Thursday, December 22, 2011

script iderps

Two friends decide to make some moonshine, and find themselves in a heap o' trouble. Yeehaw!

God.

Life update:

Simon got back to me. What a nice guy. He said that he isn't doing any productions for a while, but he will get in touch with me when he does. Of course, remember what they say about "good intentions", so I will surely have to harass him when I see word of something happening on Bloody Disgusting or something. I just want to hang out with him. No homo.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Life update: sent facebook Email to Simon Barett. Hope he responds.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Workin on loglines

My current BULLET logline: "Dakota must avenge the murder of her brother, save her friend's kidnapped infant son and babysit a 16 year-old male prostitute, all in time to make her high-school graduation."

It reads great, but sounds awkward when spoken (starting with a name, especially one that could be a person or place, is confusing).

Things that should be in it: girl gangs, high school, Jake, kidnapped child.

Alternates:

1. "When Dakota's brother is murdered at the hands of her ex-best friend, she vows bloody retribution. But her quest for revenge is complicated when she finds herself babysitting a rambunctious 16-year old male prostitute and trying to recover a kidnapped infant child."


2. "When Dakota's brother is murdered at the hands of her ex-best friend, she vows bloody retribution. With the help of a tough-as-nails single mom and a rambunctious 16 year-old male prostitute, she must fight her way through the criminal underworld in time to make her high school graduation."

SHIZAM BITCH

Monday, December 5, 2011

script (conceits) ideas

guy-ritchie style crime story about a million-dollar bottle of wine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WWII script notes

ACT 1
-Protag. is a politically neutral Spanish banker.
-His lover convinced him to smuggle out a will that prove her inheritance.
-They are prepared to flee Spain when he is attacked by an assasin. His lover takes the will and boards the train without him.
-He wakes up a few days later, having been saved by Spanish resistance fighters. They tell him that the will is actually a coded document revealing the names of major OSS operatives stationed throughout Europe.
 -Finds out that the bank president is a deep-cover OSS agent, and he will pardon him for stealing the will if he agrees to board the train (as a neutral party, the Facists won't arrest him, he can travel more-or-less freely), and 1) try to recover the document, and if that is not possible 2) warn the resistance leader in Sweden of the intelligence leak. (They cannot risk communicating via wire, or anything that can be intercepted).

ACT 2

-Gets on train.
-Questions conductors about Hannah, where she got off.
-Gets mistaken by a British agent as his contact from the Allies, and the agent gives him the combination to a safe in the luggage compartment.  The agent knows he's been made by a Facist spy on the train, but, he does not know who the spy is.
-Establish that [something] has shut down the train station Protag departed from, and no more trains will be following them (this is important because if this train is stopped/held up, Protag will not be able to get to his destination in time).
-Finds agent dead in his compartment (the agen'ts compartment, not protag's) and has to dispose of the body to keep him from being found and the train stopped.
-What is the importance of getting to the luggage compartment?

... will work more when I talk to Bera.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Script Ideas

A drawing room comedy. A party of friends. One has an attack and collapses. "We have to call the police." "Yeah, but I have [something illegal] in the house" "Well, we have to take him to the hospital!" "But the car is broken" "So we walk" "Well, who's going to go?" "We all have to go!" "Well I can't,  the roast is in the oven." etc. etc.


all this Mamet is corrupting my mind.

Friday, November 4, 2011

two strangers on a ledge. one, a type-A young-exec, fed up with his failed marriage and the stresses of work. He thinks he wants to kill himself, but he doesn't. He just wants some love and meaning in his life. Maybe a manic-depressive. The other, woebegone self-hating, desperate, maybe self-mutilating. He genuinely wants to die, but is a coward.

It might be interesting if throughout the course of the story their positions reverse. Type-A ends up being the one who jumps while the other finds a reason to live.

For some reason the novel TRAPS comes to mind.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

script iDEAS!

A good one, finally! Though, this has probably been done before. But well? I don't know.

2 strangers choose the same ledge to leap from in their final suicidal moments. They are both there for different reasons, and want different things (one, the fame of a public suicide, the other, a peaceful death). Unable to decide who gets to jump first, with increasing pressure as the situation gets too public, these men have to negotiate with each other, with the press, and with the thousands of internet fans who accumulate in just an hour-and-a-half. A real-time suicide comedy.

Okay, I admit, this concept is MADE for the Black List, but daddy needs new shoes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

script iderps

Just saw a trailer for some horrible reality show Paradise Falls 2. In it a bunch of people live on a beautiful island, and the only way they can stay is to shack up with a roomate. The women get to choose the man of their choice, and if two chicks choose a dude, the dude gets to pick which one stays.

I think it might be interesting to write a feature length "reality show", eschewing the boring reality show tropes and instead molding it into a more traditional 3 act.  It would be like a soap opera, chamber-thriller melodrama.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

developing train mystery concept

Open with my noir spy scene. A man meets a woman at a train stop, ready to escape from (a location) together. Little does he know that she has set him up. An assasin appears from the shadows and stabs the man, leaving him there to die.

But he doesn't die, and after recovering, he gets on a train to follow his lover (she has stolen a Macguffin from his pocket before disappearing).

So, on the train, he becomes embroiled in some espionage which is, of course, related to the macguffin.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

script iderps

A spy boards a train to meet a contact, but finds the contact dead on arrival. (upon arrival, technically).

Monday, October 24, 2011

script iduhs

This is so bad, but, it's an idea. What else do you want from me?!

A man leaves his wife, buys a used Winnebago and goes on a cross-country road trip to find his highschool sweetheart.

Little does he know that a big-time drug cartel has stashed 2 pounds of heroin in the Winnebago.

Oh, man I'm selling out and I haven't even sold a script.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

script iderps every day

BLACKER THAN BLACK: an unofficial special-ops team is hired to commit a terrorist act on American soil to kick-off an international conflict.

Sadly I don't know ANYTHING about this shit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Script Iduhs

A young pair of siblings find out that their parents are [satanists? murderers? perverts? something?]

god I'm getting really bad at this

Sunday, October 9, 2011

script idurs

A man is convinced that he is in a lucid dream that he can't wake up from.

This is not a story, just a concept... hmm

Sunday, September 11, 2011

script idea erryday

So I'm going to try and start coming up with daily ideas again. It's been too long!

Three thieves steal a valuable painting, but their working relationships deteriorate as they find the that the painting has a peculiar power over them.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Queries/Loglines for BULLET

I'm going to make a concentrated effort to pull together a shitload of emails for various agencies and managers from the blacklists. Then I am going to drop a fucking QUERY BOMB. But I must perfect my logline. I'm going to try to cram as much info into it as possible.


"When her little brother is murdered by the leader of her former gang, Dakota sets out on a quest for bloody vengeance." This ignores the most interesting elements of the story: the girl-gangs, Val and Jake.

"Dakota vows to kill her ex-best friend for murdering her little brother. When she meets Val, a single mother who's infant son has been kidnapped, and Jake, a sixteen year old male prostitute, she is forced to decide between avenging her old family or creating a new one."

