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Saturday, September 22, 2018

We’ve got a logline – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

We have a logline.  We think.  At least a first draft of one.

Loglines are a pain in the ass to write. I’ll be the first to admit that, and some of the best writers I know stink I writing them.  Loglines require you to be concise and to basically come up with an overview to your entire movie usually in a single sentence.  But they are helpful to quickly explain to someone the essence of your movie.  If they get bored with that simple explanation, or don’t understand it, then it’s a pretty good sign you’d better go back to the drawing board.  Here’s a quick article on writing a good logline that might be worth reading: How to Write the Perfect Logline

For “Lake Regret,” we wanted to convey the sadly ironic situation that our protagonist found himself in, and create empathy for what he was going through so that you would pull for him from beginning to end.

I’m going to leave the logline here for you to read, and ask yourself whether you would want to read this script.  If so, why?  If not, what is it that doesn’t appeal to you?  This is the sixth or seventh draft of the logline, and we’re willing to write seven or eight more, but your feedback can help us refine it further.

LOGLINE – LAKE REGRET
A high school senior who accidentally caused the death of a popular student tries to deal with the emotional fall out at a lake house graduation party, and at the same time cut ties with the small town he desperately wants to leave behind.

In our next post, we’ll start pulling back some more of the curtain about developing the storyline, and how a couple of guys who collaborate so well still can get into disagreements over the tone and direction of the script.

Bookmark this site and keep reading!  Hope to hear from you!

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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

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Concept Starts to Take Shape – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

In the last post, we talked about how Rick and I started out in planning our script.  and how it was going to be set around a lake house.  I asked, what’s so interesting about that?

Here’s Rick: “I’ve always been inspired by ‘little movies.’ Tales of the everyman. Things we’ve all been through and can relate to. One of my earliest ‘all-time favorite’ movies was “Diner” by Barry Levinson. I didn’t grow up in the 50’s and I’m not from Baltimore but those characters — the nuances of a tight group of friends from high school and college resonated with me. I saw glimpses of each part of my own group in each of them. I tried to replicate those types of friends in my holiday short, “Branches.” It’s that kind of connection to the everyman that drew me to this particular project. Our lives are filled with friends and influences and there’s life-lessons in the everyday events of our lives that shape our connections to friends. I wanted to create something that was completely relatable on a human scale. Not with special effects or wild action stunts but with scenes where people could equate an experience from their own lives and feel empathy for the way it changes the course of fate.”

Rick nails it.  I too wanted to tell a story that resonated, that made you feel something.  So in this case, we came up with a story of a high school senior that has done something he feels has made him a pariah in the small town in which he grew up, and desperately wants to escape, forever.  But there are forces at work that may keep him tied to this place, and such a thought is unbearable to him.  This irony is what we hope will make the story compelling to those who read the script and (hopefully!) watch it unfold on the screen.  In the next few posts, we’ll share the logline and how we’re proceeding through the outlining process, and how we’ve already had to compromise on a couple of areas of disagreement with the storyline.

We hope you’re enjoying this blog, and please feel free to share with your friends and fellow writers!

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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

Saturday, September 8, 2018

It starts with a concept – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

Every movie script ever written started with an idea or a concept.  They’re not the same thing, by the way.  An idea is just a short fragment of the larger picture.  “Guys capture ghosts” is an idea for “Ghostbusters”, but beyond that, it doesn’t tell you what the story is about. “A girl gets transported by a tornado to a magical land, but the only way to return home is to kill a wicked witch” is more of a concept (and turned out to be a great movie!).  This article, if you’re interested in the differences, gives you more details about what constitutes an idea and what makes up a concept: The Ten Greatest Movie Concepts of All Time.

In this case, Rick Hansberry and I shared ideas and concepts, and in some cases, full outlines, to try and land on a story that we would both buy into.  After some back and forth, we settled on what we have started calling “Lake Regret.”

“Lake Regret” started as an idea I had a few months back.  It was a crazy idea, one that would probably be laughed out of any pitch session.  Basically, I wondered if you could create a movie that could be filmed entirely in one day.  Craziness, I know, but it arose from a second viewing of “Birdman”, the Michael Keaton film. The original thought was, could you come up with a script that could be filmed in one continuous shot in one location, almost like you were watching a play.  The trick would be in making it interesting enough that it would hold your attention, as well as not be entirely dialogue driven.  Some other factors playing into my idea were doing something on a shoestring budget — i.e., it I had to film it myself, could I make it happen easily and quickly (I can hear you all vigorously shaking your head “NO, YOU CAN’T”).

With that as my guideline, I started generating places where this could happen.  I had some general locales I played with — a courtroom, a radio station, a bowling alley, and then I settled on a house, looking out over a this beautiful lake.  Nice, peaceful and picture perfect, located in a small town where parents would love to raise their kids.

Hold on, you say, what’s so interesting about that?  Well, that’s a post for another day. Read the link above, and in the next post, we’ll talk about how Rick and I are going to try and find something compelling in this little part of the world.

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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

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Journey Begins – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

Well, this is going to be interesting.  And exasperating.  And educational.

Rick Hansberry and I have spent time writing screenplays together, and we’ve had success in getting both our joint and individual screenplay projects optioned.  So we know a little bit about writing for the screen, and the business of what it takes to get the film pitched, marketed, optioned, and (fingers crossed) produced.

We recently decided we wanted to write another script together, and we begin discussing how in this brave new social media world, you need to do more than just write the script.  You have to be adept at marketing, not just in making a pitch to producers, but also in using Instagram and Twitter and other platforms (like this blog) to start generating buzz about (and interest in) the script.

We thought it would be interesting for those of you out there who are interested in the entire process to see how we tackle it, from concept, to the writing, to how we handle disagreements, to marketing the script.

The idea is to provide encouragement and education to those of you out there who haven’t been through this process before:  Maybe you’ve written a screenplay, but you’re not sure what to do with it, maybe you’ve never written before and you’re curious how it all works.

Let’s take this journey together.

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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

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September 24, 2018

    See You In Court by Linda Gould

    When a Cuban-born ballplayer is abducted, his sportswriter fiancée and her fraternal twin sister, a Department of Homeland Security bureaucrat, decide to conduct competing investigations. 9 pages
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