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Archive for the ‘Script Writing’ Category

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

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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

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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

Writer to rescue Heroes

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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

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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

I Am Legend writer to pen for Smith and Spielberg

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Mark Protosevich - Hollywoods latest hot scriptwriter

Mark Protosevich - Hollywood's latest hot scriptwriter

The writer of last year’s top zombie flick I Am Legend, Mark Protosevich, is in talks to pen the Hollywood remake of Oldboy, the ultra-violent Korean drama.

Big guns Will Smith and Steven Spielberg are behind the reworking of the Chan-Wook Park‘s incredibly brutal original story.

It follows the 15 year imprisonment of a man who is held for no apparent reason. A vengeful blood fuelled mission ensues once he is freed of his shackles as he hunts the individual who incarcerated him.

Oldboy is ranked 116th in IMDB’s Top 250 is the second film in Park’s The Vengeance Trilogy, a series that includes Sympathy For Mr Vengeance and Sympathy For Lady Vengeance.

It is reported that Will Smith pushed for Spielberg to meet with Protosevich because of his admiration for the writer’s I Am Legend script.

Protosevich also wrote the screenplay for Marvel’s upcoming Thor, which is, rather amazingly, going to be directed by English Shakespearian theatre-type Kenneth Brannagh.

Have a look at the beautiful I Am Legend and bloodcurdling Oldboy below:

Discussion:
Is anyone a fan of the I Am Legend script?  In places it portrays desperation in a manner not seen very often before. For example, what did you think of the ‘Fred? Is that you?’ and DVD rental mannequin dialogue?

Words: Dean Samways

Highest earning novelists revealed

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J.K. Rowling (PA)

J.K. Rowling (PA)

American high society rag Forbes has released what it deems to be the top 10 highest paid authors today.

Released last month there are few surprises as to who tops the list. J.K. Rowling took the number one slot earning an estimated $300 million with her closest rival, detective novelist, James Patterson (Along came a Spider) earning only $50 million.

Writing mainstays Stephen King, Tom Clancy and Danielle Steel make up the rest of the top five, proving their books are as popular than ever (and as predictable and dusty to – Ed). Could this be down to the fact they are half price every Christmas in the WH Smiths sale?

Will Rowling rake in the same amount next year now her Harry Potter series has come to a close? One thing is certain, she has set a president for high earnings in the literary world.

Here is the top 10:

  1. JK Rowling, $300m
  2. James Patterson – $50m
  3. Stephen King – $45m
  4. Tom Clancy – $35m
  5. Danielle Steel – $30m
  6. John Grisham – $25m (tie)
  7. Dean Koontz – $25m (tie)
  8. Ken Follett – $20m
  9. Janet Evanovich – $17m
  10. Nicholas Sparks – $16m

For all you Harry Potter fans out there, and we know there must be some, we have pinched and pasted all five parts from the amazing documentary about the author by James Runcie below. The filmmaker spent a year following the author as she penned the final installment in the Potter series. Enjoy:

Discussion:
So does JK Rowling justify earning so much from her work? Is Harry Potter really all that good or is it simply media generated hype assisted by the Hollywood machine?

Words: Seamus Swords

Author of Jurassic Park passes away

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Michael Crichton died on Tuesday aged 66

Michael Crichton died on Tuesday aged 66

Michael Crichton, the million-selling author has died of cancer.

Crichton who made scientific research terrifying and irresistible in the thrillers Jurassic Park, Timeline and The Andromeda Strain, died Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 66.

“Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand,” his family said in a statement.

“While the world knew him as a great storyteller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us — and entertained us all while doing so — his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes.”

He was an experimenter and populariser known for his stories of disaster and systematic breakdown, such as the rampant microbe of The Andromeda Strain or the dinosaurs running riot in Jurassic Park. Many of his books became major Hollywood movies, including, most notably, Jurassic Park, Rising Sun and Disclosure. Crichton himself directed and wrote The Great Train Robbery and he co-wrote the script for the blockbuster Twister.

In 1994, he created the award-winning TV hospital series ER. He’s even had a dinosaur named for him, Crichton’s Ankylosaur.

