Friday, April 6, 2012

Is more expensive better when it comes to screenwriting software?

Screenplay format is crucial. I have no idea how the hell people in the old Hollywood days wrote screenplays with typewriters. I guess you get used to what you get used to; like cold weather. After a week of using Final Draft Software I have to say it operates a little more smoothly than other software I've used. I haven't had much of a chance to try out many of its features, but, I have found it a little more intuitive.

In the past several years I have used Celtx (free), Five Sprockets (almost useless web-based software), Movie Magic (great stuff!), and one more piece of freeware the name of which escapes me. You know, tonight at 2 a.m. I'll remember. It was something like Cinewriter? Honestly it worked pretty well. You can also use templates in MS Word or a similar word processing program if you are savvy enough. I'm not :) Google docs also has a template out there but I couldn't really get it to work. Google docs have their place, especially if you want to collaborate with someone. I think a lot of the free and commerical software (including Final Draft) also allow collaboration. My biggest gripe with Celtx was with the pdf rendering.

I'm curious about what my readers use and why. I chose FD because my understanding is that it is becoming the industry standard. Interestingly there is a great wikipedia page out there that lists a lot of the programs and web utilities out there.

I'll shut up now.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pink Slime Day

You know, I joined an organic co-op last year and I'm glad I did. I've always been pretty health minded. Sure, I could down a pound of chips and wash it down with Coke, no problem. But pretty much when I eat a bag of chips, I know what I'm eating. Potatoes. Heck, they're natural. Maybe a pesticide or two (in trace form no doubt). But I'm eating potatoes, salt, and oil. When my kid, or yours I care about them too, goes to school and gets those cheeseburger sliders though? Yuck. Pink Slime. It makes me cringe. I do know that most of the hubub regarding Pink Slime is a social-media gone-viral phenomenon. But, when McDonalds rejects meat byproducts, but, the USDA "approves them" for school lunches (took a bribe maybe?), I have a huge problem with that. Essentially pink slime is a bunch of questionable meat that gets warmed up, ground up, and gets ammonia gas injected through it to sterilize it. Tell me, where is the bacteria coming from? The consumer isn't that stupid. I doubt the meat is coming from cattle rectum/viscera, although it could be. God knows it could be. But, it just might be coming from the floor of the "cutting room" where the animal is butchered. I love meat. I have a right to eat it. But, something that is going on my dinner plate should have no contact with E. coli, or, the manure it comes from. It might be "safe" to eat, but, if a strain of bacteria manages to slip by the deadly ammonia gas chambers of the meat industry, there might be more fallout than the baked-on crust on your meatloaf pan. It's kind of like over medicating people with antibiotics. It is quite possibly where the deadly strains of flesh eating E. coli came from. If the bacteria wasn't there to start with they wouldn't need to kill it. End of story.

So what can be done about this problem? Well, National Pink Slime Day of course! If everyone wore pink one day just think of the attention it would get. The water cooler conversations alone would get thousands of people on the same wavelength. I guess a pink pink slime t-shirt would be even better. And, when you order that steak, get it medium rare (aka pink) and get a pink lemonade. At the salad bar, get some ham too. It's pink.

I'll shut up now.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It has been a long time

It has been a long time since I've visited you on my blog. In the past several months I promised
Bob Sinnott a fellow peer reviewer from American Zoetrope to mention his fantastic slasher film Grade Point Dead. Look forward to it on the Internet. In fact, look for it in a theater near you some day. I believe this guy is quite talented. Bob has also written a book called THE EX AND THE WHY. Here is the Amazon link for it.

Since it is not 2012 and the last entry I made was in 2011, I'm going to make a short list of resolutions.

1. To write a LOT this year.

2. To watch a LOT of movies this year. There is a list of 200 movies on Julie Grey's site that I want actually try to watch. They're supposed to be a bunch of movies that are like the "duh you haven't seen North by Northwest?"

3, To do more peer review on Zoetrope and Zoetrope-like sites.

4. To forget about the fact that I don't live in Hollywood. Last time I checked there were movies made every day in other states. You only need to look to guys like Carl Dupre in Rhode Island who wrote Detroit Rock City (the movie), the Hellraiser series, and most recently, Inkubus, for inspiration. Visit his site and check out his films.

5. To work on my blog more.

All for now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting back into the swing of things.

I'm reading a great horror script right now and hope to give it a review very soon. I really do miss the peer reviewer community at the American Zoetrope website. Reading scripts, both professional and unprofessional, is the best way to learn to write them.

I'm reminded of the first review I ever got from a really nasty nasty person on Zoetrope. Thankfully not everyone out there in Internetlandia turned out to be that way. Anyway, if all goes well and I have permission from the author I'll put up some of his info so you can read his stuff.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A new script! Yaay.

Wow finally decided to work on a new script. One thing that I've recently learned is that the hardest thing in the world for a writer to do is to not be afraid to throw out your babies. If something isn't refreshing, fun, inspiring, put it aside, or give it a toss.

It really is a daunting task to start a new script after working on one for a long time. It is a lot more fun to say you wrote one, or to read what you've written, than to actually fill in the white space. What helps though is a good outline. A couple of months ago I purchased The Coffee Break Screenwriter (Pilar Alessandra). That book was very helpful to me. I started on the body of my script last night and basically have about 13 pages so far just by pasting my outline into Celtx and filling in some of the space between the sluglines. Only 90 or so pages of filler to go!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We Never Sleep

And now I know why I saw Stephen King with a shirt that says "We Never Sleep". It's a little after 5 a.m. and I'm rarin' tah go *******YAWN*****

The only way that I will really ever write anything is to get off my sleeping butt/back and do it. I've forgotten that since I'm not actually paid to write that I don't have the luxury of sleeping to whenever I want, having a leisurely breakfast of coffee and cigarettes (not that I smoke, this is purely "fantasy"), and then writing my epic from nine to noon, then sleeping in, wash, rinse, repeat, that I just need to get up at 5 every once in a while.

I bet Stephen King never sleeps anyway. Okay, coffee's ready. I heard the last gurgle.

**sip** I'm back.

Currently I'm in the middle of a re-read of "Catch of The Day". I've cut a lot from it and expect to finish the re-read by the end of the weekend. Okay... I need to stop this and actually work on it.

Speaking of Stephen King, here I go... Sorry, one last thing. What am I reading? All good writers read, right? Yes! I just finished the original Star Wars (as in episode iv). George Lucas has an unbelievable sense of story and his vocabulary is a Webster's dictionary. A visual poet really. I like the part on page 1 (or so) where he describes Tatooine as a "something something something lambent topaz". Really how beautiful. Now I've moved on to Dune. That's a re-read and a long one.

Okay, now I feel better.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Been a Looonnng Time

Wow I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted on here. I'm really ashamed! Since we last "spoke" I joined a great site that has monthly 5 page script contests. Last month's contest was very challenging and a lot of fun. This month I have to write a script about an inanimate object, dead animal, etc., that comes to life. I hope to instill nightmares in my peer judges.

It's also generally known as the contest season right now in the screenwriting world. I bet half of the script writers out there are preparing for the Bluecat contest. I'm no exception. It is one of a growing number of contests which gives feedback for your scripts.

Next week I'll be taking a class with Peter Fox in Red Bank, NJ. It should be really exciting to be able to learn something new. I'm hoping for big inspiration!