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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween! - post author Don


Pumpkin Nightmare II from Indie Me on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Original Script Sunday for October 28th - post author Don

Over on the Original Scripts page are thirteen original scripts for your reading pleasure.

– Don

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Getting into Subtext with our Script – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

A good script is going to have a lot of layers to it, in other words, it’s not just A, then B, then C, then D.  That results in a pretty thin script.  One of the best ways to add subtlety to your script and build unique characters is by adding subtext.  As we’re building our outline, Rick and I are always looking for ways to add subtext to the story.

What is subtext you ask? It’s really just an underlying or deftly hidden action by a character.  Rick is a master of the subtext, and I’ll let him explain his thinking on the subject:

If there was a strength or skill to consistently work on as you ply your craft as a screenwriter, I’d recommend it be adding subtext to each of your scenes. It makes movies so much more impactful when you’re watching them and enhances your characters and story immensely. Sometimes, in ways you don’t even put together right away — I’ll offer two examples, one from an older film and one from a more contemporary film, that I use in my screenwriting workshops to illustrate:

1. Think back to “The Graduate.” – There are countless examples in this film alone (Mike Nichols was a genius and you’d do well to listen, watch and learn from his incredible body of work) but I specifically love this simple example: Remember, early in the film, Dustin Hoffman has graduated college and is basically loafing at his parent’s house, unsettled and unsure of what he wants to do with his life. This frustrates his career-minded father to no end. One day, the Father comes home and his shoulders collapse upon seeing Dustin Hoffman floating on a raft in their pool, just chilling and thinking. He, of course, pleads that it’s time to ‘do something with your life’ and Dustin merely looks at him and feels very misunderstood. For me, the beautiful subtext in this scene is that it’s set for our directionless character in a pool where he’s literally drifting aimlessly. The mere visual of him ‘drifting’ enhances the message so beautifully, yet it doesn’t hit you over the head and scream: This guy’s got no direction in his life! Subtext. It adds so much. Do it in every scene.

2. Then there’s “Titanic.” — James Cameron, ’the screenwriter’ is as equally talented as James Cameron, ‘the director.’ Reading his scripts, the visuals pop and he’s very conscious of subtext in pivotal scenes. Remember, toward the end of the first half of the film, Rose’s mother is helping her dress for the Captain’s dinner and making it very clear to Rose how important it is for her to stick with the ‘money and established’ suitor she’s positioned Rose for, rather than that impulsive bad boy Leonardo something-or-other. As she’s basically telling Rose what to do, what is Rose’s mother actually doing? Tightening her corset. She literally pulling the strings and tightening the pressure on Rose to her specifications. Rose is visibly uncomfortable yet her mother tightens and adds pressure. Again, it’s all very natural and organic because someone has to do it but the subtext of having Rose’s mother communicate her wishes this way, enhances the message, her character and the take-away from the scene exponentially.

Re-watch any of your favorite movies. There’s probably countless examples, some of which you may have missed on the first few watchings. Good subtext is often that — submerged in the words and actions of the very natural. Get good at it and screenwriters of the future will be citing examples from your scripts to screenwriters learning the craft. It’s a universal strength and powerful tool to make your scripts engaging on multiple levels.

Thanks to Rick for this valuable insight!  We’ll be back soon with more work on our outline!


The further adventures of the screenwriting and marketing process of Lake Regret wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry's screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script. Reproduced with permission

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Skip by Gary Howell – Short Script Review (Available for Production) - post author Dena McKinnon

Skip (3 pages in pdf format) by Gary Howell

A woman finds it difficult to communicate with her mother, but will that change when her great-granddaughter comes for a visit?

Jane drops her daughter, Sophie, off with Anna, her mother, Sophie’s grandmother. Sophia sings an old but memorable jump rope song. Anna recognizes this old song and chimes in. They sing together as Sophie jumps.

And the generations don’t stop there! Anna takes Sophia along to the retirement home to visit Gloria, Anna’s mother, Sophie’s great grandmother. Anna wheels Gloria out into the garden. She tries to talk with Gloria, but we learn Gloria has lost her memory. However, as Gloria takes interest in young Sophia, a smile comes to her face and for that moment, her memory is reawakened by the chant of the old jump rope rhyme, Cinderella dressed in yellow… and just when we think her memory is back, Anna asks Gloria if she recognizes her. But it is a very sad moment when Gloria doesn’t respond.

This is a sad but sweet story that would be super low budget and easy to produce. It’s a strong piece that everyone can relate to. No matter our age, we all know time is something we cannot stop or even turn back without a time machine but it’s part of life.

Things I love about Skip:

I love the way the writer scans over four generations weaving the jump rope rhyme throughout. We see youth in Sophie, the middle aged always-on-the-go in Jane, the gracefully aging Anna and then Gloria who is in a state of waiting for death to come. I super love the way the writer touches our heart at the end when we see that Sophie has left her jump rope in Gloria’s lap. This story makes a reader appreciate each stage of life. It is also chock full of female cast which is hot right now, and it’s a story I think could wow a lot of festivals!

Production: Budget – low; Actors – four and one extra; Locations – 2

About the Writer: Gary Howell is an attorney by trade, but a writer at heart. He has written several shorts, one of which was recently produced, “Country Road 12” that stars Dee Wallace (“E.T.”, “Poltergeist”). He has also co-written with Rick Hansberry a dramedy, “According to Plan”, that was optioned with Josh Monkarsh of Traffic City Productions, and is in development. He has had a manager reach out regarding representation after a drama pilot, “Bounty,” has performed well in a couple of competitions.

