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You went searching for it, didn’t you? You went on a trek down the internet yellow brick road, through all its dark corridors and unsavory crevices, in search of the return of Mish-Mash Monday. You’d enjoyed it so much the first time, you just had to have more. It was like a moist Betty Crocker yellow cake with that chocolate frosting that’s light enough to float. I’d promised it would be back. So then why? Why did it disappear?

Well I have wonderful news for you, folks. Mish-Mash Monday is back! The special “Huge Screenwriting Advice” Edition. I’ll get more into that later, but first, I wanted to discuss one movie I didn’t see, and one movie I didn’t want to see, all in hopes of understanding this craft a little bit better.

It all starts with Spider-Man 2, a film I’d planned to see this weekend but couldn’t muster up enough enthusiasm to do so. I don’t know what it is about these Spider-Man movies, but if they were Christmas trees, they’d be that strand of lights right around the middle that’s always going dark. And no matter what you do, you can’t fix them.

I don’t know if it’s Andrew Garfield, who looks too tall and goofy to play the part of the web-slinger. I don’t know if the domination of the Marvel super-hero universe has made Spider-Man less relevant? I don’t know if the coolest aspect of Spider-Man (those fun POVs of him flying through New York) has run its course, not unlike Matrix bullet-time? But something’s definitely missing.

One thing that drives me bananas about these films is all the villains. Populating your superhero film with lots of villains so you can sell a bunch more toys is not a new idea. But Spider-Man always seems to go overboard with it. They almost look desperate, like they’re calculating, right there on the screen, that if they don’t have that third or fourth villain, they’re making 15 million less on toy sales and there’s no way they’re okay with that. I remember Sam Raimi complaining about this very problem in his last Spider-Man directing effort.

What the suits don’t realize is that this DOES affect the film. The justification for why a character is in a story is embedded into the very fabric of storytelling. The second a character feels wedged in for reasons other than the story itself, something starts to smell fishy to the audience. As writers, our job is to hypnotize. It’s to make the audience believe in what we’re telling them. And if you start planting things in that don’t make sense, the hypnosis starts to crumble, and before long, they’re no longer under your spell.

I watch these Spider-Man 2 trailers and you have Green Goblin, Rhino, Electro. It feels unfocused, like they’re unsure what the movie is actually about. That’s not to say other famous super-hero movies haven’t done the same. The gold standard for superhero franchises, Batman, had Two-Face and The Joker. But, for the most part, Nolan gave us one villain per Batman film, and he made that villain the star villain.

That’s the other thing. When you focus on one villain, you can actually give them depth. You can make him a worthy adversary to your hero. When there are two or three other guys, we’re only getting the bullet points of each villain. You don’t have enough time to delve into them, and the films feel more surface level as a result. So I’m not surprised to hear that’s a criticism these last three Spider-Man films have faced.

Philomena-cover-locandina-3

On the flip side of that world is a small movie I saw last week. You know a movie’s good when it doesn’t need pyro-technics or VFX wizards or a half-dozen car chases to keep you entertained. All it needs is people and words. Which is why, so far, Philomena is my favorite film of the year.

For those who haven’t seen the film, it’s about a journalist, Martin, who’s recently lost his job. He somehow gets sucked into a human interest piece about a former nun, Philomena, who was forced to give her baby up for adoption 50 years ago by the nuns at her convent. Philomena wants to find her son and meet him for the first time.

The first thing I loved about this movie was the RESISTANCE they built into the main character pairing. Any time you team up two people to find something (in this case, the woman’s son), you want to create resistance between them (from one, the other, or both), as it adds conflict. It’s not overdone here. This isn’t Ride Along. But Martin isn’t happy that his career has devolved into escorting a rambling senior citizen around the country. It adds such a charming sense of humor to the relationship, that even if there were no story at all, you’d still enjoy watching these two, something every “two-hander” should strive for.

But it was the MYSTERY that got me. I thought this was going to be one of those non-dramatic self-important indie films where two mismatched people drive cross-country and learn something about each other. But it was much more than that. I’ll tell you why.

It coincides with the exact moment I got hooked, which was when Philomena and Martin go back to the convent to ask for the records on her son. The Head Nun is very skittish and borderline rude, almost to the point that she seems like she’s hiding something. Hiding something is ALWAYS good for screenplays. Secrets are what make drama go round.

