HOW TO WRITE A SCREENWRITING: PART 2: ACTION

HOW TO WRITE A SCREENWRITING – Is a new feature that will lead you through the process of  writing a screenplay in the tradition of the great gurus Robert McKee, Syd Field and Damon Lindelof.

Some people would say that we need to start with characters we care deeply about. Others might say what you really need is a great story. A third set of people won’t say anything but will just sit there, but I know what they’re thinking and they’re wrong too. If I had the opportunity to talk to all these so-called experts and naysayers, I would ask them a very simple question. Before the cameras roll on a movie, does the director traditionally shout:

‘Lights, cameras – STORY?’

or perhaps

‘Lights, cameras – CHARACTERS?’

No, he doesn’t. He shouts ACTION goddamn it! ACTION! And if you can’t write action you have no business being in the movies. Goddamn it, I can hear those voices again – what about August, Osage County, there was no action in that film? What about Brokeback Mountain and what about Die Hard? What? August, Osage County had a load of action, in the form of arguing. No flaming explosions? What about Meryl Streep blowing up? Did you miss that? And Brokeback Mountain? Two cowboys going anal? If that isn’t action, I don’t know what is. And Die Hard? Are you f*cking high? Die Hard? That’s the worst example you could have made as a counter argument. It’s like you’re playing right into my hands.

So the point is ‘action’ is supreme – even if I have to redefine ‘action’ to include things like ‘drama’ and ’emotional engagement’ and even ‘stuff happening’ in order to make my point. But don’t worry about that, all screenwriting manuals do that sooner or later.

So how do I write ‘action’? That’s pretty easy. Do you see that key down on your keyboard, next to the ‘a’? No not the ‘s’, the other direction. You see that one that says CAPS LOCK. Well, you’re going to need that. Especially for any action that is going to be LOUD. Then you need a bit of clarity. You have to be clear what you want to see on the screen. Many directors will throw your ideas out and use their own, but you’re not writing for the director yet. You’re writing first of all for the producers and the financiers and maybe an agent. If you’re writing for those guys – who are not directors – they are going to have to see the action and you have to make it clear and dramatic. Not simply They FIGHT. But blow by blow. And finally, action is all about change. Like a song in a musical an action sequence must move the story along. If you can delete the action scene and nothing changes, then it doesn’t matter. There are plenty of movies that have action scenes that really don’t matter. James Bond movies have a tendency to do this. But we’re better than that and a good action scene is something that shifts the story, changes characters, ramps up the danger, moves the action and gets everything going in a different direction or the same direction but faster.

For more on this EXCLUSIVE online Screenwriting course: How to Write a Screenwriting, CLICK HERE.

HOW TO WRITE A SCREENWRITING: PART 1. INTRODUCTION

HOW TO WRITE A SCREENWRITING – Is a new feature that will lead you through the process of  writing a screenplay in the tradition of the great gurus Robert McKee, Syd Field and Damon Lindelof.

Part 1. Story – camera – action.

A man walks into a room. That’s a story! A woman eats a peach that’s too big for her small mouth. That’s a story! A dog has worms and keeps rubbing its rear end on your new carpet. That’s not a story. You just need to take the dog to the vet and buy a new carpet. The point is we are surrounded by story. Story is everywhere. It is in the food you eat, on television, in the newspapers, in the conversation of your co-workers. Story is the warp and woof (there’s that dog again) of life, the rich tapestry from whence we all come, the undiscovered country to whence we all go.

But how do I write a story? Which story should I choose? What story do people want to hear? And what’s the difference between a story in a book and a story in a building?

All these questions will be answered in this 23 part on line course on How to Write a Screenwriting. Whether you want to be the next J.K Rowling and die under the weight of all the money, or you want to be the next Charlie Kaufman and die under the weight of everyone going ‘what?’, How to Write a Screenwriting is the ONLY online resource you need as a screenwriter who wants to write a screenwriting.

Of course writing is not easy. Look at the title to this whole course that I’m writing. Have you looked? Okay, the more perceptive among you will have noticed that there is something not quite right, something that the unkind might refer to as ‘wrong’.  Of course, I wanted to write ‘How to Write a Screenplay’ but I was also thinking of ‘A Guide to Screenwriting’ and so accidentally I wrote ‘How to write a Screenwriting’, erroneously combining to the two titles because I was hungry and I was thinking about dinner – I’m thinking lasagna specifically. So do I go back and change it? NO. Why not? Well, for one thing it’s more work. But the more important reason is that LIFE DEPENDS ON MISTAKES.

