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It’s that time of year again, when I ask my readers to step forward and introduce themselves to me, and each other.  This should be an ongoing communal celebration, and we should all know something about each other.  Who are you people, where are you from, what do you do, how did you find out about this journal, what makes you come back, what do you like, what do you dislike, what would you like to see more of.  This goes double for my anonymous lurkers.  My intent is for this journal to become much more purely about screenplay analysis, but God knows my mind wanders, and my kids won’t stop doing cute things.  Many thanks for your continued attention, I am in your debt.


155 Responses to “Metablog”
  1. thunder24 says:

    I’m Doug, a huge comic, tech and game geek that found your journal through the Venture Bros fandom. (I’m one of the few Republicans that read it I think, lol.)
    I’m a Safety Manager in Atlanta, and work for a huge printing company.
    I really like your commentary and insight on movies and TV and that’s why I keep coming back.

  2. pirateman says:

    Hey Todd! My name’s Aaron. I work for the TV show Late Night with Conan O’Brien, where I write this blog. I can’t really remember how I found you, but I’m glad I did! I really love all your film analysises, as well as all the other “non business” posts (the whole Mantis Saga comes to mind)… So, thanks for taking the time to write in here! As someone who’s always working on a script, it really helps me think of storytelling in a new way! Just out of curiosity, what are the blogs that YOU enjoy reading?

  3. Hi Todd. My real name is Ted Slaughter. I forget how old I am, and I live in Brooklyn. I write, and I pay my rent by working in a restaurant. I think I found your blog either through Jackson Publick’s or James Urbaniak’s, I can’t remember which. I like comics, movies, and moonlit walks on the beach.

    I have nothing to put in your suggestion box, and would like for you to keep doing what you’re doing.

    Happy 2009 !

  4. amanofhats says:

    My name is Jason L Blair. I’m a writer and game designer living in Madison, Wisconsin. My most recent contributions of note are writing credits on Prey and Borderlands both published by 2K Games (though developed by two separate houses).

    I found your journal through a friend, possibly (who posted above).

    I’m currently working on my own screenplays. I have one done, one in hiatus for now, and a five-act historical piece currently in the writing stages.

    I follow your journal for your insight into film and because it’s entertaining. As far as what I’d like to see more/less of, I have nothing to say. I think it’s a good mix for my tastes and attention span.

  5. dangottesman says:

    long time listener, first time caller


    my name’s dan, and i’ve been digging your blog since you started the episode analyses of season three of the Venture Brothers. thanks to you i’ve also been catching up on a bunch of great movies; most of which i’d already seen, but a few new ones as well.

    i’m a jack of several trades, including photography,playing the drums, macintosh computers, porn, documentary filmmaking, improv comedy, voice-acting, and helping people solve problems (with any of the things previously listed, and life in general).

    i’ve decided to give blogging a try for the first time, using tumblr. we’ll see how it goes.

    anyway, i came for the venture brothers, and stayed for the movie stuff. keep up the great work, and i look forward to what you’ve got for us in the future.

    happy new year, and thanks.

  6. iron_pyrite says:

    Hi, I’m Mark. Somewhere between freelance video editor and screenwriter. I think I found you via Jackson Publick’s livejournal. I held off reading regularly until I’d caught up with The Venture Brothers – around ‘The Time of the Mantis’.

    Your ‘Schindler’s List’ analysis knocked me on my ass, and put you top of a (very short) screenwriters bookmark list.

  7. Anonymous says:

    My name is Joshua James, I live in New York and was a playwright for quite awhile, now I’m doing screenwriting and fiction, in addition to my blog, The Daily Dojo … I found your blog when you left a comment on mine, via a discussion of THE UNTOUCHABLES … and I wished I had found it earlier, since we have plays and downtown nyc theatre in common.

    I really dig just about everything on this blog, actually. In particular I love the movie-talk (the analysis of the films) and screenwriting 101.

    Of course, True Hollywood Tales is too much fun, and would love more of them.

    That’s all, really, totally dig what you’re doing and I’m actually embarrassed I didn’t find this site sooner … I’m pretty active on the screenwriting boards but it somehow slipped by …

    Happy New Year, dude.

    Joshua James

  8. unbeliever64 says:

    I’m Reed Byers, and I’m one of those gosh-darned liberal atheists that Bill O’Reilly is so afraid of. I frequently do sound design for our local community theater, but in “real life”, I’m a programmer for a major university here in Oregon.

