Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big Weekend

Sorry, been awhile.
This weekend, a student of mine won the Set In Philadelphia Screenwriting Competition and the Greater Philadelphia Regional Award (for a local writer), not a prestigious contest but one of the better paying ones out there and a nice honor all the same. I feel like such a proud coach, got soaked with Gatorade and everything. I had two students make it to the finals this year. Last year one of my guys won the Parisi Award for a Writer Under 25, which is handed out by "Nixon" screenwriter Steven Riviele. The year before that, another student came in third place.

So, I am busy. At this point, "Aftermath", the 98 page screenplay that I sold in January, has gotten over 60 pages of notes from the producer over the course of, now countless, re-writes. It's cool, her notes are great, the screenplay is better than it was when she first started pursuing it three years ago and it is only getting better.

In the meantime, I just got to work on a new screenplay that I was hired to write. A writer friend in L.A. asked me how I got the gig and it wasn't until I started to answer that I realized how wild the story is. I review films for IndieTalk.com, got a movie by this guy, trashed it, really tore it up, heard from him, started a nice back and forth via e-mail, hit it off and he asked me to write his next film. Maybe honesty is the best policy.

Back to work!

Friday, March 6, 2009

movie reviewer/screenwriter: odd combo, strange bedfellows

QUICK UPDATE: "Aftermath" progresses. I turned in a full re-write last week and am eagerly awaiting notes from the producer but the early word is pretty good. I suspect that I will need to do another pass on it, maybe just a polish but, one way or another, it is closer and closer to being finished.... for now.

That said....

Maybe it was bound to happen.

I have been reviewing films for years now and every now and then I hear from a filmmaker I have written about.

Around five years ago, I reviewed a film called "Monster Man" about a killer in a monster truck. I loved the film, wrote a glowing review and, before too long, the writer-director Michael Davis got in touch with me to let me know how much he enjoyed my review and that he felt that I was the only reviewer who really "got" what he was trying to do in the film. He went on to say that he felt my review would really boost interest and in the film. I hear that it did well in a European theatrical run.

Davis and I corresponded for awhile. He went on to write and direct "Shoot 'Em Up", the Clive Owen - Paul Giamatti....uh, shoot 'em up, a few years ago and I really "got" that one too.

Likewise, Benny Matthews, director of "Santeria" which I gave a good review to, got in touch with me and we are still in touch.

All of this is made just slightly more curious by the events of this week. I have just been hired to write a screenplay for a director whose film I did not like, did not give a good review to -- in fact, I was pretty hard on it. Nevertheless, the director and I formed a lengthy correspondence, cordial, respectful and eye-to-eye on almost everything.

I am really looking forward to writing his screenplay.

Now, if Michael Davis wants to get back in touch....