I was working with a private student last week who was having a difficult time figuring out their story. The plot was all over the place and the characters weren't believable at all.
After almost an hour of work, I finally asked my student: "Would you go to see this movie?"
Her answer was: "No. It's not really my kind of movie."
That's the problem that many writers face. We are so desperate to please others (producers, agents, the public, etc.) with our work that we sometimes forget that when we create, our first fan is always ourselves.
Take a moment to imagine your movie on the big screen. Would you be interested in seeing it? Do you have a favorite part of the story? Do you like the characters?
If you answered "no" to any of those questions, you might be trying to write the wrong story.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
I was working with a private student last week who was having a difficult time figuring out their story. The plot was all over the place and the characters weren't believable at all.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Today I had the pleasure of sitting in for the first table read of my wonderful student Josh Shull's screenplay We See DC. It's a great script and all of the actors did a terrific job.
The final step for a is always production but this was a nice first step on the way.
This Sunday help raise money for Haiti relief efforts by doing what you love!
Tango For Haiti has lined up fantastic performances and DJ's for a full afternoon of tango goodness!! So don't miss this exciting one-time event for a very important cause!
When: Sunday, January 31, 3-8pm
Where: DanceSport (22 W 34th St NYC, 4th FL)
Performances by: The Lombard Twins, Mauro & Marika, others
DJs: Adam, Evan, Linda, Martin, Tine, Yesim, Z!
Admission: $15, more is better.
Silent Auction with fabulous stuff (private lessons, shoes, a night at a luxurious hotel, and more). Please come bid on something!!
Note: I have donated a one-hour script/story consultation to this cause. If you are looking to finish your screenplay or novel and help at the same time, please bid generously. All proceeds benefit Haiti Relief.
More info at: www.TangoForHaiti.org
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Find other interesting letters at: www.lettersofnote.com
After teaching my private writing class last night, I went to dance with one of my favorite instructors, Tim Shalnev at Fred Astaire Dance Studio on West 72nd Street.
For those of you who read my blog, you might remember I performed a pretty hot tango about six months ago and Tim was my partner.
When I arrived at the studio, Tim was finishing a lesson, and one of the other teachers rushed to show me Tim's award: The very coveted Fred Astaire Award for Best Teacher (Advanced Students).
Tim is a modest guy with a thick, delicious Russian accent and tonight as we danced a Fox Trot, he asked, "Who are blog posts for? I am not writer but posts make me think I have good story about how I left Russia and became a teacher in Manhattan..."
"And won an amazing award!" I said, making him blush. "And who has a master's degree in dance from a major Russian University," which made him blush more.
He had asked a great question, because as I am a writer, I assume everyone writes. But he is a dancer and never thought of it before.
I thought about it for a few steps and then said, "Blogs and writing are for everyone who has ever told or wants to tell a story."
He smiled, twirled me several times, and then dipped me.
"Anyone who tells stories?"
"Okay then -- maybe I write a movie!" He said with a smile, and off we danced as the music changed to a Cha-cha-cha.
I hope he writes it because I know It will be great!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Most of the writers I know (me included) work on their stories everywhere they go. Taking experiences and pieces of character to be used later.
As an exercise:
Take a look at the three photos I snapped in the park today and create a story. What's happening? Who are the two men in the uniforms? What are they doing there? What about the cab driver? What's his story? What do the men ask him to do? What happens next?
Take a few minutes to write your version of the events and post your story below.
As busy as my day gets I always make time to go out for a walk. Writers have a tendency to wall themselves in but I guarantee your writing will be much more interesting if you find the time to go out and experience the real world.
My walk took me through Central Park today where I snapped this shot of white flowers doing their best to burst through the wintery brush. I consider this a perfect approach to my writing system. Most writers struggle because they get frustrated when they just can't come up with the quality white flowers of their stories. It's much easier if you just put everything down on the page, branches, dead leaves and all, and then go back in and pick out the white flowers in later drafts.
This will help you write your first draft much faster and help you finish in fewer drafts.
Don't Get It Right - Get It Written!
I have the very good fortune of working with many talented writers. The most rewarding thing is not that they finish their screenplays - which they do - but rather they write movies.
Finishing a script is a huge accomplishment but it's not the end of the road. A screenplay needs to be a movie.
To speed your work onto the screen, over the next few days I will post a few links I have come across.
