Formatting Standard, where did it go?

There used to be a Hollywood standard in formatting. I used to hear that if you stray one inch from the format, you would be crucified on the script readers post. It used to be said that you could only get away with differing from the norm if you were a Soderbergh, a Tarantino, or a Lucas. But there’s a new trend in town and that is what I would like to call the “bold standard.”

If you can punch up your action with  the formatting, do it! When capitalizing once did the trick, now you’d better add an underline. And why not bold and italicize while your at it, just to get the point across.

The first time I really noticed this was with Shyamalan. He sometimes had a rare sentence in all caps, just to get the point across. Now, I’m seeing it on every page. Check out this page from Transformers.

Picture 1Bold scene descriptions are all the rage, for action scripts. It used to be that you were only supposed to capitalize Character introductions and sound effects. Now you can throw them in whenever you want. And these days,  many other writers are following suit. Whose to blame? I say JJ Abrams with his now infamous use of the F Word in his lost scripts.

Mel Gibson is… The Beaver

Mel Gibson’s next project is going to be a doozy.

Variety reported last week:

Mel Gibson will star in “The Beaver” for director Jodie Foster.

The script, written by Kyle Killen, topped the Blacklist in December.

Gibson will play a depressed man who finds solace in wearing a beaver hand-puppet. On top of helming, Foster will play the role of the man’s wife.

Foster boarded the project and brought it to Gibson, with whom she co-starred in 1994’s “Maverick.”

Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin and Keith Redmon will produce the film. Producers are pushing for a September start date in New York.

Financing for the $18 million-$19 million pic has yet to be finalized. A studio could pick up the project or it could go the indie route, as Golin did with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Babel.”

Project had several star and director combos circling — including Steve Carell and Jay Roach — over the past several months.

Pic brings Foster back to feature directing for the third time, after 1991’s “Little Man Tate” and 1995’s “Home for the Holidays.”

Variety really doesn’t do the premise of this film any justice. What it’s actually about is a depressed man who finds a hand puppet. When he puts it on, the puppet, a beaver, begins to speak to him with a life of it’s own, going on to give him advice about his career and family. “The Beaver” is one of those scripts that scriptshadow reviewed a while back, and this is what he had to say about it:

The Beaver is a pretty solid little script. It’s a thinly veiled (albeit dark) version of “Guy drinks magical potion. Life changes for the better.” What separates it from the rest of these types of films is that it’s not a comedy. Well, it is, but not really. It’s actually a serious look at how depression ruins families and how distraction and denial may work as temporary lifeboats from the disease, but sooner or later, you’re going to have to deal with the real issues.

What I’m really curious about is why on earth Mel Gibson, considering all of his recent negative media attention, is playing a non-comedic role about a man who talks to a puppet on his hand. It sounds to me like easy fodder for those who just went to continue labeling Gibson as crazy. I haven’t read more then twenty pages of the script yet, but so far it still fits the description. The link is still up and you can actually download it here. Check it out, let me know what you think!

Willem Dafoe, Meet John Carter

People are already geeking out about this all over the place. But honestly, the last time I saw Willem Dafoe as a villain the result was underwhelming. Green Goblin anyone?

Willem Dafoe will star alongside Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins in “John Carter of Mars,” the Walt Disney Pictures fantasy epic to be directed by “Wall-E” helmer Andrew Stanton.

Dafoe will play the role of Tars Tarkas, a fierce green Martian warrior, who’s unusual among his savage race for his ability to love. Tars develops an alliance with John Carter in the first film, which is based on “A Princess of Mars.”

He fights battles alongside Carter through the entire series of Edgar Rice Burroughs books, so he will be hanging around for sequels.

Kitsch, who’s coming off “The Bang Bang Club” and the TV series “Friday Night Lights,” was set in June to play the title character, a damaged Civil War vet who finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars. Collins, who acted alongside Kitsch in “Wolverine,” will play the Princess of Mars.

Old Scripts New Scripts

In continuing with my series on why reading scripts is so so so important, I would like to bring up an interesting question. What kinds of scripts should I read? The availability of scripts online is growing immensely and I am finding more and more sources each day. They offer a wide range fromblockbusters to small indie projects to even some in development with major players attached (not sure how these make it online, but they do). So which should you read Bad scripts, good scripts, old scripts, new scripts? My answer… all of the above. Continue reading

Script Library

I found a script library through the artful writer forum the other day that has literally the largest collection I’ve ever seen, including some rather large films that aren’t even in production yet. So check it out here.

Reading scripts is probably one of the best habits you can develop as an aspiring writer. I try to read about 3-5 scripts a week. Bobette Buster, who teaches for the Pixar University, says that you need to read 1,000 scripts before you can really be “fluent” in that language. I think most of us  have a bit of work to do then, huh?

“Black Dawn” Promotion

The Vuze Network is giving “The Black Dawn” some major promotion on their site. Please help us return the favor by checking them out.

Also, Tubefilter has been kind enough to do a very favorable write-up on our show. Check it out:

What would you do if you woke up one morning to find a mysterious black cloud descending on top of the city of Los Angeles, killing everyone around you?

If you’re a real Angeleno, probably nothing – you’ve probably been taking smog for granted for years already. But this isn’t real life, this is The Black Dawn, a new sci-fi web series from New Renaissance Pictures that debuted January 31st on and YouTube and has followed a weekly release schedule.

… The first few episodes feel a bit like Jericho in a college setting, but it begins to establish its own path shortly thereafter.

Read the rest of the article here.