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Archive for the Category "General"

30 Anticipated Movies in 2010 Jan 15

FilmSchoolRejects has a great post listing 30 movies to watch for in 2010.

There were a few on this list, like Paul, that I hadn’t heard of and sound pretty intriguing, so it’s worth checking out.

28. Paul

The Who: Directed by Greg Motolla; Written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; Starring them, Seth Rogen, and a cast of thousands.

The Pitch: I might as well continue the cast list in this section, because with talent like Jane Lynch, Jeffrey Tambor, Bill Hader, David Koechner, and Kristen Wiig at Greg Motolla’s disposal there’s a lot of promise for this strange story about comic book geeks who meet an (animated) alien on their way to Comic Con.

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50% Off – Only 3 Days Left Dec 28

Time is Running Out!

If you have a script that’s ready for a final polish or assessment, there’s only 3 days left to take advantage of Scriptwrecked’s December savings. All services are 50% off for a limited time only.

There are currently four options to choose from — all of which come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee (i.e. If you don’t value the feedback you receive, you’ll get a full refund).

  1. First Fifteen
    A critique and tips for the first 15 pages of your script
  2. Premium Script Coverage
    2-3 pages of notes including critique and suggestions
  3. In-Depth Script Notes
    6+ pages of notes including critique, focused suggestions and 20 point assessment grid
  4. Script Breakdown and Brainstorm
    10+ pages of notes including critique, page-by-page suggestions, 70+ point assessment grid and brainstorming assistance

The time to find out where your script stands is before it gets into the hands of Hollywood decision-makers. Give your script its best chance to kick 2010 off with a sale!

For pricing (to suit any budget) and additional information, please visit the site.


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11 Laws of Great Storytelling Dec 17

Jeffrey Hirschberg has written a great article discussing the 11 laws he believes are critical to your script’s success.

While it is impossible to have a foolproof formula, I have learned certain principles dramatically increase the probability of your story achieving a modicum of greatness.

  1. Assume everyone has A.D.D.
  2. Spend most of your time on the first ten pages of your script
  3. Write roles to attract movie stars
  4. Write economically
  5. Make sure every character has a unique voice
  6. Understand your audience
  7. Know your three-act structure
  8. Be aware of theme, and keep it consistent throughout the script
  9. Watch and re-watch successful movies similar to your story
  10. Know what your hero wants (the goal), what happens if he doesn’t get what he wants (the stakes), and who/what is preventing him from getting what he wants (the villain)
  11. Leave them wanting more

Will your script echo in eternity?

For a thorough discussion of each of these laws, complete with movie examples, I highly recommend reading the full article at TheStoryDepartment.com.


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Secret Panel Discussion Dec 16

Secret PanelShhh, it’s a secret!

A few days ago, I attended a secret panel discussion of A-list screenwriters in Los Angeles. Technically, the meeting wasn’t a secret, but we were all told at the outset of the discussion to keep the content to ourselves — especially if we had blogs or were reporters.

Well that put a damper on things.

But all is not lost. I’ve decided to post a few general insights from the panel. The intent of the privacy request was to keep secret those intimate and sometimes unfortunate incidents that were discussed that may get the writers into hot water with some Hollywood big wigs.

So by not revealing the specifics of certain anecdotes, or even who told them, I don’t feel I’m betraying that confidence… At least that’s what will allow me to sleep tonight.

Incubation

One of the new dirty words (for screenwriters), in this new cash-strapped Hollywood, is “Incubation.” It’s a disturbing new trend that’s quickly becoming commonplace.

It’s where writers are asked by production companies to work full-time on rewrites for several months or more without any type of payment for their writing services and no guarantee of an eventual sale. One of the writers said his friend was in incubation for a year and a half!

I’ve had producers flat out tell me that I should never work for free. While that may be extreme — so is working for over a year without any compensation.

I think everyone needs to set their own maximum limits before entering an incubation period, and then stick to their guns. Otherwise, what will happen is a development executive will tell you “just one more month”… and then they’ll recite that mantra every single month. Before you know it, you will have invested too much time to quit. So watch out!

Page-One Rewrites Days Ahead of Filming

Something I found curious was that a many of the writers had experiences rewriting the entire script of a movie just days in advance of production.

I’ve always known that many big Hollywood movies have their scripts thrown out weeks before shooting and are given page-one rewrites. I was also already aware that many individual scenes are rewritten sometimes “on the day.”

What surprised me was that on some very big tent-pole movies, the entire script was being rewritten with only 1, 2 or 3 days lead time of shooting the actual scenes. And these were some fairly complex stories!

Pitching

Writers aren’t typically great pitchers. They don’t like to take center stage — that’s why they’re writers!

The cool thing is that there will be times when you’ve just bumbled your way through a terrible pitch meeting thinking that you’ll never work in this town again, only to discover days later that you got the writing assignment.

Execs don’t expect you to be experts at the pitch (though if you’re a naturally good at it — that certainly helps). They just need you to know your stuff. You need to be the script expert and the fountain of ideas. That will get you noticed, and represents your best chance for getting the sale or the writing assignment.


The Black List Dec 11

The Black List

Today Hollywood is all aflutter with the release of the Black List for 2009.

What is The Black List?

If you’re an unproduced screenwriter, it’s a list that you want to be on.

Here’s an excerpt from The Black List official web site:

THE BLACK LIST is a snapshot of the collective taste of the people who develop, produce, and release theatrical feature films in the Hollywood studio system and the mainstream independent system.

An annual list of Hollywood’s most liked unproduced screenplays published on the second Friday of December each year, THE BLACK LIST began in 2004 as a survey with contributions from 75 film studio and production company executives. In 2008, over 250 executives contributed their opinions.

Since its inception, dozens of screenplays that appeared on the list have been optioned, produced, and released, many to great commercial success. Two of the top three screenplays on the inaugural 2005 list – JUNO by Diablo Cody and LARS AND THE REAL GIRL by Nancy Oliver – went on to be nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2008 Academy Awards, with JUNO winning the Oscar.

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