"Dakota must avenge her brother's murder, safe her friend's kidnapped infant son and baby-sit a sixteen year old male prostitute, all in time to make her high school graduation."

Still like #2, will wait to hear what Tyger thinks.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SPEC MODERN FAMILY

THEME of episode: privacy/trust/technology

Claire thinks that Haley has been sexting on her cellphone, so she takes away everyone's laptops and  smart phones and makes them use the family computer and landlines, which she monitors. This opens a huge can of worms...

Cameron and MItchel make Lily a twitter and fight over the tweet content of it.

Manny wants to meet a girl he's been talking to online. Gloria and Jay have to figure out if they should let him.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Go Into The Story: Video Interview: Billy Wilder

Go Into The Story: Video Interview: Billy Wilder: "My favorite writer-director, the late great Billy Wilder. These clips from a 1986 appearance at AFI: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 ..."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

PENIS ENLARGEMENT!

The top-secret drug Simon and Verona are stealing is the first legit penis enlargement medication.

Bada-bing bada-boom

Ian Flemming on writing

HOW TO WRITE A THRILLER
By Ian Fleming
People often ask me, “How do you manage to think of that? What an extraordinary (or sometimes extraordinarily dirty) mind you must have.” I certainly have got vivid powers of imagination, but I don’t think there is anything very odd about that.
We are all fed fairy stories and adventure stories and ghost stories for the first 20 years of our lives, and the only difference between me and perhaps you is that my imagination earns me money. But, to revert to my first book, Casino Royale, there are strong incidents in the book which are all based on fact. I extracted them from my wartime memories of the Naval Intelligence Division of the Admiralty, dolled them up, attached a hero, a villain and a heroine, and there was the book.
The first was the attempt on Bond’s life outside the Hotel Splendide. SMERSH had given two Bulgarian assassins box camera cases to hang over their shoulders. One was of red leather and the other one blue. SMERSH told the Bulgarians that the red one contained a bomb and the blue one a powerful smoke screen, under cover of which they could escape.
One was to throw the red bomb and the other was then to press the button on the blue case. But the Bulgars mistrusted the plan and decided to press the button on the blue case and envelop themselves in the smoke screen before throwing the bomb. In fact, the blue case also contained a bomb powerful enough to blow both the Bulgars to fragments and remove all evidence which might point to SMERSH.
Farfetched, you might say. In fact, this was the method used in the Russian attempt on Von Papen’s life in Ankara in the middle of the war. On that occasion the assassins were also Bulgarians and they were blown to nothing while Von Papen and his wife, walking from their house to the embassy; were only bruised by the blast.
So you see the line between fact and fantasy is a very narrow one. I think I could trace most of the central incidents in my books to some real happenings.
We thus come to the final and supreme hurdle in the writing of a thriller. You must know thrilling things before you can write about them. Imagination alone isn’t enough, but stories you hear from friends or read in the papers can be built up by a fertile imagination and a certain amount of research and documentation into incidents that will also ring true in fiction.
Having assimilated all this encouraging advice, your heart will nevertheless quail at the physical effort involved in writing even a thriller. I warmly sympathise with you. I too, am lazy. My heart sinks when I contemplate the two or three hundred virgin sheets of foolscap I have to besmirch with more or less well chosen words in order to produce a 60,000 word book.
One of the essentials is to create a vacuum in my life which can only be satisfactorily filled by some form of creative work – whether it be writing, painting, sculpting, composing or just building a boat – I was about to get married – a prospect which filled me with terror and mental fidget. To give my hands something to do, and as an antibody to my qualms about the marriage state after 43 years as a bachelor, I decided one day to damned well sit down and write a book.
The therapy was successful. And while I still do a certain amount of writing in the midst of my London Life, it is on my annual visits to Jamaica that all my books have been written.
But, failing a hideaway such as I possess, I can recommend hotel bedrooms as far removed from your usual “life” as possible. Your anonymity in these drab surroundings and your lack of friends and distractions will create a vacuum which should force you into a writing mood and, if your pocket is shallow, into a mood which will also make you write fast and with application. I do it all on the typewriter, using six fingers. The act of typing is far less exhausting than the act of writing, and you end up with a more or less clean manuscript. The next essential is to keep strictly to a routine.
I write for about three hours in the morning – from about 9:30 till 12:30 and I do another hour’s work between six and seven in the evening. At the end of this I reward myself by numbering the pages and putting them away in a spring-back folder. The whole of this four hours of daily work is devoted to writing narrative.
I never correct anything and I never go back to what I have written, except to the foot of the last page to see where I have got to. If you once look back, you are lost. How could you have written this drivel? How could you have used “terrible” six times on one page? And so forth. If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky if you write 500 words a day and you will be disgusted with them into the bargain. By following my formula, you write 2,000 words a day and you aren’t disgusted with them until the book is finished, which will be in about six weeks.
I don’t even pause from writing to choose the right word or to verify spelling or a fact. All this can be done when your book is finished.
When my book is completed I spend about a week going through it and correcting the most glaring errors and rewriting passages. I then have it properly typed with chapter headings and all the rest of the trimmings. I then go through it again, have the worst pages retyped and send it off to my publisher.
They are a sharp-eyed bunch at Jonathan Cape and, apart from commenting on the book as a whole, they make detailed suggestions which I either embody or discard. Then the final typescript goes to the printer and in due course the galley or page proofs are there and you can go over them with a fresh eye. Then the book is published and you start getting letters from people saying that Vent Vert is made by Balmain and not by Dior, that the Orient Express has vacuum and not hydraulic brakes, and that you have mousseline sauce and not Bearnaise with asparagus.
Such mistakes are really nobody’s fault except the author’s, and they make him blush furiously when he sees them in print. But the majority of the public does not mind them or, worse, does not even notice them, and it is a dig at the author’s vanity to realise how quickly the reader’s eye skips across the words which it has taken him so many months to try to arrange in the right sequence.
But what, after all these labours, are the rewards of writing and, in my case, of writing thrillers?
First of all, they are financial. You don’t make a great deal of money from royalties and translation rights and so forth and, unless you are very industrious and successful, you could only just about live on these profits, but if you sell the serial rights and the film rights, you do very well. Above all, being a successful writer is a good life. You don’t have to work at it all the time and you carry your office around in your head. And you are far more aware of the world around you.
Writing makes you more alive to your surroundings and, since the main ingredient of living, though you might not think so to look at most human beings, is to be alive, this is quite a worthwhile by-product of writing.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

spy script

1) I am starting a new outline for my spy script. I still don't have a third act, but the first and second are definitely filling out. I've added 2 new characters (Simon's accomplice Legrosse, and a new assasin named Ellis). Next order of business is doing an "emotional outline", because like, emotions are cool and shit.

2) I need titles. All I have so far is "A pervert, a whore and the cure for cancer/AIDS/whatever the mcguffin is.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

TrackinB/BULLET logline

So I need a logline for BULLET for Trackingb

"Dakota must avenge the murder of her little brother, save her friend's kidnapped infant son and babysit a sixteen year old boy prostitute, all in time to make her high school graduation"

that's pretty much the same one I've been using for months now, so there you go.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Great scripts find their way to the top. Great material always gets read and passed along and careers start. It all starts on the page."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Big 100

I'll (privately) celebrate my 100th post by unveiling a potential log-line for my newest script.

