Friday, 1 November 2013

Industrial Scripts newsletter October 2013

Have made a good start to my NaNoWriMo challenge and have got six writing buddies on the site which is fantastic as I hope we can each cheer each other on to reaching the finish line.  I have registerd my WIP on the site, put a quick plot description and excerpt up to be viewed (I am YorkshireBelle if you wish to check it out or become writing buddies).  I have completed the first 1,667 words today and fingers crossed I can complete the challenge this year (third time lucky?).

Just so we don't get ahead of ourselves, the writing is only the first part of the struggle as we all know and having received the Industrial Scripts newsletter, I thought I would share it with you all so you can read the truth about getting your work out there if you are a scriptwriter.  Aaron Guzikowski's Prisoners is currently taking millions of dollars at the box office, but the feature below recounts his fascinating journey to getting the film made, plus there are also details of upcoming screenwriting courses:

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Dear Karen,
After a fantastic London Film Festival, we hit that small window where it's socially acceptable to dress as a blood-crazed killer - and the Industrial Scripts October newsletter arrives.
BFI Player Launches
The BFI this month launched its own VOD and Streaming online platform, the BFI Player. Combining premium priced premieres designed to widen the availability of indie releases – such as Clio Barnard’s recent THE SELFISH GIANT – with classics for rent and some free treasures from the BFI’s archives, the player will help to expand a key industry organisation which at times has been very London focussed in its endeavours.
For those lesser known gems which are well reviewed, but which struggle to achieve wide cinema exhibition, the BFI Player, alongside similar devices such as Curzon on Demand should help to quickly reach new audiences, and capitalise on the buzz which all too often fades before the DVD release.
VOD performance has often been shrouded in secrecy, but recent numbers from the BFI show the hits and misses in the arena, with WHAT MAISIE KNEW outpowering the adventurous release strategy of A FIELD IN ENGLAND, which simultaneously bowed in cinemas, on demand and on Film4.
Industrial Scripts October Articles 
Alongside our monthly shot of film intel delivered to your inbox, Industrial Scripts are rolling out weekly articles on our news page mixing craft insight, industry analysis and some good old fashioned top-10 lists. This month’s highlight comes in a pair of coupled articles – common excuses you should not be making as a Screenwriter, and lessons from industry dynamo Jeffrey Katzenberg – the man who makes no excuses. Read on....
“10 Specialist Skillset Characters and Lessons for Writing Actor Bait”
“10 Common Film Industry Excuses – and How to Avoid Making Them”
“Jeffrey Katzenberg – 10 Lessons for Screenwriters”
“10 Screenwriters Who Broke In Late”
“10 Screenwriters Who Burned Bright and Then Faded”
American Film Market hits Santa Monica
Outside of Cannes, the American Film Market is the key industry event for deal-making – expect to see a big uptick in spec script sales in the coming weeks. Whilst aspiring Filmmakers and Screenwriters often focus their attentions on festivals and seminars, the hard-nosed edge of AFM can instil the requisite dose of industry knowledge and connections which is often the difference between wannabes and careerists. With over 1,000 production companies and 8,000 participants, the AFM is the place to be this month.
Robert McKee’s Story Seminar Comes to London
Acclaimed theorist Robert McKee returns with his industry defining tome and presentation of ‘Story’ – perhaps the deepest analytical insight available into the craft of screenwriting.
McKee equips Screenwriters with an arsenal of techniques and knowledge which both demystify the secrets of structure, character and story, and provide screenwriters with a tried and tested process to guide the creative mind. His unique work - especially strong in areas of theme and scene analysis - is a must have in any Screenwriter's toolkit. His immense track-record fostering multiple Oscar and Bafta winners is testament to the power of the course.
Running November 14th – 17th at the Cavendish Conference Centre, you can find out vital details and book tickets here.
Final Draft Free Upgrade Offer
Our sister software site Wordsworth Writing Store is running a tremendous offer on purchases of Final Draft – buy version 8 now, and receive a free upgrade to version 9 upon its release next year.
Ensure that your script hits the industry standard of presentation, safe in the knowledge that you’ll stay at the cutting edge with v9’s features.
Amusing Snippet of the Month - Living With Jigsaw
Halloween brings out the ghouls, and we’ve all seen Jason, Freddie and Ghostface slice and dice their way across the big screen – but what are they like
to live with? This great spoof video imagines the daily obstacles of domestication when co-habiting with SAW’s Jigsaw puppet…
PRISONERS, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Screenwriting Professionalism 
Readers may be aware of PRISONERS' strong box office performance - $100m worldwide for a dark, R-rated thriller is mighty impressive. But many will be completely unaware of the tortorous path from idea, to script, to sale, to screen - and the ramifications of such a process on their own endeavours.
Brooklyn writer Aaron Guzikowski's journey began with a speculative letter in 2006 to a literary manager which prompted a read request. Think that's a career victory? Keep reading. 
The manager couldn't sell this script - but agreed they should work together - and for the next two years Guzikowski took notes and constantly redrafted PRISONERS - unpaid, keeping his job stuffing envelopes, with no complaints on the number of re-writes, understanding that to prematurely distribute material in Hollywood is career suicide. He now had a script vetted and okayed by an industry insider. Think that's a victory?
The script went out around town - and no-one took the bait. It looked like two years were wasted. Until one agent saw the potential, sparking a flurry of interest - within a week Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale were attached and Guzikowski was flown to LA for meetings. Think that's a victory?
Six months later, with no deal in place, Guzikowski was still in Brooklyn stuffing envelopes. Two A-List stars had been on his project, but still no payday. Eventually though, a deal was struck, a sale made. Think that's the victory?
Now the project hits development hell - directors come and go, and it's not until Denis Villeneuve comes aboard that the journey which began in 2006 ends in 2013.
Having read this account, do you think this is a rarity, an extraordinary journey? Well, this is about par for the course. And if there's one lesson which would truly benefit all aspiring screenwriters, it's this; screenwriting is a craft profession, not a hobby. It will take years to master, and even that is no guarantee of industry success
Guzikowski's journey reminded us of some of the harsh lessons exemplified by Jeffrey Katzenberg's stellar career at the forefront of the film industry. The notoriously driven Katzenberg would famously make 600+ phone calls per week to seize the initiative in industry intel; he would doggedly run the maze of a thousand 'no's' to receive a single 'yes'. First into the office, last out, to the extent that he needed two assistants for each half of the day.
