Face Your Worst Fears & Write Screenplays

July 29, 2012 at 7:23 am

Face Your Worst Fears & Write Screenplays | Screenwriting Blog

I FEAR REGRET

Over the last few months, I’ve really been able to put this fear into perspective.  It feels oddly freeing to say it out loud since I tend to bottle up pretty much everything.  My worst fear is doing (or not doing) something I’ll regret later on.  The overwhelming sense of guilt I feel some days is usually attributed to this fear.

A good way to describe it is in the way I use my iPhone.  The phone is never more than two feet away from me at all times and when it rings.  I answer it.  I always do.  I have to.  A missed call causes a large amount of stress and anxiety in my mind.  What did that person want?  Why didn’t they leave a message?  What if something is wrong?

It gets worse if I call them back and don’t get an answer.  Sometimes, the sheer curiosity alone can cause a mild sense of panic as I ponder the possible reasons the call.  It’s an odd ‘trait’ but one I’ve come to accept.  The down side is my family knows what I’m like with my phone so if I don’t answer it, THEY get anxious.

I’m being brutally honest because lately, I’ve been filled with so much regret and guilt without an outlet.  Until I realized that I have the perfect way to express myself and face all my worst fears.

XTRA | Screenwriting vs Anxiety

WRITE ABOUT WHAT SCARES YOU.

Recently, I tackled a horror script that amounted to about 10 pages of Zombie madness.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with the story now that it’s finished but it felt amazing to get some anger out.  It’s incredible how therapeutic writing a screenplay can be.

That was the warm up.  Next I began writing a story about a teenager who is unable to relate to his parents and I was able to work with the theme of regret.  I was terrified to write it because it would mean facing my own fears. Still, I pushed forward and wrote about forgiveness and family and suddenly, I felt a lot better.

SCREENWRITING THERAPY

When your mind is distracted, it can be extremely difficult to write.  Especially when you are writing about the very thing that made you sad.  I got stuck repeatedly and constantly checked my email, twitter and blogs instead of typing.  Eventually, I forced myself to move forward and the result was a very personal take on my fear of regret.

Thankfully, I’ve always been able to relate to my parents but I think that’s why I was compelled to write a story like that.  What if I wasn’t?  How would I feel?  So I made up a character who COULDN’T relate to his parents and explored the emotions involved.

The screenplay is nearly finished and regardless of what happens to the material, I’m happy I wrote it.

I’m happy I have a passion to rely on when I need to work some things out.  At the end of the day, I love to write and the more emotionally invested I am in the story, the better I feel when I accomplish my goals.

WHAT IS YOUR WORST FEAR?
PUT IT IN A MOVIE!

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The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve

July 20, 2012 at 11:57 am

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

BECAUSE WE LOVE THE MOVIES

I woke up yesterday morning with a smile on my face.  After years of anticipation, The Dark Knight Rises had arrived.

Earlier in the week, I realized that my work schedule and free time only gave me one opportunity to see the film before next week.  Waiting a 7 days was simply unacceptable.  I had to know how the legend ended.  I was beyond excited to see how Christopher Nolan would conclude his epic and incredible Batman trilogy.  So, I raced to a computer and picked up the only two remaining seats in a nearby theater and waited until my 12:01 am screening. The first available showing.

Finally a sequel to The Dark Knight.  One of my favorite movies of all time.

Movie events like The Dark Knight Rises reminds of me how much I love to go to the movies.  It’s such an amazing experience to follow a project for years and finally get see the results on screen…

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

That is why I’m so saddened today.

This morning I woke up intending to write a review about why I love going to the movies.  But instead I was greeted by a tragic headline that changed everything:

38 shot and 12 dead when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater near Colorado…

A midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises…

This review is no longer about how much I love to go to the movies but rather, how lucky I feel to have the opportunity to do so.  I can’t even imagine what those people and their families are going through today.  One person decided to do this horrendous and evil act, depriving people of the simple joy of watching a movie they couldn’t wait to see.  I don’t get it…

For the last 2 weeks, I’ve read just about every movie review I could find that didn’t contain spoilers.  I was jealous that people got to see the movie before me and I couldn’t wait to get my review online.  But how do you make the transition from a terrible tragedy to whether or not the film measures up to it’s predecessors?  How many people are afraid to see the movies today because of this?

