I would've posted one of these sooner, but there hasn't been a lot in the way of screenwriting news lately. Besides, it seems we’re the ones making the news lately with little articles like The Raiders Story Conference. In fact, I compiled a list of humorous blurbs from around the media and blogosphere, which I thought were kind of funny.
Hope you’re doing well,
Inglourious Basterds - July, 2008, “last draft” by Quentin Tarantino
Mirrors -January, 2007, draft by Alexandre Aja & Grégory Levasseur
Mary Rose - February 1964, draft script by Jay Presson Allen
(Hat-tip to SimplyScripts!)
Funny blurbs about The “Raiders Story Conference”
I can’t believe MMoF wound up on Entertainment Weekly
What may be a holy grail of Indiana Jones artifacts was posted online on Monday: a 125-page transcript of the original story-conference meeting involving producer George Lucas, director Steven Spielberg, and writer Lawrence Kasdan. The blog, Mystery Man on Film, somehow got its hands on the alleged transcript, which features the filmmakers talking at great length in January 1978 about what would eventually become Raiders of the Lost Ark. The thing's a pure joy to read. In it, you can find the genesis of everything from Indiana Jones' name to his fear of snakes to his (possibly risque) romantic history with Marion Ravenwood.
One of my favorite moments in the transcript occurs when Spielberg is repeatedly transfixed with making Raiders' famous opening rolling-boulder-chase sequence feel like a Disneyland ride. "What we're just doing here, really, is designing a ride at Disneyland," Spielberg says on page 15. And guess what happened 17 years later, in 1995? Disneyland opened an Indiana Jones ride, or should I say, an amusement-park ride based on a movie based on an amusement-park ride. It's postmodernism at its best!
And The New York Times
Ever wonder what it was like at the meeting when a classic film was being born? If so, check out the Mystery Man on Film blog, which has posted what is says it a link to the 125-page transcript of the story conference for Raiders of the Los Ark that included producer George Lucas, director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.
Here’s Ain’t it Cool News
Kudos to Mystery Man on Film for fucking with my productivity.
Peter Sciretta at Slash-Film:
I’m not sure if it’s just the screenwriter hidden inside of me, but I find it extremely cool to read these conversations.
I’ve never worked with Lucas, but the snippets with Spielberg feel very accurate based on my interactions with him on JP3, Minority Report and Big Fish. He’s always looking for the little moments that click… The screenwriter’s role in marathon meetings like this is to listen and refocus the ideas. You’re trying to capture not just the plot points, but the enthusiasm. Fast forward a few drafts, and there will likely be torturous meetings in which every decision is micro-analyzed. But at this first step, the only goal should be mapping out the territory you want to explore.
SnarkMarket used the article to help create a new word
Retronovation n. The conscious process of mining the past to produce methods, ideas, or products which seem novel to the modern mind.
Rick is nerding out at the next desk telling me I have to link to this 125 page transcript of George Lucas talking to Steven Speilberg and Lawrence Kasdan about Raiders of the Lost Ark… Ummm, Enjoy?
NBC Local News in Dallas Fort-Worth
The behind-the-scenes treasure trove was posted by Mystery Man on Film, a blog devoted to the art of screenwriting… The transcript, whose provenance is a mystery, is a discovery worthy of Indiana Jones himself. Check out this inside view of two masters at work before the lawyers get in on the act and hide the document in that big warehouse where the Ark got secreted away among hundreds of identical crates.
Alex Epstein said This is just frakking awesome.
Rob at Loose Logic wrote Did you fall out of your chair? I did!
Jonathan B.: Excuse me while I clean myself up. I just peed a little.
Nick at Phantom Leap This is the best thing the internet has given me in a good long while, and a perfect reminder of why we all owe so much of our childhoods to Lucas and Spielberg, no matter what they’ve been responsible for in recent years.
Jordon Lapp said Mystery Man gets it right when he says that one of the most important insights here is that they started not by plotting out Raiders of the Lost Ark, but by developing Indiana’s character.