There are few professions in the world in which aspiring participants expect to put so little time or resources into learning their craft - the film industry is already flooded with poorly executed scripts where the single biggest problem is the writer themselves. This is not designed to put writers off - but to make them treat their craft seriously.
You can read Aaron Guzikowski's journey here
You can read our article on Screenwriter Excuses here
You can read our article on Jeffrey Katzenberg here 
You can read Josh Olson's take on professionalism here
WordsWorth Writing Store powers forward
We are delighted to reveal that our sister company, WordsWorth Writing Store , which opened for business in January, continues to build up steam with a whole raft of sales and customer interest.
In development for many months, the store stocks a comprehensive range of storytelling and physical production software, available at the most competitive prices and with brilliant FREE bonus packs, unique to us, attached.                                   
However what we're particularly pleased about is that we will be the first UK software company to provide ongoing phone support to our customers, so rather than tearing your hair out on hold to some call centre in Kenya you can call us any time if something goes wrong.
Unheralded Scene of the Month: MONEYBALL (2011)
In our "Unheralded Scene of the Month" section, our consultants nominate a classic film or TV scene, which in their view hasn't received the admiration it deserves.
 ***Warning: plot spoilers below***
Unheralded Classic: MONEYBALL
The film: How do you set about adapting a non-fiction book on the use of statistical analysis in baseball? Hiring the twin screenwriting powers of Steven Zaillian (SCHINDLER’S LIST) and Aaron Sorkin (THE WEST WING) isn’t a bad place to start, with Sorkin’s trademark razor-sharp wit acting as the perfect change-up to the gripping drama of an underdog sports story. After the tricky project saw off director David Frankel, with Steven Soderbergh’s version canned only days before lensing, CAPOTE director Bennett Miller finally stewarded the film to the big screen.
The plot: Failed player and now General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is tasked with taking the small-market, low spending Oakland Athletics to glory in a league with no salary-cap, competing against high-rolling powerhouses like the New York Yankees. Beane is convinced by Yale graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) to take an unorthodox approach for scouting new players – using advanced ‘Sabermetric’ statistical tools to nab cheap bargains, instead of old-fashioned ‘gut’ scouting. In a sport known as ‘America’s Pastime’, their radical changes are met with fierce opposition from manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman). After initially terrible results, the team turn things around, embarking on a record-breaking winning streak.
The scene: Despite reaching the playoffs, the Athletics lose in the first round and do not make the World Series, leaving Beane despondent. In the film’s finale, Brand sits Beane down to show him a video of an overweight baseball player who trips when trying to run to second base, and has to crawl back to first base – in the dirt, humiliated, his worst nightmares come true, other players laughing at him… but why are they laughing at him? Because he actually hit a monster home run, and could have walked the bases at his leisure. As Brand notes. “he hit a home run, and didn’t even realise it”. You can watch the scene here
Why it's unheralded: After locker room fireworks and on-the-field tension, this denouement is low key and nuanced in its dynamics. With the team’s season finished some might think the main plot thrust is over – but it’s in this scene that the protagonist comes to accept that his revolution won some battles, even if it couldn’t quite win the war.
Why it's great: It can be tough to balance the energies in mixed-ending scripts – those bittersweet victories which aren’t so absolute – but MONEYBALL finds the perfect way to offset failure with hope and redefine the parameters of success, pointing to the true battle in the film – similar to Aaron Sorkin’s THE SOCIAL NETWORK, this is a film about pioneers who see the world in a different way. In what could have been a highly internal moment, using the metaphor externalises Beane’s epiphany and is a perfect example of a mentor figure imparting lessons via abstracted examples, rather than flat, on-the-nose conversation. In a sly modern twist, the poignant moment is broken by Brand’s comedic acknowledgment that “it’s a metaphor”, a sharp moment of contrast which quickly flips us between emotions.
Information is power in the film & TV industries, so here is our vital burst of screenwriting-related intel for your mainframes!
JUNO and UNITED STATES OF TARA scribe pens pilot for PRODIGY – a hyper-intelligent home-schooled teen is sent into mainstream school. Kind of like     THE INBETWEENERS crossed with THE BIG BANG THEORY.
Universal pay $1.2m against $2m for rights to origin story of MI6, in a kind of British take on THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
GLEE writer Stacey Traub sells dental comedy PULLING TEETH to NBC, whilst Aaron Kaplan’s THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT is go at ABC.
Chris Gorak utilises a visual test to prove premise behind sci-fi ATTACH; sells to Paramount.
Mike Le’s PATIENT Z lives up to hype; wraps up quick sale of zombie flick to Screen Gems. A man learns the language of the undead and tracks down patient zero in an attempt to cure his wife.
Former PUSHING DAISIES writer Lisa Joy lands biggest sale of year for under wraps sci-fi adventure; Legendary stays big after recent MAN OF STEEL and PACIFIC RIM outings.
Writer-Director Inon Shampanier sells tale of CIA recruit who masterminds the downfall of a despot.
Writer of EQUIILIBRIUM, SALT, LAW ABIDING CITIZEN and TOTAL RECALL cashes in again with big spec sale; details under wrap.
8th grader Maya Van Wagenen followed 1950s advice on fitting in at school; journal of experiences turned into novels, novels optioned by Dreamworks. 
Anyway that's about all from us for another month, but just scroll down for details of our script development services and upcoming training courses, not to mention our exclusive Insider Interviews series.
The Industrial Scripts Team
Industrial Scripts, Europe's #1 Ranked Screenplay Consultancy
3rd Floor, 33 Newman Street, London, W1T 1PY (Official Industrial Scripts Blog)
At Industrial Scripts we run premium, high-quality training courses which deliver serious value to participants. Our courses are tailored to suit the requirements of the industry, and are led by professionals with proven track records of success in their own individual area of the business.
For 3 and a half years we've been running training courses in script reading, low-budget filmmaking and screenwriting. We currently run 3 courses:
HOW TO WRITE A SCRIPT - SCREENWRITING FOR BEGINNERS is our first screenwriting course and has been designed for creative individuals who possess great ideas for films or TV shows, but don’t know where to begin. It delivers a huge amount of information, condensed into one intense day, to participants new to screenwriting, new to writing, or both. Focussing on both the writing process, and the industry writers find work in, the course aims to heavily de-mystify the process by which people become professional screenwriters, and help new writers navigate the sometimes precarious early years of the screenwriter.
Next course date: Saturday 30th November 2013
Our EFFECTIVE SCRIPT READING 1-day training seminar continues to go from strength to strength, winning consistently stellar feedback from participants...:

