Born On The 28th of February? And A List of Famous People Who Are

30 12 2005

So, were you born on this date? Do you know of anyone who was? With nothing better to do, I’d recently created a group where all members would have the same birthday.

Do all Feb 28-ers think alike? Who are they, how are they, where are they, and why are they? Is there a pattern? Is there really a connection between all who share the same Zodiac sign, being this precise?

I guess we’ll find out some day. But first, it’d be great to know where everyone is. How many of ‘us’ are out there, do you think? I gues I am interested in finding a pattern, if there is one.

Now, wouldn’t it be great if a whole lot of us who have the same birthday meet at one place for our birthday? Maybe we can do that and get in the Guiness Book of World Records.

One giant birthday card. One giant candle. One monstrous cake. A birthday party so big we’d have to rent a small town! Oh, the dreams we have.

So wanna know who else (famous, not so famous) shares our birthday?

Here is a random list

Linus Pauling (scientist) 1901–Two time Nobel Prize Winner. Considered one of the greatest Chemists of the 20th Century.

Brian Jones (musician) 1940 — of the ginormous Rolling Stones

John Turturro (actor) 1957

Bernadette Peters (actor) 1948

Mercedes Ruehl (actor) 1948

Mike Figgis (filmmaker) 1948

Mario Andretti (speed racer) 1940

Milton Caniff (cartoonist) 1907 — creator of newspaper comics ‘Terry and The Pirates (1934 and ‘Steve Canyon (1947). [The term ‘Dragon Lady’ comes from a character of his in ‘Pirates’.]

Dorothy Stratten (model/actor) 1960

Ali Larter (actor) 1976 [my exact birthday match–moderator]

Smarty Jones (thoroughbred) 2001 — this horse was all over the news. As well it should be.

Michel de Montaigne (French Philosopher) 1533

Berthold Auerbach (novelist) 1812

Ernest Renan was (French Philosopher) 1823

Ben Hecht (Novelist, Auhtor, Playwright) 1893

Vincente Minnelli (filmmaker) 1903

Tom Aldredge (actor) 1928 [most recently in COLD MOUNTAIN]

Tommy Tune (actor) 1939

Alice May Brock (author, restaurateur) 1941

Gilbert Gottfried (comedian) 1955

Rae Dawn Chong (actor/director) 1962

Rory Cochrane (actor) 1972 [most recently ‘Hart’s War]

Tangi Miller (actor) 1974 [Felicity]

Daniel Handler (author) 1970 — Lemony Snicket series

Robert Sean Leonard (actor) 1969

Sarah Bolger (actor) 1991 — [played Christy in ‘In America’]

David Esparza (sound editor) 1978 [recent works, The Pink Panther, The Ringer, Shopgirl]’

Guy Maddin (filmmaker) 1956 [recent film Saddest Music in the World w/I. Rossellini]

Jennifer Kapoor (actor/desinger) 1934 [married Indian star Shashi Kapoor]

Frank Gehry (Architect) 1929====Charles Durning (actor) 1928

Saul Zaentz (producer) 1921 [The English Patient, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest]

Zero Mostel (actor) 1915 [The Producers, The Front]

Don McGuire (screenwriter) 1919 [Tootsie]

Bugsy Siegel (businessman?) 1906






I’m sure these lists don’t even scratch the surface, but it’s a great start.


The TipspiT (Writing Tips)

16 12 2005

Clever title, eh? I actually came here to edit some of the awfully constructed sentences from my previous post. But I’ll probably end up rewriting it so much that it will become a different post. “Maybe I’ll write something new,” I found saying to myself…(cue in Theme from Rocky) “I’ll share tips on writing.”

Alright, I’ll get to it.

* Watch foreign films (other than the language(s) you speak) on DVD, with the sound turned off. The subtitles are often more articulate and easy flowing than what’s being said by the characters. Sometimes, subtitle writers have to fit in a certain amount of information on screen without getting too wordy. Good exercise.

* When you’re stuck on page X with your story, and your protaginist is not doing or saying anything you like, give him/her a rest and write from the POV of the person he/she is meeting or going to meet. Your characters need rest too after climbing mount everest and chasing after bad guys, or recouping from a bad breakup.

* Dialogue. How do you write good dialogue? My mentor Carey Harrison gave me the greatest tip about that. “Don’t try to ‘write’ anything. Just let your characters talk to each other, listen to them, and try to keep up.”

