Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fuck the haters, fuck your "execution dependent" bull-naanny. I'm finishing a draft of DOUBLE XL if it kills me!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Death Row Papers

A young journalist gets a career-making opportunity to interview a serial killer days before his execution. As they talk, she realizes that she can write one of two stories: a fluff piece about a mass-murderer's psychotic last words, or the story of a good man who was systematically framed by the US Government to cover up a global conspiracy that he uncovered 20 years ago.


The meat of each episode occurs in flashback, detailing one of the inmate's 13 alleged murders, along with his theories on how, and more importantly WHY the American government set him up.

As the journalist begins to seriously research his claims, she starts experiencing unnerving events: phones clicking, men watching her, vague threats, and an unusual number of helicopters in the sky...
KONY 2012

the wordy version

When a misanthropic culture blogger starts a hoax kickstarter campaign to hire a team of mercenaries to assassinate an African warlord, the last thing he expects is for the campaign to go viral and raise 3 million dollars. As he becomes a national sensation, a team of bonafied ex-military assassins collect the bounty and draft him into their militia, whisking him off to Uganda along with a documentary film crew and a local news reporter turned embedded journalist.
Fuck! I was effectively canned from the Butterfly project!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Iambic Pentameter

"Traps" is the perfect project to sketch out my efforts to write dialogue in IP. If i would just get my fucking laptop in the fucking mail, I could actually get to work on that.
a film noir/ mystery/ thriller, except removed from the major genre conventions and set almost entirely in a series of rooms. something that can be made cheaply, with a handful of locations. a tense, eloquent, clever actors / director's piece.

think about this...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

KONY 2012

The "lonely nerd" archtype is boring. How to craft a more compelling, less stock protagonist?

Do they ever get to "kony island" (their exotic destination)? The commercial version says that they do, and it's a "Tropic Thunder" style clusterfuck. The indie version is they don't, and the drama plays out as their training devolves into "Lord Of The Flies" style madness.

How to navigate the SUPER problematic elements of colonialism, imperialism inherent in the story? Like Rambo and many other jingonistic american films, it's about white people shooting brown people. Is there a way to make it NOT about this? Is it a matter of changing the concept, of simply being self aware? Idk...

My computer is about to die. Z Signing Off.

KONY 2012

Alright, my other iderp is boring and retarded.

So this is my next script:

"a teenager starts a hoax kick-starter campaign to hire a militia to kill Joseph Kony (or some other third-world dictator... oh man this is about to be prob-lo-matic!). When the campaign raises millions of dollars, various militias, assassins and paramilitary groups come out of the woodwork to collect the bounty. BUT ALSO...!! A bunch of anti-social juvenile delinquents also get in on it, and our protag finds himself on a suicide mission with a bunch of fucking lunatic teens to do it themselves."

Well this is right-off-the-bat a much better idea than my clone explosion bullshit movie. Let me hash out some broad-strokes.

Act 1.

Lonely nerd. Angry, but doesn't take action in life. He starts the campaign. Also obviously high-school life subplot shizzz.

Act 2.
Somehow these lunatics convince protag to undertake this fucking mission with them. Maybe they kidnap/coerce him? Maybe they somehow make him realize that this will be the defining decision of his life: to either passivly watch the world happen around him, or to take action?  *man blogger is fucing up on my computer right now**
Maybe the lunatic convinces him to use the money to finance their  coupe. Then, when the other militias realize there is no bounty left, it's their ass(es)!

Act 3.
Whatever happens in the third act of a story like this.


















HOLD UP FUCK THIS

Alright, I read an awesome interview at scriptshadow that has inspired me to stop being an asshole and start planning my follow up feature spec.

Since the best "sellable" iderp that i've had in the last few months is not really up to snuff (i.e. articulated in an interesting way) I'm gonna work on that. Here's what I remember of the original logline.

"in the near future, members of wealthy families are given genetic clones at birth which can be farmed for organs and tissue throughout their lives. When the US president is badly injured in an assassination attempt, his clone is put on the operating table. The clone wakes up unexpectedly, and in a feral panic escapes the hospital. He must run from government repo agents, as well as an american terrorist organization, or face death." or something like that.

so how can I make this not totally derivitave, cliched and boring? First of all, I hate "buff white man running from explosions/people with guns" movies. This falls directly into that category.

