Friday, December 28, 2007

Screenwriting News for the Holiday Blues!

Stocky: One Man vs Christmas Dinner

This sensational holiday vid was put together by our good friend and writer / filmmaker Tim Clague. Great job, man.



You may have heard the gossipy lip-smacking amongst fanboys the world over following the release of I Am Legend over a billboard (visible early in the film) of a Batman vs. Superman film to be released on 5/15/10. There’s nothing to get excited about. It was just an Easter Egg-y gag suggested by Akiva Goldsman who worked on the Batman vs. Superman screenplay (when it was oh-so-close to being produced). However, due to of all this recent talk, I thought it’d be fun to post (soon) a review of Batman vs. Superman, because there are some great lessons to be learned from
Goldsman’s script. (Err, I should say “Goldsman’s revision of Andrew Kevin Walker’s script.”)

Also, a new article from Miriam Paschal on the “Shower Scenes of Brian DePalma” (that’s been months in the making) will be published soon (with over 60 photos)!

So stick around. Hope you enjoy the links.



New Screenplays:

Fox Searchlight’s
For Your Consideration, which offers The Darjeeling Limited, Juno, Once, The Savages, Waitress, and The Namesake.

For Your Consideration, which offers American Gangster, Breach, Knocked Up, The Kingdom, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

For Your Consideration, which offers No Country For Old Men, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Gone Baby Gone, and The Hoax.

And Paramount Vantage’s
For Your Consideration, which offers A Mighty Heart, Into the Wild, The Kite Runner, and There Will Be Blood.


Lists, Lists, Lists:

Mad Screenwriter’s “New Screenwriting Books for 2008”

Lucy Vee’s
Required Reading for Screenwriters
Articles about everything from Dialogue to Structure to Characters.

Best of Joshua James who turned three this year.

Rhys Southan’s
List of Non-WGA Signatory Production Companies
“Most of the production companies I've found through Everyone Who's Anyone, cross-checking the companies they list with the list of struck companies on the WGA site, and making sure the non-struck companies have updated web sites and are still making movies. I'll be updating this as I find more…”

DexPac’s “Pottentially Usefull ScreenWriting Links”
(Dude – There’s no “TT” in “potentially” and only one “L” in “useful.” And you don’t have to capitalize the “W” in “screenwriting,” either.) Still, a decent list.

Dave Kehr writes about the 25 titles that were recently added to the National Film Registry: “Once again, it's a diverse, wide-ranging selection, not intended as any kind of 'best' list (though inevitably it is interpreted that way) but instead as a reflection of American film culture in all of its forms and fashions, from home movies (the extraordinary Our Day, a 1938 film by Wallace Kelly of Lebanon, Kentucky, that displays a more sophisticated sense of mise-en-scene than the great majority of current Hollywood features) to the most expensive and elaborate industrial products (Back to the Future, Close Encounters of the Third Kind).”

And here’s
Roger Ebert’s 2007 Top 10 List. Here’s Jim Emerson’s list in a convenient montage format. Here are lists from NYT critics - A.O. Scott, Manohla Dargis and Stephen Holden. Here’s Girish. Her’s Caryn James on actors and their labors of love. And – OH, SCREW IT - here’s a comprehensive list of lists.


Photostreams for the Visually-Oriented Writers:

Rodrigo Adonis


Paul Grand

vaneska~tHOmz's photos

Jason Hightower




Filmmaker’s Ronin is Looking for a Screenplay
“Serious Inquires only. If you do not understand the meaning of 3 acts or more, please do not reply. We are looking to option a feature script for a negotiable amount. Our website is under construction. If you email us the script there is about a 99% chance it will not be reviewed. Please send a hard copy only. You will be contacted if we are interested.”

