Voice Matters3

By Angel Orono

The year is 1992 and “Batman Returns” is cleaning up at the box office... This was when I became fully aware of the unique voice of screenwriter Daniel Waters.  For those unfamiliar with his career, Waters exploded into Hollywood with the classic black teen comedy “Heathers”.  He would, unfortunately, follow up with a pair of box office flops, “Hudson Hawk” and “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane”.  You can say what you want about those films, but they are quirky and oddball as they come, for better or worse.  Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the uniqueness of both, but at that point in time I was barely aware they even shared the same screenwriter.  It was definitely “Batman Begins” that made me take real notice of Water’s writing.  And why, you ask?

“Batman Returns” was a follow-up to the film that had reminded Hollywood that superhero movies could be epic events and bring in a half-billion dollars just in U.S. box office alone.    The film was also fairly straightforward, save for Jack Nicholson’s off-the-wall performance as “The Joker”.  On the other hand, “Returns” feels more like a dark, twisted fairy tale that caters much more to the taste of director Tim Burton.  It also has an abundance of strange quirks and tics that seem apropos of nothing.  Still, these idiosyncratic, amusing moments are prevalent for those who look for them (Case in point: Pfeiffer’s character has a neon sign in her apartment reading “Hello Kitty”...Peculiar enough, but wait...When she returns, in the wake of her “Catwoman” transformation, the “o” has burned out on the neon sign and it now reads “Hell Kitty”.) ...In a multi-million dollar franchise film that is intended to cater to the masses.. And those are the Daniel Waters moments.


Voice Matters

By Angel Orona

 

“EXT. POSH BEVERLY HILLS HOME – TWILIGHT

The kind of house that I’ll buy if this movie is a huge hit.”

The above is now legendary stage direction for 22-year-old’s Shane Black’s first screenplay “Lethal Weapon”, which became a monster hit in 1987 and would go on to spawn several sequels.  He was paid a quarter of a million dollars, and it would kick off a screenwriting (and eventually directing) career that many a Hollywood wordsmiths would kill to have...Myself included.

Being of a certain age, I remember all this quite well.  It was a huge inspiration in fueling my own screenwriting aspirations, despite being only in my mid-teens at the time. 

It was also the first time I would be introduced to what is a screenwriter’s “voice”.

If you’ve seen any of Black’s numerous action movies over the years you know that his films are just as well known for their sharp, witty dialogue as they are for his explosive, camera-ready action-driven set pieces.  If you’re read any of his scripts (and if you’re aspiring towards the action genre then it is a must!)  you know his humorous nature carries over into his stage direction as well.  Keep in mind that none of these amusing asides will make it into the completed feature film.  The only people seeing them are those involved in developing and producing the film, but they give the script some flair that makes it stand out, and more importantly, it makes the experience of reading the script immersive and memorable.


6 Ways to Market and Brand Yourself

by Joel Mendoza

In such a competitive industry, how you decide to brand and market yourself as a screenwriter can be the difference between success and failure.  Not every showbiz folk is a self-aggrandizing attention seeker, nor have even the slightest inclination to promote oneself, but it’s essential you find ways to make your presence known and to stand out in a crowded field.

Additionally, as you begin to implement some of the tools below, it is equally important that you think about the image you want to portray and how you want to be seen by your peers in the industry. It’s important you let people know what kind of a writer you are; a big idea genre writer, or do you gear your image towards crafting more nuanced, character driven drama. Perhaps you have a natural ability to craft smart, fast paced dialogue that pops off the page, or maybe you’re the comedy man that has a larger-than-life laugh.  Don’t be so specific or so niche in your taste as to have limited appeal. What’s important is that whoever you are and whatever you write, your marketing ultimately reflects where you want to go and how you want to be seen.

As you can see, marketing yourself and getting yourself out there are an important part of building your presence, raising your profile, and getting noticed in the industry. Here are 6 ways to build your brand and market yourself as a serious screenwriter.


