Tag Archives: Cold Void

When to “Give Up on the Baby” (A “Cold Void” Update)

(Sometimes, you just have to realize your “baby” isn’t going turn out like you wanted. Then sign them up for plastic surgery and all sorts of classes and sports to make yourself feel better…)

One of my favorite scenes in "Cold Void."

There’s an adage in writing, especially when writing for the big (or little) screen that says that you “must not be afraid to give up your baby.” Mostly, it refers to giving up the rights to your project that you’ve been working on forever in exchange for selling it for a large sum of money with more zeros than an Internet gaming convention. You won’t ever see it again. It gets ushered out the back door as you are handed a check and ushered back out the front door. And, if you do see your baby again, it’s going to appear to you that right after you let it go, it hit the Greyhound terminal at the Port Authority, was picked up by a “kind looking” studio VP and then forced to turn tricks, having fallen into a life of rewrite drugs and prostitution test screenings until it no longer resembles the beautiful little baby you raised from nothing but a drunk musing written on a cocktail napkin.

But even before that, there can be a time when mysterious strangers (call script coverage personnel) look over your “baby” and say, “This von is too strange and I don’t think ve vill vant to read anymore of it. Now go!” As opposed to the dream-like, “Oh my God! This is great! It’s fantastic! What can we give you for it? We want to take it from you and make your baby a star! And, of course, we want you to be there every step of the way.”

THAT, by the way, never happens. This town is all about the classic undersell. If you think you are a great salesperson and can haggle like the cock of the walk at an Arab bazaar, then come on out. I could use a good agent.

And, that’s where I find myself today. As expected, I received some great (and scathing) feedback from a professional acquaintance on our project “Cold Void” and our attempt to turn this script into a TV series. The details are not important enough to mention for this exercise today, but to me they were spot on. Now comes the hard part: telling my partner, Al, WHAT we need to do in order to make our “baby” better. Sure, it’s really young, just a baby. So are the kids on “Toddlers and Tiaras.” Damn if our child doesn’t need a nose job and a stronger jawline. It might need some of that baby fat trimmed and absolutneeds to get into the writers’ weight room. Maybe some pec and calf implants. Then there is the education classes, the violin lessons, and the tap dance classes. But, it’s hard to cut up your child and then insert non bio-degradeable materials and push them into every conceivable talent class available. But, you need to keep telling yourself that it’s only to make your child better and happier. It’s not about you. It’s about your “baby.”

And who doesn’t want a better baby?

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Why “Off Topic Tim?” And what are “off topics?”

(this may be short. I have to see a person about a thing…)

When searching for a catchy name to call my blog, I searched many website addresses. But, none of them really worked. I mean site names like “Timsideas.com” and “whattimthinks” were already taken. Just how many Tim’s are out there, espousing their ideas to the world?

And, since I do own 23 different domain addresses, I COULD have used one of those. But, really, can you see MarySue or Larry Barley typing in “Hotchicksinlove.com,” “Smalltownnudes.com,” or “Outdoorhotties.com” in order to follow their son’s daily blog? Me neither. Besides, although I really DO own those domain names, I am really just squatting on them until the reprobates of the world decide they want to buy them. (Just picture me sitting on my virtual veranda, in a white seer-sucker suit, twisting my mustache…)

P.S. I do have some really, really great, inventive site names if you ever want the list… 🙂 AND some legitimate ones for “Cold Void” and “Cocktails and Movies” as well.

But, after an exhaustive search that seemed like it took days, but was actually probably more like 20 minutes, I came up with “Offtopictim.com.”  It really does encompass the stray thoughts that go zipping through my head. These ideas can be inconsequential, random or brilliant, but all of them need to get out of my head or my brain will begin to look like a Third World slum with lots of voices in lots of languages shouting at each other while hanging up their laundry and cluttering up my head.

As sociable as I am, by nature, I don’t like to talk about MYSELF. And, thankfully, most people don’t really dig deep enough to realize that I am an expert at deflecting talk about me and my life, goals, dreams, etc. back onto them. It’s a great skill to have as a politician but people tell me that my previous life of drinking, partying, and womanizing would never get me elected. Yet, somehow if worked out for the Kennedy’s and George Bush.

This skill of deflecting talk about myself does have a drawback though. Seriously interested and smart people, mostly women, soon realize that all the talk is centered around them, and they can lose interest in yours truly. This is great if you’re dating a 20-something and won’t miss the self-obsessed girl next to you, but when you’re at the age where long-term relationships are trying to be formed, not letting anyone into what’s inside your skull doesn’t lend itself to forward momentum in a relationship.

But, it’s not all about me that is hard to talk about these days. I have thoughts and opinions on most things. And, they are all the right opinions to have. If you’re in my head. I love to accrue even the least newsworthy item into my brain and save it for later. It’s this love that led me to a shot on “Jeopardy!” once (a third place finish, but a shot nonetheless), and a pretty stellar career at Trivial Pursuit and Trivia Bar Games.

However, have you ever tried to have a conversation with family and friends about “off topics” these days. My friends, whom I love to death, casually dismiss my remarks as “weird” or “goofy” and I’m happy to oblige them in letting any ensuing conversation die off, or else I may have to start talking about myself. Their just great conversation starters or, more aptly, conversation-enders.

