some thoughts on Maleficent











Many years ago, I was up for the gig writing the movie adaptation of Scott Westerfeld’s wonderful sci-fi (then) trilogy Uglies, Pretties and Specials. I liked the books a lot and the idea, I thought, was a real fire-cracker: a dystopian future, a sci-fi trilogy, with a female protagonist, where each movie in the trilogy would examine the same society from a different point of view. It had never been done before and it was a huge opportunity. The producer who brought me the books was a respected big-budget sci-fi producer, and the project was set up at a genuine big-deal studio. All I needed to do was get a firm handle on how to tell the story and there was no way the project could not move forward.

Read more















Big news in Todd Land, I and my writing partner Holly Golden have sold Medusa, an original pitch to the nice people at Sony Animation. That’s partly why things have been quiet here at What Does the Protagonist Want? We’ll be writing the screenplay, and the movie is going to be directed by Lauren Faust, who created My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. So we’ll be appealing to both Greek Mythology fans and Bronies. You can read all about it here!

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The Occupants






















Faithful readers will recall that, a couple of years ago, I co-wrote and directed a movie, Blood Relative, was bought by some folks and re-titled The Occupants. Oddly enough, I’m okay with that title, it suits the movie well.

The movie is now available through iTunes, my favorite music platform, and through Google Play, which is my favorite place to buy Rolling Stones live albums. Watch it today! And, feel free to comment here on whether or not you liked it!

Blood Relative update
























Keen readers of this journal will recall that, a couple of years ago, I wrote and directed a low-budget horror movie called Blood Relative. Things being as they are in the world of low-budget horror, it took a while to finish the thing and then it took another while to get a distributor. Now it has one, and boy are they doing their job! They’ve changed the title (which I like) and they’re taking it to Cannes! You can watch the sales trailer here!

Blood Relative rehearsals: day 1

































Cristin Milioti and Marypat Farrell rehearse a scene in the kitchen of our primary location.  Cristin plays a distraught young mother who seeks the advice of a psychic — and gets more than she bargained for!

If you haven’t heard of Cristin Milioti, that will change.  She gave a clobbering great performance on a recent episode of 30 Rock, and this fall she’s scheduled to be the female lead in the Broadway production of Once.  She’s been in all kinds of New York theater and, although she is a generation younger than your humble journal-keeper, knows everyone in New York that I know.

Blood Relative: the party














To celebrate the beginning of production, we had a party for the cast and crew of Blood Relative at our primary location, a house in Topanga Canyon.  A splendid time was had by all, and then we all sat down to read through the script.  Which is a scary thriller with lots of twists!













Left to right: James Urbaniak, Toby Huss, your humble correspondent and Cristin Milioti.  Mr. Urbaniak’s left hand is still whole: the blurring is an effect of the camera’s shutter speed.  For those interested, Mr. Urbaniak here models his Order of the Triad t-shirt.  (Mr. Urbaniak informs me that he doesn’t actually intend to wear Venture Bros clothes everywhere he goes, he just gets dressed in the dark, like any other aging slacker.)













Ms. Milioti contemplates calling her agent to see if there’s any way she can get out of this project.














Mr. Urbaniak, on the other hand, is an old hand at dealing with the director, and calms down with a nice brewski.



Blood Relative


Greetings, faithful blog readers —

I am directing a movie, titled Blood Relative.  We start shooting in a little more than a week.  This is one reason why I’ve been posting a lot recently.

It’s a psychological thriller, starring the wonderful actors Cristin Milioti and Michael Rady, plus old pals James Urbaniak and Toby Huss.

I wrote the screenplay with my new writing partner, Holly Golden, who is also handling the producing part of the thing, and quite well I might add.

The house pictured is our primary location.

It’s kind of a haunted house movie.

Watch this space for updates!