Think about it.

All multi-cellular life comes from errors in replication of DNA. If there weren’t any errors, if everything was perfect, then no evolution. No evolution then no complexity; no complexity, then no us. No us, no cinema. No cinema and we’re out of a Goddamned job, just because the asshole DNA worked too damned well. Perfection is the death of life and the death of story. Do you think Jonathan and Christopher Nolan wanted to write Memento? No, they just kept forgetting the story-line and had to keep going back. Do you think Larry McMurty wanted Brokeback Mountain to be a heart-breaking gay love story? No, the original novel has the two cowboys fighting but a slip of the pen and fellatio as all over the page! Do you think Quentin Tarantino meant to write The Hateful Eight? No, his original screenplay was supposed to be called The Careful Eight, but one accidental slip of the fingers and suddenly he has to write something violent to justify the wrong title.

You NEED to make mistakes. And I promise you if you follow this EXCLUSIVE online Screenwriting course, you will be making tons of them.

FIRST LOOK AT JESSICA CHASTAIN AS DAVID BOWIE IN STARMAN

LONDON – He was Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and even David Robert Jones, but now David Bowie is the subject of a new biopic entitled Starman, to be directed by Robert Redford and starring Jessica Chastain as the Thin White Duke himself.

The news came just days after Chastain lost out to Scarlett Johansson to play the First Lady in the new Hillary Clinton biopic Rodham (for more on that story CLICK HERE). With a photograph released showing Chastain in the guise of the Ziggy Stardust crack’d actor himself, the fan world is delirious at the prospect of the film. 

Director Robert Redford spoke exclusively to Studio Exec about the project:

Starman has been in the works since the eighties, but the script was never quite right. I’ve always been fascinated by Bowie and especially his androgyny, his drug taking and his willingness to push the boundaries to often dangerous degrees. In those respects I think we’re very, very similar.    

Has Bowie collaborated on the project?

I know that he knows about it, because we obviously had to approach his people about rights and what have you, but I feel both camps have been respectfully wary. We don’t want to get too close and they are interested in seeing what we’ll come up with.

 And what about the rival Tilda Swinton project [entitled Moonlight Daydream Oh Yeah]?

I can’t really comment on that, except to say that Bowie is a big enough player for there to be many films about the man.

What is your own personal attachment to Bowie?

As I said earlier, I think our careers are very similar. When I did Butch people were saying ‘Woah! Gay cowboys?’ but then Brokeback Mountain comes along and well … Nowadays I listen to his music all the time, I often go to parties dressed as Bowie and people are like ‘When’s Redford coming?’ Ha ha! Ha ha, ha.

Starman is due to be released in 2017.

RANDY QUAID AND RUPERT MURDOCH TO MARRY

HOLLYWOOD – Independence Day actor and Starwhacker activist Randy Quaid is due to marry Rupert Murdoch sometime next year ‘once our divorce are through’.

The revelation came as a turn around following a YouTube video which showed Randy Quaid having sex with his wife while she wore a Rupert Murdoch mask. The Brokeback Mountain star spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the Studio Exec:

It was weird. Really late at night and the phone rang. A voice on the other end said ‘This is Rupert. I’m outside. Can we meet?’ At first I thought it was someone playing a trick but I went out and sure enough there was Rupert Murdoch waiting for me.

According to Quaid, the Australian media mogul had seen the video and thought it was the ‘sexiest thing he had ever seen.’ The two went for drinks to resolve their differences, ‘and one thing led to another.’

It’s the craziest thing in the world I know but Rupert is going to put me on the straight and narrow. He’s a very gentle and very moral man. He said the first thing we had to do was divorce our wives and though I love Evi, I know that this is a new chapter in my life and she can’t be part of that.

Rupert Murdoch, who is worth $14.5 BILLION, has filed divorce proceedings against his wife and is currently crafting a stringent prenuptial agreement. Quaid continued:

Rupert has said he will take care of my legal troubles and some of my financial problems too. We’re planning on a very quiet ceremony. In fact Rupert said I’m not to tell anyone the location and to come unarmed. I don’t know why he said that. Oh, and he wants me to cut my beard off because he says it makes me look a little bit like Santa Claus, but if Santa Claus was a psychopath.

More details on the forthcoming nuptials of Randy Quaid and Rupert Murdoch will be published as we get them.

NIGHTCRAWLER: REVIEW

NIGHTCRAWLER: REVIEW – Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a small time thief and socio-path who finds his niche as an ambulance chasing stringer, grabbing footage of gory accidents and crime scenes for a local news station run by Rene Russo.

Despite having a name that even he can’t spell (for more on that story CLICK HERE) and the unwiped orifice that was The Prince of Persia, Jake Gyllenhaal adds another impressive character study to what is becoming a pantheon of outsiders and weirdos, from the sniper of Jarhead, the obsessive journalist in Zodiac, the doomed love of Brokeback Mountain finally to the wonderful weirdness of Enemy.

A Travis Bickle like loner and empty man, Lou Bloom’s emaciated frame has an insect like intentness. His hunger is not simply physical. His eyes are wide, not because of innocence but rather so he can catch everything and use it to his advantage. In fact, Lou isn’t guilty as such he is simply responsive and Dan Gilroy – brother of Michael Clayton’s Tony Gilroy – has crafted a lean and intense amorality tale.

Lou is a creature who can feed off the ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ ethos and the voyeurism which is another step away. His psychopathy allows him to play the game and keep one step ahead of the more experienced competition, represented by Bill Paxton’s old hand. A blend of Drive and Network, this is cool LA noir sharpened to a keen satirical purpose

For more Reviews CLICK HERE .

 

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN REMAKE WILL BE HETEROSEXUAL

HOLLYWOOD – A new remake of the Oscar winning Ang Lee film Brokeback Mountain will be entirely heterosexual, said director Brett Ratner today.

Continue reading “BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN REMAKE WILL BE HETEROSEXUAL”

MY FAVORITE FILM: VLADIMIR PUTIN

MOSCOW – Hi Everybody! It’s me Vladimir Putin, Judo/Action star, best friends with Gerard Depardieu and … oh I run this little country called Russia, ha ha ha! No, seriously, it is actually very big.

We’re having this Winter Olympics thing with the skiing, the luge, the figure skating I don’t like so much. So to help drum up publicity my friend the Studio Exec said I could talk about my favorite film. So here goes.

Brokeback Mountain is a fantastic movie. First of all I love Westerns. Men in the wilderness being men. Looking after sheep (in this case) and spending Man time together, looking at the Manscape. They’re both married so that’s fine, but they are so manly they don’t really have much interest in their wives. As we say in Russia, “Only gays kiss girls!”

I love the actors. Jake Gyllenhaal is great, I really loved Donnie Darko as well, but in this he is better. He has such dark eyes. You really feel you could swim in them and I don’t know… sink beneath the surface of their moist sadness into a soft dream. And Heath Ledger is great! Wow, he can act. I liked him as the Joker as well. What happened to him? He’s so talented. Why isn’t he in more films?

I’m not quite sure what the story is really about. To be perfectly frank, I’m often so tired from running a police state, abusing human rights and wrestling other men while wearing what could be described as pyjamas until we’re all sweaty and spent, I often nod off during a film and Brokeback Mountain does have this soothing music. Randy Quaid is in it as well. He’s fantastic though he looks like he didn’t get paid enough. 

All I know is that Brokeback Mountain is a healthy invigorating film, about life in the great outdoors. It has two fine young men in it, who stand boldly erect as models of pure virtuous manliness. And there’s also a sadness because, naturally, one of them dies and life is hard. I can never watch this film without being deeply moved in a manly way. Anyway, those minorities are not going to repress themselves. I’ve enjoyed talking about ‘My Favorite Film’. 

Do Svidaniya! 

For more Favorite Films, Click HERE.

WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH LGBT FILM FESTIVAL

KANSAS – The controversial Westboro Baptist Church – best known for their “God Hates Fags” signs and their picketing of funerals – have announced that they will be running their own LGBT Film Festival this Summer.

For the statement and the full programme click after the jump. 

