Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lancelot Link:s

Lancelot Link Thursday! This week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...

Here are five cool links plus this week's car chase...

1) Famous notebooks of Famous Writers.

2) SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN - writer interview!

3) Aaron Sorkin on Steve Jobs bio-pic.

4) PIRANHA 3DD - director and writers explain the Academy Award Issues.

5) Writer Roundtable - Getting Notes.

And the car chase of the week...

From THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO (a Quinn-Martin Production) - tonight's Guest Star - Leslie Nielsen. This was TV in the 70s... lots of stunts!

- Bill




Why pay $510 for a used version of the 240 page 2000 version that used to retail for $21.95? (check it out!) when you can get the NEW EXPANDED VERSION - over 500 pages - for just $9.99? New chapters, New examples, New techniques!

"SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING is the best book on the practical nuts-and-bolts mechanics of writing a screenplay I've ever read." - Ted Elliott, co-writer of MASK OF ZORRO, SHREK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and the sequels (with Terry Rossio).(ie; 4 of the top 20 Box Office Hits Of ALL TIME.)

Only $9.99 - and no postage!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Report:
Bottom Deal

So, I’ve read a pile of books since the last report, but never got around to typing them up. For some reason I have never read Lawrence Block’s Hit Man series - though I’ve read almost everything else he’s written. So, I finally got around to that - and the first book HIT MAN is interesting, so I’ll have an entry on that soon, but first...

BOTTOM DEAL by Robert Gregory Browne.

I don’t know if I’ve ever met Robert in person, because there were some group meet ups ages ago where I met a few dozen people I knew from online all at the same time, but I’ve known him from online for a couple of *decades*. He was probably one of the first people to buy the action book, long ago. He’s a Nicholl Award Winning screenwriter and novelist and a year ago one of his books was made into a TV series pilot for CBS ... which didn’t seem to get picked up. That’s a shame, because the book kicked ass. I’ll talk about it later, but first this novelette (or novella - I really don’t know where the cut off is).

BOTTOM DEAL is about gambling addict ex-Las Vegas Homicide Detective Nick Jennings who has drifted to the wrong side of the law... and gets a call from a woman from his past, Holly. An ex-hooker who pulled a PRETTY WOMAN and married a rich client, got out of the business and lived happily ever after. But now she’s in trouble and says people are trying to kill her. Exaggeration or a serious problem? By the time Jennings finds her, she’s been killed with *his* gun at *his* apartment - and he seems to be the prime suspect. Now he has to find the killer before they get enough evidence to arrest him... but he just keeps finding more damned dead people!

The story is some great hardboiled writing that reminded me of pre-Marlowe Chandler stuff. I read a bunch of crime stuff, but the thing that I miss are those long short stories that are halfway between novel and short. Not a quicky, but also not a novel. There’s almost a movie’s worth of plot - or at least an hour of TV’s worth. This story is also testosterone tough guy stuff - with that great smart ass attitude and banter between the detective hero and the cops who want to arrest him (one is his ex-wife... and her partner who wants to get Jennings to throw a punch so that he can beat the crap out of him and then arrest him for hitting an officer). The story takes us on a tour of Vegas we don’t normally see - the crappy casinos and fleatrap apartment buildings that don’t make the TV commercials. Hey, it’s 99 cents for Kindle and nook - and a fun read.

For more info on: BOTTOM DEAL - on Amazon.

KISS HER GOODBYE by Robert Gregory Browne.

Robert’s novel that was almost a TV series - KISS HER GOODBYE - is about an AFT Agent chasing a Manson-like cult leader who can get so deep into your mind that he haunts your dreams... and maybe controls you. When the AFT Agent’s estranged teenaged daughter gets kidnaped by the cult leader and *buried alive*, he now has the ultimate ticking clock to arrest the cult leader and get him to tell the location of his daughter... but *nothing* goes as planned. The story takes place is Chicago - and like BOTTOM DEAL, Robert shows us places that usually don’t pop up on the average movie or TV show. This book is a real page turner, and the mind control aspects of the cult leader are trippy and take the book into an almost supernatural realm. I read this in paperback when it came out, but now you can get it on Kindle for $3.99 - the pacing is relentless and every time you think you know what is going to happen, something far worse happens. There’s a scene halfway through that is like nothing I have ever read in a thriller before - a “You can’t do that!” moment, because it is so savage. If you think that might be a spoiler about the daughter - boy are you wrong! This story is completely unpredictable! It out TAKENs TAKEN!

For more info on: KISS HER GOODBYE on Amazon.

TRIAL JUNKIES by Robert Gregory Browne.

Robert’s *new* book is TRIAL JUNKIES, which I just bought (for Kindle) but haven’t started reading, yet. It’s currently the #2 Legal Thriller on Amazon... and #81 in *all fiction*. That puts him in the top 100 with all of the best selling writers. He was #1 in Legal Thrillers for a while - which put him *ahead* of the new John Grisham novel! I believe it’s an e-book original - another example of a professional writer going to where the market is. The book is also at $3.99 for Kindle.

Because I have yet to read it, here’s the official Amazon description:


The first book in a new series from ITW Thriller Award nominee, Robert Gregory Browne:


Ethan "Hutch" Hutchinson hasn't seen his old college pals in nearly ten years. Now fate has brought them together again as one of the gang is put on trial for a brutal, senseless murder.

The Chicago police and prosecutor think they have their perp, but Hutch isn't about to sit silently in a courtroom as someone he cares about is wrongfully convicted.


When Hutch and his friends join forces to search for the real killer, what they find shatters every notion they have about friendship, loss and redemption... and may very well cost Hutch--and the woman he loves--their lives.

