Writer’s Desk: Get It Down

File:Rod Serling photo portrait 1959.JPG

A veteran of some pretty horrendous fighting in the Pacific Theater during World War II, Rod Serling suffered from nightmares much of the rest of his life. He also had a deeply-ingrained sense of justice.

Both came together in the somewhat maniacal writing schedule he maintained as one of early television’s most acclaimed live teleplay authors and then the showrunner and primary writer for The Twilight Zone.

The only way he could keep the pace going? According to Nicholas Parisi’s biography, he told a writing class at Ithaca College this:

The instinct of creativity must be followed by the act—the physical act of putting it down for a sense of permanence. Once you have that prod, that emotional jar that “I witnessed something” or “I felt something” … Write it down…. Don’t let it die aborning in your head.

Never wait. Keep a notebook around. Type it into your phone if you have to. But once you have that idea or that worthy experience, do not assume you will remember it a day or an hour hence.

Write it down.

Now Playing: Romantic Comedy Sci-Fi in ‘The One I Love’

Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass get a surreal bit of marriage counseling in 'The One I Love' (RADiUS-TWC)
Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass get a surreal bit of marriage counseling in ‘The One I Love’ (RADiUS-TWC)

The One I Love is playing now in highly limited release. My review is at Film Racket:

How well can we ever know each other? That’s one of the less interesting questions posed by Charlie McDowell’s willowy and romantic science-fiction two-hander with a Twilight Zone twist about a couple with marriage problems whose sojourn at a therapeutic retreat takes a quirky turn. When the story is fully locked in, it wrestles with some more gripping issues of identity and a Machiavellian spin on relationship dynamics. But all too often, it falls back on easygoing relationship drama that saps the underlying premise of its more meaningful promise….

You can see the trailer here:

Quote of the Day: Richard Matheson

IAmLegend25028Prolific fantasy/horror/science fiction author Richard Matheson passed away last week at the age of 87. He was one of those foundational genre authors who came of professional age during the great age of the pulps and learned to write across a great slew of styles. Matheson made his bones with frequently filmed and ripped-off 1950s novels like The Shrinking Man and I Am Legend that reimagined suburban life as a place of potential horror; adaptations of his work over the years ranged from Twilight Zone to Stephen Spielberg’s debut film, Duel.

Here’s Matheson on how he came up with the idea for I Am Legend while watching the 1931 film of Dracula:

My mind drifted off, and I thought, ‘If one vampire is scary, what if the whole world is full of vampires?

Not bad as premises go. What’s more incredible is the book itself.

New on DVD: ‘Not Fade Away’

Bella Heathcoate and John Magaro in 'Not Fade Away'
Bella Heathcoate and John Magaro in ‘Not Fade Away’

not-fade-away-dvdIt wasn’t the most obvious project for David Chase to take on after The Sopranos—many thought he should just do a crime movie—but his 1960s garage band comedy Not Fade Away has some of the same roots of the TV show (dysfunctional family, Jersey) while striking into new territory (a lighter, satirical touch).

For everyone who missed Not Fade Away in theaters (which was most everybody, given how short its run was), you can now check it out on DVD and Blu-ray.

My full review is at PopMatters:

If it weren’t for the playful sense of fantasy and satire that licks through Not Fade Away, the weight of its pop cultural nostalgia would be almost overpowering. Every TV seems to be playingThe Twilight Zone and most of the young people are listening to the circa 1960s brash new music or aping the mannerisms of the bands themselves. The walls of these suburban New Jersey homes feel like those of small prison cells. Everybody’s either resigned to living inside them forever or itching to bust out…

The trailer is here:

 

Now Playing: ‘Not Fade Away’

not-fade-away-posterIt wasn’t the most obvious project for David Chase to take on after The Sopranos—many thought he should just do a crime movie—but his 1960s garage band comedy Not Fade Away has some of the same roots of the TV show (dysfunctional family, Jersey) while striking into new territory (a lighter, satirical touch).

My full review is at PopMatters:

If it weren’t for the playful sense of fantasy and satire that licks through Not Fade Away, the weight of its pop cultural nostalgia would be almost overpowering. Every TV seems to be playingThe Twilight Zone and most of the young people are listening to the circa 1960s brash new music or aping the mannerisms of the bands themselves. The walls of these suburban New Jersey homes feel like those of small prison cells. Everybody’s either resigned to living inside them forever or itching to bust out…

Not Fade Away opened in December and is now playing in most markets.

You can check out the trailer here: