Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Screenwriting News & Links! 10/7/08

All right, kids. Now that my schedule’s opened up somewhat, we’re going to get into some hardcore blogging again, beginning with NEWS LINKS! Yeah, baby! Instead of posting this once a week, I’m going to post shorter news link articles every other day or so.

Check out the vid above about Sharky’s Machine. I haven’t seen that film in years! And I love the analysis provided by our good friend and former NYT film critic, Matt Zoller Seitz. (He switched over to the dark side to become a filmmaker!) He was more than generous to me when he was editor of
The House Next Door and gave this blog plenty of shout-outs. When I posted The Case AGAINST Character Arcs, Matt wrote, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for validating something I've been harping about incessantly like Grandpa Abe Simpson yammering about the olden days when he wore a belt made out of an onion.”

Hehehe… I love ya, Matt.

In any case, I love the way he explained how Sharky’s Machine shows two characters that haven’t met, that are “geographically dissociated,” and yet “occupying the same space and same state of mind.” This happens when Sharky spends time observing a girl named Domino during a stakeout. Wordless montages, shared at the end of the vid, show us just how comfortable Sharky becomes with her in her daily routines to the point that it influences his own routines. Even though they haven’t met, the film’s compositions and editing “erase the distance between them and make them seem as compatible and comfortable together as a long married, happy couple.”



New Screenplays:

Hancock (Tonight He Comes) - undated early draft by Vy Vincent Ngo

Semi Pro - June, 2006, draft script by Scot Armstrong

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - 1941 shooting script by John Lee Mahin

Wanted - December 1, 2005 draft by Michael Brandt & Derek Hass

Hellboy 2 - Undated draft by Guillermo del Toro

The Mummy 3 - August 19, 2005, draft by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar

Pineapple Express - November 28, 2006, unspecified draft by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

Repo Man - 1982 unspecified draft by Alex Cox

Beetle Juice - June 1, 1985 second draft script by Michael McDowell
Beetle Juice - August 4, 1986 second draft script by Warren Skaaren
Beetle Juice - February 3, 1987 second draft script by Warren Skaaren

The Producers - undated draft by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan

Lake Placid - May 6, 1998, full pink draft by David E. Kelley

Lord of War - undated draft script from Andrew Niccol

(Hat-tip to


Joe Eszterhas rediscovers his Catholic faith!
“I was going crazy. I was jittery. I twitched. I trembled. I had no patience for anything. … Every single nerve ending was demanding a drink and a cigarette,” he wrote. He plopped down on a curb and cried. Sobbed, even. And for the first time since he was a child, he prayed: “Please God, help me.” He has a new book out titled Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith, a new screenplay written about the life of St. Paul, and you can listen to an interview on NPR.

Die Hard Screenwriter Steven E. de Souza
“The franchise can go on and on, because it no longer has to be a ‘Die Hard’ movie,” explained the screenwriter to MTV Movies Blog recently. “Only the first two movies were actually ‘Die Hard’ movies, which I would define as the solitary hero with little or no help, largely alone for long stretches of time, trapped in an enclosed area he cannot escape. The first two pictures held to that model.” Along with fan-favorites Bonnie Bedelia (as Holly) and Reginald VelJohnson (as Twinkie-loving cop Al Powell), de Souza was removed from the series for 1995’s “Die Hard With a Vengeance” and last year’s “Live Free or Die Hard.” “[Now] they go out and they travel,” he said of those films. “They go to Canada and come back, and they go to New Jersey, and they drive around in cars and go all over the Eastern Seaboard in the fourth picture. Those are excellent pictures. They’re well-made movies, but I think it’s interesting that neither one of those - three or four - was originally written as a ‘Die Hard’ movie.”

Interview with the Star Trek Writers
Orci: And it's controversial to even mention Star Wars and Star Trek in the same sentence, but Alex said, "We have to bring more Star Wars into Star Trek."
Kurtzman: (joke-coughing) Original Star Wars.

I Love You, Nancy Nigrosh
Why is it so ingrained in Hollywood that one person alone cannot write a producible screenplay…?

But the real truth is that the actual day –to- day script development process based on writer elimination has created the real strife. Historically this practice has led to the cyclical bloodletting every time the guild’s contract with the buyer /employer gang known as the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers, expires. If something doesn't fundamentally change, there will be more strikes in the future, as each contract expires, creating a negative cycle of meltdown Hollywood and its doting mama, California, can ill afford.

Novelists, playwrights and poets are not rewritten by other writers. Even journalists do the deed pretty much alone. But screenwriters not only routinely and eagerly replace each other, they are tactical in their competitive quest for credit, credit that is not only emotionally gratifying but financially existent. Without credit, future opportunity, immediate and contingent compensation, dissolve. All that hard work to get beyond base camp, undone. Back to square none. Meaning - what do you tell your family, friends, former classmates, neighbors, and people you’ve yet to meet - that you did work on something glamorous for possibly years even, but in the end, your name didn’t scroll by?

Nancy, are you single?

