Screenwriting News (April 20-April 26, 2015)

April 26th, 2015 by

Ben August adapting action thriller novel “The Swimmer” for Kamala Films, Thunder Road Pictures and Film House Germany.

Alev Aydin adapting short film “Controller” for Fox.

Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow sell comedy pitch “White Boy Problems” to MGM and New Line.

Will Beall writing Robin Hood project for Warner Bros.

Michael Green writing “Wolverine” for Fox.

Eric Heisserer adapting comic book “Harbinger” for Sony.

Niall Leonard adapting “Fifty Shades Darker” for Universal.

Damon Lindelof renews overall deal with Warner Bros. TV.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller writing treatment for animated “Spider-Man” for Sony.

Katie Lovejoy adapting YA novel “The Selection” for Warner Bros.

Justin Marks sets up sci-fi thriller series “Counterpart” at Starz.

Richard D’Ovidio sells action spec script “Eye in the Sky” to Millennium.

Nicole Perlman and Meg LeFauve writing “Captain Marvel” for Disney.

Thomas Schnauz writing “Beanstalk” for Disney.

Andrew Weiss writing White Boy Rick project for Protozoa Pictures.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 26

April 26th, 2015 by

This is the sixth year in a row I’ve run this series in April.

Today’s story: Family gives homeless, dying dog the best days of his life.

Butch the Boston terrier had a rough life, but for one week, he knew what it was like to be loved.

After being abandoned by his owners in Pinson, Alabama, Butch spent two years on the street, eating garbage and barely surviving through the harsh winter. Alicia Buzbee and her daughter, Kansas Humphrey, found Butch before Thanksgiving, and rushed him to the vet, who shared the bad news: Butch had a swollen heart, limited lung capacity, and a leaky trachea. For his sake, a humane euthanasia was the right thing to do.

Buzbee and Humphrey agreed, but not before asking to delay the euthanasia so Butch could experience joy in his final days. The pair took him to the fire station and to meet Santa, and a big party filled with presents was held in his honor at a local park.

He ate cheeseburgers and pumpkin pie, and snuggled against Humphrey at night.


After Thanksgiving, though, Butch took a turn for the worse, and on Saturday, with his new family by his side, he died. Buzbee made sure she looked into his eyes as he went, and told him how much she loved him. “I want him to hear those words and see those faces of the people who love him,” she said.

Out of curiosity, I Googled “dying dog movies” and there are a lot. For example, here is a list called The 25 Most Traumatic Dog Deaths in Movies. Having written a movie in which a police dog gets shot in the line of duty and almost dies, I’ve gone down this path before.

It’s emotional stuff.

So what if we did something like the last act of Terms of Endearment, only instead of Debra Winger, the dying patient is this fellah:

That’s Butch from the story cited above. A community rallies around the dog who transforms them in the process before passing away. Not a dry eye in the house.

There you go: My twenty sixth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

What would you do with it?

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

Interview (Written): David Goyer

April 26th, 2015 by

The Script Lab interview with David S. Goyer (Blade, Batman Begins, Man of Steel):

JB: David, I have heard pieces of how you got into screenwriting, but would you mind giving me the full A-Z? What initially drew you into this medium of storytelling?

DSG: I was always interested in writing.  I wrote tons of short stories when I was in grade school and junior high.  And I was a voracious reader.  In junior high, I won a national writing award.  Having said that, writing didn’t seem like a viable career path growing up in Michigan.  I planned, instead, on becoming a homicide detective.  I was going to go to Michigan State and get a degree in criminal justice.  Some teachers of mine intervened and told me about the screenwriting program at USC.  USC seemed like a longshot as well, but I was accepted to their undergraduate screenwriting program.  That said, I managed to get kicked out of beginning screenwriting my first year!  (I clashed with my teacher.)  Eventually, after appealing to the dean, I was reinstated.  I managed to secure an agent while still attending USC.  I wrote A LOT.  I graduated with 4 scripts under my belt, whereas a lot of my classmates had only turned out one.  I ended up selling my first screenplay about 6 months after I graduated.  A thriller called Dusted, which was reconceived into a Jean-Claude Van Damme project.  That film was made in ’89.  Not high art, but it was successful and I was able to stay on the film during production.  It wasn’t until I wrote the script for Blade, though, that my career really started taking off.