The Writing Life You may not particularly like Kasdan’s work — or, for that matter, Lucas and Spielberg’s — but the level of detail and insider juice makes this a must-read for anyone with an interest in screenwriting. I mean, Syd Field ain’t even coming close to this.
Sweetney wrote “The transcript reveals, among other things, that George Lucas created an actual numeric, mathematical formula for storytelling on film. So awesome… Yes, I am so totally this geeky.”
Metafilter said: It also makes one wonder what happened to George Lucas, a man who once had a math formula for exciting cinema.
Some crazy film school professor loved it
Prof. Metcalf asked me to post this link to a post on “The Mystery Man on Film” blog, which focuses on screenwriting. The post deals with story construction vis-a-vis Raiders of the Lost Ark and has some good insights on narrative. The rest of the blog looks pretty good too!
Once in a while, you come upon a post on some blog that really makes your afternoon. This one did it today for me. A real treat, especially for Raiders fans.
And Martin Adams
I always knew some day you'd come walking back through my door.
Hehehe… Anyway, on to the news.
Madonna Scratched Dustin Lance Black’s Oscar
The end of Paper?
Screenwriter Tom Cole Died
American stage and screenwriter Tom Cole has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 75... Best known for his film and stage writing, it was Cole's 1985 film Smooth Talk that helped launch Academy Award-nominated actress Laura Dern to fame after it became a surprise hit at the Sundance Film Festival.
Screenwriter Millard Kaufman dies at 92
Screenwriter Millard Kaufman, who co-created the cartoon character Mr. Magoo, was nominated for Academy Awards for his screenplays for Take the High Ground! and Bad Day at Black Rock and won a cult following as a first-time novelist at age 90, has died, a spokeswoman said. He was 92.
Mockingbird Screenwriter Horton Foote Died
Playwright Wrote Gentle Dramas, Mockingbird Screenplay
Delicate Prose Marked Work Of Screenwriter Foote
Playwright, novelist and screenwriter Horton Foote died this week. Foote was best known for his spare, intensely personal stories of small-town Southern life. His screenplays for the films, Tender Mercies and A Trip to Bountiful took that vision to an international audience. He won two Academy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for drama.
Another Horton Foote article
For his screen adaptation of the best-selling Harper Lee novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," he won at the Oscars in 1962. That hit movie earned eight Oscar nominations in all, including best picture. And leading man Gregory Peck finally triumphed with his fifth lead actor nod. The role of Atticus Finch would come to define the actor to generations and topped the 2003 AFI list of screen heroes.
Salman Rushdie Trashes Slumdog
Rushdie wrote in Britain's Guardian newspaper that the central feature of the film -- that a boy from the Mumbai slums manages to succeed on the Indian TV version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" -- "beggars belief." "This is a patently ridiculous conceit, the kind of fantasy writing that gives fantasy writing a bad name," the author of "The Satanic Verses" said in the article…
Four Sexy Female Screenwriters
"This is weird because we hang out a lot," she said. "We've seen each other naked."
So help me God, I do love screenwriters.
Sahara writer hit with bill
Sahara didn't just flop at the box office, it's cost novelist Clive Cussler a chunk of change as well. The author has been ordered by a Los Angeles Super Court judge to pony up nearly $14 million in legal fees after he failed to win a lawsuit against the pic's producer, Crusader Entertainment.
Watchmen writer Forms Company, Shows Scary Side of Belguim
Dark Hero Studios is actually the name of Hayter's new company (co-founded with Doomsday and upcoming movie adaptation Castlevania producer Benedict Carver), which has been created as a place to produce new SF, horror and fantasy franchises in whatever medium possible (They're looking at movies, comics and video games to begin with, but Hayter feels like he's got a great cookbook in him somewhere). (Update: Warren Ellis clarifies in the comments that he's written an animated Castlevania movie, not the live-action version.)