The nun tells Philomena that all those old documents were destroyed in a fire. There’s nothing they can do. She does, however, locate something Philomena signed a long time ago, where she promised never to go looking for her child. While they’re able to convince an old woman easily, Martin’s not so sure. Curious, he points out, that this ‘great fire’ destroyed every single piece of information that would help Philomena find her child, yet has preserved the one piece of paper that would prevent her from doing so.

I don’t know what it is about this simple set-up: bad people trying to screw over good people, but if you do it right, it’s so damn effective. However, Philomena finds a way to add a turbo boost to that tried-and-true setup, one you, as a screenwriter, should always keep in your bag of tricks as well: IRONY.

If these were, say, big corporate assholes preventing Philomena from finding her son, we’d be upset, but we wouldn’t be surprised. Men like that are expected to act that way. It’s that this a group of NUNS who are doing this that gets us. The people who are supposed to be the most trustworthy are screwing our main character over. That’s what draws us in, that terrible people masked as righteous people are screwing a poor helpless old woman over. That’s why we want to stick around. Irony. Never forget how powerful it can be!

Ahh, but that isn’t the only lesson you’ll learn today. I have one more mish-mash story I’d like to add to today’s post.

Awhile back, I was chatting with a writer whose script I’d read. The script was pretty good, but it had a big problem: It wasn’t marketable. Based on how these movies had done in the past, I didn’t think anybody would go and see it. When I tried to explain this to the writer, he vehemently disagreed. He insisted lots of people would show up. I made my arguments. He made his. Then at some point, we realized that neither of us were going to change each others’ minds, and we moved on.

Many months later, a movie came out that was very similar to this writer’s script. It wasn’t the same idea, but it was the same genre, same tone, same dark main character, same TYPE of story across the board. The movie did poorly at the box office, but I was long past proving my point. It was just something I passively noted.

Not long after, I ran into the writer again. After catching up, I remembered the film and I was curious about what he thought of it. I didn’t bring up any of our previous conversation. I just asked, like you would any movie, “What did you think?”

To my surprise, he replied, “I don’t know, I didn’t see it.” “Didn’t see it?” I thought. What did he mean he didn’t see it? This was the exact kind of script he was trying to sell.

And then it hit me. He didn’t go see it because he wasn’t interested in it. He wasn’t interested IN THE VERY TYPE OF FILM he was writing. I pointed this out to him and at first he was dismissive. He made some comments about how the two plots were different.

But as the night went on, I could see his mind working. Finally, it dawned on him. That movie WAS very similar to his, and he’d never even considered checking it out. If HE, the very writer WRITING these kinds of movies, wasn’t interested in seeing this film, why the hell would he expect the general audience to do so?

It was a valuable lesson to both him and myself: Don’t write a movie that you wouldn’t go see yourself. It seems like the most obvious advice in the world, yet I’m constantly reminded how many writers ignore it. I remember this guy who used to write all these goofy comedies that never quite got the tone right.  It occurred to me after awhile that I never saw him actually go to any of these movies. So I asked him one day, “When was the last goofy comedy you actually paid for?” He thought about it for a moment, then conceded he couldn’t remember.  Of course you’re not going to get the tone right if you’re not even interested in watching those kinds of films.

Guys, you have to be realistic. If you’re not paying your hard-earned money to see the very types of movies you’re writing, then why would you expect anyone else to? It’s hard to put butts in seats. Hollywood spends billions of dollars to figure out how to do it. But the cheapest research is also the most telling. If your movie can’t even get you to show up, you shouldn’t be writing that movie.

Mish-Mash Monday out!

  • Rebecca

    Saw Spiderman 2 last night – exactly right re. the villains; by the time the Green Goblin appeared the audience visibly groaned, a few took out their phones to check the time. Spiderman was tired, the audience was tired, and we still had Rhino to go. At my count, three movies, each partly-executed, crammed into one.
    I’m an Andrew Garfield fan though – he has managed to bring more character to a superhero role than you see with most of the others. The chemistry between him and Emma Stone held a movie of a thousand moving parts vaguely together.

    • Randy Williams

      I don’t go out of my way to watch Superhero movies. Did like “Man Of Steel” which was like an art film. But, fans of movie romance have to see Andrew Garfield’s onscreen rapport with his girlfriend that’s utterly irresistible. Ranks up there with Bogie and Bacall, Tracy and Hepburn, Burton and Taylor in my view.

