Monday, February 27, 2017
Orange County Screenwriters Association
Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

logoThe Orange County Screenwriters Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing education and resources to all aspects of the film community both amateur and professional!


OC Screenwriters - Articles

Articles
Feb
26

Cardinal

Cardinal

00016996 01PI admit that I am a sucker for these shows.  A body is found or a person is killed and a flawed detective has to solve the crime.  Along the way will be surprises, twists, solid drama and a killer you probably could guess.

"Cardinal" is just such a series.

Let me also say that 10 episodes can be a long sit.  With ten episodes the attenuation of actual narrative thread is almost always guaranteed.  "Forbrydelsen" at 20 episodes didn't seem long at all; The American version, "The Killing" did.  So maybe it's just the way the story is told.  But I like that I like that "Cardinal" is six.  That means that we won't have to put up with much filler and we'll get more actual connected story.

As mentioned, you know the plot.  Girl's body found.  Old case that was never solved.  Previous detective who couldn't solve the crime the first time around is brought back.  He's bitter, cynical but still focused on the one case he couldn't resolve.

Billy Campbell plays the central character Cardinal.  His newly minted partner is, Kristen Thomson, a Canadian actress who you may know from the series "Flashpoint."

Now all this does seem familiar even though the way the little girl died is quite gruesome however there is a twist.  I won't say what it is or how it all comes out (because I don't know) but the end of episode one had me sitting up straight because the filmmakers just threw a curve that made me pay even more attention.

I read that each ep was budgeted at 1.8 meg and it shows.  Great production values.  It was shot in Ontario so the snow is ass-deep in every scene which adds to the bleakness of the crime and Campbell's character's malaise.  One scene is particular is stunningly shot - I've never seen anything like it before.

"Cardinal" doesn't wallow in the malaise.  There's a crime, new clues and Cardinal is determined to solve it.  There's even a great moment where his superior says (words to the effect) of go ahead and enjoy the moment when you'll tell me I told you so.  Meaning, he's been redeemed on at least a few of his contentions about this crime the first time around.  Great and so human which just adds to the feeling of veracity.  Plus, Cardinal is not exactly in love with the idea of his new partner which we've seen before but the way the relationship is written is fantastic. 

I enjoyed the first episode of "Cardinal."  It was well-written, well-executed and it felt like there was a lot to come soon.  That's why I feel like the six episode arc is going to be great - they have to get on with it not drag the story through the symbolic snow for episode after episode of red herrings and side trips that mean nothing.

"Cardinal" is a Canadian production and those are just getting better and better.  Starting to love their TV stuff more than just about any other country.

I'm hoping that this all bears out my expectations.  I'll let you know if it doesn't.

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Feb
20

Mark Sevi

Mark Sevi

mark 115x115Mark Sevi is a professional screenwriter, screenwriting teacher (Irvine Vallley College) and the founder of the OC Screenwriters Association.


BACKGROUND:

Mark has been a professional writer for many years.  Before he embarked on a writing career he was a professional musician for ten years, and small business owner for a time.

He's mentioned that in looking back, he feels his entire life had been preparing to work in film and it remains his abiding joy.

CURRENTLY:

Mark's scriptwriting career has spanned two decades.  In that time he has sold 30 scripts, had 19 produced into movies, including "Devil's Knot" the true story of the West Memphis Three starring Oscar-winning actors Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth.

Mark also teach scriptwriting for the past several years at Irvine Valley College.  His classes have never stopped, ongoing for at least a decade and a half. 

Mark also lectures at colleges and events.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

  • I am joyfully participating in the sorrows of life. ~ Joseph Campbell
  • Have you ever heard of insect politics? ~ "The Fly"

BoD

  • www.marksevi.com
  • contact -at - ocscreenwriters.com
  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0786411/
    • Graphic Design
    • Teacher
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    • Writer
  • facebook.com
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  • instagram.com
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  • Mark Sevi is a professional writer.
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Feb
20

The Good Fight

The Good Fight

good fightWhen I grow up I want to be The Kings. As in Robert King and Michelle King who were responsible for the incredible "The Good Wife" and "The Good Fight" which picks up after the main character of the "The Good Wife" (Julianna Margulies' Alicia Florrick) has left for other pastures.

I'm going to steal this excerpt from Wikipedia to explain the main premise because it covers everything needed to say:

The series follows Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart, as she is forced out of Lockhart, Decker, Gussman, Lee, Lyman, Gilbert-Lurie, Kagan, Tannebaum, & Associates after an enormous financial scam destroys the reputation of her goddaughter Maia (Rose Leslie) and Diane's savings, leading them to join Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) at one of Chicago’s pre-eminent law firms.

