SlamDance gives positive feedback on Faeries horror screenplay

“…the horror builds … an unusual creature … well written … above average … there is much to like here.”

faeries feature horror movie screenplay

Faeries gets some lovin’ from the SlamDance judges panel.

Faeries, possibly the best unproduced horror screenplay about pack hunting, echo locating, semi-sentient proto-humanoids currently making the rounds of Hollywood, just got some good feedback from one of the country’s most respected screenplay competitions.

“…the use of the faeries is an unusual creature, the characters are above average and the author strives to give them some depth and individuality … the story moves at a nice pace. The build is very strong. The author doesn’t try to rush things and make everything happen immediately or too fast, but lets the horror build. The early scenes especially have an unease about them (as one character points out, there’s something wrong or off about it all). All in all, there is much to like here.”

We appreciate that, SlamDance. And  you’re in good company… both Shriekfest and WildSound have had praise for Faeries as well.

“A lively, unusual slasher movie that delivers plenty of gore, and introduces a new set of monsters that could be worth a franchise”
– Shriekfest Screenplay Competition

Faeries Horror Screenplay Gets More Strong Reader Feedback

“Compelling, terrifying, disturbing, beautifully written.”

We’ve recently submitted the as-yet-unproduced Faeries horror screenplay to a few competitions, and just got the first set of coverage notes back. We think we did pretty well, and it only makes us more confident about the script.

Faeries horror screenplayThis is from the WildSound Screenplay Competition. We appreciate their kind words!

**** SPOILERS **** Continue reading Faeries Horror Screenplay Gets More Strong Reader Feedback

Do affordable special effects open the door for indie spectacles with story?

Have special effects finally gotten so accessible that indie spectacle filmmakers can focus on story?

Red Giant Software Magic Bullet 11

The short film Plot Device was put together to showcase the new Magic Bullet Suite 11 from Red Giant. So yeah, it’s a “gee whiz look at the affordable but awesome FX extravaganza” whose primary aim is to highlight the software.

But it goes a step beyond that, and includes some great acting, a fun story, something of an arc, and a truckload of homages that are lovingly included (my favorite: The simple fact that he’s barefoot throughout the story).

Continue reading Do affordable special effects open the door for indie spectacles with story?

Did this producer steal this screenplay?

On one of the many screenwriting forums I frequent, a screenwriter posed the question “Did this producer steal my screenplay?”

Good question. Here’s the story.

Did the producer steal the screenplay?Making the sale

It seems the writer was approached by a producer who was interested in one of her screenplays. They swapped a series of emails, exchanged several versions of a sales contract, and arrived at a purchase agreement. Yay for her.

The screenwright delivered her screenplay via email, the producer delivered the agreed upon sum. Again, Yay for her.

But the final contract didn’t arrive with the payment. In fact, neither the screenwriter or the producer signed a hard copy.

Time passed. Continue reading Did this producer steal this screenplay?

What bad science fiction can teach us about writing screenplay description

Why too much detail destroys screenplay description – and pisses readers off

I just finished slogging my way through another script as a judge for a screenplay competition.

Yes, slogging. It was painful. It was boring. Frankly, I couldn’t finish it. I gave it a “pass”.

Because the writer gave me too much description.

Exactly how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop

too much hyper-specific screenplay descriptionThe screenwriter told us just how many steps a character took to cross a room (11), whether the couch was on the right or the left of the doorway (left), how many seconds a dog barked (5), and precisely how much space is between the lights in an alleyway (30 meters). I learned that the kitchen table is rectangular, and how big it is (approximately 33 inches by 60 inches).

I wanted to shoot myself in the head. For the record, this is not how you want to make your reader feel. Continue reading What bad science fiction can teach us about writing screenplay description

How the crazy lady at CVS can help write character and dialogue

People watching may be the best way to hone those sub-textual writing skills.

on subtext and dialogueSo I was standing in CVS looking for a father’s day card for my son (note to self: There are no father’s day cards from dad to son-who-is-a-dad) and of course I wasn’t the only person who’d put it off perilously late.

To my right, a woman and her teen daughter scanning the rows of leftovers.

