Sunday, November 19, 2006
High-Definition Digital Filmmaking Competition Brings Artist’s Visions from Script-to-Screen in One Week
For Immediate Release
Date: November 10, 2006
Contact: Alexis Kerschner, Rick Johnson & Company, (505) 266-7220, email@example.com
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The Duke City Shootout, the only digital filmmaking competition in the world where screenwriters race to shoot, edit and premiere their 12-minute film in seven days, is now accepting script submissions from filmmakers and screenwriters around the world for next year’s festival, which will take place in Albuquerque N.M July 20-28, 2007.
Representatives of New Mexico’s Digital Filmmaking Institute (DFI) and renowned screenwriters from around the country will select the seven best scripts to be produced and ultimately compete for the “Palm de Grease,” the festival’s most prestigious award. The Shootout will fly the seven winning screenwriters to Albuquerque, where they will be given a cast, high-definition digital camera and lighting equipment, a production crew, post-production facilities, transportation and even a professional mentor—everything they will need to bring their script to life—a $50,000 value.
Last year, more than 270 scripts were submitted to the Shootout, and for the first time, Shootout movies were made available online via file-sharing giant BitTorrent. Past festival participants include: script judges Morgan Freeman, Peter Fonda and Phillip Kaufman, producers Ellen Sandler (Everybody Loves Raymond), Michael Steinberg (There's Something About Mary), Linda Goldstein (Whale Rider); directors Jay Roach (Austin Powers), Dan Mirvish (co-founder of Slamdance), Jim Mercurio (Hard Scrambled), Jack Hill (Foxy Brown), Anthony Drazan (The West Wing); Patricia Cardoso (Real Women Have Curves); actors Donal Logue (Grounded For Life), Talia Shire (The Godfather); editor Barry Alexander Brown (Inside Man); and cinematographers Alan Walker (Roseanne) and James O'Keefe (Timecode).
A script by Toronto writer/director Ralph Lucas has been selected as the first of seven movies to be produced at the 2007 Duke City Shootout. Lucas’ script, “The Next Best Thing to War,” was selected from entries submitted to the Screenwriting Expo 5 contest sponsored by Creative Writing magazine. Lucas’ selection was announced at the Expo, held in Los Angeles on October 19-22.
Script submission requirements include a cover page including name of author, address, telephone number; 12 minute script (i.e. 12 pages); and entry fee of $30 (before April 16, 2007) or $35 (April 17-May 18, 2007). The deadline for entry is May 18, 2007. There are two ways to submit scripts:
Mail hard copies of script, including check or money order payable to the Digital Filmmaking Institute to:
Duke City Shootout
P.O. Box 37080
Albuquerque, NM 87176
Submit electronically and pay by credit card, at www.withoutabox.com.
For more information and updates on the 2007 Shootout, visit www.dukecityshootout.org, or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
9th Annual Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition
With Write Brothers, Robert McKee and The Writers Guild
of America,west Registry all supporting Scriptapalooza, this is the
competition to enter.
First place prize is $10,000
All the judging is done by 60 production companies
Entertainment Weekly Magazine calls us 'One of the Best'
We promote the top 13 winners for a full year
5 scripts in the 2006 Competition have been OPTIONED
Finalists, Semifinalists and quarterfinalists get requested
Early bird deadline January 5
or call 323-654-5809 or email
us at email@example.com
Saturday, November 04, 2006
** House On The Edge of the Park
A Last House on the Left ripoff with David Hess, Krug himself, turning in his most unrestrained performance as Alex, a disco dancing psychopath. Alex and his somewhat more stable friend Ricky crash a party, hold the revelers hostage, rape the women, and torture the men, until the tables turn. This is a film that wallows in its nastiness, unrepentant in its sleaze, and saves its grossest moment for an unclothed, very hairy Hess in the shower. Talk about obscene!!!!
*1/2 The Slayer
When starting I was unsure if this was going to be a slasher film, a monster movie, or an Italian thriller (giallo). After watching it, I’m still not sure. The plot has two couples going to a deserted island for fishing and relaxing. One of the tourists has seen this place in her nightmares. Her companions don’t believe her. Then someone, or something, begins to pick the minimal visitors off one by one. Five deaths, one potential victim survives, no *convincing* gore, no soothsayer, and no mask. The first death is at the ten minute mark. I’m not seeing good numbers here. An early film from the director of 8MM part 2.
10/3 A Tuesday with Mr. Lee
* Dark Places
If you are frightened by doors slamming shut, then you will be scared shitless by this creeky old house film. Most everyone else will be bored. Christopher Lee plays a kindly doctor who may not be as benevolent as he seems. Joan Collins before she was the hag on Dynasty plays the temptress (and is still about ten years too old for the role).
**1/2 Dracula A.D. 1972
Dracula (my man, Lee) gets resurrected in 1972, bites down on Caroline Munroe (Yummy), and plots to take revenge on Van Helsing’s great-great-granddaughter. Fortunately, her grandfather (Cushing) is an expert in vampirism. The early 70s British music sucks, but Cushing and Lee are fun as always. And the setting is 1972, so it’s like Dracula, Daddy-O.
10/4 Post-Scream Slashers
** Slaughter Studios
A Scream variation as only New Concorde studios would do: DV cinematography, a cast of actresses with more sand than Daytona Beach, and a tongue in cheek presentation. Slaughter Studios was once a top line grindhouse. Following the death of an actor in the early 80s the studio closed. Now, a film fan breaks in the doors, smuggles in his cast and crew, and is determined to covertly make a movie after hours. Too bad there is a killer on the loose. 9 deaths (2 off screen) with the first murder at the twenty-three minute mark; three potential victims survive; a half pint of blood; no soothsayer or mask; but more uncovered breasts than I can count. Cheers for the line, “I bet Eric Roberts doesn’t work like this!”
I bought Cut for one reason and one reason only: to see Molly Ringwald die a horrible death. She has it coming for her The Breakfast Club. Most everything else I could forgive but not murdering this brat packer brings rage to my eyes. Too bad because for the first hour, Cut comes in toward the top of the Scream ripoffs. This Australian import is surprisingly well acted, decently directed, and follows the model right on down to the opening guest murder victim (here, singer Kylie Minogue). A group of graduating film school students are going to make a name for themselves by finishing an 80s slasher film believed to be cursed. When the actor playing the killer went crazy and murdered his director (Minogue), the film was shut down. Since then anyone who has tried to finish the film has met with a strange “accident.” Despite warnings from their film professor (the soothsayer), the kids hire a down on her luck actress from the original production (Ringwald), retreat to the countryside, and begin filming. The last half-hour sucks and Molly Ringwald does not die. Thirteen other characters do (three off screen); Ringwald and two others survive; half pint of blood; six minutes for the first murder; generic mask and Francois Truffaut reference.
Oct 5 Corman, Poe
**1/2 Tales of Terror
Corman loosely adapts three Poe stories in this anthology. All star Vincent Price. The first is poor. The second with Peter Lorre as a drunk in a wine tasting contest is funny if overlong. The third with Basil Rathbone as a hypnotist is the best even. Acting honors go to Lorre in episode number. “My wife’s right there.” “But she’s dead.” “You notice every-thing.”
*** House of Usher
While not as good as Tomb of Ligeia, this is film that started them all, Corman’s first foray into Poe. It is quality on a budget with good cinematography, set design, Vincent Price not overly hammy for a change, and Myrna Fahey is good as the woman who may or may not be going mad. The film seems slightly padded even at 80 minutes. Beyond that, this is a solid adaptation.
Steven Lessing (called Stevie or Steve-O) is a successful writer of horror novels and film scripts. One might say he’s a real King of the genre. Steven is going through a bad time. His family is falling apart, his producer cares only about blood and guts, and the public accuse him of contributing to real life violence. The film contrasts gory scenes from Lessing’s films/books with his melancholy home life. The end result is ambitious but schizophrenic serving up gory moments while condemning them.
Co-scripted by a former Cinema 1&2 employee, Feast is made by and for horror movie fans. A surviving the night type movie in the From Dust Till Dawn mode, Feast does get a bit slow in the middle, but there are enough funny bits to carry the day. Henry Rollins as the motivational speaker Coach is worth the price of admission alone.
