Friday, September 27, 2013

Raindance Day 3

My class went well, then I spent the rest of the day watching movies!

GREATFUL DEAD - no Jerry Garcia, this is a strange Japanese comedy about an unusual young woman whose hobby is watching and tracking misanthropes and people who have accepted their loneliness. But when some religious missionaries give some of her subjects hope to reenter society... she connects with a crazy misanthrope and, well, kills them. Beginning a crazy war with an old infomercial king. *DARK* comedy, really well done.

OUTPOST 11 - UK contained weird sci-fi film about three soldiers in a remote outpost in the Arctic during WW3 who each begin to go mad. Made on "a small bag of cash" (according to the director) it has some nice stop motion, some okay CGI effects... and a story that's a bit slow for a contained thriller with 3 characters. One of the things that might have helped - near the end one of the soldiers goes to another outpost and discovers that something has driven them all violent crazy - and everyone is dead. Had this been the first scene, the slow parts of the rest of the film would have been filled with suspense because we would know what *might* happen to them. Lots of steampunkish stuff, too - and some non-science sci-fi stuff that we weren't really sold on. Still, for a movie made with just a small bag of cash, nice.

TWO JACKS - Based on a Tolstoy novel, directed by Bernard Rose (CANDYMAN) and starring Danny Huston, this tells the story of a legendary film director who returns to Los Angeles flat broke and owing everyone money or favors... who continues to screw up big time! But somehow manages to screw all the wrong women and still land on his feet, and gets a film deal. 20 years later, his son comes to Los Angeles to direct his first film... and encounters the *daughter* of one of the women his father screwed and dumped... and many other people who are part of the ghost of his father. He is his father's son - and soon is making love with the daughter and promising her a role in his film... plus screwing the producer's mistress while drunk in a moving car. Where the father managed to land on his feet, the son lands on his ass... and is banished from Hollywood.

So, here's the great thing about Raindance and film fests in general, and why you should go. All three films had Q&As with the directors... and often the stars and key creatives. The Japanese director was there for a (translated) Q&A, the UK director was there with the entire cast and the producers and editor and pretty much everyone else who worked on the film for a great Q&A, and Bernard Rose and Danny Huston and the producer and actress Rosie Fellner were there for a great Q&A afterwards. At a fest, you get this kind of access to the talent that made the film.

- Bill

Sunday, September 22, 2013

New Blue Book!

Tomorrow I leave for London for jury duty at the Raindance Film Festival, and tonight I put up my *longest* Blue Book so far, on Story... a great story, well told. The book looks at the elements of story and how to tell one well using irony and set ups and pay offs and stakes and all kinds of other things. Looks to be about 300 pages, but Amazon has their own gizmo that decides that. 85,000 words.

And it's priced at $2.99 until the end of the month.

I was going to price it at $3.99, but since *all* of the Blue Books are going up $1 at the end of the month, why not just do them all at once? So, for the next *week* it's $2.99.

I'll link it here as soon as Amazon sends me the info.
STORY BLUE BOOK - should be here soon!

- Bill

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lancelot Link: Short Bus

Lancelot Link Thursday! 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 *two* links plus this week's car chase...

1) Three Steps To PRISONERS.

2) Robert Towne Joins MAD MEN.

And the car chase of the week:

- Bill

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blue Book Price Increase

In the next few days, a new Blue Book - SECRETS OF STORY - will come out... at a cover price of $3.99. The reason why? It's looking like 280 pages right now! I couldn't figure out why it was taking so long to finish, and when I did my rough assembly last night I had my answer - 80,000 words. I was trying for 60,000 words! The original paper version was around 14,000 words.

The e-version of the Blue Books began as a way for me to test the format before I published the expanded version of SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING. The first couple were *really* experiments... and I learned from them. Since then I have revamped the Protagonist Blue Book taking it up to 205 pages. I made a decision to scrap a pair of proposed screenwriting books that would use some of my Script Magazine articles and put those in the Blue Books instead. Make all of the Blue Books about 200 pages like the new ones are.

The IDEAS Blue Book (first one I did) is a little short, now I'm adding a couple of articles (one has run on the website) and integrate the tips and clean it up. See if I can get it close to 200 pages. The DIALOGUE Blue Book was the last one that I did before forming the new plan, and it's just shy of 200 pages. I have a "missing chapter" that I couldn't find on any of my computers that I'm going to retype and slip in there... along with integrating the tips and cleaning up some problems. That was part of the plan since I figured out that the Blue Books weren't just going to be experiments... but actual books that would be expanded from the 40 page paper versions to 200 page e-book versions... and then probably do a CreateSpace paper version.

The current price of $2.99 makes them a deal. The 40 page paper versions are $4.99... but most of that is paper and copy costs! I thought it would be fair to lower the price on the e-versions, since there's no paper. Though I'm not making millions, writing them is kind of an investment - once they are out there they keep making money. So if it takes me a freakin' long time to write the STORY Blue Book, that's okay because it will make money for years afterwards, right?

But then I took a look at books priced at $2.99 (and some that were priced higher) to see if my 205 page $2.99 books were priced fairly. Here are some screen grabs I assembled:

Okay. Do you think I'm over priced or under priced?

Yes, there were some books in the $2.99 range that were similar to mine, but *most* were in the 60-70 pages... with some of those 13 page screenwriting books in there!

The DIALOGUE Blue Book has more pages than the one selling for $5.99! And, um, I think it's probably worth $5.99!

So, I think raising the prices to $3.99 next month is fair. STORY will be $3.99 when it comes out in a few days, the others will go up next month... and the new Blue Books that come out will be $3.99 (Scenes is next, then First 10 Pages) and then I might raise the prices to $4.99 in a year or two. Depends on the market.

But the clock is ticking on the $2.99 price. If you have screenwriter friends who you think might want them, tell them to buy them before I raise the price next month.

- Bill

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lancelot Link: Chapter Two

Lancelot Link Thursday! INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2 comes out, making us wonder how many chapters are in this book? Can we just flip to the end and check the number? 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 seven links plus this week's car chase...

1) "Outlines stifle creativity!" Famous Authors Handwritten Outlines.

2) 15 Successful Authors Share Their Best Writing Tips.

3) The 14 Stages Of Writing A Novel (works for screenplays, too)

4) "What would you do?" 15 Reasons Why SPEED Is The Greatest Movie Ever Made.

5) 5 Top Screenwriters *You* Have Heard Of But This Bozo Thinks Are "Unknown".

6) Billy Bob Thornton On Filmmaking.

7) How *Not* To Handle Viewer Criticisms. (Imagine if this guy had my credits!)

And the Car Chase Of The Week!

- Bill

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Me And Julian Assange

Just got back from the Portland Film Festival and I will begin posting reviews of the films and shorts as soon as I type them up. It was a fun film festival, with a great outdoor venue for many of the films. Here's a picture of it:

At the end of the month I'm off to the Raindance Film Festival in London to teach some classes (if you are in the UK, come on down!)) and be on the jury again. I always love going to Raindance, the films are always interesting... and many pop up as examples in my articles and Blue Books. In addition to the great movies, this year I have an interesting fellow juror... Julian Assange! (Assange On Raindance Jury) Weird, huh? As usual, I'll be blogging about the film festival and movies *here*, so stay tuned!

- Bill
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