"A sex addict and a prostitute team up to steal a hugely important (and valuable) document from a major pharmaceutical company. A dark romantic comedy with a hearty dose of gun play."

Now I have a lot of research to do on a) sex addiction b) identity fraud c) money counterfeiting and d) escort services (in that order).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

script idea

I really like the idea of two people falling into a sort of co-dependent, mutally enabling raw meat addiction that becomes fetishistic cannibalism.

a horror-psych thriller?

this is a scenario that has been stuck in my head since the days of reading Christopher Pike's "Monster" when I was like 15.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

script idea

protag unwitingly crosses over into doppleganger's world (which is just a slightly "off" version of their own). Doppleganger is trying to kill protag because protag is fucking their shit up. this isn't going to make any sense when I read it months from now.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sweet Lou

40 (39) pages into my vomit draft! Thats nearly half way! I have no idea what's going to happen in the next 50-60 pages, but I'll be damned it I don't find out eventually...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

WRITING

Fuck you, I'm back on my grizzy!

I have started a vomit draft of SWEET LOU. I've been trying to outline the whole story. I spent yesterday trying to come up with a second act, and wasn't exactly able to. I really don't want to get stuck 30 pages in because I don't know what my story is actually about, but fuck it, fuck it fuck it, I'm writing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

script idea

stole this from Rich(ard)'s status update: a guy finds his old video camera and looks at the tape in it. It is of a bizarre family vacation featuring a bunch of people he doesn't know who act strangely, and speak in some language that doesn't resemble any he's heard before.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Three Uses Of The Knife

Last night (or really, this afternoon) I had a dream in which I explicitly realized how much more fruitful my subconscious life is than my conscious life.

I was in my aparment, which was collapsing around me, and I noticed, for the first time, that the awning over my window was colored in the same pattern (brown, tan, orange, blue) as my edition of Mamet's "Three Uses Of The Knife". In my dream, I realized that I had gone years wondering why that color palette was so familiar. As my apartment fell to pieces, I took photographs of the awning, and afterwards, showed them to whoever would listen.

I'm not shooting for a blow-by-blow interpretation of this dream, because I was left with a staggering sense of realization. My every-day, conscious, waking life, was nothing compared to the theater of my dreams. I don't know if this is good or bad. On one hand,  my dream told me that I need to experience more, and to pay attention more. On the other, I realized that I had only scratched the surface of what may be an infinite pool of creativity and insight that is my subconscious mind.

If nothing else, my subconscious was probably telling me to reread Three Uses Of The Knife.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Go Into The Story: Hollywood Tales

since I'm too much of an asshole to update my blog with original content, I will continue jacking Scott's shit.

"The rejections piled up, hundreds of them. I'd write things and think something was going to happen, and it almost would. I almost got hired on sitcoms, and then I almost got hired here, almost got hired there, almost got hired everywhere. I remember pitching to 'The Red Shoe Diaries', the erotic series on 'Showtime,' and sitting across from Zalman King's partner. He had my 'Simpsons' script and my 'Iowa Review' short story and my 'Underachievers' screenplay, and he looked at them as if they were a pile of feces---which they were, except for the short story. He said, 'You look like a clever boy, but what do you know about love?' And I said, 'I don't know anything about love. But I know I can get Joan Severance naked inside of two minutes and the story will make sense.' And he looked at me and let out this very slow laugh---'Ha...ha...ha.' I also got rejected from 'Baywatch Nights' over the telephone. Those are just a few examples. It happened hundreds of times. Believe me, if I'd had any idea how it worked, I would have quit, I'm sure. My best friend was ignorance. Don't underestimate its importance."

-- Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

listen to this

http://www.bbc.com/archives

raymond chandler and ian flemming interviews

Friday, June 10, 2011

script idurs

Ive fallen off of my script ideas so badly. Sorry, self.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

advice from Chuck Wending

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/04/26/25-things-every-writer-should-know/

 

1. You Are Legion

The Internet is 55% porn, and 45% writers. You are not alone, and that’s a thing both good and bad. It’s bad because you can never be the glittery little glass pony you want to be. It’s bad because the competition out there is as thick as an ungroomed 1970s pubic tangle. It’s good because, if you choose to embrace it, you can find a community. A community of people who will share their neuroses and their drink recipes. And their, ahem, “fictional” methods for disposing of bodies.

2. You Better Put The “Fun” In “Fundamentals”

A lot of writers try to skip over the basics and leap fully-formed out of their own head-wombs. Bzzt. Wrongo. Learn your basics. Mix up lose/loose? They’re/their/there? Don’t know where to plop that comma, or how to use those quotation marks? That’s like trying to be a world-class chef but you don’t know how to cook a goddamn egg. Writing is a mechanical act first and foremost. It is the process of putting words after other words in a way that doesn’t sound or look like inane gibberish.

3. Skill Over Talent

Some writers do what they do and are who they are because they were born with some magical storytelling gland that they can flex like their pubococcygeus, ejaculating brilliant storytelling and powerful linguistic voodoo with but a twitch of their taint. This is a small minority of all writers, which means you’re probably not that. The good news is, even talent dies without skill. You can practice what you do. You practice it by writing, by reading, by living a life worth writing about. You must always be learning, gaining, improving.

4. Nobody Cares About Your Creative Writing Degree

I have been writing professionally for a lucky-despite-the-number 13 years. Not once — seriously, not once ever — has anyone ever asked me where I got my writing degree. Or if I even have one. Nobody gives two rats fucking in a filth-caked gym-sock whether or not you have a degree, be it a writing degree or a degree in waste management. The only thing that matters is, “Can you write well?”

5. Speaking Of Luck

Luck matters. It just does. But you can maximize luck. You won’t get struck by lightning if you don’t wander out into the field covered in tinfoil and old TV antennae.

6. This Is A Slow Process

Nobody becomes a writer overnight. Well, I’m sure somebody did, but that person’s head probably went all asplodey from paroxysms of joy, fear, paranoia, guilt and uncertainty. Celebrities can be born overnight. Writers can’t. Writers are made — forged, really, in a kiln of their own madness and insecurities — over the course of many, many moons. The writer you are when you begin is not the same writer you become.

7. Nobody “Gets In” The Same Way

Your journey to becoming a writer is all your own. You own it for good and bad. Part of it is all that goofy shit that forms the building blocks of your very persona — mean Daddy, ugly dog, smelly house, pink hair, doting mother, bagger-bitch at the local Scoot-N-Shop. The other part is the industry part, the part where you dig your own tunnel through the earth and detonate it behind you. No two writers will sit down and tell the exact same story of their emergence from the wordmonkey cocoon. You aren’t a beautiful and unique snowflake, except when you are.