The most obvious choice for me would be to make the president/clone female, but come on; I need male leads in my life.

1. this doesn't solve the "cliche" problem, but a logistical cure-all can be that people can "download" information into the brains or whatever, so the clone can pick up skills (language,  KUNG FU!).

2. HOLD UP FUCK THIS-- I'm doing the "Kony Kickstarter" Iderp!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

the simplest pulp thriller iderp i have: a wealthy man knocks up some girl. He and his wife decide to hire an assassin to have her killed. it doesn't go quite as planned.

these are the fucking scripts I'd like to be writing, but they're not "high concept" enough! goddamit, who doesn't like a good, straight-forward, character based thriller? #mostpeopleaparently

Monday, July 2, 2012

Well, here I am with one awesome sample that has gotten me some attention and no follow-up. Or, rather, I have scripts I really would like to write as a follow up, but according to managers, they are not high concept enough. All of my "high-concept" ideas are fucking silly and retarded, and I have little interest in writing them, so that means a WHOLE NEW BATCH OF "SCRIPT IDERPS" IS COMING YOUR WAY!

Don't touch that fucking dial.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Bitter Script Reader: Still drinking the Amazon Studios Kool-Aid? Time ...

The Bitter Script Reader: Still drinking the Amazon Studios Kool-Aid? Time ...: I feel I should respond to some statements made by Antony on yesterday's post .  In comments he  quotes me: Finally, " let's not forget


interesting stuff

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Double XL movie vs. movie

Alright, the best I got so far is "Romancing The Stone" set in the world of "True Romance" with bits of "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang".

Friday, May 25, 2012

fuck!

I am not convinced that those last three log lines are the best that I have. The road-trip one has potential, but really needs a stronger hook if I'm going to pursue it.

I like the high-rise one quite a bit, but it's a direct rip off of the first segment of "The Signal". It also is basically just zombies. I fucking hate zombies.

The ransom one has the most commercial appeal, but is a) too similar to DOUBLE XL.

I have some thinking to do.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Next Projects

Loglines for (what will be) the project I start PREPPING NEXT.

1) When a group of roadtripping friends realize that they have been driving the same mile stretch of highway for hours, they discover that they've fallen into a rip in the space/time continuum.

2) When a disease that reduces humans to their most base instincts infects a high-rise apartment, two lovers must escape to the ground floor before the madness (or their blood-thirsty neighbors) overtake them.

3) After waking up in a sinking car with his partners dead, a career criminal frees the hostage tied up in the trunk and pulls her to shore. The hostage wants to escape her tyrannical step-parents, and they devise to steal the 2,000,000 dollar ransom.

thats the ideas, anyway

Thursday, May 10, 2012

stacks on stacks on stacks

Stacking projects:

New thing. I'm gonna start stacking my projects, meaning that I will try to always have 3 scripts in play at a time.

1 draft that I am actually writing.

1 script that I am doing prep work (bios, outlining, treatment, etc) for.

1 concept that I am researching for future prep work.

So I will start with XXL as my draft, which means that I need a SCRIPT TO PREP and a CONCEPT TO RESEARCH.

My main initiative while choosing a new project is PITCHABILITY. Also,  if I can do something contained and easily genre'd that would be wonderful.

Let's peruse my old "iderps" and see what I can see...

a) A marriage counselor who bangs the troubled wives he meets with. Jesus, I've clearly been in LA too long, it's fucking with my mind.

Has  "erotic thriller potential" or rom-com potential. "Realizes that her husband is the notorious "----- killer".

b) When an artist is conned out of his (i'd say her, but goddamit I need male protag's!!) prized piece by an oversees scammer, he travels to (wherever) to get it back.

c) Something about spies implanted in American universities...

d) a young woman is taunted and humilated by her schoolmates. On halloween (or whenever) they harrass her. She is pushed to the edge! She thinks they might actually hurt her! She grabs her daddy's shotgun to defend herself and accidently shoots one of them. But it turns out to be her brother (or somebody)! In her grief, she tries to kill herself but only succeeds in blasting half of her head off. She survives, but is half retarded and all pissed. We now follow her one-time agressors as a vengeful killer stalks them.

e) 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.

f) a thriller about somebody's doppelganger trying to kill them. hmmm... could be interesting.

g) a kid watches an old tape he finds in his parent's closet (maybe cleaning out after one of them died or something) and realizes that they were satanists.

h) a man gets a package shipped to the wrong address. Inside is (cocaine? a baby? a macguffin?)

