GROWING PAINS: Breathe and A Brilliant Young Mind


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
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
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
breatheMelanie Laurent is an artist probably best known in the U.S. for her role as the Jewish girl who escapes the clutches of Christoph Waltz in the opening of the film Inglourious Basterds. But she doesn’t seem to be somebody who is only going to do one thing. Not only does she sing, but she has also branched out into directing and screenwriting.
Her most recent film, Breathe (her second feature), written by her and Julien Lambroschini from a novel by Anne-Sophie Brasme, is a very assured character study of Charlie, a high school teenager who suddenly finds her outer and inner world spiraling out of control.
The cause of this chaos is the arrival at her school of a transfer student, Sarah. At first Sarah seems sweet and good natured (in a rather clever little opening bit on her first appearance) and she quickly and very determinedly ingratiates herself into Charlie’s life.
But it’s not long before the audience sees what Charlie can’t. That Sarah has a darker aspect to her personality. In fact, it almost immediately becomes clear that Sarah is a sociopath. She quickly manipulates Charlie into dropping her present best friend without Charlie realizing she has done so. And it’s not long before the two new friends are inseparable. Continue reading

HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with Jason Cusato, author of When Broomsticks Were King and A Box Came To Brooklyn


This is the next post in a series of interviews with writers who have had their first films, web series, television assignment, etc. make it to the big or small or computer screen. It is an effort to find out what their journey was to their initial success.
First, a word from our sponsors. I am now offering a new service: take the Howard Casner 20 pages for $20.00 screenplay challenge. So much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one.
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
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
 
jay casuto 3
Next up: an interview with Jason Cusato, author of When Broomsticks Were King and A Box Came To Brooklyn
 
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1975 Jason Cusato infuses a trademark style into his works, which incorporates Brooklyn flavor and skilled filmmaking. Jason’s experiences from being born and raised in Brooklyn is a major influence on his work and has shaped his career as an award-winning independent filmmaker. Cusato has over 40 film projects to his credit; ranging from feature films to short film, documentaries, sketch comedy, commercial work, live shows and music videos working as director, editor, producer and/or co-writer on each project.
Cusato’s first feature as writer, “When Broomsticks Were King”, a documentary about Brooklyn stickball and the heroes who played the game, was accepted into over a dozen film festivals winning several honors. His feature film, “Apostles of Park Slope” was the headlining film at 2010 Manhattan Film Festival and won Best Comedy Feature.
Cusato continues to exhibit his passion for not only filmmaking but his love for Brooklyn with his new short comedy titled “A Box Came to Brooklyn” about a Brooklyn street in the midst of gentrification swept into turmoil when a mysterious box appears out of nowhere, turning neighbor against neighbor.
Cusato is also Festival Director of the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival; an international film festival to showcase films and filmmakers that all have a meaningful connection to Brooklyn now going into its fifth year.
“It may be possible that no one loves Brooklyn more than Jason Cusato, the Park Slope movie maker, who makes films about his borough to capture its ever-changing charm.”
Filmmakers magazine May 13, 2013 by Stewart Nusbaumer
  1. What is the name of your first screenplay that was produced, or your first project that was produced, or your first writing assignment?
when broomsticks“When Broomsticks were King” was the first. Broomsticks is a documentary about stickball in Brooklyn, N.Y. and the heroes who played the game. It was the first time I took an idea, turned it into a script, then produced it, shot it, directed and edited the entire project myself. My cousin Scott Nawrocki came in at the end to help with sound editing and a friend gave me editing feedback but I did pretty much did everything else myself.
  1. Can you tell us a bit about the journey as to how it came about?
Watching HBO series “When it was a Game” was really my first inspiration to make a documentary about Brooklyn stickball. The HBO series was about baseball in the 40s, 50s and 60s when most ball players had 2 jobs to pay the bills and baseball was a side thing. They played for the love of the game not for money. Continue reading

FUHGEDDABOUDIT: Coming Home and Black Mass


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
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
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
In 1942, Ronald Colman played a character so shell shocked by the trenches of World War I that he walked out of the hospital where he was recovering, having no idea who he was.
He was taken in by a singer in a vaudeville house (Greer Garson), fell in love and the two married. Then years later, he suddenly, out of nowhere, remembered who he really was, but totally forget that his wife existed. He discovers he’s the scion of a wealthy family and eventually runs for political office, not knowing that his secretary is actually his wife.
This movie is Random Harvest and is perhaps the most romantic and delirious use of amnesia in film. But amnesia has always been a useful tool of storytelling, whether romantic (here and in Law of Desire) or in thrillers (Mr. Budwing and Mirage) or comedy (The Hangover and 50 First Dates).
coming homeComing Home, written by Jingzhi Zou and directed by Yimou Zhang, falls into the more melodramatic end of the spectrum like Random Harvest. It’s unabashedly sentimental and relishes in a sort of 1930’s studio romanticism tone and style, though the grittiness makes it more Warner Brothers than MGM. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 9/25-10/2/2015


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my 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. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,
 
