Perceptual Abstraction

Quick trip to LA last weekend, which included (as it usually does) a visit to LACMA. Picasso-Rivera, check (great and revelatory).

But the unexpected bonus, one of my favorite painters for decades: John McLaughlin (in, surprisingly, his first major posthumous retrospective). To get all art-theory (from the LA Times): “[his] negative space allows consciousness to blossom and manifest itself.”

And you can’t get any better than that.

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UFVA 2013, part 3

UFVA 2013 - attendees

Yep, I’m in there somewhere… (Not too far from the center, actually, donning a Written By baseball cap.)

UFVA 2013, part 2

Marion Knott Studios Dodge College UFVA 2013
UFVA 2013 @ Marion Knott Studios

So, my first attendance at the University Film and Video Association (UFVA) conference and it was a privilege, of course, interacting with my professional colleagues (many of whom, like myself, have 2-3 decades of experience as screenwriters in the entertainment industry — and a good number of whom were fellow UCLA Film School graduates), and quite illuminating touring the state-of-the-art Marion Knott Studios, the home of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts (7th best film school in the country, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Continue reading “UFVA 2013, part 2”

University Film and Video Association (UFVA) 2013 Conference

UFVA logoI’m off to my first ever attendance at the annual University Film and Video Association (UFVA) Conference, being held this year at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts just outside of Los Angeles — one of the premiere film schools in the U.S.

This year’s conference theme is “Story First,” and of course, it’s never been a better time to discuss what it means to be a cinematic storyteller in the 21st century, and what contemporary audiences actually seek in terms of a good film story. Continue reading “University Film and Video Association (UFVA) 2013 Conference”

One of These Nights

LAX&SuperMoonPeople ask me sometimes if I liked living in Los Angeles. The snapshot here contains part of the answer. It’s not just a view, it’s an interior landscape.

Outside the frame, the illuminated silhouette of the downtown skyline pries through the June gloom. In the blackness — unilluminated (except for those times when the fires burn) — the Santa Monicas, Verdugos and San Gabriels ring the basin. The Pacific Ocean lies a mile or so behind camera.

Inside the frame (hard to see, but to the left above the iconic pylon installation, scattered like fireflies), approach lights from a dozen commercial aircraft hone in on the beckoning tarmacs. And yes, that’s the moon to the right, unretouched. (JFK concocted the moon race during one of his frequent trips to L.A.: little known fact.)

I was in western New York recently: Finger Lakes, waterfalls, riesling, sailing. Very nice (in June, not in January).

But this is perennial. Electric and tectonic. A Rorschach.

Spring 2013 @ Santa Fe University

After a two-week sojourn to L.A. (indulging in awards screenings, caviar at Petrossian’s, schmoozing at Dan Tana’s, New Year’s Day wine-tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley, and all-around warmer weather), I’m back in Santa Fe — very excited to be teaching a new slate of undergraduate screenwriting courses and looking forward to shepherding the next outing of the annual Outdoor Vision Fest happening April 26.

We’ve got Saints Row producer Greg Donovan coming in to guest-lecture the first week of classes; A&E’s Longmire returning to the campus’s Garson Studios to shoot its second season in February; and award-winning cinematographer Paul Elliott joining our exceptional faculty. It’s looking like a great 2013!

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

Summer news often slows down, but just to correct the impression that professors somehow get a 3-month “paid vacation”, here’s some of my day-to-day since filing final grades a month ago: