You want to be a Writer?
You must be MAD!!
Just started watching Mad Men. OMG!! (I know, I'm late to the party)
The world created by Matthew Weiner and company is so specific, so nuanced, the dialogue so rich and funny, a friend said to me "their subtext has subtext." Every scene rife with conflict, both internal and external.
It's part of what is being referred to as the new Golden Age of Television. Have you seen what's out there lately? Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, The Good Wife, True Blood, Modern Family, The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, True Detective, I could go on and on, the writing on these shows is PHENOMENAL. You want to compete with those guys?? You must be MAD, CRAZY, CRAY-CRAY!
But WE CAN. Here's how. There was a time not that long ago where the average Joe The Writer had no access to information. We are in a spectacular time where anything we wish to learn or experience is at our finger tips. Blogs, podcasts, seminars, books, there is a TV show called "The Writers Room" where writers from our favorite shows talk about their writing process.
Before you begin this mad journey, or even while you're in the middle of it, you'll need resources. Information is POWER.
Here are some of my favorites:
1. Script Notes - A podcast from John August and Craig Mazin, 2 WORKING screenwriters, (look up their credits you'll be impressed) this is perspective on the life of a screenwriter that you won't find anywhere else. Unions, contracts, representation, money and craft, craft, craft! These two guys pull no punches, they tell the unvarnished truth about the industry, some of it is hard to hear, but you must if you're serious about being a writer.
2. Nerdist Writers Panel - A podcast from Ben Blacker, a working TV writer. A collection of round table and one on one discussions with writers who are working on the TV shows we are watching right now. Smart, funny and very informative.
3. On The Page - A podcast from Pilar Alessandra. Pilar is a script consultant and screenwriting teacher. She's read probably thousands of scripts, so she knows her stuff about the craft of screenwriting. She's smart, funny and very down to earth.
I'm always looking to learn more, do you have any recommendations for me? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writers write, but they should also read!
A link to TV scripts and screenplays: https://sites.google.com/site/tvwriting/home
Write What You Know - Bite Me!
“Write what you know.” Writers hear it over and over and over again. And if you’re a new writer it’s probably the most frustrating thing you’ll ever hear.
Write what you know implies that you have to be living or have lived a spectacularly exciting, tragic or privileged life. Write what you know implies that if you aren’t a mass murderer (Silence of the Lambs) , a swash buckling billionaire (Ironman) or a hooker with a heart of gold (Pretty Woman) that you aren’t capable of writing a compelling screenplay.
Let me suggest to you to instead WRITE THE FEELINGS YOU KNOW!
Have you ever known real disappointment, love, jealously or crippling fear? These are the feeling that will unearth the story that lies with in you.
Can you remember your teenage years where you felt misunderstood and isolated? That could be Napoleon Dynamite or Carrie or American Pie.
Looking for love in your life? That could be 40 Year Old Virgin, Bridget Jones Diary or 500 Days of Summer.
Ever felt like a stranger adjusting to new surroundings? That could be E.T. or Shawshank Redemption or Austin Powers.
Think about your favorite movies and remember what emotions were brought up when you saw them. THAT IS WHAT WE WRITE!!
What emotions do you want to explore? Share them with me and I’ll give you some examples.
I miss writing about "the boy." Used to do it much more, but you get so busy raising, you really don't have time to jot down moments large and or small. You just hope you remember them.
An ever so gentle nudge from my wife inspired to write.
I saw Django, pure and simple, I loved it. I thought it was a really entertaining film. I'm aware of the whole socio political moral historical controversy going on, I get it, no judgement here, this is my view.
There was a spirit of the film that I enjoyed, a spirit of triumph, of winning, of overcoming. Django had a singular purpose, he didn't know exactly how to go about it, he made things up as he went along, but he was determined to reach his goal. I knew what he wanted and I desperately wanted him to get it. And he did.
I know there are things wrong with the film, it's not historically correct, relationships are not accurate, events are out of place, QT is not a genius (that might be news to him), he just told an interesting story.
I liken it to being on the Megabus traveling from NY to DC and sitting next to a figgety old guy who turns to me and says "Did ya ever hear the story about Django?" Now with no where to go and knowing I'll be stuck on this bus for the next 4 hours, I turn to him and say "no, no I don't." And then the kindly stranger proceeds to weave the tail of "Django." Some parts amuse me, some parts confuse me, some parts make me cringe, some parts me me howl out loud. But at the end when the n****er on the horse, rides off into the night with his n****er gal on her horse, I'm left with a good feeling.
It's been a few days and already there's a lot of specifics I don't recall about the film, but I do remember how it made me feel - hopeful!!
Strange? Yes hopeful. Because I'm living a life made possible by those Django's known and unknown. Django is fictional, but Nat Turner, Harriett Tubman, John Brown, Margaret Garner, Frederick Douglas, Susie King Taylor and Robert Smalls are not. I know their stories and I can tell them to my smart, funny, obnoxious, spoiled (our fault), very sensitive, very dramatic, loves to play, but does not always play fairly, HATES to lose, 8 year old son.
It's my job, to give my boy access to a life unchained.
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Thor
My little sister is in the process of becoming a huge star. I worked out w her this morning & then went to visit her new office. It's so fancy. I was truly impressed. Trying to nail the way to scale our business.
Crystal Blake shot us the whole Red Wall Team yesterday in our efforts to grow the company we wanted to present power fun images of who we are and where we are going. The photo shoot was a blast. We can't wait to share the photos. Now we have a few behind the scene shots. Vanessa Thorpe shot the behind the scenes. And by the way we are producing her short film developed right here at RWPS.
This is where I will l post the download for our little chat. I am really looking forward to it. Putting the final touches on now. You may download the file here. Best veiwed in Safari.
Red Wall Productions is excited to present
THE VIEW FROM HERE: A FESTIVAL OF SHORT FILMS
Spunky, Sexy, Fun, Moving, Dramatic, Fresh…In 14 Minutes Or Less!
Join us on January 10 for a screening of short films that feature ordinary people in extra-ordinary circumstances!
Audience members will nominate their favorite selection for:
- Pick Best Film, Audience
- Pick Best Actor/Actress,
- Brightest Emerging Director.
After the screening, meet the people behind the films, and listen as they share their creative process.
WRITERS and DIRECTORS: Submit your film by the last chance DECEMBER 31 deadline for review
submit all entries to: Red Wall Productions A View From Here: Festival Of Short Films 400 W. 43rd St. Suite 17S New York, NY 10036
All films must have been shot after January 2009
Please mark your entries with: Name of film Runtime contact information
RED WALL PRODUCTIONS: Since 2002 empowering you to become the curator of your own image through low cost high quality film production. Everybody’s got a story
We are reading Game Night in our office tonight. Considering it for our first feature film. It's the first screenplay Craig ever wrote. He wrote it for me and I Love it.