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Archive for the Category "Diversions"

The Villain’s Point of View Oct 19

Crafting an Authentic Villain

Gone are the days of the mustache-twirling villain who is just evil for evil’s sake. These days to make your villain engaging and believable he or she must be authentic.

So to craft your realistic villain, it’s critical that you see the world from their point of view. After all, “Everyone’s the hero of their own narrative.”

As a great reminder of that truth, has produced another terrific movie-themed article: 26 Great Movies from the Villain’s Point of View.

Here are a few of my favorite user-submitted posters:

The Jewelry Thieves (Lord of the Rings)

The Senator Kelly Story (The X-Men)

Terrible Shepherds (Brokeback Mountain)

Iceberg (Titanic)

The Empire Tries Really Hard (The Empire Strikes Back)

Alone (Alien)

The full article has a bunch more great ones, so check it out.

Which one is your favorite? And can anyone explain the “Vector” movie poster to me?

Category: Diversions, Humor, Villains  | 5 Comments
Skins – Naomi and Emily (Naomily) [video] Aug 13

Some Saturday Fun

Skins | Naomi and Emily (Naomily)There’s a really engaging TV series in the UK, on Channel 4 (E4), called Skins (not to be confused with the short-lived MTV version). Part raunchy drama, part teen comedy, the BAFTA-winning show is packed with gripping characters and storylines.

It’s made all the more impressive by the fact that the entire main cast is replaced every two years! (And you thought Glee was harsh!) On top of that, each episode focuses on a different character that you can’t help but love by the end of the hour.

On seasons/series 3 and 4 there were two stand-out characters — Emily and Naomi (known as Naomily by their legions of fans); fearlessly played by Lily Loveless and Kathryn Prescott.

Their two-season journey was exciting, poignant, surprising, touching, agonizing and uplifting. Everything you’d want in a story arc. So much so, that I decided to use my screenwriting sensibilities to create [say this next part in your head with an ominous echo] the ultimate Naomily Youtube video!

It’s called “Naked.” (Settle down, no one’s actually naked. It’s a play on the many definitions of the word, like exposed, raw, vulnerable… Plus the main song used is “Naked” by Tracy Bonham.)

Why spend the time to make such a video?

A few reasons:

1. I love the show.

‘Nuff said.

2. The challenge.

How do you distill two seasons into a video that’s under ten minutes in length, present it in a way that’s fresh, and hone the story so that it can stand on its own?

It involved doing what all good screenwriters do — strip everything out until you’re left with only the story you want to tell. Similar to writing a script, there were so many wonderful scenes that I wanted to include but didn’t support the main narrative, so they had to go. It was a really good exercise in killing your darlings.

3. To create something visual.

We toil away for years in our darkened rooms, writing stories that we hope will sell or, dare we dream, actually dance across the silver screen one day. Sometimes it just feels nice to be able to create something that people can see right now and say, “Wow.” (Of course an original short film would be better, but…)

The resulting video utilizes non-linear storytelling, and synchronizes key actions and scene cuts to the music, to enhance the emotional punch. In doing so, hopefully it becomes more than the sum of its parts. Let me know what you think!

Warning: Lesbians!

This video doesn’t contain any nudity or significant swearing, and would probably be acceptable by late-night network television standards (tame by cable television standards). However, it does contain several scenes of girls kissing, etc. So if you’re homophobic, or lesbi-antsy, you might want to stay away from this vid… But if you do, you’ll be missing out on something rather beautiful.

Can’t see the video above? Want to download it?
Naomily.avi (Optimized for Windows | 1280 x 720 | 174 MB)
Naomily-iPad.mp4 (Optimized for iPad/Mac | 1024 x 768 | 125 MB)

FYI – The first three seasons of Skins can be streamed through Netflix or Amazon. The fourth season DVDs can be rented or purchased through the same.

Short Film: Script Cops Jun 10

I’ve been getting some great screenwriting links from my friends lately. I’ll share them with you over the next few days.

Today’s link is to the following hilarious short film by Writer/Director Scott Rice, called SCRIPT COPS.

Script Cops

Sorry, I wasn’t able to embed the video.
Click the image above to view at the filmmaker’s web site.

According to Rice’s web site:

This award-winning parody became a hit Sony Pictures web series. Maverick Award Winner – LAWebFest 2011.

You can view more episodes of SCRIPT COPS here.

Category: Comedy, Diversions, Links  | 2 Comments
Surprise Your Audience Mar 27

Ros goes down the elevator shaftA friend sent me this excerpt from a recent interview with David E. Kelley (Harry’s Law, Boston Legal, Boston Public, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope, L.A. Law). It highlights an important mindset to have when crafting scenes:

L.A. Law is where we first got a taste of what would be your trademark, those surprise, odd twists, like Roz going down the elevator shaft. Where do those ideas come from?

I promise it isn’t drugs. You know, you sort of get smarter through the years, but that’s the one question I’m really still unable to answer. I do subscribe to the theory that it is entertainment, and when people sit down in their La-Z-Boy chair at the end of the night, they maybe should be able to see something that they’re not going to see in everyday life. So arguments of mine [between characters] will tend to be more melodramatic, and some of the eccentricities will be heightened. That’s just kind of what I like to do. Also, I loved The Twilight Zone as a kid, and Outer Limits and shows like that, which went in directions that you just never imagined. I do do that. I do say, “Okay, this is the scene, this is the normal way it would go. Is there another way it could possibly go that fits within the context of the show that you may not see coming?”

So what are the important takeaways? Give the audience:

A) “something that they’re not going to see in everyday life.”
B) something that they “may not see coming.”


If you have 4 1/2 minutes, I highly recommend watching the following animated short that I found recently, created by Graham Annable. It has several moments that I hadn’t seen before and definitely didn’t see coming.

Pay special attention to how the slow pacing (especially in one particular scene) is brilliantly utilized for humorous effect.

Full David E. Kelley interview via Vulture.

Want me to read your screenplay? Please take a look at my script services.

Deciphering Notes from Executives Oct 10

Exec Notes

At some point in your writing career, hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to receive notes from a development exec.

Just pray it’s not this guy.

H/T to Scott for the link.

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