Recently Gary and Rick started working on a new script together (“Lake Regret”) and they’re blogging about the process from beginning to end, including the marketing and hopefully eventual sale and production of the script. You can read about their efforts at www.lakeregretmovie.com.

Gary enjoys writing both comedy and drama, and leans towards indie-themed pieces that are character driven. He enjoys reviewing scripts and providing advice and constructive criticism to other writers, and would welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with any producers/directors looking to work with him on any type of project. Gary can be reached at: GaryMHowell (a) gmail.

Read Skip (3 pages in pdf format)

This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.

Find more scripts available for production

About the reviewer: Dena McKinnon is an optioned and produced screenwriter who also writes on assignment. Her IMDb credits. She can be reached at: girlbytheshore (a) hotmail.

Three from Netflix for your consideration - post author Don

Over on the Scripts Studios are posting for award consideration page are, thanks Dean for the heads up on these, Private Lives, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and 22 July (written as “Norway”) – These from Netflix.

– Don

Monday, October 22, 2018

Selvage by James Williams filmed - post author Don

Selvage (9 pages in pdf format) by James Williams (jwent6688)

Filmed as A PSA For Teenage Girls On Halloween

Sometimes, even a simple game of truth or dare can end up deadly.

This was a February 2011 One Week Challenge script which you can talk about on the Discussion Board

A PSA For Teenage Girls On Halloween

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Original Script Sunday! The Scripts of the October One Week Challenge - post author Don

The Original Scripts page has thirteen (!) original short scripts written for the One Week Challenge wherein participants wrote a 4 to 7 page script on the theme of Creature Feature in the hopes that one of them can be turned into a three page comic by HyperEpics.

And, last week’s Original Scripts didn’t get a lot of air time. Please, check them out.

– Don

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Considerations for having a writing partner – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

Taking a quick break for the outlining sequence for a moment, as Rick Hansberry, my writing partner for “According to Plan”, “The Journeyers” and now “Lake Regret” provides some thoughts around whether you should consider a writing partner for one of your projects.  Listen up, guys, Rick is a sage when it comes to this stuff!

His thoughts on maybe why you DON’T co-write with someone:

“Generally, use thesetwo writers as guidelines, if you’re considering co-writing with someone. Everyone’s situation is different and these are by no means universal but intended to help those that have never co-written a screenplay with someone and are trying to evaluate if it will suit them. In reverse order of consideration:

5. Do not co-write to ‘learn.’ Before attempting to write a screenplay, be sure to read hundreds of them. Literally. They’re on-line and in books. There’s no excuse to not have read countless screenplays to understand, format, structure and the nuances of the craft. Your experience level may vary but never co-write your first screenplay. Learn the craft, then apply it.

4. Do not co-write to ‘coast.’ Sure, having a writing partner makes it easier to advance pages and attack revisions but there should always be a balance. A co-writer is a co-creator and there should always be a back-and-forth, give-and-take. If you tend to be lazy about writing, do not co-write to have someone to procrastinate with, rather treat him or her like an exercise or dieting partner — Push them through tough stretches – Hold them accountable and expect the same back. You’ll both win in the end.

3. Do not co-write for the ‘credit.’ If you’re looking to hitch your wagon to someone so you can finally say you’ve had something ‘produced’ or ‘optioned’ you’re doing it for the wrong reasons and it’ll show. Just about any produced writer (yes, I can say that my work has been ‘optioned,’ ‘bought,’ and ‘produced’ but I won’t say I speak for all) will tell you that there’s a certain amount of luck and having the right script at the right time in this business. They’ll also most likely share that there’s countless dozens of scripts by writers that haven’t sold anything or had anything produced that have more than one script that totally blows them away. Know in your heart of hearts that a good script doesn’t always get bought or produced and own it for what it is.

2. Do not co-write if you’re the type of person that doesn’t argue well or holds grudges. Just like every screenplay needs conflict, so do writers. Having a strength like structure or dialogue is fine but ultimately you have to bring your complete game to every script and so does your co-writer and inevitably there will be times when you disagree about a character, a joke in dialogue, a scene, or an ending. If you can’t argue for it and lose and be okay with it, then don’t waste the other person’s time. Creativity inherently wounds egos because no one loves everything. Accept going in that you’ll lose some battles and win some and the script will be better for it but if you hold a grudge — it’ll show in future exchanges and the script will suffer for it.

1. Do not co-write if you can’t accept a subordinate role sometimes. This is a rule to follow for relationships and marriages and careers in general. Let others take credit. Have enough self-esteem to know that your contribution to a project is valuable and it’s not all about you. One of my many hats is to work as a paralegal in a law firm. In many instances, I do the lawyers work for them (at a cheaper billable rate) and they simply review it and often present it to the client as their own — and that has to be okay with you. You have to accept that we all have different roles and times to shine. If you know you’re not the type of person that needs to be recognized or given credit or put on a pedestal, do not co-write but also — unless you’re producing and directing your own films, do not pursue screenwriting. In the film industry, even after the script is optioned or purchased and everyone loves it — it’ll be changed by countless others involved in the production. Have the internal fortitude to know that you’re not the chain, just a link.”

Next time, Rick will chime in with the 5 rules in favor of co-writing.  Stay tuned — and if you’re enjoying this blog, follow and share with your friends!

________________________

The further adventures of the screenwriting and marketing process of Lake Regret wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry's screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script. Reproduced with permission

Friday, October 19, 2018

Blackkklansman screenplay - post author Don

Thanks to Kelly for the heads up on BlackkKlansman from ScriptSlug.

Check out more scripts on the Movie Script page.

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November 14, 2018

    Roiders by Roy

    A couple of wannabe bodybuilders deal with a late shipment of steroids. 16 pages
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