The West Wing – A Perfekt Antidote

Aaron Sorkin is one of my favorite writers, I like pretty much everything he has ever written. I even like Studio 60 . I admit, not a great show but I like shows about shows and Bradley Whitford is always fun to watch. The same is true for Sports Night and Newsroombut Sorkin‘s best behind the scenes show is without a doubt The West Wing.

Bartlet 2020?

I’d vote for him.

Apparently the show originated when they had great material leftover from The American President. I mean obviously „leftover material“ doesn’t make sense but I think they realized that there are more stories to tell within the White House dealing with politics and the people involved. On the surface it sounds really boring but the characters are really compelling and you just love to watch them do their thing.

The characters are very well realized and even though there’s room to grow for them, they appear fully developed in the Pilot. Toby’s arc in the final season doesn’t fit though, but Sorkin was long gone by that time.

I’m currently in the middle of my yearly rewatch and the show is still amazing and has probably the best dialogue ever. Nearly every conversation has it’s moments and I know it’s stylized language but I wish I could talk like that in real life. I’d probably be somewhere in between Josh and Sam but every character gets great lines.

But it’s not just about the characters it’s about the storylines and the politics as well. In today’s world, it’s particularly nice to see a bunch of government officials who are trying to do good. We’re not used to that anymore. Granted, the Bartlet presidency had its fair share of disasters (the Zoey thing is happening in one of the next episodes) but there are other great two parters that elevate the storytelling. I’m binging the show and I’m astonished how high the quality of every episode is. Nearly every episode has at least on moment that I can still remember from my last rewatch… “ahh, that’s the episode where Josh does this…“. I rarely skip an episode and if I do it’s mostly because I’m not in the mood for something really depressing.

But let’s get back to the actual writing. I have no idea how Sorkin managed the workload on the show (drugs?). His name is on nearly every episode and maybe that’s one reason why the show is so consistent. You can clearly hear his voice, his values, his opinions and I have to admit, I share a lot of them or at least I find the presented arguments compelling and worth talking about. The show was sometimes panned as „The Left Wing“ and I can see where these people came from but I have no problem with how left-leaning the show is. In fact OI think the show might have influenced me politically.

So If you’ve never seen The West Wing go watch it, keep two things in mind though:

  1. Yes, Bartlet would have been a great real president.
  2. Yes, the show is „old“ but isn’t it embarrassing that we’re still trying to solve the same political issues?

So, what are you waiting for. Go watch it. I fully endorse The West Wing and while you’re at it, go watch Sorkin’s movies as well. Molly’s Game was fun and who doesn’t like A Few Good Men.

(Im)Possible Spoilers: Avengers 4

I promised to post and write more and I intend to keep this promise. There’s been nothing new on the “Skyscraper” front so I have to come up with something else.

I’m eager to get more writing done over the summer and that includes blogging so I decided to come up with some new Featured Segments. Inspired by a discussion I had with two friends recently., I’m starting a new feature called (Im)Possible Spoilers.

The idea is to look at recent movies, usually part of a franchise, and imagine how the writers are gong to continue the story or resolve some leftover plot-points. But I don’t just want to speculate, it’s going to be more like “what would I write”. I’m obviously not trying to spoil things and I’m not going to research these posts, just my imagination and my writing muscles. Don’t expect a full outline and a complete story either. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun, I see it more as an exercise for me. I would love to write big tentpole franchise blockbusters but since I’m probably never gonna get the chance to do that I’ll have to find ways to scratch that itch. So without further ado, two ideas about Avengers 4.

–BEWARE OF (IM)POSSIBLE SPOILERS–

I assume you’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War. Good movie, cool and devastating ending, so where do Markus & McFeely go from here? I have no information about their plans but I have some ideas on how they are going to save the world.

