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George Ebersole

What I've noticed over the years.

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Situation Comedies (Sitcoms) deal with family psychology.

Drama deals with potential or borderline criminal behavior within familial or "tribe" units, where gamesmanship of affection, money and lawyers is the norm.

Police / Court Drama deals with actual criminal cases.

Science fiction deals with villains with abnormal psychology or people who cause huge rifts in society.


I guess that's why I got bored with TV and feature films.  They are predictable to a fault.  As a former young film major many eons ago I was under the belief that you could create any story material for the big or small screen.  As long as it was good and socially acceptable, that someone would pick it up and take a chance on it.  That's not really the case anymore.  Thank goodness for the Japanese and the miniaturization of cinema technology, and net at large.


Back in 82 or 83, heck maybe it was even 1981 (checking something real quick...), nope, it was 1982 when I was playing on my friend's 286, and specifically MS Flight Simulator, and we were doing the Europe 1917, and it was my notion back then that this was the future of entertainment; movies and interactive media.  And now it's finally come to pass, but all those years during the late 80s and early 90s when I tried to go the regular route, to me, seems like a waste of time now.  And yeah, I am extremely bitter.  But better days are here now.


I see lots of great indy media on YT and elsewhere that shows that you don't need super huge budgets and colossal super-computers to crank out media with dazzling CGI and everything else.  I'm glad a real true and new brand of film makers without sociological overlords can and are creating raw media that really looks at social divides square in the face, and without taking the Hollywood / LA old school route of painting a pretty face on social harmony.  


That, and the scifi genre is no longer relegated toward inspiring young minds to puruse a career on medicine or law enforcement, as was the case from everything from the original Star Trek, Buck Rogers, and Twilight Zone, to Space 1999, Babylon 5, even the original Star Wars' trilogy, and whatever is on these days (I've quit watching mainstream TV).


I don't want to knock all of LA offerings from the 70s up through the 90s and today, but my adopted family has a legacy that extends back to the Revolutionary War and the founding of this nation fighting under the direct command of General Washington, and the values instilled in my character were freedom, liberty, independence, and a Jeffersonian way of looking at government and the expression of ideas and concepts.  So much of what I see coming out of LA is about satiating fantasies and touting social acceptance.  I can't recall the last time I saw a major theatrical wide-release feature film with any of the founders as main characters.  Gibson's "The Patriot"?  Eh, I tend to dismiss it, not because of Gibson's own personal legacy via his father, not just because the film really condescends to its targeted audience, but also because it really doesn't tout the core concepts and feelings of the era.


"1776"?  Erm, a good enough film for what it is.  I love DaSilva's John Adams, and all the rest.  I'm just sorry it was a musical comedy.   But I can't recall the last time I saw a film about … John Paul Jones, Nathan Hale, Lafayette, or even Paul Revere who had a really stunning life.  It was my ambition to put those men in proof of concept trailers, along with some science fiction concepts.  But, I no longer need to.  Hollywood, to me, and one of the chief reasons I never moved down there and stayed up in the SF Indy scene all those years ago, was the unholy marriage of ego, social tyranny by way of what could be produced and what couldn't, and corporate backing of that social structure.  That, and no offense to the company on this forum, but every goddamn crew that came up from LA brought drugs with them, and a few prostitutes too.   Whatever.


I've met a lot of roadblocks, and one dream project that I wanted to produce is now already in production as of this year.  A thing at one time that I was on the fast track to produce way back in 1988.  Oh well.  I don't have to do it anymore.  Strangely enough, I now have the resources to do it, and do it better than the guy helming the thing.  But, I'm burnt out on it.


I guess venting here isn't raging against the LA Hollywood machine.  Far from it.  It's that when I discovered the writing formulas for some of my favorite shows growing up … it's suddenly discovering mechanics of a car or jet; fuel goes in here, a batter provides the spark, fuel ignites, power is created and pushes your vehicle; everything from a car to a yacht to a jet fighter, forward" kind of thing.  To me writing has always been about exploration and presenting to the audience what you'd like the audience to see and experience.  But scifi shows are essentially police formula dramas.  Sitcoms are about talking about your feelings.  Drama is about testing values against potential criminality without delving into criminal scenarios.  I can't remember the last time I saw a TV show about … Jason and the Argonauts, or Paul Bunyan …. or the Underground Railroad from the CivilWar.  And even then those stories get visual layers added onto them to push social harmony messages.  Well, okay fine, but what if all the characters in the story are Native Americans a thousand years before Europeans came?  What if they're all part of the ancient Ethiopian kingdom?  Dare I say it, what if they're all white and living in rural Russia?  I think social harmony is cool.  We should all get along with our fellow man regardless of what he or she looks like.  But I feel like I've had a ton of those films and TV episodes presented to me, and I'm kind of burnt out on them.


