Archive for September, 2011

Story Structure


Here’s some thoughts on story structure that hopefully will help some people think about how to categorize their stories into the 3act structure. Enjoy!

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Article by Free Internet Films 1945

GoArticles reader,Given for your enjoyment, a collection of takes on the breathtaking new “The Book of Eli” film…As post-apocalyptic movie fiction goes, “The Book of Eli” is not a crowd-pleaser like the “Mad Max” cycle nor mad like any of the “Planet of the Apes” films. This film, the to begin with from the Hughes Brothers in nearly nine years, instead is an intense, surprisingly honest study of a man making his way through a wilderness of catastrophic destruction and soul cruelty like a latter-day prophet. The story is couched in neo-Western conditions — a isolated gunman comes to a urban and confronts the dishonest sheriff and his maniacal deputies — so the film fits comfortably inside the confines of mainstream studio moviemaking. And Denzel Washington is solitary of the few Hollywood stars who can pull off a bigger -than-life character who can assassinate a gang of cutthroats with a horrible blade yet keep up an air of saintliness.Boxoffice should be above average for this Warner Bros. Don’t be shocked if the film is embraced by Christian filmgoers as the Holy Bible is seen as the place from which a new civilization can take shape.Allen and Albert Hughes situate their story in an atmosphere informed by realistic -novel metaphors. Landscapes are desolate, and characters hit poses. effective with cinematographer Don Burgess, they commonly drain the color from isolated stretches of desert (with New Mexico doing the honors). As in “Mad Max,” anarchy rules, with havoc, murder and rape seen as practice events. Washington’s Eli claims to have walked west for 30 days, but everything looks like the bomb dropped only last month. After a “diploma scene,” in which Eli demonstrates his lethal abilities when challenged, he wanders into a desert town where a tin-pot dictator named Carnegie (Gary Oldman by way of his patented theatrical sleaze) holds sway. There is no evident reason why he should rule a gang unless it’s because he’s the exclusion to the rule of near-universal illiteracy. When Carnegie learns that Eli possesses a Bible, he agency to win him over to his cause or kill him — whatever it takes to gain control of that book. Both men see the Bible as the key to community regeneration. Caught in the fight between two firm men are Carnegie’s adopted daughter, Solara (Mila Kunis), and mistress Claudia (Jennifer Beals) as perfectly as his henchman, Redridge (Ray Stevenson), who fancies Solara for himself. stuff play out in a straight-forward transform as screenwriter Gary Whitta gives little depth or complications to his characters or story. A viewer will possibly be grabbed less by the showdowns than by the elaborate cinematography, Gae Buckley’s eye-catching manufacture design of a ruined Southwest and an energetic, pulsating score from Atticus Ross (assisted by Claudia Sarne and Leopold Ross). What is it re Earth’s ruin that so inspires artists? I’m at a damage for words, so let me say these right away: “The Book of Eli” is very watchable. You won’t be forlorn you went. “How do you know you’re walking the right way?” he’s asked. After a calamity has wiped out most of the Earth’s population and left ruin and desolation behind, the remaining humans are victimized by roaming motorcycle gangs of hijackers and thieves. This wasteland Eli treks at an ruthless pace. Set upon in an ambush, he kills all his attackers. Washington and the Hughes brothers do a good job of establishing this man and his globe, and at first, “The Book of Eli” seems destined to be serious. But then Eli arrives at a Western town ruled by Carnegie (Gary Oldman), who, like all the citizen overloads in Westerns and gangster movies, sits in the wake of a big desk flanked by a tall bald guy and, of course, a short scruffy one. How are these guys recruited? Wanted: Tall bald guy to get up behind town boss and be willing to sacrifice life. All the water you can drink.We join Carnegie’s abused wife Claudia (Jennifer Beals) and her daughter Solara (Mila Kunis), named, for several reason, after the bring about of all the destruction. She’s a prostitute in Carnegie’s bar, having made the lapse of coming in on Take Your Child to Work Day. Carnegie hurts Claudia to check Solara. How he controls the terrifying bald guy is hard to say.So many other movies are referenced that we very nearly miss it when their hideout house is perforated by bullets in “L.A. That allows countless beams of sunlight to shine in and function as a metaphor.The Hughes brothers have a vivid way with metaphors here, as in their earlier films such as “Menace II Society” and the underrated “From Hell.” The film looks and feels good, and Washington’s piece is the more mysterious the more we think back over it. The fourth film from directors Allen and Albert Hughes, The Book of Eli centers on the Christianity that was at the margins of their previous films-hypocritically misused by Bokeem Woodbine’s bush-crazy marine turned pulpit-pounder turned stick-up man in Dead Presidents, and the sanctimonious grandparents in Menace II Society.”I don’t think God really cares too to a great extent about us, or he wouldn’t have put us here. In The Book of Eli, the whole world’s a blasted ghetto. As in The Road, The End has terminally desaturated the world’s palette. On the road since Year Zero, Denzel Washington’s Eli has become an expert at using his brutally quick axe arm to ward off nomadic bands of highwaymen from his precious consignment : the last copy of the Bible.The other copies have been destroyed as taboo, since pious conflict inspired the nuclear holocaust. That’s not impossible to believe, though it taxes na?vet? that a fragmented society that can’t dig freshwater wells has managed to do away with every other copy of the most everywhere book in the Western world, undoing all of the Gideons’ superior work. As does the adherent Eli attracting Solara-a badly miscast Mila Kunis, who looks like she’s spending a semester abroad in the post-Judgment Day from her vogue school’s co-op program. It’s water and a battery allege that lure Eli down the Main Street of a repopulated ghost town. Carnegie is one of the few survivors, like Eli, old enough to recall the lost world. It’s with cynical messianic intent that he’s been scouring the countryside for a Good Book, which sets up a fight with true believer Eli.The Hugheses once had a black-comic sense to bout their comic-book horror impulses (every line of Menace is a potential inside joke). Here, that feeling is evident only in a hard shoulder stop-off with some unhinged survivalists, an elderly American Gothic couple played by Michael Gambon and Frances de la Tour. Nobody reads Pilgrim’s Progress any longer, so I guess you take it where you can get it, but The Book of Eli’s plastic parable isn’t much more complex than Insane Clown Posse theology. Eli himself resoundingly fails to tag on the Good Samaritan’s pattern when witnessing a roadside hijacking; the most that can be said is that he leftovers chaste without visible effort. Our hero is mostly an Old Testament smiter of the wicked, conclusively -but for I forget when Christ said, “You lay that hand on me again and you will not get it back” at the Garden of Gethsemane.And on that note, GoArticles reader, do be so kind as to visit and bookmark my blog http://the-final-film.blogspot.com, where you can watch “The Book Of Eli” free online the minute it becomes available!

