Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fan Mail From Some Flounder?

Over the weekend I went to a Visual FX Expo, and it brought up an interesting question about screenwriting. I never planned on going to this expo, I didn’t even know it was going on. My friend Rod, from my home town, called and asked if I wanted to have breakfast with him. I haven’t seen Rod in several months - he used to run the Public Access studio in my home town and is the tech on my audio classes. He took a day job a while back as the factory rep for some visual effects software, and ended up becoming the factory expert who trained guys at FX houses on how to use it. So he accidentally became a guy with a bunch of visual FX connections, and started doing visual FX on a bunch of movies - like HOOT. So we have breakfast, and I ask him why he’s in town - a movie? - no, he’s here for this expo. Hey, would I be interested in going? Doug Trumbell is going to be there.

Hell, yes! I trash my work weekend and go to hear panels talk about visual effects.

Sunday’s program seemed designed for me. First up was John Knoll, visual effects guy for all three PIRATES movies. Now, I’m kind of on the other side of these films. I remember having dinner with Terry and Ted and others at the Robert Blake murder scene (Vitellos) soon after the crime - and Ted pitching the story in the parking lot for the first film. They had just landed the job, and this was the raw creative material that would go into the screenplay. The cursed pirates, the Governor’s daughter who must chose between three men, and those three men - the pirate, the swordmaker, and the dashing sea captain. It was great to hear the story *before* they had cast the movie. Later, Ted took me on a tour of the sets on the Disney lot that began with a tour of the production offices where pages torn from books on the period gave way to conceptual sketches which lead to storyboards which lead to models of the sets which lead to the actual sets themselves: the blacksmith set and the treasure cave.

I knew how the story began, and the visual FX guy was going to give me the final chapter. Very interesting stuff - including the FX guy’s version of how a standard length script becomes a 3 hour movie. The director keeps adding stuff. One of the interesting things was how the skeleton pirates became a challenge because motion capture requires a ton of light and the characters wearing strange outfits - and duplicating those moves on set and then in the motion capture room was basically impossible - so they used a very labor intensive method to use the actual performances as models for the skeletons. They loved the challenge of finding the way to make the FX part of the story and part of the character (part of the crew, part of the ship). For the 2nd and 3rd movies they developed a brand new motion capture system that works *on the set* so that Davy Jones *is* Bill Nighy. Whatever you can imagine, they will find a way to do.

One of the highlights of Knoll’s presentation was the blooper reel - where CG pirates lost their CG clothes in the middle of a scene or two CG characters became conjoined twins in the middle of a scene when their paths crossed. I hope they put this stuff on the DVDs.

Next up was a panel of FX legends discussing the 50 most influential FX movies. John Knoll moderated, and he brought an FX magazine he bought as a kid that had interviews with every single panelist - from Doug Trumbell (2001) to Dennis Murren (JURASSIC PARK and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS) to John Dykstra (STAR WARS). He was a huge fan of these guys when he was a kid, and they were the reason why he got into the business. And as they went down the panel and asked each why they became interested in special effects, they all mentioned movies they fell in love with as a kid... and how they found out who created that magic on screen, and became fans of those FX guys. Ray Harryhausen’s name came up again and again,.the Lydekker Brothers (WIZARD OF OZ) and several others. All of the ILM guys got into the business because of Trumbell and 2001. One of the names they mentioned was Albert Whitlock...

You know those birds in THE BIRDS? Whitlock. You know that earthquake in EARTHQUAKE? Whitlock. He was the FX guy at Universal, and every big FX movie Universal did had Whitlock’s fingerprints on it. As a kid, I was amazed by FX in movies - the magic part that can not be real - and noticed Whitlock’s name as FX guy again and again. So, I wrote him a couple of fan letters. And as an 18 or 19 year old, got a chance to meet him. I gave him a welcome mat - a joke, because his specialty was matte shots. There’s this scene in Hitchcock’s TORN CURTAIN where Paul Newman walks through a huge mansion... which doesn’t exist. It’s a painting by Albert Whitlock. There’s a scene in, I think, DAY OF THE LOCUST where hundreds of people are dancing in a huge ballroom - those people are *paintings* by Whitlock, articulated by having a second painting behind the first that is moving back and forth - like the old Hamms Beer signs that had a waterfall. Anyway, I was a huge fan of Whitlock and he’s one of the reasons why I’m in this business....