    I found you through Urbaniak’s LiveJournal ages ago. At first, I set my bookmark so I was only reading the posts you tagged as relating to Venture Bros. (I figured that was what I “came for”, and wouldn’t be interested in anything else.)


    Soon I discovered that I loved virtually everything you wrote about, and changed my bookmark accordingly. I’d hate for you to ONLY do screenplay analysis, though I am very much enjoying those. I like the “whatever’s on your mind” approach. 🙂

    [If it were up to me, I’d probably have you do MORE political stuff. But that’s just me.]

    Best wishes for 2009! I’ll be lurking…

    [P.S. Speaking of fantasy and protagonists, have you ever read The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant? I’d LOVE to hear what you thought of those books…]

  9. woodandiron says:

    Hello everyone!

    My name is Chris W. I’m from Schuylkill County, PA (coal-region) and I’m currently attending Penn State for English. My goal is law school (I think).

    I think I found this journal through one of the various Venture-blogs and but at the moment the specifics have slipped my mind.

    I come back because you watch some excellent movies and some excellently bad movies. Your analysis based on structure really helps me understand how certain movies reach the point where the structure disappears and everything seems magically put together. It also helps me with my own creativity in that I have a more ordered way of approaching an idea.

    I don’t really have any programming suggestions or dislikes. I enjoy the hybrid of random personal notes with serious analysis. It makes a good mix and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

  10. mimitabu says:

    hello. i’m evan. i looked like this at some point, but usually have more black hair on my head and face. i feel like i’ve written an intro post on here before, but my memory is bad.

    i write music, pretend to write stories, watch lots of anime, and study philosophy. i’m working on an overdue thesis that will get me an MA from the university of chicago. i live on the east coast, unemployed, single, and relatively pathetic. i love kate bush.

    • Todd says:

      “i looked like this at some point”

      I assume you’re the one on the left.

      • mimitabu says:

        yup. i also sometimes look like the one on the right in this photo (the one on the right, in fact, being me). need to balance out the wholesomeness of that pic with me and my cousin’s daughter. and then to push beyond wholesome/unwholesome, here’s me as hermione granger from the harry potter series for halloween.

        also, i often post in twos and threes, because i’m a bit scatterbrained. in this case, i forgot to answer half the questions.

        “…you find out about this journal, what makes you come back, what do you like, what do you dislike, what would you like to see more of.”

        i found this via james urbaniak’s livejournal, and i come back for the script analysis, which is great. i don’t really dislike anything in the journal, but that feels very natural for me since the nature of blogs (especially livejournal) is such that you can immediately look away when disinterested. i suppose that’s the nature of most things, but it’s easier to “ignore the chaff” on a blog than on, say, a television show (like it’s hard to ignore how awful the sopranos gets). i’m positive i’ve made a post exactly like this one, minus the pictures, in the past.

        i like the non-script posts as well though (skim/ignore the family ones usually, which i’m sure is inoffensive since i don’t know your family). the obama series was good, and i wanted to bring in some of my “obama is not progressive” criticisms into it, but that takes a lot of concentration and i didn’t want to shit on election fever (and i was nervous mccain would win, so i couldn’t really get too worked up bashing obama).

        also, i love james joyce. if lit-oriented academia weren’t such jargon-heavy, deferential-politics-infested trash, i would have loved to be a joyce scholar. somehow this seems worth including due to the occasional references to beckett in this journal.

        on a final note, every time i sit down to write, i fight a battle with extreme self-indulgence, which i normally lose. this may have something to do with the previous paragraph, or it could be that i have too much time on my hands. also, i love belgian beer.

  11. matt_sturges says:

    My name is Matt Sturges; I live in Austin, TX and I mostly write comic books for DC comics. This blog was recommended to me by novelist Chris Roberson who maybe found it through Jess Nevins, who just knows everything and is an ur-source for knowledge.

    In my writing group, we refer to the act of deep story analysis as “Alcotting”. It’s a fact!

  12. jestermotley says:

    Hi Todd,

    My name is George Rohac. I’m a grad student at NYU. I mainly do research dealing with the effects of technology on culture and society.

    I came across this blog because you commented on a number of people who I also follow, and when I looked it over I was enthralled. I’ve had to read tons and tons of analysis during my undergrad in Communications, and your stuff is solid.

