Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Screenwriting News & Links! – 12/18/07

Above is a smaller version of MM’s Photo Mosaic! Yeah, baby! I love it!

Today, I will not post links to any new interviews with Diablo Cody.

You're welcome.

Except - she is now the latest
writer on writing for Entertainment Weekly. “As I had imagined it, life as a touring writer would be a soft-focus gypsy caravan, a multi-city blur of room-service Moët, artfully tousled hipsters, and intimate after-parties where everyone listens to Gram Parsons in the buttery light of dawn. Sadly, my boho-glamour fantasy wound up looking more like week 6 at Camp Winnemucca. I quickly learned that it's hard to look attractive when you live out of a Samsonite. My neglected haircut began to resemble Javier Bardem's man-bob in No Country for Old Men. Someone like Kate Hudson can make ‘disheveled’ look hot, but I looked like someone you might see queuing up at the needle-exchange van downtown.”

But that's it.

Wait - Billy Mernit thinks
Paulie Bleeker is Totally Boss. Okay, fine.

Seriously, I’m done writing about Diablo Cody.

Oh, damn - Slash-Film has
a script review for Diablo Cody’s new screenplay that’s also on the Black ListJennifer’s Body.
...it is extremely gory. One passage from Cody’s script describes a scene where blood and viscera is scattered everywhere, with Intestines strewn about “like party streamers.” One victim is described as looking like “Lasagna with teeth”. There are a couple scenes where a Jennifer graphically tears apart unknowing High School boys. Some of the descriptions gave me an uncomfortable feeling deep in the pit of my stomach. The gore described on these pages is Hard-R. However, I assume that the film will likely be cut down to a PG-13 to capture the teen audience. But I’m not really sure that is possible.”

That's it! No more! I'm not kidding!

MM’s How to Choose a Scene Location
“Ironically, little has been written in screenwriting books (and around scribosphere) about how to pick locations for your screenplay. This is important stuff! And it is such a pet peeve of mine when writers are so thoughtless, unoriginal, and uncreative about locations in their scripts. (Or they keep returning to the same boring location again and again. Or a protagonist goes halfway around the world to Italy only to spend the majority of the time in a hotel room. Are you kidding me? If you’re going to Italy, then show me Italy! I don’t need the country to be showcased like some vacation video, but please, let me soak up the sights and sounds and culture within the story.)”

Catch the Rythem wants a horror script
“Screenplay Wanted: Film Production company is looking for a screenplay with strong, character or concept driven horror, psychological thriller or suspense scripts( Action,thriller,Horrors, Psychological thriller.) Think Saw,12 angry man, Panic Room or Open Water Chopper, Usual Suspects.) No special effects driven scripts please. Mixing of genres is fine. to shoot for next two project. It must be very marketable and scary as hell!! Should be 90-120 pages in length. Please send us a synopsis/log-line about your project, if we are interested then will contact you. Your script must be original and not be attached to an option. Please e-mail information to: Script4film@gmail.com”

Slash-Film also has a script review of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler.
“What happens? Does Randy die? Does Cassidy realize her feelings for him? At this point does he even care? I really don’t want to spoil it. I will say this, the match is almost fully choreographed step by step over the corse of seven full script pages. Think Rocky, which is a very apt comparison. And the ending is something you would never expect. It’s not an obvious choice. I’m sure some people will leave this movie really angry, while others will love it. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to see it on the big screen.”

And now we have “The Screenwriting Glossary”
action description: the overt, physical actions that happen on screen, such as “He falls down the stairs” or “She pulls a gun, hands shaking.”
actor: a gifted individual who has studied the craft of acting in order to portray roles in performances of dramatic literaure.
alter-ego: a substitute “self” for a writer, usually a protagonist in the writer’s story.
ambience: the overall quality of mood, tone, or atmosphere in a film.
antagonist: a character that puts barriers and reversals in the way of a protagonist’s progress or objective.
archetype: a universal character modeled upon those that have been appearing in stories since the time of our ancient ancestors.
assistant director: a film crew member whose job it is to manage the set protocols and keep the film shoot on schedule.
atmosphere: the dominant mood or emotional tone of a film.
audience expectation: particular elements of a film genre which the audience consciously or unconsciously expects to see.
aural: a film element that can be heard (such as an off screen sound like a dog howling or a gun firing).