*1/2 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Beginning
Flat prequel to the remake of the 1970s classic plays like a remake of the remake right on down to the lone surviving woman hiding in a slaughterhouse as Leatherface stalks her. The Vietnam era period detail feels like dress up. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my vote for the horror series that has fallen the farthest. Believe it or not a customer asked me what this film was about! I squinted my eyes and said, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Beginning?” Clueless, he answered, “Yeah, what’s that about?”
Oct 8 It Played in Peoria!
** Blood Feast
The world’s first gore film stands as humbling beginnings. Would good, respectable people in 1963 see a film so unrepentantly lurid? Where to test it? Peoria, Illinois, if it would play there it would play anywhere. It played! Today, Blood Feast is a slow, stagey affair with red paint thrown around at random. The early-60s era Playboy Playmates Connie Mason and Ashyln Martin are the film’s best visuals. I did like the chase where villain Faud Ramses (as if his name didn’t tell you that) is chased across a garbage dump in the finale. Peoria’s Journal Star did a front page story on it in 2003.
***1/2 Demons of the Mind
As the title suggests, there is no monster in this Hammer horror film. A highly impressive film that at long lasts reflects the time it was made. Unlike the same period’s Beast Must Die, this film has all of the ambition that most other early 70s Hammer films did not. It is about the end of superstition, the dawn of psychology, and early 70s filmmaking. That’s a compliment!
***1/2 Cat People
Producer Val Lewton’s first horror film is also my favorite. Kids these days have a hard time with Cat People because there is so little onscreen horror. My students were bored. They grew up expecting onscreen monsters. By showing almost nothing but darkness and shadows, this film is saved the hokey, camp quality of many of the monster movies seen now. The walk in the park and the swimming pool scenes are justly famous due to their simplicity regardless of what eighteen year-olds think.
Oct 11 Femmes de Woof
½ An American Werewolf in Paris
The mind boggles at what I will set through just to get a glimpse of Julie Delphy’s breasts. This has to be the bottom! A film with such bad CGI effects that whole scenes appear to be animated. A film with possibly the most annoying American college kids put on film. You will be rooting for the fascist lupin. . . but Julie Delphy is topless for half a second (hence, the half star).
*** Ginger Snaps
Those looking for a female werewolf film would do well to catch Ginger Snaps, an intriguing metaphor for coming of age. The Fitzgerald sisters are the outcasts of suburbia. They stage suicides for their photography class and dream of escaping into the city. Then Ginger, the elder sister, is bit by some big dog or wolf and she starts to change. She becomes interested in boys, punches out a bullying homecoming queen, and develops an urge for slaughtering dogs in the neighborhood. Sister Brigitte looks for a cure as her sister becomes more and more animal like with the next full moon slated for Halloween night.
Oct 12 Jason at twenty-six
***1/2 Friday the 13th
The first, the best, and some might argue the only watchable one. Eleven deaths (four off-screen) with the first murder at the four minute mark. Four potential victims survive (one camper, two cops, and Crazy Ralph). No mask, a gallon of blood, and Crazy Ralph as the soothsayer.
*1/2 Jason So Lo Monta De Miedo
I bought (cheaply) this film after reading the following description in a catalog. “Hockey masked killer wields knives and chainsaws mixed with scenes of damn near hard-core sex with drop dead gorgeous bitches.” Lots of gore and sex, sounds like a fun slasher movie to me! As P.T. Barnum said there’s a sucker born every minute. Nine deaths with the first one being thirteen minutes in. With a hockey mask, no soothsayer, and Jason blowing away Michael Meyers with a shotgun.
I took off from work just so I could watch my Friday the 13th box set. I even started a day early just to get a taste. A taste was all I was to get thanks to my students (“Friday is the only day I can make up the test”), the state of Illinois (mandatory ethics training), and my father (“this will just take an hour or two”). Instead, I went to the theater.
**1/2 The Grudge 2
Of this series (two Japanese direct video features; two theatrical Japanese movies; and two American remakes), the second Japanese theatrical film (Juon 2) is the scariest of the bunch. That film unnerves. The American remake of that film, Grudge 2, isn’t bad. It intertwines three stories, one painfully familiar (Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character and her sister), one ghostly fun (the schoolgirls), and one genuinely creepy (the apartment complex). I split the difference on the star rating.
*1/2 Class Reunion Massacre (The Redeemer-Son of Satan)
I try to give a break to the pre-Halloween slasher
films, but this one is both dull and confusing. Six former friends show up for their high school reunion only to find the school deserted and a killer picking them off. Could it be tied into the strange boy who rose out of the water in the first scene? How about the priest giving the sermon on greed, lust, and vanity? I’m not sure and I did see this film. Eight deaths (one off-screen) with the first at the seven minute mark. None of potential victims survive, which is the most noteworthy part of the film.
(On October 15, I went out of town to see The Departed and Science of Sleep, a film better than any of the horror films I watched this season)
* Asylum of Satan
A young woman finds herself transferred from a hospital to an asylum ran by a mysterious doctor who is actually a coven leader. During the snake attack, a woman thrashes around holding the painfully obvious rubber snakes. At the end, the devil is conjured up complete with seam running down his back (methinks the Prince of Darkness should switch tailors). And the effects are still better than those in An American Werewolf in Paris.
*** Cat People
Despite being dismissed by fans of the genre, I like Paul Schrader’s kinky rethinking of the 1942 horror classic. It is not scary going for a more oblique (some might say “arty”) monster in all of us theme. The film boasts good acting, good music, and good cinematography. It’s also very 80's.
* Dead Waters (aka Dark Waters)
There is an old saying in film criticism if nothing happens in the first reel (20-30 minutes) nothing is going to. I sat through two reels of this early 90s Italian spook show before engaging the fast forward button. What we have here is half-assed Lovecraft with an island convent, a cult worshiping the image of a monster, and a quick ending look at the creature. It’s all very tedious. A three disk set under the title Dark Waters was released this October. One advertisement read, “the most anticipated DVD release this Halloween.” By whom?
**1/2 Diabolical Dr. Z
What would Halloween be without one Jess Franco film? The man has made almost 200 movies (hardcore porn to children’s films, with the horror film his favorite). This one is early on, before the guy went for quantity over quality. The black and white cinematography produces half a dozen atmospheric scenes. The film still suffers from Franco’s slack pace but the Mondo Macabro disk looks great.
**1/2 Cabin Fever
I had heard less than thrilling reviews from fellow horror fans/Cinema 1&2 employees. The film tries too hard to throw in splatter, comedy, atmosphere, local color, and contagion. It’s awkwardly paced and undisciplined for sure, but clearly made by horror fans. Any film that has the drunk college kids cruising down the road listening to “The Road Leads to Nowhere” from the Last House on the Left soundtrack can’t be all bad.
* Devil’s Daughter
No country can top the Italians for evocative nightmarish visuals. In the first scene when hippies paint themselves as America sings, “I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name.” All atmosphere goes out the window. Kelly Curtis, Jamie Lee’s better looking but no more talented sister, finds herself a target of devil worshipers. The title of the film is incorrect. Curtis is the daughter of the leader of the devil cult; she is going to be the mother of the Devil’s son, which I guess makes her The Devil’s Wife. At the end the baby antichrist gives up his life to save his mortal mother (huh?).
½ The Vampire Happening
My choice for the worst horror film of the Halloween season goes to Freddie Francis’ vampire comedy. How bad is it? It makes Love at First Bite look like Young Frankenstein. It’s so bad that despite considerable amounts of nudity, Larry R. Jarvis did not want it!!!! Sample joke: the heroine grabs the Communist vampire’s copy of Mao’s Little Red Book and shoves it in another vampire’s mouth. The communist vampire goes over to his fellow undead, grabs his book back, and yells: “bloodsucker!” And if you laughed at that joke, you have just won your very own copy of The Vampire Happening.
