Saturday, July 23, 2005

A book a week... Yea right!

I decided I would read/re-read all of my screenwriting books over again in light of me getting back in to writing screenplays. I have close to 10 of them, if not more(Don't know the exact number because I'm writing this from work) and have read most. I'm trying to read one a week (7 day week) because I have other books I'm also reading and have since put on hold. The main reason I'm re-reading them is because they are supposed to be used for reference and I haven't gone back and read any more then once.

The first book I'll be reading is: The 101 habits of highly successful screenwriters: Insider secrets from Hollywoods top writers. This was one of my favorites out off all the ones I own. I highly recommend it. I think this should be one of the first book people new to screenwriting must read. The book is formatted in an interview style with some of the businesses top screenwriting professionals answering questions that everyone wants to ask but can't get close enough to do so. If you on the fence about whether you want to be a screenwriter, what it takes to be one or any other question, I'm sure this book has the answer.

Explained by the Author:

This book is not intended to replace any of the books on craftsmanship. As
Robert McKee says,"No one needs another recipe book to reheat Hollywood
leftovers." Whereas the more then one hundred books on the craft attempt to
teach the reader what to do, this book outlines, by
asking those who are already doing it successfully, how to do it. It focuses on the necessary habits, so
that the "how" becomes second nature to you. In other words, it explains how to be a screenwriter.

This book departs from the established interview books in that its
structure is organized by topic rather the by individual interview, following a
much more efficient model of reverse engineering. In other words, it focuses on a
particular habit, trait, or indispensable skill, and then has a group of highly
successful screenwriters share their thoughts on the subject, much like a panel
of experts discussing a specific topic.

I will list the other books as I get to them, but now I have to go read this
one as I am already behind.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Up and at em'.

Couldn't sleep again so I decided to write some more. Knocked out 2 more pages. Could have done more but I like to stop in the middle so when I return I'll have a jump start instead of just sitting in front of the computer. I'm developing a theme lately, first I start writing and get a good flow going. Then I get stuck, nothing to bad, just caught with trying to find the right dialogue. So, I take a break and make myself a Tazo Chia Tea with soy. This comes at the right time and hits the spot. After this I'm good for another hour or two.

I started thinking this short script would be about 20 to 25 pages. As it stands right now I'm on page 10 and about 40 to 45% done so I' right on pace give or take a few pages. I'm thinking 20 seems about right. The progress bar on the right is based on 25 pages so that might jump as I get closer towards the end of the script. I also did a few updates to the links. Check them out!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Burning the midnight oil.

Last night after not being able to stay asleep, I decided I would use my time productively and knocked out 4 pages from my Connected script. Everything is coming along just right. Writing with a outline sure does help. Even with the outline I still find out new things about my characters that I didn't know. It's fun when a character you thought was just going to have a few lines develops into something totally different.

Part of the script takes place in a taxi cab. I didn't think the driver was going to say much, but as I was writing it I just kept placing dialogue in that characters mouth - or he just kept talking however you look at it - and it make the story a lot better.

I also did a little more writing on my outline for Larry. All in all, this was a very productive night. Hope to have more!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I've been bad.

I haven't worked on any project in a few day so I must discipline my self.

I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.

Now back to work!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I'm done and can't wait to start!

I just got finished the Outline for my short screenplay Connected. I started on April 10th, 2005 and just finished. Was it hard? No! Was I lazy? Yes! I could have done this a lot faster but I think taking my time has made it that much better. I should be able to finish the screenplay in far less time. One of the "tools" I use for writing/outlining I got from the Screenplay Workbook.

The book is exactly what the name says it is. I only use two or three workbook sheets as I find the plotting ones to be a bit cookie cutter. The scene worksheet is the one I use the most because, well, there are more scenes in a screenplay then anything else. I like the way it breaks it down for you. At the early point of my screenplay this is all I need. The few lines it provides is more then enough. On the worksheet there is a section that lets you list the characters present in a scene. There are 12 line for you to fill in and I never thought I would need more then five of them. Well, one scene of my screenplay takes place in a court room. As I was writing this out I filled in eleven of the twelve lines. Do all these people speak? Not at all, but I thought it was important to list them so when I writing the screenplay I wouldn't forget them. I will be filming this short in the near future and didn't want to miss a small detail like the court reporter or bailiff and on the day the scene is to be shot I then relies that I'm missing the Magistrates Court clerk.

These sheets list enough to get you started but not enough to write out the who screen. This is all I need. It leaves room to discover more as you start to write your first draft. Another sheet I use a lot is the Character Development worksheet. This lets you give the develop your characters background down to their quirks and vices. Could I do all this in a mean copybook? Sure I could and I have but this way works for me. It keeps everything organized and in its place. I do use a regular copy book before I even get to this point to just sketch out ideas. This works for me, what works for you?

Monday, July 04, 2005

On the way out.


And she didn't even pose! Nice Pic!

William Penn views from a distance.

She's excited!

Won't remember shit.

Don't walk

Lazy people!


Time to rub in the sun block

And he didn't even pose! Nice pic!

Funny Faces

Mmmmm, water!

What was her name?

Anshu Ponders...

Cat Nap.

Deep Thoughts.

