Microsoft Xbox 1080p – Possibly

Just recently, Microsoft went on record that their HD-DVD drive will also support 1080p. And according to their HD DVD Explained, “This new accessory will connect to the Xbox 360 console with a USB cable”.

Did anyone at Microsoft bother to do the math on the amount of bandwith needed to transmit 1080p?:

Am I missing something here?

Watch Serenity Now

Run, no haul ass, to your local movie theater and watch Serenity. And not just because it has an “A” rating on Yahoo after 11,000 reviews, or an 81% on RottenTomatoes, or the two thumbs up by Ebert and Roeper, or how much my wife and I loved it, do it because it is the right thing to do.

Serenity is a spin off from the very short-lived television show, Firefly, which aired on Fox several years ago. Joss Whedon, creater of Firefly, made 14 episodes which progressed down a perfect path of story-arc and character development, which Fox muddled by airing the episodes out of order. Airing the two hour pilot episode 4th confused fans and only hurt the ratings and after only airing 11 episodes, it was pulled.

Firefly is more than just a futuristic space opera western. The writing and character development is so top notch, I would say it is probably one of the best sci-fi series ever to hit TV. It juxtaposes honor, integrity and compassion against a motley of funny and real characters. Somehow even when they are doing something “against the law” or “wrong”, you still understand how it is ethically right and agree with their decisions. One episode had me crying, while I will openly laugh throughout many of the others.

Fans took to the internet to do everything in their power to bring back the show they loved. The movie was borne from this adulation, not to mention the sales of the Firefly DVD flying off the shelves.

So go see the movie. There is always a chance that you may not love it as much as I do, but you are supporting a group of people that are producing fantastic work while at the same time increasing the chances that the show will see a Season 2. So do your part and have a good time. And if you land out loving it, tell 10 other people to see it. 🙂

Writing for One Tree Hill

A good friend of mine writes for One Tree Hill on the WB. I don't know many writers, so it is a pleasure reading anything from her – even her emails. I get the same contentment reading a few paragraphs from Stacy as reading a software book by Joel Spolsky (even when I disagree with him). I don't watch One Tree Hill, but when Stacy wises up and moves towards a more Space Opera – Firefly/SG1/Star Trek/Galactica – show, I will be in heaven. That said, I thought those wondering how the inner workings of writing for TV would enjoy her last email. So with her permission, viola!

Finally! Now that every new show has premiered and every returning show has returned, One Tree Hill season three premieres this Wednesday at 8pm on the WB. Yes, that's a new night and time — for those of you who don't just have it on your TiVo season pass. And I'd love for you to watch.

The most common question I am asked — aside from “Why do the kids all look so old while the parents look so young?” and “Who's who and what the hell is going on?” — is “What does it mean that you're a writer on the show and why should I watch when it's not your episode?” Good question. And here's the answer…

When I say it's “my episode” that means it says “Written by Stacy Rukeyser” in the opening credits — and that I got paid a bunch of extra money and am probably popping open a bottle of something at home the night it airs. But when it says “Written by Mark Schwahn” or any of the other writers, I still have a big hand in each episode.

I spend the majority of each day in the writers room, pitching ideas for storylines, scenes, and even dialogue. For example — okay, this is the episode where Keith and Karen get together. Well, what does that mean? How does it happen? What's the story? What are the scenes? And how do we structure those scenes so the audience laughs, cries, and thinks it's better than “Cats”? As most of you know, I am the only girl in a sea of eleven boys. That alone is a challenge, but also imagine a room full of 12 people trying to agree on the one way to tell a story. Good thing I'm not afraid of letting my voice be heard. Once we come to some sort of agreement, we put the scenes up on a white board, and once the whole episode is filled in on the white board, we go off and write an outline. Then we give copious notes on that outline — what we think is missing, what needs to be changed, and what really works. Finally, my boss, Mark Schwahn, the only one with veto power, gives his notes, and then the outline goes to the studio and network for more notes. At long last, after the outline is approved, the writer goes “off to script.” That means you have two weeks to write from the comfort of your own home — or from that bungalow in Tahiti if you so desire. While the outline is a big help in terms of knowing what the story is, inevitably you find things in the outline that don't work or don't make sense. But also, you are expected to turn in a script that is more than just a polite regurgitation of the outline — you must find those special moments, that scintillating dialogue, the magic of TV. And then you've got to produce the damn thing. Thus, the bottle popping when it's your episode.

But what of those special moments you pitched in the writers room? That scintillating dialogue you suggested in your notes on the outline? The restructuring you recommended that really worked? Yes, a lot of that ends up on screen too. I'd like to think One Tree Hill is different for having me on board, that my voice is heard, and that it's reflected in the final product on screen.

So, that said — anything that is romantic, insightful, touching, or even just funny — that's mine. Anything that's ridiculous, cheesy, lame, or even offensive — that's from one of the eleven boys.

I know it can be hard to get into a character-driven show when it's going into its third season, but I think this one is worth the effort. I'm a big believer in “Oh my God” moments, and in the ability of good TV to give us goose bumps. And even after all that time in the writers room, knowing exactly what's in each script — I still get goose bumps when I watch the final cut of our episodes. Maybe that's the fourteen year-old girl inside me. But it's a great feeling. And I wish it on each of you.

Much love…

Stacy xoxo

Movies and Sitings

For awhile I was writing about celebrity sitings around town, but it was getting stupid. Every week there was another one, and I just didn't care enough to write about it.

But over the last week, I parked next to Donnie Darko heading into Ralphs for some late night shopping. It was odd because he was staring at me as I pulled up giving me a “whats up?” I was like “do I know this guy” followed by, “that looks like jake gyllen…” Then a couple days ago I almost ran down Samwise 'Sam' Gamgee a.k.a Rudy. I was on my way to go reserve my Xbox 360 when he was crossing the street. While swerving to avoid him, I was like “That looks like that goonie…” That would of been hot running over that hobbit. I mean, not even Sauron could do that, and he had more than a Prius. 🙂

One trick in LA is that when you think someone looks like someone, its someone.

In other news, Wedding Crashers was hilarious, followed closely by 40 Year Old Virgin.

How many movies have you seen this year?

This question was posed on Hacking Netflix because Becky just blogged how she has watched 200 already this year.

My count so far was 96. In comparison, I only watch about 3 shows on TV a week totalling about 2.5 hrs on TiVo, and I have been to the theater about 3 times.

That would put me at about 21 movies per month, 5.3 per week and about .7 movies per day.