“The Hateful Eight” staged reading round-up

April 20th, 2014 by

Last night at the United Artists Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA, Quentin Tarantino directed a staged reading of his original screenplay The Hateful Eight. This is the script that Gawker leaked to the web back in January that led to a lawsuit by the filmmaker against the online site. At the time, Tarantino said because of the script going public, he was scrapping the movie project. Evidently per the script reading last night, that is not necessarily the case.

Actors who participated in the staged reading: Samuel L Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, James Parks, Amber Tamblyn Michael Madsen, Denis Menochet, James Remar, Walton Goggins and Bruce Dern.

Photo via Indiewire

I’ve aggregated some of the key reports from the event.

Deadline

THR

Variety

Some reviews:

THR (Todd McCarthy)

Indiewire (Anne Thompson)

Indiewire (Charlie Schmidlin)

This is a worthy excerpt from this last review:

Ad-libbing from the cast even forced Tarantino to grow somewhat irate, as he told them, “You’re starting to drift a little from the dialogue, guys. Stick to what’s written on the page—no more co-writing.”

Spoken like a true screenwriter!

Gawker claims this is all a stunt by Tarantino to generate interest in the project. I doubt it, but the fact is everything that has transpired has created all sorts of buzz, leading to the event last night in front of a packed house including heavy hitters like the Weinstein brothers.

What’s your take? Do you hope Tarantino goes forward with The Hateful Eight movie?

UPDATE: This review from Hitfix.

Interview [6 part series]: Elijah Bynum

April 20th, 2014 by

The Black List is a pretty exclusive club, especially so for those writers who manage to land two scripts on the List in a single year. That’s what Elijah Bynum did in 2013 when two of his original screenplays — “Mississippi Mud” and “Hot Summer Nights”.

Bynum Elijah

I sought out Elijah to see what sort of creative mind could manage that feat. He was kind enough to give me an hour of his time in what turned out to be a great conversation about storytelling and the craft of screenwriting.

Part 1: “I was born and raised in a little town in a little state 3,000 miles away from Hollywood. I figured I had a better chance of striking oil in my backyard than making a career in entertainment.”

Part 2: “First of all, just naturally the way I approach story, I always have a question I want to explore. I never want to answer the question. I want to raise the question and present both sides of the argument and let the audience drawn their own conclusion.”

Part 3: “I wanted to explore religion and faith and the idea of fate and happenstance. What some call fate others call ‘the way shit is’”.

Part 4: “It’s the fear of becoming that thing that the world around you tells you that you’ll become. All of our characters fight against that. Some win. Some don’t.”

Part 5: “I have an index card taped to my desk that says, “Don’t be boring.” I have to remind myself of that all the time. Any time I feel the plot dragging and I realize I’m going down the wrong path I look down at my desk and that little index card is staring up at me.”

Part 6: “Writers have to be curious by nature. Curious about life, curious about human beings, curious about what makes the world go around. As long as you’re curious, there will always be something to write and you’ll always be raising the right questions.”

Elijah is repped at Verve and Kaplan / Perrone.

Twitter: @BynumElijah.

Screenwriting News (April 14-April 20, 2014)

April 20th, 2014 by

Jesse Armstrong writing comedy “Border Guards” for Sony and Gary Sanchez Productions.

David Berenbaum writing sequel Mrs. Doubtfire 2 for Fox 2000.

TJ Fixman sells action thriller script “Men Who Kill” to 20th Century Fox, Michael B. Jordan attached to star.

John Hlavin sells period action pitch “Nekome” to GrandElectric Entertainment.

Lauryn Kahn sells comedy spec script “I’m In Love With The DJ” to Sony Pictures.

Daniel Kunka sells action drama spec script “Yellowstone Falls” to QED for a reported six figures against near seven-figures.

Tony Kushner adapting historical drama “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara” for DreamWorks Studios, Steven Spielberg attached to direct.

Seth Lochhead adapting comic series “Who is Jake Ellis?” for 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment.

James McBride adapting his own novel “The Good Lord Bird” for New Regency.

David Michôd writing drama “The Operators” for New Regency, Michôd directing, Brad Pitt attached to star.

Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux writing “Hot Stuff” for DreamWorks Animation.

