February 27, 2014
Showed up on Jezebel the other day, all about women needing stronger [or at least with better dialogue] roles in Hollywood. [I'll give you the link later, hang in there.] It features a youtube clip of actress and producer Olivia Wilde.
[From House, you punks, start reading the fucking credits.]
It’s titled “Olivia Wilde Crushes It When She Talks About Women in Hollywood.”
Olivia Wilde totally does crush it too. [I'll give you that link too if you stick around.]
[Stop scrolling, you attention deficit bastards, there is method to my madness.]
The problem is the Jezebel writer, Hillary Crosley, doesn’t “crush it.”
[Sorry, Hillary, I'm sure you're a lovely person.]
Here is how Hillary’s “go girls” article ends:
“First you get the producers, then you get the power, then you get the women.”
Cute. But. No. Though it is a darling twist on the protest quote “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
That is Gandhi right?
Hollywood is not Occupy Wall Street. Hollywood is a corporate living breathing high school metaphor — that is supposed to make a profit, not topple banking corruption or withstand pepper spray in New York parks. And the emphasis there though it should maybe be on “high school” is on “make a profit.” As in “huge fucking profit.” And if you don’t get that? You don’t get Hollywood.
In Hollywood, producers don’t bring in the money – or the power.
Producers in Hollywood are matchmakers. They match talent [actors, actresses, directors, writers] with projects [books, adaptations, concepts, specs] and studios [studios are the purse that is highly corporate and also linked into more corporate deals like “distribution” which is often with other studios and often highly problematic and is also another subject entirely that would take a whole other post so moving on].
Or, using another metaphor, let’s pretend we’re planning a home coming dance.
Yay! Back to high school!
Producers are the party planners. Producers bring everyone together, but producers in Hollywood aren’t paying for the dance or directing the dance. They are just matching all the right players up so it sounds like a really fun party and everyone goes, “Hey, great party, fuck, everyone will come, let’s do it!” Then the studios supply the cash and you know, if you’re bankrolling the party, that gives you some say. But if you throw [bankroll] a party and no one comes to the party [no cover charges, no drink sales, ahhh!]? Like, the homecoming queen and king say, Fuck you, dead party, we’re going to the country club instead?
Dead in the water.
So that’s why the [prom queen] talent can have more clout than the studio [bank roll]. The talent [prom queen] is the core of the equation. Because if the prom queen boycotts your party?
No fucking party.
Did the metaphor work?
So the power, making Hollywood films? Resides with studios [the money], and with talent [the people the studios will throw money into a project with because if those people boycott future parties?, no more parties].
So how does this all boil down in terms of hot female lead and hot dialogue for female characters projects in Hollywood?
You don’t go to the producer. You go to the toughest female Hollywood talent on the block, with or without tats, they have served their time and fought their way up through the hierarchy and have the clout.
This does not mean producers are not important. Producers are crazy important. Mostly the party would not even happen without producers. But do you know who Gale Anne Hurd is? [God I hope so but doubt it. Go IMDB you fools. Ahhh!] How about Robert Evans? [No? Ahhh!]
In other words, Miss Crosley? You got it wrong.
You want to make hot female driven projects? You do not start with “the producers.” You start with the toughest women in Hollywood.
And when I say “tough,” I don’t mean prison tats. I mean, they are the prom queens of Hollywood. They have such powerful track records with the studios, have starred in so many films that made the studios so much money, if they say, I want to make this or star in this or produce this or direct this? The studio suits will say, “I can’t risk you not showing up at my next party, I will write this check.”
There is a caveat.
[There always fucking is a caveat. This is Hollywood. Bummer.]
“If this party fails, you go to Tough Hollywood Babe With Clout Jail” and stop making me fund parties no one shows up to.”
That means the tough girls in Hollywood have something to lose every single time they back something. See, if the suits get really pissed? They could screw up that other thing we don’t have time to talk about — distribution. And something we haven’t even mentioned here — promotion. And to cannon ball past all that? That’s a lot of effort. And why would they do that for another woman instead of for themselves making profit off a film that is important to them, stars them, and will keep them and their film career alive another decade or more?
And that’s another subject that would make this post too long. So. Let’s go back to the original point.
You want more women dominated films in Hollywood? You want better roles for women in film? You want better dialogue for women in films? You don’t talk to the party planner [producers]. You talk to the prom queens [tough ass kicker women actors and directors and writers in Hollywood -- and the big prom queens are the actresses, you can't fire them halfway through principal photography without dropping millions, everyone else is fungible].
