Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The beauty of the internet.

I will stalk you yet, Mr Kramer.

United Artists Agency14011 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 213Sherman Oaks, CA 91423(818) 788-7305

David Kramer


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An interesting notion

Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.

Daphne du Maurier (1907 - 1989)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages." Tennesee Williams.

"My mom asked me if the prayer for the wild at heart was for me or if that was something that I thought had pained me throughout my life. But it's for everybody I know. I don't think I know one person who I think can be completely who they are every second of the day, who feels completely free. So it's kind of a prayer for everybody to find their happiness, to break out. And Tennessee Williams also writes that a bird or an animal feels comfortable in a cage it grew up in -- it represents security as well as confinement to be in that cage. So anything that makes us comfortable, those things are cages around us." Angelina Jolie

Monday, September 1, 2008

I'm setting myself a challenge. I'm making a public declaration of what I want. Even if I'm the only person who ever reads this.

In 2009

3 scripts for the Nichols in May. I will settle for nothing short of perfection. Need to be posted earlier.

Get representation by the end of 2009 by UTA

Get representation by Brillstein-Grey by end of 2009.

Sell something by the end of 2010.
Success has many parents; failure is an orphan.

(Bernie Brillstein -2008).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The next Lot of Scripts

Here's the next few ones I read.

57 SUNSET BOULEVARD 58 Duck Soup 59 Wanted 60 Shakespeare in Love61 A FEW GOOD MEN 62 The Graduate 63 Mr Smith Goes to Washington 64 Born on the fourth of July 65 ALMOST FAMOUS 66 The English Patient 67 LA confidential.68 NORTH BY NORTHWEST .69 Thelma and Louise 70 STEP MOM 71 GOOD WILL HUNTING 72 The Maltese Falcon 73 Memento 74 forrest gump 75 Fargo 76 Rush Hour 77 Dead Poet's Society 78 EDWARD SCISSORHANDS 79 Airplane 80 Philedelphia...

Only twenty to go! YAY!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scripts I've Read

I thought i'd put a tally of the scripts I've read so far up. The ones in capitals are those that I found, of all of them, to be the most exceptional (and unmissable) reads. When I intially select a script, I select either ones I've never seen, or ones I have seen and liked.

1 ALL ABOUT EVE,2 Annie Hall,3 Amadeus,4 Basic Instinct, 5 Adaptation, 6. 6th sense, 7.40 y.o virgin, 8.CLERKS9. BEING JOHN MALKOVICH(esoteric), 10.Jurassic Park,11. Dances with wolves, 12.THE MATRIX, 13.the Truman show, 14.COLLATERAL (action), 15.Kramer Vs Kramer, 16.Chinatown, 17.CITIZEN KANE 18.American Beauty (esoteric),19.2001 - a space odyssey, 20.MILLION DOLLAR BABY 21. The usual suspects, 22.Ace Ventura- Pet Detective, 23.African queen, 24.The Crying Game, 25.An affair to remember,26. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 27.The last boy scout 28When a stranger calls, 29 The Lion King, 30 Alien, 31 Aliens, 32 AS GOOD AS IT GETS ,33 Bridges of madison county, 34 CASABLANCA35 MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING36 Scream 37 DEER HUNTER38 Raging Bull 39 The shawshank redemption. 40. Office space 41. Lock, stock and two smoking barrels 42. THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS 43.THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY 44. Die Hard 45 Go 46 Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind 47 PEARL HARBOUR 48 Little miss sunshine 49 Pleasantville; 50Scarface; 51A Mighty Heart;52 Monster's Ball; 53Ghost; 54JERRY MAGUIRE ; 55MR AND MRS SMITH, 56 Dr Strangelove....


After careful consideration, I chose Movie Magic over Final Draft. To be honest, the trial version of Final Draft was a hell of alot better than Movie Magic's . But... Movie Magic seems to be less likely to have glitches, and I can't afford to lose any more drafts...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The horror that is celtx

Alas, Celtx, for some unknown reason, destroyed and lost the script I had half finished and had been hoping to enter the Nichol's with.

I now have to buy a new screen writing software- it's out of Final draft and Movie Magic screenwriter.

decisions, decisions...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Miracle that is Celtx

To write a screenplay, sure, you can use Microsoft Word if you can format it correctly. But it's much easier to use a screen writing program. Most people tell you that you "need" Movie Magic or Final Draft, but really, Celtx, a program that can be downloaded from the net, is probably all you really need. It can convert your screenplays into PDFs, it formats and it's free.

