“Happy Delusion:” An Interview with Theodore Melfi, Writer/Director of ST. VINCENT

October 9th, 2014

in Interviews

I’ve known Ted for a while. But for most people he is one of those 10 years in the making overnight success stories that writers need to hear about. Ted didn’t write his first script, send it out, sell it, and magically appear on stage with Bill Murray on the opening night of his movie. He struggled and toiled for many years. Yet, he might actually dispute the word “toiled” as he has an infectious positivity – what he calls his “Happy Delusion.” Those who know him say Ted is someone you want to work with, almost have to work with because there is something about him that seems, well, Normal. Real. And apparently, in Hollywood, that is unusual! Go figure.

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Who will be Nominated for Best Original Screenplay?

October 6th, 2014

in News

Already prognosticators are predicting who is in the lead for possible Oscar nominations. For us here at SU an early look at Best screenwriting awards is always something of interest. According to a recent poll the front runner for "Best Original" is BIRDMAN, a story about a washed-up action/ superhero actor Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) who decides to stage a comeback in a Broadway play

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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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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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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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