  • Casper Chris

    Spiderman 2? Didn’t that come out years ago?

    Seriously, I don’t know why anyone would support such a blatant moneygrab of a reboot.

    • astranger2

      lol… so true… still, though, don’t we need to study what’s out there? Dreck as it is? Even if what we write can’t be marketed in the next Burger King action figure kiddie meal box?

      • Casper Chris

        I’m in the business of making movies, not commercials.

    • Midnight Luck

      me neither.

      I just see $$ signs in the Prod Co and everyone’s eyes.
      Sadly, the world is just supporting their “vision”.
      So here we go with a boatload of more Rebooted Reboots.
      And Mash ups upon unnecessary Mash ups.

      I am writing a mash up right now: LIAR, LOLITA, LIAR.
      What happens when a young teen Virgin girl seduces and beds an Older Lawyer. Then when his sad son wishes his Dad could only tell the truth for a Day, well, Hilarity ensues.

      It’ll be PG-13VFXX (contains: Graphic Nudity, Violence, Intense VFX, scenes of Teens Smoking, no redeeming Plot, a scene of a teen crying and mouthing off to an Adult)

  • Jarman Alexander

    I think it’s great to focus on the most marketable topic that gives your film the best chance of being sold, but at the end of the day, no one, not even the studio’s know for sure if they have something people will come see. If they did, stink bombs would never be released.

    So write something you love the best that you can. If you’re an amazing writer, people will notice and there’s always assignment work.

  • ripleyy

    I just cannot bring myself to see Spiderman 0.2. I want to see it, but I can’t drag myself out to actually see it. Why do they need to throw in so many villains?

    You know what Spiderman is like now? That scene in “The Matrix: Reloaded” when Neo has to defeat a hundred Smiths in that park. Granted, it’s quite a cool scene but come on, let’s be realistic here for a second. One person can’t defeat a hundred guys.

    • fragglewriter

      That’s how I felt about the ending of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” I’m like seriously, they should of been dead in like 2-seconds flat. And when I rewatched that movie again earlier this year, I was suprised about how god-awful it was. It’s success was due to their affair.

      • Midnight Luck

        The ending was an Ode to Butch Cassidy. When the two decide, whatever happens they are going for it, blast their way out. They both come out from around the rock wall guns blazing. Well, MrMrsSmith did it in a Costco inside a tent? or something. I thought that part of it was retarded.
        Also, Butch Cassidy freezes it right when they go around the corner and start shooting, so you have NO IDEA how it turned out. They leave it up to your imagination. MAMS, left nothing to the imagination. They played out the whole ugly thing. Even with the two of them blowing kisses to each other and giving the other a sly grin when they take out a bad guy who almost got the other.
        It was too On the Nose, too cute, and quite ridiculous.
        They should have found a better way, but the movie was supposed to be Over The Top, and it was.
        It was an updated version of TRUE LIES, only not done nearly as well.

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    The third part of the article…Gold!

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    I also liked Philomena a lot, but as favorite movie of this year I would choose Walter Mitty. Blame it on my mid-life crisis.

    • Bifferspice

      haven’t seen mitty, but it’s on my watchlist, because i think steve conrad is one of my favourite current writers. have you seen “the weather man”? i thought that was amazing, and yet marketed terribly (as a comedy – it’s not a bloody comedy!!)

      • Panos Tsapanidis

        I’ve seen weather man, but can’t remember anything besides people throwing stuff at him. I feel that I liked Mitty more though.

  • Robin the Boy Wonder

    I cried in Spidey 2. No really, I cried. Twice.

    • klmn

      That’s why you’re the Boy Wonder and not the Man Wonder.

  • https://twitter.com/deanmaxbrooks deanb

    Spider-Guy 2 lost me in the trailer when my brain couldn’t reconcile with the idea that a guy (even a super powered spider-guy) could be FASTER than electricity.

  • fragglewriter

    Spider-Man is just a boring comic book hero, that I’m surprised that the past movies have performed so well. Maybe it had something to do with Tobey Maguire.

    Glad to hear that you liked “Philomena.” I thought about seeing that movie as it looked interesting. The angle with the Nuns is probably more true (organic conflict) to real life than for the story (inorganic conflict).

