The Scribbler

the new writing blog for exciting contemporary writers

Archive for the ‘Screenplay’ Category

Website says money difficulties behind quick sale of Bret Easton Ellis movie rights

leave a comment »

Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis

Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis

Entertainment press website Purple Revolver this week claimed that American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis is ‘cash-strapped’.

Reporting on the sale of the movie rights to his new novel Imperial Bedrooms, the website alleges that the reason behind the quick sale is because Ellis has found himself in financial difficulty.

We at The Scribbler were especially surprised by the news of the sale when Ellis himself expressed such disappointed at the last film adaptation of one of his novel, The Informers.

However, if you believe Purple Revolver, Ellis has hinted that the quick sale of the rights was money motivated and is not a challenge he is setting himself to transfer the text to film, as The Informers was (for which he wrote the screenplay and co-produced).

Imperial Bedrooms is considered a sequel to his first novel and film Less Than Zero which starred Robert Downey Jr.

According to Purple Revolver Ellis was speaking at a GQ party when he said: “In an ideal world, I would love to have the same cast as before as it is the same characters.

“But I don’t think Robert will do this one – he is in a different place now.

“Actually scratch that, in an ideal world the film would not get made, but I would still get the money.”

We are waiting for comment from Ellis and his publishers to reassure us that he cares about how his works are translated into celluloid.

Watch the trailer for Less Than Zero below:

Discussion:
What’s the best and worst Bret Easton Ellis film? Why do you think his novels are so resistant to the successful treatment?

Words: Dean Samways

Hollywood writer Tweeting from jail

leave a comment »

John Avary

John Avary

Roger Avary, the Pulp Fiction story writer, is tweeting observations from behind bars.

Sentenced last month and currently serving a year’s prison sentence for driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter, Avary’s musings could be seen as inspirational to most fledgling writers. In fact, The Scribbler would like to think Avary has already bagged half a dozen ideas for new writing projects.

There are many theories about how Avary is managing to Tweet from Ventura County Jail. One suggests that while serving a year’s custodial sentence and five probation, the Californian justice system saw fit to grant Avary a work furlough allowing him to work on Return to Castle Wolfenstein, his current film project based on the hit computer game, before returning to prison at night. If this was the case we’re sure it would be more widely publicised.

Other reports suggest he’s using his telephone call to phone his 140 character Twitter update to a friend who then updates his profile for him. Or a third idea is that he is microblogging using a mobile phone application. Regardless of how he is doing it, one thing’s for sure, Avary’s Tweets are gradually building a very vivid picture of what life is like inside a correctional institution.

Roger Avary’s other writing credits include; Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Killing Zoe, Rules of Attraction, Glitterati and Beowulf.

Follow Roger Avary’s Twitter account here: @AVARY Let us know if you find it good reading in the comment box below. His website can be found here: www.avary.com

Also follow The Scribbler on Twitter here: @ScribblerBlog

Feast your eyes on a famous example of Roger Avary’s talent below. A drug induced scene from his film Killing Zoe:

Discussion:
What do you think of Roger Avary’s Twitter? Has it inspired you in any way? Is it a good resource for research in life from behind bars? Are you now bitten by the Twitter bug? How can social networking benefit the writing process? Please do discuss below

Words: Dean Samways

Toby Young – A Master of nothing?

with 5 comments

Toby Young, author of How To Lose Friends and Alienate People

Toby Young, author of How To Lose Friends and Alienate People

To celebrate the DVD and Blu-Ray release of ‘How To Lose Friends and Alienate People’, The Scribbler talks to the author of the book that became one of the funniest movies of last year.

In an exclusive interview Toby Young talks about how he got into writing, what nurtured his talent and how the transformation from book to film transpired.

Enjoy our little chat with one of the most sought after writers of the twenty-first century below and leave a comment:

+ + + + +

THE SCRIBBLER: When, where and how did you first discover your flair for writing, and how was it nurtured early on?