John Swetnam writing and directing found footage dance drama “Breaking Through” for Get Lifted Film Company.

A Story Idea Each Day for a Month — Day 20

April 20th, 2014 by

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

Today’s story: 7 tips for keeping your man (from the 1950s).

Woman, you have no idea how lucky you are to have landed a man. But as the literature of the mid-century’s greatest matrimonial minds tells us, he’s one wrinkled shirt away from leaving you. Eyes open and mouth shut ladies. It’s about to get real.

1. Don’t talk
Oh, did Mavis from next door insult your prize winning squash? Did little Timmy get sent home for starting fires again? That shooting pain in your left arm just keeps getting more intense? Keep it to yourself! Your man works all through his day and last thing he needs to hear about is yours. Refer to the first four commandments on “How to be a Good Wife” Edward Podolsky gives in his 1943 book, Sex Today in Wedded Life:

Don’t bother your husband with petty troubles and complaints when he comes home from work.

Be a good listener. Let him tell you his troubles; yours will seem trivial in comparison.

Remember your most important job is to build up and maintain his ego (which gets bruised plenty in business). Morale is a woman’s business.

Let him relax before dinner. Discuss family problems after the inner man has been satisfied.

In his 1951 book, Sex Satisfaction and Happy Marriage, Reverend Alfred Henry Tyrer has more to add to that. Do not ask for things. This is called “nagging”:

I verily believe that the happiness of homes is destroyed more frequently by the habit of nagging than by any other one. A man may stand that sort of thing (nagging) for a long time, but the chances are against his standing it permanently. If he needs peace to make life bearable, he will have to look for it elsewhere than in his own house. And it is quite likely that he will look.

Unless your husband wants you to talk. Then don’t you dare disappoint him. Says Reverend Tyrer:

“If [the husband] is intellectually inclined, and from time to time seeks to explain little things to her so that she may have at least a bare knowledge of what it is that interests him, and, without the slightest comment, she takes up again the fashion magazine she laid down when he commenced to speak, we may be pretty sure that there is going to be a ‘rift in the lute’ sooner or later in that house.”

—-

3. Be the hot steak, not the cheap pork

Speaking of cooking, Reverend Tyrer has a metaphor for you.

Picture a woman preparing a fine meal for her husband. “She remembered his choice of meat and was careful to get an extra-fine cut…her best cutlery and dishes and finest linen are all in evidence, and a little colorful decoration has been tastefully displayed….and as he comes into the house she greets him with a smile of welcome and a touch of manifest love.” Now, say that linen was a bed sheet, the colorful little decoration was fuzzy handcuffs, and you had the privilege of being that extra fine cut of meat. What does all that equal? A husband who doesn’t cheat on you!

But say that same wife “is constantly setting him down to indigestible meals, cold and unappetizing, with nothing properly cooked, set out on a kitchen table with a dirty cloth, she need not be surprised if her husband frequently telephones from the office that business will prevent him from being home for dinner.”

All because you weren’t properly cooked when he was hungry!

—-

5. Pink panties are a must

And while we’re on the subject of you performing convincingly in the boudoir, you better be costumed correctly, too.

That the underwear should be spotlessly clean goes without saying, but every woman should wear the best quality underwear that she can afford. And the color should be preferably pink. And lace and ruffles, I am sorry to say, add to the attractiveness of underwear, and are liked by the average man.

—-

7. Your husband is the boss of you

It is fitting to close with a simple truism from the renowned Eugenicist Prof. B.G. Jefferis, in his Searchlights on Health, The Science of Eugenics:

The Number One Rule. Reverence Your Husband. He sustains by God’s order a position of dignity as head of a family, head of the woman. Any breaking down of this order indicates a mistake in the union, or a digression from duty.

Stop talking, slap on some pink drawers, and start worshipping!

Pleasantville (1998) — “Two 1990s teenagers find themselves in a 1950s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world” — probably negates transposing an ardent feminist back in time. However what about something in the other direction: Three 1950s couples suddenly find themselves in the year 2015. Do they go from this:

To this:

Create a laundry list of issues a couple faces — money, cooking, work, chores, sex — and explore a bunch of set pieces and scenes you can put the couples in to have some fun with various conventions.