    I love cartoons, comedies (slapstick/frat boy) and action (fist pouding/kung fu), flicks, even though my goal is to write one of these movies. I’ve taken a comdey class to better understand how to deliver. Since the first two are also hard sells, I decided action flicks until I get a better grasp on screenwriting.

    So I rewatched movies that I loved and explored new ones. I read about Christopher McQuarrie and how he wasn’t able to sell any of his scripts unless they were crime scripts. So he continued to write them. Alas, maybe that’s it. I do like crime movies that have rawness to them. So I decided to watch those too.
    Believe me, there are tons of crime movies that I hated to watch that I heard were great from this site as well, other scriptwriting sites and from conveted screenwriters. It took me to watching a good 20 of them to realize what intrigued me, and I started to base my format on that.

    Watching movies are imperative, as well as trying to locate the script, to becoming a screenwriter as you know what has been done before and to not fall into the cliche trap. I can understand not wanting to see the movie because movies are not cheap, but that movie should provide you with what you didn’t like about the movie/script and to make sure that you’re not putting the same thing into your movie/script.

    • Ange Neale

      Can’t remember the last time I plonked down my hard-earned on a superhero flick. Could well have been Tobey in Spidey-2. Just got really bored with them. Has anybody worked out if there’s a proportional relationship between the lack of character development and the overuse of SFX?

      Hear, hear for cliche trap… If I see another bloody hand on another bloody alarm clock, I might just stop reading right there. Bring back the friendly neighborhood rooster, I reckon. At least they have character.

      • fragglewriter

        I’ve never paid to see a superhero or sci-fi flick (except for Return of the Jedi which my mom took me to see as a kid). My sister owns the DVD and made me sit there and watch it. I critiqued that entire script to shreds. I’ll never pay to see a sci-fi or hero movie.

        If I see another movie about someone being “chose” or they’re the “one,” I might just become a hermit LOL

        Too much SFX throws me out of the movie.

        • Ange Neale

          (Quiet confession: I think ‘Gravity’ warranted lots of SFX and got away with it, but most don’t warrant it and it does detract.)

        • Linkthis83

          Are you okay for a movie that is about “the two”? ;)

          • fragglewriter

            That’s funny.
            I think “I Am Four” tried to do something like that.

  • fragglewriter

    This scene is definitely NSFW because trying to contain my laughter is the hardest thing to do.

  • Citizen M

    I read the script of Philomena first, then saw the movie with friends who had heard me rave about it. We didn’t enjoy the movie so much, although it was identical to the online script (which I presume was a Continuity Script). I’m not sure why. I think maybe when reading we imagine our own perfect characters, but watching we see someone else’s interpretation.

    • bex01

      That’s how I felt about Short Term 12. Absolutely looooved the script then when I saw the film, I was really disappointed. It felt really slow and… I’m not sure. There were a few changes from script to screen but I had 2 totally different reactions

  • Jim

    I will pop in Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 a gajibillion times and watch it with my eyelids stapled open before I watch this flaming piece of digital celluloiditis – perhaps because I still consider Raimi’s numero dues to be one of the best comic book movies ever. Doctor Octopus may not have been the greatest villain, but the story centered on Peter’s inner turmoil with conflict between his abilities, responsibilities, Harry Osborne, Aunt May and longing for Mary Jane. It was extremely well written in this regard, pushing the villain to the background in favor of, you guess it, an actual story that had meaning.

    • Nate

      ”an actual story that had meaning”
      Hang on a minute, if you haven’t seen TASM2, how do you know it doesn’t have a story that has meaning? Perhaps watch it instead of automatically assuming it’s gonna have a crap story.

      • Jim

        I’ve seen the trailers. I’ve read the reviews. It’s not getting my money, plain and simple.

        • Fistacuffs

          It really wasn’t that bad. I saw it this weekend and enjoyed it. Not the best film but it was still entertaining.

          • Nate

            I wasn’t expecting to like it because I didn’t like TASM but I came out of it pleasantly surprised. I have a feeling the same will happen with the new X-Men. I liked First Class but I’m not feeling DOFP. It looks like it’s trying to do too much. Which was one of my main reservations about TASM2.

          • BSBurton

            Well the new spider man was a mess, and the new X men will rock! So I think you should reverse your opinions lol

        • Nate

          Fair enough, but that just makes you look ignorant.

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            How is that ignorance? It’s called personal taste.

