Daily Dialogue — October 20, 2014

October 20th, 2014 by

Doc Holliday: What did you ever want?
Wyatt Earp: Just to live a normal life.
Doc Holliday: There’s no normal life, Wyatt, it’s just life. Get on with it.
Wyatt Earp: Don’t know how.
Doc Holliday: Sure you do. Say goodbye to me. Go grab that spirited actress and make her your own. Take that beauty from it, don’t look back. Live every second. Live right on to the end. Live Wyatt. Live for me. Wyatt, if you were ever my friend – if ya ever had even the slightest of feelin’ for me, leave now. Leave now… Please.
Wyatt Earp: Thanks for always being there, Doc.

Tombstone (1993), written Kevin Jarre

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Dying Words. Today’s suggestion by Kalen.

Trivia: Doc Holiday’s last words “I’ll be damned” were uttered when he realized he had bare feet. Doc swore he would “die with his boots on”.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Admonishing the living to live well is a common theme for characters who die on screen. There is a kind of nobility to this sentiment.

Go Into The Story Week In Review: October 13-October 19, 2014

October 19th, 2014 by

Links to the week’s most notable posts:

9 Interviews with Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Winners

Black List Live! presents Brian Duffield’s “Your Bridesmaid Is a Bitch”

Daily Dialogue Theme for Next Week: Dying Words

Declare Your Independents: Volume 34

GITS Interview: Damien Chazzelle (Whiplash)

Great Character: Rosemary Woodhouse (Rosemary’s Baby)

Great Scene: Apocalypse Now

Great Scene: As Good As It Gets

Great Scene: Back to the Future

Great Scene: Cast Away

Great Scene: Full Metal Jacket

Great Scene: On the Waterfront

Great Scene: Schindler’s List

Interview: Frank DeJohn & David Alton Hedges (2013 Nicholl winners)

Interview: Stephanie Shannon (2013 Nicholl Winner, 2013 Black List)

Interview: Barbara Stepansky (2013 Nicholl Winner, 2013 Black List)

Interview: Michael Werwie (2012 Nicholl Winner, 2012 Black List)

Interview (Video): David Ayer

On Writing: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ron Meyer on Hollywood ‘Assholes,’ CAA ‘Monsters’ and Advice for the Next Generation

Saturday Hot Links

Scene-By-Scene Breakdown Challenge in November

Screenwriting 101: Ashleigh Powell

Screenwriting as Problem-Solving

Screenwriting News (October 7-13, 2014)

Script To Screen: Blue Velvet

Spec Script Sale: “Low Tide”

Spec Script Sale: “The Feud”

The ‘shortening’ of movies

THR: TV Agents Roundtable

Word Cloud Logline Challenge Winners!

Writing and the Creative Life: Seeing… Hearing…

Video: “The Silence of the Lambs” – Who wins the scene

October 19th, 2014 by

Deft analysis by Tony Zhou of a key scene from The Silence of the Lambs.

The positioning of the camera is interesting, but that’s something over which screenwriters have little control. Sure, we can write “Clarice sits down” which can create an image in the mind of the reader that Lecter is standing above Starling. But our job isn’t to direct the camera so much as it is to direct the psychological interplay between characters. Obviously we can do that through dialogue, which character assumes a power position through attitude, information, revelations, etc. But we can also convey it through scene description.

Here are some actual description lines of this scene from Ted Tally’s shooting script:

Clarice stops, at a polite distance from his bars, clears 
her throat.

She complies each time, trying to hide her fear.

A tense beat, then a smile from him, at this small boldness.

He rises, glances at it, turning a page or two disdainfully.

Suddenly he whips the tray back at her, with a metallic CLANG 
that makes her start. His voice remains a pleasant purr.

His every word has struck her like a tiny, precise dart. But
she squares her jaw and won't give ground.

He steps backwards, then returns to his cot, becoming as still 
and remote as a statue.

Notice the combination of action and emotion in these excerpts. The scene is most definitely a battle to see who will win it and the description helps to convey that.

Check out Tony Zhou’s Vimeo site for more excellent videosl

Screenwriting News (October 13-October 19, 2014)

October 19th, 2014 by

Matthew Altman and David Matalon sells spec script “The Feud” to Vandal Entertainment.