    So I keep coming back because you have great insight, plus the discussion within your comments tends to be solid, so I like participating when I can.

    By the end of this year I want to be done with my master’s and be apping to doctorate programs, or maybe just working for a while.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Rockie Bee here, from Baltimore. I’m a carpenter, musician, and, since I was sent here by the Mantis-Eye Experiment, a Venture Bros. fan.

    I too have a young son caught in the thrall of Star Wars and superheroes — thanks for the tip on the Justice League cartoons — and I’ve found your writings on such funny and informative. Same with the James Bond write-ups; it’s nice to read write-ups on a whole bunch of adolescent fantasy fodder without the ‘overgrown fantasy fan’ angle. It’s like having a hip English teacher (shout out to Mr. Yost, anybody?) weigh in on the stuff one ACTUALLY enjoys, rather than the stuff one OUGHT to enjoy. I’ve also found your papier-mache TIE fighter to be a good idea for a father & son project.

    I’ll not turn my back on any guy in a helmet anytime soon, though.

    Right now, I’m just waiting for you to write up the two guys my son and dig big-time: Adam West and Nelson Riddle.

  14. jasonlove says:


    I’m Jason Love. I play and design video games, but I don’t much update my journal.

    Screenwriting is the only aspect of Hollywood that even begins to make sense to me. (Other than, maybe, catering.) As such, I’ve always enjoyed reading the auxiliary writings of screenwriters, and Todd’s writing is particularly accessible and insightful.

  15. shekb says:

    I’m a struggling freelance writer aspiring to a career as a struggling screenwriter. showed me in here, and I really dig the thematic analysis and structure breakdowns and other nuts and bolts of screenwriting that I only recently started paying attention to as a viewer.

    Having read Syd Field before coming in here, I’m kind of shocked how many four act plots there are as opposed to three act ones, which I supposed were ubiquitous (but there’s that whole ‘paying attention’ thing again).

    • Todd says:

      To tell you the truth, I never understood Syd Field. I tried reading one of his books once, and it made no sense to me, I literally couldn’t follow what he was saying. I’m sure there are people who get something out of his approach, but I haven’t met any.

      • iron_pyrite says:

        My theory is that the book became a favourite among studio executives – much like Joseph Conrad and Robert McKee later on. Aside from any value it held for aspirant writers, ‘Screenplay’ gave non-screenwriters a template with which to quantify and dissect scripts.

        My first encounter with it was via a rejection letter. Frankly, it gave me a headache. Later, I was profoundly relieved to read William Goldman refer to the ‘five-act structure’ (five!). On this basis alone, ‘Adventures in the Screen Trade’ became my bible for the next several years.

        … That, and the fact that Goldman’s screenplays have actually been produced.

  16. Hello

    Martin from Seattle here. Day job is web developer, writer by night. I’m here for the movie breakdowns, the screenplay advice, and the inspiration. I’m a rare commenter, but avid reader.

    Todd knows me as the guy who has, and plans for it (currently in limbo, soon to be dusted off and resurrected). Happy New Year everybody.

    • Anonymous says:


      Hi, I’m Kent M. Beeson, stay-at-home dad and film writer. Martin’s my friend and screenwriting partner and something like a fiction-writing cheerleader. I’m pretty sure I found this blog through, a role-playing game site — someone posted something like “check out what this guy’s writing about Venture Bros.!”, so I followed through and have been hooked ever since. I’m so glad I did — Wadpaw’s about as close I come to a religion, and Todd’s advice and writing have completely changed how I write for the better. So yeah, thanks for that, sir.

      Happy New Year and best wishes to everyone!

      — Kent M. Beeson

  17. justin from oklahoma

    I came for the venture brothers and stayed for the obamaposts

  18. jagafeh says:

    Happy New Year. My name is Jason, 36 ,from Brisbane Australia. I’m a Film and TV major who did a short movie years ago but mainly these days I’m just a student of story.
    I use those ideas mainly in roleplaying gaming and in stage improv.
    I heard about your journal from Robin D. Laws journal and my favourite book on storytelling for the cinema is “Story”, by Robert McKee.

  19. czarinakat says:

    Hi, I’m Katherine and I live in Kansas. I work in a video store, where I am employed as a Movie Trivia Queen (seriously — my bank lists that as my official occupation); I am also the resident movie snob. For example, when I am asked about the scariest movie in the store, I’ll reply, “The Hottie and the Nottie!”

