The Paranormal Activity Experience

September 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm

The Paranormal Activity Theater Experience | Paranormal Activity 4 Preview


I’m a big fan of the Paranormal Activity franchise.  If you buy into the mythology and the found footage approach, they’re a ton of fun.  The original remains one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve ever had.  The sold out crowd followed every beat of the film as one.  Everyone jumped simultaneously and EVERYONE was quiet when the infamous ‘bedroom shot’ appeared at night.  We all knew something crazy was about to happen and when it did, the energy in the room skyrocketed.  It also happens to be the first movie I saw with the woman who is now my wife.

When Paranormal Activity 2 was released, we went with a group of friends on opening weekend.  I was hoping for another amazing experience but sadly, a small group of idiots ruined it for us.  The second the movie began these teens wouldn’t shut up.  We theorized that Mommy dropped them off and they were nervous.  So they… Discussed…  Everything! It was the first time I ever told someone to shut up in a theater.  To this day, it remains the only time I had to do something like that.

The thing is, I thought the movie was fantastic.  It was a great way to continue the series.  It’s just difficult to get into a movie when losers are making obvious observations behind you.  Yes…  We are all aware that something is going to happen.  You don’t have to announce it!  …  And we certainly don’t need a recap afterwards.

We were cautious when Paranormal Activity 3 was released.  Our second Paranormal experience left us bitter so we waited a few weeks before seeing the film.  It was the only way to limit the amount of idiots we encountered.  I knew the theater wouldn’t be packed and there was no chance of recapturing the magic of the first.  It was disappointing but at least I could enjoy the movie in peace right?  Wrong.  This time, the idiots were female and they were sitting right beside us.  Another Paranormal Activity experience was ruined.  Shame.

After that, we vowed to wait until Paranormal Activity 4 was available to watch at home.   At least it gives us an opportunity to watch the others marathon style.  I just wish I was excited to line up on opening day.

Two straight experiences were ruined by inconsiderate morons who didn’t care.  They’ll never know how much we were looking forward to it.  How we went out to dinner and talked about the other films beforehand.  How we waited for a theater with assigned seating so we could be strategic in selecting our seats.  They’ll never know that they shattered the dream the original Paranormal Activity inspired years ago.


XTRA | Wouldn’t It Be Awesome if Paranormal Activity 4 was about…

So… The fourth installment of the franchise is just around the corner and we have a decision to make.  Do we risk sitting next to someone else who doesn’t care?  Do we brave the crowd hopelessly searching for silence?  Will Paranormal Activity 4 be accompanied by a crowd that WANTS to be scared?

I’m not so sure.  On the other hand, it definitely won’t be the same watching it at home.  However, these movies are made so you question every sound you hear in your house at night.  Perhaps it will be a completely new experience watching a NEW Paranormal Activity at home.  But am I really willing to wait that long?

  • Amazing Packed Theater vs Intimate Screening at Home
  • Risky Audience vs Longer Wait

It’s a tough call.  Even if we get a good audience, the movie may not even deliver. After all, people know what to expect now.  We all know the scares are coming.  Perhaps that’s part of the problem.  Movie fans are always searching for a perfect theatrical experience.   I’ve been a part of tons of great audiences since then but the first Paranormal Activity truly memorable.  I’d love experience that again.  If not, I’ll keep searching.  That’s the beauty of movies:


XTRA | Here’s a handy Paranormal Activity Timeline courtesy of Dredd Central.

The Paranormal Activity Theater Experience | Paranormal Activity 4 Preview

The Best Dumb & Dumber Quotes

September 27, 2012 at 12:39 am

The Top 100 Dumb & Dumber Quotes


It’s a hard question to answer especially if you adore the movie.  It’s easily the most quoted movie among my circle of friends and narrowing it down to one was tough.

Originally, I set out to create a Top 10 but that wasn’t easy.  There are simply too many phenomenal lines.  By the time I was finished, I had a massive list of Harry & Lloyd’s funniest moments.

The Top 100 Dumb & Dumber Quotes!

Click here for Part One: #100 to #31

Click here for Part Two: #30 to #1

Click here for Part Three: The Tribute

I realized after I completed the list that it was essentially the entire script.  That’s a compliment to The Farrelly Brothers as well as Jim Carrey & Jeff Daniels.

The Best Dumb & Dumber Quotes | Top 100 Dumb & Dumber Qutoes

When FADE OUT Is Just Around The Corner

September 26, 2012 at 9:21 am

When FADE OUT Is Just Around The Corner

June 26, 2012

I haven’t written a tremendous amount of feature length screenplays but there are a few I’m extremely proud of on the shelf.  Actually, I think the correct term is ‘collecting dust’ on the shelf.  All that is changing now that I’ve reorganized my priorities.  I’ve been writing more than ever!

Today, I wanted to focus on something positive that means the world to me.

As of this morning, I’ve written 70 pages in a month.  The end is near.  I know my characters better than ever, I know how everything fits together and I can see the big picture.  I’m almost finished a brand new feature length screenplay!

I want to talk about how much that means to me.

In the last two years, I’ve only completed ONE feature.  It was a script I developed in college so really I haven’t created anything new in a while.  The ideas have always been there.  I just haven’t written them.  My new script deals with anxiety which adds a personal touch having dealt with high levels of anxiety for years.  This is the most important screenplay I’ve ever written.  I’m not going to say it’s the best thing I’ve ever written but I’m really excited about the story I’m telling.  I want it to be the best thing I’ve ever written.