Wait, I promised you the Olivia Wilde clip too. Here you go yay!:
Also, I should link you to the Jezebel piece. Sigh:
PS: Dear Jezebel Peeps: If you need someone who actually understands Hollywood on the payroll? Hit my link. If I’m too busy or expensive? I’ll refer you.
February 25, 2014
*For all my students who come out of :::classes:::
looking at old scripts with new eyes.
February 20, 2014
January 15, 2014
:::THIS::: is important.
[Yes, that was a link.]
WTF? Still here? Oh you lazy ass slackers!
Fine. You need convincing.
Here is an excerpt:
To hell with you.
To hell with every greedhead operator who flocked here throughout history because you wanted what we had, but wanted us to go underground and get it for you. To hell with you for offering above-average wages in a place filled with workers who’d never had a decent shot at employment or education, and then treating the people you found here like just another material resource—suitable for exploiting and using up, and discarding when they’d outlived their usefulness. To hell with you for rigging the game so that those wages were paid in currency that was worthless everywhere but at the company store, so that all you did was let the workers hold it for a while, before they went into debt they couldn’t get out of.
To hell with you all for continuing, as coal became chemical, to exploit the lax, poorly-enforced safety regulations here, so that you could do your business in the cheapest manner possible by shortcutting the health and quality of life not only of your workers, but of everybody who lives here. To hell with every operator who ever referred to West Virginians as “our neighbors.”
To hell with every single screwjob elected official and politico under whose watch it all went on, who helped write those lax regulations and then turned away when even those weren’t followed. To hell with you all, who were supposed to be stewards of the public interest, and who sold us out for money, for political power. To hell with every one of you who decided that making life convenient for business meant making life dangerous for us. To hell with you for making us the eggs you had to break in order to make breakfast.
To hell with everyone who ever asked me how I could stand to live in a place like this, so dirty and unhealthy and uneducated. To hell with everyone who ever asked me why people don’t just leave, don’t just quit (and go to one of the other thousand jobs I suppose you imagine are widely available here), like it never occurred to us, like if only we dumb hilljacks would listen as you explained the safety hazards, we’d all suddenly recognize something that hadn’t been on our radar until now.
To hell with the superior attitude one so often encounters in these conversations, and usually from people who have no idea about the complexity and the long history at work in it. To hell with the person I met during my PhD work who, within ten seconds of finding out I was from West Virginia, congratulated me on being able to read. (Stranger, wherever you are today, please know this: Standing in that room full of people, three feet away from you while you smiled at your joke, I very nearly lost control over every civil checkpoint in my body. And though civility was plainly not your native tongue, I did what we have done for generations where I come from, when faced with rude stupidity: I tamped down my first response, and I managed to restrain myself from behaving in a way that would have required a deep cleaning and medical sterilization of the carpet. I did not do any of the things I wanted to. But stranger, please know how badly I wanted to do them.)
And, as long as I’m roundhouse damning everyone, and since my own relatives worked in the coal mines and I can therefore play the Family Card, the one that trumps everything around here: To hell with all of my fellow West Virginians who bought so deeply into the idea of avoidable personal risk and constant sacrifice as an honorable condition under which to live, that they turned that condition into a culture of perverted, twisted pride and self-righteousness, to be celebrated and defended against outsiders. To hell with that insular, xenophobic pathology. To hell with everyone whose only take-away from every story about every explosion, every leak, every mine collapse, is some vague and idiotic vanity in the continued endurance of West Virginians under adverse, sometimes killing circumstances. To hell with everyone everywhere who ever mistook suffering for honor, and who ever taught that to their kids. There’s nothing honorable about suffering. Nothing.
January 15, 2014
On Facebook there is this poetry meme going around.
[Yes I did a poetry meme. I also sometimes watch Vampire Diaries just because I think Ian Somerhalder is hot. Don't judge!]
These are my two favorite poetry meme posts.
A Dog Has Died
My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.
Some day I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.
Ai, I’ll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.
No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he’d keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.
Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.
Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.
There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don’t now and never did lie to each other.
So now he’s gone and I buried him,
and that’s all there is to it.
*Posted by Debi Hill
Stop All the Clocks
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
W. H. Auden.
*Posted by Max Adams
The Meme: “Let’s flood Facebook with poetry. Someone assigns you a poet, you post a poem by that poet, and if someone likes your post, you assign them a poet.”