            Why spend 15 bucks on seeing something you don’t think you’re going to like?

          • Nate

            I was referring to his comment about Spiderman 2 pushing the villain to the background in favour of having a meaningful story. What he’s doing there is assuming TASM2 won’t have a meaningful story and will focus more on the villains.
            If he thinks he won’t enjoy it, fine. I don’t expect him to spend money watching something he doesn’t think he’d like. But assuming the film will be bad is ignorant.
            I personally didn’t think I’d like TASM2. I wasn’t really interested in it, I was sceptical about how they were gonna handle the villains, but I didn’t assume it was gonna be bad.

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            Because the first one stunk so bad, I was definitely assuming it to not be very good. The previews make it better than my expectations though… but then reading IMDB comments, it looks like they took the Spider-Man 3 approach, trying to put too many story lines and villains and smush them into one movie, which was why I didn’t like Spider-Man 3 at all…

            And I didn’t see his comment about pushing villains to the background… all I see is his comment regarding the trailer. And if a trailer looks bad, don’t most people usually assume the movie is going to be bad? Though I have been pleasantly surprised at bad trailers for really good movies. Maybe it is ignorance, I don’t know lol

            But we all assume on some level, or else, why would we watch one movie over another? Or keep passing on a movie that we keep seeing on Netflix? Or maybe there’s a fine line between taste and assumption… who knows.

          • Jim

            I wasn’t assuming the film would be bad. I saw the trailers and thought it looked more SM3 than SM2 – then the reviews came in. A 54% fresh rating on rottentomatoes? A measly 36% fresh rating from top critics with an overall 5.8? Does relying on some form of critical analysis to make a decision about seeing a film make one ignorant?

            Or perhaps word of mouth does, considering 25% of the people who saw it on opening weekend – the coveted “target audience” – disliked it? Sorry, but that’s a lot more objective criteria than anything I could provide subjectively one way or another.

        • BSBurton

          Don’t it blows! :/

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      I swear I must be the only person that prefers the first Spider-Man to the second. Don’t get me wrong, I love the second one, but for some reason I just like the first one a bit more.

      The third one is abysmal, though. Ugh. Some really cheesy shit in that one.

      And I actually liked The Amazing Spider-Man. Didn’t love it, thought it was unnecessary, but it wasn’t awful. Haven’t seen the second one, but I’d definitely see it on DVD.

      • Jim

        I know a lot of people didn’t like having to sit through an origin-story in the first one. I didn’t mind it. I liked the first, but the second just took everything that was set up there, the inner conflict, Harry, Mary-Jane, Aunt May, and ran with it for all it was worth, imo.

        I didn’t mind the reboot, but when I saw all these different villains I had flashbacks to #3. And again, to put it into perspective, this is the second Spider-Man #2 in the last decade. It just isn’t fresh anymore.

        • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

          It’s almost time to reboot Iron Man ;-)

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            They need me to play Iron Man… but they can’t forget to pay me my 50 million bucks!

          • Midnight Luck

            I am just waiting for Dr. Strange.

            They are coming out with The Silver Surfer (one of my other favs), but if it is anything like the Craptastic Four, I won’t be seeing it.

            Dr. Strange though, that would be awesome.

            Along with a really well thought out and creative SANDMAN.
            If only.

            Enough with the f-ng Spandex movies.

          • BSBurton

            You see the animated Dr. strange movie? It was pretty good. On Netflix I think.

          • Midnight Luck

            i haven’t actually. have to check it out. thanks

          • BSBurton

            I was ready after Iron Man 2…..

      • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

        You must be, part 2 was so much superior.

        I might be biased in that I’ve worked with Alfred Molina a couple times, and he’s such a great dude, super funny… and a great actor. Very personable.

        • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

          Yeah don’t get me wrong, I think 2 is definitely superior in many ways. And I’d probably argue it’s a better film. But yet I just slightly enjoy the first one more. Hard to explain.

          Alfred Molina is a very great actor. His performance in Boogie Nights may be my favorite haha.

        • cjob3

          He did a great job- casting across the board on Raimi’s Spider Mans was EXCELLLENT – but I think I enjoyed Defoe even more. The mirror scene was priceless.

