I came across this article in Fast Company and was reminded of the new adventure that so many writers take their character on when using The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting.
When using The Four Magic Questions, Act III can always be a new adventure if the main plot is resolved at the end of Act 2, part 2.
Maybe John Book should have stayed with the Amish. He could have found love and been a successful businessman. :-)
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I came across this article in Fast Company and was reminded of the new adventure that so many writers take their character on when using The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I'm always happy to pass on new projects and endeavors by, for and about screenwriters. This site comes from my friend Chris Wehner.
DELIVERING BREAKING NEWS FOR SCREENPLAYS WANTED!
Independent production company with numerous credits seeks great
feature film screenplays of all genres. Please visit website before
sending your query. Both fax and email are options. For more
information please click here.Click Here (http://www.screenplay2sell.com/)
Hungry, aggressive managers looking for a few more gifted writers and
writer/directors to rep. We need compelling, commercial stories from
writers that have something of value to say and say it well. Preferred
genres: Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure,
Fantasy. Click Here (http://www.screenplay2sell.com/)
Send short synopsis or logline of your drama or romantic comedy, DO
NOT SEND UNSOLICITED SCREENPLAYS attached to email.Click Here (http://www.screenplay2sell.com/)
DISCLAIMER: these companies are in no way affiliated with
Screenplay2sell.com. We are a directory and provide a service for you,
the writer! We find these companies and notify you, this is why you
joined. Our staff does the footwork, you do the rest. We do not
endorse these companies and can only provide you with their
information, you must always protect yourself.
Just getting Script Sales data (that some of the other guys sell you)
only tells you what trends you have missed, you need to be alerted as
to what are producers and agents looking for now! That's why we have
24x7 News alerts with screenplays wanted and agent listings! That's
what led to the development of Screenplay2Sell!
HERE'S WHAT YOU GET:
* Breaking News around the clock of important information to keep you
"connected" to Hollywood!
* Just as important is our Insider Magazine: This will open the door.
How do you effectively contact a potential buyer? How to target the
right buyer? How to get an Agent? We'll tell you!
* Weekly "In Development" reports!
* Agent Listings - updated weekly
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* The Pitch Wall - post your logline for our growing community of
Executives, Producers, and Agents!
* Hollywood Star's Agent Listing, remove the middle man (agents)!
SPECIAL AND LIMITED OFFER: $25 FOR LIFE MEMBERSHIP!
For more information: www.screenplay2sell.com
"Found In Time," the next feature film from writer/director Arthur Vincie ("Caleb's Door", produced by Marilyn Horowitz), now has an IndieGogo page at www.indiegogo.com/found-in-time. The page features concept art, videos, news, and links to the film's blog and Facebook page. Become part of the crowdfunding phenomenon, and help support an independent fantasy film about time, psychics, murder, and the nature of reality. With more crew photos, cast info, and scouting videos coming shortly!
Monday, April 26, 2010
I watched Pretty Woman last night and despite the neo-feminist hackles that go up, I confess that it's such a well-written movie that I wanted to talk briefly about the "meet cute" in Romantic Comedies.
This clip shows the first meeting between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. He's in a Lotus he can barely drive, and she knows everything about cars. It's a role reversal and an effective tool when trying to get a story to feel fresh.
The intimacy of their interaction and the edgy flirtation is established in the opening gambit when she charges him for directions, and that also brings in the central issue of money right away.
What are your favorite "meet cutes"?
This is me and my terrific student Laurie. She wrote the script in my NYU class and then did a full rewrite in my private class. Congratulations, Laurie!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I invite you to read Sunday's "Modern Love" column -- If this isn't a character waiting to star in a film, I don't know what is
The piece is a terrific reminder that all stories come from life at some point, for example, the film, An Education, was based on an essay about a real experience and ideas for characters are everywhere.
