Archive for June, 2013

June 28, 2013

Script: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

texas_chainsaw_massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was written by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel (the same writers who scribed the 1974 script).

June 28, 2013

Quote of the Day: Ben Okri

The best writing is not about the writer, the best writing is absolutely not about the writer, it’s about us, it’s about the reader.

June 27, 2013

Loglines for Specs that Sold in 2012 (& What You Can Learn From Them)

The year-end market scorecard is out over at The Scoggins Report, and 132 spec scripts were sold in 2012. While this number feels depressingly low, it actually matches the 15-year high of 2011. Erik Bork has analysed the common features of the sold scripts in a great new article on ScriptMag:

The point of this post is not to discourage you – as you consider how many tens of thousands of scripts did not sell, so that these 132 could. My point is to offer a few observations about those scripts that sold, and especially about their content – as evidenced by the logline and genre information the “Scorecard” includes.

I think reading these loglines can be incredibly helpful for aspiring professional screenwriters, to get a sense of what makes a marketable concept. It’s one thing to hear that “a great logline is important, and the first thing to focus on.” Which is true. It’s another to read the actual loglines of scripts that actually sold, in the last year.

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June 27, 2013

Quote of the Day: Laurell K. Hamilton

I always treated writing as a profession, never as a hobby. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

June 26, 2013

Help Us Choose a Shirt Design!

female-shirt-templateWe at LA Screenwriter are going to start selling shirts. We’re very excited about this expansion and hope to follow it with other writer gear like hoodies, tote bags, mouse pads, mugs, etc. (If there’s a particular item you’d like to see, let us know in the comments.)

We want to make sure our first shirt is a real winner, so please help us decide which design to print first. Check out the pictures below and then vote using the poll!

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June 26, 2013

Script: Brokeback Mountain

brokeback_mountain

DOMA was struck down today! Thought we’d celebrate how far we’ve come with the script for Brokeback Mountain. This script was written by Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana based on the short story by Annie Proulx Story.

June 26, 2013

Quote of the Day: Justin Cronin

Writing is a job: you must show up.

June 25, 2013

Script: Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Mr.-and-Mrs.-Smith-movie-poster

Mr. and Mrs. Smith was written by Simon Kinberg.

June 25, 2013

Quote of the Day: Robert Orben

The secret of writing comedy is to know where it’s all going, then get ahead of it.

June 24, 2013

Why Nobody Would Buy ‘This is the End’ From an Unknown Writer

This-Is-The-End-PosterThis is the End is a hysterical film. It features several of Hollywood’s actors playing hell-bound versions of themselves, a perversely comedic interpretation of the book of Revelation, and the biggest demon penises you will ever see. Gross, over the top, eccentric — Yep, it’s all of the above, and it’s going to go down in history as the peak of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s creativity.

But if this exact script had been written by an unknown writer, there is about a zero percent chance that it would have been made.

I’m not talking about the problem of casting celebrities as themselves. (No unknown can hope to sell a script that requires such a specific cast — that’s a given.) I’m talking about the numerous leaps in logic and the countless comedic sequences that don’t just cross the line — they eviscerate it.

Don’t get me wrong: the film is great, and I think it works very well, partially in spite of and partly thanks to the many ways it breaks the rules. It’s meant to be a shocking, crazy comedy, and it is. But that’s not what readers want to see.

What do readers want to see, you ask? In my experience, and from all of my reading and study, I’ve found that readers want to read scripts that fit the mold.

I’m being a bit cynical right now, and I will admit that there are agents, managers, and producers out there who are willing to take a chance on something that is out of the box. Some producers are even actively searching for  scripts that break the rules.

But the sad truth is, if you haven’t been recognized for your writing talent just yet, you need to start by coloring inside the lines.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t take risks. You absolutely need to use all of your creative power and create a story that approaches an old form in a new way. This comes first and foremost. But alongside all of that creativity, you must  study, practice, and become an expert at the craft of screenwriting as it has been established by all of your predecessors. Only once you have become a master of the rules can you start breaking them.

Seth and Evan have done that. They’ve paid their dues and shown the film industry that they know how to get butts in the seats. If you haven’t done that, you can’t hope to write a script about celebrities facing demons with giant willies in the midst of the apocalypse from the safety of a house that is somehow magically fireproof and expect readers to take you seriously.

I mean, you can try, and you should try. Just make sure you have a deep and abiding knowledge of the craft of screenwriting before you start throwing the rules out the window.

That said, once you are established, once you know you’re that good, throw out rules to your heart’s content. Take chances, break boundaries. That’s the only way you will make film history.