Danny Stack on Comedy Specs
“Well first, the good news. Film companies are desperate for comedy scripts. They can’t get enough of them. There are a couple of reasons for this. Comedy films are good for box office (always popular with audiences), and they are relatively inexpensive to make. Comedy does have healthy subgenres like romantic comedy, comedy crime, comedy action etc but when one of these films work, they’re mainly remembered for their comedic element.”

Bill Martel goes Postal
“Most of Stephen King’s short stories had been published in magazines called Gent and Dude, published by Dugent Publications... in exotic Florida. The editor was a guy named Maurice Dewalt. I read the King stories, and decided to write some horror stories similar to them for Dugent. Now, I was a fan of King and Matheson and Bloch and many other horror writers, and one of the things I loved about King’s work was that the lead characters were normal guys - some guy working in a factory picking up an extra shift cleaning out the basement who runs into some pretty big rats down there. I could see myself writing this kind of stuff. So I wrote a stack of short stories and began sending them to men’s magazines - even Playboy - why not? Just another day standing in line at the post office.”

Ackerman tells us The problem with colleges teaching Screenwriting
“Another gripe is that the lack of collective agreement in marking someone's work on a purely subjective basis does not for a good grade make. For instance a friend of mine on the course was told by one lecturer his script was perfect and not to change a thing, but because another lecturer wound up marking his work, he received a frankly shit grade. He was needless to say very pissed off, and for a guy who is very dead-set on riding out the full three years, turned out to be disheartened so much by this final mark, he let slip that he is considering dropping out if his next script does not achieve an above-average-grade. The disjointed nature of our timetable has brought up many questions about whether or not significant changes need to be implemented in order to improve the quantity of seminars during a week. Yes, we understand this is independent learning, but for pity's sake, if we wanted to be entirely independent and educate ourselves on this medium then we would have saved our twenty grand debt and fucking did that!! The fact is, we want exposition just as if we were living inside one of our own scripts and like any good script the exposition needs to be clear and concise so that NO MEMEBERS OF THE AUDIENCE FAIL TO FOLLOW THE REST OF THE STORY!!”

Just wait, fellas. I’ve got a new,
free screenwriting book coming…

Speaking of free books, do you guys know who
Yasujiro Ozu is? You should and shame on you if you don’t. (There’s a new article on Ozu in the latest issue of Cineaste.) In any case, there’s a FREE BOOK about him from noted film scholar David Bordwell called Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema. I LOVE David Bordwell. He’s also got a great new article on the many shapes and sizes of Godard. (By the way, if you understand French, here’s a new video interview of Godard. Can someone tell me what cigar he’s smoking? It looks tasty.) Anyway, back to film scholar David Bordwell. I actually bought his new book titled simply, Poetics in Cinema, which I will review sometime soon.

Yeah, baby! The
new issue of Senses of Cinema

A little late sharing this, but here’s the Queer Film Blog-a-thon

Aspiring screenwriter to testify against 'Sopranos' creator
Nice going. That’s the way to get ahead.

Legendary screenplay writer Nabyendu Ghosh dead
“Ghosh, who would be remembered for writing the screenplay of such celluloid gems as Roy's 'Devdas', 'Bandini', 'Sujata', 'Parineeta' and Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Amitabh-Jaya Bachachan starrer 'Abhiman', had been unwell for quite sometime.” (Note to self: rent 'Devdas', 'Bandini', 'Sujata', 'Parineeta', and 'Abhiman')

Schickel’s scathing review of “A History of American Screenwriting”
“Norman's heavily anecdotal (and error-strewn) history of screenwriting encourages us to believe that, except for the money and except, perhaps, for scriveners who add a hyphen and a second title -- "director" -- to their credits, the conditions under which movies get written have not greatly improved since Sennett's day. From the beginnings of the movies, writers have always been regarded as necessary nuisances. They provided structure and intertitles for silent pictures, but that was a medium that conveyed most of its meanings visually, which meant that the director was early established as the writer's superior. There were a few famous screenwriters in those days (Anita Loos, June Mathis, Frances Marion), but mostly it was easy to platoon anonymous functionaries off and on pictures, especially as moviemaking became an increasingly industrialized process.” (That’s actually true, Schickel. Can’t imagine it was much better for journalists. Well, I have the book and my own review is forthcoming.)