**1/2 The Living Dead Girl
This is another example of Jean Rollin working out his personal fetishes as expressionless, half dressed, pale women commit horrible acts amongst gothic locations. In this one, a dead woman is revived by chemical waste. She craves blood. Her childhood friend/lesbian lover seeks out victim’s to keep her companion going. This is not one of Rollin’s best, the pacing is at times leaden with bad actors from multiple continents. There are some impressive images which mix the beautiful and the profane wonderfully. Rollin leaves the viewer with a slam dunk final shot.
*1/2 The Devil’s Wedding Night
Yet another title that lies. The most accurate title would read Dracula’s Widow’s Wedding Night. With endless shots of Mark (no relation to Matt) Damon riding a horse and walking across blank walls, this is a cheap production to be sure. The last twenty minutes do pick up. The vampire countess played Lady Frankenstein.
Angela Pleasence (who looks a lot like her father) moves with a friend into a country house where someone died. Something is wrong. Is the house haunted or is one of the two women going crazy? Jose Larraz once again tries his hand at slow burning, claustrophobic unease (Vampyres; Coming of Sin). This one tips its hand too early (BIG HINT: Angela is a closeted lesbian with a crush on her friend). The Fall colors are nicely photographed. Too bad my copy sucked!
*** Demons 2
I saw Demons numbero uno way back when I was a sophomore in high school and it kicked ass. Today, these films bring back fond memories of the 1980s: blue lighting, hairspray abuse, gratuitous bladder effects, shoulder pads, post MTV music imagery, and gore galore. The Scorpions, Motley Crue, The Cult, and The Smiths are all on the soundtracks of these movies. There are missteps. Any punker in 1985 listening to Billy Idol should have a cap put in poseur ass. Those who did not like these films in the 80s can probably skip buying the Anchor Bay DVDs. For the enlightened ones, buy ‘em up while you still can.
(On October 25th I watched A Scanner Darkly, which while technically not a horror movie, will make one uncomfortable)
Oct 26 short people
** Burial Ground
Yes, this is the zombie film where the short man with a receding hairline plays a young kid. This is very obvious! It is done for one reason: because no parent, no matter how stage struck, would let their child do a scene where he bites his screen mother’s breasts off. It’s a good scene! Too bad there aren’t more of them. Plenty of gore and tastelessness, I would have loved it at sixteen. Maybe I’m getting old.
With the exception of King Kong (which is more of a fantasy), Freaks is my choice for the best 30s horror film. It’s a slowburner but the ending makes it all worth while. The vengeance of the freaks is the scariest moment in 30s horror. The DVD of this is quite good with a particularly noteworthy documentary which provides background on many of the performers playing the freaks.
** The Red Shoes
I didn’t get to watch a J-Horror film this season, but the next best thing is K-Horror. In this one, a pair of ghostly red shoes kills all those who wear them until being taken home by a single mother and her daughter who dreams of being a dancer. This Korean import is more ambitious than most but it stumbles on the horror front. There is nothing overly scary about the movie. Not to be confused with the Powell/Presburg ballet movie.
I had read good reviews for this British horror film from last year. On it’s own terms, Creep might work, but horror fans will feel deja vu. A cannibal preys on commuters and the homeless in the London subway terminals. Yes, fans, it’s Raw Meat all over again, with the focus shifted to a slasher set up with Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) and others trying to survive a long night. The film is reasonably well paced and does hold interest. Creep is the best slasher film of the season, but how about an original idea?
Oct 29 Steele the show
(to think, I almost went the month of October without watching a Barbara Steele movie!)
*** An Angel for Satan
Atmospheric, black and white photography and the charismatic Steele highlight this mystery/horror film. A restorer journeys to a small island village to do restoration on a statue believed to be cursed. There he meets the niece of the village mayor. The niece (Steele) looks exactly like the statue and seems to be of two halves. One is a chaste innocent and the other a superslut who destroys men. Is she cursed or crazy or something else?
** Curse of the Crimson Altar
Any film that has supporting turns by Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Barbara Steele, and Michael Gough can’t be all bad. This is true but one wishes Curse of the Crimson Altar was better. An antique dealer travels to a mysterious lodge to search for his missing brother. There, he finds strange characters, dreams of being at a witches’ sabbath, and sleeps with the proprietor’s niece (an attractive Virginia Wetherell from Demons of the Mind). A make it up as you go along feel permeates the film which is not helped by a dull leading man (Robert Eden). And whose idea was it to have Barbara Steele, a beautiful horror icon, done up in green face? WTF!
*** Curse of the Cat People
Since I liked the original Cat People so much and since the DVD came also with Curse of the Cat People, I knocked off one more Val Lewton film. This one is not really a horror movie despite a few atmospheric shots. It’s a fantasy about a troubled girl who lives in an imaginary world. The film is quite good but not what I was expecting. This was Robert Wise’s first directing job. It’s better than the Sound of Music.
*** Homecoming (Masters of Horror)
I liked this one more the second time through. It’s still heavy handed but does do what Masters of Horror was designed for: to make a film without interference that could not be made otherwise. The only other one of the series that does that is John Carpenter’s much different Cigarette Burns. The politics (the undead soldiers of the Iraq conflict coming back) are none too subtle but certainly heartfelt. My students liked it.
*** Saw 2
I had planned to watch both Saw 2 and Saw 3 on Halloween night. Oh well. Most have seen Saw 2. Tobin Bell is a better actor than most actors playing horror icons. I also liked the killer’s plan when it is at last revealed. More of a horror film than the first movie but not quite as clever.
Well, everyone that’s it for me this year. Maybe we’ll do it again next year.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
In 2006 alone, 15 feature films have been produced through InkTip.
That's the highest number of features we've had produced in one year, and
we've still got 2 months left!
Three feature scripts were optioned and three writers were hired last
week alone. You too can gain exposure for your script on InkTip. Don't
wait for another writer to get optioned first!
To list your script, go to www.InkTip.com now! Please let us know if
you have any questions.
Director: John Gulager
Review by John Dodd
Feast was the third and probably final of the Project: Greenlight winners. The film played some festivals and did a brief booking at midnight shows before arriving on DVD last Tuesday. I was lucky enough to catch Feast when it played the opening weekend of the inferior but far more advertised Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Beginning at my hometown theater.
Feast is a low budget horror film in the tradition of Night of the Living Dead or The Evil Dead where a group of losers hold themselves up in a secluded location (here a sleazy bar in the middle of nowhere) and fight the oncoming siege, in this case hungry aliens, and wait for dawn. While certainly not the equal of the films that influenced it, Feast is a down and dirty little movie that keeps on punching.
Each character is introduced with a title card explaining who they are and giving the chances of survival. Some of the dozen or so strandees include a brawny, take charge type nicknamed Hero (Eric Dane), his tough as nails wife (Navi Rawat), the town screw-up (Balthazar Getty), a stoic bartender (Clu Gulager, the director’s father and star of Return of the Living Dead), the sleazy bar owner (Duane Whitaker), a single mother waitress (Krista Allen) and her young son, and Jason Mewes from Jay and Silent Bob playing himself. Acting honors go to the hysterical Henry Rollins as Coach, a motivational speaker with a less than convincing plan to scare the aliens away.
Feast boasts an in-joke cleverness that does not condescend. Clearly made by fans, the film has a good time playing with genre expectations, surprising the audience a half a dozen times. Feast will be best received by those who have watched a fair amount of horror movies and like genre benders such as From Dusk Till Dawn.
I should admit to being psyched to like Feast before watching it. One of the writers, Marcus Dunston, is a hometown boy. Although he and I met only briefly, we both graduated a year apart from high schools less than ten miles from each other, we’re both Dario Argento fans from a community that believes he is the Prime Minister of Mexico, and we both worked at the same movie theater (albeit years apart). Nonetheless, I will be the first to say that Feast, while enjoyable, is not a horror classic. The middle section drags. The editing has much of that herky jerky, can’t-follow-what’s-going-on style en vogue this decade. Lastly, the super low budget clearly gets in the way of the filmmakers’ ambitions. If Feast had the budget of Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Beginning, it would have looked professional, but professionalism isn’t everything. Feast is far and away the better of the two movies, budget or not.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
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Friday, September 29, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Review by John Dodd
Director: Mario Bava
Throughout the 1970s, a prolific genre in Italy was the crime film. Some of these were meant to cash in on the success of Dirty Harry. Others focused on criminals and revenge. One of the very best is Rabid Dogs. Out of print for several years, this film is back on DVD in the United States and available through Amazon.com and other retailers.
