#screenwriting #film #director
Having written seven of the eight screenplays for the Harry Potter films, Steve Kloves knows a thing or two about adapting a novel for a feature film. Recently we learned that he was in talks to pen a new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, and now it looks like he may have yet another adaptation project on the horizon, which he may also get to direct.
Variety is reporting that Kloves is in talks with Warner Bros. to write and direct the Mary Parent produced adaptation of William Landay’s legal thriller novel Defending Jacob. Compared to novels Presumed Innocent and Ordinary People, the story is set in an upperclass Boston suburb, and follows a district attorney who takes time away from his job in order to defend his son, who’s been charged with murder. Apparently, he’s less than certain over just how innocent his son is. Sounds like a pretty major conflict of interest on this case, but one that likely makes for an interesting story.
As a fan of the Harry Potter series, I should admit - knowing this likely puts me in the minority - while Order of the Phoenix was not among my favorite of the books in the series, the film proved to be one of my favorites in terms of how the story was adapted. Of course, Phoenix happens to be the one film in the series that Kloves didn’t write (Michael Goldenberg penned that screenplay). With that said, all of the films were great and given the rich world Rowling created, with increasingly complex character history and development as the series went on, adapting those books to a regular-length film that did the story justice was not likely to be an easy task. Kloves’ experience on those films may help him in adapting Landay’s novel. As for directing, his experience with that is limited to two films (Flesh and Bone and The Fabulous Baker Boys) years ago. Assuming this deal goes through, it should be interesting to see how he does not only in converting the novel to a screenplay but then getting to direct.”
#screenwriting #studios #suck
“This post has been sitting in draft mode since April 25th which when you read it will drive home once again that age-old lesson: Don’t procrastinate!
As many of you are aware – and certainly after this message – the fate of myPDFscripts, and indeed any online screenplay resource is quite uncertain. After decades of ignoring the practice of sites hosting screenplays online, movie studios have begun aggressively asserting their legal rights to have scripts for which they own the copyright taken offline.
These moves have very real consequences. As I noted in my post:
What is an aspiring screenwriter, TV writer, or filmmaker supposed to do? Or educators? How are people supposed to teach and learn the craft of writing a screenplay if the studios decide to make all of their movie or TV scripts unavailable online?
And then I suggested this:
What if by making movie screenplays easily available so writers could read and analyze them, writers would improve at their craft, more and better scripts would end up on studio execs’ desks, more and better movies would get produced, resulting in bigger B.O. and more valuable titles in the studios’ libraries.
And to be clear, we are not talking about scripts in development for future movies, which studios justifiably have a concern about protecting in terms of content going public, but rather screenplays of movies that have already been produced.
Why not create eScripts and sell them to the public? Or perhaps that’s too obvious a solution.
That led to conversations with Franklin Leonard and Nate Winslow where I suggested posting a ‘modest proposal’. Here are the specifics I had in the aforementioned draft:
Let me begin with this site. This is called WBShop and here you can buy virtually anything related to Warner Bros. products. DVDs, T-shirts, comic books, coffee cups, soundtracks, collectibles, toys, games, costumes, and so on.
I say virtually anything. Warner Bros. has every goddammed thing available for sale… but no movie scripts.
So here’s is a modest proposal to the movie studios to try to find a middle ground solution re script access.
#1: Every script that is available for movies that is on the National Registry? The studios should just let them be available for open circulation. It’s a part of our country’s cinematic heritage! Plus good corporate neighbor policy.
#2: If a screenwriter requests a script they wrote to be available online, the studio should honor that request. As I understand it, if the writer has separated rights, they may:
a. Publication rights. The writer obtains the right to publish the script, or book(s) based on the script, subject to a holdback period. The Company, however, has the right to cause a novelization to be published in conjunction with the release of the film, for the purpose of……….”
Creating An Unforgettable Screenplay, Part 2: POV
by Christine Autrand Mitchell
As a screenwriter, you may not have considered Point of View as a tool for storytelling. It’s not been covered in any classes or workshops I’ve attended, but I’m taking some notes from my script analyzing experiences, my own writing and fiction into this vital area.
Point of View is generally thought of as the camera and consequently the audience. However, as the writer you must have a “narrator” to tell the story from someone’s or something’s aspect. So, what or who is it? It’s important for the writer to know and keep it in order for the screenplay to be consistent.
The most obvious genre for POV is mystery/thriller/suspense/slasher… well, you get the idea. Who is revealing the story - a surviving victim, a dead one, the villain, someone living in the walls? You can think of it in literary terms: first or third person. What is the “narrator” allowed to know and when is he allowed to introduce information or characters? If the intent is to merely scare the pants off the audience, you still need to choose carefully and time your reveals.
