Posted 30 June 2003 - 01:42 AM
I'm working on two short dramas (one with rough draft complete, one just in the beginning stages) and one feature length romantic comedy (nearly complete rough draft, but "shelved" at the moment).
I always find discussion encourages my own creativity....
Posted 30 June 2003 - 02:53 PM
Another project is a dark comedy about a guy whose hair stylist falls in love with him because of this great hair. He gets dumped when he looses a bet and has to shave his head.
The last project is one that I'm looking forward to starting. It's about three artist friends, one of whom has been nominated for a Christian music award. The other two friends are critical of the Christian entertainment industry but they accept his invitation to the awards ceremony. This is a movie about the tensions that have developed between the friends as they've grown. Friend A (the guy nominated for the award) is blissfully unaware of the subtle jealousy of his other friends. Friends B and C think that Friend A has sold out to an industry that stifles true creativity. Friend B is an artist with great talent but little discipline. Friend C tries to make up for a lack of talent with a strict work ethic. Friend B resents A for being nominated because he knows that A's work is mediocre at best outside the Christian sub-culture. Friend C resents B because he has the talent that he lacks.
I'm really excited about this last idea because I'll be able to use it as a vehicle to critique the Christian sub-culture and vent my frustrations at the way the Body of Christ doesn't know what to do with artists - aside from asking them to direct inane Christmas musicals or designing camp t-shirts.
Anyway, I've got lots more ideas but those are the ones on the burner right now.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 03:20 PM
Hmm. Do you mean by studio funding? If I followed this guideline, I wouldn't write anything. I'm more into the indy side myself. I'm having trouble with my feature-length because it's "so Hollywood" and I find it terribly predictable. I wrote my short drama "Too Late" to vent about my relationship with my brother; it's missing a key scene, maybe two--a scene about why the brother is missing out on knowing his sister, and how. Why this lack of relationship matters.
I like the title. Kind of a Jackie Chan thing (fun, slap-stick kung fu sequences, pseudo-humor)?
Is it a short, so the "dumping" is the point? Or is there something more?
Hah. It's been said you should create from what you know. That could be very good. I think the films I enjoy most are those which can laugh at themselves; I tend to take myself too seriously. I've been watching "Mormon films" since living in UT. Zion films does admirably portraying the LDS culture with humor; I think this makes their "religious subtext" more palatable to the viewer. Admirable.
I was confused between the three friends, but it'll be a lot easier to tell Friends A, B and C apart when they have names and discernable personalities. (They probably do to you.)
Posted 30 June 2003 - 03:38 PM
I wish I was talking about studio funding! No, when I say Chinese Take Out is closest to being made, I just mean that I have a bunch of friends interested in taking on this project. It all started with a phone call from a friend who said some people started going to his church who knew kung-fu and "it'd be fun to put them in a movie." I'm nut a huge fan of comedy (mainly because it's so rarely well done) but this idea really got the juices flowing.
When this film gets made, it's going to be a true gheto/guerilla style, no-budget shoot.
I'm not sure what the point of this movie is yet. On some level it might be about how love based on superficial things never lasts, but I'm not sure.
Hey, I'm curious. How do you write your screenplays? Do you use software like Final Draft or do you do the formatting yourself? I created a tempate in AppleWorks (Apple's version of MS Office) based on formatting info I found on the web (margins and stuff). Works for me and it sure beats spending $300 on Final Draft.
Posted 02 July 2003 - 08:39 AM
1 - feature script I wrote is being made out in L.A. in August. I adapted this from a play I wrote last year. It's about a father seeking revenge on a school shooter who killed his daughter.
2 - another feature script I wrote is the next project I want to direct. Raising money for it now (anyone want to donate or invest?). It's a feature length comedy about a man who thinks he is "a messiah."
3 - I'm trying to finish a dark comedy about death (actually, I should say that it's about Death -- the actual guy -- and his new protege.
Posted 02 July 2003 - 02:42 PM
When I attended a scriptwriting class in LA, I bought a student version of ScriptThing. Straightforward and cheap. (I think it was $75 5 years ago.) I love not having to worry about the page numbers, formatting, and editing details. It's streamlined to write.
Great idea! Cost and expediency are why, for other projects, I use the free OpenOffice suite (including Spreadsheet, Word Processor, Calculator, Presentations etc) instead of its very expensive MS counterpart.
If anyone is interested, OpenOffice is online at www.openoffice.org .