A stille from The Lost World, the sequel to Jurassic Park

A still from The Lost World, the sequel to Jurassic Park

“Michael’s talent out-scaled even his own dinosaurs of Jurassic Park,” said Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg, a friend of Crichton’s for 40 years. “He was the greatest at blending science with big theatrical concepts, which is what gave credibility to dinosaurs again walking the Earth.

“Michael was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side for his novels. There is no-one in the wings that will ever take his place.”

John Wells, executive producer of ER called the author “an extraordinary man. Brilliant, funny, erudite, gracious, exceptionally inquisitive and always thoughtful.

“No lunch with Michael lasted less than three hours and no subject was too prosaic or obscure to attract his interest. Sexual politics, medical and scientific ethics, anthropology, archaeology, economics, astronomy, astrology, quantum physics, and molecular biology were all regular topics of conversation.”

In recent years, he was granted a White House meeting with President Bush, perhaps because of his scepticism about global warming, which Crichton addressed in the 2004 novel, State of Fear. Crichton’s views were strongly condemned by environmentalists, who alleged that the author was hurting efforts to pass legislation to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.

If not a literary giant, he was a physical one, standing 6 feet and 9 inches and ready for battle with the press. In a 2004 interview with The Associated Press, Crichton came with a tape recorder, text books and a pile of graphs and charts as he defended State of Fear and his take on global warming.

“I have a lot of trouble with things that don’t seem true to me,” Crichton said at the time, his large, manicured hands gesturing to his graphs. “I’m very uncomfortable just accepting. There’s something in me that wants to pound the table and say, ‘That’s not true.'”

He spoke to few scientists about his questions, convinced that he could interpret the data himself. “If we put everything in the hands of experts and if we say that as intelligent outsiders, we are not qualified to look over the shoulder of anybody, then we’re in some kind of really weird world,” he said.

A new novel by Crichton had been tentatively scheduled to come next month, but publisher HarperCollins said the book was postponed indefinitely because of his illness.

A portrait of legendary American writer Mark Twain

A portrait of legendary American writer Mark Twain

One of four siblings, Crichton was born in Chicago and grew up in Roslyn, Long Island. His father was a journalist and young Michael spent much of his childhood writing extra papers for teachers. In third grade, he wrote a nine-page play that his father typed for him using carbon paper so the other kids would know their parts. He was tall, gangly and awkward, and used writing as a way to escape; Mark Twain and Alfred Hitchcock were his role models.

Figuring he would not be able to make a living as writer, and not good enough at basketball, he decided to become a doctor. He studied anthropology at Harvard College, and later graduated from Harvard Medical School. During medical school, he turned out books under pseudonyms. (One that the tall author used was Jeffrey Hudson, a 17th-century dwarf in the court of King Charles II of England.) He had modest success with his writing and decided to pursue it.

His first hit, The Andromeda Strain, was written while he was still in medical school and quickly caught on upon its 1969 release. It was a featured selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and was sold to Universal in Hollywood for $250,000.

“A few of the teachers feel I’m wasting my time, and that in some ways I have wasted theirs,” he told The New York Times in 1969. “When I asked for a couple of days off to go to California about a movie sale, that raised an eyebrow.”

His books seemed designed to provoke debate, whether the theories of quantum physics in Timeline, the reverse sexual discrimination of Disclosure or the spectre of Japanese eminence in Rising Sun.

“The initial response from the (Japanese) establishment was, ‘You’re a racist,'” he told the AP. “So then, because I’m always trying to deal with data, I went on a tour talking about it and gave a very careful argument, and their response came back, ‘Well you say that but we know you’re a racist.'”

Crichton had a rigid work schedule: rising before dawn and writing from about 6 a.m. to around 3 p.m., breaking only for lunch. He enjoyed being one of the few novelists recognised in public, but he also felt limited by fame.

“Of course, the celebrity is nice. But when I go do research, it’s much more difficult now. The kind of freedom I had 10 years ago is gone,” he told the AP. “You have to have good table manners; you can’t have spaghetti hanging out of your mouth at a restaurant.”

Crichton was married five times and had one child. A private funeral is planned.

Watch an hour long interview with Michael Crichton when he talks openly about his sceptical views on global warming and his book Next:

Words: Dean Samways & AP