The Unexpected Shout-Out

The Nite Show, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherI was just siting there, minding my own business, when something exciting happened, Modern Philosophers.

Okay, let me backtrack a bit and fill in some details so that intriguing opening sentence makes sense.

Last night was the final taping of the season for The Nite Show with Danny Cashman.  I was seated in my usual spot in the second row of the audience.

One of the perks of being a writer for the show is that I get a great seat.

I had just taken a photo of Danny talking to the reigning Miss Maine, and had posted it to Facebook and Twitter with a humorous caption.

Because that’s what I do during a taping to raise the show’s presence on social media.

I thought it was a fun photo, but you can be the judge…

The Nite Show, Miss Maine, humor, Modern PhilosopherMy caption was something like, “Danny welcomes Miss Maine to The Nite Show, while secretly plotting how to ‘borrow’ her crown for the rest of the night”.

I was focused on posting and being witty, but I heard the conversation shift to Miss Maine’s desire to write for Saturday Night Live one day.  A bold reveal, if you ask me, considering SNL airs against The Nite Show.

Danny replied that Maine had a history of producing comedy writers for TV, and then somehow he said, “In fact, one of the writers for this show is currently writing his own TV series.”  Or something to that effect.  That might not be the exact quote as I was a bit stunned when it hit my ears in the second row.

The bottom line, though, was that Danny told Miss Maine about my TV series while he was interviewing her on the show!

He was also telling the entire studio audience, and everyone who will be watching the show when it airs, but I was just thrilled that he told it to someone in a crown.

Just made the whole thing seem very regal, I guess.

My friend Joy, who also is a member of The Nite Show team, came over to high five me.

writing, humor, NYU, Modern PhilosopherSince I’m incredibly socially awkward, I pointed at myself and said out loud to anyone who cared to listen, “Danny was talking about me!”.

Yes, I am that weirdo who blabs to strangers in a packed studio audience of a TV taping!

The mere fact that my TV series popped into Danny’s head in the middle of an interview, and that he decided to put it out into the TV universe, seemed like a sign from the Fates.

I immediately messaged my producer, which led to a nice exchange about the progress of the series.

This unexpected shout-out made me even more confident that this show is going to get made.  I mean, now that Danny’s mentioned it on air, the only next natural step is for me to be on the show to discuss the Season Premiere, right?

I guess I’d better get back to work on Episode 9.  The show isn’t going to write itself, and who knows when Miss Maine might contact me to check on my progress…

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An Easter Egg On Easter

Easter, Easter Eggs, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherHappy Easter, Modern Philosophers!

I know the writing of my TV series has caused me to neglect the blog, but that doesn’t mean you guys aren’t on my mind.

I think of you every time I put on a toga, but you’re also bouncing around in my brain when I’m cranking out scripts.

In fact, I hid a very cool Easter Egg about the blog in one of the episodes, and I thought that Easter Sunday would be the perfect time to tell you about it.

Consider it my Easter gift to you for your continued blog love!

As you know, this blog has a rich and detailed mythology.

One of the most important legends is that Maine suffers through very harsh winters every year because of my ongoing feud with Snow Miser.

This all dates back to the fact that I stole Snow Miser’s girlfriend in college, and the Ice Imp refuses to let go of his grudge.

Snow Miser, Easter, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherLet’s face it, he’s too much!

Yes, I might have “stolen” one of my best friend’s girlfriends in college, but I assure you that I have paid dearly for this.

You see, that young woman grew up to be my ex-wife.  So, I’d say my punishment has more than fit the crime.

Since the TV series I’m creating is about my life in college, the story of meeting my future ex-wife is a major plot point.

So I thought it would be neat to give a little nod to the blog when I was writing Episode 5, which takes place on Halloween.

I had to come up with costumes for the main characters to wear to the dorm Halloween party, and I decided to have the character, who’s based on the friend whose girlfriend I allegedly stole, dress up as Snow Miser.

