03 November 2007


No, no, no. I'm not referring the the Akiva Goldman penned, future blockbuster. I'm instead referring to the 1954 novel upon which the movie will be loosely grounded (from seeing the previews).

I want to begin with the utter shock and absolute let down of the ending. I bought the new paperback edition with Will Smith on the front and looking at the bkac page for reference prior to starting, I braced myself for a good 312 page ride. What I received instead was 159 pages of I AM LEGEND, and the rest filled with a collective of Matheson's other works. So imagine my surprise when here I am expecting another 153 pages of Robert Neville doing something heroic and I get the beginning of another story. So in the end, it took away a little bit, as I was thinking I had hit the midpoint rise in action, when instead it was the ending. Meh...

Overall, this book reaches far beyond the Vampire genre in the sense that the vampires are simply a backdrop for a very emotion, psycological journey into the mind of the last man on Earth. Anyone who is having trouble grasping the creation of characters should definitely read this book. Robert Neville is the eiptome of the fleshed out character we should all strive to create. By the end (grrr) you have so much concern and care for this fictional man, that you can almost smile at his last quote in the book.

The story begins bland, and never really changes, though you as a reader will. What I mean by this, is that around page 40, you've grown so accustomed to Robert's plight that this semmingly banal story of a man on his own becomes something of your own. We've all had moments of helplessness, adrenaline-based anxiety, and absolute terror; and that is what I AM LEGEND brings out of you. You begin remembering rushing home to make sure you locked the doors or turned the iron off. You remember when a loved one passed on and you were shaken to the core. It will pull a tremble form you when you reach the final scene of the story and you accept this simple, surviving man as a hero.

By far, this has to be one of the best character based, third-person narratives I have read in a long time, and I highly recommend you read it before the movie comes out. If only for true definition of what a character should be.


10 October 2007

Pilot Time!

Okay, so it's been a while since I posted but this one is a good one and shifts the focus back to what this blog is about. Screenwriting.

I'm writing a pilot for a one hour drama that I think has potential.

Thanks for reading!


24 September 2007

Simon and the Skull Plate

No, this isn't some fictional tale, or PBS propaganda about proper skull hygiene.As most of you know my kid, Simon turned one-year old on the 5th, and then one week later was in surgery for a malformed skull plate above his left ear. Nothing major at the moment, but as he grew older, it would cause his face to twist and deform. Thus, the wife and myself chose to have the surgery done to correct the problem.Let me just say, that if you have children, you have no idea the complete lack of control that you feel when you hand your child, drunk from pre-meds, over to another human being you met only an hour earlier. In your mind, you have the full knowledge of what's about to happen. The doctor's have told you about the procedure, warned you of the risks, and as optimistic as we all try to be, there is that human side that wonders if this might be the last time that you see your baby boy alive. The eruption of love that fills you is indescribable. You've never wanted to hold him closer, kiss his little cheeks a million times, or just look into his big blue eyes until to pass out...but now, you try to squeeze it all into the few minutes before the nurse carries him off to the OR. It sucks.

The time in the waiting room passed like days, with my six year old wanting to make constant trips to the cafeteria and my wife wanting me to stay with her for support. Family and friends were there, rooting for the home team, but I honestly wonder how far from that waiting room we really were. Physically, we were sitting and listening to their remedial anecdotes about the good in life, and God's love, but this only fuels the guilty thoughts of all the bad things I've done and I wonder if today is the day where God's going to check my ticket and make me truly sorry for the shit I've done.In the end, the surgery went off without a hitch, and four days later he was back home, like nothing had ever happened, save a wicked incision and some swelling of his face.

A week after that, he was all boy again. He ran around the house trying to touch things he shouldn't, he pulled his older brother's hair while he was sleeping, and he laughed whenever I did something stupid for him. I don't know how to describe it other than blessed.


23 August 2007

Fund Raising for Hell Raising

Hopping on the back of great minds like JJ Abrams, I am beginning a viral marketing campaign. You needn't know the details, but you must know that I'm a little short in the skin (WALLET).
Phase 1 of this project will cost me $10.00.

You can send donations via paypal to RODGRAPHX@YAHOO.COM

I kick ASS! And thanks for your support!

17 August 2007

World of Nerdcraft and Screenwriting

On any given day, when I'm not at work or visiting the kids, you will find me in my room. Like a darkened abyss, with nothing but the ceiling fan for white noise, I sit with headphones on, staring blankly into my laptop like I'm waiting for it to say something funny.

What am I doing? One of two things. Screenwriting, or (more times than none) playing the World of Warcraft.

Fuck, I hate to even say it out loud, but it's who I am and it's what I do. Internally I struggle to find a common ground between the two, but since the Warcraft movie is in pre-production it seems as though my dreams of writing said movie are lost. So where is the common ground.

(Pause for a few moments while I search under the bed, night stand, and desk for what they have in common)



Before I describe my middle ground in a single sentence or less, I think I should cover exactly how Warcraft works for the "WTF is that" people.

It's a game. A Multi-Player, Massive, Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) which boasts a subscribership of almost 10 million members world-wide, paying $14.00 bucks a month. Based somewhere between D&D and LotR, you can choose from a menagerie of races, classes and looks. So even with that many people, on multiple servers, the chance of running into a Blood Elf Rogue that looks exactly like you is almost impossible.

