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Archive for the Category "Screenwriters"

Embrace The Grind Jun 23

Anyone else out there a fan of MMA (mixed martial arts)? No? Doesn’t matter, this lesson applies to any professional endeavor — including screenwriting.

So there’s this fighter named Benson Henderson. He’s got about as much genuine swagger as any human has a right to. And for a good reason — he steamrolls over most of his opponents.

Benson Henderson

This, ladies and gentlemen, is genuine swagger!

After handily winning his last bout, he was almost in tears talking about how people have no idea how hard he trains for his fights.

Here’s a guy who you can tell by looking at him, and seeing him fight, has tremendous natural gifts. He’s one of the best fighters in the world, yet he still pushes himself to the breaking point during his training camps.

Gone are the days when some fighter, who merely dabbled in mixed martial arts, could rise to prominence off of luck or talent or connections alone. If you want to be successful in MMA, you have to embrace the grind.

It got me thinking. The same rule applies to screenwriters.

We may not risk traumatic brain injury every time we write a script (hmmm, that’s debatable), but we do have to compete with other screenwriters. Professional screenwriters. Professional screenwriters with agents and managers and industry credibility and one more thing…

A strong work ethic.

The successful screenwriters are the ones embracing the grind and putting in their hours of writing, networking, and keeping tabs on the industry. Every. Single. Day.

How on earth can you expect to compete with them (or other amateurs who are similarly inclined) if you’re only writing once in a blue moon?

This isn’t meant to depress you. It’s meant to explain the reality of the modern screenwriting business. It’s not an industry where dilettantes do well. You have to really want it. And you have to be really good at it. And you have to put the time in. Lots of time. That means lots of scripts.

If not, the screenwriting equivalent of Benson Henderson, or Ronda Rousey, or some up and coming amateur, is going to kick your ass. Because right now there are only a few coveted jobs or spec sales for screenwriters.

Bottom line is, if you you want to succeed — hell, if you just want make the fight competitive — you have to embrace the grind.

Is Netflix the best resource for screenwriters? Aug 08

The DialogueNetflix. What is it good for?

Absolutely… something!

Netflix has received some (probably warranted) bad press recently, due to their significant price hike. But if you can afford to shell out the cash for at least one more month, you’ll be able to take advantage of one of the best resources for screenwriters anywhere.

I’m not talking about their movie selection (though that’s good too). I’m talking about one specific set of DVDs known as The Dialogue.

The Dialogue: Learning from the Masters

Hosted by Mike De Luca (Producer of dozens of diverse movies including: Boogie Nights, American History X, Austin Powers, The Social Network), the series consists of in depth interviews with some of Hollywood’s elite screenwriters.

Here are just a few of the 27 screenwriters interviewed:

- Simon Kinberg (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Sherlock Holmes)
– Scott Rosenberg (Gone in Sixty Seconds, Con Air)
– David S. Goyer (Blade, Batman Begins)
– Paul Haggis (Crash, Casino Royale)
– Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air, X-Men First Class)
– Peter and Bob Farrelly (Dumb & Dumber, There’s Something About Mary)
– Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Cowboys & Aliens)

The DVDs are only few years old, and will give you the best bang for your Netflix buck.

Not only are the interviews insightful as to the process of screenwriting, they will certainly open your eyes to the business of screenwriting as well.

I can’t recommend these DVDs enough. Each 80 minute interview is jam-packed with incredible tidbits of knowledge you can only learn straight from the pros. These are MUST SEE DVDs guys.

Note: The full set of DVDs are also for sale on Amazon.com.

Update: Apparently Amazon isn’t selling these interviews in DVD form, but they are streaming and making them available for download (for a small fee). Here’s a link to one of my favorite interviews, Nicholas Kazan (Matilda, Fallen).


Professional script critique, logline and page notes for $59.
(Yup, the rumors are true. It’s the best frikken deal on the web.)
The Return of James Cameron Nov 12

James CameronMan of Extremes

In anticipation of the upcoming movie, Avatar, Dana Goodyear of The New Yorker has written an in depth article about James Cameron, his life and his movies.

If you don’t know who James Cameron is, you A) have some ‘splainin’ to do, and B) have some immediate homework due on Netflix.

For those who are already up to speed on one of the most successful, talented, visionary (and uncompromising) individuals to ever work in film, you’ll really enjoy this article filled with behind the scenes tidbits, personal anecdotes and intriguing quotes.

Here’s an excerpt focusing on Cameron’s ex-wife, Linda Hamilton (who played Sarah Connor in Terminator and T2):

She wanted to get married, but Cameron, she says, was not interested in a conventional domestic life: “He used to say to me, ‘Anybody can be a father or a husband. There are only five people in the world who can do what I do, and I’m going for that.’ ” She got pregnant, and moved out when their daughter, Josephine—Cameron’s first child—was nine months old.

For a great read, head over to the The New Yorker.

A quick shout-out to my friend, and talented scribe, David Strom for directing me to this article.

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