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"...only ragged odds and ends of my script had been used..."

Vladimir Nabokov’s Unpublished ‘Lolita’ Screenplay Notes
posted by brundlefly on Jun 20, 2014 - 6 comments

Matthew Weiner, The Art of Screenwriting No. 4

Fourth in a series on screen writing in the Paris Review, an interview with Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men.
posted by ShooBoo on May 25, 2014 - 3 comments

I'd buy that for a dollar...

"If you want to predict the future, just think about how bad it could be and make a joke out of it, and there you go."
Ed Neumeier on the writing of the original RoboCop.
posted by mokin on Feb 14, 2014 - 73 comments

The 2013 Black List

The 2013 Black List has been released.  For those unfamiliar, the “Black List” is a list of the most liked unproduced screenplays circulating around Hollywood, as voted on by over 250 film executives, and past Black List scripts include The Social Network, Saving Mr. Banks, The King’s Speech, and Slumdog Millionaire.
posted by Artw on Dec 16, 2013 - 124 comments

My face fills the screen

Buried deep among the hundreds of old scripts in RKO Pictures’ archives was a 1941 melodramatic gem about an amnesia-stricken man who wakes up in the middle of a revolution in Mexico. Never produced, the screenplay for “The Way to Santiago” is credited to Orson Welles.
posted by dobbs on Dec 11, 2013 - 6 comments

"Two drafts later somebody would say, ‘Does he have to die?’ ”

Damon Lindelof uses the story of American folk hero John Henry as an illustrative example of the market pressures on blockbuster screenwriting.
posted by Uncle Ira on Aug 12, 2013 - 66 comments

Sea Hunt is Not on the List

The Writers Guild of America has posted a list of the top 100 best written TV shows of all time. "Mendelsohn admits he's disappointed that there aren't more shows created by women or people of color on the list. "That speaks to a broader problem in the industry than to the list itself," he says. But as barriers continue to be broken in the industry, future lists will hopefully begin to rectify that."
posted by Xurando on Jun 3, 2013 - 211 comments

This is a really great place to have sex

A few words on why Shane Black, writer of Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, record holder for the largest spec script sale ever, and now writer-director of Iron Man 3, is the most badass action screenwriter around. (via Vulture)
posted by skammer on Apr 30, 2013 - 34 comments

In fact-based films, how much fiction is OK?

With the "true story" films Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty having been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, discussion has risen about storytelling accuracy: "Does the audience deserve the truth, the whole truth and nothing but? Surely not, but just how much fiction is OK?"
posted by The Girl Who Ate Boston on Feb 20, 2013 - 160 comments

Schmucks with Underwoods

Vanity fair on the rise and fall and possible rise again of the spec script.
posted by Artw on Feb 11, 2013 - 44 comments

Screenwriters on screenwriting

The Q&A With Jeff Goldsmith is an irregularly released podcast where Mr. Goldsmith interviews, at length (each episode runs an hour or more), working Hollywood and foreign screenwriters. The most recent episode is a panel conversation with the year's Oscar-nominated screenwriters. You can listen to the podcasts on his site or subscribe in iTunes or on Android.

Goldsmith is also the publisher of the terrific screenwriting magazine Backstory--currently only available for the iPad but coming (eventually) to the web and Android. You can download the first issue (which is wonderful, and contains full length scripts along with the interviews and stories) for free.
posted by dobbs on Feb 7, 2013 - 5 comments

30 Screenplays for 2012 Flicks

Links to 30 Screenplays from films released in 2012, including Django Unchained, The Master, Looper, Lincoln, Amour...
posted by dobbs on Jan 19, 2013 - 21 comments

The Avengers script in detail

"The screenplay keeps so many balls in the air that everything feels lively and inventive and fun, even when the plot isn’t being forwarded, or especially when the plot isn’t being forwarded. " Todd Alcott, director, actor and screenwriter, is known for his exhaustive analysis of screenplays (previously, previously) turns his eye to the modern Superhero Genre with a complete break down of Marvel's The Avengers Part 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17
posted by The Whelk on Jan 11, 2013 - 60 comments

"You might not have the talent you need. Success may no longer be available to you. Time will bury everything you care about."

Movie critic Matthew Dessem (previously) considers Edward Ford to be the greatest unproduced screenplay in Hollywood.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jan 5, 2013 - 11 comments

SIX SEASONS!