The course includes comprehensive contacts documents detailing all the paid script reading outlets in film and TV in the UK, and also offers attendees indefinite, ongoing email and phone support once the course is over. We can't turn you into a great script analyst overnight, but we can speed you up and save you a lot of time and effort in the process. Click here to book.
Next course date: Saturday 23rd November 2013
EVERYTHING AMERICA is our brand new course dedicated exclusively to the business of working in the world's largest film and TV industry.
The course covers agents, managers, attorneys, VISAs, where to stay, where not to stay, the structure of the TV industry, the spec script market, and much much more. It's perfect for UK Producers, Writers and Directors with one eye firmly on America.
Next course date: Saturday 14th December 2013
We formed Industrial Scripts to provide writers and filmmakers in the independent TV and film sector with high-quality, industry-standard script development services not usually available to them. Our consultants all have considerable experience working for and with the very best companies, and are currently very active in development (we don't believe in trading on past glories). We offer 15 different types of script development service, some are listed below, but you can visit our website to view them all...
"Should I spend 6...12...18...months of my life developing this project?" is a question that haunts many writers, who invariably have more ideas than man-hours. Here writers submit 10 loglines (without synopses), and Industrial Scripts will put them in order of excellence, encouraging writers to channel their efforts into promising ideas rather than, as above, wasting time and energy writing themselves to a dead end. This service also includes an overview (up to 250 words) on why particular projects merit more attention than others. 

