Monday, November 20, 2006

GROWN-UP FILMS

Someone asked me a while back why don't I go and see grown up movies. In response I asked him "Name the last grown-up movie you saw?" He couldn't answer. Movies are my bread and butter, I love them, hate them, agonise over them and rant about them over and over again. But most of them are those rantings about the big flicks every one has seen. And for some reason thats viewed as bad... Can't a grown up enjoy the event movies like Superman Returns and Casino Royale?

There are sum flicks that I just hope I didn't get hit the face by a bus before I see it. Is that wrong? I'm 23 and love movies to death. I'll even go and sit in a flick on my own in the dead of night if no-ones up for it. The fact that I don't scour the cinema watching an obscure independent film isn't a bad thing. I'd love to do it. I just can't afford to give up time and money to do it. So I go and see a movie on word of mouth, writer, star, director, or most importantly on premise. "Stranger than Fiction" is one of those films that I really want to see, before I even heard Marc Forster was directing it or Will Ferrell was in it. I just read the premise and thought it sounded great. I don't care what genre they are from arthouse to comic book flick I just love a good flick in any shape way or form. Anyways these so far are my fav flicks of 2006 so far.

1. Superman Returns
2. Casino Royale
3. Miami Vice
4. The Departed
5. V for Vendetta
6. Borat

HATED: X-men: the last stand

Waiting for: The Fountain, Starter for ten, Southland tales, Tenacious D, Deja Vu, The Good German, The Blood Diamond, The Prestige, The Good Shepherd, Children of Men, Rocky Balboa, United 93 (on my DVD shelf)

2 posts in a day, I know, I know.
NAMES BORING, JAMES BORING.

Just kidding. I think Bond rocks. One of the best flicks I've seen all year. Daniel Craig is out and out the Bond Fleming was trying to portray. He doesn't wink at the camera, he doesn't make jokes and double entendres, he isn't particular smooth, he's just a plain cocky bastard.

It's something no other bond has quite grasped, but in terms of the books and films theres a distinct difference in character that until now hadn't been successfully bridged. And its all the better for it.

And while the theme songs awful, the animated titles are cool but out of place and the open chase sequence is devoid of common sense, I love it. Daniel Craig is Bond. Eva Green is lovely and Mad's Mikkelson is chillling. And I can't wait for the next.

WHATS IN MY DVD PLAYER : Dazed and Confused
WHERE I AM IN MY SCRIPT: Researching the hundred years war

Friday, November 17, 2006

BONDING

Im going to see Casino Royale tonight and I'm so friggin excited I could puke. It just looks awesome. The reviews are all a big united "YES". And I consider it a really good omen that tonight as i'm picking up my tux for a rowing club dinner, James Bond is on the silver screen.

WHATS IN MY DVD PLAYER: Sod that, Bond!
WHERE I AM IN MY SCRIPT: Getting ansy...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

OOOOOOOHHHHH ROCKY BALBOA LOOKS GOOD?!?!

Okay, I like the first two Rocky Films. Maybe even the third one too. I don't own them, I don't post them high on the DVD cabinet and neel everytime I leave the house. I just like them.

I like the character. He's the kind of a better version of Forest Gump. Save for the fact he beats the s***t out of people. When I heard the 3rd one coming out I always ambivalent. Blase even. Say what you like about Stallone, he's a good actor and a good writer, he's just made some strange career choices. Been in movies that in my opinion just didn't need to be made. Rocky did not need to be 5 movies, The first one was great, but even the second one while good, seemed to be stretching it. The point of the Rocky Films to be is in the first one. It's not about winning its about fighting. And from the trailers this one seems to be right on the money.

So what if the plot is a little contrived, computer match up brings old box out out of retirement. It's not really about that. It's about Rocky getting his fat old arse of the coach and doing the things he loves to prove he can still do it not to anyone but himself. It doesn't matter to him who he fights or even if he wins he just wants to keep doing the things that made him a decent man. It's an important message. A timeless message. And its while I want to go see the movie and hand over my money even if I already know the ending.