First up, anyone interested in financing their own film or producing, the Film Finance Forum is now taking registrations. I have never taken one of their programs myself, but heard good things from people who have.
If you participate, let me know how it goes.
A lot of people say writing is all about relationships, but what does that mean?
If we think of a relationship being like a dance, it's easy to capture the essence of the interaction between characters. In one of my student's stories, it's clear the lead character wants to dance alone, while the other character wants them to do an old fashioned Fox Trot together.
In my current project, my female lead was last in her kitchen, cooking, dancing and rocking out to Metallica's "Enter Sandman," while my male lead was sitting at a bar, listening to the same song, tapping his fingers on the bar.
Same song. But wildly different "dances." Which dances do your characters do?
I worked on 5 projects today: Four screenplays and a novel.
What I noticed was that in order to keep each plot moving forward organically, each story required allowing the two or three main characters to have a clear set of answers to The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting. However, for the story to really pop, the key was letting the first and second leads have DIFFERENT answers.
Give it a try for your own story and let me know how it worked.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
One of my students directed me to Anne Wayman's website "About Freelance Writing." Anne was kind enough to mention my blog under her recommended resources today.
Please take a moment to CLICK HERE and visit Anne's wonderful site. There's a ton of information available to the working writer and those who want to be.
My very talented student Caytha Jentis' film "And Then Came Love" starring Vanessa Williams and the late great Eartha Kitt is airing on the Starz network this month. Showtimes can be found here.
I hesitated writing anything about Haiti because there seemed to be a 24/7 stream of information about this tragedy. However, it's been more than a week since the initial devastation and I've read that the donations have slowed. Instead of recapping the sadness, I thought I would discuss it the only way I can, as it relates to emotional response and creativity.
When my students are writing stories about grief I often direct them away from the usual screenwriting resources available and instead to books aimed at people suffering with a loss.
On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is one of the classic works in the field of recovery and I recommend it to anyone interested in the "Stage Theory" and writers interested in learning more about the emotional response to grief and grieving. It's also a wonderful way to find out if your story about loss has a flow.
Another very powerful book is called The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman. Everyone I have given this book to - those experiencing loss and those writing about it - have called it invaluable. It has a different approach to that of On Death and Dying, insisting that by creating stages or time limits on recovery from grief, you're actually limiting the person's ability to grieve and a person should be allowed to organically recover on their own time, in their own way.
The second book is a much more intuitive way to get over a loss and I think quite valuable to the writing process.
As an exercise:
Set a timer for 10 minutes and think of a moment in your life when you experienced loss. How did you cope? Did you go through stages of grief or was it terrible and then better? Are you still recovering? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about those around you? Will you react the same way to a similar loss in the future?
Now take what you've learned from the exercise and apply it to your own story. Even if you're not writing a drama, every story has a character lose something. What can you take from your own experience to help with the development of your character?
One last thing about grief, no one really knows how long it takes to get over a loss. Instead of seeing this as a problem when writing your story, celebrate the fact that you have the freedom to allow the emotional resilience of your characters to determine their response.
Good luck and happy writing...
Take a moment to donate to the Haiti Relief program now.
Monday, January 25, 2010
In an interview in the current issue of Creative Screenwriting, Craig Titley, writer of The Lightening Thief said, "but at the end of the day, I write to learn more about myself."
I thought revealing that was very honest and generous. Learning more about yourself is certainly a byproduct of any creative work, but is not everyone's intention. I write in order to make sense of things.
Why do you write? Please let me know.
I'm constantly on the lookout for interesting ideas to inspire my writing. In this New York Times article, the discussion of how dogs imitate humans is discussed.
It immediately struck me as something that could be added to a story. But how? And which genre? It seems like a perfect fit for a comedic film but what about a drama or a science fiction picture?
As an exercise:
Think of your favorite genre? How could you use the concept of a dog acting like a human to add a new wrinkle? Is it a dog with a human's brain? Or a just a heroic character like Lassie or The Littlest Hobo? Or maybe an elaborate dream sequence where a dog named Paul Anka actually becomes the real Paul Anka (Gilmore Girls, below)?
The opportunities are endless and I look forward to hearing some of your own.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
My wonderful student Maria is holding a reading for her new play. Registration information is below. Hope to see you all there.