* Warming up. Before you start writing each day, before you continue the story you have been working on, take out a few minutes and write a page of material that’s a 180 degree from your style, subject and taste. It should shock, embarass, or disgust you when you read it later. Do not stop see what you’re writing. Do not stop for spell check. Do not stop, period. What you’ll have done is opened yourself up for better reception. Your characters, from your work in progress, will feel confident and willing to open up to you more. They’ll, I should say, flesh out better on paper. Which brings us to…

* …Never judge your character’s words or action. If you judge them, they will only tell you things that are PC. They will feel nervous and awkward or even stop being interesting. Does not make for interesting storytelling. Some of you may have a problem with this. ‘What is he smoking?’ will probably what you’ll wonder. If you do, you’ll have proven to yourself that you’re no imaginative writer.

* Believe everything you write about. ‘Would I, or any other real person do that?’ should never occur to you. You’ve written it, and your characters just did it. ‘Write what you know’ is a bs advice to be ignored.

* Write the movie you would like to pay $10 and go see yourself. If it’s the story of ‘A man meets the girl of his dreams…in his latest dream. He wants to be with her forever, therefore becomes addicted to sleeping pills’…then be it. By the way…what a weirdly cool idea, isn’t it? Just came to me 🙂

* Read, read, read and…read some more! I cannot stress that enough. Start with classic plays, vary the styles…Chekhov, Ibsen, Pinter, Beckett, Miller, Simon. Contemporaries like Mamet, Hare, Frayn, and the list goes on. Why a play? They’re wordy! I know it’s the opposite of how you write in film, but the purpose is to hone the rhythm with which you read/hear dialogue. These playwrights have written, and some continue to write, the finest and realistic (not real) dialogue and characters that when read out loud (loud enough for you only) you begin to ‘hear’ the characters in your imagination with a certain rhythm. That rhythm is your rhythm because it’s the rhythm that defines you. Once you have that, your writing will find a rhythm of its own. Rhythm and clarity gives birth to style. A style that is recognizable as yours. Clarity is style.

* Avoid reading just any contemporary screenplays. Read good ones. If you’ve seen a film and have loved it, read the screenplay. Then again, screenplays aren’t meant as literature pieces to read, but good screenplays are good screenplays.

* Stop worrying about how millions of ‘brilliant’ writers are not making it in the biz. That’s their story. It does not affect your path, destiny or whatever you like to call it. Stop reading books, or listening to people, who promise you formula on writing and success. If they had any, they would have used it for themselves. Their formulas don’t work, which is why they agreed to share it. No one shares their ‘secret to success.’

* Listen to people you like and make you feel better. Listen to someone who gives you constructive criticism about writing. Listen to someome who listens to you, and understands your potential. Amidst all this insanity, there are wonderful people whose experience in the industry makes for valuable mentors. Find them and stick with them. Every good writer has a good reader. Be open to criticism. You’ll be angry with someone for being honest, but they’ll only do it for your own good without making it personal. Avoid people who think they know the real world and constantly warn you about the reality. Avoid bitter and gloomy people. It’s not a requisite to be an ‘artiste’…which brings us to…

* Screw the so-called ‘artistes’ and the wannabes, the type who think they’re above regular people. Just because you think you are an artste writer type and people call you one doesn’t give you the license to behave like an asswipe. Without craft there is no art, without humility there is no human. Made that one up just now, but it works. Which brings us to…

* Live life, dammit! To write is to create is to reflect is to hide is to emote is to love is to doing it all your way. Your voice is what makes you unique, your face is what makes you unique, your body is what makes you unique. Then why shouldn’t your writing? Don’t try to fit in. Fitting in is a lot of work that a lifelong struggle doesn’t satisfy.

I guess I stepped a bit away from ‘real’ writing tips, but what the hell can anyone do about it. I should exhale now. I’ll share more ‘Philosomon’ when I have them. Happy writing!

What’s ‘Shooting’ Lately??

4 12 2005

So, I have just passed the first month of editing the US Screenwriters Network bulletin. There are now over 1500 writers, directors, producers, prod. companies, agents, film lovers, and film festival people who’ve signed up to receive the daily (Mon-Fri) issues.

It’s unlike anything else I’ve done over the years. This blog was started partly because I needed a place to share with people what I’m thinking at a certain time, and to promote stuff I’ve been up to, but never have a regular crowd. The bulletin guarantees an audience.

This is probably the longest I’ve gone without posting a new entry on Emonome. I have been devoting most of my time for the bulletin. Don’t have a lot of readers participating in the bulletin posts, yet, but I’ve been getting emails about the TIP JAR section, which seems to be really popular. I end up entering the bulk of entries, each day, but it’s all worthwhile. If contents in each bulletin has helped out one person in any way, then my job is well done. Hold, let me reach my back and pat it. There, there.

It does feel incredible when your work goes out to all these people each day. I love receiving complimentary as well as angry email from folks! It tells me they take it seriously. It tells me people care. I have no doubt the Shooting People publication will go very far and will enjoy a huge success. Just a matter of time.