Andrew Barrer and Gabe Ferrari sell thriller spec script “Low Tide” to Twentieth Century Fox.

Jeffrey Hatcher writing World War I drama “Megiddo” for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Rob McElhenney sells family action adventure pitch “Figment” to Legendary Pictures.

Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales writing remake of thriller Vengeance for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Nicole Perlman writing new comic book series “Gamora” for Marvel Studios.

Mike White adapting novel “Love May Fail” for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Great Scene: “Back to the Future”

October 19th, 2014 by

October is Great Scene month at Go Into The Story whereby we put a spotlight on notable movie scenes, then analyze and discuss them. Their structure, themes, character dynamics. Why do they work? What are their narrative elements that elevate them to greatness? Let’s face it: In a fundamental way, screenwriting is scene-writing, so the more we learn about this aspect of the craft, the better.

Today: The 1985 movie Back to the Future, written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, Jr. IMDB plot summary:

A young man is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown, and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his own existence.

Discovering himself to have traveled back in time to 1955, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) stops into a diner for something to drink.


* The inspiration for the film largely stems from Bob Gale discovering his father’s high school yearbook and wondering whether he would have been friends with his father as a teenager. Gale also said that if he had the chance to go back in time he would really go back and see if they would have been friends.

* In the original script, Doc Brown and Marty sell bootleg videos in order to fund the time machine.

* In the first scene at the diner, Marty asks for a Pepsi Free. This refers to a brand of Pepsi that was the company’s first caffeine free cola. Ironically, in the same scene, Marty asks for a Tab, which was actually a diet cola brand produced by Pepsi’s rival Coca-Cola.

* The script was rejected 40 times before it was finally green-lit.

There a number of great scenes in Back to the Future, but this one stands out because of the way it handles several subplots:

* Marty and George (Crispin Glover): This is where Marty is ‘introduced’ to his father.

* Marty and Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson): This is where Marty first ‘meets’ his uncle Biff.

* George and Biff: We see how the bullying dynamic between the pair as evidenced in 1985 has its roots in 1955.

* Goldie Wilson (Donald Fullilove): When Marty blurts out, “You’re going to be mayor,” that sets into motion this character’s eventual election to city-wide office. This also sets into motion the dynamic that what Marty says and does in 1955 will have an impact on the future.

It’s a testament to the writers that they managed to handle all of these subplots intersecting in this one scene and do so seamlessly. It is a skill manifest in multiple scenes as Back to the Future is perhaps the single best example of how to use subplots to great effect.

To read all of the entries in the Great Scene archive, go here.If you have an idea for this Great Scene series, check out the responses people have made so far here. If you have a different scene in mind you think would be worthy of analysis, please post it there or in comments for this post. Thanks!

Interview [Video]: David Ayer

October 19th, 2014 by

Interview with David Ayer whose writing credits include U-571, The Fast and the Furious, Training Day, End of Watch, and Fury

Via Trailer Addict.

Daily Dialogue — October 19, 2014

October 19th, 2014 by

“With this hand I will lift your sorrows. Your cup will never be empty, for I will be your wine. With this candle, I will light your way into darkness. With this ring, I ask you to be mine.”

Corpse Bride (2005), screenplay by John August and Caroline Thompson and Pamela Pettle, characters by Tim Burton and Carlos Grangel

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Wedding Vows, suggested by Shari.

Trivia: The first original stop motion animated film Tim Burton has directed or produced since The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

Dialogue On Dialogue: Next time you get married, write your vows in rhyme.

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments… and thanks!

Daily Dialogue theme next week: Dying Words

October 18th, 2014 by

The Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Dying Words.

Jurassic Park clever girl

“Clever girl.”

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:

October 27-November 2: Madness
November 3-November 9: Seduction [Markham Cook]
November 10-November 16: Embarrassing Moment
November 17-November 23: Friendship
November 24-November 30: Proposal [Aamir Mirza]
December 1-December 7: Leadership
December 8-December 14: Quitting
December 15-December 21: Negotiation [Michael Waters]

Check this out: The GITS Daily Dialogue Topic Index! You can read about Liz and Allie, two sisters who are big fans of the blog, and were inspired to create the 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 — Wedding Vows — in comments. Thanks!

If you have any ideas for Daily Dialogue themes, feel free to post as well. Thanks for your suggestions!