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            Eh. I just watched the first one again on Netflix a couple weeks ago. I was almost bored lol

            Though Part 2 was better, I just don’t really like how they did the spider-man’s… the old or the new… making it more about the love story. The love story is fine, but I want more of the super-hero element. That doesn’t mean make it all CGI action with no story and do another Transformers movie. But they need a better balance.

            The first Amazing Spider-Man was more love story than anything else… I didn’t come to watch a romance movie… and as far as romance movies go, it wasn’t even very good… just a bunch BLAH. And I don’t even think Emma Stone is that pretty lol

          • cjob3

            But that’s always been kinda the hook with Spiderman – a kid trying to juggle a personal life – school, girls, parental units – while fighting crime in his spare time. That’s why he’s the original ‘everyman’ hero. But, don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely in it for the superhero action.
            I kinda liked the romance in both first films actually, I thought it was well-handled. If anything I thought the lizard stuff seemed a little tacked-on.

            If the original lacked anything for me – it didn’t capture Spidey’s personality once he had the mask on. Not enough jokes. Webhead’s supposed to be like the Bugs Bunny of superheroes. Once he’s in costume- he’s free to say whatever he wants. They missed that duality in Raimi’s. They’ve made up for that somewhat in these new films.

          • Nate

            Andrew Garfield nailed the character perfectly. He is Spiderman and to an extent Peter Parker. Especially in TASM 2. There was one or two jokes that I didn’t like but for the most part he played a fantastic Spidey.

      • cjob3

        Totally agree. I think the first one is much better. To me, the structure of the first one felt like real comic-book storytelling. Like a soap opera with super-powers. The 2nd one felt more like a conventional Hollywood screenplay with Spider-Man plugged in.
        But yeah, the 3rd one was a damn shame.

        • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

          Part 2… better, no doubt about it lol in my opinion.

          But part 3… I don’t think you’ll get an argument from most people!

          • cjob3

            Well, you’re in the majority. As a comic fan, I prefer the first one. Especially the downer ending. He saves the day- but his best friend swears revenge against him. He doesn’t get the girl. That to me is the essence of the hard luck hero.

            The second had the rather by-the-numbers showdown with the bad guy and the big machine that’s gonna destroy everything but is stopped in the nick of time. It felt too wrapped up. Comic books don’t wrap up neatly at the end. They’re big sprawling stories. Like I said, the plot just seemed a lot more Hollywood conventional, and therefore, to me, boring, than the first one.

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            No, the ending was good.

            The thing that has to be remembered, is that these aren’t comic books. These movies cost 200+ million dollars to make, and while comics keep coming out with new episodes to continue the story, movies don’t have the luxury of doing that… as they will maybe make three before they reboot the series again.

            With part 1, they knew for sure they were going to make a part 2… not sure about part 3… so they could leave it open ended like they did. And I definitely like the turmoil he has to go through, juggling all of life’s things at him… a lot of which I think he still fought with in the 2nd… but since my memory belongs inside an 82 year old man, I can’t really remember lol

            But we all have different ideas of fun ;)

          • BSBurton

            Very true. Sandman was a terrible choice for the villain. And venom shows up at the end much like goblin in this film… Both films blow in my opinion.

      • Nate

        Nah, you’re not alone. I actually don’t like SM2. I don’t really like Raimi’s trilogy at all, but I can at least get some enjoyment out of SM and SM3. I can watch them when they’re on but whenever I put SM2 on I can’t seem to get halfway through before turning it off. I think it’s mostly due to how Parker gives up being Spiderman.

        • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

          I do think SM2 is a little overlong. It does drag in some areas for me, whereas the first one I felt kept a pretty steady pace throughout.

          Neither of which however compare to the slog that is the third. That movie felt like it was 5 hours long.

          • Nate

            I like that the first one jumped right into the story. It’s the main problem I have with TASM. The reboot took almost an hour before Parker even becomes Spiderman.

        • cjob3

          The love story seems more forced in the second. Like they were bending over backward to be cutesy. Example: Peter is well-aware Mary Jane is in love with him. So why does he start memorizing poetry to woo her? Doesn’t make sense. It’s just there because it’s ‘sweet.’

          • FilmingEJ

            Didn’t Mary Jane get engaged to Jameson’s son?

      • Jarman Alexander

        Agree with you all. I thought the first TASM wasn’t bad and I actually look forward to movies like this being made so I can watch them at home in 3D. There’s a rare few movies that are actually worth doing that with and the ones filled with super heroes almost always deliver in the home 3D dept.