TOBY YOUNG: Both my parents were published authors so, for me, writing a book wasn’t a particularly huge leap. Growing up, it was always something I thought I’d do. In addition, my father was always quite encouraging. From a very early age he used to tell me that I was a natural writer.

TS: What was it about working on The Danube that drove you to follow a career in journalism when you were, at the time, studying very different subjects?

TY: I studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics as a student — a subject known as PPE — and that is considered a typical degree for a journalist to take. I think a more pertinent question is why I didn’t go into current affairs journalism, why I tend to do the softer, more personal stuff, and that was something I fell into by accident. It was just easier to get published on the features page than the op ed page and, having come up that route, that’s the path I’m still on. But as I get older I find myself drifting more towards news and current affairs.

TS: You mentioned that as you get older you feel drawn to current affairs, how has that transition in writing styles and subjects been for you?

TY: I just mean that I enjoy appearing on programmes like Newsnight and Question Time – not that it happens very often!

The Sound of No Hands Clapping

'The Sound of No Hands Clapping'

TS: Can you describe the move you made from journalism to fiction writing? What differences exist between the two disciplines in terms of having to change your methods? Did you come across any difficulties and how did you overcome them?

TY: I’ve published very little fiction. My two books – ‘How To Lose Friends and Alienate
People’ and ‘The Sound of No Hands Clapping’ – are both non-fiction.

TS: While your two books are non-fiction some creativity must have gone into them, even if it was just finding ways of making scenes sound as colourful as possible.  How did you approach writing books like that? Are they not just mammoth features?

TY: I’ve read quite a few books on screenwriting and done Robert McKee’s screenwriting course a couple of times. I found that very helpful when it came to writing books. I think the principals of storytelling are universal, regardless of whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction.

How To Lose Friends and Alienate People

'How To Lose Friends and Alienate People'

TS: How did ‘How To Lose Friends and Alienate People’ come about? Can you briefly describe the writing process of such an auto-biographical book. Was it as much fun writing it as it is reading it?

TY: I worked on the proposal for ‘How To Lose Friends’ for a couple of years, but, after I’d sold the book on the back of that, it only took me about six months to write. I’m not sure “fun” is the right word to use. Hunter S Thompson said, “I suspect writing is a bit like fucking, which is only fun for amateurs. Old whores don’t do much giggling.”

TS: To the majority of readers it would appear you’ve led quite the lifestyle. How do you intent to follow your two books? Do you think you’ll have to turn to fiction to convey the same messages and humour?

TY: Well, my life is certainly less exciting now that I’m married and have four children. I want to write more fiction, but it’s hard finding the time between all my other commitments.

TS: During the film making process of HTLF&AP was it difficult to let some of the book go in the production reasons? How much input did you have in the process?

TY: No, I didn’t find that at all difficult. William Goldman, the novelist and screenwriter, once told me that a writer has to learn how to murder his babies, but that came naturally to me. The producers of the film were initially a little wary of me because they thought I’d fight to preserve every last scene in the book, but when they realized I wasn’t going to do that they were much more open to my suggestions. I knew that if the book was going to be turned into a film it would have to be very different.

TS: Are you happy with the finished piece? Has is inspired you to do a bit of screenwriting?

TY: Yes, very happy. It’s a very entertaining film. On the screenwriting front, I caught that bug about twenty-five years ago and I’m still plugging away. Being involved in the making of a film hasn’t put me off in the slightest.

TS: As the hype over HTLF&AP the movie pipes up again with the release of the DVD what are your plans for the future?

TY: I’d like to keep writing books, plays, movie scripts, etc, but be paid a lot more for doing it.

TS: You’re a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to writing. Which discipline do you enjoy dabbling in the most and why?

TY: I like comedy writing the best, particularly devising comic scenes. If you can pull that off, it’s very satisfying, particularly when you hear people laughing in the theatre or the cinema.

TS: I was able to contact you quite freely without having to go through publicists or PR. Do you usually work with them?  For the budding writers out there, what are the pros and cons of working with such professionals?