Basic InformationSex: FemaleBirthday: June 2, 1985Hometown: Indianapolis, IARelationship Status: SingleWatch Movies Free Before They Get To Theaters! 1 Short Survey, Lifetime Access!http://the-final-film.blogspot.com










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Part 6 of a free 90 minute online screenwriting class based on the 20 hour DVD workshop “Writing A Great Script Fast” from MyFlik.com.

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Article by Danek S. Kaus

Okay, you’ve finished your book, novel or true story, and you’d like to have it made into a movie.

Perhaps you’ve read some books on screenwriting or taken some classes and you’re thinking about writing the screenplay based on the book.

If so, there is something you must keep in mind. You will have to remove much of the content of your book that took you months, perhaps years to write. You may balk at the concept but you must do it.

A book can average 200 – 500 pages and contain 60,000 – 200,000 words. An average screenplay runs 90 – 120 pages, much of it white space, and has about 20,000 – 25,000 words. That’s quite a vast difference.

How do you manage to get all of your story into a screenplay? In most cases, you don’t. It’s a sad but true fact.

That said, what do you cut out?

One step is to keep most of the major scenes and cut those smaller, less important ones. Go through your book and look at it with an eye to what is critical and what is less important.

Do the same thing with dialogue. Keep only what moves the story forward.

Eliminate some or all of the subplots.

You can eliminate some of the characters or combine several of them into one person and let that person serve in the role of what those varying characters did in your book.

And while you’re at it, get rid of any lengthy character descriptions. In a screenplay they are not only unnecessary, they are counterproductive. In screenplays, character descriptions should be purposely vague to give more casting options.

Don’t describe someone’s height, unless it is critical to the story, hair color, eye color, flesh tones, etc. The more specific the description is in a screenplay, the harder it will be to find a leading acting to fit the role.

And finally, don’t mention the race of the character, unless it is an essential part of the story. For example, a police detective can be of any race, unless the detective’s race is an essential part of the story. For true stories, of course, casting directors need to know the race of each person to make it closer to reality.

If you do these things, the more successful you will be when you decide to turn a book into a move.

Danek S. Kaus is a produced screenwriter of an award-winning feature film. He was recently hired by a movie production company to adapt a book into a movie for them. Two of his other screenplays have been optioned by producers. He can help youturn your book into a move He also offers a professional analysis of your screenplay.










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Article by Gordy Hoffman

After cracking hundreds of screenplays sent into the BlueCat Screenplay Competition, the same problems in the execution of the story and script continue to emerge. Here is a general overview of these persistent issues.

Do you realize what you’re saying??In the theatre, they read plays aloud over and over in the process of script development, and one of the reasons they do this is to hear the dialogue. When I hear dialogue in my head, it might sound very good, but then when I hear a person actually speak it, I often have an impulse to jump in front of a bus. And over and over and over and over, when I read screenplay entries to BlueCat, I am immediately dismayed when the characters start speaking. Excellent everything else, awful dialogue. And I often wonder if the writer has actually heard the lines they have written for their characters out loud. Either read the whole thing aloud to yourself, or even better, get a group of your friends to read it. You do not need professional actors to evaluate dialogue. Just people excited to help. Videotape it. I have videotaped readings, and then sat down and worked out an entire rewrite off the tape, addressing every single line that bothered me. Which leads me to another thing.