Watchmen Screenwriter Needs Fans To Rewatch Film
Watchmen dominated the box office last weekend. But if fans hope to see more like it where the source material is taken so seriously, they need to go back to the theaters again this weekend ... and bring friends. That's what screenwriter David Hayter told fans in an open letter that appeared on the Hardcore Nerdity Web site this week that while making more money would be great for the film, the scribe says it's more about creating an avenue for more films like Watchmen to be made. "You have to understand, everyone is watching to see how the film will do in its second week," Hayter said. "If you care about movies that have a brain, or balls (and this film's got both, literally), or true adaptations -- and if you're thinking of seeing it again anyway, please go back this weekend...
Q&A with Watchmen Writers David Hayter and Alex Tse
"It takes a lot of setup to introduce an interdimensional space squid, it just does… You can't just say, oh there it is, and look, there's my squid… The difference between the novel and the movie, and this is the real difference, is, we don't have the appendices afterwords. And the whole thing with that storyline is all setup in the Wizard magazine, the stories about the comic book, and it's also setup in Tales of the Black Freighter, to a certain extent - there's stuff about the secret island, these artists… That's all stuff that I would have to spend screen time explaining at the end of a movie where I've already spent two hours explain a lot. Clearly the movie does not shy away from piling information on top of you. But I felt that that was going to come out of nowhere."
"For all of the infinite possibilities of film, I believe, you have to be very circumspect about the number of magical things that happen in your movie." Hayter tangents onto X-Men and the mutant gene briefly, then continues. "You have Dr. Manhattan, who was your element of magic in the story, and then you have the squid, who came out of another dimension and could cast psychic waves of destruction, and that seemed like an extra bit of magic that came in at the end, and needs a lot of setup to justify it. So, it became obvious that if you use Dr. Manhattan, well, it's already setup, and he is the force, and he is the outside threat that has been throwing the whole world into chaos anyways, the has thrown off history. So in the end, it seemed to make sense."
Here’s another interview with David and Alex
WGA cutting 10% of employees
Nikki Finke: WGA Strike One Year Later
Training Day Writer To Pen And Helm "Last Man"
10 Steps To Writing A Horror Screenplay
1. The Hook. Start with a bang. Step right into a suspense scene. (”Scream” opens with a terrifying sequence with Drew Barrymore on the phone with a killer)
2. The Flaw. Introduce your hero. Give him a flaw. Before you can put your hero in jeopardy we must care for him. We must want our hero to succeed. So make him human. (In “Signs” Mel Gibson plays a priest who has lost his faith after his wife died)
Finding your audience - publishing tips and resources for young writers
Start small. The best way to get your work published is to be published. Look into smaller imprints or those just starting out, as they are often more likely to pick up new writers. School papers and literary magazines, community newspapers and newsletters, and even church publications are other possibilities. You never know who might be interested in your work unless you ask.
Know your audience. Every publication has its own bent. Publishers will choose pieces that are not only well written but are thematically in line with the type of work they feature. Take the time to read through a sample copy of the publication, making sure that your work will be a good fit. Most publishers will supply you with a recent copy of their journal or magazine; some charge a small fee while others require only a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE).
Become a strong writer, regardless of your major
2. A paper is not a text message. There are differences between formal and informal writing, just as there are differences between formal and informal attire. Do not confuse the two. Text message shortcuts might be acceptable to your friends, but they are not appropriate in a college level paper. Equally important: before you hand in a paper, be it a first draft or a final draft, remember to proofread, proofread, proofread.
Screenwriter Jonathan Nolan urges students to follow passions
“Be a lucky person,” screenwriter Jonathan “Jonah” Nolan recalled. That was the advice he and his brother, director Christopher Nolan, received from a famous British director about how to enter show business. “When I first heard it, it sounded smug,” Jonah Nolan said. “The more I think about it, the more humility I see contained in that statement.”
