Volatile Voices | Page 3 | Script Revolution

Volatile Voices

The Script Revolution blog is all about articles that may help screenwriters and filmmakers develop their craft, maximise opportunities, and stay updated on the latest news about the site. This isn't a place where you'll find fear-mongering and browbeating, nor is it a conduit for rule delusions and service advertising. Guest posts are more than welcome and offer a way for members to generate a little more exposure for themselves. If you have a blog post you'd like to submit, then you can contact me by clicking here - CJ

Fiona Faith Ross 15 Mar 2017 2

I'm always suspicious of the advice to "Never give up", and on a bad day, I fear the exhortation is delivered with a vicious irony, the smile of encouragement hiding a secret desire to inflict further pain on the rambling deluded fool who thinks he's A Writer. If it's painfully obvious to everyone except your Mum that your screenplays aren't up to scratch, isn't it kinder to be dealt some incisive coverage from a battle-scarred pro to put you out of your misery? Excruciating sex scene, anyone? Ouch, add the writer to your "Do Not Date" list, and, warming to the theme of severe mental distress...

J.E. Clarke 08 Mar 2017 5

Ready to digest an immutable Fact of Life? Here’s one tasty treat: 

The world of screenwriting bursts with vibrant contradiction.  Downright Schizophrenic levels of it, no less.

Talk to anyone who’s dipped their toe in the murky waters of film.  They’ll scramble to tell you what lurks just below the surface… Sharks, of the Format Nazi kind.

Hand to heart. We’ll swear on our latest copy of Final Draft; it’s true. The screenwriting world is full of BS.  Excuse me, make that “rules.”

Don’t get me wrong (or quote this out of context).  Many such rules make sense.  For instance, streamlining...

Shawn Davis 01 Mar 2017 3

Out here is a pool. A deep, deep pool. As screenplay writers, we're all swimming in it. Current stats have our population at 15,000 or more. Schooling in this pool is various sized fish. Most of us, guppy’s also known as amateur writers. Here we are, swimming around doing a complete reversal of what it means to fish. Instead of an angler working to catch that one big fish among us in a school of thousands, we are the thousands, all of us small, trying to catch that one big angler.

We're all looking for something out of this. Me? I started writing because I tried everything to overcome an 8th-...

CJ Walley 27 Feb 2017 5

Which script should you write next? Would people want to read it? Is the idea bad? Do you have the skills needed? Are you really just wasting your time… and life?

Look, I don’t know a single aspiring screenwriter who doesn’t have those questions running through their mind all the time. Creative pursuits are, by their nature, a massive mind-fuck. It gets even tougher when you tie success with money, fame, and respect. You worry. You fret. You judge yourself. You let other people judge you. It’s hard not to default to one of three chains of thought; “I can do this.”, “don’t know if I’m any good...

John Hunter 22 Feb 2017 6

Before anyone might actually read the first page of your script, there are three hurdles your work must clear to pass and I'm talking about Title, Logline and Synopsis.

I have 27 scripts (shorts, features, pilots) posted here on Script Revolution — Thank you CJ for the opportunity to strut my stuff and/or show the world my deficiencies, whichever the case may be. Beyond the obviously benefit of a free public venue, there is more --

As you are aware, this site counts “views.” A “view” here defined as after reading the Title and Logline, someone is interested enough in your work to goes on to...

Désirée Nordlund 15 Feb 2017 0

A film begins with a script. A statement well established on a site like this. One can make a bad movie on a good script, but never a good movie on a bad script. Thus, a lot of time and effort are used to make the script perfect. Script work is cheap compared to what it will be later when it comes to equipment and people to be organized, transported and fed.

I have the privilege of getting one of my short scripts filmed right now, this February. As a writer, working alone is common, but regarding screenplays, you have to be prepared to have your story mulled, and it is not certain that the...

CJ Walley 08 Feb 2017 16

Look, this is going to be brutal, but it needs to be said. If you're looking for harsh truths about screenwriting then look no further. You better have thick skin before walking into this one and I'm talking alligator skin thick here. I'm about to hit you with ten doses of sorely needed self reflection and some in your face reality here. You ready? You sure? Why am I so much better than you? Yes you. I've not just got the balls to ask you that question but I've got a long list of reasons to throw at you too? Think you can get all the way to the bottom? Time to suck it up, buttercup - CJ

Deenur _ 01 Feb 2017 13

Last time we visited, we discussed some of the nuts and bolts of adaptions. At its simplest, an adaption is the use of some other source work (your own or someone else’s) to develop a short, or feature-length, script. We also found out that to adapt someone else’s work, the screenwriter must have permission from the original author, or a work that is now in public domain, or a team of very skilled lawyers. Read more here. Adaptions have been both amazing and terrible. This time we discuss what makes a successful, or horrific, adaption.

