Universal Studios Hollywood is not an exciting theme park.
It isn’t. It’s an admirable attempt; certainly, its recent leaning into “motion control rides” has made it cutting edge for whatever that’s worth, but it, as a place, is simply not a very exciting proposition. A tremendous amount of this has to do with the awkwardness of its construction and lay out; the park is actually separated into two areas, joined only by an incredibly long stretch of escalators, which carry you literally up and down the side of a mountain.
Especially compared to its big brother, Universal Studios Florida, a glorious explosion of fun set in the theme park capitol of the world in direct, surprisingly open warfare with the juggernaut of Disneyworld, Universal Studios Hollywood seems rinky dink and half-cocked.
Nonetheless, the park has always held a special place in my hear. See, something people unfamiliar with the park might not know is that it’s actually built very literally INTO Universal Studios. Like, there is a functioning film-lot not just adjacent to the park, but entangled with it. Executives in meetings will occasionally boast they can go down and ride a ride during lunch, though I can’t imagine why they’d want to; most of the rides aren’t very good.
For me, it’s a little different; my father had his office on the Universal Lot in the early nineties, in a bungalow decked out to look like the refuge of some jungle explorer; I relished my visits to the backlot, where I’d get brief glimpses into how movies were actually made, and in some ways, these visits were a deciding factor in my career and greatest passion. So the place is steeped in nostalgia.
But it’s not very exciting.
And tonight, the park was ESPECIALLY not exciting.
Macklemore is the white Eminem.
I say this not necessarily in terms of skin color, but more in the sense of classical dualism, yin and yang. He has set himself up, intentionally or otherwise, as the dualistic companion piece of Eminem, a bizarro version that is still a perfect reflection, a mirror that flips things backwards. We’ll start superficially here, and then dig deeper.
Los Angeles is full of ghosts.
It makes sense, of course, that it would be a graveyard. The city was constructed in such a haphazard lego-brick way that there’s a tremendous amount of dead space between the iconic, bustling parts of town. It’s really the first “20th Century” metropolis; people don’t realize, or maybe just don’t remember, that up until the 1960s the majority of the city was still just orange groves.
And you see the ghosts in other places too. Downtown is filled with marquees that used to belong to movie theaters; wandering inside them, you’ll find any number of bizarre hollowed out buildings, thrift stores, counterfeit merchandise being sold fresh from the docks in Long Beach. Want Ed Harvey (sic) brand shirts? They got ’em. You can’t help but wonder looking at them what it was like to actually go to a movie here, in what’s now an imponderously large cheap chinese restaurant.
Cause that’s the thing about the ghosts of LA; they’re not gossamer. They’re not illusory. They’re right out in the open, there for anyone to see. They’re ghosts you can take a picture of with your iPhone.
Your teeth are sharper than you think they are.
feel them with your tongue right now
Seeing as it appears the new Ghostbusters franchise will be moving away from the previous films, and be a complete reboot, I thought it would be fun to release an idea I’d been kicking around for a third movie, turning the first two into a trilogy. Following my own beliefs about trilogies, it is a completion of the cycle and themes started in the first film, updated for modern film standards. As such, it features a heightening of the first film’s threat, as well as multiple action sequences, and deeper emotional through-lines for the characters.
I never pitched this. It is essentially just fan fiction. Please judge it accordingly; I released it to an overwhelming amount of requests, and also just because I like sharing this stuff. I hope you enjoy.
It’s very sparse, but still very long. If you’re wondering where “all the jokes are” or whatever, just trust that if I actually wrote it, I’d do my best to make this movie very, very funny.
So last time I was here I was talking about the current business of screenwriting, and how my attempts to self promote to circumvent the new model had backfired, and people had…varied reactions to it.
This time I thought I’d give you advice that might actually help you, without bumming you out.
I’m forever asked “how do you write so much,” “how do you make yourself sit down to write,” “what is your writing schedule,” all the basic questions screenwriters ask because they want to see how it lines up against what they’re already doing. I never really have good answers; I don’t have a writing schedule, I procrastinate as much as you do, I just write when I want to write.
But something that occurred to me yesterday, that I haven’t really seen in any study guides or “screenwriting advice” books or blogs, and I think it could actually help you.
And that is: make stuff.