Saturday, 31 December 2011

'Bye, 'bye, 2011

And another one bites the dust. What did this year bring for you? 

For me, it was the 32nd year in which I exceeded a doctor's prediction of my imminent demise. That has to be good. I also survived an Adelaide earthquake. (I know, I know, it was nothing compared to what went on elsewhere, but it sure startled me.) I made a lot of new friends. I started this blog. 

It's always good to stop and reflect, and be grateful. Here are a few photos to help you remember the kind of 2011 some other folks had, plus some music to listen to, a song of remembrance, while you check out the photos.

2011 Movie Posters

Movie posters. Clever. Funny. Beautiful. Haunting.

That's the good ones. We won't mention the others.

Here's a post on Notebook, the digital magazine of international cinema and film culture, giving an opinion on the Best 25 posters of 2011.

Meanwhile, here's a super poster to be going on with...

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Friday, 30 December 2011

"Broad City"

Here's the start of the Broad City series -- Abbi + Ilana are BFFs exploring life, love and lipstick in The Big Apple!  

This episode, at least, provides proof that it takes very little actual story to make a short film. Just keep things moving and we'll watch as we wonder what's going to happen next. (Though it helps if something does happen...)

Written by, and starring, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson.

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Thursday, 29 December 2011

Rex Pickett, "Two Guys on Wine" and a better tomorrow

Things going bad for you?  Problems piled on problems, no end in sight?  It happens to us all at some stage. Just thinking of a few of those experiences reminded me of Peter Falk in Tune in Tomorrow (released in Australia under the original title of the novel by Mario Vargas Llosa, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter). Here's his gee-up speech just before a big radio broadcast:

"You've gone belly-up in shit creek. You need a paddle, real bad. What do you reach for? Art! That's what I'm talking about. The very apex of your art. I want to hear your sinews crack and strain. I want your souls to enter those microphones and emerge like ghosts in the homes of our listeners. There's an army of 'em out there, groping blindly, toiling in the darkness, waiting. For what? For you! For your incandescent, brilliant, palpitating talent to light up their miserable, impoverished, dull and worthless lives."
That's what I call taking an attitude toward your work.

"Two Guys on Wine"
It's also the story of Rex Pickett. His life turned to crap. His mother had to be moved into an assisted-living facility, at Rex's expense.  Result?  He hit rock bottom financially. Then his troubles really started.
I stayed on at my mother’s seaside condominium while trying to unload it, but the real estate market was seriously depressed and property wasn’t moving. It took a year and a half to sell it, during which time I learned that my agent had died of AIDS, my wife served me with divorce papers and informed me that she was remarrying, and I awoke to the fact that my modest trust fund was, because of my younger brother’s mismanagement of my mother’s savings, gone. I was destitute, agent-less, divorced, jobless, and, approaching 40, unemployable. No wonder I started experiencing panic attacks, one of which landed me in the ER of the V.A. Hospital in La Jolla. To say I was walking on eggshells back in those days would be an understatement. I was an emotional wreck. I thought it was all over. I’ve since joked many times that if I could have afforded a gun I would have shot myself.
And in his hour of desperation, what did Rex reach for?  Art!  The art of screenwriting. He wrote a little something called "Two Guys on Wine" which, for some reason, didn't take off. Rewritten and retitled as "Sideways," it did just fine. ("Sideways" is English slang. In Australia we might say someone was "on their ear," which comes down to the same thing.)

Rex has written a sequel to Sideways, a novel called Vertical.  ($10.20 on Just click on the book cover to get there.)  And he's told the story of how Sideways came into being in a blog on Stage 32.  Have a read.  If you're going through a bad patch, think of Rex Pickett and hang on for that better tomorrow.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

"Mixed Blooms"

Another pilot episode for a web series, this one deals with a small business operator, her family, her employees and other business people.  

Mixed Blooms was created, directed and co-written by Destri Martino, with Juliet Walker and John F. Schaffer.

A fresh-cut comedy web series about a family of florists.    Facebook    Twitter    Website    YouTube   

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

"Style" in screenwriting

Everything changes; nothing stays the same. Even screenwriting. 