In case you are craving other poetry: :::bukowski:::
January 7, 2014
Was just asking about screenwriting, which she’s interested in, and getting up and running learning the basics. I threw some advice at her and here it is again for anyone out there looking to start and not knowing where to start, screenwriting:
I sometimes teach beginning classes through Gotham Writers, but I don’t have any on the schedule right now and they aren’t cheap. The bulk of my classes are through The Academy of Film Writing [AFW] and are master classes, you have to have the basics to get into those.
Screenwriting U advertises free classes from time to time which might be a good place to start. They have a Facebook page. I don’t know how good they are, but free is free.
A book I highly recommend is David Trottier’s The Screenwriter’s Bible, which is a good place to start. That’s on Amazon.
Also, hit Terry Rossio’s Wordplay and read everything in the archives, all of Terry’s articles on writing are really educational, I make a lot of my students read those.
Read scripts. Scripts, scripts, and more scripts.
This is a good source site for screenplays online: MovieScriptSource.com
Not all of these titles will be on there but some really great scripts in no particular order are When Harry Met Sally, Moonstruck, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Romancing the Stone, The Terminator, Fabulous Baker Boys, Blade Runner, Accidental Tourist, Last Boy Scout, Jaws, Shawshank Redemption, John Carpenter’s The Thing, American Beauty, and The Fugitive.
Don’t get thrown by format. Format has five parts: scene headers, scene description, dialogue cues, parentheticals, and dialogue. That’s it. Five parts. People get all whacked out by format like it’s this big complex math equation but it isn’t, script format has five very simple parts, the end, and some people don’t even use the parentheticals.
Pay attention to verbs in scene description, reading scripts, that’s where motion comes from. And to the details given in character descriptions when they are introduced, that’s character work and the first impression a reader gets of a character. Character intro’s are especially strong in Shawshank Redemption and in The Fugitive.
There you have it. Max’s down and dirty screenwriting primer for beginners.
January 2, 2014
To 10 Self Centered Bizarre Things People Ask For
[And Why That Ain't Gonna Happen]
Let’s preface this with a recent Twitter exchange:
@jeannevb: Wow. Some people really are self-absorbed idiots. Warning: Karma WILL get you. #speechless
@CelluloidBlonde: RT @jeannevb: Wow. Some people really are self-absorbed idiots. || Dammit I said I was sorry, Jeanne! :::scamper:::
@jeannevb: @CelluloidBlonde haha I was talking about my email inbox. #Holyfuckola you should see the things ppl ask of me *headdesk*
@CelluloidBlonde: @jeannevb That’s a blog post: Top ten self centered bizarre things people ask for.
@CelluloidBlonde: @jeannevb [And why that ain't gonna happen]
@jeannevb: @CelluloidBlonde OMG yes!
@romimoondi: I would love to read this, pls & thx “@CelluloidBlonde: @jeannevb That’s a blog post: Top ten self centered bizarre things people ask for.”
Okay… here’s one. The other nine are up to you guys…. See that comments section below? Go. Now. And post.
Now here’s the most recent one I got:
I got email from a woman that opened up with the joys of being a “mommy.” I wasn’t sure why she was writing me about the joys of being a mommy — did she wish to impregnate me? — till she got to the “here’s where Max fits in” part.
I fit into mommy joys because I could build a private writing class for just her and schedule it and my time around her “mommy” schedule.
Great plan, yes?
Okay here is why that is not a great plan and is not going to happen.
1: I can’t afford to build a private class for one individual at a time. Especially not if it includes a “mommy discount.”
2: Childless though I may be, I do have a pretty hefty schedule of my own being a writer, a teacher, and running a business. That workload and schedule does not evaporate when someone drops “mommy” into the conversation.
3: This is a personal foible, but I find it generally annoying when adult women refer to themselves in childlike terms like “mommy” instead of “mother” when speaking to other adults like, um, me.
I explained this was not going to happen. I am pretty sure her take away from the conversation was there is something wrong with me.
Your turn… we need at least nine more here to make me not a liar for the post title. Go!
December 31, 2013
December 29, 2013
I’m speaking online tonight in USA #Scriptchat on the do’s and dont’s to get your screenplay read, sold, and produced. Stop by and say hi.
*Congratulations to @Alexander_A_J who was the #Scriptchat winner of the random drawing for a free copy of The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide yay! #tnssg
December 26, 2013
Know what that is? Ohyez, that is Minot North Dakota going Banksy.
I did not think we were going to get North Dakota but that baby came in at the last minute, just was we were wrapping up the Stripes count for Christmas. And you know what that means, right?
[No? You so need to get out more.*]
We got every state by Christmas. Yay yay yay!
*Don’t know what Going Banksy is? Wow where have you been hiding?