Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Reflecting on Hollywood movies...

One of my Facebook friends posted a link to an article titled "The Day the Movies Died" (by Mark Harris). Naturally, the title grabbed my attention, but since the article was not a "quick read," I waited until I had time to pour over it, which was yesterday.

Very interesting, well-written article. (Click on the highlighted link above if you want to read it.)

As I read about Hollywood sticking to what they consider guaranteed box-office draws, I reflected on the blog post I wrote a year ago: "Hints for watching movie re-makes."   For a review of that post, go here.

Reading the article also gave me ideas for several topics I might address over the next few blog posts:
  • My personal movie-going habits.  (Reasons why I sometimes choose to watch movies at home rather than the theater -- one reason being foul language.)
  • Why foul language bothers me.
  • My thoughts on edited films (such as in-flight movies).
  • My opinion of sequels.
  • And, how the Hollywood outlook on original screenplays affects me... a new screenwriter.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts! ♩Dun dun dunnnnnn.....   :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Screenwriting Software

Wow! I feel official and special! I just installed screenwriting software on my desktop and laptop. I've already written (and re-written) two feature length screenplays... using Microsoft Word. Using "Word" is not the most efficient way to format a screenplay, trust me. Ugh. But I made do.

In February I purchased Movie Magic Screenwriter 6. Why am I just now installing it, you might ask? Because I was up to my ears in projects and knew that once it was installed it would call out to me, and I would want to play. So I postponed the installation.

Now it's time to play. Time to re-type and re-write my babies!

(Oh, and with the installation, Write Brothers included a tutorial for an add-on plug-in I can purchase: "Streamline." I want, I want...I need, I need!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Documentary Short

I want to share the short documentary I created in Production 1, during my last semester of school.  This assignment really boosted my desire to do more short films, especially documentaries.  (I have several ideas brewing!)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A tough decision last week.

I know I'm late in posting about this, but I had to make a tough decision a week ago Wednesday. I had to choose between meeting Academy Award winning screenwriter Bobby Moresco, or attending an on-line class I had signed up for (how to market my screenplays). The class was taught by David Trottier, author of The Screenwriter's Bible, and was a four week course which ended last night.

I went back and forth between the two choices, but finally decided to attend Trottier's class. Why? Because he teaches in such an encouraging manner I knew I would find motivation during the class chat, whereas Moresco was an unknown to me. I have met Hollywood screenwriters before, and they seemed to send off very negative vibes. "I made it, but you are all just peons and probably don't have what it takes." That seemed to be the attitude of the ones I've met so far. Moresco might not be like that at all, but I wanted a sure thing. I took a class last year taught by Trottier and even though he didn't sugar coat the difficulty, he taught in such a way that I felt motivated after class, rather than discouraged.

Last week did not disappoint. I made the right choice.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Video Project

I am working on a small video project, which I hope to complete by tomorrow night. Yesterday I had so many glitches I felt discouraged and frustrated. Why do I love doing this so much?  I asked myself that question numerous times while I struggled yesterday. I don't know the answer, I just know that when I complete a video, I feel great satisfaction which makes the agony worth it. Perhaps the agony and the ecstasy go hand in hand when creating.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A writer needs feedback...

Before I began writing screenplays, I did not understand how important it was to have feedback from numerous sources. I learned firsthand in my screenwriting class that numerous heads are better than one. It is impossible for a writer to see every angle, making feedback from others vital to the story.

I never understood the students who became defensive and refused to accept input on their screenplay. I learned early on that if people said a scene didn't make sense, then something was wrong in my story! Why argue for what I wrote when it's not working? It's almost a guarantee that if a group of writers say something is amiss, then no amount of arguing is going to make it better, and the chance of that story making it anywhere is nil.  

Some of my favorite times were when my classmates not only told me what didn't work, but also gave suggestions on changes to make it work! They came up with ideas that I never thought of, many of them brilliant. When I included the good ideas with my rewrites, the stories become far more solid.  

Writers struggle with "killing" their "darlings" (or as I call it...killing my babies) but sometimes those wonderful lines just don't move the story. I keep a file of such lines. That way they don't feel dead to me forever...I have the hope they can be resurrected for a different screenplay!  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Long time no post.

Nearly a year passed since I posted last on this blog. Two main reasons caused this lapse... 1) my last year of school was intense and many things in my life were put on hold, including this blog, and 2) I have tried to assess what direction to go with the blog. I started the blog initially to have a place to write about why I returned to school. With that already posted, I wasn't sure what to focus my posts on. I kind of dabbled with whatever came to mind.

I am still dabbling, but want to hone in on a focus soon... after all... this is called REEL FOCUS, not Reel Dabbling.

UPDATES: (since so much time has passed after my last post)

Last summer I worked as an intern in Italy for a month, learning about documentary filmmaking. I absolutely loved the experience, and yearn to return.

I graduated in December 2010 with a Bachelor Degree in Film and Media Arts. Since that time I took a couple months "off" to recuperate from school, and to get my office in order, giving it a more creative atmosphere.

I now have two feature length screenplays written. (Feature length meaning if they were produced they would each be two hours long.) My first screenplay needs at least one more re-write, and the second one needs several more drafts.

During my last semester of school I produced some short films, finding an interest in that area too. (I will post links to some of my films later.)

Now I embark on a new adventure... my career in screenwriting, as well as some film projects I have in the wings.

(NOTE: If anyone has any suggestions as to what you would like to see or read on this blog, please let me know! I have several ideas spinning around in my head and your suggestions might help me pin an idea down. :)