JB: Do you think you gravitate towards a specific genre? Or do you enjoy writing all genres of screenwriting/movies?

DSG: I tend to gravitate towards darker, edgier drama.  I enjoy writing other genres, but even with the best of intentions, I suppose I have gotten pigeon-holed, to a certain extent.  One of the reasons I leapt at the chance to do a show about Da Vinci was because it was a period piece (which I had never done before) and because it involved a certain amount of witty repartee.  I’m told I can be funny (despite my reputation for darkness).  But I suppose you’d have to ask my associates about that.

For the rest of the interview, go here.

Daily Dialogue — April 26, 2015

April 26th, 2015 by

“Long live the king.”

The Lion King (1994), screenplay by Irene Mecchi and Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton, story by Burny Mattinson & Barry Johnson & Lorna Cook & Thom Enriquez & Andy Gaskill & Gary Trousdale & Jim Capobianco & Kevin Harkey & Jorgen Klubien & Chris Sanders & Tom Sito & Larry Leker & Joe Ranft & Rick Maki & Ed Gombert & Francis Glebas & Mark Kausler

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Betrayal.

Trivia: Several character names are based on Swahili words: Shenzi: Barbarous/Uncouth/Uncivilized/Savage; Pumbaa: Ignorant/Lazy/Careless; Sarabi: Mirage; Rafiki: Comrade/Friend; Simba: Lion/Courageous Warrior; Mufasa: reportedly the name of the last king of the Bagada people, who were dispersed during the English colonization of Kenya; Nala: gift.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Scar is one of the great traitors in cinema history and this line, delivered seconds before he releases his brother to his death, is a great and memorable declaration of filial betrayal.

Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Stammer

April 25th, 2015 by

The Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Stammer.

“You… you… you… you… you’re on the nest?”

Sometimes a revelation occurs that just floors a character, so the resulting dialogue is filled with stammering. We could also include characters who stutter, plenty of those in movie history. One question is how to write stammering in a script? And when to best use it. Let’s explore a variety of examples this week and see what we can learn about that for our own writing.

Take part in the grand Daily Dialogue tradition — 2,500+ consecutive days and counting! How about your suggestion for this week’s theme?

The usual drill:

* Copy/paste dialogue from IMDb Quotes or some other transcript source.

* Copy/paste the URL of an accompanying video from YouTube or some other video source.

I’d also ask you to think about why the dialogue is notable. Is there anything about the dialogue which provides some takeaway re screenwriting?

Here is our lineup for upcoming Daily Dialogue themes, such as it is:

May 4-May 10: Graduation

That’s right, just one more on the slate. If you have suggestions for Daily Dialogue themes, please post them in comments.

Check this out: The GITS Daily Dialogue Topic Index! A great resource for writers looking for inspiration for their own dialogue writing. You can be a part of this proud tradition with your ideas for weekly themes and Daily Dialogue suggestions.

Please post your ideas for this week’s theme — Stammer — in comments. Thanks!

Interview (Part 6): Aaron Guzikowski (“Prisoners”)

April 25th, 2015 by

One of the best movies of 2013 was Prisoners, written by Aaron Guzikowski, directed by Denis Villeneuve, and starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to have an hour-long conversation with Aaron about his background as a writer, his work on Prisoners, his involvement in the new Sundance Channel TV series “The Red Road” and his thoughts on the craft of screenwriting.

Today in Part 6, Aaron offers some observations about the craft of screenwriting and breaking into the business:

Scott: OK, great. Some craft questions for you. First one. How do you come up with story ideas?