I’ve reached the final act.  FADE OUT is only a few short weeks away. (Or sooner!)  I can’t tell you how excited I am to type those two wonderful words.  A first draft.  I want to print it out and hold it in my hands.  Hours of work poured into a story I believe in.  For a screenwriter, it doesn’t get much better than that…

…  Although I will be scribbling endless notes and changes in the margins of that first printout.

Honestly, I think this is it for me.  I think I’ve finally taken a big leap forward with my writing.  I can’t wait to finish this script.  I can’t wait to start a new one.  I can’t wait to see what’s next.  I can’t wait to keep writing.

From a screenwriting perspective, there’s no greater feeling than seeing the end and knowing how to get there.

I’m almost done!

The Summer of Screenwriting: Looking Back

I wrote that post 3 months ago to the day.  I was so enthusiastic about the script, my writing and where I was heading.  It’s crazy to look back knowing the creative fire I lit 3 months ago is still burning today.  I’m still writing as much as possible and slowly, the next script is taking shape.

This post made me smile.  I loved that feeling.  I was so close.  There’s nothing like hitting save and immediately anticipating the next available writing session.  That story was so much fun to write.

Screenwriting Mistakes: Small Moments Can Have A Big Impact

September 26, 2012 at 9:20 am

Screenwriting Mistakes: Rushing Through A Big Moment

June 11, 2012

I just finished writing a scene that involved a truly emotional goodbye between two major characters.  What complicated things was how I staged the scene.  One of my characters is indoors while the action takes place outdoors.  Only a window separates them.

The point of the scene is to establish a main plot point before my character leaves.  In my mind, I know it’s the last time these two people will see each other for a long time.  But when I finished the scene, I had lost sight of that.  I wasted a golden opportunity to slow things down and let these two characters really experience the emotions.


My mistake was focusing on the exposition and action instead of the characters themselves.  The BIG moment is the goodbye and I didn’t feel like I did it any justice.  So I started the scene again and shifted my focus to where it belonged.

The ‘goodbye’ was the emotional core of my scene.  Deep down, were the characters aware how much an innocent wave meant?

These are the moments I love about screenwriting.  The leg work.  Paying attention to the little details.

After some thought, I found a way to rework the scene around this new moment.  The result was a drastically improved scene with a lot more emotion and meaning.  Sometimes, you truly believe a scene is done only to discover a much better way.  It makes you think about the other scenes in your screenplay.  Can they be better?  Are there any other moments that feel rushed?

On the flip side, you still have to have confidence in your work.  You can waste a lot of time second guessing yourself.

Think.  Write.  Think.  Rewrite.  Think.  Write.

The Summer of Screenwriting: Looking Back

It’s interesting to think about my script WITHOUT that moment now.  I was finished the scene and I was happy with it.  I had moved on but something kept bugging me about it.  Almost like I was being lazy.  It had to be better.

There was a time when I wouldn’t ask myself those questions.  Many short screenplays I wrote long ago didn’t go through such scrutiny.  One in particular became a movie that could have been better had I thought about the impact moments I DIDN’T write.

On the positive side, at least I caught it and made my script better.  It would have been much worse if I just ignored my instincts and left the scene alone.

It makes me smile knowing that I’ve grown as a writer.  There’s always something new to learn.

Getting Stuck Reading Your Screenplay Before It’s Finished

September 26, 2012 at 9:19 am

Getting Stuck Reading Your Screenplay Before It's Finished | Screenwriting Blog

June 16, 2012

SCREENWRITERS!  You’ve just completed an epic new scene full of drama and/or excitement.  You want to read it again but why limit yourself to a single scene?  Why not read the entire script up to that point to see how it flows?

I’ve read books in the past that promote creating your first draft uninterrupted and then see what you’ve got.  I don’t think that’s my style.  I like going back to the beginning from time to time and scrutinizing the events leading up to my new scenes.  But I’m also guilty of taking too much time away from crafting new material in favor of reading.  At what point do you have to skip to the blank page at the bottom and type something new?

I mention it now because today, I caught myself reading things over because I was stuck.  I knew the next scene that had to be written but it just wasn’t clicking.  It’s one thing to plan a scene but it’s an entirely different beast when you have to write it.  It turns out, I didn’t have a really clear idea of what I wanted the scene to be.  I knew the players and the action but the details were lacking.

So I procrastinated.

I went back to page 1 and read everything I had…  Slowly.  While I wasn’t being overly productive, it still helped a lot.  In the early stages of your first draft, there are bound to be a couple scattered grammatical errors.  You can always work on the structure of your pages and the all important white space.

You can improve the language of the script.  Find better ways to describe your world.

It’s important work but nobody will ever see it if you don’t finish the script right?  There are pros and cons to everything.  In the end, I decided to leave my script alone once I read it over.  I stepped away.  Some will argue that I wasted valuable time better spent writing new pages.

I think any time spent exploring the pages you’ve already written is still a productive exercise.

Have you ever found yourself reading your screenplay before it’s finished instead of writing new pages?

The Summer of Screenwriting: Looking Back

I think this post sums up a lot of my problems when it came to screenwriting.  I always had the best intentions but always put things off.  I was definitely productive that day but what I failed to mention was how much free time I wasted playing video games before I even opened up the script.

Ultimately, whenever I did write new material it was always worth the wait.  I would always catch myself wondering why I put it off in the first place.  The lesson?  I need to stop complaining, procrastinating and most of all, I need to stop whining about it.  I need to sit down, shut up and write screenplays.