    I read your journal because I enjoy learning about the structure of movies. It’s all very well to see a movie and know that it entertains, but I want to know WHY it works, and why similar movies fall short.

    Oh, and I found this journal when it was linked from Neil Gaiman’s blog, specifically about how the women in the “Stardust” poster all have SECRETS! 🙂

  20. brandawg says:

    My name is Brandon, and I found you through either Urbaniak or Jackson Publick, although I can’t remember which one. I’m a high school English teacher currently trying to get 17 year olds to understand the concept of analysis. Since that is a near impossible task, I’ve been attempting to try new ways to introduce it to them and have found many of your screenplay criticisms and overviews very helpful.

  21. mikeyed says:

    Voucher Anklets GO!

    I am about to graduate from Michigan State with a degree in Professional Writing. I am from Dearborn, MI. I write documentation and design websites. Mister Urbaniak, mister. Your professional take on everything about movies. I probably cared the least about your taste in music, but that’s not to say you have a bad taste in music. I just think it’s irrelevant. More reviews on movies I would likely never see unless I saw you talk abou them on here. Keep in mind I’ve probably Netflixed or stolen (from my house in Dearborn 😛 )everything you’ve ever mentioned on here. I don’t mind the personal stuff or political commentary. It helps me get a better sense of how you see the world and how that might reflect on the reviews you so lovingly report even long after people have decided that you’re good for nothing Hollywood crack pot/sellout…

    just kidding! I think the poster reviews are awesome.

    All seriousness, you’re doing a great job.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I read your blog because you’re so fuckin’ hot.

  23. voiceofisaac says:

    Hello, and Happy New Year!

    My name’s Isaac Sher. I came across your LJ from James Urbaniak’s LJ, and I came across his because I’m a Venture Bros. fan, among other things.

    I really enjoy the screenplay analysis work you do. I would like to be a writer, or a storyteller of some sort, and your work here has significantly added to how I look at the mechanics of storytelling.

    Right now, I’m tied up doing office and call-center work in the insurance industry to pay the bills, but at some point I’d like to break free of that. I’d much rather pay the bills doing something that I have a passion about, although I’m currently at a loss on how to make that transition with any degree of financial safety.

    I’m looking forward to reading more analysis and other items from you in the coming year. This is one of my favorite LJ’s to read.

  24. jedisoth says:

    I’m Hans from Indianapolis. I’m a production coordinator for the catalog/custom publishing department of a hardware industry trade organization (it sounds a lot more impressive than it is). I don’t remember exactly how I found this journal, probably through one of my friends linking to it for some reason. I come back for the interesting and insightful discourse on movies (I’m an unpublished writer, so I find professional insight on all types of writing useful).

    I enjoy most the analysis of various films, especially ones I’m familiar with. I enjoy least the more political entries, but that’s mostly because I think I’m about your polar opposite on many political issues. No matter, everyone is entitled to their opinion and if we all agreed on everything, life would get boring quick. I think your journal strikes a pretty good balance between your stated purpose and tangents, so I can’t really think of anything I want more of.

  25. mattyoung says:

    Happy New Year, Todd!

    My name is, as above, Matt Young. Grew up in the country south of Pittsburgh (still a big fan of th’ ‘Burgh) as a big movie-watching, comics-reading, D&D-playing geek. Took a degree in English Lit (minor in film), got my brain broke by post-modernism, had my early-twenties descent into insipid office perdition, missed comics, moved to Vermont and went to comics school in White River Jct. Now living in the snowy northeast sticks with my lovely girlfriend and soon a cat (who will no doubt manipulate us to its own sinister feline ends). I’m 29.

    Like an encouraging number of others, I started reading your blog for the Venture Brothers and stayed for everything else, especially the movie reviews and writing talk (though it is always nice to hear from another Elvis Costello fan, and your recommendation of the Raconteurs encouraged me to give his new band another shot).

    And I haven’t had a chance to subtly shoehorn it into conversation elsewhere, so let me say I got to see The Bentfootes with an appearance from Creota and Bob Sikoryak this year and quite enjoyed it.

    This was really cool, I have a lot of new links to check out. Thanks.

  26. robjmiller says:

    I’m Rob Miller. I’m a controls engineer currently working in the power industry but hopefully I can move into robotics in the next couple of years. I’m also a musician/songwriter with the band La Coterie (, check out our debut EP next week!).