Aaron: I don’t use any particularly way. I think I just try and take in everything around me, and, obviously, I have a ton of books and comic books, and, like I said, I’ve watched way too many movies, and I just sit around and think about things and see what occurs to me.

I guess I don’t have a specific way of doing it. Something occurs to you while you’re driving down the street, and it just seems like a good idea. I think anything that presents itself in my brain as something that I’d like to see on‑screen, and then you just want to make it real so you can see it. It’s all very selfish [laughs] .

Scott: How much time do you spend in prep writing, say if you were writing a spec script, and what do you focus on ‑ brainstorming, character development, plotting, research, outlining. What’s your approach to prep?

Aaron: For prep, it’s tough to say. I usually write some kind of an outline, and I’ll spend a couple of weeks on that just trying to get everything figured out, but not too figured out, but just figured out enough so I know where everything ends up. I don’t do a hell of a lot of research, usually. I usually research after I’ve written the script to make sure I haven’t gotten anything too terribly wrong.

Research is a great deal of fun. I do like researching, but it can kind of just become a way of procrastinating. At the end of the day, unless it’s really integral to the story, I just try and tell the best story I can possibly tell and then go back and then research and figure out, “Oh, is this thing I’ve written is completely implausible or not?”

Scott: How about when you’re developing your characters? Are there any specific tools or approaches you use to dig into them and figure them out?

Aaron: Not so much. I think that I just usually kind of pull from people I’ve known from my life or you can trace it. I grew up mostly drawing, so I have to draw scenes from my head, and then I write them so it’s the same sort of thing with characters.

I get a feeling for that they look like and get pictures of their life and try putting it together that way, kind of like a mental collage. Then if you come up with one that sort of sticks, and you want to follow them for a little bit, then that usually means it might be a good character for the script.

Scott: What about dialogue? How do you go about finding your characters’ voices?

Aaron: I think it’s all trial and error and rewriting and also just. Everyone has a rhythm to the way they talk. It’s like writing different kinds of songs for different characters, different songs and different bands, and everything has it its own rhythm. I think if you can just sort of find the rhythm that belongs to that character then that’s a big part of it.

Scott: Let’s talk about theme. I read an interview with you where you talked about Prisoners, and you said basically the theme of the story is what happens when you take away something somebody loves and then give them a very narrow path to get it back. How important is theme to you, and are you one of those writers that starts with that up front, or is it something where the themes emerge as you’re writing the story?

Aaron: Definitely that they emerge whenever I’m writing the story. I definitely think a little bit about it at the beginning, but usually it’s more after you’re writing the story, the theme just emerges. If it’s a story that’s working, then themes generally just start to bleed out of it, and they just present themselves to you. They just appear.

I think if I came up with a theme first and then was trying to bend things to match to that I don’t know if that would work for me, I mean for me, personally, anyway. They just kind of come about as I’m writing a story.

Scott: What do you think about when you’re writing a scene? Do you have specific goals in mind when you approach writing a scene?

Aaron: Not so much. Like I said, it’s the scene I would want to watch. I just start writing it, and, “Oh, this would be this cool if this happened, and wouldn’t it be fun if we did this over here?” It’s all this trying to reconstruct something so when you play it back in your head, it’s fun to watch and it’s compelling, and it makes you want to know what’s going to happen next I think is the big one.

Scott: You might be the perfect person to ask this question to, Aaron, if indeed as I’ve heard, you wrote 20 drafts of Prisoners before it even went out to the marketplace. Rewriting. Do you have a process and if so what are your keys?

Aaron: I think you just have to continually keep yourself excited about it. You can’t really look at it like you’re rewriting. You have to look at it as if you’re starting from scratch even if you’re not really doing that. I think when you get notes and stuff like that, and you’re trying to execute notes you have to find something inside the note that appeals to you and changes how you want to make the story to make it more interesting to you and look at it that way.