Rabid Dogs has a simple set up. Four criminals rob the weekend payroll of a pharmaceutical company. After one is killed by the police, the others ditch the getaway car. They steal another belonging to everyman Riccardo (Riccardo Cucciolla). They take him, his young sick son, and a woman off the street named Maria hostage and head for the open road.
The robbers are the usual mix of thugs. Doc (Maurice Poli) the leader is cold, without a conscious, and all business. Thirty-two (Luigi Montefiori, aka George Eastman) is the lustful one, a strong man with a lascivious eye on every young female. That leaves the psycho, Blade (Aldo Caponi), who can kill in a rage and not realize it until the cold body limps lifelessly against his own. Needless to say the hostages are in trouble. Riccardo accepts the situation with a stoic quality but Maria falls into hysterics, which is reasonable considering she has seen a neighbor murdered by Blade and feels the ever watchful eyes of Thirty-two on her. The child sleeps on, not knowing what danger he is in.
Seldom in the ninety-five minute running time does the viewer leave the car or the presence of the sociopath Doc and his two loose cannons. The film simmers in expectation. Will Thirty-two rape Maria? Will the sick child become a liability? Will Blade kill everyone during a dark mood? The film further stirs the pot with a fender bender, a talkative tollbooth attendant, a stranded motorist, and a depleting gas tank, all the while the radio informs the hostages of their captors’ crimes and the futility of the police search. The violence when it does come is both startling and often surreal (a spinning top, insert shots of a pinball game). Stelvo Cipriani’s score further unsettles the viewer.
This is a film that Hitchcock might have made. Like Lifeboat or Rope, the premise and setting is simplicity itself. The film rides on the character dynamics and the growing suspense on what will happen to these unfortunates. Hitchcock might have been turned off by the lurid, more exploitative aspects of the story. Surprisingly, Mario Bava has no such qualms. This is a mean spirited, ugly movie and one that certainly holds interest. The middle section might drag a little but the conclusion is nearly perfect and in keeping with the mood that came before. Rabid Dogs is credited to Mario Bava, the famous Italian horror director whose work in the 1960s are considered masterpieces of colorful, gothic horror. Not a personal favorite, Bava is known for more stylish, less visceral filmmaking (Black Sunday and Kill, Baby. . . Kill!). On the other hand, Mario Bava did make Twitch of the Death Nerve (aka Bay of Blood), another grim piece of nastiness. It is Bava’s second best film in my book, second to Rabid Dogs. Fans of crime films, Italian or otherwise, should buy this DVD before it goes out of print again.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Miami Vice (2006)
Director: Michael Mann
Review by John Dodd
A Quick checklist for Vice fans:
Gina - Present and actually doing something
Trudy - A major character
Switek - In the background and played by a bodybuilder
Zito - In the background until the final shootout
Castillo - Present but not much of a character
Calderone - None of the Calderone family make the movie
Miami Vice debuted on television in September of 1984 when I was eleven years-old. It left a lifelong impression. At that age, I did not know what GQ was and had never heard the term “noir,” but I knew that this show was unlike Hunter and the other cop shows I watched. The plots were darker. Often the happy endings were tinged with bitterness. Then there was the style. The show filmed extensively outdoors, usually at night. Action scenes were cut like a movie, a change from the usual claustrophobic set pieces. The combination of (relatively) downbeat stories and flashy, quick cutting style made Miami Vice the cop show for the MTV generation.
The film Miami Vice is an unusual animal. Resembling the show only in its two leads and in its ending, the film shows that times have changed. The clothes are neutral. The music is rougher. Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) have lost the comedic banter that would lighten the show’s darker moods. The editing no longer punches like snap, crackle, and pop. Instead, like with Collateral, Mann shifts the mood to reflection with shots held a long time for a crime story.
The film jumps into the plot in the first scene. While on a stakeout, Crockett gets a call from an informer on the run. The informer had been loaned out to federal agents working a weapons sting on a group of white supremists. The deal has gone bad. The agents are dead. The informer’s family has been murdered. Crockett and Tubbs agree to take over the investigation, jumping ahead of the supremists to their weapons supplier, a drug/weapon smuggler named Jose Yero (John Ortiz), known for his murderous personality. Yero leads the undercover pair to Jesus Montoya (Luis Tosar), a drug lord, and Montoya’s’s business partner and girl Isabella (Gong Li). Crockett begins playing her but finds himself crossing the line.
The plot bares a few tangent similarities to the season one episode “Smuggler’s Blues.” Like in that episode, most of the show is set outside of Miami (Uruguay standing in for Columbia) and Trudy is kidnaped and attached to a bomb, but the moods are different. The film Miami Vice is more of a downer, which is a compliment. Not one old cast member makes a cameo. The film makes only one injoke to the original series (a cover of “In the Air Tonight”), but that is as light as the film gets. This is a somber affair. Do not expect Elvis the alligator to show up.
As portrayed here, Crockett and Tubbs are characters who Jean-Paul Sartre could embrace. These are men defined by their actions. Crockett’s father was either a musician or a trucker or both. Tubbs is seeing fellow vice cop Trudy (Naomie Harris). Both are furious with the Federal agents that got their snitch killed. The most important person in each’s life is his partner. That is all for characterization. The rest is how the two act. Comfortable making million dollar deals, experts at drug smuggling, and consciousless in killing those who deserve it, Crockett and Tubbs fit in just as well in the criminal world as the police one. Perhaps Mann is returning to his central theme of Heat: the gulf between cop and hood is not that wide. If their lives had gone differently, perhaps Crockett and Tubbs would have been the druglord’s seconds instead of the underhanded Yero.
In either world personal relationships are liabilities, except amongst the one person you can trust, trust to back you in front of your superior Castillo (Barry Shabaka Henley, no Edward James Olmos) and trust you to take out as many enemy combatants as yourself. Crockett and the girl are doomed but Tubbs will still be there.
The film Miami Vice will never capture the pop culture Zeitgeist the series did. The pacing is too slow for action fans. While those that remember the series may be startled by the different vibe. The film is not as good as the best of Miami Vice episodes (The Pilot, “No Exit,” and “Lombard,” to name three from season one), but it is a solid Michael Mann crime film, better than Collateral but not as good as Heat.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
InkTip has helped another writer get produced!
Our latest feature film made:
The feature film 'After Midnight,' written by Carol Mulholland and
Rob Walker, has completed production and is currently in post. Walker,
Commotion Pictures, connected with Mulholland through our network a few
ago, and after maintaining a working relationship they decided to work
on 'After Midnight.' The film stars Marcus Dean Fuller (Guiding Light,
Posting your script on InkTip provides invaluable exposure. To place
script now, go to www.InkTip.com
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Thank you for entering the 8th Annual Scriptapalooza Screenwriting
Competition. Decisions in the judging process have been made. We received a
total of 3600 scripts. That was narrowed down to 336 Quarterfinalists.
A list of Quarterfinalists can be found on our website
Semifinalists will be announced July 31. If you are not listed as a
Quarterfinalist, your script is not moving forward in the competition.
Once again, thank you for participating in the Scriptapalooza 2006
Screenwriting Competition and we wish you the best of luck with all of your
future writing endeavors.
Below is a list of all Quarterfinalists.
