Geek Alert

After the digg

I’ve seen a lot of articles about the Digg Effect and what a site can expect after having a bunch of new visitors arrive to check out an article, as happened with my recent post on Warcraft. The general prediction is that readership drops to normal levels pretty quickly, and that’s borne out by the […]

Seven Things I Learned from World of Warcraft

Those who’ve seen my movie, The Nines, can infer that I had a bit of a World of Warcraft problem back in the day. “The day” being a period of about four months in which most of my waking hours were spent either playing the game or wanting to. The luxury and danger of being […]

About the live updates

If you’re reading this site via the RSS feeds, you may not be aware that the “real” site features a continuously updated list of what I’m doing at Sundance. Call it microblogging. It’s powered by Twitter, and doesn’t show up in the main feed. However, you can subscribe to the just the Twitters through the […]

On why the site looks a little different

One of my self-assigned projects for the holiday break was to rebuild the site — not so much how it looked, but the coding underneath. Inspired by the SimpleBits re-do, and armed with my copy of Andy Clarke’s Transcending CSS, I envisioned sparkling new CSS, built on a clear semantic framework. No longer would the […]


New (to me) term for a useful device in serial fiction.

Introducing jaWiki

When I redesigned the site in February, the major goal was to allow better access to the archive information. Unlike most blogs, the bulk of the content on is equally relevant today or four years from today — unlike celebrity marriages, the answers to screenwriting questions pretty much hold solid. Although I think it’s […]

Back from Austin

Two flights, three panels and five beers later, I can say I had a good time at the Austin Film Festival. It was certainly the best time I’ve had in Austin, largely because I got off my ass and went to the parties and screenings. (Although some of the credit for that has to go […]

Previewing score with GarageBand

Alex Wurman is busy writing the music for The Movie, which in this digital age means a lot of files shuttling back and forth. Rather than tapes, we have QuickTimes for each reel, with timecode burned in for reference. When Alex wants us to listen to a cue, he sends an mp3 with instructions for […]

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

A shout out to a good show and their low budget ways.

ControllerMate and automatic fingers

I recently upgraded to a Mac Pro, which I justified to myself thusly: I’m doing effects for The Movie, and Motion runs much faster on it. (In truth, I only did one effect in the final cut.) My G5 was actually slower than my laptop. As a writer, I needed a quieter computer. I deserve […]

Update on the promiscuous player problem

My plea for a DVD player with loose morals and low standards was answered by many thoughtful readers. I ended up picking the Philips DVP-642 ($49 at Amazon), which not only zips through questionably-recorded dailies, but even Peixe Grande e Suas Historias Maravilhosas, the Portuguese version of Big Fish. Thanks again.

Making the geek movie

There is definitely room in the film universe for a uber-geek movie, be it a thriller, a drama, a comedy or whatever.

Why the Matrix trilogy ultimately blows

Following a link from digg, I just finished reading a lengthy explanation of the Matrix trilogy, written by an engineer, who attempts to deconstruct the films on a purely logical level. That is, he looks at what The Architect and The Oracle are trying to do, and how Neo fits into the plan, without any […]

Geek Help Wanted: The missing sidebar

Being a Mac user, I’m spoiled with Safari and Firefox, and happily assume that the rest of the world has it so good. A kind reader wrote in to let me know that the sidebar isn’t showing up on Internet Explorer 6 or 7 for Windows. This means readers stuck with IE (at work, for […]

Redesign, part one

Readers who visit the web site, as opposed to getting it through the feeds, will notice a few changes, both cosmetic and architectural. We’ll start with the obvious stuff. The blue header is a little bluer, the footer is fatter, and there are fewer entries per page. There’s now an archive listing on every page […]

Something weird with the RSS feed

If you’re reading this site through the feeds, an FYI: the plain-old RSS feed (the 0.92 version) isn’t working right for some reason. You’d be better off with the 2.0 version or the Atom feed, both of which seem to work fine.

Shake for less

I recently learned Final Cut Pro, Apple’s editing system, which is complicated but incredibly intuitive. That got me anxious to experiment with the other pro film tools. The full Final Cut Pro Studio package is fairly inexpensive, especially with an educational discount. Unfortunately, Apple’s Shake 4 compositing software costs $2700 or more, which would tend […]

What happened

On Sunday morning, I woke up, fed my daughter, and read the Los Angeles Times. There was a good article about Joss Whedon’s Serenity, which managed to shoot in Los Angeles at a reasonable budget, largely because of smart planning. Yet another reason to admire Joss Whedon. I headed out the office to blog about […]


Now that there are several screenwriter-oriented blogs, I thought I’d take a moment to examine the six-degrees of separation quality among them. Or perhaps I just want to revel in the fact that I’m the Kevin Bacon of screenbloggers. ★ I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing This is how I met Josh Friedman: When […]

New server on the way

Good news for those readers frustrated by the all-too-frequent outages at this site: we’re moving to a new server, which will hopefully not flake out as often. If it does, I’ll change service providers. Again. Sigh. There may be a little turbulence this week as the new server settles in. Caveat browser.

New videocamera

In preparation for both the Charlie press junket and my impending fatherhood, I bought a new videocamera. I already had a Sony DV camera, but small as it is, I never end up bringing it along with me. It’s overkill for what I want, which is mostly posting little clips on the web for friends […]

Weekend numbers

It’s not quite the Slashdot effect, but Sunday’s article in the NY Times did result in a spike in readership, as the chart shows: Average traffic for a Sunday is about 2,800 sessions; yesterday, the total was 5,500. (A “session” is a way of measuring individual visitors to a site, while “hits” simply refers to […]

Tracking a comment thread by RSS

Unlike some sites, where the number of comments on a given article can reach triple-digits, most of the threads at stay pretty short. Still, sometimes you want to keep on top of an interesting discussion without re-visiting the site every hour. That’s where RSS can be your friend. On every article, down by the […]

Movable Type vs. WordPress

Not a screen-writing question, I’m afraid — more a “Geek Alert” one. I’ve got a blog on at the moment, and am thinking of moving to a different blogging tool. I’m a techie by background (computer science degree) now working in film visual effects (currently on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), and would love […]

Picking a printer

You don’t need a great printer, just one that can kick out 120 pages.