14-Year-Old Needs Advice on Screenwriting
“Ok, I have a real interest in screenwriting. Ever since I was 6 & I’m now 14. I was really inspired in this field by the wonderful works of Michael Imperioli. Or as he’s probably best known as Chris Moltisanti on the Sopranos. I write a lot of stuff and my friends say I’m really talented at it, but I would like to improve a little. I would like to improve on how to think up characters and a good plot, and whats the best way to improve on scripts? If anyone could give me a good website, or some advice would be very much appreciated! Also what is the best screenwriting software for a computer? Thanks!”

Unk on Your First Ten Pages
“These first 10 pages have to grab the reader and hopefully, your audience — and inject them with quite a few things but probably most important of all? These 10 pages have to send a clear message to the reader and your audience that they are in for the read and or movie of their lives! These 10 pages need to scream out to the reader and audience that everything they ever thought they knew about screenplays and movies is now going out the fucking window because Baby… You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

John August on
Characters who are not yet important
“Yes. If a character needs to be in a scene, you need to put him there. If you don’t, there’s every possibility he’ll get dropped out of the schedule when it comes time to shoot that scene. Screenplays are literary works, but they’re also instructions. Recipes of a sort. While it might be tempting to leave something out — “Of course they’ll remember that Balthazar is at the funeral!” — assumptions like this invite mistakes.”

(August would also like for you to
nominate his script, The Nines, which is available for download here. Dude – it was a good script, but it’s not Oscar-worthy.)

Alex Epstein says:
Don’t be afraid of Negotiating
“The only producers who can be ‘scared off’ by contracts are those who plan not to pay you what they promised. And the only producers who will be scared off by a legit agent are those who want to rip you off.”

Strongest film scripts come from dive into unknown
“Blending the unique and the familiar is a challenge for any writer, but many writers in contention for this year's original screenplay Oscar have stretched the boundaries of what audiences will accept, sometimes challenging them to find the familiar in the most unfamiliar things of all.”

Emily Blake’s
Eight shows action writers should see
“3) Myth Busters. Discovery Channel.
“Please tell me you've seen Mythbusters. Adam and Jamie, two former special effects guys, and their crew test out common legends to see if they're true. From this show I have learned that you should touch metal before you touch the gas pump if you've been sitting in the car at the station, you cannot talk to each other while freefalling from an airplane, and throwing a lighted match into a pool of gasoline will not start a fire. Plus, they blow stuff up real good.”

For Whom Do We Write?
“It's the eternal question: For whom does a writer write? The lofty answer, of course, is ‘I write for me.’ A better answer must always be, it depends. Let us lucubrate together.” (Confession: I posted this link just because it said “Let us lucubrate together.”)

‘Taking Of Pelham’ Not As Easy As ‘123,’ Says Screenwriter
"Four hijackers overtake a NYC subway car, override the “dead-man’s switch” – a fail-safe which is supposed to ensure a human driver – manage to extort a $1 million ransom, and then escape off the train before sending it hurtling around the bowels of Manhattan, ensuring that police all head the wrong way. To call the plan at the center of 1974’s “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” genius is an understatement. But how in the world would it work today – with passengers all carrying cell phones, with GPS, with laptop computers and thermo-imaging? That’s the big dilemma for screenwriter David Koepp, who recently adapted the novel for director Tony Scott and star Denzel Washington."

Writer arrested after criticising Beijing Olympics
“Wang was arrested when police came and searched his home in the Quanzhou Chengbei district of Guilin on the afternoon of 13 December, removing articles, books and his computer. His family said he was accused of defamation and was taken to the Quanzhou Chengbei police station in the early evening. Later that night, the family learned that he had been charged with ‘inciting subversion of state authority.’”

Shatner May End Up in Star Trek XI, Says Screenwriter
“’Still, it could happen,’ Orci admitted after explaining to SciFi that the problem is two fold: ‘One, from our point of view, we are still hoping to find a way. Secondly, one of the difficulties that was brought up and discussed with Shatner when we all met him and pitched him ideas is that Trek fans are sticklers for their canon. [And,] unfortunately, Shatner’s Captain Kirk was killed in Star Trek VII [1994’s Generations].’”

