Monday, March 22, 2010

Supersize Me!

Reading M.C. Foley's article on the perils of the screenwriter's lifestyle (the junk food, the sedentary habits, the mid-afternoon drinking, the furtive smoking, you know the drill), I was reminded of a conversation from the Driskill Bar in Austin last October. A group of very tired screenwriters were lying around on sofas, talking. It was 3am. And a pair of very famous writers were talking about how hard it is to write and diet.

Because writing is structured around "little treats". I'll finish this page and I'll go and grab some chocolate. I'll finish this script and I'll treat myself to a really good lunch. Not to mention the fact that you're sitting on your ass all the time. Screenwriting - bad for your health?

In other news, I went to the auditions for Prodigal Son last weekend and we found some brilliant actors. Which together with the crew we've put together makes for a movie. Yay! Only one more fundraiser to do, which will take the form of a quiz next Tuesday (30th March) at The Church on Jervis Street at 8pm. There will be questions, prizes, and a great M.C. So come along!


Supersize Me!

Reading M.C. Foley's article on the perils of the screenwriter's lifestyle (the junk food, the sedentary habits, the mid-afternoon drinking, the furtive smoking, you know the drill), I was reminded of a conversation from the Driskill Bar in Austin last October. A group of very tired screenwriters were lying around on sofas, talking. It was 3am. And a pair of very famous writers were talking about how hard it is to write and diet.

Because writing is structured around "little treats". I'll finish this page and I'll go and grab some chocolate. I'll finish this script and I'll treat myself to a really good lunch. Not to mention the fact that you're sitting on your ass all the time. Screenwriting - bad for your health?

In other news, I went to the auditions for Prodigal Son last weekend and we found some brilliant actors. Which together with the crew we've put together makes for a movie. Yay! Only one more fundraiser to do, which will take the form of a quiz next Tuesday (30th March) at The Church on Jervis Street at 8pm. There will be questions, prizes, and a great M.C. So come along!


Friday, March 19, 2010

To structure or not to structure...

I've been wondering recently about script structure. When does it become too formulaic? Sometimes you watch a movie and you can literally see the wheels turning. It's predictable and boring. Other times, a film is so random and disorganised that you find yourself longing for a bit of structure, just so you know what the hell's going on!

So is structure a necessary evil or a useful tool? I think it's the latter and here's why. If you look at a Picasso painting from his middle period and then one from his early years, you can see that this was a guy who understood the fundamentals of painting. He was able to paint like an Old Master before he started doing his radical modernist stuff. He started with the basics, then started tearing them apart. You have to know the rules before you can break them.

So I think if you're like me and only six or seven scripts in, it's way too early to start going all Memento and throwing normal structure out the window. Learn to master the blueprint for your thriller, horror or comedy and THEN head down the path of Charlie Kaufman. Otherwise your audience will leave the theatre scratching their heads and going, "What the hell was that?"

To structure or not to structure...

I've been wondering recently about script structure. When does it become too formulaic? Sometimes you watch a movie and you can literally see the wheels turning. It's predictable and boring. Other times, a film is so random and disorganised that you find yourself longing for a bit of structure, just so you know what the hell's going on!

So is structure a necessary evil or a useful tool? I think it's the latter and here's why. If you look at a Picasso painting from his middle period and then one from his early years, you can see that this was a guy who understood the fundamentals of painting. He was able to paint like an Old Master before he started doing his radical modernist stuff. He started with the basics, then started tearing them apart. You have to know the rules before you can break them.

So I think if you're like me and only six or seven scripts in, it's way too early to start going all Memento and throwing normal structure out the window. Learn to master the blueprint for your thriller, horror or comedy and THEN head down the path of Charlie Kaufman. Otherwise your audience will leave the theatre scratching their heads and going, "What the hell was that?"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You're not crazy if 13 other people are doing it....

