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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, September 17, 2008

Very Late on The Dark Knight

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I had a summer that was crazy busy. Not sure if I mentioned it then or not, but I did not see a single movie in the theaters the entire time I was back East. It simply was not possible. So I missed out on some major films that I wanted to see. So now that I'm back in town, I'm seeing movies with a vengeance. I've seen three in the last week, and I'm sure there's more to come soon!

I may discuss those others soon enough, but I've wanted to see The Dark Knight all summer, and finally got the chance to see it tonight. On IMAX, of course. Because as a friend of mine said, it is the only way to see it. Well, not so sure about that, but it was damn cool.

So anyway, I have not read any of the scuttlebutt floating about the Scribosphere or elsewhere regarding this film. So if I repeat anything that others have said, you can feel free to ignore it. But anyway, I definitely liked it a lot. Not sure whether I liked it more or less than Batman Begins. This was simultaneously more focused, and more disjointed, with a relatively singular storyline, but plenty of mindfucks along the way. And I think that is a big part of building the film around the theme (which I will get to in a minute).

It definitely seemed like a lighter (visually speaking) film, with much more taking place during the daytime, and a grounding in more familiar territory (hard to mistake the Chicago settings for anything else). And these changes, among others, are what made this a vastly distinct film than its predecessor, and yet at the same time, the characters were strong enough to ground us in the world of the previous film. For this the filmmakers are to be highly commended. Unlike many other sequels, particularly in the superhero genre, I felt as if this film moved significantly further from the first film than most, while still feeling like a part of the franchise.

To me, the big thing about this film is its exploration of theme. I saw it as making a big political statement about the war on terror. To me this was a relatively blatant point, but my friend who I saw it with (not in the film world, so not necessarily thinking about films as actively and critically as I do -- probably a good thing, by the way) said she didn't even notice any of that. Of course, once I mentioned it, she totally saw it too. But to her it wasn't as in your face.

So that being said, I'm not so sure how much I like the placement of this theme in this film. I like the Batman films for what they are -- good adventures with a major exploration of character. I'm not so sure I like it when they move from that into a critique of national politics. Just not sure I feel it is the "appropriate space" for it. I'm sure many would disagree and say that just the opposite is true -- there may be no better place. But that's just my opinion as a fan alone.

So what did y'all think? Firstly, was I alone in seeing that message in there? And secondly, did you guys mind it?

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rumors of this Blog's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Okay, so maybe not so greatly. But somewhat exaggerated. Or maybe I'm just flattering myself and most of you have barely even noticed beyond a, "huh, I wonder whatever happened to that guy." Well, whatever the case, I'm back, at least for now. And I hope to give you a bit of an update on what all I've been up to over the 2 1/2 months since I've last posted.

I went to NJ for the summer (for just over two months) to help my parents with some stuff. And then after I planned my trip, something else came up with my parents that ended up eating up significantly more of my time than I had originally planned. No need to go into details. Suffice it to say, all is great with them and nothing to worry about. But it kept me busy all summer. And while I'm very glad I was able to be there for them when they needed me, I'm also very happy to be back home in L.A. now!

Plus, there was time before and after those two months that were also eaten up, since i moved out of my apartment before I headed back East, and am in the process of moving into a new one here, now that I'm back. So while it was great being back there, it also cut into some of my free time for blogging, etc.

At the same time, I have been moving forwards quite a bit with my safari script. I will aim to do a full update on that soon, but in the meantime I'll just give you the bare bones. I believe I had already turned in my first draft on the script before I left town. Since then I did two significant revisions of it, with some substantial changes along the way. Among other things I had to work in 3 more characters at the producers' requests, and made a number of other changes. Overall, I believe the script has gotten better and better, and I'm hoping that they believe it is good enough at this point to take out and start looking for financing. (They are currently making a short film, so they haven't had the chance to read and give me feedback yet.)

So that, and continued reading work, is what has been eating up all of my time over the past few months. Now let me look ahead to the Fall.

Regarding the blog itself, I hope to get back to blogging at least somewhat more regularly. One new feature I'm hoping to add in is a series of relevant interviews. I've realized that I have a number of other writer friends, some of whom have movies coming out soon, or have made other types of progress. So I thought it would be relevant and interesting to give a forum to them, either via interviews or "guest blog posts."

I will be again teaching at the Screenwriting Expo this year, with one repeat class and one new one (they are having fewer classes overall this year, so I'm not able to do four again, like last year). In addition to continuing to work on the safari script as needed, I'm gearing up to do revisions on my D2DVD type horror script and/or Hell on Wheels. And once I've completed that I intend to start looking for representation. I'll try to keep you all as updated as possible on that as well, since I hope my experiences on that front might also be interesting and helpful.

Then, depending on how long it takes to get those done (it may be spilling over into Winter already by then), I have two ideas for my next spec script, and I'll have to choose between them. One I've been thinking about for a while, and it is a wedding-themed comedy, in the vein of My Best Friend's Wedding or Monster-in-Law. The other is a new idea that is still in the very early gestational phase of my thought process (little more than the kernel of an idea), but it is a timely and relevant satire about the American economy.

Finally, I've begun the work on my new website that will be geared towards my Screenplay Services, but will also be the home of my new, migrated and redesigned blog. I still have a ways to go, but I've started, which is more than I've done before. So now I just need to find the time to finish it up!

So, that's what's happened, and what I hope and plan will be happening! Far from dead, I hope. And please feel free to nudge me to ask things like, "Hey, how's the agent hunt coming along?" Or, "What's happening with the new website?" And for any of you who are still reading after two very long, nearly back-to-back absences, you have and deserve my thanks and respect!

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