Monday, March 30, 2015

Lancelot Link: BEN HUR edition.

Lancelot Link Monday! Okay, for those of you read Vintage Screenwriting #1 you know that the first two versions of BEN HUR were written by women. But not the Heston version, which I'll be watching at the end of the week. Imagine if Ben Hur were remade as a wacky comedy where Ben Hur was a woman masquerading as a Gladiator? Who would play the lead? What is the rest of the story? Imagine the chariot race... While you're thinking about that, here are 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 a dozen links plus this week's car chase...

1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Home............................ $54,000,000
2 Get Hard........................ $34,610,000
3 Insurgent....................... $22,075,000
4 Cinderella...................... $17,515,000
5 It Follows....................... $4,021,000
6 Kingsmen......................... $3,050,000
7 Run All Night.................... $2,205,000
8 Second Best...................... $2,185,000
9 Do You Believe................... $2,150,000
10 Gunmen........................... $2,045,000

Box Office still surging: 4.0% over last year and 12.1% over 2013.

That number five movie IT FOLLOWS is a low budget independent horror flick... that is beating a bunch of big budget Hollywood films because people say that it's, you know, good.

2) Star Salaries: Your romcom where Sandra Bullock has to choose between Denzel and Damon?

3) NOIR CITY Los Angeles... including Woolrich!

4) TRANSFORMERS *spin offs*?????

5) The Terminator Can't Be Stopped... But Can He Play The Drums?

6) Dog Days Of Summer... and WHITE GOD director.

7) Quicksilver? Scarlet Witch?

8) In Case You Missed The SPECTRE Trailer.

9) PRETTY WOMAN didn't start out all that pretty...

10) Raymond Chandler (THE BIG SLEEP) chats with Ian Fleming (GOLDFINGER).

11) Season One HANNIBAL Scripts?

12) Indiewire reports on HITCH 20... My name pops up.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

Okay, chariots.



TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: PULP FRICTION - Characters at war with themselves.
Dinner: Hot dogs at the movies.
Pages: Five pages before the movies.
Bicycle: Rode to the movies.

Movie: HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2... which sucked. Saw it at the dollar cinema, though.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


From way back in August 2010...

I am not a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV, but I have seen many movies with serious problems and read many screenplays with fatal problems. I'm not even a script doctor, so my job is not to cure these patients - just the blather on and on about them in my blog. Complaining is free, I might as well get in as much as I can, right?

A couple of months ago I went to a BBQ at Bamboo Killer Emily’s new house and everyone was talking about screenwriting and movies and the upcoming UFC fight (which is different than a KFC fight - me wanting more fried chicken and knowing I shouldn’t have any). One of the subjects was that insane writing you do the last day of Nichol submissions - “Sure, I can knock out an entire Act 3 by 11:59!” and then the horror of finding all of the typos and screw ups *after* you have submitted you script to the contest. I always say, if you want to find all of the mistakes in your screenplay, send it to someone really important and then reread it. Suddenly you can see all of the typos you’ve missed!

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It’s like that episode of HOUSE where he is sure the patient is fine and discharges him from the hospital, only to have the patient bounce back an hour later ten times worse... and maybe even *blue*... like some extra from AVATAR.

Our job is to make sure the patient is in perfect health before we discharge them from the hospital, and that takes patience.

Writing is rewriting. A script you finished at 11:59 on the last day for Nicholl’s submissions hasn’t been rewritten at all. Probably hasn’t even been proof read. Probably has all kinds of weird and confusing stuff in it - remember when you changed the female lead’s name when you were writing the script? How many places does she have the old name? Remember that scene on page 57 where the villain captures the hero and takes his gun... how does the hero get it back for the big shoot out at the end? Remember that scene where the guy buys the gal dinner in the cute little restaurant? How about three scenes before when he lost his wallet?

And those are the big obvious problems! What about consistent dialogue? Do all of your characters have a unique vocabulary and a different way of speaking? Or do they all sound just like you? Once you get the story down, there are hundreds of *details* in the way that story is told that must be consistent - character details, dialogue details, action details, etc - things that you will probably not get right on first pass... or even second pass! Things that you may not even notice if you do a quick read through before hitting the “send” button that sends your PDF to a contest or producer.

