Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category


Who Knew?

August 17, 2009

I was perusing TV Tropes today, and I stumbled across Chandler’s Law:

“When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.”

Granted, the two out of three times I invoke this trope, it’s a woman, but still.  It’s amazing how these ideas seep into your brain, without you even knowing.

Also, the Chandler’s Law page features this awesome picture:


I like how he has the machine gun, just in case the pistol isnt enough.

I bet they won't see this coming...



Actual movie update– Don, Pez, Kirrily, and I did a lot of work with the music last night.  The first half of the film is essentially done.  Pez insists he has a few more tweaks to do, because he’s a perfectionist, but I think it sounds great.

I’ll be posting that section of the movie just as Don is able to upload it.


Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed

April 18, 2009

I started Day 3 at 6:30 this morning. After feeding Felix, I banged out a quick draft for next week’s shoot.

Yesterday, Danny, Curt, and I scouted next week’s location, which will be Curt’s aunt’s house. (She’s a very lovely lady, and we’re grateful she’s opening her house to us.)

Her house will play as both Archie’s and Flint’s homes. After seeing some of the geography, we decided a quick rewrite was in order.

Originally, Don’s office (where he is editing the film) was going to play as Flint’s office, but we decided it didn’t match the kitchen we’d be using next week.

So, today is turning into a light day, with only Shooter’s apartment and some voice over to film.

We’ll see if it turns out tpo be as easy as it sounds.



April 9, 2009

I revised the script again.  Basically, I rewrote the flashbacks that happen late in the movie, when Shooter is bleeding to death.  They never really worked, especially the one where Angel and Archie are sitting in Shooter’s back seat.  It was supposed to show Shooter going crazy, but no one ever got it.

So, I combined that with Angel bleeding to death, which plays much better, I think.  I changed the location of the gambling scene, because Curt told me about a more appropriate place that was available.

Lastly, I wrote a whole new scene where Archie introduces Shooter to Angel.  I like it, I think, because it shows a different aspect of Angel and Shooter’s relationship.

I’ll upload it later today, so you can read it yourself.


Things I Learned During Casting…

March 23, 2009

…besides the fact that no one knows how to pronounce “gauche.”

It Helps to Write in English

Like Harrison Ford supposedly said to George Lucas on the set of Star Wars: “You can write this dialogue, George, but you sure as hell can’t say it.”

“Skillful” is darn near impossible to use in a sentence.  I changed the word to “skilled.”

“Sorry, not part of the job,” on page 4, did not work.  At all.  Shooter sounds cold and cruel, with no regard for Angel at all.  Thus, it’s now, “Sorry, not this time.”

“If this were real, he’d be dead by now,” sounds strange.  Something about the cadence.  “…He’d be ead already” works better.

There are a few other minor changes I’ve made.  You can see them in the latest draft, which is online now.

Other Actors Make a Difference

We already knew the seven actors we called back were good.  That’s why we called them back.  But once they were performing against another actor, they were fantastic.  We’ve had a hell of a time deciding which Angel/Shooter pairing we like best.  Which is, of course, a great problem to have.

(Nothing against Becca’s readings, of course; she was reading the same lines over and over, for hours on end.  The few times I read were universally terrible.)

Page Count is Meaningless

I wrote a two-and-a-half page scene for callbacks.  The actual auditions took between a minute and a minute and a half.  The script is 19 pages long, and I have no idea how long it will actually be on the screen.

Cazt is Awesome

I’ve mentioned Cazt before, but I don’t think I’ve explained their business model.  They have four or five rooms where you can hold auditions.  They don’t charge the production to use these rooms.  All you have to do is keep the place clean, record your casting sessions, and make a few notes about each actor.

They make their money by charging the actors to see those auditions and notes.  The actors can go to the website, pay a monthly fee, and watch their own auditions for every show at Cazt.  They also get to read the casting director’s notes, which are hopefully honest and helpful.  (We tried to be both.)

If you’re making a short or independent film, I highly recommend them.



January 26, 2009

When you write an independent movie, you have to consider practicalities: limited locations, limited cast, limited action. Basically, you want to write two people talking in a room.

Ethan Hawke can't believe Uma Thurman agreed to be in a movie with him.

Ethan Hawke can't believe Uma Thurman agreed to be in a movie with him.

I didn’t follow the rules strictly, but still, a good quarter of the movie is Shooter moping around in his apartment. I thought I’d be okay.

After last week’s disastrous location scout, I’ve come to realize I wasn’t quite as practical as I thought. To avoid paying for locations, I’m going to have to rewrite the opening scenes to take place where can actually film them.

At first, I thought this isn’t a big deal. The locations weren’t particularly important to the story or the theme. They just seemed like cool places to shoot.

I realize now that I’m faced with a crisitunity. Since I’m going to rewrite the scenes to fit the new locations, I can come up with meaningful ones.

Now I just have to figure out what that meaning is.


What’s in a Name?

January 14, 2009

In the very early stages of writing, Mandelbaum and Manfred were just Man 1 and Man 2.

As their parts grew, particularly Manfred, it felt inappropriate to stick them with generic monikers.  How could I give Man 2 a unique and interesting voice?

On top of that, I knew I wanted to make this movie, which meant I would have to cast it, eventually.  And really, who would want to play Man 2?  Being an actor is degrading enough without being reduced to a plot device.

Still, I thought it was funny to name them each Man-something.  Because I am a nerd.



January 13, 2009

If you’ve read both the first draft and the current draft of the script, you may have noticed some changes. (Of course, it’d be weird if there weren’t any changes, huh?) I thought it might behoove me to explain those.

A lot of the little character tweaks come at the advice of my writers’ group. Those guys are always complaining about “trite dialogue” and “two dimensional characters.” Yeesh.

There were only two real structural changes: the Carson sequence and the final confrontation.

I added Carson because several people (including myself) thought it was too easy for Shooter to just pick a name off a list. I did a little research into pick pocketing, and came up with the scene you see now.

Curiously, one of the people who suggested that I add the scene also thought I should cut the part with Shooter changing his outfit and running around the block. I didn’t understand this at all. If he just snatches Carson’s phone, it’s boring. Worse, it’s easy. The whole purpose of the scene is for Shooter to earn it.

The new ending occurred to me very late in the game. I don’t know why. It seems obvious, now, that the filmhas to end with a face off. I guess that sort of discovery is just part of the process.