The series stars Baranski, Leslie, Jumbo, Erica Tazel, Sarah Steele, Justin Bartha and Delroy Lindo, and features Paul Guilfoyle and Bernadette Peters in recurring roles. The series is executive produced by Robert King, Michelle King, Ridley Scott, David W. Zucker, Liz Glotzer, Brooke Kennedy and Alison Scott, with Phil Alden Robinson producing and co-writing the first episode.

109352 1309b copyWhat all that means (basically) is the original show is back but different.  Between "Wife" and "Fight" the Kings did a short-lived political satire show "Brain Dead" which involved alien critters invading the brains of people in Washington and creating even more politically polarized parties.  Hmmm.  Truth is very much stranger that fiction.

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Feb
19

Powerless / Apple Tree Yard

Powerless / Apple Tree Yard

powerlessI have been a comic book fan since childhood when my dad would take me and my sisters to the local drug store to peruse the offerings after church on Sunday; something I'm sure the priests would not have approved of. 

"Powerless" would have been a welcome addition to that ritual although I'm positive it would never have been considered at that time.

The concept is simple: the world has superheroes from the DC Universe and some that haven't been created yet, I'm assuming.  I'm at a disadvantage here because beside the big marque characters I haven't followed a lot of any comic book series for a while.  "Jessica Jones" was new to me although I did remember "Luke Cage."  I can't honestly tell you what DC has been up to - but "Powerless" is a fun step!

In this world, as you can easily imagine, there is a lot of collateral damage in any superhero/super villain fight.  Marvel has already covered this somewhat in "Jessica Jones" a heroine who lives in a post-Avengers battle world where superheroes aren't loved for the destruction they've instigated while saving the world.  Supervillains are one thing, yo; getting to work when entire blocks are closed down due to buildings falling is entirely another.

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Feb
18

Riverdale / 24 Legacy

Riverdale / 24 Legacy

riverdale header3I wonder at times if I would enjoy being a TV or movie critic.  I do like finding gems and telling my friends and students about them.  Shows that inspire me to be a better writer are always a treat.  But then there's the other end of the spectrum so that would all be a wash I guess. 

In the middle somewhere is most of what I end up watching.  Not groundbreaking material, like "Archer" or "Game of Thrones" but well-conceived and well-written like the two shows in this article.  Both "Riverdale" and "24 Legacy" are well-above middle ground though.

I didn't think I was going to like "Riverdale" - it's not exactly geared to my demographic.  But I did.  A lot. 

Re-envisioning the "Archie" comics (or maybe the comics are now like this - I don't know) has the characters of Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead, Reggie and others living large in Riverdale: a small town with dirty undercurrent, including big time murders and hot affairs between teachers and students.

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Feb
17

Your Script Sucks - Why Are You Seeking Representation?

Your Script Sucks - Why Are You Seeking Representation?

ranting angry manTHE RANT

Who exactly do you think you are?  Are you a writing genius who has figured out what took the rest of us many months, maybe years to understand?  Has one of your masterpieces gotten so many kudos that you now think you should be elevated to a place that normally takes hundreds of hours to accomplish? 

This is a rant, pure and simple.  You won't learn shit about screenwriting and you'll probably dislike me by the end of this article - if you even get that far.  Fine.  I accept your disdain.

Just don't ask me how to find an agent, manager, production company or anything else until you've written at least three scripts and those scripts (at least one) have gotten a lot of good word of mouth from someone beside your mom.

Deal?

What am I on about?  Simple.  I had a student ask me how to market his/her script.  I stopped what I was doing, blinked three times and had to ask him/her to repeat it. 

I mean, huh?  At the very least, finish a script first then ask me that question.

How in the world can anyone think they're ready to sell anything if they haven't been working for a certain amount of hours to hone their craft?

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Feb
03

Skies Are Clear on Dagobah

Skies Are Clear on Dagobah

I just want to get this out of the way right away, and I know that I will most likely get tons of hate-mail from aspiring screenwriters reading this, but I officially retired from professional screenwriting in 2015.        

And I honestly couldn’t be any happier.  I finally get to consistently do the things that fill my life with joy: spend time with family, train mixed martial arts, spend time with family, go to heavy metal concerts, spend time with family, play videogames on my weeknights, spend time with family, take computer programming classes, spend time with family, draw my own comic books, and most importantly . . . SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY. 