8. Writing Feels Like — But Isn’t — Magic

Yours is the power of gods: you say, “let there be light,” and Sweet Maggie McGillicutty, here comes some light. Writing is the act of creation. Put words on page. Words to sentences, sentences to paragraphs, paragraphs to 7-book epic fantasy cycles with books so heavy you could choke a hippo. But don’t give writing too much power, either. A wizard controls his magic; it doesn’t control him. Push aside lofty notions and embrace the workmanlike aesthetic. Hammers above magic wands; nails above eye-of-newt. The magic will return when you’re done. The magic is in what you did, not in what you’re doing.

9. Storytelling Is Serious Business

Treat it with respect and a little bit of reverence. Storytelling is what makes the world go around. Even math is a kind of story (though, let’s be honest, a story with too few space donkeys or dragon marines). Don’t let writing and storytelling be some throwaway thing. Don’t piss it away. It’s really cool stuff. Stories have the power to make people feel. To give a shit. To change their opinions. To change the world.

10. Your Writing Has Whatever Value You Give It

Value is a tricky word. Loaded down with a lot of baggage. It speaks to dollar amounts. It speaks to self-esteem. It speaks to moral and spiritual significance. The value of your wordmonkeying has a chameleonic (not a word, shut up) component: whatever value you give it, that’s what value it will have. You give your work away, that’s what it’s worth. You hate your work, that’s what it’s worth. Put more plainly: what you do has value, so claim value for what you do. Put even more plainly: don’t work for free.

11. You Are Your Own Worst Enemy

It’s not the gatekeepers. Not the audience. Not the reviewers. Not your wife, your mother, your baby, your dog. Not your work schedule, your sleep schedule, your rampant masturbation schedule. If you’re not succeeding at writing, you’ve nobody to blame for yourself. You’re the one who needs to super-glue her booty to the chair. You’re the one who needs to pound away at his keyboard until the words come out. It’s like Michael Jackson sang: “I took my baby on a Saturday bang.” … no, wait, that’s not it. “I’m talkin’ ’bout the man in the mirror.” Yeah. Yes. That’s the one. Shamon.

12. Your Voice Is Your Own

Write like you write, like you can’t help but write, and your voice will become yours and yours alone. It’ll take time but it’ll happen as long as you let it. Own your voice, for your voice is your own. Once you know where your voice lives, you no longer have to worry so much about being derivative.

13. Cultivate Calluses

Put differently, harden the fuck up, soldier. (And beard the fuck on, while we’re at it.) The writing life is a tough one. Edits can be hard to get. Rejections, even worse. Not everybody respects what you do. Hell, a lot of people don’t even care. Build up that layer of blubber. Form a mighty exoskeleton. Expect to be pelted in the face with metaphorical (er, hopefully metaphorical) ice-balls. It’s a gauntlet. Still gotta walk it, though.

14. Stones Are Polished By Agitation

Even the roughest stone is made smooth by agitation, motion, erosion. Yeah, the writing life can be tough, but it needs to be. Edits are good. Rejections are, too. Write with a partner. Submit yourself to criticism. Creative agitation can serve you well. Embrace it. Look into that dark hole for answers, not fear. Gaze into the narrative vagina, and find the story-baby crowning there. … okay, too far? Too far. Yeah.

15. Act Like An Asshole, You’ll Get Treated Like An Asshole

Agitation is good. Being an agitator, not so much. Be an asshole to agents and editors, editors and agents will treat you like an asshole. Be an asshole to other writers, they’ll bash you over the head with a typewriter, or shiv you with an iPad in the shower. Be an asshole to your audience, they’ll do a thing worse than all of that: they’ll just ignore you. So, for real, don’t be an asshole.

16. Writing Is Never About Just Writing

Writing is the priority. Write the best work you can write. That’s true. But it’s not all of it, either. Writing is ever an uncountable multitude. We wish writing were just about writing. The writer is editor, marketer, blogger, reader, thinker, designer, publisher, public speaker, budget-maker, contract reader, trouble-shooter, coffee-hound, liver-pickler, shame-farmer, god, devil, gibbering protozoa.

17. This Is An Industry Of People

They say it’s “who you know,” which is true to a point but it doesn’t really get to the heart of it. That sounds like everybody’s the equivalent to Soylent Green — just use ‘em up for your own hungry purpose. That’s not it. You want to make friends. It means to be a part of the community. People aren’t step-stools. Connect with people in your respective industry. Do not use and abuse them.

18. The Worst Thing Your Work Can Be Is Boring

You’ve got all the words in the world at your disposal, and an infinite number of arrangements in which to use them. So don’t be boring. Who wants to read work that’s as dull as a bar of soap?

19. No, Wait, The Worst Thing Your Work Can Be Is Unclear

Clarity is king. Say what you mean. You’re telling a story, be it in a book, a film, a game, an article, a diner table placemat. Don’t make the reader stagger woozily through a mire just to grasp what you’re saying.

20. Writing Is About Words, Storytelling Is About Life

Everybody tells you that to be a writer, you have to read and write a lot. That’s true. But it’s not all of it. That’ll get you to understand the technical side. It’ll help you grasp the way a story is built. But that doesn’t put meat on the bones you arrange. For that, you need everything but reading and writing. Go live. Travel. Ride a bike. Eat weird food. Experience things. Otherwise, what the fuck are you going to talk about?

21. Everything Can Be Fixed In Post

Stop stressing out. You get the one thing few others get: a constant array of do-overs. Writing is rewriting. You know the saying, “Drink till she’s pretty/till he’s handsome?” This is like that. Edit till she’s pretty. Rewrite until it doesn’t suck. You have an endless supply of blowtorches, hacksaws, scalpels, chainsaws, M80s, and orbital lasers to constantly destroy and rebuild. Of course, you can get caught in that cycle, too. You have to know when to stop the fiddling. You have to know when to get off the ride.

22. Quit Quitting

It’s all too easy to start something and not finish it. Remember when I said you were legion? It’s true, but if you want to be separated from 90% of the other writers (or “writers” depending on how pedantic you choose to be) out there, then just finish the shit that you started. Stop abandoning your children. You wouldn’t call yourself a runner if you quit every race your ran halfway through. Finishing is a good start. Stop looking for the escape hatch; pretend your work in progress just plain doesn’t have one.

23. No Such Thing As Bad Writing Advice

There’s only: advice that works for you, and advice that doesn’t. It’s like going to Home Depot and trying to point out the “bad tools.” Rather, some tools work for the job. Most don’t. Be confident enough to know when a tool feels right in your hand, and when it might instead put out your eye.

24. Though, Nobody Really Knows Shit About Shit

We’re all just squawking into the wind and nobody really has the answers. Except you, and those answers are only for you. Everybody else is just guessing. Sometimes they’re right. A lot of times they’re wrong. That’s not to say such pontification isn’t valuable. You just gotta know what weight to give it.

25. Hope Will Save You

The hard boot is better than the tickling feather when it comes time to talk about the realities of writing, but at the end of the day, the thing that gets you through it all is hope and optimism. You have to stay positive. Writers are given over to a kind of moribund gloom. Can’t let the penmonkey blues get you down. Be positive. Stay sane. The only way through is with wide-open eyes and a rigor mortis grin. Don’t be one of those writers who isn’t having any fun. Don’t let writing be the albatross around your neck. Misery is too easy to come by, so don’t invite it. If writing doesn’t make you happy, you maybe shouldn’t be a writer. It’s a lot of work, but you need to let it be a lot of play, too. Otherwise, what’s the fucking point? Right? Go push a broom, sell a car, paint a barn. If you’re a writer, then write. And be happy you can do so.