Being a freelance writer is tough - you have to be your own boss and impose your own deadlines. Having a deadline like the Nicholl or some other contest is a great way to get us off of our lazy butts and in front of that keyboard turning out pages. I understand the need for outside motivation tools... but eventually you will reach a point where there are no contests deadlines to spur you along and you have to finish screenplays on your own. This is not easy, but a skill you need to develop. You don’t want to be the writer who never gets anything finished... or gets an assignment and waits until the last minute and turns in a crappy draft. And because we are all human and those contest deadlines *are* great motivators, how about this: give yourself three weeks to rewrite your script before the deadline... which makes your first draft deadline three weeks *before* the Nicholl deadline. Then hold to that. Use the deadline to get you off your butt, and also leave enough time to polish your script before you turn it in.

This works on assignments, too. Mentioned this in a tip rewrite recently - I always give myself at least 2 days to do a quick rewrite before handing in an assignment... even if my deadline only gives me 2 weeks to write the script. On this recent assignment, the character of the detective changed completely in that little rewrite. The Detective character had been a last minute addition to the treatment before I turned it in: I had several people die, and policemen at each crime scene, and realized I could consolidate all of those policemen into one Detective so that instead of having a bunch of one day SAG cops, it could be one actor for all of those days... and we could find some recognizable character actor to play the role. So the Detective character got shoved into the story at the last minute, and when I went to script he was under developed. When I did a read-through on the script, his character didn’t pop. No character actor would want to play this role - it was boring. So I came up with a more interesting character for the detective and did a pass through the script changing and improving his dialogue, actions, etc - to reflect this new character. Another last minute pass turned a one line joke into something more subtle (and I think more funny) where the set up is 20 pages before the punchline. Now, this is *still* a first draft, and will go through many more rewrites, but I want to hand in something that makes me look good so that I don’t get fired...

I *have* turned in the rushed script before - and it was a big mistake. You always want the script to be *better* than they expect it to be. If your first draft reads like a first draft, there is no reason *not* to replace you later on with some other writer whose first drafts read like first drafts.


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It gets even worse if you are making the film yourself. The Los Angeles Times had an article a few years back that said 98% of indie films find no distributor at all - not even DVD. They just end up in people’s garages. And one of the reasons why these films are no good is that the screenplays have obvious story flaws that should have been fixed in rewrites... only I suspect there were no rewrites. They were impatient and shot the first draft.

Which is less expensive: rewriting the screenplay or refilming the movie?

A couple of years ago I was invited to a cast & crew screening of a movie made by a friend... and the story was impossible to follow and made no sense at all. It was supposed to be a thriller, but it was muddled and characters were constantly doing stupid things to help the plot and the dialogue was awful, and just about everything was inconsistent in the story - as if this were a collection of completely unrelated scenes about unrelated characters that were put in the same file folder and lead characters were all given the same name and romantic interests given the same name, etc. So the lead character who hated guns on page 6 had a gun collection on page 23 and then didn’t know how to shoot on page 42 and then kills seven bad guys with six bullets in the big end shoot out. Okay - now imagine that with *every* trait the lead has, and then imagine all of the other characters being just as inconsistent. And the story being just as thrown together, too. This film was impossible to watch - even though the acting was okay and the cinematography was really good. The story was a mess. I just looked it up on IMDB - still looking for a distrib. Lots of shoot outs, there’s nudity, there are some minor names in the cast... but the story is so screwed up no one is taking it.

Don’t film a first draft! Rewrite the hell out of it so that it’s amazing, *then* film it!

Sometimes the problem may be that the writer thinks the script is ready to film, when it is far from it. This is why it’s good to get a second opinion from some outside source before you film it. Get some coverage on it or get some people to read it. Then, when you get notes - listen!

There are several blog entries about people I know who ask my advice on their projects... then completely ignore it. I always wonder why they asked in the first place, and it pisses me off to read a script for a friend and give notes on *real problems* and then have my time wasted when they don’t fix the problems. Maybe there’s the feeling that indie films are art from the heart of the creator without any meddling from the outside world - but a major story problem is a major story problem - fix it! And, all of these films that friends ask me for advice on are genre films (thrillers, action, horror) and not some artistic self expression piece that will play at art houses. If you want to see messed up low end horror films, check out Brain Damage.... then realize that these are the films that were in that 2% that were good enough to get distribution!


There’s a great scene in GET SHORTY (screenplay by Scott Frank, based on a novel by Elmore Leonard) where Delroy Lindo explains screenwriting to John Travolta...

Chili flips through the script a moment . . .

You know how to write one of these?

