My bumpy road through “Hollywood” – PALLION THE YOUNG STALLION spec script for BoJack Horseman


My favorite show on Netflix is BoJack Horseman, which reveals a lot about me, since it’s a show about an emotionally dysfunctional has-been in Hollywood. So, back in January 2018, I was motivated to write a spec script for the show. I thought maybe I could replay the events decades earlier, described in My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” – There once was MOONLIGHTING, but hoping for a better result this time.

I wrote the spec script (“spec” is short for “speculation,” which is what writers do when they are not hired to write a specific story) about a new emotional roller coaster for BoJack. I threw into his life a gay young dancer who wants to become his friend. BoJack has to sort out the whole idea of being friends with someone who is gay.

Download the spec script PALLION THE YOUNG STALLION episode for BoJack Horseman here: https://app.box.com/s/lutsrnn8xh77nl9kk7c8r0ljkv885f3k

Download the spec script PALLION THE YOUNG STALLION episode for BoJack Horseman here: https://app.box.com/s/lutsrnn8xh77nl9kk7c8r0ljkv885f3k

Ironically, it turns out my sense that this would be an interesting topic for BoJack was later supported by the New York Times when they published the article, Welcome to the Age of the Twink“.

Not only is it a good script, it’s timely as hell, too!

But, sadly, nobody at the BoJack Horseman production company would, as usual, read it. I couldn’t get around the rote “no submissions” policy. So, here it is for you to enjoy. Click here to share it on Twitter if you enjoy it.

 

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My bumpy road through “Hollywood” – That time I designed the Hollywood sign


About a quarter century ago – my, how time flies! – I worked on a Paramount Television production from the team responsible for the hit 1980s series MIAMI VICE. It was a pilot starring Edward James Olmos for a proposed TV series called “Hollywood Confidential.” Olmos played a former L.A. cop who now runs a top-flight private detective agency catering to spoiled Hollywood types. (This pilot helped launched the acting career of Charlize Theron.)

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My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” – There once was MOONLIGHTING


Before Bruce Willis was BRUCE WILLIS, and when Cybill Shepherd was CYBILL SHEPHERD, there were only three TV networks, a couple independent TV channels, and cable TV was mostly just rebroadcasts of old shows and movies (HBO wouldn’t get an Emmy nomination until more than a decade later).

One of those three networks – ABC, the American Broadcasting Company – had a very successful series called MOONLIGHTING, starring Willis and Shepherd. Glenn Gordon Caron was the creator. The show began in 1985.

I was young. I was a writer in Minneapolis. I loved MOONLIGHTING. Continue reading

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — On set for LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS


As I wander through Hollywood throughout my life, I occasionally work as a background actor, also known as an “extra.” Here is a story about my experience lately when I was a “featured extra” on an NBC mini-series.

This is my stream-of-consciousness report about production experience these days.

The TV mini-series “Law & Order True Crime: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS” was in production in September and October of 2017 and aired as eight hour-long episodes on NBC on Tuesday nights at 10:00 pm from September 26 to November 14. It was produced by prolific producer Dick Wolf’s Wolf Films, based at Comcast’s NBC/Universal lot in Universal City, California. NBC, the “National Broadcasting Company,” is a prominent broadcast network that was one of the original television broadcasting companies.

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The USA long ago outgrew the two party system.


We need to make our system more accessible to legitimately competitive political parties. (The “third-party” concept that we have today is universally acknowledged as ineffective, merely “a statement” to be made.) Our current political malaise is the result of trying to shoehorn the realities of diversity and prejudice in the USA into only two ages-old prominent parties. Continue reading

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — Starting Over. Again.


Since Middle School, I have been a writer, and was the editor of my school paper in Ninth Grade.

I began in television in high school and became producer and writer for the New Year’s Eve variety program “CELEBRATION” which aired on network affiliate TV stations in Minneapolis for several years. I then helped build and put on the air a new broadcast TV station, Channel 29, and became its Operations Manager as well as Writer, Producer, and Director for in-house programs and clients’ productions. Continue reading

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — The MURDER of James Dean


THE MURDER OF JAMES DEAN is a comedy short film project from an award-winning screenplay by Michael R. Barnard.

win and final TMoJD

It’s Hollywood.
A story like this will change their lives.
If they don’t kill each other first.