And part of this rant is that all those years under August Coppola (FFC's now deceased older brother), and the likes of Jim Kitzes and a few others guiding my screenwriting and producing ambitions, and it's like I understand that there is far more art emphasis under that program, and that the majors want stuff they can rely on, but at the same time there's stuff beyond the cop and family psychology stories, stuff that's successful, that works, that's part of this nation's heritage, but you never see or hear about it.


Again, thank goodness for the Japanese and the silicon valley types an hour south of me that I grew up with, because now free information can exchange, and places like this forum can help fuel young minds and tear down barriers.  I knew it would come.  I just didn't think it would be like this and that I would be so burnt out on the practice.  


I won't say I wasted my time working all those industrials, commercials and a handful of feature films (none of which I ever got a credit for … I helped setup the shop for "Look Who's Talking" and worked with a couple of ILM types, but my name never got put on the film … it's the story of my life), but I did.  Still, it was fun.  "Eat a bowl of Tea", "The Running Man", some film about a lost rifle or an antique weapon … black and white, low-budge … whatever.


Well, to my faux parents who were physically present, to my psychological parents who live in LA who tried to steer me towards film way back when, and to my biological parents who live both in LA and on the East Coast as well as abroad on occasion, thanks, but no thanks.  


I stil like a good movie.  I still like the original 1960's Star Trek.  I still wish I had taken up that job up at ILM way back in 87.  But, whatever.  I don't have to do it anymore.  


Thanks to all who answered my stuff here, and encouraged me when I was striving to rebuild my name.  You guys are great.

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I think, find your joy, your hope, in this world. Find something/somebody you love. Find something/somebody that loves you back. It's out there. Do what you love, as long as it's a good thing. There's a lot of love and good in the world. We just have to believe that it's there. There's a lot of dark too. Walk away from that. Find your joy and don't ever let it go.

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Jeeeeesus, you should go into book writing and not movies. I could not read it all, I got ADD. But I get the idea.

Anyway, writing uses a different part of your brain than talking. So writing is good to crystalize your thoughts and get it all out. Plus you can print it out and use as a roadmap to getting what you need done if any change is possible. 

You got $$ to burn and bored?

Finance my scanstation. I got hundreds and hundreds of underground films. You wont be bored. And if you are, the majority are about 10 - 12 minutes long, so not much time to suffer through waiting for the next film. 

In any case, I got a cheap scanner, so hopefully will get it going in a few weeks with it. It is a cheapy silent scanner. I have to capture the sound off a projector and try to marry it to the scan. Someone sent me a virus, laptop got wrecked, so trying to recover onto a new cheap computer for movie scans. 

...Ohhh, no return on investment other than love. That is what I get paid too. But glad to put your name right up front on the films. (Although you may not want to be associated with my work.) 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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7 hours ago, George Ebersole said:

Situation Comedies (Sitcoms) deal with family psychology.

..I mean if all you watch is Full House then yeah.

Edited by Max Field / Macks Fiiod

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@George Ebersole. I moved from LA to NYC in the early 70's and I felt LA was a Disneyland of the mind. And Hollywood was a boulevard of broken dreams.  Maybe it's my age but I don't find most new movies to be any good, including the ones nominated for Oscars. The best are pretty good, but nothing is great. I just saw the Netflix movie The Highwaymen and it fit the pretty good category. What I do find entertaining is many of the HBO and Showtime series like the Deuce, True Detective, Chi, and previous series like Treme and the Wire. For my money these are very entertaining, well acted and realistic series, not a bunch of fluff.

Regarding retirement (it soundsl ike you are retired or close to it), if you have made a living doing work you enjoyed doing you are way ahead of the game. I found my calling in life in my early forties in a technical field and was blessed to make a good living and retirement doing work I found challenging and enjoyable.  I  pretty much felt like my own boss during those years as my bosses didn't understand my job, but did recognize that I got the results they wanted. The old saying that if you love your job you'll never work another day in your life has a lot of merit, provided that it pays well and you are left alone to do it.

Edited by Bob Speziale

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