I Built My First Movie Shelf & I Have The Scar To Prove It

March 24, 2013 at 10:46 am

I Built My First Movie Shelf & I Have The Scar To Prove It


When I was in 9th grade, we had to take a shop class equally divided between automotive, wood working & electricity.  My interests didn’t really align with any of them but I did my best.  When 11th grade came along, I decided to take a full semester of wood working as it was my favorite of the three.

We started small, creating simple projects while learning about the tools and… Ahem…  Safety.

Towards the end of the semester, we were given free reign to create whatever we wanted for our final project.  Naturally, I decided to make a movie shelf.  I had began working at a local Pizza Hut so I had money to buy used VHS tapes.  My collection was beginning to grow and I needed something to hold my movies.

The shelf I had in mind could not have been simpler to build yet I found a way to screw it up.  In the process, I changed the way they taught wood shop safety forever.


A planer is used to make planks of wood thinner.  I was using it to create my frame and shelves.  Now…  a key step in the process is to never set the machine to shave off too much wood at once.  The wood gets stuck in the blades.

When a plank gets stuck, the procedure is to shut off the machine and use another piece of scrap wood to free the wood.  I shut off the machine but failed to wait long enough for the blades to slow down.  Being an intelligent human being, I grabbed a metal ruler to fight against the planer’s sharp teeth.  The second the wood was free the ruler nicked the blades and came flying out of the machine.

It sliced a huge cut in the palm of my hand and I immediately went into shock.

I raised my hand and class went silent.  The teacher sent a student to get the vice principal and wrapped my hand.  They called an ambulance and my Dad while my friends straddled the line between laughter and concern.  I was actually okay until the paramedics got there and told me I needed stitches.

I’m not a fan of needles.  In order to get stitches they have to numb the area with a needle and then use a separate needle to stitch the wound.  The color drained from my face.  Throughout my life, I’ve experienced injuries but they were always related to sports.  I was an enormous sissy about the stitches.  My Dad could tell I was terrified and smiled accordingly.

After a long wait in the emergency room, it was finally time to get stitched up.  It hurt but I got over it…  Above all else, I’m thankful the ruler didn’t hit my thumb.  The doctor told me I could have lost it if the ruler hit me at a different angle.  Even now I think about how lucky I got and what a wimp I was.

I eventually finished the shelf and I still have it to this day although it’s buried in a closet somewhere.  From what I’ve heard, the story of the idiot who needed 8 stitches is told on the first day of school…  Every year.

One Trek… One No Trek

March 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm

One Trek...  One No Trek | Original Star Trek vs New Star Trek J.J Abrams Star Trek Into Darkness


Welcome to a new 3 part series on The Athletic Nerd.  One Trek.  One No Trek.  A debate between two very different Star Trek Fans.  It’s a look at the evolution of the franchise and the characters we love or have grown to love.

A friend of mine is a massive fan of the original Star Trek series.  But…  To say he disliked J.J Abrams’ 2009 reboot would be an understatement.

I’ve never seen an episode of the original series but I absolutely adored the new Star Trek.


Contrasting viewpoints to say the least.  With Star Trek Into Darkness on it’s way to theaters in May, there’s no better time to debate old school vs new school.  A life long, die hard fan vs A new recruit. (Lens flares vs no lens flares)

Click here for Round ONE

XTRA | Top 5 Moments: Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer #1

XTRA | 44 movies to look forward to in 2013

20 Awesome Movie Websites You’ll Love

March 5, 2013 at 7:20 am

Best Movie News Blogs | 20 Awesome Movie Websites & Blogs You'll Love

If you’re like me, you wake up every morning and immediately scan your favorite movie blogs.  Minutes after my eyes open, I reach for my iPad and scan for new announcements, trailers and updates.

XTRA | 42 iPad links for filmmakers, screenwriters and movie lovers

Sometimes, my blog surfing inspires a new post for this site.  It’s a routine I highly enjoy.  Today, I’d like to highlight the sites I frequent most.  They aren’t in any particular order although I definitely visit /Film and Collider before any others.

Combined, these 20 sites cover every big story from multiple angles.  It’s nice to be able to read different perspectives on the latest movie news.  These sites are the reason The Athletic Nerd isn’t a movie news blog.  It just didn’t seem right to publish news updates when I read them myself elsewhere.

Are some of your favorites on this list?  Any amazing sites I’m missing?




Geek Tyrant

Screen Crush


Cinema Blend

Dark Horizons

Latino Review

Screen Rant

Film School Rejects

Screen Junkies

Rope of Silicon

Coming Soon

Ain’t It Cool

Total Film

Den of Geek

Bloody Disgusting

The Guardian

Yahoo Movies

Looking for even more movie sites?  Click here for thousands!