Monday, June 6, 2011

script idea

I literally thought of this 1 minute ago when a UPS drove by.

A man gets a mysterious UPS package to find that it is filled with cocaine and sent to the wrong address.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

script idea

A victim of plastic surgery malpractice takes revenge on the doctor who mangled his(/her?) face.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back on my job

Okay, I haven't updated in a while. I have not come up with any new script ideas in a while. But I have been dilligently skimming the fat from A BULLET FOR MY BEST FRIEND. I went from 124 pages (OMG) to 110 pages, and now I'm at 106 pages. Pretty good, huh? My goal is to cut to 104 pages before I send out for notes. At which point people tell me that major plot and character points don't work, and I realize I have only just dipped my feet into the pool of shit that will be my life as a screenwriter.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

script idea

two twin brother plastic surgeons decide to alter their appearances in hopes of forming stronger personal identities.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BULLET/LIFE

1. Producer lady finally emailed me back. She hasn't read my shit yet, but at least she remembers who I am.

2. Bullet is going to be the screenplay I look back on and hate in two years. That's okay. It's getting better the more bullshit I shear from it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

script idurrrrrrrs

A bedroom farce about 3 young professional couples who live in the same apartment building. A comedy of misunderstanding and infidelity.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bullet

Bullet For My Best Friend Draft 3C is 124 pages. 3D needs to be 105, but I like every scene. This is going to be a serious exercise in discipline. Also, hopefully, I will mine out a screenplay tighter than Mary's virgin butthole.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

scipt idear

a james bond type secret agent is everything a spy should be: intelligent, strong, fast, an expert marksman, proficcient in many languages and a master of camoflouge. The only thing is, he's deathly afraid of women, and looses his composure whenever an attractive female speaks with him.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

it's 3:15, i have to get up at 10 and I'm not tired. So I'm spitting out ideas for Sweet Lou.

He has seven days to organize a party for a local female radio celebrity. Tasks include:

-contacting an acquaintance who manages male strippers for entertainment
-booking a popular hip-hop act to perform (even though they are notorious for causing problems with their venues)
-choosing a caterer (one of his relatives wants to cater, but for some reason, this won't work)

other professional issues include:
-the city is cracking down on clubs in the area -- the liquor authority is harassing him, the fire marshall is citing him for safety violations.
-delegating between two spiteful ex-lovers who both work as bartenders
-an asshole customer who continually gets drunk, buys people drinks and then debates the credit charges when he sobers up
-the club owner wants to sell the club to Lou and make him the owner, but  Lou knows that he cannot take on that responsibility.

personal issues:
-pressure from his wife to spend less time at the club
-also, his anniversary is coming up
-managing a flirtatious relationship with a beautiful liquor saleswoman who is always trying to solicit him
-a daughter who begins dating one of the bouncers
-he is developing panic attacks, and the head bartender (his good friend) wants him to see a therapist.
-he is drinking too much to manage the stress

BUT WHAT DOES HE WANT? THAT IS ALWAYS THE MAIN QUESTION. WHAT THE FUCK DOES LOUIS SUGARMAN WANT?

Monday, May 16, 2011

script idear

A night porter befriends a prostitute who works the hotel. When she ends up dead, he begins asking questions and becomes embroiled in a cover up involving local politicans and the police department.

BAM

(to be fair, I've been writing this story on-and-off for the last 3 years, so its not really a new idea)

Jonathan Franzen’s 10 Rules of Writing

  1. The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.
  2. Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.
  3. Never use the word “then” as a conjunction– we have “and” for this purpose. Substituting “then” is the lazy or tone-deaf writer’s non-solution to the problem of too many “ands” on the page.
  4. Write in the third person unless a really distinctive first-person voice offers itself irresistibly.
  5. When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it.
  6. The most purely autobiographical fiction requires pure invention. Nobody ever wrote a more auto biographical story than “The Metamorphosis”.
  7. You see more sitting still than chasing after.
  8. It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.
  9. Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.
  10. You have to love before you can be relentless.

Friday, May 13, 2011

script iderrs

a small town is thrown into pandemonium when crop duster plane crashes, enveloping the town in a deadly chemical.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

script idea

a married couple go to a murder-mystery party on a cruise ship and find themselves becoming seduced by the game, to the point of obsession.

Monday, May 9, 2011

script idea

when the neighborhood finds out that their beloved local ice-cream truck driver is a non-offending pedophile, he is thrown into the national spotlight as a reluctant advocate for "pedophile's rights".

script idea erryday

Six long-time friends reunite at a lakeside cabin. When one attendant's identical twin sister shows up unexpectedly, shit goes bad.

'

Friday, May 6, 2011

Go Into The Story: 'Bad Guys,' saving the cat, and whacking the cat, ...

Go Into The Story: 'Bad Guys,' saving the cat, and whacking the cat, ...: "I'm following up on this post with a reprint of a previous article to drive home a point: The best way to make a reader feel anything at a ..."

This character is simply the most important figure in your story world. S/he is your Hero, the one through whose experience you tell your story. Therefore, it is imperative to make the audience/reader identify with your Protagonist. How do you do this? Following the following five guidelines is a good start.

1. MAKE THE PROTAGONIST REAL

If the reader shares some common experience with the Protagonist, then it helps because you now have the reader using their memory/experience to solidify a bond.

2. MAKE THE PROTAGONIST VULNERABLE

If your Protagonist is perfect, you not only give them no room to grow, you distance yourself from the audience because people aren’t perfect. Your Protagonist has to have flaws to make them identifiable.

3. MAKE THE PROTAGONIST SYMPATHETIC

There is possibly no better way to establish a connection with your Protagonist than dumping a load of problems on them right from the start, almost forcing the audience to feel sorry.

4. MAKE THE PROTAGONIST LIKEABLE

Make sure to look for personal qualities in your Protagonist which lure the reader warm up to them.

5. MAKE THE PROTAGONIST FUNNY

People love others who are funny; use that to your advantage with your Protagonist. The funnier the Protagonist is the more distasteful a character you can begin your story with.

THE NEMESIS (SHADOW)

Your Nemesis exists because they are in direct opposition with your Protagonist. Their goal is almost always the same – whatever the Protagonist wants to achieve or possess, the Nemesis struggles to prevent the Protagonist from succeeding.

Without a worthy adversary, there is no conflict. And with no conflict, you have no story.

Where you want to create audience/reader identification with the Protagonist, you want to create fascination with the Nemesis. How to do this. Again, the five guidelines:

Go Into The Story: 'Bad Guys,' saving the cat, and whacking the cat, ...

Go Into The Story: 'Bad Guys,' saving the cat, and whacking the cat, ...: "I'm following up on this post with a reprint of a previous article to drive home a point: The best way to make a reader feel anything at a ..."