Lost Boys 2 Writer Still Believes
“Leader of the new vamp pack is actor Angus Sutherland, real-life brother of Kiefer, here playing Shane who travels the world with his fanged chums. Yes, they're surfing vampires. But Rodionoff is quick to dismiss that these are not the stereotypical ‘bro’ and ‘dude’-dropping wave riders we've seen in cinema countless times. Roving gypsies is more like it. Traveling the world and pissed off that they've been deprived of sunlight. ‘You don't really get to see them surfing much in the movie. I didn't want them to be fake and create surfers that don't exist. If I did that, I knew my surfer friends were going to be beat me up and then the horror crowd would beat me up," he laughs. "The idea isn't that they were vampires who decided to start surfing. They were surfers who, while they were in Fiji or something, were attacked. They can't go in the sun. They have to get their kicks now in other ways - which translates to killing. They're not what you think of when you say surfers.’”

Zach Campbell’s
The Moment of Death
“Like Blow-Up, The Passenger affirms the impossibility of seeing the crime in the present. Here the moment of transition from the living to the dead body is concealed, maintained offscreen through a complex camera movement that traces a hollow space, installs a void in the center of the scene, and empties out vision from within. The camera, and the spectator with it, sees from this groundless position, this invisible space in which somebody is dying. Through a complete reversal of perspective, the vanishing point, the point sanctioning the disappearance of the scene, is being projected all the way back to the viewpoint and even behind it.”

GreenCine: Nicole Brenez, author of one of the most superlatively praised film books in recent memory, Abel Ferrara, opens the new issue of Rouge with "Shops of Horror: Notes for a Visual History of the Reification of Emotion in a Capitalist Regime, or (to put it more bluntly) 'Fuck the Money,'" a piece so musical it's got an overture. The parameters are laid - "Three low-budget auteur films" - before we head out on explorations within them, circling first close to home, then wider. Not too far along, for example: "The Shop Around the Corner takes, as its premise, the female fantasy of the Ideal Man - in order, finally, to describe the relations of force in the world of work. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie invents nightmarish narrative forms and deconstructs its narrative so as to liberate figurative possibilities linked to the female body. Go Go Tales addresses - under the cover of a lighthearted reverie - the nightmare that human relations have become in a capitalist regime."

Justine hosted a Powell and Pressburger Blog-a-Thon.

Just read
Offscreen’s issue on “Popular Italian Cinema.” Here are some great essays:
File Under Fire: A brief history of Italian crime films
Italy by Caliber 9 –The Films of Fernando di Leo
Crime Naples Style: The Guapparia Movie
Homosexuality and the Italian Spaghetti Western
All the Colors of the Dark vs. They’re Coming to Get You

Paul Thomas Anderson: Tracking through a Fantastic Reality
“André Crous argues the case for P. T. Anderson as the finest contemporary exponent of the tracking shot in all its varying glory and complexity.”

There Will Be Blood -
Take 1 and Take 2.

(The script is now
available here.)

Talk is Cheap: City of Lights
“What is there left to be said about City Lights? Everything that can be written, it seems, has been written. The greatest ending in the history of cinema. Orson Welles’ favorite film. Chaplin’s masterpiece that could only have been made after the advent of sound. And so on, and so on. That the masterpiece of silent cinema could only have been made after the talkies began seems an especially prescient point; watching City Lights, with its dialogue-as-robotic-squawking opening, I felt increasingly aware of the purity of silence. The silent form, as employed by Chaplin, forces a certain distance from the Tramp that allows us to empathize with him in a way we could not empathize with a character we heard speak. Of course, the other comment that begs to be made is that, with sound, the grandiosity, the mythicness of the film -- be it City Lights' ambitious comedic sequences, or its moments of silent poignancy -- could not be taken seriously.”


