For fringe ships, I'm a bit of a fan of Kiss for Kian/Chess and, for those who wanna see our favourite girl suffer, Chesston for Chess/Preston. I know we had one person flirting w shipping Kian and Brandon, but I've yet to find a good ship portmanteau for that particular entanglement. Same with the adults, in fact.
Post by RJ Alden Lackie on Dec 20, 2013 12:11:13 GMT -6
Compass is proud to showcase an award-winning short film, Perspective Pictures' COLD, a thoughtful exploration of what it's like to live in a city of 2.5 million strangers.
Also, coming up later today: the announcement of Compass' Winter '14 Screenplay Schedule, featuring 4 newly-announced screenplay pickups. So stick around and keep your eyes peeled. #TheNewYear is beginning early...
Post by RJ Alden Lackie on Nov 14, 2013 22:54:23 GMT -6
Karl, the fact that 1x10 was your favourite of the season made me do a little dance in my computer chair. That was the last ep I wrote for the season, and I think it shows me at my most comfortable with the entire cast, and the show's trademark pacing and humour. Though I have a personal love for 1x09, being the more intense and dramatic of the eps, I'm really proud of how 1x10 turned out.
Post by RJ Alden Lackie on Sept 14, 2013 17:42:30 GMT -6
We at Compass want to give our screenwritersexposure to as big an audience as possible. So, we've decided to circulate a collection of excerpts from Compass projects to give lots of unconventional readers a taste test of what they might find here.
Featuring Compass films, script series, and Workshop projects, the Compass Compilation for our August 2013 launch includes work from Shannon Litt, Dex MacLeod, and myself, hopefully the launch for a successful quarterly compilation hereafter.
Sound off at Compass on your thoughts re: the opening letter, the excerpts, the format, and any questions/concerns/comments about the project! We'll be distributing this to potential contacts, in and outside the industry, as a sample of the work available at Compass on launch.
Oh god. Where do I start. Okay. Let's start at the beginning...
This Brandon/Olivia situation came out of nowhere. haha I'm sure it was planned that way though. I don't know about her yet. Her and Brandon are little too happy for me. I guess I'm like Drew in that way.
Olivia came in like a storm, and that was definitely on purpose - as Brandon said in 1x09, he has no intention of being out of the closet, so his only real move here was to quickly play his kiss with Drew as a moment of drunken experimentation. And so he does to Olivia what he did to Alice all season, which she's still reeling from and which he's forced to confront here. The most surprising thing that came during the draft was the sense that Brandon is genuinely protective and really cares about Olivia, even as he's 100% not attracted to her. Their dynamic was a lot of fun.
I loved this bit from Chess and Drew:
DREW You know it's bullshit, right?
CHESS Of course. I did a scientific exploration for myself, he's gay as a rainbow riding a unicorn through an all-male strip club. But, it's still fascinating.
HAHA! They never cease to amaze me. Love their relationship so much, and little things like Chess calling him "Bitch," is just too funny.
YES! While Brandon is the character I'm most fascinated by and want to explore in more depth, the Chess/Drew dynamic is absolutely my favourite thing to write in this show. Drew's bluntness mixed with Chess' wit and lack of shame is a winning combination, and I think this episode has some of my best dialogue for the show - all because I put Drew and Chess together for the ep.
Onto the plot of the episode. I KNEW IT! haha After what happened in the last episode, I'd be shocked if we didn't get to see these characters trying to figure out who this mysterious blogger is. I'm glad this is where the season is going, and I can't wait to see if it'll be revealed by the end the season, or extend into next season. Looking forward to seeing how it develops either way.
We always wanted an episode where we dig into the SVH Exposed blogger, because there was no way they wouldn't want to confront the person who's been destroying their lives - especially after the chaos wreaked in 1x08. We knew we didn't want to reveal anything this early, but them just failing felt like a wet noodle; So the idea that the blogger could scare them off with a nuclear power play - essentially motivating the entire school to dissuade them from investigating further lest their own secrets come out next - was very exciting for us.
This wasn't the beginning of something. This was essentially us hitting pause. There's going to be a bit of a long game with the blogger, so don't expect big answers soon. They're gonna be worth the wait.