As an exercise:
Ask your yourself if there's a story with a great character (maybe you) that would make a good film. Where did you first read/hear about the person? In the newspaper or on the news? In a documentary? Your own family history? Or maybe you just saw them on the street! What made them stand out to you? Why do you want to write about them?
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Congratulations to Maria who finished her screenplay during my 9-week screenplay class. I'm so proud of her amazing accomplishment!
Nice job, Maria!
While researching a new project, I came across this discussion about portion size increasing since Da Vinci's The Last Supper was painted. My first thought was to wonder what Morgan Spurlock, the creator of Supersize Me, would have to say about this but then I thought about screenwriting.
As an exercise:
Consider your own story. What has changed since you wrote it? What will have changed in 10 years? Can this observation add something to your plot/characters? Does it make more sense to be true to what was real when you first wrote it? Or change details to set it in the future?
A big kudos to my student Bob who finished his screenplay in 10 weeks. My motto is Don't Get It Right - Get It Written!... and Bob did.
If you're ready to finish your movie script in ten weeks or less, visit www.ScreenplayClass.com.
NOTE: There's just 2 spots left in the summer session.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
This photo of me and my wonderful student Yelena was taken during her final script consultation with me today, after she spent the past nine weeks in my private class.
To finish your screenplay in ten weeks or less, click here.
My friend Zeke passed on this info about screenings of the new film Paper Man. Hope to see you all there...
Hey there everyone!
My friends Michele and Kieran's film, Paper Man opens this Friday in limited release in NYC and LA! It's so important for a small film in limited release to get off on the right foot. Check out the details below. Go to the website. Watch the trailer. If it looks like a film you'd like to see, try to go this first weekend!
Here's the info:
If this email formats improperly, click here.
IN THEATRES APRIL 23!
Angelika Film Center
18 West Houston St. at Mercer St. • New York, NY 10012 • 212-995-2000
Friday 4/23 Special Appearance by Kieran Culkin & co-directorMichele Mulroney. Q&A's at primetime evening shows.
Sunday 4/25 Special Appearance by Jeff Daniels, Kieran Culkin& co-director Michele Mulroney.
Q&A's at primetime evening shows.
10850 W Pico Blvd • Los Angeles, CA 90048 • 310-281-8233
Friday & Saturday 4/23 & 4/24 Special Appearance by
Lisa Kudrow, Emma Stone, and co-director Kieran Mulroney.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
I wanted to post a couple of shots of me with my very talented NYU class today because we had our final class of the semester last night. I will miss teaching them so much but I am so happy and proud they were able to finish their screenplays in ten weeks. Kudos, guys!
Our friend Katie McLaughlin had another excellent post published by CNN.com about her experience attending a live taping of Saturday Night Live.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY
Note: I selected this photo to accompany my post because I always liked this skit. It's hard to believe that both of these talented actors are gone.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This is not a review of Sarah Silverman's new book, The Bedwetter: Stories Of Courage, Redemption, And Pee for a couple of reasons:
1) I haven't finished it yet.
2) I'm not a huge fan of reviews because I like to make my own decisions about things and I've loved just as many bad things (movies, books, people!, etc.) as good.
That said, the cover photo (Sarah dressed as Chairman Mao) and the back flap (advance praise from small children) are very funny.
To be honest, I've only read a few pages but what caught my eye and inspired this post was something I saw on page 231. Writes Silverman:
"Winona Ryder was born Winona Horowitz but she changed it. What a classic sneaky Jew move.
I have a Jewy last name and I would never think to change it, but I totally get Winona's choice. With a name like "Horowitz," you're no longer an actress, you're a Jewish actress. Just like I'm "Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman." For an actor, any modifier like that immediately creates limitations. Think of what the word "character" does when placed before "actor." It denies that actor access to nearly all leading roles. You never hear "White actress Reese Witherspoon..." Eh. That's probably an old observation but it's true. I have comic friends who are gay. Some remain in the closet, and I don't blame them. It's not just out of fear of prejudice - it's fear of the gay community taking ownership of them. Suddenly, they are a gay comic, saddled with the responsibility to represent."