The Westboro Baptist Church here. I know, I know. You probably think of us as a bunch of pituitary glands armed with crucifixes. After all, you all are from Hollywood, the very centre of Beelzebub’s groin and don’t understand the pure teachings of the scripture. But in an effort to soften our image up some and get the kids on board – the ones we haven’t been able to brainwash from birth that is – we decided to reach out to the LGBT community. Yeah, you see how we didn’t just call them fags from the get go! So we’re organising a LGBT Film Festival of films we think have a salutary effect and help spread our message.


Philadelphia (director’s cut with an introduction by Tom Hanks): A ‘homosexual’ is rightly fired when he contracts a disease because of his filthy proclivities, a disease that comes straight from God’s middle finger! A black demon – who initially hates fags – defends him. Everyone goes to hell. Hilarious.

Brokeback Mountain: Two ‘homosexuals’ condemn themselves to eternal hell fire by using the body’s sewer as their own pleasure garden, when they should have been looking after the sheep, the way Jesus looked after sheep, caring for them and satisfying them, which is not to say he engaged in bestial congress. One of them dies and the other is Heartbroken. LMAO!

Milk: Sean Penn, the devil’s very own homunculus, plays an uppity ‘homosexual’ who fights against the righteous for ‘equal rights’. Josh Brolin shoots him dead and sends him straight to Hell! To make matters worse, James Franco is in it.

300: Three hundred Greek ‘homosexuals’ get into a fight with a black demon ‘transsexual’ and they all die violently and go to Hell. It’s really a kid’s film. 

The Passion of The Christ: A man who hangs around with a lot of other men and his loving mother, and who is betrayed by a man kissing him, is taken by a bunch of uniformed brutes and whipped and whipped and whipped and then hung on a cross naked for us to all gaze at and then rises again. Not ‘homosexual’.

Sex and the City 2: Why send fags homosexuals to Hell, when Carrie and friends seem so intent on bringing Hell to them?  

The WestboroBaptist Church LGBT Film Festival begins on the 15th of August.

ANG LEE TALKS POSSIBLE BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN 2

HOLLYWOOD – Brokeback Mountain was a breakthrough film for its two young leads Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, an Oscar winner and an immediate seminal film for the gay community and now Ang Lee – talking to French cultural magazine Chapeau – has hinted that he might be interested in filming Brokeback Mountain 2.

When asked about future projects, Mr. Lee first told the interviewer about his project based on the Little Book of Calm starring Joe Pesci (for more on that story CLICK HERE), but pushed to look further ahead, the Hulk director said the following:

I’ve always wanted to go back to the world that Annie Proulx and Larry McMurty created for Brokeback and revisit those characters. It’s especially fitting that we should see how Jake’s character responds to Ennis’ death, seeing how Heath is no longer with us.

 Je ne comprends pas! C’est ridicule! It is the Ennis character who is alive at the end of the film and Jack Twist who dies.

Was it? Jesus. Really? 

Ma oui! 

I suppose I’ve always wanted to revisit the world of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I wanted to find out what happened to Chow Yun Fat’s character, having to deal with Michelle Yeoh’s death.   

Brokeback Mountain 2 will be released in 2015. 

FLUFFER IS HARVEY

I’ll never forget the first time I met Edward G. Robinson. It was either a Monday or a Thursday, probably in the 1930s but it could’ve been the ‘40s, and I was wearing my lucky bow tie. I tell a lie, it was Jimmy Stewart, the year was 1950, and I was dressed in a bunny costume for my lead role in Harvey.  
Film historians now quite rightly recognise this masterpiece as the Brokeback Mountain of its day, exploring a love that dare not speak its name between a functioning alcoholic and his pet rabbit. Although the script never explicitly mentioned the word ‘bestiality’ I was in no doubt at all about the importance of the issue we were exploring and it had Oscars written all over it. 

Luckily I’ve never felt embarrassed shooting love scenes, but when I started improvising and humping Jimmy’s leg the director shouted cut almost immediately and it never made the final edit. Sadly the carrot scene went as well, but Mr Ed the talking horse told me it moved him to tears. Some say Harvey was my finest performance, and sweating away in the costume I have to say I really felt I got under the skin of that character.

It was Jimmy’s idea to have my name removed from both the title sequence and the end credits to help the audience believe that Harvey was indeed a real rabbit, and to this day people are surprised to find out it was me! I did develop a severe addiction to lettuce which led to years of electric shock therapy, but that’s another story…