There's nothin' to know. You have an idea, you write down what you wanna say. Then you get somebody to add in the commas and shit where they belong, if you aren't positive yourself. Maybe fix up the spelling where you have some tricky words . . . although I've seen scripts where I know words weren't spelled right and there was hardly any commas in it at all. So I don't think it's too important. Anyway, you come to the last page you write in 'Fade out' and that's the end, you're done.

That's all there is to it, huh?

That's all.

And some folks think it’s just that easy... but the “tricky words and commas” is really the hard part. Once you’ve got the basics of the story, the way it is told and the details are what make that story live or die... and the first draft is a first draft. Filled with little problems you may not have noticed while writing it. You need to go back and fix it... Writing is rewriting.

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The first draft of your script is raw materials that must be refined into something valuable. You want to catch and correct the problems *before* someone else sees them. You don’t want them to judge your script on that raw first draft, because everything can change in the next draft or the draft after that - even in a two day quick read-through and rewrite your script can change. They might reject your script based on the first draft, not knowing that by the third draft all of the obvious problems will be gone and the script will be amazing...

The UFC fight at Bamboo Killer Emily & Mitch’s party was #114, and somewhere in one of the undercards leading up to the main event, favored-to-win Todd Duffee fought pudgy Mike Russow. When they stepped into the ring, we all thought it was a waste of time - Russow was downright fat and Duffee was rock hard. For the first two rounds Duffee pummeled Russow - just kept hitting the fat guy in the face and body *hard*. This fight was over. You wanted the ref to move in and stop it before Russow really got hurt. But somewhere in round two I noticed that Russow had taken a bunch of direct hits to the face... and was still standing. Russow wasn’t doing much hitting back, he was just getting hit - and it didn’t seem to be slowing him down. Everyone was sure that Duffee was the easy winner - he was landing punch after punch. But in round three, the fat Russow SLAMMED Duffee in the face and knocked him out.

Your script may win by a knock out, but not if you get impatient and hand in that first round first draft that’s fat and slow and looks like a complete loser. Be patient. Take the time to rewrite your screenplay before you give it to someone else to read. Make sure it is the very best you can make it before you send it out into the world. And whatever you do - make sure it is *great* before you film it. Once it is on film, it is too late to do anything about it.

Don't discharge the patient before they are ready to leave the hospital.

- Bill

WARNING: UK's M4M channel: 8/11 - 14:50 - Black Thunder - When the world's most powerful stealth jet fighter falls into enemy hands, only one man can get it back.


TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: 3 Acts = Conflict - It's all about conflict!
Dinner: Togos Hummus sandwich.
Bicycle: Medium.
Pages: Had planned to do all kinds of work last week... and only did a little bit.
Movies: THE OTHER GUYS - This is the movie PINEAPPLE EXPRESS should have been. A cop comedy that has a basic cop structure to hold all of the gags together. The Tuna vs. Lion speech is worth the ticket price, and even though the first half is funnier than the last half, it has great running gags and call backs that keep it going. The story is wild Will Ferrell comedy, but is grounded with heart... you care about these two losers. Michael Keaton is great as the Chief who is the *opposite* of all of those action flick yelling Chiefs: he has a part time job at Bed Bath & Beyond to help pay the bills. Eva Mendez is hot - and that's part of the joke. Sam Jackson and The Rock had me laughing non-stop in their scenes. This probably isn't one of those films we'll be talking about ten years from now, but you can laugh at it now. Stay for the lesson in white collar crime in the closing credits.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lancelot Link: Spring Surprise

Lancelot Link Monday! Spring is here! You know what that means? No... not the flowers and stuff, the big summer blockbuster are about to be released! Because summer comes earlier every year when it comes to movies. Oddly, summer used to be the dead season in movies and holidays where when all the huge blockbusters came out. Then... air conditioning in cinemas changed all of that. While you're thinking about that, here are 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 a dozen links plus this week's car chase...

1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Insurgent....................... $54,025,000
2 Cinderella...................... $34,492,000
3 Run All Night.................... $5,115,000
4 Gunman........................... $5,009,000
5 Kingsmen......................... $4,600,000
6 Do You Believe................... $4,000,000
7 Second Best...................... $3,450,000
8 Focus............................ $3,300,000
9 Chappie.......................... $2,650,000
10 Sponge Bob 2..................... $2,350,000

So far this year we are 4.3% ahead of last year's box office and 15.1% ahead of 2013 box office. People are going to the movioes!