She goes on to say more about my surname (and other things) but since the book was just released today I'll let you go to the store, buy it and read the rest.
I agree with Sarah's point about the importance of names and my students know how frustrated I get when they say they'll worry about the name of their characters or the title of their story later.
Names and titles are too important for that. When we name something we take ownership of it and define it. What if Luke Skywalker had remained Luke Starfighter or Annie Hall had stayed Anhedonia?
As an exercise:
What does your main character's name say about them? What about your villain's name? Would it make a huge difference if your character had a different name?
I had read this wonderful article, but somehow repressed it.
My dear student and friend Adam sent it to me in case I hadn't seen it -- I felt like the punchline of this great Modern Love story. Enjoy, and thanks, Adam.
As an exercise:
Pretend that your main character has a child. What lesson - that your character already knows - do they need to learn? How do they learn it? Does your character tell them a story? Do they experience it firsthand like the boy in this article? Does your main character learn something new too?
My very talented friend Lori Fischer will be presenting her work during a Night of Eclectic Comedy on May 3. Hope to see you all there.
Hello there, Fabulous Ones!
I wanted to invite you to the upcoming "Night of Eclectic Comedy." Here's what's gonna happen: laugh, laugh, laugh, fun fun, fun...need I say more?
A night of short plays, short songs and two short films by Lori Fischer
Starring: Janet Dickinson, David Douglas, Lori Fischer, Tara Gadomski, Penelope Lowder, Doug Rees, Kilty Reidy, Adrienne Thompson, Joey Collins, Nancy Opel and Olympia Dukakis
Benefit performance for the film "Dottie's Thanksgiving Pickle."
Directed by Fritz Brekeller
Place: The Richmond Shepard Theatre 309 East 26th Street (at 2nd Ave)
Date Monday, May, 3
Tickets are $12 at the door ($10 if you have a flier from the "Dottie's Thanksgiving Pickle premier)
To order tickets online go to www.smarttix.com
A number of my friends, students and colleagues are participating in this year's RipFest and I hope you'll take the time to support this amazing endeavor.
See you there!
Since 2002, RIPFEST has provided an outlet for some of New York and LA’s brightest filmmaking and theatrical talents, allowing both established and up-and-coming artists to collaborate on professional-quality short films over a 16-day process. RIPFEST is a unique collaborative filmmaking project that allows filmmakers the freedom to do what they do best – just make films.
While other quick filmmaking projects try to churn out lots of short films in just hours, RIPFEST brings together a carefully selected group of professional and emerging film and theater talent to collaborate on high-quality, original short films, and gives them the process and support that they need to make great work. Each team is supported through a carefully developed creative process and at the end, all the films are given a public premiere.
To date there have been 10 RIPFEST events in New York and LA. We've made over 80 original short films, short movie-musicals, and documentaries.