We are going to make this award-winning comedy short film. Continue reading

ACTORS NEED TRAINING IN HOLLYWOOD


I pulled together a list of contacts for various acting schools and teachers in “Hollywood”. It’s a list of about 80 contacts, and none have been vetted. I do not vouch for or know the quality of any of these.

The list is for YOU to start looking into, to discover who might be valuable for you as you move your career forward. All actors have different needs for training, so this is for you to figure out which opportunities might be valuable for your career. Continue reading

KICKSTARTER steps up for corporate responsibility, becomes new Benefit Corporation


If you follow business issues, particularly corporate entity structure and how the existing incorporation laws require companies to ignore the common good in favor of shareholder profits, then you may have applauded the recent creation of a new corporate entity form: the Benefit Corporation (also referred to as a “B-Corporation”). The popular current corporate structure (referred to as a “C-Corporation”) often comes under fire from all sides of the political spectrum because of the damage done to the economy, environment, and citizens as a result of its traditional focus on short-term profits. See, for example, “Clinton outlines steps to curb U.S. companies’ focus on short-term profits“.

Social funding site KICKSTARTER has just now converted to a Benefit Corporation.

KICKSTARTER

KICKSTARTER

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My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — HOT CAR


I said to myself, for quite some time now, “I gotta do SOMETHING.” Tired of projects failing, hating the junior high cliquishness of crowdfunding, realizing it’s been too many years. I sought the Holy Grail of indie filmmaking: two people, one room, one day.

So, at Thanksgiving time 2014, I took an inventory of what I had:
-A living room where I’m housesitting.
-An old car.
-A creepy old man.
-A couple storylines that had been ‘backstory’ for my failed passion project EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE–The Story of a Father and Son.
-Zero dollars.
-Some connections in the acting community in Fresno.
-The upcoming SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL.
-A pathetic old computer that almost runs Adobe Creative Suite (I’ve used Adobe since 2001).

The result: HOT CAR. I finished it yesterday (damn pathetic computer!) and am bringing it with me for the fun of it when I head to SUNDANCE tomorrow.

“The worlds of an old man and a young man collide as each faces the end of his own life.”

It’s MATURE (language, nudity, sexual situations) and NSFW.

http://youtu.be/P5zfhD2GSo4

I hope you find it interesting and involving.

http://imdb.me/michaelrbarnard
http://linkedin.com/in/michaelrbarnard

The Present Threat to the Internet


TIGER Photo by Paula Borowska

Photo by Paula Borowska

WHAT IS THE THREAT TO NET NEUTRALITY?

Millions of American citizens have flooded the FCC website with comments to let the agency know our demand for Net Neutrality. Many citizens are intimidated by this wonky and technical issue, knowing they do not fully understand the complex issues or its importance and urgency.

The threats to the Internet are real, and now newly-empowered scurrilous politicians, demagogues, and greedy mega-corporations are mounting huge campaigns to scuttle Net Neutrality so that the corporations can use their power over the Internet for political purposes, for demagoguery, and for profiteering.

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BARNARD’S LAWS


BOOK Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

Barnard’s Law No. 1
The greatest need of man is not food, shelter, or even sex. It’s the need to re-write what another has written.

Barnard’s Law No. 2
It’s not the idea. It’s the execution.

Barnard’s Law No. 3
Dinosaurs never see it coming.

Barnard’s Law No. 4
The responsibility to communicate is upon the communicator, not the listener.

Barnard’s Law No. 5
The job of children is to play. The job of teens is to deceive their parents. The job of adults is to slay their demons.

Barnard’s Law No. 6
Clarity is the soul of communication.

Barnard’s Law No. 7
Life is full of grand plans that suddenly need to be fixed with duct tape, and that’s okay.

Barnard’s Law No. 8
Be succinct. A short PowerPoint slide with just ten bullet points was good enough for God.

Barnard’s Law No. 9
In any group, the majority will misunderstand much of what you’re sure they understand.

Barnard’s Law No. 10
Hysteria breeds where context is ignored. Looking at results of history without knowledge of history leads to poor judgment and prejudice.

Barnard’s Law No. 11
The Internet demands of everyone that they be outraged by everything. It then amplifies it.

Barnard’s Law No. 12
Everyone else’s mess is far worse than our own mess. Roommates, especially.

