Archive for June, 2011

June 30, 2011

Script: Regarding Henry

Regarding Henry is one of my all time favorite movies. It wasn’t until I decided to post this script that I realized it was written by JJ Abrams. Why doesn’t he do more films like this? We could use another great romantic drama in Hollywood.

June 30, 2011

Quote of the Day: Agatha Christie

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. 

June 29, 2011

Script: American Beauty

Here is the final draft of American Beauty by Alan Ball. This is one of my absolute favorite movies, and Alan Ball is a master of the craft. Enjoy the read.

June 29, 2011

Quote of the Day: Samuel Butler

When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence. 

June 28, 2011

Script: Green Lantern

If you’re writing a script from a comic book or a graphic novel, you might want to take a look at the Green Lantern script, penned by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim. This script from myPDFscripts is a first draft.

June 28, 2011

Quote of the Day: Karl Kraus

A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer. 

June 27, 2011

How to Handle the Rejection Inherent in Screenwriting

Jeanne V. Bowerman recently wrote a great article about her own experiences with rejection (something that every single writer throughout the ages has dealt with) and how we as writers can make the best of each let down:

The life of a writer is one full of rejection. How many times have you heard, “pass,” or queried a company that didn’t even want a read? I don’t know about you, but I stopped counting.

The bigger the company or contest, the harder the fall. But this is the career we chose, for better or worse.

You can imagine our anxiety waiting to hear from Sundance Screenwriters Lab about the fate of our adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Slavery by Another Name. Weeks passed as we plugged away at rewrites and fantasized about mentors such as Quentin Tarantino reading our words. Hell, in my mind, I was already drinking bourbon with the great QT by the fire.

Then my phone pinged. The e-mail alert arrived. I raced to my laptop only to find a standard, impersonalized, form rejection e-mail that went out to every loser on their list. “Thanks for submitting, but …”

We were bitchslapped by Redford.

read more »

June 27, 2011

Quote of the Day: Lord Byron

To withdraw myself from myself has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive in scribbling at all. 

June 24, 2011

Quote of the Day: Burton Rascoe

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window. 

June 23, 2011

Screenwriting 101: Watch, Read, Write

Scott Myers offers this advice on how to become the best screenwriter you can be:

You can learn everything you need to know about screenwriting by doing these three things:

Watch movies.
Read screenplays.
Write pages.

Why watch movies?

Because  to be a good screenwriter, you need to have a broad exposure to the  world of film.  Every movie you see is a potential reference point for  your writing, everything from story concepts you generate to characters  you develop to scenes you construct.  Moreover people who work in the  movie business constantly reference existing movies when discussing  stories you write; it’s a shorthand way of getting across what they mean  or envision.

But most importantly, you need to watch movies in  order to ‘get’ how movie stories work.  If you immerse yourself in the  world of film, it’s like a Gestalt experience where you begin to grasp  intuitively scene composition, story structure, character functions,  dialogue and subtext, transitions and pacing, and so on.

Movies must be in your lifeblood – and the best way to do that is to watch them. If you haven’t seen all of AFI’s Top 100 Movies, now is the time to start.

Why read screenplays?

Because  every script you read is a learning experience.  If it’s a good script,  you can break it down scene-by-scene to determine why it works.  If  it’s a bad script, you can see aspects of writing you do not want  to emulate.  By reading screenplays of great movies, you can see how  the pages were translated onto the screen, thereby giving you insight  into how to write cinematically.

But most important, you need to  read screenplays because these are primary source material, the ‘stuff’  you traffic when you write.   Reading other writers’ screenplays is a  great way to expose you to different approaches, which will help you  inform and define your own unique style, your own distinct voice.

Screenplays  are the form through which you tell stories – and the best way to learn  that form is by reading scripts.  If you haven’t read the WGA Top 101 list of screenplays, now is the time to get started.  You can go to myPDFscripts.com, simplyscripts.com, or any of a dozen or more screenplay sites to access literally thousands of screenplays.

Why write pages?

I don’t really have to explain this, right?  You know that you have to write to get better as a writer, not just the words you manage to write, but how you approach writing from a psychological, emotional, and spiritual perspective.  Nobody is born a writer, we all become writers, it’s an active process that is ongoing throughout our lives.

But  most important, you need to write to feed your creativity.  Putting  words onto paper is an act of incarnation.  Rewriting and editing your  words are acts of shaping the material.  Screenwriting is a craft, but  you have to be able to tap into your world of ‘art’ in order to make  your pages come alive.

Writing is the process whereby you create  stories — and the best way to develop that process is to do it.  Every  day.  For this, I have no websites to which to point you.  No lists with  which to challenge you.  Just this fact: When you aren’t writing, someone else is.

Screenwriting  is an incredibly competitive business.  There are no short cuts to  success.  But there are three habits you can embrace that can teach you  everything you need to know about the craft, about creativity, and about  your writer’s self:

Watch movies.
Read screenplays.
Write pages.