Matt Damon thinks the Oscars should be on a 10-year time delay
Interview with Green Lantern Screenwriter
"The trick for me," he continues, "is that I like super powers that are sort of impactful. I like punches and fights and stuff like that. Giving the Green Lantern ring that sort of impactful feeling as it's being used, is a bit of a trick, but it can be done and I hope that I've done it in this. I didn't want green beams fighting green beams. I wanted as many objects formed in those beams as I could. And the idea behind the screenplay, the subtext going on in the screenplay, is that Hal Jordan is sort of a natural, with his imagation creating things that go beyond beams. Hal is focused, but he's very imaginative. At least in the script there's a scene where, when he's not doing anything, he's making little objects with his ring like someone doing doodles. We'll see if that remians. The script was a little long, so they had to do some judicious editing."
“The writer is the first star of a film.” – Kamlesh Pandey
Forbidden Planet gets a Rewrite… because of the Internet
Scripter J. Michael Straczysnki and the higher-ups at Warner Brothers have decided to trash the writer’s first pass at drafting a follow-up/sequel/ to the classic Forbidden Planet and start over from scratch. The do-over is not due to a question of quality in the writing, but due to the fact that details of the storyline had already started to leak, even though actual production on the project has yet to be greenlit.
DiCaprio's Atari inventor bio-pic, the screenwriter talks
The title's been floated around as Pong, or Atari, and the subject of the film will be Nolan Bushnell, the scruffy 30ish "hippie" who invented Pong and Atari, the first great video game company, back in the 70s. South Florida screenwriters Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman came up with the idea of a bio-pic, got close to the family to get the rights, and are scripting it for Leonardo DiCaprio and Paramount, "since Leo is the right age...and the biggest star in the world," says Hecker, whose feature writing-directing debut, Bart got a Room opens in April.
Tupac Shakur's Screenplay Live 2 Tell Will Be Made Into A Movie
Fellow Script Columnist Dave Trottier on The Paradox of Creativity
The great paradox is this: Constraints cultivate creativity. It’s true that your inner artist may grow frustrated by intrusions from your inner critic, but outside parameters are just the challenge your right brain relishes. Imposed parameters can be inspiring!
Interview with Duplicity writer/director Tony Gilroy
Alex Proyas Q & A
John Milius says most scripts today 'are garbage'
Adrienne Shelly's Widow Developing Her Final Screenplay
Late actress/screenwriter Adrienne Shelly, who wrote, directed and starred in the sleeper hit indie dramedy Waitress for Fox Searchlight in 2007, will have her final screenplay resuscitated by her husband, Andy Ostroy. Ostroy will develop and produce the project, The Morgan Story, via his A Films shingle, which he created in order to maintain and further his wife's legacy.
One of Italy's best screenplay writers worked with Fellini
The screenwriter Tullio Pinelli, who has died aged 100, worked with the director Federico Fellini, co-writing the first nine and last two of his films, including La Strada (The Road, 1954) and La Dolce Vita (1960). He also co-wrote films by Alberto Lattuada, Pietro Germi, Mario Monicelli and other Italian directors. He started screen- writing in 1943, having been considered one of the most promising post-Pirandello Italian playwrights… Born in Turin, the son of a magistrate, Pinelli, did his national service in a cavalry regiment and became a solicitor. As a boy, he and his brother created puppet plays. In adulthood he wrote plays, and opera librettos, one of which, Villon, in 1941, was for Carla Bruni's composer father. Meanwhile, Pinelli's young wife sent one of his plays to theatre critic Silvio d'Amico. He introduced Pinelli to a theatre manager, who commissioned a play a year from the dramatist.
Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman reflects on his directorial debut
The Oscar-winning scribe of 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind says he’s felt fulfilled as a writer, so he didn’t feel the need to use that pursuit as a steppingstone to directing; plus, he’s never seen those jobs “as a hierarchical thing the way people in the business do ... I think that they’re very different jobs, and I don’t think directing is more important than writing. I think that you could make an argument in the converse — not that I would, but you could, but no one does.”