2012: Year of the Kukulcan by Rene Andre
7 Tales of Desperation by Mando Alvarado & Michael Ray Escamilla
A Deadly Game by Jake Quint
A Man Named Sue by William David McLeod
A Meadowlark Calling by Thadd Turner
Allie by David O'Hara
Almost Paradise by Jessica Yuen
Almost There Express by Armando Figueroa
Always Greener by Adam B. Hocherman
Ambulance Chaser by Stephen Lang
American Alligator by Barb Doyon
American Dream by Chris McCann & Nessa Gordon
American Hero by Andy Shrader
American Vampire by Gregory Davis
Ameristan by Charles Welty
Among Thieves by Matt Caruso
And She Was by Susan Avallone
Andi vs. Candi by Kevin Perry
Anna & the Art Thief by Rebekah L. Fraser
Avatar, The Quest to Save Earth by Kirstie Palmer
Avenged by Paul Hall
Barter Boys by Jared Seide
Baseball Cards by Daniel McPeek
Because I Said So by Lindsay Andresen
Before Midnight by Jennifer A. Lewey
Beg to Differ by Sabina Sattar
Behind The Veil by Paul Lobo Portuges
Between The Lines by Jeri Smith-Ready
Beyond the Beyond by David E. Wilson
Billable Hours by Tommy Butler
Black Ice by Dean Mitchell
Black Orchid by Steven Berger & Bridget Sullivan
Bliss Vandals by Louis Frederick
Blue Blood by Mark Davidson
Blue Hole by Rex Wilson
Bread and Roses by Mary McKay
Brilliants by Christopher Godfrey
Butler School by Jami Burke
Calculated Risk by RJ Lavallee
Canâ€™t Live With â€˜Em by Chris Pentzell
Casey Blue Eyes by D. E. Taylor
Castle by Vivienne Walshe
Caustic by Robert James Spurway
Changers by Matt Slovick
Chastity by Stefan Stenudd
Chill by Christopher Stires
Cinder by Ross MacLeod
City of Sighs by Ken Henderson
Cocoon Crash by Kathleen Latlip
Cold Kiss by Philip DiGiacomo & Wendy Salz
Conceive by Troy Owen
Conditional Love by Lisa Arbuckle
Conduct Unbecoming by Mandel Holland
Coney Island Babies by John Malecki
Coryâ€™s Hero by Alexis & Rudy Croyle
Counting The Days by Richard LeBlanc
Criminal Activity by Jonathan Wood
Dagger in the Heartland by Guy Magar
Dance for Your Daddy by Mike Walden
Dandelions by Ariel Johnson
Danny Longlegs by Keli Rowley
Danversâ€™ Echo by Pete Peterson
Dark Hollow by Danny Ray
Dark Image by Joe Kozak
Daughter of Heaven by Chris Raymond
Deadweek by Geoffrey Yeh
Dear Jen by Jim Beggarly
Death & Taxes by Nur Nur Cummings
Death Is Relative by Robert Collie
Death Voice by Barbara M. Hammond
Destiny Maker by David Lourie
Diminishing Returns by Constance Kopriva
Dogfighters by James Nathan Post
Done by Frank J. DiStefano
Dot in the Sand by Jay Tormohlen
Double Bind by Tucker Parsons
Double X by Kristin Levine
Down The Aisle by Jase Ricci
Dreamers by Adam Jaquette
Drops of Ink by Shane K. Gooding
e-Sins by Terrilyn Phillips
E.R.A. by Michelle Molhan-Zang
Eating Buccaneers by Bill Keenan
Eleven by Francis Cormier & H. Jarrod Courtemanche
Enclave by Linda Armstrong
Endangered by Mick Kennedy
Equilibrium by Peter Kaitlyn
Every Dayâ€™s Goodbye by Santiago Yazigi
Far From Maddy by C.C. Saint-Clair
FBI Juniors by Megan C. Johnson
Felix The Flyer by Christopher Canole
Final Effect by Dean Alan Roller
FireFly by Derek Neville
Fish Out of Water by Shirley Raun
FishEye by Kitty Griffin
Flush by Eric Klein & Ray Works
Fly Me to the Moon by Rebecca Sanders & Gordon Rothwell
Foie Gras and Grits by Sharon Saks Soboil
Foreseer by Michael Lightsey
Four Alone, Four Together by Mikael Hanson
From the Moon to Mercury by David W. Kopp
Gamemasters by Matthew Gray & Phill Daniel
Getting Van Gogh by Lisa Kirazian & Scott White
Giant Blue by John J. Austrian
Girlsâ€™ Night Out by Mark Jaffe
Gods and Robots by Stephen Stanley
Going Grey by Mark Witzen
Goshen, Indiana by Gabriel Snyder & Michael Alber
Goy Meets Girl by Peter Vouras
Gray Hats by Mike Townsend
Harmâ€™s Way by Gordon Pengilly
Harold by Caroline Friday
Heavenly Rain by Noble Fares
Hell on Earth by Chris Lair
High Beams Harry by Gary A. Campbell
Holding on to Joshua by Naomi Wender-Milliner
Holding Out by Scarlett Rocourt
Horrorscope by Dak Rasheta
Hostage Crisis by Mark Cohen
Hot Dog by Kenneth Cavander
Hurricane Mona by Marguerite A. Pellegrin
If Not Now by Jeff Menell
In The Light by Dan Fabrizio, Josh Ravitz & Louie Martinez
In Your Dreams by Jeff Seeman
Inca Gold by Sandy Steers
Jekyll & Heidi by Lisa Yoffee
Jet Lag by Kim Townsel
Joy by Cassandra Gibbons
Just Molly and Me by Charles Kray
Keys to the Kingdom by Vincent F. Rocchio
Kingsbury Run by Troy Hunter & Geof Miller
Kissing A Suicide Bomber by David Mango
Knockers by Joe Berglove & Dennis Douda
Lady Dragon by Desiree Cifre
Last Stop by Nena Eskridge
Leapersâ€™ Hill by Jonathan Wood
Lightninâ€™ In A Jar by Kevin Cutts
Like My Father by Gail Kerns
Like Water for Metamucil by Karen Harrison
Lincolnâ€™s Ghost by Jim DeLong
Little Seed by Martin K. Leicht
Lizzie Fox by Mike Murphy
Lost Direction by James D. Patterson
Love Dance by Parker Babbidge
Love Unexpected by Antoinette Ojeda
Lucky Star by Ted Sod & Edie Demas
Lyrical by Carter Stewart
Made With Love by Debra Hardy
Mama's Wayward Helpers by Teresa Latterman
Marine in Hyacinth Blue by Jack Swanzy
Match This by Anne Wallace
Matter of Honor by Jeff Meredith & Dustin Kitchens
McPherson Square by Joan Aylor Kirby
Meant To Be by George Constantine
Middleberg by Matt Healy
Migration by Broderick Fox
Mindâ€™s Eye by Sharon Scott
Minor Deaths by Paul Hall
Mister Trivia by Robert G. Garmany
Monarch by Kevin Threadgold
Moon Madness by John Mongillo
Morning Sickness by Frank Richard Faller
Murder Between Friends by Sarah Newman
My First Lady by Mary Kaiser
Near Mint Condition by Morgan Ireson & Paul Traviline
Necessary Evil by James Kearney
Neighborhood Watch by Christina Delgado
Never Let You Go by Cheryl S. Smith
No Hablo Ingles, Papa! by Paul T. Abramson
Nora Kahn by Scott Bristol
North of Girard by Joe Faragalli
North of the Border by Alcides Delgado
Now You See Me by Beth Szyperski
On The Bayou by Sean Bridges
Once Upon A Time In A Little Town by Matt Wieclawski
One Armed Bandits by Bruce Dundore
One Last Look to Heaven by Daniel Bilodeaux
One Way or Another by Michael Levin
Only by Walter Ostlie
Operation: UnderLord by Stephen Blackehart
Ouija by Robert Hayhurst
Overdue by Courtney Daniels
Pandoraâ€™s Box by S. L. Hutchison
Parking Ticket by George Patrick Hernandez
Passage by Robert Lewis
Pencil Men by Grant Janes & Brian Edgar
Pentecost by Cinthea Stahl
Pico de Gallo by Jack Colmenero & Janet Colmenero
Pink Viagra by Jeffrey R. Field
Plan B by Gina Cresse
Pup by Maggie Lawrence
Puppy Love by Tony Boland
Race City USA by Daniel R. Solomon
Random Acts by Cynthia Benjamin
Raspberry Sunday by Amanda LaFantasie
Red Riding-Hood by David Daniels
Redemption Crusade by Kevin Schmadeka
Remembrance by Jeremy Thurswell
Richard by Noel Maxam & Jim Boulgarides
Richter by Aaron Denius Garcia
Ripple Effect by Mack Baniameri
Rise in Peace by Timothy Jeffrey
Robbie Crane by Jeffrey Miller
Rocket Docket by Brooks Barnes
Rogue Scholars by Eric Reierson & Louie Calvano
Roundhouse by Charlie Jett
Sabino Days by Conrad E. Gomez
Sacred Cow by Martha Moran
Sahara Cassidy and the Extinction Caverns by Kevin Emerson