My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this senseless and cruel act. 

Going to the movies is supposed to be a wonderful experience.  That’s why I fell in love with movie theaters and the endless adventures they provide.  Blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises take that experience to new heights and pushes your imagination into overdrive.  The movies we love…

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

(Super mild spoilers ahead)

I pride myself on being a movie nerd.  Going into the screening, I felt so excited I could barely sit still.  I even stopped drinking liquid ahead of time so I would make it through the nearly 3 hour run time without missing a single moment.

When the movie began, I thought about whether the third and final chapter could live up to or even surpass The Dark Knight.  How could it?  Honestly, I don’t think it did but that doesn’t mean I didn’t absolutely adore the movie.  The Dark Knight Rises is an unbelievable end to a trilogy that may never be matched in the comic book world.

Which is strange because Batman isn’t actually in the movie that much.  At first I found it disappointing.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this was never Batman’s story.  It was Bruce Wayne’s story.  From the beginning, Bruce Wayne wanted to be a symbol for the people of Gotham.   A way to inspire people to take back their city from the criminals who corrupted it.

Through three films, villains have aimed to ‘save’ the city by destroying it.  The Dark Knight Rises delivers on the promises made by Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins.

Gotham falls.  The Dark Knight Rises.

At the center of it all is Bane.  A fierce and ruthless villain who is determined to burn Gotham to the ground.  Bane is truly a bad ass in this movie wonderfully portrayed by Tom Hardy.  I think his first battle with Batman will go down as one of my favorite scenes in the entire trilogy.

“The shadows betray you because they belong to me.”

Unfortunately, I feel like he gets lost in the sheer size of this movie.  The stakes are so impossibly big that it’s impossible to really dial into the people Bane is terrorizing.  In The Dark Knight, we are given two boats and a choice.  In this movie, the whole city is at war.

It’s ironic that the agent of chaos was responsible for a much more relatable and suspenseful threat while his successor brings Gotham to it’s knees.

The Dark Knight Rises Is The Blockbuster We Need & Deserve | The Dark Knight Rises Review 2012

“When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die.”

Bruce Wayne is beaten down and stripped of everything in this movie.  I loved the journey he takes.  Christopher Nolan uses Batman as a window into the psychological effects of pain and suffering.  It’s a symbol of what it takes to overcome what you fear the most.  So many times throughout the movie, we are reminded that Bruce Wayne chose to be a hero instead of succumbing to the anger he feels.  But that choice has a cost and so we find a broken man 8 years after Harvey Dent’s terrible crimes.

It’s this journey that makes the 3 hour film feel like it was two hours too short.  There is so much story to tell.  I think that may turn off a lot of people because the movie is so big and it’s full of huge ideas and themes.  Bruce Wayne’s story is so compelling that you forgive the lack of the caped crusader to a certain extent.  In between the scarce Batman sightings we get to experience Bane’s surprisingly deep history and Catwoman’s quest for a fresh start.  We follow the bravery and sacrifice of Commissioner Gordon and a heroic and selfless cop named John Blake.

Indeed, there is a lot going on.  Lost in the shuffle is Alfred but Michael Caine still gets a couple fantastic speeches in the film.

In the end, The Dark Knight Rises is still a Batman movie and the action doesn’t disappoint.  While the film’s final act feels rushed and certain story lines are wrapped up far too quickly, it’s still a thrilling end to the story.  For me, nothing tops the first clash between Batman and Bane but there are still many ‘wow’ moments.

XTRA | Top 10 Moments: The Dark Knight

XTRA | Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite

For example: The Bat flying over buildings avoiding missiles, giant armies battling in the streets, huge explosions, car chases and so much more.  This film actually felt more like a comic book movie that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight combined.

I liked The Dark Knight better but I still loved this movie.  I’m looking forward to catching an IMAX screening in a few weeks…  But  just writing that sentence reminds me of what people lost in Colorado last night.  Millions of movie fans around the world will be experiencing this blockbuster with smiles on their faces.  The people in that theater deserved that same experience.