And this made me wonder about screenwriters.

There are *fans* for FX guys, and *fan magazines* for FX. When some kid sees PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END and becomes fascinated with Davy Jones and his crew and wonder how they did that... and find themselves interested in the FX on the movie and see in the credits that John Knoll was the FX Supervisor and start to look at other films he’s worked on... and become fans. They end up subscribing to CineFantastique or one of the other FX magazines and include Special Effects in their list of "Things I want to be when I grow up". And some of these kids will send fan letters or welcome mats and might even evolve from fan to FX supervisor.

Do kids ever notice who wrote that film? There are now some screenwriting magazines, but do you think kids who become fans of writers (if that even happens) seek out those screenwriting magazines and read them the way the FX fans do?

There was a story on the news today about a SAG (Screen Actors) program to encourage kids to write. There were hundreds of kids in a theater and some TV stars reading some of their work. All of these kids were from lower income areas and writing stories empowered them. Wanda DeJesus from one of those CSI shows said she hoped this program would create the playwrights and screenwriters of the future - writers with a unique view of the world that is under-represented in Hollywood. Wait a minute! Why is SAG doing this and not WGA?

But a moment later they interviewed a kid and asked him he wanted to be a writer when he grew up... said no.

Writers - not what kids want to be when they grow up.

Just not interesting enough. They don’t see the *magic* in screenwriting the way they see the *magic* in turing Bill Nighy into Davy Jones. There aren’t kids becoming fans of screenwriters. Forming little clubs in their tree houses or backyard forts and discussing screenwriting the way they discuss movie monsters. There is no Forrey Ackerman of screenwriting. No Fango Convention for screenwriting - sure, there’s Expo and Showcase... but people who go to those events want to pitch their scripts, not stand in line for an Alvin Sargent autograph.

Screenwriters often don’t even know who wrote their favorite movies. That’s just weird.

I may be strange, but in addition to Albert Whitlock’s FX I also became interested in movies due to Dan Mainwarring, the guy who wrote OUT OF THE PAST and INVASION OF THE BODYSNATCHERS (remade with Nicole Kidman). Oh, and throw Ben Hecht and John Michael Hayes in there too. I started noticing that my favorite movies were written by the same people, and became a fan of those people. Screenwriters. Which may make me a freak in the screenwriting world.

I think screenwriters deserve to have fans - but that needs to start with us. We need to be fans. We need to know who wrote that. We need to talk about screenwriters the way many of us talk about directors. We need to be excited about *screenwriting* and be fans of *screenwriters*.

And we need to figure out some way to get kids interested in screenwriting. Not just the next generation of screenwriters, we need to get those kids who love movies to realize that someone wrote that film... they way they notice the FX and become fans of that FX artist. That means we need to show kids the magic of creation. Someone created that story - a screenwriter. They used their imagination to come up with the *idea* of Davy Jones and his crew being of the sea... so that the FX guys could come in and use their computers to turn that screenwriter’s creation into something on film... the same way a director takes something from our imagination and puts it on screen.

The magic starts with us.

Our imagination. Our creativity.

We start with a blank page... and create characters and worlds and amazing events.

I think that deserves some fan attention.