Sanguinaries Anonymous by Richard Alan Nelson
Saving Halli Weaver by Lynne Logan
Saving Par by Michael Licwinko
Served Cold by Mike Sherer
Shark Valley Slough by Christopher D. Brown
Shoeless by Granville Burgess
Sight Unseen by Evette Vargas
Sins of the Father by Kevin R. Frech
Sleepwalkers by Stephen Smith
Smashed by Eric Austen
Some Love, Some Cash by Richard C. Haber
Song of Myself by Ryan Reed
Soul by Dave Becker
Soul Catcher by Marlene King
Spirits of the Snow by Andrew Grauman Kramp
Stagemom by Maggie Franks
Stairway to Heaven by Lyndon McGill
Star Guards by Wayne Edward Sherwood
Still by Sarah Tatting
Storm by Rick Adams
Street With No Lights by Brennen Arkins
Superior by Susan Wescott & Katrina L. Coombs
Swap by Steve Finly
Talent by Stephen Gray
Tan Ha - The 7th Deadly Sin by Edward J. Blair
Tasupi by Laverne Stringer
Ten Minutes With the President by Beverly Jones & Tarpley Jones
The Alaskan Conspiracy by Steve Miller
The Alchemist by William D. Wolff
The Amazing Unbreakable Circle by Peter E. Groynom
The American Family by Adam Moore
The Anatomy of Desire by Helene Macaulay
The Annoyance Man by Dianna Ippolito
The Bad Brother by Anton Hill
The Banner by Ernestina Juarez
The Baron of Whitfield Beach by Robyn Laguzza
The Black Tulip by Gena Ellis
The Captain's Wife by Richard Hammerstrom
The Carolinas by Jacqueline Tadros
The Cure by Steven Hathaway
The Dance by John T. Frederick
The Dogs of Sun Valley by Brad Small
The Doomsday Order by Ken Miyamoto
The Engagement by Rene Andre
The Expendables by Erin Engman
The Fall of Dreams by Ryan LaSalle
The Fix by David Poulshock
The Flame and the Sword by Adam Adrian Crown
The Following by Andrew Connell
The Gargoyle by Eduardo Oliveira
The Gentlemen Makers by Elisa Wolfe
The Ghost of Christmas Past by Michael Hebler
The Ghost of Delaford Grange by Jessica Scalise
The Good Brother by Jim Zachar
The Good Harvest by Daniel Forrest
The Goodman by Steve Simonson
The Great Crime by Gregory R. Alvarez
The Grieving by Roy McDonald
The Groomer by Greg Caplan
The Guest by Ben Ketai
The Guide by Kris White
The Hajj by Kelly Crigger
The Home Front by David Buttaro
The Innocent One by Keith Warburton
The Lamb by Guy Winch
The Last Chardonnay by Linda Armstrong
The Last Flight of the Blackbird by David Cooper
The Last Mile by Sejal B. Ravani
The Lily White Lie by Katherine Koonce
The Line of Departure by Michael J. Cramer
The Lottery by Michael Werwie
The Mark by Alex Pajcin
The Merging by Thomas J. Herring
The Note by Michael D. Morra
The Numbers by James Westerholm
The Patriot Act by Steven C. Oppenheimer
The Petal Game by Jillan Oppenhuizen
The Real Truth by Thomas Moore
The Restorer by Dean J. Augustin
The Road of Marnie Hill by Katherine Koonce
The Scattering of Ernest by Michael Hebler & G.P. Quinlan
The Shot by Laura Corey
The Shotgun Waltz by Ji Un Choi
The Sixth Commandment by Greg & Dane Nielsen
The Skid Row Tales by Lawrence Kane
The Smiths and the Coelacanth by Ceridwen Dovey & Lindiwe Dovey
The Soul of the World by Brian Winfrey
The Sound of the Game by Zack Van Eyck
The Spanish Island by Steve LaMontagne
The Stadium by Zer Gonzales
The Stunning Box by David Bertoni
The Sunshine Blond by Marilyn Mallory
The Sweetest Day Guy by Shohn Turner
The Taste of her Name by Bill Biggar
The Templar Killings by Keith Davidson
The Third Story by Nathan Witkin
The Truth About Tattoos by Joanne Parrow
The Two Sides of Sorrow by J.W. Ruff
The Uncertainty Principle by David Ullendorff
The Uncertainty Principle by Nathan Bransford
The Ups and Downs of Elvis Brown by Mike Walden
The Wizard, the Farmer and the Very Petty Princess by Daniel Fox
The Wolves of Brighton by Tyler C. Jensen
Three Boysâ€™ Woods by Greg Giovinco
Time of the Jaguar by Andrew Arthur
Time Warp by Sean Simmons
Triage by Shane Oâ€™Neill
True North by Eric W. Carlson
Ultraviolet Child by James Ossi
Up Against The Brass by David Shifren
Venus Retrograde by Carole Ryavec
Violet by Gregory Davis
Vows by Tom Bilyeu & Ron Jansen
Waking Up Normal by Scott Keen
Washingtonâ€™s Ax by John M. Strawbridge
When It Snows by Joseph F. Brown
White Room by Hiroshi Nakajima
Wild Oats by Claudia Myers & Gary Kanew
Willful by Nathaniel E. Mason
Winning At All Costs by M. R. Franks
With The Fishes by Christopher Harwood & Craig Gadsby
Wrath by Jason C. Hinton
Xanadu by Peter Lower
Year of the Sheep by Frank Richard Faller
You Donâ€™t Say by Michael Breggar
You May Say Iâ€™m A Dreamer by Cinthea Stahl
Zig Zag by Heather Hughes
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The Screenwriting Expo The largest event in the world for screenwriters, Screenwriting Expo 5 features hundreds of seminars on every aspect of writing imaginable as well as numerous A-list guests of honor.
Creative Screenwriting was named "the best magazine about screenwriting" by the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. Sign up for CS Weekly for free.
Movie Scripts Online A huge online database of film and TV scripts that features links to additional articles and interviews for every script included.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Crafty TV Writing: Thinking Inside the Box by Alex Epstein
Everyone watches television, and everyone has an opinion on what makes a good TV show. But, as Alex Epstein shows in this invaluable guide, writing for television is a highly specific craft that requires knowledge, skill, and more than a few insider's tricks.
Epstein, a veteran TV writer and show creator himself, provides essential knowledge about the entire process of television writing, both for beginners and for professionals who want to go to the next level. Crafty TV Writing shows how to understand the hidden structure of a TV series so you can write it.
It explains the best ways to generate a hook, write an episode, create characters the audience will never tire of, construct entertaining dialogue, and use humor. It explains how to steer your way through the tough but rewarding television industry: from writing your first "spec" script, to getting hired to create a show, to surviving—even thriving—if you get fired. And it illuminates how television writers think about the shows they're writing, whether they're writing comedy, drama, or "reality".
Fresh, funny, and informed, Crafty TV Writing is the essential guide to writing for and navigating in the world of TV.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Special Offer for Scriptapalooza Members
As a friend of Scriptapalooza, you've gotten to know
what it takes to be one of Hollywood's top scribes.
Now it's time to learn the techniques and methods of
today's top directors, actors, cinematographers,
editors, producers and screenwriters-with MovieMaker
For a limited time, we're offering friends of
Scriptapalooza the chance to receive a subscription to
MovieMaker for as little as $2.00 per issue*, which
include copies of all of our special annual
editions-including the 2006 and 2007 Guides to Making
Movies and our all-new Indie Studio Edition: The
Future of Filmmaking (released in June).
