EXT. L.A. - AS SCENE IN HOLLYWOOD
You've heard of Fantasy Baseball, this is Fantasy Screenwriting...
2008-08-27
EXT. She Set Fire to my Trailer - TWILIGHT

THE TRAILER

From late 2002 to mid-2005, after I split from my stripper-wife in Austin, I lived within walking distance of the Mexico border just outside of San Diego. The scenery was much like the shots from the recent Weeds episodes. I used to mountain bike up and down the dirt roads the Border Patrol used to hunt Mexicans.

In one of my screenplays I have a sequence that involves someone burning their trailer in order to make a break from the past. The idea comes from a Kabir poem that I used to keep on my office door in the mid-90s.

Kabir Poem

I set fire to my house and abandoned it, taking only a stick with me. May only he who is ready to burn his house follow me!


My crazy screenplay looks like a straight Hollywood parody, but it's actually about the zen tradition of crazy wisdom. The house-burning theme is prevalent in many zen traditions, including the more somber ones.

Pop zen is used to sell everything at Whole Foods from lotions to cereal, so I figured real zen could be used to sell a screenplay. The most useful notion in Buddhism is "as you see it, so it is."

By : Screenwriter She Set Fire to my Trailer 0 comments

2008-08-25
EXT. Biohazard Discharge - TWILIGHT

AN EXCERPT from a pulpy bio I pounded out this morning.

SCREENWRITER (V.O.)
A good script is like the outfit that turns my head at Miami Beach. Mostly thin strands of black spaghetti with enough black patches to cover the things that you want to see later, with plenty of angles and coverage, in the privacy of a dark room. Dialog should be limited to whatever it takes to convince her to do it with the camera running. One word too many -- and -- in the morning that art deco room will reek of cheap, slippery hand lotion and the zen of one hand slapping. Like every wannabe screenplayer south of Sunset Blvd., my heart beats a little bit faster for that one dame, that femme fatale, who knows when I should quit talking so I don't have to. That's right. She lives in a dank room stacked high with 20lb bond and 1" solid brass brads. She finishes my sentences. She dots my eyes. And crosses my tees. And best of all, she's JD Magna Cum Laude from Stanford Law. Neither of us has any real reason to be doing this. And that makes three of us, counting the late, great Billy Wilder.


I rewrote my LOST parody script. I kept having this recurring dream, no doubt due to the mysterious powers of The Island. Yes, The Island told me to rewrite my script. And now, it's a thoroughly post-modern script, self-cleaning oven, the whole bit. So I won't be tempted.

By : Screenwriter Biohazard Discharge 0 comments

EXT. Biomass Discharge - TWILIGHT

A Biographical Sketch Curiously Devoid of Facts
I wanted to make a movie. But first I had to learn about this elusive discipline called screenplaywriting. I trekked across the frozen north, walking the Alaska highway from Mile Zero in Dawson Creek to the Arctic Circle. From there, I attempted a winter crossing of the Bering Strait wearing nothing but a Speedo and a pair of ice skates. I had to regroup after succumbing to frostbite and losing all feeling in my little Canadian penis. But not necessarily in that order. When finally I arrived at the Shaolin Temple I learned that Syd Field had already returned to his Westwood dojo, but not before leaving the secret teaching of the Shadowless Scene to Master Tyle, the Scottish abbot-in-residence of the zen monastery. Renowned for introducing Earl Grey to diehard Oolong devotees. That's him. Unfortunately, I did not know the secret handshake and so after realizing oneness with Sifu Tyle, I braved the blazing inferno formed by the celphone discharge of thousands of young UCLA coeds. Or maybe it was discharged by the other heat-generating unit that comes as standard equipment on your average california girl. HELL is just another word for low-cut jeans. Lucky for me, I developed an immunity to all things mighty tight while attempting to seduce a pilates instructor in Miami. From my hideout in the high desert near Julian. Using nothing but Amazon.com and an internet connection. But I digress.

When I was a kid I read every book in the Tom Swift series. I'm a fan of Kilgore Trout, Wide Open Beaver and plastic coated ankles and legs.

