Source: @ozzywood @dbgilles
#screenwriting #film #story
"Most of the screenplays I read lack dramatic conflict. Characters just talk and say empty words. Nothing’s happening. Often, the reason for this is because we don’t push ourselves to find drama in the lives of our characters.
So maybe we look into our own lives for some dramatic conflict to inspire us. You argue with your spouse or significant other. You quarrel with your parents or siblings or friends. You squabble with an obnoxious neighbor, rude sales clerk or whoever.
But sometimes we don’t have enough drama in our lives. Things may be going smoothly and pleasantly. There’s no crisis or chaos. While this is good for our peace of mind, it’s bad for our sense of the dramatic.
There’s nothing like something happening to shake things up. We’re thrown off guard, we lose our balance, we’re knocked out of our comfort zone and lose our cool.
But if nothing’s going on we get lazy.
There’s nothing like something happening to shake things up.
This is when we must truly use our imaginations to try and stir up some drama. What I do is try to picture celebrities or people connected to celebrities in their real lives. Not as we’ve come to know them publicly, but how they really are in their private lives…..”
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Source: @Scriptmag @byDougRich
#screenwriting #film #story
“What’s wrong with this picture? I was an unproduced screenwriter standing at the threshold to my antique, valley domicile. It was my tiny, first-timer bungalow measuring barely eleven hundred square feet. Across from me, standing on my front stoop, was none other than movie director, John Frankenheimer. You don’t know his name? Maybe you’ve heard of some of his movies. The Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, Black Sunday to name just a few. At almost six foot four, the directing great filled the frame of my front door. I couldn’t help but ask myself, “What the hell is he doing here?”
But maybe I should add a little context first. Rewind six or seven months. My friend and producer (not-to-mention the War Department’s former boss), Gary Foster (Sleepless in Seattle, Ghostrider), and I had developed a kick-ass thriller written by a veteran TV scribe. We’d sold it to the studio as a pitch, developed draft upon draft of the thriller until it was so tight it squeaked, and now we were in the enviable position of the studio showing enough spark in the project to ask us to bring them a suitable director. If we found one they liked, they would make an offer. A tell-tale precursor to a green light.
Once the net had been cast for a director, the agencies kicked into gear, offering up their clients in the usual, shotgun-any-of-them-against-the-wall-and-see-if-they-stick routine. Since the film was to take place in Europe and the Middle East, we looked for somebody with that kind of flair. As we sorted through our options, Gary fielded a call from an agent who wanted us to consider his iconic client.
“What do you think of John Frankenheimer?” Gary asked me.
My mind instantly replayed scenes from his classic films. I was especially a big fan of Black Sunday, recalling a high school rainy day where I played hooky and parked myself in a movie multiplex for back to back to back showings.
“I love him,” I blurted. After the two of us babbled about him for awhile like a pair of college movie geeks, I asked, “So is he still making movies?”
“TV films,” said Gary, flat and not impressed. Not that fine work wasn’t being performed in the made for television world of cinema. But even I knew the platform was primarily the land of the C-listers. Former movie directors who couldn’t get arrested in features and TV helmers looking to bridge their way into the theatrical market.
“The great John Frankenheimer directing TV movies?” I said sadly. “That’s just wrong.”
“He read our script,” said Gary. “Agent says he loves it and wants to meet us.”
“Hell yeah,” I said. “I’m dying to meet him!”
“Even if we can’t sell him to the studio?” asked Gary. “I don’t want to waste his time.”
“Do we know for sure that the studio won’t make a deal with him?”
“Not for sure,” said Gary. “But when they said go out and get a director, I don’t think they were talking about some washed up old guy.”
“Some washed up old guy? We’re talking John Frankenheimer, man.”
“I know, I know.”
“He read it and wants to do it,” I said. “So let’s give him a chance.”
“Alright, why not,” agreed my partner. “At least this way we get to shake his hand.”
As keen as my memory is with these trench tales, I can’t at all access how we arrived at choosing to have our meeting with John Frankenheimer at my little valley casita. Especially when Gary’s Century City digs were more than…….”
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#screenwriting #tv #writing
"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
#screenwriting #film #story
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…..”