Like I've said before, I really feel for Alice when having those nice talks with Kian. I really like their sibling dynamic, even though they can sort of hate each other sometimes. It's so true to real life. We've been seeing Kian lose control a lot lately, so revealing that he himself has anger management problems, and is seeing a therapist because it was a nice move. Little details like that enhance the story so much for me, so I'm glad we got that.
When I got onto staff, Kian was the character who most mystified me. Who was he? A kind-hearted bisexual jock is an unusual figure, but there's no stakes to that archetype. As Tom explained his complicated relationship with Alice more to us, and as I started to tease out his control and anger issues, Kian became the second-most fascinating character for me after Brandon. (I still don't quite care for Isaac. We'll see if that changes next season.) I definitely wrote the Kian/Alice material after loving their dynamic in 1x07.
I was worried Mr Bell would regret throwing Kian and Brandon in a room together for detention, but it seems like it all worked out. We get a scene where they are actually being quite civil with one another. I liked that, and I kinda even started shipping those two for a second. haha I'm not sure if I'm kidding or not.
I think every writer on staff has their favourite scene they wrote this season. Kian and Brandon at Junkie's Paradise is mine. The scene breaks down how Kian and Brandon see themselves, how they see each other, and why those perceptions are kind of bullshit. It reveals a lot about them while also really developing them and pushing their relationship into a new place. I'm really quite proud of it.
As for shipping Kian and Brandon... I can actually see it a bit, after this scene. I have my own thoughts where each character belongs, which may or may not line up with what you see... but I think it's a huge element of the scene I'm proud of that the scene can turn their relationship so on its head that you see potential where there was nothing before.
Chess and Drew teaming up, being the detectives was pretty cool. Even though they didn't solve the mystery, I liked seeing them working together. Well, Chess did most of the work, but still. haha Drew suspecting Chess was not surprising, as I had a feeling something like that would happen... but it hurt a little bit, I admit. Even though I was thinking in my head that it might actually be her after all. It does make sense. So, I can't be too mad at Drew for saying what I was thinking. lol
I was really nervous bringing in this tension, because in 1x02 there was a very similar conflict and question: does Chess value Drew or his effect on her status more? I'd felt that we'd resolved that and I was worried this would cover old ground. That said, I think we pulled it off, and I definitely think this resolves that tension between them.
But their little fallout gave us a scene between Chris and Drew! At last, a nice scene between those two. I'm sure their relationship isn't fixed all of a sudden, but it was nice to see Drew confiding in his dad. Even though he may not have wanted to, but he let him in on what was happening, and gave him some pretty good advice. I loved that scene so much. I live for stuff like that. haha
I was very excited to write this scene, as Chris has intrigued me all through this season and I desperately wanted to have these two talk and address, if briefly, their issues. Chris and Drew's relationship has always had my attention, and one of the most blink-and-you'll-miss is heartbreaking moments for me this season was Drew VOing in 1x07 that he thought his dad had already given up on Drew ever making something of his life. The Cunningham family is a complex organism that barely functions, and yet it's still really cool to see how much Viv and Chris love Drew and how much they'd sacrifice to give him a family.
The ending was a bit scary. I'm intrigued to see who this blogger really is. I feel like it's someone we've already met, and the revelation is going to hurt.
I offer nothing but silence.
Overall, this was a good episode. It's nice to see an episode that's not completely dedicated to Drew and his romantic involvements. I know it's a pretty big part of how the show works, but it's nice to see what these characters are well drawn enough to work outside of that whole dynamic.
Ten episodes into the show's life, it was nice to stretch the show a bit to give Brandon/Kian their own story and start to broaden our POV on this really interesting and fun cast. Now that Kian/Brandon/Isaac aren't just the 'love interests', the show can be a lot more flexible with its storytelling, and I think it does wonders for Easy.
Anyhow, I've speechified enough - Chris, thank you SO MUCH for the reviews, both of my eps and all the others. They were a great read, and I can't wait to see your reaction to the end of the season.
And SEASON TWO, which is going to rock everyone's socks right off. (Too early?)
Anyhow, thanks for the reviews. Was a great pleasure responding to 'em.
