Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.

Archive for June, 2010

The Awkward Movie Challenge: Showgirls

June 24, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Awkward Movie Challenge


According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.


The summer before my junior year at the University of Michigan, I got a job at Record Town in the Briarwood Mall. As record stores go, it was not one. We didn’t sell records. CDs and cassettes only. And cassingles, of course. Hahaha. Cassingles!

I recognized that it was a terrible store for anyone who liked music, but nonetheless, I felt like I’d finally hit the big time. Who wouldn’t want to work in a record store? I mean, working in a cool record store that was not in a mall would have been better, let’s face it. But it was still a bit of a dream come true. There weren’t a lot of real record fans shopping at the mall, though. The Jock Jams compilations did not leave our top 20 bestseller wall in the entire two years I worked there, and that is not hyperbole.

I’m not trying to make you feel bad about your crappy college job. So you worked in the caf, no big deal. Someone had to refill the soft serve machines. But there is a tie-in between Showgirls and Record Town. A few months before the film came out, we received a promotional video at the store featuring 20 minutes of unrated footage from the movie. Like an extended preview kind of thing. I took it home with me because no one else in the store gave a shit about Showgirls. Because no one in America gave a shit about Showgirls. Contrary to what you may have heard in Bible class, the country did not spend 1995 in the grips of Showgirls fever. (more…)

Shooting The Vanishing Point

June 22, 2010 By: Category: The Awkward Film Project

The Awkward Press film project got underway this past Saturday with the shoot of The Vanishing Point, based on my story of the same name from the upcoming Awkward Two anthology. It’s fitting that this story was the first to be shot, as it was really the catalyst for the entire project. A few months ago, my friend Eric Kissack told me he was looking for a project to direct while he was between editing gigs. “What a coincidence!” I said, “I happen to have written a story that I believe would make an excellent film!” Because that is how I roll.

Remarkably, Eric dug the story. I went home and busted out a screenplay in a few hours. This is not as impressive as it may seem – the screenplay was only 7 pages long. It is a very short story.

We sent the script back and forth for a few weeks until we finally came up with something we thought would work. I kept waiting for the moment when Eric said, “Hey, I’ve changed my mind, this is a terrible story,” but that never happened. Before too long, he’d signed on two excellent producers (my wife, Sarah, and Eric’s friend Lisa) and the ball was rolling. (more…)

Super Secret Awkward Book and Film Project No Longer Super Secret

June 21, 2010 By: Category: Publishing


It’s been almost one year since we put out our first publication, Awkward One. A lot has happened in that time. Kyle had a movie at the Sundance film festival and wrote a well-received musical with Duncan Sheik. Clay had several plays open, had a story selected for Akashic’s Richmond Noir anthology, and wrote the book for a musical with Bruce Hornsby. I made two YouTube videos and a baby. A successful year for the founders of Awkward Press, all the way around.

When we first came up with the idea of printing a bookazine called Awkward, we decided to do 26 issues from A to Z, each of which would feature 5 short stories based around a unifying theme. The theme of the first issue was “Awkwardness,” natch. “Hey!” we said, after the first issue came out and became an international bestseller and the focus of several investigative reports by 60 Minutes, “Let’s shake things up for the second issue!” We determined that the theme of the second issue would be “Brevity,” and that it would feature short, short stories by 25 different authors. After all, rules are meant to be broken, right? Even when they’re rules that have never really been properly established and are of concern to absolutely no one except the poor book designers (Holly and Andy at Rumors! Holla!) who had to reconceptualize the entire publication.

And then along came the iPad, and suddenly, Everything Changed. Those paper-filled things we once called “books” are now confined to the trash heaps of our imaginations, and also the trash heaps that are not imaginary. People no longer want to waste their time painstakingly leafing through burdensome collections of dead trees to ingest the printed word. Now, we can all simply fire up our hip-screens and dive into words in a far-more engrossing and efficient manner. No longer do we have to struggle with the physically demanding act of turning a page. Even hands have become obsolete; a single finger is all most people need to get through their days. (more…)

The BP Boycott Starts Here

June 04, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, News

I am just a poor boy, though my story's seldom told.

I don’t drive much. I have nothing against driving. I am just lucky enough to live within walking distance of my office. So there is no reason for me to drive most days.

But nonetheless, we live in Los Angeles, so we have 2 cars. One Honda Civic that sees a fair amount of road time, and one Ford Focus that sits unused 300 days a year. It’s kinda like having a spare bedroom for the 1 week a year when your parents visit. Ever so often, I’ll have to drive somewhere to meet Sarah or run some errands on my own. But really, I could accomplish pretty much 95% of the things I need to do with a bike and a tiny bit of motivation.

Today was one of those days that I needed the car and the car needed gas. This only happens about once every two months, on account of how seldom I drive. I had one rule when it came to getting the gas: do not buy from BP. There’s a reason for this, and it has to do with the news. Have you heard about the news? It’s an information-distribution system whereby you can learn about things that are happening in the world. Sort of like a sitcom, but real. If you have heard of the news and you watch or read the news, then you probably know that there’s some kind of oil disaster happening right now. And BP is the company responsible for this oil disaster.

Now, let’s get one thing straight: all oil companies are evil. Oil is evil. It’s what they call a “necessary evil,” because no one has taken the time to establish an alternative system to extracting it from the ground and using it to power things. These alternatives do exist and could, with relative ease, be implemented to make the use of oil less necessary — “relative ease” in terms of, say, “wiring the entire country for electricity,” mind you, not relative ease in terms of choosing between butter and margarine at the grocery store (team butter, holla!) — but as of this writing, plans to implement these alternatives have gotten about as far as the nacho delivery service dreams of a hungry stoner. We’ve known for quite some time that oil is evil and dangerous … decades, even … but we have still not put much effort into fixing the system for reasons that are unclear to me but probably have something to do with Americans’ innate distrust of things that are natural and people who remind them of hippies. (more…)

The Best Song Ever as of Right Now

June 02, 2010 By: Category: Videos

Reggie Watts? Who the hell is this dude? And how did he ever get so fresh?

(Thanks, Videogum!)