Dear Trusted Theater Friends and Writer/Dramaturg Types:
Jan. 25th (MONDAY) at 6pm-8pm/reception to follow
SECOND STAGE – 3RD FLOOR rehearsal room – please take elevator
307 West 43rd Street
(space is limited to 50 people, RVSP required)
for a reading of a new play by Maria Norman
A play about Southampton wannabees, illegal aliens, the Virgin Mary, a Paraguayan musician, a Renaissance Man, and a girl named Mercy.
We are developing this wonderful, funny play before we shop it.
Jack Doulin from NY Theater Workshop is casting it.
We'd very much appreciate your kind PRESENCE and skilled FEEDBACK.
PLEASE NOTE THAT SECOND STAGE IS HAVING A DRESS REHEARSAL OF ANOTHER PLAY WHILE WE ARE HAVING OUR READING. THEY HAVE REQUESTED THAT:
1) Actors and Audience for our reading must ONLY use the elevator to get to the 3rd Fl. rehearsal room.
2) When our event is over, ALL guests and actors MUST leave via the elevator and NOT use the stairs, to avoid disturbing the 2nd Stage dress rehearsal.
THANK YOU SO MUCH AND LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU THERE!
RSVP---SPACE IS LIMITED---email email@example.com
Thanks!! Alex :-)
My students are quite prolific and write both feature-length and short films. The number one question I'm asked about a short film is: How long should it be?
There's no official rule about a short's length but I recommend writers try to keep it under fifteen minutes. It's hard to get it seen or sold if it's much longer.
One of my colleagues spent more than $10,000 to make a 30-minute film. A year later they still can't find a distributor,
On the other hand, two of my students made films of 12 minutes or less. Both placed highly in short film festivals.
Short films are a unique form - and just as difficult to write as a feature-length - that can be thought of as a short story with a punch line.
I have students in cities all over the world who work with me over the phone and/or online. Sometimes, when they're in NYC, I have the chance to work with them in person. Here's a photo of me and Birgitta who came all the way from Sweden. We spent the week working on her new screenplay.
If you're not in the NYC-area but want to work with me, feel free to visit www.MarilynHorowitz.com.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I feel blessed to have so many wonderfully talented students. Here's me with the Thursday section of my 9-week course.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The beginning of the new semester is always exciting for a teacher. Here's me with the writers in the Wednesday section of my 9-week private course called Finish Your Script.
I am currently taking applications for the spring semester of the course. If you're interested in writing or rewriting a screenplay in under 10 weeks, contact my office at 212.600.1115.
My friend Siri Sat is holding a terrific event. To register, see below.
Join Siri Sat for an afternoon of clearing the energetic ties that bind us to past relationships. Using the science of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, we will share techniques that help remove auric imprints from the past and strengthen the heart, allowing us to energize our current relationships while setting the stage for new, good feeling relationships in the future. All levels are welcome.
Pure Yoga (East) pureyoga.com
203 E. 86th St. at 3rd Ave. 212-360-1888
Sunday January 24,2010
Cost: $50 pure members and Pre-Reg for Non Members
(Before Jan. 24) $55 Day Of.
*For a private healing session, or a 40 day home practice consultation please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-886-9873.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I watched the Golden Globes last night. It was an enjoyable show, and I was pleased that the disaster in Haiti was not ignored. For us writers, it was reassuring to see that the story still counts, and I hope the event will inspire all of us to focus our energies on finding and telling better stories, not worrying about the mechanics.
If you're feeling low, writing an acceptance speech is a fast way to get on track!
Congratulations to all the nominees and to all the winners.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
In my endless search for interesting places for screenplays, I try to check out foreign films to see how filmmakers use locations because what's ordinary to them is exotic to us. Seeing what's around you with fresh eyes can create depth and contrast in your work. Using a location well is like Jackie Chan using every prop in an action scene.
The films in The Jewish Festival seem intriguing.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I walked home from tango dancing last night. I passed the fountain at Lincoln Center, which was looking particularly beautiful. I am always looking for interesting locations to set scenes, and was surprised that the fountain hasn't been used that often. As an exercise, I set a scene there and it added a lot to my work. I "collect" places to use in my writing, and I invite you to do the same.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I read this article in the NY Times today, and immediately thought of a new take on the Romeo and Juliet plot: An immigrant and a native fall in love during these riots and have to find a way to create an economy that will support both their "families."
