Thursday, December 22, 2016

Post Zombie Apocalypse Holiday Tips!

Because you don't want the Zombie Apocalypse to ruin your holiday plans...

- Bill

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

1947 Roswell Santa Autopsy

Something that has been getting *zero* press from the WikiLeaks thing is this video uncovered of the 1947 Sleigh Crash and subsequent Autopsy of Santa at Roswell, NM. The brave people at Parabnormal have posted this *actual Government footage* on YouTube.

Like this? There's more! ParabNormal TV

Happy Holidays!

- Bill

Monday, December 12, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: Free Screenplays Edition

Lancelot Link Monday! It's that time of year again! FREE LEGAL SCREENPLAY PDFs - for your consideration! Studios and producers put up links to the screenplays they think are their very best so that guild members can vote for them at Oscar time. But those links are easy for anyone to find, and that means *we* get to read some of the best screenplays of the year without fear of Copyright Police kicking down our doors! This week, we have all of the links I have found so far. Some of the studios haven't yet uploaded all of their screenplays - so check back to their For Your Consideration page every so often to see if that mess that is JASON BOURNE finally has a script uploaded. Why they think it's for ythe consideration of anyone other than paper recyclers is amazing to me... but when it pops up I *am* going to download it! 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 Moana .......................... $18,842,000
2 Christmas Party ................ $17,500,000
3 Fantastic Beasts ............... $10,785,000
4 Arrival ......................... $5,600,000
5 Strange ......................... $4,631,000
6 Allied .......................... $4,000,000
7 Nocturnal ....................... $3,193,685
8 Manchester ...................... $3,155,330
9 Trolls .......................... $3,110,000
10 Hacksaw ......................... $2,300,000

2) Box Office Fall Slup Report From BO MOJO. But I predict that STAR WARS movie will end the year on a high note.







9) WARNER BROTHERS Screenplays: SULLY, and more!


11) WALT DISNEY STUDIOS Screenplays: ZOOTOPIA, and many more!


And the Car Chase Of The Week:



Buy The DVDs




Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Jane Austen's FIGHT CLUB

Because wearing a corset is worse than working in a cubicle...

I love the shot where the blood sprays from the gal's mouth in slow-mo.

And because everyone has this clip on their blog today, my bonus clip...

Sam Peckinpah's SALAD DAYS...

- Bill

Monday, December 05, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: Interview Edition

Lancelot Link Monday! As Oscar Season approaches, the two great side effects of all of these Oscar campaigns for films like ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE are free legal screenplays and lots and lots of interviews with sreenwriters. I mean, as many as *5* interviews! Wow! 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 Moana.. ........................ $28,373,000
2 Fan Beasts...................... $18,545,000
3 Arrival.......................... $7,300,000
4 Allied........................... $7,050,000
5 Strange.......................... $6,486,000
6 Trolls........................... $4,600,000
7 Hacksaw.......................... $3,400,000
8 BS2 ............................. $3,288,699
9 Incarnate........................ $2,659,000
10 Almost........................... $2,500,350

This year's box office continues to break records, 4.0% over last year, 8.4% over 2014, 3.4% over 2013, 3.1% over 2012, and 9.5% over 2011. And that new STAR WARS movie hasn't even opened yet (though many screenings are already sold out!).

2) Universal & WB Closing Theatrical Windows?

3) 10 Screenwriters To Watch (from Variety, not Homeland Security).

4) New York Critics Circle Winners.

5) Trailer For The New Remake Of THE MUMMY (1932).

6) STAR TREK: THE VOYAGE HOME writer on Eddie Murphy's role...

7) SICARIO Screenwriter On Why Emily Blunt's Character Is NOT In The Sequel.

8) DEADPOOL's Screenwriters On The Biz.

9) DIRTY PRETTY THINGS Screenwriter Steven Knight On Writing ALLIED.

10) AMERICAN PASTORAL writer John Romano on his writing process.

11) MAD SHELIA: VIRGIN ROAD? Yes, It's A Real Movie... and here's the trailer!


And the Car Chase Of The Week:



Buy The DVDs




Friday, December 02, 2016

Fridays With Hitchcock: Interview With Hitch

Most of you are shopping for bargains and counting the number of belt notches you've expanded after Thanksgiving dinner, so for the rest of you here's a one hour interview with Hitchcock.

- Bill

Of course, I have my own books focusing on Hitchcock...

- Bill



Alfred Hitchcock, who directed 52 movies, was known as the “Master Of Suspense”; but what exactly is suspense and how can *we* master it? How does suspense work? How can *we* create “Hitchcockian” suspense scenes in our screenplays, novels, stories and films?

This book uses seventeen of Hitchcock’s films to show the difference between suspense and surprise, how to use “focus objects” to create suspense, the 20 iconic suspense scenes and situations, how plot twists work, using secrets for suspense, how to use Dread (the cousin of suspense) in horror stories, and dozens of other amazing storytelling lessons. From classics like “Strangers On A Train” and “The Birds” and “Vertigo” and “To Catch A Thief” to older films from the British period like “The 39 Steps” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much” to his hits from the silent era like “The Lodger” (about Jack The Ripper), we’ll look at all of the techniques to create suspense!


Only 125,000 words!

Price: $5.99

Click here for more info!

(links actually work now)

UK Folks Click Here.

German Folks Click Here.

French Folks Click Here.

Espania Folks Click Here.

Canadian Folks Click Here.



USA Readers click here for more info!


We all know that Alfred Hitchcock was the Master Of Suspense, but did you know he was the most *experimental* filmmaker in history?

Contained Thrillers like “Buried”? Serial Protagonists like “Place Beyond The Pines”? Multiple Connecting Stories like “Pulp Fiction”? Same Story Multiple Times like “Run, Lola, Run”? This book focuses on 18 of Hitchcock’s 52 films with wild cinema and story experiments which paved the way for modern films. Almost one hundred different experiments that you may think are recent cinema or story inventions... but some date back to Hitchcock’s *silent* films! We’ll examine these experiments and how they work. Great for film makers, screenwriters, film fans, producers and directors.

Films Examined: “Rear Window”, “Psycho”, “Family Plot”, “Topaz”, “Rope”, “The Wrong Man”, “Easy Virtue”, “Lifeboat”, “Bon Voyage”, “Aventure Malgache”, “Elstree Calling”, “Dial M for Murder”, “Stage Fright”, “Champagne”, “Spellbound”, “I Confess”, and “The Trouble with Harry”, with glances at “Vertigo” and several others.

