15 January 2013

Our Special American Interests

In which I pontificate sophomorically, and with a naive horror at the human race that I'm actually much too old to have, about people who don't put things back the way they found them and what this means for the future of mankind. I should probably stop doing this sort of thing before I start to imagine that I have to keep it up.



P.S.: You'll never guess what verb in merchandising lingo means "to pull product from normal stock shelving in order to fill up special promotional shelving fixtures" (or more broadly, "to make shelves look good"). Hello, I'm The Hollywood Farmer. It seems I can't stop farming.

20 December 2012

THF 3.0





UPDATE THE FIRST:





UPDATE THE SECOND:

04 August 2012

Things Fall Apart

and people lie.

That is, they make things out to be more than they are in order to get you to do shit for free.

Which means what falls apart is the illusion.

Hello, I'm The Hollywood Farmer.  Learning for the first time what Hollywood is.

UPDATE:  Everyone lies.  And almost always when money is involved.  I wonder if anyone actually makes it as a money-maker without lying to someone somewhere.  Behind every fortune, &c.

04 June 2012

PLOWING ONCE AGAIN

Let's get it going, Google Earth. I wanna know if my lines this year are as more-straight-than-ever as I think they are.


P.S.:  The screenplay that became a TV pilot is becoming a screenplay again.  I choose to call this progress.  
P.P.S.:  Writing a pilot for an animated series on spec.  Contract and everything.  I feel all grownup again.  (As much as a person who writes for kids can feel, anyway.)    
P.P.P.S.:  This is what became of the animation company I used to write for.  Maybe the company that gets Chaotic out of all this will realize what they've got there. 

27 March 2012

Wow.

Mobile blogging.

Like all new technology, this will make everything so much better.

See?  I'm funnier already.

SOME OTHERS

sorta kinda like me.  Except one appears to be an honest-to-goodness farmer, and the other appears to actually have something to do with/in Hollywood. 

Plowing time came early this year.  AgriCrap Incraperated and millions of genetically-modified-corn-fed farting cows may or may not have something to do with it. Meanwhile. as the world cooks, I'm writing another screenplay.  Someone may care someday.  On the other hand, I can't think of a better excuse for never getting around to finishing a screenplay than the end of the world.

16 October 2011

Our Man Is Down

And out.  But down and out?  As in down for the count?  Who knows.

Can't say it doesn't make sense.  Why pay for "High School Musical: China" when China likes "High School Musical" just fine? 

It only took a toe in the water out there to (re-)learn that it's not about who you know, it's about who you've known.  And the new Disney head Rick Ross has known Sean Bailey, the guy who's right now sitting in what probably should have been our man's chair, for years. 

Should've, that is, if Hollywood -- if people -- valued talent, intelligence, and experience over their old familiar relationships.   Which they don't.  And maybe can't.  And maybe for the best.   Community is not only how things happen, it's how humanity survives.  The perfect is the enemy of the done. 

I'll let (the two of) you know if I run into him up there on the hill.  It would be a good move, I think, for a lot of reasons... one of which is that people around here are the people who have known him.   But then that could also be a reason for staying as far away as ever.

UPDATE:  Our man down?  NOT SO MUCH.  He got 1.5 years severance pay/insurance plus an office for 6 months "off-campus."  Time to make his long-postponed dream-projects come true.  Or maybe just massive-money-making projects in which he gets to keep (most of) the money.  Plus some big agricultural endeavor?  Go go original Hollywood Farmer.  Let me know if you ever have any shit that needs shoveling.

UPDATE to UPDATE:  Shit?  Not so much.  Spam, maybe.  But sustainable ag needs initiatives like this too.  

11 October 2011

Upon Coming Home

"Now we can get goats again!" -- The kids.

02 October 2011

Deja Vu.

The Victory Garden continues to make its way back into the re-awakening popular consciousness.

17 September 2011

WE DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE


Because WHO KNOWS what else AgriCorp's food is doing to us??

UPDATE: Think I might finally have come up with a script that's "out there" enough to get passed around as a calling card. My neighbor who got his start with The Farrelly Brothers inspired me to push the limit here. Maybe he'll find the time to read this one.

