Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Shorts: Geometria

Hellboy wasn't even a twinkle in Guillermo Del Toro's eye when he wrote/directed this short in 1987, but he obviously had an interest in demons...







Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday Shorts: Tuck Me In

 

Stumbled across this *really* short film from a post over on soundonsight.org. Written by Juan J. Ruiz and directed by Ignacio F. Rodo, Tuck Me In is a perfect example of what you can do with a very little amount of time. And while it's highly unlikely that writing shorts will propel you onto next year's Black List, they can be useful exercises in becoming a more efficient writer: learning to start scenes as late as possible, cutting useless dialogue/overly descriptive action and getting straight to the point.




Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The 2014 Blood List


The 2014 Blood List

1. BIRD BOX by Eric Heisserer
Logline: A woman tries to lead her children to safety after the world is invaded by monsters who turn
you insane upon sight. The tale has echoes of Stephen King’s THE STAND and captures a horrific and
gripping snapshot of a world unraveling.
Genre:Sci-fi thriller
Agent(s): Rich Cook, Lindsay Dunn, Jason Spitz, & Cori Wellins (WME)
Manager(s): Julie Bloom (Art/Work Entertainment)
Status: Set up at Universal, with Bluegrass Films attached to produce.

2. THE GARDENER by Alyssa Jefferson
Logline: In the 1950s, a neurotic florist’s strict routine is derailed after stumbling upon a murder and
finding himself at the center of a conspiracy.
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Agent(s): N/A
Manager(s): Lee Stobby (Silent R)
Status: Available.

3. TAU by Noga Landau
Logline: A woman held captive in the futuristic smart house of a serial kidnapper realizes that her only
hope of escape lies in turning the house’s sentient computer against its creator.
Genre: Thriller
Agent(s): Dana Harris, Ryan Feldman, Meyash Prabhu
Manager(s): Adam Marshall (Caliber)
Status: Russell Ackerman & John Schoenfelder (Addictive Pictures) are attached to produce.

4. INTO THE DEEP by Tony Jazwinski
Logline: A young woman who has recently lost her mother is surfing in an isolated area when she gets
stranded on a buoy, and a gigantic great white shark is between her and the shore.
Reps: David Boxerbaum, Chris Licata, Valarie Phillips (Paradigm)
Manager(s): Ashley Berns & Lawrence Mattis (Circle of Confusion)
Genre: Dark Drama
Status: Set up at Columbia pictures.

5. POSSESSION: A LOVE STORY by Jack Stanley
Logline: Edward and Bethany Martin are young, beautiful, rich, and in love. But their enviable lifestyle
is upended when Bethany begins exhibiting strange and alarming behavior. As her condition worsens
and doctors grow increasingly baffled, it seems as if something supernatural might be responsible.
But the truth is far more shocking…and will force Edward to confront a terrifying choice in the name
of love.
Genre: Psychological Horror
Agent(s): Jay Baker, Jon Cassir, John Garvey (CAA)
Manager(s): Jewerl Ross (Silent R)
Status: Jewerl Ross (Silent R), Russell Ackerman, & John Schoenfelder (Addictive Pictures) are attached
to produce.

6. SCARECROW by Mike Scannell
Logline: Set at a remote lake house, revolves around a mother and her two young daughters who must
fight for survival after falling into a terrifying and bizarre nightmare conceived by a psychopath.
Genre: Horror / Thriller
Agent(s): Geoff Morley (UTA)
Manager(s): N/A
Status: Set up at Screen Gems with Bryan Bertino & Adrienne Biddle (Unbroken) attached to produce

7. THE BRINGING by Brandon Murphy & Phillip Murphy
Logline: In the vein of THE SHINING and THE CONJURING – based on true events, a private investigator
is hired to investigate a mysterious murder at a downtown Los Angeles hotel and uncovers it’s
dark supernatural history.
Genre: Horror
Agent(s): Rich Cook, Solco Schuit & Theresa Kang (WME)
Manager(s): Langley Perer (Mosaic Media)
Status: Set up at Sony with Matt Tolmach & Daniela Cretu attached to produce

8. BULLIES by Michael Grebb
Logline: An outcast teenager’s revenge plot against high school bullies quickly spins out of control,
blurring the lines between bully and victim as his obsession sets off a deadly chain reaction.
Genre: Revenge Thriller
Agent(s): N/A
Manager(s): Jeff Portnoy (Heretic Literary Management)
Status: Available

9. LEATHERFACE by Seth M. Sherwood
Logline: In this prequel to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” a young nurse is kidnapped by four violent
teens who escape from a mental hospital and take her on a road trip from Hell. Pursued by an equally
deranged lawman out for revenge, one of these teens is destined for tragedy and horrors that will destroy
his mind; molding him into the monster we now call Leatherface.
Genre: Horror
Agent(s): Charles Ferraro & Peter Dodd (UTA)
Manager(s): Kailey Marsh (Kailey Marsh Management)
Status: Set up at Millennium Films. Carl Mazzocone and Les Weldon are attached to produce. Christa
Campbell and Lati Grobman will serve as Executive Producers.

