Articles Tagged Scriptwriting

Do I need a business plan?

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Dear Doc Doctor: I’ve been asked for a business plan for my documentary. I thought those types of things were only for fiction films. Do I really need to write one? Documentary makers are finally seeing the effects of the recent growth of the documentary market. It’s a unique moment in history. Similar to independent… Read more »

The Many Shades of Ira Sachs

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Ira Sachs won’t let me watch him bum cigarettes. We’ve spoken for hours—about what it was like to grow up gay and Jewish in Memphis, the benefits of 15 years with the same therapist, and how it feels to have his 68-year-old father date 20-year-old women. Sachs, eager for a smoke before noon, also shamelessly… Read more »

On the Same Page

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Earlier this year, I got a call from a friend of a friend—a former executive producer of a children’s television show. He asked me, “Are you interested in writing for television?” The truth was that writing for television had never been one of my goals, exactly, but the idea of emerging from my isolated writer’s… Read more »

Turning Books into Scripts

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Scott Heim’s 1995 novel, Mysterious Skin, makes for an unlikely film. The story of two eight-year-olds from Kansas who are sexually molested by their little league coach is dark and sad, rife with poignant and haunting detail. To cope, one boy imagines that he was abducted by a UFO and lost five hours of his… Read more »

What Rolled Up Must Come Down

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Written by? Created by? Screenplay by? Screen credit can define a writer’s career—in fact, the exact words that rolled up the screen after his/her last project often determines a writer’s next gig and salary. Given the time and high stakes involved in writing for film and television, especially when little compensation is involved, credit becomes… Read more »

Back to Feature

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A long time ago, in a film school far, far away (from NYU), a young man with big dreams and a small bank account made a short film with a long title. His name was George. And in 1970, between graduating USC’s School of Cinema and pursuing a master’s, George made the student award-winning Electronic… Read more »

Piecing It Together

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Shortly after Jean-Luc Godard released Breathless in1960, an exasperated journalist said to the young director: “Surely you think that a film should have a beginning, middle, and end.” “Yes,” Godard replied after a moment, “but not necessarily in that order.” Those words not only launched the French New Wave but have since inspired thousands of… Read more »

What if nobody "gets" my film?

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Dear Doc Doctor: Nobody seems to like my film—they say it’s unclear and hard to follow. Why aren’t they getting the story? If people are “not liking your story,” you have to accept it. If people are “not getting your story,” you have to work on it. Knowing the difference… as priceless as a packed… Read more »

Q/A: Luke Wilson

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Sometimes my friend Laura Donovan will call me out of the blue and just say these two words: “Macaw! Macaw!” Circa 1997, Laura told me about a small “independent” film called Bottle Rocket (An “independent” film? Fascinating. Do go on.) The film (which gained recognition almost entirely by word of mouth after its Columbia Pictures… Read more »

Secrets and LIES

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You have become the thing that you have mocked. That’s a paraphrase of a famous Shakespeare line, and it’s also a line that often popped into my head after I became a script and story analyst. By choosing to work on the development side of film, I had allied myself with the “thing” most screenwriters… Read more »