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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, June 11, 2007

Eight Things About Fun Joel

The no-longer-limited-to-playwriting Joshua James tagged me with this meme, in which I am to tell you 8 random things about me.

I typically find it difficult to respond to most memes with which I am tagged, since I endeavor to keep this blog pretty much exclusively film and screenwriting related. Hence the reason I started my Scribosphere Meme, way back when. Well, I don't like always playing by the rules, which is why I figured I could answer this one with 8 non-random facts about me, things that are related to my screenwriting, etc.

I also will ignore the "rule" to repost the rules, since you all should be able to figure out what this about, and how it is to be executed. Use your brains (and the links if need be), people! So, on to the meme...

1. The first paid script reading gig I had was reading and rating screenplays for the Nantucket Film Festival's screenwriting competition. I think I got paid about $15 per script, and didn't have to do a full coverage. Just read each script, rate it on a grid, and write one or two lines about it.

2. Before I was a script reader, I did a decent amount of freelance production work, typically as a Production Assistant. The first film I worked on was a no-budget indie called Cassian's Kids. It was originally released under the less imaginative title Lethal Justice. The second feature I worked on was called Snapshots from a .500 Season. This film had the added benefit of associating me with my friend Brooks, who started the writing group that I am now a member of.

3. As a P.A., I did work on one film with established actors who you should recognize. It was originally titled Captive, but was released under the more-"provocative" title Sex and the Other Man. It starred Stanley Tucci, about whom I have nothing but wonderful things to say, Ron Eldard, whom you might recognize from his stints on E.R. or Men Behaving Badly, and Kari Wuhrer, whom my older readers will remember from Remote Control and my younger readers might recognize from Anaconda or Eight Legged Freaks.

It was also through this movie that I am both two and three degrees (different routes) from Kevin Bacon, if you count the fact that I worked on this movie, but didn't act in it. Big up to anyone who figures the connections out!

4. I worked for a year and a half as a professional day trader, trading stocks for a clients account (as opposed to my own money). How is this film/screenwriting related? It gave me the subject matter for my very first feature-length screenplay, which I never fully completed, entitled Word on the Street. It was a satire about Wall Street, following one week in the life of a day trader. I dropped it, because I felt that its time of relevance had passed before I finished writing it. And though it of course suffers from many of the novice writer mistakes, I still feel as if there are some good parts to that script.

5. In graduate school, I wrote and directed two short films, neither of which have ever been completed. (Notice a trend here? Well, I've broken out of that cycle of starting things and not finishing them over the last few years!) The biggest problem was that I started the second one before I finished the first, and then subsequently ran out of money for both. The first was a non-sync spoof of film noir detective films, though I did "fake sync" some dialogue. It was called Night and the Superstore. With the second film, I wanted to try something new and stretch my muscles a bit. So it was a drama, the only one I've written to date. It was shot in color (the first was B/W), had sync sound, and a bit more sophisticated shooting schedule, crew, budget, etc. It was tentatively entitled Rings.

Both films were shot on 16mm film and edited on flatbeds, not on a non-linear system such as an Avid. The first film was fully edited and I just needed to pay for a sound mix, negative cut, and print. Maybe some day I'll figure out how to do something with this, and it will see the light of day in some form. The second film never will, because I didn't even finish shooting it. It was about 50% edited, and maybe 85% shot. So that's pretty much a wash.

6. I live fairly close to the Herrick Library, though I have not yet been there. Still, I'm hoping to go there tomorrow to continue my research for this current film project. It is a beautiful building from the outside, and I hear wonderful things about the library inside, too. Some time ago (1-2 years ago), I sent a resume over there to see about possibly working for them. I got the standard "we're not hiring at the current time, but will keep your resume on file" response. All good.

7. General topics about which I have ideas for possible future screenplays include cigar making and Cuba, modern piracy, rap/hip-hop music and murder, weddings, accounting and rock music (yeah, try to figure that one out!), and global redemption (sort of). Genres include action, mystery, period romance, and of course comedy.

8. My favorite beers are Chimay and Guinness. Favorite scotches include Dalwhinnie and Scapa. Cigar-wise, I love CAOs and Excaliburs, preferably a good maduro. What does this all have to do with screenwriting? They are a few of the pleasures that add to my relaxation time, during which my mind is free to wander and ideas can gestate and develop. They don't need to be alcohol or tobacco related, but you should definitely find an activity that can take your mind off of daily life, and free it to wander for set periods of time. At least that's my opinion, anyway!

I'm not going to tag anyone in particular (another broken rule). If you want to answer this, consider yourself tagged! That makes it more truly meme-like anyway!

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Anonymous LA SHORTS FEST said...



Final Deadline July 27, 2007
Submit Online: www.lashortsfest.com

The winner of the Short Screenplay Competition receives a package of goods and services to bring their ideas to life.

11th Annual LA Shorts Fest is the largest short film festival in the world, screening 700 films of every category. We are accredited by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. In past years, 25 participants have earned Academy Award nominations, this years Oscar winner for best animated short film “The Danish Poet” made its Los Angeles premiere at LA Shorts Fest in 2006 continuing our streak of the last 8 Oscar winning short films having screened at LA Shorts Fest the previous year. Last year’s award winners received prizes totaling over $100,000. The festival annually attracts more than 10,000 moviegoers, filmmakers and entertainment executives looking for the hottest new talent We have honored some of Hollywood’s legends of the past: Charles Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Robert Wise; along with actors Martin Landau, James Woods, Gary Oldman and directors Tim Burton, Bryan Singer, Jan de Bont and Paul Haggis. www.lashortsfest.com 323.461.4400

12:07 AM  

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