Time for the 252nd installment of Saturday Hot Links, your week’s essential reading about movies, TV, streaming, Hollywood, and other things of writerly interest.
‘Ben-Hur’ Could Lose $100 Million at Box Office.
‘Ben-Hur’: Or How Hollywood Forgot How To Make Epics.
Measuring the fallout from a summer full of box-office flops.
The Winners and Losers of Summer 2016.
This Summer’s Box Office Is Up 3 Percent Over Last Year’s.
By The Numbers: Was 2016 The Worst Summer For Movies?
9 Lessons Studio Films Should Take From The Indie World This Summer.
The Oscar Contenders of Summer: 11 summer movies that might launch into the awards race.
How To Fix Summer Movies: A Three-Point Plan.
Remaking Kids Movies For Adults: How Hollywood can better cater to nostalgia culture.
How Pixar Dominated The Summer.
Disney Set to Break Market-Share Record.
Disney India Getting Out of Bollywood Production.
The Year Disney Almost Died — and How It Survived to Thrive.
Jeffrey Katzenberg Bids Farewell to DreamWorks Animation Staff as Comcast’s $3.8B Deal Closes.
Universal Announces DreamWorks Animation Executive Lineup.
20th Century Fox Movie Studio Expedites Leadership Change.
Broad Green Brothers Gabriel and Daniel Hammond Reveal Shift to Bigger Films and ‘Bad Santa 2’ Plans.
WME Buys Tastemaker Lit Agency Rabineau Wachter Sanford & Gillett.
CAA Partners Face Staff Anger Over Tell-All Book Revelations.
Superheroes of the World: The current state of superhero storytelling in film across the globe.
The Stranger Sex: Subverting Gendered Tropes in Stranger Things.
Autonomy Of Androids: The Male Gaze In Science Fiction.
I Want to See a Gender-Swapped Version of Every Movie. Literally Every One.
Why the Bechdel test doesn’t (always) work.
‘War Dogs’ screenwriter: Driving through Iraq’s ‘triangle of death’ was easier than dealing with studio heads.
‘Friday the 13th’ Screenwriter, Producers Tussle Over Rights to Movie in New Lawsuit.
‘Blair Witch’ Producer Reveals Why Creating Remakes Is Easier Than New Properties.
‘Doctor Strange’ Script Gets Some ‘Community’ Help From Dan Harmon.
Ava DuVernay, Steve James to Keynote at Getting Real Conference.
The Best Countries in the World to Film Your Movie, Based on Production Incentives.
Strange Magic: Four Stories About Disney’s Dark Side.
Ian McKellen Turned Down $1.5 Million to Officiate Sean Parker’s Wedding as Gandalf.
Hollywood Flashback: When Rod Serling Entered ‘The Twilight Zone’.
Kubrick’s Original Treatment For “The Shining” Reveals What Didn’t Make The Cut.
The Horrible Bosses of Hollywood: Life as a Hollywood Assistant.
Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all: The Real Business of Fake Movie Money.
AFI Faculty Votes ‘No Confidence’ in Dean as Some Resign in Protest.
2016 Fall Movie Preview: 34 Indie Films to See This Season.
How Barack and Michelle Obama’s First Date Became ‘Southside With You’.
San Francisco Film Society Announces Doc Film Fund Finalists.
More Than Two Thirds of Consumers Have Never Bought a Digital Video.
The Race to Save the Films We Love.
Emmys 2016: Who Should Win, Who Will Win.
LMNO, Discovery Legal Battle Highlights Rising Tensions in Unscripted TV Arena.
Here Are the Saturday Night Live Cast Members Returning for Season 42.
Public Television Employees Ratify Writers Guild Contract.
Will HBO’s Much-Delayed Westworld be the Next Game of Thrones–Style Hit?
Streamy Awards announce 2016 nominations.
17 Literary Agents Seeking Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy NOW.
5 Common Plotting Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Writing a Novel.
“Room” Author Emma Donoghue on the Appeal of Putting Good Kids in Bad Situations.
How Fantasy Tropes Can Bring Out the Power of Being a Fangirl.
Truman Capote’s Ashes Will Be Auctioned Off Next Month.
How Nostalgia Drives the Music Industry.
The final unreleased Led Zeppelin recording has been unearthed from the vault.
Bitter Script Reader: Microbudget films as exposure for writing.
Galloway on Film: Lies, Damned Lies and (Hollywood) Statistics.
Delilah S. Dawson: What happens when the book is fatally flawed.
Ken Levine: Gee, that “sounds” great! But…
Listen: Chicks Who Script (Episode 90).
Listen: Scriptnotes (Episode 264).
Read: The Night of Lochtegate.
Watch: Slow Motion Supercut.
Watch: Brad Bird- Playful Cinema.