    I found this blog through Urbaniak’s blog which I went to because it was mentioned in a Venture Bros. commentary, but I’ve found myself spending far more time here (probably because you post more often and with more than 10 words).

  27. Anonymous says:

    Happy New Year to Todd and all the readers whose comments I so raptly read.

    I suppose I fall under the heading of “anonymous lurker” for the most part, having commented only once before to my recollection, but I still drop by almost daily to see what’s been going on. Mostly, though, I comment so rarely because I don’t feel as though I have much particularly witty or insightful that hasn’t already been covered by perennial favorite commenters StormWyvern, quitwriting or swan_tower before I get there. You three need to get out of my head. 😀

    So, taken in order, answers to the questions posed: My name is Ken Richardson. I’m an IT Professional (read: if it plugs into something else, people will call me and ask me what they have done wrong) from Indianapolis, IN who, despite rarely creating anything, has an extraordinary fascination with the creative process and its deconstruction. I found out about WDTPW via Google due to my love of The Venture Bros. and find your deconstruction of Doc and Jackson’s work to be insightful beyond words, but then, I find most of the plot analysis done here to shed enormous amoutns of light on film and television for me across the board. I come back because the writing is excellent both by you, Todd, and so many of the commenters as well. I can honestly say that there’s nothing I dislike. On the incredibly rare occasions on which I have read something with which I disagree, I can never find fault with reasoning, which is about the only thing that would turn me off. If I could ask for anything at all, it would be more frequent updates so I can find further ways to waste time reading at work.

    A huge tank you to all of you who write and participate in Todd’s blog. I suppose I should make a resolution to attempt to increase my own participation in the coming year, to actually contribute rather than simply sponge so much intelligent discussion, but know that if it doesn’t happen I’m still here reading all of it.

  28. My name’s Nat, I’m originally from Saginaw, but I work as an editor/web dude in Traverse City, Michigan.

    Found this blog via James Urbaniak’s blog, and I keep coming back because your analyses have helped me achieve a much greater understanding of film–especially in terms of structure and theme. That and the mantises.

  29. kikilatrace says:

    My name is Kylie. I’m a waitress from Ohio while I wait o leave for the Navy. I don’t know how I feel about joining the military, but whatever it is an opportunity I guess. I found your blog through James Urbaniak’s blog and I continue to read it because I think it gives me an intelligent edge when discussing films with people.

  30. chrispiers says:

    My name is Chris. Your blog and especially your analysis of film is a favorite of mine. I have a day job in marketing/graphic design, but also teach a writing for comic books and graphic novels class and have drawn a few comics this year that will be out in ’09. I also edit a number of comic books and have for years, but it’s an anonymous thing.

  31. gatezilla says:

    Happy New Year!

    I’m one of your anonymous lurkers, here by way of surfing friends-of-friends while bored at work.

    I’m Jen, a Vermonter living in Boston and I’m a data entry minion to support my Netflix habit. I stumbled onto your LJ when you were first starting to post about Dark Knight and now I’m hooked. I’m looking forward to going back and reading some of your previous posts to catch up.

  32. srhall79 says:

    I’m Scott, a Californian living in South Dakota. I have a degree and some graduate work in theatre arts, which doesn’t do me a lot of good as a library technician at an engineering college.

    I’m a gamer with an interest in pop culture. IIRC, I first came here following a link from during your discussion of the Indiana Jones movies. I’ve gone back into the archives to read most of your other movie related posts, and those are my main draw here. However, it’s nice getting the kid perspective on things from time to time.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Who I am…

    Greetings Mr. Alcott,

    My name is Jacob Wessler and I am a US Air Force Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist. I found your website off a link from the Google Reader page back in November 2008 and have been hooked ever since.

    I have been devouring every post and have made my way down to “Spielberg.” Your analysis is so completely entertaining, I find myself putting off work to try to catch up on everything you’ve written. You definitely opened up a new aspect of movies for me. I really appreciate it.

    Also, the stories about Sam and Kit are priceless and are some of my favorites.

    Please keep those posts coming…

    Happy New Year,
    Jacob Wessler

  34. taskboy3000 says:

    Just another dude


    You post — is it some weird social experiment?

    It’s a well-established fact that asking the Internet to talk about itself often leads to headaches, muscle cramps and searing abdominal pain.

    Since everyone here has an LJ account, you (or anyone) could easily look at a given profile and find some additional information. Presumably, those that want to volunteer more metadata will have already done so in their profile or blog.