Posted 02 July 2003 - 02:52 PM
1 - feature script I wrote is being made out in L.A. in August. I adapted this from a play I wrote last year. It's about a father seeking revenge on a school shooter who killed his daughter.[/quote]
Hmm; many stories use revenge as the central character's motivation (eg, many westerns and film noirs, the new Count of Monte Cristo). What's the father's "pay-off" in the end? (Or, what's the result of his revenge? Does it destroy the shooter, or him? How does it affect his family? Does he change?)
In my mind, it would be great to see something unpredictable happen--something redemptive and not merely trite.
3 - I'm trying to finish a dark comedy about death (actually, I should say that it's about Death -- the actual guy -- and his new protege).[/quote]
It doesn't feature Brad Pitt, does it?
Posted 02 July 2003 - 05:31 PM
Well, I'm not sure if you meant to imply that my script was trite or predictable based solely on my one-line description of it. It certainly isn't either trite OR predictable...
I don't think a one line description can give you an accurate sense of the script... it's about how the father's rage and hidden regrets eventually destroy him (and the shooter). I think it's a pretty devastating portrait of the uselessness of revenge. And of course, it's about more than just that, but I can't tell every detail in this conntext.
Posted 04 July 2003 - 12:52 AM
I didn't mean to imply that at all. I meant that the treatment of revenge that seems typical of the (particularly Hollywood) movies I have seen is a trite and predictable one.
Fully agreed. Actually, that's why I asked.
That sounds like something rarely seen--and, hopefully, all the more effective because of it.
I began work last night on an idea about a single woman who's raped by a member of her church. I'd like to focus on how this affects her, her family and her church--veering away from a male-seeks-revenge or "victim"-seeks-revenge scenario. We'll see.
Posted 06 July 2003 - 09:40 PM
I hope so. It will be interesting to see it translated to the screen, since it's so violent and raw in many ways.
Wow -- that's going to be hard-hitting... but if done well, it can be a interesting portrait of our bad reactions to such a thing -- how a victim becomes a victim all over again by people who should be picking her up and helping her through it.
Posted 13 July 2003 - 02:26 PM
Does anyone listen to music while they write? I usually start out listening to music but then if I get into my writing and the cd ends I'll just keep going until I get stuck. It gives me an excuse to get up and walk around and think about things while I pick out the next cd.
Who reads your stuff? I mean your rough draft, not at it's best stuff. I have one friend who I trust to shoot me straight and tell me when things are not working, when somethings not clear and when something just plain stinks. It's hard to find a good reader, most people are to afraid of hurting your feelings. Also, a lot of people are not familiar with the screenplay format and that limits their criticism.
Finally, what do you read? I don't know how many screenwriters I've come across who don't read anything but the occasional 'How to Write a Screenplay in 3 hours' type books. Right now I'm half way through Tom Franklin's 'Hell at the Breech' and I got James Carlos Blake's 'In the Rogue Blood' next in line. Some of my favorite authors are: Chris Offut, Daniel Woodrell, Hemingway, and Cormac McCarthy (who wrote my favorite book 'Blood Meridian').
Posted 14 July 2003 - 12:07 AM
: Does anyone listen to music while they write?
Abso-bloody-lutely. Before the CD-ROM drive on my computer burned out, I used to listen most frequently to the soundtracks to Gladiator, Requiem for a Dream, Stigmata, The Insider, Run Lola Run, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Virgin Suicides, Magnolia, The World Is Not Enough, The Fellowship of the Ring, Amelie and, uh, Saturday Night Fever; just to mention the ones that are stacked most prominently on my desk at the moment. I also remember listening to John Barry's Moviola CD, a Scott Joplin compilation plus the soundtracks to Kundun, Anima Mundi and Get Shorty quite a bit back in the days when, for a change of pace, I did all my work in the living room on a laptop. Fortunately, I had made mp3s of the soundtracks to Adaptation and The Hours before my computer's CD-ROM drive fried, so I still listen to those off of my hard drive on a regular basis. But right now I'm listening to my James Bond mix off of my web site, and the tune playing right now is the Propellerheads' groovy re-mix of 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'.
: Who reads your stuff? I mean your rough draft, not at it's best stuff.
Just me and my editor, usually. And I try to bring my editor into the mix as late as possible. Oh, wait, you were talking about screenplays, not pithy little newspaper and/or magazine articles. I guess, if I were writing the bigger stuff, I would have to show my works-in-progress to someone, but I don't know who.
: Finally, what do you read?
A mix of stuff. I tend to find non-fiction more interesting than fiction, personally.
Posted 14 July 2003 - 02:37 PM
I do too. Usually something familiar so I don't get distracted into the music, consciously listening to the words or the rhythms. Sting, Gipsy Kings, Spanish guitar music, Billy Joel. I wish I could find the soundtracks for Strictly Ballroom and Lagaan.
It's a good idea. Creativity inspires creativity.
I have friends who are usually great readers of my articles--correcting for clarity and accuracy. I agree that straightforward editors are hard to find among friends, who don't want to hurt you.
This is, for me, the biggest issue. Since pacing, plot movement, "cause and effect", and the visual are such integral parts of the screenplay, the effective reader must be familiar with them. Especially to offer a beginning screenwriter effective feedback. My friends are great with articles, reviews and print material. But, screenplays are vastly different.
You seem to imply that this is not the best reading diet. I would agree. While the best screenplay-writing books offer good tips, they are insufficient--or, perhaps, better said they are the "bones" of the writing. The foundation. But, the "muscle and meat" of the writing is personal experience and intuition and inventiveness.
This is fueled for me by reading diverse topics. (Though I need to act on this more by reading instead of using all my spare time to watch DVDs!) Woolrich (noir), Andrusia & Haskins (career), Kadlacek (Christian living) are authors of books I've looked at most recently. I want to visit Godawa (film spirituality), Couchman (Christian Living), L'Engle (art), and Shaw (poetry), too.
Posted 14 July 2003 - 02:50 PM
Peter, you are indeed a brave and unique soul.
I have yet to see these films. Are they out at Blockbuster?
"I know. I seldom go to the theatre."
"I'm not a theatre buff."
"The most difficult tickets to get will be for a Broadway musical...."
Name that film! :wink:
Posted 14 July 2003 - 03:02 PM
Nope. Too distracting. I will sometimes listen to it while I'm editing my short films, however.
: Who reads your stuff?
I do: Over and over and over. For worse or for worse, all three of my produced screenplays have not a word changed through comments by others; I've shown the latter two to people, but no one has had any criticism concrete enough to implement. (Actual example from "Ernest Goes to the Window": "This story scares me.")
Film reviews are very different, however; my wife severely critiques those for the better. And I don't have a problem taking advice from others on my screenplays; I just don't know who those others would be.
: Finally, what do you read?
I have never read a screenplay book. I'm not convinced that's a mistake.
Posted 14 July 2003 - 03:21 PM
: : Fortunately, I had made mp3s of the soundtracks to Adaptation and
: : The Hours before my computer's CD-ROM drive fried, so I still listen to
: : those off of my hard drive on a regular basis.
: I have yet to see these films. Are they out at Blockbuster?
I believe so, yeah.
: "I know. I seldom go to the theatre."
: "I'm not a theatre buff."
: "The most difficult tickets to get will be for a Broadway musical...."
: Name that film! :wink:
For some reason, I can't.
Posted 15 July 2003 - 08:21 PM
Posted 18 July 2003 - 07:23 PM
"I'm not a theatre buff."
"Buff? ... The most difficult tickets to get will be for a Broadway musical...."
Name that film! :wink:
Oops, I miswrote the quote! It's corrected above.
Sabrina (1995) -- Linus amazes his secretary by planning a date.
Posted 18 July 2003 - 07:36 PM
I haven't dealt with those subjects thus far because it hasn't come up. (It's beside the point that there's far-and-away enough of these three subjects that's unnecessary and forced into all contexts). My close friends and family don't usually speak like that. And these situations are what I have been writing about.
I respect her for standing with her conscience.
Not to be difficult--for I think I get your point--but, even with these subjects there's room for mystery and humanity, in short, drama (eg, jealousy, pride, competition in piety, greed, favoritism, forgiveness, etc). In a similar context, a lot can be said about the church today.
For me, the central thing is to be honest and vulnerable in my writing and creating characters. I still have difficulty letting my characters speak for themselves and be multi-faceted. I can see clearly what's good in a "protagonist" and bad in an "antagonist"; but, it's what's good in the "baddie" that makes him human, and vice versa for the "goodie". It's not black and white in the 'real' world--why must it be in film ... especially films made by Christians.
Posted 19 July 2003 - 02:29 PM
I wasn't trying to imply that you can only get drama from sex, violence and cursing. There are hundreds and hundreds of films that do just fine without them. I was just wondering if it ever came up in your writing and your feelings on it. It's something I struggle with.