Screenwriting guru: Bad screenplay = bad movie
Wouldn't it be loverly . . . . or not
OK, fasten your seat belts, because this is one of those rumor-dogged projects where it's hard to sort out the fact from the fluff. But, after watching Keira Knightley sing in The Edge of Love this week (not particularly well, it must be said, though she looked smashing), I wondered what was going on with the My Fair Lady remake. This is, of course, a truly awful idea, except that Emma Thompson is writing the screenplay, and I have governed my life by the principle that anything Emma Thompson does is absolutely OK. (I mean, the woman writes her screenplays in longhand, for heaven's sake.) So I'm torn.
Fockers sequel will include 'children...conflict,’ screenwriter says
Lost Boys 3 Gets a Writer as the Frog Brothers Will Reunite
Screenwriter Hired for Dante’s Inferno
Last December, 411 slapped you over the head with the news that Electronic Arts was working on a third-person action-adventure game based on Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy simply entitled Dante's Inferno. Well, as it turns out, Universal Pictures recently hired screenwriter Dan Harris (X2: X-Men United, Superman Returns) to pen the script for a live-action film based on the Electronic Arts video game. Patrick O'Brien, Vice President of EA Entertainment, and game creator Jonathan Knight are both involved in the development of the film.
Julian Fellowes, screenwriter of The Young Victoria
Screenwriter, novelist, actor, director, and producer. Is there anything Julian Fellowes can’t do? The answer is navigate, or so he tells me as we sit in a huge multiplex cinema in Milton Keynes. I’m here thanks to an invitation to a sneak preview of his latest film The Young Victoria, a wonderfully lavish drama about the turbulent early years of Queen Victoria’s reign and her romance with Prince Albert. Julian’s here thanks to a satnav.
Aw, I love Julian Fellowes…
The Case for Writers as Game Designers
Writers, by their very nature, are often a difficult species to categorize. After all, given the sheer numbers of mediums, styles, genres and formats, the term “writer” could mean anything from best-selling novelist, to greeting card scribe, to the nameless copywriter penning the instructions on the back of your shampoo bottle. Nowhere is the unquantifiable nature of writers more evident than in the countless wordsmiths currently working in the video game industry. Yes, writers have now become an integral part of the game development process, a role as equally important as programmer, animator, concept artist or producer. Yet the uncertain nature of being a writer remains, with game scribes being classified as everything from screenwriter and narrative designer, to dialogue scripter and interactive storyteller. The truth is there really isn’t any given template for what a game writer does with tasks ranging from developing branching storylines for a triple-A shooter to creating snappy dialogue for a casual match-three puzzle game.
Shahrukh gets Hollywood writer for home production
Shahrukh Khan is going international with his next home production Ra.1. The star has roped in Hollywood’s famous writer and director David Benullo for writing the screenplay of his movie. Recovering fast from his shoulder surgery, Shahrukh is committed to Ra.1, a huge-budgeted SFX flick which he is making for his son, Aryan. According to sources, Ra.1 will be unlike any other sci-fi film made till now in India. And since Indian writers don’t have much experience of penning down such movies, Shahrukh got writer David Benullo from Hollywood, who has earlier written the screenplay of the movie Around the World in 80 Days, and is script writer for movies Hallowed Ground, Cupid and Shadow Man.
On the Contest Circuit:
Candadian Short Screenplay Competition Announces Top 25
HSI Announces Latest Contest Winner
IFFF Announces 2009 Screenplay Awards
Cowrite Announces Week 4 Winner
Call for Entries: 2009 Eerie Horror Film Festival Screenplay Competition
StoryPros International Announces Screenplay Contest Winners
ASA Announce Quarterfinalists
Script Savvy Announces January 2009 Contest Winners
All Access Announces Contest Finalists
MoviePoet.com Announces Feature Contest Semifinalists
AWS Announces Contest Finalists
Vail Film Festival Announces Contest Winners
Nevada Film Office announces 2008 Screenwriting Contest Winners
Cinema City Announces Contest Results
The Movie Deal Announces Contest Winner
Cowrite Announces Week 3 Winner
AceFest Announces Great American Sreenplay Competition Winners
Create your own Super Hero!
Here’s mine. Hehehe…