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Schmucks With Underwoods
February 8, 2005 1:44 AM   Subscribe

Tired of having to go through directors and producers, more and more screenwriters have their own websites to speak directly to the public (and to speak privately to each other.) Craig Mazin (screenwriter of the upcoming Opus the Penguin film) talks about why the hero aims low and how the screenwriter is like the Director of Photography. John Rogers worked on Catwoman and says "The one tiny shred of my artistic integrity I can take out of that process is that I've never actually seen the movie". Max Adams (whose Excess Baggage is reputed to be one of the best scripts ever made into a crappy movie) talks about how scripts get ruined. William Martell (the Robert Towne of made-for-cable movies) thinks it's a mistake to be too original. Terry Rossio (co-author of Pirates of the Caribbean reveals the physics of the story molecule. (Terry Rossio's site was mentioned in this thread on screenwriter John August's website but is worthy of a front page post of its own.)
posted by yankeefog (19 comments total)

 
Dammit, yankeefog, I was trying to get done work done this morning. I love getting glimpses into the mental processes of people this creative. Good stuff, indeed.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 2:55 AM on February 8, 2005


(Story meetings are you and people who are not writers getting together so people who can't write can suggest better ways for you to write.)

For the rest of us, there's always The Fiction Bitch. Either avenue is surely ruinous.
posted by SteelyDuran at 3:40 AM on February 8, 2005


That's a great bunch of links yankeefog, thanks!
posted by sebas at 3:53 AM on February 8, 2005


Thanks for the post, yankeefrog! I have long suspected that the conditions of production at play in Hollywood today prevent any innovative product from making its way through the miasma of focus groupen, test screenings in irrelevant multiplexes and ego (if you want a trashy read check out High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess – Don who died Elvis style pill ridden astride the bog, was the architect of today’s films and was behind many big 80s hits) and it is interesting to see the screenwriter’s perspective on it all. I stopped watching mainstream Hollywood product years ago but then I live in a city where there are cultural choices offered that most no longer have due to the distribution cartel. I think new digital technologies, Netflix and mass piracy of shlockbusters are the only factors that might change Hollywood someday (more product made and sold for lower costs aimed at more markets=greater diversity). If you want a heads up on what scripts have been bought and smell the cliché coming down the tinseltown conveyor check out
posted by The Salaryman at 4:42 AM on February 8, 2005


http://www.scriptsales.com/DDScriptSales.htm

(link add thing wont work from my PC here - sorry)
posted by The Salaryman at 4:42 AM on February 8, 2005


Out****ingstanding post, Yankeefog. Thank you!.
posted by mojohand at 4:52 AM on February 8, 2005


What a good post! Take this and multiply it times a million and you have the birth of a sitcom.
posted by absalom at 5:00 AM on February 8, 2005


Maybe someone can answer this: what's the difference between a script and a screenplay? As far as the labels suggest, a screenplay is what I am used to calling a storyboard.

****
Scene I

This Location

These People

This Atmosphere & Cinematography

This Unfolding of events.

Cut
****

Basically how things play out on screen. Script sounds more like a novel written with the constraints of moviemaking in mind.
posted by Gyan at 5:31 AM on February 8, 2005


There's an Opus the Penguin movie?!? They'll make a film from anything with familiarity. Maybe now I can finally sell my script based on the the WALK/DON'T WALK street sign. I see it as a buddy picture.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:36 AM on February 8, 2005


Gyan: Script and screenplay are synonymous, a storyboard is a shot-for-shot "cartoon"-like series of pictures which help the director develop camera angles and express them to the crew. A treatment is a prose-based exposition of the story, generally produced before the scripts in order to seal the deal.
posted by benzo8 at 6:16 AM on February 8, 2005


Making films is no different than any other creative venture with multiple contributors that all have to have their say. Studio executives, producers, directors, actors all can fuck up a good script with their stupid ideas. Everyone wants to be a player even if it means losing the game. Unless their is a singular creative visionary like Quentin Tarantino Peter Jackson or Clint Eastwood who knows what they're doing and is calling the shots, most films are doomed from the start, regardless of how good the script is.
posted by disgruntled at 6:18 AM on February 8, 2005


Maybe someone can answer this: what's the difference between a script and a screenplay? As far as the labels suggest, a screenplay is what I am used to calling a storyboard.

It's a difference of semantics. A screenplay is the script for a film.
posted by graymouser at 6:30 AM on February 8, 2005


Salaryman, Done Deal is a great resource, but don't forget that Done Deal paraphrases its plot descriptions from Variety or Hollywood Reporter articles, which are themselves paraphrases of some studio executives description, which is paraphrased from the script itself. It's not uncommon for writers to complain that the result of this game of telephone doesn't accurately reflect the original script.
posted by yankeefog at 6:36 AM on February 8, 2005


Maybe someone can answer this: what's the difference between a script and a screenplay?

There is no real difference- sometimes screenplay is used when you're talking about the artistic merits of the document (It was a beautiful screenplay; can you believe she wrote that screenplay in two days?) and script is used when you're talking about it as an object (Anybody seen the script?; Tony slipped me her new script, it's boffo!) but for the most part, the words are interchangeable.

I read these links with a sigh and a nod. There's nothing like showing up on the first day of shooting and having some fucking PA say, "Oh, did we tell you we changed the ending?" Great post, yankeefog.
posted by headspace at 6:40 AM on February 8, 2005


"Maybe now I can finally sell my script based on the the WALK/DON'T WALK street sign. I see it as a buddy picture."

The thing is that there's almost certainly another street sign picture in development, and that one has George Clooney attached to play "Walk."
posted by jscalzi at 7:09 AM on February 8, 2005


I thought you start out with a script (the initial drafts and rewrites) and then end up with a screenplay (the finished on screen version).
posted by Navek Rednam at 7:36 AM on February 8, 2005


Cheers for the clarification, Yankeefrog. I must confess that I had no idea where those story descriptions came from, foolishly assuming that the writer(s) had something to do with them. Given the Hollywood power structure that was a silly notion on my part! Now that you mention that they are third hand whispers, they must be more reflective of the rest of the content industry than the screenwriters in the fact that so many seem derivative and uninspiring...
posted by The Salaryman at 8:10 AM on February 8, 2005


(Apologies..I seem to have unconciously added an 'r' to your nickname - probably because of a half-remembered Sesame Street joke about a 'London frog')
posted by The Salaryman at 8:16 AM on February 8, 2005


Navek, I've worked in the entertainment industry for 10 years (albeit in TV for most of that) and I've never heard the script/screenplay distinction you describe. They're synonyms.
posted by yankeefog at 10:33 AM on February 8, 2005


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