Some adjust. Some resist. Perhaps some contemporary characters get affected by 1950s sensibilities. Maybe something there…

There you go: My twentieth 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 [Video]: David S. Goyer

April 20th, 2014 by

The BAFTA Lecture Series is one of the best resources available to hear screenwriters talk directly about the craft. Another example released recently: Writer-director David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Man of Steel).

Daily Dialogue — April 20, 2014

April 20th, 2014 by

“My predecessor in this job left a man named Charles Grady as the Winter caretaker. And he came up here with his wife and two little girls, I think were eight and ten. And he had a good employment record, good references, and from what I’ve been told he seemed like a completely normal individual. But at some point during the winter, he must have suffered some kind of a complete mental breakdown. He ran a muck and killed his family with an axe. Stacked them neatly in one of the rooms in the West wing and then he, he put both barrels of a shot gun in his mouth.”

The Shining (1980), screenplay by Stanley Kubrick & Diane Johnson, novel by Stephen King

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Job Interview, suggested by blueneumann who also suggested The Shining.

Trivia: During filming, Stanley Kubrick made the cast watch Eraserhead (1977), Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Exorcist (1973) to put them in the right frame of mind.

Dialogue On Dialogue: This is a spin on the job interview scene, instead of the focus being on the interviewee, here it’s all about providing some exposition about the hotel. Takeaway: If you’re going to lay down some backstory, might as well make it about a patricidal murder-suicice.

Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Sales Pitch

April 19th, 2014 by

We move from this week’s theme (Job Interview) suggested by blueneumann. Next week: Sales Pitch.

“Listen, I’m not here to tell you about Jesus. You already know about Jesus. He either lives in your heart or he doesn’t. Every woman wants choices, but in the end, none wants to be one of a hundred in a box. She’s unique. She makes the choices and she’s chosen him. She wants to tell the world he’s MINE. He belongs to ME, not you. She marks her man with her lips. He’s her possession.
You’ve given the gift of total ownership.”

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:

April 28-May 5: Nemesis [Alejandro]

May 6-May 12: Lying

May 13-May 19: Advice [Aarthi Ramanathan]

May 20-May 26: Robbery

May 27-June 2: Time Travel Talk [Bob_Reo_Inc]

June 3-June 9: Bad News

June 10-June 16: Flirting [SabinaGiado]

June 17-June 23: Happy Birthday

Hit Reply and see you in comments for your suggestions: Sales Pitch.

2014 Cannes Film Festival Lineup: Screenwriters

April 19th, 2014 by

Once again, the press covers a film festival and notes each of the movie’s directors, but no mention of screenwriters (for example, see here). Not to diminish the directors’ contributions, however without a script… well… you know.

So here is every single movie scheduled for this year’s Cannes Film Festival — Competition, Out of Competition, and Un Certain Regard — spotlighting the screenwriters, a number of whom are writer-directors.

Grace of Monaco: Arash Amel

The Captive: ,

Clouds of Sils Maria:

Foxcatcher: ,

Goodbye to Language:

The Homesman: Kieran Fitzgerald, Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley A. Oliver

Jimmy’s Hall:

Leviafan: ,

Le Meraviglie:

Maps to the Stars:

Mommy:

Mr. Turner:

Saint Laurent: ,

The Search:

Still the Water:

Timbuktu: Abderrahmane Sissako

Two Days, One Night: ,

Wild Tales:

Winter Sleep: ,

Coming Home:

How to Train Your Dragon 2:

Interview: Elijah Bynum (2013 Black List) – Part 6

April 19th, 2014 by

The Black List is a pretty exclusive club, especially so for those writers who manage to land two scripts on the List in a single year. That’s what Elijah Bynum did in 2013 when two of his original screenplays — “Mississippi Mud” and “Hot Summer Nights”. I sought out Elijah to see what sort of creative mind could manage that feat. He was kind enough to give me an hour of his time in what turned out to be a great conversation about storytelling and the craft of screenwriting.

Today in Part 6, Elijah discusses the craft of screenwriting and lays some advice on aspiring writers:

Scott:  How about developing characters? Are there any techniques or tools that you use to develop them?

