Saturday, August 14, 2010

Honing Your Craft... and a little Matt Damon

Hello my wonderful fans and readers!

My tribe of munchkins are now in school, so my life MAY become a bit quieter now… (insert insane laughter here).

Anyhoo… since I’m a writer, I figured I would share with you another way to become awesome.  Or at least prove to yourself that you need to take classes OR find another route of prospective employment. (I’m not trying to be harsh, believe me).

Go online to Drew’s Scriptorama. You can google it. From there, download a script. Not a script that says First Draft, because I can assure you it is almost NOTHING like the movie.
Print it out, but don’t read it. Seriously. Don’t.

Then, rent the movie.

As the movie plays, have your laptop or whatever with you.  Pause the movie.

Here’s the fun part:

Write a script for what you saw.

For instance, if you are watching the movie, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, you would possibly watch the first two minutes and write what you saw. (I’d watch the whole movie first though, because it is an amazingly fun ride).

So, you would something like write:


JASON BOURNE runs to a pharmacy.

And then pick up from there. After you have about a page or two done, pull out the script that you printed. Compare. You will be flabbergasted at how different they are.


We are JASON BOURNE and we’re running down an alley.


BLUE LIGHTS -- from the distance -- strobing through the night -- rushing toward us -- POLICE CARS -- three of them - - SIRENS HOWLING as they bear down -- closer -- faster -- until they whip past the alley...

That’s a little big more descriptive than Jason Bourne runs to a pharmacy, isn’t it?

Try it! I started with more laid back films, but as I progressed in my writing and writing hardcore action flicks, this has really come in handy.

You may find that you are missing information that your script NEEDS. You may find that you are giving too much boring information:

SUSIE (blonde, scantily clad, 23) sets down her coffee before dialing her cell phone.


SUSIE (blonde, scantily clad, 23) dials her cell.

It’s amazing what you can learn about the craft and yourself. Plus, you get to see a movie!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

In Memory Of Blake Snyder

If you don't know who Blake Snyder is, you're probably not serious about screenwriting. His Save The Cat! books have been screenwriting bibles to folk.

I've never met Blake. I've never spoken to him. Never spotted him across a room and was too shy to speak to him. Yet I'm a product of him.

You see, my mentor, Will Akers, met Blake one day and the two formed a friendship. Out of that friendship, a book was created, but not only that, a bond between the two. Blake cheered Will on and taught him a lot of great stuff that Will, in turn, has passed on to me... and countless classes before me.

It's been one year since Blake's passing.  It's strange. I remember the tweets, the Facebook posts, all saying Rest In Peace and what not. I remember reading Tracey Jackson's tear jerker of a blog as she told why she would miss him so.

As a tribute to Blake Snyder, I have copied the following from Will's blog, Your Screenplay Sucks! It can be found at If you'd like a great blog to follow, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, here's hearing from William M. Akers:

Blake Snyder

August 4, 2010

I miss him.

It has been a year. I’m sitting here in my office sweating because I have to turn on the air conditioning and because I worry I won’t write the right thing about Blake.

What a prince among men. That cliche certainly fits.

He is 100% responsible for the existence of this blog because he is 100% responsible for the existence of my book. When I got the idea for a book on screenwriting, he encouraged me and said he’d tell his publisher. They agreed to publish it and here we are.

Blake was long on encouragement.

I miss that a lot.

Anyway, I miss him. I miss his advice. I miss his voice. I miss his loyalty and his kind nature. I miss his smile and I desperately miss his friendship.

Boy, do I miss that.

We Miss You, Blake.