Go, while you can get it

The deal between Starz and Netflix expires March 1st, so if you have any titles you’re eager to watch online, get cracking. Among my movies, that includes Go and the first Charlie’s Angels. The Nines and Titan A.E. will still be available.

Writing fight scenes

In a screenplay, you’re not going to write every punch. Rather, you need to get specific about what makes this fight unique to this moment and this movie.

WTF is a beat sheet?

Is a beat sheet an actual thing, or a mythical Hollywood construct?

Monsterpocalypse, and why some projects get announced (and others don’t)

I’m going to be writing a big movie version of Monsterpocalpyse for DreamWorks, based on Matt Wilson’s kaiju-themed giant-monsters-smashing things extravaganza.

Habits, heavy lifting, and the possibility of suck

MakingOf has part two of my interview up on the site, in which I talk about work habits, writer’s block and 20-minute timers.

Rewriting the rewriter

Sometimes there’s good reasons why original writers leave and return to their projects.

How to cut pages

Just as important, what NOT to do when trying to cut length. Don’t cheat.

Secret history of the Kleinhardt Gambit

Done just right, jargon helps ground characters in their setting, much the way medical-ese makes you think those pretty people on TV could actually be doctors.

When do you walk away?

Often, the only power a screenwriter has is to walk away, and the decision whether to do it is almost never straightforward.

Test screening The Movie

Test screening is important but potentially dangerous in the internet age.

How accurate is the page-per-minute rule?

Most screenplays are about 120 pages, and most movies are around two hours. But the conversion rate between paper and celluloid is rarely one-to-one.

Mongolian characters speaking Chinese

I’ve been thinking to write you this letter for a while. I saw the movie Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle on a movie channel recently. As a Mongolian, I’m deeply offended by your knowledge about my country. In the beginning of the movie you show a scene that something is happening in Northern Mongolia and the […]

Avoid CUT TO’s in a busy sequence

Think like a reader, not like an editor.

Interview up at charliesangels.com

Mike Pingle, who runs the Angelic Heaven website, has posted the transcript of a recent phone interview he did with me regarding the new FULL THROTTLE DVD, which came out last week.

Writers on art direction and cinematography

I am a film school student in southern CA, and I just saw a preview for CHARLIE’S ANGELS. I was very intrigued with the mis-en-scene of the picture and I wonder: How much influence does the writer (in this case) have over the art direction and style of photography? –Anonymous Well, clearly you’re a film […]

Do writers have a say in the music?

Once your screenplay has been sold, do you (the writer) have any say in the music that is used? –Joel Norn Almost never. The music in a movie is ultimately the decision of the director and a contentious committee that includes the composer, the music supervisor, the editor, the producer, the studio, and the soundtrack […]