Ha.It’s hard to pass a screenplay on to industry contacts if an unfunny joke is sitting in the middle of page two. It’s highly difficult if there’s twelve by page five. You might have a payoff in your third act that would break my heart, but if your jokes are poor, the heart of your audience will be shot, probably resentful, and your work will be recycled. Please try your humor out. If your beats aren’t funny to some people, rewrite. Trust a truly hilarious bit is coming. Think of the patience you need to muster through this writing process as courage, because it is.

If you find you are not funny, write a script that is not funny. Many, many great scripts are not funny, as we all know.

Mispellings.Do you think the development people in Los Angeles, basically the smartest people in the film industry, will not be annoyed and continue to read your script when you have misspelled three words in the first five pages? Perhaps. How do you feel when you’re reading something and you find misspelled words? How does your attitude shift towards the author? Exactly. If you don’t think many scripts have this problem, start a screenwriting competition.

OKAY, WE GOT IT!Try to limit your scene description. When a person opens your script, how many INCHES of action slug are they looking at on page one? Is there anyway you can convey what you want us to SEE with less words? I always go back and CUT CUT CUT to prevent my screenplay from fatiguing my reader with excess words as they try to listen for my story. Do we need to know what necklace someone is wearing? We all understand making motion pictures is collaborative. I strive to let the art department and the costumer and the prop master and so on DO THEIR JOB by not making their decisions in the screenplay, because I have little passion for it and don’t do it well. They will make their own choices, and most likely better ones, so why bother? Always use fewer words to say the same thing.

It’s not show and tell, it’s show not tell.I constantly find myself being told something by the screenplay the viewer of the film will not be aware of. Screenplays are not literature. They are words assembled to describe what motion pictures will play out on the screen. Telling us a character is a jealous person is passive and dull. Showing a character in an act of jealousy is more effective and essentially cinematic. Let the words and actions of your characters carry your story. This is not easy. You want the actor or director to understand what you want and what you mean. Allow the description of physical actions and the recording of spoken words reveal the narrative to the filmmakers. The script will read faster and offers the reader a richer opportunity to imagine and discover.

The Joy of Making Things Up.I really cherish the idea, that as a writer, I can make things up. If I want the guy to say something, all I have to do is type it. But I have to fight against creating characters and interactions amongst characters derived from movies I have watched and television I have seen. I often find myself writing a scene only to realize I’m not drawing from my imagination or my own life experience or my observations of people, I’m drawing from the millions of hours of observing actors play human beings on television and in movie theaters. And because I’m writing a “MOVIE,” it is even more difficult, because I’m fighting against a subconscious or unconscious observation that this is “how people act in movies.” Stop yourself and ask, would this happen on planet Earth? Do I know how people from Miami really speak? What would a person actually say if they had a gun in their face? Can you possibly imagine what could happen? This is your opportunity to be truly imaginative. Answer your own expectations of original work. A mature writer develops a strong capacity to recognize and reject the false.

Ouch.Forced exposition. This is when a brother tells a sister on page two that he will be attending a school which dad wouldn’t pay for because he bought a farm that the whole family will be moving to tomorrow because he found that the city was a really bad place to live in after mom was really scared because of that mugging thing that happened after they came back from the sister’s graduation from high school. When characters engage in an unbelievable conversation about matters in which they would be familiar with, or when they proclaim something completely out of nowhere simply to inform the audience of key facts crucial to their understanding of the movie, you have a problem. This awkward exposition will not be seen as genuine human behavior and will detach your audience from the emotional current of your story. Exposition is necessary and difficult to execute. Be careful how you offer information crucial to your story at the start of your screenplay. This is a common problem in early drafts. Exposition needs to be seamless and graceful.

Format.You know what? Go get a script and copy what you think it looks like and you’ll be fine. Trust me. Spec scripts are sitting on desks all over Hollywood and their format is not consistent at all. Getting crazy about format sells screenwriting software. I use two tab settings and copied stuff from a book and not one person in the film industry has ever said a thing to me in ten years. But if your script looks like a book, or a poem, or a magazine article, your screenplay format is wrong. Just make it look a little like a movie script, and if it kicks ass, guess what.

So do you.

Article URL address: www.bluecatscreenplay.com/About/advice.php About the AuthorWinner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance Film Festival for LOVE LIZA, Gordy Hoffman has wrote and directed three digital shorts for Fox Searchlight. Made his feature directorial debut with his script, A COAT OF SNOW,world premiering at 2005 Locarno Intl Film Festival. Also founder of BlueCat Screenplay Competition, which provides written screenplay analysis on every entry.Gordy acts as a script consultant for screenwriters, offering personalized feedback, http://www.screenplaynotes.com.

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