Yesterday’s Lunch: One of those sour cream cinnamon cake things at Starbucks.
Movies: Man, I need to get to the cinema! They keep releasing films, and I managed to go the whole weekend without seeing anything - usually I see a movie on Friday and one on Sunday.
UNKNOWN on DVD - a bunch of stars, but I never noticed this film in cinemas. A twisty thriller that needed more character work, a theme, and a more clearly defined relationships... But the real problem was the gimmick - completely unbelievable! Killed the film from the opening scene! See, 5 guys wake up in a warehouse and all 5 have no memory at all of who they are or how they got there. Three are kidnappers and two are the kidnaped - but nobody knows who is what. The *excuse* for how 5 guys would all get amnesia at the same time just seems contrived and lame. When you start off with something unbelievable, no matter how clever the rest of the film is, you just can’t get into it. Adding to that is that we have no idea who any of these people are - on purpose.
Pages: Puttered around on the Action Book rewrite - but really didn’t do much.

- Bill


Unk said...

Really outstanding post Bill and one I very much agree with...

I teach kids screenwriting at a private Native American High School for free twice a week for the last couple of years...

Two hours a day and at first, they HATED it but as we got past some of the boring stuff and started to brainstorm ideas, they really came around.

Then when we began to develop those ideas and create character and plots, they really got into it.

Many of them are watching all their favorite movies again just to see who wrote it.

I often assign them interviews and sites to read through so we can talk about it at the next class and they love that too.

I think what a lot of them really liked was the idea that their job could be inside of them... Their actual being and not having to go to some place for 8 hours a day and waste away...

And now I've got 3 of them who are hard at work on their first spec scripts... And they're not too bad. Much better than some I've read within the last year -- that's for sure.

Definitely writing and more specifically, screenwriting is simply not touted as a very creative endeavor when in fact, it is one of the most creative there is.

Again -- great post.


YNot? said...

Hi Bill,

Kudos on your Starbucks lunch, wouldn't want anything clearing up those arteries. I've come to believe that the human brain really doesn't need that much blood.

Secondly, I really enjoyed this post. It made me think of what first got me interested in the magic of movies and dang if it wasn't Jason And The Argonauts, yet another Ray Harryhausen classic. I guess movies stimulate the imagination, which then engages the heart.

As a teacher, I think if students could see their words come to life on the screen, this might stimulate some to pursue the path of a screenwriter.. At which time, Hollywood would do everything in it's power to beat the living "hope" out of any young, aspiring writer.

Keep writing.

Maestro said...


With all due respect, this seems to me like a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. I mean, there's generally one VFX supervisor per movie, and it's relatively easy for would-be fans to determine who he or she is by reading the credits. But there is often more than one writer per movie, and, not to start an arbitration debate, it's not always as easy for would-be fans to "know who wrote that" by reading the credits.

Interestingly, when there's only one writing supervisor on a project (read: exec. producer/showrunner per TV series), and it's relatively easy for would-be fans to determine who he or she is by reading the credits, some of these people do gain a following. e.g. Gene Roddenberry, Stephen J. Cannell, Aaron Spelling, David E. Kelly, Joss Whedon, J.J. Abrams, and maybe even David Chase at this point.

My 2¢ - M

wcmartell said...

Good point. But how can we find ways to work around that?

Often people think scripts somehow write themselves. Even writers are more often fans of directors instead of other writers.

- Bill

Kevan said...

I came into loving movies for the magic in all types of stories genres, I simply wondered at it all. Eventually I started to fall in love the directors thinking it was their vision which ended up on the screen. But in recent years I've developed a love of screenwriters. I appreciate the work writers out into their movie scripts.What makes them stand out from others, their action descriptions, their dialogue and the utter attention to every detail possible, the mind boggles at such detail. But I can recite the names of these people, to me these guys are the minds behind the stories, the men and woman who have a vision and who use the medium of screenwriting to tell their stories. You have to go out of your way to find this stuff out, to research, maybe even want to be a screenwriter yourself before you appreciate the finer aspects ofm what constitutes a 3 Act structure, a protagonist anhd antagonist, a reversal, a mid point. All the stuff screenwriters learn and discuss between themselves like a secret language, a secret code, a secret religion. When screenwriting it taught as another means of literary expression then and only then will screenwriting be viewed with the awe in which is strikes in me. And Bill, I'm your number one fan. Only thing is I don;t want to kill you, just to learn from you, your an inspiration to so many, man. If anybody, you deserve this recognition, you're a screenwriting mentor if there ever was one. Your the best in my book.