SHORT FILMS & MOVIE MUSICALS
Screenings April 26th, 2010
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Ave @ 2nd Street
7:00p, 8:15p, & 9:30p
www.smarttix.com or 212.868.4444
Party with filmmakers to follow at:
244 e Houston Street btw Ave A & Ave B
starts after first screening
Drink Specials Available
6 SHORT FILMS 16 DAYS
Produced By ~ Rob Lietar & Tim Cashman
Directed By ~ Noelle Brower
Written By ~ Daniel Powell
Cinematography By ~Mark Koenig, Edited By ~Sherri Fell, Composed By ~Jed Smith
Actors ~ Megan Channell, Stacey Scotte, Greg Ayers, Alfred Hyslop
Produced By ~ Lori Balaban, AP~ Penelope Lowder
Directed By ~ Mike Shapiro
Book & Lyrics By ~ Noel Katz
Music By ~ Jihwan Kim
Cinematography By ~Aaron Fedor, Edited By ~ George Sinfield, Choreographed By ~ Heather Berman
Actors ~ Rita Gardner, Sandy York, Scot Patrick Allan, Kevin R. Free
“JIM VS. GYM"
Produced By ~ Erika Salter, AP ~ Ryan McDonough
Directed By ~Olenka Denysenko
Written By ~ Brad Barth
Cinematography By ~ Eric Branco, Edited By ~Joshua Lombard, Composed By ~ Roko Djokovic
Actors ~ Jennifer Leigh Cohen, Emma Lesser, Maxx Brawer, Douglas Rees
“THE BUTCHER'S NEW DAY”
Produced By ~ Barbara Lindrome & Romina Talabucon
Directed By ~DJ Salisbury
Book By ~ Anthony Catala
Lyrics By ~ Anthony Catala & Stephanie Johnstone
Music By ~Stephanie Johnstone
Cinematography By ~Dakkan Abbe, Edited By ~Dave Miller, Choreographed By ~James Kinney
Actors ~ Danielle Heaton, Adelaide Mestre, David Perlman, Ronald Remke
Produced By ~ Angela Martenez, AP ~ Julia Galeota
Directed By ~ Gabri Christa
Written By ~Rebecca Kaye
Cinematography By ~ Ben Bloodwell, Edited By ~ Marc Senter, Composed By ~ Jon Madof
Actors ~ Anastasia Barzee, Elisa Blynn, Corey Allen, Luis Vega
“STUCK IN THE IN-BETWEEN”
Produced By ~Josh Asen
Directed By ~ Matt Glasson
Book By ~ Lori Fischer
Lyrics By ~ Lori Fischer & Casey Black
Music By ~ Casey Black
Cinematography By ~ Davide Montecchi, Edited By ~Susan Ades, Choreographed By ~ Amy Hall, Composed By~ Jeff Peters
Actors ~ Rachel Richards, Pamela Sabaugh, Douglas Crawford, Stephen Graybill
Produced By ~ Lori Balaban
Edited By ~ Pedro Tarrago
Shooters~ Kyle McCabe, Josh Holbreich, Forrest Love, George Sinfield
Additional Footage By ~ Bruce Kennedy, Erik Bryan Slavin
Monday, April 19, 2010
In the past few days, I have come across a number of stories about people trying to uncover the truth and break the story.
Last week, the National Enquirer was considered for a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the John Edwards affair and yesterday I read an article about a man who wrote a book about Madoff.
Despite how some people feel about tabloids, in both cases people were trying to uncover the truth when no one else would listen.
Is there a character like this in your script? Is your main character a truth-teller? Think of films like Silkwood, The Insider, The Ghost Writer. Could adding this character or adding this quality to your main character improve your screenplay?
Sunday, April 18, 2010
THE SCREENPLAY CLASS with Marilyn Horowitz (9-week course)
Wednesday Nights 6:30pm - 9:00pm starts June 9, 2010
60 W. 71st Street, Suite 1A (near Columbus Ave.)
New York, NY 10023
Whether you’ve got a polished first draft, a project that’s been “sitting on the shelf,” or you’re about to launch a query mailing, this 9-week course will help...
THE SCREENPLAY CLASS teaches screenwriters to write faster and better by giving them a focused and simple method. Students who follow the system complete scripts that win screenplay competitions, are optioned by producers and get produced!
In-class exercises delve into:
- analyzing producer’s notes and coverage
- solving long-term structure and character issues
- improving dialogue and pacing
SUPER SPECIAL BONUS: Sign-up now and receive a one-on-one 45-minute script consultation with Marilyn Horowitz.
Class size: 10 students max.
For more information visit www.ScreenplayClass.com.
Just 3 spots left! REGISTER NOW
Some Tips For Directing Actors on the Found In Time blog!