      • NajlaAnn

        “I swear I must be the only person that prefers the first Spider-Man to the second.” Nope, there’s me.

      • BSBurton

        Maybe the end fight is better in spider man 1. Also, Willem Dafoe was great. I Still like 2 the best, 3 was worst like Rick said. BUT, Amazing Spider-Man 2 is almost as bad as 3!!! Paul (terrible Russian) Giamatti blows the opening and that sets the tone for the rest of the film.

        Script blows, the “retro viral hyperplasia” as a genetic disease is a joke. No science sense there… Don’t watch it hahahaha

  • Nate

    I really liked TASM2. I thought it was the best Spidey film yet. It’s not as bloated as Spiderman 3 but there was a subplot that wasn’t needed and there was two minor antagonists that could have easily become one. I felt bad for Electro because of the way people treated him but much like the Winter Soldier, he doesn’t get enough screentime despite being the main villain.

    Rhino was only in it for all of five minutes. At the start and at the very end. To be honest he was only there to set up the sequel really. They could have and should have cut him.

  • Randy Williams

    On the plus side while we hung on for the no-show AOW, “The Savage South” extended its front page run and the writer most graciously and intelligently responded to quite a number of posts there. Not only does he show some mad screenwriting skills, he seems like an awfully good person to work with.

    • grendl

      That was like an extended funeral more than the coronation you’re trying to paint here. A pall hung over the site all week-end.

      That script isn’t going to be produced unless the writer does it himself, not in the form its currently in.

      And where were the mad skills?

      Mad networking skills maybe.

      Not mad writing skills. Pretty marginal from where I stand.

      And your opinion isn’t objective fact, I can hold my opinion and my opinion was the writer is delusional if he thinks he can write a draft and a half thats any good.

      • Randy Williams

        I’m not painting it as a coronation. It was nice to see the writer respond so much. Sometimes we don’t get any response from the writers except a thank you and what a great experience it was.

        I thought he explained himself very well when people accused him of making excuses. Did you read his responses in their entirety?

        Anyway, I didn’t even vote for it in the first place but YOU did.

      • Craig Mack

        Hey Grendl,

        Just curious- you sound very well versed in the business. Do you have any credits or work I can check out?

        It would probably help an aspiring writer like myself.

        Thanks,

        C

        • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

          Here you go.

          Be careful, though. There might be too much brilliance in this for you to handle it. Just a fair warning.

          http://www.mediafire.com/download/op6bsghhp42086w/lemon6.pdf

          • Craig Mack

            Thanks Matty, I’m always looking for great screenplays to learn from. I appreciate the link.

            Best,

            C

          • Craig Mack

            ‘I read your script. You obviously haven’t learned much.’ – Grendl

            Grendl- that’s my first script. I’m serious about reading new material. I’m looking forward to reading yours.

            You need to relax a bit.

            Best,

            C

      • ArabyChic

        I don’t see the point in tearing him or his work down. I saw the notes that you gave him and thought those were good. Helpful. I don’t think attacking his talent or his character is helpful.

      • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

        Okay, so what you’re mad about is my comment on your script way back when. That’s what this is all about.

        Definition of irony: calling me ungracious and then complaining about a note I gave to you

        Here’s the thing: you burn bridges. That’s all you do. And it’s possibly the worst thing a writer can do to themselves.

        You can personally attack me all you want. Complain about my writing skills. Honestly, I don’t give a shit. You’re not somebody I’d ever work with. And, at this point, you’re not someone whose opinion I care about either. Three days ago, when you gave me some good notes, I did pay it some attention. And I appreciated it. Congratulations on convincing me to reverse that opinion.

        Keep lighting those matches, grendl. Maybe you’re headed for a blaze of glory. More than likely, just up in smoke though.

        • Panos Tsapanidis

          @MattyMustng:disqus, if Carson checks the analytics of Grendl’s review webpage he’ll notice someone keep visiting it, again and again. It’s Grendl, checking up on what the writer of the current submission wrote about his script.

          He’s probably writing down the names of the up-voters of your replies to him too.

          Stop wasting your time. He ain’t worth it.

          • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

            Yeah, I’m done. There’s no point in arguing with a troll. His comments in moderation above are just the dumbest thing I’ve possibly ever read. Especially because he couldn’t be more wrong about how much I’ve actually communicated with Carson outside of this site. Very, very little. Carson probably didn’t even remember I was the same person who wrote an article for him like a year ago.

