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BookClubEditor
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Questions for Daniel

Do you have a question for Daniel, not related to any of the discussion topics already posted? Reply to this message to start the conversation!
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MasterWolfStar
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Re: Questions for Daniel

Daniel I was wondering if you would tell me what movies you have worked on. I haven't been able to get a copy of the book that will be used for the text yet but it's on it's way to me as we speak.

Have you ever read a book that you thought was really really good, that has been out a few years, and asked yourself now why haven't they made that a movie yet.

Also I would like to know what your favorite type of movie is to work on.
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Brendan_M_Burns
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Re: Questions for Daniel

Daniel, beyond the recommended text for this discussion, do you have any favorite resources (printed or web-based) that you would recommend as secondary sources?

Additionally (and, boy, is this a loaded question), are there any popular screenwriting books or methods that you would recommend avoiding?
NEM
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NEM
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Re: Questions for Daniel

Which do you think is the hardest for a novice to write a book and get it published or to write a screen play and get it produced?
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a thought

aside: I think the hardest thing is to write whatever right anf guessing what right is. If doen well it will get the attention. The next hardest thing is to know what you really want to write and why. When you get those two right you can just write and others will read it and notice. No tactical short cuts, methinks. What say you?

ziki
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danielnoah
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Re: Questions for Daniel


MasterWolfStar wrote:
Daniel I was wondering if you would tell me what movies you have worked on.


You can read my bio under the Welcome from the Moderator post.

Have you ever read a book that you thought was really really good, that has been out a few years, and asked yourself now why haven't they made that a movie yet.


Sure, all the time. But the fact is that it's rare to come across a published book that has not at some point been purchased by a studio to be turned into a film. Only a small fraction of them actually make it to the screen (a subject we'll certainly be devling into often here), but that doesn't stop Hollywood from grabbing every idea they can get their hands on.

Also I would like to know what your favorite type of movie is to work on.


I tend toward what I call elevated genre.
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danielnoah
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Re: Questions for Daniel


Brendan_M_Burns wrote:
Daniel, beyond the recommended text for this discussion, do you have any favorite resources (printed or web-based) that you would recommend as secondary sources?

Additionally (and, boy, is this a loaded question), are there any popular screenwriting books or methods that you would recommend avoiding?




Every morning I get out of bed, make a very strong cup of coffee, turn on my computer and read Variety, which covers the entertainment business. But if you're talking about writing resources, I recommened that you visit Script-o-rama.com, where you can download hundreds of screenplays to well known (and sometimes not so well known) movies. Reading screenplays is as important as watching films.

In terms of methods to avoid, nothing nefarious comes to mind. I think that it's up to the individual to determine what works and what doesn't work for him or her. There have certainly been approaches to writing that I've learned about and rejected. But those same approaches might be right for you. Experiment! Get closer to what feels good, and don't be afraid to turn away what doesn't. (That includes my own teachings, by the way.)
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danielnoah
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Re: Questions for Daniel

I also recommend these screenwriting blogs:

JohnAugust.com

The Artful Writer
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danielnoah
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Re: Questions for Daniel


NEM wrote:
Which do you think is the hardest for a novice to write a book and get it published or to write a screen play and get it produced?




Man, that's an easy one. It's far more difficult to get a movie produced than it is to get a book published. But either is a challenging task that requires deep commitment and tenacity.
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danielnoah
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Re: a thought



ziki wrote:
aside: I think the hardest thing is to write whatever right anf guessing what right is. If doen well it will get the attention. The next hardest thing is to know what you really want to write and why. When you get those two right you can just write and others will read it and notice. No tactical short cuts, methinks. What say you?

ziki




Do what you love. The rest will follow.
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Re: Questions for Daniel

What is elevated genre?
ziki
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danielnoah
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Re: Questions for Daniel

I had a feeling you were going to ask me that.

Before I answer, I want to hear what you think it means.
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Re: Questions for Daniel

[ Edited ]

danielnoah wrote:
I had a feeling you were going to ask me that.



yeah, I am pretty transparent...

What do I think?
Maybe a style that doesn't stick closely to the precise rules (expectations) of some specific genre and works with a next layer interpretation and the characters perhaps behave in a different manner than the'strict' genre would suggest. I draw a blank here.

I found this but I do not know what to make of it:
"Really elevated genre films like 'Klute,' where the genre isn't the subject matter but the structure."

(why I post it is because I took a close look at Klute once and how it was made)

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 03-06-200704:08 PM

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danielnoah
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Re: Questions for Daniel

That's as good an interpretation as any. In Hollywood, the term "elevated" refers to projects that appeal to a more sophisticated market, usually character (and hence star) driven, with more emphasis on theme than on exploitation. The Departed is an elevated crime film. Make sense?
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Re: Questions for Daniel



danielnoah wrote:. Make sense?



yap, thanks:smileyhappy:
ziki
NEM
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NEM
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Re: Questions for Daniel

A couple of questions --
1) the schedule .... Plotting Basics March 19, Interesting Characters April 2, etc.
Are we supposed to be working on Plotting Basics between March 19 and April 1 (faster if we are so inclined)? Or should I have had my assignment done by March 19? I know this is work at your own pace, but what did you have in mind?