Professional screenwriter William C. Martell takes you into the world of The Master Of Suspense and shows you the daring experiments that changed cinema. Over 77,000 words.

UK Folks Click Here.

German Folks Click Here.

French Folks Click Here.

Espania Folks Click Here.

Canadian Folks Click Here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

RIP: Dan Arnold - Mentor

From 4 years ago... but a good pre-Thanksgiving post, even if it is a bit sad. I'm thankful for having had teachers like Dan Arnold and Bob Olsen, and maybe you've had teachers who changed your life. Be thankful for them every day.

If you have ever taken one of my idea classes or bought the Ideas Blue Book you have heard me talk about the Magnification Method... which I learned from my teacher Dan Arnold in High School drama class.

Dan’s class was a refuge for the freaks and geeks who were shunned by all of the cool kids... so it was my home while I was in High School. If you couldn’t act, Dan put you to work building sets while he taught you the fundamentals. Eventually, everyone got up on stage - even if it was just to play some small role. We became a family - with everyone rooting for a performer when they landed their first role. There were no filmmaking classes in my highschool, a terrible creative writing class; so this was the closest I could get to doing what I loved. Dan was the father to all of us - or, maybe the favorite uncle. He encouraged us, teased us, gave us confidence - and pushed us when we needed a good push.

Dan passed away Thursday from a heart attack. I don’t know how old he was, but I am not a young man and he wasn’t one of those young teachers... I figure he was around 80. He lived a full life - and was one of those people who lived life to the fullest. He leaves behind his wife, Silva. He lives on in his students.

Dan had some unusual ideas about High School Drama - he *never* did a play that might be done on some local community theater stage. So we never did a musical. Never. Dan liked to pick edgy and interesting material - plays that were more likely to be banned in high school than performed on some high school stage. Yeah, we did a couple of Neil Simon comedies... but instead of playing a romantic lead, I was more likely to play a killer or a victim or a guy who discovers that his fiancé may be a lesbian, or one of those malcontents from an Albee play. Because there were more girls than boys in the class, one of Dan’s tricks was to do some dark edgy mostly male play... with the roles reversed. Robert Marasco’s thriller about violence in an all-boy’s Catholic school CHILD’S PLAY ended up being in an all-girl’s school - and the violence was even more shocking!

Before getting my first role, I built sets and usually ran the prop department for shows. Once I did some special effects on Gore Vidal’s cutting social satire VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET. These were great confidence building jobs for a geeky kid - we built flats from scratch and had to treat it as if we were doing a Broadway show. Things had to be done *right* and Dan would show us how to do something and then expect us to actually do it - and so we did. You lashed flats together as if a building inspector might be testing them later that day. If you screwed up, you kept at it until you learned to do it right. The cool thing with props is - there was no real budget, so you have to beg, borrow, steal. I had to make advertising deals with a local furniture shop so that we could get some banged up floor models to borrow for the show. Dan kind of forced us to do things that were frightening and required social skills we probably didn’t have - and this build our confidence so that we could do things we never thought possible. If I needed a sofa for a show and the furniture dealer didn’t want to give me one, I had to find some way to get him to change his mind. Trust me when I say the ad in the program of a high school play that no one was ever going to see isn’t much of an incentive. Dan pushed us to do those things that scared us, onstage and off. I think the first time I landed a role onstage... I still had to do props!

I could tell all kinds of stories about Dan and the drama department, but instead I have a better idea... I use his Magnification Method frequently - probably even used it today when I wrote a scene. So that Dan will live on, here’s how that method works:

Sometimes you have to play a character who is absolutely nothing like you - how do you *think* like them? How do you understand their motivations? How do you becomes them on stage so that you give a believable performance? I played killers a couple of times, and at that point in my life had not killed anyone... actually, at this point in ,my life I have never killed anyone, and I don’t think it is likely that I ever will. I’m pretty much a pacifist who would rather reason with people that get into any sort of fight. So, how do *I* play a convincing killer?

Have you ever gone to bed in the summer, turned off the lights... and had a mosquito buzzing around your face? They always seem to target your ears. You swipe at them in the dark, but hit nothing... so you get up and turn on the lights. And can not find the mosquito *anywhere*. So you flip off the lights and slip back into bed and... buzzz, buzzz, buzzz. You flip on the lights again and give a *thorough* search of your bedroom - can’t find the mosquito anywhere. Turn the lights off, climb into bed... buzzz, buzzz, buzzz! You become more and more frustrated and angry! At first your plan may have been to open your bedroom window and shoo the mosquito outside where it belongs... but after a while you just want to find it and kill it, and if this keeps on going - you want to *murder* that mosquito. This has happened to you, right? Maybe not a mosquito, maybe it was a fly. Once I had a cricket hidden somewhere in my apartment that would make a ton of noise as soon as I turned off the light. I tore my apartment apart one night trying to find it - and couldn’t. That cricket eventually stopped chirping - natural causes - but if I had found it I would have SMASHED it. Okay, if you can understand killing a mosquito, you can *magnify* those emotions and understand killing a person. Someone whose “buzzing” is driving you up the wall.

This is a technique that can help you get into the skin of someone completely unlike you. There is some similar small experience that you have had that can be magnified into that larger than life character - and you can know how they feel. Playing a character whose wife just died? Have you ever lost a pet? In one of the Blue Books, maybe Protagonist, I use Magnification to show how to identify with someone who has been falsely accused of murder. Since I write about many people unlike myself (I sit on my ass and type all day), I am constantly using the Magnification Method that Dan taught me many years ago to figure out how this character would think or react. You may never have had your best friend confide that he just offed his wife and made it look like an accident... but you’ve probably had a friend tell you some secret you wish they hadn’t, and then had to pretend like it didn’t effect the way you thought of them. Dan Arnold’s Magnification Method!

So, I hope that you will find some use for Dan’s Magnification Method, and keep part of him alive. He was (and is) a great teacher - and one of those people who made me who I am today. It’s sad that he has passed away, but I think he still lives on within all of us who found refuge in his class and learned how to be comfortable in our own skin... as well as the skin of the characters we played on stage.

Rest In Peace, Dan Arnold.

