Friday, May 30, 2014

Comic Relief!: Ghost stories…according to books.

Last night I met with a book group (our first meeting) and participated in a lively discussion about the novel we read. Afterwards, as I walked with one of the ladies to my car, the topic finally came up--a topic that inevitably arises whenever book lovers learn I'm a screenwriter. "I hate what filmmakers do to my favorite books!"

I wanted to laugh…maniacally. (Which, by the way, I have a difficult time pronouncing… I want to say mane-ee-ack-ah-lee.) Mwahahahahahaha!!

(For information on how to enjoy a movie based on a book, read Hints for Watching Movie Re-makes.)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Comic Relief: Add a word to a title.

The title for the screenplay I'm working on eludes me.  I have a "working" title for the sake of saving my screenwriting file, but it doesn't grab me.  And the title should grab!

A word can make or break a title.  Which brings me to today's comic relief… Add a Word Ruin a Movie (

Some examples from the site:
  • Game of Porcelain Thrones 
  • The KFC Bucket List
  • A Bed Bug's Life
  • The Shawshank Tax Exemption
The list goes on.

After reading a few posts, I decided to ruin some titles myself.  They might already be listed on the site (I didn't have time to read them all), but here's what I came up with...
  • Gone With the Flatulent Wind
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Smarty Pants
  • The Philadelphia Sandwich Experiment.
  • How To Potty Train Your Dragon
  • The Book Worm Thief
  • The Lone Power Ranger
  • Crochet Hook
  • American Beauty Mark
  • Captain Phillips Screwdriver
  • Schindler's To-Do List
So…apparently I can ruin ten titles, but can't up with a one intriguing title of my own. 

By adding one word, which movie titles can you ruin?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Comic Relief: Who Needs Dialogue?

When I am around my youngest grandchild, I can't help but laugh at her facial expressions. I've never seen a more expressive face. Calla (named after the calla lily) turned two years old a week ago, and doesn't talk much. She knows how to speak, sure, but doesn't need to… her face says everything.

It makes me think of the famous line from Sunset Boulevard (1950) when the character Norma Desmond, a former silent-film star, exclaims:
We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Comic Relief: Answers to Rhetorical Questions

I came across something I saved from Reader's Digest:

Answers to Rhetorical Questions Posed by Movie Titles
by Ethan Ryan, from
  • Judge Doom framed Roger Rabbit
  • Your car's behind that mail truck, dude.
  • Yes, they shoot horses to put them out of their misery.
  • Fine, bring Bob.
  • The stress of caring for his obese mother and developmentally slow brother is what's eating Gilbert Grape.
  • Baby Jane grew up and became an alcoholic.
  • I'm afraid of Virginia Woolf.

(Film titles:  Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Dude, Where's My Car?; They Shoot Horses, Don't They?' What About Bob?; What's Eating Giblert Grape; Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Comic Relief: The Mind of a Writer

Yesterday, as I worked on a screenplay re-write, the most (and probably best) writing I accomplished was to delete an entire scene. Only this slug-line remained…


My mind went blank. I had nothing.

I stared at the empty space. No ideas. I felt twinges of panic. What do I do with this scene? Do I really need this scene? Inadequacy washed over me. Maybe I don't have what it takes.    

Time to procrastinate that section of re-write. Soak in the tub and think about it, I told myself… tomorrow. I was onto something. Sounds good. I answered. Maybe check Facebook now.

Ah. Social network distractions. I scanned down the status updates, pausing longest to adore some pictures of my grandchildren, then my eye fell on a post regarding the Oscars.

Oh yeah! I had forgotten all about recording the Academy Awards.

Screenplay gleefully abandoned, I scampered, that's right… scampered, to the television and DVR. I rationalized that I wasn't procrastinating, I was putting my finger on the pulse of the industry, right?

So, for me, the funniest moment of the Academy Awards was when Robert De Niro introduced the best screenplay nominees:
The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that's on a good day.
That was laugh-out-loud painfully true!

And I agree with his co-presenter, Penelope Cruz:
Yes, but if everything goes well, in the end there is a screenplay.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Comic Relief: "Anybody want a peanut?"

I am studying the screenwriting style of William Goldman.  His screenplay for The Princess Bride (1987) is a treasure of humorous scenes and dialogue.  In the following scene, humor comes through incongruity: two supposed "thugs" share the gift of rhyme as a way to sooth the giant's feelings after being insulted.

That Vizzini, he can fuss.

I think he likes to scream at us.

Probably he means no harm.

He's really very short on charm.

Oh, you've a great gift for rhyme.

Yes, some of the time.
(He starts to smile.)

(whirling on them)
Enough of that.

As they sail off, we hear their voices as the boat recedes.

Fezzik, are there rocks ahead?

If there are, we'll all be dead.

No more rhymes now, I mean it.

Anybody want a peanut?

As Vizzini screams we



Here's the scene with their rhyming.

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Block" Buster: Positive Self-talk

"Whatever follows 'I am _____' will come looking for you." ~Joel Osteen

Paying attention to my self-talk really opened my eyes to what I invited into my life.  I frequently used phrases such as: "I am so busy" "I am overwhelmed" "I am tired" so--surprise!--guess who was busy, overwhelmed, and tired!  Now I strive to change those phrases to "I am careful with my plans" "I am handling my schedule" and "I am getting re-energized."

If I tell myself, "I am blocked" or "I am stumped" it can invite more blocked-ness and stumped-ness to hunt me down.  So I tell myself, "I am finding creative solutions" or "I am solving this" and sure enough, I am doing exactly that.

If something will come looking or me, I want it to be a good thing!