Probably one of the best things about filmmaking is that there's always more to learn. In the process of making Found In Time (our latest feature) more actor-friendly, we're revisiting a number of directing techniques, refreshing our memory banks in the process. In our latest blog entry we pass what we're relearning on to you.
Silent Choices Goes Digital, and More
Silent Choices, Faith Pennick's award-winning documentary on the political, social and economic issues facing African American women and reproductive rights, will be screening Tuesday, April 20th, at Hudson Community College, with a Q&A session to follow.
Place: Hudson Community College, 25 Journal Square, Jersey City, Student Lounge.
Date: Tuesday, April 20th, 2pm
Travel: Right off the Journal Square stop on the PATH train station
More Info: Email Angela Tuzzo
But that's not all! The film is now available as a digital download from New Day Films, and Faith has just completed a new study guide to accompany it. Also, Silent Choices was just written up in In These Times Magazine (available online or in print). Folks, you should watch this film. It's a great doc on a tough subject, doesn't pull any punches, and yet somehow remains hopeful about the future.
You Don't Have To Love Me Screens At NewFilmmakers
You Don't Have To Love Me, the music video for artist Dan Zweben, directed by Rebecca Gwynne, will be screening in the NewFilmmakers Short Film Program screening series. The screening is the culmination of a year of festival touring for the music video (it's screened at the Swansea Bay, London Independent, Hollywood East, Big Bear Lake, and La Femme film festivals, among other venues). The piece is beautiful, a bit melancholy, and features great work all around. (We're biased, because Arthur Vincie line produced it, but it's all true).
Rye 'n Ginger extended!
Rye 'n Ginger, directed by Rick Mowat, will be playing at the Huron Club in the SoHo Playhouse, Thursday from now through May 6th. She's a fading beauty, and he's young and interested. Is this May/September romance something special, or the same old sad scene played out in bars across Reagan's America? Part of the ongoing 'Bar Play Project' setting and presenting plays in bars. Written by Fred Crecca and directed by Rick Mowat (who was also in Caleb's Door).
Place: SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam St. btw. 6th Avenue and Varick St.
Date: Thursdays, April 15th - May 6th, 8pm
Tickets: $18 at the door, $15 in advance. Buy Tickets.
John Bonafede Performs in Marina Abramovic's The Artist Is Present At MoMA
John Bonafede, multi-talented artist, painter, and production designer, is performing in a massive retrospective of pioneer performance artists Marina Abramovic's work at MoMA. Featuring over 50 works and organized in roughly historical order, the retrospective covers the wide range of video, live, photographic, and sound works that Abramovic has undertaken in her 40-year career. John cites her as a major influence on his own work (which you can check out some of online at Slowcrack.com. Performing every day the museum is open, from now through the end of May.
The Bridge premieres at the 2010 Athens International Film Festival This April
The Bridge, written and directed by Philipp Wolter, and produced by Michelle Glick Wolter, will premiere at this year's Athens International Film Festival. The short is about a Korean man, grieving over the loss of his wife and his estrangement from his daughter, who mysteriously finds himself returning to the same spot on a bridge. The Bridge is a FilmGym project. FilmGym is a special production company that emphasizes the collaboration between filmmakers, visual artists and actors.
Help support The Living Wake on Facebook
The Living Wake, a dark comedy written by Mike O'Connell and Peter Kline, and directed by Sol Tryon (who's also a producer extraordinaire), will be premiering in New York on May 14th and in LA on May 21st. The film's a unique and memorable experience, and in many ways embodies the independent film spirit. Help support the film and its creators by joining the Facebook fan page. You'll get to see stills from the film, a VLOG, and festival/industry reviews.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Last night, I attended the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies Faculty Awards Presentation and faculty meeting.
I salute all of my colleagues who were honored. Among those honored was a teacher who had taught at NYU for 45 years! She got a standing ovation.
Bravo to colleagues, and it's nice to work in a place that appreciates everything that teachers do for us.