Up until the 1980s, screenwriters focussed on the story they wanted to tell. With the rise of the mega-spec script sales, screenwriters started to write the story they hoped to sell. There's a difference, in style, as well as intent.

I was interested to read a post by venerable screenwriting blogger John August this week. It has the memorable title: Observations on the evolution of screenwriting based on reading one script from 1974. He doesn't say what that one script was, but here are a few of his comments:
Locations got much less writer attention. In this script, a kitchen is a kitchen. In today’s scripts, every location gets at least a color line (“stainless steel and subway tiles, with an $8000 convection oven that’s never been used.”)

By “evolution,” I don’t mean that screenwriting has gotten better, by the way. It’s just gotten different, the way fashions change. Modern screenplays work very hard — too hard? — trying to make everything a fun read.

This script, at least, seemed much more interested in just getting it done:
Tom looks Barbara square in the eye. Barbara looks to Norman. After a beat, Norman stands and leaves.
PAN BACK to Barbara. She returns to her knitting.
It’s not thrilling, but you know what you’re going to see. There’s a lot to be said for that.
One of the things my writers' group settled, at our final meeting for 2011, was what screenplays we're going to study next year. After reading John's comments, I took a look at their age, and wondered whether it was going to become an issue. Here's the list, in chronological order:
Annie Hall (1977)
Alien (1979)
Body Heat (1981)
Platoon (1986)
Carlito's Way (1993)
Toy Story (1995)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Sopranos - Pilot (1999)
Sexy Beast (2000)
Michael Clayton (2007)
That's two from the '70s, two from the '80s, four from the '90s, and two this century. On top of the other exercises, comparing the style of each era should be fun.

Monday, 26 December 2011

"The Nanny Interviews"

Here's a series about that most challenging of human occupations, finding just the right nanny for your yet-to-be-born. 
It doesn't take a village to raise a child, just a really good nanny.
In the place that birthed moving pictures, silicone implants, and four-dollar cupcakes, comes a young wife who is about to birth her very first offspring. Now if she can only find a nanny to raise it for her...
Nicole Sacker directed The Nanny Interviews and co-wrote it with Lin Kwan.

Here's episode 1.    Facebook    IMDb    Twitter    Vimeo    WebSeries Channel    Website   

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Hullo, it's Christmas...

Well, it's Xmas, that special time of the year when our families get in our face and we need to be reminded that they aren't as horrible as some other people's families.

Horrible People is a ten-episode web series created by A.D. Miles. It is a spoof on traditional daytime soaps, with over-the-top plot lines and wild characters that are extreme versions of soap opera characters.

Each five-minute episode takes place in the same setting: an engagement party, where the "horrible people" are all... uh... horrible to each other. 

Horrible People has become popular among fans of spoof comedy, and garnered a fan base of traditional soap opera fans. The series has it all: a black sheep come back to the fold, a scheming mother, a pregnant fiance strangled with her own sweater, and much more! The plot lines are melodramatic, unbelievable everything soap fans love.

Horrible People was nominated for the 2009 Webby Award in the "Best Comedy Series" category.

Here's episode 1.

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And now here's a modern (digital) Nativity.

Oh, and Merry Christmas... to you, and all your family!


What?  You want something else to watch? 

Well, okay, it's Christmas, so just one more: Wonder Years - Christmas.

Saturday, 24 December 2011


Licensed is a thirteen episode webseries created by a group of Met Film School students led by their award-winning and seasoned industry professional tutor Christopher Bould. It stars Kieran Garland as Raymond Hewit.

Raymond Hewitt is a TV Licence Enforcement Officer, a job which brings him into contact with a variety of unusual people. 

In episode one, as he tracks down an unlicensed television set, Raymond Hewitt faces romantic advances from both Mr. and Mrs. Strauss and is presented with a murder proposition.

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Friday, 23 December 2011

201 billion

We keep piling up more and more videos online. Is anyone watching them? According to Comscore, a digital business analysis company, the answer is 'yes'
In October 2011, 201.4 billion videos were viewed online from a home or work location, with the global viewing audience reaching 1.2 billion unique viewers age 15 and older. Google Sites led as the top global video property with nearly 88.3 billion videos viewed on the property during the month, accounting for 43.8 percent of all videos viewed globally. was the key driver of video viewing on Google Sites, accounting for more than 99 percent of videos viewed on the property.

