Spitball! has a new home

March 17, 2009 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: About

Please redirect your browsing units to sptbll.com

Re: What Now?

January 30, 2009 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: About

What now indeed. Mr. Beeson brought up a number of thoughts in his last post, which I will attempt to address here:

If it’s okay with Martin, I feel comfortable with talking about the projects we’re working on, or at least certain parts or aspects of them.

Sure, that’s fine. I trust you, sir, to judge what info should be public and what shouldn’t be. I’ll do the same.

And the link to execution-as-multiplier post on Spitball! is here.

To the next story writing competition, The Big Game, I say yes. I loved that process, and it worked well online. As the kids say, bring it.

Now then, how often will I post to the site? Remains to be seen. I’m not going to set goals for myself, since my schedule is unpredictable and inevitably something will get in the way, but my goal is fairly often. Subscribe to our feed and let it tell you when something new is on Spitball!

What Now?

January 29, 2009 · by The Urban Shockah · Permalink · Category: About

So yeah, what now? What does Spitball! mean in 2009?

The Resurrection

January 28, 2009 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: About

What does it take to kill an idea? Lack of momentum, for one. Mr. Shockah and I stopped writing on this blog about a year-and-a-half ago. Why?

The answer is long and in depth, but one of us has a kid, the other has a demanding job, and we both felt that we’d rather put our time into actually writing screenplays rather than writing about writing screenplays.

Also, I think we can safely say, the experiment was a failure. By which I mean in the best sense — the Beckett sense of “No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

The truth is, we work better in person when we’re bouncing ideas off one another. We’re still experimenting with our process, but I can safely say it will not be by writing to each other about the act of writing. See a pattern here?

State of the Blog: January

Tomorrow we have our one-month Anniversary. Spitball! was officially launched on January 1, 2006. How do we feel about that? What have we been doing?

We started by feeling around in the dark. Shockah's process is much different than mine, appropriately, because I think our talents and weaknesses conveniently dovetail. As he plans to elaborate in a post on the subject, his process is very much from the inside out--from a small picture to the big one. I tend to work in the opposite way, thinking about the big picture and then zeroing in on the topic from outer space.

But, he stumbled on a great way to break through my initial meaderings about the two words we had picked to define or spark our mission: Prison Planet. Shockah penned a post about some ideas for Prison Planet movies based on the cheesy ubiquitous announcer saying "In a World...". This started an all out plot bonanza, with each of us giving 25 to the cause, from which we picked 8 each that we're arguing pros and cons for. In the end, we'll have one plot to rule the blog, and focus our energy rays of writing on.

Re: what's a Spitball?

January 10, 2006 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: About, Original Version

I too learned this term from William Goldman, but I didn't think the term originated with him. After a handy search of the online OED (thanks SPL!), my suspicions were confirmed.

And actually, the use of the term to mean a transfer of information pre-date use as a baseball term by quite a few years. In 1888, the OED attributes the following to Judge 10 Nov. 68/1 "All statements to the opposite are spit-balls at the moon." The baseball use starts in 1905, in J.J. McGraw's Official Baseball Guide.

The OED winds up the definition page with our current use: Spitball: "To throw out suggestions for discussion"

The first reference to the movie industry is from 1955, attributed to H. Kurnitz, from his Invasion of Privacy. "I'm just thinking out loud... Spitballing we call it in the movie business." So, it sounds as if it's an old Hollywood term.

Other good quotes included C. Larson, in 1976's Muir's Blood "'Are you serious?' Blixen asked. 'I'm spitballing,' Schreiber replied.'" Most curiously, though, we find a quote in the New Yorker from May 1977: "The spitballer won't grow into his father's jacket."

Please note that none of the following have included a mandatory exclamation point with the term, thus leaving us to break what small new ground we can.

What's a Spitball?

January 10, 2006 · by The Urban Shockah · Permalink · Category: About, Original Version

Just realized there might be people out there unfamiliar with the term "spitball", which makes a lot of our in-jokes (well, maybe only the funny names) incomprehensible.

"Spitballing" is a term invented by William Goldman (author and screenwriter of such classics as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All The President's Men) as kind of synonym for brainstorming. If you've read any of his books (particularly "Which Lie Did I Tell? More Adventures in the Screen Trade"), then you know that Goldman loooves to spitball -- sit around with other writers and throw out ideas for plots and characters, and, most importantly, taking them to their logical conclusions.

I'd like to think the relevance to our little project goes without saying.

How To Use This Site

(The following is intended for those new to the site as well as co-administrators who are still trying to wrap their feeble minds around the vast, intimidating thing they've helped birth.)

Welcome to Spitball! (Exclamation point is mandatory.)

The point of the site is to write a screenplay, from start to finish, from germinal ideas to 120 pages of dramatic goodness. Although the authors of this site, Burley Grymz and Urban Shockah, are ultimately the authors of the screenplay, we invite everyone on the Blog-o-Web to contribute. That creates some sticky conundrums, so, before you do that, you may want to peruse this and this.