Mr. Smith on the screen!

Gina and Sarah.

Flag waving.

Point At The Screen!

Another Nice Seat!

Pee-Pee's Little Helper.


The closest I got to the stage.

Yup, even HE couldn't miss this!

Brotherly Love?

Nice Seat.

The Screen.

Great hairline!

Sleepy Head.

The Stage.

The crowd

Live 8 pics

On the way in.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Live 8.

WOW! How fun was that? After staying awake for 28 hours I might not be able to properly express how I feel about what I just witnessed, but I'll try. It all started way back on Friday at 2:00pm. I woke up after a long night of reading and revising a script of mine. I had to be in work at 10:00pm and planned to meet The Buonanno for dinner. After dinner, which consisted of us sharing a bowl of cold stone creamery ice cream, I went to put in my 10 hours at work.

Saturday, after waiting for, getting passed by and finally taking the train into the city packed like sardines, we were on our way. As we emerged from the trains underground exit, there was already a buzz from the 100's of thousands that had the fortune to precede me on this journey. The first thing I noticed was the eerie landscape void of cars. The streets we passed are some of the widest in the city and without cars you could see what looked like a mass exodus heading toward the parkway and Art Museum. Walking toward the parkway, if you looked straight ahead you would see a sea of people jockeying for position, but if you looked to your left or your right you would see the nearly empty street with the next intersection bulging with people walking in the same direction as you were.

In the few blockeds we had to walk from the train station to the parkway you could buy all kinds of tee shirts, buttons, hats, sunglasses, bracelets and any other thing you could think of, all with the Live 8 logo or the performing acts all over them. The most interesting thing was the seemingly ordinary people with regular BB&Q coolers that you would find at any cookout selling water. I knew I would see people doing this but I thought they would at least have better means of selling their swag. Next time I'll get my own cooler and make a few bucks.

Around 10:00 we arrived at the parkway to what turned out to be a smaller crowd then I had anticipated. This wouldn't stay that way for long. Luckily for us we had people holding a spot for us. We got as close as the first jumbo screen after the stage. We situate ourselves on the far right side of the screen with barely enough room for us to see it. For the next 2 hours we would walk around taking in the event as the jumbo screens played AOL sessions until the main event started.

At around 12:05 the host and Philly's own Mr. Will Smith shouts Phillllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!. Any signs of tiredness have just left. After being up for 22 hours up until that point, having the city I love erupt into a loud cheer could keep me up for days. Will gets started by telling Philly to say hi to the world. The World! I have never been at an event that the world was watching. As he says this I begin to realize the impact this event could, should and will have. If that wasn't enough to get the goose bumps working, he started talking about how every three seconds a child dies in Africa from lack of medicine and other needs we find common. Then he asked the crowd to join him in snapping your fingers every 3 seconds. This was the most haunting numbing sound I'd ever heard. Just weird. To add to this they showed all the other locations doing the same thing. Canada, Rome and a few others. Just Haunting.

After this the Black Eye Peas got the party started with 3 of their most popular songs post Fergie. This got the crowd jumping. After they were done they invited The Marleys on stage for a nice touch of some reggae. They were followed by the boys from Jersey, Bon Jovi. They kept the crowd moving but kind of ended abruptly.

Up until then the biggest cheer came when Will Smith started the event. Not until after Don Cheadle or Chris Tucker said a few words - not sure which one - and introduced Destinys Child did the crowd cheer louder. They were followed by Kanye West who put on the best show until that point in my opinion. I'm not even a big fan but I would love to see him in concert where he gets more then a 3 song set.

Then it was Big Willie's turn to sway the crowd. He played to the crowd more then any other act. He came out on a thrown to the Rocky theme song which quickly changed to chants of "The Champ Is Here" which he said from the movie ALI. If you have seen the movie you know he says that over the beat of drums. He kept this beat going and sang the Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Theme song as the crowd sang along. As he said in the beginning of his set, this truly was his house. He finished up with a few of his well known songs. Oh and DJ Jazzy Jeff was on the wheels of steel!

I'm not sure of the order after that but I did see Alicia Keys do one song very good and then leave making everybody want more. Black ICE recited a poem called Imagine that was powerful. Dave Matthews played longer then anyone I saw. He started out just playing riffs for 10 minutes and from what I heard that's what he does in concert. Toby Keith did his country thing, at least I think it was him. They played Madonna on the jumbo screen. Linkin Park started to play and we thought that Jay-Z wasn't there so we started to leave only to find out as we walked away that he was being introduced. This was around 4:00pm and I was fading fast. The redbulls I was drinking didn't work anymore. Everyone was ready to go by this time.

By the time I had gotten home and went to sleep, I had been up for 28 hours. Was it worth it? Hell yes! Would I do it again? Yes, and I would stay the whole time. Although it was fun and I had a good time I hope the message wasn't lost in all the glits and glitter. We made our statement and I'm proud to have been a part of that, but if we walk away and don't continue to do more, it was all for nothing. There is so much more to write about, like the other celebrities that were there, and maybe I'll write a part 2 but I'm tired.

Like I said I don't know how to express the way I feel but it's a cool feeling to have. I will be posting a few pictures soon, I just need to get some rest.