When you are conceiving a screenplay, place is an essential part of the story, and where the story is set can provide much of the conflict, saving you a lot of work. An important part of movies is that they take us to places we've never or rarely been before, whether it's a fantasy place such as a new planet like Pandora in Avatar or a new look at a world we think we know, such as the airport world in Up In The Air.
Take a moment to read the news and see what's happening in the real world and then apply it to your own story.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Last night I was discussing fortune cookies with my private student Adam. His favorite one read:
"You're only a loser if you give up trying."
I thought that was fitting because Adam worked with me on a screenplay for four years -- and then won every competition he entered!
While doing research for a new project, I encountered a bestseller that sold over a million copies called The Expected One. The author's story is even more amazing that the book. Please read it and resolve to never give up.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I was recently talking to a wise friend of mine and asked him what the one thing he would most want to share in a relationship?
He thought about it for a moment and then said:
"An incredibly rare experiences: a rainbow seen during a walk in a forest, you know... something that only we have seen together. I have had one or two such moments in my life and treasure them."
When I went to visit my father in Santa Fe last week, we went for a walk before dinner, and the sunset was absolutely spectacular. We have never been as close as I would have liked, but I was so moved by the beauty of the sky that I told him what my friend had said.
To my complete surprise, my father tucked my hand under his arm, gave me a warm smile and said, "Yes, we are having one of those incredibly rare experiences."
I was completed delighted and will treasure that experience for the rest of my life.
What are some of your favorite rare experiences? Have you thought of including them in your story?
A hearty congratulations to my student Wendy who finished the first draft of her screenplay. There's nothing more rewarding for a teacher than to have your student write a well-written story, with great dialogue and strong characters. Congratulations, Wendy.
Monday, January 11, 2010
One of the most critical things that any new, aspiring, or experienced writer must know is structure. It is an important piece of your writing which is often the difference between a good screenplay and one that sells.
Every month I write a script tip for Dan Bronzite's MovieOutline.com describing the best ways to instantly improve both your structure and characters. Dan was nice enough to forward some of the feedback he received about my tips and I wanted to share one of the emails with you:
"Marilyn Horowitz's tips are excellent, helpful to me in my final revisions. I like Marilyn's sound, but fresh approach to screenwriting. The tips show an easy way to connect with the structural elements in a screenplay. Just when I thought I was about to finish, Marilyn made me realize:
1. That I must continue polishing dialogue to make my characters sound more unique
2. That remembering the economy can make Act 3 more effective
3. That the use of deadlines will add a new dimension to my work
4. That I still should make my Hero suffer more
5. That I must check if my characters are consistently "larger than life."
Thank you so very much, Marilyn Horowitz."
- Emily Sharp White
Emily raises a number of interesting points in her email and I'm glad that my system was able to help her.
If you are interested in instantly improving the structure of your own screenplay, I'm offering a 2-hour intensive workshop on Saturday, January 16th at 1pm in New York City. My goal is that everyone who attends the class will walk out with a full-length feature film mapped out and ready to be written.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW
If you won't be in the New York City-area on the 16th, I have extended the holiday discount on my home study kit. Order before January 16th and save $100.
CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW
As a special bonus, anyone who registers for the class or orders the home study kit before January 15th will receive a link to my MovieOutline script tips and a special discount on my private coaching and classes. But you have to order before the 15th.
Friday, January 8, 2010
I was at the airport earlier than expected today and with some free time on my hands I decided to conduct a quick poll. I asked a bunch of people in the waiting area:
Which movie do you wish you had written?
Here's a sample of the answers I got:
The Notebook (teenage girl)
Remember The Titans (her mom)
Inland Invasion (20-year-old male film student)
Titanic (waitress in restaurant)
Avatar (teenage boy)
The Breakup (flight attendant)
Citizen Kane (elderly "film buff")
Mamma Mia (his wife)
Frida (security guard)
Sherlock Holmes (guy sitting next to me on the plane)
Now ask yourself the question. Why did you choose that film?
Now as an exercise:
Ask the same question to your main character? Why would they choose that film? What would your love interest or villain say?
For example the lead of my current story wishes she'd written Moonstruck, because it has a great message: That love can always find you.
On the other hand, her love interest would have written What Dreams May Come, because he's interested in how heaven will look.
