December 31, 2012

The Future in 2012

After all of my crying and moaning, it looks like someone finally got the message and started bringing some true sci-fi back to the movie theaters.  They weren't all successful, or even always good, but at least we're opening ourselves up to new possibilities again.

2013 looks just as bright

Not to mention Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to "District 9", "Elysium", and Alfonso Cauron's "Gravity", it should be an awesome year in the cineplex.

Review: Lincoln

One of the best things I've seen in the last year was Ken Burns' excellent Civil War documentary, but I was always fascinated as to the way all of the combatants referred to each major battle as, simply, "a fight".

Which is why the opening scene of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln is so effective: it is, essentially, a fist fight between hundreds of Confederate soldiers and Black Union soldiers in the middle of a muddy, blood-soaked field.

More than anything else, I was moved by the intimacy of this film.

 The war wasn't masses of nameless, faceless regiments moving along a chess board. It was a back breaking street fight to the death, fought among millions.  The debate in the congress over these lofty issues like personhood and citizenship immediately descends into a raucous shouting match full of insults and clever name-calling.  Average citizens come to the office hours of The President of the United States to settle a land dispute.

I was also particularly impressed by the rawness of the politics.  For something so lofty and noble as the abolition of slavery, Lincoln and his cohorts employed every conceivable trick in the book - brides, coercion, misdirection.  I'm reminded of a line from "The Kingdom of Heaven": "maybe one day you'll do a little evil to do a great good."

Reminder, again, that all politics are not just local.  They're personal.

I have some issues with the end of the film.  Frankly, I think the last five minutes are totally unnecessary and hurt the tone and style of the film.  But it's still exquisite.

December 14, 2012

Thinking about Newtown, and Portland, and College Station, and Oak Creek, and Aurora, and Tuscon...

Across this country, there were 16 mass shootings in the past year.  And, yes, while there is definitely a conversation to be had about gun control laws, I think there's also something else here.

What is going on inside of these men (and they are ALWAYS men) that they feel that the only solution is to go out and kill a bunch of complete strangers before killing themselves?  Yes, some of these guys are clinically unbalanced, and a handful are involved with hate groups, but it seems like the majority of them are just frustrated and upset with the circumstances in their lives.

How did being frustrated and upset become an acceptable justification in, apparently, a growing number of young men's minds for mass murder?  How is it that so many young American men are identifying with Patrick Bateman's final confession.

What is going on here in our country that this feeling is becoming increasingly common?

December 10, 2012

Fanning the Flames

Another plug: if you've been enjoying the odd dropoffs to Amazon's Kindle store from my crooked imagination, take a moment to like and share my new Fan Page at  As always, your support is appreciated beyond words.


November 12, 2012

Chillin' like a villain is a website where videophiles like me can curate and share all of the gloriously messy videos on the web that they love and share them with the world at large.

Someone at Chill thought it was a good idea to name ME as the curator for the videos that appear on their front page all week.

I think I'll make it my mission to make them regret this decision.  :-)

Check out my own Chill collections at

And for a taste of what I'm liking on Chill, check out this link.

November 06, 2012



That was a close one.  At least it felt like it.

But, given the President's coattails, squashing some of the worst ideologues, partisans,  chauvinists, and intolerants in the process, I can't help but wonder if he didn't intentionally throw that first debate just to keep the dark money invested in a losing Romney campaign instead of many other winnable Senate races.

Like Andrew Sullivan says, "meep meep".

Now, let's get back to work.

October 31, 2012

Episode VII

George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy on the Future of Star Wars

My earliest memory from inside a movie theater is watching Princess Leia dissing Luke Skywalker for being too short to convincingly impersonate a stormtrooper.  I always remember the scene differently from how it was actually shot: some how, my 3 year old brain knitted together the stark black and whites from the hallways of the Death Star with this scene, so I always remember what is actually an all-black room as a high contrast black & white.

Weird, I know.  Maybe it was just a bit of information overload for my developing cranium.