And A Movie?: 'Why is it so important to the fans that there be a film adaptation of the franchise they love?'
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 23, 2012 - 135 comments

What I have to offer

In 2011, in front of a sell-out theatre at the BFI in London, Charlie Kaufman delivered the final lecture in BAFTA's Screenwriters' Lecture Series. Eliot Rausch took snippets of the lecture and set them to apposite visual clips and produced this video: What I Have to Offer (single link vimeo). [via]
posted by AceRock on Aug 26, 2012 - 10 comments

The idea of hiding behind a secret identity was something I found terribly attractive.

A very long interview with screenwriter Lem Dobbs. Single link to text on a page but it's a wonderful interview and those who love film, culture, the arts... will dig it I think.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy on May 4, 2012 - 8 comments

You hate jews.

Joe Eszterhas (writer of The Music Box, Basic Instinct, and many other films) has written a letter to Mel Gibson after the actor neglected to contact him regarding his screenplay for "the Jewish Braveheart," which Gibson had hired him to write.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy on Apr 13, 2012 - 99 comments

Cliched Dialogue is My Middle Name

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Don’t even go there! You know as well as I do, I’ve literally been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and to be honest with you at the end of the day when push comes to shove and it all boils down to it if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Know what I mean? Basically, what I’m trying to say is with all due respect between you and me screenwriting is not rocket science, it’s about breaking the mold, thinking outside the box, giving it 110% 24/7. And I think we can all agree clichés suck but, hey, it’s a job. You gotta do what you gotta do. Just remember you’re writing for an audience and there’s no “I” in . . . you get the picture.
Definitive List of Cliched Dialogue, Go Into The Story
posted by ob1quixote on Mar 11, 2012 - 114 comments

HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM

Loudly and with much smashing, FilmCritHulk has become a major presence in the world of online film criticism with his semiotical essays on storytelling, cinematic principles, and media theory. Starting first on his personal blog, Hulk now writes for Badass Digest [previously] (the lifestyle blog corner of the Alamo Drafthouse empire [previously, previously]) [more inside]
posted by kcalder on Jan 26, 2012 - 24 comments

Gone Silent.

Frederica Sagor Maas dies at 111; silent film screenwriter. Her 1925 script for "The Plastic Age" launched the career Clara Bow. She wrote numerous scripts during the silent era, including movies starring Greta Garbo and Norma Shearer with whom she became friends. But she felt badly treated by Hollywood, her scripts stolen, plagiarized or bowdlerized. She was also blacklisted, wrongly accused of being a communist. Broke and dispirited, she and her husband contemplated suicide. But she survived, and went on to write a highly critical book about early Hollywood, where she dished on many famous figures. [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Jan 8, 2012 - 13 comments

A trombone to pick

When script guru John August, writer of films such as Big Fish and Go, posted a fairly casual post advocating teaching children piano and guitar over certain woodwind instruments, the response was fairly heated and resulted in Mr. August putting his blog on a comment holiday.
posted by smithsmith on Dec 12, 2011 - 106 comments

I DEMAND TO BE HOUSEWARMED!

Dan Harmon shares pics of the notes and diagrams from the writers' room for this week's highly praised Community episode, "Remedial Chaos Theory."
posted by Navelgazer on Oct 16, 2011 - 110 comments

Well, sure, it's all downhill that way

"Storytelling is inherently dangerous. Consider a traumatic event in your life. Think about how you experienced it. Now think about how you told it to someone a year later. Now think about how you told it for the hundredth time. It's not the same thing. Most people think perspective is a good thing: you can figure out characters arcs, you can apply a moral, you can tell it with understanding and context. But this perspective is a misrepresentation: it's a reconstruction with meaning, and as such bears little resemblance to the event." Charlie Kaufman: Why I Wrote Being John Malkovich. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Oct 7, 2011 - 47 comments

'I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value!'

