Saturday, March 25, 2006



HUGE DISCLAIMER (for the hysterical ninnies more than for anyone possessed of more than two brain cells): Yes, William Goldman said nobody knows anything in Hollywood and yes, the pros do it so why can't you (if you're just breaking in) and yes, people with literary sticks up their behinds when it comes to The Rules should get a life and yes, there are no rules in Hollywood.

And having just said all that...

Didn't your teacher ever tell you in school, "Neatness counts." Sure, the teacher said that. And when you learned how to write a resume, you knew you didn't want erasures or globs of white-out or typos or bad spelling to predominate. Maybe you have a professional occupation or hourly wage job where appearance matters? As in, you are supposed to have good hygiene and clean clothes or uniform and nicely groomed hair. And why is that?

It's because you want to make as professional an impression as you possibly can. Knock the socks off the boss. Be the most professional in attitude, appearance and job performance and let the losers eat your dust.

So why do you suppose that "rule" would stop at the front gate to Hollywood? Hint: It doesn't. And it matters even more for new writers just starting out, hoping to get through Somebody's door to opportunity. You may not yet be a PAID professional writer but you must still be a professional.

Your best first impression, Writer, is with your words, your work, your precious baby that you are now handing off to a reader or other gatekeeper. Why would you want to create anything less than a professional first impression of your work?

Neatness really does count, you know. So does being able to demonstrate that you speak "writerspeak," that basic standard possibly boring stuff known collectively as "craftsmanship." It really does help facilitate the reader's job and everyone else's job if all the kajillion offerings of scripts they must plow through adhere to some basics.

Some of those basics have to do with format (WHAT goes WHERE on the page, how many spaces for the tab, what gets capitalized, etc.).

Some of those basics have to do with structure and here it can get a bit dicey since some writers are more given to traditional Hollywood movie structure and other writers' comfort zones veer off in a whole new way. It's all good.

But if you are the beginner, it probably is a good idea to show the mucky-mucks that you know how to play the basic game FIRST before you get all experimental or non-traditional on them. Hollywood decision makers are the nervous type. They need lots and lots of reassurance and you can give them that by proving you know how to play by their standard. Showing them that you can do that with the mundane stuff also reassures them that you might even know how to tell a story.

Your screenplay must show perfect craftmanship. If you can do that, your script will rise to the top of the garbage heap. You will be noticed.

To assist you, I offer a link here to a "plot point checklist" that someone has devised as a sort of guide to help you keep your structure focused until you reach The End. Mind you, this is one person only who has devised this guide and you may have found yet another one that explains the basics even better than this one. Stick with what keeps you on the professional high road.

Good luck to you, keep plugging away at it, never give up.

Here is the "Plot Point Checklist."

The American Short Story: A Selective Chronology

The American Short Story: A Selective Chronology

Includes:1830-1865--Romantic Period
1865-1900--Realistic Period
1900-1910--Naturalistic Period
1910-1945--Period of Modernism
1945-1963--Postwar Period
1963-1980--"Confessional" Period
1980-?--Period of Postmodernism Of Critical Interest

To Live and Die in L.A.

To Live and Die in L.A.

Information leaks, bid-rigging, pumping and dumping. Just another day inside the secret network that will make or break you in Hollywood.

By Ben Mezrich

I'm at a party, and it's as crowded as it is glamorous. Elbowing my way to the balcony for a breath of fresh air, I gaze down at the unreal scene below: Fur coats draped over pink tank tops, sable hoods dyed to match, Gucci boots with impossibly high heels, designer cell phones in waterproof holsters, pashmina scarves, sunglasses hanging from platinum straps. Nobody seems to care that it's 30 degrees outside, with a stiff wind sweeping down from the mountains. There's enough star power here to keep everyone warm: Matt Damon, Tobey Maguire, Kate Hudson, J.Lo, Ben Affleck.

"Welcome to fucking Sundance," somebody next to me says. I turn to see Dana Brunetti, who's also watching the crowd. Brunetti is a producer with, Kevin Spacey's production company. He's the reason I was able to get past the black-clad goon at the door.

The truth is, I don't belong here. I am not a Hollywood player. I am a writer from Boston, a novelist and occasional journalist. Over the past few years, like a million other struggling writers out there, I have chased the dream of breaking into the movie business. I've collected hundreds of rejection slips from agents, producers, and studios. Recently, all this changed. I wrote an article last year called "Hacking Las Vegas" (Wired 10.09), and the next thing I know I'm being approached to turn it into a movie starring Spacey. (We're in the very early stages of negotiating a deal.) I want to believe that Hollywood sat up and took notice of my talent and hard work. But I've heard rumors that have made me question my confidence - whispers of a dirty little industry practice that has brought me here to Utah on a mission both personal and journalistic.

I've been tipped to the network of semisecret cyberhallways, called tracking boards, that are open only to the most elite power players in the industry. In simplest terms, these boards are sophisticated chat rooms and BBSes where high-level executives at various studios trade information about potential projects.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Found this handy-dandy little website a long time ago, filed the url away, forgot about it and just now rediscovered it so here you go... it may be useful to somebody because you just never know.

FROM THEIR WEBSITE: Write a great resume online! In today's competitive job market, a well-written resume is the single most important factor in getting your foot in the door and on your way to landing the perfect position. Resume BUILDER and PUBLISHER gives you the tools to create, print, e-mail and fax your resume, quickly and easily, all in one convenient location - online! Get expert guidance on writing your resume: industry and occupation-specific advice and recommendations for your personal career situation, at no extra cost. Don't miss out on that once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity - get started today!



Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Are You a Romance Writer?

If you are an established writer or just starting out, check out BellaOnline's resources for romance writers at their website or their online messageboard at Delphi.

The Screenwriting Conference in Santa Fe

The Screenwriting Conference
in Santa Fe

Simply the Best Screenwriting
Conference in the World
May 31st - June 4th, 2006

Screenwriting Symposium - The emphasis here is on perfecting the art and craft of screenwriting. This is an extraordinary learning experience. MENTOR CLASSES: Choose one of our six world-class screenwriting Mentors for 9 hours of in-depth, interactive classroom instruction. ACADEMY LABS: Elite 12-hour Academy Labs, each limited to ten advanced students. Over thirty 90-minute specialized workshops. Live scene readings of our Actors Choice Award winners. Mingle at social events with Hollywood writers and Producers who are here to meet and help you.

The Hollywood Connection - The emphasis here is on marketing your screenplay. Learn how, and then pitch to Hollywood Producers, Agents and Managers. Attend two Producer panel discussions. Join in four 90-minute workshops for strategies to market you and your screenplay in Hollywood. Pitch in private to 20 Hollywood Producers, Agents and Managers who are looking for material and writers to represent.


Have questions? CALL 866.424.1501


The Lodge at Santa Fe is the SCSFe host hotel. Click here for room rates, reservations and hotel information.