Last-minute reminder to download all the Oscar screenplays before the Academy Awards — they’ll be taken down soon. Happy reading!
Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this post. Let’s more carefully investigate exactly why John Carter didn’t work. What are the lessons learned from this? Analysis: Flashback and Voice Over Not to overstate the obvious, but within the opening minutes of this $600mm trainwreck, there are two separate instances of voice […]
Click here to read Part 1 of this post. Click here to read more about screenwriting beats. What went so wrong with John Carter? Well, let’s look at the beats. Here’s a basic breakdown of the beats of Act 1. 1. Open on Mars with the space wars going on. Fast and furious voice over […]
If you are unsure what screenwriting beats are or need a quick refresher, please read my article on beats first. Now… The film John Carter was a very expensive, massive bomb in the spring of 2012, almost five years ago now. (Reading online that it was estimated this film would have needed to gross $600mm […]
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 […]
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 been reading a number of biopics based on very famous historical personages. They are flat and dry, like cardboard. The feeling I have reading them is that they take a marionette of a historical figure and dance them through the major events of their life. I start off with little or no understanding of […]
Don’t forget when you’re writing to use precise descriptors that evoke something very clear in the mind of the reader. Even in screenwriting, the quality of prose to some degree either engages or repels the reader and thus the experience of your screenplay. Try to avoid descriptors that are ambiguous, contradictory or confusing, because the […]
The following is a very basic list of items that get my attention as a script reader. If your script addresses each of these points, you’re probably doing a good job. I will be excited to read your script. So, here we go, a list of my top 10 screenplay “dos” when reading: DO keep […]
The following is a very basic list of items that do not impress me as a script reader and, more often than not, will get your script a resounding pass. If your script contains any of these points, consider rewriting before sending out. So, here we go, a list of my top 5 screenplay peeves […]
One of my favorite scripts is “Erin Brockovich,” because I love the writing. It is abundantly clear, sparsely written, and dense with meaning. This script captures worlds of information with just a few simple, extremely well chosen words. To my mind, that is excellence in screenwriting. Please read this excerpt of the opening of the […]
Okay, okay, so it was based on a book. Let’s forget that and look at why this project didn’t work as a film. There’s an adage about screenwriting that you shouldn’t write movies about a dream within a dream within a dream and then *ta da!* oops, you only imagined what you saw this whole […]
An interesting article on how Pixar focuses on writing complete stories from Story Fanatic.
I’m sitting here watching Jennifer’s Body, which is a movie I should love. I think the concept is amazing – a girl who gets taken advantage of by men only to turn the tables and start fucking over men. It should be edgy, fucking hilarious, scary as shit and I was expecting this movie to […]