Go Into The Story Week In Review: March 25-March 31, 2013

Some notable posts from this week on GITS!

The Business of Screenwriting: Everything You Wanted to Know About Specs (Part 7)

GITS Interview: Ashleigh Powell (2012 Black List)

GITS: The Twitter Conversations — Script Readers (Part 1)

GITS: The Twitter Conversations — Script Readers (Part 2)

GITS: The Twitter Conversations — Script Readers (Part 3)

GITS: The Twitter Conversations — Script Readers (Part 4)

GITS: The Twitter Conversations — Script Readers (Part 5)

“The Golden Age for Writers”

Great Character: Jessica Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)

Great Scene: Fight Club

Hot Topics: The Black Board

Interview [Video]: John  Wells, William Broyles, Jr. and Herschel Weingrod

Interview [Written]: Karen Croner and Jean Hanff Korelitz (Admission)

Saturday Hot Links: The 109th Joseph Campbell Birthday Celebration Edition

Screenwriting Advice From The Past: The Final Close-Up [Part 3]

Screenwriting News (March 25-March 31, 2013)

Script To Screen: The Big Lebowski

Similar But Different (Part 1: Remakes)

Similar But Different (Part 2: Retro)

Similar But Different (Part 3: Playing the Game)

Similar But Different (Part 4: Archetypes)

Similar But Different (Part 5: Psychological Journey)

The Quest: 55 Days and Counting

Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Death

This week’s theme — Culture Class suggested by Debbie Moon — has been an interesting choice and thanks for all your recommendations. Now it’s time to think about next week’s theme: Death suggested by SandbaggerOne:

“Chess, anyone?”

Obviously we could find literally thousands of examples as death permeates movies. Let’s see if we can look for truly memorable dialogue associated with compelling moments. And what can we learn from them about writing death scenes?

The usual drill:

* Copy/paste dialogue from IMDB Quotes or some other transcript source.

* Copy/paste the URL of an accompanying video from MovieClips or YouTube.

I’d also ask you to think about why the dialogue is notable. Is there anything about the dialogue which provides some takeaway re screenwriting?

Here is the lineup for upcoming Daily Dialogue themes:

April 8-April 14: Action hero wisecracks [Shaula Evans]

April 15-April 21: Fan boy/girl conversations [plinytheelder]

April 22-April 28: Making a scene [Trent Carroll]

April 29-May 5: “I’m not who you think I am” [Mark Twain]

May 6-May 12: Profanity free insults [Mark Walker]

May 13-May 19: Recounting a legend [alexmatu]

May 20-May 26: Original composition: Song/Poem [churnage]

May 27-June 2: Sex scenes [Dean Scott]

June 3-June 9: Witty banter [stoneinthesling]

June 10-June 16: All is lost [Turambar]

June 17-June 23: Dinner scene [Liri Nàvon]

June 24-June 30: Interrogations [Def Earz]

July 1-July 7: Profanity [JasperLamarCrab]

July 8-July 14: Begging for one’s life [Despina]

See you in comments for your suggestions featuring death!

Interview: Ashleigh Powell (2012 Black List)

Ashleigh Powell hit it big in 2012 when she sold her dystopian thriller “Somacell” to Warner Bros, officially marking her entry into the ranks of professional screenwriter.

Powell final

Ashleigh Powell

Here are links to the six installments of the entire interview:

Part 1: “I read so many scripts and that was immensely helpful too. Especially reading a ton of bad scripts and learning what not to do.”

Part 2: “Writing multiple projects, trying out new things, developing as many stories as possible, helped me establish a voice, rather than, say, focusing on a single opus that I was going to constantly tweak for years and years until I got it right.”

Part 3: “There might be something to that, where women are more likely to internalize than men, and in a psychological thriller, I think that makes them a better fit for a protagonist role…it makes their journey that much more deeply personal.”

Part 4: “I was in the middle of doing laundry. I got this phone call. It’s everyone on my team. They’re like, “Ashleigh, sit down. Warner Bros. wants to make an offer on this script tonight.”

Part 5: “Usually I’ll start with a one page synopsis, just the basic beats of the story. Then I go to note cards, and then I go to a full outline.”

Part 6: “But that’s what storytelling is all about, isn’t it? Creating something out of nothing.”

Please stop by comments to thank Ashleigh and ask any questions you may have.

Ashleigh is repped by the Gersh Agency and BenderSpink.

You may follow Ashleigh on Twitter: @SecretEnemyAsh.

Screenwriting Advice From The Past: The Final Close-Up [Part 3]

If you are a screenwriter, you should know about Anita Loos. Loos was one of the most influential writers in the early stages of American cinema, associated with 136 film projects per IMDB.

Married to writer John Emerson, the pair wrote one of the first books on screenwriting in 1920: “How to Write Photoplays”. I have been running a weekly series based on the book. You can access those posts here. Today: The Final Close-Up [P. 104]:

Many amateurs are prone to cheat their audiences by ending the story without some bit of action which spectators have been led to expect and are hoping to see. Let us suppose that after your hero has triumphantly rescued the heroine you end the story with a sub-title, “And So They Lived Happily Ever After.” This is too abrupt. You must add just a few scenes to satisfy the very understandable craving to see the hero reaping the rewards of heroism as the girl comes to his arms.

“But this is the same old ending,” you protest. True enough. But it is essential if your audience is to feel satisfied.

In the same way, if the villain is finally defeated you must gratify your audience’s desire to see him dragged off to jail. Don’t leave this sort of thing to imagination.

This may seem obvious, but perhaps so much so, a writer can overlook its importance. To wit:

If you set something up, pay it off.

Most writers will hit the major ones. But one sign of a professional writer versus an amateur is the care with which pros go about paying off all storylines, no matter how small the subplot.

Here is a good example: In the Pixar movie Up, the ending involves several payoffs:

* Carl gives Russell the “Ellie Badge” which rounds out the subplot with the grape soda pin.

* Carl, Russell and Dug count cars while eating ice cream cones in front of Fenton’s, paying off one of Russell’s fondest memories.

And that’s it, right? Nope. Here is the very last image of the movie:


On top of Paradise Falls sit Carl's house, just as Ellie
imagined it.


During the big fight in Muntz’s dirigible, we have forgotten about the house which was last seen drifting away into the clouds. This final moment is a wonderful grace note, a resonant payoff and lovely moment.

Next week: More from Anita Loos and John Emerson’s book from 1920.

If you live in the U.S., you can read “How to Write Photoplays” via Google books online here.