TY: I worked with a PR company on How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, but generally speaking I don’t. As far as I can tell, the only advantage of forcing people who want to interview you to go through a PR company is that they take you more seriously.

TS: The Scribbler is dedicated to inspiring and advising would-be writers to get their material published. What is the best piece of advice you could give them, or you have ever been given concerning your work?

TY: When I was about 19 I bumped into Clive James at an airport and told him what a big fan I was of ‘Unreliable Memoirs’. He reciprocated by giving me a piece of advice that I’ve found very useful: Keep it personal. The important thing is to find your own voice, to write in a style that is unique to you. Once you can do that, the rest is easy.

TS: Just how personal are you prepared to go in your writing?  How much of yourself do you dare put into your work?

TY: I like to think I’m pretty open and honest, but it is easy to delude yourself about just how open and honest you’re being. That is to say, many people who write about themselves and their reactions to things claim to feel what they think they ought to feel, but which, in reality, they don’t. I don’t think they’re being straightforwardly deceptive – it’s more that the lies they tell themselves spill out on to the page — but it still has the smell of dishonesty about it. The really hard thing about personal writing is to be completely faithful to who you really are and not pretend to be the person you think you ought to be.

TS: What you up to at the moment?

TY: I have a few irons in the fire, but experience has taught me not to talk about anything until you’re ready to unveil it before the public because, so often, these projects come to nothing.

+ + + + +

Find Toby Young in cyberspace:

Watch Toby Young interview Simon Pegg (and vice versa) for The Culture Show below:

Discussion:
Are you a fan of Toby Young’s writing? Does the movie do HTLF&AP justice? Post your views, comments and start discussions in the comments box below.

Words: Dean Samways

Writer and creator of The Wire back on the beat

leave a comment »

David Simon, creator of The Wire

David Simon, creator of The Wire

Celebrated creator of the much loved hit US police drama The Wire (The Guardian’s live blog on all five series) has returned to his journalistic roots to investigate crime in Baltimore, the setting of the HBO series.

Writer and journalist David Simon was reportedly unhappy with the Baltimore Sun‘s coverage of a police shooting which reported that “one old police reporter [Simon] lost his mind and began making calls” following a handful of unsatisfactory stories.

You would have thought the Baltimore police would have learnt it’s lesson after five series of The Wire but Simon was denied the face sheet of the shooting report.

David Simon said: “I tried to explain the Maryland statutes to the shift commander, but so long had it been since a reporter had demanded a public document that he stared at me as if I were an emissary from some lost and utterly alien world. Which is, sadly enough, exactly true.”

Have a look see what Charlie Brooker thinks of The Wire below:

Discussion:
Has the Wire inspired anyone to try their hand at screenplay writing? Does anyone enjoy writing about crime, and why? Let us know what you think of The Wire.

Words: Dean Samways

Writer to rescue Heroes

leave a comment »

Bryan Fuller - writer and producer of Heroes (Independent)

Bryan Fuller - writer and producer of Heroes (Independent)

We’ll be straight with you, The Scribbler is not a fan of the current craze of American television shows saturating our beloved Beeb and other channels.

Shows like Lost seem to ramble on endlessly purely for that fact, because an endless plot and a forever unraveling storyline means an ever engaged audience. These are commercial gravy trains would appear to be coming off the rails though.

Bryan Fuller, the former writer-producer of Heroes, has rejoined the show’s crew as a consultant. The move follows the cancellation of his Emmy-nominated show Pushing Daisies.

The superhero series has been hemorrhaging viewers since the start of the second season.

Talking to Entertainment Weekly Fuller said: “My job is to help facilitate the vision of the show, and the vision has been a little inconsistent.”

“But Fugitives (the next arc) is such a great sea change. I think people who have been critical of Heroes will come back.”

The drama’s original writer believes drastic measures are in order to attract fans back, though those measures are somewhat questionable in our book.

“People will die. And some will return. Matt’s wife (Janice) comes back. We’ll find out what happens when you have a superbaby.”