If you're writing scripts then sooner or later it will be advantageous to start a screenwriting group. Here's a great post on exactly how to do that: http://www.ehow.com/how_4442263_start-screenwriters-critique-group.html

Joining a group is good because 
a. It will give you  a sense of community. Writing is a solo pursuit and if none of your friends or family are really interested in it, you may have no one to share your neuroses with. So, join a group and find some other film-obsessed people who like writing!
b. It gives you a chance to share your work and get feedback on it. Obviously this has to happen in a fair and equal, non-abusive way. Everyone has to check their guns at the door.
c. It keeps you honest. Being in the group will hopefully lead to you writing more and better scripts.

In short, I recommend it. Has anyone got any tips on screenwriting groups and the running/management/taking part aspects of them? Anyone had some really good speakers at a group? If so, feel free to share!

You're not crazy if 13 other people are doing it....

If you're writing scripts then sooner or later it will be advantageous to start a screenwriting group. Here's a great post on exactly how to do that: http://www.ehow.com/how_4442263_start-screenwriters-critique-group.html

Joining a group is good because 
a. It will give you  a sense of community. Writing is a solo pursuit and if none of your friends or family are really interested in it, you may have no one to share your neuroses with. So, join a group and find some other film-obsessed people who like writing!
b. It gives you a chance to share your work and get feedback on it. Obviously this has to happen in a fair and equal, non-abusive way. Everyone has to check their guns at the door.
c. It keeps you honest. Being in the group will hopefully lead to you writing more and better scripts.

In short, I recommend it. Has anyone got any tips on screenwriting groups and the running/management/taking part aspects of them? Anyone had some really good speakers at a group? If so, feel free to share!

Friday, March 5, 2010

How to Sell your Script

How to sell your script – the Holy Grail of screenwriters. A lot of people have an opinion on this and there is no end of advice available on the internet. By way of editing through a lot of crud, I thought I’d make a list of all the ways I’ve ever heard to flog your script, and then some.

1. The legendary query letter. Whether you do this in the form of an email or a hard copy letter, the principle is the same. You write a letter to a production company (or an agent if you’re trying to get one) and send them the best logline you have in the hope that they’ll request a copy of your script. Even armed with a copy of the Hollywood Directory, this is not a targeted method, as you have no way of knowing which production company will want your script (if any) and many of the directory entries end with the immortal words, “do not accept unsolicited entries”. Oh, and I’ve heard of things like 2% success rates. On the plus side, if you have a spare afternoon, it doesn’t take too long and if you have email addresses for any of the companies, it’s even faster.
2. You go to an event like a pitchfest or film festival and try and track down a producer who might be interested in optioning your script. This is a fine, targeted approach as long as you have some cajones and can actually get to the event in person.
3. Go to a lot of film parties. This works the same as number two except there’s more drinking and schmoozing involved.
4. Enter a prestigious screenwriting contest and place or win. You might get a script optioned simply on the back of this, but either way you can add the laurels to your film CV. You have one, right?
5. A new one that I hadn’t thought of until Bill Grundfest mentioned it in Logline (which I highly recommend) – you carry your scripts with you everywhere and as soon as you track down a likely candidate who asks “What do you do”, you respond with, “I’m a writer” and give them a copy of your script. Hmm. Bill claims this works 20% of the time but I have my doubts….
6. Last but not least, Joe Eszterhas advised trying this one: go to Hollywood, find an agent and give them the best blowjob of their lives. Folks, I think Joe’s been reading too many of his own scripts.

Any other brilliant ways of selling a script/getting it to the people who matter that I’ve missed? Let me know!

Also a reminder that if you’ve ever wanted to see your name on the credits of a movie, the film I’m producing can provide you with just that. For as little as 25 dollars, sit back and watch your name in large white type! See here….

How to Sell your Script

How to sell your script – the Holy Grail of screenwriters. A lot of people have an opinion on this and there is no end of advice available on the internet. By way of editing through a lot of crud, I thought I’d make a list of all the ways I’ve ever heard to flog your script, and then some.