Fear Not The Big Rewrite

By Luke Warrington        

So, you’ve just finished the first draft of your latest—or first—screenplay. Mazel tov! You’ve done it. Time to slap on a cover page, connect it with some brass fasteners, and send it out to anyone you may know with some semblance of Hollywood connections, right? Eh, maybe we should pump the brakes a bit.

While typing “Fade Out” on a first draft is an exciting time (seriously, be proud of yourself), the work isn’t quite finished yet. Usually (read: always), the first draft of a screenplay is just that: the first draft. After all, writing is rewriting, as the adage goes. But how do you know which areas of the script need to be rewritten? And just how much rewriting needs to happen? Both fair questions, to be sure, and certainly questions you’ll be more comfortable answering, the more you write. In my experience, there are two people you should listen to when it comes to making decisions on rewrites: yourself and others. I know, not super insightful, but humor me for a minute.

First and foremost, as a writer, you are in complete control of your story (at least at this point in the screenwriting process). You get to decide anything and everything that happens within the pages of your script. That means, no matter what direction you receive from others, you have the final say on what shape the piece will ultimately take. With that said, having spent so much time with the story, typing away day after day, it can be hard to be objective about it yourself. Which is where the second person—errr, people—you should listen to comes in.


SLOTS Wraps Production

 

After being selected a Finalist of the Fresh Voices Short Script competition in 2020, 'Slots' attracted producer Maryam Ghorbankarimi from Bina Film to the project and the crew has just wrapped production.

Set and shot in the picturesque North West England, 'Slots' written by Anthony Povah, tells the story of Chris and Peter, two middle-aged middle managers who share a commute and dream of escaping routine and responsibility for a day, and ultimately learning that joy can be found in the smallest of things and strangest of places. 'Slots' is a story that commuters everywhere will easily relate to.

Written by Anthony Povah and featuring music by Animal Collective, 'Slots' is the first film from Canadian/Iranian producer Maryam Ghorbankarimi under the reborn Bina Film brand.


Meet Wigham Foothill

 

Last month, Wigham Foothill won the 2020 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition Grand Prize Award by applying his highly cinematic voice to a true-story miniseries about the larger-than-life character of Charles Ponzi.

We finally had a chance to speak with Wigham, or as he’s known when not writing, Josh Durst-Weisman, to find out a little more about his background, the inspiration for his winning script, his process in writing, and just what makes him tick.

When not writing, or enjoying time with his wife, Josh spends time developing his youtube channel, Class Act Screenwriting, which I would urge you all to visit and support.

 

Hi Josh, congratulations on your big win. Before I ask what you’ll do with the prize money, I wanted to ask a little about your inspiration for the film. In a world where life-rights are sold based on name alone and stories based on real people are hot, it seems like Charles Ponzi is such an obvious choice for a biopic, I can’t believe it hasn’t been done.  What was your inspiration for writing PONZI and how long have you been working on the script?


2020 SHORT SCRIPT WINNER SHILOS WAR COMPLETES PRODUCTION

 

WATCH THE FILM HERE!

We recently had the chance to see the final cut of Nick Denbeigh’s award winning short, SHILO’S WAR, winner of the 2020 Fresh Voices Short Script Competition. The short features outstanding production values and solid acting resulting in an engaging short about brotherhood, survival, and PTSD that is ultimately both moving and memorable.

We had already certified the script “Fresh”, but to see the finished product really blew us away. The film is superbly shot and edited, featuring incredibly cinematic locations and a wardrobe and make-up team that elevates the entire production.

We were so impressed on so many levels we had to sit down with Nick and find out how he pulled such an impressive production together, no less during a pandemic! Please makee sure you watch and support the film at https://www.nickdenbeigh.com/shiloswar.


Grand Prize Winner 3

HOLLYWOOD, CA.            4/08/21

Wigham Foothill, better known to his friends as Josh Durst-Weisman, was crowned the Grand Prize Winner of the 2020-21 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition for his 1 Hr TV Pilot, PONZI, the first TV Pilot to be Awarded the honor in Fresh Voices’ twelve-year history. The script was selected from over 1,300 entries.


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