Archives

Psych 101

Resenting your audience

Pivoting of the discussion Craig and I had about Charlie Kaufman’s speech, Josh Barkey outlines a path that may lead screenwriters to resent their audiences.

Workspace: Christine Boylan

Screenwriter and TV scribe Christine Boylan talks through her work habits and tools.

Why France exhausts me

At the end of any day in which I’ve had to keep up in French, I’m zombie-tired. Research Daniel Kahneman has the explanation.

The Good Boy Syndrome, and whether film school is worth it

John and Craig discuss why screenwriters want to please people — and how it often hurts them and the movie they’re writing — before a lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of going to film school.

Writing and decision fatigue

I had a hunch that late in the day wasn’t the best time to introduce a new song for Big Fish. Science agrees.

What a flop feels like

Sean Hood writes up his experience of dealing with a film flop.

Endless producer notes

How do you handle a producer who won’t stop giving notes?

You are the host of your own talk show

I never watched Oprah. But I’m not surprised she had some good parting thoughts.

Write the way you speak

College was the first time I started writing how I speak. Or, more accurately, college was when I stopped trying to write the way I thought I should write.

All fiction is fan fiction

Sure: everyone’s already linked to Austin Kleon’s wonderful post How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 things nobody taught me). But I can’t know that you’ve read it. And I don’t have better advice for you today, or even this week. So I really recommend you read it, and take some notes.

When to talk about your idea

Lawrence Turman suggests asking random people for their opinions of your concept. Great idea for a producer, but potentially a bad idea for a screenwriter.

All yourselves belong to us

The Time Magazine profile on Mark Zuckerberg offers a concise description of what makes me uneasy about Facebook in its current form: the binary definition of friendship.

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.

On Dogfooding, and scratching your own itch

When you make something that you yourself use, that’s called dogfooding, a contraction of “eating your own dogfood.” That’s developer-speak, but it’s something screenwriters would do well to appropriate.

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?

The dark tyranny of crickets

What do you do when your best work is met with an indifferent shrug?

All of the other reindeer

Ostracism is a handy motivation for both heroes and villains.

Worst-case thinking for the screenwriter

Screenwriters benefit from worst-case scenario thinking.

Should she take anxiety medication?

Jenny was prescribed anti-anxiety medication, but worries it will mess up her writing.

On Golden Handcuffs

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

Can I base a character on a real asshole?

You’re naturally going to be drawn towards real-life people who are fascinating. That’s a good thing. Observe behavior. Figure out motivations and pathology. Then forget the real person.

Fake tears

In defense of fake tears and the emotional work screenwriters do.

Are online film classes worth it?

Scott wonders if his online filmmaking classes are teaching him what he needs to know.

On 2010

For the past few years, I’ve been aiming more towards “areas of interest” rather than true resolutions. That way, there’s no implied promise to be broken.