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"Every so often I’ll read an article or term paper or passage in a book that references a MASH episode my partner and I wrote. The piece is most always complimentary; sometimes overly so. But invariably the authors will analyze the episode. They’ll identify the symbolism, how when Hawkeye hangs up his laundry he’s really representing the Anti-Christ, and they’ll find all kinds of mythological parallel, subliminal messages, and odes to other works of literature. They’ll compare Klinger to Jane Austin, find significance in jeep license plate numbers, and detect hidden codes in Radar’s dialogue.
I’d like to be able to shrug my shoulders and say yes, all of that is in there. David and I write on many levels. Our scripts are challenging intellectual puzzles to be solved by only the most advanced sophisticated minds. Thanks for noticing.
I’d like to say that but it’s all bullshit! There’s no symbolism in our MASH scripts. There’s no attempt to send covert messages in Hawkeye’s Groucho routine. Sorry, we’re not that deep. We were just trying to write a funny show with substance and heart. Our goal was to entertain. Period. Even the Viet Nam comparisons to Korea – we never pointed to that. We didn’t have to.
There are series that do consciously employ symbolism. LOST for example. MAD MEN for another. Pay attention because every detail has added importance. I love both of those…..”
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source: @scriptmag & Julie Gray
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Question: As a neophyte wanting to enter the world of screenwriting, which is the most effective method or path to follow? I work full-time and reside in Cape Town [South Africa]. My biggest fear is obtaining a qualification in scriptwriting and then arrive in any country overseas and find out that it’s invalid or insufficient. I am not looking for short-cuts or quick-fixes. I have a passion for writing and love being creative. Therefore, I would put in the effort [and more] required to become a great screenwriter.
Thank you for a great question!
Well, first of all, when you say “obtaining a qualification” do you mean a screenwriting certification or degree? The bad/good news is that will not necessarily help you at all, no matter where you live. If you have the opportunity to pursue a formal education in screenwriting, go for it. But I would not mistake that for a prerequisite or entree into the world of a screenwriting career.
No, what you need is a good script. And that is something you can write from anywhere in the world. I’m glad you realize there are no shortcuts; the average sold screenwriter has written upward of ten scripts. That is how long it takes to both gain any mastery of the craft and to make the kinds of inroads you need to get noticed.
My advice to you would be to write your heart out and to amass a body of work before you take the next step of looking for representation. Do some thinking about what your “brand” is – what kind of writer you would like to be regarded as, which also includes genre. Are you the hot new female horror writer from South Africa? Or the new voice of the romantic comedy, with an African twist? Make sure you write the genre that you most love and that you establish not only a body of work but a body of work that speaks to who you are…..”
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"Screenplay Genre: Crime / Thriller
Movie Time: 103 minutes
Franky Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro) heists an 84 carat diamond that sparks the interest of diamond sellers Avi (Dennis Farina) and Doug the Head (Mike Reid) during the time unlicensed boxing promoter Turkish (Jason Statham) and his partner Tommy (Stephen Graham) reach a deal for their fighter Gorgeous George (Adam Fogerty) with malicious boxing kingpin Brick Top (Alan Ford). (00:11:44)
LOCK IN (End of Act One)
Acting on a tip, Boris the Blade (Rade Sherbedgia) commissions two-bit thugs Sol (Lennie James) and Vince (Robbie Gee) to take down a bookie and steal a briefcase from a man with four fingers. They hire Tyrone (Ade) who fusses over Vince’s dog, to be their getaway driver. Meanwhile, Tommy puts Gorgeous George in a bare-knuckle fight against the gypsy Mickey (Brad Pitt), but Mickey breaks Gorgeous George’s jaw, knocking him out of Brick Top’s fight. Turkish and Tommy have no choice but to get Mickey to replace Gorgeous George and fight for them. (00:29:50)
FIRST CULMINATION (Midpoint)
Sol and Vince botch the robbery and learn they held up one of Brick Top’s bookies. They discover the briefcase contains the massive diamond and want in, but Boris has other plans and Avi is on his way to get his diamond. Brick Top assures the betters that Mickey will go down in the fourth round, but Mickey knocks his opponent out with one punch, landing Turkish and Tommy in Brick Top’s debt. Turkish and Tommy need to make Mickey fight again, but he won’t do it unless they buy his mom a new camper. (1:02:19)
MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)
Brick Top smashes up Turkish and Tommy’s casino and burns down Mickey’s mom’s camper, with her still inside, in order to make Mickey fight. After the wake, Mickey goes on a wild bender and is stone drunk minutes before the fight. Brick Top warns Mickey that his gypsy camp is fucked if he doesn’t cooperate this time. In the city, Avi and his…..”
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"As the comics world knows, writer Peter David recently had a stroke. I’ve known Peter for a long time and I both respect and often envy his talent, skill and the breadth of his work. Peter has health insurance but there are plenty of bills that just won’t get covered and, as pointed out here on ComicMix, fans who want to show financial support can do so by purchasing his work at Crazy 8 Press. That’s incredibly easy; not only do your help Peter and his family but will probably get a damn fine read out of it at the same time. Like I said, Peter is a very talented writer.
Peter’s better prepared (as far as anyone can be prepared for something like this) than many in the field; he has health insurance and most other freelancers – including myself – don’t. It’s hard to get, and harder to afford, health insurance when you’re a freelancer. By it’s very nature, a freelancer’s life is precarious.
Take for example, job security. There isn’t any. Beyond your current contract (ifyou have one), there’s no guarantee you’ll have a job when it ends. You may be on a title for a long time, but that always ends. I had a “continuity contract” at one time with DC which guaranteed me so much work (and health insurance) within a given time frame, but that is long since gone. I don’t know if it’s offered any more. It was difficult for me to get a mortgage back when I bought my house (which I no longer own) and I dare say it’s tougher now if you’re a freelancer.
When you’re a freelancer, you only get paid for the work you actually do. There’s no sick pay, there’s no paid holidays, there’s no paid vacation. You sometimes get royalties ( or “participation” or whatever term a given company chooses to call it) and that’s nice. Amanda Waller’s “participation” in the Green Lantern movie sent me some nice bucks that were sorely needed at the time but that’s like finding an extra twenty in your jeans that you forgot you had. You never know when it’s coming and you can’t rely on…”