The Stages of Being a Novice Screenwriter

1. Read a few screen writing books. Basically, they all promote the idea that anyone can write the next amazing new screenplay. It all sounds extremely easy - almost ludicrously so. They may mention it's easier to win the lottery than sell a screenplay, but you think, that's them; this is me.

2.Write the first 30 pages of a screenplay.

3. Instead of going beyond page thirty, you re-edit those 30 pages like your life depends on it.

4. You tell your non writer friends about it - they all smile and nod. Because most of them think you're a lunatic.

5. You tell your writer friends about it - they all smile and nod. Because they know you are a lunatic.

6. Instead of finishing your screenplay, you lurk and troll online screen writers' forums & chat rooms. Subconsciously searching for a quick fix solution.

7. You reread those screen writing books - they claim to have answers. So, they give temporary comfort. A quick fix that doesn't solve the real problem - you are either too lazy or didn't think the concept through thoroughly enough.

8.Finally, you bite the bullet. You write . And you finish. Hindered only by the nagging desire to rewrite.

9. You finish the first draft. Relief.

10. The day later, you read it, and it's good. Nichols Fellowship good. Oscar good. Like you are looking at your newborn baby. Beautiful and perfect in your arms.

The problem is, you can stay on phase 10 for a long time. I was there for about 6 months. Who knows how long some other writers stay there.

And then ....

You find out that your beautiful baby is actually an extra from "Planet of the Apes". Strangers gape and stare. You make excuses. You say "It will always be beautiful to me". But really, you are starting to see it for what it really is. And you realize you just called the baby "it".

11a. A friend reads it. And they give you an honest opinion.
11b.A month or longer later, YOU reread it. Find it's crap. You need a long period of time to give it an objective reading.


The road less traveled by- you read real screenplays. Not crappy examples on A sold screenplay. An Oscar winner.

I think it's only when you realize that what you wrote is absolute and utter crap can you really make a breakthrough with your writing.

For me atleast, it was only at that point that I realized what I needed to do.

I needed to read. Not just the crap that I was looking through due to my misplaced curiosity or "I-can-do-better-than-that" ego, but to give a sincere attempt to learn from others. Successful others. Learn how they ensnare, enrapture and entertain an audience. Learn how to use words with a fire and vigor that makes them catapult off the page.

To accept that my words may be clumsy now, but they will one day be more than words.

They'll be a screenplay.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Screen Writing Books - a short review.

Screen Writing Books - A Short Review.

Something I would have found useful when I first became interested in screen writing.

1. Screenwriter's Bible. 4th Edn. Trottier.
For something that's supposed to be six books in one, only two of them are actually useful (III & IV). It's one of those books that people recommend like it's the holy grail of wannabe screenwriter texts, but to be honest, it's also probably one of those he-can-teach-but-not-do scenarios. The examples of his own writing make me die a little inside. Especially The Red Hat Bandit ( a child farts in a guy's face. Hilarious!*) and A Window in Time (An Egyptologist? Original.* Great characterization.*). That said, the structure section is actually not bad.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?
Yes. Haven't found a better spec orientated format guide.

2. Rewrite. Chitlik.
I was expecting a lot from this book. It came recommended on Amazon, past UCLA lecturer, good reviews etc. But honesty, I don't think it taught me anything. Maybe his class is good, but this book was old hat. Nothing that isn't covered in a million other books. Maybe I was asking too much - a book on rewrites that could actually help me with my rewrite. I didn't find it here.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

3. 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters. Iglesisas.
One word. Inspirational. Not in the sense of any of it was useful (I don't think we really need to know that Jim Kouf enjoys his coffee), particularly memorable ( Tom Schulman enjoys his naps), or meaningful (Robin Swicord takes a bath at the end of each day) but as an aspiring screenwriter, it gives me a vicarious thrill each time I sit down with it. Each time, it makes the impossible seem alittle more achievable. Tangible. And for that moment, for that feeling alone, it makes it worth every single penny of the purchase price.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

4. 500 ways to beat the Hollywood Script Reader. Lerch.

To be honest, it's mainly filler. Opinionated filler. And the advice she gives isn't always right 100% of the time (i.e tip 360- Use lots of red herring's, phony leads, false clues and roads that go nowhere. Witt: It's a spec. Not a 110 page road map. Tip 484 Give the screenplay a new title. Witt: Exactly what the system needs - a script that's already been thoughtlessly sent out, rejected and re-sent to yet again clog up the already congested system. Brilliant.) Much of it is 'Well Duh" (Tip 450- Uncomfortable with your conclusion? Try a different ending.). And, much of it is plain contradictory (496 Eliminate unnecessary scenes or sequences. Witt: see comment on tip 360) And some of it is plain stupid (493 - Set your story in a different time frame to change the genre. Witt: Great. Change a bad rom-com from the 00's to a bad rom-com in the middle ages. That'll make more people see it* and a studio more likely to buy it*. That being said, it did send a few sparks flying in a direction I hadn't anticipated prior to reading the book.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

5. The Hollywood Standard. Riley

A book on structure. Is more geared around shooting scripts rather than spec scripts. Not much use for spec writers.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

6. Selling a Screenplay : The Screenwriter's Guide to Hollywood. 1989 edn. Field.

I think Syd Field's kinda beyond my time. The copy I've got is pretty old. Seems a little irrelevant.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?
No. Not this edition.

