Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – A Review by Fast Film Reviews

I was going to write my own review for the meandering mess of a movie called Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but after yesterday’s disaster of a review I just didn’t have the heart… or pain tolerance… to write another one so soon. And let’s face it, you know and I know writing reviews isn’t exactly my forte, so…

Instead I decided to reblog for your entertainment and instruction this wonderfully written and compelling review of the flick written by popular film critic Mark Hobin of Fast Film Reviews. It’s a wonderfully written and compelling review that also happens to mirror my sentiments of the faulty flick near spot on.

Read, heed, and enjoy…

Fast Film Reviews

once_upon_a_time_in_hollywood_ver7STARS2.5A new Quentin Tarantino film is an event.  Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has been billed as his ninth picture.  So apparently Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2 are now considered one film.  The auteur has declared his plans to retire after he has made 10 total.  Much of the critical establishment has worshiped at the altar of this much-lauded filmmaker.  Personally, I haven’t always been a fan of the way he succumbs to his excessive impulses.  His last production, The Hateful Eight, was a mean-spirited tale of truly reprehensible individuals.  To its credit, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is decidedly more good-natured.  It’s a tale that longs for a bygone era.  But that isn’t for the Golden Age of directors like William Wyler, Frank Capra, and George Cukor.  No Tarantino reveres the men of 1960s Hollywood like Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone and John Sturges who made…

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Sunday Songs to Spark the Spirit and Summon the Moves of the Dance

So for the past two months I’ve been stuck within the tedious and grinding and painful first phase of the developmental process for my next book (while I can’t say the first phase is my favorite phase of the entire book development process — to me the entire process of developing a book is tedious and grinding and painful — I can at least say it is the least tedious and grinding and painful of them all) when it recently suddenly dawned upon me that I am not yet ready to let go of the last book I that tediously and grindingly and painfully developed…

Which of course is The Good Kill, thank you very much.

At first I tried to fight through the desire to not let it go but it wasn’t working…

Continue reading “Sunday Songs to Spark the Spirit and Summon the Moves of the Dance”

Depressing Pasty White Boys Playlist for Melancholic Moods and Writing Inspiration

So, the past couple weeks I’ve been in a last-minute frenzy (the best way I find to write) to finish the screenplay for a feature film version of Leave.

Yeah, we’re now – no jokin’ – just days away of getting Leave, the short film version*, in the can and we will soon be submitting the production (and let me tell ya, it’s been one hell of a production (to say the least)) to all the various and sundry film festivals throughout the lands near and far.

And, as we’re all hoping (I know, I know all you hardcore military grunts – HOPE IS NOT A COURSE OF ACTION!), and some of us are even borderline expecting, that there will be some interest after seeing the short film from the moneyed movie moguls who will be out there cruising all the various and sundry festivals looking for their next feature film project…

Continue reading “Depressing Pasty White Boys Playlist for Melancholic Moods and Writing Inspiration”

Yes, that #shortfilm of mine is still a thing…

LEAVE, A Short FilmIt’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since we wrapped up production out in West Hollywood on my short film LEAVE, which was adapted from my short story of the same name.

That, my friends, was a good time, indeed.

Time sure does go fast…

And, frustratingly enough, it, concurrently, goes so frakkin’ (any BSG/Caprica fans out there?) slow when one’s breath is bated in anticipation, such as mine is for the film’s completion.

Movie making is not as easy as it looks from the theater seats, that’s for sure.

Continue reading “Yes, that #shortfilm of mine is still a thing…”

So, I’m Going To Make A Movie… UPDATE #4

UPDATE: OUR LEAVE CAMPAIGN IS NOW LIVE! PLEASE DONATE AND SPREAD THE WORD.


Yes, I know, I know… I haven’t talked about it for a long time…

But my movie is still very much a thing.

A very big thing.

And the cast and crew is – to use a word The Donald used more than too many times in last night’s insufferable “presidential” debate – beautiful!

