Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A little bit behind...

Had some work on another project, hopefully not too much time. Anyway, starting on the story I outlined last week or so. Actually writing again. Takes a lot of walking around and adding new notes to the ones I already had. I've changed the beginning also. 

Should have some blog in the next few days.

I was driving near Oxnard on the Pacific Highway and found an outside museum of Navy jet fighters from the past as well as some other weapons of destruction.  Nobody was there, just me and only a few cars passed by.

All quiet again.



Friday, February 23, 2018

Nine years?

This is the first blog I ever made and the only one so far. 2009 was a long time ago as you can see. I started with  italics, but most readers wanted it this type, much easier for some people I guess. So I changed it.

Things have changed as you might see. I soon found out that there were a few readers who liked to attack me but I managed to keep going. Now I rarely get a comment. You can reach me that way anytime. Or answer a question or anything like that.

Anyways, read my brilliant opening, well, not quite brilliant. Pick a year or a month or a week, there's a lot of information here. And still going.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Blog 1: Making Movies the Hard Way

To begin with, I was pretty apprehensive about starting a blog on how I plan to make a movie. Samuel French has dozens of books just on this subject (right next to the hundreds of books on screenwriting) and what could I possibly add.?

But I wanted to share the ups and downs of looking for money for a movie and figured that this might be the best place to do that. Some people might get a kick out of it, some might not care, others might find a little encouragement.I’m not an Academy winner or flavor of the month (although a short I filmed and co-produced made it to the Academy finalist list) rather, I’m a working writer, producer and director like so many others.

The blood of this industry.

The reason for this blog comes from several places and all are connected to one, the world of movie-making. I invite you to follow the process from screenplay to the development and funding and, hopefully, to the production itself. I wanted to call the blog Making Movies the Hard Way because, put simply, there is no easy way. Ever.

Along with the business, technical and artistic sides, I will also talk about the people; the talented, the untalented, the crazy ones and the rare angels and saints. And since I have been in this process more than once in my 30-plus years in the business, my friends assured me I could keep you entertained.

Easy to say for them, they get to watch me run and fall and get up and fall again in one of the worst recessions in a long time. I will post new blogs Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and anytime if something good comes up like someone writes me a check for $400,000, or maybe $50.

So hopefully you’ll stick with me until the end, wherein I actually get it made. If I get it made. And that’s a hell of a big “IF”.

You know the odds.
Newer Posts

Monday, February 19, 2018

Act 3 and the end

 Okay, so here's the final act, Act 3 as they say. It's where everything falls apart and then comes up to the end of the story.

Once again, I make a lot of ideas that I didn't use in my software, thus the red pen marks. Usually it's always a lot of different ideas I had on the first acts and so I get a lot of new ideas.

One, for examine is that I finally got a name for the male actor, it's now Bailey, I liked the sound and removed Jackson as that was the location where the two are going to. It's Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is the location almost in the middle of America. And where they are going.

Well, maybe Crys is going to have to drive further and I used air flight, but it was too easy and no real driving where she meets people in other places with different stories, she wouldn't get stories in an airplane as must as meeting people in small towns.

Location is closer to Bailey (now his name. I didn't put his name in previous acts). And he too will have stories to tell also. And of course, stories from their pasts.

I'm also putting page 3 here as well as it's only a few basic changes. Regardless, this is how I put together a screenplay. 

It's basically worked out this way on this software that I use. However I use a screenplay software that I've been using for about 30 years, called Movie Magic Screenwriter. It's a good software and I don't really like the others Final Draft which is also good but I prefer Screenwriter.

I'll be using these notes as well as newer ones as I discover other plots and stories as I go on. Usually it takes a month for me. Some writers take a year and others do it differently. 

 Here's a change I made at the last minute, there's a little bit of redundancy on page 3 as I added a new sentence.

So that's how I start writing. You don't really need notes like mine, you can do it with just putting notes on paper. Then use screenplay software. There's mine, Screenwriter and FD or any other. There's even free sofware for screenwriting.