But, if you ever need a date that can talk to anyone on anything, drop trivia bombs and walk away and won’t embarrass you for a party or an event, I’ll never let you down and I won’t make it about me…

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Entering the Long, Slow March of “Cold Void” and Coming out with New Purpose

(Good morning, sports fans. In case you didn’t notice, and judging by the lack of traffic yesterday, you didn’t, there was no post yesterday. No reason, I just flaked…)

I am, at times, a good writer, and once in a while a great writer. Those instances are usually left to rare times of complete inebriation where my brain is in the “off mode” or inundation of heavy clouds of pot smoke emanating from my neighbor’s open doorway which push both my brain and hunger into maximum overdrive…

There is no doubt that like great writers throughout history (of which I am NOT), I suffer from some sort of depression. Sometimes I am aware of it and it is little more than a nuisance, a pesky gnat that I can easily swat away. Other times, it lurks menacingly behind me like a dark cloud, shouting things in my head, confusing me and telling me, “No, you can’t do that. It’s better for you to stay inside and concentrate on seemingly nothing, while you doubt yourself.” Then, he knocks on the door all day long, inviting me outside, only to go back to step 1.

(I will address the double-edged nature of the word “no” in an upcoming post)

But, last summer, a friend of mine name Al Burgos came to me during a Friday night BBQ and told me he had an idea for a movie or TV series, and asked if I might be interested in working with him on writing it. I was skeptical to say the least. While I don’t have a super strong background in TV or film, I DO have some experience in TV production and ancillary experience in product placement and brand integrations at Hollywood Branded, a great boutique product placement agency here in LA, which allowed me to read a lot of script. Having read some of the movies that are being “green lit” these days, it led me to believe that Al’s idea, “Cold Void,” could be a great TV series, even with Al’s background in accounting and DEVOID of any TV production experience.

(If you want to know more about “Cold Void,” a sci-fi/family drama with global implications, you can visit the “Cold Void” page here at “OffTopicTim.com” or email me and I’ll send you more info.)

What Al had written, in a Jack Kerouac style, was a solid idea drawing on the thousands and thousands of UFO sightings and abduction stories from pre human history to the Phoenix lights in 1997 and stories this last April from Russia, Sao Paolo and New Mexico. There was work to do, of course; “Cold Void” was raw, like an incomplete set of board games. We had to throw out the Lincoln Logs and Lego’s that mistakenly found their way in, and add cards from Monopoly, Clue and playing pieces from Candy-Land. Sure, it didn’t make sense at first, but creation rarely does. It’s messy.

So, with a new purpose and of course unemployed with lots of time on my hands, I pushed aside the large skulking dark cloud and waded in with both feet not knowing where I would end up.

Al Burgos is a great guy, and will make a great production accountant for a film or even “Cold Void” should we find ourselves making a pilot and getting picked up and going to series and spinning off movies and merchandising…

Sorry, got carried away there!

As I was saying, Al Burgos is great with numbers, and although great with a story, not particular good with spelling and grammar. Come on, guys, he’s an accountant! However, thanks to Larry Barley, my dear old Dad, I am a stickler for grammar and spelling. Together Al and I plunged through the 25 page treatment that he had written and cleaned it up into a small polished piece of coal of a scripted 42 page 1-hour TV pilot. Unfortunately, small pieces of coal aren’t even looked at in Hollywood and are more often used as coal to keep their offices warm while the Bob Cratchet’s of the world shiver while rolling calls in the outer office.

What Hollywood agents are looking for is large, shiny diamonds ready to set in a beautiful setting which they can give to their other clients. But, how were Al and I going to take the “Cold Void” TV pilot (aka small piece of coal) and turn it into “Cold Void,” the 2-hour back door pilot to a series?

With momentum briefly halted, this is where the dark cloud began knocking at my door, but like a lot of things he’s better left ignored…

Realizing that we had something, we needed to find out what we were missing. By now, we had been working together on this project from August through October. By November, we had come up with more back story, greater character development and enough mystery to keep the audience asking for more (aka “a series”). By December, we had crafted a good, not great, 2-hour TV back door pilot, which is basically a 2-hour made-for-TV movie. I feel that it needs a professional coverage person to read it and give notes to us on what WILL make it great… Opinions between the creators of “Cold Void” differ…

In January, we made our first attempts to secure representation for our project. Of the first batch of agencies we solicited, AFTER researching which ones would take unsolicited material(s), “Cold Void” was rejected by one agency, and unheard from by nine. What we failed to realize is that agents want that big, shiny diamond from KNOWN writers, not the small piece of coal that COULD be a diamond with a little help. For that, we need managers, who will guide us in our project and help our careers. And, well, here we are.

The problem with not having forward momentum is that it allows things to catch up to you, including that dark cloud, who knocks at my door; not only throughout the day, but at night when all I want to do is sleep.

Writing “Cold Void” with Al Burgos HAS given me purpose and led me to rewrite an old script from the late 90’s, called “The Turn” about kids, racism and golf in small town Michigan. (Yes, I KNOW. THAT old story…). It’s actually quite good, but needs work even after I took out all the dated Coolio and car phone references.  I’ve also come up with some great ideas for films called “Storyline,” “The Arms” and have even begun to rewrite my “eternally being written” novel The Summer of Blue Drinks.

Someday, I’ll get them all done.

But, right now, I need to answer the door…

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