Trick or Treat!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I have a conference call scheduled with my production company on Friday. We're going to discuss TV show ideas. ("Sex and the City in the sky!") My book is easily translatable into TV, since the blog entries are very episodic. I've already spoken to other TV people about this. The problem is it's REALLY hard to get a show picked up by the networks.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Elena (our protagonist) starts thinking about a change of path, but doesn't take action until the first turning point: Legacy Airlines announces plans to layoff several thousand flight attendants. Fearing she will be affected, Elena goes in search of another career (and ASAP!)
Act Two consists of Elena struggling to find a new career, but instead only finding dead ends and disappointments. She's relieved to find out afterward that she will, in fact, not be affected by the layoffs. In the meantime she has realized being a flight attendant isn't so bad after all. Surely all the perks are worth the occasional frustrations, right?
Also in Act Two, our heroine finds romance on a layover and starts a long distance relationship. She thinks this will work out better than dating someone back home, since she's never there anyway. I won't disclose the conclusion of this subplot.
There will be another subplot about a "Long-Suffering Frequent Flier," which will conclude here.
The second turning point will be: SURPRISE! Just when things are going smoothly, Elena is fired from her job because of her blog and decides to sue Legacy (her airline). A publicity blitz ensues (and our heroine, like Bridget Jones, is a horrendous public speaker) and then the Climax and Resolution, which I'm not gonna disclose here either.
P.S. I forgot to mention the tone of the movie will be similar to Bridget Joneses Diary (a comedy) with some Scrubs-style absurd fantasies/flashbacks.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I early voted the other day at a local library. It took 5 minutes. Guess who I voted for?
I'm glad to finally get the chance to vote for the winning presidential candidate. Yes, I think Obama is gonna win by a landslide. Why? Three reasons:
- High(er) minority voter turn-out
- The fact that 5,000 new voters were registered on the Univ. of Texas campus the last day of voter registration alone. So, multiply that number by all the colleges and universities around the country and you'll get an idea of the number of unaccounted for (i.e. unpolled) mostly Obama voters.
- Barack Obama is having his highly fortuitous "Jupiter Return" in January around inauguration time. This only happens once every 12 years, folks. Of course, my astrological predictions about the last presidential election were disappointingly inaccurate. But that's because I misjudged GW's karma (it must be past-life karma, because lord knows he didn't amass it in this lifetime!) :-P
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It occurred to me today that my movie will be the complete opposite of View From the Top... a sort of Anti-View From the Top, if you will. My protagonist's goal will be to get OUT of the airline industry, not into it. And she won't be a goody-goody one-dimensional character either (oh, but I forgot, Gwyneth's character was trying to rise above her trailer park upbringing--so I guess that would make her two-dimensional). I love Gwyneth Paltrow, but that movie really SUCKED! I went to see it with a few flight attendant friends when it came out back in 2003, and we were extremely disappointed (some of us more than others)! There were a few good lines and performances in it, but we could tell it wasn't written by someone in the industry (and written by a guy, at that... I mean, come on, a galley cat-fight scene--Gag!) Everybody in the industry knows that Gwyneth's airline ("Royalty", I believe) would not have lived up to her glamorous expectations and she would have been quickly corrupted.
Anywho, let me not bitch about that movie anymore. The Queen of Sky Blog is gonna be the REAL DEAL! I never thought I would get the opportunity to write a screenplay based on my book, so I'm very grateful (thanks, Hiltz Squared!) and plan on making this the best flight attendant movie EVER!!! 8-)
Monday, October 20, 2008
I'd like to cast Cho as a flight attendant in my movie. (And, no, she will not be portraying any of my real Asian American friends--so save the emails and phone calls, please!) What do you all think about that? Kathy Griffin is another good one, because she could be that aging flight attendant who's had a little work done and thinks nobody notices :P
P.S. After going to the Cho show, I now know more about Margaret Cho's vagina than anybody should EVER know about another person's vagina!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Another friend of hers didn't get on either and she tells him, exasperated: "I've gotta get out of this business!" He replies dryly: "Don't we all." This sets up the central question: Will Elena get out of the airline business?
Elena calls and leaves a message for her date (this was their third attempt to get together for their FIRST date), then limps off to her commuter hotel, the "Crapotel." In her dilapidated room, she flips through the crappy cable channels and tries to call some of her friends to vent about her day. None of them answer. They're all flying. Meanwhile, Elena receives a text from her stood-up date telling her this was her last chance. Now more distraught, she turns to her laptop and sets up a blog, choosing "QueenofSky" as her screen name. Once she starts the blog, blog narration kicks in.
What do you all think of this beginning?
Friday, October 17, 2008
I'm going to veer off topic today to tell you what happened to a friend of mine a while back. He was driving across Texas in a rental car and stopped at a rest stop to take a leak. Well, at this particular rest stop there were only port-a-potties, no real rest rooms. So, seeing as it was night time and dark, he decided to whiz on the side of the road. I forgot to mention that my friend is kind of obviously gay.
Well, low and behold, he was arrested for public indecency and one of the arresting cops called him all kinds of names and expletives (fag, homo, etc.) He was held overnight in jail, during which he felt suicidal because he thought he was going to lose his beloved job (he's a flight attendant.) Now, a year later, he's just managed to get his charges reduced to a misdemeanor after paying several grand in legal fees. If they hadn't reduced his charges, he would have lost his job.
