The craft of writing
for games, TV and movies,
by a working writer
The Crafty Screenwriting, TV and Game Writing Blog
... with forays into
games, life and
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Here's a trailer for my short film ROLE PLAY, which I'm taking to the Cannes Film Market next month...
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
With all the talk about rape culture, I find the Audi "Prom" ad a bit disturbing. A shy kid gets to drive Dad's Audi, so he's empowered to kiss a girl without any consent on her part. Sure, he gets punched by the prom king, but who cares? He got what he wanted.
The girl is purely an object. She seems neither happy nor unhappy at being kissed, just sort of, well, ovewhelmed. Because the way to a girl's heart, obviously, is to grab her and kiss her.
I'd like to see the version of the ad where the girl smacks him in the face. If she wanted to kiss him, maybe she'd already be going out with him instead of her actual boyfriend?
UPDATE: What I'd really like to see is the ad in which he goes up to her and talks with her. And she digs him. And he drives away with a black eye ... and she's in the passenger seat.
Friday, April 12, 2013
... now all I need is a place to stay during the market. A month before the festival opens, that shouldn't be hard to find? Right? Right?
Thursday, April 11, 2013
So I got this letter, which is sincere:
I wrote for the Nick series, [very well-regarded animation series] 2004-7.
Flash-forward to a horrendous divorce which began in Northern California, and a judge who knows nothing about Hollywood, the entertainment business, TV hiring/staffing, etc.
Recently I was court-ordered to pursue TV writing again even though:
My ex-husband, my former boss at [series], managed to convince the court that I should return to work as a TV writer. The only reason I was hired to write for [series] is that my husband staffed it.
- I never had an agent
- My only job was in children's animation where I worked part-time
- I have not written a single script since leaving the job (2007)
- I am a woman over age 40 (and not a minority)
My question is how can I effectively show the court that I really have no chance here?
Do I cold-call agencies and ask if they might decline me in writing (to document) why I'm not a candidate for representation? I do not want to waste anyone's time, and yet I'm forced into the position of providing the court irrefutable "proof" of rejections to my work efforts.
If I cannot provide proof of effort to be hired as a TV writer, I will lose the support I currently receive from my ex-husband. We have a child with autism, and we can't afford to go without my ex's assistance.
If you are, by some chance, thinking that this is someone's bass-ackwards way asking me to reassure her that yes, she can make it at 40 -- nope, it's not.
Any judge in Santa Monica (where the shards of the former couple live) would know that you can't just order someone to go back into TV writing. That's like ordering someone to go get a job playing in the NBA. A career in TV writing is a prize that many people try for, and some succeed at. To even give it the old college try would entail a year, or years, of writing scripts for free and going on endless meetings in the hopes that you catch a break.
People do that when they're young and can afford to be poor, or when they're half of a couple, and the other half has a steady job and boundless faith. They don't do that when they're the custodial single parent of a kid who needs attention, whom you can't leave alone till 10 pm every night...
Unfortunately, the judge is not in Santa Monica, where it would not be hard to bring in a small posse of hard-workin' older women tv writers to 'splain to the judge how hard things are. He is in Northern California, where it would be pretty hard to find any TV writers to come in as expert witnesses.
Obviously, I have only one side of the story here, and I can't vouch for any of the facts. Nor am I an expert in divorces, having only had a miserable one, not a horrible one.
But how the heck do you prove that you can't
get a job in TV?
Friday, April 05, 2013
Here's a $15,000 device that replaces a Steadicam. It might be a small for some cinematic HD video cameras, but you ought to be able to get a RED on there. Interestingly, the MOVI camera allows one operator to move the camera, while a second, remote operator aims the camera, freeing each to concentrate on one job instead of two.
I'm a big fan of Steadicams -- we shot ROLE PLAY almost entirely on a Steadi. Anything that makes it easier to move the camera around flexibly is a big plus. Obviously, with a Steadi you can go down stairs, climb into a car, go in and out of an elevator. Less obviously, your cameraman can easily compensate when an actor goes off his mark, saving everyone time and energy.
I'm not 100% sure that this is a big moneysaver. You can get a Steadicam guy to show up with his rig for, say, $1500 a day (Montreal/Toronto rates), less if it's a favor. Even if you have two operators (who can do things the single Steadicam guy can't), you're still probably paying less than that for the rig plus the operators. But not an order of magnitude less.
On the other hand, it allows any working DP to afford a Steadicam-like rig, so he can bring it into work as an option over the dolly instead of having to rely on the availability of top Steadi operators.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Q. Is there any specific size that the washers need to be?
Any washer that fits over your Acco #5 brads is fine. There are standard brass washers that do.
Q. And does the paper need to be 80 lbs?
The paper for the screenplay should be standard office paper (inket paper or laser paper or multiuse paper). 80 lb is what you use for your cardstock covers. Any cardstock that looks professional should do it.
Q. And is celtx an appropriate application for printing the screenplay?
Anything that formats normally is fine. I've never used Celtx, but some people do and I've never heard any complaints. Once it's printed out, no one will know what formatting program you used.
It's rarer and rarer that someone will actually need your screenplay printed out and physically delivered. Personally, I don't keep any cardstock covers around the house any more. But I also almost never have to send someone a physical screenplay. (Except for SODEC, which wanted 6 copies delivered. I hope that's not what threw my back out this weekend!)
Monday, April 01, 2013
Everyone in my neck of the woods has been chatting about PBS hiring JJ Abrams to
reboot SESAME STREET, and I’m of two minds about it.
On the one hand, isn’t it enough with this guy? Rebooting
STAR TREK and now STAR WARS? Does he get to reboot anything that has two words
starting in “S”?
On the other hand, SESAME STREET has been ripe for a reboot
for some time. The original show was edgier – literally more “street.” If you
watch vintage STREET from the 70’s, they’re now adorned with warnings that
“some parts of this show may not be suitable for children.” I guess we were
tougher then? Standards have got snippier. These days who would dare introduce
Oscar the Grouch? He’s a terrible role model. He’s almost always in a bad mood,
and he revels in garbage. Ernie is clearly an obsessive-compulsive, with his
obsession over his bottle cap collection. He’d have to be clearly marked out as
Special Needs or On The Spectrum.
Back in the day, only Big Bird saw the Snuffleupagus. That’s
sort of disturbing -- if you’re the kind of parent who agrees that a kid who
bites his Pop Tart into a gun and goes “bang!” should be suspended from school.
And then there’s Cookie Monster, who has no impulse control. Terrible role
models, all of them.
So now a huge long tract of every STREET is Elmo, who is
perpetually, psychotically happy. Elmo talks to babies and a fish. Elmo's only claim to being a bad role model is that Elmo talks about himself in the third person.
I always thought sort of the point of SESAME STREET was it was clever enough that parents could watch it. Basically, a lot of it was muppet schtick, which is so old, it never gets old. "It's not a good joke," as Jim Henson used to say. "But it's worthy of us."
So I actually have hopes for the reboot. I don't know for a fact that Abrams is going to get back to the original, edgier impulses of the show that have, like Elmo, been medicated into submission, but I'm looking forward to seeing what he does with it.
I am sort of inclined to wonder how you can do a daily show using all CG characters replacing the fabled muppeteers, but you can do amazing things with mo-cap these days. And it's certainly true that Montreal (STREET's new home) has enough skilled mo-cap artisans to support a big chunk of the video game industry. So it's good all round.