Archive for the ‘Link of the Day’ category

Link of the Day: Screenline Insider Blog

April 16, 2010

Screenline has launched an interesting new feature: former Paramount distribution and marketing executive Ellen Pittleman will be examining a foreign territory’s box office trends each week. This week she takes a look at Brazil, which has seen a huge uptick in box office revenues thanks to an upturn in their economy and higher ticket prices from 3D Films.

Brazilian films took a 14.2% market share with 84 releases and 16m admissions, topped by Daniel Filho’s comedy sequel “If I Were You 2” which earned R$50.5m, had 5.7m admissions and placed second as the top performer for the year.

At number one was Fox’s “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” with R$81.1m gross and admissions of 9.2m.

Paris Filmes released “Twilight: New Moon” which grossed more in Brazil than all of the rest of Latin America to earn R$45.9m on admissions of 5.6m tickets sold. It was the best opening weekend of the past two years.

Brazil’s government supports the local filmmaking industry with tax incentives, and has recently come up with something they call the Sector Fund, an incentive-driven program geared to increase the number of movies being released each year capable of selling more than a million theater tickets.

It’s good reading, so check it out. And if you’re looking for more tasty links, remember to check out my links page, an up-to-date archive of resources and entertaining reading for screenwriters.


Two Blogs for Monday

March 29, 2010

One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to learn about Hollywood is the veil of mystery that seems to shroud it. While you can learn plenty by reading books, magazines and websites devoted to the craft of filmmaking, this usually does little to illuminate the experience of what it’s really like to work in the trenches. What do working writers experience every day? What is it like to work for a studio and evaluate scripts for a living? Or to be a producer?

Personal blogs kept by working Hollywood employees — the writers, the executives, the assistants — are chock full of useful information and good dirt that you often won’t find in other sources. They can offer you a second-hand glimpse into the workings of the entertainment industry without its usual veil of mystery; they’re unpolished, sometimes anonymous, and, because they’re not being written with any particular agenda, usually quite upfront and honest.

One such blog is I Liked The Trailer Better, kept by two producers who also have great senses of humor. Their written dialogues about movies and the process of making them is entertaining in and of itself.

Another is StephTVFilmWriter, which is tough to beat for straightforward dish about what it’s really like to try to forge a career as a working writer. Steph’s smart, savvy, resourceful and tells it like it is. She also doesn’t pull punches when it comes to discussing the mistakes she’s seen other writers make, but somehow does it without coming across as discouraging or negative. Definitely a recommended read.

Before You Burn out on “Hurt Locker” talk, Read this Article

March 9, 2010

Film Closings is a great blog, and its most recent article is a truly interesting insider look at how “The Hurt Locker” found financing, against all odds. To give you a taste:

Nicolas loves the “Hurt Locker” script, phones back and against all experience and precedent, tells CAA – the agency repping the film – that not only will he take on this Iraqi war movie to acquire the foreign pre-sales, but he wants to help in producing it. The subject matter, he tells them, speaks to him.

There is one small problem, Nicolas believes that, even at $20 million, the budget is too high — it must be lowered substantially, slashed by some 35% to $13 million, in order for him to be able to sell it and stand any chance of making a profitable film. CAA agrees. The budget will be lowered, line by painful line, in hopes they can still maintain the quality production values worthy of a theatrical release.

I always tell writers to be aware of what genre they’ve chosen to write in (you’d be surprised how many don’t know), and even more importantly, to be aware of the challenges of selling a project in that particular genre. War movies are perpetually difficult to sell — even well written ones with solid attachments like “The Hurt Locker.” Financiers want guarantees — and in Hollywood, there are no guarantees to be had. The result is a paradoxical situation, a mire into which many a hopeful script falls and very few completed films ever emerge.

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Profile — Mark Boal

February 10, 2010

There are many talented women in Hollywood and far too few of them have a voice — unless you count the voice you hear when you call your agent and someone answers, “Reppy McAgentson’s office.” We don’t count that.

That’s why I like promoting good writing from women in the entertainment business. This profile of Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal, by Catherine Clinch, is well-written and very informative for new screenwriters, to boot. Enjoy.

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Link of the Day: Screenwriting Tips…You Hack

January 5, 2010

Check out this site for your daily dose of screenwriting wisdom, written by a guy who has clearly read thousands of scripts and, judging from the snarky tone, is hurting a little bit from it. A few sample pieces of advice:

You (usually) only have one protagonist. Better work out who it is before you start.

It pays to do some kind of research into mental illnesses before you decide to give your main character one.

His blunt attitude might come across as unnecessarily cynical, even rude, but it’s actually par for the course for anyone who reads scripts for a living. Running across the same fundamental weaknesses or avoidable slip-ups in a script can really wear a reader down.

Still, I’m of the opinion that it pays to be supportive and constructive when it comes to giving a writer advice, and suspect that this site might be more about sharing in-jokes with fellow script readers than it is about advising writers.

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