Westworld is the new HBO show based on Michael Crichton’s film from 1973. It’s set in a futuristic Western-themed Disneyland where robots are programmed to act out set storylines. The guests participate in these pre-defined scenarios. It’s a bit Groundhog Day (every day is the same), a bit The Searchers. Human visitors come and go […]
She’s BAAAACCCCKKKKK. It’s been a long silent stretch, but I am finally back to the blog. Stay tuned for weekly posts and more. In 2015 I started teaching screenwriting, so get ready for more detailed information — breakdowns, beat sheets, more detailed analysis of beats, genre analysis, analysis of current material. As promised, a lot […]
Screenwriter-to-Screenwriter.com Online Writers Group So now that I am officially back in Santa Fe, my wonderful, amazing LA writers’ group kicked me to the curb and said I had to drop (boo, hiss). Practical, but I miss them — they were my writing team. I have reached out here to try to find a new […]
I was speaking with a client recently who, unnecessarily insecure, joked that I might read her draft and then think it was complete crap and needed to be scrapped completely. But I already knew this wouldn’t be a problem because when she told me the title, I laughed. It’s a super high-concept broad comedy. The […]
This year was like floating on an ocean. At first, it seemed peaceful. Sacred, even. Not here nor there. The expanse. Then, as the chill bit and the solitude weighed, any lingering thoughts of peace flew out the window and it was like, get me the fuck out of here. As 2011 comes to a […]
I personally think in many cases the difference between a script I love and a script I’ll pass on is the emotional density of the project. When reading, do I feel deeply for the characters – does their journey make me feel? Do I laugh and cry with them or for them? Do I want […]
Many times screenplays are simply dry. They may be cleanly written, even well written to some degree. The plotting can make sense. The characters may even be charming. But they leave me feeling thirsty for more. The experience of the script feels like tissue paper – it just has no density. As a reader, I […]
Just in case you missed them, the Oscar nominations were announced for the Academy Awards earlier this week. Here is a complete list of nominations.
The 2011 “Where I’m From” Short Film Contest for the Austin Film Festival and Texas Monthly is taking submissions now. For all you writers out there who are really directors at heart… Click here for more details.
It’s not too late to enter the 15th Annual CineStory Screenwriting Awards. Approximately 20 finalists and semi-finalists of this competition are invited to participate in a weekend retreat wherein writers work closely with Hollywood professionals on their material. Previous attendees have gone on to accomplish great things in entertainment. It is a really wonderful mentorship […]
Anyone who knows me well can probably tell you that sometimes I can be wholly oblivious to the most obvious points but pick up on subtleties the average person wouldn’t even think to look for. This is an interesting character juxtaposition and probably what makes me a writer before anything else. Documenting and chronicling the […]
When I’m writing and rewriting something – a script, story, manuscript – it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Much of the time I get so inside my story that it’s hard for me to step outside of it and think rationally if what I’m trying to construct is working or not, and […]
A professional screenwriter said to me recently, “If someone reads my script and says, ‘Man, I really loved the writing,’ I want to punch them in the face. What I want them to say is, ‘I really loved your story.’ There’s a big difference.” He explained that the difference is that we’re primarily storytellers – […]
I can’t say I totally understand it but this year was definitely the reading season for the Weird, Chatty Dramedy. I’d estimate that approximately 20% of the scripts I read this year involved an ensemble of types sitting around, chatting about various personal issues that were of absolutely no interest to me. Many of these […]
I’ve just started reading Peter Dunne’s “Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot” and it’s giving me a lot to think about. Dunne writes in Know Your Story, Know Your Plot, Know the Difference: When we think about great stories, about great movies, we remember first and foremost about whom the story is told. […]