Okay, so you've decided to contribute -- what now?

Are we Open Source?

This is to clarify--or at least talk about--the idea that we are open source. Are we?

The open source movement started in an effort to develop free software, at a time when commercial software, with proprietary code, was becoming commonplace. The commonly heard refrain is that the software should be free-as-in-speech, not free-as-in-free-beer. That is, the code itself should always be open, even if the software is commercial in nature.

An impressive infrastructure has been grown to promote, grow and release free software. The concept is usually that somebody gets an idea, does some coding and then puts the code into a repository where others can download it and work on it, if they're interested. Those other coders can submit their code back to the originators, and if the originators like the work done by the submitters, they'll commit it to the code base.

I've often thought that writers could learn a lot about organization from software developers--especially using version control, but that said, we're not really open source. We're not writing a screenplay for you to work on and contribute scenes to, which will get added if we like them.

Most free software is released under a number of licenses (GNU, Berkely, etc) with the intention that the creators are retaining the copyright to the works, but that you are free to take that work and modify it for your needs, or to modify it and submit it back to the community.

So, how are we different?

Just What The Hell Do We Think We're Doing? (And How Do You Fit In?)

Good question. I'm not entirely sure, either.

Again, the Big Idea, as Burley posted below in "Statement of Purpose" is to write a screenplay completely through this newfangled medium called the InterWeb. Every idea, every outline, every piece of communication between the Mic Rockah and B-to-the-G, will be posted here.

(This will be slightly harder than it seems, since we've been known to talk on the phone and hang out every once in a while. I believe we decided that if -- horrorz! -- we should accidentally talk about the screenplay in a non-Spitball!-approved medium, we'll post the contents of said dialogue here. That should be interesting.)

So far, so good. But what about you, Dear Reader? It would be fine and dandy if this site was just a collection tank for our Bob Loblaw, but would anyone care? If we built a screenplay on the Web and no one read it, would it exist?

Statement of Purpose

To listen to the stereotype, all that one needs to break into the exciting and lucrative world of Hollywood screenwriting is an idea. After all, you'll only get that one chance to wheedle up to some cigar-puffing exec and say in your midwestern white-boy (Screenwriting is still tragically overrun by white guys. Like us.) voice-just-breaking drawl "It's a sci-fi story about time travel starring Martin Luther transported to the American Revolution—he pins the Declaration of Independence on Hitler's ass!" Or, maybe you'll squeal through the studio gates in your 1970s beat-to-shit Range Rover, with a day pass won by seducing a secretary with your manly Testeszterhaus swagger. You'll slap the big guy on the back—already looking ahead to that weekend in Acapulco with him and some hookers—and say "Rejected teenage fat chick turns into Femme Fatale and seeks revenge by detonating a nuclear suitcase bomb at her class reunion. Only, she didn't know that little Jimmy Parson, who was always nice to her ungrateful ass, grew up to be the fucking head of the F.B.I. Bamm! Bitch gets what's coming—but not without three acts and lots of tits." Rube and Joe here get contracts, big pads in the Hollywood Hills, and more blow than they can snort.

Bio - Kent M. Beeson

January 01, 2006 · by The Urban Shockah · Permalink · Category: About, Original Version

Kent M. Beeson (aka Urban Shockah the Mic Rocka) Urban ShockerHow many aliases does a non-rhyming white boy from Modesto need? According to Kent M. Beeson (a.k.a. Urban Shockah, a.k.a. Kza), a minimum of two. Kent graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in Theater Arts, and then proceeded to walk away from theater forever for the "life" of a cinephile. He spends most of his time locked away in his apartment with his wife and cat, looking out the window and idly wondering if that Flexcar that was in the church parking lot across the street is ever coming back.

His credits include writing the short film The Somnambulist (2004, Mary Agnes Krell), Saint Callistus (2002, 2nd place, The Underexposed Screenwriting Contest) and Yellow (Project Greenlight Top 100, 2003) and appearing in Kent Beeson is a Classic and an Absolutely New Thing (2001, Tim Etchells) and Untitled Ty Huffer Project a.k.a. Douglas (2005, Ty Huffer). You can sometimes catch him writing film reviews over at his other blog, he loved him some movies.

Bio - Martin McClellan

January 01, 2006 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: About, Original Version

Martin McClellan (aka Burley Grymz) Urban Shocker Martin was born on April 1st, and takes his birthright as a fool very seriously. He’s a graphic designer living in Seattle, with a BFA in graphic design from Cornish College of the Arts. He studied writing at Seattle Central Community College, where he was co-editor of the Ark, the school’s yearly literary magazine, and holds a certificate in creative fiction writing from the University of Washington extension.

His screenwriting credits include the short Lost in Time (1999), YELLOW (Project Greenlight top 100, 2003), and the soon to be filmed sci-fi short Q-DASH-1. He journals about movies at http://www.hellbox.org/movies, and about lots of other things at http://www.hellbox.org/.