- Bill

Monday, November 21, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: Round Tables

Lancelot Link Monday! As we reach the end of the year, we get a lot of round table interviews from the trades focusing on what they think will be the Oscar nominated movies and artists... of course, they aren't always right and sometimes we just get some interesting discussions of film from a bunch of losers. Except they aren't really losers at all - sometimes their films are better than those which are nominated, because the Oscars are not much different than a beauty contest - the judges decide who is most beautiful and they work off their own criteria which may not match anyone else's ideas of beauty. So these interviews are often more informative than ones from the "winners". 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 Fantastic Beasts ............... $75,000,000
2 Strange......................... $17,676,000
3 Trolls.......................... $17,500,000
4 Arrival......................... $11,800,000
5 Almost Christmas................. $7,040,000
6 Hacksaw.......................... $6,750,000
7 Edge 17.......................... $4,825,000
8 Bleed ........................... $2,357,946
9 Accountant....................... $2,115,000
10 Shut In.......................... $1,600,000

2) Are Indie Films In Trouble?

3) People In Hollywood You Should Know!

4) Movie Producer Round Table Interview.

5) Film Composer Round Table Interview.

6) First Question To Ask Yourself When Writing A Novel...

7) Fall Film Fest Round Up - What Are The Oscar Contenders?

8) Michael Chapman On Restoring TAXI DRIVER.

9) Kenneth Lonergan - The Writer Behind MANCHESTER BY THE SEA and YOU CAN COUNT ON ME.

10) The Netflix/Amazon ATM For Actors.

11) Paul Schrader Talks Film.

12) Lew Archer Finds Lost Ross Macdonald Interview!

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

It's the word... it's also all over these french fries.


Buy The DVDs




Monday, November 14, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: PresiVeteran's Weekened

Lancelot Link Monday! We've had both Presidential Eleections and Veteran's Day in the same week! How patriotic can you get? Also, maybe due to one or the other, a record weekend at the box office! 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 Strange ........................ $43,032,000
2 Trolls.......................... $35,050,000
3 Arrival......................... $24,000,000
4 Almost Christmas................ $15,564,000
5 Hacksaw......................... $10,775,000
6 Accountant....................... $4,570,000
7 Shut In.......................... $3,700,000
8 Boo ............................. $3,550,000
9 Reacher.......................... $3,325,000
10 Inferno.......................... $3,250,000

2) Why SUICIDE SQUAD Died...

3) SHUT IN Writer Sets Up New Deal.

4) Shane Black On Writing PREDATOR.

5) BEN HUR Remake Is Major Flop!

6) Eric Heisserer On Writing Arrival.

7) 5 Reasons Why ARRIVAL Scored.


9) More Suspects On ORIENT EXPRESS.

10) Someone Who Has No Idea WESTWORLD Was A Movie First, And Written By The Same Guy As JURASSIC PARK...

11) The Greatest Living Film Editor... Anne V. Coates.

12) Every British Swear Word In Order Of Nastyness!

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

Presidential Car Chase???


Buy The DVDs




Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Compulsive Kindness

Now that the elections are over, From 2009...

When I was a little kid, my mother would always get compliments from other people on how well behaved my brother and sister and I were. When we were in public we never raised our voices, let alone ran around and roughhoused. We stood in a straight line. We didn’t touch things that were not ours. We might fight like cats and dogs at home, but in public we never pushed each other or hit each other or even raised our voices. My parents raised us well and lead by example. We did unto others as we would have them do unto us. None of this had anything to do with religion or threats of being whipped with a belt - it was just good behavior. When we were out in public, we had a code of conduct to follow.

Back then I believe most kids had a code of conduct to follow when they were out in public. I know our friends the Holloway kids did... though I don’t remember them standing in a straight line - that may have just been something my mom came up with. Though some kids were little hellions, most behaved when in public. That’s what was expected of kids at the time. We always said “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me” and “may I be excused” when we had finished dinner. We had to ask permission before doing anything unusual - and if all of this sounds like we were some sort of Stepford Kids, nothing could be farther from the truth. We built forts and dug fox holes to play army and often played in the forbidden creek behind the house if mom was busy doing something and we didn’t think we’d get caught. We were normal kids, who had some manners and did unto others.

The mind set of doing unto others and considering other people has stuck with me into adulthood. So has saying “please” and “thank you”. When I’m working in a coffee shop and they put my drink on the counter, I always say “thank you” even if I am across the room plugging in the laptop. It’s only polite. And this got me thinking about all of the things that I do that are traces of those childhood lessons in being polite.

1) I always say “please” and “thank you” and “you’re welcome”.

2) I always try to have a genuine smile for people. I hate those plastered on fake smiles, and I have been guilty of wearing them every now and then. When I smile at people, 99% of the time I mean it. I also try to be positive - and trust people and be nice to people as my default. I know people who start out suspicious and angry, I don't want to be one of those people.

3) I clean up after myself - I always try to leave things where and as I found them. If I am in the grocery store and decide not to buy something in my cart, I take it back to the shelf where I found it and even face it and make it look pretty - because that's probably what it looked like when I grabbed it. If it didn't look like that? I'm leaving the world in better shape than I found it. That's the goal whether it's a grocery store or an interaction with a stranger.

4) When I’m at a stop light, I always look *both* ways before turning right or pulling out. I also look both ways before crossing a street - or doing just about anything. Always good to know what's around you - instead of not caring.

5) Probably because I’m often on a bicycle, I stop my car behind the limit line, not in the middle of the cross walk. You know, that extra foot doesn’t get me there any faster. When I'm driving, I go with the flow of traffic - rather than race to the next stop light. Oddly, I get there the same time as the car that races through traffic.

6) When squeezing past someone or crossing in front of their sight line or any number of other things, I say either “excuse me” or “pardon me”. Since many people in Los Angeles speak Spanish as their primary language, I usually say “pardon me” because I think it is easier for everyone to understand. I don’t say “pardon me” for me, I say it to be polite to others.

7) I park within the lines, and as straight as possible. This means it may take me an extra minute to position my car - but that makes it easier for people parked on either side to open their doors and pull their cars out of their parking spot.

8) When I am paying at a cash register, I make sure my money is faced when I hand it to the clerk. When I worked retail I had to face my money at the end of the day, so I know what a pain it is to get a wad of messy money. It takes a second to put all of the bills face up and rightside up before handing it to the clerk.

9) I look before moving. If I’m going to take a step to the side or a step back, I look at the spot where I’m moving to *before* moving so that I don’t step on anyone. Saves me from having someone else's coffee on my clothes.

10) I am patient. Okay, not always - never at the post office - but I try to be patient most of the time. Whether I’m in a rush or not will not change how fast things happen or how fast other people move. Better to just take it easy.