1. The legendary query letter. Whether you do this in the form of an email or a hard copy letter, the principle is the same. You write a letter to a production company (or an agent if you’re trying to get one) and send them the best logline you have in the hope that they’ll request a copy of your script. Even armed with a copy of the Hollywood Directory, this is not a targeted method, as you have no way of knowing which production company will want your script (if any) and many of the directory entries end with the immortal words, “do not accept unsolicited entries”. Oh, and I’ve heard of things like 2% success rates. On the plus side, if you have a spare afternoon, it doesn’t take too long and if you have email addresses for any of the companies, it’s even faster.
2. You go to an event like a pitchfest or film festival and try and track down a producer who might be interested in optioning your script. This is a fine, targeted approach as long as you have some cajones and can actually get to the event in person.
3. Go to a lot of film parties. This works the same as number two except there’s more drinking and schmoozing involved.
4. Enter a prestigious screenwriting contest and place or win. You might get a script optioned simply on the back of this, but either way you can add the laurels to your film CV. You have one, right?
5. A new one that I hadn’t thought of until Bill Grundfest mentioned it in Logline (which I highly recommend) – you carry your scripts with you everywhere and as soon as you track down a likely candidate who asks “What do you do”, you respond with, “I’m a writer” and give them a copy of your script. Hmm. Bill claims this works 20% of the time but I have my doubts….
6. Last but not least, Joe Eszterhas advised trying this one: go to Hollywood, find an agent and give them the best blowjob of their lives. Folks, I think Joe’s been reading too many of his own scripts.

Any other brilliant ways of selling a script/getting it to the people who matter that I’ve missed? Let me know!

Also a reminder that if you’ve ever wanted to see your name on the credits of a movie, the film I’m producing can provide you with just that. For as little as 25 dollars, sit back and watch your name in large white type! See here….

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The new way to fundraise...

You have a short film you want to make - how do you raise money for it? I held a fundraising quiz in February which a lot of lovely people kindly attended, and we raised some money. Not bad but it still left us quite a bit short to shoot Prodigal Son, so I've been researching ways to raise the rest ever since.

There are still other in-person fundraisers, but another way to do it is online. That way anyone can donate a tenner, not just those free to show up at a pub in Dublin (unless you really, really want a pint of Heineken and a bag of Tayto). With that in mind, I've set up a profile of the movie on IndieGoGo, a great site for raising, well, indie funds. Check it out:


Other ways I've found of raising funds:

Here is a site with links to other sites that may pay you for showing your movie:
http://www.scottkirsner.com/webvid/gettingpaid.htm

Producers of a feature called Four Eyed Monsters got a contract with Youtube to a. be the first feature to debut on Youtube and b. sell banner ad space beside it. This was quite lucrative - look at this link and scroll down:

Has anyone else come up with any internet-related ways of getting money together for a flick?


The new way to fundraise...

You have a short film you want to make - how do you raise money for it? I held a fundraising quiz in February which a lot of lovely people kindly attended, and we raised some money. Not bad but it still left us quite a bit short to shoot Prodigal Son, so I've been researching ways to raise the rest ever since.

There are still other in-person fundraisers, but another way to do it is online. That way anyone can donate a tenner, not just those free to show up at a pub in Dublin (unless you really, really want a pint of Heineken and a bag of Tayto). With that in mind, I've set up a profile of the movie on IndieGoGo, a great site for raising, well, indie funds. Check it out:


Other ways I've found of raising funds:

Here is a site with links to other sites that may pay you for showing your movie:
http://www.scottkirsner.com/webvid/gettingpaid.htm

Producers of a feature called Four Eyed Monsters got a contract with Youtube to a. be the first feature to debut on Youtube and b. sell banner ad space beside it. This was quite lucrative - look at this link and scroll down:

Has anyone else come up with any internet-related ways of getting money together for a flick?