UPDATE to the UPDATE: I'm coming to the conclusion that hardly anyone has time for anyone else. Huzzah for my belated entrance into the real world.

08 September 2011

BTW

From FishbowlLA:

According to The Right to Breathe, a 21-minute documentary that premiered earlier this week in Santa Monica, approximately 5,000 people die prematurely each year in Southern California because of air pollution. The health risks are even higher for those residing in or near the so-called “Diesel Death Zone,” an area bordered by the 405 freeway, the Port of Los Angeles and a railway line. Director Alexandre Phillipe tells The Lookout that it was no fun filming there:

Phillipe said he felt the effects of the pollution almost immediately. “Within 30 minutes, I literally started hurting. I could taste” the pollution, he said. It made him think about the people who live in the area–mostly low-income families or older people.

Here's the map that apparently nobody's editor wanted included in any story about this blight, probably for fear of drawing the ire of anybody concerned with the fate of all properties thereabouts:


Meanwhile, in Santa Monica itself, a light layer of smog settles with the morning oceanside dew. But the ocean breeze keeps it at bay, mostly. But then, if I actually ever have to live in LA, Long Beach is probably my destiny. Writers get paid sh*t.

I can feel my asthma returning already.

UPDATE: NOTHING DOING. Writing, drawing, struggling, searching for a friend. Or at least a manager.

27 July 2011

Back in Santa Monica


for a few months. We'll see who I run into. And what I can come up with. So far, my scripts have found no purchase. I choose not to take this the worst way possible. It's a difficult choice for me.

Been doing a lot of East-West bi-locating along the way. Managed to catch the stage debut of my twins Mary and Joan my future-guest-star Clare. And to set up the pool, this year with an even-better salt-to-chlorine machine.

The Hollywood Farmer. Still unsustainable. And loving/hating it.

06 June 2011

Crap.



OK, new plan. If I get somebody like an agent or manager to take me on (e.g., on the strength of this aforementioned thing, which I actually finished, and which one of my more trusted readers says is my best concept yet), I'm going to insist that I work from the farm and Skype into the writers' room. Because I think it's arguable that it's irresponsible to ask someone today to abandon their means of food production for the family. Unless they paid me enough to buy a house in SoCal with a 1.5 acre backyard. And the requisite water.

Meanwhile Moviewood is banking on sure-fire-international-splashes like this because things are so scary. (As it happens my pilot is something reality-bending like this.) But if at some point in the near future it takes a global village to make a film like this, and if every single country in the world is heading into a depression/food shortage/pick-your-disaster, who knows if Hollywood will be able to make things like this (or anything else) anymore? Uprising of hyper-local cinema on the horizon? As in homemade shows in the barn?

Eat, drink and go to blockbusters. For tomorrow we work our fingers to the bone to survive.

11 April 2011

MORE MUSICAL VIDEO-TYPE GOODNESS



It's hilarious even if you don't know the original. Which I will not pay $1.29 on iTunes to see. But those who have seen it say that it's even funnier if you have.

When I get back to the farm, I'll start posting about farming again. Meantime I continue to waste time while waiting, as opposed to, you know, doing anything productive.

Well, that's not quite true. I did write, but of course did not finish, this recently. And filmed this. And this. That might count as doing something. I also drew a few breaths. And took up a whole lot of space around the house where I'm currently freeloading.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of small farms (70,000) in California. But they're in decline. This could be a whole new cause for the wife and me, taking up a new battlefront against the invasion of Planet Eaarth. If I could get work here, that is.

Meanwhile, back east, an interesting development in one of the most important battlefronts in the aforementioned struggle: urban farming. Any thoughts, LA? Reactions? Acting is reacting, after all.

07 April 2011

WASTING TIME

while waiting to hear back from an agent at WME and two working writers who say they're going to try to help me find an assistantship this season. Even as my resume and writing samples would probably be considered average for an undergrad at UCLA.

Meanwhile, after my dreams die, I'm thinking of training the chickens at home so I can make the next viral musical chicken video. They already have a head start.

23 January 2011

THE HOLLYWOOD FARMER

likes this.

And not just because someone from their production office was nice enough to get back to me.

video


Now only if they can get renewed for a fourth season. And someone in the writers' room dies suddenly. And they can't find any of the other letters they got from all the people begging for the chance to get their coffee.