11) By the time I get to the front of the line, I am completely ready to order. I know exactly what I want, and the answer to any of the normal question I might be asked (“Soup or salad?” “Do you want fries with that?” “Room for cream?”) I don’t want to waste the time of the people behind the counter or the people behind me because I am not prepared. By the time I stand in line, I know exactly what I want.

12) When I am walking on the sidewalk, I walk on the right side (or the left side) - never in the center. If the people in front of me are walking on the left side, I walk on the left side... so I'm not creating a maze for people walking towards me. Everyone moving in the same direction should be walking on the same side of the sidewalk. I want to make it easy for people behind me to pass me, and people coming in the opposite direction to get around me.

13) When I step off and escalator or through a door I continue to walk several steps to make sure I am not blocking people behind me. I usually keep walking and survey my surroundings to see where I want to go, rather than stop and look around. That way I’m not holding up traffic.

14) When I am next in a check out line, I have money in my hand as well as a selection of change, so that nobody has to wait for me to dig into my pocket to find that nickle. I’m *prepared* to pay for my purchases. Oh, and because I’m strange, I often add up my items in my mind and figure in tax and have a pretty good estimate of what the total is going to be. I’m usually within a dollar either way, and that helps me know what kind of bills I should have in my hand when I get to the checkstand.

15) If I’m talking on my cell phone in public, I try to use a quiet voice or go outside - I don’t want to bother other people with my conversation... and I kind of like privacy.

16) I try not to kick a man when he’s down. Once I’ve made my point, I back off. Though I’m sure I’ve kept hammering away at somebody a few times on message boards, I usually back off. Also, when someone has a bad day, I don’t make it worse... even if I hate them and my evil side would love to destroy them. It’s not fair.

17) I always go to the restroom or go outside to blow my nose. It’s gross to do it somewhere people are watching or listening... let alone trying to eat a meal.

18) I gauge traffic when I am merging, and pull out in an opening with enough distance between the car in front and in back of me... and at the same speed they are going. I don't stop to merge - that's silly. I don’t want to cause anyone to jamb on their brakes or have to swerve - I want it to be a smooth blend of my car into the stream of traffic.

19) If I am walking with friends on the sidewalk and others approach us in the opposite direction, I step behind or in front of my friend(s) so that we are walking single-file, allowing those walking towards us half of the sidewalk to pass us. This isn’t always easy - I have some friends who don’t get it, and if I fall back, so do they.

20) When I’m wrong, I apologize, and I mean it.

21) My cell phone ringer is either set low or on vibrate - the rest of the world doesn’t have to know my phone is ringing, and I really don’t care if you hear my cool ringtone or not (it’s the Peter Gunn theme - which is used in a bunch of commercials, and I often reach for my phone when it’s just a Chase Bank commercial on TV.)

22) I don’t block other people in an aisle or a store or a walkway or anyplace else - and I try not to stand in front of things other people might want access to.

23) If I make a mistake more than once, I try to make sure I don’t make it a third time. You are supposed to learn from your mistakes, not keep making them over and over again. Sometimes, if it’s some sort of bad habit, I find some way to punish myself if I keep doing it. I’m too old to have my mom spank me, so sometimes I have to spank myself. Not literally. But I do not reward myself for failure or making mistakes - I take away some pleasure until I stop screwing up.

24) I do not talk on my cell phone when I get to the front of a line - that’s when I need to be focusing on paying or ordering or talking with the person on the other side of the counter. It’s rude to the person behind the counter, it's rude to the person on the phone, and rude to the people standing behind me when I fumble through trying to hold two conversations at once.

25) In the grocery store, I push my cart down the right side of the aisle, and either stay on that right side when grabbing items off the shelves or move far enough away from my cart that I am not blocking both sides of the aisle - one side with my cart and one side with me shopping. I always leave half the aisle empty so that other people with carts can get past me.

26) If I am crossing a street as a pedestrian (or just walking across a parking lot entrance) I look at traffic in all directions - some times it’s easier to wait for one car to pass even though I have the right of way. If I have to wait a minute so that things run smoother for everyone else, no big deal. And if cars are waiting for me to cross the street, I walk *fast* - I don’t take my time when I’m also taking other people’s time. The same thing if I am in my car: sometimes things will move faster if I let the other car go first. My car has well over 100,000 miles on it, and I have honked the horn maybe a dozen times. When I am out in the world, it's all about what works best for the world, not what works best for me. Oh, and I always use my turn signal. Always. Even in parking lots.

27) I try to be aware of everyone around me and stay out of people’s way. If I’m blocking a bunch of people from getting where they want to go because I’ve got my head in the clouds thinking about something or talking on the phone or whatever - I’m holding up the whole danged world!

28) When I pick a table at a restaurant or a coffee shop, I try not to pick one that would be of better use to someone else - I’m one person, so I don’t take a large table that might be better used by a family or a group, I don’t take a table designed for handicapped access or might be more convenient for an elderly person. Sometimes these are the only tables available, so I have no choice - but I always think about others when I select a table.

29) If I’m walking in a shopping mall or hallway or sidewalk and need to stop, I move to the side (near the wall) and *then* stop, so that I am not suddenly stopping in front of someone and am out of the way *before* I slow down or stop.

30) I try to help people whenever possible - not because of some sort of karma thing where what goes around will come around back to me (that would be nice, but I’m not sure that’s really how the world works), but just because it usually takes the same amount of effort to help people as to put them down or even ignore them. There are all kinds of people who seem to go out of their way to be mean or dismissive to people - and that’s a lot of work just to be negative. Usually it takes the same amount of work to help people - and that makes the world a little better. I don’t go out of my way looking for people to help, I just help anyone whose path crosses mine. That may be holding the door open for someone with their arms full or answering a question on a message board I visit or helping somebody find something if I know where it is (a street, a business, or even an item in the store). Most of these are silly little things that are part of our day-to-day lives, but my “default setting” is helpful. One of those things I learned from my parents.

By the way, I think one of the reasons why my brother and sister and I were so well behaved in public is that my mom encouraged us to *think about playing* and imagine what we would do when we got home and were allowed to run around in the yard and have fun. Or think about our toys and hobbies (my brother and I would think about Hot Wheels, my sister would think about Barbies - Mattel Toys won either way). Or think about our favorite televison shows or the book we were reading. We would sort of play in our minds... and entertain ourselves. No need to be little hellions in the grocery store. Those good manners, and thinking of others as well as ourselves, have stuck with me from childhood into adulthood.