Point being, while I'm a much more rabid Trekkie than Star Wars fan, I basically know the dialogue from Episode IV by heart.

I remember when the Star Wars movies were good.  Sadly, there's the kernel of a good story in the most recent trilogy, but the difference, as always, is in the storytelling details - the everyday choices made by a director on dialogue, on performance, on camera position, on edits.  SOMEONE could have made "The Phantom Menace", "Attack of the Clones", and "Revenge of the Sith" into good movies.

There was a time that the film snob in me completely dismissed the idea of someone else making Star Wars movies because they're really George Lucas' magnum opus, but clearly George Lucas doesn't agree with me, and he's probably right.

So, my thoughts?

  1. Hire JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof.  Unlike me, they really do froth at the mouth about Star Wars.   And my namesake has gone on record on more than one occasion about why this whole Mitichlorians garbage completely defeats the entire point about The Force.  A great starting place.
  2. Do as many things practically and in camera as you can. The CGI is killing the dramatic tension of the action and it's distracting from the drama.
  3. Two words: Mark Hammill.
Let's DO THIS.

October 23, 2012

Why Reviews Matter On Amazon

Admittedly, between work & weddings, I haven't had nearly the time to devote to Macroscope that I used to, and many of my missives have been creeping into Facebook and Twitter more frequently.  But this blog has been my creative, opinionated home for over 10 years now, so it will always occupy a place of reverence for me.

It's also the best way for me to reach people who I know dig my work directly.  So, if you're reading this blog, I'm assuming you're a fan of my writing.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

You also probably know that I've been redirecting my writing energy towards pure fiction over the last year, in the form of my ebook shorts, all of which I'm selling exclusively on for the Kindle, iPhone, iPad, web browsers, etc, including:

I'm sure many of you aren't surprised to hear that, far and away, my best selling short story is "33 Ways To Kill My Husband" - even though it's still, clearly, in a similar vein to my other work, it has a much broader appeal, is not really scary, and, honestly, is probably quite funny (at least, I think it is).

But what I've noticed is that, when we do these free promotions on Amazon, "33 Ways" vastly outsells the other books, and my theory on it is that a big part of it is the reviews.  I have easily 10x the number of reviews for "33 Ways" as for the other books, and I suspect that Amazon's internal recommendations algorithm chooses to suggest it to more viewers because more people have taken the time to write a review (the vast majority of which are positive).

So, again, my theory is that the other books could reach a larger audience if they had more reviews.

With that in mind, I have a request:

I've you've had the chance to read my other books, and you enjoyed them, I would really appreciate it if you took a second to give them reviews.  It could be as simple as "I loved it!" or "It scared the crap out of me!"  One or two sentences is probably enough.  But it could be a huge way to help me reach an even larger audience.

You can find them all online at this link.

Thank you all for sticking with me for the last decade.  And who knows what the next ten years may have in store...

October 22, 2012

American Made Music to Haunt By

You all know this is my favorite time of the year.  You also know that storytelling and film is my true passion.  But one of the things I always loved to do when writing a screenplay was adding music cues to help tell the story.  As I think I've mentioned before, the band Godsmack played a big role in my Boogieman screenplay, "Nite-Lite", and my love for '90's R&B is everywhere in my original AFI screenplay, "My Own Lily".

And even though, these days, all of my creative energy is going into by ebooks (for now), I can still hear the guitars playing in my head.  So, this time, I thought I'd share it.

As you know, this week, in anticipation of Halloween, I'm offering my horror short, "The Trick-or-Treaters", for free, exclusively on  But, for a little extra something to take your reading experience to the next level, here's my semi-unofficial Trick-or-Treaters soundtrack, featuring the likes of Rob Zombie, Type O Negative, Outkast, Korn, DMX, and Diana Ross.

Yes, Diana Ross.

Kick back, relax, and let it scare the Hell out of you.

Trick or treat. Or else.