And all will be revealed soon (coincidentally, just about the time our IndieGoGo campaign goes live).

But for now, to get an idea of where our leading actors are coming from, I strongly recommend you become familiar with the CBS show “Limitless” and the TNT show “The Last Ship.”



 


Yeah, those shows…

Which means my show is gonna be. . . (wait for it). . . huuuge!
 

LEAVE, A Short Film
 

#dumptrump

 
 

Birth of Loglines & Beyond | A Guest Post by Author Ann Kimbrough

Our private Facebook writers and readers group recently held its second WRITE EDIT WRITE Challenge (see the results of the first challenge here). Because my focus is on producing a short film based upon an adaptation of my short story LEAVE, I figured we might as well have a challenge focused on screenwriting. Ergo, we asked the group to submit a 25-word, or less, logline describing a WIP or produced work from a genre of their choosing.

It’s no surprise that the author who submitted the chosen response is a working screenwriter who has some serious writing chops. Author Ann Kimbrough shares her screenwriting expertise in several places on the web, all of which you can reach via her namesake website annkimbrough.com. My favorite medium of Ann’s is her youtube channel where she and other working screenwriters get together to share their knowledge of the industry. Fantastic stuff. We are very fortunate to have Ann as part of our WRITE EDIT WRITE group, and, if I may say, you are very lucky that she has written for us here an excellent post about the mystery and intrigue of writing a logline. You’re welcome. :)

Ann’s logline submission for WEW #2:

In a secret facility, a rookie female FBI analyst struggles to contain a serial killer, but her only hope is trusting a devious bombing suspect.


Birth of Loglines & Beyond
Ann Kimbrough

annkimbrough.com

Loglines are creeping into your life!

Once only used by screenwriters, all kinds of writers find the little buggers useful. The first one I ever saw was in a TV Guide. Remember those? I barely remember newspapers, even though I’ve heard they still exist. For Millennials who can’t write cursive, read clocks or relate to newspapers: a TV Guide was a paper booklet that came with the Sunday paper. It contained a schedule of all the TV shows for a week.

Psst: we’re talkin’ back in ancient times when there were only three major TV stations. I know… it’s Epically Stone Age.

The guides also contained a little blurb about each show. Those blurbs were the birth of loglines.

I imagine TV Guides still exist today, somewhere without Wi-Fi, but they must be the size of phone books. Remember those? Err… we’ll save that lesson for another time.

TV Guide blurbs looked something like this:

Kidnapped in Tasmania, MacGyver uses a banana, a piece of gum and a washing machine to make a robot and save the world.

I doubt that episode of MacGyver ever aired, but maybe it will in the re-vamped show that’s on CBS this season.

Loglines actually do two things:

1. Get your concept across ASAP.

2. Sell your story.

Screenwriters pitch their scripts all the time. In turn, if a producer likes the idea, they have to turn around and pitch it to the principals in their company before an offer to option can be made. When a script is optioned, the production company pitches it to the moneymen for funding – financiers or studios. The better the logline, the better the pitch is all the way up the line.

For novelists, loglines can be used in several ways:

  • Start a query letter
  • On a book’s Amazon page
  • On a book’s back cover
  • On any sales material to build an audience

In an age when our watches are digital instead of sundials and shoes have Velcro instead of laces, no one has time to read a whole marketing pitch. When writers can get their message across fast, they have a better chance of success.

Plenty of rules exist about what makes a logline a good logline, but I’ll keep it simple.

1. Keep it to one sentence, like my MacGuyer example. Some pundits say to make it under 25 words, but don’t go crazy if you’re at 30.

2. Tell the whole story. Protagonist fights what odds to win what battle?

3. Don’t use proper names. Use occupations with a descriptive adjective. Ex.: a wily candy creator, could be used in a logline for Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Or a deformed recluse for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

4. Write it in present tense.

5. Don’t include sub-plots. Stick to the main storyline of protagonist vs. antagonist.

6. Match the tone of your story. When Stephen King writes a logline, I’m sure it sounds scary.

7. Test the logline on friends. If they ask a bunch of questions and sound confused, then keep working. If they ooh and aah, appearing to get the story, then you may celebrate.