AS AN ADDED BONUS: Sign up for THREE years and you can
choose to receive one of the following books-courtesy
of Michael Wiese Productions (www.mwp.com)-ABSOLUTELY
*Digital Cinema: The Hollywood Insider's Guide to the
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(Retail price: $26.95). Is there a movie inside of you
that's been yearning to get out but didn't know where
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the roadmap you need to determine if cinema is the
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To take advantage of this offer, simply log on to
Immediately, you will be sent a complimentary copy of
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or call 212/766-4100 today for a subscription.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
The 6th annual Shriekfest, the Los Angeles International
Horror/Thriller/SciFi/Fantasy Film Festival and Screenplay competition
is currently accepting submissions for it's 2006 festival to be held in
September of 2006!
The festival is dedicated to screening and recognizing the works of
filmmakers and screenwriters in the often forgotten genres. Superior
screening facilities, parties, and panels make this a wonderful
networking experience for all. Awards will be given in most categories
and prizes include cash, product awards, trophies, etc. Please see our
website for more information and an entry form www.shriekfest.com Also,
check out our news page and see how Shriekfest has helped many
filmmakers and screenwriters in the past.
$1000 cash prize to the best overall screenplay!
Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition
Friday, April 21, 2006
A Screenwriting Network Presented by Creative Screenwriting Magazine.
CS Web.ws is your portal to the screenwriting world. Included in the sites below are more than 1,000,000 words of advice to help you make the transition from aspiring to professional screenwriter.
Great new screenwriting resource.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
We are accepting screenplays!
FINAL DEADLINE IS APRIL 14
Supported by the Writers Guild of America, west Registry
First prize is $10,000 and screenwriting software for the top 30 winners from Write Brothers.
Over 70 production companies are reading all the entered scripts!
All thirteen winners will be considered by Scriptapalooza's outstanding participants;
A Band Apart, Samuel Goldwyn Films, HBO, Material, Disney and many more.
4 scripts have been optioned in the 2005 Competition.
'The Curse of Old Bob' by Enterprise Entertainment.
'Black Mountain' by CatchLight Films
'Remains' by CatchLight Films
'Son of a Gun' by Garlin Pictures
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Sponsored by Coverage Ink - a leading industry coverage service. Affiliated with Creative Screenwriting magazine. EACH entry receives a FREE, brief, mini-analysis. Writers On The Storm was founded with the goal of helping talented writers get their script in front of as many decision makers in the industry as possible. Over 75 production companies, agents, and managers will be reading the winning script and the loglines of the top ten finalists. (A complete list is available on the Writers on the Storm website.)
2006 Script P.I.M.P. Screenwriting Contest Deadline May 1st, 2006.
The Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting The Grandaddy of them all, deadline May 1st, 2006.
2006 Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Contest Final Deadline April 14, 2006.
AAA Screenplay Contest sponsored by Creative Screenwriting deadline June 1, 2006.
Everyone who submits a screenplay to the June 2006 contest wins
10 free copies of your screenplay from ScriptCopier.com ($50+ value).
Discounts from Script Shark, Filmtracker, and Coverage Ink.
You've written the script, now let us help you get it through the door.
Welcome to Creative Screenwriting's bi-annual screenplay competition. The AAA Contest is looking for the best and most talented writers from around the world. If you have written a great screenplay, please allow us to bring your work to the attention of the industry.
Our Grand Prize winner will receive $5,000 and agency/production company consideration, and our two runners-up will receive $1,000 apiece plus agency/production company consideration. We'll also send loglines and synopses for the top ten scripts to more than 350 agents, managers, and development executives who have requested them. Submit your best work in any genre.
Screenwriting contests are a great way to get your foot in the door and more importantly give you a barometer for where your work ranks among your peers.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Rewriting Secrets for Screenwriters: Seven Strategies to Improve and Sell Your Work by Tom Lazarus
How to handle the working screenwriters toughest assignment: reworking, rewriting, and revising, from the author of Secrets of Film Writing.
Every screenwriter needs to rewrite-more than once, probably many times-to make the story work and then to make a sale. And then again later on, to please producers, studios or stars. Tom Lazarus -author of Stigmata, among other scripts- is a working screenwriter and instructor at UCLA extension. In this book, he's distilled his own experience and that of other screenwriters into a system. Rewriting Secrets for Screenwriters will teach writers how to:
-Prioritize big scenes.
-Add new information.
-Pass through for dialogue.
-Do an "on the nose" rewrite.
Hugely valuable for first-time screenwriters and veterans of Hollywood pitch wars alike, Rewriting Secrets for Screenwriters is laced with humor and attitude as well as information. Its anatomy of a screenplay rewrite breaks down the books lessons into their practical application-a must for anyone looking for a break in the film business.
Picked this book up at my local bookstore.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Crazy John's review of "V for Vendetta"
V FOR VENDETTA (2006)
director: James McTeigue
Once in awhile, a film comes along that stumps its viewer. V for Vendetta did that to me. There is much to applaud in this film and yet often one is rolling his eyes in disbelief. At the end of the day, we have an ambitious film which I praise despite some poor decisions made along the way.
Based on a ten issue comic book series from the mid-80s by British writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd, the comic is first and foremost political. Written during the conservative Margaret Thatcher administration, the comic speculates on a future England where rights have been trampled and power abused. Into this world comes V.(played by Hugo Weaving in the movie), a superhero via Abbie Hoffman, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and a gift for blowing up symbols of London. He is aided by Evey (Natalie Portman in the film), a young woman whose parents were political radicals murdered by the State. Is V. a terrorist or a revolutionary and is there a difference? Do the ends justify the means? For V.’s creators the answer to this last question is yes. With more dialogue than action, V for Vendetta was not a comic I expected to be adapted into a giant Hollywood motion picture. Yet, via producer Joel Silver (Die Hard) and the writers the Wachowski Brothers (duh, The Matrix), the world now has a movie that is equal parts Batman and George Orwell.
I am surprised that the politics are still present even if it is in a far more simplistic (i.e.- easy) form. There are no shades of grey in the film. The villains are fanatics, rapists, child murderers, and fascists in black boots and uniforms straight out of a post WWII pulp novel. John Hurt who played Winston Smith in the 1980s version of 1984, is here cast as Big Brother and he screams every line of dialogue.
First time director James McTeigue oversells many moments. To show how bad the food is in prison, McTeigue has a rat refusing to eat from the plate! V.’s underground lair is complete with a piano, a TV, a jukebox with 300 songs, impressive artwork, and hundreds of books. Considering this is suppose to be a secret hideout in the abandon subways of London, one wonders how he was able to sneak in a piano or a jukebox. Not since the sixties pop classic Danger: Diabolik has a most wanted criminal had such a spread! The climax of the film involves thousands of Guy Fawkes masks being delivered all over London. This produces some amazing visuals, but it also raises questions of practicality (where were they made? How did V. get them to the post office?).
All of this sounds like complaints, and in most any other film, they would be, but V for Vendetta has unique charms. It boasts a strong visual style with striking set design. It has Hugo Weaving never once showing his face and ideally cast as V. It has Natalie Portman making up for sleepwalking through the Star Wars films. It has Stephen Rea as the detective trying to catch V. while wrestling with his own conscious. It has exciting sequences and even thought. It even has the cleverest Kiss Me Deadly reference since Pulp Fiction. However, the film does walk a line as its Matrix inspired trailer suggests. The film changes the comic to make it more like an action film. There is a climatic showdown with the worst of the villains and in slow motion no less. Despite the ending, action fans may be disappointed by the long middle section where hero and villain fight with words instead of bullets and throwing knives. Science fiction fans may be intrigued by the future presented, a world where the public have traded their freedom for security (any similarity to actual events is NOT purely coincidental!). These two sides of V for Vendetta do not always mix, but I was intrigued. For that reason, I recommend it faults and all.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
April 26 - April 30, 2006 Champaign, IL Ebert Fest website and This Year's Festival Lineup.
A Few notables "Ripley's Game" with John Malkovich in attendance and "Bad Santa" with director Terry Zwigoff. Should be another great year.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
"Breakfast with Sharks" is not a book about the craft of screenwriting. This is a book about the business of managing your screenwriting career, from advice on choosing an agent to tips on juggling three deal-making breakfasts a day. Prescriptive and useful, Breakfast with Sharks is a real guide to navigating the murky waters of the Hollywood system. And check out my past featured books at
Mark's Screenwriting Bookstore.
