Sunday, November 15, 2009

Step Outlines For the Win!

Totally purloined the image off some poor website in google images. Thanks ::checks link:: It's cute though, and I wanted it.

So, Step Outlines.

As I found in the last short screenplay I wrote, they can be a very helpful little monster, these outlines, and not just for screenplays. If you know what they are and haven't been using them, give them a whirl and see how it influences your work. I'm one to skive off of a lot of prep work, and generally think I don't need it, but boy howdy step outlines helped my mediocre "writing it because I need something to turn in" short.

If you do know and do use, well, I dunno, it's up to you whether or not you want to read this post (versus the rest of you who are supernaturally compelled, apparently, because only those who presently use step outlines are given the choice). However, before you click away from my page, I don't know how you do step outlines, but in the brief internet search I did, people's how to's (I don't think the apostrophe in the "to" of "how to" is appropriate, but it's easier to read) were different than the method I use, so you may want to stick around regardless. For those who do not know what a step outline is or how it might help you...

This is how they work:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Screenplay pReview: Source Code

I don't want to say director Duncan Jones looks like Peter Pettigrew in this picture but... well, he looks kind of like Peter Pettigrew in this picture.

Anyway, Source Code, the screenplay that's been kicking since 2007 that everyone and their momma loves and will likely finally be in production early next year (Jake Gyllenhaal in negotiations to star).

I thought it was good. *shrug*

It's billed as a sci-fi/thriller and yeah, it's a good script. A really good script. I wasn't bored once and that, in my novice screenplay-reading experience, means something. Whether it's because I'm new to the screenplay format and it takes a little extra work to fully immerse myself in, or whether I've just been reading crappier screenplays, I start getting antsy and distracted half way through them. This one I didn't.

The problem is, to me, it read like it would play out like any other blockbuster action/suspense movie of the modern age and since I came into it expecting sci fi... well, I was disappointed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Book to Screen: The Lovely Bones

Alright, it's about time to get down with my first Book to Screen post, something I think will be a recurring, though not necessarily regular, segment.

Here is a part of my Goodreads review (which was short to begin with), which basically says my thoughts on the book.

I felt the book was like a sentimental drama thriller, without the usual melodrama that accompanies stories of this type. It's like an "easy listening" suspense story, if you know what I mean. That doesn't mean it's cheap or sappy, not at all. I enjoyed it a lot and it affected me emotionally but it was a comfortable ride, for the most part, despite the horrors that occurred within the story.

I enjoyed the book. I give it a 3.3ish out of 5.

Now the screenplay by Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Peter Jackson (who seems to only do adaptations). Trying without spoilers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Quick Lesson from Mira Nair

I love Mira Nair. I admit, I don't know her work well at all. I've only seen Monsoon Wedding (which she directed and produced) and Vanity Fair (which she directed and I saw when it came out and I didn't like it). But my love comes all from Monsoon Wedding. It is one of my favorite movies (and there really aren't really many things I will right out call "favorites," I'm too loving to name names and too indecisive to commit) and I adore it whole heartedly. (Note to self: Put Mira Nair movies to top of Netflix list. Hurry and go see Amelia.)

Here is a quick lesson from Mira Nair, via Third World Girl over at Three Hole Punched, who attended the IFP's Independent Film Conference in New York where Mira Nair spoke (Bobby said, that Sally said, the Jimmy said... Yes, my through the grapevine/telephone game paraphrase lesson from Mira Nair). I looked for a direct quote on the internet for a couple minutes and came up with nothing helpful. So here is the he said/she said version of it. Thanks Third World Girl.

Don't "anthropoligize" or explain too much culturally. If you watch Monsoon Wedding you'll see how much you're thrust into the action. There's no expositional dialogue about why we dress this way or wear this henna, or sing this song. There's no outsider leading you through the action and the work is all the richer and more authentic for it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


These are U.K. aerosols by the way.

Anyway, I'm swallowing books like they're very very large candies so I figure I ought to read screenplays as well. I pledge to read at least 1 screenplay a week. Not as if that should be a hard promise to live up to, they only take a couple of hours to read. It's just tedious reading them off the computer and I feel badly if I print them out. I think I'll have to see if I can read them in a 2page per 1 format and then use both sides.

I was looking for a copy of The Lovely Bones screenplay, as I'll be done with the book soon and the movie's coming out but I couldn't find it.

Book Review: A Long Way Down

A Long Way Down A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I don't want to add every book review I do on Goodreads up here, but seeing as I did the other Nick Hornby review up here, I felt I should put this one here too. Also, it's an update, when otherwise I have nothing to share.

I loved this book. I'll be rereading it some time in the future.

This book is written in the first person view of 4 individuals. Each time the narration changes, the writing is imbued with the personality of the one telling the story, which is of course how it should be, but it's wonderfully done.