Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Are You Flexible?

From five years ago!

No, that isn’t my best pick up line... we aren’t talking about being *physically* flexible, but *mentally* flexible.

Recently, one of my stalled projects started up again... without me.

Some other writer was hired and wrote a script completely different than the draft I was paid to write. It was an assignment based on the producer’s idea... which had some problems. One of the reasons why I dislike writing on assignment is that you often get stuck with the producer’s bad ideas, and no matter how much you explain that the idea is not the best possible idea for this story, the producer is the one writing the checks. In this case, the producer had a specific market he was aiming for - and his idea missed that market. His idea *did* fit a different market, and I explained this to him and used some other films as examples, and said that there were two ways to take the project - towards the market the producer was aiming for, or for the market that best fit the specifics of the idea he had. I also pitched some different versions of his core idea that *would* appeal to the market he was aiming for.

Hmm, that may all be confusing to you... let me use some examples if I’ve lost you. Imagine the producer wants to make a film aimed at the SAW audience about a group of college students on summer vacation in Mexico who run into some folks who want them to be organ donors... by force. But he wants to make it like one of those old AIP beach party movies, with a couple of musical numbers by this hot band he knows, and a major romantic subplot. Okay, the whole beach party thing is at odds with the SAW thing. You *can* make a light horror movie with beach party elements - actually, AIP did some DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE movies with Vincent Price back in the 60s. You could also tone down the beach party aspect and have the hot band perform in some smokey illegal rave held in a closed factory and make it more HOSTEL-like. But the producer has this image of college kids dancing on the bright sunny beach in bikinis, and he wants that in the movie. So the script goes off in that direction, with more focus on the romance and fun aspects, and the horror elements in some kind of Scooby-Doo world rather than torture porn. You know when you write it that the torture porn audience is not going to like it, but you have already pleaded your case with the producer and he has stuck by what he wants. And there *is* an audience for a “fun” horror romp like those Scooby-Doo movies.

I was flexible, and wrote the best version of the story the way the producer wanted it.

When I finished the script, some stuff happened, and the producer discovered *before making the film* that the SAW audience isn’t going to dig all of that dancing in the sand. So the project got shelved...

Except, in this case, the project returns with a page one rewrite by some other writer that is straight-forward HOSTEL-like torture porn. Hmm, exactly what I suggested before I wrote my draft.

Hey, I don’t blame the producer for having the script rewritten into something that he can sell once he’s made the film (or find the funding to make the film in the first place), but I *do* blame him for not listening when I told him this a couple of years ago. For being so stuck on his idea that he was blind to every example or piece of information I provided. If he had opened his mind to other possibilities back then, he wouldn’t have had to pay that other writer. And this is a problem for both producers *and* screenwriters...

Often *we* don’t open our mind to other possibilities and charge ahead with a version of the story we want to tell that just doesn’t work, or there is no market for.


One of my frequent bitches here is about writers who ask me for advice and then completely ignore it and then end up with projects they can not sell. I don’t understand why you ask for my advice if you plan to ignore it... or why a producer hires me because I have some screenwriting skills and then undermines everything I do to make the screenplay good. Though ego is always a factor, the other factor is some kind of weird artistic tunnel vision - they don’t *want* to see other possible ways for their story to work.

I bumped into a guy at AFM who had this problem. He wrote a genre script that no one wanted to buy. The reason why was that it completely crapped on the genre audience. It ridiculed the people who would want to buy tickets to the film or rent it on DVD. After just about everyone turned down the script, I bumped into him at Starbucks and he pitched me the script and asked why he was having trouble with it. I thought it was obvious, told him how he could change a couple of elements (and the over-all tone) and have himself a saleable script. He said he was thinking of making the film himself... and I suggested that he make those changes whether he was going to sell the script or make it. The audience is exactly the same either way, and they are not going to like being made fun of whether you make it or someone else does. But he had his vision... and now he has a film that every distributor has turned down. I have not seen it, but I don’t think he made any of the changes that would have made it something that didn’t insult the viewer. He had his vision for the story... and now he’s stuck with it.

Another friend, on a screenwriting board, posted his scenario for a script... and everyone pointed out the same basic problem. And he has fought everybody. He has his vision of the story, and his vision includes this basic story problem. What’s strange about this guy is that the story problem can be easily solved, and solving it would make the story *work*. But he’d rather fight everyone and maintain his story the way he wants to tell it.

