How To Write An Awesome Movie, According To Some Of Hollywood’s Best Writers
Source: @jordanzakarin @buzzfeed
#screenwriting #film #story
"All aspiring writers have experienced the conception of a story, that little atom of an idea that explodes into a vision of a journey in a big bang “aha!” that rattles the brain. But the difference between the daydreamers and actual filmmakers starts right after that revelatory moment, when the disparate strands of an idea either begin to take shape — and, at some point, migrate over to Final Draft — or just fade away.
BuzzFeed spoke with some of the industry’s top writers and directors to learn how they develop a tiny germ of an idea into award-winning screenplay. They discussed everything from how they get started, to how to sit down and write, and how to balance dialogue and structure.
Here’s the roster of advisers: Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise trilogy, Dazed and Confused); Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks, Bridesmaids, The Heat); Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult); Richard Curtis (Love Actually, About Time, Four Weddings and a Funeral); Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said, Please Give); Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter (500 Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now); David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models); Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick); Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter); Lake Bell (In A World); David Gordon Green (Prince Avalanche, Pineapple Express); Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha); Mark and Jay Duplass (Jeff Who Lives At Home, Cyrus); Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants, The Way, Way Back); and Brian Koppelman (Rounders, Oceans Thirteen).
How Ideas Are Born…and Then Stashed Away in Drawers
Richard Linklater: There are a million ideas in a world of stories. Humans are storytelling animals. Everything’s a story, everyone’s got stories, we’re perceiving stories, we’re interested in stories. So to me, the big nut to crack is to how to tell a story, what’s the right way to tell a particular story. So I’m much more interested in narrative construction.
I have a lot of subjects I’m spinning around on that I like and I take notes and read books and have files of things that interest me, but it’s like, What is the movie? How do you crack it? So I like that search.
I think you have to be forever intrigued with the subject matter, the character, or something you’re digging into, you’re rummaging around, something that fascinates you. That process can’t really ever end. If that ends, the movie is over.
Jeff Nichols: I started thinking about Mud in college. [Nichols is now 34.] I’m a very slow writer, and the typing, which most people consider writing, that’s a very last step for me. I heavily outline things. Even before I write anything down, I think about things for a really long time. It’s like a tape ball that you just add detail to, and that’s what happened in this case.
If you’re a friend of mine in Austin, I’ll grab you and take you to lunch and I’ll just vomit this story at you. It’s a really good way to start working the story out. You start talking to people about it, and in the moment, you start to figure out things that connect and make things work, because you have to, because you have to keep telling your story.
Paul Feig: I’m big into notes. I always try to keep a small pad of paper in my pocket and write down any idea that seems interesting. I also type notes into my phone and computer. I basically have ideas written down everywhere. I’ve spent my life reminding myself that, even though I always tell myself I’ll never forget an idea when I think of it, I always forget it, sometimes a minute or two after I’ve thought of it. So, I always force myself to write any idea down. The downside is I have little notebooks scattered around the house and in storage boxes that I never think to look through. Not that any of the ideas in them are gold; most of them are pretty lame. But occasionally, I’ll find a few that link up and create the basis for something worth thinking about.
Diablo Cody: I envy writers who have their shit together! You should see my computer desktop. It’s like 9 million Final Draft documents, pictures of my kids, and photos of haircuts…”
Click below to read the full article.
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.
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.
Source: @Deadline @DeadlineNellie
#tv #writing #screenwriting
“AMC has given pilot orders to dramas Knifeman and Galyntine. Both will be produced by AMC Studios next year for consideration for series for 2015. The scripts for Knifeman and Galyntine, along with White City, had been heating up for a pickup at AMC over the past month, with Knifeman and Galyntine now joining AMC pilot Line Of Sight.
Inspired by the biography of John Hunter by Wendy Moore, “The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching And The Birth of Modern Surgery,” Knifeman is set in 18th Century London. It tells the story of a charming, arrogant, decorum-breaking genius who challenges societal norms to transform his visions into cutting-edge discoveries. A surgeon or “barber” in a time when blood-letting and praying was the norm, John Tattersal is a hard drinking, hard living man not afraid to push the boundaries of modern medicine, even if it takes digging up a few graves to do it. While he makes his living running an unlicensed operating theatre out of his residence, he picks up extra cash harvesting organs for his brother Julian, favorite son and prized physician of the St. Stephen’s teaching hospital. The pilot was written by Rolin….”
Click below to read full article
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…..”
Click below to read full article