28 March 2014

12 in 12: The (First) Homestretch

The first month in the 12 in 12 experiment/challenge is winding down basically just the weekend left.

I can assure you I'm much further along than this picture indicates.
So how's it gone?

26 March 2014

The Work Space

I don't get a lot of time to write.  Only a couple hours a day, really, where I can get away from everything and sit down at my laptop and type.  But that's writing actual script pages (which I call scripting):  Throughout the day I'm usually reading and researching, breaking down a story, and outlining a script (with good old fashion pen and paper) when I get a chance -- which is tough with a 4-year-old and a 3-year-old demanding about 95% of my attention when they're awake.  Still, I do what I can, when I can.

It's all about getting to this moment.
But with scripting, I'm on my own.  My wife is awake to handle the boys (she works third shift and sleeps during the day) and I'm off to my work area to write.  In the basement.  The cold, dark basement...

20 March 2014

Let's Start At the Very Beginning -- Even If It's Really Not That Good

I wrote my first feature-length screenplay in 2002.  I had written two short scripts before that -- and produced one of them -- and honestly had no idea what I was doing beyond formatting elements (dialogue, action/description paragraphs, etc.) correctly.  Well, that's not entirely true:  I had read Syd Field's screenwriting book and another book about how to write a movie in three weeks, so I knew about Three Act Structure and "show, don't tell" and how certain plot points should happen on specific pages*.

So with that knowledge in hand, as well as Microsoft Word Processor on an early 2000s HP desktop, I set forth to write what would become the screenplay I don't really talk about:  California.

It's called California because I thought Hollywood would be too obvious. 
Plus, I was in love with the Tom Petty song of the same name.

17 March 2014

Just for Fun; or The Red Elephant

There's really no rhyme or logical explanation (at least one I'm willing to admit to) for this, but I'm thinking about something and want to see what happens.

You ready?  Okay...

14 March 2014

12 in 12: Marching On

Okay, so for those who don't know, I'm doing a challenge in which I'm going to write 12 feature screenplays in 12 months.  I haven't laid out my overall plan yet -- that's soon to come, though -- but I have been working at the first script.

I think this'll be the official image of the challenge.
I'll see what I can do to spruce it up.
I got a bit of a late start since I didn't finish my last script until a few days into March, but I jumped right in as soon as that script was wrapped up (it's not that bad of a script, but it's definitely first draft material) and am driving ahead with the first script of this challenge.  Granted, I'm only on page 24, but I tend to hammer out at least 5 pages every time I write.  And since I'm only getting 2 to 3 hours a day to write I make damn sure I'm getting those 5 pages.

07 March 2014

Predicting the 87th Oscar Nominees, or: A Lesson in Futility

As anyone who took the time to glance at my predictions for this past Sunday's 86th Academy Awards, it's blatantly obvious that I'm not really that great of a prognosticator.  Not that I'd ever claim to be.  Nevertheless, like most movie fans, I still enjoy tossing my hat in when it comes to making Oscar predictions.

The Academy Award of Merit
Now, most years, my favorite movie has no hope of winning, so rarely do I ever really care what movie or actor or filmmaker wins.  What Oscar night basically comes down to for me is one more data set to add to the ever-growing Oscar information I can't seem to get enough of.  (And in all seriousness, if screenwriting doesn't pan out for me, I'm going gung ho with Oscar-ing and writing a book or two and keeping a regularly-maintained blog.)

And that's because my forte is Oscar history.  I know more Oscar trivia than the so-called experts who also seem to make a point based upon a false "fact" in Oscar history.  Now, I don't claim to be an expert, but I'm about as close to one as you could probably get.   And that's what trips up my predictions:  I look at what's happened in similar years and compare it to the current year.  But since every Oscar season is its own beast that bites the hand that feebly tries to feed it, I don't get much right.

Yet, that doesn't stop one from trying and trying to find patterns and similarities from one year to the next and seeing how what happened then can apply to now.  While that ends up being a simple task come nomination morning and a frustrating exercise leading up to said morning, it's beyond herculean when tackling what's to come more than ten months out from the current year's Oscar nominations.  The thing is, though, once you're in all the way (Oscar-wise), you're never getting out again.

So while I do this every year, this is the first that I'm publicizing my year-out "predictions."  What makes this incredibly difficult is you never know what movies might get delayed or moved up.  Well-regarded casts and crews can turn in a turd while a sleeper indie could become that diamond in the rough.  Getting one nominee correct per category is great; get two and that's impressive; three or more and you'd do much better at the horse track than picking Oscar nominees.

Just a quick note:  About 90% of these are based upon pedigree, articles, and IMDb synopses.  The other 10% is based upon having read scripts or source material.

Okay, time to embarrass myself...

05 March 2014

12 Features in 12 Months: ACT I

I haven't posted a lot, but those who don't want to search for it, about a week ago I announced that I was going to see if writing 12 feature screenplays in 12 months will kill you or just drive you completely nuts.  I was inspired by a fellow writer, who'll be chronicling his endeavor as well.

I intended to post something about starting this over the weekend, but it was Oscar weekend, and that kind of throws off the old schedule.  On top of that, I was running a bit long on the script I started writing a few weeks ago.  Instead of being done by the end of February, I hit a snag with the third act and didn't get reach FADE OUT. until yesterday.  But it's done now and sitting on a back burner, so it's time to finally get on to the first feature in this challenge.

The easiest part of every screenplay...

Fortunately, I was able to get some prep work done on one idea.  Unfortunately, I'm feeling a stronger pull to work on a different idea.  So I'm kind of torn, but the common sense in me knows which idea to pursue.

01 March 2014

86th Oscar Predictions (Part II)

So you've come back for more, eh?
If you haven't already, you can go here to read Part I of my predictions for the 86th Academy Awards.  If you don't care much about the tech awards, well, you can just continue on and check out my predictions and personal picks for both writing categories, all four acting awards, achievement in directing, and of course, Best Picture.