It’s just a little thing, and no one other than the readers of this blog would ever get the reference, but it was important for me to include it.  If the show gets made, and they try to tell me we can’t use Snow Miser for licensing reasons, I will fight tooth and nail to keep it.

There is one other reference to the blog in the show.  When the characters hang out on the dorm roof, they call this a meeting of The Rooftop Philosophers Society.

Happy Easter, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherThey were Modern Philosophers, and didn’t even realize it.

Hopefully, I will have a chance to hide more blog inspired Easter Eggs in the scripts. Kind of like the writer version of the Easter Bunny, only with slightly smaller ears.

Have a Happy Easter!

Do you ever hide Easter Eggs in your writing?

Posted in Humor, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Hidden Heist

Ocean's 11, heists, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherI love a good heist flick, Modern Philosophers.

Ocean’s 11, The Italian Job, Reservoir Dogs… I could spend the day watching them all, and then want to break out my laptop and write one of my own.

When another movie inspires you to write one of your own, you know it’s damn good.

Of all the screenplays I’ve ever written, my favorite is my heist flick, .33 Reverse Gunther.  That’s the tale of a bank job gone very, very wrong.

I have this theory that I like to write bank robbery stories because my Dad spent his life working in a bank.  Perhaps a shrink would tell you that writing bank heists is my way of stealing my Dad back from the job that slowly sucked the life out of him.

I would not disagree.

I’m also a fan of putting a heist in another kind of story, just to add a little flavor and some action to the genre.

Han Sole, Return of the Jedi, heists, humor, Modern PhilosopherA great example of this is Return of the Jedi.

Who could forget Luke Skywalker’s getting a crew together to put off a pretty cool heist?

Stealing Jabba the Hutt’s most treasured piece of art, Han Solo frozen in carbonite, was an awesome way to start that movie.  So what if things got messy and there was some murder along the way?

In the end, they pulled of the heist, and that’s all that matters!

With this in mind, I decided to spice up my TV series by adding a heist subplot to Episode 8.  It fit perfectly into the story I wanted to tell, and in the end, wound up dominating the script as I came up with more and more ideas to further that plot.

I got so excited while writing it that I messaged my producer, who is also a director, and told him I was seeing the heist so clearly in my mind that I was adding specific camera directions to the script.

Maybe by the time Episode 8 is ready to roll, someone will get the crazy idea to allow the writer/creator to direct it.  Wouldn’t that be crazy awesome?

After the Pilot episode, Episode 8 was definitely my favorite one to write.  I can’t wait for my trusted readers to tackle the script and give me their thoughts on it.

Reservoir Dogs, heists, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherWho knew that life at NYU was so damn exciting?  I’m not even sure I realized it at the time.

Don’t worry, no one got his ear cut off.  There wasn’t a Mexican standoff.  No one broke the law (okay, maybe that’s a little bit of a gray area).

All I know is that Episode 8 is done, and I have just two more episodes left to write in order to have an entire first season.  Did I mention I had an idea the other day for an awesome twist to add to those last two episodes?

When I set out to write this TV show, I had no idea the story would evolve into what it has become.  I’m so glad that even though I decided to work with an outline, I’ve kept it very fluid, and have allowed last second brainstorms to make the script and change the entire story moving forward.

This is why I love writing.  I never know what story I’m going to want to tell…

Posted in Humor, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Do I Run To Lose Myself?

running, health, fitness, philosophy, Modern PhilosopherWhile I was on my morning run, this Deep Thought bounced around in my brain, Modern Philosophers:

Do I run to lose myself?

I’ve heard of people taking up an activity to help them find themselves, but is it possible that my goal is the exact opposite?

It’s quite the Philosophical Question to ponder.

I definitely have lost some of myself through running.  Over 60 lbs at this point, in fact.  I’ve shed the skin of fat, lazy Austin and millions of gallons of sweat along the way.

But I’m asking a deeper question here.

