13 June 2014

More Posts To Come, I Assure You

Just a quick update for the lack of activity:  On Monday I sent out a bunch of query lettersSo last weekend I was pretty much working on getting addresses correct and perfecting my letter and stamping envelopes and everything else that goes with sending out a lot of mail.

A couple days ago, I got a request for the script.  And today, I got another.  So I've been going over the script intensely, trying to find any proofing errors and story issues (I didn't find any, but I'm sure there are tons...) in order to know that I'm sending out the best draft of the script that I can.

And now it's the weekend.  Which means if the people who wanted to read the script do read it right away I'm not hearing anything until Monday.  But who knows who might contact me about the script then -- optimistic, I know, but I wasn't even expecting to get one response, so I'll take the good times and run with it.

Anyhow, I should be getting to some more 12 in 12 posts and updates over the weekend.  The current script, Greyhound 1170, is going well and I'm excited about how it's developing, especially one of the lead characters (more on why just the one later), and I do want to share what my process has been like this month.

So stay tuned, I'll be back.

05 June 2014

UPDATE: The July Script

Just a heads up that the July script will not be discussed too much -- or at all -- as it's moved on to Round 3 of the Movie Poet feature screenplay contest.  I don't expect to win since I've only just gotten by in the first two rounds, but based upon the reviews/comments, I got the reactions I was hoping for.  I'm kind of stumped about the script as a whole, but I've been focusing more on Greyhound 1170 and getting query letters figured out (and yes, because I don't have email addresses to query I'm sending actual, honest-to-goodness letters via the United States Postal Service).

Anyhow, below is a list of Movie Poet's Round 2 results and the screenplays moving on to Round 3.  Keep in mind that the contest is done anonymously, so no one will know for sure who wrote what until October 1st when the final results are announced. 

First, the results:

04 June 2014

The December Script

Even though for all intents and purposes I stopped caring about politics a few years ago -- only thing that seems to matter now (which the Supreme Court backed up) is how much money you have rolling into your pockets -- I still keep a view from the sidelines.  Besides, you've gotta know what's going on in the macro in order to have something to chat about in the micro. 

The thing is, politic debate in the U.S. is just too much of a "I'm more right than you" argument and has little to do with making persuasive points and counterpoints.  Over the last two decades, the best accord between the right and left has been this:



And to be honest, I've gotten just about about enough abortions and miniature American flags as I care to get.

28 May 2014

12 in 12: When 25% Is Passing

To those just joining this blog, I'd like to say thanks, really appreciate your patronage.  And I should also explain the impetus for the dramatic increase in posts this year (this one's the 13th of May -- one-upping the total of 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 combined).

Fortunately, the math I'll use is not as complicated.
It's complicated, to be sure, but not as.
In February, I was finishing up a script called Bake Sale, an R-rated comedy that I had note-carded years ago but finally got around to writing.  Not having school and homework to worry about helped open up my schedule to write.  And my sons had reached an age where constant supervision wasn't an absolute necessary (they're 4 and 3, so yeah, they need Mom and Dad still, but at least there's no more diaper changing to be concerned with).  Anyhow, the point is, now that I was no longer a student but an actual screenwriting degree holding person, I felt I should get to writing screenplays full-time -- Bake Sale is the seventh feature I've written, so it's not like I was slacking or anything before then.

27 May 2014

Commencement and Screenwriting

I graduated from college this past December.  I got a late start (meaning I didn't start my post-secondary education until a few years after high school) and went part-time over 6.5 years.  While in school, my wife and I bought a house, had two kids, and I sold or had a few screenplays optioned.  I did well enough in my classes -- even the non-writing ones that I had little to no interest in -- and was fortunate enough to be named one of seven Outstanding Students with my graduating class (of around 1000 or so).

We were actually handed medallions at the ceremony.
Diplomas were mailed out two weeks later,
after grades were finalized. 
You know, just in case.
I was also asked/selected to give the student commencement address.  I think because there's "writing" within my major it was presumed that I could come up with a speech, no problem.  And sure, the speech wasn't that difficult, but I'd never spoken in front of more than a few dozen people at one time.  And there going to a give or take a few thousand watching and listening to me.

26 May 2014

Networking

In an effort to branch out and reach more potential readers -- you know, beyond me and the three other people who frequent this blog -- I'm trying new things for F*** No! But There's A Poster.  And the best way to do that in the 21st century is through social networking sites.

As such, I've created a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

Honestly:  I don't know what most of these are for.

Unforgiven: A Genre Analysis


Of all the genres in the history of American cinema the Western is easily the most popular -- or at least the most abundant.  The 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s saw hundreds upon hundreds of films depicting various aspects of the American West.  Though the genre is not as prevalent now, Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven (1992), has proven itself to be one of the best examples of the genre.  The film takes a revisionist approach to Western conventions and unlike classic Westerns leaves viewers with many questions about what constitutes good and bad or right and wrong people.  Despite the ambiguities, Unforgiven still follows, often modifies, and sometimes violates Western standards.  This includes its presentation of stock characters, settings, plot and story events, and issues/questions that Westerns raise.
 

23 May 2014

High Noon: One Shot for a Shot

While there are many relationships that carry more weight throughout Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon (1952), the one that sets all events into motion is the one between Will Kane and Frank Miller.  While most of the main events of this relationship take place before the film starts -- including Miller’s arrest, threat of revenge upon Kane, and subsequent pardons -- it is the outlaw’s imminent arrival to Hadleyville that eventually brings the two men together by the film’s end.  By the time Kane and Miller share a shot -- it’s worth noting that the characters only have one scene and three shots together –- the nature of their relationship is that of enemies.  Miller is returning to Hadleyville to kill Kane for sending him to prison five years earlier and Kane is staying in town to finish his last piece of business as marshal.

The relationship is very combative, as the single scene involving the men is the final shoot-out/showdown of the film.

21 May 2014

12 in 12: The (Mostly) Long and Short of "Education"

It's a strange thing:  When you've written a lot of screenplays, you get this peculiar ability to know, before you even write a page, about how long the script will be.  I knew Standers was going to be less than 80 pages -- though 12 less did throw me.  When I wrote Bake Sale in February, I knew it was going to be one of the longest scripts I'd written.  And it came to 122 pages, which is way too long for a comedy, but starting it I was sure it'd be somewhere over 115, so I wasn't surprised.

I bring this up because when I first got the inspiration for The Education of Tobias Smith, my intention was to write it as a short script (15-20 pages) for a class.  I got about five pages in and realized that it was going to take more than the 20 page maximum I was allotted.  So I put the idea aside and wrote Treading Water instead.  



And Treading Water not only got produced but led to a re-write job, so I suppose it all kind of worked out.

20 May 2014

High Noon: The Disintegration of Kane and Harv


This was written for a class 
so it might come off a bit more academic than a usual essay/article.
---------------------

I figured since I'm working on a Western, I might as well post some essays about some of the better films in the genre.  I've got a couple involving High Noon and one about Unforgiven.  I really like the Unforgiven one, so I'll save that for a bit, which means I'll be setting the table with some takes on High Noon.

It's best with the Oscar-winning song.
One of my favorite Westerns -- rather, favorite films overall -- is Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon (1952).  There’s so much story and plot that happens in just less than 90 minutes that you wonder how the filmmakers did it.  Among the many plots woven into the intricate narrative is the deterioration of the mentor-mentee relationship between Will Kane, the former/current Marshall of Hadleyville, and his deputy Harvey “Harv” Pell.