The Last Blockbuster

Picture it: anywhere in America, mid 1990s. You’re a teenager at the cusp of society deciding for you where you are going to land on the social-dynamic food chain. It’s Friday night. You just finished a rough week of navigating the concrete jungle known as high school. What are you going to do?

Well if you were anything like me and pretty much any other teenager in the mid 90’s, you asked your mom to drive you to the local Blockbuster Video to rent a movie and/or video game so that you’ll-not only have something to do on a Friday night-but you’ll also have something to talk about on Monday.

Your average Blockbuster Video was about the size of an average fast food joint. The smell of popcorn, sour candies, and low-grade carpet shampoo fill your nostrils as your eyes are met with categorized metal shelving of movies by genre and release date.

For many, it was an anthropological marvel of people of all shapes, sizes, classes, and creeds all in one communal place with one (primary) question in mind: what VHS or DVD case was going to call to their attention this time?

“The Last” Blockbuster,” directed by Taylor Morden, tells the story of how this fairytale franchise won its place in all of our hearts with nostalgic reminiscing by a slew of actors, comedians, and filmmakers most popular of that era.

But the history of how this franchise came to be and how it blew up as one of the most successful businesses of the late 20th century is just part of this story. The documentary focuses on Sandi Harding; the last manager of the last remaining Blockbuster Video located in Bend, Oregon, and her fight to keep the store open for the town.

It is a cute little documentary filled with nostalgia that will restore your faith in humanity.

Where Should My Story Go From Here?

I have decided to conduct a little experiment and would like to invite all my readers and subscribers to participate and provide feedback and suggestions.

I started a new story the other day. Generally what I’ve been doing lately that is pretty new, but has been working effectively is I write out new story concepts, opening scenes, dialogue, etc. BY HAND. Some studies have shown that handwriting engages the brain more (or certainly differently) than typing does. In any case, I wanted to share with all of you the first few pages of this new story I’m working on and would love ideas or suggestions of what should happen next.

This is a VERY RAW draft of a few pages. I have no working title, no planned story arc, no resolution in mind. I don’t even know what genre this will end up being… I’m that early into the process. This is more like a free-writing exercise that I wanted to expand on and put some flesh into it. Let me know what you think.

“Ready Player Two” – Ernest Cline

Once upon a time, back in 2011, I read a book that changed my life.

It was a story about me, or, at least, I saw a lot of me in the main character. A lovable high school loser who loved video games and movies of a bygone era. He related and compared his life to that of the characters in the game and movies he loved so much. Then, throw in there the most savage scavenger hunt ever conceived for the ultimate prize. “‘Willy Wonka’ meets ‘The Matrix'” as so flawlessly described by USA Today.

Nine years later and after an abysmal film adaptation, the sequel to the NYT bestseller brought about an older Wade “Parzival” Watts living the life of a recluse billionaire; hidden away (though not ignorant) from all the major issues of the world that seem to be worse than ever. Along with the older Wade comes a different OASIS experience known as ONI that gives the user a seamless experience that gratifies the senses so intensely, it fools the user’s brain into thinking it’s real.

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!!! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK YET!! (more…)

2020

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? What can I express that hasn’t already been expressed among millions of people around the world? This year will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most challenging. The most tragic. The most hostile. The most… apocalyptic.

The word “pandemic” literally became the word of the year according to Webster’s. A word that maybe a handful of us encountered in science fiction disaster movies or archaic medical textbooks. And yet it is also a word that has been debated primarily in the United States; the very existence of a pandemic-by definition-was (and tragically in some circles) still is underplayed or even denied. Over three hundred thousand dead as I write this sentence… and yet some still deny. (more…)

Your Three-Act Structure Called Life

I have been very MIA in quite a few months and I’m sure we can all understand why so I’m not going to go into specifics explaining myself. But I’m back now, and I come bearing an idea… a business idea.

And it’s called: “Your Three-Act Structure Called ‘Life'”

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My First Live Show Interview

Back on April 17, I had my first live show interview through Facebook called Bridging The Gap hosted by Devin Saylor and Loren Gullifer (simply referred to as “Coach.”) On the show, we talked about my podcast, the writing process as a whole, and several other aspects of filmmaking and screenwriting, martial arts, and more. I was honestly a little nervous at first-like the way I feel on the first day of school and have a new roster of students. But it was a lot of fun and it was kind of cool having to respond to questions and comments arriving in real-time to the show.

The show ran just over an hour and you can watch on Facebook here.

 

 

 

Periodic East Update

I want to thank everyone who has been supporting me through this crazy idea I had about posting a chapter a day of my science fiction novel that I started writing by hand over seven years ago. Though the story isn’t finished, I am going to hold off from posting another chapter for a couple of days so that I can figure out how I want the story to continue. I have ideas, it’s just a matter of making a decision as to which would be best.

If you’re not caught up or haven’t even started, I’m sure most of you have some extra time on your hands.

I’ve sacrificed time I would’ve been using to record episodes of my podcast to transcribe, write, edit, and post these chapters, but I think I’m going to spend time working on the podcast again as well as try to finish up some screenplays.

Stay safe out there.

Periodic East, Chapter 32 – Finding The Note

Daniel, Miles, and I returned from our supply excursion. I could tell he was a little restless, but Daniel kept his word about only foraging what he could reach and not climb any tree or reach for a fruit dangling from a branch off a cliff. Our haul was honestly not nearly as much as we usually gather, but our group was now far fewer in numbers, we honestly still had supplies to last us for a week, and our new living conditions vastly improved, which made morale skyrocket.  (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 31 – Initiating a MAC Scrub

This would be the first time that Sam would be inside Kairi’s quarters since he spent the night with her. Even though it was just a few nights ago, for Sam it felt like it had been weeks. As Sam and Jack were walking through the halls of Icarus, Sam and Jack passed other members of the crew. The member of the crew were trying poorly to hide their stares, but Sam noticed that most of the stares were directed at him and not the new fully-formed adult that found his way on board still without explanation. 

Sam ignored this realization and explained it away in his mind by concluding that it was just slight paranoia brought on by tremendous amounts of stress. Stress that was absolutely warranted in his mind. 

Both men reached Kairi’s door to her quarters and Sam took a deep breath before speaking. “These two are the most important and powerful on board Icarus,” he began. “What I’m about to ask of them has never been done before and it’s the second time I ask in the last few hours. Treat them both courteously and respectfully, do you understand?” (more…)

Periodic East, Chapter 30 – A Hospital on Icarus

Icarus, of course, had its own hospital. Here, members of the crew were treated for everything from the sniffles to on-the-job injuries to cancer. So far, no deaths have occurred on Icarus. The hospital consisted of seven doctors varying in different disciplines and specialties. 

There was a very specific reason as to why there were an odd number of doctors on Icarus. Much like The Supreme Court of the United States, back when there was one, any disagreements or debates over what the best course of action when treating a patient can never end in a tie. In all the time since Icarus’ launch, no such disputes had ever occurred.  (more…)