Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad meets The Searchers

Well, I'm gonna start in on how great The Searchers is, the classic western that was the strongest influence on my choice of career. You probably already know how I went on about how The Searchers influenced not only me but also Spielberg, DePalma, Scorceses, Lucas and a dozen or so writers and directors.

The scene above is from The Searchers, where John Wayne is ready to kill his niece but his half-breed nephew is protecting her. Very similar to Walter's last act.

So guess how Vince Gilligan ended Breaking Bad, in the final scene with the bad guys going to kill Walter but as we know now, Walter has the edge when his robotic machine gun blasts the warehouse office and anybody in it. Almost anybody.

Seconds before, Walter got the gang to bring in Jessie before the doomed bad guys planned to kill him and Walter leaped at Jessie and in doing so, saved his life rather than having him killed. And in that moment he took a bullet for Jessie.

Where does The Searchers come in? The ending of The Searchers has John Wayne face the Indian attack and wants to kill his niece because she's been "tainted" by the "savages". But at the last moment, he saves the lovely Natalie Wood instead of killing her.

So is this my own opinion?

Of course not, Vince himself said that the ending scenes were right out of The Searchers, modernized of course, but as he added "I stole from the best". 

I will miss Breaking Bad as much as I miss the Sopranos and I'm not one to replay old shows, once is enough for me, watching them over will make them less inspiring, in my mind. 

And another thing; why did one movie influence so many boomer writers and directors, maybe there's an article in that, there already are some, but what made that movie stand out so much for us.


Monday, September 23, 2013

I got a great idea but...

Back from my 1800 mile roadtrip through the Canadian prairie, seeing old homes and old friends and old highways. Always brings me back to where I came from and what I am.  Still a small town boy.

During that time our effort to raise money for Ghostkeeper 2 died miserably but as I mentioned in earlier posts, I expected that due to the lack of promotion and a fan base that wasn't enough. But I will continue to look for funds the old fashioned way, knocking on doors. And also crowdfunding will get a possible asset when an announcement comes offering investors into the mix.

Basically that means that a Kickstarter or Indiegogo project could get real investors rather than donations and that could be, as they say, a gamechanger.


Because investors want to not only get a return on their money, but also a profit. The announcement is supposed to happen this week.

So that's that.

But back to the title of this blog...

I recently finished a new spec screenplay called The President's Heart, got a great comment on The Black List (if you've never heard of this click on the link to your left). The story is about a U.S. President needing surgery in a foreign country. I thought it had a unique angle but tonight on CBS (Sept 23), at 10pm, a show called Hostages begins.

Okay, not exactly my idea but very close. Hostages concerns a family being taken hostage by "ruthless bad guys" who want the mom, a doctor who has to operate on the President, to accidentally kill him. 

There are a lot of similarities but still a lot more differences.

But this goes with the rule I made up years ago and it says this;

Whenever Jim thinks of a great idea, there are at least 5 other writers with the same idea. And they are:

One is thinking of the same idea.
One has started writing the same idea.
One has finished the screenplay.
One has sold their screenplay

And one that completed filming last January (or whatever).

So it just goes to show you how my idea (and most likely yours) has dopplegangers all over the place.

In my case, the reviews on the show are so-so but the one element that will kill the CBS show is that it's a series. And having a family being held hostage for 13 episodes is going to be hard to find ideas to keep it going. In short, it would be better as a feature film. After all how many times can the family attempt escape or chase someone away from their door while the bad guys threaten to kill their family?

Under The Dome was a better idea; have lots of people trapped in a bubble and begin to show the weaknesses of people under stress. But they have cars and roads and lots of places. Hostages has the house mainly and some FBI guys trying to stop it.

So what will I do with my screenplay?

Plan B is to send it to every producer I know and especially foreign producers as my story takes place in Europe. 

Here's the Black List comment on the idea:

"The premise of a presidential heart transplant is strong and commercial. It takes a personal need with a ticking clock, and transforms into a global crisis with a journey as its center. It's a smart base for an affordable political thriller which still has world-wide stakes."

I can live with that.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Iceland's Blue Lagoon

We wrapped up our Iceland trip by soaking at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa before heading straight to the airport. Blue Lagoon is a man made lagoon that has pools of water heated by the lava flow underground. The milky white water is rich in minerals and said to have healing properties. The sun was shining and it was almost blinding as it reflected off the white water, steam, and rocks. We soaked for hours among heads covered in white silica mud masks, in between breaks inside a steam room cave. It was the perfect way to relax after days of exploring and before a long flight home.

Blue Lagoon well worth the money and definitely a spot you don't want to miss in Iceland, even if you are passing through Iceland for only a few hours (the spa is only 20 minutes from the airport). 

- Julia

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Behind the Scenes of My Haute Photo Shoot in Paris!

Paris is definitely the place for inspiration and fashionable creativity. It's also the place for an amazing photo shoot with the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, Paris' $30,000 a night suite highlighting the best landmarks of Paris in the distance... and Cafe Marly to add extra hauteness to the equation. 

My French Fashion Photographer Stephane Mounet is absolutely amazing; and my dear friend Fashion Designer Kate Mack made it all come alive!

Chanel-Inspired Street Pics in Paris!

The original Chanel boutique on Rue Cambon in Paris is a must-visit for the girls who love all things CoCo! While in Paris, my hotel was right next door and that made it all the more inviting to stop into the boutique to browse the collection. Once I hit the street out front; I was inspire to get some photos wearing a scarf dress that I found in a boutique in Atlanta, while carrying my favorite Chanel tote and wearing the Chanel J12! 

A Little Blue Dress in Paris!

When it comes to travel, I always op for colors that pop! I'm trying hard to stay away from black so much, therefore, when I add color; I add something HAUTE! I found this little blue dress and wore it to dinner, while jetting from one place to another in Paris. It's stretchy fabric makes it easy to pack... and pull out when I need something that doesn't require ironing or steaming.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Haute Spot in Paris: Le Bristol's 114 Faubourg

 Hotel Le Bristol receives its fourth Michelin star; I was invited in to celebrate in Paris! 114 Faubourg is one of the most exceptional restaurants in the city of light. Some are calling it the temple of Parisian gastronomy because of its trio of outstanding chefs… Chef Eric Desbordes, mentored by Eric Frechon, Hotel Le Bristol’s Chef des Cuisines and Laurent Jeannin the hotel’s Pastry Chef.

Hotel Le Bristol, set in an 18th Century-style palace with paintings from the old masters along the fashionable rue du Saint Faubourg Honore, offers a restaurant with a contemporary take on French cuisine in an atmosphere of hauteness.

While in Paris, I was invited in to sample some of their most popular selections. My friend Catherine came along as my guest to share in the celebration. It was truly a delightful experience.

Here’s my menu selection:
Champagne Deutz

Lobster from Brittany, Green Beans Salad with Raspberry Seasoning (36 €)

Main Course
Mature Beef Ribeye with potatoes (130 €)

Profiteroles with Coconut Ice Cream and Caribbean Chocolate Sauce (19 €)

After Dinner

Herbal Tea (5 €)

Haute Beauty Tip: drybar Blowouts

When you're on the go but need a quick blowout, drybar in Atlanta maybe the answer. I was invited to try the services and I have to tell you, I really like some of their products like the Hot Toddy and Treatment Oil. 

It's really simple, shampoo, condition, blowout and style! No color, cuts or anything else. It's as simple as that for just $35! My blowout wasn't spectacular but it did the job. If you're in a pinch and need a cost-effective way to get your hair done, try a drybar near you.

The salon is also really cute. I love the white decor with yellow accents and vintage glam design.