In regards to the mystery/suspense/etc. and almost any genre, POV is a question of style as much as craft: reveal too early and you ruin the twist or surprise, reveal too late and your audience has gone for a refill of the popcorn bucket because not enough has happened. Choose your incident, conflict, character and its introduction carefully.
But since POV is not limited to any genre, there are many factors. Consider your audience and the POV should correlate. So, if you’re writing a children’s movie you should take it from a child’s POV - that doesn’t mean you can’t entertain the adults in the audience as well by throwing them some bones. Have you watched old Warner Brothers cartoons as an adult and realized how much you missed, but you still loved it as a child? This might be inevitable since you’re an adult writing a kid’s story. Consider Spielberg’s Super 8 or E.T. versus Schindler’s List.
If the screenplay is some sort of (auto)biography tale, not in the History Channel sense but in the first person sense, keep it in her perspective. She’s the teller of the tale, whether there is a V.O. or not, and it usually involves a particular incident. You can’t violate her POV and reveal something IF she doesn’t know it yet - she has to experience it first hand. However, if she’s not the “narrator” you can. The Australian film Opal Dream and Memento versus The Lovely Bones are good examples here.
There’s always the more recent “jiggly first person” where the story is told by the handheld camera - not my fave, hard on the eyes. The Blair Witch Project, Cloverdale, and ABC’sThe River are examples. The camera here is a character and part of the action. It’s full-proof.
Happy writing and don’t lose your POV focus!
Christine Autrand Mitchell was raised across four countries and splits her time between writing and filmmaking. She writes screenplays, fiction, non-fiction and plays, and is an editor and script analyst. She has credits as a Producer, Director and Casting Director, and heads Entandem Productions.
The 5th Annual StoryPros Awards Screenplay Contest — over $30,000 in CASH & PRIZES
Not only do the winners receive CASH & PRIZES from major sponsors, but also invaluable promotion of their screenplay to over 8,200 entertainment professionals. Most of our last winners had their screenplays requested by one or more major production companies and managers. The Grand Prize Winner and all five genre category First Place Winners will get a guaranteed read and consideration for representation and/or production by Elements Entertainment, The Radmin Company and Category 5 Entertainment! The Grand Prize winner will also get a guaranteed read and consideration for representation/production by Foremost Films!
Most contests favor dramatic, serious, or off-the-wall scripts as contest winners…but what about the comedy, western, fantasy, or horror screenplay that just plain kicks butt? How do you compare a comedy to a space opera? Or a heart-warming family film to a slam-bang actioner?
The StoryPros Awards Screenplay Contest gives your genre script a fighting chance!
Scripts face off against each other in five categories: Action/Adventure/Thriller, Comedy, Drama, Family/Teen/Animation and Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror.
Cash and/or Prizes will be awarded to the First through Third Place Winners in each of these categories as the best examples of these genres. And one screenplay will be chosen from all of the entries as theGrand Prize Winner. This gives you up to 16 chances to become a winner!
Our contests are recognized as among the finest contests going. Creative Screenwriting Magazine awarded our contest an “A” grade — equal to Slamdance, Scriptapalooza, Warner Bros., Page Awards, and even their own contests!
You can also view our excellent user-submitted contest ratings at Moviebytes.com.
Here are just a few of the preferred companies that have asked to be notified about the winning scripts:Escape Artists/Steve Tisch Co., Laurence Mark Productions, Lancaster Gate Entertainment, The Radmin Co., Niad Management, Arpil Entertainment, Renee Missel Management, Emergence Entertainment, Creative Convergence, Exit 99 Pictures, Cypress Point Prods., and many more!
#screenwriting #film #business
The project made waves in September when it was set up as a pitch with Eszterhas, the writer behind Basic Instinct andShowgirls, set to pen the script. Gibson, who plans to produce through his Icon Productions, was waiting for the screenplay to be completed to decide whether he would either direct or act in the project.
Maccabee led a revolt in the second century B.C. against a Greek-Macedonian state. The Hanukkah holiday is tied to the revolt’s victory. But Gibson’s involvement drew criticism from prominent Jewish leaders like Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, who accused his 2004 film The Passion of the Christ of promoting anti-Semitism.
The script for the Maccabee movie was submitted to the studio this week but was rejected by execs, according to sources.
Insiders at the studio say the project isn’t dead or officially shelved at this stage, but it is under review. The studio has not yet decided whether to move forward with more development or a pull the plug.”