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

j) a plastic surgeon kills a patient and transforms himself into the deceased...why?

k) a man decides to leave his kids, his wife and his job, change his identity and start fresh in...? (maybe this is part of J)

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

m)  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.


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

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

p) 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.

q) 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.

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

s) "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.

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

u)  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.

v) 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!

w) 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.

x)  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.

y) 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.

z)  young woman accepts the responsibility of assisting her best friend's transition out of a mental institution.  But something has followed her friend and threatens to steal both of their sanity.

that's about all. a lot to think about...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

David Mamet letter to Unit writers - excerpts



QUESTION:WHAT IS DRAMA? DRAMA, AGAIN, IS THE QUEST OF THE HERO TO OVERCOME THOSE THINGS WHICH PREVENT HIM FROM ACHIEVING A SPECIFIC, ACUTE GOAL.
 
SO: WE, THE WRITERS, MUST ASK OURSELVES OF EVERY SCENE THESE THREE QUESTIONS.
1) WHO WANTS WHAT?
2) WHAT HAPPENS IF HER DON'T GET IT?
3) WHY NOW?

SOMEONE HAS TO MAKE THE SCENE DRAMATIC. IT IS NOT THE ACTORS JOB (THE ACTORS JOB IS TO BE TRUTHFUL). IT IS NOT THE DIRECTORS JOB. HIS OR HER JOB IS TO FILM IT STRAIGHTFORWARDLY AND REMIND THE ACTORS TO TALK FAST. IT IS YOUR JOB.

EVERY SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. THAT MEANS: THE MAIN CHARACTER MUST HAVE A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD, PRESSING NEED WHICH IMPELS HIM OR HER TO SHOW UP IN THE SCENE.

THIS NEED IS WHY THEY CAME. IT IS WHAT THE SCENE IS ABOUT. THEIR ATTEMPT TO GET THIS NEED MET WILL LEAD, AT THE END OF THE SCENE,TO FAILURE - THIS IS HOW THE SCENE IS OVER. IT, THIS FAILURE, WILL, THEN, OF NECESSITY, PROPEL US INTO THE NEXT SCENE.

ALL THESE ATTEMPTS, TAKEN TOGETHER, WILL, OVER THE COURSE OF THE EPISODE, CONSTITUTE THE PLOT.

ANY SCENE, THUS, WHICH DOES NOT BOTH ADVANCE THE PLOT, AND STANDALONE (THAT IS, DRAMATICALLY, BY ITSELF, ON ITS OWN MERITS) IS EITHER SUPERFLUOUS, OR INCORRECTLY WRITTEN.

THE JOB OF THE DRAMATIST IS TO MAKE THE AUDIENCE WONDER WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. NOT TO EXPLAIN TO THEM WHAT JUST HAPPENED, OR TO*SUGGEST* TO THEM WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

HOW DOES ONE STRIKE THE BALANCE BETWEEN WITHHOLDING AND VOUCHSAFING INFORMATION? THAT IS THE ESSENTIAL TASK OF THE DRAMATIST.

START, EVERY TIME, WITH THIS INVIOLABLE RULE: THE SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. it must start because the hero HAS A PROBLEM, AND IT MUST CULMINATE WITH THE HERO FINDING HIM OR HERSELF EITHER THWARTED OR EDUCATED THAT ANOTHER WAY EXISTS.

LOOK AT YOUR LOG LINES. ANY LOGLINE READING "BOB AND SUE DISCUSS..." IS NOT DESCRIBING A DRAMATIC SCENE.

 ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.
ANY TIME ANY CHARACTER IS SAYING TO ANOTHER "AS YOU KNOW", THAT IS, TELLING ANOTHER CHARACTER WHAT YOU, THE WRITER, NEED THE AUDIENCE TO KNOW, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.