  1. They are not going to save the world.
    Here’s the thing, many people liked the fact that Infinity War ended with a bang snap. We’ve seen glimpses of the repercussions and they can’t just reverse that in 3 days. The new status quo needs to establish itself. We need to see what bad (and good) Thanos’ actions had. So how are they going to show that. The (Im)Possible answer: Time Jump. Let’s skip 5 years ahead. Let the world live and change. Let people live, love get married (Tony and Pepper, I’m looking at you) and maybe even have kids. We all now that some of the people who died have to come back but we still need stakes so how about a brave new world that only exists because of Thanos’ actions and if these actions are reversed, so is this new world and everyone in it. I’d be OK with stakes like that. But how do we defeat Thanos?
  1. They don’t defeat Thanos.
    It’s not Thanos that needs to be defeated, it’s the Gauntlet, the Infinity Stones.
    But how can you do that. Well, in the final Gamora scene it’s implied that she or at least part of her is trapped in the Soul Stone. I’m not saying that everyone who vanished is trapped inside the stones, that would be stupid but Gamora has a deep connection with Thanos, technically he has one with her, that might be of importance, so how do we get her back? We send someone in. Enter Ant-Man (or the Wasp). Remember the Quantum Realm? Maybe he goes alone, maybe he takes some Avengers with him, or gives them the tech to go themselves but if I were writing this, I’d take the fight into the stones.

Obviously there are details associated with these ideas and we all now that Captain Marvel will play a part as well but this is not about spoiling Avengers 4, this is just a thought experiment and this post a time-capsule to prove that I was right or totally wrong.

About that Toy Story 3 Ending

It has been a while and I know that I wrote that sentence a lot lately, well a lot would require a lot of posts and that is exactly the issue. I haven’t felt like writing during the last couple of weeks, life and work has kept me pretty busy. I did some translations and feedback for Orlindo but my own projects have been dormant. I need to change that and get the #ProjectMomentum going again but that’s for another day, today I feel like something (completely) different.

It’s just a short excerpt from a great scene at the end of a great movie and for those of you who’ve never seen Toy Story 3, shame on you but you can remedy that, just drop everything your doing and watch the movie right now. Everyone else, go and watch the whole scene, I couldn’t find a good video of the whole scene online. There are many great Pixar moments and all being said and done, I think this scene, this moment, is probably my favourite one and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

I also have a confession to make, I cry every time I watch this but it’s not because it makes me sad, on the contrary, it’s actually really endearing, uplifting and a celebration of the relationship between Andy and his toys, Woody in particular… but yes, it’s a little bit sad as well. There’s this moment, little Bonnie sees Woody and says: ”There’s a snake in my boot!”, one of Woody’s catchphrases and I don’t know why, my eyes just start to tear up and then we see Andy, not sure what he should do, he initially indented to keep Woody but he has no chance against Bonnie’s big eyes and I have no chance to hold back my tears. The moment is beautifully animated and one of the most emotional moments in cinema history1. Andy decides to let go of Woody, his favourite toy. He basically let’s his childhood go. We are witnessing the moment he grows up but not before one last playtime. A (last) rite of passage if you will.

I like how the moment plays out. It’s not just a heartfelt goodbye, it’s a celebration and a reminder of the great times he had with his toys and let’s face it, a college kid with too many toys is weird and Bonnie will take good care of the toys, she will cherish them just like Andy did and he will always cherish the memories he made with Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, Rex, Jessie, Hamm … and the Aliens. Andy will miss his toys but he knows that he has to let them go. They had their time together and now it is time to let go, move on and let someone else have their fun with them and even more importantly, let them have fun with someone new. It’s not just him saying goodbye to them, it‘s also them (especially Woody) saying goodbye to him. Damn, I’m already tearing up again… and when Andy leaves, Bonnie waves with Woody’s arms. Damn you.

So, why am I writing about the ending of Toy Story 3? Let’s just say I’m feeling bit like Andy at the moment. I have/had to say goodbye to my 7th graders. They’re writing their matura right know, so we already had our last lessons together and I had to try really hard to hold my tears back but just like Andy not because I was just sad but because I new that our time together has/had to come to an end2 They need to move on and I need to let go, but I’ll always remember the playtimes we had together. It was mostly a lot of fun and I’m thankful for all the memories.

I’m pretty sure that my students don’t read my blog, I mean, let’s face it, this post, while honest and heartfelt, is also a bit embarrassing but I don’t care, I embarrassed myself more than once. So, if “you” do read this, I’ll just wish you all the best in your future endeavours. I hope you find someone who plays with you like Bonnie. And don’t worry about me, I get new toys next school year. 🙂

But let’s end this sappy piece of writing the only way I know how. The way they did it in the movie….

