Archive for August, 2013

August 19, 2013

Quote of the Day: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

However great a man’s natural talent may be, the act of writing cannot be learned all at once.

August 14, 2013

The Un-Rules of Screenwriting: Erik Bork’s List

E.B. White wrote that there are “no inflexible rules by which the young writer may steer his course. He will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.” With this in mind, we’ve asked working screenwriters to share a list of the “un-rules” that they find most helpful in their writing careers.

This week we’re honored to have a list of “un-rules” from Erik Bork (@flyingwrestler). Erik is best known for his work on the HBO miniseries BAND OF BROTHERS and FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, for which he wrote multiple episodes and won two Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards for helping to produce. Erik has also sold a variety of drama series pitches to the big four networks and recently developed a comedy pilot with one of the studios. He’s worked on the writing staff for two primetime dramas, and written feature screenplays on assignment for companies like Universal, HBO, TNT, and Playtone. In addition to all of that, Erik teaches in National University’s MFA Screenwriting Program and for The Writers Store, speaks regularly at writing conferences, and offers one-on-one consulting to writers.

Erik got his start as an assistant to Tom Hanks, who gave Erik the opportunity to help him write and produce FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON after reading some sitcom spec scripts he had written.

Erik has an excellent article on his screenwriting website, Flying Wrestler, which provides deeper information about each of his following ten rules:

  1. Concept, then story, come first.  Getting those right is the most important part.  The “words on the page,” while important, are less critical.

  2.  “Compelling, unique, real and entertaining” is what every scene and every story should be.  The audience needs to believe in and care about the main character’s situation, and enjoy the process of watching them confront it – without feeling that they’ve seen it all before.  This is not easy to do!

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August 14, 2013

Quote of the Day: Ernest Hemingway

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.

August 13, 2013

Wall-E Script


The Wall-E script was written by Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon. It’s an excellent script to read if you’re trying to figure out how to write a script with very little dialogue.

August 13, 2013

Quote of the Day: John Berger

What is saved in the cinema when it achieves art is a spontaneous continuity with all mankind. It is not an art of the princes or the bourgeoisie. It is popular and vagrant. In the sky of the cinema people learn what they might have been and discover what belongs to them apart from their single lives.

August 12, 2013

Summer Flops Leading to a Film Industry Implosion?

Scott Brown of Vulture recently interviewed Damon Lindelof, one of the most highly sought-after script doctors in Hollywood, about the current state of the film industry. The two seem to agree that Hollywood is running full-sprint toward a cliff, and the whole industry is bound to belly-flop:

Damon Lindelof, the ubiquitous ­screenwriter-producer whose name seems attached to all of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, is doing his damnedest to get small. This summer, he (along with fellow triage artists Drew Goddard and Christopher McQuarrie) miraculously pulled Brad Pitt out of the mass grave that was World War Z’s zombocalyptic original third act and restored the regular-guyness that made Pitt’s character work. He also resisted the temptation to threaten Earth’s existence (yet again!) at the end of Star Trek Into Darkness,focusing instead on a personal vendetta—albeit one enacted via a dizzying mile-high pursuit across a 23rd-century cityscape. But, hey, you have to give something to get something.

“We live in a commercial world, where you’ve gotta come up with ‘trailer moments’ and make the thing feel big and impressive and satisfying, especially in that summer-movie-theater construct,” says Lindelof. “But ultimately I do feel—even as a purveyor of it—slightly turned off by this destruction porn that has emerged and become very bold-faced this past summer. And again, guilty as charged. It’s hard not to do it, especially because a movie, if properly executed, feels like it’s escalating.”

That escalation can be felt across the entire film industry this summer, a season of unparalleled massiveness: more blockbusters released, more digital demolition per square foot, and more at stake than ever. The first tentpoles out of the gate did breakneck business, but a late run of expensive flops (and even respectable also-rans) has industry watchers reexamining Steven Spielberg’s prediction, in June, that Hollywood is headed for an “implosion”: An industry that makes only megamovies, prophesied the father of the megamovie, will die of its own gigantism.

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August 12, 2013

Quote of the Day: Edna Ferber

Life can’t defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer’s lover until death.

August 8, 2013

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Script


The Rocky Horror Picture Show script was written by Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien based on the musical by Richard O’Brien.

August 8, 2013

Quote of the Day: Jessamyn West

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.

August 7, 2013

The Un-Rules of Screenwriting: Mark Sanderson’s List

E.B. White wrote that there are “no inflexible rules by which the young writer may steer his course. He will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.” With this in mind, we’ve asked working screenwriters to share a list of the “un-rules” that they find most helpful in their writing careers.

Our list this week comes from the talented Mark Sanderson (@scriptcat). Mark is a screenwriter and consultant blessed to be living his childhood dream of making movies. He has done sketch comedy writing and performing with The Amazing Onionheads, completed eleven screenplay assignments and television premieres, and enjoyed worldwide distribution of his emotionally compelling films, the WWII indie feature I’ll Remember April, Lifetime Network’s holiday films Deck the Halls and An Accidental Christmas, the stylish indie-noir feature Stingers, and action-packed thrillers USS Poseidon: Phantom Below (aka HereTV’s Tides of War) and SyFy Network’s Sea Snakes (aka 20th Century Fox’s Silent Venom).

His films have been recognized at major film festivals and distributed globally. Mark’s long association with Hollywood veterans dates back to his first produced screenplay, and he has since worked with Academy Award winning producers, veteran genre directors, and Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe acting nominees.

Mark is currently busy shopping two TV pilots, moving into pre-production on his indie sci-fi comedy Area 54, and he just completed his first book, A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success. He offers workshops, webinars and screenplay consultation services at his website FIVE O’CLOCK BLUE ENTERTAINMENT and screenwriting advice on his popular blog MY BLANK PAGE (Script Magazine’s pick for Website of the Week).

Here are the rules that Mark would like to share with us today:

  1. Respect the craft of screenwriting. This includes mastering format and becoming an excellent storyteller. There is no easy way to success. If you believe that your first script will make your career, you will be humbled when you learn that your craft is bigger than you’ll ever be.

  2. Carve out a schedule and protect your precious screenwriting time.Work every day. No matter what has happened the day or night before, get up and bite on the nail.”—Ernest Hemingway.

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