Posts tagged ‘review’

November 13, 2012

Quote of the Day: James Russell Lowell

Nature fits all her children with something to do, / He who would write and can’t write, can surely review.

July 16, 2012

Book Review: Screenplay Form and Structure

I was recently asked to review a new screenwriting book that will hit the shelves (digital and otherwise) in August, 2012. The book, Screenplay Form and Structure, is composed of posts taken from a private online forum discussing such concepts as audience bonding, the proper use of scene cards, and marketing strategies.

The book is edited by Alan von Altendorf and built out of posts from over a dozen contributors, some of whom are clearly students of screenwriting looking for their first big break and others who seem to have years of experience in the industry, though none of the main contributors have IMDB pages — not a great sign. I decided to give the book’s contributors the benefit of the doubt, because (1) options and uncredited rewrites don’t show up on IMDB and (2) you don’t have to be an outwardly successful screenwriter in order to be an excellent teacher. Just look at Robert McKee and Syd Field.

Screenplay Form and Structure has a scattering of useful tidbits and ideas, but overall the book is, ironically, lacking in useful structure. The forum format translates to conversational entries that can build upon each other, but too often includes page after page of contributors building up each other’s egos without providing the reader with any sort of useful instruction. Quite often throughout the text the contributors disagree with each other or fail to understand each other’s points. These conflicts sometimes lead to further elucidation on a topic, but more often than not made me wish the editor had picked up his red pen much more often when collecting these posts into a teaching text.

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November 17, 2011

Review: The Descendants (No Spoilers)

Last night I attended Film Independent’s screening of The Descendants in LACMA’s Bing Theater. The film presentation was followed by a Q&A panel hosted by film critic Elvis Mitchell with stars of the film Judy Greer, Shailene Woodley, Nick Krause, Matthew Lillard, Robert Forster, Beau Bridges, George Clooney, and the films writer and director, Alexander Payne. Needless to say, the evening was unforgettable, and the film was astounding.

In his description of the film, Elvis Mitchell wrote,

In her novel, The Descendants, author Kaui Hart Hemmings writes, “The tropics make it difficult to mope,” and in his film adaptation of the book, Alexander Payne examines that phrase from various angles to find all of the deeply emotional comedy that he can – what audiences have come to expect from him. The Descendants, Alexander Payne’s return to feature filmmaking after a seven-year absence, brings the writer-director back to his unique intersection of comedy, drama and familial dysfunction.

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