Category Archives: Screenwriting

Scribosphere Carnival #5 – Mythbusters

woman eating keyboard

The Scribosphere Carnival is a weekly discussion from a variety of screenwriting blogs around a rotating theme.

Emily Blake over at Bamboo Killers has posted this week’s Scribosphere Carnival topic which is MYTHBUSTERS.

In today’s Screenwriter Carnival, I’m challenging my cohorts to think of one screenwriting myth they would love to correct.

Dispelling myths is important for something like screenwriting, where it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the romanticism and ideals of the craft. Last week’s post covered the idea of being realistic about screenwriting as a whole, and this week I want to carry that thought further by dispelling what I think is a rather problematic myth:

WRITING IS A FEELING

Let me elaborate.

There’s the notion that we as writers are just “switched on.” We are always in tune with our muses and all we need to do is just sit down in front of Final Draft (or Scrivener or Celtx or Slugline or Highland) and BAM…off we go! Writing is a religious experience and we’re not truly writers if we don’t feel it.

Right?

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Scribosphere Carnival #4 – Advice

Beyond Two Souls Ellen

The Scribosphere Carnival is a weekly discussion from a variety of screenwriting blogs around a rotating theme.

Emily Blake over at Bamboo Killers has posted this week’s Scribosphere Carnival topic which is ADVICE.

The topic for this week’s Scribosphere Carnival is one I’m not entirely prepared for in the grand scheme of things. Compared to the others, I’m the new guy. I’m greenhorn. I’m “aspiring.” Emily’s post about what to do with your screenplay is pretty killer and you can bet I’ve taken a lot of that to heart. Michael’s follow-up is also pretty great and dispenses the important advice of “keep writing!”

So, what’s next on the advice checklist?

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Scribosphere Carnival #3 – Criticism

Prometheus Smiles

The Scribosphere Carnival is a weekly discussion from a variety of screenwriting blogs around a rotating theme.

Michael Patrick Sullivan over at Red Right Hand has posted this week’s Scribosphere Carnival topic which is CRITICISM.

This week’s Scribosphere topic is how we each take criticism, or how we don’t, who do we seek out to provide it, and what do we do with it once we have it, how we give it, or, you know…whatever.

Criticism.

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Scribosphere Carnival #3 – Submit Your Ideas

Loki Thumbs Up

Hey guys, don’t forget that the Scribosphere Carnival is still ongoing and we’re still talking about our workflow. If you haven’t had a chance to submit your post for this week, you have about a day or two before we move on to the next topic. Per the rules, I get to pick the topic for the following week, so make the decision tough!

Let’s do this!

Image of Loki used for no reason, but hey, he’s quite the dapper chap!

Scribosphere Carnival #2 – Workflow

keyboard

The Scribosphere Carnival is a weekly discussion from a variety of screenwriting blogs around a rotating theme.

I’ve never been good at introductory paragraphs, so let’s get through this as fast as we can. Shawna over at Shouting Into The Wind created a new blog series to bring a bunch of us writerly types together to discuss the things that interest us as screenwriters. In that same post she set up the guidelines for the first week’s topic as well as how we would go about handling each new week. As it turns out, I was picked for this week’s topic:

WORKFLOW – Everybody has one, and none are the same. Inspired by a post from John August (referencing THIS SITE), you should explain where and when you write, what hardware you use, what software you use, and what you would change about how you write. Have at it!

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Scribosphere Carnival #1 – Time Capsule

All Those Screenplays

The Scribosphere Carnival is a weekly discussion from a variety of screenwriting blogs around a rotating theme.

Shawna at Shouting into the Wind has posted this week’s Scribosphere Carnival topic which is TIME CAPSULE.

This topic is actually a 3-parter. First, recount your journey in screenwriting up to this point in time. Second, tell us where you are on your journey now. Finally, for the really fun, creative part — blog as if it is one year from today. What has the past year of your journey been like? What has changed? Be as realistic or not as you like — it’s your time capsule! One year from now, we will revisit our time capsules to see how we did with our predictions… Your post can be as long or as short as you like — the most important thing is to have fun with it!

Here we go:

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Writing The Malaise Away

It’s been a crazy six months since my daughter was born, and I’m only just starting to get back into the grind of writing these screenplays I’ve got sitting around on my computer. I remain hopeful even though progress is dubious at best.

There’s the revenge western that seems to be in a continual state of rewrite; the more I tweak, the more there is to tweak. I’ve got a cynical romantic comedy that I’m writing that I’m pretty enthused about, but can’t seem to lock down in terms of plot. This has slowed the momentum considerably. I’ve got a sci-fi mobster flick I’m tossing about in the idea stage. Pretty stoked about that one, but it suffers from the same issues that the romantic comedy currently faces. And then there are at least three to four ideas that are merely “what-ifs” and “hey wouldn’t it be cools.” I’ve also got some produced projects I’m working on parallel to this, but those are shorter form and are not the most favorably received.

All of this adds up to a form of screenwriting malaise, which is exacerbated by how little time I have to devote to the act of writing in general (30-40 minutes a day). I assume – like all things – that it will get better, and I push forward with that in mind. After all, if this weren’t my jam I would have given up by now.