Barnard’s Law No. 13
Heroes run in the opposite direction than the rest of us.

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — A Venom in the Blood


BARNARD BUYS VENOM RIGHTS - Daily Variety

BARNARD BUYS VENOM RIGHTS – Daily Variety

Two decades ago, I bought a book.

In producer-speak, that means I acquired the rights via option to make a movie from a book. I knew a TV news reporter, and she had made contact with a reclusive author who wrote a book she thought I might be interested in. Actually, “reclusive” is too weak of a term; we both had determined that the author was in hiding. Contact was difficult and cryptic. Nonetheless, he and I got on the phone, and he figured that I would be someone he’d like to work with to get his book made into a movie, and I liked the deal, too. We sealed the deal without ever meeting.
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My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — Consumed by a Passion Project


FILMMAKER Magazine

FILMMAKER Magazine

Michael R Barnard photo 500 px

 

How Is a Filmmaker Consumed by a Passion Project?

The following is a guest post from Michael R. Barnard, who is in the final days of an Indiegogo campaign for his film, Everybody Says Goodbye: The Story of a Father and Son.

For many years, I have been chasing a motion picture project that has completely consumed me. It’s called Everybody Says Goodbye: The Story of a Father and Son, and I first began writing the screenplay in 1998. Having come so close to making the movie a few times, I keep referring to this project as “a fish-hook in the eye” because it’s impossible for me to ignore and walk away from.

[read more…]

http://imdb.me/michaelrbarnard
http://linkedin.com/in/michaelrbarnard

 

 

 

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — The Mean Streets


CITY STREET Photo by Israel Sundseth

Photo by Israel Sundseth

I spent a lot of time on the mean streets of Hollywood. I lived there, worked there, had friends there, I walked them a lot. My screenplay for the feature film EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son is set there, in 1998.

The sketchy stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Vine Street is a little nicer now, but not by much. There has always been a veneer of potential violence.

It’s a little different style-wise, too. Back in the 1990s, if you saw a couple walking hand-in-hand along this stretch, and that couple was of opposite genders, and if each of them were their original gender, then you knew they were scared tourists separated from their tour group. Continue reading

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — There Was a Recession in 1991


BEAR Photo by Thomas Lefebvre

BEAR Photo by Thomas Lefebvre

(originally published April 22, 2010)

There was a recession in 1991. Not as big as this Great Recession, but big nonetheless. A hallmark of the 1991 recession was that, for the first time ever, a recession had a negative impact on “Hollywood” [Entertainment Weekly, 2/22/91: “How will the recession affect Hollywood?”], [Den of Geek, 8/18/14: “How 1991 nearly broke Hollywood”]. Home video, cable TV, and video games had broadened the “biz” and brought commodity vagaries to the tightly-controlled movie biz. It was also the time of the burgeoning new indie film biz, which blossomed in the late 1980s. And I, of course, was trying to get a movie made. Continue reading

My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” — When Prince was king


PRINCE

PRINCE

[UPDATE: This was written long before my friend Prince passed away. I still miss him and am still shocked.]

A friend just now found and sent to me this post from  Prince.org, the Prince fan site that described how I pulled off the production of Prince’s ALPHABET STREET video on impossible notice! It is from the book, Possessed: The Rise and Fall of Prince by Alex Hahn. Funny that I’ve never seen this before.

I remember Prince stopping me in the hall outside his apartment at Paisley Park Studios with a big grin on his face, saying “All the people in Hollywood are freaking out. They say, ‘Prince went and made a garage video!'” He enjoyed that, especially since it was a full three-camera shoot with a complete crew inside his brand-spanking-new mammoth sound stage at Paisley Park Studios.

The video of ALPHABET STREET, which premiered on MTV way back in 1988, is now available on YouTube.

 

Here’s the story, from Prince’s manager at the time, Alan Leeds:

On the ‘the New P♥wer of L♥vesexy’ thread from March 30, 2012: Continue reading

The Internet needs to be free. [UPDATED APRIL 23 2014]


FLOCK OF BIRDS Photo by Fré Sonneveld

FLOCK OF BIRDS Photo by Fré Sonneveld

THE INTERNET NEEDS TO BE FREE

Yes, free.

That’s not a statement about pricing, it’s a statement about democracy.

This is what is commonly referred to as “Net Neutrality.”