WHATS IN MY DVD PLAYER: Friday night lights
WHERE I AM IN MY SCRIPT: Conjuring the supernatural

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

REASONS NOT TO WRITE

Before I write I have too...Make the bed, watch porn, work out what the frak the Cylon's plan actually is, write a blog post, watch the simpsons movie trailer, watch the illegal spidey 3 trailer, make a cup of tea, read Danny Stack's blog, read the paper, go rowing, go to the gym, go climbing, have a lemsip, wait 4 hours for another lemsip, bitch about the fact that Lemsip doesn't work, Look Lemsip up on Wikipedia, Find out the poet laureate uses Lemsip to write, Sue Lemsip, be too tired to write from work, replace a lightbulb, watch spooks, wonder when the lead bloke from spooks is going to bail, read up on movie news, figure out what DVD's im going to buy next, Fall asleep, come up with a list of shit to do that prevents me from writing again, tidy the bedroom, tidy the living room, tidy the kitchen, watch porn, make a cup of tea.

Sound familiar? Or you could come to terms with your fear and desire and put some words on the frakking page. It's going to be crap so what. It's a learning experience, it doesn't even have to be about the script instead take half an hour to research, ask the big plot/character questions, look for inconsistancies, ditch scenes, structure your story, look at your character bios, work out your themes.

They'll always be a reason not too write, every screenwriter knows this. Just be brave and try to spend some time on your script everyday, no matter what, the more you put in the more you get out.

WHATS IN MY DVD PLAYER TONIGHT: The Bourne Supremacy (Beast of a movie)
WHERE I AM IN MY SCRIPT: Deciding whether or not my character should be mute

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

BEATING THE IDEA THIEF TO DEATH WITH HIS OWN SHOES THEN TAKING A WHILE TO CAREFULLY REMOVE THE EVIDENCE WITHOUT BURNING YOUR FINGER TIPS OFF OR SUFFOCATING ON THE FUMES OF INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH CLENSERS...Or just beating the idea thieves

First of all there are no "Idea thieves." There a myth. Everyone has access to the same movies, music and TV shows and books where a lot of pieces of ideas come from. But none of those people is you. So they'll never be exactly the same. You have a different life and experiences so chances are it will never be exactly the same just similar. But sometimes it can be enough.

I freaked the other day after my friend at the BBC told me they were commissioning a series with a slightly similar premise to my current script with a big name writer. I was suddenly very angry, 3 plus months of research, and prewriting and plotting all in the garbage. I figured if it wasn't that close to my premise and it was good at the very least I probably couldn't try and sell it for a year. Turns out I was wrong. While slightly similar my idea it wasn't close to being a threat to it. There was still a chance for my script not to be compared as similar as a "rip-off to the work of that other bloke" and after thinking a while I suddenly realised even if it was a smash and similar to my idea I could always rewrite it slightly and change it over or wait a while and pitch it once the hype had cleared.

I know this is all circumstantial as my script isn't being made and nor have I ever have one made and theres no guarantee this one will be but thats the point. You'll always be looking for reasons to stop writing.The most important thing to realise is that isn't a reason to stop writing, nothing save for family, friends and perhaps your health. Noone is you and noone has the same ideas and there's no reason to stop writing.

IN MY DVD PLAYER: Battlestar Galactica Season 2.5 (Ronald D. Moore is God of TV)
WHERE I AM IN MY SCRIPT: Making sure it isn't burnt too badly.

Friday, November 03, 2006

INNER AND OUTER DIALOGUE
I'm not saying i'm a great authority, I've written 2 full length scripts, and in my opinion both of them wouldn't be made. But they were based on good ideas. Concepts that I absolutely loved. Maybe a little too much.

Everyone wants to write a screenplay or at least have a crack at it. And to be fair its not hard. Anyone can write a screenplay, sitting at a computer and typing really isn't that difficult. But writing well is. And to have a truly well written screenplay you'll go through draft after draft rewriting out inconsistences, logic holes and flaws. Which will take a lot of time. A lot of this can be avoid however if you take the time to really develop your story and characters before words even hit
the page.

I'm not a big Robert Mckee fan, I found "Story" really wasn't the be all and end of saviours in terms of screenwriting. Its a necessary read. But if you really have a problem you can usually write your way out of it by just taking a page or two of blank paper and freehand writing out all the problems you have. And free associating the problem on paper with your original notes. Most of the time this will work. Especially in terms of plot. However its all to easy to just go "This is garbage" and stop writing.