As I found out when trying to adapt my own work, adapting...

J.E. Clarke 25 Jan 2017 1

There’s a million questions in the screenwriting biz. Especially when you first arrive on the “scene.”

Browse any writing board, and questions tumble off the threads like crumbs; some as green as the Wizard’s palace in Oz. How do I properly format slugs? What’s a three-act structure mean? How do I get an agent? (That one’s fun; every time.)

But there’s more than Newbies to blame here. Seasoned “pros” have questions as well. Once one’s been around the block a few times, you realize screenwriting’s as intricate as other sciences and arts.  The farther down the Rabbit Hole you go, the more you...

Tony Cella 18 Jan 2017 0

According to a study published by UCLA's Linguistic department, more than 80 percent of conversations in Hollywood include “in the industry” at several points.

The great majority of communication, both written and spoken, in the city known for drawing aspiring bartenders and servers from each geographic region of America include the phrase at the beginning, the end or several times mangled in the middle, author of the paper Professor Julius

Barnhoffer said. “Statistically almost every conversation spoken in Los Angeles, more specifically cafes and networking functions in Hollywood, will...

6String Mercenary 11 Jan 2017 1

A while ago I got into an online slap-fight with the CEO of The Black List, a service that hosts screenplays for a fee, provides a reader critique service, and is a proven resource for Film Industry Professionals to source content. In short I laid into him for taking money and providing critiques that didn’t have a check-list of basic stuff to help writers grow — his claim, over and over, was all art is Subjective and to use any kind of structure to evaluate an art piece didn’t have any justification. I can appreciate Subjectivity in art, especially as a guitarist, because it’s the nuances,...

J.E. Clarke 04 Jan 2017 1

Screenwriter pop-quiz – think quick: What’s the biggest cliché in film?

The Hooker with the Heart of Gold?  EG:  Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman, Jodi Foster’s Taxi Driver, Rebecca De Mornay’sRisky Business and so on…

Uh, good guess. But that’s material for a different article. Dig a little deeper, try for more.

The popular girl who learns “looks aren’t everything” and falls in love with the nerd?

You’re getting warmer. Keep guessing. The third try is usually the charm.

Stick with nerd, and springboard from there.

Straight into the deep end of the “teen film” pool – i.e.: the geek (whether male...

CJ Walley 28 Dec 2016 0

Can I ask you a strange question? What’s in your “to be” list? You have a to do list, right? A long list of tasks that you chop away at only for it to regrow like some mutated monster? And that list, it makes you do the things you need to do, right? But does it lead you toward being the person you want to be?

The concept of a “to be” list was something relayed to me by my girlfriend. It stems from authenticity. The more authentic we can be, to ourselves and others, the more fulfilled we should be. We are living up to the ideal that’s in our mind, not the ideal that’s projected by others. The...

Tony Cella 21 Dec 2016 3

A highly respected screenplay consultant draws most of his business from solicitations posted on film discussion forums.

“I'd be happy to look at your screenplay and provide you with studio level notes for a modest price,” he wrote.

The esteemed and established script doctor makes most of his money by telling aspiring film scribes on message boards about his services, most often unsolicited. The consultant's website, which looks like it was designed by a 3rd grader using Windows 98 for the first time, touts his vast network of contacts in the film industry. He also mentions the fact while...

6String Mercenary 14 Dec 2016 3

Knowing My Roots

One of my first memories of my Dad’s Dad, Grandpa H, is visiting the log cabin home on a mountainside in Oregon, middle of winter, a wood-burning stove in the corner, Grandma H in the kitchen and Him sitting in his comfy chair, watching TV, and hitting “Mute” on the remote for commercial breaks. She brings over a heavy medical blue, rubber ice pack; he holds it to his head. He breathes deep, eyes narrow. When the show comes back, he clicks the “Mute” again to bring back the volume. Considering he towered over me, something like 6’3” and 230 of natural Big-White- Boy, even as...

J.E. Clarke 07 Dec 2016 4

Once one’s been in the writing game for several years, one trick of the trade shines crystal clear:

Always start one’s articles with some pithy insight.  Just a few choice bon mots are all you need: cherry picked to ring profound.

At the end of the day, it’s a marketing case of “less is more”: a repurposing of insights originated by brilliant men and women who once blazed the path you now tread. An insight which – when wielded right – lights the way to knowledge, achievement… and much more.

In that tradition, I’ll begin this post with a hip-hop quote from two old school prophets known as Rob...