DO NOT WRITE A CROCK OF SHIT. WRITE A RIPPING THREE, FOUR, SEVEN MINUTE SCENE WHICH MOVES THE STORY ALONG, AND YOU CAN, VERY SOON, BUY A HOUSE IN BEL AIR AND HIRE SOMEONE TO LIVE THERE FOR YOU.

REMEMBER YOU ARE WRITING FOR A VISUAL MEDIUM. MOST TELEVISION WRITING, OURS INCLUDED, SOUNDS LIKE RADIO. THE CAMERA CAN DO THE EXPLAINING FOR YOU. LET IT. WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERS DOING -*LITERALLY*. WHAT ARE THEY HANDLING, WHAT ARE THEY READING. WHAT ARE THEY WATCHING ON TELEVISION, WHAT ARE THEY SEEING.

IF YOU PRETEND THE CHARACTERS CANT SPEAK, AND WRITE A SILENT MOVIE, YOU WILL BE WRITING GREAT DRAMA.

IF YOU DEPRIVE YOURSELF OF THE CRUTCH OF NARRATION, EXPOSITION,INDEED, OF SPEECH. YOU WILL BE FORGED TO WORK IN A NEW MEDIUM - TELLING THE STORY IN PICTURES (ALSO KNOWN AS SCREENWRITING)

THIS IS A NEW SKILL. NO ONE DOES IT NATURALLY. YOU CAN TRAIN YOURSELVES TO DO IT, BUT YOU NEED TO START.

I CLOSE WITH THE ONE THOUGHT: LOOK AT THE SCENE AND ASK YOURSELF "IS IT DRAMATIC? IS IT ESSENTIAL? DOES IT ADVANCE THE PLOT?

ANSWER TRUTHFULLY.
IF THE ANSWER IS "NO" WRITE IT AGAIN OR THROW IT OUT. IF YOU'VE GOT ANY

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What I learned

Make sure each (or most) obstacles provide conflict on more than one level. In order to achieve one goal, what is the protagonist jeopardizing? Remember the tug-of-war between the protag's wants and needs!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

practice log lines

Double XL
When a cynical prostitute and a compulsive liar team up to steal the patent for the world's first penis enlargement pill from a pharmaceutical giant, they discover the great lengths that some people will go for money.

That's bad, but at least I worked a pun in.

What I've learned

Make your protagonist CHOOSE between her two goals (mainplot/subplot goals). That's the ultimate test of character.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

script iderp

A marriage counselor who bangs the troubled wives he meets with. Jesus, I've clearly been in LA too long, it's fucking with my mind.

Monday, April 9, 2012

script iderp


When an artist is conned out of his (i'd say her, but goddamit I need male protag's!!) prized piece by an oversees scammer, he travels to (wherever) to get it back. I'm thinking taken slash robert crowne or something. The con man offers to buy a painting, but sends a check that's well over the established price. When protag informs the buyer, the buyer just has him mail back the difference. Of course, the original check is fake. Needs a love interest and a hook to raise the stakes (he uncovers an international whatever whatever or such). How to work with established conventions, but not be incredibly boring and predictable? It also needs to be PITCHABLE. Not high concept, neccisarily, but it has to have an exciting hook.

script iderp

American Universities Infected by Foreign Spies Detected by FBI

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon contacted the Central Intelligence Agency in late 2009 with an urgent question.
The school’s campus in Dubai needed a bailout and an unlikely savior had stepped forward: a Dubai-based company that offered to provide money and students.
Frank Figliuzzi, assistant director for counterintelligence with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sits for a photograph in front of a wall of convicted spy profiles at the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., on March 29, 2012. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Lou Anna K. Simon, president of Michigan State University speaks during a video taping in her office in East Lansig, Michigan on Dec. 17, 2010. Photographer: Kurt Stepnitz/Michigan State University via Bloomberg
Then Penn State University President Graham Spanier. Photographer: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Sergei Tretyakov, a former Russian intelligence agent. Source: Pete Earley via Bloomberg
Russian spy Lidiya Guryeva was pursuing a master's degree in business at Columbia under the name of Cynthia Murphy. Guryeva was arrested for acting as an agent of a foreign power and deported to Russia. Source: U.S. Department of Justice via Bloomberg
Simon was tempted. She also worried that the company, which had investors from Iran and wanted to recruit students from there, might be a front for the Iranian government, she said. If so, an agreement could violate federal trade sanctions and invite enemy spies.
The CIA couldn’t confirm that the company wasn’t an arm of Iran’s government. Simon rejected the offer and shut down undergraduate programs in Dubai, at a loss of $3.7 million.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's been a long time

Carson Reeve's 'Twit-Pitch" is coming up, so I've got to turn "BULLET" into an amaazing 135 (!) character pitch.
Let's do this shit mayn.

