Interview with Canadian Screenwriter Jeff O'Brien

September 30th, 2014

in Interviews

Jeff O'Brien is a Canadian born (Vancouver) screenwriter having studied screenwriting at the Vancouver Film School. A fairly prolific writer, he has written for numerous international film companies from Mexico, Chile, France, Canada and the United States. His first produced feature was BLIND HEAT, he also wrote the award winning feature LA TAQUERIA, and currently has several projects in production. In this inteview O'Brien talks about how he got his start, what it's like writing for international companies, and how he approaches the craft of screenwriting.

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TOP TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR SCREENPLAY

September 24th, 2014

in Articles

The chances of selling a screenplay are a zillion to one.  Maybe a billion to one? A million to one?  Or -- if you’re lucky, the math is in your favor and the chances are less than that.  But yes, the odds are staggering. The biggest and most important tip I can share with you is this -- do not submit your screenplay unless it is absolutely brilliant.  Seriously-- if your script is not the absolute best it can be then your script will be rejected. 

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A Walk Among the Tombstones with Lawrence Block

September 15th, 2014

in Interviews

To call prolific author Lawrence Block simply a crime writer is to miss the mark. He’s a character writer who happens to write in the crime genre. Whether it’s the “introspective” stamp-collecting assassin Keller, the “globe-trotting insomniac” Evan Tanner, or the hard boiled private-eye Matthew Scudder, Block delves deep into the psyche of his characters. I recently spoke with Block about the upcoming film A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES (in theaters Friday!) which is based on his novel of the same name featuring the hard-nosed investigator Scudder, played by Liam Neeson. Scott Frank did the adaptation and directing honors. 

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Screenwriting in the News 9.8.14

September 8th, 2014

in News

The studio behind UNDERWORLD, Lakeshore Entertainment, has hired Cory Goodman to pen the reboot’s script. Goodman’s previous work includes the vampire-human war depicted in PRIEST as well as the upcoming Vin Diesel film THE LAST WITCH HUNTER

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Director Luc Besson talks LUCY and the Protagonist

August 28th, 2014

in Articles

The 67° edition of the Locarno International Film Festival opened with Lucy in the outdoor Grande Piazza on August 6 before a standing room crowd.  At the Festival, Luc Besson described Lucy as a thriller with action.  In my book Savvy Characters Sell Screenplays! I write about how to develop characters in this genre.

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THINK "HALLEWOOD"

August 18th, 2014

in Articles

The greatest challenge for any writer is finding a concept that will spark interest within the Hollywood community. New writers have the unenviable task to find engaging concepts because it’s the only way to capture the interest of busy buyers and/or sellers. While established scribes could (though not recommended) write about their lazy summer on a Northern Ohio earthworm farm, new writers must find a concept that screams, “This is a movie.”

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A Conversation with A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES Writer/Director Scott Frank

July 27th, 2014

in Interviews

Scott Frank’s latest film – A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES – is his second as a director and I am sure it won’t be his last. At least it better not be. The movie is based on the Lawrence Block novel – one in a series of books about former cop and recovering alcoholic Matt Scudder who works as a private eye. The story centers on a grisly murder.  Scudder is approached by a drug kingpin who hires him to find out who kidnapped and killed his pretty wife. It’s the kind of dark, film noir thriller that Scott loves. He’s really living in the wrong time damn period. The man should have been writing (and making) noir movies back in the 1940s and fifties; though he might say the 1960s or seventies would do.

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Preserving the Past, Building a Future

Thoughts on SU's Re-Launch

April 12th, 2014

in Op/Ed

As you've probably noticed, Screenwriter's Utopia has had a minor facelift recently. Okay, a bit more than minor. The old system was creaky, prone to breakage, and needed to be replaced. Read on for what's happening with the state of Screenwriter's Utopia as of right now.

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Seven Lessons from Bob Nelson's NEBRASKA Screenplay

March 16th, 2014

in Script Reviews

The Oscar nominated movie NEBRASKA, with an award winning screenplay by Bob Nelson, is in my opinion one of the better scripts recently produced for screenwriters to learn a little something about the craft. Why? It’s the epitome of efficient and dramatic storytelling. The script is pithy, direct, yet it has depth and emotion (theme) that is so subtle in its presentation. 

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