The following blog post keeps evolving since its original posting in 2010, because the concept of “Net Neutrality” (or the attempt at a more popular term, “The Open Internet“) is vibrant.

UPDATE AS OF APRIL 23, 2014

Breaking news:

I guess it’s time to say goodbye to the many independent online film distribution companies who offer streaming and downloading of independent movies. The F.C.C., in a complete turn-around on the principles of Net Neutrality, just announced that they are abandoning the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose. The F.C.C. plans to allow Comcast, Verizon FiOS, etc., to negotiate separately with each content company – the BIG, WEALTHY, EXCLUSIVE companies like Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Google – to have them pay for good video delivery.

Aside from the democracy of the Internet, that does not look good for the competition of small distributors, nor for indie filmmakers themselves, whose voice will not be allowed on those company’s libraries of titles.

See “F.C.C., in ‘Net Neutrality’ Turnaround, Plans to Allow Fast Lane

This subject is currently getting louder. By the end of March, 2014, it heated up in a war of words.
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Equity Crowdfunding is dead for us. What’s next?


DEAD CAR Photo by Kristian Karlsson

DEAD CAR Photo by Kristian Karlsson


If you remember that there once was a glimmer of hope for more sustainable financing for innovative small business (and, for my concern, an indie film industry) through “Equity Crowdfunding” as demanded by the JOBS Act of 2012, the fact is that it’s not going to happen. It’s already far past the Act’s imposed deadlines because the concept is anathema to the entrenched and self-interested bureaucracy.
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How to Survive on Set Without Looking Like an Asshole


Nice compilation of things sometimes overlooked.

CALLAM RODYA | BROADCAST JOURNALIST

Callam Rodya as Roddy with 3rd AD Alex Pitzel slating the shot on the set of "Stalking by Numbers". Callam Rodya as Roddy with 3rd AD Alex Pitzel slating the shot on the set of “Stalking by Numbers”.

When it comes to film work, actors have it the easiest. Don’t argue. You know it’s true.

In case you need a bit more convincing, consider this:

  • We’re the last ones called and the first ones wrapped.
  • There is a team on set whose sole job is to make us look beautiful.
  • They tell us where to stand, where to walk, and what to say, and they even put down little pieces of tape for us and print out our lines on little pocket-sized sheets to make it extra easy.
  • We get to stay warm in the trailer while they’re out there in a snow storm setting up the shot.
  • We usually get paid better.
  • We get all the credit.

Don’t get me wrong, acting is extremely difficult (especially when you…

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Corporate Conglomerates Battle to Regain Gatekeeper Status


CITY Photo by Oleg Chursin

CITY Photo by Oleg Chursin


The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is a powerful situation that has broad negative implications for society and for filmmakers specifically. It’s not simply a business issue, it’s a democracy issue.

The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is another deliberate attack on Net Neutrality.

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List of Filmmaking People and Resources


LEAP Photo by Joshua Earle

LEAP Photo by Joshua Earle

I have begun to build a list of filmmakers and filmmaking resources with a social media presence on Twitter. You are welcome, please, to help build this list. Let’s make it into a resource that can help build the indie feature film industry.

 

click for the Listly list of Filmmaking resources

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Crippling Digital Distribution for Indie Filmmakers: the Death of Net Neutrality


BLANK COMPUTER Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

BLANK COMPUTER Photo by Alejandro Escamilla


On my way to Sundance Film Festival 2014, news broke (see “Federal appeals court strikes down rules protecting net neutrality” at http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-net-neutrality-federal-appeals-court-20140114,0,2138188.story#ixzz2qlsuWDSC) that made two problems painfully clear, and they will have a huge impact on filmmakers:
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The independent filmmaking industry needs a new relationship with investors [UPDATED]


LONELY INVESTOR Photo by Alejandro Escamilla

LONELY INVESTOR Photo by Alejandro Escamilla


Prolific indie film producer Ted Hope, who spent the past year as Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society (as of June 2015, a Production Executive at AMAZON STUDIOS), recently posted “Towards A Sustainable Investor Class: Accessing Quality Projects” as a call to build a healthy independent filmmaking industry. As always, he makes an astute and excellent comment about the big picture of indie filmmaking. We engaged in a conversation, and here’s my comment about the industry and investors: Continue reading