One caveat: a common logline error is writing a logline that you think fits your story, but makes people see a different story. Such an error will turn any reader sour when your book (or script) takes a turn they didn’t expect.

Ex. 1: A long-haired princess trapped in a tower awaits a dashing prince.

Do you sense a Rapunzel story?

What if the logline should have really been:

Ex. 2: A long-haired princess trapped in a tower awaits a dashing prince to sacrifice for her freedom.

Whoa! That’s a completely different story. An agent, producer or reader might want one version of that story, but not the other. Misleading them, even by accident, will hurt in the long run. Loglines that pitch the whole story lead to more success once the manuscript is read.

Avoid this mistake by testing your logline on your Beta Readers. Or on complete strangers, who know nothing about your writing. (I’ve been told grocery and bank lines are great places to do this.) You pitch them your logline, then ask what kind of story they’d expect to read. If it’s close to the story your wrote, you’re good to go.

Like all kinds of writing, creating loglines gets better with practice. So, get going!

###

Ann Kimbrough’s imagination comes from growing up as an Air Force brat, which entertained her childhood with foreign lands and amazing characters. They tend to pop-up in all her writing, whether screenplay or novel. The magic continued after college, when she worked in Hollywood and became a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Ann hosts YouTube show Screenwriters Beat, and spends the rest of her time writing contained, thrilling screenplays and cozy mystery novels under pen name Ann Audree, as well as romance under pen names Pippa Minx and Ann McGinnis. Ann is an optioned and produced screenwriter.

annkimbrough.com

 
 

The book’s always better than the movie…

Right?

That’s the rule, right?

Books rule over movies.

Always.

Before I got involved with this whole short film thing, I always would get indignant after watching yet another failed movie adaptation of a book I liked. And I would always wonder to myself why in the heck could they never get it write/right.

Until on a whim I decided to try my hand at adapting my short story LEAVE into a screenplay.

Right away I realized that this was going to be no easy feat.

Introspection and contemplation that serve a short story or a novel so well is basically useless in a screenplay where just about everything must be represented as action and dialogue so it can be seen and heard by the audience.

Of course LEAVE as a short story is mostly introspection and contemplation by the protagonist so right off the bat the whole structure would have to change in order to be able to show his shift of character from beginning to end.

To do this, new scenes had to be invented and new characters had to be developed and within the first writing of the story of LEAVE as a screenplay, it was already hugely different from the story of LEAVE the short story. And that was only by my own efforts.

After I showed it to an actor friend for his feedback, from his guidance it went from 33 pages down to fifteen. And yes, to whittle it down that much there had to be a significant change in story and tempo.

But really, the biggest changes to the story didn’t occur until once the screenplay was accepted by a studio and a director was found and she got ahold of it… and then several of the lead actors got ahold of it…

Talk about feedback overload. It took much effort and persuasion to maintain it as a story I recognized.

And, while we are scheduled to begin filming in two months, we haven’t yet cast the lead actor so I can only wonder what changes still might occur to it.

But you know what… the story as it is now as a near fully developed screenplay is really not that far from what it is as a short story.

It is just different.

And much, much better in my opinion.

Still, I guarantee it if you read the short story and then see the film, you will be significantly surprised by the differences that there are between the two.

I just hope you are not significantly disappointed.

But I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be because we have an awesome crew and the cast is going to be first rate and impressive.

And I can also guarantee that from now on whenever I watch a movie that has been poorly adapted from a book that I like I will certainly be less critical and more understanding of the differences between the two and the winding and somewhat weary course that had to be traveled to get the story to the screen.

Because now I know.

And now I have only one rule regarding movies and books.

Both of them do.

Rule, that is…

 


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