“Thanks guys (and gals).” 
“So long, Partner.”

…and with a video of Jennifer Lawrence tripping at the Oscars3 because, well you know why.

  1. You disagree? I don’t care. 🙂
  2. That being said, due to the fact that they have two subjects with me…let’s just say I still have options. :-).
  3. Note to self: Be more like Hugh Jackman.

Home sweet home

So, that was that.

I‘m fresh off the Festival and I think it‘s a bit too early to fully reflect on the last few days. But first things first, we didn‘t win. I‘m not too sad or surprised about that, we never really thought that we‘d have a real shot and it‘s definitely one of those „an honor to be nominated“ cases. Congratulations to Petterchens Mondfahrt

I don‘t know yet what will come of this weekend but I have a good feeling about it. The nomination proved that the things we write are decent and we got some contacts and new people to send the screenplay to. I‘m cautiously optimistic that something might develop out of these new contacts. fingers crossed.

The festival itself was nice and if I get another chance I‘ll go back. I visited some FMX panels, some talks and one animated short presentation. I didn‘t attend any of the competition movies, I had my own one. 😉

All in all, I had a great time and… who knows. 

I’ll do a longer write up once everything settles down and maybe I have more news to share then.

ITFS 2018 – Here I Come

I have to admit, I’m getting nervous. I leave for the ITFS today. I have a 4 hour trainride ahead of me but I’m so excited that I don’t mind. Slowly, the fact that I’m attending a festival where I’ve been nominated for a prize, starts to really sink in. I’m not fully there yet, I’m quite sure that it will happen once I have my lanyard with my name on it that says filmmaker. I’ll post pictures. 🙂

I’m probably going to use my instagram account this weekend and the plan is to write a follow up on saturday on my way home. I don’t really know what to expect from the festival, I just know that I’m really excited.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Orlindo, my partner in crime (in the flesh), again. A long time ago we started this journey together, on somehow diverging paths but it’s fitting that we can experience this together and that “Skyscraper” is the screenplay that made it happen.

I obviously have no idea if and how this weekend will influence our careers and to some extend maybe even our lives, if at all, but I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s going to be a great weekend and because we worked hard and long for it, karma should reward us at least a little bit. A journey that started on April 7th 2007 and that had its ups and downs, lead us to this weekend and as I said, I have absolutely no idea what will haben but I know that we are going to have some serious fun this weekend.

Stay tuned. 🙂

It’s official!

Another bit of ITFS follow up.

Orlindo’s and my nomination is now official. We’re still waiting for a proper press release but our names appear in the official festival catalogue and although the possibility of it being a very elaborate practical joke still seem like a viable explanation… all signs point to it being a real thing. Yeah! Rejoice!

Skyscraper

from the Official Festival Catalogue

We feel humbled to be included among these other nominees. Ron Segal is an accomplished author and his novel that the screenplay is based on, went straight on my to read list. Ali Samadi Ahadi and Arne Nolting are two prolific filmmakers with a long list of IMDB credits. Orlindo and I definitely feel like the underdog here but I actually prefer it this way. No matter what happens in Stuttgart, the fact that we were nominated is rewarding enough, especially with these fellow nominees.

We seem a bit like the odd one out, no producers attached, no grants awarded yet but I guess that’s why these writing competitions are so great, in the end it’s just what’s on the page. Sure, there’s the tiny possibility that only three screenplays were entered into the competition but I choose to ignore that thought.

So, I wish to congratulate my fellow nominees and I can’t wait to meet them in Stuttgart. It’s going to be a blast.

A bit of follow-up on that ITFS business

It’s been a couple of days since that awesome news and I had some time to process all of it and I want to share my thoughts. Let me start by saying that since the news of the nomination, there’s this warm and fuzzy feeling all over me. It feels awesome to have your work finally recognised by professionals but I also have to admit that part of me is still a bit in denial and tries to downplay all of it. To be honest, this is probably the closest I will ever come to achieving my childhood dream and I’m pretty sure that on the 27th of April in Stuttgart, once I fully realise where I am and what is happening that feeling will totally sink in. I will be in a room with industry professional and they will assume that I belong there because of something I wrote. I’m pretty sure, that that feeling will be great and probably a bit overwhelming. 