Headed back next week. Head spinning.

P.S.: If anyone from said production team actually reads this post and would rather I not lift even this esoteric little segment from the Season One box set, I trust they'll let me know, at which point I'll promptly pull it.

P.P.S.: They got it. Much good may it do me. But it's good even if not.

20 December 2010

BACK IN LA

Passing time between meetings with something happy.

It's taking me back to my own college (OK, grad school) days. When TMBG still used an accordion.

11 December 2010

LIFE IN THE COUNTRY


The winter defenses I set up the before the drive to LA (e.g., greenhouse button-up, wood-pile tarp, ice-dam-preventing-roof-heating-cable) have held up well.

The snowplow attachment on the Troy-Bilt works great too.

27 November 2010

TWO DOZEN EGGS

in the coop this morning??


Fuggedaboutit.

26 November 2010

BACK HOME

Check out FB updates and the Lickona Family Blog for the story.

23 November 2010

THIS IS WILD

Exclusive bonus video from mindFLUX: Dafoe on Foreman from mindFLUX on Vimeo.


From the production company:
"MindFLUX" explores the life, work and impact of critically acclaimed experimental playwright, director, and designer Richard Foreman. After founding the Ontological-Hysteric Theater in 1968 Mr. Foreman soon became recognized as one of our most important avant-garde experimental artists. Foreman has written, directed and designed over 30 of his own plays and his international recognition include nine OBIE awards, a MacArthur Fellowship, Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of France and the NEA’s “Distinguished Artist Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre”. The film features interviews with numerous Hollywood notables who have worked with Foreman, among which are Willem Dafoe, Yoko Ono, and Lou Reed.

"MindFLUX"'s inspirational themes are driven through Foreman's own journey and the lens of prominent colleagues and cultural warriors interviewed exclusively by Ride5 in New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris. New footage is supplemented by previously unreleased material Mr. Foreman generously provided. The film’s story is shown using Ride5’s innovative visual style--fast paced cuts, animation, high-end motion graphics and integrated media techniques."

Contact sales@ride5mediagroup to set up a screening!!

22 November 2010

THE HOLLYWOOD FARMER

is in Hollywood.


Actually he's closer to the PCH right now.


He's working on a very cool project out here. And still working on that pilot. And calling home about his greenhouse.

What is he doing here, you ask? Because it's about time that The Hollywood Farmer started living up to his oxymoronic moniker.

Actually, it's because he's desperate for work. And like the man talking to his Jewish mother on the phone in the CVS in the Palisades said, "No, Mom. If I want to work in this business, I have to be here. There are no shows in New York." (What about Ugly Betty? Cancelled, Mom. In January.)

Hello again. I'm the Hollywood Farmer. Still not sustainable after all these years.

22 September 2010

Speaking of Theories

Anybody else feel like the weather forecast is a crap-shoot anymore?

Wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that "10% chance of rain" means that in the past on only one day in ten under the given conditions did it rain which in turn depends on the future being like the past which in turn depends upon the CLIMATE NOT CHANGING.

Contra-indications welcome. Because although it's my theory, and I made it up, and it belongs to me, G*D DAMN IT.

08 September 2010

More People Who Get It

Click here to see the trailer from Surla Films on Vimeo. (Also check out Tape 6.)

You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to believe in conspiracies. All you have to believe is that people sometimes work together to secretly do (and/or cover up) bad things. Like in a cult, for example. Or a govercorporationment. ("I am shocked! Shocked to find out that there is bribery on this oil rig!")

My Burn Notice spec has Michael helping a guy to get out from under the blackmail that's keeping him a member of a cult called The Answer. The white-masked protesters in that story call themselves The Question. (They hold signs that read "Question the Answer." Yeah, I'm that clever.) And now my friends at Surla Films have asked me to post a trailer by a movie that is declared to be the work of someone called "Anonymous." I'd say something like "Everything is connected," but that might make me sound like a, well, you know.

P.S.: The IFC is here.

21 August 2010

The Kid From Reed's Seeds, Part Two


The Kid From Reed's Seeds, Part One

Two years ago, the original Hollywood Farmer came back to town to thank his high school AV teacher, who was retiring that year, for giving him his start. He also took the time to impart to the young graduates in attendance the wisdom of his experience "Sitting in those same chairs, in those same robes," he told them, "my friends and I pretty much thought we had it all figured out. I have spent every day since then learning how wrong I was."

His mention moments earlier of his recent meetings with "high-ranking Chinese officials" now makes me wonder whether by that time he had already figured out that Disney would soon be exporting/exiling him to China to attend to the world's biggest market. Or whether he had foreseen the upcoming regime change in the Mouse House that would result in the reduction of one of H'wood's reputedly most thoughtful and personable execs to a cog in Disney's world-cultural-domination machine.

Just as admirable as Reed's taking time-out to say thank-you to the man who taught him to look toward Hollywood from the hayloft was his choice of subject in his address to the graduates. Quoth the USC philosophy major: "Philosopher and theologians have spent centuries debating the matter of how to find happiness. So I thought, 'If the greatest minds in human history can't come up with an answer, why doesn't the kid from Reed's Seeds give it a shot?'" A noble endeavor. I think he deserves at least an A for effort.



O fortuna, valet luna, statu variabilis. Or to quote the poet Solon: "A man cannot be called happy until he is dead." Unless one can be happy in the midst of statu variabilis.

20 April 2010

Battlefield Eaarth

Like I said, I have to keep a hand in this. Because the storm may already be here.

The most visible change is what’s happening to ice around the world. But probably the most important is what’s happening to liquid water. Warm air holds a lot more water vapor than cold, so you get a lot more evaporation in dry areas, and hence more drought. Even easier to measure, and more troubling, is the fact that what goes up must come down, and what’s coming down are these intense precipitation events.

In the book, I describe the rainfalls in my small town in Vermont — record floods that cut us off from the rest of the world. But that’s happening around the world almost every day now. The 100-year storm comes three times a decade in a lot of places. Stuff like that is sobering, not only because it demonstrates how out of balance things are, but also because the consequences of a world run amuck are not to be taken lightly.

Lately, in the U.S. as a whole, local and regional action has reached more than a level of experimentation. The number of farms across the country is growing for the first time in a century and a quarter, with 300,000 new farms this decade. The one business that boomed in the last two years was seeds — Burpee Seeds was up 40 percent or something. There’s an awful lot of land in American suburbs currently devoted to growing grass, often with lavish infusions of fertilizer and chemicals. Turn some of that energy and resources toward growing vegetables, and you’re getting somewhere.

08 April 2010

The Deadstock Chronicles, Part I

A stray dog killed two-thirds of our chickens.

We get more eggs now.

It's a metaphor for something.

FOOTNOTE: The original Hollywood Farmer has moved (or rather, been re-located) to China. There's a new Hollywood farmer in Tinseltown. OK, in San Diego. As near as, anyway.

05 April 2010

DIY Footnote

OpenIndie is, like the local foods movement, about localism. Both "proposals" feature neighbors, friends, communities looking to each other and the resources they have to hand and "next door" to provide for their own needs (growing food for their own tables, asking theaters to screen the films they want to see). Except that OpenIndie is not a member of any given community, and yet it would have to be accepted by a local exhibitor as something he can trust, as "someone" whose word he can bank on. OpenIndie might say that they're simply telling me, the exhibitor, how many people of my community are saying they want to see a certain film play in my theater... but am I going to sacrifice a booking or even a single screening of something that Disney or Universal has "vetted" for me (i.e., deemed bankable) for the sake of something that my neighbors say they want to see (based only on the trailer) but might not actually show up for and if they do might not build up word of mouth about because the film actually has limited (or even little to no) appeal?

When you look at a locally-grown organic tomato, you pretty much know on the spot the wonderfulness you're going to have on your salad or in your sauce. But does a good trailer mean you're going to get a good film? Somebody asked the OpenIndie fellow if any films would be rejected for any reason. I don't remember what the fellow said in response. But I do think one of the problems that may beset OpenIndie is one of vetting, of allaying exhibitor anxieties (e.g., "Universal is saying this film is bankable, they're doing the marketing and the distributing; who around here is doing the marketing for this film, and how do I know it's a good investment?"). Even if the members of the community were petitioning the exhibitor directly (handing in signatures, picketing, or otherwise making a stink), this wouldn't be a compelling argument for considering a film competitive.