The world itself is exactly as described...massive. Two continents in the base realm of Azeroth, and another larger continent through the Dark Portal in Outlands. Each player can choose from professions like skinning, mining, leatherworking, enchanting, etc, etc to make money in the game. There are auction houses, inns, castles, dungeons, battle grounds (PVP) and interactive grouping and raiding. It is, in itself, a self contained alternate reality. Which is probably why mofos are getting divorced, losing their jobs, and going to rehab from playing.

But here is where I have found my middle ground. It's nothing for me to spend 5-6 hours a day playing this shit. I run around slaying animals and people like Ron Jeremy slays the Vaja. I'm a badass and know it. But what the hell is it doing for me in the real world....nothing. So I'll sit there for hours devolving into a lazy, pale piece of Wowing shit when I should have been writing the entire time. So this is what I figured out. I love Warcraft, but I NEED to write. Thus, I have found my comprimise. I'll take turns. Everytime I finish a quest, I'll write a page and won't go back to WoW until the page is complete. If I'm outlining, then I'll set a time limit that I will write for before going back to WoW.

This could work...I'll let you know.


11 August 2007

I'm the jugganaut, Bitch!

Okay, well not really, but right now I lack even the minimum amount of energy or excitement to put together a 2 minute short film such as the Jugganaut, bitch. I am finding that I am in one of those moods where just being awake makes me aggrivated. I don't want to write, work, play a game, eat, drink, smoke, or even fucking move. It's like I'm suffering from LIFERS BLOCK.

I'm not depressed or anything, just lack the major motivations to do anything more than pound away on this little keyboard, while staring at this massively intimidating screen. I have ideas, even now, surging through my head for my next spec, but they remain an accumulating jumble of shit in my brain because I lack the fucking energy to write them out. At this pace, I should have the entire thing written in my head, word for word, by the time I actually sit down and right it.


I like that word. Not because it's bad or because my wife says it in conjuction with other dirty words during happy-time. No, I like it because it's simple, smooth and flows like a good drag from an even better cigar. It's familiar, like an old friend and who do we all turn to when we're sucking ass for motivation? That's right! Old friends. So fuck, fuckety fuck...fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Fuck this, I'm going to smoke.

09 August 2007

My New Tattoo!!!

Ahhh...the glorious, numbing pain of a new tattoo. Now I'm not some biker-styled, skull sporting badass, but I love a good tattoo. I FUCKING LOVE THEM!

But you know what I hate...shitty tattoos. Looking to the pic to your right, I want you to notice something...you see it...DETAIL. I wish I had a better pic, but I suppose I'll take another one after it heals. Detail, though, is the main ingredient in a great tattoo as much as it is in a great screenplay. When you look into the eyes of that Greek warrior on my arm (which was meant to signify pain and defeat) I want you to feel that pain. Even the greek letters on the helmet mean 'pain' in Greek. But if the detail had been horrible and the eyes came out cartoony, then you would not have felt the deep seated pain that was throw into this tattoo at it's conception. If I wanted cartoony, I would have asked for something cartoony. It would be like writing a drama starring a clown on speed. NOT SERIOUS.

The Greek warrior part of the tattoo was done in Souda Bay, Crete (Greece) in 2004 right before my nervous breakdown. I was on a train of drunken pleasures and deep rooted self hate that made me feel like shit. It seemed like no matter how hard I tried to guard myself from the bad things in my life, they still got through. So when it came time to get a tattoo, I wanted three thing...I wanted something to signify that I got it in Greece (warrior), I used the helmet to signify the armor I had used to attempt to keep the bad things out, and then I put those painful, teary eyes showing defeat, because no matter how hard I tried, I failed. Defeated.

The swords also have a dual meaning in that the scimitars are the national blade of Iraq (I made that up, but the fuckers are on statues and shit everywhere) and I wanted something to remind me that I was there, to signify my time there. The second meaning of the swords is an easy one: Connor and Simon...my two sons. They are literally two of the most important people in my life, and the only two I'd lay under the blade to give my life for.

Without these intricate details, and bold meanings behind the tattoos (which will eventually be part of a half-sleeve) they wouldn't be what they are. When you look an artist in the eyes and tell him, "This is the worst time in my life...make it show," they get it and want to put that pain and defeat in there. As screenwriters, we need to be no different.
My point is that when it comes to writing scenes that keep a tone, I am often guilty of writing something hilarious when it needs to be serious, and vice versa. I'm learning and slowly growing out of that, but when I think of the screenplay I am working on now, I ask myself...is this a Greek Warrior or Calvin and Hobbes on my left ass cheek? If you spec, spec something that means something to you, because it's so much easier to relate and put the best and worst of yourself into it. Create those characters that remind you of the people you love, hate and feel for. Put them into situations that are comparable to things you've been through. You're essentially tattooing yourself when you spec write...so ask yourself, when a stranger sees that tattoo (spec) do you want them to say, "Wow, that is just...awesome," or, "I don't get it?"
Of course I'm going to use my tattoo to turn this into a screenwriting essay...it's a screenwriting blog, get over it.

PS...Ignore the scrawny arms...the camera takes off 15 inches.