1. MAKE THE NEMESIS REAL

All too often, I read scripts where I can not relate to the Nemesis. That is not a good thing because it keeps this character at arm’s length, making them more of a concept than a real “person.” As a writer, you must tap into something human in the Nemesis to provide a point of connection.

2. MAKE THE NEMESIS VULNERABLE

In trying to create a “formidable foe,” too many writers go too far, making the Bad Guy invulnerable. This makes the Nemesis inhuman and distances them from your audience.

3. MAKE THE NEMESIS SYMPATHETIC

By humanizing the Nemesis, you make the reader squirm, forcing them to pay attention to the story which has laid out a negative character to whom they can relate. This also makes for a much more fascinating character

4. MAKE THE NEMESIS LIKEABLE

Many Bad Guys out there in the world rely on their charm in creating situations to their benefit - gaining the trust of a victim, winning them over… then striking.

5. MAKE THE NEMESIS FUNNY

To make your Nemesis distinct and interesting, give them a sense of humor.

In the best of all story worlds, you want your Protagonist and Nemesis to have an equal chance to succeed in achieving the goal they share. This does not mean they have to have the same power, resources, or skill-sets; indeed, you will almost invariably want to begin your story with the Protagonist in an inferior position to the Nemesis. What it does mean is that the Nemesis is not simply a straw man – they must be genuine and worthy foes, equal to the task of pushing your Protagonist to the absolute limit of their capabilities.

Go Into The Story: Writing Tips: Neil Gaiman

Go Into The Story: Writing Tips: Neil Gaiman: "Here are some tips on writing from novelist and screenwriter Neil Gaiman : 1 Write. 2 Put one word after another. Find the right word..."

1 Write.

2 Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

3 Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

4 Put it aside. Read it pretending you've never read it before. Show it to
friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.

5 Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

6 Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

7 Laugh at your own jokes.

8 The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

script idea erry day

A government agent is sent undercover to infiltrate a criminal organization. As he goes deeper and deeper, his deciet grows more elaborate, and dozens of agents become involved, working to maintain a cover that includes a fictional family, friends, and  hometown.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Go Into The Story: Writing Tips: David Hare

Go Into The Story: Writing Tips: David Hare: "Writing tips from playwright and screenwriter David Hare : 1 Write only when you have something to say. 2 Never take advice from anyone ..."

1 Write only when you have something to say.

2 Never take advice from anyone with no investment in the outcome.

3 Style is the art of getting yourself out of the way, not putting yourself in it.

4 If nobody will put your play on, put it on yourself.

5 Jokes are like hands and feet for a painter. They may not be what you want to end up doing but you have to master them in the meanwhile.

6 Theatre primarily belongs to the young.

7 No one has ever achieved consistency as a screenwriter.

8 Never go to a TV personality festival masquerading as a literary festival.

9 Never complain of being misunderstood. You can choose to be understood, or you can choose not to.

10 The two most depressing words in the English language are "literary fiction".

Monday, May 2, 2011

Go Into The Story: Writing Tips: Billy Wilder

Go Into The Story: Writing Tips: Billy Wilder: "You've probably seen this. If not, here it is. If you have, a good reminder of some basic stortytelling principles from a master of telling ..."

1. Grab 'em by the throat and never let go.

2. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.

3.The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

4. If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.

5. Tip from Ernst Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They'll love you forever.

6. The audience is fickle. Know where you're going.

7. In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they are seeing.

8. The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.

9. The 3rd act must build, build, build in tempo until the last event, and then...

10. ...that's it. Don't hang around.

script idea

It's promotion time in hell, and Satan's 3 best understudies have an assigment: be the first to collect 1000 new souls and get the promotion.

Friday, April 29, 2011

script idea errry day

A future where humanoid robots are commonplace and nearly indistinguishable from humans, companies supply "disposable" units which can be "murdered" by anyone willing to pay. One robot, an experimental new model that more accurately mimics human emotion escapes.

script idea

an awful, but ambitious novelist refuses to let his lack of talent keep him from writing the Great American Novel.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Script idea erry day

A nightclub owner has to manage a seemingly endless number of business obstacles (a thieving employee, problems with the liquor authority, a web of romantic/professional relationships, neighborhood gentrification, bad publicity, IRS audits, problematic customers...) and personal issues during the week leading up to a birthday party for a local celebrity.

Bassically, I want to write as script which I can end with the protagonist dancing by himself on the dancefloor.
After two or three weeks, I have reread All Of The Love In The World and made very minor line-corrections. Thankfully, it's still very good. In fact, I am fucking ready to send it to Sarah G., so Susan better give me the go-ahead or I will shit.


I just want an apartment in LA and a paid writing assignment!!

Script idead errry day

"Threesome" A guy meets the girl of his dreams, but finds out that she is already has a boyfriend and they want to include him in a polyamorous relationship. Romantic comedy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

script idea errry day

Fuck I accidently took a week off from my script ideas.

A man returns after years estranged from his family, a man returns to his hometown
 to find it entirely deserted.

Monday, April 18, 2011

three actors hired to appear on a daytime "springer" style talk show about infidelity form a relationship outside of the studio.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I've been slacking lately, so here are 3 (!) script ideas (none of which are particularly good)

1) A group of friends on a road trip realize that they have been driving the same one-mile strip of road, over and over, for hours. Panic sets in as they realize that they are trapped in some sort of time/space loop.

2) Residents of a wealthy high-rise apartment begin loosing their minds and killing each other. Our protagonst(s) must make it from the top to bottom floor and escape, before THE MADNESS CONSUMES THEM!

3) A chef looses his mind and starts serving his guests to each other. A comedy.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

espionage thriller idea

A female escort. She wants to to get out of the business and [do what?].

She is hired for the night by a man.

When she gets to the hotel, she is intersepted by a man who offers her 5000 dollars to find evidence that her client has stolen classified corporate documents. He gives 1000 dollars advance and a digital camera, and they trade business cards.

She gets the evidence but the client catches her. He promises that he can hold the evidence hostage for 5 Million and will give her 1 Million if she stays with him for three more days and doesn't sell him out.

OR- he is a double-agent, and is going to give the info to his company, but instead SHE decides to take the information hostage herself (make her as proactive as possible).

Friday, April 15, 2011

script idea errry day

A female escort is paid anonymously to spy on her newest client. When she finds evidence that the client is a double-agent spying for a massive corporation, she attempts to turn the tables in her favor and defraud TWO multi-billion dollar companies.

an espionage thriller

script idea errry day

Party Prison:

It's New Years Eve and Ben just wants to drop his friends off at a party and return home to wallow in his misery. Little does he know that he's in for the longest night of his life. An absurdist romantic comedy-- Take Me Home Tonight meets The Discreet  Charm of the Bourgeoisie.