And that is fine.

You are free to write whatever you want to write however you want to write it.

But when you write it your way and it doesn’t work, it’s not our problem.


I’ll bet you can find a half dozen blog posts where I complain about something that is *my fault* - I don’t want to make some change in my life that would make things a lot easier for myself. So, once again, I am the villain in my own story. I acknowledge this. This post is bitching about people who are doing the same thing that I sometimes do. There are some things that take me a long time to learn, and other things that I refuse to learn. But I have opened my mind enough to actually consider changes in my personal life - and many things I am working on. I don’t want to be some bitter old man bitching about how life screwed me over (unless I already am).

Hey, I started this post bitching about some producer. I should just stop my bitching and accept that this is the way things work. Producers have some crazy ideas, they are often bull-headed about those ideas, and screenwriters often have to write a bunch of drafts that don’t work before the producer realizes that the idea may not be working. As a screenwriter I can see that that idea isn’t going to work, and think they should be able to see it, too. But they don’t. So I bitch.

But when it comes to creative stuff? Instead of bitching I want to write the best screenplays possible and I also want to not only sell those screenplays but have them actually made into movies. So if someone has a better idea, I want to hear it! If someone thinks I zigged left in the script when I should have zigged right - I will consider that. One of the tips that recently ran was on “Challenging The Elements” in your screenplay, and I do that. Just today I was talking to a colleague about a script and decided a role written as a crusty old guy would be better for the project if it were a women in her late 30s to early 40s. Not only would that make it easier to cast with a name that still means something, it would add some sexual tension to a scene or two that would improve the story. That change was not *their* idea, it was *mine* - to improve the project. My original idea that it would be this crusty old guy wasn’t as good as making it a woman of a certain age. The goal is to make the story better, not stick by my guns trying to defend some not-quite-as-good version because it was the first version I came up with. You know, the first version of anything I come up with is a “first draft” - I expect to find some way to make it better.


On a message board recently I was giving some advice on how to avoid hitting those creative walls in Act 2, and warned against casting the details of your idea in stone. If you do *not* allow yourself to consider other possibilities, somewhere in act 2 your idea in its current form may just stop working. Though some other form of the idea might work, if you stick to your guns and try to force it to work... it may just crash and burn, leaving you with a 52 page screenplay. If your story *MUST* be about a 79 year old woman - that’s the only way you see your protagonist - when you hit some scene in the middle of your script where that character just doesn’t work, you never think "I’ll change the character". You have gone so far with it being *this* character that you can’t imagine it being anyone else. Except it *must* be someone else for the story to work. So you have written yourself into a corner, and will not back up. You have to be flexible enough to throw away the things that don't work in your script and creative enough to find the things that will work.

A friend of mine has a stalled script where the problem is the specific character he wants to have as his lead can not be the lead - they are a peripheral character and not involved in the conflict. He keeps trying to force them into the conflict, resulting in a bunch of contrived scenes that do not work. The real solution is to start from scratch and find the character who is actually involved in the conflict, or to start with a character and find a great conflict that explores their character. But just trying to push forward isn’t the answer. He has created limits on his screenplay, and that is why his screenplay has stalled. Problem is - he doesn’t want to open his eyes, be flexible and remove the limits.

I am a strong believer in outlines, which help you find these problems ahead of time. Brainstorming all kinds of possibilities up front, rather than get so far along that you don't want to start from scratch. You don't want to limit your story, especially if those limits run it into a wall on page 52.

What you discover when you brainstorm is that there are hundreds of possibilities for your story and if you challenge yourself to keep going - possibilities that you never knew existed. The story doesn’t have to work one way, it can work hundreds of different ways. To find the way that works best, you need to open your mind to *every* possibility. I'm a big believer in using both sides of the noggin - create like hell with no censor, then look at what you have and make intelligent choices. I know this is a generalization, but one of the things that always seems strange to me is that the “craftsmen” type of screenwriters often seem more likely to consider other possibilities and make changes to their story when it isn’t working than the “artist” type of screenwriter. The “artists” often seem so married to the details that they fight changing that 79 year old woman character into a character who actually fits the story they are trying to tell. They keep banging their heads against the wall, when there is a door only a few feet away. But they just feel the door should be here. They side with “creative instinct” instead of using logic and reason when the story isn’t working. If it isn’t working, *why* isn’t it working? Okay, now how do you fix that?