2) New MISSION IMPOSSIBLE *full* trailer.

3) 13 Breakout Movies From SXSW Fest.

4) The Remake Of The Remake Of The Remake Of SCARFACE Hires A Writer.

5) Hope You Didn't Buy Advance Tickets To THE MOON AND THE SUN...

6) I Now Pronounce You Hollywood & China. You May Kiss Each Other.

7) TRANSPORTER reboot is Statham Free... But Is That A Good Thing?

8) Un Film By Credit.

9) IMMITATION GAME writer on writing characters who are smarter than you are.

10) Go Into The Story's 12 Part Writer's Round Table.

11) 13 Keys To A Scary Horror Movie.

12) The Beginning Is The End: First And Last Frames Of Movies.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:





Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Just Do It... NOW!

From 2011... don't ask about the film project I talk about.

Don't wait for someone else to give you permission.

That's a trap.

You either want to so something, or you do not want to do something.

If you want to do something, you will find any way to do it – you will be relentless in finding ways to do it.

If you do not want to do something, you will find ways not to do it – and be just as relentless in finding ways to avoid doing it.

I used to work with a guy named Owen who did not want to work – and would do twice as much work to *avoid* working as he would have had to do if he'd just done the job. He would take pallets at the warehouse and reorganize them so that it looked like he'd done the assigned work. If he'd just done the work assigned to him, he'd probably have worked *less* - but if you don't want to do something you will find a million excuses and side tasks to do instead of what you are supposed to be doing.

I know this first hand because there are times when I need to write an article, but instead I work on a script... and times I need to work on a script, but instead I write an article. You have to want to do something, or you will never get it done.

Don't create your own obstacles – if you want ti do something, just do it.

There's a guy on a message board who hasn't written his first screenplay yet, because he's waiting until he has the right connections to sell it. That really doesn't make much sense. Let's say he makes some great connections and they ask to read his script – do you really think they will wait for him to write it and rewrite it and get it good enough for that big connection to read?

Don't wait for things that you can't control – do the things you can control.

I'm on vacation in my hometown, and Sunday night I hung out with a couple of guys I used to make short films with way back when we were in community college. All of us are blue collar guys - no money, but we had a love for film. We spent every spare cent that didn't go to rent and food on films – and sometimes the food money got spent. Lots of the night's conversation was about the old days...

When I was in community college (Diablo Valley College – home of the sex for grades scandal!) I had a full schedule of classes, and two part time jobs that added up to over 40 hours. I have lived on my own since turning 18, and before that I was responsible for paying bills at home... and had a full time job at a movie theater while I was in High School. Before that, I had a variety of jobs going all the way back to moving a half dozen lawns in my neighborhood. My buddies had similar lives – they had jobs and took a full load of classes, and we decided to sleep when we died. Um, wish I'd banked some sleep when I was a kid!

So, Sunday night we talked about how we could not afford film, so we would make flip book animation with note pads. Van would storyboard scenes for films he planned to shoot. John got into acting and stage direction because you didn't have to buy film (he was also the DP for a lot of film students – so that he could make films that someone else paid for).

My first little film starred my roommate (another guy who worked at KMart) and was made in an hour or two before we went to work... while we were doing laundry at the laundromat. Between my jobs and my classes and seeing movies, *making* movies was hard to find time for. So I planned ahead. I had my story boarded and a shot list and all of the props were in an old paint bucket by the front door of the apartment. When both of us were free during the same time period – doing laundry - all of the stuff was ready. We went to the Laundramat, and while Dave and I did our actual laundry, I also shot a short film called LAUNDRA-MATT about a guy named Matt doing his laundry. I mean, what else do you do while waiting for your clothes to dry? Oh, yeah – homework. Well, this was *my* homework, sort of.

I ticked off the shots on the shot list, I had the boards so that I knew the angles, and made a 3.5 minute short film in about an hour - we both got our laundry done and got to work on time. Now here's the kicker: this was film and I had no editing equipment at the time, so it had to be shot *in order* in the camera and every single take had to work. A mistake would ruin the whole film. Not only were there no mistakes, at the end my crazy roommate did a stunt that was *suggested* in the script - but he went ahead and did it! He crawled into the big dryer, put in some quarters, and hit the start button... and did a revolution or two! Guy could have been killed. Instead - absolutely the most amazing ending ever!

