YOUNG GIRLS IN LOVE: God Help the Girl and The Last of Robin Hood


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

 

Warning: SPOILERS
God-Help-the-Girl1The new movie God Help the Girl, writer/director Stuart Murdoch’s maiden voyage of a film, has, at its core, a group of young people who must be the best dressed teens on the face of the planet.
Now, I don’t know whether to call their style hipster, retro, throwback or ironic (or, as one of my college professors once had included on his multiple choice tests, e. all of the above, f. none of the above, or g. some of the above, please specify), but I do know that everyone on screen is dressed within an inch of their lives in outfits that made me think they did nothing all day but stand in front of a mirror, mixing and matching, matching and mixing. Continue reading

COMMON CLICHES, STALE STORYLINES AND MAJOR MISTAKES, OH, MY!: Another year of reading is now over


UntitledFirst, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

Well, it’s that time of the year again, kiddos.
And by that, I don’t mean my birthday, Yom Kippur or Chinese New Year’s.
I have now finished reading for the major competitions that I read for every year. And I must say, I read some pretty marvelous stuff this time round by authors who are ambitious and who have an immense amount of talent.
Okay. Enough accentuating the positive. Let’s dive for the dirt.
Now that this reader period has come to an end, I have made a list of the most common clichés, overdone and stale storylines and major mistakes that I’ve run across this year, issues that would have had me pulling my hair out in frustration if I wasn’t already bald. Continue reading

DEPARTMENT OF SELF AGGRANDIZEMENT–GIFF and AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL entry


UntitledThe big news is that my screenplay The Last Tree Standing Motel has made the semi-finals, or top 1% of entries, or the top 30 drama screenplays at the Austin Film Festival screenplay competition. I’m making plans to attend the festival at the end of October.

In addition, The Last Tree Standing Motel was also selected by the Glendale International Film Festival competition (I’m not sure how to categorize this, but since I’m eligible to be selected for portions of the screenplay to be staged read; invited to the awards ceremony; and can attend the festival for free, this may equate to finals).

I would now like to make a request: The Last Tree Standing Motel has done well in five contests as of now: It is a finalist in the London Screenplay Competition; a semi-finalist in the All Access Screenplay Competition; so far, semi-finalist in the Page Screenplay Competition; selected by the GIFF competition; and now, so far, a semi-finalist and top 1% of Austin.

I need a favor (of course). I’m looking for representation (either manager or agent). If you have anyone you can recommend me to, or if there is anyone you can ask whether they are looking for new clients (often the best way to go), I would greatly appreciate it. Also, I’m looking for directors, producers, actors, etc. to forward the screenplay to.

Anything you can do or any ideas or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated

LOGLINE: The Last Tree Standing Motel: After two hired killers murder someone at a remote motel, they receive a call from their boss telling them they can’t leave the motel until he gives them permission; so they find their lives intermingling with the regulars while they wait and they wait and they…wait, trying to make sense of something that makes less and less sense as time goes by.

A self-contained, neo-noir, tragicomedy. Waiting for Godot meets In Bruges.

 

HEAD CASES: Life of Crime and Frank


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
Warning: SPOILERS
Life-Of-Crime-Movie-Trailer-635x316If it is true, as people say, that films influence how we act, then I’m not sure why people are still in the kidnapping biz. I mean, if there is one thing movies have taught us, from Fargo to High and Low to Taken to Misery, that kidnapping thingy just never works out well for those who take to it.
And now we have Life of Crime, written and directed by Daniel Schechter (based on a novel by the immensely popular as well as well respected author Elmore Leonard titled The Switch), the latest variation on the O’Henry short story, The Ransom of Red Chief, in which someone is kidnapped whom the one being extorted the ransom would be just as happy if they were never returned. Continue reading

An up-to-date list of all the interviews and podcasts I’ve done so far for my book Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader


UntitledI thought I would take this opportunity to relist all the various interviews and podcasts that have occurred since the publication of my book Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader. In these various tête-á-tátes, I talk about the state of screenwriting today.

The book grew out of my experience as a screenplay reader and the issues that I often see arising. For those of you who are regularly submitting your screenplay to producers, agents, directors, and competitions, you might find it of interest.

And feel free to visit my blog at Howardcasner@wordpress.com for more information about myself and the various services I provide.

Let me know what you think:

With Jasper Cole on On the Set with Jasper Cole: http://ow.ly/B2r3k

With Ann Kimbrough on Screenwriters Beat: http://ow.ly/B2qjk

With Jesse Ikeman on Craft Truck: http://ow.ly/B2rj8

With Hilliard Guess and Lisa Bolekaja on Screenwriters Rant Room: http://ow.ly/B2qRd

And, of course, the book is available on Amazon at http://ow.ly/B2rCv

LOVE AND DEATH AND ALL POINTS IN BETWEEN: To Be Takei, Jealousy and Love is Strange


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
Warning: SPOILERS
to-be-takei-george-takei-in-star-trekOh, My!
               George Takei
I once worked at a movie theater that was frequented by celebrities of every make and model. For some reason, the bigger the name (Queen Latifah, Colin Farrel) the less the effect they had on me. I’d do my job and they’d go on their way with nary an increase in my pulse or heart rate.
It was often the second tier celebrities (for lack of a better phrase) that got me tongue tied and turned me into a flibbertigibbet.   I’m not sure why.
They may not have been as great an actor as Marlon Brando, but they just always seemed to give me more joy.
Anyway, for what it is, there it is.
And there it was when I was face down at the customer service desk and looked up and there was George Takei…and I froze. He had been such a part of my youth from the first episode of Star Trek, a series of mixed quality in looking back today, of course, but at the time had a palpable impact on me and many of my friends.

Continue reading

NOTHING UP HIS SLEEVE: My take on the Woody Allen film Magic in the Moonlight


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
Warning: SPOILERS
DSCF9550.RAF
God is dead, Nietzsche; Nietzsche is dead, God.
         Bathroom Graffiti

 

Woody Allen, almost a national treasure now as far as I’m concerned, has always been something of a clever parodist.
He can imitate anything, both seriously and satirically, from Bergman (Love & Death, Interiors and Husbands and Wives amongst a ton of others) to Fellini (Stardust Memories) to Kafka and Bertolt Brecht (Shadows and Fog) to documentaries (Take the Money and Run and Zelig) to almost anything else.
Now we have a new set of authors that Allen has mined for a movie. His latest foray into cinematic creativity, Magic in the Moonlight, a story about a magician trying to prove that a psychic is a fraud in the 1920’s south of France, is basically Noel Coward and Somerset Maughm with a lead character that is straight out of Shaw’s Pygmalion as if written by Nietzsche. Continue reading