They're back.  And, this time, they're free.  Check out "The Trick-or-Treaters" for free all week long, exclusively at


July 05, 2012

Maniacal Laughter, or why I wrote "33 Ways To Kill My Husband"

Years ago I saw an interview with one of my artistic heroes, the great filmmaker John Carpenter, where he was asked what did he think of the "Saw" series.  "I think they're tremendously funny," he replied with a completely straight face.

It's hard to explain what makes me laugh.

When I think of my favorite comedies, movies like "The Naked Gun" and "Monty Python and The Holy Grail" immediately leap to mind.  I love "Airplane" and "Top Secret" and "Real Genius" and "Revenge of the Nerds" and "There's Something About Mary" and "Dumb and Dumber" and "Zoolander".

On the stage, I love Christopher Durang and on the page I bow at the feet of Douglas Adams.

I could go on and on about the stories that everyone else thinks are funny that I also think are funny.

But then there are the other stories.

Like Mary Harron and Christian Bale's version of "American Psycho".

Like the Paul Verhoeven trifecta: "RoboCop", "Total Recall", and "Starship Troopers".

Or "Re-Animator" or "Creepshow II" or parts of "John Carpenter's The Thing" or even "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".

And let's not even get into the local news.

There's absurdity and irony and excess all around us every day.   While most people would shake their heads and turn their eyes away, I honestly cannot help but laugh.  It's almost involuntary.  The bigger the crazy, the more over the top, the louder I laugh.  And the more serious the people in these situations take their absurdity, the funnier it is.

What's even funnier is that most people are so hyper-aware of the circumstances, but so incredibly unaware of the very irony they create.

I'm reminded of a joke from Bill Maher about the proctologist who complains that he has to look at asses all day.

But even as I write these things, I feel like they could be coming out of Heath Ledger's mouth in "The Dark Knight".

Maybe, in the end, the biggest joke is on me, after all.

Wouldn't that be funny?

I guess my own lack of self-awareness is part of the genesis of my protagonist in "33 Ways To Kill My Husband ".  But the honest truth is I owe a big debt on this story to my fiance.  I just hope she doesn't take it to heart.  :-)

March 27, 2012

For Trayvon

A while ago I had a conversation with my fiance about this screenplay I wanted to write about some super secret geopolitical thing that I thought wasn't widely known and didn't get the attention it deserved, and she just looked at me, incredulous.

"Of course no one's written about it!  Do you think you're the first person who thought of this?  How do you think they keep it secret?"

Sometimes, I can be really stupid.

But the point she made was that I'm becoming a family man now.  I had to start considering how my actions effect my family.


For most of my life before now, that equation equalled "Mom+Dad+Brother+Nana+Me", or some broader combination of aunts, uncles, cousins, and the like.  But now, the most important version of that term, the one for which I'm directly responsible for, is the one I'm building personally with my better half right now.  Children are very important to both of us.

And the idea that a grown man could look at my child, literally walking down the street minding his own business, and KILL them, and then walk away without even an arrest, let alone a trial to even determine if  a crime has been committed just terrifies and infuriates me.

I think of Emmett Till.

I think of Ennis Cosby.

I think of the legions of Black boys who have their lives stolen from them every day because of someone else's irrational fear and hatred.

It's a delicate balance, because I don't want my future children to live in fear, or to expect any less from their home, their community, or their country than any of their white classmates.  Yet I also don't want them to be blind to what I perceive to be the realities of race in America.  I'm struggling to see past the years of learned behavior to find the appropriate level of paranoia and mistrust in a world where most people are good and decent and honest but there are still people out there who will take your life just because you're Black and male.

And it's the callous disregard for that life that horrifies me even more.  Who gives a drug test to a corpse?  Who takes the word of the man with the smoking gun in his hand that the dead guy had it coming as "evidence"?

Even if Trayvon Martin struck first (which I think is a ridiculous claim), doesn't the evidence show that he, too, could have legitimately claimed self-defense under the "Stand Your Ground" law?

