Monday, April 30, 2007

Synecdoche, NY – Part I of II

[Warning: Minor Spoilers]

We knew from the trades (like this article in the
Hollywood Reporter), that Charlie Kaufman would be directing his first film from his original screenplay and that he and Spike Jonze were producing with William Horberg as the Executive Producer. Great. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, and Tilda Swinton were in negotiations to star. Double great!

Of this production, William Horberg was quoted as saying,

“It takes the term 'living theater' to a whole new level… We were kind of hoping that Charlie would write a small, contained film set in a kitchen with a couple of easy-going characters. Instead, he came up with a massive undertaking of visually elaborate worlds and stunningly complex characters and ideas. The film would be all but impossible to pull off if we weren't surrounded by such incredible actors, the most exciting team of filmmakers imaginable and the most supportive producing partners one could hope.”

Then buzz about Kaufman’s script exploded when the L.A. Times launched
Scriptland last September. It’s premiere article was penned by Jay A. Fernandez who bragged like a fanboy about how he had the new Charlie Kaufman script on his desk. “I've read it — no, lived it. I've been moved and astounded by it. And I'm tortured by the dilemma of what I should or should not say about it here. I feel a bit like Frodo palming the One Ring.

He went back and forth about whether he should talk about it. He said it made him sick to his stomach. But then he caved in:

Synecdoche nominally concerns a theater director who thinks he's dying, and how that shapes his interactions with the world, his art and the women in his life. But it is really a wrenching, searching, metaphysical epic that somehow manages to be universal in an extremely personal way. It's about death and sex and the vomit-, poop-, urine- and blood-smeared mess that life becomes physiologically, emotionally and spiritually (Page 1 features a 4-year-old girl having her butt wiped). It reliably contains Kaufman's wondrous visual inventions, complicated characters, idiosyncratic conversations and delightful plot designs, but its collective impact will kick the wind out of you.”

In the end, he concluded: “If this film gets made in any way that resembles what's on the page — and with the writer himself directing, it will likely gain even more color and potency in the translation — it will be some kind of miracle. Synecdoche will make Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine look like instructional industrial films. No one has ever written a screenplay like this. It's questionable whether cinema is even capable of handling the thematic, tonal and narrative weight of a story this ambitious.”

News of Jay’s article spread like wildfire across the web, and the man was roundly and thoroughly condemned.
Jim Emerson said: “Fernandez isn't a journalist and he isn't a critic; he's a leech, on the level of those self-aggrandizing amateur web trolls who think their premature, uninformed opinions about an unfinished work are ‘news…’ What a self-serving piece of crap. I have a great idea, L.A. Times: Why don't you go put your Calendar entertainment coverage behind a web subscription wall again?”


Hey, wait a minute. Who are you calling a web troll?

I have three reactions to all of this pre-release controversy:

One: if Kaufman & company didn’t want the script leaked, they should’ve taken better care of protecting their material.

Two: and this goes out to you, Mr. Jay A. Fernandez – you’re a great big dork. You are not special. Media people should stay the hell out of the script leaking/reviewing business. It is most assuredly unethical for a major publication like the L.A. Times, which fancies itself as the “paper of record” on the entertainment business, to make official, critical judgments on unfinished works.

Three: I will agree that fanboys are a very mixed bag. They will reveal every detail in a script, add a small flourish like “it royally kicks ass,” and then call it a “script review.” I’ve also chronicled in my
Indiana Jones 4 article the frustrations that come with following fanboy rumors, because fanboys are quite capable of spreading baseless gossip and calling it “news.” But hey, fanboys will be fanboys. They have every right under the sun to talk about the movies they love and the rumors that interest them. At the same time, it must be said that fanboys aren’t as uninformed as snotty film critics like to think. I still love the time when Sir Lancelot wrote: Lady In The Water is a diarrhea splat of storytelling so haphazard, ideas so undernourished, dialogue so banal, and characterization so criminally lifeless that if you'll be able to lift yourself out of your torpor you will be truly amazed.”

Ya know, I can’t say I disagree.

And let me remind everyone that it was the loud, unified, and venomous anger from fanboys the world over (like in this
article) about the leaked J.J. Abrams’ script of Superman that actually shut down production, which Bryan Singer & company eventually took over. Even J.J. Abrams should be grateful, because his nonsensical story could’ve been the disaster that brought his career to a screeching halt. (At one point in the script, Lex Luthor figures out that he’s from Krypton and FLIES.) This could have been the biggest disaster of a Superman movie since Quest for Peace. All in all, Singer gave us less of a disaster.

Finally, let us be very clear about who we are and what are doing here with our script reviews. We are not fanboys. We are real screenwriters who live and die in the world of “unfinished works.” How well we can pinpoint weaknesses in scripts is crucial. We need a way of discussing the craft, and for us, script reviews are not meant to be “news” or perceived as early reviews of films that haven’t been released yet. It’s just a discussion about craft meant for the consumption of screenwriters only. MY readers are smart enough to know that a script review is just a script review and may not reflect the finished film. And in this context, there is nothing wrong with a serious discussion about the craft like we had for Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon, James Cameron's A Crowded Room, or even The Transformers.

We're all about the craft, baby. If you don't like it, don't read it.

By the way, one of Emerson’s “web trolls,” ZeroC at Ain’t it Cool News,
had this to say about Kaufman’s script: “I really hope Kaufman is able to pull this off… if he can, this may end up being one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of cinema. Either that or a steaming pile of indecipherable, pretentious shit.”

Ya know, informed or not, I agree.

Wednesday, MM’s review of Kaufman’s script. (We'll do the Screenwriting News on Thursday.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Mystery Man? More like Mystery CHILD..."

Hey guys,

Below is just a portion of a recent TriggerStreet review I wrote for a story called Aliens Don't Make Crop Circles. Hope you enjoy it.



So Kevin and I have "a history."

Over a year ago (has it really been a year?), I reviewed an earlier draft of Aliens Don't Make Crop Circles. Kevin had written in his production notes that he didn't want to bothered by complaints about format, which set me off. In my review, I took the most logical approach to this kind of situation - I ONLY talked about format and refused to provide analysis of story or character or anything else until he cleaned up his script because it looked like @#$%. I believe that was also the review where I had written, "Take heed my advice or fail. I am Mystery Man. Hear me roar."


Ahh, good times, good times.