I'll be starting a new blog here, so stay around. 


Friday, February 16, 2018

3rd post

Okay, here's the last part of Act 2, or in other words, the Act that most people get into, and a lot of them get in here.  So, a review here:

For those of you who have followed these Acts you finish Act 2, and as above, you get to see 2 thirds of a feature screenplay. Well, almost, this is still in rough shape. The next Act, Act 3 is what happens to the end.  I'll have the first page of the final act on Act 3. And as mentioned again, it's where everything collides into the last part of the screenplay.

Act 2 also presents the obstacles a lot closer as in: You get to see more people than just our principles. And those principals are the lead guy (*still haven't presented his name, it happens like that), and Crystal and Jenna. I had to change the lead guy's name because my location on the screenplay is Jackson Hole.

For those of you, Jackson Hole is the final destination to the screenplay. So I can't have a guy who's name is "Jack". Sorry.

Another point at the last page of Act 2 gives us our three characters who will finally connect to each of them. And it swings into Act 3 where they all meet each other for the first time. 

Crys and Jenna and our guy. I should have his name by Monday. You'd think it's easy, but sometimes it's not. You just have to find that guy's name just right.

 So what's at the end of the rainbow?

This leads you to the biggest confrontation.

Act 3.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Page 2 - 2nd act


Here's the 2nd page of Act 2, remember that I use the 3- act version. Each act has 2 or 3 pages of it's own. And as said at the previous page, it's part of Act 2. I know this is confusing but simply it's like this.

Act 1
Act 2
Act 3

Each act has information. The first one was last week and this week you will see 3 pages but that's only because I wrote three pages. It could be any amount. 

So, it continues in what is the biggest part of a screenplay, Act 2. Here's the 2nd page. Sorry this seems awkward, but it's going okay. I'll wrap 2nd Act by Friday and then go to the 3rd Act, which is the end. Hopefully I find the end. 

As you know, I'm doing these acts straight up, meaning very little to use for the screenplay. But I've written more than a hundred or so screenplays, of which about 20 were made. Some were scripts that a company asked for and never found money to get them made and others were episodics, TV shows

You can see this somewhere on this blog. 

Next page of Act 2 is on Friday.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Act 2 arrives

 Okay, here's where the middle goes, sometimes fat and sometimes thin. Act 2 is the widest part of the screenplay mostly, although it can change. This is where the subplots start appearing. Sort of like the 1st act introduces the principal actors and then expose the other actors.

Who are the other actors? They're mostly in the middle act, this one clearly sees it as it's a road movie and the middle actors usually come and go. The 3rd act, not there yet, might have one or two actors from the middle. 

It's basically the subplots. Very few come to the 3rd act. That's next. Subplots should be connected somehow however, even if the lead actors hardly see them. They all contribute to the story.

You've already seen what the story is like, someone discovers someone else and that leads to the last single part. Basically the story has 3 principal actors. These are Jenna, Crys and a not-named yet as I realized I want to use Jackson Hole as the location that Crys and not-yet named male actor. 

Their connection is that they were married once, and now Crys' husband passed away. And Crys came up with a crazy idea - they can meet in Jackson Hold, where they had "the best time of their life" way back in the 70's.

And what about subplots?

Ask yourself what can complicate your character's life.  You have three of them right here. My subplots are very thin right now.

And how do I know? I wrote a book on screenwriting.
More Wednesday


Friday, February 9, 2018

Second page of Act One

Here's where the rest of Act One. I use three acts on my screenplays, thus this and the one before are my Act One. As you see, it has basic ideas and people not very full, actually very vague.  This is where I just throw stuff from my mind and bunches of potential ideas that may work or may not.

As you can see there's already red pen marks to use for ideas or questions. Like changing the character's name. Right now it's Jackson, Jenna and now Crys (for Crystal) as mom.

Below is a bunch of ideas I got at the last minute before I go to Act 2. I'll work on that over the week-end. What you find here is the basic ideas and thoughts that might work. 