Elijah:   I have a very distinct idea of who this person is, but the first third of the script is always the toughest to write character‑wise, because I’m still getting to know this person.

Then as the story unfolds, their dialogue and their actions becomes much more natural, because this person has become, in my mind, fully realized. I have to take them down several different paths and then delete all the ones that don’t ring true. After enough times the character really starts to take place. Even when I’m not writing, I walk around thinking about who these people are and what they are doing at that moment as if they really exist.  It’s sad, I know.

I always write a little bio on them before I write the script. Their back story, their personality, some of their character traits. I know what food they like, what kind of cigarettes they smoke—but there’s a difference between characteristics and character. It’s  not until you really throw yourself into the story and throw your character into the story that you can genuinely understand who they are.

Scott:  What about dialogue? You said you had an ear for it, ever since you were young, you’ve been able to notice details and whatnot.

Do you feel like writing dialogue is one of things that you can learn how to do? Or is it just an innate talent that some writers have and others don’t?

Elijah:   There’s always going to be people like Aaron Sorkin and David Mamet ‑‑ who are just wired in a way that makes them incredibly good at it.  But I think it’s definitely something you can learn.

The trick is when you’re writing dialogue for the screen, it’s an illusion, because it’s not really how people speak. It is crafted in such a way that it appears to be how people speak. But it’s not really how we speak.  People talk in non sequtiur and they ramble and what not.

That was the learning curve, for me, at least. My first crack at “Mississippi Mud,” the dialogue was terrible. It was way too verbose. It was on the nose. It was meandering. Those screenwriting books explained what it means to “cut the fat” and how important “subtext” is.  Some of the most powerful moments between two characters come when things are being left unsaid.

I always keep that in mind when I’m writing. What are the characters not saying?

There’s this great scene in the movie “Drive” when Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan’s characters are getting to know each other. What’s actually on the page is very, very mundane and straightforward. They’re in the kitchen. She gives him a glass of water, asks him what he does for work. He says he works at a garage, and that’s about it. But the scene is charged with the sexual electricity. Of course a lot of it’s the directing, the music and the acting, but it all works because of what’s underneath the surface, what’s not being said.

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

Elijah:  Yeah. Before I write any scene I outline the scene. I pull up Microsoft Word. I have about four or five bullet points on what I want to accomplish in the scene. I realized when I was first starting to write, and I think it’s a mistake a lot of first time writers make, is each only accomplishing one thing per scene. I realized great scenes accomplish many different things on many different levels. They’ll move the plot forward, they’ll reveal character, they’ll introduce another problem, etc.

A really well‑written script doesn’t seem like it’s trying too hard to do this, but, believe me, whoever was writing it was bleeding by the ears by the time they finished the scene because it is really hard to do all of that. When I go into each scene I outline it and I have bullet points of what absolutely must be accomplished in this scene.

As often as possible I try to set the scene in a place that somehow reflects the mood of the scene. There’s this very intense scene in “Mississippi Mud” where Luther, who’s the father of the missing girl, confronts the two police officers. Now Luther is the kind of dude who has the wild light in his eyes. The kind of guy who can snap at any moment. So I set the scene at a firing range. There’s this inherent danger there with shotguns and rifles blasting off and that sound, that loud, punctuating sound, which hopefully makes the scene all the more ominous.

Scott:  What about scene description? I was struck, you have such a nice balance there. It’s almost like poetry. A lot of vivid descriptors, strong, active verbs, vivid adjectives and whatnot, and yet it’s spare. Spare writing. Would you have any thoughts about how you approach writing scene description?

Elijah:  I think that goes back to my idea of trying as hard as I can never to be boring.  The scripts that I’ve always been drawn to are the scripts that have a very strong sense of voice. I decided I was more comfortable really painting the image for the reader so it felt like they were fully immersed in the world. Every story I tell I try to have a strong sense of time and place. I like the reader who reads “Mississippi Mud” to smell the humid air and feel the dirt under their nails.

I felt like I couldn’t accomplish that without getting very vivid in my description. I’ve faced criticism for it. I’ve been told that I overwrite and that directors don’t like when the writer does their job for them, which is true to an extent. It’s about finding that balance of breathing life into your world while, at the same time, not overwriting your script and boring your reader with too much context, too much description.