So, of course, I received an email from Kevin. The subject heading was "Aliens Don't Take This Lying Down." He wrote: "Mystery Man? Mystery Child could be closer to the mark... I have to say that I did read your review from beginning to end and it was full of wisdom. But what on earth (no pun in this case), are you on? Or, more to the point, what medication are you not taking...? I will explain why I have specifically asked for a no comment on the formatting in the past. It is because some people get so anally fixated with dots and commas that they forget the whole point of the site, to review stories."

And this is true - to a point. Some people certainly can be this way. But to refuse to hear feedback about grammar and format is just beyond absurd. Call me crazy, but "writers" should care about these things. In fact, a writer ought to know how to write, and a screenplay ought to look like a screenplay. The competition is brutal. You're not only competing with thousands of other writers trying to break in but you're also competing with the professionals. You have to excel on every single level. You have to make every scene, every detail, and every word count. You cannot ever and I mean EVER give anyone an easy excuse to dismiss your story or you as a writer. And there's no question that the quickest way to undermine a reader's confidence in you is a wildly gross display of incompetence and ignorance when it comes to format and grammar. In past reviews, I have quoted industry insiders who implore writers to master the craft and study Trottier's Screenwriter's Bible.

Even on my blog, I'll review a "pro" script like, say, "The Transformers," and you better believe that, no different than my reviews here, I'll take them to task for not knowing how to format a screenplay. It's ridiculous that some of these guys get paid gobs of money and they don't know any better than to use archaic techniques that were abandoned four decades ago. Scripts should reflect twenty-first century formatting.

Truth be told, there are a lot of hacks and con artists out there pretending to be "real" screenwriters and they actively bamboozle producers and studios out of enormous amounts of money. They will get hired, write steaming piles of crapola (or get hired to do a rewrite job, change two commas, and turn it in), and then they'll quickly bail when the heat gets cranked up for more rewrites. There's a lot of mistrust on both sides of the fence. Grammar and format is just a first step in a thousand toward proving your sincerity, worth, and legitimacy as a screenwriter.

Okay, okay, stepping off my format soapbox...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Screenwriting News! Links! Shout-Outs!

On working with James Cameron.


Around Scribosphere:

The William Shakespeare Blog-a-Thon! Woo hoo!

Unk’s Transformational Character Arc… Part 9
"CHARACTER BIOS ARE HARD WORK! Can you hear me now? Good! You certainly do not have to live and die by the character bio… And, as I’ve said before… You really only have to go so far on the bio so that the character you’re designing starts talking to you. For some, that might be almost immediately… For others, it might take pages of bio along with pages of history. There are no rules and most likely, there is no one way that will work for everyone."

MaryAn Batchellor’s Writing What You Lean
"How many pirate screenplays have you read where the writer doesn't know his way around a ship, map, or history book? He's just tossing out stuff he's heard in the movies or stolen out of other scripts. Yeah, I know, everyone loves pirate tales right now. Everyone. EVERYONE! But, if you have never read a David Cordingly book ... what? You don't know who David Cordingly is? Then, don't write a pirate story! Don't. Research. Research. Research."

Christina Ferguson’s Perusing Done Deal
"For the past 3 or 4 months, I've gotten in the habit of reading the sales on
Done Deal Pro every weekday. For $23.95 a year, it's a total bargain. It's interesting to see what's being sold and also what's in turnaround. And to read the loglines of rom com projects, since that's where I'm writing lately…"

Maggie’s Crazy Aunt Purl!
She plugs the book of a friend, and the book’s got a great title – Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair. Hehehe

Latest picture of Roger Ebert

Girish’s Interweb Explorations

Superb analysis from Matt Zoller Seitz on the new Sopranos
Ep. 13, Ep. 14, and Ep. 15.

My Tarantino Problem, and Yours

Dennis Cozzalio on Grindhouse

David Bordwell’s
But what kind of art?
"Here are the dimensions that come to my mind:
*Film is a photographic art.
*Film is a narrative art.
*Film is a performing art.
*Film is a pictorial art.
*Film is an audiovisual art."


Around the World:

Continuation of the Most Entertaining Screenplay Trial Ever
"Cussler, who sold the rights for “Sahara” to Anschutz's filmmaking company for $10 million, sued in early 2004, saying the company, then called Crusader Entertainment, violated his contract by cutting him out of the scriptwriting process… To support Cussler's case, his lawyers called former Crusader executive Karen Baldwin, who testified extensively about trying to keep Cussler and a battery of 10 “Sahara” screenwriters happy. Baldwin told jurors she was Cussler's biggest advocate during the lengthy screenwriting process. But in some of her many e-mails displayed in court, she called Cussler's changes to screenplays “crap” and “groanable.” “Didn't you tell Cussler you loved his scripts?” asked Cussler's lawyer Bertram Fields, a veteran entertainment litigator. “Yes, but I always meant it with a qualifier,” Baldwin said. Baldwin later detailed Cussler's assessments of actors being considered to play the lead character, Dirk Pitt, the hero in most of Cussler's books. Among those mentioned were Brad Pitt, who Baldwin said had a “height issue,” and Bruce Willis, who Cussler complained was “balding.” Kurt Russell, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck all got the same grading, Baldwin said: “Clive doesn't think so.” Veteran Hollywood screenwriter David Weisberg, who was brought on briefly to get the script in shape, testified about a meeting with Cussler, describing it as “a very bad date.” At one point, Cussler went on a “diatribe” about Tom Cruise, calling the actor “shrimpy” and using a term questioning his sexuality, Weisberg said."

It’s Not a Sequel, but It Might Seem Like One After the Ads
"That originality is a dying value on the blockbuster end of the movie business is no secret. In the last five years, only about 20 percent of the films with more than $200 million in domestic ticket sales were purely original in concept, rather than a sequel or an adaptation of some pre-existing material like “The Da Vinci Code...” The drift away from pure inventiveness is limited to the industry’s most expensive and commercial films. According to the Writers Guild of America, West, the balance between original and adapted scripts in overall feature film production has remained constant in recent years, with slightly more than half of the screenplays being original... “It’s tragic,” the screenwriter Bob Gale said of what he sees as Hollywood’s lost inventiveness. Missing, he said, is the nonpareil thrill he experienced in creating, with Robert Zemeckis, the early drafts of “Back to the Future,” a 1985 hit provoked by his own question: Would he have liked his own father if he had known him in high school?"

PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Frost/Nixon — David and His Zingshot
"Should Langella take the Tony, it would make a triple crown for Morgan, who follows the same guideline as a playwright that he does as a screenwriter — take a person of power, infect them with an Achilles' heel kind of incident and watch them disintegrate. He did it with Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland" and with Elizabeth II in "The Queen," making Oscar work for Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren. Can a Tony be far behind?"

'Deadlines were good enough for Dickens'
"Author Robert Harris talks to Elizabeth Grice about his passion for Pompeii, his partnership with Roman Polanksi, and living in 'the house that Hitler built'"

Dark world comes to life
Author Philip Pullman talks about The Golden Compass and why Tom Stoppard was fired. "I liked what Tom Stoppard wrote very much,” Pullman said, “but I could see the studio's point of view." Reading between the lines, it seems that Stoppard took the story into more complicated realms than New Line thought wise for a teenage audience.

Hollywood Screenwriter Kitty Kavey Continues to Win Awards in 2007
"She’s only taken one screenwriting class in her life, and never graduated high school. Kavey has already won six other awards this year."

Away from Her, Afghanada earn scriptwriting awards
"Sarah Polly has won a Canadian Screenwriting Award for best feature film for her script for Away from Her, the movie she wrote and directed..."

Screenmancer's Brave New Mix of Hollywood Insider Features Debuts
" founder Donna White discusses her "Adventures in Screenwriting," from the perspective of a filmmaker and screenwriter."

Interior Devine
"Her latest book, "Screenwriting for Teens", was just released in November 2006.She is also a professional ghostwriter with The Penn Group in Manhattan."

Everyone suffers in Jindabyne, a Raymond Carver adaptation and ...
"Where Altman suburbanized Carver's story, Lawrence and screenwriter Beatrix Christian maintain its economically-depressed blue-collar milieu."

Changing Times for Lesbians on Film
"Out screenwriter and actor Guinevere Turner, who launched her film career in 1994 with Go Fish, cautioned the panel to keep in mind what is truly important..."

"Whiteout" Will Be Another Faithful Graphic Novel Adaptation
"Screenwriter Christine Roum, currently working on day to day script polishes, assured Rucka's fans that the film's director has total reverence for the material."

Vancouver grass is greener
"Normally, one of the least respected people on the set is the screenwriter but given Coupland's reputation, did he get his due from director Paul Fox..."

Amanda Peet Loves Being A Mom
"Peet, 35, who is married to screenwriter David Benioff, tells People magazine, "I'm very busy with Frances, my projectile-vomiting baby."

A gal's best friend
"'Don't kill the dog,' is a screenwriter's maxim invoked to remind filmmakers not to test the affections of a pooch-loving populace."

Screenwriter happiness
"Screenwriter Mike White serves up two kinds of movies. Sometimes, he gives us 2005's School of Rock or last year's Nacho Libre…"

Death of the auteur
"Don't get me wrong: directors all have their moments here and there. It's just that I can't be bothered to wait around for them any more."

Christopher Landon makes the boys scream
"Openly gay screenwriter Christopher Landon—son of Michael—hits his stride with the new Hitchcockian shocker Disturbia."


GreenCine Daily:

Filmmaker. Spring 07.
"Mumblecore," "Slackavettes," "neo-slacker," "bedhead cinema." It's tough to find a name for an entity that's so nebulous, so diverse and so new it's hardly an entity at all - and yet, something's going on. In the Spring issue of Filmmaker, Alicia Van Couvering does a damn good job of sketching a moving target, and she does so by first asking the right questions: "When is it time to demarcate a filmmaking 'movement'? What if the filmmakers in this movement don't want to be grouped into any kind of movement at all? And what if the films in this movement revolve around the crisis of self-definition? Could it get any worse for one of its members than to have to talk about feeling self-conscious about being in a movement?" And there's a sidebar: Joe Swanberg talks about making LOL, and he's followed by "a selective list of some, but not all, of the films that might comprise the mumblecore movement."

Jack @ 70.
"Jack Nicholson is the greatest American movie actor since Cagney, Bogart and Stewart, and he's as much a part of his time as they were of theirs," writes Philip French, introducing the Observer's salute to the rebel-turned-Hollywood ambassador. Wishing Jack a happy 70th: Dennis Hopper, Kathy Bates, Rob Reiner, Susan Sarandon, Robert Towne, James L Brooks, Danny DeVito and Tim Burton.
Xan Brooks blogs: "There are numerous performers who might lay claim to being the ultimate American screen star (I admit to still holding a candle to Brando). But I don't think any of them has enjoyed the sustained run of great performances in significant films that Nicholson boasted in that golden period between 1968 and 1976. This was an astonishing spell, kicking off with Easy Rider and running through Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, Marvin Gardens, The Last Detail, The Passenger and Chinatown before wrapping up with his Oscar-winning turn in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
Marc Hairapetian had a birthday chat with Nicholson on Thursday for the Frankfurter Rundschau (in German).



Lionsgate Names Thomas Nelson, Inc. Exclusive Distributor in Christian Market
Lionsgate has forged two major partnerships in the faith-based entertainment genre. The Company has reached a distribution agreement with publisher Thomas Nelson, Inc., making Thomas Nelson the exclusive distributor of Lionsgate product in the Christian retail market. The largest Christian publisher and the sixth largest overall publisher in the world, Thomas Nelson is expanding its DVD distribution business through the deal.

Popular Clips from Fun Little Movies
HandHeld Entertainment has expanded its existing agreement with Fun Little Movies (FLM), a leading provider and distributor of mobile entertainment and short comedy films. As a result of the modified agreement, HandHeld can now stream hundreds of FLM’s short comedy videos on the HandHeld Entertainment network of Web sites, including™,™,™,™,™ and™.