(also a comedy twist on All Of The Love In The World)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

script idea errry day

Three robbers break into the home of a wealthy family and make a score. After, they discover a twice-stolen master's painting in their possession, and find themselves way, way out of their league.
I've sent of yet ANOTHER draft of AOTLIW to Susan and Max. Some major changes (in fact, I think I've altered/replaced at least 60% of the scenes) and added a number of elements. Here's hoping its almost there...I just want to send it off to [producer/writer]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

script idea errry day

Four bunkmates at sleepaway camp sneak out of their cabins one night. While playing with the bow-and-arrows, one is accidentally killed. The boys hide the body and attempt to cover-up the murder.


ALTERNATE:

Two bunkmates at sleepaway camp sneak out at night (for some reason). Little do they know that three other boys have snuck out to play with the bows-and-arrows. One of the friends is accidentally killed, and the other runs away. The murderers know that there was a witness, and the witness knows that there was a murder, but neither party can identify the other.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

script idea errrry day

A woman wakes up in the trunk of a car that has just crashed into a lake. She is a hostage on her way to be traded for $2,000,000. She makes it to shore with the only other survivor of the accident, one of her hostage takers. Together, they devise a plan to steal the money for themselves.

Monday, April 11, 2011

script idea of the day

Two twins, seperated at birth, meet each other on a cruise ship vacation and decide to take bloody revenge on their cruel, narcicistic parents. THE PARENT TRAP meets THE ORPHAN.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Script Idea Every Day

Today's script idea:  An assistant Unitarian minister is making a push to full ministry when photographs of his past as a male stripper are unearthed by a community member with a vendetta.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Scripts I want to write some day

Other than my current in-development projects, of course.

1. A young aspiring novelist tracks down the author who inspired him to pick up the pen. He finds the old man living in an incredibly seedy hotel in a dark corner of town. He is not ready for the truth behind the fiction. Psycho-thriller/horror?

2. A collaborative effort with Max: a romantic comedy about spontaneous human combustion.

3. A real-time script about a man trying to commit suicide, despite fate's seeming insistence against it. Pitch-black comedy.

4. A young woman agrees to keep an eye on her friend after she is released from the mental institution. Psych-thriller

5. A man elaborately fakes his own death to get out of his shitty life. Dark comedy? Dramady?

6. America's hottest male pornstar wants to quit the biz and transition to dramatic theater. Some people have a lot of money invested in making sure that that never happens.

Monday, March 28, 2011

EUREKA

Fuck yes! I have discovered one of the emotional lynch pins of AOTLITW. As always, now that I've figured it out, it seems so incredibly obvious that I can't believe it took me this long. Nick never loved Brenda, and married her anyway. What he thought was "love" was really something else. Maybe infatuation, or possessiveness, or guilt. But not true, healthy, uplifting love.



This is his big, terrible secret. But when did he realize that he didn't love her? Does he already know, or does he figure it out over the course of the film (answer: the second one)?

When is he forced to admit, to himself or to others, that he didn't really love her? And if not, did he put her through their brief, damaging marriage for nothing?

Why did they get married in the first place? Does Nick learn "the meaning of love"? or just what it is not?

progress...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Page one rewrites

Fuck you, I'm doing page one rewrites of AOTLITW.

Friday, March 18, 2011

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK

I really, really wanted to send out All Of The Love In The World to my writer/producer in LA. I really, really wish it was ready. I really, really wish that everyone's favorite advice for writers was not "Never send anything out until it is as good as you can make it".

AOTLITW is not done. It's not even "done enough". Susan informed me that the protagonist does not have a clear arc. She is right. The arc that I have been explaining to everybody is false. I don't believe it, and it is not evident anywhere in the script. I am a bullshitter.

Now, I have to figure out Nick's REAL story. It is not about him "coming to terms with his responsibility for Brenda's death", because that is a) not really filmable and b) not totally interesting.

This should be a story about how Nick is forced to confront his former life so that he can close that chapter and move on. It's a sort of coming-of-age story.

So 1) what is Nick moving towards? 2) why does Nick need to confront his unresolved "former life"? What has he not learned? Done? Resolved? 3) Why did this tragedy have to happen NOW?



FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dream project.

No, literally, I had a dream where I came up with an idea for a crime thriller. It was about an art restorer who also laundered money for the mob. For some reason he looses 100,000 dollars, and then tricks a bunch of people, and then gets away with a bunch of money. FUCK, I HATE HAVING GOOD IDEAS IN MY DREAMS BECAUSE I ALWAYS FORGET THEM! I know there was a female love interest, of course, but she also ended up being a femme fatale, so he tricked her too.

Then, in my next dream, I was convinced I was ripping off a movie starring Vince Vaughn and Cameron Diaz and ran around borders trying to find information on the movie.

Whatever: the basic idea is good, and I'll keep it in the back of my mind.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I have sent out the newest draft of AOTLITW to two readers.

And now I wait.

And wait.

And wait.

I don't have anything to DO until they get back to me with notes. There is nothing I feel I have to work on. And after doing NOTHING (almost literally) for the last week other than write this motherfucker and watch movies, I am having a bit of a "crisis of purpose".

At least I have an entire treatment (save for the details of the last scene) for River Of Silence. I can jump right into that as soon as possible. Also, that one won't require as much heavy duty work as Bullet For My Best friend, so I could conceivably have TWO COMPLETED SCRIPTS by spring.

Friday, February 18, 2011

FINALLY

A LOGLINE!!!

Dakota must avenge her brother's murder, rescue an infant and babysit a 16 year-old male prostitute, all in time to make her high school graduation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New script idea. About as pitchable as they come.

Richard Valentine just wants to slit his wrists in his bathtub, but fate just won't make it easy for him.

"contained" is the word of the day in Hollywood. "Contained" films are cheap (usually only one or two sets), fast (95 page max) and high concept. This will be a very dark comedy about a man who wants to end it all.

I think I will start development by brainstorming every conceivable way that a suicide can be interrupted.

And, I'm thinking a happy ending.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Goddess From The Machine is now titled A BULLET FOR MY BEST FRIEND

that is all.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I just realized GFM has 3 INCITING INCIDENTS.


a) Dakota finds Duckie's corpse (p. 22)

b) Dakota is killed by Pink Gang (p. 28)

c) Dakota and Val make their agreement (p. 40)

The TRUE II is (a), but (b) and (c) could both serve as the end of a first act. It's like the movie that ends 12 times, but it BEGINS 12 times. I need a second opinion on this.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Update Time

Just started draft 3 a few days ago.  Some BIG CHANGES.

Most importantly: Nina is now an ex-Pink Gang Member.  This serves the dual purpose of a) giving Dakota a "dark past" that she has tried to overcome. This gives me a strong personal thread to work with throughout, as she tries to balance being a good person and her violent past. b) it actually creates a strong relationship between the protagonist and antagonist.  Instead of Nina just being a huge bitch who like torturing people, there is actually some pathos.

The next major change is that I am getting rid of the "mystical" elements. No more "fusing between man and machine", no more drinking oil, no more super-human strength. I don't know if this is going to work, and it may be more interesting to keep her as a bio-organic killing machine, but for this draft, I'm going to keep it realistic. Or, at least, within the realm of physical possibility.

Also, I am cutting back on the vindictive, mindless killing. I am working on justifying the violence more.