I will be teaching Writing A Screenplay In 10 Weeks and The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting at NYU this fall. If you haven't already, take a moment to explore all of the wonderful classes they offer.
I was intrigued by this decision:
"This is an entirely new addition to the historical record, the second-by-second history of ordinary people." FRED R. SHAPIRO, of the Yale Law School, on an agreement by the Library of Congress to archive Twitter messages.
This is an amazing concept -- that every electronic word you utter will contribute to a history of the world.
As an exercise:
How does your main character feel about Twitter? Do they tweet? If they had only 140 characters to say something, what would they say?
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I have the good fortune of working with writers who come up with multiple ideas for screenplays and books and I'm often asked what's the best approach to getting them all done.
My first advice is to date your material, don't marry it. Before you commit to a story, spend a little time with it, get to know what's good and bad about it. Is it the story you want to be working on right now? Is it worth your time?
Second, if you decide you just have to work on two stories simultaneously, make sure you commit to both of them equally. (Big Love not Jesse James!) Schedule time to work on both of them and commit. If you can't then just work on one.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
My good friend Rick Mowat's play Rye & Ginger has been extended again so, if you still haven't seen now's your chance.
BY POPULAR DEMAND RYE 'N GINGER HAS BEEN EXTENDED! AGAIN!!
"A timeless piece reminiscent of Tennessee Williams that deals with the human condition. Though very tender and humane, it's not the least bit sentimental. At the same time, it has a tremendous sense of humor. Superbly acted and directed, this piece deserves a long life Off-Broadway, and/or On Broadway. See it!"
- Stass Klassen, starring in "The Nose" at Lincoln Center
So folks, now you can see this superb little gem of a piece at the renowned Soho Playhouse in their Huron Club - aka "The Bar." Perfect spot for it and if you come in the first two weeks just say the words "Rick sent me" and for you, only 5 dollar! Otherwise it's $15 at the door. Now honestly, where you gonna score that kind of deal!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Tonight I will be partnering with The Learning Annex to present a live seminar on The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting. My allotment of tickets are all gone but it's my understanding that The Learning Annex still has a few left. Please read the info below and CLICK THE LINK to register.
The Four Magic Questions of Screenwriting helps writers structure, write and rewrite stories 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, which has been taught at New York University for over 10 years, has helped hundreds of writers create market-ready screenplays fast.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Don't live in NYC, CLICK HERE.
"There are other things to think about, you know," Paul Verhoven, the director of RoboCop, said in this article which is about his new book -- on Jesus.
This made me think of the John Lennon lyric: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
As an exercise:
What else does your main character think about when not worrying about achieving their dream? Does it run parallel with their dream or interfere with it? Is it a situation of want versus need - where their dream is really just something they want, while the other thing is what they really need? How do they reconcile this?
For more information about the character's dream, visit: www.FourMagicQuestions.com.
A friend's cat had to be put to sleep this weekend, and I have been feeling very sad about this event. I care deeply for the friend, and met the cat once, briefly at a party. I realized as I was dancing tango earlier, that aside from the natural sympathy I feel for my friend and his wife, I have been reliving the times I have had to put cats to sleep in my life. I have had cats since I was seven, so there have been a few. What I realized was that I wasn't just being empathetic toward my friend, but rather I was having a post-traumatic stress response to hearing about his cat, because my experiences were so upsetting that I am still haunted, and this similar event brought everything back.
I saw this article about the cost of doing repeated service in Iraq, and thought that the parallel between the trauma of a cat's death and war were interesting.
As an exercise:
What personal event or events has you main character experienced? Why was it traumatic for them? How does this new event remind them of their past? Is there a way to use a new similar event to create more inner conflict for your character?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
One of the best things about maintaining an online presence is hearing from people from different parts of the world who are passionate about writing.
Here's an example of a wonderful note I received from a writer living in Namibia. It's a terrific reminder that there are opportunities for writers everywhere, not just in Hollywood, and we should never take the resources available to us for granted.