Enter screen right: A third woman, tension radiating from her clenched up little form like heat waves on a hot tarmac. Continue reading How the crazy lady at CVS can help write character and dialogue

Yet Another “Regular Guy” Wants To Be A Superhero

Another “regular guy” wants to be a superhero. Will this trend ever end?

somebody's hero
Somebody’s Hero

“In this heart-warming family comedy, average accountant, Dennis Sullivan, is assigned to the account of a young widow and her son, a boy fascinated with a TV hero known as “Man America”. Taking an instant shine to the kid, Dennis visits The Imagination Superstore, where he tries on the ‘Man America’ costume. When he leaps from the dressing room to thwart a robbery, he embarks on a journey more complex than he ever could’ve imagined.”

I’ve already shared a list of six “regular guy superhero” movies, from Kickass to Zebraman. And the list just gets longer … Continue reading Yet Another “Regular Guy” Wants To Be A Superhero

Writing screenplay description with personal style

screenplay writing

Finding your descriptive voice in screenwriting

Screenplays aren’t Literature.

screenplays aren't literatureIf there’s one core screenwriting truth you’re supposed to learn as soon as possible, that’s it. All the stuff that made your fiction writing awesome, all the flowery language, the detailed descriptions, and lengthy internal dialogues are anathema to the script. That two page treatise on your protagonists 1970’s wardrobe and its roots in a painful high school career fraught with bullying and inattentive parents? Fuggedaboudit. What got you gold stars in creative writing will get you tossed at page one by an intern at insertprodcohere.

In screenwriting, the industry tells us, your descriptive passages must remain simple, clear, minimalist. Describe ONLY what the viewer might see (with a few exceptions) and eschew Literary flourish (as well as directorial specifics – but that’s another discussion).

Play a little telephone

I often tell people: Imagine you’re watching an awesome movie (your movie is awesome, right?), and you’re on the phone with a friend. You’re describing to them what’s happening, while it happens. In fact, try it. Turn on the TV, call a friend, and see how it feels to really try to keep the story moving real time… 1 minute per page, 90 pages for 90 minutes.

Here’s what happens when you insist on being Literary on the phone: Continue reading Writing screenplay description with personal style

kickass superhero movie adds to the unsuperhero genre

New Kickass superhero movie expands sub-genre of regular-guy superheroes

Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.

Lion’s Gate’s KICKASS is the latest entry to the burgeoning unsuperhero genre that I wrote about a few months back. What’s an ‘unsuperhero’? It’s a guy (or gal – er, woman) who takes on the mantle of superheroic responsibilities, with no actual superheroic powers.

It’s a sub-genre with a history, from early comers like John Ritter’s Hero at Large: Continue reading kickass superhero movie adds to the unsuperhero genre

I'll be a guest panelist on @scriptchat February 28

W00t! I’ve been invited to guest on a panel of writers for @ScriptChat on Twitter next Sunday, February 28th.

We are thrilled to announce our first panel of guests at scriptchat!  We’ve comprised two different panels of talented indie filmmakers/producers to guest at both our EURO chat and our American chat.  Check them out and join the party!

I will be on the American chat at 5pm PST. Who else is on the panel?

Hue Rhodes: Hue Rhodes is a writer/director.  His feature film SAINT JOHN OF LAS VEGAS stars Steve Buscemi and is in theaters now.

Gary King: In 2009, he made his feature film debut with the ensemble drama NEW YORK LATELY which has been hailed by The Independent Critic as “a remarkable achievement” and Row Three as “a beautiful film” making its Top Ten Films of 2009 List.  It was also listed on Associated Content’s “Best Independent Movies” List — right behind SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

Phil Holbrook: Phil Holbrook has always had a love of film and the filmmaking process. He has written anddirected several short films, all shot in Minnesota. He is currently working on the featurefilm “Tilt”.

King Is A Fink: Jessica King and Julie Keck have been making films as King is a Fink for 10 years. Their short films Snow Bunny and Libidoland are currently making the rounds on the film festival circuit.  In addition to making shorts, King and Keck also write feature-length screenplays.  They’re currently writing a dramatic thriller called TILT for Phil Holbrook and adapting a naughty memoir by Kevin Keck (

C’mon, join in and send me good juju!