Coverage Report - £124.99 * eligible for TALENT CONNECTOR
This report on feature-length scripts consists of 3+ pages of notes and feedback to help the writer move on to his or her next draft. This is most suited to writers either in the early stages of development (at 1st draft stage, for example) or right at the very end of the development process, when notes to help "tweak" the script are required, rather than offering substantial changes.
Detailed Development Notes - £269.99 * eligible for TALENT CONNECTOR
Our Detailed Development Notes service delivers an extremely detailed analysis of your feature script, together with lengthy suggestions on how to move forward to the next draft. These reports run to 10+ pages, and offer a truly forensic analysis of the script, which will leave you in absolutely no doubt of how to improve the project and move it forward.
Script Doctoring - £ fee by negotiation * eligible for TALENT CONNECTOR
Through our resident Script Doctors we offer writers, producers and directors the opportunity to have their project re-written, doctored, polished, re-structured and significantly improved according to their requirements. Fees are by negotiation, to book any of our doctors to work on your project or to request a quote please contact us with as much detail as possible about your script, and your requirements.

Industrial Scripts brings you The Insider Interviews - exclusive FREE content from leading industry professionals that you can't access, anywhere else. Click here to access these free interviews and either download them to your iPod, or read them online:
STORY Guru Robert Mckee
"Charlie Kaufman...what an as*...he's Mr. Theory! He's not an anti-theorist!"
Screenwriter Kevin Lehane (GRABBERS)
"I think the horror-comedy is a really tough genre...I wanted to write a monster movie, like TREMORS, or GREMLINS". Download the podcast...
Head of Development Sophie Meyer (Ealing Studios)
"If I had to boil it down to one thing it would be "does it make you care?" Download the podcast...
Writer-Director Ben Wheatley (KILL LIST, DOWN TERRACE)
"Short films are a waste of time...I thought if I was going to put in that much effort, I may as well try and make something I can sell..." Download the podcast...
"I wrote 12 plays before I had anything produced..." Download the podcast...
“I thought to myself "this is filmmaking: doing something you don't want to do and for which you will probably be punished by God!”” Read more...
Film Journalist Nev Pierce (Editor-at-Large, Empire magazine) 
"Interviewing directors is my favourite can be thrilling if you're meeting someone you sit down for 2 hours with David Fincher...I feel incredibly blessed to have that kind of opportunity". Download the podcast...
Producer Gareth Unwin (THE KING'S SPEECH, EXAM) 
"I'd done something a bit daft just through eagerness and I said to someone within The Weinstein Co. - "I hear I'm not in Harvey's good books anymore" and she said "Harvey doesn't have good books, there's just people he hates less that week!" Download the podcast...
"(when the THOR call) came in I was just about ready to sing and was the longest audition process I've ever been through...". Download the podcast...
Literary agent Rob Kraitt (Casarotto Ramsay)
'I once sold a book to Tom Cruise - it was before he and Michael Mann made COLLATERAL. It was a big six-figure deal and doesn't happen very often.' Download the podcast...
[at the time of recording Rob Kraitt worked for AP Watt]

Literary agent Nick Marston (Curtis Brown Group) 
'There are these moments in agencies when one generation wants to leave and the other generation has to somehow find the money to take over... and in our case that came from the 'honey pot' of the Winnie the Pooh estate.'
Download the podcast...
Studio Executive Alexei Boltho (Paramount Pictures)
'A typical working day for me? Smoking cigars, that's about it really!' Read more...

Screenwriter Stuart Hazeldine (EXAM, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, KNOWING)
'I had to keep the faith, and finally the phone rang and it was a big agent from ICM in LA saying he had read my two scripts and wanted to take me on...'. Read more...

Screenwriter David Scinto (44 INCH CHEST, SEXY BEAST)
'GANGSTER NO.1 is one of the best scripts we ever wrote, sadly in other hands it was ruined. Bastardised. Mutated. Amateur.' Read more...

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