Log On

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Besides being irresistible bad-pun material, loglines are a subject close to my heart. Boiling down an entire script to one sentence is an art in and of itself. As a former (thank God) agency creative director/copywriter, you think I’d be half decent at it. Or maybe it’s why I’m not. In either case, I’m going to use this post to workshop the logline for my current project:

A heartbroken cameraman gets a job on a dating travel show whose host goes rogue hunting down a lost love.

Meh, right? Or maybe it’s meh-raculous!? Let’s find out… Continue reading

Connect the Dots

I’ve written several scripts that have an easter egg or two. You know, some sly Star Wars reference or a secret meaning you never fully reveal? Taking it one step further, my current project is a re-imagining of Moby Dick set in the world of reality TV (you read right).

However, it’s mind-boggling to even comprehend the theory that every Pixar film is part of one meta story. Even more potentially brilliant is that it’s a bold treatise on humanity, technology and nature. Granted, given the universal themes of Pixar flicks, you could reverse-engineer or sorts of relationships this grandiose. Or could you?

Dustin Lance Black’s Creative Process

An informative look at Dustin Lance Black’s (“Milk,” “J. Edgar”) comprehensive screenwriting process. It’s interesting how he evolves his ideas, especially utilizing cards to develop story elements. Though I’m sure the physical nature of his system is important, I feel Trello, which I use to manage filmmaking projects, would be a great fit for his methodology.

Moving Movie Posters

looper

With endless ways to innovate in film, I find it fascinating when simple techniques yield dramatic results. Like these GIF movie posters, which elegantly capture the character of the movies themselves. Granted, I have the cinematic experience to flashback to. But if you had never seen any of these films, wouldn’t your interest be piqued?

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Peep Show Writers Comedy Masterclass

A few years back a girl I ‘knew’ wanted me to watch Peep Show…with her. I hadn’t really been into a British sitcom for a fortnight, but she had decent taste in film. That, and I feared the repercussions of not watching it…with her. And so I was introduced to one of the most spectacularly awkward and funniest shows I’ve ever seen.

Back in the day, Peter and I semi-optioned a sitcom pilot (don’t ask). But maybe if we’d had sage advice like Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong in this video, we would now be celebrating our 100th episode.

Aviator Travel Jib

Imagine a magical company that produced the gear you wished you had, but didn’t exist. Well, you don’t have to dream any more buster, because that’s what Kickstarter is shaping up to be. I bought the massively successful $50 Follow Focus and the Aviator Travel Jib is next on the list. In most cases, it’s capable individuals who make a product based on their needs and get it produced quite professionally. When they hit the nose on the button (or is that the other way around) response is overwhelming. More importantly, you can add production value to your work with thoughtfully-designed gear at a fraction of the cost, which lowers the barrier to entry and opens up creative opportunities. Okay, who’s going to Kickstart a $10 4K iPhone camera…?

 

Real Life Stole My Movie Idea

The majestic beast before…

So last month this guy from Connecticut was at a seafood restaurant and when it came time to choose who to eat, he spotted an enormous 17-pound lobster in the live tank. Instead of dining on Lucky Larry, as he’s now known, he set him free (in the ocean, not just in the restaurant parking lot). Continue reading

Past Work and The Darkest Timeline

Since last year there seems to have been an exponential growth of opportunities to field creative work, especially online. I’ve also recently noticed certain past scripts of mine have been oddly prescient (mind you, I never predicted bath salt fueled zombie attacks). So I decided to sift through the archives to see if there was anything worth revisiting. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the exercise, since I’m a brutal critic of my own writing. My worst fears were indeed realized, but not how I expected – some of that old shit was good.

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Is Dressing As a Giant Mug of Coffee a Good Career Move?

I'm covered in mouse turds. Who wants a hug?

I was a sucky teenager. I pretty much did what my parents and teachers told me, and only broke the rules if I was on my way to the Planetarium to see the Pink Floyd laser show. That lack of a rebel spirit had its upsides – I got into university and passed my driving test the first time. But it also almost meant a career that would have added a heaping serving of mockery to the virginity buffet that was my teenage years.

Douchebag owned, douchebag operated

It all started when I got a job as a barista at a crappy little coffee shop owned by a guy named Doug. Physically, he was not well maintained. Even his goatee had dandruff. His personality was worse – an unpleasant mix of racist jokes and questionable management directives like “mustard never goes bad, so it’s okay to still use the tub I bought four years ago”, and “I can save $20 a month if we turn off the refrigerator in the pastry case.” And there was the whole problem — whatever he asked me to do, I did, even if it meant picking fruit flies out of the custard tarts.

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My Movie Idea That Everyone Hates, Part 2

Bald Eagles2

Bald, Rug, Bald, Not Bald, Bald, Bald, Rug, Bald.

Meet Francis McTavish. He’s a likeable everyman with a beer belly and a bald spot. But what he lacks in abs, he makes up for with a cool job – he’s a geologist surveying for minerals in the rainy rainforests of Peru.

So he’s down in South America one day, when his helicopter crash-lands deep in the jungle. The pilot dies, and Francis has a nasty gash on the back of his shiny head. He uses some leaves from a strange looking plant to sop up the blood, then gets rescued.

A week later, and Francis is back at home in America. He looks in the mirror and holy shit his hair is growing back! Yup, there’s manly stubble wherever those magical leaves touched his head.
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My Movie Idea That Everyone Hates

Zach GalifianakisHave you ever wondered what happens after you die?

Specifically, have you ever wondered what happens after you die and have yourself cryogenically frozen, then wake up twenty years from now as just a head?

If so, you might enjoy my new movie idea: Like a Chicken. But if you do like it, you’re the only one. My writing partner and fellow Screenplaya hates it. All my friends hate it. And my wife said its high concept-ness reminded her of Adam Sandler’s Jack & Jill, but without the wit.

The thing is though, how many movies have a scene where an English Bulldog with a human head gets humped by a labradoodle… and not just for a cheap laugh. It’s a scene that matters.

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Why It’s Important to Lead Your Protagonist Up Sauron’s Ass

You can tell by his eyes he's totally not crazy.

There’s a concept in law called “The Reasonable Man”. The idea is that sometimes a judge has to compare your behavior to what a regular person might be expected to do. For instance, when faced with a stranger choking on a bus, would a reasonable person administer the Heimlich maneuver? (note: the stranger is on the bus, choking. They’re not choking because they tried to swallow a bus.)

In perhaps the only example where lessons from law school coincide with those learned in the trenches of Screenwriting U, we can learn much from Mr. Reasonable. In law, the more your behavior resembles Mr. R. the better. But in a movie, the more your protagonist resembles the Reasonable Man, the less chance you’re ever going to win that Daytime Emmy.

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