Anyway, what I want to say is, if this had been a straight man, he would NOT have been arrested for taking a leak on the side of the road in small town Texas. This makes me very mad and ashamed of my state of residence (of course, our current president does, too!)
Well, that was today's soapbox. Please participate in the poll below if you haven't already. I'm going to narrow it down to 4 or 5 candidates after I've completed the screenplay and you guys have a better idea of the character.
CORRECTION: My friend says it was a "picnic area" not a rest stop, so actually there were NO restrooms, not even port-a-potties. And in this particular county at the time, the sheriff was trying to appear tough for his reelection campaign (and apparently "tough" in that part of Texas means "intolerant.")
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Anyhow, thanks, you all, for all the insights and suggestions (yes, even the anonymous poster who called Obama a "Muslim")! Pls keep them coming! I'll post the poll tomorrow. Am hoping to have some time to seriously work on the screenplay this weekend. I've got the turning points down, but am stuck on how to start it. I mean, how do you show the start of a blog and make it interesting? And, what should be the catalyst/inciting incident (that gets the story underway)?
Monday, October 13, 2008
- Drew Barrymore
- Queen Latifah
- Eva Mendez
- Katherine Heigl
- Kate Hudson
- Sandra Oh
- Gwen Stefani
- Jessica Alba
Now I'd like to get serious. My top picks are Katherine Heigl and Alicia Silverstone. Katherine is a big, curvy sag like me and Alicia's mom was a flight attendant for Pan Am (I read that on Wikipedia). My production company also mentioned people like Mischa Barton, Tori Spelling, Rachel Bilson and I don't remember who else right now.
I'm going to make a new poll, so suggestions, please! (And, NO, I'm not going to play myself!)
P.S. I forgot to mention that any actress who plays "Queen of Sky" needs to be quirky and slightly dysfunctional!
Friday, October 10, 2008
The first order of business in the creation of this screenplay is to determine the structure. I was fortunate enough to get into a class called Narrative Strategies at U Texas this semester, which is all about the structure of film. I'm learning a lot in that class.
As many of you know, the most difficult part of starting any piece of writing is determining how and where to begin. (We're going to do this screenplay in the classical Hollywood style of the Three Act Structure, BTW.) I've been discussing this with my production company, Hiltz Squared, and we've come up with two options. At first I had structured it starting in the middle of the blog, but HS didn't like that so much. So, the choice now is:
A.) We start at the beginning of the blog, including the reasons for starting it and thereby raising the central question.
B.) We start at the end of the story, with "Queen of Sky" on a talk show discussing what happened to her. In this scenario, the whole movie is a flashback.
I personally think option A works better for a comedy, and also it will allow us to use the blog narration that HS and I have discussed.
What do you all think? And, what do you think the central question should be? (Ex. What happened to her? or Will this blog change her life? or Will Elena aka "Queen of Sky" ever get out of the airline industry?)
Toronto, ON and Austin, TX, October 10, 2008—Hiltz Squared Media Group this week optioned the rights to former flight attendant Ellen Simonetti's semi-autobiographical novel, Diary of a Dysfunctional Flight Attendant: The Queen of Sky Blog. Hiltz Squared has commissioned Simonetti to write a screenplay based on the book. Simonetti, in turn, has launched an interactive blog—queenofscreen.com—about the writing of the screenplay, complete with scene snippets, plot outlines, and polls.
The working title of the screenplay is The Queen of Sky Blog, but Simonetti remains open to other title suggestions from the readers of her blog. The film will feature a Bridget Jones-esque international flight attendant whose colorful blog helps her navigate the ups and downs of her life and ultimately transforms her completely. Simonetti says she plans to make it a 90-minute comedy starring Katherine Heigl in the lead, with Kathy Griffin, Queen Latifah, Ricky Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, Bette Midler, Margaret Cho, and Nathan Lane as assorted flight attendant coworkers, and Richard Branson as a long-suffering frequent flier. Casting suggestions are welcome at queenofscreen.com.
Simonetti's book is based on her quirky, controversial, and similarly named blog, which led to her firing in 2004. However, 'Legacy Airlines,' the fictitious airline portrayed in the book and the screenplay, in no way represents any of Simonetti's previous employers.
Hiltz Squared Media Group Inc. is a film, television and new media production and distribution company located in Toronto, Canada. Formed in 2000, Hiltz Squared Media has grown into various aspects of the industry and continues to create new and original material for the ever-changing media and arts landscape. For more information visit www.hiltz2.com.
Ellen Simonetti is currently studying Radio/TV/Film at the University of Texas at Austin. For more information about Simonetti and her screenplay, Google her or visit queenofscreen.com (and leave a comment, please!)
Hiltz Squared is also exploring TV show ideas based on Simonetti's book.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This blog is going to be all about the writing of my screenplay, which is based on my semi-autobiographical book, Diary of a Dysfunctional Flight Attendant: The Queen of Sky Blog. I plan to include polls, plot outlines, scene snippets and plenty of other fun things here. Most of all, I'd like for you, dear reader, to participate in this project. I'm a first-time screenwriter, so I need all the help I can get!
Disclaimer: this blog will include some spoilers, but I'll try to keep Act 3 a secret. Also, if you give me feedback and/or suggestions, I can't guarantee that you will get credit for it in the film. But, of course, you'll receive my heartfelt gratitude and maybe even a ticket to the premiere! :-D