(This was going to be called "Compusive Manners" but that didn't have the same ring to it.)

Thank you for reading this.

- Bill

Monday, November 07, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: Interview Edition

Lancelot Link Monday! Tomorrow is election day in the USA, but today we are all Brothers And Sisters In Cinema - no matter who we vote for or against, we all love it when the house lights go down and the trailers start showing and that anticipation of a great movie experience washes over you. We hope this is going to be one of those movies that make our all time favorites list... movies we'll be talking about for decades to come. To celebrate our Brother And Sisterhood In Cinema, here are a dozen links - many to interviews this week - all celebrating movies. The first link after the Box Office scores is a special one! Ages ago I met Jen Wescott online at the Wordplay site, and a few years ago I met her in person (along with her producer sister Victoria) at Raindance Film Fest where they were debuting their first film TRAPPED IN A GARAGE BAND. I probably wrote about it in one of my books. Now they have a new movie... with some guy named John Cleese! Click on the link to find out more! Here's the thing - they made their own movie, got it into a major fest, and now they're off to the races! 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 Dr. Strange .................... $84,989,000
2 Trolls.......................... $45,600,000
3 Hacksaw......................... $14,750,000
4 Boo Madea........................ $7,800,000
5 Inferno.......................... $6,250,000
6 Accountant....................... $5,950,000
7 JR:NGB........................... $5,580,000
8 O:OoE............................ $3,983,000
9 Girl Train....................... $2,775,000
10 Peculiar......................... $2,100,000

Yes, this is still a record year for Box Office... and we have that STAR WARS movie coming out later!

2) People I Know In The News!

3) Jeff Nichols On LOVING.


5) David Koepp Talks About INFERNO And Writing Blockbusters.

6) Paul Schrader On Screenwriting... And Staying Relevant.

7) Podcast Interview With HACKSAW RIDGE Screenwriter Robert Schenkkan.

8) You Won't Have Tarantino To Kick Around Anymore!

9) Interview With The Writers Of BAD SANTA.

10) Awesome! Black Cinema Posters Through History!

11) They Did The Math - And Your Film Will Be A Flop!

12) Writing In Your Dead Time.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

Everything's a remake!


Buy The DVDs




Monday, October 31, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: Happy Halloween!

Lancelot Link Monday! Happy Halloween - this week's links offer some pretty scary stuff for screenwriters and film folks, from the Best Unproduced Horror Screenplays Of The Year to Tippi Hedren's new Memoir... and everything in between. What's in Between? 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 Boo! Madea ..................... $16,675,000
2 Inferno ........................ $15,000,000
3 Jack Reacher:NGB................. $9,550,000
4 Accountant....................... $8,475,000
5 Ouiji -1 ........................ $7,070,000
6 GOtT............................. $4,270,000
7 Peculiar Children................ $3,975,000
8 NOT Keeping Up................... $3,375,000
9 Storks .......................... $2,785,000
10 Mushkil .......................... $2,135,000

2) Happy Halloween! Here's *The Blood List* - Best Unproduced Horror Scripts!

3) Rise Of The Planet Of Great Female Horror Directors!

4) Shane Black's Writing Process.

5) The 1000 Monkeys Selected To Write SHERLOCK HOLMES 3 (Robert Downey, jr)

6) For Your Consideration: Legal PDF Downloads From Sony's Films.

7) Other For Your Consideration Scripts You May Have Missed.

8) How A New Writer Landed Idris Elba In The Starring Role!

9) Yesterday I Walked Past FFC's Restaurant In San Francisco - So Here's An Aricle On His DISTANT VISION.

10) I Joke About "Direct Plug" TV... NetFlix Is Actually Working On It!

11) Tippi Says Hitch Sexually Assaulted Her In New Book.

12) AFM Starts At The End Of The Week: How To Work It!

And the Car Chase Of The Week:


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Monday, October 17, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: October Country

Lancelot Link Monday! It's actually fall in Los Angeles. The temperatures have dropped from the 100s, to the 90s to 70s! Where did I put my swaetshirt? Today it's overcast and we've even had some rain... it must be October! The time when pumpkins show up in grocery stores and Halloween decorations spring up. My favorite time of the year - not summer hot nor winter cold. Just right. And Halloween is a great "holiday" - a time of imagination and make believe, when adults even put on silly costumes and play let's pretend. I often wonder why we "grow out of" pretending and playing... aren't these the things that keep us young? Keep us *interesting*? Keep us having fun? 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 The Accountant ................. $24,715,000
2 Kevin Hart...................... $11,984,245
3 Girl Train!..................... $11,974,915
4 M. Peregrine..................... $8,900,000
5 Deepwater........................ $6,350,000
6 Storks........................... $5,600,000
7 Magnificent...................... $5,200,000
8 Middle School.................... $4,250,000
9 Sully............................ $2,960,000
10 Birth............................ $2,715,000

Box office is still breaking records even before that STAR WARS movie that comes at the end of the year. We are 3.4% above this time last year, 9.5% over 2014, 4.7% over 2013, 5.1% over 2012 and 9.5% over 2011... and this week's top film is about an *accountant*!

2) Specialty Box Office - What Indie Films Sold Tickets?

3) Ang Lee OPn BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK And Hyper Realistic Images.


5) For Your Consideration: Universal's Oscar Bait Screenplays In Legal PDF For You!

6) Darren Aronofsky On His Writing Pricess.

7) The Screenwriter Of SULLY Explains His Process.

8) TV Showrunners Survey.

9) Amblin Finds Chinese Funding... What Does This Mean?

10) The CIA's Sabotage Manual... For Real!

11) Jim Jarmusch's 5 Must See Movies (one is my gavorite!) (Two others are also favorites of mine!)

12) How Hollywood *Really* Works.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

Another film about an accountant!


Buy The DVDs




Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Man In The Mirror

From 2011...

