Thursday, January 17, 2013

Make Your Character Earn it

Hello Fans!

One of the things that is the most boring in a film is when something just happens. The hero mysteriously finds the clue he's looking for.  He stumbles across a gun that is in the plain open. He hasn't had to WORK for anything.

Part of a great script is watching the hero's journey, and your hero's journey NEEDS to be fierce and treacherous.  We NEED to feel the highs and lows with him/her. We HAVE to BELIEVE that everything that promotes him/her comes at a price. He/she needs to earn every bit of info, every weapon, every THING that he needs to fulfill his quest. We are traveling with him/her.  We need to go with the hero to every gun runner, every crime spot, etc.

If you want to go on a great journey  I suggest watching CHINATOWN with Jack Nicholson. Robert Towne did a masterful job of writing, and Roman Polanski, who directed, only added brilliance by removing all voice overs by the character, Jake Gittes, stating he (Polanski) wanted the audience to discover the clues as Jake found them. It worked. I mean, an Academy Award won't lie, right?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Don't Call The Shots... Seriously.

Hello all!

Happy 2013!  Wow have I been busy! Whew!

First of all, let me give you an update. MADAME KOROVA was sucessfully filmed and is in the post production phase.  We all cannot WAIT to see this hit the festival circuit. It turned out to be so much fun to direct.

The talent agency that I own with my completely best friend in the whole wild world, Buffi Holland, has taken off at lightning speed and is flourishing.  You can check out S.T.A.R.S. Talent at HERE if you would like more information. Recently we have booked talent on CATCHING FIRE of yes, THE HUNGER GAMES fame and LAST VEGAS starring Robert Deniro, Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, and Morgan Freeman.  I'm a proud mama, too... my daughter just got cast in a feature film herself! She starts filming in the fall in Indiana.

Because I've been so busy, I haven't had much chance to write (as you can see from the state of this humble blog!) HOWEVER, I thought I would swing by and offer you a useful screenwriting tip.

When you are writing a screenplay, never, NEVER, NEVER EVER EVER EVER write in or call the shots. I don't mean calling the shots as in deciding what's going on with your character, I mean, writing:


Don't do that.

"Why, ScreenwriterChic? Why should I not do that? How else are folks going to know what I want in this scene?"

Well, to put it bluntly, it ain't your baby anymore. And it's not your job to tell the director what to do.

Once your script has been handed over to a director, it's the director who adds vision to the story and makes it complete.  You have given the framework.  Don't be sad! Your idea may be cool and all, but it's really awesome to see a director come on board with a fresh set of eyes and incorporate their vision with yours. And think about this too... if you put in camera angles and look like a complete noob and an inexperienced dreamer, you will annoy your reader, which is the person you want on your side, believe me! The reader passes on your work of art to the studios.

Now, if you absolutely HAVE to get a certain shot across, there is a way to do it and look professional and NOT step all over the director's toesies.  OR annoy your power wielding reader.

That is in scene description.


A small speck in the snow, Jessica rummages through her pack.

No food. Disgusted, she throws the pack and SCREAMS.

Okay, did you see what happened here?  A small speck in the snow?  Did you see an aerial shot with that?  And when Jessica couldn't find any food and tosses the bag, you were closer up in your mind's eye, weren't you?

Your scene description frames the picture in the mind of your reader. It's the same as calling your camera angles, but it's a much more appropriate way to do it so you don't have an offended director. Or reader.

And that's what you want, isn't it?