It’s heart breaking that someone could make the choice to do something so awful.  Indeed, everyone should appreciate the blessings they have and cherish those they love.

42 iPad Links For Filmmakers, Screenwriters & Movie Lovers

July 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm

iPad Links For Filmmakers, Screenwriters & Movie Lovers

The iPad has changed the way we communicate, enhanced the way we share information and represents an evolution in many forms entertainment.  Movies are no exception.  Whether your a film fan watching the latest releases or a filmmaker using the iPad’s vast library of creative tools, it’s a truly  remarkable device.

Screenwriters have access to brilliant mobile apps to craft their tales.  Illustrators can create storyboards with powerful drawing and image authoring programs.  Movies can be planned, shot, edited and shared with one device. 

Directors, Producers, Designers, Photographers, Musicians…  Artists.

With the announcement of The New iPad, Apple has raised the bar for film fans with 1080p video, an amazing new Retina display and updates to their core creative apps like iMovie and Garage Band.

iPad = Creativity

FILMMAKING

What Apple’s Announcements Mean For Film Geeks

iPad 2: Good & Bad News For Mobile Filmmakers

25 Cool Ways Filmmakers can Use an iPad

Film Makers Turn to iPad for Interactive Storytelling

7 Ways the Apple iPad will affect Filmmakers and Creatives

Movie Mount turns your iPad 2 into a serious video-making machine

Make Movies With Apple iPad

Turn Your iPad Into Filmmaking Device

iPad & Filmmaking

iPad For Filmmakers, Hopefully

iPad for Filmmaking, Day Six Report

SCREENWRITING

iPad your screenplay: FDX Reader vs. GoodReader

John August and Co. Release Final Draft Script Reader for iPad

How screenwriters will use the iPad

Screenwriting. Craft a cinematic masterpiece on the iPad

What I Do With My iPad Part 3: Read Screenplays

PRE, POST, RESOURCES & MORE

What I Do With My iPad Part 1: Storyboarding

Avid Studio takes iPad video editing to the next level

10 Great Sites for Watching Video on Your iPad

Why the iPad 2 Will Be My Mobile Video Studio

Hands On With iMovie For iPad

Apple iMovie for iPad 2

APPS & APP REVIEWS

22 Filmmaking Apps for the iPad & iPhone

8 iPad Apps for Brilliant Writing

Apps For Serious Filmmakers

Top 10 iPad Apps For Student Filmmakers

iPad App Roundup: 6 Television & Movie Apps

Apps For Cinema Artists

Apps For Making A Movie

THE ATHLETIC NERD ARTICLES

Why The iPad 2 Is The Center Of My Creative Universe

Review: Celtx for iPad

Screenwriting Stuff I Carry Around Every Day

iPad & The Screenwriter

Top 6 Apps For Movie Nerds

8mm Vintage Camera Review

FINAL THOUGHTS

I use my iPad non stop.  It’s with me wherever I go.  I read book and screenplays on the bus.  I write scripts during breaks at work.  I’m constantly connected to my websites, blogs and social media account.  I watch movies, short films and documentaries.  I create.

I guess what I’m trying to say is…  The iPad is neat.

All Time Best: THE SANDLOT Top 10 Quotes

July 17, 2012 at 10:18 am

All Time Best: THE SANDLOT Top 10 Quotes | The Sandlot Movie

CLICK HERE FOR MORE MOVIE COUNTDOWNS

I can’t think of anyone around my age who doesn’t laugh when you quote The Sandlot.  The story of a young baseball team enjoying the greatest summer of their lives is one of the best sports movies of all time.  It’s a story about being a kid, being part of a team and as we grow older, it’s about remembering your childhood.  If the idea of enjoying The Sandlot & The Mighty Ducks back to back doesn’t make you smile then this list probably isn’t for you.

