Tag Archives: screenplay

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

24 Jun , 2011,
Chip Street
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one comments

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.

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Yet Another “Regular Guy” Wants To Be A Superhero

25 May , 2011,
Chip Street
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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 …

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Writing screenplay description with personal style

19 Sep , 2010,
Chip Street
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4 comments

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:

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kickass superhero movie adds to the unsuperhero genre

24 Mar , 2010,
Chip Street
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7 comments

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:

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

21 Feb , 2010,
Chip Street
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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. http://huerhodes.com

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. http://www.grking.com/blog

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”. www.CreativeJinx.com

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 (http://www.thekeck.com/). http://kingisafink.com.

C’mon, join in and send me good juju!