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


Kitty said...

Mystery Man, I love you! Thank you for putting my link on your blog... I've never been blogged before!
Kitty Kavey

Peter Nellhaus said...

Thank you for mentioning and linking the Shakespeare blog-a-thon.

Mystery Man said...

Hey guys, you're welcome!

bob said...

Where's my link??? Oh wait I don't have a blog. If I only had something relevant to say! Hey MM, I know gathering up all these links is a lot of work- so thanks!

GameArs said...

Another brilliant blog. I wish I could read every article. I loved the Rolling Stone story on Jack and one day, I hope I am making my own video called "Cameron Working for Me". :)

Unk's latest is more goodness as usual, too.

Laura Deerfield said...

I really enjoyed "My Tarantino Problem, and Yours" - it helped me put a finger on why I've never been an enthusiastic Tarantino fan.

I enjoy his movies, but I don't come out of them excited the way so many people I know do.

It's exactly what Matt Zoller Seitz said about it feeling like these movies aren't about real gangsters, or women, or violence - but about movie gangsters and women and violence. Like Tarantino's only experience of life is through the movies. As if all of it is quoted from somewhere else, and as if he has no real point of view other than "that was cool."

Which, yeah, can be fun - but it doesn't effect me, doesn't touch me - and I want to be touched.

Mystery Man said...

Bob - Anything for you, man.

Carl - Cameron's great. I'll put in a good word for ya. Hehehe...

Laura - I'll bet you do. Where do I sign up for that? Hehehe...


Laura Deerfield said...

Next time you're in Dallas, drop me a line and I'll answer that.

Mystery Man said...

I will! Hehehe...