Notes of a Screenwriter, Mad as Hell - The New York times on Paddy Chayefsky's notes for his screenplay of Network. I don't have to tell you things are bad...
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 21, 2011 - 30 comments

Everyone Knows You're A Hack

Judd Apatow got into an e-mail argument with the creator of That 70s Show back in 2002
posted by The Whelk on May 15, 2011 - 110 comments

Oscar Nominated Screenplay PDFs

A number of the 2011 Oscar nominated screenplays are here as PDFs. The site also has a archives of Coen Brothers and Charlie Kaufman scripts.
posted by dobbs on Feb 24, 2011 - 4 comments

"All have one thing in common - their delight in the taste of somebody's failure and it is here tonight."

The first 15 pages of Sam Peckinpah’s long-buried script for The Texans. Via CHUD.com
posted by brundlefly on Jan 20, 2011 - 8 comments

The Black List was published today...

Zombie Baby, Fucking Jane Austen, The Last Witch Hunter, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, American Bullshit, Better Living Through Chemistry... just some of the titles that made this year's Black List, a list of the best unproduced screenplays of the year as voted on by industry insiders. LA Times and Deadline Hollywood have pieces on it and here's an October audio interview with Franklin Leonard, creator of the Black List. In past years, aspiring screenwriters could find PDFs of the scripts online. It's gonna be a lot harder now.
posted by dobbs on Dec 13, 2010 - 42 comments

Bring the sledgehammer.

I find your lack of faith disturbing (previously) is billed as 'another screenwriting blog,' which author Josh Friedman admits we need 'like the world needs another Michael Bay.' Nevertheless, Josh has been blogging off and on for five years now, on topics ranging from his cancer surgery to the ups and downs of free lunches in Hollywood. This week Josh relays a story of finding out a stranger has been using your office for meeting prostitutes.
posted by shakespeherian on Jul 22, 2010 - 69 comments

TO THE WRITERS OF THE UNIT GREETINGS.

DAVID MAMET LAYS OUT WHAT MAKES GOOD SCREENWRITING.
posted by jjray on Mar 24, 2010 - 171 comments

Once Upon A Time On The Internet

Todd Alcott has written in-depth analyses of Inglourious Basterds (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and Death Proof (1, 2, 3) that are pretty nifty. [more inside]
posted by Toby Dammit X on Feb 11, 2010 - 102 comments

Not THAT Kind of Black List

Patrick Sauriol's Corona Coming Attractions, the comprehensive insider film news site of the late-'90s (resurrected in December 2008), presents the top unproduced screenplays for 2009 as selected by film professionals (Part 1 | Part 2). "Over 300 film professionals were asked to submit the titles of up to ten of their favorite screenplays. The only condition for the picks were that the projects would not be released in theaters this year." Some sound fascinating, others cringe-inducingly tired.
posted by AugieAugustus on Feb 4, 2010 - 21 comments

FADE IN: INT. THE BLUE -- DAY

PDF screenplays of most of the scripts that will probably pick up Oscar nods this year. And the Public Enemies and Funny People scripts, too.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy on Dec 11, 2009 - 3 comments

Would you like me to tell you the little story of right-hand/left-hand? The story of good and evil? H-A-T-E!

Robert McKee’s Unconvincing Story
posted by Artw on Nov 14, 2009 - 78 comments

ScriptShadow

ScriptShadow reviews the latest screenplays from Hollywood, usually with links to the screenplays themselves.
posted by alby on Jul 7, 2009 - 13 comments

"Raiders of the Lost Ark" story conference

The "Raiders" Story Conference In 1978 George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan spent five consecutive nine-hour days hashing out the characters and plot for Raiders of the Lost Ark. The 125-page transcript of their meetings, unreleased before now, details their insane talent and techniques for populist storytelling. (It also makes one wonder what happened to George Lucas, a man who once had a math formula for exciting cinema.) via Ain't It Cool News, unfortunately
posted by incomple on Mar 10, 2009 - 135 comments

It is important to know that a blob of taffy flying through the air goes "fweeee!"

Jane Espenson is a tv writer you might have heard of if you've been watching few science fiction and related genre shows in recent years. For awhile now she's been answering questions about script writing from readers of her blog and gracing the blogosphere with her insights into the craft of writing a good story for tv and movies. Today she announced that she's taking a break from advice blogging because she's running out of new ideas for topics to cover.
posted by Tehanu on Dec 9, 2008 - 9 comments

a href = fade in

Simply Scripts is a repository of screenplays. Sort of a collection of links to scripts hosted on other sites (like official studio or screenwriter sites). There's some neat stuff there. For instance, I found a Coen brothers script (pdf), based on a James Dickey novel, I'd never heard of before.
posted by Manhasset on Dec 7, 2008 - 14 comments

Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.