Hollywood Reporter:

Columbus nabs 'Thief' at Fox 2000
Chris Columbus is in negotiations to direct Fox 2000's "The Lightning Thief," the first novel in a best-selling fantasy series that the studio bought for Columbus to produce through his 1492 banner.- The Hollywood Reporter - Tatiana Siegel



People's Pilot Announces Winners

Spec Scriptacular Announces Winners Announces All Access Winners

AAA Winners Announced

Gimme Credit Announces Cycle IV Super Short Screenplay Results



Picturehouse, New Line get 'Wild'
Weinstein Co. previously claimed rights

Coens ready for 'Man,' 'Burn'
Brothers pact with Focus, Working Title

Disney slobbers over Factory pitch
TV process successfully applied to film world

'Terabithia' director chases 'Moon'
Goudge novel basis for family fantasy film

Tribeca downloads Jaman
Movie download service strikes deals

Meetings muck up Hollywood
The Back Lot: Much talk, not enough action

DreamWorks scores a triple play
Thompson on Hollywood

How DVDs became a success
Vision, compromise leads to prosperity

New York is ready for its close-up
Tax incentives spur surge in production

'Slevin' trio form production company
'Rum Diary,' 'Echo,' 'Magician' on slate

Columbia closes deal for 'School'
Rodriguez, Ohlson book gets film makeover

Miller takes 'Lives,' replaces Lohan
Actress to play wife of poet Dylan Thomas

Clooney, WB get in 'Crisis' mode
Documentary reimagined as a dark comedy

AFCI touts initiatives
Online tool, program expansion among efforts

Digital proves problematic
Industry lacks method to store footage

Top bosses plot to prevent strike
Suits plan to propose study group

Lynch to direct 'Surveillance'
James, Pullman to star in indie thriller

Streep, Hoffman have 'Doubt'
Duo to star in adaptation of Shanley play

Streep warms up for 'Mamma'

Mann's Theater to go dark
Employee: 'Shooter' last screening

'Brideshead' goes to Miramax
Thompson, Gambon join cast

Grazer to produce 'Colossus'
Universal, Imagine to remake sci-fi saga

'Crash' duo ride Whitewater
Moresco, Harris write McDougal tale

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Creative Inspiration

Hey guys,

I posted this article July of last year and wanted to post it again, as I still find it inspiring. Thought all my new readers out there would, too.

Hope you enjoy it.



You gotta love Hugh Macleod's
gapingvoid blog, which is full of cartoons he's drawn on the backs of business cards (like the one pictured above). Not only that, his blog’s full of creative inspiration, and not only THAT, he offers THE BEST article ON creative inspiration.

In it, he provides 31 personal tips that have helped him over the years, which are listed below. He also wrote simple, compelling examples for each tip. Just exceptional.
Read it. Go here.

1. Ignore everybody.

2. The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to change the world.

3. Put the hours in.

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being "discovered" by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

7. Keep your day job.

8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.

9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

11. Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

13. Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside.

14. Dying young is overrated.

15. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.

16. The world is changing.

17. Merit can be bought. Passion can't.

18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

19. Sing in your own voice.

20. The choice of media is irrelevant.

21. Selling out is harder than it looks.

22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

23. Worrying about "Commercial vs. Artistic" is a complete waste of time.

24. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

25. You have to find your own schtick.

26. Write from the heart.

27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.

28. Power is never given. Power is taken.

29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.

30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

31. Remain frugal.

Kubrick Analysis & Tribute

Monday, April 23, 2007

Subtext - Annie Hall

The clip above is a compilation of great moments from the film. (My favorite scenes are the ones with Diane Keaton singing in the nightclub. They slice through the heart and leave you bleeding.)

I share this because Edward Copeland recently posted
a wonderful article celebrating the 30th anniversary of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.

Copeland said:

As Roger Ebert once wrote about Citizen Kane, that film's structure is such that no matter how often you've seen it, if you come in after it's started, you are never quite certain what scene comes next. Annie Hall works much the same way. While Annie Hall above all else is a comedy (and one of the rare times the Academy saw fit to honor a comedy), Alvy Singer does, if you look hard enough, share some superficial similarities to Charles Foster Kane. Both men are described as islands unto themselves and both just want to be loved, though Woody Allen got to speak frankly about sex in a way Orson Welles couldn't be allowed. ("Don't knock masturbation — it's sex with someone I love"; "As Balzac said, 'There goes another novel.'"; "That's the most fun I've had without laughing." Alvy also has his sexual prowess described as a "Kafkaesque experience," which the woman played by Shelley Duvall insists is a compliment.)

And all that reminded me of our good friend, Billy Mernit, because he had made a similar comparison as Ebert by calling Annie Hall “the Citizen Kane of modern rom-coms.” Not only that, I watched Annie Hall again last week. It's impossible to NOT love Diane Keaton. And every time I watch that movie, I always laugh at something different. Last week, I coudn't stop laughing about that spider in her apartment. And ya know, I could not watch the scenes of her singing in the nightclub without thinking of Mernit’s memorable
Clouds in My Coffee article about the time he spent a year and a half being Keaton’s vocal coach for an album that, regrettably, never came into fruition.

Of Keaton, Mernit wrote:

It’s hard to imagine anyone not getting along well with Keaton, on account of she’s adorable, period: smart, funny, sexy and above all, refreshingly accessible. With her there's no pretense, not a whiff of “I’m Important.” And in that period, coming off of Annie (and Goodbar and The Godfather), she was luminous with the glow of someone good-becoming-great, of coming into her own and being able to do things she’d always wanted to do. Like, sing some of her favorite songs, if she felt like it. You could feel it was a happy time for her -- there was that Warren guy in the picture, too -- and her giddiness was infectious.

In any case, as many of you know, we did a very popular study on
subtext in dialogue, and it occurred to me that Annie Hall contains the mother of all subtext scenes, and I really didn’t do that film any justice by only briefly mentioning it as an example.

And so I offer you the Annie Hall subtext scene, which occurred on Annie’s balcony on her first date with Alvy, just as it was written in the
script by Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman.

Hope you enjoy it.



They put their glasses together in a toast.

God bless.

Well, uh...
You're what Grammy Hall would call a
real Jew.

(Clearing his throat)
Oh, thank you.

Yeah, well... you- She hates Jews.
She thinks that they just make money,
but let me tell yuh, I mean, she's
the one yeah, is she ever. I'm tellin'

(pointing toward the
apartment after a
short pause)
So, did you do shoot the photographs
in there or what?

(Nodding, her hand on
her hip)
Yeah, yeah, I sorta dabble around,
you know.

Annie's thoughts pop on the screen as she talks: I dabble? Listen to me-what a jerk!

They're... they're... they're
wonderful, you know. They have...
they have, uh... a... a quality.

As do Alvy's: You are a great-looking girl.

Well, I-I-I would-I would like to
take a serious photography course

Again, Annie's thoughts pop on: He probably thinks I'm a yo-yo.