This was a HUGE episode for the Drew/Brandon relationship. Most of it was actually just one big scene between the two, and for a moment I was wondering why, until the last scene. Wow. I went to Team Brandon in the blink of an eye. HAHA! Granted, both of them were so drunk one of them can't even remember what happened, but it was a good scene. I'm looking forward to seeing how this changes my view of Brandon's future actions, now that we kind of know the fuller story. But I'm glad this episode made me understand, at least a little more, why Brandon has done the things he's done. And his home situation is not the best. I couldn't say I was expecting it to be, but now that we've gotten to see it, I'm really feeling for his character. It took a while, but I think it really paid off.
Not too much else I can say about this episode, other than I really liked the exploration of Drew and Brandon's relationship. I'm glad we got to see a softer side to Brandon. That's something I've been looking for. And I'm glad we can look forward to seeing them be friends. At least for a little while. Until the next time things get screwed up. LMAO
Brandon's been a bit of a mystery all season, and I was so excited to finally reveal what was going on all season in his head here, and to shift him and Drew into a new phase in their relationship. As I wrote this, I discovered new tones of Brandon's voice that had been barely present all season (which then seeded into his scenes with Chess in 1x07, which I wrote just after this), and found a comfortable chemistry between the two that I loved writing.
Overall, a pretty solid episode. A very contained story, but we got to spent some more time with Brandon's character, who has probably been the least explored between him, Isaac and Kian. So, I liked this one
I can't even with this episode. Possibly one of my favorites in a while, even though they've all been really great. I'm finally starting to open up more to Brandon. I always said he was an interesting character, just needed a bit more time spent developing him, and after that ending, I can only see his character taking off from here, which I'm really excited for.
I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! This was my second script of the season (after 1x09 and before 1x10), and after writing essentially a Drew/Brandon two-hander I was excited to finally play with the rest of the cast.
Though I love pretty much everything about writing for this show, my main goal in my three episodes was to get the readers to start to understand Brandon - and, hopefully, fall a bit in love with him. I knew after reading the pilot I was fascinated by his character, and after 1x09 I was sure that, as much as I adore Chess and Drew and everyone else, Brandon is the character I connect best with in the cast. So the fact that this ep started to open him up for you really makes me happy.
This episode had a few surprises for me. One being the fact that Drew was interested in Jake's offer. I wasn't quite expecting him to consider it as seriously as he was. I don't know if he would have accepted his offer if he got the chance to meet with Jake, but I'm interested in seeing what his motivations would be if he did. I hadn't gotten any hints that he's all that interested or in need of money before this episode, so I'm curious to see if there's something else going on there.
Drew's decision isn't really about money at all. As he breaks it down in his opening VO, both he and Viv are worried that he'll never find something to do with his life, and his flirtation here with Jake's offer here is very much about Drew asking whether this is who he is, or whether he's more than someone defined by sex.
Mr Bell kicking the crap out of Jake was quite the shocker as well. Didn't see it coming, but I'm growing even more intrigued by that whole dynamic. I can't stop wondering if we've really gotten the whole story there or not. Hopefully that's brought up again in the near-future. But either way, it was cool to see Mr Bell being more active. I know he's great at giving advice to Drew, but this episode really demonstrated how protective he can be - Further solidifying that bond. I would like to see more scenes between Mr Bell and Chess too, especially now that he knows she might be doing some things he wouldn't necessarily approve of.
Though there was some debate behind the scenes as to whether we should go through with Bell beating Jake up, I think he needed it. Not only because his character's been backgrounded the most of the regulars, but because it adds some fascinating shades to an otherwise vanilla character. Bell isn't just 'a good guy' - he's someone who will do anything to protect those he loves. Even something that may have been bad or immoral.
I also love the fact that neither Jake nor Bell are really right or wrong here. Bell clearly disrespects Drew's desire to make his own choices by warning Jake off, and his attack on Jake is clearly somewhat influenced by his personal feelings about Jake - but was he right or wrong? How much of it was about protecting Drew, about punishing Jake for betraying him, about his own failure to protect Jake? It's all open to interpretation, which I think is a lot of fun.
A lot of family stuff in this episode! We got that nice scene between Kian and Alice, which was nice to see. I can't say Alice is a character I actually like, but she's definitely an interesting part of the story, and it was nice to see another side to her. I find myself sort of on her side in the whole Alice/Brandon situation, even though I'm not a fan of her personality.