And my two pals had similar stories of their first films - one worked a construction crew and the other installed carpet full time. They had also carefully planned their films so that when they had the time, none of it went to waste. We all found the time to make our films, instead of waiting for the perfect conditions or waiting for someone to give us permission. We just did it. Van mad a documentary that won some festivals and *sold* to the government for about a dollar fifty. He may have bought the pitcher that week.

You don't need to wait for Hollywood to hire you, you can just do it yourself. Write your scripts, make your films, write your novel, do whatever the heck you want to do (within the law... okay, if you shoot a film without a permit don't tell me). Don't wait for permission. Make a plan on how to get it done, and then just do it.


So, the reason for our meeting was our movie. Because I'm not as smart as I look, after everybody I know made their own film... I decided it was time for me to make my own. What was I waiting for? Permission? DON'T WAIT FOR PERMISSION! (this means me!) So a couple of years ago I decided to make my own movie with my two oldest friends and started writing a script and then got sidetracked by a paid gig – I think the 80s horror movie remake – and kept putting off writing the script because it seemed like a crazy longshot to me...

And it probably *is* a crazy longshot – but what the heck?

Part of the reason for making the film is so that I have some real-world experience making a no-budget film so that I can write some new articles to go with the thirteen articles I wrote for the Independent Film Channel Magazine many years ago on low budget screenwriting... and end up with a book on how to write and make your own film. That's why I'm not taking this project to some producer or distrib connection for funding – the person who buys the book won't have that ability. But we did talk about crowd-funding, since everyone I know is using that method to fund their little films. Originally I was going to credit card the film, but that seems so 90s now (wait a minute – HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE was made in the *80s*!), so we'll probably put together some Kickstarter page to fund the film. We aren't waiting for someone's permission – we're just making the movie.

My dad asked me about distribution, and that's a very good question. A couple of years ago I “test pitched” my story idea to low end distribs to see if they might be interested. Because this is *not* a horror movie, I was worried that it might not have a market. But the distribs all seemed very interested in the story and genre and a couple offered to help me find funding for it...only problem with that is that they would then own the film and if it was a hit *they* would make all of the money. Um, even though this is to get experience for a book and work with my buddies, I'd still like to make some money – since I'll be calling in favors and working my butt off for free to make it. But here's the thing – if every distrib says no to the finished film, it's not over! We can self distrib and do streaming online and all kinds of other ways to get the film to the audience. I'll just do that.

Part of our meeting was on making a poster and a trailer and looking at casting possibilities. Our biggest issue right now is that John is working a construction job that will take him to the end of the year, so we've postponed production until early next year. Instead of *waiting* for John to be finished with his job, we're going to do all of our prep work and pre-production and build props and maybe set elements. By the time John is available we will have everything planned out and be ready to make the film. We aren't going to let this stop us – or even slow us down. When there is some hurdle, you jump over it. When one element isn't ready, you work on another element. You don't wait for someone to give you permission and you don't allow small problems to be big problems. Life is full of hurdles – you have to jump over them.

As a screenriter who always had a full time job (until breaking in) I realized that if you only write one page a day, that is 3 feature length screenplays by the end of the year. So I wrote 3 scripts a year while working full time and having a life. A page a day? Possible – even if you are busy. If you end up too busy to write your page today, *think* about the next two pages and have them planned out in your mind so that you can write two pages the next day.

If you don't have time to do the whole thing, do it a piece at a time.

Will you be faced with a million problems and a thousand hurdles and all kinds of great reasons *not* to do something? Of course! But if you want to do it, you will find the way to get it done. If you aren't motivated to get it done, you need to spend some time on introspection to figure out why – maybe you really don't want to write scripts or make movies. Maybe what you want to do is... sing!

- Bill

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lancelot Link: Fairy Tales About Shoes

Lancelot Link Monday! WIZARD OF OZ is about two women fighting over a pair of shoes. CINDERELLA is about a woman who falls in love with a man who brings her a shoe. They probably get married and she ends up The Old Woman Who Lives In A Shoe. Why are these stories always about shoes? Is that the key to cracking this market? Shoes? While you're thinking about that, here are 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 a dozen links plus this week's car chase...

1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Cinderella...................... $70,053,000
2 Run All Night................... $11,015,000
3 Kingsman......................... $6,200,000
4 Focus............................ $5,805,000
5 Chappie.......................... $5,800,000
6 Second Best...................... $5,700,000
7 Spongeworthy..................... $4,100,000
8 McFarland........................ $3,692,000
9 Am Sniper........................ $2,930,000
10 DUFF............................. $2,900,000

Box Office is *up* 4.4% over last year and 15.0% over 2013. Yeah, Hollywood is doomed and out of touch.