It’s something I still struggle with, to be honest.

Scott:  I always tell people there’s some latitude. There’s a selling script and there’s a shooting script. A selling script, we’re just trying to engage that reader and pull them into that story universe and entertain them. Yes, the standard is now we don’t do camera shots or whatnot, but, like you do, you can suggest them with separate lines and whatnot.

Don’t you think we have a little more latitude with what you call a selling script?

Elijah:  Absolutely. You’re right. As often as the old screenwriting books, which you called, for the most part, bullshit, they tell you not to do that. The scripts that people seem to connect with are scripts that pull them in and that make the read visceral and make the read enjoyable. I’m going to keep doing that as long as I can until someone forces me to stop.

Scott:  What’s your actual writing process?

Elijah:  I like going to a coffee shop. I like being able to watch people. I spend probably the first hour that I’m there just sitting listening to music on my headphones and watching people. When I’m writing a script I write every day because I’ve found that creativity is an elusive little bastard and 9 times out of 10 you sit down to write you’re not going to be able to find it.

It’s just a numbers game. If you sit down every day and force yourself to sit in a chair and force yourself to write something sooner or later you’re going to come up with something that you like. You might wake up the next morning and read it and hate it, but at least it was something you got down on the page and you can work off of.

On top of that, when I’m writing a script it’s intoxicating. I want to write. It’s the times between scripts that are difficult. When I’m writing a script I don’t sleep very much. I disappear from the world. I’m so focused and enraptured in the story and characters that it’s all that I’m really interested in doing at the moment.

Like you said, music is a big part of my inspiration. I always try to find a piece of music that is thematically in tune with what I’m writing at the moment.

Scott:  One last question for you. What advice can you offer to aspiring screenwriters about learning the craft and breaking into Hollywood?

Elijah:  As a writer, we try as hard as we can to avoid cliche, but my piece of advice is going to be cliche. It is to keep writing because that is the only way you’re going to get any better at writing. Keep writing, keep reading good material, and as you do that you will learn to trust your instincts. I really think that’s all writing is about,  trusting your instincts. If you write something and think it’s bad it’s probably bad. If you write something that you think is good, you have at least a 50 percent chance that it is good.

Also, stay curious. I think the worst kind of writer is the kind of writer with nothing to say. Writers have to be curious by nature. Curious about life, curious about human beings, curious about what makes the world go around. As long as you’re curious, there will always be something to write and you’ll always be raising the right questions.

As far as breaking into Hollywood, I think everyone has a different story. I was fortunate enough to be working at a big agency so as soon as I had a script I could just give it to a buddy that sat next to me.

I’ve heard stories of people who were working at a factory out in Pennsylvania and they were able to get their scripts into the right hands and now they’re a big working screenwriters. I don’t think I’m in a position to tell you this is the one way to break into Hollywood. Stay persistent, stay hungry, stay curious and something will happen.

To read Part 1 of the interview, go here.

Part 2, here.

Part 3, here.

Part 4, here.

Part 5, here.

Elijah is repped at Verve and Kaplan / Perrone.

Twitter: @BynumElijah.

Saturday Hot Links

April 19th, 2014 by

The 130th installment of Saturday Hot Links.

Today: The Charlie Chaplin Turned 125 Years Old This Week Edition.

Summer box office forecast: Studio-by studio breakdown.

The world’s dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy.

Last week, James Cameron did a Reddit AMA which you can read here.

How far does Mario have to run and swim in Super Mario Bros.

How 15 famous screenwriters got their break.

Bryan Cranson threatens prom date with menacing Walter White voice [video].

How to safely store your movie posters.

How to survive an internet apocalypse.

5 things you might not know about The Big Lebowski.

5 things you might not know about Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

20 things you might not know about Ghostbusters.

25 things you might not know about Say Anything.

25 fun facts about A League of Their Own.

Newspaper reporter now only second worst career.

Cannes announces 2014 short film and Cinéfondation program.

Do bees really die after they sting you.

We are very near the end of civilization as we know it [Sharknado related].

Hendrik Hertzberg: The Late Stephen Colbert.

Watch an animated John August and Craig Mazin talk about… well, you just have to watch it [video].

“My year at a standing desk and why I’ll never go back.”