Am I trying to run away from my life, and find something better out on the road?

When I woke up this morning, I did not want to get out of bed.  Even though it was Saturday, and I thankfully didn’t have to go to work (it was a horrible week, but I will not talk about my desk job on the blog), I had no interest in starting my day.

It could have been because of the dusting of snow I saw outside the bedroom window.

running, health, fitness, philosophy, Modern PhilosopherWaking up alone certainly has something to do with it. I’m so tired of being single.  Yes, I’m trying, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone interested in going out with me.

When I have a rough day, it would be nice to have someone to talk to about it.

Conversely, when something good happens, I’d love to be able to share my good news with someone.  Not that I don’t enjoy blogging about it to you guys.

I checked my phone hoping for an email, a message, or even a notification from one of those dating apps I’m trying.  Just any sign that there was someone out there looking to interact with me.

When there was nothing, it made me want to tunnel under the covers and not come out for the entire weekend.  What’s the point of getting out of bed if no one will even notice?

When I run, I’m able to leave those thoughts behind.  Along with all the stress that the world serves up to me on a daily basis.

I’m literally running away from my life.

Out on the road, being alone is perfectly fine.  It allows me to set my own pace, decide on my own distance, and no one else gets any say in that.

I always drift off mentally to my current writing project.  Uninterrupted by all the things that make me want to stay in bed, I am able to get so much accomplished.

I always find that to be ridiculously ironic.  I hate being alone, yet I love being alone on my runs so that I can think and create.

That means I want to lose myself and run away from my life, right?

I ran into my neighbor at the grocery store last night, and she asked me how the TV series was going.  I made a face, and then told her about the annoying feedback I got this week from a reader in my producer’s office.

She suggested that I lose the plot device that is the key to the entire story.  It was as if she’d read Back To The Future, and said that they should ditch the whole time travel thing.

I love this TV series, and think it’s the best story I’ve ever created.  Then I read that comment and basically lost my $%^&.

I just wanted to lace up my sneakers and go for a run because I could not deal with yet another roadblock in my quest to achieve my writing dream.

And for the record, I’m not dropping the plot device.  I’ve made that clear to my producer, and told him I’d find someone else to produce if he didn’t agree with those terms.

running, health, fitness, philosophy, Modern PhilosopherThe crazy thing is, no matter how far I run, I always end up back in the same place.

When I inevitably get back to The House on the Hill, I always find myself waiting for me on the porch.

It’s a vicious, sweaty cycle.  I manage to lose myself for a half hour to an hour, but after burning all those calories and enjoying my freedom, I simply follow my trail of sweat back to where I started.

If I really am running to lose myself, I’m not doing a very good job…

Posted in Fitness, Humor, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

What The @#$% Happened To Spring?

Spring, weather, humor, Modern PhilosopherAs I listen to gale force winds rattling every window of The House in the Hill in what can only be described as an annoying cacophony of non-silence, just one thought comes to mind, Modern Philosophers:

What the @#$% happened to Spring?

Seriously, though, what the hell is going on with the weather?

I was promised Spring, sunshine, flowers, warmth, and short sleeves if I managed to survive another 182 Days of Terror.

Instead, I’m fighting to walk against winds so strong that they are actually impeding my progress.  All this while bundled up in a winter coat, knit hat, and gloves because the winds also happen to be bitterly cold.

I’d like to lodge a complaint.  Does anyone have Mother Nature’s email address?

The hurricane-like gusts aren’t even the worst of it.

Yesterday, I woke up to snow.

April 3 and it’s @#$%^&* snowing.  Are you kidding me?

Just the night before, I’d commented that all the snow was gone from my property.  That annoying last pile in the middle of the lawn had finally melted, and I was feeling all giddy about life and the coming of Spring.

Spring, weather, humor, Modern PhilosopherThen I looked out the hallway window yesterday morning, and saw freshly fallen snow.

