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Archive for January, 2010

Epic Wedding Trailer Jan 25

Would you be able to resist going to this wedding if you received this invitation?

Link via Miss Cellania

Category: Miscellaneous  | One Comment
Cracked Movie Articles Jan 24

The good folks at have some hilarious and surprisingly insightful articles about movies.

Here are some of my faves:

Category: General  | Leave a Comment
Q & A with Michele Wallerstein Jan 22

Question: (from George C.)
What’s more impressive or important in a spec script, a good concept or a unique voice?

Answer: (Michele Wallerstein)
A good or great high concept film script is always a plus, however as an agent and as a screenplay consultant, I’ve always looked for a unique voice in the writer’s ability with characters.  The ability to write interesting, individual and clever character dialogue is what makes a new writer stand above the crowd.  I find that every script has flaws and most scripts can be worked on and rewritten to solve the problems in story, pacing and structure.

If the writer doesn’t write those quirky or fascinating people that we love in movies, then they will not be sought after by Hollywood.

Do you have a creative or Hollywood business question that needs to be answered? Send it in!

Michele Wallerstein is a Screenplay & Novel & Career Consultant and author of “MIND YOUR BUSINESS:  A Hollywood Literary Agent’s Guide To Your Writing Career“.

Web site:

Donut Bagel and Other Title Lessons Jan 21

Donut Bagel

So I was driving along the road the other night and noticed a brightly lit fluorescent awning for a new food establishment called: Donut Bagel.

As I zipped passed it, many conflicting thoughts sprung to mind:

– It has the word “donut” in the name, so it must be a bakery selling sweets.

– No wait a minute. It also has the word “bagel” in it, so it must be a health food eatery.

– Just a tick — it has both those words in the name, so it must be some unholy, deep fried, sprouted abomination.

Some time shortly thereafter my brain exploded.

Restaurant names are like movie titles

I don’t know how successful ye olde Donut Bagel shoppe will be, but if it doesn’t survive in a world not yet ready for such brazen food items, I’ll be willing to bet it’s because its name (and therefore its message) was confusing. It doesn’t immediately answer the question that all restaurants, and movie titles, need to answer:

What is it?

When we’re driving by a billboard at 60 MPH, we don’t have time to read the fine print, or to assess all of the imagery. Often times, we only have time to process the title.

If the title doesn’t evoke an “Oh I get it — that sounds cool!” response in us, odds are the movie isn’t going to do so well.

State of Play — what? Body of Lies — huh? Despite both of those Russell Crowe movies being quite good, they did very poorly at the box office1.

It has to be S.M.A.R.T.

There’s lots of great advice in Stephanie Palmer’s book: Good In A Room. One of the best sections talks about how movie titles must be S.M.A.R.T.

S: short (the fewer words in the title the better)

M: memorable (something that stands out or has an element of drama)

A: accurate (correctly representing your proposition)

R: repeatable (sounds good when spoken out loud)

T: tonally appropriate (in accordance with the genre of the project)

Make sure you run your movie titles through that criteria when deciding on one.

If we look at Donut Bagle under that filter it misses out big on the last one — being tonally appropriate. I’m a health nut, so I have no idea whether I’d be happy or horrified if I walked in there.

Say you heard about a movie called Slaughterhouse. You’d probably think it was a horror movie. But what if it were actually the story of an 1820’s school teacher, Edith Slaughter, who taught orphans how to read and write? The producers may not be appealing to the right demographic with that title.

This is a tough climate — for scripts and for restaurants. Your title is at least something you can control.

Fare thee well Donut Bagel. Fare thee well.

  1. According to Box Office Mojo, State of Play did $37,017,955 domestically. Body of Lies did $39,394,666.
Category: Movie Titles  | 4 Comments
Q & A with Michele Wallerstein Jan 18

Hey gang, you’re in for a treat!

I’m excited to announce that Michele Wallerstein — a respected screenplay & novel consultant and longtime Hollywood literary agent — will be answering your industry questions once a week.

So if you have something you’d like to ask a Hollywood veteran, send in your questions! (Email:

Those of you who are Scriptwrecked regulars will recognize Michele’s name from the previous articles she’s provided for this site:

Agents, Personal Managers and Lawyers
Are you serious about your writing career?
The Question Of Writing For Free

Michele Wallerstein is a Screenplay & Novel & Career Consultant and author of “MIND YOUR BUSINESS:  A Hollywood Literary Agent’s Guide To Your Writing Career“.

Web site:

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