_ram-jaane' said...

You make a fair & valid point, as does maestro, I think there are too many writers (unlike yourself), who have gone past caring for the art. They do their job & walk away.

I think a reasonable approach would be to get more Writer's Commentaries on DVD's, more interviews of in essence explaining the process of creation. The average person has the misconception that writing is sitting with a pen & paper (or laptop) all day .. & that's the extent of their knowledge, no wonder it doesn't appeal to them.

If more films had the creative process attached to them, ideas, how we got from a to b, the research behind it, how we find, investigate & fix critical issues, this seems more challenging, more fun, more appealing.

With the multiple writers, what their roles were how they worked together, etc

annabel said...

This was a great post. It is something that I have thought about, but have not come to a conclusion. To be honest, before I stumbled across screenwriting and decided to give it a try I never gave much thought to who wrote the movies I loved. I have had to play catch-up. I don't know why I never gave the writers much thought before.

I have become a fan of screenwriters! When friends or family tell me about a movie they enjoyed I tell them who wrote it and anything that I know about the writer. My small contribution to promoting screenwriters. ;)

I do have a question:
How much impact do you think this lack of acknowledgement from the public has on the respect and power (or lack of it) that writers have in Hollywood?

Janet Smith (London) said...

Hi Bill, I saw a great film last week that I'm sure you'll love.
It's called Tell No One.
It's a french film with subtitles based on a Harlan Coben book. Go see it, NOW!

Also, as for Scriptwriters having fans, its the same old story, if you want to write and get respect you have to write novels or plays.

That's where people care about writers. Lets face it generally people only recognise there's a script when they want to say whats wrong with a film! They usually blame the script even if its been ruined by the Director.

The whole Auteur thing in the 50's
pushed everyone to the back of the queue and made Directors more important than anyone else in the public's eyes.

I don't know anyway around this but maybe with the cult of celebrity as it is at the moment we should have a Scriptwriting reality show...

Day One in the Script Brother House and Joe Ezterhaus is flushing Charlie Kaufman's head in the toilet while Nora Ephron and Bill.......

Oh Well, You could always write that Oscar winning script then everyone will know who you are..


Laura Reyna said...

As a kid I was a film buff, but really, the only poeple i was aware of were the stars. They were the ones who where out there front & center, being promoted.

Then later on i found out about the directors of the 70s. They got media attention & became "stars".

It's been said before, & i'll say it again... screenwriters, as individuals & as a group, need to get a higher public profile.

We need the PUBLIC to who we are. We need the average filmgoer to know the names of the big writers, like they know the names of the big stars.

But this isn't going to happen by itself. There needs to be a conscious effort on the part of the WGA & individual writers to promote screenwriters & themselves.

When the public knows the names & faces of writers, that's when we'll see a positive change in the appreciation given to the craft.

But of course, we as writers, can still be fans of other writers.

I'm a fan of:
P Schrader
O Stone
B Helgeland
C Kaufman
G Arriaga
N Jordan

Great post, Bill. :-)

Iain Gibson said...

I used to love those behind the scenes shows where they'd show you how the special effects were done on a film. I don't think it's been the same since CGI came along though - seeing wireframes of spaceships isn't as interesting as watching special effects artists sliding a Snowspeeder down a wire and blowing it up. With model effects there was always some new technique, with CGI effects there's only so many times you can watch the rendering process before it becomes old.