Oscar Aspirations: Screenwriting, Passion & Good Ideas

February 21, 2013 at 12:35 am

The 85th Academy Awards on The Athletic Nerd


It’s the category I look forward to most each year.

A screenwriter(s) gets an idea and spends countless hours perfecting every moment.  Slowly, the story takes shape and the characters come alive.  The first draft gets sent out to family and friends.  To producers and actors.  The reviews are all positive but the screenwriter is still critical.  Rewrites.  The very measure of the dedication it takes to succeed as a screenwriter.

A new draft makes it’s way into the right hands and hundreds of passionate artists from all corners of the industry make it their own.  A collaboration.  One tiny idea backed by the passion and commitment of many becomes a film.

It’s released to the world and people relate to the story.  Professionals love it.  Critics love it.  Audiences love it.  Fans around the world discuss all the little details so carefully put in place.  Every word counts.  Every ounce of sweat poured into each sentence is on the screen.  A new classic.

Oscar night arrives.  The competition is tough.  The envelope is opened.  The winner is…

To me, this story is less about the award and more about the inspiring feeling I get when I watch The Academy Awards each year.  Best original screenplay.  A screenwriter’s dream.  It’s a worthy goal but I like to focus more on the passion that leads to the accomplishment.

A good idea is one of the most exciting events in the life of any creative individual.  But a good idea is only as good as the passion you summon to fan the flames.  Imagine having the freedom to write anything you want.  Imagine having the ability to hone your craft and make your screenplay great.  You can.  It may not win an Oscar but dedicating yourself to your script certainly doesn’t make things worse.  Everything you need is staring back at you when you look at a blank page.

It’s an inspiring thought isn’t it?

Oscar Aspirations: Screenwriting, Passion & Good Ideas

Paperman & The Inspirational Animations We Adore

February 5, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Paperman & The Inspirational Animations We Adore


We all have favorites.  Whether they are short films or full length features, we’ve all been captivated by animation.  I often think about the animations that inspired me as a child and how I still hold those films close to my heart today.  I love animation.  I regularly search the web looking for new animated short films.  I’ve actually featured some of these discoveries in nearly every edition of The Post I’ve ever published.

It was my dream growing up to create cartoons but my path deviated when it became painfully obvious I couldn’t draw.  Still, I’m fascinated by the process and inspired by the limitless possibilities animators have at their disposal.  I’ve always been jealous of people that can draw.  I’ve written about it many times.

XTRA | Confessions of a Wannabe Animator

In a way, I have to thank animation for leading me to screenwriting.  I may not be able to draw anything my mind comes up with but I can certainly describe it.  Perhaps someday I’ll write something worthy of a talented artist’s time and dedication.  Until then, I will always have the classic cartoons I adore and new cartoons that continually inspire.

Recently, Disney released it’s groundbreaking and Oscar nominated short film Paperman online.  I missed Wreck-It Ralph in theaters and never got a chance to see it.  If you still haven’t checked it out I recommend hitting play immediately:

This touching short film is a testament to how far technology has come but also a reminder of where it all began.

3D animation has given us some of the best animated films of all time but there are some who still love the nuance of hand drawn 2D work.  Paperman blends both of these techniques to create something incredibly unique and new.  In my opinion, Paperman is visually spectacular and features characters we can all relate too.  The jealousy is taking over again…

XTRA | Be sure to check out the Paperman featurettes I embedded below.

Paperman & The Inspirational Animations We Adore

The second Paperman began I was brought back to my favorite era of Disney Animation.  Way back when they were steadily releasing classics from like The Lion King, Beauty & The Beast, Alladin, The Little Mermaid and more… It was a golden age because I was still able to watch legendary films like Snow White, Cinderella, Dumbo and my personal favorite: Peter Pan.

There is still a shelf back home that houses each and every one of those films on VHS. They are situated next to some of the best non Disney animated films I’ve ever seen.  Movies like All Dogs Go To Heaven & The Last Unicorn.  I’ll never sell those movies even though I no longer own a VCR.  They mean too much to me.  Also featured on my magical animation shelf are collections of animated short films featuring characters we all know and love:

I can’t believe some of the animated films I love are over 70 years old!  Here we are, decades later and the medium is just as important and influential.  I think back fondly on all the cartoons I grew up with and still love today.  Now a new generation of children will grow up and look back on so many years of great stories.

Paperman was brilliant but beyond that, it brought me back to my childhood when 2D animation reigned supreme.  When I discovered new and colorful worlds and characters that I’ll cherish forever.  When a movie can do that, it’s hard not to love it.



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