I now know who the other nominees1 are and I’m sure that we’re not going to win, which is actually freeing. I’m just going to Stuttgart to have a good time and maybe talk to some movie people and who knows maybe one of them buys “Skyscraper” or has an interesting job offer. The other nominees are in production and have producers and funds attached to them so we’re definitely the underdog or the only one without a date for the big ball which technically makes us the most interesting girl at the dance. 

A boy can dream and that’s definitely what I’ll try to do for the next couple of weeks. I’ll dream about achieving my dream and who knows, I’ve never been closer and I’m quite sure that the night will be a blast and even if nothing develops, not many people can claim that they came this close to achieving their childhood dream and I consider myself really lucky. 

  1. So far the ITFS and the other nominess have not officially announces the nominations, so I’m going to refrain from divulging that informiation until it’s official.

Breaking News: That was unexpected

NewImage

Word!

So yeah, this happened. Remember when I talked about how my motivation is slowly returning and that I felt confident that I could get #ProjectMomentum going again… Well, turns out that getting nominated for a screenplay award really helps in that department. Yes, you read that right, Skyscraper, written by my friend Orlindo and yours truly is nominated for the German Animation Screenplay Award at the ITFS 2018 in Stuttgart. There are two other nominees, I don’t know who they are but I’m sure I’ll find out soon.

The awards ceremony is set for April 27th and Orlindo and I will be attending. We’re obviously very excited but I’ll try to manage my expectations. I’m pretty sure that we won’t win but as long as we are able to have a few interesting conversations after the event and maybe, who knows…you never know but I don’t expect anything to happen. I’m going in open minded and I’ll try to have a good time. It’s probably the only awards ceremony for screenwriting I’ll ever attend as a nominee and I don’t want to spoil that experience by having too many expectations.

This I obviously a developing story so I’ll keep you updated but it’s important to me to use this chance to say thanks, I’m not going to name names, you know who you are, but I want to say thanks to everyone who either believed in me or challenged me. Skyscraper is a product of a lifetime of experiences and challenges and I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks.

Almost there, just give me a second

…I’m almost there. Things are looking good. I’m slowly getting into it. I’m doing some housekeeping on my computer, I’m reorganising my notes and I even started to write a few words. I don’t know why it takes me so long to ease into my process again but I guess it’s because I lost momentum and I need to get it back.

There’s this one problem with momentum though, you don’t have it until you have it. It’s basically an uphill battle to get it but once you have it, it’s pretty much flat or even downhill…in the good sense. It’s going to be a lot of work but I’m sure I can don it. I lined up a little project that should allow me to be creative without too much preparation and if things work out it should be creatively rewarding. I think a small thing like that might be the ideal way to get started again. I have some other projects and ideas but they all seem big and daunting and I just know that I need something small to get started….just give me a second.

Sisyphus

Almost there…seriously.

That took longer than expected…

Ok, that took longer than expected but I think I needed the time. I just needed to relax and take some time off from this endeavor. It’s not that I was fed up with it, I just needed time to gather my thoughts and get a few things out of my system.

I don’t have an exact plan yet, I have no idea when and what I’m going to write but I can feel that there’s something burning underneath all my other thoughts. Unfortunately I don’t have specifics yet but I’m pretty sure that by easter I have something to show.

Maybe I’ll have a look at some of my older projects, but to be honest I really want to do something new or at least something older in a totally new way. But who knows, maybe an old project suddenly requires some more or additional work, you never know and I’m also toying with the idea of giving the Blacklist another shot.

The new version of Saber Rider and Skyscraper are different enough to try again ans see whether or not we can get some momentum. See what I did there? 🙂

There’s nothing new to report now on the Skyscraper front. These things take time and the Spaniards are not the fastest when it comes to reading your script and writing back. We also handed in the script to a competition and to some production companies. Hopefully something interesting will develop there. I’ll let you know if something cool or interesting happens.

That’s it for today. I promise to return to regular programming soon. Stay tuned. 2018 is going to be exciting, seriously, I have a feeling about this one.