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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.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Movie Week

Most of my time is spent on movie-related activities in general, but this week even more so. A brief catch-up.

This week, in addition to my regular reading work, I am finishing my first-draft treatment for what I'm currently calling the Untitled Safari Picture. I kind of like the anachronistic feel of referring to it as a "picture," imagining myself meeting the needs of some cigar-chomping 1950s producer who is looking to fill a niche in his schedule, alongside the wrestling picture and the war picture. And by using the "Untitled" in the working title, I also feel like those prolific pros who crank out material. I've always loved the way the trades talk about the Woody Allen Fall 2007 Project or whatever. (That, and I've still not come up with a title that I'm satisfied with.)

Regarding the treatment itself, I'm relatively pleased, but also finding that I really have my work cut out for me. While I've done a lot of research, I still don't feel quite comfortable with the logistics of the world (which is also the impetus for the planned research trip to Botswana). And I also think I might have been trying to keep too many balls in the air at once. So while I'm awaiting notes back from the producer on the treatment, I'm planning to continue working on it on my own, simplifying, clarifying, fixing, etc. Though I still don't feel like it's going to be really great until after my research trip.

On another note, I had a nice lunch yesterday with "Scoopy" from Hollywood Fun Camp. To protect Scoopy's well-practiced anonymity, I will give no specifics about him/her. But I always enjoy meeting other members of the Scribosphere and "talking shop." The community-building aspects of having a blog has always been one of my favorite unexpected pleasures of this little endeavor. Scoopy and I discussed the ins and outs of the business (including the specifics of the person and company that s/he works for), the ups and downs of struggling to write screenplays while also trying to make a living, and the benefits/drawbacks to life in LA (outside of the screenwriting-specific) compared with some other cities. Nice.

But what is really making this into a "Movie Week" for me is that I'm watching more movies in the theater than I can remember in any single week in a long time.

Started yesterday evening with a CS preview screening of the new Ethan Hawke movie, The Hottest State. He wrote the novel, and then adapted it into a screenplay and directed the film. he also has a small but somewhat important role in the film. Now this is not the type of movie I'd typically go see -- a small, character-driven, indie relationship drama. But I just have to say that I really liked this movie. Lots of great realistic moments, interesting and believable characters, solid acting, good attention to theme (which is sometimes lacking in a less plot-driven film), and enough of a plot to make it not a purely character movie. I definitely recommend it, especially if you are someone who likes this sort of movie in general. But even if not.

From that screening, I jetted over to Century City to see the midnight screening of Live Free or Die Hard. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed. All the great (albeit somewhat cartoonish) action we expect from such films, at least two or three applause-worthy awesome cheer-at-the-screen moments, a fun plot, and good acting (for this genre). Timothy Olyphant was great as the villain, and had a few true acting moments in addition to all the traditional bad-guy posturing. And though a few of the setpiece scenes are so unbelievable as to have strayed a bit far from the original Die Hard's roots, they work perfectly fine in this movie where McClane has become something bordering on a superhero. Plus, there was something special about virtually passing under the shadow of Nakatomi Plaza while on my way to the movie.

The movie-watching continues tonight with another free CS screening, this time of the new Australian comedy Introducing the Dwights. I have a +1 still available on that one, so if anyone is interested in joining, email me.

Then finally, tomorrow night I'm hoping to head over to the new Landmark theater at Westside Pavilion. Back in the fall, I met Jeremy Kasten at the HDFest, where we were both judges. Back then we had a brief but entertaining conversation about horror films in general, and about his recent remake of the 1970 Herschell Gordon Lewis "classic" The Wizard of Gore. Well, Jeremy's remake will be having a screening on Thursday night. If anyone feels like coming to that as well, let me know!

So yeah, four movies in three nights, and only two that I have to pay to see. Good stuff!

(Update: Too much work to do, so I don't think I'll be attending the Dwights screening tonight. Still, lots of good movies this week, even without it.)

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Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Wow, the writing project you're working on sounds interesting. Are you payting to go Botswana, or are they?

Like the fact you're going to get the producers to agree with your treatmeent before you write the screenplay.

Sounds like your career is starting to heat up, FunJoel. I'm very happy for you.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

8:49 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

They're paying, E.C. And while it is certainly a good idea to have them approve the treatment, it is not only my idea, but also theirs. we all know the importance of being on the same page.

Thanks for the support. This is nothing major yet, but definitely a step forward. So hopefully it is the first step of many!

9:30 PM  
Blogger Nic said...

Good to hear a reaction on DH4 that's sort of echoing my expectations. Been looking forward to it, but word is mixed and lately those reactions haven't panned out for me.

Also just a heads-up, I sent an email about the script reading thing.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Laura Reyna said...

"Untitled Safari Picture"...

"research trip to Botswana"...

That does sound awfully professional & exciting. Good luck on the project!

8:07 PM  
Blogger Julie Goes To Hollywood said...

I name for your untitled Safari picture.


What can I tell you, Joel, I am a minimalist.

8:56 PM  
Blogger ScreenwriterJ said...

I like cartoonish to define the new Die Hard. Too much action. You can’t bold everything or nothing is bold.

4:49 PM  
Blogger annabel said...

My husband is currently living/working in Africa. It is an interesting place. I look forward to hearing about your trip. Best wishes on the project!

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Joy Kennelly said...

Hey Fun Joel! Howzit going? Long time no chat or see! When's the next party?

I actually lived in Kenya for my 7th grade year and you're in for a treat when you go to Africa. It's mind-blowing amazing. Nothing like you'll ever experience again.

I caught Introducing the Dwights the other night at a DGA event and just loved it! Next time you need a CS Movie companion - shoot me an email. I love going to those!

Anyway, just saw you on google for the film and thought I'd pop over to say hi. Really enjoyed your bday party and hope you have another party soon!


4:08 AM  

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