My friend Jen Grisanti will be holding what is shaping up to be a very informative seminar at UCLA next month. If you're interested in learning more about what goes into pitching, keep reading :)
GEARING UP FOR STAFFING AND DEVELOPMENT SEASON – Saturday, February 27, 2010, UCLA from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
This year is about THINKING BIG. Staffing and Development seasons are upon us. In this seminar taught by veteran studio executive Jen Grisanti, you will learn the tools for success that will increase your chances of getting staffed and selling your pilot.
We will go over everything you need to know to gear up for staffing and development seasons including: the top specs being read right now and what makes a spec stand out, what pilots succeeded last year and how you can use their formulas to write your pilot, how to deliver a winning pitch, writing a logline that entices the possibility of being able to pitch and tips that will bring you results in meetings.
If you buy tickets before January 15, 2010, the cost of the seminar is $75.00. After that, the cost will increase to $110.00. Go to www.jengrisanticonsultancy.com and sign up on the Events and Seminars page.
Happy New Year!
Well, the first decade of the new century is over (at least, according to people who start decades from zero-based years). It was a rocky first decade, full of difficulties, but I'm hopeful that the new one will offer us a fresh start. The latest blog entry talks about how badly 2000-2009 sucked (but how good the films were), and makes some odd predictions about the coming years.
Found In Time On The Web
We kicked off preproduction this week on Found In Time, our next feature film. We formed our LLC, Found in Time LLC, set up a Facebook page, kicked off our blog... what's left to do? Oh yeah, raise some money! We're in the process of setting up our IndieGogo project page, and should have it up and running by early next week. The blog will feature a mix of practical how-tos for producing an indie film, some war stories, and aesthetic ruminations about the nature of randomness, time and existence (very much part of the film).
Marilyn Horowitz Offering A Discount on The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting
Marilyn Horowitz is offering a special version of her Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting seminar - for only $20 (50% off the standard price)! This 2-hour intensive workshop will end the agony that plagues screenwriters of all levels: How to structure a script. The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting helps writers structure, write and rewrite scripts with ease. By asking your characters these four simple questions you will be able to outline your screenplay like magic.
The workshop runs Saturday, January 16th, from 1pm - 3pm at the Wings Theatre, 154 Christopher Street, NYC.
But hurry! Space is limited and the discount expires on Saturday, January 9th! Go to http://www.screenplayclass.com to register.
The Witches' Road Is a Finalist in the WriteMovies Screenplay Contest
The Witches' Road, Arthur Vincie's latest spec script, is a finalist in the current WriteMovies Screenplay Competition! The script is a fantasy/thriller about three witches living in present-day NYC who must unite to save their kind from an ancient evil. It was also a finalist in the last Exposurama Screenplay Competition.
In an earlier post I discussed a one-take music video created by a school in Quebec.
I just saw another one.
Shorewood High School (Shoreline, WA) has released this video shot entirely in one-take and... backwards. It appears to be based on the wonderful set piece from 500 Days of Summer. I have included their version and the original below. Enjoy.
How universal is your story? Would you have to make a lot of changes for it to be remade like this?
Thursday, January 7, 2010
My very talented student Adam Moser forwarded this terrific link to me of the script for The Big Lebowski as if written by William Shakespeare.
My father loves movies. Loves them!
That runs in the family.
My grandfather and my father both held the position of General Counsel at a studio consecutively and my aunt was Assistant General Counsel at the same company several years later. When I was little, on the weekend, we would watch movies at home on a 16mm projector.
I'm visiting my father in Santa Fe (the 16mm projector has been replaced by a 50" flat screen and Blue Ray) and as we were deciding which movie to watch last night, we looked through his collection, and made a list of classic films that we will watch over the next couple of visits:
It's A Wonderful Life
Witness For The Prosecution
Le Regle De Jeu
La Grand Illusion
Les Enfants Du Paradis
To Catch A Thief
North By Northwest
The Philidelphia Story
An Affair To Remember
They are all classic stories that have a specific opinion of how you should conduct yourself, a moral certainty completely hidden in a great screenplay and I recommend all of them.
Which film would you choose to watch with your father? Why?
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I'm in Santa Fe for the week with limited cell phone reception and only occasional access to the internet so I feel a bit isolated.
One of the news stories I have been following is about basketball player Gilbert Arenas, a Washington Wizard who pulled a gun on a teammate in the locker room. He appears to be completely unrepentant and has, last I heard, been suspended indefinitely.
The story reminded me of the great line by Raymond Chandler:
"When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand."