Screenwriting is often problem solving. But you must be willing to solve the problems. To look at your screenplay objectively, and realize that even though you love the idea of kids dancing on the beach, that may not fit the dark and violent horror story you are trying to tell. Instead of fighting for your “vision” when it doesn’t work, fight for *the screenplay* and make sure it works. Be flexible enough to see when something doesn’t work - even if it is something that you love. A script that you love but doesn’t work at all (or stalls out at page 52 and you never get to Fade Out) isn’t a good script. You want to make that script work, and make it work all the way down the line so that it can be made into a movie and be seen by an audience. Hey, that might mean the crusty old guy you originally envisioned ends up being a woman in her early 40s. If that makes the script better, you make the change.


And if you thought making your script work to get past page 52 requires flexibility, wait until you get to development and production. That 92 year old woman lead? Who are the 92 year old women who can open a movie? Who are the 92 year old women stars? The very first note you will get is to change that character to a castable lead - a character who can be played by a current movie star like Will Smith or Tom Hanks or Angelina Jolie. And because getting a star to sign on is not easy - everyone has a film that needs a star - you will have to re-imagine your story with a lead character who is like whichever star they end up signing. Twice I have had the “old retired gunslinger who comes back for one last job” played by young stars nowhere near retirement age. Okay, there goes that story trope! Time to rethink why the guy is no longer in the biz! You need to be flexible enough to solve the problem and come up with that new version of your story that works for the star...

And heaven forbid they hire Jessica Alba.

Things are always changing, and you need to be ready and able - and in the right mind set - to solve these problems and protect the core of your screenplay. Your 79 year old woman may be played by Will Smith, but your screenplay still needs to work - and you need to rethink the story so that it works just as well and maybe even better. You know that great scene in your screenplay when she’s in the lighthouse and sees the man that she loves in a boat that crashes into the rocks and sinks... and then she hears the lighthouse door open and someone trudging up the stairs... sure it is the villain... but it is HIM and they embrace? Yeah, well we are shooting the film in New Mexico because of the tax credits and they have no lighthouses and no rocky shores for ships to run aground on. Are you flexible enough to rethink that scene and find a way to make it work just as well in New Mexico? Is your mind open to the change and ready for the challenge? Or is your script set in stone and unchangeable?

If you can't imagine your story working any other way than how your originally wrote it, you have a problem.

This stuff makes that hurdle on page 52 look like something you can hop over! You have to be able to see your story working in many different ways, not just so that you can deal with production and stars and actors who don’t believe in screenplays, but so you can find the very best way to tell your story in the first place. Not get trapped in some dead end version of your story, or some version of your story that nobody wants to see, or some version that is just not very good.

If you fight for the bad version of your screenplay, that’s what you will end up with.

If you allow yourself to think of all of the possibilities, you can find the best way for your screenplay to work.

Be flexible.

- Bill


TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Why the MATRIX sequels sucked.
Dinner: China Wall in Concord: All you can eat Chinese Food.
Pages: Hey, halfway done with this treatment I should be 2/3rds of the way done with.
Bicycle: Nope, in my home town.
Movies: Nope, working.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Lancelot Link: End Of The Year!

Lancelot Link Monday! It's the end of the year as we know it, and I feel fine! The end of the year brings out all kinds of lists, and this week we get all of the "early lists". How can you pick the 10 Best Films Of 2014 when there are a couple of days left in the year? I mean, what if someone sneaks in a film at the last minute? Say, some other movie North Korea didn't like gets released anyway? What if *that's* the best picture of the year? All of these early lists will be wrong! 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 baker's dozen links plus this week's car chase...

1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Hobbit Five..................... $41,420,000
2 Unbroken........................ $31,748,000
3 Into Woods...................... $31,021,000
4 Museum Tomb..................... $20,600,000
5 Annie........................... $16,600,000
6 Hunger Games.................... $10,000,000
7 Gambler.......................... $9,300,000
8 Imitation........................ $7,930,000
9 Exodus........................... $6,750,000
10 Wild............................. $5,415,000

2) Hardboiled Slang Dictionary

3) The Mystery Of Martin Brest.