    But then, you probably already knew this, Todd. So why ask again? What is it exactly do you expect people to vomit forth that they have not already? Are you testing the limits of human self-promotion? Gather seed material for a markov chain program that simulates LJ comments?

    Or is this really some kind of intervention where we all introduce ourselves, explain our damage and let the healing begin?

    You’re a crafty one, Todd. I almost fell for it. 😀

    My pet theory about Internet communications: I’m the only living thing connected to the terminal. Every other communication is clearly a robot (really an Eliza bot). It’s a bit solipsistic, I know. But then, I work with computers for a living.

    • Todd says:

      Re: Just another dude

      “Since everyone here has an LJ account, you (or anyone) could easily look at a given profile and find some additional information. Presumably, those that want to volunteer more metadata will have already done so in their profile or blog.

      Strange as it may seem, the bulk of my readers are not LJ clients. They lurk anonymously, outside of the social network. Most, apparently, wish to remain thus.

  35. travisezell says:

    Late to the party:

    My name is Travis Ezell (it’s not just a clever username). I’m a short filmmaker and screenwriter working his way steadily (and sometimes frustratingly slowly) toward independent feature filmmaker. I found your page via ‘s, but to be honest I don’t remember how I found his. I’m a huge fan of your writing on here and, truth be told, I printed out a couple of your Spielberg pieces for the films I hadn’t seen in over a decade or ever (Empire of the Sun, E.T., Jaws, Close Encounters) and used them as a practically academic reference as I forced myself under a serious deadline to produce my first feature-length script. It helped! Thanks!

  36. unwiredben says:

    I’m Ben Combee, a software developer who was in Austin until the end of August, but now lives in Brooklyn, NY. I found your blog through the Venture Brothers community and love reading your analysis of scripts here.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I just now found your blog, sent here from Scott at Go Into the Story. I’m Assistant Managing Editor in charge of Before that I was an investigative reporter, a journalism teacher at USC, etc. I’ve been writing screenplays and taking screenplay classes for about 10 years. I even took a class from Syd Field at USC — highlight! I write almost every night. My goal for this year is to learn Final Cut Pro, score an agent, start and finish two new screenplays this year. I love the diversity of readers on this blog! Very cool.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Hey Todd. I’m Shrader. I earn my living as a trailer editor. Working on transitioning from marketing movies to making them. Just found your blog, and I’m hooked.

  39. Anonymous says:

    wandered here from voucher anklets…not using my mind to its full potential, so i enjoy reading the words of others that seem to be using theirs. i enjoy new socks and awkward pauses.


  40. ninja_gamer says:

    My name is Myles. I am from Eugene, Oregon. I currently working in food service while trying to become an electrician apprentice. I’m not sure how I found your live journal but I think I may have been sent a link because of something you said about Avatar: The Last Airbender. While I was in college, I took five time as many english credits as I needed. All of them were film studies classes.

    I consider myself a geek of all trades, so your recent posts about comic book based movies were quite interesting to me.

  41. djscman says:

    Hey Mr. Alcott, I’m a member of your silent majority. I signed up with the LiveJournal just to comment here. My name’s Joel, and I live in Minneapolis. I’m 30 and aspire to write and direct short movies, gradually progressing upwards in scale, length and critical acclaim. I love behind-the-scenes tell-alls with an educational bent, like Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade, Lumet’s Making Movies, Crowe’s Conversations With Wilder, and Joe Straczynski’s USENET posts. This blog, though inherently a work in progress, already stands proudly among them.

    Screenplay formula used to bug the hell out of me. I’d read Syd Field’s Screenplay and the like, and they’d inform me that such and such should happen by page 75, Act III is driven by a Ticking Clock, and so on. (*I did see your comment a page back about your thoughts on Field.) Their rules seemed so…rote, so arbitrary, so limiting. A screenplay following those formulas would become formulaic: the usual cinematic white bread. Right? But (to strain a metaphor) you have shown through your analyses that a script formula is a recipe, and careful attention to the recipe–a bit of sugar here, some shortening there, improvising ingredients when necessary, and just enough time in the oven–can make some goddamn amazing loaves of bread. It’s a lot better than the shapeless, tasteless lumps of burnt dough the neophyte baker usually pulls out.

