They would ask me what actors I saw in the roles. I would tell them, and they’d say “Oh that’s interesting.” And that would be the end of it. --Elmore Leonard, in 2000, on the extent of his input for Hollywood's adaptation of his novels For authorial input on film adaptation, try My Book The Movie, by Marshall Zeringue, also of The Campaign for the American Reader, the page 69 test (previously), and the page 99 test. [more inside]
Consider an arthouse, darker, noir version of Men in Black with secretive alien refugees trapped in Manhattan, tentacle sex and concept art by H. R. Giger. Clair Noto's The Tourist could have been transformed into a great movie in the right hands. Instead, it has languished in permanent development hell since the 1980's. Some call it "the greatest scifi screenplay never produced" (Article, part 1 and 2.) Decide for yourself and read Noto's original screenplay. [more inside]
Script excerpts and development materials from The Top 20 Best Written TV Series [exhibit] from the Writers Guild Foundation collections. [more inside]
Interactive Shaun of the Dead screenplay. Shaun of the Dead is the first in the Edgar Wright, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg trilogy Three Flavours: Cornetto. The final instalment, The World's End was released in the UK on 19 July 2013 and comes out in the US on 23 August.
Let's think back to the 1960s, when more people were writing surreal, paranoid themes. Now place Jim Henson in that context, and you get Time Piece (YouTube, excerpt; behind the scenes clip, YT). Add in collaboration with writer (and puppeteer) Jerry Juhl and you have The Cube (YT, full film), as well as the setting for the hypnagogic story of a man pursued in the desert, called Tale of Sand. This was first written up as a screenplay and pitched as a movie in the late 1960s, then revised and re-pitched in 1974. But no one bit, so the screenplay was shelved, and then Jim gained fame for Sesame Street and The Muppets. Elements of Tale of Sand appeared in The Muppet Movie (YT, full movie) and other places since then, but the work was largely unseen and forgotten. Jump ahead three decades, and the Henson Company teams up with Archaia, first releasing Fraggle Rock and Dark Crystal comics, then digging in the Henson Company vault to bring Tale of Sand to light with cartoonist Ramón Pérez. You can see a preview of the graphic novel on Graphicly (including a nice dynamic display) and Amazon (static images, but more pages in the preview). [more inside]
Dan Goodbaum edits together selected excerpts from Elvis Mitchell's interview with Quentin Tarantino about the role of food as a indicator of power in his movies (full interview here). Grantland's 20 Best Tarantino Food Scenes
"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
And A Movie?: 'Why is it so important to the fans that there be a film adaptation of the franchise they love?'
On The Road, On The Screen: 'A large part of On The Road’s powerful and ongoing appeal undoubtedly stems from the lyricism of its language -- as opposed to its linearity, or even narrative coherence. Translating this to the screen could quite simply be impossible. Indeed, one suspects it is the reason that, up till now, so many screenwriters have failed in turning Kerouac’s text into visual form.'
M. Sartre goes to Hollywood. In 1958, John Huston asked Jean-Paul Sartre to write a biopic of Sigmund Freud. "The Huston-Sartre collaboration fell apart in 1959, when Sartre travelled to Huston's home in Ireland to work on the script. The two didn't work well together. 'There was no such thing as a conversation with him,' Huston later recalled. 'He talked incessantly, and there was no interrupting him. You'd wait for him to catch his breath, but he wouldn't.' Meanwhile Sartre, in his letters to Simone de Beauvoir, described Huston as 'perfectly vacant, literally incapable of speaking to those whom he has invited.'" [via Bookslut] [more inside]
In a very unusual move, 20th Century Fox has decided to release James Cameron’s entire screenplay for AVATAR online. Read the script as a PDF.
ScriptShadow reviews the latest screenplays from Hollywood, usually with links to the screenplays themselves.
The Wire - David Simon's original pitch and series bible. "At the end of thirteen episodes, the viewer - who has been lured all this way by a well-constructed police show - is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead the conclusion is something Euripides or O'Neill might recognize: an America at every level at war with itself." [Previously.] (via)
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.
Mortified is a group in various cities that allows people to "share their own adolescent journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories and more." It's embarrassing, to be sure, but it's frequently also hilarious (NSFW). Recently they've set up a page to share videos of live performances, and the latest is my favorite so far. "500 Miles To Hollywood" features Elijah Wood, James Denton (Desperate Housewives), Busy Phillips (Freaks & Geeks), Kevin McDonald (Kids in the Hall) and Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds) "helping Jason Smith fulfill his dream and bring a 2-decade-old screenplay to life."
Plotbot is a web-based collaborative screenwriting application where you can write a screenplay with as many or as few people as you like. Adopting the wiki approach to screenwriting, each element is editable by any member of a project. You can also comment on, delete or restore any element. For all of the "filmic storytellers" on MeFi.
You may know that November is NaNoWriMo, but did you know that this June is the first annual Script Frenzy?
Without doing any work of your own, now you can make a movie about a few conspiracies to murder the exiled premier of Nigeria. Was it the cowboy, the wizard, or the well-endowed humanoid animal creature in the corner? Or was it an entirely different story altogether?
"he's making this ARRROOOOOOOOO noise...it's awesome." The story of Lance Bearworthy and the Ursine Shaft of Doom.
"Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she had to walk into mine." Casablanca tops the Writers Guild of America's inaugural list of the 101 Greatest Screenplays (full list pdf) of all time, as voted on by members of the guild. Rounding out the top five: Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather; Robert Towne's Chinatown; Orson Welles and Herman Mankiewicz's Citizen Kane; and Joseph Mankiewicz's All About Eve.
The ultimate spoiler! Download the complete, illustrated screenplay for "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith" here for $4.99. completely legal.
Everything you need to know about screenwriting. From John August, writer of Go, Big Fish, Titan A.E.,the upcoming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the Charlie's Angels movies (ok, we'll forgive him that last one). Very helpful, very down to earth advice.
Check that random selection of classic screenplays. I'd like to thank that other girl.
"Theft in Hollywood"... I'm strangely fascinated by this insane site. This gentleman believes that innovative ideas like "cloud", "corridor", and "storm" were stolen from his unproduced screenplay, and used in countless movies and commercials. And that's only the surface weirdness. There's much more where that came from, including secret coded messages in fortune cookies from the FBI...