I still went for my run, as you can see from the photo on the left, but I wasn’t happy.

At least I was smart enough not to wear my new sneakers out in the slop.

The snow only got heavier over the course of my run.  Then it continued for most of the morning.

Have I mentioned this was on April 3???

As you well know, I count down the days until April 1 because that it supposed to be the official start of Maine Spring.

I need this day to arrive because Maine Winter is torture.

Having to deal with another week of Winter sucks.

I’m exhausted.  Frustrated.  Cold.

I really need for the sun to shine on me and fill my life with warmth.  I need to see the colorful flowers blossoming to replace all he drab grays and whites.  I have to be able to sit out on the porch and write.  I simply must put away the extra comforter on the bed.  My winter jacket, hat, and gloves need to be tucked away until October.

Spring, weather, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’m a man on the verge of a seasonal breakdown.

Give me the Spring I was promised!  I refuse to deal with more of this depressing cold.

Life cannot be an eternal dreadful Winter.

Bring me Spring!  I want to live again!

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The Mullet Shirt

mullets, fashion, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’m often asked how my mind works, Modern Philosophers, and that’s not an easy question to answer.

Basically, it’s non-stop circus music providing a soundtrack for dozens of voices shouting story ideas at me.

And since each voice believes its story is the one that needs to be told next, they are shouting increasingly louder to get my attention.

Of course, that only causes the circus music to ramp up in volume.

That probably explains why I get so many headaches and find it difficult to sleep through the night.

Today, I was sitting in a room with several other people.  I was minding my own business and cursing technology, but since I have excellent hearing, I was able to overhear the conversation going on behind me.

This, of course, despite the circus music and screaming story telling voices.

Someone in the room behind me said, “The new shirt I bought was long in the back, and short in the front.”

mullets, fashion, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhen a softball like that gets lobbed in the general direction of my brain, all goes silent up in the dome.

This allows the creative center of my brain to spring into action, while my funny bone  transmits messages up to the gray matter.

In mere nanoseconds, a witty line is formulated and express mailed to my mouth, so it can be shared with the world.

Today, that line was a classic.

I spun in my chair, faced my colleagues, and asked, “So you bought a mullet shirt?

Then I broke out in a ridiculous fit of laughter because that line just killed me.

A mullet shirt.

Long in the back.  Short in the front.

Of course, my brain and funny bone weren’t done tag teaming the situation.  Once I managed to stop laughing long enough to speak again, I spat out, “I assume it’s a party in the back and all business up front.

Could you just imagine that fashion show, Modern Philosophers?

A parade of gorgeous models in mullet shirts!

mullets, fashion, humor, Modern PhilosopherDon’t worry, though.  I’m not going to give up writing for a career in fashion.

Could you imagine how annoying the voices in my head would be if I went into that line of work?  They’d probably be all catty and entitled.  Plus, the music would probably change to some sort of throbbing techno beat more appropriate for the catwalk.

No thank you!

I’ll just stick to writing my silly stories, creating TV series, and crafting screenplays with enough twists and turns to give readers whiplash.

mullets, fashion, humor, Modern PhilosopherI don’t normally allow people inside my head, and it’s for their own good.

Things like mullet shirts live up there, and that would freak out the average person just trying to get through the day and live a regular life.

I’m fairly certain that if I ever shaved my head, I would find “Enter At Your Own Risk!” written across the top of my skull in huge, impossible to miss letters.

The voices are clamoring for my attention again, so I need to go.  Hope you all have a peaceful night…

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

I Really Should Try To Remember To Blog…

Yankees, Opening Day, blogging, humor, Modern PhilosopherHey, Modern Philosophers!  It’s Austin.

You guys remember me, right?

The interns kept pestering me all day to write a blog post.  Apparently, it’s been some time since I’ve posted anything here.

It’s not that I’ve forgotten about you, but rather that I’ve been very busy with another writing project.