I think it’s all just finding ways to trick your mind into not knowing that you’re rewriting, that you’re not working on the same material endlessly. You have to find interesting ways to trick yourself into believing it’s all fresh and new and look at it that way.

Scott: What’s your actual writing process?

Aaron: I write all day, but I get my best stuff done really early in the morning. I wake up at five or thereabouts and just work in the early, early morning, and I work in a room. I definitely don’t like working in public. Just a quiet room or with music is always the way to go for me.

Scott: What’s your single best excuse not to write?

Aaron: [laughs] I don’t know if I’ve been able to afford myself such an excuse yet. I’m trying to think. My wife’s having a baby is probably the one. That baby stuff has always been a good excuse. Beyond that even when I fucked up my back I still tried to dictate into and iPhone or something. I think the best excuse is just be horribly cruel to yourself and say, “There is no excuse,” and just force yourself to do it very day.

Scott: That’s the built‑in excuse. You can just go play with the kid.

Aaron: Playing with the kids, anything kid‑related is always a good way to get out of writing.

Scott: Conversely, what do you love most about writing?

Aaron: It’s hard to say. It’s just the surprising things that come out of it. It’s hard to even say. It’s a weird relationship, because I think at times, it’s a painful endeavor, but something about it that’s sort of addictive. I couldn’t even say. I couldn’t even say what I love about it. It’s a mysterious thing.

Scott: You mentioned you wanted to get into directing, so let me ask you, where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? In an ideal world, what are you dong?

Aaron: Oh, I don’t know. Hopefully, just making movies and TV in some way, shape, or form. Obviously, I want to continue writing, and I’d like to direct so I think just continue making stuff for the screen and being able to do that would be my ideal future for sure.

Scott: Finally ‑‑ and this is a standard question ‑‑ what advice can you offer to aspiring screenwriters and filmmakers about learning the craft and breaking into Hollywood?

Aaron: I think learning the craft is how you break into Hollywood. You just need to do it everyday and love it and be passionate about it and write things that you care about and that you want to see made into movies. I think that’s the best way to do it and just continually work at it, way beyond the point that seems logical. I would say you just have to keep working at it and just love the doing of it, and I think that’s the best way to go.

For Part 1, go here.

Part 2, go here.

Part 3, go here.

Part 4, go here.

Part 5, go here.

Aaron is repped by Verve and Madhouse Entertainment.

[Originally posted February 22, 2014]

Deal: “Controller” (Short Video)

April 25th, 2015 by

Hollywood’s mini-wave of short proof-of-concept videos continues with “Controller”. From Deadline:

Fox has acquired Controller, a project that Alev Aydin will write based on a concept written by Saman Kesh based on his short film… Pic is a sci-fi rescue film that turns the damsel-in-distress trope upside down. It is set in the homogenized future of New-Taipei, where an imprisoned young woman who has enormous psychic powers perpetrates her own rescue by taking physical control of her boyfriend, turning him into a helmeted Terminator. The film is a modern love story draped in blood, and Kesh went to Taiwan and shot the short film to demonstrate a potential third act for the feature.

Here is the video:

Movies are primarily a visual medium, so it makes sense to some degree that visual representations of stories have a certain cache now that digital technologies have made these type of short films possible for filmmakers. The key seems to be immersing the viewer in the atmosphere and feel of a unique story universe, conveying the story’s central conceit, and lots of eye-popping action.

What do you think of “Controller”?

Saturday Hot Links

April 25th, 2015 by

Time for the 183rd installment of Saturday Hot Links.

Today: It’s The Who Live At Leeds (1970) Edition.

The Winners of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

Why Do So Many People Want to Be Screenwriters?

7 Biggest Battles at the Summer Box Office.

‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ Plot to Focus on Death Star.

Related: ‘Star Wars': Why Did Director Josh Trank Bail on Stand-Alone Panel?

Watch 7 Technology-Themed Films for Free During Tribeca’s Online Festival.