Alice is an interesting case because she's so prominent in the season as a recurring figure, yet we so rarely get a glimpse of who she is and what makes her tick. The Alice/Brandon relationship is another where both sides are doing right and wrong and have really murky motivations. We're just beginning to crack into season two in the writer's room, and I'm excited because my first episode back at bat will feature a bit of a deeper look into the Brandon/Alice issue.
Kian/Alice is another relationship I love to play with, because Kian is so often defined by his desire to be a white knight for other people. We saw it at the end of 'Mr. Heartbreaker', and it shows up again in his relationship with Alice (and it definitely doesn't go away). When it comes to these two... On one hand you have two people who have issues that pull them together because it makes themselves feel better (Alice's desire to be loved/valued and Kian's white knight syndrome), but you also have two people, brother and sister, who genuinely love and care for each other. So I adore writing them together. After their scene here I made sure to return to them in 1x10.
Drew is leaving Isaac hanging instead of confronting him; something he tends to do a lot. I like Drew's character because he's not presented as the perfect guy. He has some majors character flaws, which makes him a hell of a lot more interesting. As a matter of fact, all of these characters do, and I think that's what I appreciate most about this show. The diversity of the characters and the relationships they have with one another. So, yes... I really enjoyed this episode, if you hadn't noticed already!
I agree with you about how the characters' moralities are all ambiguous. On a show like Gossip Girl you have characters doing awful things and the show never quite seems aware of it, particularly as the show got older; here, it's a key component of every castmate that they've got huge flaws that they're trying to overcome, or that sometimes blind them. I came onto the show with some reluctance after just reading the pilot, but as the staff started to play with this ambiguity, I really fell in love with the show, and what you've pinpointed here is at the heart of it.
Thanks so much for the 1x07 review! 1x09 and 1x10 responses to come...
Brandon, I want to tell him, one day, it will get easier, but with someone like Alice literally hanging onto him for her own self worth, I don't think he's going to have it easy. I LOVED the smoking scene between him and Chess in the latest episode, it was very evocative of a scene from the original QAF years ago, and that he and Chess have quickly gotten to a point where she's already calling him on his own bullshit - she might be the key to him keeping his sanity, although staying off the booze would probably be a good idea!
The smoking scene between Brandon and Chess is one of my favourite scenes of the three episodes I've written this season. I don't think anyone imagined a Chess/Brandon friendship when the season started, and yet I found that they're one of my favourite twosomes in the cast! As for Brandon himself, well... you've only seen the beginning of his story.
Poor Chess - while I like the developing friendship with Brandon, and her bitch-quip-fights with Alice are always hilarious, I do feel sorry for her that she's going down this route of emotional numbness (or at least that's how I see it), in dealing with the hurt of her faux-relationship with Preston the Prick. I loved the way she waltzed into school after the very public break up, back to Chess-normal, but I also like that we're seeing that it isn't all fun and games for her as well, it makes her more developed and well rounded. I would LOVE to see a full-on show-down between her and Alice if and when she finds out it was Alice who set Preston on her.
Chess is downright my favourite character, and I think the staff in general's favourite to write. She's so fun and energetic but hiding some genuine pain underneath, and it's really cool when we get to dig into that a little. Her dynamic with Alice definitely plays into the rest of the season...
Lastly, Mr Bell, the pleasant, laid-back teacher, who tries his best for his students, especially those he mentors, like Drew, willing to forgive his daughter the minor trespasses she might pull, if he can see genuine guilt from her. He just wants whats best for her, like any good parent, and perhaps puts Drew in the middle a little, using him as a go-between of sorts. But there is no denying he cares about Drew in his own way, and that he has a WICKED TEMPER!! I was shocked and a little scared to see that side of Mr. Bell, and wonder if maybe, it will come back to haunt him at some point.
When Tom proposed that scene, my jaw kind of dropped, but it was fantastic to see the darker side lurking underneath Mr. Bell's warmth. He'd do anything to protect those he cares about, but is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Only 5 episodes left to go...
