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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Screenwriter Holiday Gift Catalog

Especially during this holiday season, but somewhat so throughout the year, I get people landing on my blog in search of good gift ideas for what to give to screenwriters. Always eager to please, I would like to remind you of my gift catalog from last year, geared towards the developing screenwriter, and I would also like to add a few more new links to some fresh presents.

I've checked all the links from last year's posts, and all but 1 or two are still active. (I think the only main one that I can no longer get to work is the one for the shotglasses with quotes from famous writers. Oh well. Maybe it is a sign that we all should drink less? I know my parents will be happy seeing those words on my blog! Still, I'm sure if you do a Google search, you can find them.)

Fun Joel's Holiday Gift Catalog for Screenwriters
Part 1 featured my top 10, my absolute top picks of essentials.
Part 2 featured 9 selections geared towards developing good story structure, and six focusing on character development,
Part 3 featured close to 30 links for "the greats" and stocking stuffers.
Part 4 was an addition -- special discounted rates for my coverage services. I will again offer these through the holiday season.

Now a few new links...
First, a couple of links to new product from friends around the Scribosphere. My cohort Chris Soth has an interesting new DVD out. Sold! How I Set Up Three Pitches in Hollywood offers just what it sounds like -- a view of Chris repitching the three pitches his made, and explaining their development.

I loved Alex Epstein's book Crafty Screenwriting when I read it. In brief, it was the kind of screenwriting book that I would write -- no BS, and to the point. Well, I don't do any TV writing, but this past year Alex published the follow-up book, Crafty TV Writing and I'm sure it must be at least as good!

I have not read Blake Snyder's Save the Cat, but I've heard great things about it from many people. So I'll suggest it as a gift! And as far as useful reference books go, Talk the Talk seems pretty promising. It offers slang from 65 American subcultures, and while I'm sure it might get out of date quickly, and one might be able to find much of this online, it might still be a nice gift!

Next, some of the better films of the past year or so. I really enjoyed Stranger than Fiction, and saw it as similar in many ways to Adaptation. Though already two years old, I'll also recommend the screenplay to Batman Begins. One of the better superhero films of the past 10 years, or ever I'd say.

You all know that one of my favorite movies of the past year was Brick. The screenplay hasn't been published, but the DVD is now out. And then you can compare it to the amazing script, by downloading it from screenwriter/director Rian Johnson's website! The Proposition was another of the more unique scripts from this past year -- a solid western film set and shot in Australia. The genre translated suprisingly well.

How about a few more classics? Of course, one of the more beloved and acclaimed (in retrospect, though unfortunately not during its release) films of the recent past is Shawshank Redemption. This script has a lot of subtlety and great thematics, and is also worth studying for some of its specific technical feats, such as voiceover narration.

One of the better film noirs (or more accurately, films noir) ever made was Double Indemnity. Read Billy Wilder's script to discover one of the most perfect femme fatale characters ever written, among other things.

Steve Martin has written and starred in some of the better comedies of the past quarter century. Here are the scripts of two of his best, L.A. Story and Roxanne.

No, of course I love Charlie Kaufman's work as much as the next developing screenwriter. And, in my opinion, none of his scripts are better than that for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But at the same time, I think it can be heartening -- and perhaps enlightening -- to see that even he has written stinkers. Human Nature was a pretty bad film, and it can be instructive to try to examine it and see where he went wrong.

Does the screenwriter for whom you're purchasing a gift have writing aspirations outside of the purely cinematic? For one related field, I'd suggest the book Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel. And for freelancers, there is the 2007 Writer's Market.

Finally, a few fun, odds-and-ends type gifts. These pens feature antique typewriter keys on top. Or a similar gift here, the vintage typewriter key charm necklace.

Got an low-budget writer-director type on your list. Maybe he or she can use these B-Movie Victim Action Figures to do some pre-vis!

Lastly, if you want to help support indie film while giving a stocking stuffer type gift, check out the Pistoleras movie bracelet. With it, you'll be able to help my friend Liz Fies make her indie film, Pistoleras.

So I hope these gifts (and those from last year) will hit the spot with your screenwriter friends and family. And if these gifts help the screenwriters in your life sell a script, they might be buying you something nice next year! Enjoy your holidays everyone!

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Anonymous Dad Haber said...

Your parents definitely agree.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Thanks, Dad!

By the way, folks. I meant to mention that I'd appreciate it if you made your Christmas, Channukah, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus, Hannukka and anything else purchases through my site. The referral fees are small, but it is always fun to get a check for like $11 or something!

Enjoy your holidays!

5:32 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

Happy Christmas, Joel - have fun!

11:14 PM  
Blogger Kid Sis said...

You rock!

Hope Jed got you home safely...it was fun partying with you!!!

2:20 PM  
Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Have a good holiday.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Hey Joel - thanks for the shout-out, great seeing you chez Liz and happiest time of the year.


11:43 AM  

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