Watch: Tribute to Jim Jarmusch.
Watch: Wes Anderson Divided.
Screenwriting Master Class tip of the week
This September, I begin a new chapter in my creative journey as an assistant professor of screenwriter at the DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts. As a result, I will only offer group workshops — Prep: From Concept to Outline, Pages I: Writing the First Draft, and Pages II: Rewriting Your Script — between May and August which means the next sessions I will lead will be in 2017.
However I do have a handful of slots available for private one-on-one workshops including the premiere program I offer: The Quest.
The Quest is an intensive 20-week online screenwriting workshop which consists of three stages:
Core [4 weeks]: Participants learn essential screenwriting principles covering Plot, Concept, Character, Style, Dialogue, Scene, Theme, Time. There are 12 written lectures each week which post daily, then a writing exercise due Sunday to put the theory into practice. I wrote all 48 lectures amounting to over 250 pages of in-depth content and believe it to represent a new, cutting edge way to think about screenwriting.
The approach presented in Core is unique in these respects:
Coherent: Rather than a writer being forced to pick a bit of screenwriting theory from this guru or that, this educational resource or that, the Core content comes from a specific perspective – my own – based on over 25 years experience as a screenwriter and over 10 years as an educator. Every concept presented in Core is tied together by an overall philosophy about screenwriting, writing and creativity.
Comprehensive: The content presented in Core provides writers all the knowledge they need to have to be able to write a professional quality screenplay.
Character-based: Whereas so much of the conversation about screenwriting is focused on structure [and by ‘structure’ most people mean ‘plot’], Core presents an approach that begins and ends with character. In my view, this is not only the best way for a writer to craft unique, compelling, and entertaining multidimensional characters, it’s also the most effective – and frankly logical – way to find your story’s plot.
For 8 weeks in Core, participants in The Quest are immersed in screenwriting theory. At the end of that time, they put their understanding of those essential principles to work writing an original screenplay of their own.
Prep [6 weeks]: Starting with an original concept, participants in The Quest develop it through a series of 6 weekly lectures and writing assignments, each building upon the other until they end up with a thorough outline of their story.
I have been teaching Prep at SMC since we launched in January 2011 and the course has proved to be extremely popular. It picks up on the theory laid out in Core and runs with it in a workshop environment. The six weeks lay out like this:
The first two weeks are about exploration, starting with the Protagonist and a series of key questions to help define some of the narrative’s fundamental elements, then a full week’s worth of brainstorming, three different ways to prompt the writer’s creativity and engage the story.
The next two weeks are about wrangling the narrative, the primary Plotline points that provide the spine of the plot, and the movements of the Themeline, the story’s emotional plot.
The final two weeks are about constructing the structure, scene by scene, sequence by sequence, subplot by subplot until the participant has a detailed outline.
Armed with their outline, the writer can approach the page-writing part of the process with confidence, primed to type FADE IN and go.
Pages [10 weeks]: Using their outline as a guide, participants pound out script pages through a series of 10 weekly lectures and writing assignments. Averaging about 10-15 pages per week, by the end of The Quest the writer has a complete first draft of their original screenplay.
Here, too, the process is founded on the principles presented in Core and put into use in Prep, all reflecting a character-based approach to screenwriting.
As noted, The Quest is a workshop and that means:
* Weekly writing exercises and assignments
* Detailed feedback on all exercises, assignments, and script pages
* Regular teleconferences
The Quest is not for everyone. It involves a big commitment in terms of time and – frankly – money. However the education gives writers a solid foundation in screenwriting theory and practice, all of it grounded in over 30 years experience as a professional writer and teacher. In my humble, it is superior to anything available. Here is one of many testimonials:
If you’re serious about screenwriting, you should already know you have a long journey ahead of you. Any chance you get to cross paths with Scott, whether it’s a one week class or The Quest, is a chance to expedite that journey.
Scott’s instincts as a mentor are spot on. He can tell the difference between when you need encouragement and when you need a good kick in the pants. Under his guidance, you become the kind of writer you want to be, the kind that doesn’t need to wait for inspiration.
The Quest changed my life. It gave me the structure to be immersed in screenwriting and the flexibility needed to write and accommodate work and family life.
The Quest exceeded my expectations. Not only did I come out with a quality screenplay, but a practical approach that I can apply to each script I write.
You can spend your time reading through screenwriting inspiration, tips or shortcuts, thinking it will help more than actually doing the work, or you can take the leap and do The Quest.
— Taylor Gordon
As I say, I have room for a few Questers for the remainder of 2016. I also offer private programs for Prep: From Concept to Outline, Pages I: Writing the First Draft, and Pages II: Rewriting Your Script. If you’re interested, email me: scott at screenwritingmasterclass dot com. More information here.