Tuesday, March 22, 2005  

Blogfest Writing Contest

Twenty Twenty Publishing is sponsoring a writing contest designed to encourage all writers to follow their dreams and write the work that truly matters to them. This contest isn't about writing to please a judge, but about giving writers the chance to write what they want to write.

To enter the contest, just tell them what you want to write and why it means so much to you. The winning entrant will receive a $2000 sponsorship to write the work of his or her choice.

If you're thinking you can make something up, win, and then never write it, think again. The condition to the competition is that you send a weekly blog for the month of May letting them know how you're going.

All entrants will also be invited to take part in Blogfest, where they can share the writing process and motivate each other as part of the Blogfest 2005 writing community.

Open to: all writers worldwide and all styles of writing.

Closing date: April 20, 2005
Entry fee: $5

Entry, full details, and FAQ:


Tuesday, March 15, 2005  

Project Greenlight March 15th on Bravo

The documentary of the making of this year's winning film, "FEAST", will begin airing on Bravo on March 15th at 9:00 pm. Please check the Project Greenlight section of the Bravo web site for a complete schedule, to check out the updates following each episode, or to visit the message boards and interact with other Project Greenlight fans.



Friday, March 11, 2005  

Hollywood Screenplay Awards™ Competition


The Hollywood Screenplay Awards™ (formerly the "Hollywood Columbus Screenplay Discovery Awards™") were created to bridge the gap between writers and the established entertainment industry. They provide winning screenwriters with what they need most: access to key decision makers. First, Second, and Third place winners receive cash prizes. Submissions are accepted monthly; the final deadline for Screenplays ONLY is MARCH 31 (postmark).

Winners have access to CASH, HOLLYWOOD EXECUTIVES and AGENTS. Great sales and marketing opportunities. SUCCESS STORIES: Terry Spencer of Chicago made over $60,000 U.S. dollars and signed a six figure deal. Helene Wagner of Virginia made $7,500 and signed a six figure deal. Doug Jones of Texas made $5,000.

Sunday, March 06, 2005  

Watch The Flick & Read The Script

Watching a movie while reading the script can be enlightening. In fact, this concept is one of the most useful tips I learned when I first started writing screenplays. It’s fascinating to see how the director manipulates the words on the pages to accomplish his vision. Some movies are almost mirror images of the script. Others are complete opposites. That doesn’t matter. It’s the mere fact that you are able to understand a screenplay is only a small part of the creative process. The script, in itself, is a working blueprint for the collaboration of many creative minds. As an amateur screenwriter, whether you like it or not, you have to realize the script you write won’t be filmed scene by scene or word for word as you envisioned. It will change. Knowing this simple fact will help you write better and make you a better writer.

Like most subjects, there is an abundance of free material readily found on the Internet. There are complete scripts of some of the most popular movies ever made out there. Some free, some for a fee. All you have to do is find them. Your knowledge of the Internet can be of great use here. Your lack there of can cost you a few dollars. But hey, if your dream is to become a screenwriter than money should be of no concern right? Ok whatever. I can barely afford reams of paper much less screenplays. After all, I am a starving screenwriter. Let me tell you about some places that you can get scripts for free.

Listed below are some web sites that offer scripts.

Drew's Script-O-Rama
JoBlo's Movie Scripts
Fatty Boom Batty

Always remember, if you can’t find a copy of a script you want for free, it might be for sale at The Writer’s Store, Amazon.com or other online retailers.

Now you know where to find the scripts. Let’s find a movie.

To start, think of a movie you love. Something, let’s say, you connect with or relate to. One of my all time favorites is Eyes Wide Shut. I’ve watched it about 50 times. This was Stanley Kubrick's last film. He always had the gift to push the envelope in his works. My connection here would have to be the admiration for the director/writer of this script. Next, get a copy of the flick on DVD or VHS. You’re better off if you have a copy because you will finally get some productive use out of your remote other than flipping through the channels. Once you’ve selected your movie all you have to do is find the script.