On the Contest Circuit:

Movie Script Contest Announces Contest Winners Announces Quarter Finalists

New Screenplay Contest will Produce Winning Screenplay
“The grand prize in this new screenwriting contest is something every screenwriter wants — a produced movie. will pick one winner and make the movie this year. Portland, OR (PRWEB) May 5, 2005 — It’s nice to win the grand prize in screenplay contests, but odds are, the winning screenplay just won’t get produced. If you examine the statistics of the most prestigious screenplay contest around, the Nicolls Fellowship Screenwriting Competition, you’ll see, according to their website, 68,000 screenplays were submitted over 18 years and a mere 84 fellows were selected. Of those 84 fellows, only about 35 of those have been produced. Not good numbers. But a new screenplay contest,, will produce the winning screenplay and market it to television and theatrical distributors.”

Disney Fellowship 2008 update

"So, here’s the 411 on the 2008 Disney Fellowship. The 2008 Fellowhsip year will not start until the writer’s strike is over. The selection process has continued on as usual. If you have applied for the 2008 Disney Fellowship and you have not gotten a call from them, then you did not get in. 'Dear John' letter started arriving in mailboxes this week."

Here’s Lianne’s
2008: Dates for Your Diary (Part 1)
For example, here’s January:

Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship Program

Orange/Bafta 60 Seconds of Fame Contest
Create a 60-second film on the theme 'unite'.

dumbFUNDED Theatre Sketch Competition
8 minute comedy sketches on the theme "‘Town & Country".

HighTide Theatre Festival submissionsRequesting submissions from playwrights with plays of no more than 90 minutes and 'emerging' theatre companies looking at developing a piece.

Scripapalooza Screenplay Competition Early Bird Deadline

Sony TropFest Short Film Competition

17th International Writing Contest Final Deadline

15th: Britspotting 2008:
Call for entries

PAGE International Screenwriting Awards early deadline

Filmbase Short Film Awards
Applicants must be fully paid up members of Filmbase as of the deadline.

Alcantara Movie Contest
Filmmakers must create a 3 minute film around the theme of the extraordinary, every day concept.

24/7 Theatre Festival Call for Scripts
Plays under 60 minutes.

Drama Association of Wales One Act Playwriting Competition



Dave Can’t Wait
“DAVID Letterman is poised to announce tomorrow that he is going back on the air Jan. 2 - with or without his writers.”

Report weighs ripple effect of writers strike on Street
"The report, a primer on the Hollywood writers' strike, seeks to figure out how the ongoing labor disruption might affect stock prices of the media conglomerates. The answer is: not much. Even if the writers' demands are met as currently proposed, their new wages and reuse fees will amount to just $32.2 million for Time Warner over the next three years. After TW, the new WGA contract would impact NBC Universal most, at $23.2 million over three years. After that it's News Corp. ($19.5 million), Walt Disney ($19.3 million), Sony ($16.9 million), Viacom ($16.5 million) and CBS ($4.9 million)."

Pants, WGA talks short of deal
"We had a substantive discussion today with the WGA and look forward to continuing these talks next week," said Rob Burnett

Writers have a lot riding on a director
“A deal on a new contract between the directors and the studios could not only undercut the writers' demands, it could weaken the position of actors. The powerful Screen Actors Guild, whose contract expires in June, has supported the writers. But Hollywood has a history of "pattern bargaining," in which the first contract settled between one of the talent unions and the studios tends to become the template for subsequent contracts.”

Alec Baldwin’s take on the Strike
“when Bruce Willis was paid $5 million for a movie, things began to change. We entered a period wherein everyone wanted, and got, more. You knew that things were distorted when agents started getting rich. Not the owners of the agencies, not the Norman Brokaws on the scene. Regular Ten Percenters began making seven figures. That was a big change. Once agents saw salaries rise and their own income potential with it, the old school practices of developing clients began to die. If you want to get repped by a good agency today, you have to walk in the door printing money.”

