responsibility for me too, but I try not to let it stress me out. Also, she is getting increasingly jealous of me. Who could blame her!

I do miss the days when I had minimal expenses and was able to pack away a chunk of savings each month. But now, I have a decent apartment, a few toys, and two of us living off of one income. I guess that's all part of growing up.

On the work front, things are moving along. I'm just about finished the fifth episode and then there's just one more to go...and that one has only two lines written so far. We're meeting today to see some of Patrick's concept drawings. It's very exciting.

Made Jean watch one of my top ten favourite films: Boogie Nights. She enjoyed it as did I for the 25th time. We also watched Garden State, which was pretty good. Only those in my age group who have moved away from home would appreciate this film though. Jean thought it was a bit boring (thankfully it only ran 90mins) but it somehow made her enjoy watching Zach Braff in Scrubs all the more. Oh yeah, started season 3 last night. That show just runs on a loop in my apartment. It's like warm coco, soul food, or a back scratch from nana (my grandmother, not Richard's gf)

I watched Crumb, the doc on comic artist R. Crumb this morning. What a fasinating family life. Trauma, trauma, trauma. I can't believe my mom freaks out about our family being "messy". As Douglas Coupland once titled a book, "All Families are Psychotic".

For every "Friends" episode Jean wants to watch I show her an episode of of Howard Stern's "On Demand". The show is essentially drunk porn stars being interviewed while they get-off on a this Sybian Machine. To my surprise, Jean thinks it's hilarious.

Jean's got me into Los Lonely Boys music now. It's that tex-mex bordertown santana-inspired music that's hip with all the chick that like to dance but aren't into salsa.

I haven't been out all week or even had wine or beer with dinner. We're going for vietnamese food tonight and I think I'm going to get really, really drunk. It's nice when you just feel it...like, in your bones. I like to prepare Jean for it "Look, I've been good for a week. So, I need you to hold on tight because I am going to get drunk - retarded drunk tonight. I mean off-my-face, down-syndrome drunk. Please sign this waiver that grants me sole power to 'call it' when I desire and ensures that there will be no 'I told you so's' when I regret everything tomorrow."

Okay, I'd better get back to writing. It's distracting enough with all the hot chicks walking in and out of this Pacific Coffee.

Sep. 9th, 2006

Two in one day???

Wow!

I hate first drafts. They depress me. They're the worst. I finished the first draft of our 5th episode today and went over it with Henrik and Patrick. Luckily, the guys coem to have realize that all my first drafts suck, but, that after a couple of re-writes I will finally nail it. So today was one of those days. On one hand I'm disappointed because I wish it was just finished, but then on the other, I'm excited because I know what problems to fix, how to fix them, and I know the script will be much better.

Jean arrives tomorrow and I'm super pumped. I'm looking forward to getting into a nice routine and having someone wake up to next to me.

I fell off the wagon tonight and bought some sour cream n' onion pringles. The worst part was that the 7-11 lady wouldn't let me buy just one...she just kept yelling "Leurng-gall ho pang-a!" So I caved and bought two.

I had dinner with Burman last week and we were talking about my return to HK. "So," he started, "you're happy to be back. You always said HK was your home." "I don't know," I replied. "It feels different this time." I think that's because I've been bouncing between Thailand and Hong Kong for the last six months, I have a Thai gf, and I haven't been watching TVB. I realize that my Cantonese is getting worse now because there's very little use for it anymore. I used to be such a sino-phile with script, doc, and story ideas coming out my ying yang, but now, my head is in the 'clouds' and teh Chinese has been pushed out by a basic knowledge of Thai. I'm also obsessed with the Thai Royal Family. I'm dying to read "The King Never Smiles", an expose on the royal family that is so full of gossip (or truth) that it has been banned in the kingdom.

Miss HK came and went - I didn't flinch.
The last HK movie I saw was Perhaps Love.

What happened?

Hey, check this out:

http://www.imdb.com/boxoffice/alltimegross?region=world-wide

It's the top box office grossing films worldwide. The top ten are understandable because we here them quoted all the time. What gets me is that as you move down the list, you see how many mediocre or forgettable movies made a heap of dough. All it takes is one hit and you're set for life!

Thoughts on List (and I won't comment on blockbusters that sucked)

#21 - the Da Vinci Code still managed to make $800,000,000!!
#29 - Ice Age was never something I ever wanted to see and I love 3D movies!
#46 - Twister made half a billion dollars? Way to go Helen Hunt!
#53 - Bruce Almighty. I laughed. Good concept, but by far one of J.C.'s weaker comedies.
#64 - Mr & Mrs. Smith? What the?
#77 - Signs??? Come on people, this is a list of the highest box office grossing movies of ALL TIME!! Really?

#83 - Gone With the Wind (1939) 390,500,000. Now that has to be a trillion dollars in todays terms!!
#86 - Ice Age. I don't believe it.
#90 - What Women Want. I could have sworn this went straight to video but apparently not. $370,000,000

#92 - Hitch!!!!!!!!!! Kill me now...

Man, as far as the top five goes, if you just had a percent of a percent cut of one of those pictures...you'd never have to work again. And other than Phantom Menace, I'd be proud to put any one of them on my resume!

Update - For my sake

I'm going to try to update more often so that I've got something to read when I'm old and fat.

Saw "United 93" yesterday. Not too bad. No stars, no real plot, just tension, tension, tension. A friend recommended it saying the last four minutes were incredible. He was right. I was literally out of breath as I exited the theatre. I was glad I watched it alone but I needed time to decompress afterwards. I really didn't feel like talking to anyone.

On the work front, Henrik got some weird responses from the animation companies. The one we wanted to use said that they were just too busy until the new year. The other one, which we didn't even want to use, quoted us $150,000 US for the 11 min pilot. What the dillio? The average budget for a 22 min animation show is less than $100,000!! And that includes the entire budget: writers, scripts, music, etc. What do we get for all that money? Happy endings? I can write those myself thank you.

We still have a planned meeting with the outrageous company on Monday. We'll have to re-iterate that they are only suppose to quote us on the ANIMATION and there's no way their company can even give us the quality we want for that kind of money. This is the company that did "Butt Ugly Martians". I don't know.

Henrik is a bit bummed and acting like the dream is over, but Patrick and I said, "No way. When the money stops then it's over!" We're meeting today to discuss hiring our own animation team and doing the work in-house. It would save us money in the long run but would prove a bit risky at first. But, are goal is this 11min pilot. We could hire 5 decent animators and a senior AD/animator for way, way, way less than this company is charging. The only downsize is we'd have to buy or lease the gear. It would still be cheaper though.

Weird. I have no idea what they hope to accomplish by quoting us this much. Another company in Shenzhen quoted us $25,000 US for the pilot. That's a decent price, but I'm leary of the quality of their work.

As I said, I will keep me posted.

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