China-based Youku, Inc. was the second largest video property globally with 4.6 billion videos viewed in October (2.3 percent global share), followed by VEVO which accounted for nearly 3.7 billion videos (1.8 percent share). Nearly 2.6 billion videos were watched on during the month (1.3 percent share), followed by Japan-based Dwango Co., Ltd. with 2.5 billion videos viewed (1.2 percent share).
This is good news for anyone contemplating making any version of internet TV; your audience is hungry and waiting.

Book review: "Screenwriting Tips, You Hack"

I've read a lot of screenwriting advice books. They come in a range of styles and vary in value from dubious to priceless. One of the recent additions to the canon is Xander Bennett's Screenwriting Tips, You Hack: 150 Practical Pointers for Becoming a Better Screenwriter

Xander was a script reader, working for a minor production company in Los Angeles, when he became frustrated by the quality of the screenplays he was reading. He tweeted his complaints until someone told him he should put them in a blog. So he moved to publishing the Screenwriting Tips... You Hack blog as "a snarky diatribe." Since 2009 he has posted a tip a day on how to make spec scripts better. His first tip reads:   
Don't be boring. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T BE BORING. Tape it to your laptop. Tape it to your eyeballs. Don't. Be. Boring.
Good advice, I thought. (Actually, it was a rule invoked by Billy Wilder in each of his various writing partnerships. Or, more accurately, his two rules were “Thou Shalt Not Bore” and “Anything is Permitted” -- Lally, Wilder Times, but that's a digression.) 

Click here for
The book surprised me. I wasn’t expecting much more than a selection of Tips from the blog; updated perhaps, and maybe with a dazzling index. Instead it is a screenwriting manual, written from a coaching perspective, rather than the usual dry, by-the-numbers reworking of Syd Field. And it does have an index. Thank you, Xander. (That's one of my chief gripes with the Blake Snyder books, and others: no index.)
When I read a book, I tend to use the yellow highlighter to mark interesting passages. (And I dog-ear the page corners, too. Sorry, book-Nazis. I figure I paid for the book and if I want to find that important quote quickly, I need a little sign. You can pray for me, but I'm afraid the habit runs deep.) I probably went through more yellow ink, and left more dog-eared corners, on this book that any other I've read all year. 

His very best stuff (in my opinion) emerges from his inside knowledge as a script reader in Hollywood. The section on writing query letters and pitching is easily the best I've come across. Simple, crystal clear, obviously true, and wildly divergent from much of the waffle I've encountered on the subject. If you buy the book for that alone, your money will have been well spent. But don't get the idea that's the only good stuff in there, it's not. This book is uniformly good. 

Regular readers will know that I have issues with the common teaching of three act structure theory. It's not that I oppose the idea, just that it is frequently presented in an unbalanced way, without any mention of other approaches that have been employed successfully in the writing of great movies. Xander's book is not about structural theory, though he does spend four pages outlining three act structure. While everything he says on the subject is great, I'm hoping he expands that section a little in his second edition.

Now some quotes, none of them relating to writing query letters or pitching, because you need to read that stuff in context. There are so many good lines worthy of a mention that I'm struggling to restrict the list.
  • Your screenplay is not about what happens. It's about who it happens to.
  • At every point in the script, the reader should be able to look at a scene and understand exactly what the protagonist stands to gain or lose from that scene.
  • Writing a script without a theme, an ending, and a goal for the protagonist is like attempting to fly by jumping off a cliff and flapping your arms really fast.
  • You need an outline so you can deviate from it.
  • There should be dialog on Page One (or failing that, explosions).
  • Find the "watershed" line in every scene. You know—that one line that twists the situation and turns the conflict in a different direction.
  • If a scene exists just so you can introduce a new character, it's probably a bad scene. Every scene must move the plot forward in some way. 
  • Allowing the audience to know more than the protagonist is best used in Act 1—it's good for dramatic irony, setting up, and building empathy. Allowing the protagonist to know more than the audience is best used in Act 3 to facilitate the final twist or reversal.
The one I'm quoting last was the first one I highlighted. 
  • Chances are good that you know an interesting person or someone who knows someone who knows one. Talk to them. They won't tell you to get lostquite the opposite. Believe me, they will be flattered that you want to know all about their life and work.
I put his advice to the test. I'd "met" Xander when he left a nice comment on this blog back in September 2011. I contacted him and, over a period of time, worked up to asking if he'd do an online interview.  I don't know if he was "flattered," but he did agree.  Look for that in the new year...