10. DEAD ANIMALS by Sawyer Perry
Logline: When a young woman’s estranged uncle comes back into her hometown, she finds herself
strangely attracted to him while at the same time suspicious that he might be involved with a series of
grisly murders.
Genre: Horror
Agent(s): N/A
Manager(s): Sarah Smith (Fake Dare Productions)
Status: Ross Putman is attached to produce

11. UNSETTLED by Jesse Wheeler
Logline: Cole Tanner, one of the millions buried in debt they’ll never be able to pay off, is used to harassment
by collection agencies. But nothing has prepared Cole for his new debt collector, Ray Loomis,
a man dead set on getting what he’s owed - one way or another.
Genre: Thriller
Agent(s): N/A
Manager(s): Marc Manus (Manus Entertainment)
Status: Available

12. A MAN CALLED DEATH by Matthew Kennedy
Logline: A reclusive author is visited by a stranded motorist, but we soon realize the two are world renown
killers, seeking revenge on each other.
Genre: Contained thriller
Agent(s): Solco Schuit (WME)
Manager(s): Brooklyn Weaver (Energy Entertainment)
Status: Russell Ackerman & John Schoenfelder (Addictive Pictures) are attached to produce.

13. THE WILDNESS by Evan Dickson
Logline: A hard partying ski instructor finally gets his dream job in Aspen only to find the town threatened
by a malevolent force that must be tamed.
Genre: Horror/Action
Agent(s): N/A
Manager(s): N/A
Status: Available.

PDF: http://www.bloodlist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/BL_666.pdf

This might be a first because I can't recall another year where a script involving a vampire, zombie, or werewolf was not on the list  -- as far as I can tell with those cryptic loglines. No found footage either. A shift towards psychological horror and abstract supernatural thrillers? I doubt it. There's probably a glut of zombie scripts in Hollywood at the moment, but a good one can still get noticed. Bird Box, Tau, and Dead Animals strike my fancy. Looking forward to seeing them produced. There's always next year for the rest of us!





Monday, October 13, 2014

Forever



So there's this new show on FOX ABC set in New York called New Amsterdam  Forever. Starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Ioan Gruffudd, it's about an immortal cop medical examiner who wants more than anything to be normal. Each week, he solves crimes with the help of an impossibly beautiful but damaged, brunette cop. We often see flashbacks of his colorful past as they relate to the episode. Oh, our protagonist also has an unusually close bond with an elderly man. I've never seen anything quite like it...


Coincidences aside, Forever is more like Elementary (with a dash of fantasy) than New Amsterdam -- there was even a Sherlock Holmes reference in the second episode. When it comes to death, Dr. Henry Morgan is the smartest guy in the room. Two hundred years worth of wisdom often allows him to determine the  cause of puzzling deaths with just a cursory look at the body. Henry also happens to suffer from a rather peculiar condition, one that prevents him from staying dead. Any mortal injury causes him to instantly disappear and then reappear, good as new, in a body of water -- naked as a jaybird.

I like supernatural protagonists but they never seem to catch on in a big way with viewers. NBC's Dracula came and went last season without much fanfare, and we all know what happened to New Amsterdam. The procedural aspect here is okay, but Elementary and Sherlock already have the know-it-all-British-guy ground covered. The setting doesn't help matters either. You'd think an eternal being would take a more low profile job and reside in a nondescript small town. Honestly, I'm not sure if the fantasy element is that compelling. What's Henry's goal? Break the curse of immortality, grow old, and die. Yeah, because that whole living forever thing really gets old after a while...   

New Amsterdam's protagonist would become mortal when he found his true love, Highlander was about winning the prize, and Forever Knight was about a vampire struggling to regain his humanity. Even though it shares similar elements, Forever seems a little aimless compared to those shows. Obviously, things could become clearer as the season progresses, but I have my doubts. Ratings have been a little shaky, but ABC might stick with it a while longer and so will I...








Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Shorts: Spawn: The Recall

 

Impressive special effects for a fan film. According to writer/director Michael Paris, they were all done on one computer -- post production took two years though. Maybe Todd McFarlane's plans for a low-budget Spawn film aren't so crazy after all. Tension and atmosphere can go a really long way. You can read an informative interview with Mr. Paris here.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Shorts: DUST


Came across this fantastic short starring Alan Rickman and Jodie Whittaker (written and directed by Ben Ockrent & Jake Russell). Dust manages the difficult task of keeping the viewer in suspense throughout the story -- seven and a half minutes, but still. It's also an excellent example of how less is more when it comes to dialogue...



Saturday, August 30, 2014

How to Write a TV Pilot

Gray Jones (@GrayJones) hosted a panel on TV writing at Comic-Con and graciously posted it on youtube.


Lots of good information here--actually picked up some new things. Writing an original pilot used to be considered a fool's errand, but times have changed. I've been kicking around a few ideas that don't work as features, so why the heck not?

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