Netflix New Releases Coming in May 2015: ‘Inglorious Basterds’, ‘Legally Blonde’.

Sasha Spielberg and Emily Goldwyn on ‘LA-Centric’ Snapchat Series.

Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced.

N.Y. vs. L.A. Home Prices: What $3.2 Million Gets You in Each City.

Here’s Why Jon Stewart Quit ‘The Daily Show’.

Music Video Sex Scenes That Will Scar You for Life.

Kinda related:  Sex in a Box: The Twisted History of Twister.

Chicks Who Script: Episode 37.

Bob Saenz: Writing for Free?

Tanner Christiensen: Productivity for Creatives: Turning Ideas into Action [videos].

7 Revelations That Came Out of Harvey Weinstein’s Tribeca Talk.

Why Do Humans Have Chins?

‘Conan’ Writer Slams Late-Night Competition: “Shove Your Lip-Syncing Up Your Ass”.

How Will I Live? Fame, Money, Day Jobs, and Fiction Writing.

20 Future Stars Who Appeared on ‘Friends’.

The Incredible Eccentricities of 20 Great Writers.

How Does Hawaii Have Interstate Highways?

Gone With the Wind’ Outfit Fetches $137K at Auction.

The Rational Choices of Crack Addicts.

Silent Film Sex Symbols: The Men.

The Long Marriage of Mindfulness and Money.

25 Films You Might Not Know Were Based On A Book.

Norway is killing off FM radio in 2017.

Netflix Is Betting Its Future on Exclusive Programming.

How Cereal Transformed American Culture.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Originally Had a Gay Sex Scene In The ‘Good Will Hunting’ Script.

What Do Those Symbols on the iPhone Mean?

C-3PO & R2-D2 Hosted Documentary ‘The Making Of Star Wars’ From 1977 [video].

Read Patti Smith’s Touching Rock Hall Induction Tribute to Lou Reed.

Live-Streaming for Movie Theaters Moving Forward via DCDC.

11 Facts Yü Should Know About the Umlaut.

How the Lake Bell-Starrer ‘Man Up’ Hopes to Rehabilitate the Rom-Com Genre.

Why we should be lowering — not raising — the retirement age.

Disney excludes Black Widow from ‘Age of Ultron’ merchandise.

Related: Disneyland Band to Disband After 60 Years.

Kurt and Courtney’s Old L.A. Apartment Is Available on Airbnb.

Christopher Nolan Says His Filmmaking Process a ‘Combination of Intuition and Geometry’.

Student Loan Debt, Flat Wages Causing Youth to Ditch Theaters, Says AMC Chief.

Amy Schumer: That is all.

Prisoners have found a new way of getting contraband behind bars: Drones.

Huge auction of Shirley Temple items.

7 Things That Could Ruin Your Day in Antarctica.

Sarah Jones Internship And Training Program Established In Her Memory.

Has the Zodiac Killer’s Identity Been Revealed?

Lena Dunham and Rose Byrne Launch All-Female Production Companies.

Surgeons Discover Woman’s Embryonic Twin Lodged Deep Inside Her Brain.

Nielsen Casts Doubt on ‘Cord Cutting’ Trend.

Listening To Classical Music Enhances Gene Activity.

DC Launches Female-Centric Universe With ‘DC Super Hero Girls’.

Related: An all-female Transformers team will join Hasbro’s comic series.

The Happiest Countries According to the 2015 World Happiness Report.

Third White Boy Rick Film In Development by Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures.

The Rotating House is Great for All Seasons.

‘Interstellar’ and ‘Gravity': Science fiction, outer space, and the question of God.

Cache of 43 Dinosaur Eggs Uncovered in China.

Meryl Streep’s inspiring solution to Hollywood’s ageism problem might actually work.

8 Psychological Tricks of Restaurant Menus.

Watch Lena Dunham’s Emotional Speech at Variety’s Power of Women NY [video].

A Cure for Asthma May Be Just Five Years Away.