I’m pretty sure I’ve told you that I’m creating my own TV series based upon my time at NYU.  I had a long talk with my producer a couple of weeks ago, during which we decided that the best plan was for me to script the entire 10 episode first season before we pitched the series to streaming services.

I’m not sure if any of you know how much work goes into creating an entire season of a TV show from scratch, but it consumes all my free time.  It doesn’t need to, but this is my dream, which I want to become a reality, so I’m not just doing a little work here and there.

I am all in on this project.

So much so, that my producer asked me on Sunday to take a couple of days off because I was turning in scripts so quickly, that he couldn’t keep up with reading them and creating the budgets.

NYU, Yankees, Opening Day, blogging, humor, Modern PhilosopherNot to brag, but I did write three episodes of an hour long show in three weeks. That’s with working 40 hours a week at my day job.  And also having to write monologue jokes for this week’s taping of The Nite Show.

You might say I’ve been inspired.

And on the creative roll of a lifetime.

I haven’t started writing Episode 7 yet, but I’ve spent the last few days outlining it.  I had a basic idea of the plot for the episode, but now I’m getting down to specifics.

Every character needs a subplot, the main story of the season needs to move forward so that I can tie it up with a pretty bow by Episode 10, and there are certain settings, and one catch phrase, that I like to work into every episode.

And because I still can’t fight the urge to just make up things as I go, I threw a monkey wrench into things by adding something to the very last scene of Episode 6 that wasn’t in the outline.

It was a very large monkey wrench that changes things for the two main characters.

Now, the ripple effect of that “creative decision” have to be addressed in Episode 7.

Not that I’m complaining.  I love a good challenge!

This is, by far, the most exciting writing project of my career.  I love the fact that I am  writing the entire season without the help of a writing staff.  But what I love even more is that the characters live inside my head, the ideas never stop coming, and I’ve never felt more passionate about a writing project.

But enough about my TV series.  What else have I been up to since I last blogged?

running, Yankees, Opening Day, blogging, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe running continues, and is beginning to get more intense.  The weather is improving, and the snow is melting, so I’m adding distance to my runs on the weekend to be ready for my long Summer runs.

My new sneakers arrived last Friday, and I’ve been breaking them in around the house and on my walks.

This morning, I wore them for the first time on a run.

Damn, did my shins and knees feel much better than usual when I returned to The House on the Hill!

I had switched over to Brooks the last time I’d bought sneakers, but wasn’t as pleased with them as I’d hoped.

So I’m back to Asics, and I don’t think I will make the mistake of switching brands again.

Asics, if you want to sponsor me, I’ll take a couple of free pairs of sneakers every year.

It’s really hard to find size 15 sneakers in Maine, so perhaps you can just make my life easier by sending a new pair every six months.  I’ll sing your praises often on the blog, and include photos of my giant monkey boy Asics sneakers as much as possible!

Nothing new to report on the dating front.  I am trying a couple of dating apps, but somehow have not found true love online yet.  Imagine that!  Still willing to be set up by my readers, so don’t be afraid to introduce me to your amazing single friend.  Remember, I once dated a fellow blogger from Ireland, who lived in Singapore when we first met.  I can make the distance thing work.

Yankees, Opening Day, blogging, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe other big news in my life is that my beloved Yankees are back!

Today is Opening Day, and I was off since we taped The Nite Show last night.  I had no idea today was Opening Day when The Nite Show schedule was announced, so that was an unexpected surprise.

As you can see, I dressed up for the big day.  The game was on ESPN, so I bought chicken wings, had the Snapple chilling all morning, and was pumped up into a total baseball frenzy by the time Mariano Rivera threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

It was a great game.  The Yankees won.  I got to see it and cheer them on instead of being stuck at work.  A perfect day.

Made even better by my having some time to write a new post for you guys.

I’ve missed you, and you have been in my thoughts. If I could write you into the TV series, I totally would.  Hope you have been well, and I promise to be back soon…

Posted in Humor, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments