Human Target

My current gig. Co-exec, consulting, general dogsbody. Promises to be an exciting season. It’s been super darn exciting making it. Super darn. Oh, and the promo is wrong. Season 2 premieres Wednesday, Nov. 17th, 2010. Seems Lonestar’s demise prompted some schedule shifting.


Like someplace in Indiana.


WORDS from Everynone on Vimeo.


Nothing scares me more than the words “FADE IN:” at the top of a blank slab of soft clay.

Ian Fleming has some advice

Okay. Go.

Coudal Partners]

Handwritten emails

Pilot has a nifty web-based app that turns your handwritten text into a font. This has been done before but this implementation is kinda brilliant.
[Via Lifehacker]

Working where they don't know "why?"

This nails it.

Fortune studies a TED talk by Simon Sinek that works on so many levels it’s incredible. How many jobs have you had where the folks in charge have no clue as to why they’re there. I know why I’m there. And knowing it is usually what gets me canned.

The new thing

Steampunk Wallpaper by Bob Kleeman
It’s official. I’ve begun. After a year of false starts and fun, excursionary tangents into scripts and stories that, while interesting, were not engaging me, I finally landed on something I like. My agent has been hammering me for new material. New material is essential in this business to entice the powers-that-be; PTB that keep changing jobs and positions, falling in and out of networks and studios. So, going public here, I’ve got 8 weeks to get this new piece finished and shipped. Onward. Keep you posted.

K.I.S.S.: Writing to be grok'd

This is aimed at software and hardware engineers. But the sentiments apply to writing for tv and movies.

Be Stupid.



McGee nirvana

In my humble opinion, there was no better writer of crime fiction than John D. MacDonald. If you’re a fan, you understand. If you like Stephen King or appreciate films like Mystic River (based on Dennis Lehane’s excellent novel) or revel in the dense plotting of The Wire’s good bad-guys and bad good-guys and haven’t yet discovered MacDonald then spend some time over at Steve Scott’s fantastic site, The Trap of Solid Gold. Let Mr. Scott, who seriously knows his stuff, fill you in:

My name is Steve Scott and I've been a reader of the works of author John D MacDonald for over 35 years. In 1981 I had the privilege of assisting Walter and Jean Shine by doing research for a second edition of their definitive Bibliography of MacDonald's novels and short stories. John was an incredibly prolific author of primarily crime and mystery fiction and, between 1946 and 1986, published nearly 400 stories and over 65 novels. I hope to use this blog to share some of my knowledge, opinions, information and artwork from an old and dusty collection of JDM stuff.

Go fall into The Trap of Solid Gold.

Kid stories

If you have kids, or even if you don’t, this article is worth a read. About three years ago, when our twins arrived, I wasn’t paying much attention to the artwork in the Little Golden Books what with feedings, diapers and lack of sleep crushing my very soul. But lately, now that they’re walking, talking, joking and hurling books at me with shouts of “Read this one,” I’ve come to appreciate the wonderful worlds depicted in my kids’ first published brush (pun intended) with art. The terrific site, The ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive, is recent discovery (via BoingBoing) devoted to art and animation at its most whimsical and imaginative.


You say tomato, I say procrastination

Screen shot 2009-11-28 at 6.40.27 PM
Every chance I get I look for some neat new way to help me get my work done in a timely manner. This is how I procrastinate yet feel like I'm actually doing something worthwhile. Well, this is my latest effort. It requires a cooking timer and the freedom to enjoy recess. I'll let you know how it's going.

The Pomodoro Technique.

Gearing Up for Season 2

The Warehouse 13 writers' room is slated to start up on November 2. In addition to many of our returning Season One staff (Jack Kenny, me, Drew Greenberg, Bob Goodman, Deric Hughes, Ben Raab, Tamara Becher) we have some new faces at the table. Mike Fox and Ian Stokes (last season's script coordinator and writers' assistant) have joined the ranks. Also on board are Andrew Kriesberg and Nell Scovell. It's a great group.

The goal is to get as many scripts written as possible before production starts (in Toronto) in early spring. We're trying to avoid the snow. And the cold. And the snow. Did I mention the snow?

We've got a lot of story threads to address and, just like you, we've got plenty of ideas toward ramping things up, keeping things fun and thrilling. We've have spent the hiatus chilling, digging into artifact research and ruminating on Pete, Myka, Artie, Leena, Claudia, Mrs. Frederic and MacPherson. They're a great, dysfunctional family full of hopes, secrets, lies, loyalties and betrayals. Can't wait to dig in.

And if anybody's noticed (probably not) I took myself off Facebook and Twitter. Both venues were weighing on me. Keeping up, keeping clever and keeping my mouth shut was just too difficult. Apparently, I'm in good company: Miley Cyrus also canned Twitter.

To catch season of Warehouse 13, check out
Hulu or Warehouse 13 on Syfy's site.

Thanks for watching. We wouldn't be here without you.