I had a hobby writing pulpy tech articles for geeky magazines until a stuttering Russian/psychic vampire got all up on my bubblebutt and sucked the fun out of it. I don't know about you, but when I sell my first script in the post-WGA-strike feeding frenzy, I'm going to buy the Zipp-Fizz factory. Even if it means hostile takeover. I heard cocaine gives you nose bleeds. I wouldn't know. Zipp Fizz is cheap, comes conveniently sized for slipping in and out of her fall Prada and won't give you any trouble with the cops when you're driving north, all fizzed-up, in the carpool lane on 405-S from the barista gig at Coffeebean (Rodeo & Wilshire) to the bachelor/screenwriter/craftservice pad in Van Nuys.

When I'm feeling bored, I take an unmarked screenplay and a box of crayola$ to the yellow restaurant at the downtown Standard Hotel and draw astrological symbols on the odd-numbered pages in red crayon. When the waitress/actress comes by to flirt, as she is wont to do, I tell her I am doing uncredited script doctoring for M Night Shyamalan to support the five children I sired with an infertile Amsterdam callgirl named, curiously enough, Kim. Sounds tough, I know, but it turns out the kids have a gift for sluglines. I email them high-concept loglines rejected by Bob Kosberg and over the next 33 days, they TXT me completed screenplays, one scene at a time, from their pink Nokia/linux smartphones. Eurorail. Wiesbaden. The underground rave scene in Prague. Wherever their mom happens to be stationed. There they write to me -- and -- for me -- in shots and story beats. Which is the way god intended. Forget trying to YIM with the modern teen in anglicized hiphop idioms culled from repeated tivo'd Chris Rock reruns. PS. I put all the extraneous exposition right here so I won't be tempted to put it in a script. A good script is like the outfit that turns my head at Miami Beach. Mostly thin strands of black spaghetti with enough black patches to cover the things that you want to see later, with plenty of angles and coverage, in the privacy of a dark room. Dialog should be limited to whatever it takes to convince her to do it with the camera running. One word too many and -- in the morning that art deco room will reek of cheap, slippery hand lotion and the sound of one hand slapping. Like every wannabe screenplayer south of Sunset Blvd., my heart beats a little bit faster for that one dame, that femme fatale, who knows when to quit talking so I don't have to. That's right. She lives in a dank room stacked high with 20lb bond and 1" solid brass brads. She finishes my sentences. She dots my eyes. And crosses my tees. And best of all, she's JD Magna Cum Laude from Stanford Law. Neither of us has any real reason to be doing this. And that makes three of us, counting the late, great Billy Wilder.

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By : Screenwriter Biomass Discharge 0 comments

2008-08-10
EXT. Script Formatting - TWILIGHT

NOTE: This post refers to spec screenplays or my write-to-direct scripts. If hiring me to write a script, you can provide a sample script as an example of how you want your script formatted.

There's a lot of information bouncing around about how to format a script. I have experimented with a variety of styles, but, after attempting to build a shotlist for my own "Thank you for Smoking" formatted screenplay, I decided to revisit some of the more classic styles used in the 70s. Subsequently, I choose to write visually and when writing action sequences, call out shots in ALL CAPS.

If you find this disturbing you can either move to the next script in your reading pile or put in an offer on my script. If it turns out that I like your offer as much as you like my screenplay (formatting notwithstanding), I'll be happy to re-write the script, removing all the shots and if you so desire, call out important information with ♥♥♥ PINK HEARTS ♥♥♥ or any other visual device you may prefer.

But make no mistake, it's a preference, not an absolute.

I know some professional readers and have read their screenplays. I'm all GOOD HERE.

I just finished reading an interesting little book on screenwriting filled with recommendations from an "industry pro". I really liked the fact that she copied entire chapters from Syd Field's work without any sort of attribution. I guess it made it easier to write her book. After all, thinking for yourself is such hard work.

MEANWHILE, I'll continue to write my scripts as if I will end up directing them.

By : Screenwriter Script Formatting 0 comments

 

 
 
 

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