And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 9/25-10/2/2015
zathuraON NETFLIX: Zathura: A Space Adventure is one of, if not perhaps, the best movie Jon Favreau has directed (and, yes, I know he directed Iron Man). Written by David Koepp (whose first film Apartment Zero seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth for some unclear reason) and John Kamps (he also acted in Keopp’s first film Apartment Zero which seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth for some unclear reason), from a book by Chris Van Allsburg, it’s a clever and exciting story about an older and younger who play a mysterious game in which their moves come to life. Starring Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson as the brothers; Dax Shepard as the Astronaut; and Kristen Stewart in an early role as the annoying sister. A fun time in the theater for young and old.
themON HULU: Written and directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud, Them is a very creepy and scary thriller about a husband and wife who are renovating their new home in the country. Slowly they realize something is in the house, but is it supernatural or deadly real? Based on a true story.
under the sunSPECIAL SHOWINGS: Laemmle’s Royal is having a Maurice Pialat, the controversial and influential French director who died in 2003. Included are Graduate First, Van Gogh, Loulou, The Mouth Agape and his Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Under the Sun of Satan.
sicarioFIRST RUN and OPENING: Sicario, 99 Homes, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Wildlike, Stonewall, Black Mass, Sleeping With Other People, Pawn Sacrifice, The New Girlfriend, A Brilliant Young Mind, Breathe, Goodnight Mommy, Coming Home, The Second Mother, Grandma

Continue reading

HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with Julius Kelly, author of Forgiveness and Ploy


This is the next post in a series of interviews with writers who have had their first films, web series, television assignment, etc. make it to the big or small or computer screen. It is an effort to find out what their journey was to their initial success.
First, a word from our sponsors. I am now offering a new service: take the Howard Casner 20 pages for $20.00 screenplay challenge. So much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one.
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
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
 
Next up: an interview with Julius Kelly, author of Forgiveness and Ploy
 
kellyJulius Kelly has been making films since 2006.  He has worked on several television projects under MojoCreative Group: “The Mun2 Look,” where he served as second assistant camera, which aired on Mun2 television network, and “E Asylum,” where he served as a host from 2007 to 2010, which airs on TUN (The University Network).   Aside from directing, Kelly’s credits also include actor, entertainment writer, producer, assistant director, cameraman, and casting director.
In 2010 Kelly co-founded the production company Sunnyside Down Productions with Giancarlo Orellana and Christina Chu, to produce and promote independent film projects.  At this time, Sunnyside Down Productions has gained numerous accolades around the country and continue to set a goal of independent filmmaking.
Be sure to visit www.teamsunny.net to view their work.
  1. What is the name of your first screenplay that was produced, or your first project that was produced, or your first writing assignment?
The name of my first screenplay that was produced was titled “Forgiveness”. The short film was completed in 2009 and made its festival circuit run in 2010.
  1. Can you tell us a bit about the journey as to how it came about?
Forgiveness 1The idea was constructed to actually be a sequel for a film that was entitled “Hustler’s Last Score” that I wrote after I graduated from college. It took a process to write for these characters and figure out exactly how to give them a proper send off. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 9/18-9/25/2015


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my 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. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,
 
And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 9/18-9/25/2015
hackersON NETFLIX: Let’s go retro this Friday by recommending Rafael Moreu and Iain Softley’s 1995 Hackers, a thriller that pits a group of overaged teens who are experts at computers against a super villain. The film introduced many of us to Johnny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie and also includes a very, very funny Matthew Lillard. A neat little film that was underrated at the time and deserves a second look.
tokyo twilightON HULU: Kogo Noda and Yasujio Ozu’s 1957 Tokyo Twilight is perhaps Ozu’s most melodramatic and tragic film and was, as I understand it, a critical and box office failure. Well, mistakes happen. A little long, but still a deeply moving film about two sisters who are having relationship problems; one has left her husband because he drinks too much and can’t get his life together and the other is pregnant by her boyfriend who she has a hard time finding. Beautiful and touching, it stars two of Ozu’s stalwarts, Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara.
reunion 1A Reunion, Hernando Bansuelo, Michael Lovan and Josh Watson’s story of two estranged friends traveling to their college reunion, opens for a one week run at the Laemmle Music Box. I did an interview with Bansuelo and Watson for my Hey! We All Had To Start Somewhere series and can be found at http://ow.ly/SoCyd.
black massFIRST RUN and OPENING: Black Mass, Sicario, Sleeping With Other People, Pawn Sacrifice, The New Girlfriend, A Brilliant Young Mind, Breathe, Goodnight Mommy, Coming Home, The Visit, Grandma, Straight Outta Compton, Diary of a Teenage Girl, The Second Mother Continue reading

Two new testimonials for my screenplay coverage service.


For my $20.00 for 20 pages

“Howard’s insights on the first 20 pages of my screenplay were very insightful and pinpointed exactly what areas I needed to work on. His words of encouragement also showed me I was on the right track.”

Jordan Brandes, Into the Fire

 

For my $50.00 coverage

What I have learned from Howard Casner’s consultation has proven itself to be invaluable.  I truly believe that his skill and honesty has made me a better writer.  Believe me when I say I mean every word of it.  I will be asking for more consultations in the future.

Ferris E. Jones, Published Author and Screenwriter, Last Weekend in L.A.

 

For more information on my service go to http://ow.ly/SfpYn; my e-mail is hcasner@aol.com.