The AMPTP Is Probably Winning. Now They Should Shut Up.
“The AMPTP has the upper hand right now not because they are so good, but because the WGA's leadership is so bad. You don't conduct a public relations war when there is no "public" to "relate" to. The AMPTP should stop their PR releases, erase their website in favor of a simple logo and an email address. And shut their mouths. Talk to the WGA, not the public. The public is playing Guitar Hero and trying to find a Wii.”

Controversy Erupts After WGA Lets Dave's 2 Late Night Shows Return With Writers

Apple Files Patent for WGA-style Anti-Piracy Tech

127 Striking Writers With Pilots Pending Write Xmas Letter To Hollywood Bigshots

Attempt Fails To Restart WGA-AMPTP Talks; Outlook Very Grim

Here's Striking WGAE Xmas Statement

The Reality Behind Rumors

WGA Allowing Writers On Indie Awards

WGA Decries Stewart/Colbert Return

AMPTP Shuns LA City Council Hearing...

Variety's AMPTP Ad Has "Technical Glitch"

Disney/ABC Twisting Truth About WGA

No WGA Waivers For Globes Or Oscars (And Other News From Tonight's Meeting); AMPTP Nominates WGA For "Worst Union"

DGA & WGA Meet To Discuss New Media

AMPTP Statement Recycles Same Old Shit


I dedicate this final link to Mickey Lee who recently told me “I love ya man, but one more article on Diablo Cody and I'm gonna scream.”

But you see, not only have I seen Juno (and loved it) but her script is now
available online (which I expect you to read, Mickey, and give me a full report – Hehehe…). Not only THAT, The City Pages of Minneapolis / St. Paul has what may be the best Diablo Cody interview - EVER. It covers the downside to success (“Yeah, I mean there's a lot of pressure. I suffer from feelings of unworthiness on a daily basis. I think of myself as a novice writer, and I am. I have so much to learn.”), misconceptions about her (“The one probably biggest misconception about me is that I'm out there courting publicity. I've never solicited an interview in my entire life. People want to talk to me. When I went on Letterman, people on the internet were snarking, ‘Oh, she must have a hell of a publicist.’ I didn't have one. I went on that show because Dave Letterman read my book and liked it. And I know that seems so improbable that a first-time writer would just randomly wind up on Letterman, but that's what happened to me. And that's how my life works, for some reason.”), and finally, some good advice (“But there's one bit of advice I have that is going to make me sound like a douche bag. And that is, when you're in a competitive environment, always give out the impression that you don't care. It makes people want you more. If you act desperate, it's over. I think a passive attitude is helpful. It comes naturally because I'm lazy. If I show up to a meeting in flip-flops, it makes me seem extremely appealing for some reason. But it wasn't something I orchestrated. I just didn't feel like putting on regular shoes.”).

Plus, you get a

Below are a few of those pics. I love you, too, man.


Happy New Year.



Elver said...

Two comments in one.

1. Jesus Christ, you actually digested all that information? During the holidays?

2. Know any good books / websites that break down sequences of shots? "Write the shots" is useful screenwriting advice, but I've yet to see anyone take a scene, grab all the different shots, and match the result to the screenplay just to show how the scene ended up being shot.

Jennifer van Sijll does something like this, but she's more focused on the words of the film language. I'd like to see someone analyze the sentences.

I'm guessing that books on directing or cinematography or editing might have something vaguely like this, but I dunno.

I didn't really notice the importance of the subject until I saw an Estonian film yesterday. It had three major problems:

1. Horrible script.
2. Horrible (lack of) lighting. Even a guy with a reflector would have been an improvement.
3. Only two kinds of shots. Either a close-up of an actor's face or the camera is sitting in the corner of the room and the scene goes on for 5 minutes.

Some kind of a book analyzing which shots follow which other shots in different scenes would have fixed #3.

If there aren't any resources on this, I might do some analysis of my own and blog it.

Unk said...

And I thought I was a voracious reader...


