Last-minute reminder to download all the Oscar screenplays before the Academy Awards — they’ll be taken down soon. Happy reading!
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John Carter’s Massive Bomb and Screenwriting Beats – Part 3
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 […]
John Carter’s Massive Bomb and Screenwriting Beats – Part 2
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 […]
John Carter’s Massive Bomb and Screenwriting Beats – Part 1
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, aka Real Doll’s Big Day Out
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 […]
Concept Is King
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 […]
Floating on an Ocean
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 […]
The Seed of Your Story
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 […]
Nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards
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.
2011 “Where I’m From” Short Film Contest
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.
2011 CineStory Competition – Enter Now!!!
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 […]
Okay, Fine… But What’s Your Story About, Really?
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 […]
Be Your Own Audience
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 […]