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Film Language Reading List

Feel the need to stretch yourself over the holiday season? According to Slate magazine, James Franco has a reading list that might interest you: "James Franco’s Film Language Reading List."
The following texts are required for the reading:

* Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen, eds.: Film Theory and Criticism (Oxford Press)
* Andre Bazin: What Is Cinema? (UC California Press)
* Christian Metz: Film Language (Chicago Press)
* Tom Conley: Film Hieroglyphs (Minnesota Press)
* Theodore Adorno: The Culture Industry (Routledge)
* Jerome Christensen: America's Corporate Art (Stanford)

We will also study the following films:

Man with the Movie Camera
Eisenstein: Battleship Potemkin
Chaplin: Modern Times
Fritz Lang: Scarlet Street
Siodmak: The Killers
De Sica: Umberto D.
Godard: Contempt
Kobayashi: Kwaidan
Warner Bros.: Bonnie and Clyde

"Liquid Lunch"

Danny Stack
Trust the Poms to come up with a pub lunch storyline for a web series. In this case it was created and directed by an Irishman, Danny Stack, who is originally from County Cork, the same area most of my mother's ancestors came from. 

Liquid Lunch is a short comedy web series that follows Ollie and Alex, two down-trodden twenty-somethings, who spend lunch every day in the same pub trying to inject some interest into their monotonous working day.

Stack is a former Eastenders writer and popular screenwriting blogger. The two main characters are played by Dan Doolan and Chris Billingham, who are writers as well as actors.

On his blog, Danny Stack has written a series of posts on the subject of How I Made A Webseries, that are well worth looking at.

Here's episode 1.

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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

"The Hip-Hop Diaries"

People make webseries for a lot of different reasons. Some think they're going to get rich this way. I know one whose money-making business plan is based on kidding writers into handing over their work to him, for nothing. He claims that, "Anything less is just not realistic from a producing point of view." Others want to experience some sense of fulfillment before this short life is over. Still others want to say something about themselves or their community. This next clip falls in the last category. 

The Hip-Hop Diaries is filmed by Jomel Lee Guanzon from Indie Light Films, a production company that employs HD Digital equipment, while sticking to guerrilla tactics. Their mission is to produce films with a message; the kind of films Hollywood likes to stay away from. Their motto... No Execs, No Egos. 

Episode 1 has old-school graffiti artist, Cre8, showcasing his skills for the youth at a non-profit Hip-Hop organization in Los Angeles called JUiCE (Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy), which meets at the MacArthur Park Recreation Center. I suspect Richard Harris would have been thrilled.

This series started as a short documentary, but blew out to multiple interviews and video of the Hip-Hop Underground. It has local Emcees, DJs, B-Boys and Graffiti Artists/Writers, voicing their opinions and showcasing their skills.

Here's Episode 1 of The Hip-Hop Diaries.

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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

"Looking at You"

Ever been on public transport and noticed someone so gorgeous they might just be The One to take away all your loneliness? Forever? But you can't think of anything to say, or you hesitate a fraction too long, and the moment vanishes, never to present itself again.

Take heart. Millions know the feeling of the lost opportunity. In Australia, the mX newspaper took up the slack, offering readers a place to write messages to people on public transport to whom they were attracted, in the hope that they would reply and arrange a date, or just anonymously compliment them. Originally the messages appeared in the general 'Vent Your Spleen' section, but the practice became so popular that it was separated into its own section.

Then Matt Cleaves and George Clipp decided to create a web-series, Looking At You, based entirely on the real life text messages published in the newspaper. Messages about chance encounters, fleeting moments and missed opportunities shared between strangers are bought to life in this interactive web-series. Three stories of love and lust shape the series, accompanied by a unique blend of one-off characters, some comedic, some sad and some quite simply bizarre!

The series is written, produced, directed and edited by Matt Cleaves and George Clipp. It was filmed on location in Melbourne in 2010, with a cast of over fifty actors. Here's Episode 1.