If you visit some of the sites I’ve mentioned above you’ll soon learn that sometimes there are different versions of the scripts available. There will be first, second and thirds drafts available. Completed scripts. Production scripts. Scripts to download in PDF format. There are scripts in text format. Select what you believe is the latest finished copy of the script. Simply download and/or print the script. Be advised, if you print a script you’re looking at 100 to 120 pages. If at all possible try to get a PDF or text file and sit at your computer while watching the movie. They rest is pretty much been explained. Watch the movie and follow along in the script. Have your remote handy. You’ll get lost if producers and/or the director have hacked up the script. You’ll need to pause the movie from time to time to find your place again.

Once you’ve gone through the process a few times and have mastered the use of your remote control, do it again and again. Soon you’ll start to grasp some of the simple philosophies of writing scenes, dialogue, etc. To expand on what you see on the screen, read a few of the books I’ve mentioned in a previous post called, The Amatuer Screenwriters Bookshelf. Take what you learn and apply it to your own script. During a re-write of one of your scenes, you’ll be amazed at just how bad it is when you break it down. Don’t worry; re-writing can be just as enlightening as reading or even seeing how it’s really done.

As I’ve mentioned before, if you write a screenplay, others will change it. You’d be foolish to think otherwise. When all the right creative hands are grouped together with a common goal in mind, the potential is endless. Some of the greatest films ever made can be chalked up to collaboration. A screenwriter plays only a small part in this collaboration. If you aspire to be a screenwriter, this tiny piece of advice might very well be looked at as a commandment. Whether you abide by it, is your decision. We all know what happens to those who break a commandment.

Friday, March 04, 2005  

Movie Review: Constantine

  Constantine - Well, let's just call it Commercial instead. This movie is nothing more than the attempt of big movie studio heads trying to rape the pockets of Matrix trilogy fans. With a creative plot line about a man trying to kill demons to buy his way into heaven, you'd think the script would be entertaining. Far from it to say the least. About 110 wasted pieces of paper, with typing on them, went into this film.

No offense to the pack of writers on the project, Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis (The Punisher - 2004), Kevin Brodbin (The Glimmer Man - 1996) and Frank A. Cappello. Within the pack, they've been able to write about six or seven scripts. With Constantine, oh sorry, I mean Commercial; the script is so muddled down and confusing it's really not even worth trying to review. Sorry guys, you fell a little short on this one.

One surprising highlight of the film is Rachel Weisz (Runaway Jury - 2003). She does a terrific job along side the always monotone Reeves. Don't get me wrong. I like Keanu Reeves (The Matrix - 1999) as a person; I can't stand him as an actor unless it's something like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989). The character relationship between the two in this film is dull. Seeing them together on screen makes up for that. They look good together. I'm sure their pockets are a little deeper after this one as well.  

Now Commercial has fantastic effects that actually justify the ticket price. The demonic fiery hell filled with grotesque patrons and a brief glimpse of heaven with tall skyscrapers mingled with powder puff clouds and a crisp blue sky… all fake. If you like this stuff then Constantine, sorry I mean, Commercial is for you. Computer generated demons are what got me to the theater. I can't get enough of that stuff.

Why do I call this film Commercial you ask? It's simple. It starts with the inundation of commercials portraying a blockbuster movie. The theaters jump on the bandwagon and plaster the posters everywhere. The movie starts. Soon you come to the realization that to many writers had their hand in the cookie jar. The script makes no sense. It's hard to follow. You stay in your seat watching because the visuals are remarkable. The studio heads put all the money into the effects, not the writing. The only purpose for this movie was to make a buck. I guarantee Commercial won't be the movie of the year or even be on the ballot for any Oscar nominations.

So why make not a movie that speaks to people? Why not make a movie that grips your heart and twists your emotions keeping it in you mind for years to come? One word, money. Fifty million in two weeks at the box office will keep this movie balancing on the edge of making a profit. Keep in mind the advertising that was packaged on the tab. The concept of this film had potential; the studio had other ideas.

I can't help buy say it again, commercial, commercial, commercial.

Visit the official movie site.