For more info on: TRIAL JUNKIES on Amazon.

After I read this, I hope to find time to do a book report on it... though I’m way behind on those as it stands... and by then Robert will probably have a couple books in this series!

- Bill

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lancelot Link: Risk Addiction!

Lancelot Link Thursday! This week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...

Here are seven cool links plus this week's car chase...

1) EVERY line Rihanna says in the movie BATTLESHIP.

2) THE WIRE's Bible.

3) PROMETHEUS writer Jon Spaihts on creating a great space movie.

4) Ken Burns on Storytelling - is it *all* manipulation?

5) Stephen King's 20 Writing Tips.

6) TV Writer Round Table

7) They are closing post offices... but issuing these cool new stamps!

And the Car Chase Of The Week!

From DRIVE...

- Bill

Monday, May 21, 2012


So, a friend of mine's FB account got hacked on Friday and ran *shoe adverts* all day long - click to buy expensive sports shoes. It reminded me of the time my FB account got hacked over the holidays a couple of years ago, so instead of writing a new blog entry, here's a link to that old one...

The strange part of this is how some stranger can suddenly take over our lives and do all kinds of crazy things we would never do (pimp sports shoes), and then leave *us* holding the bag. There's some thriller or mystery script in here somewhere (though it would have to be nothing like SHATTERDAY because that Ellison dude sues). When I was hacked two years ago, they posted messages on my friends walls from me saying all kinds of weird crap. Actually ruined a few friendships. What makes it worse is that a couple of those people have since passed away, and some crazy hacker's weird message is probably the last thing they read "from me".

Anyway - I'm sure there's a thriller story in here somewhere... except it would be a lot of looking at computer screens. If you ever see me on FB trying to sell you shoes - ignore it. Why the heck would I post about shoes?

- Bill


Dinner: Subway BBQ Chicken sandwich.
Pages: I'm almost done with this script... almost.
Bicycle: Short bike ride today, tomorrow they try to figure out how to tape the lot pass on the handle bars - I have a meeting.


Because this is a teaser it's short on details, long on mood... but part of this reminds me of the opening of the *novel* MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN where Bond becomes a Manchurian Candidate who can be triggered by a code word... to kill M!

One of the things that this new go-round of films might consider is taking the plots from the novels, many of which have completely different stories than the films which share their titles. They did that with CASINO - which is very much like the novel, down to Bond getting his testicles whipped.

I hope this film is better than the last one - with that henchman who rivals Odd Job named Bowl Cut (or something) and that plot to do whatever it was they were doing. It seemed like the idea of hiring Marc Forster completely backfired and they ended up with the KITE RUNNER version of Bond. I think this concept of finding art house directors is just a mistake - and when you look at the directors who made the Bond films that brought the series back from failure, we're talking about... Martin Campbell (GOLDENEYE and CASINO). The other directors who have made big money Bond films tend to be action guys. The art house director experiment often fails - and I wonder whether AMAZING SPIDER-MAN will work. It's as if Hollywood is unable to figure out who actually has the skills to pull off a movie, so they make what they think is a creative decision to hire the *least likely* director to make this kind of film and hope that director who has maybe done some art house dramas can pull off a big action-based franchise film. See, that doesn't even make sense when you type it.

I think the reason why SKYFALL *may* have a chance at working is that Sam Mendes has done REVOLUTIONARY ROAD... but also ROAD TO PERDITION (arty - but with action scenes). But he's still not even on the list of directors I would ever consider to make a Bond film. An action film is all about the action - the story is *told* through the action. So you can't just hand that stuff off to some second unit guy - the DIRECTOR needs to understand action scenes. Someone like Roger Spottiswood or Martin Campbell know action, but Marc Forster didn't seem to have a clue.

Remember how we got Indiana Jones? Spielberg wanted to direct a Bond film... he was the hottest director in town, and they turned him down. When he told Lucas about this, Lucas came up with a project for Spielberg to direct that would be "better than Bond". Imagine the Spielberg Bond film!

- Bill

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lancelot Link: US Monkeys

Lancelot Link Thursday! This week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...

Here are nine cool links plus this week's car chase...

1) HULK on Mark Ruffalo's portrayal. One of the best pieces of film crit and screenwriting advice I have ever read from a huge green mutant dude.

2 *Every* screenwriter gets notes.

3) The Amazing Doc Series 7 UP.

4) Periodic Table Of Storytelling.

5) A Letter From Hitchcock To Children.

6) James Bond Girls Today!

7) An Interview With John Hughes.

8) MULHOLLAND DRIVE - the movie Vs. the TV pilot.

9) How A Book is Born.

And... the car chase of the week!

Okay, if I say that's my favorite part of THE OTHER GUYS, does that make it sound like I don't like Will Ferrell's Gator character? Because I hate that character.

- Bill

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lancelot Link: Monkeys Never Sleep

Lancelot Link Thursday! This week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...

Here are five cool links plus this week's car chase...

1) Summer Blockbusters... re-imagined as Indies.

2) Failed HBO Shows.

3) Interview With AVENGERS Screenwriter!

4) Final Shots Of Great Films - what was that last image?

5) Best Pilot Scripts - coming soon to a TV near you.

6) LANCELOT LINK is now on DVD!

And the Car Chase Of The Week...

- Bill

PS: This is the greatest season of CASTLE, with no shortage of GREAT episodes, but Monday night was amazing. Yeah, it's a crime show, yeah it's a rom-com, yeah it's fun... but this is the greatest drama on TV. This season has been all about characters - and Monday gave us so many amazing scenes that push the characters up against a wall and force them to make tough decisions and deal with tough emotions.
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