Vicky is becoming an interesting character: she was Dakota's replacement, and is the "new girl". In front of the gang, she is an over-enthusiastic, insecure geek, but when she is alone with Dakota, she is evil. She is becoming something of a psycopath, but I have to figure out WHAT SHE WANTS and how she works into the story.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My first attempt at a log line for Goddess From The Machine

"When her little brother is murdered by a gang of teenage girls, Dakota's rage fuels her transformation into a cybernetic human weapon.  With the help of Val, a single mother who's baby has been taken hostage, and Jake, a child prostitute with a heart of gold, she undertakes a quest for bloody vengeance.  Will she find peace with this strange new family, or be consumed by her own power and become a monster?"

I really like the last line, but is it cool to put a question in a log line?  Should do some research on that.  But for a first pass, I think its pretty compelling.

Friday, January 21, 2011

oh by the way, I have 75 pages of a first draft of River Of Silence.

just saying.

River Of Silence CHARACTER QUIZ

The River Of Silence is about...

1.  Sam who thinks that life is what you make it,  but after her boyfriend explodes into a maggot, learns that life is actually unfathomable and beyond our control.

2.  Sam  is a girl who wants to experience love but NEEDS to experience heartbreak first.

3.  Sam is a girl who wants adult responsibilities, and gets more than she bargained for.

4. Sam is a girl who has innocence and youth but sacrifices it for (???  Sam needs AGENCY.  She needs to make more choices, risk more!)

5.  [protagonist] would sacrifice his/her life for (???????)




Well, it's a start.

Monday, January 17, 2011

On to the next, on-on to the next one.

So, I officially have a "good" draft of Goddess From The Machine.  Hoorah.

I have decided to pick up River Of Silence (damn, I'm good with titles!) again.  I'm 37 pages in, and have hashed out some ideas for the next 2/3ds.  I think I have a very strong script in a pipe line.

NOTE TO SELF:  This is a story about a 13 year-old girl transitioning into adolescence.   She starts off as Daddy's Little Girl, meets a Boy, begins pulling away from her father, is almost abducted by an alien and ultimately watches her first love explode into a maggot.

Clearly, I haven't fully worked out the character arcs.

Enough blogging, back to working.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

brain jelly

Too brain dead to make any real progress today.  I hate these days. 

Note to self:  smoking cigarettes is cool and you should never have quit.  What am I supposed to do while drinking coffee and wearing sunglasses now?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CONFLICT CONFLICT CONFLICT

Story is conflict.  Also, character and plot only work together in a majestic symphony when the character is reacting to a tough decision (aka conflict).  Anything else is just exposition.  And exposition is gay.

So, I am going through Goddess From The Machine page-by-page and isolating every decision point.  Every moment where a character must choose between more than one course of action is an opportunity to reveal character and weave a delicious plot. 

So far, I have only really tracked one, of an infinite possible number, of plots.  And that's okay.  I could spend the rest of my life writing thousands of versions of this goddamned script.  What is important is that I ensure that the characters are always making decisions, that those decisions are true to that individual person and that those decisions move the plot forward in a (hopefully) interesting way.  That is character-driven drama.

Monday, January 3, 2011

FUCK

Well, I wrote an entire screenplay that I thought was really awesome.  And it is...but I failed the ESSENTIAL CHARACTER QUIZ:

If anyone ever reads this blog, this might actually be helpful to others:

1.  [Protagonist] is a ______________ who thinks [life is like this] but after facing [these obstacles] learns that [life is actually like this]

2.  [protagonist] is a ____________ who wants _________________ but NEEDS _____________

3.  [protagonist] is a ____________ who wants ______________ but gets ___________

4.  [protagonist] is a ___________ who has _________ but sacrifices it for ______________

5.  [protagonist] would sacrifice his/her life for _________________

So somehow I managed to write a superficially "good" genre script without being able to answer ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS.

Jesus titty fucking Christ!  I will NOT begin my 3rd draft (or hell, 2nd draft revision C) without being able to answer ALL OF THOSE GODDAMNED QUESTIONS.

Note to future self:  don't forget the essential character quiz next time.

New Project idea (??)

 I insist on having a "back burner" project at all times.  I've been very inspired by Pixar films lately, and marvel at the incredibly tight, deliberate screenwriting that goes into them.  Sure, they're formulaic, but they embrace convention in the best, most effective way.  Every film (my favorites of the moment are Up, Ratatouille, The Incredibles and Toy Story 3) has a strong moral, or "take away" and they are clearly presented.  For exampe, Ratatouille gives it to you in the first 5 minutes-- "Anybody can cook!", and infuses every beat, scene, sequence and act with this mantra.  The scripts are incredibly well crafted, and I aspire to their level of storytelling.

So, since Goddess From The Machine is a pulpy, revenge tale based on the plot structure of Up, I am going to continue this trend by writing something that could conceivably be produced by Pixar, for children and adults, with a plot (and story!) as tight as the virgin Mary herself.

Since a hotel-noir has been rattling around in the back of my mind for the last 5 years, it may be possible for me to flip the story of a hapless hotel janitor pulled into a violent, lurid murder-and-sex mystery into a PG story of a hapless hotel janitor being pulled into an exciting and humorous espionage mystery.

As for an actual plot?  No idea.  But I've blogged it once and I'll blog it again, I REFUSE to start a script without having an entire plot on MOTHER*BLEEP*ING LOCKDOWN.  Pardon the censorship, but I'm practicing for my PG screenplay.

What would I call a film like this?

Hotel Deception (with an accent over the O.  Like De-sep-tiiion)?
Den of Spies?  too close to OSS in Cairo:  Nest of Spies.  Which is better anyway. 

Meh, petty things.

the worst part

So, I've written two pretty good drafts of Goddess From The Machine, but they both suffer from "cardboard character syndrome".  My characters interact well, read well, and are superficially charming, but they are ultimately flat and indistinct.  They all speak with the same voice --mine.  So it's time to dive into character.  And how do I start diving into character?  By writing brief biographies for them. 

This has always been incredibly helpful for me.  When I have to make decisions on a characters past, I am almost immediately begin to see ways in which these distinctions can manifest in more interesting interactions in the "present".  For example, after only a few minutes of working with Dakota's back story, I decided that her mother raised her as a boy, essentially, refusing her any feminine clothing or toys.  (I also figured out why, but I don't feel like explaining it here again).

Dakota's boyishness resulted in her being cruelly harassed by the girls in her schools.  Her hatred of these tormentors, plus her resentment of her mother for putting her in this position, lead to the development of a deep distrust and disdain for women.  Bada-bing.  Right there I have a character trait that can be used to create interesting conflicts with the other characters in the story.  How do I have her relate to Val, ostensibly a new "mother figure", with this new character knowledge?

So, this is great and all, but I FUCKING HATE writing character biographies.  It's such a fucking chore and takes me forever.  Not because it's difficult, but because I'd rather do anything, including blogging, than sit down and hash them out!  But it must be done.  It must be done.  IT MUST BE DONE!

Do I have to do one for Duckie?  (Yes)
Do I have to do one for Natalie?  (Yes)
Really?  (Yes)