With writers I think there are a few problems with the current batch of screenwriting magazines. Predominantly they're aimed at people who already want to be writers - so they're a mash of articles on the business, techniques and interviews with screenwriters about their latest movie.

If you wanted a magazine that was a writing fan mag, then I'd suggest the following:

The only technique tips come from screenwriters who are talking about how they achieved a particular story effect in one of their scripts. Like the 'making of' shows did, take the readers through the process.

Short fiction by the writers. If you want to get people excited about someone's writing then showcase their actual writing ability in a form where the writing is the ends, not just a means to an ends. I'd love to read short stories from the pen of Scott Frank, Alvin Sargent, Rossio & Elliott, or Frank Darabont.

Features on the life of a screenwriter - stuff that doesn't just require a new movie to be coming out. Photospreads on William Goldman's library, Brad Bird's art collection, Bill Martell's choice of coffee shops.

Scripts that never were. All those projects that never got off the ground, or which were changed completely by the time they were finally made. Give the readers the power to judge which version of a movie was better - the writer's, or the studio's.

Christian M. Howell said...

Great post. I know I always look for who wrote the movie before who directed it - even though that is usually in HUGE RED LETTERS.

I think that's why I frequent these blogs. Without screenwriters directors would be standing in traffic and actors would be wondering why they don't have anything to do.

I watch movies where the key grip gets higher billing in the credits than the screenwriter.

It is much easier for kids to pick this up just like everything else as they aren't jaded and will have fewer preconceived notions.

I mean the screenplay is done by one or maybe two people while the movie involves sometimes hundreds, so when you start with that empty page it is much more daunting than starting with the script.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm a masochist or something as I now have a full time job and a full time "hobby" which may yield may a bunch of paper that only has value when burned.

Either way though, my death bed will probably be covered with sequence maps, notes and laptops.

Laura Deerfield said...

Directing, acting, and special effects are all much sexier than writing. Much more exciting, and appeal to far more people. And this will always be the case.


Because writing is internal. Writers tend to be more solitary types. We usually work alone, and many of us are shy and uncomfortable being in the spotlight.

That said, I do think that the profile of screenwriters can still be raised.

My favorite commentaries on DVDs include the writer, because they have a unique vision of the overall story and what drives it - but also because they often understand that the commentary itself needs to be a story.

I listen to the Creative Screenwriting podcasts, and that sense of giving a story to the interview, to the commentary, is often evident. Writers can also help themselves if they do their best to get involved in the publicity for their films. Many reporters may not know how to talk to a writer, and they can help by giving pre-interview notes suggesting topics they can discuss.

Writers are also often self-effacing. I have heard so many screenwriters defer to the director's or actor's execution when they are given compliments. Don't do that!! Learn to take a compliment and self-promote.

Part of the reason so many people don't even realize that screenwriting is a profession, that someone *writes* the movie before it's made, is that writers shy from the spotlight.

I wonder if writers could also negotiate to have their names featured more prominently in the credits and on the poster. Don't actors and directors do this?

Perhaps when it's time to re-negotiate terms, the WGA could include demands that address the visibility of a writer on a project, as well as the stability of their role throughout it. (I think these things are tied. It's easy to fire the writer when they are low profile.)

As for myself, I think I was a teenager before the screenwriter ever entered my consciousness. I remember a discussion about Paddy Chayefsky wanting to remove his name from Altered States because the film was so far removed from what he'd originally written. It had been in the news, I suppose, and Altered States was on TV. I think it was my mother who mentioned it. Being a writer already (poet), this immediately grabbed my attention. I asked who he was, and from there, found out about Network.

When Princess Bride came out, there was buzz about the story behind its making, and a friend was reading the book - so I learned about William Goldman. Turns out he had written one of my favorites! (Butch and Sundance.)

It was later I discovered Mamet, and others after that... but I admit it wasn't 'till I started writing screenplays myself that I began really paying attention to the writer of most movies.

I do, however, try to make a point of it now - and to actually buy and read screenplays.

