I haven’t written a new song for a little while. So I roughly recorded this immediately on GarageBand using the inbuilt MacBook mic. It’s writing, but not as we know it. So here it is.
The first screenplay I ever sold was something I’d written with Chris Matheson, my sometimes writing partner. It was Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. And we had a meeting with a director who had some really lame ideas. And Chris and I said, ‘I don’t think that would really work.’ And this director said, ‘Well, if you don’t think that’s a good idea, we’ll find some writers who do think it’s a good idea.
Ed Solomon in 2007
“It’s my belief that there should be a chain of command on a film set, but not a chain of respect. I have worked as the lowest member of a film crew and been treated as a no-class citizen by the ‘above the line people. The experience was unpleasant but illuminating.”
Taken from “Fast, Cheap & Under Control: Lessons Learned From The Greatest Low-Budget Movies Of All Time” by John Gaspard.
- Always move forward. If you have a problem, type through it.
- Only take a break after something good happens on the page or you accomplish a goal. No breaks for confusion: type through it.
- Ten pages a day minimum.
- Only go back to add something. Do not remove contradictions, just make a note.
- Do it. Suffer, live, cry, struggle.
- Have fun.
Taken from “Fast, Cheap & Under Control: Lessons Learnt from the Greatest Low-Budget Movies of All Time” by John Gaspard.
I particularly concur with 1 and 2 especially when working on a First Draft. If you keep stopping to ‘fix’ things you never get to the end. A First Draft should practically spew out.
Alfred Hitchcock has a reputation as an ‘auteur’ i.e. he liked the theory that he was the sole ‘creator’ of his films so it came as a surprise to see the following quote by him in a book about writing with him:
The most enjoyable part of making a picture is in that little office, with the writer, when we are discussing the story-lines and what we’re going to put on the screen. The big difference is that I do not let the writer go off on his own and just write a script that I will interpret. I stay involved with him and get him involved with the direction of the picture; he becomes part maker of the picture.
Writing With Hitchcock, The Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and John Michael Hayes by Steven DeRosa, (New York, 2001)
Ben Hecht (writer: Underworld, Scarface, The Front Page, Gunga Din, Spellbound, Notorious) promoted a literary debate one night with the poet Maxwell Bodenheim, the advertised subject: People Who Attend Literary Debates Are Imbeciles. Hecht waited for the audience to settle, counted to ten, then announced, “The Affirmative Rests.”
Bodenheim crossed to the podium, regarded the house, and replied, “You win.”
The two left the stage together, pocketing their fee.
From What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting by Marc Norman (London, 2007)
Some encouraging comments from the judges at Gimme Credit International Screenplay Competition on QUICKSAND:
“Great concept. Horrifying scenario… Not having dialogue adds to the appeal for foreign audiences – no subtitles needed! Could be done much less expensively as animation and could be just as horrifyingly effective.”
“This script recreates the old Perils of Pauline silent serials and makes a biting point about today’s society. A busy New Yorker finds himself stuck in quicksand and can’t get anyone to help him because they’re all in too much of a rush. There’s no dialogue but the point is always clear. This is a fun a script that one can easily picture winning awards at a film festival.”
Just found out my screenplay Quicksand made Finalist in this relatively well known competition in screenwriting circles in the Super Short Category, just outside the top three. Pleased that it was recognised as I thought it was a tidy little script. Close but no cigar!
The Opening Paragraphs of Michael Piller’s Unpublished Book on the Writing of Star Trek: Insurrection
“That fraction of a second between nightmare and waking. Except it isn’t a fraction of a second anymore, it’s been days, weeks and I’m still in a free-fall, trying to snatch bits and pieces of a script that are falling with me, desperately trying to assemble them in some coherent manner before I crash.
How could I have been so wrong? Where had my instinct failed me? How do I fix it? Is it even fixable? In three months, this movie will be going into pre-production and I don’t have a clue what to do.
There’s no point in trying to sleep. Once I wake up to pee in the middle of the night (the curse of middle-age), my mind goes back to work. I tell it not to. Whatever you do, don’t think about the script. But as I lay in the dark staring at the ceiling, my eyeballs move back and forth looking for the metaphorical daylight. There’s got to be a way to make this script work.”
Michael Piller, Screenwriter, (1948-2005)