Amazon Studios New (Old) Deal for Screenplay Options

faeries feature horror movie screenplayFollow me on Twitter.

NEW: Follow up post here

Amazon (yes, that Amazon) is launching a movie studio, and they just gave our horror screenplay Faeries a “consider”. What’s that mean? Not a lot, as near as we can tell.

First, here’s a brief primer on the history of the Amazon Studios deal. (I’m confident in my understanding of this history, but if I’m wrong about any of the details, point me at a source, and I’ll make a correction.)

How it all started

About a year ago, Amazon announced that they were going to become a movie studio, and produce their own content. Continue reading Amazon Studios New (Old) Deal for Screenplay Options

Writer Producer Virland S. Harris Dies at 61

virland stan harrisVirland Stan Harris passed away this past Friday May 4 in a motorcycle accident near Rose Valley, California.

I worked with Stan on Fat Rose and Squeaky, a small indie film he wrote and produced in San Jose. The film is a touching portrait of two elderly women and their struggle for dignity and independence.

That was the kind of story Stan loved to tell: small human tales of hope and decency, family fare with cross-generational appeal.

He went on to focus on writing and producing more positively valued family films over the past few years: Continue reading Writer Producer Virland S. Harris Dies at 61

Hunger Games shaky camera inspires Lenbrook “ShudderStik” tripod head

lenbrookInspired by the success of shaky hand-held cinematography like that in the recent Lion’s Gate release The Hunger Games, tripod accessory manufacturer Lenbrook LLC of Havordshire, North Carolina has announced the pending release of the “Shudderstik” fluid head tripod attachment.

“From Blair Witch to Cloverfield, Project X to The Hunger Games, shaky-cam technique has become fundamental to the vocabulary of the modern cinematographer,” says Brent Staunam, CEO of Lenbrook. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer these artists the tools to effectively and consistently find their kinetic voice in this new style of visual storytelling.” Continue reading Hunger Games shaky camera inspires Lenbrook “ShudderStik” tripod head

New Trailer Released for Carmel Movie

There’s an exciting new trailer out for Josh Hutcherson’s next film: Carmel By The Sea … and one of my props is featured in it.

CARMEL BY THE SEA – Trailer from Crystal Sky Entertainment on Vimeo.

Watch it FULL SCREEN…. it’s purty.

Continue reading New Trailer Released for Carmel Movie

The Hunger Games review: Strong performances win out over shaky camera

hunger games poster** Related post: Shaky camera technique inspires Lenbrook’s new ShudderStik tripod head

The Hunger Games movie review: Shaky cameras and low budget blues are saved by a strong premise and stronger performances.

The Shaky Camera

Yes, it’s true, the Hunger Games Shaky Camera Effect does suck. But it kind of doesn’t entirely ruin the film.

It’s not just “hand held”. It’s like some palsied old man with tremors (like me) was holding the camera and then hired a guy to grab him by the elbows and shake him mercilessly.

And come on, if you’re one of those people saying it was just in the action sequences, shut up and be honest. The shaky camera isn’t exclusive to the action scenes. It’s used right in the opening sequences, in the most quiet and intimate of scenes, as Katniss soothes her little sister after a nightmare and helps her fall back to sleep… camera jittering and shaking like security cam footage of an earthquake. Continue reading The Hunger Games review: Strong performances win out over shaky camera

Faeries horror screenplay does not make finals in BlueCat

Sad but true.

faeries feature horror movie screenplayFaeries, quite possibly the best unsold or unproduced creature feature horror screenplay on the  market today, did not make the finals in the BlueCat Screenplay Competition.

Boo.

But the readers over at BlueCat did have great things to say.

…awesome, intense, unusual and original … sickly satisfying … [keeps] the audience at the edge of their seats … the only way to do horror movies

And thanks to BlueCat’s unprecedented resubmission process, and feedback notes from multiple readers, we got some great feedback on the screenplay that made it better. And that’s a good thing.

So we’re disappointed. But we wish the finalists, and the winner, all the best.

On to the next challenge!

Possibly the best collaborative screenwriting software tool ever

collaborative screenwriting softwareMy screenwriting partner and I can’t always be in the same room at the same time… so we’ve been searching for the best collaborative screenwriting software solution since 2009.

In a perfect world, collaboration would be real-time, it’d work on a Mac or a PC, and it would be compatible with Final Draft, Movie Magic, or any other screenwriting software.

Asking too much? Continue reading Possibly the best collaborative screenwriting software tool ever

Faeries horror screenplay a quarterfinalist in the BlueCat screenplay contest

faeries feature horror movie screenplayWe had lots of great feedback from the judges at 2012’s BlueCat competition, and got lots of great guidance at the same time.

“awesome, intense, unusual and original … sickly satisfying … the only way to do horror movies”

Now we’re happy to announce we’ve made it to the quarterfinals!

Semifinals are announced on March 1st.

Finalists are announced on March 15th.

The winner will be announced March 22nd.

We’re cautiously optimistic about the semis… we don’t know the history of genre screenplays in the BlueCat finals.

Cross your digits and wish us luck…

Get personalized, actionable feedback from screenplay consultant Adam Levenberg

Getting feedback from a screenplay consultant or reader can be humbling, and confusing. Maybe even a little demoralizing.

how to interpret screenplay reader feedbackKnowing what to do with screenplay feedback can be crippling.

Partly because it’s just words on a page. Just like an email or a text message, written feedback doesn’t provide an opportunity to discuss and clarify, so if the screenplay consultant misunderstood something, or isn’t clear in their recommendations, you’ve got no recourse. You’re left to interpret (or misinterpret) to the best of your meager ability… or simply discard what could be valuable feedback.

What can you do about it? Continue reading Get personalized, actionable feedback from screenplay consultant Adam Levenberg

When to listen to the reader: Understanding screenplay feedback

Faeries horror creature feature

* This post was recommended and redistributed by the fine folks at BlueCat Screenplay Competition.

We hear it all the time. If you want to write a better screenplay, get feedback and listen to it.

But I promise you this: the feedback you get from contest readers, other writers, and even friends and family will not be consistent. Readers will contradict one another, you’ll get mixed messages even from single readers, and figuring out how to use any of it to build a better screenplay will be overwhelming.

A few years ago I attended a talk with Sony’s Sam Dickerman. My favorite observation of his was that when producers say “That’s great, but can we add aliens somewhere?” they don’t literally mean “add aliens”. They mean they’re looking for something spectacular and unexpected, and it’s your job to understand what result they’re looking for, and find ways to deliver on that while remaining true to your story (and yourself).

So what do you do? Continue reading When to listen to the reader: Understanding screenplay feedback