There are a number of movies that include a scene of someone entering a room with a gun. It's often one of the most exciting scenes of the film and the one that kick-starts the action. Consider the diner scene in Pulp Fiction, Tim Robbins taking Robin Williams and his coworkers hostage in Cadillac Man or the diner scene in A History of Violence.
Now do it for your own film. Is there a scene in your film that drags or doesn't payoff the way you had hoped? What would happen if someone with a gun entered the scene? What would the reaction be, cool and collected or mass panic? Why is the gunman there? Murder, money or something else?
Even if a gunman isn't right for your script, try this exercise and see what new layers you discover.
I am in Santa Fe visiting my father. I am fascinated by how other people live. When you stay in someone's home you naturally measure how they do things versus how you do them.
For example, every day at 5:00pm, my father and stepmother watch the news on PBS and have a Dewar's on the rocks. My father always brings the drinks in and then adds water from a bottle next to where he sits. They eat crackers with the scotch. Why doesn't he add the water in the kitchen when he first makes the drinks? Why not nuts or pretzels? Why PBS?
My writer's mind needs the answer to these questions but instead of interrogating my father, I worked on my new project.
What are my main character's daily habits? What do each of them do at 5:00pm? Do they drink? Why that particular brand? Do they watch the news? Who are they with?
My main character is always having a sugar low and nibbles something sweet while she preps a catering job, while her love interest is making notes for the next day and getting ready to leave his white collar job.
Take a moment to ask yourself what your own characters would be doing at 5pm. Are they at work or home? Do they follow a pattern? What would happen if their daily ritual was disturbed? Is 5 o'clock an important time of their day?
This exercise won't solve all of your problems but should give you a couple nice layers to make your script really come alive.
Good luck and happy writing.
Chris sent me a link to his friend's new blog entitled The Moose Is Cooked(Book). It's the online journal of a young woman named Emma who is cooking her way through the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics recipe book. Though she doesn't specifically state it on her site, I assume she got the idea from the recent film Julie and Julia.
The film was based on a book that was originally a blog by a woman who cooked her way through Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking.
The writer in me likes the idea of a blog, inspiring a book, inspiring a movie and then another blog.
As an exercise:
Imagine your villain is going to start a blog. What would it be about? Himself? A hobby? Your hero? What form will it take? Written journal? Photos? Daily video blog? What is the purpose of their blog? Information? Entertainment? To annoy your hero?
Most of the scripts I read have a one-dimensional, passive antagonist. If you take the time to think like your villain, and treat them like a fully-formed being, you will write a much more interesting character.
Oh, and the Moosewood stuffed peppers sound delicious.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
This 2-hour intensive workshop will end the agony that plagues screenwriters of all levels: How to structure a script.
The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting helps writers structure, write and rewrite scripts with ease. By asking your characters these four simple questions you will be able to outline your screenplay like magic. The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting, part of The Horowitz System® of writing taught at New York University for over 10 years, has helped hundreds of writers create market-ready screenplays fast.
Register before January 9th and receive a 50% discount... that's just a $20 investment!
Space is very limited.
Register now at www.ScreenplayClass.com
I'm in Santa Fe for a few days visiting family but Chris has been sending me email updates about what's going on in NYC. Today he told me he felt like he was trapped behind enemy lines because Team USA is playing Team Canada in the finals of the World Junior Hockey Championships. He plans to find a bar to watch the game in, wearing a Canada shirt, surrounded by Americans.
This made me think of a new writing exercise.
Consider a situation where your character would find themselves behind enemy lines. Would it be a sporting event in a strange city? Foreign soil during a war? Or just meeting the in-laws for the first time?
How would your character react?
Would they try to blend in with the enemy like the British officer in Inglorious Basterds? Or appear to be a friend of the enemy like Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping and Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation? Or maybe they wouldn't try to hide their true allegiance at all like Michael Myers in Halloween?
By taking a moment to imagine your character in an uncomfortable/unsafe territory and determining how they would react, you can learn a lot about what's important to them and how they'd handle less "dangerous" situations.
Good luck and happy writing.
Monday, January 4, 2010
On the day when Avatar inched past the $1 billion mark, I was reminded of this trailer that celebrated a theater company making their first movie.
A few months ago I wrote a piece about using technology in your script. My last post focused on comedies but here's a great lesson in the dangers of relying on technology too much in an action piece courtesy of CollegeHumor.com.