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Monday, 19 December 2011

Film subjects student filmmakers should avoid

Michael Rabiger
Michael Rabiger is a long-time film director and editor who has written a dozen books on various aspects of filmmaking. One of the better known is called Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics. That's a 548 page volume that covers everything you need to know about directing. 

According to Mick Hurbis-Cherrier, Film Professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York, it "demonstrates how to plunge into the heart of a screenplay and emerge with a film that reflects the heart of the director.

Jeremy Kagan, Artistic Director Sundance Institute, says: "This is the only comprehensive book on filmmaking that I recommend to my students."

In Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics, Michael Radiger has this advice for filmmakers just starting out:

There are many film subjects that students should avoid.  These come to mind because they are being pumped up by the media or they lend themselves to moral propaganda. You’d be wise to avoid:
  • Worlds you haven’t experienced or cannot closely research.
  • Any ongoing, inhibiting problem in your own life (see a therapist—you are unlikely to solve anything while directing a film unit).
  • Anything or anyone “typical” (nothing real is typical, so nothing typical will ever be interesting or credible).
  • Preaching or moral instruction of any kind.
  • Films about problems to which you have the answer (so does your audience).
Aim to reach audiences outside your peer group and you will be making films accessible to a wide audience. For films of a few minutes, try taking something small that you learned the hard way, apply it to a character quite unlike yourself, and aim to make a modest comment on the human condition. By so doing you can avoid the self-indulgence afflicting most student films. After all, your work is going to be your portfolio, your precious reel that tells future employers what you can do. After you graduate, you don’t want to seem like a perpetual student.
Excerpted from Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics, fourth edition. Copyright ©2008, Elsevier, Inc.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Adelaide street art

You've probably noticed, from some of the banner photos I use at the top of this page, that I like street art. Most of the time I have no idea who did the work. It's just there when I walk past. I like it. So out comes my cheap digital camera and, snap. 

Peter Drew and 'friend'
I've discovered some of the story behind the big, B&W mugshots that popped up around the city in mid 2011. It's a Street Art project, by Peter Drew, of 1920s criminal mug shots from Adelaide, Australia.

For anyone in the neighborhood, here's a map, with a list of names of those depicted in the photos. Take a wander around town and check them out, before they're all gone. (Click on the blue pins and the name of the outlaw will light up at the side, together with a link to a photo of the original police register these photos were taken from.)

Peter Drew is a visual artist based in Adelaide. He creates work for the gallery as well as street art, and writes for the Adelaide Review. Peter was born and educated in Adelaide. He has been practicing as a visual artist since 2006. Some of his work can be found in Berlin, Glasgow, London and Adelaide. 

The following video, "Adelaide's Forgotten Outlaws," commemorates the night the photos went up. It was made by Ronnie Chin, Frazer Dempsey and Peter Drew. Reminded me of the first time someone pointed a gun at me. He was a security guard I startled one night in Sydney, when I was putting up posters advertising a Kohoutek (that was a band, named after the comet) concert at Omnibus (corner of Glebe Point Road and Broadway) in Glebe, in 1973. That's all gone, now, like some of these posters.

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"Girl Parts"

No, it's not a porno. This is the start of a webseries from L.A. about unemployed girl actors who are seeking... girl parts. Get your mind out of the gutter.  
Meet former child star Ashley Barlow and her three actress roommates. How they all decided to live together is not important; it's how they haven't killed each other yet that's impressive.
Created, written by, and starring Kelsey Robinson.    Facebook    IMDb    YouTube   

Saturday, 17 December 2011

"I’ll never picnic in Mongolia."

This is post #100. You can file it under 'Tuckshop'. The Financial Times ran an interview with Barry Humphries on 9 December. Bazza, of course, is a famous ex-Melburnian who never fully acquired a taste for Aussie Rules football, though he did manage to do one or two other things, such as star in Finding Nemo, Mary & Max, and Les Patterson Saves the World.

Barry Humphries is currently rehearsing Edna’s new stage show, Dick Whittington, at the New Wimbledon Theatre. It's the Dame’s first excursion into pantomime. 