Depp says “Art Gone from Hollywood Cinema”
JOHNNY DEPP has accused Hollywood cinema of lacking any art, praising European filmmakers for their superior creativity. The Pirates of the Caribbean star, who has acted in over 35 Hollywood movies, as well as directing, producing and screenwriting various films, has lost respect for the American movie business. He says, "I'm not sure that art in cinema is possible any more, in Hollywood anyway, but in Europe there's a real regard for the filmmaker and the writer. And the product too, the end result. They respect authors, painters, filmmakers, film and creativity. They celebrate it. And the wine is pretty good."

1000 Frames of Alfred Hitchcock (Thanks to Mark Actenberg.)


Santa Fe Screenwriting Conference Set for May 27th - June 1st '08

Scriptapalooza Semifinalist set for non-Profit Production through IFP

Sundance Announces January Screenwriters Lab Participants

Movie Script Contest Announces Finalists

AWS Announces Contest Finalists

Writers' Building Announces Fall 2007 Contest Winners


I get my strike news from
Nikki Finke like almost everyone else, but here are some highlights:

DGA & WGA Meet To Discuss New Media

AMPTP Statement Recycles Same Old Shit

WGA Reminds Returning Jay And Conan: No Monologues

SAG To WGA: "Your Fight Is Our Fight"

Hollywood Moguls Claim "Common Goals"

Late Night Breakthrough; Dave Cooks Up WGA Deal That NBC & ABC Won't Enjoy; CBS Reacts By Re-Pledging AMPTP Unity

WGA On Monday Will Say To Moguls: "Let's Make Individual Deals"; AMPTP Says WGA "Grasping At Straws"

AMPTP Flacks Provide More Amusement

Verrone: "Room To Negotiate" On Reality

Other articles around the web:

Why a Dave deal with the WGA might make Moonves happy

WGA Files Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against AMPTP

WGA Food Drive: One Ton of Canned Food!

Los Angeles City Council and the Strike

WGA sues AMPTP at the NLRB (ASAP)

Is the WGA Just Another Lousy Union?

The Writers Guild Is Losing Ground

Fans support WGA strike with pencil stunt
“LOS ANGELES, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Fans and writers, looking for an end to the Writers Guild of America strike, sent more than 500,000 pencils to Hollywood's TV networks and movie studios.”

The Future, AMPTP Style
“In case you're wondering where the AMPTP would like to go in all this, MTV recently reduced health benefits for its 'permalancers' -- un-unionized workers who are hired as freelancers to work permanently. They just walked out to protect the benefits cuts. Ultimately the WGA is not only striking over residuals cuts. They are striking to protect everything they have won over the past fifty years. Current management attitude is 'you'll take what we give you and you'll thank us for it...' If they had their way, there would be no minimums and no health benefits... just like it is for MTV.”


This was cool. Jim Hill Media
reveals a number of cross references in Pixar films like Dinoco…


Anonymous said...

Then how come an average European can easily name ten or more Hollywood directors and actors/actresses, but probably can't name two Europeans who are even remotely tied to the film industry?

I think Depp has a bit of a skewed image of us, Europeans.

Mickey Lee said...

I think what Johnny fails to take into account is that there's no need for European filmmakers to take on Hollywood films, and therefore it only makes sense to focus more on "art" films. Hollywood stories tend to have broad appeal with us simple folk, whether American or European -- why would European filmmakers bother to compete in a niche that is already filled?

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