HOLLYWOOD – The fabled Black List is the creme de la creme of unproduced scripts and occasionally offers up a brilliant film.
The Studio Exec have been given EXCLUSIVE no holds barred access to the Black List and are here able to share our top 3 picks.
1. Chalk and Cheese: Detective Eddie Cheese is a maverick cop who refuses to play by the rules, but gets results. Federal Agent Evelyn Cheese is an uptight by-the-book law enforcement officer. But when the center of the Earth is stolen Cheese and Chalk need to put aside their differences to find the magma core and replaces, reluctantly learning from each other along the way as a latent romantic tension fizzes beneath the surface despite the fact that Eddie Cheese is a leather bar frequenting homosexual and Evelyn Chalk a lesbian with a 1970s aversion to men. Can they put aside their mutual dislike, their mutually incompatible way of working and their sexual idenitities to give the audience what they want and save the Earth from what geologists are calling ‘a bad day’? Find out! In Chalk and Cheese!
2. Voyage to Baaar: Deep in the cold vastness of space, the pirate ship Zapahr led by the intrepid Captain Zep and his merry band of Cybots come across a life pod. In the pod there is a small child who they call Manifest and who grows to be one of them as they crisscross the galaxy hunted by the evil M’Hannnana Confederation of Japanese. The Oracle declares about twenty minutes in that there is a prophecy that One Will Come who will bring balance, lead the universe and be able to open jam jars with his teeth. No one has a clue – least of all Manifest – who this One might be. He is never mentioned again and life continues uneventfully much as it has done for thousands of years.
3. The Inconsolable Fiddliness of Grief: Meet the Bartonvilles: a family of dysfunctional grown children – Anus, Bridey and Callum – gather in an isolated farmhouse in Montana to attend the assisted suicide of their parents – George, a concert pianist who has lost each one of his fingers in ten separate severing incidents and Marjorie, an award winning novelist who stole all her ideas from the back of a cereal packet she has since lost. As they family get progressively more drunk and depressed, they shout at each other in a series of frankly incomprehensible revelations.
Which of these films would you most like me to take off the Black List and green light? Select your choice via the comments box or Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr.
You’ve been drinking non- stop for three days. Your brain is fried, your liver is shot and a persistent twitch has developed in your left eye. You’ve argued with your partner about wet towels on the bathroom floor and she’s gone out in a huff leaving you to wallow in a half lit room watching conspiracy documentaries on Netflix and drinking endless cups of herbal tea in the vain hope that lashings of flavoured hot water might purify your debauched and wretched soul.
Truth is at this moment in time you’d be better off dead but even hell wouldn’t take you in this state so if you put your head in the oven all you’d have to look forward to is purgatory; which is exactly where you are right now but this one has access to take-way food and there is no guarantee that you can get a chicken kebab in the other one at this time on a Sunday.
Suddenly as you’re hovering over the urinal extracting some supernaturally luminescent urine from the flaccid flap of skin you once called a penis you realise that your partner’s bitching about wet towels was just the tip of the iceberg. Truth is you’ve been drifting apart for months and you have the hots for the new intern at work because she doesn’t bitch to you about wet towels on the bathroom floor (yet) and she’s got tits to die for.
No really, tits to actually die for.
Then just when you think your miserable day couldn’t get any worse you realise that you have a god damn blog post to write. You don’t have to write one, but you feel obliged to and it will niggle you in the balls all day until you get it out of your system. Fortunately due to a few decades of practice you are well prepared for such terrible occasions and with shaky hands and a sweaty crotch, you do what a man has got to do. You write a blog post about writing a blog post.
You feel dirty. It was neither big or clever but at least you got it done and now you can slip your sandpaper tongue in the mouth of oblivion and kiss the rest of this wretched f*cking day goodbye.
Our new series will see guest contributors teaching us step by step how to write a screenplay. In this first article, Damon Lindelof explores the mechanics of structure.
Structure is all important. At its most basic it is a three act structure. A beginning, a middle and an end. Morning, noon and night. Birth, f*cking and death:
Act 1 Something happens
Act 2 Polar bear, and then
Act 3 something else happens.
Of course, three act structure will only give you the big picture, the tent poles on which you need to stretch the canvas with which you are going to paint the cinematic town red will come later. And metaphors are important too. So after getting your three acts, you’ll need to have another two for the fuller five act structure.
Act 1 something happens
Act 2 something happens [Act 2 of 3 act structure]
Act 3 other things happen [Act 2 of 3 act structure]
Act 4 something else happens [Act 2 of 3 act structure]
Act 5 ‘resolution’.[Act 3 of the 3 act structure]
And within this you need character arcs (or sometimes called trajectories). You’ll have about three or four main (or A characters) characters even if you have a few more B characters.
So now you have:
Act 1 Something happens. Type A Protagonist(s) established
Act 2 something else happens Type A protagonist(s) has a problem/mission/dilemma/loses his dog
Act 3 other things happen (Doesn’t matter what: scientists take their helmets off in alien environment, for instance) Type A protagonist(s) has sex with Type B character (usually a ‘woman’)
Act 4 something else happens) Type A Protagonist learns something about themselves or Type B character or not
Act 5 [Act 3 of the 3 act structure] resolution: Type A protagonist realizes they’ve all been dead all along.
Next week Quentin Tarantino discusses writing ‘character’.
HOLLYWOOD – The Studio Exec is sick and tired of the bull crap that passes for screenplays in this town.
Not to mention all the messages and emails about screenplays that assholes have written and they have the audacity to ask the Exec to put on his bifocals and actually ingest this sopping filth. So he – in his fifteen percent wisdom – has decided to give all you aspiring Barton Finks some simple rules for you to follow.
- Have a story to tell you really don’t care about. Horrible things are going to happen to that story so it’s better you ain’t too invested. Never write about something that happened to you. You are really boring. Don’t make me fucking tell you. Use the Glen L Larson approach, copy something you like from film for a TV show or you like on television and put it in a feature format.
- Remember the three act structure and the character arc and denouements and stuff. Not for when you’re writing but for when you’re talking about writing.
- Originality is a cancer. Stamp it out from the very get go. Clichés are your bread and butter. Traffic cops only stop cars with bodies in the trunk. Funerals happen in the rain. Couples walk and talk in parks. When your protagonist is undecided have him sit in view of a bridge. Anger should be expressed by trashing a desk or punching the steering wheel. If someone’s a recovering alcoholic in Act One, they have to go on a bender in Act Three (that’s Chekov!)
- Give up on your dreams. Accept that statistically you’re never going to make it. All that bull crap about persistence and never giving up on your dream is horse shit. 99% don’t make it regardless of persistence and never giving up on your dreams. If you enjoy the process, good for you, otherwise it ain’t worth the butt ache.
- Finally, don’t send it to me. Believe me, we tolerate agents because they’re only slightly less odious pits of scum than writers. They’re filters. They man the barricades. Get yourself a good one and he can break my balls so you don’t have to.
Oh and put a colon in the middle of your title so we think you’re on to a franchise. Now, get out of my Goddam face!