Olympus Has Fallen discussion with screenwriters
Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt.
Don't you know what it means to me to be a Marine, Dad? Ever since I
was a kid I've wanted this - I've wanted to serve my country - and I want
to go. I want to go to Vietnam - and I'll die there if I have to.
I thought I'd treat myself to a new show over the last couple of weeks. I'd read and heard good things about this series. And it was getting favorable reviews, although, I prefer to make up my own mind when it comes to watching a TV series or movies for that matter. The thing that makes House of Cards (2013) unique is that it aired on Netflix. All the episodes, all at once. A good ploy. You can sit down over the course of a week or two and watch them, rather than wait a week for each episode.
House of Cards (2013)
I don't watch a lot of TV these days, I'm usually writing or reading. So when I decide to invest my time in a series, it has to be good. Otherwise I won't make it past the opening episode. Well, I was pleasantly surprised, I'm not familiar with the source material or original series. So I was entering this blind, which was good, I didn't have anything to compare it to or any preconceived notions or ideas as to how the story should play out.
The first thing that struck me even before getting into the first episode was the theme music at the start. It's good, some thought had been put into it. This was a good sign. Obviously having a good theme isn't a good precursor or way to judge something as to how well a TV series or movie will play out. But it does here.
From an entertainment point of view, fantastic. It has a stellar cast, Kevin Spacey (American Beauty), and Robin Wright (The Princess Bride) as the two central characters. They both do a stand up job as do the supporting cast. Great chemistry. Well done to whoever was in charge of casting. They did a fine job.
Some people don't like it when characters interact with the audience, but when Kevin Spacey glances at the camera, without saying anything, you just know what's going through his mind. Or at least you think you know. And that's all you need, a quick glance.
The way the text messaging is handled as well. Another nice little touch.
All the characters are really fleshed out with their own little quirks and mannerisms. Robin Wright's character is great, she really comes across as someone who's constantly at odds with herself and can't decide what she really wants.
I was sad to see the Peter Russo character go, but I had my suspicions when they pulled into the garage. I honestly thought Christina was going to save him. Unfortunately, it just didn't go that way. Very enjoyable.
Definitely gets the thumbs up. Well worth a watch.
Hopefully this will get another season or two.
CHRIS TAYLOR (V.O.)
I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves. And
the enemy was in us. The war is over for me now, but it will always be there, the
rest of my days as I'm sure Elias will be, fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called
possession of my soul. There are times since, I've felt like the child born of those
two fathers. But, be that as it may, those of us who did make it have an obligation
to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our
lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.
After you type FADE OUT.
You'll probably want to get some feedback and notes on the project before you start work on the next draft. Try and figure out what the weak areas are and hopefully find a way to improve them and make that project stronger.
I'd say a minimum of two weeks – ideally three, possibly four.
Once I'm finished with the first draft of a project, I'll try and push that story out of my head. This usually takes a month or more, during this time I'll start putting notes and ideas together for my next project. Usually I'll start work on the next project as soon as possible and push through until I've reached FADE OUT on that one as well.
You can do other things as well to take your mind off that project. Read scripts. Watch movies. Give feedback and notes on other people's work. Join a site like Trigger Street Labs. A great place to learn. Keep your mind immersed in the world of writing and movies.
I like to set myself writing goals. Ideally four, possibly five projects through the course of a year. I'll make my way through each project until I've finished the last one and then head back to that first project and start work on the rewrite. In the hopes of having a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective on it. More often than not, you'll get too close and over protective of your work and stepping away for a longer period will help in the rewrite phase.
Everyone's different, there's no right or wrong way. It might take a while, but you have to find the best approach that works for you as a writer. Through trial and error.
You have to push through and keep writing.
It's a marathon, not a sprint.
John August and Craig Mazin discuss what Rhythm and Hues's bankruptcy means for the film industry.
Scriptnotes: Episode 80
I am the president of the United States of America, clothed
in immense power! You will procure me those votes!
John August and Craig Mazin discuss how you go from asking the basic questions to getting the words on the page.
Scriptnotes: Episode 79
OLD PAUL EDGECOMB
They usually call death row the Last Mile, but we called ours the Green Mile, because
the floor was the color of faded limes. We had the electric chair then. Old Sparky, we
called it. I've lived a lot of years, Ellie, but 1935 takes the prize. That was the year I had
the worst urinary infection of my life. That was also the year of John Coffey and the two dead girls.
“I firmly believe that the currency of the screenwriter is a finished script. Not an outline, not a take, not a beat sheet, not a rough draft. A finished script. You just have to be careful you don’t fall into the trap where you stop writing and spend three years chasing jobs.”
John August and Craig Mazin discuss the class-action suit over Hollywood's interns.
Scriptnotes: Episode 78
I can't be a-a-a wizard. I mean, I'm
just Harry, just Harry.
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
Writing the Hollywood Blockbuster: Scriptwriters Network
John August and Craig Mazin discuss spec scripts, pitches and how it means when your movie gets brutal reviews.
Scriptnotes: Episode 77
Welcome to Russell’s website. A storyteller who enjoys writing screenplays for movies. Even though the process is hard. It keeps his imagination working overtime.
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