Friday, July 21, 2017

Start with a Horror Screenplay

 Every screenwriter knows it is notoriously difficult to break into Hollywood. However, there is a way that is proven worthwhile if it is done right. Low budget horror screenplays are a great way to break into the industry, and they don't have to be bad B-movie's either.

  Consider this: the wildly popular movie Unfriended brought in forty-eight million dollars in the box office, while only having a budget of one million dollars. Horror is a low risk genre with massive potential, because there is already a built in audience. If you stick to a well thought out script without the major computer graphic or special effects, it could be your way in.



  You should be of course concerned with the quality of your screenwriting. Think of originality. There are so many horror movies that viewers don't want to be bored with the same old plots and scares. Try to draw out your own fears because this can inspire you to create even greater plots. It can also make you think of scenes that haven't been done before. Try to stay as close to reality as possible. The fact that it can happen to you is more frightening. Finally, don't overdue it. That makes your screenplay seem more like a parody than something truly scary.

  Think about the movie Seven. It is based off of the seven deadly sins. They used an incredibly low budget with no special effects, but the plot made it so that you could really think it could happen to you. Also movies like It Follows and Get Out have been huge hits as compared to budget.

Offering a low budget movie as your first screenplay makes your script that much more attractive to potential producers. Not only that, it could be a huge hit. If this is your genre, you have a great window of opportunity. If you take advantage of it, you could really prosper.

 This has been a guest post. Thanks to the writer and I invite others to post on screenwriting topics of their choosing. 
 

If you would like a mini masterclass in the art of micro budget screen writing my book on the subject is now available in audio form. You can find it at audible and on Amazon.




 
 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

YOU WANT TO BE A HOLLYWOOD SCREENWRITER

YOU WANT TO BE A HOLLYWOOD SCREENWRITER?

I understand the feeling that comes from the idea of being a successful Hollywood screenwriter. It is like getting a lifetime membership to the country club. Vision of wealth and fame fill the imagination. That is the reality for those who reach the tip top of the food chain. For the average screenwriter you are going to struggle. The hard work that you did to get there is going to double once you get a foot in the door. 

 

This is not the worst thing that can happen if you learn the basic rules of how to write a quality screenplay. If you are doing something that you know how to do and that you love to do then no amount of work will seem too much for you. I love to write once I sit down to do it. I am sure that most of you love the process as well. Here at this blog I hope to share a few lessons that I have learned along the way and to offer you advice that have been posted by others.









I know that some of you are wondering if I have ever sold a screenplay to a Hollywood producer. When I was younger I entered the contest and tried to network my way in, but the game was not for me. Thankfully I decided to walk away from that chase just when the indie micro budget film making revolution was getting started. I found people who could shoot movies for under twenty thousand dollars and since I enjoyed the work more than the idea of wealth I have had the time of my life for the last few years and who knows if I ever write a breakout hit I could get to continue to have fun and freedom doing what I love and make a lot of money too.



Here I an excerpt from my book On Low Budget Screenwriting. You can find it at audible and on Amazon, to do so click image of book cover below.








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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

AUDIO BOOK ON SCREENWRITING

A few years ago I decided that the best way to tell all that I knew about low budget screenwriting was to write a book. Some of you have read it. Now any more of you can little to it if you have an audible.com account. Please take the time to visit this link and after you have listened to it you could maybe leave a review. 

Below I have decided to post two random chapters from my audio book On Writing a Low Budget Screenplay. 



 







Thank you for visiting my site, please take a moment to share by hitting the share link of the audio clip. 

Good luck with your screenwriting and have a great day.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

LOW BUDGET HOLLYWOOD DREAMING


LOW BUDGET HOLLYWOOD DREAMING

Ten years ago the Hollywood idea of a low budget film was ten to twenty million dollars. Now they actually produce films in the million dollar range that turn a huge profit. These films (usually horror or thrillers or faith based) are produced independent of studio involvement. These films can sometimes fool the screenwriter into believing that because of box office success they are Hollywood films and come with the massive up front paydays we have read about.



  Understand that if you are writing a low budget film that you are going to be dealing with a indie director or producer and not a studio. The pay is small, but the opportunity is amazing. Write the next Get Out, War Room, The Witch or Paranormal Activity or It Follows and your future in the industry could be very bright. Just remember that the rules still apply when writing one of these films. Limit the cast, limit the locations and limit the effects that are required to tell the story and you have a low budget film script.

 Even though the M. Night films The Visit (5 million to produce) and Split (9 million) were made by a Hollywood film maker these films are the prototypes to follow as far as crafting the low budget screenplay. If you were to illuminate the High price director and talent both films could have been produced for a forth of those budgets. 







  This post is about Hollywood, but I want you to keep in mind that being able to write a low budget screenplay will be a skill that you will need no matter where you end up working in this industry. To learn more I have a great audio book that will soon be available soon. That you for your time and good luck.





Wednesday, April 26, 2017

BOTH SCREENWRITER AND FILMMAKER


In a world where film has largely been replaced by digital the modern screenwriter needs to consider the idea of being both screenwriter and filmmaker. 