4) Starlog Magazine Presents Cinemagic.

5) * Documentaries on Cinematography.

6) THE INTERVIEW becomes Day & Date Experiment.

7) Best Indie Films Of 2014.

8) Empire's Best Films Of 2014.

9) Time Magazine's 10 Best & 10 Worst Movies of 2014.

10) Top 10 James Bond Deaths (since there's a chapter in the new Blue Book on Bond).

11) Say Anything Jackie Chan!

12) Adapted Screenplay Oscar Contenders.

13) Original Screenplay Oscar Contenders.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

CHRISTMAS VACATION... some of you probably headed home over the weekend.



TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Theme & Emotional Conflict & Jackie Chan - even a silly genre film can have substance.
Dinner: Fish & Chips & Beer @ The Warehouse in Oakland.
Pages: My day of rest before the new treatment for the page 1 rewrite of the script I sold a while back.
Bicycle: No. I'm in the Bay Area.

Movie: THE GAMBLER (remake) with Marky Mark (but no funky bunch). I have the poster for the original James Caan version, which was a product of it's time: a gritty drama about a man whose life is in a downward spiral. Though I haven't seen the film in years, I believe it has an ambiguous ending where he bets his life and you never know if he wins or loses. Darker than dark. So... they remade it. The problem with all remakes of any good or memorable film is that it will be compared to the original, and just because we have already seen that original and have fond memories of it... the remake can only fail. This is doubled when you have a film that works for the 70s but is completely at odds with current films. THE GAMBLER is kind of a cult film, now... and that was why it was remade, but also why it can never work. Saw it in a crowded cinema in Oakland (Jack London Square) with an audience that really wanted to see one of the other films which were sold out. Only a handful of people seemed to be there to see THE GAMBLER.

This is a character study about an addict who doesn't want to kick the habit, he wants to OD and die. Every time he has a chance to solve his problems, he screws up *on purpose* so that his problems grow... and the people he owes money to want to kill him. And he *wants* to be killed by them. Just as some people purposely break the law and brandish a gun when the police show up so that they can commit "suicide by cop", college professor Jim Bennett (Alex in the original, which is the name of the character in the Dostoyevsky novel) is trying to commit suicide by loan shark goon. When he has the chance to pay them off, he gambles away the money and then seems to beg them to beat the crap out of him. So this is a hard guy to like, and one of the problems with this story in 2014 is that we want him to get his shit together... but that isn't part of his life plan at all. You gasp at how he keeps screwing his life up again and again. How he brings other (innocent) people into his problems. In the original he bankrupts his mother in order to pay back the mobsters... and then gambles the money away instead of paying it back. Here, his mother is wealthy so she isn't reduced to rags by her son, but I'm not sure that makes Bennett any more likable or even understandable.

That may be the core issue with the film: as an addict it's impossible to understand his addiction. We wonder why he doesn't just stop. But an addict doesn't think the way we do... an addict *can't* stop, and that's impossible for understand on an emotional level. Every time he borrows money from someone who carefully explains they will break every bone in his body if he fails to pay it back... and he just blows it on some stupid bet... we might intellectually think "that's because he's an addict" but *emotionally* we are more likely to lose identification and understanding. Is he stupid? This is the problem with conflicts that are internal in a film: we can't see his cravings, only the actions caused by his cravings. We have to process the story intellectually instead of emotionally... and our emotions often turn to anger against the protagonist (instead of sympathy and understanding). So, a tough movie to watch. Things that were daring in the 70s are now a retread of daring (which is not daring).

A movie like NIGHTCRAWLER which also deals with a character that is impossible to understand and identify with seems to work due to the trajectory of the character. Where Bennett is on a downward spiral and doing everything he can to fail, Louis Bloom in NIGHTCRAWLER is doing everything he can to *succeed*. So we cringe at Bloom when he gets ahead through some unethical method. There's an interesting contrast between good (success) and evil (means of success) in that story that really isn't present in GAMBLER because Bennett is a degenerate gambler (not good) who counters every moment of winning with a whole lot of losing (also not good). Oddly, NIGHT CRAWLER is the more upbeat movie... and maybe even has a happy ending (which you wish had not have happened). Though this version of THE GAMBLER has a more upbeat and less ambiguous ending than the original, it never "earns" it. It never shows us what's going on inside Bennett's head that could produce this ending. And I'm sure in some film school somewhere there is a student with a theory that the ending was all a dream... even though *that* wasn't set up at all (but could have been, and maybe that would have been a better end than the one we got).