2) George RR Martin (GAME OF THRONES) On Storytelling (video)

3) Scott Frank lands a gig.

4) Francis Ford Coppola Discusses His Career With Robert Rodriguez.

5) Will It Still Be A Sailboat?

6) IT FOLLOWS director David Robert Mitchell interview.

7) TRAVIS McGEE casting.

8) Is Netflix The New Miramax?

9) STAR WARS gets a bluray release where Han Solo shoots first, and New Films get Titles!

10) THE CROW is cast... and it's this dude from an arthouse film I saw at Raindance!

11) No Budget High Concept Sci Fi.

12) What Are You Doing This Weekend? Why Not Make A Movie?

And the Cinderella Story Of The Week:



TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: The Mind Of The Villain - How To Think Like A Badguy.
Dinner: Pizza.
Pages: Poking around on a script after finishing the book.
Bicycle: Short ride to NoHo Coldwater Starbucks.

Movie: That Farmer's Almanac Movie at the dollar theater.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Free Book! Vintage Screenwriting Book #1

I have a new book, and it's almost 100 years old.

Vintage Screenwriting Series #1: HOW TO WRITE PHOTOPLAYS by Anita Loos (#2 screenwriter in Hollywood when this was first published... in 1920!) is FREE until 3/18 (Wednesday).

There have been How To Screenwriting books as long as there have been movies. The earliest one I have is from 1911... and there were books before that. In 1913 there were at least 4 books on writing screenplays published! Movies didn't suddenly get worse: they got *better*. So I thought it would be fun to republish some of these old books as ebooks along with new material on the history of Hollywood and screenwriting at that time and a bio of the writer, plus a look at how these 1920 lessons apply to screenwriting today. When this book was published, half of all movies in Hollywood were written by women, so we look at women in Hollywood at the time... and find out *why* there were so many women in the film business back then.

You get the full text of the 1920 book, a complete screenplay by Miss Loos (one of her hits), and then a bunch of new articles (over a third of the book).

And it's free until 3/18. A thank you to those who have bought my books in the past. If you haven't bought one of my books yet, it's still free (but, come on! This of this as a Buy One, Get One Free. If you've already bought some of my books, just grab this one. If you haven't, grab this one for free and buy one of the others.)

This is the first in a new series, and I hope to republish 2 or 3 of these vintage screenwriting books (with new articles) every year. I have about two dozen on my hard drive right now, and I'm searching for more. My (longterm) project is to take my couple dozen vintage books and clean up the "scannos" like "IT'S SEVEB O'CLOCS. YOD KOSTS'T WASTE THE GOLDEN H0TO3. •" and "eaoBonju'3 Bsdbooh. runt Ih). Close To or Ceobsiaha" and "DCHE 18 HOLES THIS KOEBIBO, 1ET" (all on the same page of HOW TO WRITE PHOTOPLAYS) and clean up anything else, then add a handful of historical articles (about half the length of the original book) to each and republish them as ebooks for free... though Amazon only allows five days of free per quarter, but I'll make sure everyone knows when those five days are so they don't have to pay.

I was looking for a "give away book" to thank everyone who bought my other books, but couldn't find time to write one. Then realized these vintage books would be a good fit for that. The first one has been fun to do research on. Eventually I will have enough so that when one five day free runs out another will begin. There will *always* be a free book. Of course, that's a lot of work from now!

And, like all of my other ebooks, NO KINDLE REQUIRED! Get the *free* app (any device, except your Mr. Coffee) on the order page on Amazon!

Click the book cover for more info!

Also... when I post a picture of one of my books next to some other book on FB, the other books all have hundreds of reviews... and mine have fewer than fifty! As Popeye would say: It’s embarrrasking! And someone said the other day that books with more than fifty (and then more than 100 reviews) get bumped onto the You May Like section, which helps keep the book in front of people.

Telling people about the books on social media helps inform people that the books exist without me doing my daily sledge hammer posts about where the books are in the rankings. This is about *all* of the books, so if the STORY Blue Book is your favorite... tell people!

Thank you to all who help me!

USA People, Click Here!

UK People, Click Here!

Germany People, Click Here!

Canadian People, Click Here!