How to skip through a TV series without getting lost.

The U.S. Navy just announced the end of Big Oil and no one noticed.

Are these the top 10 romantic movie couples?

6 cautionary tales that terrified kids of yesteryear.

10 teenage angst films you might have missed.

How sleep protects the brain.

The 25 best music documentaries on Netflix.

25 Samuel Beckett quotes that sum up the hilarious tragedy of human existence.

Benedict Cumberbatch rules himself out of Star Wars: Episode VII.

24 signs you’re a writer.

Hollywood play money: WME with $2.45B deal to acquire IMG.

Related: Relativity Media tries to outflank Disney with late $900M bid for Maker Studios.

Related: David Fincher out of Steve Jobs movie in a $10M fee fight.

Related: CBS head honcho Leslie Moonves buys Paul Allen’s Malibu spread for $28.8M.

Are these the 10 greatest YA movie characters.

What Disneyland looked like in 1957 [video].

10 films that can teach you everything you need to know about cinematography.

What to think about during exercise.

Cannes workshop to focus on women directors and screenwriters.

Toronto mayor Rob Ford slams home 2 penalty kicks… against a kid [video]. Jackass!

The difficulties and realities of producing movies at $1M and below.

9 books on reading and writing.

10 weird and wonderful bird nests.

Everything you missed in the 2014 MTV Movie Awards.

These confused kids have no idea what a Walkman is [video].

10 craziest “Jurassic Park” book scenes that should have made the movie.

11 things you might not know about weddings.

Harrison Ford weighs in on “Greedo shooting first” controversy.

TED partners with Simon & Schuster to publish TED books.

Related: 6 independent bookstores are thriving… and how they do it.

Sex and censorship in Indian cinema.

Maps of what the Earth would look like if all the ice melted.

The 10 gayest movies ever made.

7 ways to quickly become a master at anything.

The 50 greatest tweets about last week’s “Game of Thrones”.

Related: Tribute to [redacted] from G.O.T. [video].

Google buys drone maker to boost internet access from space.

Why do people lose their minds over television series finales.

Pulitzer Prize winners announced.

You know you want it: Another “True Detective” parody [video].

20 excellent IKEA hacks you should try.

Memo to women screenwriters: Man up!’

US Airways apologizes for X-rated Twitter photo.

Why sports movies have become their own underdog story.

11 words for people who hate certain things.

A serial killer expert analyzes “Mad Men” for links to the Manson family murders.

Relate: All of the women Don Draper doesn’t sleep with on “Mad Men”.

You’re doing Kegels wrong.

Hollywood’s growing faith in religious movies.

Incredible photo of L.A. night sky with Venus, Jupiter and the Blood Moon.

“The Grapes of Wrath” is 75 years old and more relevant than ever.

14 dining-related taboos from around the world.

Studios still leaving money at the table by failing at diversity.

How to set goals like Google.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is now Wes Anderson’s biggest ever moneymaker.

Can elephants be save? The tragic price of the ivory trade.

Watch: “My Name is John Ford: I Make Movies” [video].

10 weird tax deductions other people got away with.

Walt Disney made a cartoon about menstruation [video].

Building a Smartphone the DARPA way.

“Fargo” creator Noah Hawley: How I made it in Hollywood.

There’s happiness. Then there’s life-satisfaction [video].

Hollywood’s biggest names on their favorite films.

42 facts about Jackie Robinson.

James Gunn sticks up for remakes.

The commercial allure of the 80s.

Film execs talk shifting the focus to TV.

Missing boy found in claw machine [video].

11 most illogical movie endings.

If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington D.C., what should you do?

Vince Gilligan reveals abandoned, bloodbath ending to “Breaking Bad”.

Here’s what the average full-time professor made last year.

Kevin Costner’s 14 best sports truisms.

Related: Mets’ minor league team hosting “Seinfeld” night, complete with puffy shirts and cereal.

Related: Phillies fans taunt batter… then he hits a grand slam. Their reaction? Priceless. [video].

Jon Hamm shows all the emotions in “Sesame Street” clip [video].

According to science: Why we can’t stop procrastinating.

To reach millennial viewers, Pivot unveils scripted drama and ‘docu-comedy’ series.