THE TOP 10 SANDLOT QUOTES

All Time Best: THE SANDLOT Top 10 Quotes | The Sandlot Movie

10. MR. MERTLE
“Baseball was life…”

9. HAM
“Hurry up, batter. This better be a short game, I gotta get home for lunch.”

 

8. HAM
“You play ball like a girl!”

7. HAM
“Low and outside…  Just like I like it.”

6. SQUINTS
“The kid is an L7 weenie!”

All Time Best: THE SANDLOT Top 10 Quotes
5. BENNY ‘THE JET’ RODRIGUEZ
“Just stand out there and stick your glove out in the air. I’ll take care of it.”

4. HAM
“You call that pitching? This is baseball! Not tennis!”

3. THE BABE
“Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die, follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”

All Time Best: THE SANDLOT Top 10 Quotes

2. SQUINTS
“For-ev-ER…  For-ev-ER… For-ev-ER”

And the winner is…

1. HAM

“You’re Killing Me Smalls!

All Time Best: THE SANDLOT Top 10 Quotes | The Sandlot Movie

CLICK HERE FOR MORE MOVIE COUNTDOWNS

Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite

July 17, 2012 at 7:43 am

Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite | Screenwriting Blog

I was channel surfing the other day and I stopped the second I spotted The Dark Knight. One of my favorite movies of all time.

With The Dark Knight Rises officially released, I was definitely in the mood for Christopher Nolan’s version of The Caped Crusader. Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t watched Batman Begins in a while and so I crawled into bed and put on the DVD.

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I was instantly reminded of two things. First, Christopher Nolan’s brilliant film is still on of the best comic book movies ever made.  Second, it reminded me of a page one rewrite the film inspired way back when it first debuted in theaters.

PRINT YOUR SCREENPLAY.  START OVER.

Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite | Screenwriting Blog

I was in in college studying Broadcasting and an unfinished feature length screenplay was weighing heavily on me.  I started it in high school and it was painfully obvious when I saw all the rookie mistakes.  The characters came across as immature and there was a glaring plot hole in my story.  Yet, I wouldn’t allow myself to write anything new until I finished it.  This caused a problem because I couldn’t find the motivation to work on it.  In those days, it was easier to just go out and have fun then stay home and write.  Procrastination can be a dangerous habit to break.

The story was called Behind Max and it was about a high school basketball star desperate to find the support he needed to go for his dreams.  When I finished the first draft I really rushed to the end and this resulted in a very weak final act.  But really, the entire screenplay needed work.  What I needed was a spark.

That spark was Batman Begins.

Christopher Nolan’s incredible interpretation of Batman taught me a very important lesson. It taught me to step back and look at my own films in different ways.  To open my eyes to new approaches and different directions to take my screenplays.

I distinctly remember humming that unbelievable theme all the way home.  That night, I stayed in, printed out my script and read it start to finish.  I find you resist stopping to rewrite and tweak your script when it’s on paper.

Once I was finished reading the screenplay, I got out my notebook and got to work

What is my story about?  What am I trying to say?  What have I said already?  How can I say it better?

By the end of that night, I had outlined a much better approach to Behind Max and I felt alive.  Things changed for me that day.  Making the choice to go out to the bars was more difficult given the work I desperately wanted to finish at home.

Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite | Screenwriting Blog

Two days after that magical night, I went and saw Batman Begins again and it had the same effect on me.  It was such a unique and realistic take on Batman.  Who knew you didn’t have to have incorporate a high level of cheese just because it’s based on a comic book. What Nolan did was treat the material as if it could be real.  A different approach and one that certainly entertained and inspired me.

After I saw the film a second time, I sat down with my outline and my old script and started from scratch.  It took two weeks to finish the screenplay and I haven’t touched it since.  It was exactly the story I wanted to tell.  It’s still a story I began in high school and thus, suffered from a lack of maturity but I was proud of what I had accomplished.  Proud to be a screenwriter.

Finally, it was time to move onto new projects.  I have Batman Begins to thank for that.

Years later, when the DVD ended, I dug up Behind Max and read it again.  Holding that screenplay always gives me chills.  As I read it, I actually found a couple typos but it doesn’t matter.  Writing that screenplay taught me how much I loved to write.  I’ve faced many challenges since then.  After a few down years, I’m finally writing features again.  It’s fitting that a new Batman movie came along.

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Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite | Screenwriting Blog