Balls of Steel: Pursuing a Writing Career When You Feel Lost
Source: @scriptmag @jeannevb
#screenwriting #film #story
“The other day I lost my way. The Balls of Steel writer got lost.
Having balls of steel is my brand. How the hell can I, of all people, have a hiccup of faith in my writing career? And how could I possibly admit that to my readers?
I slammed down a shot of Wild Turkey and walked out of my house. I walked and walked. Two hours. Just walking. Crying. A lot. I’m confident my neighbors thought I was having a breakdown. Guess what? I was.
A breakdown of faith. I don’t just mean blind faith in this business and the people controlling it, I mean faith in myself not to lose my mind while trying to get champions for my projects.
I pride myself in never quitting. I never even think about quitting. I know I can write. I know I can deliver. I know I can work tirelessly to achieve my dreams, but what do you do when your faith in your ability isn’t enough? Let’s face it, succeeding in this industry isn’t entirely in your control. It takes a village to make a film. What do you do when you’re facing a stone wall and, instead of reaching their hand back to help you, people are piling more stones on top of that wall?
Did I really have what it takes to scale the wall without trusting the people around me not to let me fall… or worse, push me off into the depths below?
I finally crawled my way back up my 1100-foot driveway for one reason. My kids. They’ve been watching me for the past 10 years trying to break in. I needed to set an example for them of fortitude and courage. But did I have the strength?
After commenting on how freakishly blue my eyes get when I cry, my daughter spit my own words back at me, “Giving up is not an option. You will get this made, Mom.”
My son asked if I felt like I was being held hostage.
Ding. Hostage. That’s exactly what I felt like.
From the mouths of babes, who are no longer babes but teenagers. Even though I was struggling with being a writer, my children were not. Their faith in me is a constant. Unwavering. My rocks.
I am a writer. Writers write. I can’t quit being a writer anymore than I could quit being a mother. Writing is as much a part of me as my children are.
During my breakdown walk, I thought about what being a writer means. It’s much more than writing every day. It’s a mindset. A decision.
Or is it a decision? Are you born being an artist or is it something you learn along the way? Is it something you choose or is it something……”
Click below to read full article.
INNER DRIVES: What’s My Character Motivation? Driving the Character Arcs
Source: @scriptmag and Pamela Jaye Smith
#screenwriting #film #story
"The INNER DRIVES offer an excellent paradigm for moving your character through various states of mind, emotions, and actions.
There are basically three approaches to character arcs: up, down, or static. Each approach has its own particular Opposition and Assistance.
Your heroine’s Inner Drive and Goal will be one of these:
1. Static Aspiration – to hold or perfect the current Center
2. Upward Aspiration – to attain a higher Center
3. Fall & Redemption – to regain a Center from which she was tempted or displaced
Both the Assistance and the Opposition can come from their current Inner Drive Center, a higher one, or a lower one.
These stories will often be about sports, skills, or relationships. Your character’s goals and desires will be variations on the same Inner Drive. They could be in competition with someone else on the same Center or, seeking to master some aspect of the Center which has eluded them.
Most martial arts films are about holding one’s own against all comers, which is not to say they aren’t fun and exciting.
Romantic comedies are about achieving goals and satisfaction on the romantic Centers, Sacral and/or Aspirational Solar Plexus.
Many stories are about someone desperately wanting something they do not have, be it a person, a position, or possessions. It makes for good storytelling to watch them yearn and strive against the challenges and obstacles.
Evita Peron was a streetwalker (Sacral) who marries a dictator (Lower Solar Plexus) but then works to help the ordinary people (Aspirational Solar Plexus).
Indiana Jones is also forced up from self-centered Lower Solar to self-sacrificing Aspirational Solar by outside circumstances as Raiders of the Lost Ark propels him to battle the Nazis for possession of the Ark.
FALL AND (sometimes) REDEMPTION
Your heroine is either tempted down or forced down into a lower Center by her own weaknesses (addictions, foibles, etc.), by other people (temptation, abduction, war, etc.), or by events (floods, hurricanes, depressions, comets, etc.).
WEAKNESS – The character falls, explores the new Center, but then rises even higher than where they were before, even though they had not had that in mind in the…..”
Click below to read full article.
#screenwriting #film #story
“Our thanks to Master Cat! Cory Milles for this perceptive blog:
From the early days of hand-drawn cells to its recent offerings of CGI, Disney animated films have always connected with audiences in a powerful way, and with good reason: they never fail to hit the beats. Here is a sampling of some great examples (all artwork ©Disney):
Wreck-It Ralph (2012) — As video game bad guy Ralph sits in a support group, Bad-Anon, he proclaims that he wants to break more than buildings; he wants to smash the stereotype of the role he seems to be stuck in. One of the characters declares that Ralph can’t change the program, implying that we can’t change who we are predestined to be. This is the Theme Stated, and it is what Ralph will debate and discover on his journey.
After bonding with his companion Vanellope and overcoming his badness, he learns that all is not as it seems, and to protect Vanellope, he must act in a way that will destroy their friendship. As he demolishes the car they built together, All Is Lost for Ralph as Vanellope yells at him, telling him that he really is a bad guy deep down. The death of their friendship and the death of Ralph’s character growth is at hand. Later, to save Vanellope, he must sacrifice himself. As he plummets to the ground below, he Digs Down Deep and recites the Bad Guy Affirmation: “I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.” Ralph has realized that it doesn’t matter who others think he is; he knows deep down.