The parts of the U.S. where nobody lives [map].

10 movies turned into TV shows.

New Domino’s pizza uses fried chicken as crust.

Kids deserve more diverse superhero movies.

10 fun facts about “It’s a Small World”.

Happy 20th Birthday, Turner Classic Movies.

15 ways to cure the hiccups.

20 masterpieces of Ingmar Bergman every film fan should see.

Nirvana is planning a reunion with [blank] as their lead guitarist-vocalist.

12 trailers that spoil the movies.

Quester Brandon Cohen with introduces a new sports column: The Ten Types of Sports Fans.

50 incredible novels under 200 pages.

Matt Oswalt reminisces about the time he and his girlfriend went to see K-9 in a movie theater…

7 traits humans inherited from reptiles.

This has to be a joke, right? Right?!?!

Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Laureate author, dies at 87.

Related: 5 magical realism films in the spirit of Gabriel García Márquez.

Cannes unveils 2014 official selection lineup.

Is there anything Elon Musk can’t do: SpaceX and NASA news.

Thank God for TV… or else women in Hollywood would be largely unemployed.

10 words to cut from your writing.

At recent LACMA Live Reading of The Graduate, guess who played Benjamin and Mrs. Robinson.

Why Larry Flynt’s name was replaced on Hustler’s headquarters.

10 year anniversary of Kill Bill: Watch 2004 interview with Tarantino and read the entire script [here].

25 essential graphic novels.

How movies have envisioned singularity since 1927.

1981 Saturday Review feature on John Huston.

Realer than reality: The new hidden camera movies.

And finally thanks to @NatalieHatch: Norwegian finds large orange dildo inside stomach of cod.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!”

Screenwriting Master Class tip of the week: Here is an opportunity to learn about two archetypes that are generally the most important characters in your story — Protagonist and Nemesis — in two upcoming Craft classes I’ll be offering in upcoming weeks:

April 28: Craft: Create a Compelling Protagonist

Making your Protagonist “sympathetic” or finding your Protagonist’s “flaw” is all well and good… if you want to write a surface level character. In this 1-week online screenwriting course, you will learn how to dig deep into a Protagonist to discover personality dynamics that can make a multidimensional lead character.

  • See why the Protagonist represents the very soul of your story and how their psychological journey is the source of the script’s emotional meaning.
  • Workshop your story’s Protagonist to uncover not only their unique persona, but also how their Want and Need define the narrative arc.

Seven lectures, forum feedback, insider tips, 90-minute teleconference, and the opportunity to workshop your story’s Protagonist [or Protagonists].

Plus if you’re a fan of the movies Bridesmaids, The Social Network and Up, we’ll be using those as our study scripts. They offer a diverse set of Protagonists and yet the approach we will study next week shows how a writer can craft such compelling and different lead characters.

May 12: Craft: Write a Worthy Nemesis

There is nothing like a well-drawn Nemesis to enliven a screenplay by functioning as a worthy foe to the Protagonist. In this 1-week online screenwriting course, you will discover key principles to help you craft a Nemesis who goes beyond the stereotypical Bad Guy to a living, breathing, and powerful antagonist figure.

  • Learn how to think of the Nemesis as a projection of your Protagonist’s shadow and why this relationship is pivotal on so many narrative fronts.
  • Use proven principles to workshop your Nemesis, discovering their world view, and learning how to embrace it when you write this character.

Seven lectures, forum feedback, insider tips, 90-minute teleconference, and the opportunity to workshop your story’s Nemesis [or Nemeses].

Plus we will be analyzing movies such as Jaws, Fatal Attraction, The Silence of the Lambs, The Apartment, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Die Hard and many others to delve into the subject matter.

You can take just one of the classes, but I crafted them to be partner courses with complimentary content. So register now:

Create a Compelling Protagonist (April 28)

Write a Worthy Nemesis (May 12)

As I always say, you don’t need to spend a dime to learn the craft of screenwriting. Watch movies. Read scripts. Write pages. That can get you where you need to go.

However I can speak with confidence that SMC courses can expedite your learning process, provide you with key principles and practices which elevate your writing, and give you insights into the business of Hollywood to help prepare you for working in the industry.

As always, I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.

Onward!