French People, Click Here!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

No Pants Friday On The NYC Subway

So, you are riding the subway to work one day, when people begin taking off their pants and underwear... *hundreds* of people!

- Bill

Monday, March 09, 2015

Lancelot Link: Rise Of The Monkey Machines

Lancelot Link Monday! Drones and computers are taking over! This week we have links to drone cinematography and computer screenwriting... which may leave you living in your car! While you're thinking about that, here are 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 a dozen links plus this week's car chase...

1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Chappie......................... $13,300,000
2 Focus........................... $10,020,000
3 Second Best...................... $8,600,000
4 Kingsmen......................... $8,300,000
5 Spongebob........................ $7,000,000
6 Fifty Shades..................... $5,604,000
7 McFarland........................ $5,318,000
8 Lazarus.......................... $5,100,000
9 DUFF............................. $4,850,000
10 Finished Business................ $4,800,000

2) FAULTS: Script Makes The Black List, Snatched Up By Producers Of THE GUEST, Interview With Writer.

3) If You Are Lucky Enough To Get $200k To Make A Movie, How To Spend It.

4) Chinese Box Office Surpasses USA Box Office.

5) Notes From Comedy Central.

6) Trailer For New Wim Wenders Film Plus Interview.



9) Wait... Was That...? Uncredited Film Roles.

10) Drones: Not Just For Science Fiction Stories!

11) Rules Of The Road (runner cartoons)

12) The Realities Of Being A Screenwriter... You may be sleeping in your car.

13) After Being Replaced By A Computer!

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

The robot that took your job wants everything else...





Thursday, March 05, 2015

Truffaut - The Brats

Because I'm behind in my work, Thriller Thursday will be back next week!

Here's a short film from Truffaut about childhood and bicycles...

- Bill

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Carbon Arc Projectors

My first job (other than moving lawns and delivering papers and helping my dad) was at the Century Movie Theater in Pleasant Hill... where I was a doorman, an usher, and acting manager (which required me to run the projectors sometimes).

Back in those days they didn't have digital projectors, they didn't even have those platters that held a whole film... Films were in reels that were 20 minutes or less and had to be changed over from one projector to another seemlessly - you've seen how that works in FIGHT CLUB.

But what FIGHT CLUB didn't have the balls to show you - or the research to mention - is that projectors did not have *bulbs* back then... they used *fire*. There were not light bulbs bright enough to project a movie on a screen that far away, so the only other option is FIRE. A carbon arc. So I had to learn how to run the projectors and replace the carbons (probably once a night for each projector) in case the projectionist got sick or drunk or just didn't show for some reason. The show must go on - and that meant I had to run the projectors. And I did this *many many many* times.

A couple of years later I had a job as manager/projectionist at a little indie cinema and ran the projectors 6 nights a week. Those projectors also used fire and had a changeover about every 17 minutes. Here's how that works...

- Bill

Monday, March 02, 2015

Lancelot Link: No Awards!

Lancelot Link Monday! Awards season is finally over! The Best Actors are back to being actors, the Best Directors and back to directing... anbd hopefully you have returned to writing. Unless you are still caught up in the White/Gold or Blue/Black debate. Or trying to capture llamas. Or wearing Lupita Nyong'o's Oscar gown. Did that gown have white pearls or black pearls? While you're thinking about that, here are 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 a dozen links plus this week's car chase...

1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Focus........................... $19,100,000
2 Kingsman........................ $11,750,000
3 Spongebob Worthy................ $11,200,000
4 Fifty Shades.................... $10,927,000
5 Lazarus......................... $10,600,000
6 McFarland........................ $7,797,000
7 Am Sniper........................ $7,700,000
8 DUFF............................. $7,150,000
9 Still Alice...................... $2,695,000
10 Hot Tub 2.................... $2,400,000

2) General Meetings Explained.

3) How Much Does An Oscar Mean At Box Office?

4) BREWSTER MILLIONS Again! But this time with Robert Townsend directing.

5) Alfred Bester's STARS MY DESTINATION to finally hit the screen? Hey, there's an Oliver Stone script for DEMOLISHED MAN out there, too!


7) Will new ALIEN movie ignore 3 and 4?

8) Return Of The Power Rangers?

9) THE CROWDED ROOM still has DiCaprio, seems to be loosing Cameron.

10) SPECTRE News.

11) ROCKY sequel CREED turns Stallone into Burgess Meredith.

12) A nice collection of interviews with Writer/Directors.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:





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