Color me prescient: More momentum for Western / genre mashups

Is the Western/Genre mashup gaining momentum? I hope so.

First a little self-congratulatory pimping:

Back in 2009 I wrote about the forthcoming Cowboys and Aliens movie, and discussed its potential to launch a new genre.

So the Science Fiction Western, while not new, may be welling toward a resurgence as a genre. God knows it deserves a reboot in the theaters after the horrific Wild Wild West (one of only one or two truly unwatchable Will Smith joints), and TV could use another crack at it too post the failure of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (an underrated show that never got its due, which also dipped a toe into SteamPunk, and got Bruce Campbell in front of an audience that wasn’t simply a gaggle of B-horror movie fanboys much like Burn Notice has done).

jonah hex Continue reading Color me prescient: More momentum for Western / genre mashups

Documentary Chronicles Efforts to Bring World War II Vets to DC Memorials

honor flight brings world war two vets to DC memorialsHonor Flight documents the effort to fly as many WWII Veterans to visit Washington DC Memorials as possible – and breaks a world record in the process.

Honor Flight is an uplifting, feature-length documentary about an American community joining together to honor World War II veterans one last time. The film follows a devoted team of volunteers as they race against the clock to send every WWII veteran on an Honor Flight to see the war memorials in Washington, DC. The more they do, the more their cause takes on a life of its own.

Throughout the day, these WWII veterans share their wisdom and war stories — sometimes for the first time ever. After the trip, the veterans often say it was one of the greatest days of their lives. For many veterans, Honor Flight represents their first visit to Washington, DC, and the last trip of their remarkable lives. Continue reading Documentary Chronicles Efforts to Bring World War II Vets to DC Memorials

Amazon Studios’ New (Old) Screenplay Option Model Part 2

If you’ve been following my previous post on Amazon Studios’ option model and consider list, you know I’ve chosen not to accept their offer to post my screenplay to their shortlist. The post was featured on John August’s website, and mentioned on Bleeding Cool.

But I still hold out hope that Amazon can straighten out all the confusion among screenwriters, and find some way for the writers to take advantage of the offer without compromising rights to their own screenplays.

I did get a follow up email from Amazon Studios that promised to clarify things. It didn’t. Continue reading Amazon Studios’ New (Old) Screenplay Option Model Part 2

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.


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