Cast is great. Yes, that old man dying in the opening scene *is* George Kennedy. You can't beat John Goodman as the heavy "heavy", he is always in a towel with big layers of flab hanging off of him. Goodman is so calm, so at peace with his girth, that he's chilling just sitting there... before he begins explaining the violent things which might befall Bennett. Michael Kenneth Williams as the more violent mobster is great. I have no idea whether that facial scar is real or great make up, but that dude is chilling. One of the things that makes his character work are little moments like when he dances with a hooker in a hallway and really has some moves. Alvin Ing as the Korean illegal casino owner is also great due to his sense of inner calm when others would project anger. A highlight scene when he's getting a manicure while his men are beating Bennett to a pulp is great stuff (though Bennett isn't as messed up as he should be... his nose is never broken and I've had worse facial cuts shaving). Jessica Lange as his mother is a complete bitch... you almost want her to lose her money. Anthony Kelley as the student who throws the basketball game for him doesn't seem to be the tragic figure the 70s version of the character was, but his scene where he sees right into Bennett is great. The nice things about Lauren Hutton replacement Brie Larson is that they film her without make up... and she looks like a regular person. She has pimples, like a real college student would have. Her performance is good, too... but you keep wondering why she enables him... why she *helps him* commit suicide by loan shark goon.

The problem is that the film could never live up to the original, so no matter how well made it was it was never going to work from an "art" standpoint, and due to the subject matter it's never going to work from a box office standpoint. I understand remaking some old hit movie to make money, but don't understand why someone would remake a good film for *artistic* reasons. Why not remake a bad film and make it better or just make an original film? You can't repaint the Mona Lisa and be seen as an artist... only a forger.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Fridays With Hitchcock:
Back For Christmas

On the Seventh Day Of Christmas My True Love Gave To Me....

From Season 1 of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, directed by Hitch himself, this nice little episode about an extremely henpecked husband who begins digging a wine cellar in the basement of his house before a business trip. But is it really a wine cellar?

One of the things that is great about this episode is how it is subtly demonstrated that the Husband is henpecked. The Wife keeps telling him what he likes and finishing his sentences in ways he never intended. It's some nice character writing by Francis M. Cockrell (who wrote one of my favorite movies INFERNO with Robert Ryan, plus a bunch of other great Hitchcock Presents episodes and some Perry Masons) based on a story by John Collier (who was famous for stories with twist endings).

Though the story is kind of leisurely paced, it does have some moments of suspense with the wife and the couple who was late for the going away party, and later the hotel maid at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

A nice little treat for the holidays about a gift that backfires.

And here are some fun ideas for your Hitchcock Christmas celebration from artist Grant Snider!

Buy This As A Poster!



The perfect holiday gift!

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 53 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.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lancelot Link: Adrian Messenger Edition

Lancelot Link Monday! He's making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out whose naughty and nice, Franklin Leonard's Black List comes out today! The Black List is a list of best unproduced screenplays of the year, voted on by development execs from production companies and studios. Note that it's not The Best Unsold Screenplays... most of these have been sold and are heading towards production, just haven't been produced as of today. In honor of that, many of today's links feature lists. There's The Hit List, which is competition for the Black List, plus some other fun list links. When will someone do a list of Best Unsold Screenplays? 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 Exodus.......................... $24,500,000
2 MockingJay 1.................... $13,200,000
3 Penguins......................... $7,300,000
4 Top Five......................... $7,210,000
5 Big Hero......................... $6,145,000
6 Interstellar..................... $5,500,000
7 Horr Bosses 2.................... $4,630,000
8 Dumb Dumber 2.................... $2,757,000
9 Everything....................... $2,525,000
10 Wild............................. $1,550,000

2) Death Of The Midrange Movie

3) List Of The Best Undistributed Films Of 2014.