A few years back I had a producer *very* interested in an action script of mine, so he wanted to meet with me at his offices on Wilshire. Now, these first meetings are similar to first dates – they like your work and want to enter into a business relationship with you, but want to make sure you're compatible. You're going to be spending time doing rewrites through pre-production and then production and maybe even post production – and if you may end up locked in a room together (with a bunch of assistants and other execs) arguing about the story, they want to make sure they can work with you and you don't smell bad. I think I mentioned in a Script Tip about the time I was up for an assignment – and they liked my work and another writer's work and met with both of us... and the other writer showed up sweaty and smelly and generally unkempt. My guess is that he'd done a hard night of partying the night before and not at his best... and I got the job. That was another project that never got made – an invisible credit. (I've also been the “smelly one” - I once had a meeting with a producer in Ah-nuld's building in Venice and got a flat tire on the way there, so I ended up late and greasy and dirty. Gas station bathrooms aren't the best place to clean up really greasy hands and sponge off your clothes. Even though I explained the situation, my fingers were crusty looking. I did not get that job).

So these first meetings are usually to size you up and generally discuss the script and the situation and see if you bring anything else to the table in addition to the script... or if there's some “leach” attached to the damned script that will cause them problems in the future. Sometimes they don't want to buy your script at all, but they have another project that needs a writer. And sometimes it's one of those first dates where you really hit it off... and then he just never calls you again – there was something going on behind the scenes and they may have *wanted* to buy your script or hire you for a project, but there was some political reason they couldn't do it. I've had situations where the company had two partners who were secretly fighting and because one really loved your script, the other had to hate it (even if they also loved it) just to screw with their partner. Been there a couple of times. Also *many times* been in the situation where the development executive loves your work but producer doesn't seem interested at all... or the other way around. You're there to “sell” the other half of the equation, and the fact is – that is sometimes impossible.

But the other thing that often happens at these meetings is that they ask you to do a free rewrite. Usually they say they are going to take the script to the studio or the cable network or whatever for funding and think the script could use another pass. Now I'm supposed to Just Say No to that, but if they have great notes that will actually improve the script, I'm probably going to do it. Everything depends on the notes. If the notes really do improve the quality of the script, I'd be a fool to say no. A better screenplay has a better chance of being made (or, at least, getting me paid). But if the notes will screw up the script or if they are trying to anticipate the studio of cablenet's notes, the answer is usually no. Not for free. If Ashok had asked me to put a sex scene in CRASH DIVE because HBO will want one, I'd have said no – that would ruin the script and since none of us are mind readers, we don't really know what HBO will want changed. Once the money is there – I'm an employee and I might have to add that sex scene (well, I did – after a great deal of debate), but I'm being *paid* to make that change. I wouldn't make it for free. And, just to show you how pointless it is to try to anticipate notes – though HBO *insisted* on the sex scene in CRASH DIVE, it never came up in STEEL SHARKS. That film has no sex scene at all – and it was all the same people involved! So unless the note is making an *artistic* improvement in the screenplay, you have to pay me first. And until I've been paid... it's *my* screenplay.

So, back to this producer and my action screenplay – he had some notes and was wondering if I might do a free rewrite to improve the chances of the studio giving him the money to buy my script. “What kind of changes did you have in mind?” “Well, I just don't believe this villain.” “Why not?” (others had really liked the villain – but maybe this guy had some notes to improve the character). “He's kind of a cliché, don't you think?” The villain in this script was a businessman who was egotistical and verbally abusive to his employees... and he'd screwed up a major business deal and turned to a criminal activity temporarily in order to make up for his financial loss... but he found himself *liking* the illegal work because it allowed him to screw the rules and do his own thing. He was kind of modeled after DeLorean... but as a bad guy who would rather kill than be caught. The producer continued, “Why couldn't he be something like a Middle Eastern terrorist or something?”

Hmm, the fallen businessman is cliché, but Middle Eastern terrorists are not? Was I missing something?

I explained that I wanted to get away from the Middle Eastern terrorist because they had become cliché, and asked him for the titles of some films with legit businessmen who had done something criminal... and found themselves liking it. (Okay, Craig T. Nelson in ACTION JACKSON.) But he didn't come up with that film or any other, it just “felt cliche” (but Middle Eastern terrorists didn't?).

Right about then, the producer's assistant came in with a message, and the producer *yelled* at him for interrupting our meeting, then proceeded to do many of the things the egotistical businessman had done in my screenplay... basically treating this guy like crap.

And it suddenly all made sense to me.

The reason why the producer didn't like the villain was because *he was just like him*!

And as he screamed at (and maybe threw things at) his assistant, I decided I would not make this change because it would not improve the script if the bad guys were a bunch of Middle Eastern terrorists... and they did not buy the screenplay (and I still own that sucker!).

But I realized one of the issues with screenplays not selling (or whatever) is that the characters or story make the producer uncomfortable... because he “resembles that remark”. There are characters and subjects and scenes that are difficult to get to the screen, not because they are taboo or non-commercial or some other reason... but just because someone on the food chain from script to screen sees their own flaws and wants that part removed.

A cousin to this are those things that *work too well*, and make the reader or producer or studio executive feel things they would rather not feel – so they want them out. Can you imagine the rape scene from DELIVERANCE making it all the way to the screen today? I don't think it would be cut because the audience might not like it, but because the executive would be really horrified by it – which is the intent of the scene.

And this made me wonder how many subjects and scenes and characters *I* avoid because they make me feel uncomfortable? How many *good things* do I leave out because they frighten me or expose me or make me feel things I would rather not feel? Would my scripts be better if I included those things? I have said before that a script should scare you – that it should be personal enough and real enough and deal with things that cut right into you. Emotional things, rather than bland things. But the first step to writing those things is to realize that you may be avoiding some subjects *because* they are painful or too personal or make you look bad. Instead – be brave and dive into those things. Here's the thing – we can't really control our subconscious, so those things are going to come out anyway. That producer had no idea what a freakin' dead giveaway it was when he wanted to change the egotistical businessman into a bunch of Middle Eastern terrorists.

I refused to do the free rewrite and did not sell that script or work with producer on any future projects... but I did learn something.

- Bill

Sunday, October 09, 2016

RIP: Danny Grossman

I’ve been in a daze... Last night I learned that my friend Danny Grossman had passed away. This confused me, and I am still confused. Danny’s a relatively young guy, in his 40s, in good physical shape as far as I know (he’s an actor, and a leading man type - so he has to stay in shape to land roles), and he was a hell of a nice guy. If he had been in a car accident it would have been a major shock... but things like that happen. But it appears that he died of natural causes, which makes no sense at all to me. I can’t get my mind around it. If he’d been morbidly obese or had substance abuse problems or some other thing that might have prepared my mind for his passing... but no. I’m probably a decade older than he is, and in crappy shape, and only miss Taco Tuesday when I stand in line for Popeye’s fried chicken. I should be dead. But I am alive and Danny has passed away. This makes no sense at all, and makes me mad as hell at the world.

