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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Friday, December 30, 2005

One for 2006

I don't typically make a lot of resolutions or anything, but I did come up with one idea of something I thought would be cool to do, starting next year. Not a resolution (since I won't be too upset if I don't do it), just something I'd like to start.

So lots of people do their Top 10 lists, or evals of the year's films around this time, but I don't. Largely that's because I don't see that many films in the theaters, and I forget about some of the others. But I'd like to do better.

To that end, I'm going to start keeping a movie journal. I'm going to write down every movie I see, whether in the theaters, on TV, or DVD. I'll note where I saw it and a few comments or thoughts. Then I can look back on it for reference or whatever. Plus, I've always felt that writing notes is not just for remembering, but also as an aid to learning.

Any of you do anything like this?



Anonymous David Anaxagoras said...

If only I had the discipline to do that. I once started a reading journal, but didn't follow through.

I also stopped and started a personal journal for years. I have finally found a way to keep a journal going -- blogging.

Maybe you should keep your movie journal online?

1:39 AM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Yeah, David, I had been thinking about that, though I don't expect them to be such long posts or whatever. Just a few brief thoughts on each. More for me. So I'll see. But maybe I'll start a blog of them.

I'm not good at journaling either, but I htink since this is "just the facts" plus a drop more, each time I see a film, it might work. We'll see!

1:56 AM  
Blogger taZ said...

Nice idea!
Maybe I will do it too. Have problem remembering all the movies I see, cause it's quite a lot... And if you spend 2 hours of your life in a movie, it's nothing to spend five minutes to write some lines about the movie.

4:14 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

excellent idea joel. i did this back in 97. i was hell-bent on seeing as many movies as i could, and that was back in the day when i wouldn't watch a movie on video unless i'd already seen it in the theatre. so i trawled the second-run and midnight houses to catch things i'd never seen, like apocalypse now, the exorcist and excalibur.

that year i saw 78 movies in the theater. unfortunately i didn't keep my journal - it would be interesting to look back now. i think i'll also try that for 06.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

I did this, too, back in the very early 90s, it was easier to do when I had no life (friend of mine worked at a United Artist). We had just graduated high school and must have seen 100 movies that year. Robin Hood, T2, Ford Fairlane, Days of Thunder, all the "classics." Anyway, I'd write down the movie and give it a rating. Lost the journal, but it was neat to look back on. Give it a whirl!

6:04 AM  

When I see a new movie, I try to remember at least one aspect of the film that I liked--sometimes I write it down, sometimes I don't. I just recently saw The Family Stone and I really liked how cancer was an aspect of the story, but not the star of the show. I mean, that's hard to do. Cancer is usually such an asshole camera hog in that way.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

I really should keep a log as plot and themes are recycled or straight up copied in development to the point that I literally cannot keep track of what I saw.

I'm not kidding. I didn't see or rent a lot of films this year but I cannot remember anything that wasn't "Crash," "Zathura" or had Audrey Tautou in it.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous chris soth said...

You're in good company -- Bogdanovich did it and I think Spielberg, from when he was a kid. They grew up before video and needed a way to remember movies...back then, you might NEVER see a movie again, it could totally vanish. So, they developed discipline and became scholars.

Now you can't avoid Beastmaster, even if you're TRYING. Our sense of entitlement engenders our greatest weaknesses.


11:42 AM  
Blogger Konrad West said...

You read my mind Joel. I was thinking I need to write down some thoughts on each film I see in 2006, so I can pull them apart and see what worked, what didn't, and why.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

during the round-robin portion of our local screenwriter's group we all discuss the films we recently saw

6:46 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Wow! I had no idea that so many other people do this or thought of doing it. As I've been thinking about it more ovr the last day, I've been thinking that it is much more likely that I will not do thi online, and just keep it for myself. I think it will be very spare, and also kind of half thought-out. Really just for me, and not that entertaining anyway.

4:20 AM  
Anonymous Carol Gunby said...

I do this pretty consistenly, although I sometimes falter on adding the description or notes. I keep a media log at del.icio.us/rakuista/medialog2005 and then also tag each entry with the specific media and any other relevant tags. I find the space limitation for description positively affects the pithiness of my summaries.

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Joshua said...

When I'm working on a script, I keep a notebook and write down anything I've seen that relates to the project I'm working it - it's very helpful, I keep those little college notebooks and use one for each project.

And I keep a personal journal, which covers a lot of stuff, personally, but I've found it to be incredibly useful with regard to writing - I especially use it to keep track of what I'm working on, my thoughts and schedule and why - any movies I've seen that are relevent - now I can look back and see what I was thinking when I wrote something, why I made the choices I did, etc. It's incredibly useful.

It's separated by year, and there are rules to it that I've set up. But I love that I can look back and see what I was working on in 2002 and why.

I used to make fun of people that kept journals, now I'm one of them - karma!

For real, though - I wish I'd started it in the beginning.

In addition to the journal, I also have the blog, which is a writing exercise itself.

6:16 PM  
Blogger oneslackmartian said...

The Circle of Nerddom is complete. Count me in. I did this in college instead of taking notes in chemistry. Talk about pseudoscience.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Bill Cunningham said...

I do this all the time and it helps me keep the number of DVDs in the library down to a manageable level. If I look something up, and see I wasn't that impressed or pleased (The Interpreter comes to mind) it goes into the pile I take back to Amoeba for credit.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous adam pollock said...

I, aspiring screenwriter, started doing this a little over a month ago. It's a good device for me. Like a New Yorker who still can't help but look up and marvel at the buildings as they race to the sky, by the end of the first act of any movie that grabs me, I'm happily lost. Knowing that I'll have to write something down helps me keep an eye on how the movie works.

5:00 AM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Adam --

Since you're probably new here as well, I'd like to reiterate, for your benefit and that of others, one of my most important addages:

There's no such thing as an aspiring writer. You either write, or you don't.

:-) Thanks for stopping by!

5:05 AM  
Blogger One.Day.Past.Dead said...

I keep a quasi-journal of movies, books and wines I find both interesting and nauseating -- sometimes the categories overlap, which really screws up my system.

6:27 AM  
Blogger John David Roberts said...

I do this on and off too. But the movies that get me going hardly need more than a title to remind why it was so rich and well-made. For example, A History of Violence. What would be interesting would be to hear from folks when they notice patterns or themes emerging from the list, or when the list starts igniting ideas for a project. Much of this writing work is conscious, but it goes on beneath our thinking in the meantime.

12:35 AM  

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