There's a fair bit about food in the interview. For instance:
He talks about an interview he did many years ago with a newspaper at the Savoy Hotel. “I could order whatever I wanted. So I ordered Oysters Tsarina. Oysters that you dip in sour cream, chopped onions and caviar. You slurp those down. And the chef came out, quite an elderly man, and he said, “I just wanted to say you’re the first person to have ordered Oysters Tsarina since von Ribbentrop.” He beams at this outrageous association with the Nazi foreign minister. Humphries is a connoisseur of provocation.
In Australia, we'd just say he was 'a bit of a stirrer'. For the benefit of those not familiar with stirrers, here's a gentle example. Dame Edna with Sean Connery, Mary Whitehouse, Cliff Richard and Madge Allsop. (As a bonus, you'll discover when Sean Connery was born... )

Friday, 16 December 2011

"The Starmind Record"

Here's another sci-fi webseries, The Starmind Record.
Two documentary filmmakers from Los Angeles discover and investigate the presence of an extra-terrestrial intelligence.
The series was written and directed by Tennyson E. Stead, who learned the business of film through working as a financier of independent motion pictures.  He's a great source of usable quotes. Here are a few I liked:
  • Producing sucks, nobody wants to do it, and as soon as people realize you can...
  • This is one of the youngest industries in the world! To think that anyone has this business down to a science is pure foolishness.
  • Breaking in means helping people on their terms, so they'll trust you when it comes to terms of your own.
  • Everyone wants to be in film, and nobody wants the risk associated with a creative career. Creativity and security, in the end, are mutually exclusive. That's why Hollywood is in the mess that it's in today.
  • With the right content and the right business model, a blockbuster can come from any budget range.
  • Success isn't about praying for rain. Success is about collecting dewdrops and working from there.
Food for thought. Meanwhile, here's Episode 1 of The Starmind Record.

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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Harvey Pekar - "Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff."

Just the fact that he was buried alongside Eliot Ness (the real one, who was played by Kevin Costner in The Untouchables), would probably be enough to get him noticed; but, without that, Harvey Pekar attracted plenty of attention during his lifetime. When I heard he'd died eighteen months ago, I felt as though I'd lost a dear friend, even though we'd never had any first-hand contact.

I discovered Harvey in the movie about his life, American Splendor.      If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favour and buy the DVD. It features Paul Giamatti as Pekar, as well as appearances by Harvey Pekar, as himself, and animated versions of him, based on his comic book series, which is also called American Splendor.  

Harvey Pekar won't appeal to the beautiful people. He was the quintessential outsider; a very ordinary looking man, who lived all his life in Cleveland. Anyone who has ever glanced in a mirror, and been disappointed with the reflection looking back, will relate to Harvey. 

Paul Giamatti plays Harvey, here visiting a doctor, where he learns he has a problem with his vocal chords, while a kangaroo looks on. (Australians like to see kangaroos in American movies. Makes some of us think of kangaroo steak and chips. Yum.) 

Harvey's next visit to the doctor didn't turn out quite so well. He was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent a course of chemotherapy. I bonded with him at that time, probably because I was going through chemotherapy myself. I had chronic lymphocytic leukemia and endured six months of treatment. It was an educational experience.

What prompted me to write this post was an interview I came across with Alan Moore, a long-time friend of Harvey, published in Fast Company. Alan Moore is sometimes described as "the best comic writer in history." His graphic novels have provided the basis for a number of Hollywood films, including From Hell (2001), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), V for Vendetta (2005) and Watchmen (2009). 

It's an interesting interview. Part of it said this:
What Pekar represented to Moore were the small heroics of making one's way in life, of stealing quiet victories against a backdrop of disappointment and disadvantage. "Harvey came from Cleveland, where the creators of Superman came from," says Moore. "But Harvey represented a very different kind of hero that exists in real life.
"What I really admired about Harvey was, he was a resolutely blue collar artist, and one of only working class voices that I'd come across in comics with a level of political commitment, especially a left-wing one," he adds. "I mean, this man had a spectacular meltdown on the Letterman show about a strike going on at the network that it was not publicizing. He never tried to rise above that class."
Anyway, here's the story of Harvey Pekar meeting with Anthony Bourdain.

And here's a classic Harvey Pekar story which tends to prove that "Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff."