Thursday, November 20, 2008

Whit Haydn

whithaydnpensive, originally uploaded by allanbarnes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where I live

Hollywood, originally uploaded by califboy101.

Screenwriting Expo • Day 4

Melissa Rosenberg - Interview with Q & A

Head Writer on Dexter, recently adapted "Twilight" for the big screen"

I should warn you in advance, I am attempting to to transcribe my cryptic notes from the conference, they might just be thoughts or bullets or my mind wandering. I doubt any of it will make a lot of sense to anyone who wasn't there. But I was there, and this is just me refreshing my own memory.

Talking about "Twilight"

Visual energy and cinematic pizazz

Book to movie adaptation to externalize her experience. Talks about how the author reinvents the mythology of vampires.

Watching a box set of a series (episodes back to back) is a great way to study the life of a series. Polly and I have done this with a couple of shows and I agree.

Sleep and exercise

Detailed outline - for feature films she works up a 25 page single spaced outline

Breaking in - Undergraduate Acting/Dance

Screenwriters get beat up a lot

USC Peter Stark Producing Program, AFI, UCLA Extension

Writer on "Magnificent 7" & "Party of 5"

Talent - Craft - Politics
Loyalty - Trust
Not just about telling the best story possible, also about making whoever is in charge feel safe

Write realistically

Dexter - Was shooting an episode in 9 days. They were coming in under budget and were switched to an 8 day shooting schedule. Her advice was not to come in under budget.

Voice over hardest to write - only way to get in Dexter's head.

What if. . . What if. . . What if. . .

Death is easy. . . Comedy is hard (ain't that the truth)

Never spec a show you want to work on

Don't be a second draft writer - stick to the detailed outline

Procedural not character driven?

Digging into the darkest part

Her experience as a choreographer helps with staging.

When writing a pilot • Premise plot vs. starting into the story 3rd episode

Pilot should be a typical episode, not a total set up
Tell a good story

Entertainment Industry recession proof? Used to be more true before the corporate conglomerate of the industry. Cut backs, trimming.

3rd & Fairfax WGA Library open to the public - go there and read scripts.


Nancy Meyers - Interview with Q & A

Writer/Director/Producer Story Editor/ Creative Exec

1st Screenplay "Private Benjamin" also wrote "Father of the Bride", "Baby Boom", "Irreconcilable Differences", "Something's Gotta Give" and more. . .

Doesn't write to the market
Very long outline (80 pages)
Try to make real and honest characters

Write what you know

Accelerate and intensify to make comedy; if it's too serious. . . it's Drama

Two things at once - tour of home while taking her clothes off.

Typeface, wardrobe, photos, Inspiration Board
Plays music all day long
Plays same piece of music over and over

Big premise needs jokes that support it
Movies hard to make (imagine that)

Can't be an accountant and a writer

TV writing is nothing like feature writing
very much a job. Sit at a desk all day long

Talent is all that people are interested in

Need detail and description for everyrthing

As a Director "Pace it up" pace is critical

Talent = "It" Do you have it?

Pitch - Say it quickly and say it well. Have them think what you're thinking

Ideas progress
"What if" process - Can't judge while you're doing it

Must have tremendous determination

Grab'em, Hold on to them, Never let them go
Don't drift

Listens to music while writing
plays music on set to help actors feel the tone of the scene Sinatra, Gershwin


Aaron Sorkin interviews William Goldman with Q & A

William Goldman - "All The Presidents Men", "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid", "Chaplin", "The Great Waldo Pepper",
Taught at Princeton. Wrote "Adventures in the Screen Trade" (book). Passed on adapting "The Godfather" Went to Oberland College 1948 - 1952

Aaron Sorkin - "American President", "A few Good Men", "Good Will Hunting", "West Wing", "Charlie Wilson's War" (passed on adapting "Jurrasic Park" (doesn't write in the fantasy genera).

Tell a story
Blink - Nothing to something

There are no 2nd acts in American lives

Difference in "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid" Hero's run away and get killed at end
Sold script for 400K in 1967

Sorkin sold "A Few Good Men" for 200K in 1989

Legal nightmare in non fiction

Nobody knows anything

Do you think you can make it play?
You have to believe you can do it
Most writers think they suck
Turned down "The Graduate", "The Godfather" & "Superman"
Warren Beatty turned down the lead in "Superman" (put on the suit and said, no way)

Write where your passion is

That's all the notes I took for Day 4 of the expo

Great writers, great stories, great information. Lets see if I can put it all to good use and write some good stories!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Screenplays, originally uploaded by cjriceproductions.

Screenwriting Expo

I spent the last 4 days attending the Screenwriting Expo in downtown Los Angeles, at the Convention Center. Put on by Creative Screenwriting Magazine. What a time I had, learning about many the different pieces of the puzzle of that make a great story and how it gets to the big screen. I was going to try and barf it all out as one giant slimy blog post (that's appetizing), but as it's getting late and the pot is starting to work, I might try and break it down into bite size pieces. I thought I took decent notes, for a guy that hasn't used a pen in years. There were lots of people with laptop computers, but I didn't want to bring mine. An old note book would do, with plenty of empty pages which I filled with the ugly scrawl of an angry 4 year old. If I can read my own handwriting, I'll make a post for each day I was there. It was a great learning experience and I hope to put what I learned to good use immediately.

I don't know if I'm a writer or not, but I do feel like I've got a few good stories in me and that their just dying to get out. So I'll tell myself that I am a writer and start writing some stories. But I'm not a writer and I know nothing. Why would I even write that last sentence. Who knows, self doubt consumed in low self esteem. Shit, you can get a prescription for that here in LA