Interviewing Charlie Kaufman.
posted by empath on Sep 20, 2008 - 10 comments

How Godzilla and Sinbad were lost, and other tales

After a lengthy hiatus, Terry Rossio is once again writing columns on screenwriting and other aspects of the film trade for Wordplayer (previously). New articles include a dissertation on the use of dramatic irony, a fascinating story about a single vacation photo and the strange twists of life, and an insider's look into how good stories get killed, and which battles are worth fighting. [more inside]
posted by Navelgazer on Jul 7, 2008 - 18 comments

Essays on writing by various tv and movie writers

An essay by Bill Lawrence, creator of "Scrubs," on why he writes. It's part of a series: "Why We Write." [more inside]
posted by Tehanu on Mar 16, 2008 - 28 comments

Writers on Screenwriting

Word Into Image: Writers on Screenwriting {youtube}
William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) (1 2 3)
Robert Towne (Chinatown) (1 2 3)
Carl Foreman (High Noon) (1 2 3)
Neil Simon (The Odd Couple) (1 2 3)
Paul Mazursky (An Unmarried Woman) (1 2 3)
Eleanor Perry (The Swimmer) (1 2 3)
posted by dobbs on Feb 22, 2008 - 9 comments

Laz the Incredible

Laz Rojas created "a one-man demo tape in which I portray 102 different characters in 52 scenes from my screenplays. The purpose of this demo is to display my abilities as an actor, writer, director, and editor." Don't miss this gem, featuring what must be the only one-man lesbian kiss ever filmed [SFW, as long as you don't mind being thought creepy]. He also makes cartoons, artwork, Wolfenstein mods, and has an awful lot to say about Titanic.
posted by mosessmith on Mar 6, 2007 - 13 comments

On the Edge of Blade Runner

On the Edge of Blade Runner [documentary, google video, 52mins]
posted by MetaMonkey on Oct 29, 2006 - 114 comments

Synecdoche, NY

Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part. It's also the title of the directorial debut of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, set to begin filming in Summer 2007. He's proven his writing chops and shown us his creative ingenuity with Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but this will mark the first film that will showcase his vision from page to screen. The story centers on an anguished playwright and several women in his life, and is set to star Philip Seymour Hoffman and Michelle Williams.
posted by defenestration on Sep 8, 2006 - 39 comments

Screenwriting Expo

How I Ended Up In Big Pitches - article in London Times about last weekend's Screenwriting Expo in Los Angeles. Features Warren Hsu Leonard, William Goldman, Brian Watanabe, David Freeman, Michael Hauge.
posted by nromanek on Nov 17, 2005 - 10 comments

Snakes on the motherfucking plane

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing is the new blog by screenwriter Josh Friedman. Not much there yet but what is is fun, especially parts one and two of his adventures with arbitration on War of the Worlds. (Of note: Friedman is the writer who adapted James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia for David Fincher Brian De Palma.) {via The Screenwriting Life}
posted by dobbs on Aug 21, 2005 - 9 comments

No, J.J., it's later than you think...

The Sweet Smell of Success*. North by Northwest. The Comedian. Sabrina. The King and I. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The Sound of Music. West Side Story. Somebody Up There Likes Me... What do they have in common? Their screenplays all passed through the typewriter of Academy Award-winning (and 6-time nominee) Ernest Lehman, who died Saturday of a heart attack. He was 89. * html screenplay [via The Screenwriting Life]
posted by dobbs on Jul 6, 2005 - 12 comments

I loved the screenplay, so I fired the writer

From Pitch to Premiere LA-based radio show The Business decided to track a film project from its earliest stages. Host Claude Brodesser began with an interview with the producer, the original screenwriter, and her agent, just after they had sold the project as a pitch.(RealAudio stream; interview starts at 11:08) Then he followed up with them as they were beginning their hunt for a director (RealAudio stream; interview starts at 2:51). And when they found a director, the director did an interview as well (RealAudio stream; interview starts at 9:20). It's an interesting look into how movies actually get made. (Via John August, who is the current writer on the project.)
posted by yankeefog on May 5, 2005 - 2 comments

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