Currently, I live and work in Miami writing, producing, directing, editing and narrating original segments for the PBS/WLRN television show, “Artstreet.” I also edit freelance and work as much as possible in as many capacities as I can (the more you know…).
I take pictures too!
My only dream was to grow a nice mustache of gentlemanly stature and decorum. With that dream now realized my new dream is to take the old dream (mustache) on as many awesome adventures as I can that it might develop a dream of its own someday and off into the sunset we will dream together forever… The dream dreaming with its creator as one.
I’d also like to circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat and direct a feature film someday.
When I started this blog about 3 and a half years ago, it was a one man show to document some of my film school experiences. For a while it was also a one audience show.
The direction of the blog was pretty straight forward – write about what I’m doing in film school. Since graduating (and while in school) I’ve gone through super excited blogging periods to letting the cobwebs collect periods (like the 4 month hiatus preceding the last few posts).
Well over some drinks the other night with fellow film school alum, we’re joining forces to put all of our blogging efforts, experiences, and knowledge behind CC. Kind of like Captain Planet, minus Ma-Ti.
We’re all basically in the same situation, twenty somethings who are beyond “grab a video camera and let’s make a YouTube video for our friends” and are trying to find our place and make our way into the film world.
Well originally I thought the article was for one of their little online only blogs, some sort of ‘hot thing of the day’ to fill up web space.
No. It was actually in print, in the hard copy of the weekly Observer distributed internationally.
While that’s very exciting and surprising, it kind of makes me sad. I’m a big fan of newspapers, and of course their future is a big mystery, one that isn’t looking too bright. Will they survive or will the speed and free access of blogs be their end? Blogs are criticized for being too subjective and lack the time and budget to do hard, investigative journalism.
Well, this time, the newspaper is the one that got it wrong. All the blogs that wrote about Typewriter and the history behind it got the quote attribution correct while the international newspaper, the one that’s supposed to have all the facts straight and checked, was wrong.
I know the piece was tiny and shoved on the back page, but in a time when newspapers future’s are on the line, they can’t afford to get it wrong. They need to be more detailed, more thourough, and more in-depth than ever before to differentiate themselves from the instant but shallow news source of blogs.
I realize the moviccino adventures in the production of UnderCover has sort of died down. I have a few cool videos that I still need to post, but it’s mainly been an extremely sloooow editing process that’s been requiring a huge build up to a more exciting post. But this post isn’t it. This is just an update.
Here’s where things stand. Iman (the director) and I have been editing off and on since January. It’s kind of comical. One week I’ll be out of town, then I’ll come back and Iman will be gone. This project is definitely not a 4 month edit job, but it just kind of ended up that way because, you know, work expands to fill the allotted of time.
So we’ve been editing, working some magic, but now we’ve gotten to the point where we’ve done all the magic we can and the verdict is out on what works and what doesn’t. For all the things that don’t, we’re going back on set next week to do pick-ups – basically re-filming scenes that don’t work or filming new or rewritten scenes to clarify story and plot points that aren’t making sense (including going back to the pig farm).
This week, though, we showed a cut to the Associate Dean and basically he put into actions things that had been bothering me but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. Bottom line was things weren’t working and they just needed to be cut. And by taking out some mediocre jokes it makes the better jokes even more better and stand out more.
So yesterday, the day after he saw the cut (which was the first time I had seen it in a few weeks), I went in armed with a hatchet and showed no mercy. The film was 21 minutes when I came in. 4 hours later it was down to 18 – and this is after we’ve been working on it since January. As Faulkner would say, you’ve got to “kill all your darlings.”
I’ve had some requests to recommend some good film books, so I’m starting a series that’ll cover what I think are the best books for each area of filmmaking. And what better place to start than at the beginning with screenwriting.
(I put together an Amazon store that has all the books I recommend in one spot. You can find it here.)
If you saw Adaptation, McKee is the crazy screenwriting instructor played by Brian Cox (you know, the “God help you if you use voice-overs” guy). Well McKee really does exist, and he does give a famous 2 day seminar on story that is pretty much the standard Hollywood crash course for storytelling.
I did the seminar a few years ago, and McKee is an amazing teacher, but here’s a secret (well not really because McKee was saying the same thing). Just about everything in the seminar is in the book. It’s like a printed copy of all the notes. There are some paragraphs in the book that McKee recites verbatim.
So while I would recommend the seminar if you have the time and money (ask to volunteer and you’ll get a discount), for a fraction of the cost get this book.
Hero With a Thousand Faces goes through mythological stories all around the world to describe the Hero’s Journey, an archetypal experience that seems to be embedded in our psyche. So many movies follow this format because clearly it’s worked for thousands of years. A famous example is Luke’s journey in Star Wars (Lucas makes no effort to hide that he read Thousand Faces and based Luke on the Hero’s Journey Monomyth).
The Writer’s Journey is basically the same thing as Thousand Faces but in a more plain-English, less academic format.
My favorite screenwriting teacher at school said the best way to learn screenwriting is to read scripts. Start with reading scripts to movies you love or movies similar to what you want to write. Then try reading a script to a movie you haven’t seen, and then see the film to see how it translated.
Below are a few sites where you can find lots of scripts. Try to read Spec scripts over Production scripts. And stay away from transcripts – they’re worthless for screenwriting.
John August (Go, Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels) is the best big-time screenwriting blogger. Not only does he talk about screenwriting, but he covers how Hollywood works, how to break in, how projects get started and quickly die, and everything else that will depress you about the movie business.
Jane Espenson would be number 2 for blogging screenwriter’s. She was on the writing staff for a lot of Joss Whedon shows (Buffy, Firefly), and is currently a writer/producer on Battlestar Galactica.
Her last post was on December 8, where she claims she’s said everything she can about writing for television. It’s sad, but blogging or not, her site is a great resource for breaking in and writing for television, so check out the archives.
She also attended the Disney/ABC Writing Fellowship and is a big proponent of their program, so if you’re looking to do some serious writing, I’ve?researched?all the programs studios have to offer and theirs is the best.