Danny was an actor, a screenwriter, and a director of amazing short films. One of his films, FINDING SPACE, makes me cry every time I see it. Seven minutes long, and packs more of an emotional punch than most serious dramatic features. He was incredibly talented. This is also something that confuses me and makes me mad at the world - if someone has to die before their time, why this talented guy? I don’t get it. There are a whole lotta idiots in the world - why take the guy who created things that make the world a better place?

I know Danny from a group of people who met on a screenwriting website and through meet ups and dinners became friends. This was a fairly close group, though many on the group knew Danny better than I did. But the year I was a guest speaker at Austin, just about the whole group was there due to some of their projects and it was like an extended meet up in exotic Texas. Harold Ramis was there that year, and Danny got to hang out with him... which was really cool. Even though we haven’t had a meet up in years, the group still stays in contact with each other and we care about each other.

Because he was primarily an actor, he was often on stage in some little theater in North Hollywood (easy bike ride for me) so I’d ride out to see him in things. I think the last show I saw him in was about a year ago in some little theater on Vineland near Little Tony’s Pizza. He was great, as ususal. The thing about people who come to Los Angeles to become actors is that many of them just want the fame part without any of the hard work... but Danny seemed to care nada about the fame and loved the work. He wasn’t chasing some impossible dream, his dream was acting so he was acting.

Danny is probably the nicest person I know. I think everyone who knows him will say the same. This is a competitive business, but Danny was never someone who thought of themselves before others. I’ve had “friends” who have stolen jobs from me, but I suspect Danny was the opposite of that - the kind of guy who might give you some job he landed if he thought you would be better (not that the biz works that way). He was a sincere, giving person who seemed to go out of his way to make sure *you* were doing okay. Another reason why I’m mad as hell at the world - why take a nice guy? There aren’t enough of them in the world. It’s just wrong. Unfair.

The world has lost a great guy. A very talented guy. And I don’t know how to process this. It’s just too strange to be true.

This is probably a good time to tell your friends and family that you love them, because we have no idea when it will be too late. And also probably a good time to contemplate our own lives and think about ways that we can be kinder to each other, be less selfish, be more encouraging, remove hate and distrust from our lives and focus on love and acceptance. We don't only know when the people we love may pass unexpectedly, we have no idea when it might happen to us. We don't went to go out on a note of anger or hatred or any of the negative emotions we may experience. Better to clean up our act while we still can. Be kind to people. Think of others before ourselves. Just be as nice as Danny was.

Even though I’m confused and angry at the world, I don’t think Danny would like that... I think Danny would want us all to be happy. So why not celebrate Danny by watching some of the great short films he made? Here’s a link to his Vimeo page....

Danny's Short Films - Check Out Finding Space!

And one of Danny's last roles on camera... with Amy Schumer. Amy Schumer Wants To Be A Real Housewife.

PS: Lancelot Link's Links are taking Monday off because it's a holiday in the USA. - Bill

Monday, October 03, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: Welsh Diversity Edition

Lancelot Link Monday! So MISS PERIGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN is getting some flack because there is little diversity among the children, who all seem to be pasty Welsh kids... because the story takes place on an island off Wales in the 1940s. I'm not sure how much diversity there was at that location at that time. I think films need more diversity, but it has to make sense. I thought Denzel was fine in MAGNIFICENT 7 because the West actually had Black cowboys... but I'm fairly sure there is a Chinese actress who could play Tilda Swinton's role in DOCTOR STRANGE (Michelle Yeoh?). And JUSTICE LEAGUE is looking very white... what's up with that? Hey, Superman is from another freaking planet - who says he has to be white? 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 Peculiar Children .............. $28,500,000
2 Deep Water...................... $20,600,000
3 Mag Seven....................... $15,700,000
4 Storks.......................... $13,800,000
5 Sully............................ $8,400,000
6 MasterBehinds.................... $6,600,000
7 Queen............................ $2,608,000
8 Breathe.......................... $2,375,000
9 BJB.............................. $2,330,000
10 Snowed In........................ $2,029,390

2) What Does A Key Grip Make Per Year?

3) Well Paid Screenwriters!

4) Nick Hornby On Screenwriting.

5) William Wheeler On QUEEN OF KATWE.

6) Bleeker Street Released Their "For Your Consideration" Screenplay PDFs! Free, Legal!

7) Writing Tips From Tarantino, Oliver Stone, many more!


9) Nicholl Fellowship Winners.

10) OXFORD DICTIONARY: THE MOTION PICTURE... Yes, Every Book You Can Imagine Has Been Optioned By Hollywood! Mel Gibson Is Starring!

11) A Look Back At THE BIRTH OF A NATION - And Art Vs. Content Questions.

12) Film News Grab Bag!

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

Okay... missile chase.


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Monday, September 26, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: Cowboy Grab Bag

Lancelot Link Monday! A western topped the box office this weekend. Denzel's star power? Return of the genre? 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 Mag Seven ...................... $35,000,000
2 Storks.......................... $21,805,000
3 Sully........................... $13,830,000
4 Jones Baby....................... $4,520,000
5 Snowden.......................... $4,144,989
6 Witch............................ $3,950,000
7 Breathe.......................... $3,800,000
8 Suicide.......................... $3,110,000
9 Bough............................ $2,500,000
10 Kubo............................. $1,103,000

2) Can A Western Be Contemporary?


4) News From Raindance Film Fest!

5) Sorkin Masterclass Cliff Notes?

6) BOUND FOR GLORY Is One Of My Favorite Films... Article Plus Screenplay!

7) Wayne Wang On San Francisco Cinema.

8) Scripts For THE NIGHT MANAGER? Here You Go!

9) Wim Wenders On James Cameron.

10) Curing The *Symptom* of Ageism In Hollywood While Ignoring The Disease...

11) Jeff Nichols On LOVING.

12) RIP: Bill Nunn.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:


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Monday, September 19, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: Emmy Winners

Lancelot Link Monday! The strange thing about TV now is that it's not just traditional TV, it's all of these cable channels and internet channels and... well, anything that can get to your TV at home. And the doors have opened to all kinds of things - the once dead format of the mini-series has made a return, with "limited series" shows which end up more like novels than a typical TV show. The doors are open! What will *you* try to get through them? 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 Sully .......................... $22,000,000
2 Blair Witch...................... $9,650,000
3 Bridget Jones 3.................. $8,240,715
4 Snowden.......................... $8,023,329
5 Don't Breathe.................... $5,600,000
6 When The Bough................... $5,525,000
7 Suicide Squad.................... $4,710,000
8 Wild Life........................ $2,650,000
9 Kubo............................. $2,509,000
10 Pete's Dragon.................... $2,041,000

2) Emmy Award Winners List.

3) Scripts From Emmy Nominated Shows!

4) And The Oscar Goes To...

5) Are Indie Films Completely Dead?

6) Indie Film Incubator? Will This Help?

7) Universal Emerging Writers Fellowship Winners Are...

8) Best Samurai Movies *Not* Directed By Kurosawa. (when the two samurais face off on the street and prepare to do battle, the subtitles always say something about honor... but what they are really saying in Japanese is "Hey, who does your hair?"

9) Behind The Scenes on BLOOD SIMPLE. Includes Screenplay.

10) Wim Wenders Interview.

11) Is Netflix The New Big Studio?

12) Top 100 Film Courage Segments For Last Month. Check out #6 and #21.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

A car chase from 1966 TV!


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Monday, September 12, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: White After Labor Day?

Lancelot Link Monday! You aren't supposed to wear white after Labor Day, but tell that to people who get shot in movies (who often wear white, because it shows the blood squib better). Whenever I see someone wearing white in a movie I know the odds are good that they will be shot (BOOGIE NIGHTS anyone?) which makes you wonder why they wear white in the first place. Do they *want* to get shot? 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 Sully .......................... $35,505,000
2 Bough Breaks.................... $15,000,000
3 Don't Breathe.................... $8,210,000
4 Suicide.......................... $5,650,000
5 Wild Life........................ $3,400,000
6 Kubo............................. $3,230,000
7 Pete's Dragon.................... $2,938,000
8 Bad Moms......................... $2,830,000
9 Hell Or High..................... $2,600,000
10 Sausage.......................... $2,300,000

Looking to be a record Box Office year even before ROGUE ONE is released: So far we are head 5.7% over last year, ahead a whopping 12.0% over 2014, ahead 5.5% over 2013, 6.4% over 2012 and 10.2% over 2011. For those of you who say: "What about tickets and admissions, huh?" Well last year there were 1,320.1 million tickets sold, and let's compare that to 1980 when EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and AIRPLANE! and CADDYSHACK and THE SHINING and STIR CRAZY and 9 TO 5 and a bunch of other big hits came out... 1,022 million tickets sold. That's 298.1 million ***more*** tickets sold last year than the year EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was released! And if you would prefer 1981 (the years RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was released) last year they sold 253.1 million more tickets. So all of this gloom and doom over Hollywood is greatly exaggerated.

2) Is Tom Hanks Trapped?

3) Full List Of Venice Film Fest Winners.

4) Screenwriting Advice From Rod Serling.

5) Behind The Scenes On THEY LIVE! (includes Screenplay)

6) FREE Russian Science Fiction Films!

7) Making And Selling An Indie Film.

8) Why Chuck Stopped Reading Your Book (just substitute "screenplay" and it applies).

9) The Next Paul Schrader Film.

10) Should screenwriters be allowed on film sets?

11) CATWOMAN - The Remake?

12) It's Hard Out There For A Creative Person. (Maybe I should become a pimp?)

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

Not a car chase, the trailer to Gary King's new movie!


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Monday, September 05, 2016


Lancelot Link and Mata Hari are on vacation today (Labor Day), but I have a new book to tell you about!





All five "Bourne" movies (including "Legacy" and it's potential sequels) - what are the techniques used to keep the characters and scenes exciting and involving? Reinventing the thriller genre... or following the "formula"? Five films - each with an interesting experiment! A detailed analysis of each of the films, the way these thrillers work... as well as a complete list of box office and critical statistics for each film. This book is great for writers, directors, and just fans of the series.

INTRODUCTORY PRICE: $2.99 - and no postage!

NO KINDLE REQUIRED! Get the *free* app (any device, except your Mr. Coffee) on the order page on Amazon!

UK Folks Click Here.

German Folks Click Here.

French Folks Click Here.

Espania Folks Click Here.

Canadian Folks Click Here.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Lancelot Link Monday: Movie Star Edition

Lancelot Link Monday! If you build it they will come... unless what you are building is yet another remake of BEN HUR, in that case they will stay away and see something else. There are a bunch of people online who believe the failure of the new BEN HUR movie is that it's teh remake of a classic... but those people don't seem to realize that the Heston version was *also* the remake of a classic - the 1925 version with Francis X. Bushman was the definitive version that could not be topped... until the Heston version came along. The problem isn't remakes, it's *bad* remakes - every remake is going to be compared to the original, so you'd better make a film that compares well. One that people who love the original will also love. Wait... where have I heard this before? Oh, yeah, the failure of GHOSTBUSTERS. The problem is that those in charge have zero idea what *quality* is anymore - they are suits! If studios were smart, instead of promoting ex-agents to become studio heads, they would take a page from the Golden Age of Hollywood and promote *screenwriters* to run studios - people who understand story and know when things just aren't working. I think the biggest problem with studios today is that the are run by businessmen and businesswomen who have no idea who this particular business works. 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 Suicide Squad................... $20,710,000
2 Sausage......................... $15,325,000
3 War Dogs........................ $14,300,000
4 Kubo 2.......................... $12,610,000
5 Ben Hur......................... $11,350,000
6 Pete's Dragqueen................ $11,331,000
7 Bad Mom.......................... $8,068,000
8 Jason ReBourne................... $7,980,000
9 Secret Pets...................... $5,770,000
10 Jenkins! (not Alan)............... $4,300,000

2) Indie Box Office Numbers.

3) Do Movie Stars Matter?

4) Tom Cruise Thinks Movie Stars Matter *A LOT*!

5) My Favorite Hitchcock Film Is NOTORIOUS... Here's an article on the film PLUS THE SCREENPLAY!

6) LEBOWSKI Spin Off About Jesus!

7) Popularity Of Genres Around The World. Does Horror Sell Well In Transylvania?

8) KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Director On The Influence Of Kurosawa.

9) Do State's Film Incentives Work?

10) David Lynch's First Film... Watch It Now!

11) Mel Brooks - Why BLAZING SADDLES Could Never Be Made Today.

12) Are Characters The Color Of Their Skin? Or Are They The Character Of Their Character?

And the Car Chase Of The Week:


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