Friday, March 03, 2006
Friday, February 10, 2006
Various critics have called 2005 a good year for movies. For me, it was a year of needless remakes, double dipping DVD releases, and overrated art films. Mark asked if I would do a 10 best list for 2005, even if it is already February. There were not many contenders for these ten spots.
1 - GRIZZLY MAN (Werner Herzog)
The most fascinating film of the year was this documentary, which was robbed of an Oscar nomination. Timothy Treadwell lived with grizzly bears for thirteen years and then was killed by one. Was he a naive naturalist, an eccentric egotist, or just plain nuts? This is really a portrait of two unique individuals: Treadwell and director Herzog. "I believe the common denominator of the universe is not harmony but chaos, hostility, and murder."
2 - 2046 (Wong Kar-Wai)
His fans thought this was one of Wong’s best. Non-fans were disappointed. The visuals are gorgeous as always. The character of the Lothario who can only find love in a dream is haunting in a way Wong’s last few films were not. The film played most everywhere else in the world in 2004. I saw it in 2004 via an import DVD (and called it one of the best of 2004). Nonetheless, I am placing this on my 10 best list for 2005; if I have to, I’ll put it on the 2006 list as well.
3 - WALLACE & GROMIT IN THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT
(Steve Box and Nick Park)
"Beware the Moon!"
4 - SIN CITY (Robert Rodriguez
w/ Frank Miller and
After 2046, the most visually striking film of the year and one of the most faithful adaptations of a comicbook(s) to date.
5 - SERENITY (Joss Whedon)
Since I had never seen any of the Firefly TV series, expectations were low. I came away with the most entertaining, best realized, piece of space opera in a long time. Serenity kicks the galactic ass of Star Wars Episode Three.
6 - TRILOGY - THE WEEPING MEADOW (Theo Angelopoulos)
Hated by almost everyone else and clearly not up to the controversial auter’s best, this was my favorite true art (with a capital A) film of the year. I will never forget the sight of the herd of sheep hanging from a tree. The tracking shot through a distressed wedding party, making for a living canvas, is another keeper.
7 - THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (Rob Zombie)
The best nihilistic, completely unredeemable, Southern fried horror film since the 1970s ended and Sid Haig deserves an Oscar. "Why don’t you like clowns? Don’t we make you laugh?"
8 - MILLIONS (Danny Boyle)
Who would have thought that Danny Boyle’s best film would have neither zombies nor heroin addicts in it? Instead, the focus is on two British kids who lost a mother and ended up with millions in pounds just weeks before the country’s conversion to the euro. Cheers to Boyle for consistently wrestling with ideas and keeping a dark edge throughout, no matter how whimsical the film becomes.
9 - BROKEN FLOWERS (Jim Jarmusch)
For Bill Murray. . . and the best Vladimir Nabokov reference in some time.
10 - NO DIRECTION HOME - BOB DYLAN (Martin Scorsese)
One of my favorite living directors and one of my favorite musicians meet for an always interesting documentary. Better than either The Last Waltz or Don’t Look Back.
Three art movies, two documentaries, two family oriented movies, a comic book adaptation, an escapist sci-fi fantasy, and a grueling horror film, I will give 2005 credit for its variety of good films. They almost forgive the rest. Here is another list, not the worst films of the year but the most overrated, films that produced indifference (which some might argue is worse than being actively bad).
Crash - Alright, this is a good film.
I liked it. . . but the well-meaning quality was dished up so heavily that I almost choked. John Sayles did it better ten years ago in City of Hope.
Land of the Dead -
It wasn’t bad, but all of us horror fans waited twenty years for that?
Good Night and Good Luck -
David Strathairn captured Murrow and as a history lesson, the film makes its point. So what was with the bizarre decision to have a lengthy secondary plot with the two least interesting characters (Robert Downey Jr. and Patricia Clarkson)?
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride -
A far cry from A Nightmare Before Christmas.
Star Wars - Episode 3 -
It was better than the last two films, but is that saying much?
It may not have always been set during the first Gulf War, but I have watched this story many times before.
Me, You, and Everyone We Know -
Annoyingly quirky characters meet and fall in love.
The Constant Gardener - A dull love story and a heavy handed political tract masquerading as a thriller.
The New World -
Lots of pretty pictures and absolutely no drama, the whole Eden of unspoiled nature theme seemed kind-of silly. Sort of like Dances with Wolves all over again (that’s not a good thing).
A History of Violence -
The film I was most excited about turned out to be the one of the most tiresome. The futility of violence was shown much more powerfully back in 2003's Mystic River (a film which just missed my 10 best list that year but which would have been #3 had
it been released in ‘05). As dark thrillers go, the graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke was far grittier.
Taken as a whole, these overpraised films, combined with the annoying audiences I saw many of them with (a problem getting worse each year), made me just want to stay home. Here is to 2006 being better!
Monday, January 30, 2006
We are accepting screenplays for the 8th Annual Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition
Supported by the WGA west Registry
First prize is $10,000 and screenwriting software for the top 30 winners from Write Brothers.
Regular deadline is March 3 and FINAL deadline is April 14
Over 70 production companies are reading all the entered scripts!
All thirteen winners will be considered by Scriptapalooza's outstanding participants;
A Band Apart, Samuel Goldwyn Films, HBO, Material, Disney and many more.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting Revised Edition
A real gem on the craft of screenwriting, this third edition of Syd Field's preeminent book on screenwriting provides easily understood guidelines for writing a screenplay, from concept to finished product. Field makes the art of film writing accessible to novices and helps practiced writers improve their scripts, as he pinpoints stylistic and structural elements such as characterization and plot (and why the first ten pages are crucial).
This masterful book provides tips and techniques on screenplay format; collaborations; adaptations; what to do after your screenplay is written and more. The highly-regarded scripts of Chinatown and Silver Streak are used to illustrate concepts.
"Syd Field is the preeminent analyzer in the study of American screenplays." -- James L. Brooks, Academy Award-winning writer, director, producer.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Hollywood Creative Directory -Producers #56
The Hollywood Creative Directory, known as “the bible of the film and television industry,” has been the authoritative source of information for and about entertainment industry professionals for fifteen years. The comprehensive listings include addresses, phone and fax numbers, emails and Web sites, staff names and titles, and select television and film credits.
The Hollywood Creative Directories, including the flagship publication, PRODUCERS, can be found on the desk of every studio executive, director, producer, writer, and actor in the entertainment industry, as well as in college and university libraries.
Spec Screenplay Sales Directory - 2004 Deluxe Edition Vol. 7
The Spec Screenplay Sales Directory 2004 Deluxe Edition contains more than six years of sales. This one-of-a-kind book, written up in the L.A. Times in August 1997, contains an A-Z listing of screenplays that includes: title, 2-3 sentence logline (storyline), genre, agent, producer, date-of-sale, purchase price, buyer, lawyer and more. Information is cross-referenced six ways for easy access. Discover what Hollywood is buying, which agents and agencies are handling sales (many from first-time writers), contacts at the studios and production companies, how much money to expect from your sale, which lawyers are negotiating deals and lots more.
The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters
Author Karl Iglesias, Hollywood story analyst and development executive, personally interviewed these top contemporary scribes to learn their hints, tips, and advice for making it as a screenwriter. In The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters, you’ll learn how to make the greatest impact with a screenplay, using pacing, dialogue, and character development. You’ll also follow each writer through a typical “day in the life,” sharing eye-opening experiences that will amaze, amuse, and ultimately, inspire you.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
To the the tune of $19.5 million. Not to surprised. Had a huge amount of buzz going for it. And maybe a tad of originality (for Hollywood anyway), a new hook after all the tired horror cliches. I did see one report where the public thought Quentin Tarantino directed it and his name probably helped the buzz a bit. Anyway, congrats Eli.
Eli Roth's Evil Excursions talks about the influences on the movie.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
It would be nice to keep a running count on the progress we make out here on the net. Again Happy New year and much like to the the screenwriting bloggers out there in the scribe.
Speaking of progress, Eli Roth has his own weblog about the movie "Hostel," one of the most anticipated horror movies in a long time. And with a little help from Quentin Tarantino, it should a big box office draw. The website is something to see in its own right.