    Like so many previous posters, I came here from anonymously reading Jackson’s blog (Go Team Venture!), saw the breakdowns of the James Bond and Coen Brothers movies, and stuck around. I can’t wait to read your upcoming posts, and hope that your screenplays, when produced, live up to the versions you imagined.

  42. richaje says:

    Happy New Years everyone!

    I’m Jeff, a former prosecuting attorney for Metro King County, former finance lawyer, former political hack, now an expat living in Berlin. I write scribbles, articles, and other stuff here and there in my spare time.

    I found out about your site through a friend of mine (Robin Laws), who had linked to one of your screenwriting analyses. Then I found out about the Venture Brothers connection and I was hooked.

    Even when I disagree with your political wit, I always enjoy your writing. Keep up the good work!

  43. blagh says:

    Hiya, I’m a computer science major at Carleton University, who found this blog via and , which were themselves found via . I like to make things and solve problems, and hope to someday narrow that down a little.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Todd. I’m Wes Umstead. I live in Northern Michigan and work for an online tutoring service. I’m also an aspiring comics writer. I think I found your blog by way of Urbaniak’s.

    I have no requests except to keep doing what you’re doing. I love your film analyses, and your stories about your kids are always fun to read, too. Keep up the great work.

  45. Howdy

    I actually can’t remember how I found this blog, but I have to say that of all of the blogs on screenwriting, this is the one I still have bookmarked and follow daily. The thing that keeps me coming back is the analysis. I’m a would-be screenwriter and have learned more from your reverse-engineering of scripts than from any other single source. Bravo and thanks.
    Also, the kids are cute indeed.

  46. sbrungardt says:

    Skyler Brungardt here, checking in as a reader of like mind artistically and politically, for the most part.

    I have a degree in Acting and a real fondness for storytelling in general, so it’s interesting to compare my notes with what you, Todd, as another breed of storyteller have, along with the other folks who tend to respond. I found this blog as a link from Robin D. Laws’ LJ; another blog I follow.

    I’m also a Network Engineer for Social Security, and as an IT-guy who’s good at his job, it affords me a fair amount of time to cruise the web during the day. Your blog is one my daily highlights, so for that, I thank you!

  47. rennameeks says:

    Belated greetings!

    Sorry for the delayed response, my laptop’s power cord decided to die on New Year’s Eve, so I’m ages behind on everything (a fantastic way of starting the new year, to be sure).

    I’m Nancy, upcoming screenwriter and lifelong student of filmmaking and storytelling, regardless of official status (since my filmic education was at one point indeed formal – a good foundation, but hardly the extent of my studies). I made my way here through the wonderful Mr. Urbaniak’s LJ, whose blog I discovered through Mr. Publick’s, all due to a love and admiration of the writing style for The Venture Bros. With that in mind, you have a pretty good idea of my off-beat tastes. 🙂 My lurking has been inconsistent, but mostly due to outside factors. I always come back and get caught up, especially on the in-depth breakdowns and the youngest Alcotts’ exploits.

    Happy belated new year!

  48. You’ve coaxed me from the shadows.

    Hi Todd.
    My name is Beth and this is my first comment on any blog ever. I’ve been lurking here for about a year. I arrived by way of Jackon Publick’s and Urbaniak’s blogs. I live in central Pennsylvania. I mostly studied architecture and art, but ended up with a degree in history, which is not currently in use at my soul-sucking office job. My free time is limited and my internet connection painfully slow, hence the lack of participation, but I enjoy reading your blog whenever I get the chance. I love movies and witty writing, so it’s a good fit. We seem to have similar tastes and it’s nice to know that my obsession with the Coen brothers is justified. I have been satisfied with the content of your posts thus far, so I say “proceed as usual.”

  49. Anonymous says:

    Hi! My name is Daniel, I am a Brazilian expat living in The Netherlands. Your analysis and insights into writing are what keep me coming back for more (your bashing right wing neo liberalists is a much welcome plus. Actually, the very first time I saw your journal was when a friend shared in google reader a politcal piece you wrote, and I liked it 🙂

  50. Anonymous says:

    OK, long time lurker, let me crawl out of the woodwork.
    My name’s Per. I’m Danish, but have been living in Scotland with my family since 2002. I’m a journalist and work in web and communications. I have written scripts for comcis, short films, animation and TV, most of it unproduced.
    I listen to and play jazz, and play and design story games.
    Thank you for posting your film analyses, Todd, they are excellent.