A superbaby? Don’t tell me Fuller didn’t hear the sighs of disappointment from cinema audiences when Clark Kent’s alter-ego found out he had a son in Superman Returns.

As for why Heroes found itself out of favour with fans, Fuller has his own theories: “It became too dense and fell into certain sci-fi trappings.

“For instance, in the Villains arc, when you talk about formulas and catalysts, it takes the face off the drama.

“You have to save something with a face, otherwise you don’t understand what you’re caring about. We’re also altering the structure so that there’s a very clear A story.”

So basically Heroes is in line for a spot of dumbing down then?

“But it is a big ship, it’s going to take a little while to turn it.”

Part of the reason The Scribbler isn’t a fan of shows like Lost and Heroes is their lazy use of the English language. Scriptwriting 101: Use as few words as possible to say as much as possible, this is how people really talk. People don’t describe every single thing they are doing, even if there have got a few subplots going on elsewhere. The below clip from the incredible police drama The Wire proves our point exactly.

Discussion:
What are your favourite examples of screenplay writing? Are you a fan of any the American television-cum-Hollywood shows and why? Are you penning your own ‘high production value’ television drama? Care to share?

Words: Dean Samways

Pulp Fiction writer in the dock

leave a comment »

Pulp Fictio writer Tarantino (left) and Avery (right)

Pulp Fiction writers Tarantino (left) and Avery (right)

The Oscar-winning screenwriter behind Pulp Fiction has been charged with manslaughter in connection with a fatal traffic collision earlier this year.

Roger Avary, 42, who teamed up with Quentin Tarantino for the 1994 cult gangster movie, the pinnacle of Tarantino’s work so far, was in court on Friday.

Avary was involved in a horrific car smash in January for which he faces charges of gross vehicular mansluaghter. The incident killed his passenger Andreas Zini and injured the writer’s wife who went on to make a full recovery.

Pleading not gulity to the manslaughter charge Avary also faces two felony counts of casuing bodily injury while intoxicated, the maximum custodial sentence for which is 11 years.

A pre-trial conference has been set for 20 February next year in Ventura.

As well as co-writing Pulp Fiction, Avary recently worked on last year’s animated epic Beowulf, which was based on an Old English epic hero poem of unknown authorship. Avary also adapted many of Bret Easton-Ellis‘ pieces for the big screen and even directed a handful of them.

For some the most down-right greatest dialogue in Hollywood history have a look below:

Discussion:
Are there any screenwriters out there ambitious enough, who believe they have the talent, to pen the next Pulp Fiction? Has anyone got any examples of their work? The Scribbler is always look to showcase new and exciting writers of all disciplines. Mail the editor on samwaysdean@hotmail.com for more information.

Words: Dean Samways

‘How To Talk To Girls’ – The Film

leave a comment »

Alec Greven talking to Ellen DeGeneres on her chat show

Alec Greven talking to Ellen DeGeneres on her chat show

Little Alec Greven rise to super stardom goes from strength to strength as it was revealed earlier this week that his best selling book is to be turned into a film.

Twentieth Century Fox has picked up the film rights to How to Talk to Girls an advice guide penned by the nine-year-old.

According to the magazine Variety ‘How To Talk To Girls’ is the first of a four-part series. It was published on 25 November by HarperCollins, conveniently a sister company of Fox. The film deal covers all four publications.

Fox is still to appoint a writer or announce a producer for the film. Production co-president Alex Young is said to have liked Greven’s book.

‘How To Talk To Girls’ was originally a third-grade project, which resulted in a pamphlet that he went on to sell at his school’s book fair.

The advice in the book ranges from facts of life to how to get a girl’s attention, all from the unique perspective of a nine-year-old. Greven also offers advice on how to talk to girls, crushes, and how you should never act desperate. A given really.

To read the original news piece about Alec Greven’s surprise best-selling book click here.

Have a look below for a video featuring the writing boy wonder:

Discussion:
Is this a fad? It’s got to be a fad right?

Words: Dean Samways