I don't know whether to love ya or hate ya because now you've given me a few hours to kill instead of working.

Great stuff!


Joshua said...

We can never have enough Diablo Cody.

And I agree, she probably isn't trying all that hard for attention . . . there's just something about ex-strippers with smarts that really, really turns us Yanks on.

I remember when all she had was the blog, and then got the book deal - it took awhile, it wasn't overnight, it just seems that way . . .

But damn it, she's good - so why shouldn't a really talented screenwriter be feted just like actors are?

mark said...

Is it me or do you find ads like Ronins annoying? Screenwriter ads are always placed by these arrogant 'filmmakers' who clearly can't write worth a damn and then have these terse ads acting like they are some kind of great arbiters of good writing.

I figure you can take the tone of the ad for what to expect from them (I mean, did you look at their reel...).

Mystery Man said...

Elver - You won't find anything analyzing sentences, although it's on my own list of things to do, that is, showcase scripts that write the shots really well. All of the film bloggers and goodies for cinephiles on my sidebar get into shot-by-shot analysis. You should do some analysis. Let us know when you post it on your blog.

Unk - What can I say? I'm a little intense. Hehehe... Thanks.

Josh - Hey, I think she's great. She deserves to be recognized.

Mark - Funny, it didn't bother me, but yeah, they could've been more professional about it. I can sympathize with the burnout they've got to be feeling over all the crappy scripts they get.


Laura Deerfield said...

Intense is good.

Anonymous said...

When I first read the Batman V Superman script I assumed it was written to throw people off the scent of what the Batman and/or Superman producers were really doing. A dummy for distracting purposes you might say. I certainly didn't think it had much going for it. Coincidentally I once wrote a batman script called "Batman Asylum".

Also, Re "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" I went to a talk given by the writer of the screenplay, Ronald Harwood, (who also wrote "The Pianist") and a clip was shown of the opening scene of the film. Wow! The strongest opening scene to a film I have ever seen. I'll be at the front of the queue, believe me.


Mickey Lee said...


Sorry I missed this when you originally posted it. I was in Vegas last weekend, looking for strippers with whom I could discuss three-act structure....

Mystery Man said...

Laura - Hehehe... We'd get along I'm sure.

Ger - I had four outlines for a new Superman franchise. Sigh...

Mickey - I meant to email you this article. Did you see the list of non-WGA signatories? Hope you're well.


Tim Clague said...

Thanks for headling the video MM. Glad you enjoyed it. I felt ill the next day. You have to suffer for your art you know!

Mystery Man said...

I loved it! Great job, man!


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
wanbojiaxin said...

NFL Jerseys
Nike chaussures
Nike TN Chaussures
Chaussures de Sport
Ed Hardy
ed hardy clothes
Victoria Secret Pink
Chaussures Sport
puma chaussures hommes
NFL Jerseys

Tn Requin
Nike Air Rift
jeans diesel
Chaussures puma
Ed Hardy
NFL Jerseys
MBT Shoes
Remise Chaussures Sport
chaussures pas cher
Nike Shox Shoes
Air Max Shoes
Nike shoes
Chaussures Sports
nike tn requin chaussures
MBT Shoes On Sale
Athletic Shoes
Clothing Jeans
ed hardy clothing
MBT Shoes On Sale
Victoria's Secret Underwear
cosplay costumes
cheap cosplay costumes

airshoes said...

I like your blog. Thank you. They are really great .
Some new style Puma Cat shoes is in fashion this year.
The Nike Air Shoes is a best Air Shoes .
Nike Air Rift is good and Cheap Nike Shoes.
If you are a fans of Puma basket,we would offer the good and Cheap Puma Shoes for you .the cheap ugg bootsis best christmas gift now.
The information age is really convenient

Enes said...

cep telefonu
Küçük Ev Aletleri
Fotoğraf Makinası
Oto Müzik
2. el
Spot Ürünler
Banyo Dolabı