Discretion is the better part of valor, people.

I'm trying not to get off on a rant about law enforcement and Black Americans, so let me just say two things: paraphrasing Ice-T, your authority is not a license to kill.

And God is watching.

March 22, 2012

The New Space Race

Like all good writers, I love convergence.

As I hinted in a previous post, I'm getting a bit obsessed about Ridley Scott's new movie, Prometheus.

Simultaneously, I've also been on a bit of a NASA binge, thanks to the rantings of Astrophysics Brother Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

But there's something else that just clicked for me this morning.

Consider this fake TEDTalk by the character Peter Weyland (nee Guy Pierce), the founder of the fictional Weyland Corporation that's funding the ill-fated exploration in "Prometheus" and will ultimately become Weyland-Yutani in time to employ Sigourney Weaver and her shipmates in the original "Alien".

Then consider this interview 60 Minutes did with Elon Musk.  Musk was one of the original founders of PayPal, then he founded the electric sports car company Tesla, and now he's created a company that's building commercial vehicles for space exploration.

As I'm being a fanboy and looking at the fake history of the Weyland Corporation online, is it really that much of a leap between Weyland and SpaceX?

And he's not the only one.  Jeff Bezos, the founder of, is secretly financing his own private space vehicle company called Blue Origin.

Other net billionaires are also investing their money in similar projects.  And we can't forget Virgin Galactic.

I'm reminded of a quote I'd heard was from William Gibson, that it's getting harder and harder to write sci-fi because, essentially, we now live in a sci-fi world.

Where am I going with this?  Nowhere, I guess.

Except to Mars, of course, assuming my fiance let's me buy a ticket.  :-)

Or build my own.  :-)

February 20, 2012

On Jeremy Lin

Hmm. Ivy League graduate who becomes an NBA superstar playing for the Knicks? Reminds me of Bill Bradley. Am I crazy to think that some 20 years down the line, Lin could be the first Asian American President of these United States?

January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr., in his own words, on his day

Nothing I can write could match what King says himself.

Listen to the WHOLE speech.  His last speech, the night before he was assassinated.
Martin Luther King, Jr: "Mountaintop" speech full length from Filip Goc on Vimeo. It wasn't just about race, or class, or labor. It was about keeping the promise of America for everyone. Forever.

January 11, 2012

Go See "Red Tails", the Tuskegee Airmen movie, next Friday, 1/20

First of all, let's start with the movie itself.  Here's the trailer for "Red Tails", George Lucas' big budget action movie about the Tuskegee Airmen.

Looks pretty awesome, right?  Action, history, social drama, good clean fun.

Also looks pretty expensive, too.

And to that point: here's an interview George Lucas did with The Daily Show where he broke down in really stark terms how no one in Hollywood wanted to finance this movie because it has all Black actors in the lead roles.

So, you all have heard me railing against the evils of Tyler Perry movies for a long time.  But, as the Emperor of Star Wars points out, the studios are happy to make more Medea movies because they're dirt cheap, so they can always turn a nice little profit from the niche audience of people who like to watch 6 ft. tall Black men disgrace themselves, our mothers, and our grandmothers all in one single performance.

But the Tuskegee Airmen are real heroes: men who risked their lives to save the lives of others.  Literally.  Black men who stood up to be counted.  Americans who embodied the very best of all of us.

Real role models.

And the movie looks like it will be very, very good.

I'm tired of only seeing Black actors in movies that are either about crime or relationship drama.  We have SO many more stories to tell.

Why do you think I love "Event Horizon" so much?  :-)

I feel like I see these sorts of pleas all the time, but this one is pretty serious, because if this movie, from one of the few untouchable filmmakers in the world, bombs, it's going to be extremely hard to get some more diversity in Black cinema.

In short, get all of your friends, and all of your friends' friends, and go out on opening night next Friday, January 20th, and actually BUY A TICKET for "Red Tails".

This one is important, folks.