But it's not so bad for screenwriters. Poets are much worse. I can't tell you the number of people I've met at poetry readings and slams who only go when they are performing, and who rarely buy a book by another poet (unless it's a good friend.)

wcdixon said...

Swell post.

Maestro said...

>"how can we find ways to work around that?"

I think Iain has some good thoughts.

Janet mentioned that the script is often blamed in bad reviews--and John August has a challenge on the subject, if anyone's interested--so maybe getting the script out there might help. Although this could be a bit tricky since it's my understanding that the Separated Right to publish the screenplay is only retained by the writer(s) who receive "Written by" or "Story by" credit. And if several writers receive such credit, they all share the right to publish the screenplay. Plus, the cost of publication could be prohibitive. Although, with your Blue Books, you obviously have some experience in this area. So maybe?

A couple of people have mentioned DVD commentaries, but I seem to recall that this is tied to credit somehow, too. I thought Ted & Terry wanted to do a commentary on National Treasure, but they couldn't because they weren't credited. Or maybe I'm misremembering.

But I think the key is in your original post--make writers and writing credits more like their VFX counterparts. What if one producer was designated Writing Supervisor for the project from start to finish? His or her job would be to supervise all writing prior to the start of production, and then to be on set to consult on the story with the director, as well as do any rewriting that's needed during production (or post). To avoid a conflict of interest, the Writing Supervisor would be barred from taking any credit other than Writing Supervisor. Further, what if the "Written by" credit was reserved exclusively for the first writer on the project, and all other writers who worked on the project were listed in the end credits, much like the VFX people are now?

So you might end up with something like:

(opening credits)
Written by Iain Gibson

Writing Supervised by William C. Martell

(end credits)
Janet Smith
Laura Reyna
Christian M. Howell

Given that credits are the basis of, well, pretty much everything (from Rights to residuals), I doubt such an extensive revamp would be possible. But it seems to me like the co-op that John Wells, et al, have started is a step in that direction.


Fun Joel said...

Dude, a good post, of course. Here's my feeling...

One of the big reasons why there are few fans of screenwriters is that we don't write final products. We write blueprints of final products.

I think you will find some kids who are fans of novelists. I was a huge Stephen King fan as a kid. J.K. Rowling has certainly inspired tons of kids to want to write a book. And I don't know if the Eragon kid was influenced by her, but you can bet that he was influenced by someone like her.

This doesn't offer a solution, just a possible explanation for the problem.

Patricia said...

As a kid, I'd loved to dream about what I'd have characters in movies or television shows do, but I didn't realize that someone was actually writing scripts until I was old enough to earn and spend my own money and picked up a used copy of Hitchcock short stories. I made the connection between what I thought of as a writer and that SOMEBODY had to write the story.

I wanted to do that, but I didn't want it enough to move to Los Angeles. I grew up in an area people moved to from L.A., and I'd spent years hearing complaints about the area. Also, once I got out of high school, it wasn't like I could just go out and get a job as a screenwriter, even with a college degree, so there were practical considerations. I didn't see any way that I could work my way up as a screenwriter, so I took my writing in a different direction.

While an actor may be able to get some satisfaction and experience from community theater or commercials, a would-be young screenwriter's message is pretty much, "The odds are stacked against you and you'll be disrespected and even shredded and cast aside even if you are successful. You'll be lucky to even be allowed to attend the opening of the film, and then no one will talk to you." Real inviting.

It's a cultural concept for would-be actors to wait tables until they get the big break. Not likely a job that would appeal to a writer's personality. If you want to be a producer, you become the put-upon production assistant. If you want to be an agent, you suffer through the mail room. There isn't a cultural image for to-be screenwriters' employment that I'm aware of, beyond bitter recluse. Is that because it isn't possible or because it hasn't been envisioned? Or have I missed something?

