POP ART, EPISODE 56: Streets of Fire/The Professionals

 NAPPED TIME: “Tonight is the night to be young.” Don’t you hate when this happen? Someone abducts a loved one. Takes them far away. And you have to go after them and bring them back. And you haven’t even had your coffee yet. Sounds like it’s time for Episode 56 of Pop Art, the podcast where my guest chooses a movie from popular culture, and I’ll select a film from the more art/classic/indie side of cinema with a connection to it. For this episode, I am happy to welcome as my guest, TV producer Casey O’Connor (Ridiculousness), who has chosen the Walter Hill rock and roll action film, Streets and Fire, while I have chosen Richard Brooks revisionist western and Burt Lancaster vehicle, The Professionals, both films inspired by the Iliad in which a group of people are sent to retrieve a loved one who has been abducted.

And in this episode, we answer such questions as: Why did Streets of Fire lose money? What was odd about Diane Lane’s age in Streets of Fire? What is revisionist about The Professionals? How did Amy Madigan’s role change once she was cast? What was odd about the directing category of the 1967 Oscars? Where did the title of Streets of Fire come from and what happened in connection to it? What was the ninth most popular movie at the French box office in 1966? What famous comedian can be seen as an extra in Streets of Fire? What is Richard Brooks most lasting contribution to film noir and what did the censors do? Which song from Streets of Fire became a top 10 Billboard hit in 1984? What is the Blasters and would you want to be one?

Be sure and check out Casey’s show on MTV: Ridiculousness

And check out his cool lamps made from VHS tapes at https://www.voltagevhs.com/

Check out my blog at https://howardcasner.wordpress.com/

My books, More Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, The Starving Artists and Other Stories and The Five Corporations and One True Religion can be found at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=howard+casner&ref=nb_sb_noss

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Artists Who Have Most Influenced My Writing

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Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out the second edition of my screenwriting book, More Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader published on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GD1XP9Y

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For my next blog entry, I thought I would list and discuss those writers and artists that have influenced my writing. The influences have changed over the years. Some of the authors that influenced my writing when I was younger, in high school and college, say, have been replaced as I grew older and as I encountered other artists who more reflected how my view of the world had changed over the years.


I still tend to explore the same themes and issues as I did when I was just starting out. I was always asking the same questions: What is the point to everything? Is there a point? Why are we here? Why do we exist? Is there a God? How we do live life in a world that is both inherently logical and makes sense as well as inherently illogical and absurd and chaotic? Continue reading

YOU WANT ME TO READ WHAAAAAAT? A Snob’s Guide to Alternative Sources for Structure in Plotting for Screenplay and TV Writing, Part V: Philosophical Depth

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
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essay 11This is the fifth in a series of essays about alternative sources for structure and plotting for screenplays and television series (for earlier entry in the series, see the bottom of the essay).
By alternative, I mean sources other than the usual tomes written by the usual gurus, sources you might not immediately think about, that can be used as guides in trying to tell your story, sources that you might not have even considered of any use in this area.
The idea of writing these essays originated with the sudden rise of what is now being called a second golden age of television, as well as a paradigm shift in the way movies are made. There are now so many different ways of telling a story on television, while in movies there has been a swing away from the Hollywood/Studio type of filmmaking, that I believe thinking outside the box when it comes to finding ways to tell stories might be a wise move to make at this time.
However, before proceeding any further, I would also like to say one other thing. You may look at many of my lists and recoil at the hoity-toityness of them all and even accuse me of being a snob.
Well, what can I say? I am a snob and I’m proud of it.
But I seriously doubt it would hurt anyone’s ability to write if they let a little more snobbishness in. In fact, it might help. You never know, so give it a try.
And this essay will probably be the snobbiest of the snobbiest in that it focuses on films that take a lot of their cues from philosophers, theologians and great thinkers. These are films that really try to get to the heart of what makes us, well, us; what is the meaning of the universe; why were are here at all; why there is something instead of nothing; what is the point of being alive at all. These are questions that artists have been dealing with since time immemorial, and they still influence us today.
These are sources that have given guidance and depth to films since their inception and have influenced directly or indirectly such filmmakers as Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Martin Scorcese, Paul Schrader, Woody Allen, Michael Haneke, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Michelangelo Antoinioni and many, many others. Continue reading