Photography's interesting, 'cause,
you know, it's-it's a new art form,
and a, uh, a set of aesthetic criteria
have not emerged yet.

And Alvy's: I wonder what she looks like naked?

Aesthetic criteria? You mean, whether
it's, uh, good photo or not?

I'm not smart enough for him. Hang in there

The-the medium enters in as a
condition of the art form itself.

I don't know what I'm saying-she senses I'm shallow

Well, well, I... to me-I... I mean,
it's-it's-it's all instinctive, you
know. I mean, I just try to uh, feel
it, you know? I try to get a sense
of it and not think about it so much.

God, I hope he doesn't turn out to be a shmuck like the others

Still, still we- You need a set of
aesthetic guide lines to put it in
social perspective, I think.

Christ, I sound like FM radio. Relax.

They're quiet for a moment, holding wine glasses and sipping.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mystery Man in the News

Obituary: Mystery Man
Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.
I’m far better looking than this guy.

Devil worship links to Mystery Man
I sold my soul to master the craft.

Britney Spears Caught Making Out with Mystery Man
Um... I’m not proud of that.

Britney Spears & Mystery Man Caught Having Dry Sex At Rehab Center
It was just a harmless game of Twister. All the kids in rehab play it.

IOL: Mystery Man Anna's baby's father
Oh no - I demand a recount.

E! News - "Lost" finds new Mystery Man
I’m just trying to get close to Kate.

Mystery Man Declares War on Al Qaeda
Well, someone has to step up and get the job done.

Terror Watch: Bin Laden’s Mystery Man
I’ve got him right where I want him.

Statues a Mystery Man created
It was a phase.

Mystery Man Feat. The Last Emperor by DJ Jazzy Jeff on Rhapsody
Yo-yo-yo… Wassup, dogs? (They love to sing about me.)

Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston share the same “Mystery Man”
If they’re okay with it, I’m okay with it.

Courteney's Date with Mystery Man
“Courteney Cox has been spotted holding hands with a Mystery Man, igniting further talk that her marriage with David Arquette is all but over.” We’re not dating. It’s just… her hands get cold.

Nicole Richie with creepy Mystery Man
Misprint - supposed to say “Mystery Man with creepy Nicole Richie.”

Mystery Man robs bank, flees into traffic
That was just... research.

Kylie Minoque seen with Mystery Man
She was using me so I’d write a script for her.
And I was okay with that.

Extra: Lohan's New Mystery Man -
Update - it's over now. She couldn’t keep up with all of my partying. Wimp. She’s also quite rude to the little people.

And finally -

ABC News: Mystery Man Plans Super Bowl Proposal
"He’s calling the proposal 'the most public declaration of love in the history of mankind.'" Will it be Jennifer? Cameron? Kylie? You'll just have to watch and see.



Thursday, April 19, 2007

Inner Conflict

This is a continuation of our series on Character Development Sheets.

If you were writing a tragedy, this would be the tragic flaw. In
Aristotle’s Poetics (which was his response to Plato's attack on Greek tragedy for encouraging a shameful indulgence in sorrowful emotion) this would be Hamartia – the mistake, the flaw, the failure, the fault, or the sin of the protagonist that would lead to his or her downfall. This is where we find in Sophocles' Oedipus the King and Shakespeare's Othello men who fall into pride, error, and in the end, self-destruction.

In non-tragic contemporary terms, this is the weakness of the hero, the internal obstacles of characters that keep them from achieving their
end goals. It is the adventurer with the deathly fear of snakes, the spy who can’t resist women he knows will ultimately betray him, the mobster who believes in "family values," or it’s the romantic with that one little hiccup that keeps him/her sidelined in the game of love. Or it’s what characters think they want and what they really need. It’s poor Willy Loman who wants to look at his life with a sense of pride and accomplishment, but he just cannot emotionally accept his failure as a breadwinner, his failure as a faithful husband, and his failure to bring up decent sons. And it is our job to not only define what the inner conflict is but also exploit that conflict in an external way, usually through relationships, in order to maximize its dramatic potential.

There was a great post by
Nienke Hinton last January over at the Writing Life on Inner Conflict. I loved this quote from Caro Clark:

“A character's inner conflict is not just being in two minds about something, not just being torn between obvious incompatibles (“I want to be a priest, and yet I love her”) but is about being in a new situation where old attitudes and habits war with and hinder the need for change. For instance, a man who drives himself to succeed because he doesn't want to be like his happy-go-lucky father is suddenly confronted with a situation where he isn't winning. Or an executive discovers that her ambition to be vice president of her company is being thwarted by her own self-doubt. This war inside each of your characters makes them act and react in complex ways.

“You show these internal conflicts not by means of internal dialogue (which is a cop-out and is dull), but by showing your characters responding to their own inner compulsions. She, for instance, decides to confront her own self-doubts by taking on a no-win project where the local people are opposing a development. She is determined to be hard-nosed, prove she's vice-president material. He is always confrontational, fearing that one minute of negotiation would be the first step to becoming a wimp like his father. You have a grade-A opposites-attract situation here, yet it is believable because we understand why each of them is acting the way they do, why they are foolishly stubborn, by it's important for each of them to win.”

And finally, I discovered a wonderful webpage,
Shy United, who posted a list of inner conflicts that might help inspire you:

1. One part of ourselves may feel we need to spend more time on our professional life while another part may believe we should spend more time with our family.

2. A part of ourselves may want to open up to a conscious love relationship, while another part fears being abandoned, hurt, suppressed, manipulated, or being unable to be ourselves in that relationship.

3. One part of ourselves may want to give those around us (children, spouses, friends) total freedom to pursue their happiness in their own ways, while another part fears losing control.

4. The part of ourselves that wants to please others may come into direct conflict with our desire to satisfy our own needs.

5. Part of ourselves may want others to support us, while the other feels restricted by their support or advice.

6. One part of ourselves may want spiritual growth, while another may feel the need for material security.

7. One part of ourselves may want to help loved ones or friends, but the other may feel that perhaps we are doing them harm by continuously bailing them out and not letting them solve their own problems.

8. One part of ourselves may feel a need to protect the planet by living a simple life with very little consumption of energy and products, while another part may want to enjoy all the comforts of an energy consuming, pollution producing lifestyle.

9. One part of ourselves may want to take a new job or leave a job that we have, while another part wants the opposite for different reasons.

