There Will Be Blood

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So today’s Film Friday features the 2007 film ‘There Will Be Blood.’ Whoa. Hold on to your cowboy hats for this film. The wikipedia synopsis runs as follows:

Silver miner Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) leads a hardscrabble life with his son, H.W. (Dillon Freasier). When he hears about oil oozing from the ground near the Western town of Little Boston, Daniel takes his son on a mission to find their fortune. Daniel makes his lucky strike and becomes a self-made tycoon but, as his fortune grows, he deviates into moral bankruptcy.

At it’s core, yes, it’s a story of the rise from rags to riches– and that has a real pull for me, as well as most Americans watching it. It’s that American dream that we’re all told to strive for, it’s that thing that will make us great and give us all the happiness in the world. But, with so many drama’s, not everyone gets that happy ending.

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I love this photo of Daniel Plainview and Walter White. Both men who started at the bottom, full of problems, who no one would have rooted for, but the brilliant writing and gorgeous filmmaking suddenly has you rooting for them. And even as they do terrible, awful things, part of you is still rooting for them. I will say, though, that Walter White at least you stay hoping he will make it out okay, Daniel Plainview you end up almost just watching the train wreck. You still have to admire the man, but boy, do you not want to sit down and share a beer.

Besides an incredible story, this film is also breathtaking to watch. As you can see from the above diagram, someone has broken down many of the scenes and shown how beautifully rendered they are. The composition is fantastic. At no point are your eyes not overjoyed with the beauty you’re seeing. It’s really masterfully shot. And the score! Phenomenal. I feel like the score is, in and of itself, almost a character. It helps drive the story forward and reminds you that you are watching a drama– this is not some random happenstance of events. You are watching LIFE unfold, and it is not always pretty. This is not a happily every after story your mother told you at bedtime, this is a Grimms’ brothers fairy tale to warn you of how not to be.

If you haven’t seen this movie, check it out.

#27 – I just submitted my writing

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Boom. That’s not just a check off the list, that’s a bomb that just exploded all over my brain. I just submitted a spec script I wrote the the NBC writer’s on the verge and the Warner Bros writing workshop fellowships. Yeah.

Now, the odds of anything happening are .001%, but that’s not why I’m jazzed. I’m jazzed because I wrote something and turned it in. I kept a commitment to myself and I feel proud. Damn proud. I’m not ashamed of my spec. Could it be better? Probably. Did I work my ass off to get it done and make it as polished as I could? You bet. Did I learn a lot in this process? For sure.

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So a bottle of presecco just went in the fridge because today marks the day I made the first real, concrete steps towards becoming a writer:

I submitted my spec to fellowships.

I registered a script with the WGA.

Next up: write an original pilot.

That’s the real doozy. The one that will really get you noticed (if people like it) and the one that excites me a lot more. It’s also what I’ll need for next year, when I’m able to submit to all the fellowships and not just the one’s accepting spec scripts.

2016- The Year of Learning

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This year my goal is to learn, to hone my skills, to really knuckle down, acquire discipline, and pursue learning. I’m continuing work on my screenwriting certificate and applying to fellowships and competitions to really try and hone my skills and develop my craft.

In addition, I discovered a fashion design certificate on groupon, and have purchased and begun a year long semi-intensive certificate in fashion design. I’ve always been interested in clothes, sewing, runway, and the creation of the things we wear everyday, so why not? It may take 10,000 to master a craft, but I enjoy a good diversion and feel it’s important to let the brain wander in different directions.

This year, instead of trying to read 25-50 books, I’m selecting 12 books from my shelves and working my way through one book per month. These are books on the craft of screenwriting (I have at least 10 half-started), books I’ve long wanted to read but never actually picked up (Quiet: Power of Introverts), books I’ve enjoyed but gotten distracted from (House of Leaves), or books that will highlight other pursuits (Born to Run). In short, I’m trying to consolidate and optimize my time.

Now, I think resolutions are bunk. They’re like a pie crust promise: easily made and easily broken. (We can all thank Mary Poppins for that bit of wisdom.) But goals– these are sustainable and empowering. One thing I discovered last year that has really allowed me to hone in on the things I want, and get them done in a timely manner, is Passion Planner.

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This gem has really helped me, especially because it includes a lot of visual components and places to make lists, keep things together, and progress points to really look at how you’re doing each month, and whether you’re really making progress. If you don’t already have a planner you love, I recommend giving Passion Planner a try.

What are some of your goals for the new year? Do you have a theme or focus that’s driving you?

To VO or not to VO

So this is the beginning of a short film I am working on. I’m currently torn between including the Voice Over in the script or cutting it now so they don’t have to cut it on the editing room floor.  If anyone is actually reading this blog and has a thought on whether to keep or toss, I’d appreciate the feedback.

Losing Costa Rica, with VO

INT. PLANE – DAY
Overhead bins pop open. Passengers grab luggage. Little kids squeeze to get off the plane first. The flight attendants wear a plastic smile.

ISAAC VO
People on planes are always happy to get off.

ISAAC turns to the flight attendant when she taps him on the shoulder. Isaac nods but leaves his headphones in and stands up.
The plane is empty.
Isaac grabs a beat up duffel from the overhead bin and makes his way down the aisle as the flight attendants collect trash.

ISAAC VO (CONT’D)
Get back to their lives.

INT. AIRPORT – MOMENTS LATER
Isaac passes the other passengers from the plane as they hug and kiss, happy to be reunited.

ISAAC VO
See their people.

Isaac passes by the baggage claim and stands just inside the airport doors, staring out as they open and close on other passengers moving out into their lives and the blinding light.

ISAAC VO (CONT’D)
I’d rather stay where I was.

CUT TO:

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Losing Costa Rica, without VO

INT. PLANE – DAY
Overhead bins pop open. Passengers grab luggage. Little kids squeeze to get off the plane first. The flight attendants wear a plastic smile.

ISAAC turns to the flight attendant when she taps him on the shoulder. Isaac nods but leaves his headphones in and stands up.

The plane is empty.

Isaac grabs a beat up duffel from the overhead bin and makes his way down the aisle as the flight attendants collect trash.

INT. AIRPORT – MOMENTS LATER
Isaac passes the other passengers from the plane as they hug and kiss, happy to be reunited.

Isaac passes by the baggage claim and stands just inside the airport doors, staring out as they open and close on other passengers moving out into their lives and the blinding light.

CUT TO:

“If you write…”

“If you write one page per day, by the end of a year you will have finished a screenplay or novel”

2014 approaches.

All New Year’s goals will be based around the theme of speed.

Fitness goal: Increase running speed by doing speed drills and adding mileage.

Home goal: Speed through weekend cleaning by doing small cleaning chores throughout the week.

Writing goal: 1 page per day. This is where you, wee blog, come in. I will be posting something every day, whether it be from my screenplay, a writing exercise, or just a silly poem I made up. Writing every day will inevitably speed up finishing my screenplay.

Romance goal: Speed up defensive to offensive chess until I checkmate Ryan.

Yoga goal: Do yoga more often and flow into forearm stand.

Organization goal: Speed up frequency of sewing and vanquish giant mending pile.

Creative goal:Speed through editing photo shoots by just picking a few photos to edit instead of the entire shoot.