Reel Story: How ‘Breaking Bad’ Almost Wasn’t


I find this article supremely important to read for any writer.
We all think up ideas and then the doubt in us says, “Meh, must’ve already been done.” And we move on while that idea, even if not totally original, had ignited our passion enough to move us to write in the first place.
Well guess what:  Even Vince Gilligan thought that when he conceived BREAKING BAD!

Read this and remember: No passion is misplaced.

Balls of Steel: How to Get Your Screenplay Read Without Asking

ImageMany of you have posted or written to me asking how to get your screenplay read.

Here’s a good article from Jeanne Veillette Bowerman’s Balls of Steel column about how she  did it.

Though it sounds too simple to be true, she makes a great point.  Gain their respect.

And it doesn’t have to be face to face.  That should come after.  She writes about how to virtual gain it.  Read on.

Specs & The City: Action Scenes and ‘Die Hard’


Here’s a great article from Brad Johnson’s Specs & the City column that’s all about the action.

So many writer’s fail to understand the importance of depth in an action scene.  Die Hard got it.  To me, it’s the perfect action film.  The editing, revered.  And the writing, legendary.  Pick a scene and you can break down how many levels of development both in character and story are revealed through action.

Johnson “breaks” down the glass wall shootout.  Spot on.  Enjoy the article and be enlightened.

Legitimacy Pending: The Forest For The Trees – Breaking Into Television Writing


Great article from a writer in the fray of LA right now inching toward her goal as a writer in entertainment.  Honestly, her story could be any one of your stories.

And she says things I know you’ve heard if not from me already, from others for sure.  But the point of her article is as important as your goal.  Actually, it is about what should be your purest goal: To write.

Take a gander.  It’s nice to read about a peer in the mix as much as from those with credits and awards.

Specs & The City: Writing Scenes – In Late / Out Early and ‘The Dark Knight’

TDK4Here’s another short but sweet article by Brad Johnson from his Specs & The City column.

This time he examines the need to arrive late and leave early in scenes.  Or as I call it: The LA Sports Fan technique.

You might have even seen this technique put into effect on tv if you used to watch Seinfeld.  George learned to always leave on a high note.  To a certain extent, this writing method is similar.

Check out the article as it’s another solid and enlightening read.

How to create Drama in Games: Suspense and Substance – The New Dramaturgy Pt. 3

whats in the box

Here’s part three in the four part series on Gamic Dramaturgy.

Today’s article deals with Suspense and Dramatic Substance in games.  Basically, why should we care?

This falls close to what is the core of any writing:  How do we engage the reader (gamer) and keep them invested and deeply involved?

Enjoy part three!

10 Screenwriting Tips You Can Learn From Goodfellas!


A grad asked me to list my five favorite scripts.  That is a much much much harder question to be able to answer than five favorite films because gauging a script is much more dense than just watching a film.  The film is the finished product.  We base our opinion on that and that alone.  A script isn’t as easy to nail down.  Not only could there be dozens of versions written, but the finished product could be totally different.  Truman Show, anyone?

With that said, I threw out more of the masters of writing and their works.  Kaufman, Tarantino, Niccol, Goldman, The Coens and the list goes on.  One dynamic duo was Pileggi and Scorsese.  And Goodfellas.  Need I say more?

Well, in seeking out a copy online of the script, I came across this great article about lessons you can learn from the film.   A good quick read.  And then after you read it, if curious, check out the script too.

Do-Over: Advice to My 18-Year-Old Self – Oscar-Winning Producer Edward Saxon

Screen-Shot-2013-08-26-at-3.25.07-PMAnother great contribution to the Advice to My 18-Year-Old Self series.

Producer Ed Saxon was asked to write a letter to his 18-Year-Old self.  It should be noted that Saxon has chops.  He’s produced nearly every Jonathan Demme movie starting with Something Wild and including The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia.  Not to mention the cancelled-far-too-early series on HBO, Enlightened.

I find these articles as fascinated not just for what is said but also how it portrays the personality of who says it.

Read on.

Tick, Tick, BOOM!! – Catharsis and Pacing in Games: The New Dramaturgy Pt.2

Catharsis collage

Here’s part two in the four part series on Gamic Dramaturgy.

Today’s article deals with Catharsis and Pacing in games.  And why there really is no such thing as a three act structure when it comes to games.

As a screenwriter, this did enlighten me a bit to the devices utilized to create a stretch of story beyond three acts.

Good read!

How To Apply For Jobs Using Production Listings

MPRsampleA good way to get your network going within the entertainment industry is as a PA on a film shoot or TV show.  And production listings are the way you find out the who, what, where and whens of how to get in on those opportunities.

This article is one of the most direct and clear cut I’ve found on the how.  It hits the bulls eye.  I’d of added for non-LA residents to get in touch with your local film offices, both city and state, in order to have your resume included in their files amongst other things.

I highly recommend the read.  It’s short but insightful.

Remember, Eli Roth started as a PA on film sets where he’d write while he ran “guard duty” outside talent’s trailers.