And man have you got some great stuff coming up. 1x08 is a hugely influential episode this season, and I spend 1x09 and 1x10 just picking up the pieces from it.
Post by RJ Alden Lackie on Jul 7, 2013 4:56:35 GMT -6
Definitely planning on keeping up with the show. It's a lot of fun, and Newbie was the best of the run yet. I tend to not read as much as I'd like, so if I seem to vanish, know that it's cause I do that a lot, not that I don't like the show.
Post by RJ Alden Lackie on Jul 4, 2013 3:48:36 GMT -6
Audition 1x08: Newbie
Much better episode. This helped by giving Jordan a worthy adversary, as new kid David picks him apart pretty effortlessly. I enjoyed this one pretty much all the way through, from Paula's love of reality TV, the girly shriek, the David takedown of the assholes, the tentative friendship between he and our leads. I even liked the ambiguity of whether David's a friend or foe.
Plus, Ms. Carlyle's last line was a cherry on top. As long as the show keeps playing Jordan for comedy as the fool he really is, the character might actually not make entire scenes unreadable. It was fun to watch him be outmatched left right and centre here.
So - the best episode of the season yet, easily. Every other episode this season I've winced or forgiven something. This episode I just flat-out enjoyed all the way through. Just in time! After "Jealousy" I was a little worried.
Post by RJ Alden Lackie on Jul 4, 2013 3:42:57 GMT -6
Audition 1x07: Jealousy
And Jordan and Angela are back, this time with an obnoxious agent whose dialogue is... not very good. I'm kind of hoping the next episode opens with Jordan, Angela, their agent and Alex becoming tragic victims of a serial killer, and continuing on with Paula, Alisha and Michael. Sigh.
With the amount of the Magnificent Douchefaces in this ep, I was never going to ecstatic about it. Thankfully, Paula was there to be generally weird and charming, saving an episode I wasn't really a fan of.
Post by RJ Alden Lackie on Jul 4, 2013 3:36:42 GMT -6
Audition 1x06: Commercial Success
That one was a lot of fun! Again, taking a moment to reflect on what Alex and Alisha are trying to do helps the show, as Alex has to swallow his pride to take a commercial job despite his big dreams. I mean, I still want to set Alex on fire and dump him off a skyscraper, but it's still a good beat to explore. And Alisha, too, having to learn to stand on her own without him, a good development thread for her character. And no Angela or Jordan, which helps!
Much better than the past few episodes, and hopefully a sign the show will continue to improve. Despite my rather critical reviews, I am enjoying the show.
Post by RJ Alden Lackie on Jul 4, 2013 3:31:48 GMT -6
Audition 1x05: Improv
So we jump three weeks into the future with a scene that makes absolutely no sense - Paula breaking into their apartment to wake them up by banging a pan, three hours before their class. At this point I'm beginning to worry if Paula, rather than quirky and overeager, might actually have an undiagnosed mental illness...
The improv sequence is pretty winning. I wish we'd gotten the prompt for Jordan's weird theatrics, but it was amusing to see Alex and Angela do a bit of acting. Also, I really liked seeing Alisha fall apart in the improv - it brought the shyness and awkwardness that's been building since the pilot to the forefront in a really sympathetic way.
Probably the best episode since the pilot! I'm hoping as the season moves forward we keep seeing the kids working on their craft so we can get a sense of whether their journey to stardom is indeed doomed or not...
Post by RJ Alden Lackie on Jul 4, 2013 3:26:04 GMT -6
Audition 1x04: The Sing Off
Ooookay, so Jordan is an abusive douchenozzle and Angela is desperate and sad. It doesn't really make either of them much more sympathetic - maybe Angela just a twitch - but hopefully it's a sign that the show's gearing up for some kind of longer story. Even if Jordan makes no sense to me so far beyond a caricature, and Angela only a shade better.
A better episode than the last couple. The show does tend to take a scene and rest on it for too long - with 1x02 being composed of the same argument three times, and then spending 3 and a half pages here on the Angela/Alisha performance when one or two would have been plenty. I do think the show could use a bit of patience and reflection on its character development, as these 9-11 page episodes could do a lot more to develop the cast and doesn't. I don't know that we've learned anything new about the cast in the past three episodes that we didn't know in the pilot.