            I have committed to another role since I’m completely out of the business and have absolutely zero silver screen aspirations – the role of the mentor.  Previous students and friends with Hollywood aspirations still reach out to me inquiring on how to transition their dreams into reality.  I don’t offer to introduce them to people who can turn magically materialize their dreams like a genie, but I do offer my time and honesty about the 15-years I spent in the business. 

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Jan
20

Sh*t! That's my idea! What To Do When Hollywood "Steals" Your Baby.

Sh*t!  That's my idea!  What To Do When Hollywood "Steals" Your Baby.

o PICKPOCKET facebookIf you're doing it right as a writer, you're channeling the societal gestalt and the world in general in which you live both locally and globally.  At this moment in time, you're observing the situations taking place societally, politically, culturally, internally, and also exploring the past as things become apparent to you.   Movies and TV are reflections of our world but they also serve to show us truths from the past that cause us to explore further.

This is all to say that what you think is some sort of Hollywood conspiracy is just the hard, cold facts that there are a lot of writers out there processing the same information as you - and then they are writing that information into articles, scripts, novels, etc.  You shouldn't be surprised if more than one person has your idea and has written it.

But you also never capitulate to those "thieves."

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Jan
16

Deborah Cook, Premiere Stop-Motion Costume Designer, Shares Her Story with OC Screenwriters

Deborah Cook, Premiere Stop-Motion Costume Designer, Shares Her Story with OC Screenwriters

kubo and the two strings costume art 2 600x400

In a historic first, the Costume Designers Guild recognized stop-motion costume designer, Deborah Cook, this past week with a nomination for Excellence in a Fantasy Film for her work on Laika Film's stop-motion animated Kubo and the Two Strings. It is the first time in the guild’s 19 year history of the awards that an animated film has been nominated by the CDG. No small feat for this enormous talent.  

OC Screenwriters was graciously afforded the opportunity from Emily Lu Aldrich and Kevin McAlpine of Focus Features to speak with Deborah to discuss her incredible career, artistry, and why this medium deserves your attention.

Beside Kubo, Ms Cook has been involved in the films Box Trolls, ParaNorman, Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox as a costume designer and visual effects artist. (IMDB)

6a01156f47abbe970c01348026c87f970cWhile her work is astounding in its detail and technical brilliance, we were equally amazed at her endless grace, good humor, and down-to-earth approaches in discussing her work.

“I love what I do,” Deborah tells us with a laugh. “Anything else is just a bonus.”

Keep reading for our exclusive interview.

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Jan
14

Andrew Garfield on Hacksaw Ridge

Andrew Garfield on Hacksaw Ridge

Video below.

Before the release of "Hacksaw Ridge," I attended a LionsGate screening where lead actor, Andrew Garfield, spoke of what attracted him to the role of Desmond Doss, the first and only Conscientious Objector who ever won the Medal of Honor for actions above and beyond the call of duty in combat during,WWII.

The film was directed by Oscar-winner, Mel Gibson, who said it was a passion project of his for many years. 

Doss, who saved 75 men on Okinawa in the bloodiest battle of WWII, believed in the war, but not in killing. 

 

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Jan
11

In Praise of - ARCHER

In Praise of - ARCHER

Archer Banner

Admittedly, I'm late to this party.  I've only been watching "Archer" for the last few seasons although I have recently gone back and I am re-watching everything from the first season that debuted in 2009.

How was I so blind?  I heard the word-of-mouth from a friend whose opinion I trust and didn't follow up on it.  I saw the awards, I heard the reviews...I just didn't act on any of that. Damn my lazy viewing spine!  I have miles to go before I sleep and watching a show this terrific should be on everyone's first up list.

And thank god for streaming.  Netflix specifically which has most of the seasons available allowing me to continue to right this egregious wrong.  😀

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Jan
09

Write Your Truths

Write Your Truths

Write Truthfully In Imaginary Circumstances
Explore the Mythology Inside You


inner truthAs a science fiction fan and screenwriter, I often chuckle at the axiom to “write what you know” - as if Isaac Asimov, a rather robust, Jewish man, knew what it was like to be a spinster scientist or a robot. How exactly did J.K Rowling, a then thirty-year-old, unemployed, working-class mother, create a young, male wizard who went to an exclusive magical school in a mythical land?

People write young, old, male, female, alien, king, peasant, and every variation imaginable. What’s their secret? Good research? A keen observational eye? Channeling a secret muse? Yes, and perhaps. But let me share what is really meant by “write what you know”. It means write your truth - write what you already know as a human being.