There are a few bright spots in all of this that might be worth pointing out (presented without organization):

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A Post About Specificity, Specifically

Been learning a lot as I trudge along in my screenwriting career. I say “trudge” because it’s a slow climb. I’m not writing the big blockbusters, nor am I cashing those fat checks. I’m not even stacking that coin. What I am doing is writing smaller shows for colleagues and developing my voice as a screenwriter. I’m trying things out to see what works and what doesn’t work. In screenwriting terms: total n00b. One of the major things this n00b has discovered is that specificity is important. No, seriously. I mean it. IMPORTANT in all-caps, bolded, and underlined. May seem like this is a no-brainer, and it kind of is a no-brainer except for the fact that the “generic stuff” still makes its way out into the hands of readers, execs, and even two prolific screenwriting podcasters. A recent episode of theirs made me think about specificity and how to get back into the mindset of putting things on the page boldly and with purpose.

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This is a Close-Up? Cartoons and Toonocracy

I’ve been a busy little bee these days. Not sure if you remember a post series of mine from awhile back where I complained about working at a web animation studio out in Chicago. The work was lousy, but it was there that I met my friend Tom Riffel and there that I developed an interest in animation. When I got let go, I immediately started thinking about what it would be like to get a bunch of people together to work on the types of cartoons that we wanted to see. There were a few ideas I tossed back and forth with Tom, but they didn’t get very far past the “idea” stage. Not only that, there just weren’t enough of us to get anything substantial off the ground.

Fast forward to the here and now in sunny California, where Tom fills me in on an interesting idea that he and a few others are working on.

Continue reading This is a Close-Up? Cartoons and Toonocracy

On the Past Year

Last year I wrote up a list of what I thought were reasonable resolutions for 2010. They were to be the type of goals I could actually accomplish as opposed to the type of resolutions I had made (and failed) before. The only rule I had set for myself was that these resolutions had to be specific and that they had to be something I could feasibly do within 12 months. The thought was that I could check on my progress each month to see how far I had come.

I pulled up last year’s resolutions today for the first time since I wrote them.

Heh. Oops.

From said post:

-Finish a final draft of Year of the Con, my nerdy road-trip comedy. Acquire an Agent and a Manager to help sell my script and future ones I write.
-Complete writing of two web series I want to produce.
-Get at least one of the web series produced.
-Write a third screenplay.
-Get Photoshop CS2 and Flash 8 back on my compruter. Srsly, the newer ones blow.
-Write every day.
-Find either a better-paying job or a second job.
-Start up my old webcomic.
-Go to more shows.
-Go to a rave.
-Go to 2 nerdy conventions. Dress up for both of them. – C2E2 Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3
-Go to comic con.
-Write a sci fi novel.
-Complete Script-Frenzy this year and do NaNoWriMo again!
-Write a spec script for a sitcom, hour-long drama, procedural, and whatever you call the ooey gooey goodness that’s on HBO and SHOWTIME these days.
-More dates. Some blind dates perhaps.
-Do one of those speed dating things and have at least as awkward a time as Steve Carrell did in The 40 Year Old Virgin.
-Drink more cranberry juice. So delicious.
-Get a suit. I’ve got the pants. Just need to get the rest.
-Co-write a film script with someone.
-Hang out more with friends and be less of an anti-social bitch. God, srsly.
-Do two things I would never otherwise do.
-Get my toon to level 80. God, srsly. I’m such a terrible nerd.
-Visit at least 2 Friendfeed people. ROAD TRIP!
-Take Killer (my cat) to the groomer. Be able to afford that.

I suppose I could complain that I didn’t complete nearly the amount of resolutions that I had set out to do last year or that none of my resolutions really did much in the way of bettering myself, but the truth of the matter is that I actually did things on this list and was able to have new experiences I hadn’t even thought of when I composed said list.

Extra things I did this past year:

-Blogged more.
-Took swing classes, did alright at them.
-Moved to LA.
-Went to AFI Film Fest, saw a ridiculous amount of films. FridaySaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesday
-Ate at In-n-Out.
-Was in the same room as Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein.
-Started dating my girlfriend.
-Made an idea excel sheet and ported it over to Evernote.
-Kept up with way more television this year, starting a series of blog posts to capsule review the episodes.
-Went to more music shows than I’ve been to in awhile.
-Met Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice, shook his hand.

New Years Resolutions are very hit or miss with people. A lot of people aren’t really all that enthused about seeing where they’ve failed in the year, and that’s understandable. However, I’ve started to think of these lists as a way to document a little bit of myself each year, almost like a photo album, in list format. Last year I was kind of in a rough place, as you can see by some of the self-deprecating notes in each item on my list. And yet I still had some hope for the year, as evidenced by all the things I thought I could do. I had SOME inkling that I would be moving to LA, but I didn’t really think I could pull off another large move.

I think I will make resolutions a bigger part of my New Year’s traditions from here on out. I would love to be able to look back on these posts ten to twenty years down the road and simply remember.

Okay, I’m done with this sentimental crap. WELCOME TO 2011, you sluts.