Movies That Changed Everything: Signs

October 30, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Movies That Changed Everything: Signs

I’m an aspiring filmmaker.  Like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.  This series will examine twelve of the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.  Films that have greatly influenced the filmmaker I hope to become someday…


Movies that changed everything: Signs

Signs is my favorite movie.  Ever.

Normally when I make that statement, I receive a confused look in return.

It IS my all time favorite.

When Signs was released, I was already obsessed with M. Night Shyamalan’s films.  The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were both amazing movies and I was eagerly anticipating what the director would come up with next.

I had no idea his next film would literally help me decide what to do with my life.

Signs was fun.  It was a simple yet well executed concept with incredible characters but what stuck with me was how well he told his story.  It was original, funny, emotional and entertaining. (Yes…  Even the alien water thing.)

I can’t explain what happened.  I just loved it.

I’ve never felt so inspired in my entire life.

Movies That Changed Everything: Signs M Night Shyamalan

Around the time that Signs was released,  I was thinking seriously about making a life altering decision.

I was in University and well on my way to becoming an English teacher.  The idea was to teach and use my summer holidays to write.

Truthfully, I was unhappy about the direction my life was heading.  I had just realized that I didn’t want to be a teacher at all.

I felt lost

So I took a chance and transferred out of English and into a college broadcasting program.

It was the best decision I ever made as it led to my career as a professional editor.  Now I have a job I absolutely love and I write whenever I can.

Where does Signs come in?

Signs arrived when I was weighing whether or not it was worth it to pursue film at all.

Am I going to write screenplays or not?

M. Night Shyamalan’s brilliant film opened my eyes again.  Screenwriting is a big part of my life and there was no way I could leave it behind.

Before Signs came along, screenwriting was merely a hobby.  Once I saw it, screenwriting became my passion.

To this day, whenever I see that movie, I want to stop everything and write.

Some people may think it’s strange that Signs is my favorite movie.   I will even concede that there are tons of ‘better’ movies out there but that’s not always a good way to measure the impact a film can have on you.

Forget the fact that Mel Gibson isn’t the most popular person in the world right now.  It’s not about Night’s current string of disappointing films.  It’s not about the awards, the critics or the popular opinion.

For me, it’s about the movies you connect with.  The movies that inspire.

Signs came along exactly when I needed to see it.

I’ll always be thankful for that.

10 Flicks: Movies With Rules

October 28, 2010 at 9:46 am

10 Flicks: Movies With Rules

There are so many movies that take you to an amazing new worlds you’ve never seen before.

Films that challenge your imagination to believe in the impossible.

Sometimes, there are clear sets of rules to help you navigate these worlds.

  • Rules to survive a horror movie.
  • Rules to pick up women.
  • Rules to stay alive.
  • Rules to keep you safe.

Movies with rules…

Here are 10 of the best:



Wedding Crashers

i Robot






Fight Club

Indie Film TILT Gets A Trailer!

October 28, 2010 at 8:06 am

Indie Film TILT Gets A Trailer

Director Phil Holbrook just released a teaser trailer for his upcoming indie feature: Tilt.

I had the opportunity to interview Phil about the film a while back and got the full story on how Tilt came to be.

Without a doubt, if you have an idea and the determination needed you can definitely get your movie made.

Check out the 3 part series below:

Don’t forget to stop by the official site for more including a fantastic 9 part video series on the production.

Movies That Changed Everything: Good Will Hunting

October 27, 2010 at 8:59 am

Movies That Changed Everything: Good Will Hunting

I’m an aspiring filmmaker.  Like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.  This series will examine twelve of the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.  Films that have greatly influenced the filmmaker I hope to become someday…

Good Will Hunting

Movies That Changed Everything: Good Will Hunting

I think Good Will Hunting may lead the league in 10 Flicks appearances:

I think it’s safe to say that I highly enjoyed Good Will Hunting.

It changed everything for me because of incredible amount of research that went into the script.  It’s the main reason I find Matt Damon’s central character so interesting.

I love character driven movies. I think it’s fascinating that you can create a fictional character so interesting that he/she can carry an entire movie on their own.

The research that went into this film must have been insane.  Each and every reference to literary giants and some of the smartest people who have ever lived had to have been carefully thought out.  It’s that detail that adds to a world that commands your full attention.  It’s that detail that makes the film great.

Beyond that writer’s Ben Affleck & Matt Damon bring their home town of Boston to life in addition to creating a strong supporting cast of characters.

It’s a big world they created to tell Will Hunting’s story and it takes a lot of effort and skill to pull it off.

Good Will Hunting taught me big lessons about character deconstruction.

You can literally take every scene in the movie and break down what you learn about Will.  In truth, anyone can write a scene that tells you something about a character but doing it in interesting and thought provoking ways is what sets this movie apart.

Through all of his confrontations, I like to imagine the revelations the screenwriting team had while they wrote it.

The magical moments when a story just clicks and you know exactly where you are going with it.

When you reach a point when the characters are real, they write the story for you.

It’s a trance every single writer strives to achieve.

I try to seize those nights every chance I get.  It’s an addicting feeling to turn your computer off and feel like you’ve written something memorable.

Screenwriting is meant to challenge your abilities.  Movies like Good Will Hunting inspire me to go farther and push myself harder.

Since I saw Good Will Hunting, I’ve tried very hard to make sure I fully research everything I write down to the last detail.  I still have a lot to learn but it’s a fantastic way to plan a story.

The work is fun because the reward is priceless.

Review: Celtx For iPhone And iPad

October 24, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Review: Celtx for iphone and ipad

Screenwriter’s definitely have options to write their masterpieces on Apple’s devices.

If you own an iPhone, iPod Touch or the magical iPad, you can take your screenplays everywhere.

I recently got a chance to sit down with Celtx for iPhone and it’s definitely among the top apps for writers.

Is Celtx the best?

I recently reviewed Scripts Pro for iPhone which was a huge step up from the other offerings.  I had already written a few shorts using the app including Crosstown, a project you’ll hear more about in the coming weeks.

The app itself introduced a variety of features I had been wishing for since I activated my life changing phone. (Yes, I do think THAT highly of my iPhone.)

It had an Smart Type feature, a tab function and many more useful additions.

Celtx has each and every one of those features and does them all BETTER.

Review: Celtx For iPhone And iPad

The first thing I noticed was the simpler interface and the easier shortcuts.

I found navigating through my ‘test’ screenplay extremely easy and natural.  Switching between different elements is almost identical to my desktop software.  (Almost.)

Essentially, screenwriting software should never get in the way.  It seems with each screenwriting app that’s released, I keep getting happier and happier.

Which is never a bad thing.

I’m going to hold off on my final judgement until I get a chance to see the upcoming Final Draft app but right now, Celtx is definitely the best.

The negative?  It’s also the most expensive.

Both Screenplay and ScriptWrite sell for $4.99.  If you’re only looking to spend around 5 bucks you’re better off going with Scripts Pro for $5.99.

Note: Scripts Pro also has a free version so you can try it out.

Celtx will set you back $9.99 but is definitely a solid choice especially if you already own Celtx on your desktop.  I still use Final Draft 6.5 but the sync feature would definitely be useful if I used Celtx.

At the end of the day, I rate this app highest because it does the most things right and that’s all you can really ask for.  Even the “expensive” price tag is pennies compared to the full versions of the leading software out there.

The best compliment I can give this app is that I’m definitely thinking about giving the desktop version a shot.

Well done.