DreamWorks Nears Rich Financing Deal With Participant Media.

Best Rest Practices for Optimal Productivity and Creativity.

How Star Wars Illuminates Constitutional Law (and Authorship).

Tesla wants to power your home with a battery.

Streaming Overtakes Live TV Among Consumer Viewing Preferences.

Cops arrest robot after it buys Ecstasy tablets with Bitcoin.

How ‘Unfriended’ Makes Cyberbullying Everyone’s Problem.

New York City planning to cut waste by 90 percent by 2030.

5 Common-Universe Theories For TV.

Smiling Changes How You View the World.

The 30 Most Powerful Film Producers in Hollywood.

Imagining a World Without Work.

RIP: ‘Time’ Magazine Critic Richard Corliss Dies at 71.

RIP: Monte Merrick, novelist, playwright, screenwriter (Memphis Belle).

Finally it’s Jon Stewart meets Armageddon.

Screenwriting Master Class tip of the week: Tom and I are working on an update to our website. It’s looking slick with a bunch of new features. In the meantime, here is our schedule of classes through June:

April 27: Craft: Create a Compelling Protagonist (Scott Myers)

May 4: Craft: Joss Whedon – Creating Characters (Tom Benedek)

May 11: Craft: Write a Worthy Nemesis (Scott Myers)

May 18: Pages TV: Original Pilot Script Workshop (Tom Benedek)

May 25: Craft: Scene Description Spotlight (Scott Myers) NOTE: New course!!!

June 1: Craft: TV – Writing the Web Series (Tom Benedek)

June 8: Prep: From Concept to Outline (Scott Myers)

June 15: Pages II (Tom Benedek)

June 22: Pages I: The First Draft (Scott Myers)

If you are looking for a turbo-boost to your grasp of the craft of movie or TV writing, I can honestly say you will get no better value, education or experience than through Screenwriting Master Class. We offer extensive personalized attention and feedback from two professional screenwriters who genuinely care about the writers we work with. And the online platform is incredibly convenient as you are able to do most everything on your own time.

As always, we look forward to the opportunity to work with you!

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 25

April 25th, 2015 by

This is the sixth year in a row I’ve run this series in April.

Today’s story: The woman who keeps comedians sane.

Ildiko Tabori has never stood on a stage trying to make strangers laugh, doesn’t write jokes, and admits that she’s not great at telling them. Trying to recount something clever she heard, she makes advance apologies: “I’m not going to do it justice.”

But if you make a living being funny, Tabori understands the particulars of your pain better than most: For the past 3 ½ years, she’s been an in-house psychologist at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood.

“Being a comedian is truly the hardest job in the entertainment industry,” Tabori says. “You have a lot of late nights. You have good sets; you have bad sets. It is kind of a lonely existence at times.”

She knows about the constant pressure of finding gigs. The uncertainty of whether the routine that worked yesterday will work tonight. The front-row drunk, ruining your set. The allure of drugs and alcohol. The hard-to-describe emptiness that attends interactions with fans, who mistakenly believe they know you because they related to a joke.

And the strain of watching fellow comics shoot to stratospheric success, sometimes as fresh arrivals on the scene. “I do hear that a lot,” Tabori says. “‘Why is this person successful, and why am I not?'”


During the day, she sees patients at her West Los Angeles office. Two or three nights a week, she drives to the Sunset Strip club around the time comedians start taking the stage.

Clients follow her up a narrow staircase, past the bar and VIP lounge, to a third-floor office where they sit on an old-fashioned red couch that used to belong to Groucho Marx. Clowns gape from the walls. Through the floorboards rise the muffled sounds of jokes living and dying on the stage below.

“Initially people were skeptical of Dr. Tabori because, A. she’s a female; B. they didn’t think they needed any help; and C. how could this doctor who never did stand-up comedy understand them?” says veteran comic Sunda Croonquist, who has been seeing her for three years.