4) Add New Bond Script To List Of Stuff In Sony Hack.

5) List Of Every Episode of STAR TREK, Ranked.

6) 2014 Hit List (Screenplays).

7) The Black List 2014.

8) List Of 19 Worst Movies Of 2014.

9) List Of Golden Globe Nominations.

10) List Of Universal Blockbusters Released In 2014.

11) List Of Film Grants ($$$) You Can Apply For.

12) List Of Studios Al Pacino Wants To Work With...

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

Okay, more of a fox chase... from THE LIST OF ADRIAN MESSENGER, score by the amazing Jerry Goldsmith.


Monday, December 08, 2014

Lancelot Link: BIFA Edition.

Lancelot Link Monday! Last night was the BIFAs, the British Independent Film Awards. I've gone to the awards a couple of times (thanks to Raindance) and it's cool that indie films get awards even in England. 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 Mockingjay...................... $21,600,000
2 Penguins........................ $11,100,000
3 Horr Bosses 2.................... $8,600,000
4 Big Hero......................... $8,130,000
5 Interstellar..................... $8,000,000
6 Dumb To.......................... $4,169,000
7 Everything....................... $2,668,000
8 Gone Girl........................ $1,500,000
9 Pyramid.......................... $1,350,000
10 Birdman.......................... $1,150,000

2) Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski on writing bio pix.

3) SNL's version of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS teaser trailer.

4) Pennywise Returns On The Big Screen In STEPHEN KING'S IT.

5) All Of The STAR WARS: FORCE AWAKENS Parodies In One Place!

6) New Bond Film Is SPECTRE and Mr. White From CASINO Returns.

7) GODZILLA Returns To Toho!

8) British Independent Film Award Winners (BIFAs).

9) Trailer For FOLLOWS.

10) Ryan Reynolds Returns As DEADPOOL, Ruins Alliterative Headline.


12) TERMINATOR: GENISYS Trailer... Ahnuld Vs. Ahnuld?

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Film Courage Interviews

So, here are all of the Film Courage website interview so far...

Screenwriting means working on a deadline... sometimes an insane deadline:

How To Research Your Screenplay:

Creating suspense on screen:

How to land a gig:

It's a big screen, you need ideas big enough to fill it!

My First Pitch:

How to write 3 screenplays a year, every year:

You need to keep writing... even when you get an assignment:

Dispelling the myth of the Overnight Success:

The 100 Idea Theory:

The First Time I Got Paid To "Do It":

Take This Job And Shove It:

Is the thing on the counter behind me a Human Centipede With Deer?

Look for the next segment here: Film Courage Website.


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Lancelot Link: The Force Takes A Nap!

Lancelot Link Monday... er, Tuesday! We are a day late due to the holiday here in the USA, because we were celebrating that Crystal The Monkey earned $108,000 in 2012, which is more than the average screenwriter earns! So my advice to everyone is to become a Monkey Actor! 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 Actuals:
1 Mockingjay 1.................... $56,972,599
2 Penguins........................ $25,447,444
3 Big Hero........................ $18,816,798
4 Interstellar.................... $15,743,005
5 Horr Bosses 2................... $15,457,418
6 Dumb & Dumber 2.................. $8,358,620
7 Everything....................... $5,011,146
8 Gone Girl........................ $2,465,434
9 Birdman.......................... $1,874,369
10 St. Vincent...................... $1,704,700

2) Sitcom Jokes Per Minute Ranking.

3) Twenty Five Most Powerful Authors (Source Material For Hits).

4) Tarantino On Screenwriting.

5) Writer's Round Table: Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Larry Karazewski & Scott Alexander (Big Eyes), E. Max Frye (Foxcatcher).

6) Ana Lily Amirpour on GIRL WALKS HOME AT NIGHT.

7) Malcolm McDowell On Working With Kubrick.

8) Bond Villains Ranked From Pussy Cat To Evil Genius Who Pets A Pussy Cat.

9) Because Of James Cameron There May Be Poo On Your Cinema Seat!

10) The Surprise Hits Of 2014.

11) Women In The UK Film Industry.

12) Monkey Actors, Grips, Location Managers... make more than Writers!

And the Car Chase Of The Week:

"Oh no! They shot the monkey!"

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