I am from Africa and had a passion for writing ever since I was 12 but in this life that’s not the only thing you need to prosper. I write movies or would love to write a movie though I don’t even know how a real movie script looks like. I do however have a few roughly written movies. I wish one day God would answer my prayers and make me the best movie script writer/actress. However I just wanted to let you know that what you are doing is great, helping others like me so thanks.
NOTE: For people in a similar situation to Jennifer, I recommend checking out sites like the Internet Movie Script Database (www.IMSDB.com) that regularly post samples of produced screenplays.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Chris moved to a new apartment last week and it went off without a hitch in large part, I'm told by Chris, because of the muscle from his father, who came down for the move, and the brains of his mother who wrote a step-by-step guide on how to move with ease.
I'm always happy to showcase non-traditional writing on my blog and Chris' mother, Debbie, was kind enough to let me reprint her instructions here.
Good luck and happy moving.
DEBBIE MOLONEY'S GUIDE TO MOVING
INTRODUCTION: Think Outside The Box
Before you even think about packing get boxes, get lots of boxes, do not leave the house the week before moving without bringing back boxes.
Liquor stores (pick up wine while you are there, don’t pack corkscrew just yet)
If you have too many boxes, which you won’t, you can always break them up and get rid of them.
Next is paper towels, you will probably need about 6 rolls, look for a bulk package at a grocery store, drug store or home depot.
PART ONE: Dining Room
I recommend "giving up" the dining room area. If you can keep the table up great, saves your back for sorting things just move it to a different area so you have room to start stacking the boxes.
PART TWO: Laundry
While you are home packing, get all the laundry done, taking dirty clothes, linens, towels to a new place would be silly. When they are clean immediately pack them.
This is another good time to part with old towels, etc. Goodwill would be glad of the donations.
PART THREE: Kitchen
I always recommend starting in the kitchen. Have 2 boxes on the go, one to take to the new place and one to give away. Do the top shelves first, probably those things haven’t been washed in a while, so wash first then pack. Wash out each cupboard after you empty it, less to do later before you leave the apartment.
Label each box well.
PART FOUR: Bedroom
I feel green garbage bags are great for clothes and suitcases.
You should always have a well-labeled green garbage bag for goodwill clothes too.
Try to pack clothes without hangers, moving clothes on hangers is a real pain.
If you must lay them on a blanket and with two people you can easily move them at one time.
Another helpful hint for clothes is anything that needs to go to a dry cleaners take to the dry cleaner from your old place and pick up and return to the new place.
Remember winter coats, they need dry cleaning in the spring anyways.
PART FIVE: Living Room
Books are heavy, use small boxes!!! Nothing more to say on that one.
Magazines, if they are not this year, pitch them. If you are really sentimental you can save a dozen of your favourites.
Make sure CDs are in their cases before you pack them up. Same goes with DVDs.
PART SIX: Bathroom
Pretend you are going on vacation, put the items you would take in your toilet bag and pack or pitch everything else. Check expiry dates on medications, cosmetics before you pack them.
When I'm looking for a high concept idea for a thriller, surfing technology articles is a good and scary way to get inspiration.
In a recent Fast Company article, someone has collected an incredible database by mining Facebook.
Ironman meets Tron?
As an exercise:
Even if you're not writing a tech-based thriller, think of a current statistic/advancement or problem the world faces. Now, set a timer for 10 minutes and write a brief conversation between your hero and any other character where they discuss this issue. Do the two characters agree on the issue or disagree? Is it a comedic conversation like when Meg Ryan & Co. discuss terrorism and marrying over 40 in Sleepless in Seattle? Or a debate over the dangers of knowing your own future in Back To The Future? Or maybe a recap about how the villain did it like at the end of Sherlock Holmes?