"When her brother is murdered, a reformed gang-member returns to her criminal past to find the killer--her ex bff."

and again

"when her brother is killed, an ex gang-banger returns to the crime underworld to find the killer, her ex-bff"

"When her little brother is murdered, an ex-gangbanger must return to her criminal roots to find the killer -- her high school BFF"

"A reformed juvenile delinquent, a single mom and a 16 year-old male prostitute team up to take down a crime queen-pin. "

"when her brother is murdered, a reformed gang-banger returns to her criminal past to find the killer - her high school BFF"

"when her little brother is murdered, an ex gangbanger must return to her criminal past to find the killer - her high school BFF

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What I learned

 
The protagonist needs a flaw, and the plot must serve primarily as an impetus to her development. The flaw is not the same as the main obstacle, but the obstacle is always poking at the flaw and gradually forcing character development.

Character doesn’t serve plot; plot serves character! Also, generally speaking the protagonist should make a choice in the third act that she could not or would not make in the first.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What I learned

 Is your protagonist really the protagonist? If the secondary character, or love interest, or best friend has a more emotionally compelling journey than the protag. Maybe it’s time to reconsider. Unless you’re going for some feris buller type thing, but why would you?

What I learned

Don’t let subplots interrupt the main plot. Incorporate! If two characters are trying to mend a lapsed relationship while investigating monster murders, have them try to hash it out WHILE the action of the main plot is going on around them! Don’t have them sit at a table.

What I learned

These are based on scripts I'm reading for my coverage internship. Obviously, I will not be using their titles.


 

The protagonist must always be struggling. She must always take proactive steps to conquering obstacles, and these decisions must lead to the next, escalated challenge 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Slasher gag

A good gag for my slasher would be that the killer rigs a shotgun to go off when a character opens a door. Then have that character dancing all around the door during a scene. Could be a very effective finger-peeker moment.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Scary

What is scary in films?

-Waiting for something bad to happen
-Knowing that something bad will happen
-Thinking you know what that bad thing will be
-Knowing what the character does not
-Preconceived notions of horror (the mirror scare, for example, or the silhouette in the foreground/background)
-Giving and withholding: the occasional jump scare is good, but it can't be what they expect. Like the magicians always say, use one hand to distract them from the other.
-Repetition: a recurring "bump in the night". The girl walks by the closet where the killer is over and over.
-Punctuation: The firecrackers in Boogie Nights, the camera flash in Saw...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Life updates

1) Tom liked AOTLITW, and wants another draft. I'm going to cut out 2-3 characters and try to smooth out the pacing a little bit, and send it back, and if its up to snuff, he's gonna show it to his manager. My deadline is Feb. 5th.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Script Idears

Slasher concept: a young woman is taunted and humilated by her schoolmates. On halloween (or whenever) they harrass her. She is pushed to the edge! She thinks they might actually hurt her! She grabs her daddy's shotgun to defend herself and accidently shoots one of them. But it turns out to be her brother (or somebody)! In her grief, she tries to kill herself but only succeeds in blasting half of her head off. She survives, but is half retarded and all pissed. We now follow her one-time agressors as a vengeful killer stalks them.

The point is, is it possible to tell a good story that also happens to be a slasher? More on this later.


Seacrest out

Script Idears

Slasher concept: a young woman is taunted and humilated by her schoolmates. On halloween (or whenever) they harrass her. She is pushed to the edge! She thinks they might actually hurt her! She grabs her daddy's shotgun to defend herself and accidently shoots one of them. But it turns out to be her brother (or somebody)! In her grief, she tries to kill herself but only succeeds in blasting half of her head off. She survives, but is half retarded and all pissed. We now follow her one-time agressors as a vengeful killer stalks them.

The point is, is it possible to tell a good story that also happens to be a slasher? More on this later.


Seacrest out