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Film Industry

Dick jokes for classy producers

While you can intuit a bit about producers’ taste by the films they’ve made, don’t assume producers only get certain genres. And never turn down a chance for a read.

Getting paid late

A screenwriter colleague recently vented her frustration with always getting paid late for her studio jobs. I didn’t have any particularly good advice for her — what she describes is hardly unique. In fact, the situation is so much the norm that I asked if she would write up a post about her experiences, since I’ve never really discussed it on the blog.

On the Amazon film thing

If Amazon Studios were a simple finance and production outfit like Relativity or Morgan Creek, there would be nothing more to say. But Amazon Studios has an unusual strategy that combines competition, crowdsourcing and a lot of question marks.

Oh, Jessica

I have to believe she was misquoted, or excerpted in some unflattering way, because Jessica Alba couldn’t have actually said this.

When is it okay to write for free?

Any work you’re not getting paid for should be yours and yours alone. That’s why aspiring screenwriters write spec scripts. That’s what you should focus on writing. Still, there may be situations in which it makes sense to write a script for someone else without getting paid.

The One-Month Manager

What’s a reasonable amount of time to give your manager to read a draft of your script? It sometimes takes this screenwriter’s manager up to a month.

How many times can a meeting get pushed?

General meetings aside, how many pushes merits cause for concern regarding interest in you/your idea?

How to write on the spine of a script

Based on some printed scripts I’ve seen recently, a related skill may be on verge of being lost forever: writing on the spine of a script. Here’s a quick tutorial.

Advice for Canadian criminals

Could a Canadian screenwriter with a criminal record sell specs in Hollywood?

In praise of unsheets

“Unsheets” are posters made after the movie by talented fans — in many cases, decades later. They’re not trying to make a movie look appealing. They’re celebrating movies that are already beloved.

Hope springs eternal

A Slinky movie parody is all too real.

Three directors, no money for rent

Most screenwriters are broke at some point. Better it happens at the start of your career than the end.

Do novelists get more for successful adaptations?

When a novel is adapted into a film or television series, how does compensation to the writer of the original novel work?

Why must we have board-game movies?

Reader Logan is dispirited by Hollywood’s zeal to turn every toy and board game into a franchise.

Producers, managers and deals

How much should a first-time writer expect to make on a sale?

Women in film

The Bechdel test points out how rarely women characters in movies talk about anything other than men.

Do you tip studio valets?

I follow the keys rule: only if they take possession of my car keys.

Writing for 3-D

In the short term, yes, the rush towards 3-D may affect the kinds of movies that get greenlit. But the underlying “nature of cinematic storytelling” doesn’t tend to change much even in the face of tremendous technical innovations.

On Golden Handcuffs

Paul spent 29 years in a job too good to leave, and regrets it.

Unpaid internships in the crosshairs

NYT on unpaid internships, which are common and often illegal.

Reading scripts on the iPad

The iPad makes a terrific device for reading screenplays as .pdfs, particularly with third-party apps.

How to leave an agent

The job of an agent or manager is to put your work in the hands of people who might like it, then get you into rooms to meet with them. If they can’t do that, you need someone new.

Free ebooks correlated with increased print-book sales

In books and in movies, increased sampling usually generates more sales than it costs.

On Alice in Wonderland

I’ve not written Alice in Wonderland three times. It’s a recurring motif, dating back to 1995 and the very start of my career.

Should I mention the script was optioned?

Producers and production companies aren’t necessarily going to be excited that someone else had the project before them. Yes, it validates their taste a bit, but they may worry that the script has already been burned out around town. If everyone has read it and passed, what are they going to do with it, exactly?