It all reminds me of the other incarnation of the "revolving online media showcase" I was "pitching" at DIY Day -- this "other incarnation" being a sort of Metacritic for the undistributed, with those found "most worthy" having their trailers/clips/press featured on the front page, the "worthy" being judged so by the critical elite (e.g., from NYT, LAT, Chicago, David Denny from the New Yorker, David Edelstein from Slate, Andrew O'Hehir from Salon, David Bianculli from NPR), the members of which "elite" would review one selected "nowhere" film/webseries/et al. on DVD or online per month for the love of their chosen medium, because they do in fact love and watch all sorts of movies/TV/etc., and like the journalists they are would be pleased to break the story about the "next big thing"... which is just the sort of thing The Industry is anxious about missing. Hollywood always cares about "art" at Oscar-time, Edward Jay Epstein has observed, and who judges what is "art" but the critics? Might critical acclaim from the greats for the undistributed become a new source of industry buzz, like "the boards"? This may not be a community-centered model, but it might nevertheless help the DIYer.

OK, time to start plowing!

03 April 2010

Local Film Might (and Should) Be Next

I just got finished posting that movies are a lost cause. Because of articles about industry leaders like this one. Cyrus is the best that the Duplass Brothers have yet offered, and they're among the very best that indie has to offer right now, but how many theaters will this play in? And so what hope is there for the rest of the world of filmmakers, especially for their all-important-for-your-morale debut effort?

Which is why I got up today and talked so earnestly about an idea for a start-up called film(yourcityhere).com -- a partnership with local governments to promote and even finance their local filmmakers, for the sake of promoting local culture, i.e., local coolness (sort of like our new local-foods market, which my wife founded, has done, at least in the opinion of our fair city). Kind of like winning the Super Bowl did for formerly-forsaken New Orleans. Local coolness could be even further served should the locally-made film highlight local businesses, landmarks, anything that says (yourcityhere). Cities/communities win, and every local filmmaker gets a chance to be spotlighted, not to mention find and support from their fellows.

A long time ago I made a short film in Ann Arbor, MI called God's-Eye View. It was my debut, and it wasn't genius, but it basically held together, and the PV's were decent. It showed at a "local filmmakers" show at the Michigan Theater. The next day one of the other filmmakers featured at the show emailed me to ask how I got that master overhead shot. It was a local connection with another filmmaker in my community (who wasn't a U of M student). It was cool, and something that could have kept somebody like me going (except I moved to upstate NY to start a farm -- and decided I wanted to write for TV, after starting to write for TV).

But of course giving moral support to filmmakers is not the only or even main reason for putting something like this forward. It's about getting films, more films, made and shown (and sold on DVD). Sort of like OpenIndie (one of the companies in the Incubator at DIY NYC) is trying to do. Everywhere else in the world, government financially supports all kinds of film. Why shouldn't we?

30 March 2010

DIY Days FYI

THE HOLLYWOOD FARMER has a Vimeo channel.

26 March 2010

Screenplay is Now a TV Pilot

because the guy I sent the screenplay to never called me back.

No, that's not true. It's because this is what it's supposed to be. It's fun instead of anguished. And Hurt Locker or no Hurt Locker, movies are a wasteland. (Except of course for this franchise from heaven.*) And I was a TV writer in my past life. And the pilot is a live-action/animation concept, which fits my profile as an animation writer.** And I've been writing specs in the hope of finding an agent, and agents wants to see pilots in spec packages right now.

Plus it's probably the best time to be an over-40 would-be 4GrownUpsTV writer than at any time in my over-40-year history.

Meanwhile, the greenhouse is working. Basically. But I have a lot to learn. Gotta keep a hand in this. Because there's still a storm coming. (So why try writing for TV? Two words: Counter-recessionary. At least for now.)


*And yet... Don Cheadle? He's brilliant but... I'm not buying him as War Machine. Hopefully not everyone saw Hotel Rwanda.

**They called the show a loss because it looked like it would be too costly because it looked like the card game would never make as much money as they wanted. After all, every self-respecting CEO has to be able to snap up a federally-seized penthouse apartment every once in a while...recession or no recession.