2) for the plotting basics assignment - do we have to do Romantic Comedy/ horror/ thriller? I was wanting to try my hand on my own project -- which is historical adventure/family?

Thanks --- NEM
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danielnoah
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Re: Questions for Daniel


NEM wrote:
A couple of questions --
1) the schedule .... Plotting Basics March 19, Interesting Characters April 2, etc.
Are we supposed to be working on Plotting Basics between March 19 and April 1 (faster if we are so inclined)? Or should I have had my assignment done by March 19? I know this is work at your own pace, but what did you have in mind?

2) for the plotting basics assignment - do we have to do Romantic Comedy/ horror/ thriller? I was wanting to try my hand on my own project -- which is historical adventure/family?

Thanks --- NEM




Hi, NEM. As for the pace, the general guideline is two weeks per lesson, but it's up to you to determine how quickly or how slowly you want to move through the material. Obviously, you are limited by the number of lessons posted at any given moment (there are four right now), and you are probably best served by more or less keeping pace with the rest of the group, especially since you depend primarily on each other for feedback on your exercises. But I have no expectation of your timetable. I'm here regardless.

As far plugging your own story into the exercises, go ahead and give it a try and let's see how it goes.

daniel
Ian
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Ian
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Re: Questions for Daniel

Daniel,

I hope you have time to answer a few questions. I write using screenwriting software (Sophocles) so, I know that my general formatting is correct. I mean my margins are set to industry standard and my dialogue appears in the appropriate places and so on. However, I've not kept up with current trends and people have called me on it. My question is, have you ever heard of formatting ever being the cause of a script being rejected? If a story is well told and the general formatting is sound, I overlook prefrences. What has been your experiences?

I know this is probably jumping ahead of anything that is happening here so please forgive me. I find the most difficult part of writing a script is the second act. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. It is so difficult to maintain the momentum of the story for what is half the screenplay. I do my best to prepare myself in the outline. As my friend says: act one - chase your protagonist up a tree, act two - throw rocks at them, act three - let them down. Do you have any tips that you can offer when tackling the second act?

Thanks,
Ian
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danielnoah
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Re: Questions for Daniel

[ Edited ]
Ian:

Script readers approach each new screenplay with a singular agenda: to find a reason to pass on it. These people are buried in screenplays and look for any shortcut available to them to whittle down the pile. So yes - irregular formatting can make your screenplay DOA. I'm not familiar with Sophocles. If it's not getting the job done, I suggest you switch to Movie Magic Screenwriter or Final Draft, both of which I can personally vouch for. Is there some other element of format that's tripping you up?

Act Two is by far the most difficult. The first thing I do to ease the pain is chop it in half - two chunks, 30 pages each. (In fact, it's my belief that screenplays are really FOUR acts, not three: 1-30, 30-60, 60-90, and 90 - end.) The page 60 mark, which we call the midpoint, represents some radical change in direction in the narrative. In Die Hard, for example, it's when McClane succeeds in involving the authorities. From that point forward everything changes - just as everything changes at pages 30 and 90. These are called plot points, which I'm sure you know, and my chapter in Writing Movies goes into extensive detail on each. I also recommend the second plot chapter, which presents some ideas for breaking down the acts on an even more micro level (quadrants). The quadrant technique breaks the script into units of 15 pages, with some signifcant development in the narrative falling at the end of each. For me, organization like this makes writing a feature length screenplay infinitely more manageable.

Message Edited by danielnoah on 03-29-200704:05 PM

Ian
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Ian
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Re: Questions for Daniel


danielnoah wrote:
Ian:

Is there some other element of format that's tripping you up?





I seem to have a difficult time with phone conversations and use of the INTERCUT direction. As I've said before, I see each scene so I tend to write what I see. That leads to, in most cases, too many scene changes between the two characters speaking by phone.

I had no idea that CUT TO: or FADE TO: was out of fashion. Nor did I realize one shouldn't use (filtered) for someone speaking through a phone or heard from a radio/television. These kinds of things are tripping up readers. Heck, I was told that The End is now against the law! I never thought of the readers trying to drop scripts for any reason - so, why should I give them any? Thanks for that.

I outline using scene cards and I'm very careful about what scenes make up my major plot points. Funny, I've always fought against adding too much detail to my outlines but it seems it might help me out in the second act - may give me more meat on the bone so to speak. I love the idea of breaking down the act even further - look forward to reading about that, too.

I have four books on their way and have been assured they'll be arriving first week of April - yours is among them as is Trottier's. Can't wait to give it a go.

Great stuff. Thanks so much for your help.

One other question, please. I tried to work out a one hour documentary on B.B. King but couldn't drum up the cash to satisfy his agent/manager. I want to write a bio-pick of B.B. but not sure how to go about it. I'm fully aware of the proximity to 'Ray' but I still feel by the time it hits the screen it would be timely and of great interest. Should I write it first and hope for leverage with a (fingers crossed) great script. Or, do I try to drum up some cash first and satisfy B.B.'s people? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Ian
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