She says Tabori helped her get through “a horrible, dark time in my life” precipitated by a lawsuit by her in-laws, who were angry at her depiction of them in her act.

“She’s hardcore,” Croonquist says. “You’re not gonna get a fluffy pillow. It’s like, ‘Sunda, you have to deal with this.'”

Okay, all you rom-com fans. This is a movie waiting to happen. It’s Anna Kendrick and Whoever (she’s so awesome, you could pair her with a tree stump and she could pull it off). She’s a shrink to Hollywood comedians. Something she stumbled into. Has her regular practice. Then a couple of nights a week, it’s off to a comedy club to help a bunch of neurotic, anxiety-ridden, bipolar-like comics maintain their on-stage edge while somehow managing to circumnavigate the complexities of everyday life.

She’s been doing this for years and always managed to separate the professional aspect of being a shrink from the personal side of her life. Not that she hasn’t had male comics as well as females hit on her. That’s to be expected when you hold their hands, help them through crying jags, hold pillows for them to assault in order to express their rage, and keep them from careening off into the emotional stratosphere before some big gig on TV.

Then along comes Whoever. And there’s something about this guy that starts to erode her wall of separation. Why? What is it about him? What is it about her in her own stage of life?

Twist: What if she drops him as a client in order for them to be able to date. But once they start seeing each other, he loses his comedic edge.

It’s Punchline meets Good Will Hunting.

There you go: My twenty fifth story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!

What would you do with it?

Each day this month, I invite you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.

See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for another Story Idea Each Day For A Month.

Interview (Written): Salvador Paskowitz (“The Age of Adaline”)

April 25th, 2015 by

A Creative Screenwriting interview with Salvador Paskowitz, co-writer of the movie The Age of Adaline starring Blake Lively and Harrison Ford.

Where did the idea for The Age of Adaline come from?

It was just a notion that we had. I just thought a woman that could live forever. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Because, unlike the Highlander, I think it’s especially urgent with a woman. Maybe urgent isn’t the right word. There’s just a lot of weight when it comes to that subject when it relates to a woman.

And how at first, it would seem like such tremendous gift. Wow! I can be 29 forever. This is awesome. And then, that’s what builds to this irony that no, it’s not a gift. It’s a terrible curse. Because, basically that’s the rub. You can’t ever know love. What defines love is kind of this ticking clock. If there’s no ticking clock, there’s no love.

I want to talk about women. I feel like writers really have to have a call to arms to fight against the kind of radicalism that’s happening in our world. Women are really minimalized and talked down to and infantilized. Men want one thing out of their movies. But I think women want different things.

You can ask, “What do they want?” Women don’t want to be talked down to in their films. They want strong characters that can think for themselves. I think in this day and age it’s dangerous to just paint women as pedestrians or passengers in film. And I think it’s changing. And Adaline is one of those films.

I’m going to keep making films like that. The first film that I wrote was about a hedge fund manager. She was a very strong person.

It’s our obligation as, as writers. I mean, it’s our obligation to use art. You have to warn that global warming is actually a real thing and that women’s rights are a real thing. Those messages are important.


What did you learn from writing The Age of Adaline on how to approach your next screenplay? How would you approach it differently?

I think you bring your own flavor to a movie, regardless of the subject. You bring your own history to a film. And I feel like Adaline has a lot of the same interests that I had before. Astronomy, the Dynamic Universe theory. I love Star Wars. I love science. I love science fiction. I love physics, astrophysics.

Ron Shelton once wrote, “You have to write what you know.” And he said, for instance, I could never write a science fiction movie. That’s what he said. This guy wrote Bull Durham, a lot of those sports kind of movies. But I totally disagree. I think his science fiction movie would be bitchin’.

I know it would be. He pulls all of that kind of sports and western and archetypes. I know that would be really cool to see in science fiction.

I feel strongly you don’t have to write what you know. So long as the music is coming out of your horn, in your way.

For the rest of the interview, go here.