UP (2009) — The Set-Up is masterfully done in only a few minutes of scenes set to emotional music, introducing the audience to Carl Fredricksen and his wife Ellie. During those brief minutes, we watch as their relationship develops from a childhood friendship to a devoted marriage, sharing in their joys and hardships. As his wife passes, Carl’s motivation is completely clear, helping us understand his actions, making us sympathize with him. We know what he wants, but we also know what he needs. And all in under six minutes.
Carl finally realizes what he needs during his All Is Lost moment. After ridding himself of Russell, the boy who accompanied him on his journey, Carl sits alone in isolation, flipping through the scrapbook his wife left for him. He has what he wants, but only recognizes what he needs as he reads one final note scrawled by Ellie. In his Dark Night of the Soul, Carl understands that he needs to live on, ridding himself of the past that has weighed…..”
Click below to read full post
Source: @Slant_Magazine @AddisonDeTwitt
#screenwriting #playwriting #story
"You know you’re dealing with an assertive artist when he’s the one who starts the interview. Before I even sit down to speak with Tracy Letts, the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning actor-playwright known for conceiving and adapting works like Bug and Killer Joe, he’s already grilling me about Slant's not-so-ecstatic recaps of Homeland, a series on which Letts starred this season as the shady Senator Andrew Lockhart. Apparently, Letts doesn’t miss a bit of press that’s linked to his work, nor does he blindly speak to outlets without doing a little digging. Though always perfectly respectful, Letts is direct, and forthcoming, which should really be no surprise given the uninhibited stories he’s put his name to.
Having penned the screenplays for Bug and Killer Joe, two indelible bits of mind-fuckery that teamed the author with William Friedkin, Letts is now unleashing his adaptation of his most personal piece, August: Osage County, the film version of which marks a partnership with director John Wells—not to mention a monumental cast. Though a far cry from the Friedkin collaborations, August: Osage County is similarly no-holds-barred, dropping the viewer amid a venom-spitting brood inspired by Letts’s own family.
A sensation when it stormed Broadway in 2007, the story of August: Osage County takes place in Letts’s home state of Oklahoma, and it’s infused not just with the drama of dysfunction, but a Midwestern history with which he’s all too familiar. The man behind the narrative that’s now led to heavy awards buzz (particularly for leading ladies Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts), Letts discussed the story’s Native American themes, his opinion that his own mother, Billie Letts, is “a goddamned liar,” and, more than anything, the limits of control. That is, of course, after addressing those recaps.
Don’t we continually get bad reviews on Slant from the guy who writes the episode recaps for Homeland?
You might! One of our writers does recap the show on our blog. But, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t read those pieces, because I’m behind on this season of Homeland and I’m avoiding spoilers.
Yeah, well, I’ve read them. I read it all. I’m shameless. I read everything.
Oh yeah? Well, I do know that we at the site are fans of movies based on your work, like Bug and Killer Joe. Slant really digs Killer Joe.
Great. Glad to hear it.
Speaking of which, since Bug, Killer Joe, and August: Osage County are so different, I’ve been trying to think of how they connect thematically, and what I’ve come up with is this element of control—people trying to control their worlds via their bodies, shady deals, self-medication, even family. Is the issue of control something you consciously try to explore?
Oh man, that’s such a good question, and I haven’t had that question before, because I haven’t really had anyone pay that much attention to the works in total. I don’t know. Perhaps I just think it’s the stuff of drama, but perhaps it’s something from my own life as well. I mean, I’ve been sober for over 20 years, and I’m a subscriber of AA and its philosophies. So there probably is something in there about my belief that a certain giving up of control is good for the soul. I certainly think that, in August: Osage County, that moment in the play when Barbara insists she’s “running things now” was always a choice moment for the audience, and it’s in the film as well. And I think it taps into something that people feel, particularly in regard to their families: “Oh my god, if you would just do what I want you to do we’d be so much better off. If you’d just behave the way I feel you should behave.” As opposed to allowing people to make…..”
Click below to read full interview
Source: @jeannevb @scriptmag
#screenwriing #film #story
"Every once in a while, I need to have an editor rant. Perhaps I’ll call it “clarification” instead of a rant, because rant implies anger, and I’m not an angry person.
A few things happened this past week I feel need… clarification.
I’ve been mulling over how people approach life and their careers. Some people grab life by the throat and go after what they want, making changes along the way to grow and improve. Others are only open to hearing what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.
People are so odd sometimes, fighting evolution and staying stuck in old patterns that don’t work.
One of our columnists, Kevin Delin, wrote an article about tossing the famous and much-loved structure of Save the Cat!, and instead, writing in a way that is uniquely intuitive to you personally. The reactions were many, but what I found fascinating was how they varied widely on Twitter versus Facebook. Our Facebook readers were aghast that I would post such an article. Yet the Twitter audience applauded Kevin’s out-of-the box thinking.
There’s a lot we could analyze about why those two platforms reacted so differently, of which I have an opinion, but that’s a discussion for another day.
What I also found interesting was how some people attacked me personally for posting it. Then again, people also email me expletives that are so raw and vulgar, if I happen to miss correcting typos in an article, they’d make my Sicilian grandfather blush. You haven’t lived until you go through an editor’s inbox. Some days, it takes a tougher skin than sitting with a Hollywood exec.
Again, not “ranting,” just… clarifying.
Maybe I should clarify my overall philosophy on why I post what I post on ScriptMag. We now have over 50 contributors, for whom I have great respect. Do I personally agree with every post I publish? Hell no. Nor do I want to. I’m sure a few of them don’t agree with some of my Balls of Steel articles.
We all write our columns based on our opinions and our personal experiences in the industry, hoping the information we …..”
Click below for full article.