Saturday, September 29, 2007

Another Michael Chabon Gem

A few months ago, Zach and I saw Michael Chabon speak at Barnes and Noble, where he provided us with this one:

Zach: Any advice to young writers just starting out?
Michael Chabon: (shrugging) Be good.

Well, I just finished rereading The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, and in the back there is a little essay that Chabon wrote, talking about his motivation to write the piece, which he began after undergrad, after moving home to California from Pittsburgh, and all before he turned 22 years old.

While he can do no wrong in my eyes, and the entire thing is invaluable by my standards, there is one, *ahem* gem that stands out above the rest. He was discussing how the literature that he enjoyed most to read was genre and science fiction, but he didn't want to actually write it. He knew that trying to be literary would require him to do something a little more spectacular to make himself stand out. Or, in his words:

"If my subject matter couldn't do it -- if I wasn't writing about people who sailed through neutron stars or harnessed suns together -- then it was going to fall to my sentences themselves to open up the heads of my readers and decant into them enough crackling plasma to light up their eye sockets for a week."

Fucking brilliant.

Write on...

Oh no! Look out, Cakeman!

In lieu of an actual post, which will come later. There's much to say. I hope everyone's writing. And don't forget to send us emails with any questions/comments/death threats. We like reading things.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Additional Sources

Onyx posted last time about a source he found, which was useful to writers. Jumping off of that, I'm going to add a few more that I stumbled across while searching for information about short films. Check these out if you have a moment; they might be helpful.

- Contains many scripts available to read for free, including several Oscar nominated scripts (and some that are, unfortunately, just transcriptions of the films), as well as foreign scripts.

- A sort of all-in-one site that offers an FAQ section, script sales info, profiles on working writers, reviews, contest info, etc. Registration is free and, though not necessary to access all parts of the site, probably a good idea. As of writing this, I am not signed up yet, but I will and will post later about whether doing so was worth it.

- Exactly what it sounds like, resources for student filmmakers. More for the technically inclined, but it provides contest information, as well as links to companies that make and sell equipment. What might be worth a read for struggling writers, though, is the Screenwriting Forum, which can be found down the page on the left hand side, under the forum section. It's just people talking about writing and the difficulties of doing so.

- A site where you can watch short films from the WILDsound film festival.

- Transcriptions of panels and talks hosted and given by various screenwriters. It provides an interesting read about how people approach writing and different styles and schools of thought.

- For those not familiar with the site, it provides reviews and release information about movies, games, DVDs, you name it. A great site to frequent, especially at the end of each week when the new releases are hitting theaters.

- I don't really like the new design of the site; I think it offers fewer films, but that's also due to companies not wanting to partner with Apple and other corporate politics issues. Nonetheless, I try to come here once every week or two just to keep on top of what is coming out in the near to far future, and what I should keep my ears to the ground about.

More to come later, but I hope these help. Have fun playing.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Resource For Writers

It amazes me that I have a piece of paper certifying myself as a trained screenwriter, yet there are so many writing resources out there that I have no experience with at all. Sometimes I feel like in the arts community we all make peace with the reality of a lonely uphill struggle that consumes the better part of our twenties and thirties, but the truth of the matter is that there are a lot of people out there who want to make the journey easier and they're providing the tools to do so. is one such tool that every screenwriter should get familiar with. It's not the holy grail of screenwriter support sites, but it's a pretty good place to start. What drew me in initially was that it's a place where dozens of screenplay competitions are compiled and sorted by date. This was so refreshing after so many days of searching the shady back alleys of the internet for what usually ends up being the dirty whore of screenplay competitions. Sure some of competitions on are expired by a few years, but there are often links that go to updated competition home pages and there are several up to date competitions already listed on the site. All screenwriters should get familiar with the competition circuit. It's not the glamorous path we all envision, (I thought it sucked when teachers told me to take my beloved thesis and enter it into a contract?) but for most of us young writers it's the only way anybody is going to give that 100 million dollar historical adventure any attention right now.

Aside from the competition listings also offers basic need to know information for serious writers such as format, different contracts, and being marketable. They also post news of recent screenplay sales in the industry, interviews with writers/filmmakers, and they offer a directory of production companies and talent agencies. Certain features are only open to paying members, but there's more than enough on the site to warrant a few click happy sessions. Who knows, you may find the competition that will put that abandoned horror script to good use, or some of us might even finally understand what an option agreement is.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

'Bout That Time

Well, it's been about ten days since we last posted. I don't quite know why the sudden --er, not so sudden-- posting drought occurred, other than to blame it on many things. For one, there's work. Whether it's finding work (which I'll have to start doing again), keeping work, or doing work, there's a lot of that going around. Also, there's writing, which we are doing (albeit not here). And other things.

Speaking of other things, the League has decided that it's time to become a bit more proactive. I'm not going to get into what we're doing, but we're taking the steps to be more than just a writers group, which was the plan all along. So that's good. The idea and the collective desire to push forward with the League just adds to my assurance that the group, as a whole and because of the individuals involved, is working.

We've also begun discussing inducting new members to the League, for various reasons. Not necessarily something we're looking to do tomorrow, but soonish. We're not sure how to go about doing that. I'm sure that will be one of the things discussed at our next meeting.

But all in all, I feel that things are really starting to move forward with the League. It's a good feeling. It was 'bout that time.