Then again, Jenny Lumet’s kinda hot, too
The film is Lumet's first produced script, though the fifth she's completed. "I started writing during the pregnancy of my first child so that's 13 years ago," she said, "On the first one, you just sort of write and you're learning about stuff. And the ones after that, I thought they were really funny but no one else thought they were really funny. So they tanked miserably. They got optioned and just sort of laid there and didn't do anything." (Jenny’s the screenwriter for Rachel Getting Married, which is currently sitting at 83% on the Tomatometer.)

But, wait, Geri Halliwell wrote a script, too!
Geri Halliwell has written her first screenplay. She says she got tips from industry people about how to come up with a good plot, and then used Final Draft, which is a screenwriting template, on her computer to write it. But she's staying mum on details about the movie. Geri tells The Sun, "It is pretty incredible to finish it. I've got a few friends who are screenwriters, like the whole story of it."

And here’s Halliwell’s Guide to Screenwriting
“..every story has three acts whether it’s a screenplay or not. Well, most of them do. The first act is the problem and by the end of the first act you know what the problem is and how you are going to go about it. The second act is like the highlight and by the end of the second act it has to go wrong. And the third act is the resolution. Normally in the first act you’ve got ten points to make, in the second you’ve got about 15 or 20 and I think it’s about 15 in the third act. It’s really exciting.”

God, I love writers...

Here's The Plot for That Other Halo Movie Screenplay
It sets up a world 500 years in the future and we have colonies, there's the UNSC, there's the secret Spartan training program. And you see this six-year-old kid kidnapped in the middle of the night... The character doesn't start off as Master Chief. He starts off as John, who's the kid that's kidnapped and told he's going to be a soldier. Anyone can connect with a kid kidnapped from his own home. You're along for that journey. The Covenant comes along halfway through that movie. That gives you half the movie to really get to know everyone and care about everyone. And then when the Covenant come along, it's the first time John sees a grunt or a jackal or an elite. The audience is trying to figure out everything at the same time as the characters are. What are these aliens? Why are they killing us? What did we do? And realizing it's all about this Halo ring. And then ending the movie where the first game begins.

In 12 Years What I Have Learned About Screenwriting
4) BE A STUDENT – not in the take classes continually sense (though I do teach online at 4screenwriters.com and taking 1 or 2 can help :). But as you develop your craft you must always be reading, writing, and watching. Improve your craft (art) by always being on the KNOW. Watch movies, read screenplays and books, read those Hollywood insider mags and websites, and always be writing. (ABW).

Interview with "Iron Man" Writer Matt Fraction
DB: Is Tony's love life going to play a role in stories down the line, or will you just focus on him and his suit?
MF: It's very much a story about him and his suit. Although I would love to write a story about Tony Stark's complicated love life. It's an aspect of his character, that's for sure. [It's like] in the movie, when he goes to bed with the angry reporter from Berkeley; you can imagine that same reporter with a similar line of questioning with Captain America, but you can't imagine Captain America seducing her later. But with Tony, you can, so we should absolutely take advantage of it.

NYIFF Eastwood Interview
How was the incident first told to you, and why did you want to make it into a film?
I didn't know much about the incident, and I was surprised I hadn't heard about it, because it was such an unusual event. L.A. historically has had crazy situations, but this one was very unusual. I didn't know anything about it until I read the script. [Screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski] did a very interesting thing. He took the story of the woman rather than take the story of the crime.

John le Carre was a real spy
"I have no nostalgia for the Cold War," says le Carre, who worked for British intelligence in Germany in the 1960s, when tensions with the Soviet Union were at their chilliest. "I think I have nostalgia for the hope that existed during the Cold War that when it ended we would redesign the world. We never did that. We missed the whole trick."

Backstory: The Movie
D.B. Weiss has been hired to write a prequel for Will Smith's hit film I Am Legend, based on a detailed outline from Smith, director Francis Lawrence, and producers Akiva Goldsman and James Lassiter. The story will detail how Smith's character became the last survivor in NY.

Spielberg's A-List
The L.A. Times blogs about some of the films Steven Spielberg has brought with him into the newest incarnation of DreamWorks, which is backed by India's Reliance ADA Group.


On the Contest Circuit:

Extreme Query Contest Winner Announced

Writers on the Storm Announces Semifinalists

AAA Announces 2008 Quarterfinalists

2008 PAGE Award Winners Announced

Script Savvy Announces August Contest Results

MoviePoet Announces August Contest Winners

Horror Screenplay Contest Announces Winners

Horror Screenplay Finalists Announced

Fade In Announces Award Winners

Samuel Goldwyn Finalists Named


And finally

Neil Simon from “Writers on Screenwriting”


screen-play said...

You have a link on Fade In Contest. Did you know quite a few people have been scammed by them? They don't pay out the prize money. See my blog and others for details.

Mystery Man said...

Really? Thanks for that!


Anonymous said...

Wow I just across across this and am surprised. I had a great experience as a finalist last year. Fade In got my script to a William Morris agent, I received all of my prizes and couldn't be happier. Are you sure this person isn't just posting as a result of sour grapes?

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