Artists Who Have Most Influenced My Writing


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Finally, I have published a collection of three of my plays, 3 Plays, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08478DBXF as well as two collections of short stories, The Starving Artists and other stories, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FS91CKJ and The Five Corporations and the One True Church and other stories, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KY5Z3CF.

 

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

THE EAST IS EAST AND THE WEST IS WEST: Woody Allen’s Café Society


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I am now offering a new consultation 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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Warning: SPOILERS
rev 1In Woody Allen’s most recent attempt at making himself forget that he will have to die one day, or as it’s called in the state of the art, his latest film, Café Society, about a young man, Bobby (Allen stand in Jessie Eisenberg), who goes out to the West Coast to see if he wants to make a future there, the camera often glides around a scene with all the grace of Sonja Henri, even at times so smoothly it left me a little dizzy. I can’t remember the last time I saw Allen’s camera flow as much as it does here. Often of late, his camera feels as if it were following the old saying, what you see is what you get.
Its appearance was so refreshing at the beginning of the film, it had me hoping for something more than a typical 21st Century Woody Allen movie. But alas, though not a terrible night at the cinema, Café Society is only intermittently successful. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 11/13-11/20/15


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. 11/13-20/16
allenON NETFLIX: Woody Allen: A Documentary is an engrossing and exciting study written and directed by Richard B. Weide, who also produced Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s one the finest of the documentaries made for the PBS’ series American Masters.
MON HULU: Based on a real person, M, written by Thea von Harbou and Fritz Lang, who also directed, is a powerful and often frightening film about a child molester/murderer. Starring Peter Lorre in one of his greatest performances.
33FIRST RUN and OPENING: The 33, By The Sea, Miss You Already, Room, Spectre, The Peanuts Movie, Brooklyn, Spotlight, Trumbo, The Martian Continue reading

BORN AGAIN or PHOENIX IS AS PHOENIX DOES: Phoenix and Irrational Man


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
phoenixIn the U.S., much has been made of the lack of women’s roles in film, especially as they reach, in movie terms, the unmagical age of 40. There are many reasons for this, but the main one, I suggest, is that American filmmakers (directors, writers, producers) seem to have absolutely no interest in creating movies with women as central characters.
Though I’m not saying this isn’t a problem everywhere, it does seem to be far worse in the U.S. In other countries, especially of the European variety, for whatever reason (perhaps a topic for another time), actresses of all ages, but especially older ones, don’t seem to have that serious of a problem in this area.
In fact, it is not unusual for directors overseas to constantly use the same actress over and over again, often creating roles and movies as vehicles for them. Claude Chabrol loved, while Michael Haneke loves, using Isabel Huppert. André Téchiné seems to worship the ground that Catherine Deneuve walks on. Francois Ozon has a thing for Charlotte Rampling. And who can forget Lars Von Trier’s constant use of Charlotte Gainsborough.
And from Germany we have writer/director Christian Petzold who has little trouble finding interesting and effective roles for his latest muse: Nina Hoss (quickly becoming one of the world’s more impressive actors). Together they have made several films, from the existential Yella; the unofficial remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice, Jerichow; the cold war thriller, Barbara; and now the Holocaust drama, Phoenix. Continue reading

ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL: Variations on structural engineering and storytelling when it comes to screenplays, PART THREE: SURREALISM, IMPRESSIONISM and OTHER DEPARTURES FROM REALITY


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

 

pans labyrnthI have been writing a series of essays in the hope of directing screenwriters to films that use alternative ways of structuring or telling their stories. My goal is to try to open writers up to a wider array of ways to create their vision.
I mean, it really amazes me sometimes when I realize just what has been done out there over the years in screenwriting, what can and has been achieved.
And film is an incredible medium whose possibilities simply seem boundless.
But what drove me to write these essays is that in the last five or six years of reading screenplays for contests and a production company, I have found scripts to be fewer and farther between that really take chances; try to do something different; that have a unique vision.
Instead, for me, there has been an increasing sameness to what I’ve been coming across. 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

LOVE, DEATH and LOVE & DEATH: Fading Gigolo, Blue Ruin and Nymphomaniac: Vol. II


fading gigiloFading Gigolo is about a man, Fioravante, who, without intending to in any way, shape or form, falls into being a gigolo (don’t you just hate it when that happens?).
It’s written by, directed by and stars John Turturro. But it probably should be noted that it co-stars Woody Allen. The reason this is significant is that in many ways, Fading Gigolo is a Woody Allen film that isn’t written by, isn’t directed by, and doesn’t star the famed writer/director himself.
It has the wit of a Woody Allen film. It deals with the Woody Allen themes of love and neuroses. It takes place in New York. Woody Allen is in it.
Hamilton Burger, I rest my case. Continue reading