10. One part of ourselves may believe in cooperating with others, while another finds that difficult.

11. One part of ourselves may have a desire for various objects or situations as a source of pleasure, while another part may feel, this is a sin, or that we are not spiritual if we partake of such pleasures. It may feel this type of pleasure seeking is a waste of time and energy considering our spiritual goals.

12. One part of ourselves may feel the need to have an exclusive relationship in which our happiness and security depend upon another person (usually a mate). Another part may find this an obstacle toward its need for independence, self-sufficiency, and freedom.

13. Our need for personal love may conflict with our need to develop universal love.

14. Our need to forgive may conflict with our need to hold on to negative feelings toward someone.

15. Our need to employ various disciplines may conflict with our need to feel free to do whatever we please whenever we choose.

16. Our need to follow our inner voice may conflict with our need to be like others and be accepted by them.

17. Our need to express our feelings as they are may conflict with our need not to hurt anyone.

18. Our need to express our real feelings and thoughts might clash with our need to have the others? acceptance.

19. Our need to follow a spiritual guide might conflict with our need to rebel against all types of advice or control.

20. Our need to control persons and situations in order to feel secure may conflict with our need to let things flow and allow others to act freely.

21. Our need never to show weakness may conflict with our need to share our weaknesses with others or seek their help.

22. Our desire not to ask anything from others may conflict with our need to have their help and support.

23. Our need for a stable routine for our balance and growth may conflict with our need for variety and change.

24. Our need to play our familiar emotional relationship games may conflict with our desire to get free ourselves from them.

25. One part of us wants to face and overcome our fears and blockages while another prefers to avoid and ignore them.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Screenwriting News! Links! Shout-Outs!

Hey guys,

I can't help myself. I just love this clip and added it to my
Goodbye, Lois article. It’s a love montage in honor of Richard Donner and includes a number of moments from Donner’s version of Superman II. In the last minute, you’ll see one of my favorite scenes from Donner’s version, which occurred toward the end of the movie. After it's all over, Superman drops Lois off on her balcony. A few words. She cries. He kisses her and flies away. Such a sweet little scene.

I noticed that a lot of people keep digging through my site looking for Mahler's Script-Beat Calculator. Thus, I added it to my sidebar under "Writer's Resources." Hope that helps.

Ya know, there’s so much going on that my head is spinning. Tomorrow, I’m going to continue my series on
Character Development Sheets. There’s another roundtable discussion in the works (similar to what we did with James Cameron’s A Crowded Room). I’ve also got a wide variety of script reviews coming (including Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York), movie breakdowns, and I’m gearing up for a study on the fine art of WRITING EXPOSITION.

Not only that, on Friday (and for the next six weeks), I’m going to post hour-long videos on the birth of European Cinema. It’s a great series narrated by Kenneth Branagh, and if you have a passion for movies like I do, you will be absolutely addicted to these videos. Inspiring, moving, educational - it really changed my perception of film history.

Okay, I'm going to bed.



New Scripts:


Black Dahlia


Dead Silence


The Cincinnati Kid


Around Scribosphere:

Billy Mernit on Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt looked more like a writer than any other writer I've ever seen. He was wearing a worn cardigan and corduroys, his hair was disheveled and mustache droopy, his eyes behind silver-framed spectacles seemed fixed on something miles away, and there was a cigarette hanging from his lower lip that looked glued there, defying gravity. If one can imagine New York City as a kind of giant industrial farm, then he looked like one over-worked farm animal. Slightly stooped, with his hands shoved deep in his cardigan pockets, he didn't so much walk as galumph, with a distracted and slightly pained expression, as if he'd recently been smacked in the face with a large wet salmon but expected as much: "so it goes."

John August on How to Introduce a Character
1. Show and tell - The best character introductions tend to include both a sense of what you see (the character’s physical appearance) and an intriguing tidbit about their personality and/or situation. That’s certainly the case with both Burke and Lance. You don’t have to give an age range, but it’s common. You don’t have to say the character is good-looking, but if it’s your hero, that’s not a bad idea. While many actors want to play “ordinary people,” they prefer playing “quirkily good-looking” ordinary people.

Scribosphere is going through a huge change and will hopefully take the scribosphere-revolution a big step further. It is aiming to become an advanced online workshop. They would love to get some feedback or tips about the concept. You can find more info by visiting scribosphere.

Unk on Using Google Notebook to outline your screenplay…
First of all, it only works with Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers so be aware of that… Second, it’s pretty damn fast to get started… Within MINUTES, I had the first act of an idea that’s been kicking around in my head more or less plotted out.

Great Site – Film Industry Terms by Department
Also added to my sidebar. Thank you, Dix!

Bill Martel on Script Notes
As a writer, I often know what works and what doesn’t just by instinct. That might be good enough when I’m writing the script, but it’s not god enough when I’m discussing the notes with a producer. There I need *evidence*. You can’t discuss feelings and instincts and opinions. We all have those. The only thing we can discuss as facts. That means we need to be able to figure out why one thing works and another doesn’t so that we can discuss the notes. We need to be able to cite evidence when we discuss notes, so that it’s not "he said, she said" but creative decisions based on a logical reason. And this goes for both sides of the table - producers and development executives need to be able to explain the reasons behind their notes.

I share this because everyone should feel free to blog about screenwriting
This is the first in a series of posts in which I profess to know something about screenwriting. One day, after a long and illustrious writing career, I might bump into these nuggets and chuckle at their caveman-like simplicity… Anyhoo. Less is more. Yeah, it’s a tired cliché, but that doesn't make it less apt. In the rewriting process, nothing has rung more true for me. Every draft I do, shrinks in page length, but grows in content. Amazing right? What it is, is the product of bloat coupled with the startling reality that more than one thing can be happening in a given scene. Yeah, I know, mind-blowing stuff. Take my football script that started out at 165 pages and is dangerously close to a respectable 120 as I write this.


From GreenCine Daily:

Reverse Shot. On Demand
"If each film 'generation' has its own particular point of view, as surely, drastically, the next one will, then what is ours? And how does it aid/impede us?" ask Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert in the editorial that opens Issue 19 of Reverse Shot: "On Demand." The "us" here are the RS writers themselves, and "most of us came of age as cinephiles in the era of home video... [W]e were the first generation which had access to a wide array of movies all of the time... And as a result, we watched, a lot, and over and over, making us the first on-demand generation." The issue, then, is a collection of pieces on films "seen many, many times, across different periods of [our] lives."

