Censorship, net neutrality, and preserving the Internet

Online activist Aaron Swartz fought online censorship, championed an open Internet.

One week into the Trump Administration, did you ever think you’d be associating the phrase “rogue twitter accounts” with the U.S. National Park Service, NASA, and numerous other Federal agencies? In this odd new world, the free exchange of ideas once again is under attack. And with changes coming to the Federal Communications Commission, so, too, is net neutrality. Continue reading “Censorship, net neutrality, and preserving the Internet”

Why Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black deserve Emmys

Tatiana Maslany's HelenaYou already may have heard the outcry over the BBC America hit show, Orphan Black, not receiving any Emmy nominations, and I concur; Orphan Black has great writing, is well cast and very well acted, and has a high production value — all of which equate to compelling episodes week after week. So why no Emmy noms? Who knows, but my reason for taking to the soapbox in support can be condensed into one scene from this past season’s finale: the dancing clones. Continue reading “Why Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black deserve Emmys”

Changing scene values and competing agendas

When you see an interesting scene in a film it immediately registers because by its end something about the story and characters is radically different–or at least the foundation has been laid to disrupt the world of the story that existed up until that scene.

Additionally, the scene itself likely had many ups and downs, wreaking emotional havoc for the characters. A scene that began in a positive way for a character likely did not end that way, and vice versa, or somewhere in between. The point being something altered the story’s landscape. Continue reading “Changing scene values and competing agendas”

What do you want to know about script coverage?

Tim Robbins in The PlayerMy alma mater, TheFilmSchool, has asked me to speak about script coverage and analysis and how screenwriters can improve their chances to receive a “Recommend” (Tues., Aug. 6), and to help me organize the discussion I thought I’d put the question to you: What exactly do you want to know about coverage?

Script coverage — a story analysis for producers that often includes grades of “Pass,” “Consider” or “Recommend” — is a critical step in helping producers determine whether a story is worth their investment of time and money. Likewise, coverage helps agents Continue reading “What do you want to know about script coverage?”

Spoiler alert: Oscar winners!

oscar predictionsBest picture? “Argo.” Best director? Spielberg. Best actress? Jennifer Lawrence. Best screenplay? “Django Unchained.” At least that’s the way it stands today, Feb. 20, according to Microsoft researcher David Rothschild, who, after correctly predicting President Obama’s victory in February 2012 — 9 months before the actual election — is applying his prediction modeling to the Oscars. Continue reading “Spoiler alert: Oscar winners!”

Recommended screenwriting software: Movie Outline 3.1

Movie Outline SoftwareMovie Outline is a relative newcomer to the screenwriting software world dominated by the “industry standard” programs Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter — both of which I’ve used for years — but Movie Outline 3.1 has some key features I really like, which also makes this a great intro into screenwriting software if you have yet to invest. Continue reading “Recommended screenwriting software: Movie Outline 3.1”

Recommended screenwriting/creativity book: “Imagine” by Jonah Lehrer

[Note: Despite the controversy regarding the fabricated Bob Dylan quotes, I still found this an intriguing read — especially the Pixar collaboration method.]

Jonah Lehrer’s compelling “Imagine: How Creativity Works” demystifies the “creative process” and will empower you to unleash your creativity regardless of your profession. For screenwriters, certainly, “writer’s block” will be a thing of the past. Particularly fascinating is Lehrer’s exploration of how Pixar repeatedly develops incredibly original, entertainting blockbuster films. Of course, another key Continue reading “Recommended screenwriting/creativity book: “Imagine” by Jonah Lehrer”

Lead characters sell your script

Probably the best chance you have of selling your screenplay or raising funds for your indie project is to create lead characters that attract top talent, or, if not well-known actors, the best talented actors available. So how do you do that? For starters, Continue reading “Lead characters sell your script”

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