6String Mercenary 30 Nov 2016 3

It only took a small mention on the radio, but the story described sank a harpoon into my memory: "A Texas Woman racked up several thousand dollars of credit card debt, and rather than tell her husband, who was about to go buy a boat and find out, she shot and killed him…according to a jury she has been found guilty…"

Wait, wait, what?! That’s a pretty strange way of problem solving — I mean, yeah maybe that’s some Jerry Springer type relationship dynamics…but wow…wake up, thinking happy thoughts about buying a boat, then BAM like out of a Johnny Cash song.

As life tends to do, I had plenty...

CJ Walley 28 Nov 2016 5

We’ve all seen and heard it, within every screenwriting community, “You have to grow a thick skin to survive this industry!” “This industry is desperate for high quality scripts!” “It takes years to break into this industry?”

This industry.

What does your screenwriting dream look like? Is it red carpets and strobing flash bulbs outside the Dolby Theatre? Is it hustling through the studios of Burbank, script in one hand and coffee in the other as you pace your way onto set? Is it running into your heroes and talking the night away on Sunset strip? Is it shielding your eyes from the sun as you...

Tony Cella 23 Nov 2016 3

I've had producers ask me to fund short films I wrote.

I've had producers ask me to pay them to work with me on short films I wrote.

I've had producers tell me they don't have money for the script, but love it and want to produce it then send me an option contract that lasts “in perpetuity”, a.k.a. forever.

I've also had producers pay me for short films.

Early on in my film career, which didn't start until in earnest until I was in my mid-20's, I read that screenwriters were never paid for short scripts. The concept astounded me because I'd been paid sums for journalistic pieces and had short...

J.E. Clarke 16 Nov 2016 2

Okay Ladies, hunker down. It’s time to let this shit get real.

Warning – major factoid on its way. How long’s it been since “realistic portrayals of women” became the major “social issue” in film? 

Was it the early nineties; with the epic Feminist impact of Thelma and Louise? (BTW, if you’re Millennial and haven’t seen that flick – you owe yourself to stream it. Now.)

Because – as of 2016 – while some of the superficial annoyances have lessened… portrayals of women in film are still rarely real.

Alan Mehanna 08 Nov 2016 4

Over the past several days, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Banque du Liban (Bank of Lebanon) Accelerate Technology and Innovation Conference, a melting pot of tech savvy innovators, start-ups, and all around smart successful people come to meet chat and collaborate.

One of the speakers at the TechCon was none other than the co-founder of Apple himself, Steve "The Woz" Wozniak. In his talk, "The Woz" said the following, "If you're not embarrassed by your first product, you're not advancing and you're not learning".

This one statement stuck with me, and resonated deeply. Yes, you...

J.E. Clarke 07 Nov 2016 0

Here ye, here ye!

As an added benefit to Shootin' The Short’s recent partnership with Script Revolution, we’re officially on the lookout for some great STS Showcase reviewers… to be featured on both the STS Blog and the SR sites.

Here’s the Good, The Not-At-All-Bad, and the Very-Definitely-Not Ugly:

Who’s Needed: Reviewers – both new or veteran – who are enthused at the prospect of reading honestly good scripts, and putting together compelling reviews to help them get picked up and produced. (And coordinating with STS Editor in Chief J.E. Clarke to make sure that review is the absolute best...

Alan Mehanna 02 Nov 2016 2

I have been getting quite irritated lately with the way audiences have been complaining about recent films, and serialized content. Sure, I am guilty of criticizing, and sharing my opinion but I have always been the kind of audience member that seeks to enjoy what I am watching. I don't know whether I am just way too forgiving, or naive, but I sometimes feel like I rather enjoy content that others do not.

How about I give you an example?

Throughout this entire season of Game of Thrones - don't worry I shall spoil nothing - many watchers complained about this season being too slow, or too...

J.E. Clarke 01 Nov 2016 0

To all short script fans, post-Halloween fiends and peeps – now is the time for all good writers to come to the aid of their craft. (Anyone who doesn’t get that historical reference: for shame!)

That is, TODAY is the day that Script Revolution officially partners with Shootin’ the Shorts. The STS Blog will continue to exist and thrive – but now with a spectacular and growing site at its side.

Officially, all shorts uploaded on Script Revolution will have access to submitting to STS as well.

Check out the Script Revolution STS Feed here; https://www.scriptrevolution.com/shootin-the-shorts

J.E. Clarke 27 Oct 2016 3

As a screenwriter - who no doubt scours Inktips and Craigslist for gigs - what do you see the most requests for?  I mean, besides Limited Location Thriller films? Or Faith Based and Found Footage tales?

Inevitably, it’s Horror that wins the game of numbers. Not to mention money - sometimes. Which isn’t at all surprising: Horror’s a genre that’s historically raked in ticket sales.

And low budget Horror often scores huge success. Consider this, if you will (feel free to throw in your best Rod Serling imitation while you read out loud):