OK, let’s go back to the archives and check out some more gems–nuggets–tidbits–from the Script Magazine files. This is meant as a taste, a sampler of articles you might have missed. Thanks to Jeanne Bowerman, my editor at Script Mag, for compiling these. If you want to see the contributors’ blogs, go here. The website is found here. Vamos!
- THE HOLLYWOOD FOOD CHAIN
I like Doug Richardson’s voice. He breaks me up with the truth. In my days with William Morris I took meetings at a reasonably high level, but if you wanna know the “behind the lines” sound of Hollywood, go no further than this guy. The full article is here. And a taste:
“Countless times I’ve been in meetings or on phone calls where producers or agents are making promises or assertions about the next step in the process.
“This is exactly what Alfonso Cuaron is looking for,” an agent might say. “I just had a signing dinner with him and this pretty much describes what he wants to do. I’ll send it right over to him.”
Translation? Maybe the producer knows the director. Maybe he even had dinner with him. Or maybe he was at a dinner attended by the director. Or perhaps in the same restaurant where the director was dining. The fact is, whatever this meeting or the resulting memo was, the agency made a big signing and is throwing every resource it has at the director in hopes to please its newest big-time client. That means every script, cast member, and notion for potential revenue is at their disposal. So it’s of veritable importance that despite the bona fide or bullshit representations of my agent, I needed to know where I was in the food chain and the process of my screenplay would undergo finding its laborious way to Alfonso’s reading pile. Otherwise, I might walk away from the meeting actually imagining my agent personally emailing my script directly to the director’s bedside iPad with a subject line that says: DROP EVERYTHING AND READ THIS NOW!”
- NEOPHYTE MAKES GOOD
This is the story that drives 8000+ specs scripts to the Nicholl Fellowship. This is why tens of thousands of scripts are registered every year with the Writer’s Guild. Spec script, new writer, Studio purchase. And Peditto said it never happens!
I’m an ex-craps dealer, so sue me, I think in terms of probabilities. The LIKELIHOOD is…this will never happen to you. Lottery winner. What’s that like? What did he do to make it happen?
Thanks to my editor Jeanne Bowerman for this interview of Eric Keonig, writer of Matriarch, which was just purchased by Paramount.
Good Reader, prove me wrong… Go and do likewise!
Think tomato soup. The Warhol can. A product. Campbell’s could choose to sell that product as a single can on the shelf stocked back to infinity. Or… it could create Cream of Mushroom. Cream of Chicken. Chicken Noodles… same product, soup, but a different take on each. This is an oversimplified explanation of Transmedia. Think about how many different ways Star Trek has been sold to us, how many different variations of TV and film re-incarnation–but always Star Trek. How about something a little more offbeat? Look at Green Day’s American Idiot–starting out as the album, last year moving onto Broadway as a play, not to mention the documentary film following Billy Joe Armstrong’s journey from punk rocker to Broadway impresario. Same product, different incarnations. That’s Transmedia.
Now, if you want a REAL explanation on why it seems like every new show on Broadway was a movie first….check out this thoughtful article by Tyler Weaver on Transmedia And Writing Exposition. Here’s a taste: “”Transmedia storytelling is, at this point, in a continuing state of definitional flux and while this is a detriment to most discussion and analysis of it, it’s a wonderful thing for creative people; it’s the mythical blank slate. It is what you make it.”
- SOMETIMES THE BEST SCRIPT IS NO SCRIPT
This great article by Clive Davies-Frayne dares to speak that which is never spoken on screenwriting blogs– what would happen if you didn’t need to write a script to make a movie? Sounds like blasphemy, until you realize that what he’s talking about isn’t without precedent:
“As I said, working without a script isn’t a new process in the film world. Directors like Mike Leigh have been “working out” scenes with their actors, without a formal script, for years. Filmmakers like Drake Doremus, Grand Jury Prize winner at the 2011 Sundance Festival, are building good careers using similar techniques. These directors are able to work without a formal script, simply because they understand how to work creatively with actors. What’s also clear, is people who make films this way, have a deep and intimate knowledge of storytelling. They’re not just “making it up as they go along.” They have a plan, a story and, in many respects, a deeper understanding of their characters, and the craft of storytelling, than most screenwriters.
The idea that you can build a movie based on a beat sheet, character backstories and knowledge of how to work with actors, is only one script-free route to creating a movie. The other route is a pure cinema methodology. By pure cinema, I mean it is possible to see a film as nothing more than a series of images; images that create a story through the juxtaposition of concepts. The film is just a series of visual moments; visual moments that can be organised using nothing more than a storyboard. This kind of filmmaking requires a completely different view of the filmmaking process, than is normal or acceptable for most screenwriters. To work like this, the film’s creator has to think more like an editor than a writer. It’s the kind of filmmaking that owes its origins to the work of filmmakers like Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov.
The question is, if it’s possible to make great films without a formal script, which it is, what can screenwriters learn from these approaches?”