John Hughes movies don't lose anything on the small screen," writes Eric Hynes, who, "like thousands, perhaps millions of people roughly my age," has seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off "several dozen times." Back to his point: "Hughes's art depends on the quality of the writing, full stop. When his writing is good, as in Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, his films are as funny, exhilarating, and remain as timeless as anything from the post-silent, pre-television heyday of Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch."

Oxford American. Southern Movie Issue
Not only has the Oxford American put together an impressive "Southern Movie Issue 2007," they're also tossing in a free DVD for the first time - there's a trailer for it at the site, as well as liner notes by Marc Smirnoff - and they've posted a generous selection of articles online.

Baby Doll is a movie about people not having sex," writes Jack Pendarvis, for example. "Man, it is so hot when they don't have sex in that swing. But I'm getting ahead of myself."

Tom Carson looks back on the romance between Paul Newman, "a half-Jewish, middle-class joe from Cleveland," and the South. By the 70s, "From Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Sweet Bird of Youth, and Hud to Cool Hand Luke, those blue eyes had spent so much screen time sizing up Delta mansions, muggy Gulf Coast hotels, and lonesome Texas ranch houses as fit thrones for the Newman loins that most actresses playing opposite him could have sued the scenery for alienation of affection. Putting on a Southern accent used to stimulate him the way chances to suffer did Montgomery Clift."


Around the World:

Robert McKee Takes the Stand
Friends, this article is for the screenwriting history books. Robert McKee appeared as an “expert witness” in a Hollywood breach-of-contract case that pits Clive Cussler against Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz. Both sides are fighting over who is to blame for the financial failure of the movie "Sahara," which was financed by Anschutz's production company. And here is what McKee said: "I mean, I cannot overstate how terrible the writing is," McKee testified. "It is flawed in every way writing can be flawed." Attorney Bertram Fields said McKee's verbal attacks were "totally irrelevant" to the case. "He is a very good actor and he uses colorful language," Fields said. "I think he was all wet." "The writing is very bad," he testified. "How bad? I have thought of phrases like 'seriously flawed' [or] 'fatally flawed.' But it is beyond all of that, because when something is flawed there is an implication that something else about it is good." McKee said he counted more than 50 examples of coincidences, poor logic, out-of-character moments and improbabilities in Cussler's script. "On average, there is something unbelievable happening every two minutes," he said. The screenplay treated the audience like "dimwits that need everything explained to them three times over." By the way, McKee was paid by Anschutz at a rate of $500 an hour and has received more than $60,000 as one of Anschutz's experts.

Chinese debutante makes Orange Prize for Fiction shortlist
Guo, from a fishing village in southern China, has worked as a screenwriter, film director and film teacher as well as writing books in Chinese.

Incredible Hulk Screenwriter Discusses the Norton Signing
"It's not going to be a sequel, but it's hard to describe ... The best description I would say is something like 'Batman Begins' where it's not necessarily out of continuity with the other movies, though that was more of an origin story. It's much more of a reboot, the way that 'Aliens' is a sequel to 'Alien,' but the kinds of movie are different." Oh. Okay.

Stone Accused of Racial Slur
African-American screenwriter Barry Michael Cooper has revealed that Stone made an offensive comment when he approached the Platoon director at a party in 1991, to praise his work. The New Jack City writer tells the New York Daily News: "Oliver Stone's my hero, so I went over to him. (I said) 'Man, I love your movie 'Wall Street'. He said to me: 'Okay, thank you very much. I bet you like Scarface too. All n**gers like Scarface.'" But Cooper claims Stone is not racist, adding: "He was tipsy. We were all a little tipsy. I don't think he meant it maliciously."

`Sideways' approach to `Judgment in Paris'?
It will be interesting to see what screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen does with George Taber's 2005 book "Judgment of Paris" (Scribner; $26). Following the success of "Sideways," a story of two single guys on a Santa Barbara wine-country trip prior to one of them getting married, it's no wonder that a wine-related script about a historic event should receive more than the usual attention even before it's completed. For those who don't know about the famous Paris wine tasting in 1976, it was when top-rated California cabernet sauvignons and chardonnays were judged by French experts against some of the best French equivalents - red Bordeaux and white Burgundies. And in both categories, a Californian won.

Mark Poirier Penning Russian Bride Project
Pictures has hired screenwriter Mark Poirier to pen the untitled Russian bride project set up at Todd Phillips' eponymous production company...

Local Screenwriter Works On New Film
From Cedar City Review, UT - Strasmann is a screenwriter who got his start in college writing for a campus newspaper. Journalism was not necessarily his forte...

Open Letter To The Public Issued By KST Communications Over Copyright Infringement Issue
April 17, 2007 --- This press release is issued as an open letter to the public in an attempt to elicit others who have experienced copyright infringement in the entertainment-screenwriting industry to join against this issue - it is not designed or intended to publicly humiliate anyone. All of the following parties mentioned in this release were immediately contacted upon discovery of this copyright infringement issue, and each had several months and countless opportunities to resolve the situation. This press release is based on the facts to reveal the truth and further expose an ongoing problem within the entertainment industry.

Local screenwriter releases ‘Vacancy’
“Vacancy” is Smith’s first major studio release, although he has sold many films, including one called “The Last Kiss” to Mel Gibson. “Less than 10 percent of scripts sold are made. This is first one [of mine] to go to studio,” Smith said.

Director Todd Robinson has turned his grandfather's famous '40s case into a big time movie
Robinson, whose screenwriting credits include the 1996 true-life sea drama "White Squall," admits he took a few dramatic liberties re-creating Elmer's rocky relationships with his wife and son.

…At this point, Carnahan could stroll into Alan Horn's office nude, brandishing a screenplay about hyper-intelligent tsetse flies trained by the CIA to travel back into time to assassinate the Zulu warlord Shaka (who himself has gone back in time to assassinate George Washington), and walk out with a seven figure deal. Matthew Michael Carnahan is living the screenwriting dream. But is he any good? Judging from State of Play (tentatively scheduled to begin principal photography in November)... yeah, he's real good.

Bruckheimer/Bay Teaming up for Prince of Persia Film
Jeffrey Nachmanoff, a screenwriter on The Big Gig and The Day After Tomorrow, is handling further revisions.

