#screenwriting #film #story
“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…”
#screenwriting #writer #fiction
“Every teenage boy’s wildest fantasy becomes his worst nightmare in this provocative erotic thriller debut novel from one of Hollywood’s masters of suspense. SST Publications announced today the worldwide publication in trade hardcover, trade paperback and eBook of famed motion picture screenwriter and director Eric Red’s first novel, the dark coming-of-age story about teenagers, Don’t Stand So Close. The official release date is July 1st 2012.
Publisher Paul Fry says: “From the very first time I read Don’t Stand So Close I was hooked. It’s excellently written, erotic, exciting and compelling. The book draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the very end. Eric Red’s writing is very descriptive and atmospheric, and once the book has you in its grip, it’s very hard to let go.”
Plot Summary: When handsome 17-year-old Matt Poe moves to a rural town in Iowa, he is the new kid in school. An outsider who can’t fit in, his only friend is his beautiful and sympathetic teacher, Linda Hayden. The older woman is the first to take an interest in him, helping him adjust to the community and keep his grades up. Matt can’t help falling hard for Linda and what begins with a kiss becomes a torrid, secret affair. But his teacher is a lot more than he bargained for and the kid’s wildest dream becomes his worst nightmare. The only people who can save Matt are his two classmates, Grace McCormack and Rusty Shaw. But the three of them are in way over their heads against an evil adult trying to make sure they stay after class permanently.
About The Author: Eric Red is a Los Angeles based motion picture screenwriter and director whose films include The Hitcher, Near Dark, Cohen and Tate, Body Parts, Bad Moon and 100 Feet. He has had short fiction published in Weird Tales, Shroud, and Dark Delicacies III: Haunted. He was also the creator & writer of the graphic novel Containment for IDW Publishing. Don’t Stand So Close is his first novel.”
#screenwriting #film #screenplay
“It’s been wisely coined nobody ever endeavors to make a bad movie. It’s also been said as much or more effort goes into making a bad movie as does a good movie. Not long ago, I wrote a screen adaptation of Carsten Stroud’s novel Black Water Transit. To this day it remains one of the best screenplays I’ve ever written. In Hollywood-development-speak, it’s a sort of Traffic meets Crash. Despite the heat on the script, because of its dark crime genre, it seemed destined for independent financing. The studio put the project in turnaround (movie parlance for when they allow the producers to shop it to other buyers). The property eventually landed at an indie company with big money backing.
A side note. Most business people in the indie world are obsessed with the title of producer. The sound of calling oneself a producer is probably easier on the ears of the actress he’s trying to bed. Despite serving no actual producer function on a picture, since they control a portion of the cash, a particular tax break, or represent a foreign territory with funding guarantees, a producer credit is their exalted expectation. In motion picture history never had so many who contributed so little demanded credit equal to that of the movie’s actual producer.
Back to subject du jour. Before we’d rolled a foot of film on Black Water Transit, a picture property that started with only one producer, we were already over-bloated with eight producers. And we weren’t finished yet.
Fast forward through two years, a freight train of cast changes, a super-hot commercial-shooter-slash first-time-movie-director, the shifting of filming locales from New York to Los Angeles back to New York and finally to New Orleans, the bankruptcy of the indie-company, the addition of even more damned producers, and last but not least, my eventual dismissal as sole writer. But hell. At that point? Why not sack the writer? The big-shot commercial director’s ego needed some semi-plausible denial for his constant casting snafus. Truthfully? I wasn’t that unhappy to hit the exit. I’d grown annoyed with the late night conversations, placating the insecure boob with crap dialogue like “Oh, no. It’s not you. You’re awesome. You’re gonna direct a great movie.”
Three months later I get a phone call from Black Water Transit producer number… I forget. Was it fifteen?
“Remember me?” he asked seconds after he repeated his name.
“Of course I remember.” My tone was polite. But I recalled this guy too well from my last movie. He worked for the company financing the picture. His title of “Executive in Charge of Production” was astonishing to many on the picture because of his considerable lack of production knowledge. Go figure.
As the new-and-improved producer of Black Water Transit, he explained the following: that the financing honchos behind the defunct indie company had decided to take over the production chores. That they were nine million in the hole without having shot a frame of film. Oh. And they’d just fired the hot-shot commercial director eight weeks shy of the start of principal photography and the entire crew was in New Orleans, awaiting new marching orders.
“Please come back on board,” the producer pleaded. “We’re going back to your original script. We just need to get you and our new director on the same page.
You’ve heard of music to a writer’s ears? This was an Italian aria piped-in from heaven. Writers never, ever get this good of news. Maybe this……..”
#screenwriting #television #writing
A script doctor is like a baseball player who comes in at the last minute and saves the game. If a movie’s in trouble, a really talented writer can spot what’s wrong with the script, rewrite it, and make the film a winner instead of a loser.
There have been many script doctors in Hollywood history, and Tom Mankiewicz did major rewrites on a number of films. His work on Superman I and II was substantial, and he also wrote the 70’s James Bond films Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun - and worked on both The Spy Who Loved Me as well as Moonraker.
