Wednesday, December 5, 2018

TINKER' Available! DVD and PPV

TINKER' (indie film I co-wrote) is available on DVD (Amazon) and PayPerView today!

Monday, June 18, 2018

First Drafts: Dos and Don'ts

DO... write it very fast. I start with an outline. Others start with just an idea. Write out a "vomit draft" (you vomit when you go back and read it later) to just get something down on paper.

DO... keep moving forward.

DO... set page goals. Five to ten pages a day is a nice pace, but do what you can.

DO... finish it. Mentally, it will help clear your mind for new ideas to arrive. Emotionally, you'll be happy you completed a script. Most people never accomplish even that. A finished first draft is what you need to start reworking it into something good.

DON'T... try to edit in the middle of doing that first draft. If you go backward, you won't finish. You'll keep finding flaws and will lose your passion for the project.

DON'T... get feedback. You've got nothing to show anyone until you are a couple drafts in and if you show it too early and the readers bash it, you will lose your passion for the project. Seeing a pattern?

If you are asked to give feedback on a first draft of someone's script, tread carefully. Stay positive. Highlight the opportunities and what's working. Don't bash it or kill it. You can't expect it to meet professional standards out of the gate. Discuss the rewrite process with the writer and encourage them.

Good luck and go get that FIRST DRAFT done. Because that's the fun part. After that, the work begins!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

New Judd Apatow Comedy MasterClass

Judd Apatow has a new comedy MasterClass available now and it's a great opportunity to have a top pro let you inside his world, his comic mind, and what looks like his very cool office. A couple hours of content for $90 and you have access for a year.

Judd discusses his story -- from comedy geek fandom to writer to producer/director/Hollywood playboy. Discusses stand-up comedy, creating comic characters, and making comedy films.

My favorite lecture was one on screen testing comedies (which he usually does 4 or 5 times) to see what's getting laughs and what to cut. Some 'auteurs' may have had a problem with that, but coming from a background in standup Judd knows that if the audience ain't laughing, it's time to make changes.

Click below to check it out and (disclosure) if you happen to buy it, I make a few bucks and pay for this wonderful site.

Oh, the site's free, right.

Judd Apatow Teaches Comedy

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Write the Story That's Your Next Task

When thinking about what to write I usually have one story concept that keeps recurring. I can't seem to get away from it. I can't get to the next idea either. I'm creatively stuck.

Whether you choose to believe in a Jungian "collective unconscious" from which we draw ideas, or an all-knowing, all-powerful God who gives us ideas, or The Muses, or Fate, or dumb luck, ideas come to us. They challenge us; they haunt us.

What are our choices when this happens?

We can ignore them, get stuck on them, or write them and turn them into full-blown stories.

I've seen people stuck YEARS on one story idea and they never just go ahead and write it. Then, they wonder why they can't move to the next idea or the next project. They're in a creative funk.

Write the story that you feel you need to write. Even if that screenplay, teleplay, novel, or whatever form it takes doesn't sell or even turn out all that well you honored the muses. You did your best. You developed and matured as a writer. You moved on from that one idea and now you have ten others as a reward.

So, go write it and write it fast!

What's Your Story's "Secret Sauce"?

There's a restaurant in Baton Rouge that started twenty years ago near L.S.U. called Raising Cane's. They sell chicken fingers. Nothing that special about chicken fingers in general, or theirs. They have a sauce though (mixture of several things and spices) that students loved. Now, Cane's is in many states and is a multi-million dollar in annual revenues business.

What did they have?

The secret sauce.

What's the "secret sauce" for your story?

What in your script is taking it to a new place or new level?

For example, there are thousands of "buddy cop" scripts out there. After the original Shane Black LETHAL WEAPON spec sale, the market back then was flooded with "two cops, an odd coupling, are forced to work together and..." scripts. They still circulate in Hollywood.

What about your buddy cop script separates it from the 1,000s of other buddy cop scripts they already have, made, or rejected?

Max Landis asked himself that question and came up with BRIGHT. I assume he was playing D&D with some friends and though, "What if... a cop was forced to team up with an orc in a world like our own but where fantasy creatures exist?

Buddy cop script... with a twist. With that secret sauce that took it to the next level and a $100 million production with Will Smith.

When considering your concept, make sure you've got something that separates it from the herd. There are going to be a dozen similar scripts out there to whatever you're writing. A million monkeys on typewriters. Be the smart monkey.