JUST BLOWING OFF SOME STEAM


I haven’t added anything to my blog for some time now and I always get nervous when I don’t. This probably wouldn’t be that big a deal to me, but I’m suppose to be existential which basically means in this context, this is a blog, therefore I should blog. Lacking anything incredibly meaningful to say, I thought I’d just write down what’s going on with me and my life. You know, the sort of thing that I find boring and makes other people want to hang themselves.
I may even try to do it on a more daily, dear diary sort of schedule. Which means in addition to being existential, I’m also a tad pathetic. But isn’t that the definition of a screenwriter in LA?
I’ve been a little frustrated this week because I’m suppose to be doing the next installment of a screenplay that I’m writing with a partner. The reason I’m frustrated is because the screenplay is actually going very well. I think we make a good partnership and the whole thing feels right. So it’s just annoyingly maddening that I’m not writing my guts out.
My main problem is that I’m busy with work, which is a good thing. The Slamdance Screenplay Competition and Regent Entertainment/Here! Networks has been keeping me pretty busy. So I’m not complaining. Well, I am complaining, that’s pretty obvious, but I’m trying to do it in a noncomplaining way because with the economy the way it is, I’m happy to have money coming in.
I was also suppose to have a staged reading of my screenplay Rough Trade in New York in October to start off a reading series for OTF (Out in Television and Film), but I couldn’t find a director. I found this quite mind boggling, but there it is. However, it turns out it might be for the best. One of the reasons I was going first in the series was that the one who was running the series was having difficulty finding a script to read that he liked (which made me feel pretty pleased with myself, to tell the truth). But it no longer looks like that is a problem and instead I’ll be kicking off the LA staged reading series beginning in January. The stress is off.
I’m also behind at doing my reviews of movies I’ve seen. In many ways, this is the area where I am most frustrated with myself. If you talked to my friends, they would all tell you that I can rarely shut up about the movies I’ve seen. But I still haven’t put my thoughts done on such flicks as Flame and Citron and Inglorious Bastards, among others.
Well, no matter what else, I got it all off my chest for a little while at least.

May 26, 2009, Cannes, Regent, Coverage, Peckinpah and Scrabble


I haven’t updated things in a while, so thought I just let my mind and fingers wander and try to come up with something to say.

I was excited to hear that Michael Haneke, who along with Pedro Almodovar, are my favorite filmmakers working today, won the Palme d’Or for his film The White Handkerchief.

For a complete list of Cannes winners

http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/cannes-film-festival-winners/

I had a meeting with a director this week who is excited about my script Rough Trade and wants to start promoting it as his next project. The meeting was great and very ego building. Of course, all of us in the industry know that this is a who knows situation, but keep your fingers crossed for me. The main thing we’re looking for is a producer who loves the script and knows how to raise money. Hey, we can dream, can’t we?

I’m been inundated with scripts to read from Here! Networks/Regent, Final Draft and it looks like Slamdance is about to start up with coverage work. It’s great, though daunting at the same time. Regent had a great article in the LA Times last week about how they are increasing their distribution of foreign, independent and art house movies even in this day of difficult economics.

I was involved in a wicket Scrabble Game on Monday. I started out with the word Swollen, using all my letters and on a triple word score (76 points). I only mention this to show you have desparate I am to come up with something to put in my blog.

I’m almost through with the biography of Sam Peckinpah. He’s about to direct the Osterman Weekend. As I’ve been saying, I also just read a book on the making of Rebel Without a Cause and on Orson Welles and I no longer feel as sorry for these directors as I do for the studios, producers, writers and actors who had to put up with them. One interesting bit of trivia: the actor who played Mapache, Emilio Fernandez, is one of Mexico’s most important filmmakers and was the model for the Oscar statuette.

DEPARTMENT OF SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT


Just a weekly catching up of what’s going on in my life.
I received positive comments back on my script for Here! Networks/Regent Entertainment. Any further notes are waiting until there is a production imminent. As everybody in the industry knows, getting a production can never be counted on until the movie is in the can (and even then, one sometimes wonders), so there is still no guarantee the film will be made. So wish me luck and keep sending out those Richard Gere positive karmic thoughts.
I just completed a workshop wherein I did revisions on my sci-fi film Revelation and I am pleased with the results.
Two theaters in England expressed interest in taking a closer look at some of my plays. One said they were going to have an in-house reading (just among the members, no audience) of Queen Christina Goes Roman. Again, keep those Richard Gere thoughts going.
I am starting up reading again for the Slamdance teleplay competition. Last year, I had to not participate due to too many conflicts. I am always looking for private consultation gigs, so if anybody knows of anyone, please pass my name and blogsite on to them.
I’m debating whether to take the long bus ride to go to the Nuart to see Moscow/Belgium or take the lazy way out and see the International today. Tomorrow night I may go to the LACMA for the Germany Divided movies of Escape from East Berlin and Funeral in Berlin.
Oscars Sunday. My guesses, Slumdog Millionaire (Ron Blagojovich has a new nickname: Slumdog Million Hair) for picture, director and adapted screenplay. Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, Heath Ledger, Penelope Cruz acting; and Milk best original screenplay.
Talk to everyone later.

Screenplay Consultation Philosophy and Fees


When providing coverage or script consultation, I am a firm believer in not providing feedback based on a set of rules one gets from a popular book on screenwriting. All coverage should be based on the idea of trying to make a script work on its own terms. I don’t care if a character is active, passive, or reactive, but only if the story works. I don’t care if there is a three act structure and the first act ends on page 30, but only if the story works. I don’t care if the central character has a character arc, but only if the story works. I am a great advocate of writers trying to break the rules and find new ways of communicating their visions.

My charge for script consultation is $150.00 and consists of doing three to four pages of detailed notes, making notes on the script (if a hard copy is provided) and a one hour in person consultation. Turn around time is one week or less.

I also provide four to five pages of notes alone (no notes on script, no in person consultation) for $50.00.

I began doing script consultation in 2003 for the Slamdance Screenplay Competition. That year and for the next three years I discovered the first place winner. I quickly became one of their top readers and my coverage is used as the sample on their web site. In addition, I have read for the Slamdance Teleplay Competition (where I discovered the first place winner the first year) and the Horror Screenplay Competition. Also through Slamdance, I originated and co-produced the Slamdance on Stage reading series in which the winners of the competitions were provided staged readings of their scripts at different legitimate theaters around town.

At the present time, I provide coverage and am a reader for the Slamdance Screenplay Competition and the Big Break Final Draft Screenplay Competition. I have also read for Here! Networks/Regent Entertainment, Creative World Awards, the African Film Commission Screenplay Competition and been a judge for the Great Gay Screenplay Contest.