I'm older and more stubborn and have the experience of knowing that it's better to struggle and fail than to never try out of fear. And I still face the practical aspects of earning a living and the same popular message that I'd better have written an award-winning gem, or I shouldn't even bother to darken the outskirts of the Gilded Metropolis. So, what is it about screenwriting that would make kids want to do it and believe they can do it? That's what's missing, I think. Personality and joy.

I think it would help to have more script-to-screen extras on DVDs, even if to emphasize that there is a process.

I think it's good that you have a MySpace page. Anything that gets writers out where they can come into contact with youth. More things that show that writers are, in fact, interesting humans who aren't locked in small, dark spaces between bathroom breaks. Easier ways to see good paths and perks.

I think that interviews with actors sometimes enforce the impression that everything on the screen originated with the actor's creation of the character placed inside the director's story. I wasn't aware of it until I finally decided that the screenwriting dream had been lurking in the back of my mind for long enough. I don't know how appropriate it is in terms of the politics of filmmaking, but I have written some notes to people who aren't writers to thank them for expressing appreciation for writers. I imagine the bulk of letters are probably round-filed. But I do find these remarks encouraging.

wcmartell said...

I think the DVD extras really are the key. But not just screenwriter interviews (though more of those would be nice - even if it meant writers and the people who rewrote them sitting side-by-side).

I'd really like to see something like the PIRATES tour that Ted gave me - but start with the writer typing a sentence... then see how that sentence *becomes* something amazing on screen. Focus on the magic of creation.

One of my most amazing on set experiences was for GRID RUNNERS - a sci fi film. I had *made up* things that people would have in the future... and some prop guys had created them!

I'd had movies made before, but you type "INT. HOUSE -- DAY" and then you go to the set and they're filming in a house... well, you didn't *create* that house. They rented it.

But when you make something up that does not exist... and then go on set and there it is. Wow! That's magic. I had an idea. I typed it on a piece of paper. They turned that idea into something real. That's the magic part of screenwriting that might appeal to a kid somewhere (or even an adult).

I'd love to see some DVD extras like that.

- Bill

Bill Cunningham said...

Simple answer:

Publish screenplays in a magazine format. Not in that uber-expensive format that SCENARIO magazine used to do, but in a format like FADE IN or even WRITER'S DIGEST where you get a script, images from the film, pre-production sketches, and AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WRITER(S)!!!

Time the script mag to be released with the movie or with the DVD. Make the format attractive and true to the writer's intent. I can imagine that we would have a lot more writers now if they had published the scripts for movies like BATMAN BEGINS or THE MATRIX in an easy-to-afford format.

Movie books are great. I buy a lot of them, but they are expensive. Make writers more accessible and you'll spur more interest in the process of screenplay writing.

The Moviequill said...

It seems that a majority of writers want to use their talent as a stepping stone into the director's chair, so I was wondering if you had any aspirations of going that way if the opportunity presents itself?

Anonymous said...

Remember that sketch? Was it Peter Cook? Monty Python?

"...He's picking up the quill. And he dips it into the ink. A double-dip. Taps off the surplus. And he's moved the quill over the paper. The point's down, and, HE'S WRITING!!!! And the first word is... yes, it's 'The.'

"The novel competition is off to a flying start, ladies and gentlemen. But wait! He hesitates. He scribbles. He's SCRATCHED THE WORD OUT!!! *FX: crowd groans* And now he leans back. Scratches his chin..."

You gotta have competition. Winners and losers. Good guys you can identify with. Bad guys you can hate. Colour. Intensity. Not some unshaven dork with a cup of coffee and a sour expression. (I speak only for myself.)


Daniel said...

I'm 18 and I've wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid. I've already had 3 short plays produced and I do a lot of screen writing for fun. Also, I have a fairly encyclopedic knowledge of modern screenwriters. I for one do go to see a movie because of the screenwriter whom I see as equally important to film as any "auteur" and possibly deserving of the same categorization.

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