By determining where your character stands on an issue, you will learn more about how they will react when you throw obstacles in their way.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I find that the arrival of the holidays that are part of your religious and/or national orientation force you to to look back however briefly, generating memories. These memories, often fleeting and incomplete, can be true gold when writing your current screenplay or novel. Truman Capote's short story, "A Christmas Memory" is a small masterpiece that uses a religious holiday as a frame for a story, while the film Born On The Fourth Of July is a great example of how a national holiday can inform the narrative.
As an exercise:
What holidays did your main character and villain or obstacle celebrate growing up? How did they feel about them? How do they feel about them now? Do they celebrate alone or with family and friends? Do they look forward to it.
BONUS TIP: Audiences always want to see the first experience, for example the first date, as opposed to the second. This is not always possible, so setting a key scene on a holiday can be a great way to make a scene feel like it's the "first time."
Good luck and happy writing
I'm currently putting the finishing touches on my new book entitled The Creative Business of Screenwriting based on the seminar I give at NYWIFT twice a year (Next class: April 12, 2010! CLICK HERE to register.)
As part of my research for the book, I have been reading more and more about communicating effectively in the business world.
In this week's issue of SCOPE magazine I found an article about a company called 37Signals that makes web-based efficiency tools used by Amazon, Twitter and Hulu. The article lists their 10 new rules for succeeding in business.
Number 2 on their list is: Hire The Better Writer - Clear Writing is a Sign of Clear Thinking.
I couldn't agree more.
If you're writing a screenplay, a novel, a business plan or even just an email, take a moment to think it through first. Decide where want to go and how you're going to get there.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Great news from my friend and colleague Michael Zam:
I'm happy to report that the final production in The New Group’s current 2009-2010 season will be the new musical The Kid, opening at Theatre Row's Acorn Theatre on 10 May 2010, following previews from 16 Apr and running through to 29 May 2010.
The Kid is based on the true story of what happens when sex columnist Dan Savage and his boyfriend decide to start a family. Created by Andy Monroe (music), Michael Zam (book) and Jack Lechner (lyrics), it was the winner of the 2009 BMI Foundation Jerry Bock Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre.
Dan Savage, author of the book "The Kid: What Happened after My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant" printed in 1999, is widely recognized for his internationally syndicated relationship and sex column “Savage Love” and the weekly podcast “Savage Lovecast.” He is editorial director of the Seattle weekly The Stranger, where he was formerly Editor-in-Chief. He is a regular contributor to PRI’s “This American Life” and the opinion pages of The New York Times.
Directed by Scott Elliott, the cast of The Kid features Christopher Sieber (Broadway: 'Shrek' – Tony nomination, 'Monty Python's Spamalot' - Tony nom.; TV: "Pushing Daisies") in the role of 'Dan Savage,' and Lucas Steele (Broadway: 'The Threepenny Opera.') as Dan’s boyfriend 'Terry.'
The company also features Kevin Anthony, Susan Blackwell, Jill Eikenberry (Dan’s Mom), Jeannine Frumess (Melissa), Ann Harada, Tyler Maynard, Brooke Sunny Moriber, Justin Patterson and Michael Wartella (Bacchus).
The Kid features Boko Suzuki on piano, Ed Levy on guitar, Steve Gilewsji on bass and Kevin Rice on drums.
Set design by Derek McLane, costume design by Jeff Mahshie, lighting design is by Howell Binkley and sound design is by Ken Travis.
Friday, April 2, 2010
I worked on a feature today that already has financing. The writer-director, a talented young man with a bright future said during our private session, "This is my big break. Do you think I have a good enough script to win awards?"
Because of his definition of "good enough," I was able to be honest and say, "Not yet," and explain why.
If he had asked is it good enough to please me, I would have said yes. However, there are still a few problems with his structure and character development that are keeping it from pleasing others the same way.
I am confident he and I will get it to that point.
The moral here is to define what "good enough" or "great" means to you before you ask for advice.