He also created the hit TV show Hart to Hart, and did uncredited re-write work on The Deep, WarGames, Gremlins, among many other films. Plus, Mankiewicz wrote the first script for the 80’s big screen Batman, which was a obviously far different movie than the one that finally hit theaters in 1989.
Tom came from a long respected Hollywood dynasty - his father wrote and directed All About Eve, while his Uncle Herman penned Citizen Kane. Knowing this was quite a lot to live up to, Tom went his own way as a scribe, writing big budget Hollywood entertainment, and like his relatives, was very successful at it. Sadly, Tom passed away in 2010, but his autobiography is slated to hit store shelves on May 28 via The University Press of Kentucky.
As the Amazon entry for the book tells us, My Life as a Mankiewicz recounts Tom’s life and career, where he would spend his summers on his father’s film sets, how he had his first drink with Bogart, ate dinner with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, and of course became a successful Hollywood scribe and one of a long line of talented Mankiewicz men.
If you love comic book films, you definitely owe a debt to Tom, whose writing on the Superman films treated the characters with realism, wit and respect. Mankiewicz told me he didn’t do the campy approach of the Batman TV show because you couldn’t keep camp up in the air for two hours, and the first two Superman films set a benchmark that stood for many years.
Having met and interviewed Tom back in my days as a contributor for Creative Screenwriting, I’m really looking forward to reading his life story, and his behind the scenes memories of writing for Superman, Batman and Bond.”
Source: The Globe and Mail
#screenwriting #television #writing
“Long-time friends and collaborators of Weiner’s, the couple were dividing their time between Los Angeles and Vancouver, where Maria taught at the Vancouver Film School, when Mad Men was green-lit and Weiner called them to work on his new show.
What’s going to happen next? Is Don’s marriage to Megan going to survive?
Maria Jacquemetton: We can’t tell you that. We know the end of season five, but we don’t know the end of the series.
André Jacquemetton: Matt has an idea of what he wants to happen to Don Draper, but getting there, I am not so sure he knows. And he’s curious to hear what we have to say, and that’s why he has 10 people in the [writing] room. Ten different voices.
What is Weiner looking for from those writers?
AJ: He’s looking for a certain surprise. Hopefully the writer can bring something he can’t bring, a certain truth.
MJ: A piece of their life experience
How could there be a surprise if the plot is all agreed upon in the story room beforehand?
MJ: You get an outline, but you don’t get every beat of the scene. The first boy Betty ever kissed was a Jewish boy. He particularly liked that. That was something we brought …well, from my life.
AJ: He likes it when we write the family scenes. It’s something we spark to.
MJ: The Betty/Don dynamic. The married couple dynamic. I guess we do good fights.
Why is this show such a success?
AJ: It’s counter-programming. People have been conditioned to watch television in a certain way and we go out of our way to tell stories in a unique manner. It’s unique, not just because its the sixties, but the way it’s structured, the way we talk about the period.
This season, for example, you don’t actually show the Rolling Stones, just backstage with the groupies waiting for them.
MJ: Or, when was Betty Draper going to cheat on Don? Instead of creating some torrid affair, the Mad Men story is on the day they think the world is ending because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. She goes into a bar and lets some man pick her up so she can allow herself psychologically to take her philandering husband back and be on a level playing field. That’s the Mad Men version of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
There’s also nostalgia. We all sort of yearn for better times. I think there also is a measure of decorum that has been lost in society and on some level we are craving that to return.
Which is why everyone is so obsessed with fashion on the show. Somehow if I went to work in a girdle, I would do everything more graciously.
AJ: Try it! I hear all those actors complaining about the girdles.
You’re still landed immigrants in Canada. Do you think you’ll ever come back?
MJ: We had a very nice life here, but the work is in L.A.
AJ: We still have a show we are trying to work on here.
MJ: It’s called Versailles – our partners are Canal + in France and Incendo, a Montreal-based company. We have got a pilot written.
AJ: It’s about Louis XIV.
An international co-production about Versailles, Megan in Mad Men … André, is this a bit of a francophone conspiracy?
AJ: We hired Jessica Paré. She’s from Montreal, she’s Canadian. We loved that about her. We said why don’t we use her nationality. When you talk about the sixties and you think about what was going on, French literature, French film were such an influence during that time. It just feels very organic to the show to go there.
Megan isn’t a French name though.
MJ: We did not know [the character would be French]. We built the character after the role became more important. Season 4, Matt had this idea that he wanted Don Draper to get into a relationship with Dr. Faye Miller, who was going to be good for him emotionally. But at the last minute – when it became clear that being with her was going to be a lifetime of the work that he needed to do to heal himself – this beautiful young thing was going to catch his eye. We wrote to that. We cast Jessica and really her character did not come into form until the last episode of Season 4.
AJ: And Calvet is a good French name, a good Canadian name.
You were just in Toronto doing a master class at the Canadian Film Centre. What do you tell students?
AJ: We play good cop, bad cop.
MJ: You’re bad. I am more nurturing.
AJ: I try to be good. I warn them it’s a difficult business, and I warn them about the soul-killing aspect of the business, but I cap it off by saying it’s a business that I love.
This interview has been condensed and edited.”