Are women and men really that different? Don’t we all share the sting of rejection, the joy of love? Emotionally-speaking, isn’t life, in all its myriad variations fundamentally the same for those in the bush and those in the Hamptons? Is the inevitability of a terminal disease different today than it was 100 years ago?

So how to bridge the gap between what we know and what we don’t empirically understand?

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Jan
06

The Mick

The Mick

The Mick banner

It's rare for me to find myself laughing aloud at a show, especially one that's done by a network.  "The Mick" made me guffaw several times.  Yes, guffaw - don't judge - that's the word I want and it perfectly describes my reaction to this delightful new comedy.

"It's Always Sunny in Philladephia" alum Kaitlyn Olson spreads her wings (and if you saw the pilot you'd know just how clever a usuage of a cliche that is) in this excellent and hilarious show from producers/writers Dave and John Chernin who were also a bigpart of "IASIP."

The premise is ridiculous and simple:  Olson (Mackenzie "Mickey" Murphy, AKA The Mick) is trying to hit her millionaire sister up for some cash at a party when the FBI swoops in and arrests sis (Poodle) and her husband.  Mickey is tapped to watch the kids for one night on the promise that sis will give her the funds she denied her earlier.  Unfortunately, Poodle and hubby have to flee the country and Mickey is stuck for a while longer watching the brood.

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Jan
05

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Cumberbatch Rocks the Free World

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Jan
05

Rogue One

Rogue One

Like Star Wars But Different

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Jan
05

What's Wrong With This Scene?

What's Wrong With This Scene?

Found this article several years ago and I couldn't have said it better.  I see these mistakes every day in my students' work not only when they start but even in experienced students' work. Scriptwriting Clasess

The credits for this article are included below.


This Scene Sucks: 15 Screenwriting Mistakes to Avoid
By: Script Magazine | November 20, 2013
by Timothy Cooper

Please enjoy this scene from my nonexistent, Birds vs. Bees.

I wrote this opening scene specifically for this article, but there isn’t a single error in it that I haven’t read in actual screenplays hundreds of times. I’m serious.

Can you spot all 15 (at least) errors?

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Dec
31

TV - A Vast Wonderland

TV - A Vast Wonderland

television is deadOnce upon a time, television was called a "vast wasteland."  Granted, this was years before PBS and many groundbreaking dramas and comedies but the perception has remained.  And, to be fair, for every brilliant series (like "Game of Thrones") there's double the amount of crap being foisted on the viewing public whether that viewing is online, streaming or on "traditional" TV or cable.

Here's a few new shows I thought would be worth mentioning.  Some are "bingey" and some are being released more traditionally week-by-week.  They also share the fact that it's a pretty disparate list of production entities that have traditionally not been involved in original programming.  This is, in a word, wonderful.  The more the better as far as I'm concerned although it can be a challenge keeping up with them all.

This list, which is simple and by no means comprehensive, doesn't include so many other worthy series but these are just the ones I've been watching lately.

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Dec
23

"Gold" Writing Team Patrick Massett & John Zinman Teach Us How to Write Practical Scenes

"Gold" Writing Team Patrick Massett & John Zinman Teach Us How to Write Practical Scenes

To write "Gold", duo Patrick Massett & John Zinman drew from their background in acting to develop practical scenes. They also looked to "Amadeus" for inspiration on "peeling back layers" and "turning over the final card".

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Insider View Podcast on iTunes!

Original author: Final Draft
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Dec
22

"Hunt for the Wilderpeople" Writer/Director Taika Waititi Talks Keeping Your Audience Engaged

"Hunt for the Wilderpeople" Writer/Director Taika Waititi Talks Keeping Your Audience Engaged

Writer, actor, director Taika Waititi tells us about creating a new comedy scene in New Zealand and how to keep people feeling like they're a part of your story. He also let slip the inspirations for his What We Do in the Shadows character Viago: His mother combined with C-3PO. 

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Insider View Podcast on iTunes!

Original author: Final Draft
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Dec
22

"Arrival" Screenwriter Eric Heisserer on NASA, Palindromes and Breaking the Rules of Writing

"Arrival" Screenwriter Eric Heisserer on NASA, Palindromes and Breaking the Rules of Writing

Eric Heisserer brings the science world to our doorstep and tells us what it's like to break unspoken rules while writing. 

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Insider View Podcast on iTunes!

Original author: Final Draft
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