Sometimes love can blind you. When you start writing sometimes you can love a concept so much that you become violently resistant to any kind of change. If it contradicts your grand vision you'll say "Thats not what this is" as if you've written the bible and either simply ignore it and keep writing in defiance or you'll just leave your script unfinished.

Don't do either. Get a piece of paper and write out what you think is wrong and look at your original notes.

Writing is change. Too many writers who start out get too precious with their ideas when it comes to constructive criticism. They don't wanna change it. They think there idea is great. And chances are it is. But in writing if someone notices something, you have to be willing to go straight back to your desk and work through the problem rather than so precious with your ideas. Studios will give you notes to change things, and things will never be your exact vision. So if you wanna be a success in screenwriting you have to be willing to change. And be aware of conventions. You can't change the suspense value of a knife over a gun for instance.

The same thing kind of goes for when you've written your first draft and you suddenly realise its not much like your original concept. This can be down to a whole variety of reasons. But don't throw a tantrum and storm off or go off with another idea. And don't keep writing (unless its really good) just read through it and put some words on paper at why it isn't working. List your problems and write out your concept again. (Syd Field has some really good exercises for this)

There's no such thing as writers block, thats just your head telling you somethings missing. But in screenwriting simply free associating some words on paper will get you out of so many holes. And my current script is all the better for it by me just sitting at the table and writing out whats wrong.

If you don't know the problem, you can't fix it. This will help you find the problem. Works for me.

IN MY DVD PLAYER TONIGHT: Crimson Tide
WHERE I AM IN MY SCRIPT: Coming up with a prologue

Thursday, November 02, 2006

SPARTANS! TONIGHT, WE DINE IN HELL!

Every year there are a few movies that you wait for like its christmas. That you pray to god you'll see before that truck runs over your head. 2005 for me was Batman Begins. 2006 Superman Returns and Miami Vice (I love me some Michael Mann). 2007 for me is the year of the 300. Zack Snyder's new epic. Now I'd like to say i'm not a big comic geek (despite my choices up there), I do own a few mainly Batman, and a couple by Frank Miller and Alan Moore but I don't have rows of the stuff. Mainly I buy them whhen I hear theres a movie coming out and I get curious about the source matieral. Don't get me wrong i'm a huge fan of Batman, so I guess that raises my geekery level but nothing else really flicks my switch.

300 however looks like it could blow my fuse.

As soon as I saw the trailer I ran out and bought a copy of the graphic novel. I may have taken a few steps via my couch, fridge and office, but then I got straight there. In short, its great. Like a picture out of history, blood, guts and gore. A true story of honor and sacrifice. If it comes anything close to the book then it will do amazingly. I'm really looking forward to it I mean this is a comic book that historians recommend. Snyder seems to have taken frames right out of the comic book and Gerard Butler seem's to be awesome casting. He's a Russell Crowe type Brit who really should have hit the big time by now. And 300 seems to be his and Snyder's real chance of success. Sod the fact that its a comic book movie, This pleasure ain't guilty.

The only other thing that's barely peaked my interest is the new Aronofsky flick but even now i'm having doubts. From the words of critics. I'll still see it. Requiem made me cry like a baby in an onion farm. But it looks like it will be a little tricksy.

There has been a bit of an explosion of comic movies recently. Some warrant the attention, others, i'm not sure need to be brought to the screen. Superman, yes, Batman, Hell yes. Spider-man, yes. These are true cinematic figures. But characters like Iron Man and Thor i'm not sure about. Hell yes they could be great movies but over-saturation from the Marvel Universe will lessen their appeal. I'm not saying anyone believes what they see through the cinema screen. But if there are fifty superheros about from the marvel universe why isn't the world a better place? Why haven't they done more? With fifty super hero's running about in the same cinematic universe things should look different. But they aren't. Marvel has taken brilliant note of this in the comics, (I took a peak online okay...not a geek! Then again I do love Battlestar Galatica) they may have to do this again in the films of cut back on bringing every character in there portfolio to the screen. In cinema there has to be a reason for bringing a story to the screen. Marvel may be running out of these just as there running out of space in their wallets.

Ok after that I'm clearly in denial. I clearly am a geek. Do we get a pension fund?

WHERE I AM IN MY SCRIPT: "How fast can you shoot a bow? Really? What if I tried to pull the string
with my leg?"
WHATS IN MY DVD PLAYER: Still Scrubs (I'll stop tonight I promise)