7. Craft Screenwriting. Epstein.
Not bad, not exceptional. Fairly recent (2002), and its tips, though fairly standard, are fairly consistent (on the whole) with what the industry seems (from an outsider perspective) to be moving towards. However, to my knowledge, some of the facts are wrong (it was Matt Damon's company who did project greenlight, not Coppola's (zoetrope)). And the samples of his own writing aren't exactly top notch. Not a really memorable read.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

8. How To Sell Your Screenplay. Wilen & Wilen.

The exec interviews and pitch advice are interesting. Otherwise, alot of it is filler. Some of it seems to be inaccurate/dated i.e encourages page long pitches when execs in industry (ie WMA's Chris Lockheart @ and others) encourage a shorter query.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

9. Screenwriting for Dummies. Schellhart.

Bad. Just bad. It tries to be the Screenwriter's bible, but without the solid basis of structure like the bible. Much of the advice she gives is questionable (ie advocating "poor man's copywrite"- plain wrong legal advice.) She may have a degree in screen writing, but clearly, she's very much on the out in the industry. More so that your average screenwriter blog junkie. But really, I was the dummie. For wasting money on it.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

10. How to write a movie in 21 days. King.

Can you probably write a salable, quality movie in 21 days after reading this book? Probably not, but you'll have a pretty hefty draft to play around with, which is better than I can say about a lot of other screen writing books. Not bad for such a tiny, old (1988) book.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

11.Aristotle's Poetics

Everytime I hear a contemporary screen writer espouse the virtue of this text, it makes me cringe. I like to call spades, spades. Did this book inspire countless other great books on the art of dramatic writing and provide an influential and meaningful approach to the construction of drama? Yes. Was Aristotle an artistic visionary? Yes. Can the contemporary reader really gain much out of this book in its current, poorly translated form? I didn't find that the case. Maybe I was expecting too many answers. Maybe I was expecting something more riveting, more complex. But what I got was a lot of fancy words for the stuff a writer should be able to do naturally. Call me a Neanderthal. Call me an uncultured, barely literate charlatan. But, I think that people who praise the text like it's their ugly, chicken pox covered brat or, gasp, their screenplay, are ridiculous. In my opinion, these people 1. haven't actually read it. 2. are the epitome of pseudo-intellectualism.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?
I bought it for one cent on plus postage, but still no.

12. Psychology for Screenwriters. Indick.

I was looking for a text that could give me a greater insight into character development. What I got was someone banally explaining how scenes and characters from previous movies can be interpreting using psych 101. I.E the interpretation of the line "Suck my d***" as an expression of Freudian penis envy/female empowerment in G.I Jane. Kind of would be useful for a senior English exam, where you would be asked to analyze various discourses/character motivations in "To Kill a Mockingbird" or something like that.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

13. Save the Cat- The last book on screen writing you'll ever need. Snyder.

Good book. Emphasizes concept, concept, concept. Some useful tips i.e make sure you test out the premise on people to see if its a good idea or not. Golden. And a good explanation of the "fourth wall". But is it the last book you'll ever need? Probably not.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

14. Eats, shoots & leaves. Truss.

Hilarious. Not a screen writing book per-se, but an interesting read on punctuation recommendable to writers of any discipline.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

15. Cool Million - How to become a million dollar screenwriter. Woodbury.

Despite such a reprehensibly tacky title, I actually found it to be an engaging and interesting read. Much like 101 by Iglesias. Most of the interviewees are blockbuster screenwriters, and their insights are invariably thought provoking. The material included was thoughtfully selected.

Would I still pay money for it knowing what I know now?

*Cough, sarcasm.


first post

So, first post.


Like you, I'm an aspiring screenwriter.

Another hopeless dreamer adrift in a world where our kind is unappreciated. A
world where our kind are treated like lepers. A world where our kind exists primarily to fuel the sales of ridiculously overpriced screenwriting software, books, programs and seminars.

Where we write for an audience of one.

Welcome to my world.