Spec Script Sale: “The Feud”

October 18th, 2014 by

Vandal Entertainment options thriller spec script “The Feud” written by Matthew Altman and David Matalon. From Deadline:

Described as The Raid meets Winter’s Bone, the story follows a mysterious man who returns to his home in Iowa for his brother’s funeral when he finds himself head to head with the local crime boss and traps him and his friends in an abandoned farm complex. They must battle for their lives against impossible odds.

This is an option deal.

Altman is repped by APA, Matalon by Paradigm (LA), and Parallax Talent Management.

By my count, this is the 50th spec script sale in 2014.

There were 81 spec script sales year-to-date in 2013.

Saturday Hot Links

October 18th, 2014 by

Time for the 156th installment of Saturday Hot Links.

Today: The Classic World Series Games Edition.

Neil Patrick Harris to host the 2015 Academy Awards.

The Gimp unleashed: Pulp Fiction‘s creepy bondage slave tells all.

Related: 12 movies to see after you watch Pulp Fiction.

Related: The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science honored Pulp Fiction with this website.

What songs were popular 23 years ago when Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind” was released.

Related: The Foo Fighters’ new documentary “Sonic Highways” debuts Friday on HBO.

Related: HBO to air Foo Fighters concert for free on Facebook.

Ironically related: The greatest Spinal Tap songs ever recorded [videos].

Aged 15-25 with a fantastic film to share? BFI Future Film Festival now has two £5000 awards!

5 roommate battles worth fighting (and 3 that aren’t).

Patton Oswalt aggregated 31 horror stories, one for each day of October.

Related: The origins of 15 spooky Halloween traditions.

Related: Child writes a story worthy of a horror movie.

Related: Creepy clown sightings continue in California town.

Related: Missouri family forced out of house by over 5,000 venomous brown recluse spiders.

Related: Rats and their alarming bugs.

Tiger Mom and Helicopter Parents: The economics of parenting style.

Meet Europe’s 5 most powerful showrunners.

The map tells you exactly when the trees near you will change colors.

Lena Dunham’s next project: Adapting a YA novel “Catherine, Called Birdy”.

Lewis Black says F#%! voter suppression [video].

Live staged reading of American Beauty, hosted by Jason Reitman at LACMA.

What does a $1M RV look like.

How women can improve their lot in the film industry.

Related: 28 feminist writers recommend books every man should read.

12 year-old girl’s letter about gender equality to Dick’s Sporting Goods goes viral.

Great interview with Bob Odenkirk.

Neilsen reveals ‘technical error’ that caused months of incorrect TV ratings data.

Can you pick the top 20 Harry Potter characters by number of mentions.

12 Halloween ideas from 1884′s hottest costume guide.

Universal building a $3.3B theme park in China.

These are the chemicals inside your smartphone.

The possibility of a post-plot twist era.

The myth of the midlife crisis.

Ben Affleck, Matt Damon to develop Syfy thriller “Incorporated”.

John Cleese quits movies, says he’s “looking forward” to death.

Watch Woody Allen, Kurosawa and Coppola in weird 1980s Japanese ads [videos].

10 plague novels that will not help you deal with the Ebola virus.

The most memorable SNL one-liners.

What happens to your brain when your mind is at rest.

5 reasons why Gone Girl has hyper-hold at the box office.

Related: Gone Girl is the ultimate ‘truther’ movie.

Did Burger King rip off Billy Eichner?

11 wonderful former Disney rides.

Bill Murray to sing Christmas carols in upcoming TV special.

8 lifehacks dealing with pets.

Guardians of the Galaxy‘s dancing Baby Groot coming to a store near you!

The Daily Show discovers exorcisms by Skype.

The 7 most messed up things about “Sex and the City”.

Turner relaunching Boomerang as all-animated network for kids, families.

Chuck Wendig: Things you should know when writing about guns.

File this under Meta: A documentary about what it’s like to be the subject of a documentary.

Gain true insight from this Stevie Nicks wisdom generator.

40 female filmmakers to follow on Twitter.

This man accidentally took a photo of the inside of his pocket every day for a year.

Excellent feature on Michael Mann’s Collateral a decade later.

10 mind-altering philosophy books from 2014.

Seth Rogen talks about confronting the exec who canceled “Freaks and Geeks” [video].