And I use what's called the 3-Act structure as mentioned above. Every movie, TV show or short film has 3 acts and this one you're reading is the first. It's a basic rule passed down to us by the Greeks.

Yes. The Greeks. In a feature film, the 1st act would be around 20 to 30 pages. Second act is usually the longest and has about 30 or more pages. And finally the 3rd Act is the shortest, it's where everything rushes to get to the end.

It seeks like all acts are around 30 pages, but can change very often. Another point of these acts is that they all consist of subplots. More on that. 

This is an extra 1st act I tossed in at the last moment and didn't want to forget these notes. These notes took about two days but I could have done it longer or shorter.  It's always different. There will be lots more on Act 2 as that's where the story really begins fully.

You can see the title of the software I use, if you're interested.

The 2nd Act will be on Monday. Have a good week-end.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

First shot at an idea

Okay, now that I've actually put an idea on the table, the first thing that I do is to "throw it at the wall". Not really, but see "if it sticks". Okay, I worked with a writer/producer who would use those terms all the time. 

You can see where the idea came from on the previous blog beneath you.  First thing here is, of course, get a WGA and WGC  registration for the script, that form above. This is important, at least to most extent. It tells anyone that this story is his/hers. I actually did it a month ago before I decided to do this. So I'm clean.

I'm starting with 3 acts, simply put beginning, middle and end. Simple.

I used a software called Power Structure, I've had it about 25 years and still use it. Easy and gives you way too much information as to what you write. I use about 20% of it for my use. 

This is where it begins: I use the software you'll see further down. It shows way too much as you can see but helps me move in a certain way. But now I go back over it, the first act, which is usually what happens before the middle. First acts are about 30 pages or so. 

So this is my first 30 pages, but marked up in red pen.


Monday, February 5, 2018

More new, close enough

I'm starting on the script, will show you want I do, or what I don't.

Mostly it's tons of ideas that still move around every day. I never make up anything, rather I use what's there, it's always better. Here's a page from my travel book "How Not To Get Beat Up In A Small Town bar." You can see a few pages for free on Amazon, I think it's $9 American and $13 Cdn. Not sure of other countries.

I'm just starting so I'll start moving faster 

Will post something today or tomorrow.

Just one more time, I'm really writing this screenplay. Will offer notes now and then

Friday, February 2, 2018

A new screenplay

I have been working around an idea that has been interesting. It came from someone who knows me well. It started by an email from someone I knew back in 1971, when I got married.

It turned out to be my ex's niece, now grown up and in her 40's (I think). She had discovered me on FB and emailed to me. My ex and I hadn't seen each other for about 25 years or more. Ex was married again I knew that.

But her niece told me she had some bad times.

So now niece suggested I call ex. I emailed and ex returned email. Now we talk now and then, I'd seen her three times and it was all okay.

So what's that?

About a year ago ex said that we should celebrate our 45th anniversary. Her husband had passed away a few years ago. It sounded okay, actually we laughed about it.  And naturally, I begin to think it's a movie too. Not mine, but a screenplay.

Most of my screenplays started with ideas like that. My Christmas movie from Hallmark was developed by three different locations that I had worked on, passed through or a memory of something.

So this is now going to happen.

I'm a little worried though, because it is, as they say, to0 close to be good. Why? Because you know your story too much and it might fall apart. The idea was good, she even liked it. But I stayed away for almost a year.

So now, I decided to start. I got my old Power Structure software, a program I've used for at least 30 years. I would work out the story and then write the screenplay from my Screenwriter software.

It's today.

And how do I separate myself from myself?

That's where I have to make the screenplay not about me, but about "him". The other guy, looks like me, talks like me.  All I need is to find a "way" to separate me and so I have created "that guy". It worked well for my Christmas Movie and my father screenplay and it worked fine. For that one, I changed myself to a woman, sort of, the story was about father and son, but I changed it to father and daughter. 

And Jody Foster's crew read it and said it was written by a woman. But it wasn't. It was a man.

So I can fool them again. And fool me too.  So let's go back, way back.