Why so many novels never make it to the big screen
Books provide filmmakers with ready-made plots on which to base screenplays (useful when plagiarism claims start to fly), and a proven audience. But unless they are global mega-sellers like Dan Brown, J K Rowling or Michael Crichton, the actual authors are lower on the food chain than the screenwriter, and if you think they are respected, watch Sunset Boulevard or The Player.

MOVIE MEN: Adam Brody plays a Michigan-bred screenwriter in Jonathan Kasdan's autobiographical 'In the Land of Women'
His friend is Jonathan Kasdan, who appeared briefly, at age 4, in a classic movie written and directed by his father, former Detroiter Lawrence Kasdan, titled "The Big Chill." In a 2002 episode of "Dawson's Creek," where he worked as a staff writer, he was cast in the small role of "Gawky-Looking Kid." He is now 26, making his directing debut with "In the Land of Women," which stars Brody and opens Friday.

Screenwriter AJ Carothers dead at 75
Film and television screenwriter A.J. Carothers has died of cancer at the age of 75 at his home in Los Angeles. Carothers, who had been in the writing business since the 1940s, was the writer behind the 1980s comedies "The Secret of My Success," starring Michael J. Fox, and "The Happiest Millionaire," starring Fred MacMurray, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Exclusive: Kurt Vonnegut's 'Sirens Of Titan' Being Adapted For Big Screen
Screenwriter James V. Hart reveals details of script, which late novelist collaborated on.

Mamet Gets His Black Belt
The man who taught you to Always Be Closing is just locking up a deal to direct a script he has written about the Jiu-Jitsu fight world of Los Angeles. Playwright, screenwriter and, now director, David Mamet has signed onto Sony Pictures Classic to direct Redbelt, says Variety.

Myst writer developing Splinter Cell 5 story
Mary DeMarle is helping shape the script for Ubisoft's new Splinter Cell game. In an interview printed in new book Game Design by Deborah Todd, DeMarle has recounted the exact design process behind the latest game, explaining that the writer and development team are working very closely, with the design and screenwriting disciplines helping inform one another.

‘Phoenix’ battles rumors
The screenwriter for the next Harry Potter movie is out to refute insults on the Internet. Claims swirling around late last week suggested that “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” suffers from too many plot cuts and that J.K. Rowling is asking for a scriptwriting team for the last two films. Michael Goldenberg, who did the book-to-film translation, says she has never relayed that concern to him.



Chinese Film Industry Is Estimated to Reach $900 Million
“China film industry is forecasted to grow from generating $250 million in box office profits in 2005 to reach close to $900 million by 2010 and almost $2 billion by 2015. Furthermore, China will follow a steep upward trend to overtake the U.S. film industry, currently the dominant global market leader, by sometime in 2050.”



Sahara Movie Budget Includes $237,386 in Bribes

David Arquette plans Braveheart-like Epic

Raiders and Empire Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan Remakes Clash of the Titans

David Goyer talks Super Max

David Goyer’s Unconventional Green Arrow Movie - Super Max

Kevin Smith’s Red State



Ohio Independent Screenplay Award Winners Announced

A/Exposure Announces February Script of the Month

Gimme Credit Announces Cycle IV Super Short Screenplay Results
HollywoodIQ: Talent Manager Jeanne Field, Part One

VFF Announces Contest Results Announces Spec Scriptacular Finalists

TV Writer.Com Announces People's Pilot Finalists

Red Inkworks Announces Contest Winners

12th Annual Monterey Screenplay Competition Opens for Entries

Who's Buying What Interview: Matthew Cooke Delivering a Good Screenplay

Arizona Screenplay Challenge Announces Contest Winners

Creative Screenwriting Announces AAA Finalists Announces Finalists

Screenplay Festival Announces 2006 Contest Winners

Hollywood Comes to Santa Fe Next Month Announces Spec Scriptacular Semifinalists


Hollywood Reporter:

Kasdan's mighty pen on 'Titans'
Screenwriting hero Lawrence Kasdan, left, has been tapped to pen "Clash of the Titans" for Warner Bros. Pictures. Basil Iwanyk is producing via Thunder Road.

Marshall helming 'Nine' film adaptation
Rob Marshall will direct a big-screen version of the 1982 Broadway musical "Nine" for the Weinstein Co. Marshall and John DeLuca will choreograph the adaptation of the show, which won five Tonys, including best musical.- The Hollywood Reporter - By Gregg Goldstein



Fox 2000 is with 'Child'
Ridley Scott to direct film '44'

Singapore festival rebuffs censors
'Sankara' sets tone of cinematic renewal

Toronto festival honors Hong Kong
'Isabella,' 'Dumplings' amongst films

Rogue, Creaseys are 'B.F.F.'
'Studio' writers sell romantic-comedy spec

'Undateable' finds a match
Angelo, Brown sell pitch

Poirier weds Warners project
Phillips Co. to produce Russian bride film

Chow drops out of 'Red Cliff'
Star exits Woo epic three days into shooting

Goodman exit snarls 'Pope Joan'
Project's principal photography postponed

James Lyons, 46, film editor
Worked with directors Haynes, Coppola

The Back Lot: The Imus inquisition
Discussions of shock jock carries ominous subtext

Independent films going online
Directors bypassing standard distribution

Red to direct, write '100 Feet'
Janssen attached to star with Cannavale

Grant making it 'Happen'
Dance film to be based in burlesque world

Norton to star in 'Hulk'
Marvel movie to be released in 2008

Polanski's 'Pompeii' takes shape
RAI acquires Italian rights to film

New Line picks up 'Latin Lover'
Comedy to be produced by Benderspink

Greenberg psyched for bio
Hendrickson to adapt Kassorla's story

Sony, Mamet put on 'Redbelt'
Film set in Jiu-Jitsu fight world

Dueling directors Milk a good story
Singer, Van Sant line up similar projects

Report: Violence still aimed at kids
FTC urges changes to marketing standards

New rules for gay roles
Homosexual role models make mark in film

Risk-takers who should be honored
Gay actors, characters step out

New cameras have actors reloading
High-def revolutionizes the craft of actors, director

'Barbarella' back in action
'Royale' writers to revive character

Fraser returns for 'Mummy 3'
Weisz leaving lucrative franchise

Chinese back lot grows to epic proportions
Strengths are in its moviemaking infrastructure

Iceland's landscape brings big names
Island Locations: Iceland

3-D driving digital business
Demand for new technology in high gear