Geek Alert


For the last week, you may have noticed little pictures in the comments section. They are called avatars, and they’re hosted by a service called Gravatar. If you’d like one, you can register and upload an image.1 It’s free and painless. Conveniently, the same picture will show up any blog that uses the Gravatar system, […]


I’m in New York for the second time in a week. This trip is for a director meeting on the studio’s dime. While no one will confuse me for a native, I’ve become a lot more comfortable with the city in the past few years. When people give me cross-streets, I generally have some idea […]

Easter Eggs for Halloween

Although we’re still in theaters, we’re busy at work on the DVD for The Nines, which should hit store shelves sometime after the New Year.1 There are going to be quite a few special features on the disc, but it’s the Easter Eggs that have me blogging today. My question for the DVD gurus out […]

Trailer competition judging in progress

Wow, that’s a lot of entries. I’ll be announcing the winners tomorrow morning. Erik Beeson, who so generously helped with the hosting and torrenting, sent along stats: total torrent file downloads for both torrents combined: 808 (includes search engine crawlers) dv torrent: 162 completed downloads mpeg4 torrent: 79 completed downloads 242 (the direct download) […]

Trailer competition, teaser

Tomorrow, full details of the long-gestating trailer competition will be announced here (and at the lookforthenines site). You’ll have two versions of footage to choose from: DV and MPEG-4. The DV is big and beautiful. The MPEG-4 is small and nimble — and not as bad as you’d think. To get ready, Erik Beeson has […]

String theory

While in Venice, I had dinner with several journalists, buyers, and Gabriele Veneziano, who is the father of our international sales rep. Veneziano, a physicist, is one of the pioneers of string theory — which is ironic, considering some of the related issues in The Nines. In fact, there used to be a scene about […]

The Nines audio commentary

If you’re going to see The Nines this long weekend, you’ll be in a movie theater. You’ll have the benefit of a giant screen, good sound, and fellow patrons with which to partake (and debate) the film. There’s nothing like watching a movie with a crowd: it’s participatory and immediate. One of my favorite moments […]

I think I just got Google Mapped

I was walking my dog this morning when I noticed an orange van with strange equipment on its roof: an array of cameras pointing in all directions. As it passed, I read “TeleAtlas: We’re mapping your world!” on the side. The company is partners with Google, so I have a hunch I may be showing […]

Cannon fodder

I’ve previously written about my little World of Warcraft problem, which cost me a summer. My latest, greatest productivity killer is called Tower Defense. It’s not one game really, but rather a genre of videogames in which the objective is to place and upgrade a series of automated kill-bots (towers) in order to obliterate wave […]

Feeds and subscriptions

In a bit of misguided tweaking, I completely screwed up the RSS feeds for the site. It was a few weeks before I realized the damage I’d done. (I was redirecting through FeedBurner, but only certain formats, leaving other feeds lying dormant. Bad.) I think everything is fixed now. I’m back to the (new-ish?) default […]

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 […]