 For the first century of film making the writer hoped to be part of the film making process as a voice on set or to work their way up to directing someday. This was because movies costed so much to make. Millions of dollars meant that there was a system that allowed very little if any vertical movement. Now low budget films are shot for under a million dollars. The ultra low budget film can be done for less than one hundred thousand. The micro budget film can be done and done well for under ten thousand dollars.


 If you want to be the writer, the producer and the director you can now do this. You do not have to use your own money either. You can shoot a scene of a minute or two to prove your concept and then use it in a crowd funding campaign. You can now craft a no budget screenplay, shoot it and use it to market your skills as a writer or better yet the all in one filmmaker. Let's look at the no budget short film.


 

  Perhaps it is time to consider that the best way to become a successful screenwriter is first to become a film maker. 

If you wish to learn how to craft a micro budget screenplay I have written a great little book that you can check out. It is a paperback that soon will be for sale as an audiobook. What I have suggested here is one path to becoming a successful screenwriter. 

In the next post we will look at the Hollywood way. If you wish to learn more about micro budget film making I would suggest visiting my other blog on the subject. Click here to do so. 


Thanks and good luck with your screenplay.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The New World Of Screenwriting

The New World Of Screenwriting

The Dslr revolution amongst low and micro budget film makers has changed the way that screenwriters are looked at by film makers. 
 

   There are now two worlds. The Hollywood way of looking at screenwriters. The screenwriter is a tool that is to be used, abused and when it begins to make noise to be replaced with a younger and cheaper version. Hollywood believes in the need for quality screenplays, but not necessarily the need for writers. You can still get rich there, but you stand a better chance of hitting it big with a novel as you do with a dozen quality screenplays.

 The indie world of film making offers the screenwriter far less money up front. Face it most of us will be working of spec, but the script will get made and the power of the screenwriter in the micro budget world is like that of the writer in the world of network television. You matter more and if you want to be the film maker then all that is required is a great deal of hard work, a few dollars, a strong computer to edit on and a dlsr camera. Christopher Nolan wrote and directed his first film Following for a few thousand dollars with a bunch of friends. The film was shot over the span of a year of weekends.

 

 
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  Look at it this way. In the Hollywood system you as the screenwriter is looked upon as a house elf who may serve long enough to earn your clothes. In the micro budget universe you at worst a high ranking resistance fighter and at best a long lost Jedi Knight.Your skills are viewed as important as those of the leading actor, the director or producer.

 


The thing that I wish to leaved you with today is a single piece of advice moving forward. Decide on what kind of screenwriter that you wish to be. A Hollywood writer or an indie writer. 

 Can’t I do both? 

Yes and no is my answer. 

A low budget writer who pens a film like Mad Max can write films like Thunderdome and Fury Road. A guy who writes the Evil Dead can do three Spiderman films scripts. While someone who did Star Wars films for twenty years cannot think in terms of less than thirty million dollars or once you have done big budget horror films such as the Village and the Happening you think that spending five million dollars to shoot The Visit (most indies could have done it shot for shot for less than a hundred thousand) cannot got micro budget. 

Decide which type of writer you are, not want to be, but are and you will be on your way. 

Thank you for visiting today and my final piece of advice is to study film making this cannot help but to make you a best writer of film.


 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Adapting a Public Domain Comic Book

How About Public Domain Comic Books

 As we watch another summer where many of the massive budget films were adapted from popular comic books. as a micro budget screenwriter there are not many direct ways for you to get in on the action. These adaptations are for those who have worked in the Hollywood system for a while. There are however ways for you to prove yourself capable of writing one of these types of screenplays. I have superheroe dreams like many of your. I would love to do a Green Hornet screenplay, but no one is going to offer me a shot unless I have a track record. 

 How do you build a track record in this genre? 

 You can write a great fan film based upon one of your favorite heroes. The best micro budget superhero film that I have ever seen (better than a few of the big budget versions as well) is a fan film titled Joker Rising. That movie’s script is a great calling card. You could do the same thing. The only problem with this is that you either need to be a film maker or network with film makers who are interested in shooting a fan film.


    

 Recently I was introduced to a new concept. Instead of adapting a famous comic book into a screenplay why not adapt a public domain comic book. A little known fact is that there are thousands of comics that have fallen into the public domain due to the fact that the companies in the forties and fifties that released them went out of businesses and never renewed the copyrights. 

 “That was a long time ago. You can not be serious. Who wants to bring back a character from the forties or fifties?”You say. 

 

Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman and my favorite Captain America began their careers around World War 2. Those characters have endured and changed with the times. You should take the time to investigate these lost characters. There are also characters that are based upon mythical heroes such as Thor or Isis. You can take these heroes and created a screenplay featuring them as long as they do not resemble their comic book counterparts. Sci-fi channel does things like this all the time. They did a Thor movie and it was pretty bad, but they did it and had no problem with the copyright. 

You can make the Frankenstein monster into a hero an antihero like Dracula which is done to perfection in the anime series Hellsing.






 

  If you chose to do this you must first find a subject that you love. Read the original material over and over until you know every single detail and then get to work on the story. If you do not love a character and comic book based films are usually character driven stories then you should not attempt the task of writing a screenplay based upon that character. 


 Good luck with your project and please take a moment to add me to your google plus. I may have some news soon about a screenplay I have been working on for sometime.