Taking Some Time

Warehouse 13 is on hiatus. What have I been doing on my summer vacation? Well, I dumped Facebook and Twitter from my life. That was an easy decision. I'd been spending way too much time gazing at navels. Sometimes mine. Mostly everybody else's.

Poking around the web here's a couple things that are holding my interest.

Derren Brown. Check out some of his television stunts here. Nice article here at about his astounding lottery number prediction.

Apple's Snow Leopard has been a nice distraction. Tracking its fun and foibles are
John Gruber and Merlin Mann, two excellent writers in the Mac and tech trade.

Travis McGee

Summary only available when permalinks are enabled.


Summary only available when permalinks are enabled.

Fender Benders

Over at The Zicree Simkins Podcast Marc Zicree and I had a great conversation with TV writer/producer Lee Goldberg. Lee tells a great tale of going to Germany to help the TV industry over there get a grip on how to get and keep a growing audience. To get a glimpse of one of Germany’s more intriguing efforts check out the clip below. Ladies and Gents, ALARM FOR COBRA 11.

Hey, I (Re)Wrote a Pilot!

Actually, Brent Mote wrote the pilot. Jane Espenson then tackled the material followed by Rockne O’Bannon. I batted writerly clean-up and produced the pilot with Jace Alexander directing. And now... Hey, We’ve Got a Series!

Read the Variety article here.

Hey, I Wrote a Movie!

Eighteen months ago my wife was pregnant with twins. I wasn’t working. Well, not “working” working but there was a lot of baby-prep going on. Dan Myrick, a good friend, approached me with an idea for a movie. We kicked it around some and, since I had a little time before the baby shoes dropped, I wrote it. He produced it. Ben Rock directed it. Julia Fair did a terrific production rewrite when the twins arrived and I was pulled into two wonderful other directions. Here’s the trailer for ALIEN RAIDERS.

Writing in a Vacuum

Strange, this writer’s life. The only time I feel like I’m actually writing for television is when I’m on the set, the scene to be shot sucks, bad dialog is actually rearranging the actors’ teeth it’s so clunky and we’re losing the light. Then, when I have to whip out the pencil I never seem to have (“Hey, who’s got a pencil?!”) and grab the back of an envelope to try and work out, untangle, cut and recreate the moment, the nut of the scene that worked so well three, five, ten months prior in a first written-in-the-heat-of-creation draft... where was I? Oh. Right. Short version: I like bad scenes because they give me something to do. They fill me with nostalgia for what might have been.
They’re like suddenly discovering you’re riding a tiger (that’s been gnawing your leg) when all along you thought you were on a horse and now, hey look, who’s got a tourniquet?! As much as I dread on-set rewrites I also welcome an actor coming to me and saying, “Um... huh?” Once I get past the “how dare they” moment it’s kind of interesting (see tiger). One of the best experiences I’ve had working with an actor was with Paul Blackthorne on THE DRESDEN FILES. Before each week’s work he would call me from Toronto (where the show was shot) and we would go through the script, page by page (and not just his scenes) working out the truth of the moments. Paul was always looking for a way to say less and mean more. What a blessing. I vomit words sometimes just to see if there are any bits of goodness worth the effort. If an actor can come along and keep me from puking by simply making my point with a smile, a look, an eye roll or a drop of the head then please, God, eye roll. Sometimes... well, most times great writing is not writing. Great writing is setting up a thought-circus then opening the gates and letting the audience in to wander at will. Actors are those midway barkers. But they’re not barking if they’re doing their jobs right. They’re winking or hooking a finger. “C’mere. Something to show you. No pressure.” You look. Without comment from the writer, actor or director. You simply see and the real circus happens in your head. Later, if the circus is revealed to be a little flat, someone will come along with the “perfect” score to shove you into phoney-emotionville or wow-wasn’t-that scaryland? But sometimes (see THE WIRE) the circus is perfect. I’ve yet to build the an even close-to-perfect circus but it’s great fun trying.

So, anyway, the vacuum thing. I’ve been working on a pilot for the Sci Fi Channel.
WAREHOUSE 13. And this week, as the cut was being prepared for audience testing (yikes) I’ve been working on a story for a possible episode should the series get ordered. The story hits the beats promised in the pilot’s premise. Characters behave consistently (well, more consistently once the actors wrangle them). And, to toot the horn, I think it’s a pretty good yarn. But I dunno. I never know. For so long now I’ve let other people define what’s good and bad about my writing that I’ve sort of taken my ego out of it. Kind of have to to make a living doing this. Does it fit the container the network is trying to sell or doesn’t it? But for now this outline is finished and it’s been handed in for review and criticism. So it’s time to go get some fresh air.

The Wire - Season 5

“When you walk through the garden you got to watch your back.”

If you’re a fan, you know. The Wire is the best show now not on television (unless it’s on your DVD player and right this moment it’s on mine). If you haven’t seen it – or maybe you tried it and gave up – there will come a time when you will become immersed. And you’ll become a zealot. You will gift seasons of The Wire to your family, your friends and to your mailman.