"What are you prepared to do?" was Sean Connery's oft-repeated line to Kevin Costner in De Palma’s classic gangster pastiche, "The Untouchables.” To me, it perfectly sums up the screenwriter's dilemma, vis-à...read more
There are lots of “How to Write a Screenplay” books. But if you’re like me, sometimes you need to see things visually. If so, I have two recommendations for you:
AMC’s "Story Notes”
This progra...read more
Posted at 16 Sep, 2014 |
By: Rickie Castaneda | Categories: The Biz
Once again I didn't listen to my girlfriend’s sage advice. It bit me in the ass. I broke her rule of not reading Internet reviews for my family film, “The Stream.”
I was feeling pretty good after seeing a f...read more
Posted at 09 Sep, 2014 |
By: Colin Costello | Categories: The Biz
I had a bad experience with a heavyweight producer two weeks ago. He started reading a spec of mine and called me after 40 pages to praise it. He went on to say that he never gets past page five. He then said he hoped I didn&...read more
It was a Tuesday. Who starts a class on Tuesday? This guy does, David Milch. I sort of knew who he was. Kind of. Not really. But I went anyway.
It was a long drive from Pasadena to the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills. My air co...read more
The first draft is so many things wrapped into one. In many ways it’s the most important draft…but not for the reasons you may think.
I believe the first draft is for the writer more than anything. It gets you ...read more
It’s ironic that in a craft that promotes structure and formula that the industry itself has pretty much zero of both.
There is no blueprint of guaranteed success. Yes having an agent or manager is helpful, but I know...read more
So last time we talked a little bit about meaning and how religion and movies have this in common: both try to explain and thereby, give meaning, to life. Let’s talk a little bit today about the natural enemy of meaning...read more
Posted at 11 Aug, 2014 |
By: Chris Soth | Categories: Writing Tips
I love summer movies. Why? I’m a geek. More importantly, I’m a SUPERHERO GEEK. So with Marvel dominating our multiplexes, I got to thinking about writing a superhero spec and wondering what really separates "The A...read more
Movies are a new religion. Is that sacrilege? Bear with me. What does religion, or any heartfelt code mean to do? What do movies DO?
For that matter, what does all ART do? What should every work of art, or craft (as I prefer...read more
Once upon a time, writers could live in isolation, bang away on typewriters, drink, smoke...and then poke their heads out like groundhogs and turn in their scripts.
But as the Bob Dylan song goes, “The times, they are ...read more
Years ago while finishing my first screenplay, I happened across a quote from Terry Southern that gave me pause. In it, he describes screenwriters as “completely incompetent in any other form of writing, and, of course,...read more
Imagine you’re a producer. I’ve just entered your office, sporting a baseball cap, a superhero t-shirt and shorts. I sit down, overly excited, to tell pitch my new spec.
I call it, "The Ride.” It’s a ...read more
I believe the most significant difference between a great story and a mediocre story is the ending.
From my experience as a movie watcher and reader, I can honestly say that if a story ends on an amazing high note, then all ...read more
The road from script to screen is a long and bumpy one that requires a lot of endurance. Just because a screenplay is good enough for a sale or option doesn't mean it's production ready. In fact, every movie I’ve worked...read more
Orson Welles once said, “A poet needs a pen, a painter needs a brush, but a filmmaker needs an army.”
Hands down, filmmaking is the most collaborative art form you'll ever work in as a writer. The screenplay is o...read more
Even though it’s only the first week of July, more than half of this summer’s major blockbuster films have already been released. And looking at this season’s winners and losers thus far should make certain ...read more
Posted at 07 Jul, 2014 |
By: Danny Manus | Categories: The Biz
Emotion is wildly underrated in screenwriting. What are your favorite all time movies? "The Shawshank Redemption"? "Forrest Gump"? "Casablanca"? "Gladiator"?
Think about why you love those movies? It's not because they're hi...read more
Jen and I broke up on a Tuesday. Or was it a Wednesday? I’m not sure as it was so long ago, but I do remember we decided to call it quits at a Starbucks via email and cell. See, we had a long distance relationship. We h...read more
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