Watching Tomorrow This Weekend
I saw one of the best Science Fiction films I’ve seen in a while, this weekend. Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow. I’m not a huge Tom Cruise fan – I’ve never really forgiven him for Days of Thunder, but being the open-minded kind of guy I am I gave him another chance. The buzz on social media among the film folks I follow was strong, so EoT got the popcorn money this week. It’s everything folks who work on the creative side of the movie business say the movie business needs, but it’s the textbook case study for why the business side of the movies works the way it does.
The film has everything a great summer blockbuster should have – an inventive story, taut writing, solid star power in the leads, off-the-charts special effects and dynamic action sequences. You genuinely … Read More »
The single hardest thing about screenwriting is waiting. And man, is there a lot of waiting. Finish a script? No, not really. It goes to someone. A reader. An assistant. A manager, agent, producer, studio, director, talent… Sometimes, it seems as if there’s as much waiting to hear back from people as there is writing. I’m in that mode right now. One script with a producer looking for a green light on financing my first independent film, and another with a network to see if they’ll come play with my movie of the week. It’s exciting and frustrating and more than a little nerve-racking.
I used to think I was a fairly patient guy, but this gets to you. I’ve started other projects. One for research on a feature, did a rewrite of my animation spec and I’m about half way … Read More »
Why Woody Allen is a Genius
I read a quote from Woody Allen. He was asked, “What’s the hardest part of making a movie?” Allen replied – getting the money. I get it. This morning I’m preparing for a 6-hour trip to spend an hour with a producer and a banker so he can tell his investors that our group knows what it’s doing, and they should commit enough money to make a small independent film.
I think the entire project hinges on this one meeting. But at this stage I can say that about every meeting. I’ve met with CFOs, CEOs, a parade of Vice Presidents and ad-hoc committees. I have happily and, I hope politely, answered the same question, the same way a dozen times. And now we’re down to fishing or bait-cutting.
If this meeting goes well, then in two weeks a Board of Directors … Read More »
Writing is Rewriting
There is a really good reason for clichés like writing is rewriting. They are usually correct. Kinda like stereotypes. This week has been rewrite week. I’m on rewrite number 6 or maybe 7 on my Rom Com. As this is the first time I’ve dealt with “Hollywood” I don’t know that this is typical or unusual, but the working writers I’ve talked to tell me this is how it is.
Originally, this story started out as a comedy with a female lead. I sent it to my story reader and she said it needed romance. I put in a little side arc for two of the characters as a romance.
When it went to the manager he said, “No, no, no. The lead needs the romance.”
Rom Coms have to have the lead in the romance. When I tried to explain that it … Read More »
The Game Changer
One of the biggest things to impact screenwriters in the last several years is the new Black List 2.0. The original Black List is the brainchild of Franklin Leonard, a producer in Hollywood who saw a number of really good scripts that hadn’t been produced as films. He polled his colleagues for their favorites and that list became the annual end-of-the-year Black List of unmade movies. It was a cool idea and has given deserving scripts buzz through the holidays when managers, agents and producers catch up on their script reading. It also gave Franklin a load of credibility in the business.
Last month he introduced the Black List 2.0. BL2 is a list of scripts that also haven’t been made into movies. But they are raw scripts, coming straight from writers submitting them, not people discovering them. To filter … Read More »
Writers vs Readers
In an effort to compress my screenwriting education I’ve looked to several resources for input. But what do you do if you get conflicting advice?
Craig Mazin is a respected screenwriter, former WGA board member and, along with John August, he’s half of the excellent Scriptnotes podcast. I listen every week.
Danny Manus is a script consultant, author, former producer and sells his services as a screenwriter’s resource for everything from how to write a logline, to pitching, to giving notes.
Through the Dallas Screenwriters Association, I had the chance to hear Danny speak. I liked what I heard enough to pony up a few bucks for his one-day seminar on pitching and how to garner interest from agents, managers and producers. It was good stuff. So much good info that I had a hard time taking notes and keeping up. Hey, … Read More »
The blank page is the writer’s equivalent of echoing footsteps in a giant, empty warehouse. I like that. The cool thing I discovered about screenwriting is I can fill that warehouse with anything. I Am A GOD! Creator of worlds.
Be right back, God has to haul the recycling bin to the curb.
A year ago, I’d never written a script for anything longer than about 12 minutes. And those were industrial films and corporate videos. Most of my really good stuff has been for radio. 60 whole seconds. But then I happened into a client meeting and discovered a topic that I walked out thinking, “this is a movie.” That simple thought changed my focus.
I wrote an outline/treatment of the idea and pitched it to some people. They liked it. Now, you should know that 35,000 … Read More »