More on cancellations: Marvel puts an end to ‘Fantastic Four’ comic book.

The personality types of successful poker players, according to science.

Brad Bird explains why he turned down Star Wars: Episode VII [video].

10 discontinued beverages coveted by collectors.

Film noir’s progressive portrayal of women.

15 gifts for punctuation nerds and language lovers.

15 things you might not know about Fight Club.

15 facts about Dead Poets Society.

National Book Award finalists announced.

The complete Amazing Amy from Gone Girl being released as a book.

All 13 Saturn 5 rocket launches shown simultaneously [video].

The 5 actors “Twin Peaks” will be missing when it returns in 2015.

What’s your fitness age.

HBO plans to offer a stand-alone streaming service in 2015.

Related: Is there a downside?

School lunches from around the world.

A LEGO reality competition show is on the way.

Where did the word “dude” come from.

Here are 50 films about writers, ranked.

We are very near the end of civilization as we know it.

A comprehensive look at superhero movie release dates.

Related: At Warner Bros., it’s all superheroes, all the time.

When genius slept [infographic].

CAA close to selling majority stake to TPG Capital.

Is kindness physically attractive? If so, I am the most handsome man in the world!

How to make your first short film.

So the Kansas City Royals win to advance to the World Series and Paul Rudd invites folks to party at his Mom’s house [video].

TV’s remake craze: Who gets the money, who owns the rights.

Remembering the deadly London beer flood of 1814.

Average price of a movie ticket up 25 cents since last year.

The fate of “Twin Peaks” characters to be revealed in book coming in 2015.

Finally Box Office Mojo editor says of the site’s mystery disappearance: No questions, please.

Screenwriting Master Class tip of the week: Currently in the midst of the 3rd Quest Writing Workshop and once again, it’s a remarkable experience. A group of writers gathered together for four days from 10AM-5PM. Immersed in screenwriting theory. Workshopping each of their stories. A supercharged creative experience.

I will be hosting the 4th Quest Writing Workshop in Santa Monica, California from December 10-13, 2014.

Here is the schedule:

Day 1: We begin by digging into the first of three sections of the Core curriculum: Character. Then we workshop character treatments for the Protagonist from each writer’s story. Finally we go through a host of brainstorming exercises in which participants explore their respective stories.

Day 2: We interweave theory and practice, covering two other Core sections — Plot and Theme — as well as Prep exercises designed to help writers wrangle their stories.

Day 3: We spend a majority of time workshopping stories, each writer identifying major Plotline points to construct the spine of their story’s structure.

Day 4: Again most of the focus is on workshopping stories, the writers learning the benefits of index cards as we flesh out major plot and subplot elements, rounding them into shape toward a coherent, comprehensive outline.

After each day’s session, we carry on our conversations at a local watering hole, a chance to dig more deeply into stories, socialize, and have a great deal of fun together.

But it doesn’t stop there. The workshop includes an online site which Quest participants continue to prep their story, then pound out a first draft, supported by their fellow writers and myself.

Here are a few observations from some of the writers involved in previous Quest Writing Workshops:

“As an advertising writer I’ve been in a million brainstorms. But Scott’s classes are special. They’re more like braincyclones, where we generated a mass of powerful ideas that elevated our stories into places that surprised and delighted us all.” — Matt Sherring

“Thank you again for a great workshop, the results far exceeded my expectations. I can’t believe how far my story came in just a few days. The four-day course literally saved me months of planning!” —- Louise Baxter

“Scott is a fantastic teacher, and the energy amongst the Questers was palpable! Never have I been in such a positive creative environment in which everyone was genuinely interested in helping one another.” — Sarah Grimes

“I’m not trying to blow sunshine up your skirt when I say I got more out of those four days than I did all of grad school.” — Michelle Burleson

If you enroll for the Santa Monica session by October 31, you qualify for an early bird discount of nearly $100.

Dates: Wednesday, December 10-Saturday December 13.

Location: The Writers Junction, 1001 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica.

Give yourself an excellent early Christmas present by enrolling in the 4th Quest Writing Workshop.

If you’d like more information, email me and I’ll be happy to forward you a workshop syllabus as well as answer any questions you may have. Or go here to sign up.

I look forward to the opportunity to work with you in this terrific workshop opportunity.