          • tokyoYR

            That’s hilarious and explains how he remembers a comment I apparently left on his review that I don’t even recall.

      • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

        Last thing I’ll say (and I have no interest in a “head to head” with your writing, I’m not interested in pissing contests):

        Your notes were really good. I liked them a lot. Some really good suggestions and pointing out some flaws.

        And, oddly, comments such as “The writings good. The work ethic is clearly present”… the total opposite of your comments now.

        Just sad when I see someone who is clearly knowledgeable and capable of providing great feedback and then they just do a complete 180 and piss people off.

        I truly do hope you learn to control your trollish outbursts. Because you’re obviously capable of constructive feedback and good writing yourself. But no one cares about that when you muddy the waters with childish personal attacks, fallacious ad hominem deductions, and condescension. In no shape, way, or form, will that behavior ever help you, other than aiding in self destruction.

        This is truly genuine advice from me to you. I like to see people succeed, especially when I know they’re capable of it. People who help other people, people who provide constructive feedback like you often do… I truly want to see them succeed. But you never will if you maintain your scorched earth attitude. Despite what you may think about me, my abilities, or any of that – believe me when I say I’ve seen many people destroy tons of opportunities for no reason whatsoever. And it’s sad.

        I have little doubt you will simply brush this advice off with a hearty serving of snark. And so be it. But your obvious talent makes it worth saying just once.

        Don’t burn a bridge until you know what’s on the other side.

        I truly wish you the best, but unless you change your approach toward me and everyone else, I won’t be a part of your journey. I’m sure that’s how you prefer it anyway.

        • Jarman Alexander

          It’s apparent that Grendl has a vast knowledge of things that can be of great service to many participants in this community. I know that it can be difficult when the posts start skewing away from constructive topics, but I hope you both are not discouraged by this interaction.

          Matty, I have read the rest of your story over the weekend and it was a good read for me. I feel like the only feedback I had were things that had already been mentioned and addressed by you. Good luck with everything and I hope you continue to give feedback to those of us who desperately need it!

          • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

            Thank you, sir!

    • grendl

      Oh. And another thing, he wasn’t gracious.

      He was making excuses. Oh, this is only my second draft, folks, imagine what I could get if I actually put my mind to it, like professional writers and worked on the damn thing.

      Nope, I just pounded that out, and voila, double worth the read.

      No one buys it. No one. And all the kings horses and all the kings men cannot put that broken egg back together again.

      • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

        Dude, you have some serious problems understanding what people are saying. For real.

        I never even brought up the fact that it was an early draft. SOMEONE ELSE did. Nowhere did I make any excuse, nowhere did I argue with anyone’s points, nowhere was I ungrateful for any of the notes. The only thing I took issue with was you bitching about the fact that it was an early draft, as if that somehow makes any difference.

        I don’t know why, but you seem to pride yourself in tearing people down. You gave some helpful notes, and I appreciated them. But then you turned around and complained that I was “using this site to workshop” my script. Your complaints are simply fallacious.

        If you can point to a single statement I made where I was making an excuse, I will gladly concede.

        • Casper Chris

          For what it’s worth, I didn’t interpret your post as excuse-making. I think grendl is out of line here. He does go out of line on occasion. Oh well, I guess it’ll blow over and he’ll return to his usual insightful self.

          • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

            I don’t think anyone who actually read what I wrote would interpret it as excuse-making except him. Especially since I was not the person to even mention what draft that script was. There’s a reason they tell you not to put that stuff on the title page, and a reason you don’t mention it. I never do. Someone else did. And then somehow that gets extrapolated by him to me making excuses.

            Really, he’s just mad because I criticized a few long dialogue scenes in his script. Like basically everyone else did at the time too.

            Truthfully, I don’t care. I got a lot of great notes from people for a rewrite. I’ve been contacted by directors and producers about it. And I have work that’s independent of that script. I’ll continue to move forward like everyone else on this site, while grendl moves side to side toward an eventual implosion.

          • Casper Chris

            Good on you Matty. And good luck with it :) Hope you stick around.

      • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

        Grendl, when I see your name in the credits of a film, I’ll eat my shoe.
        Until then, I don’t care to interact with you anymore. I’m done. There’s more value watching a Warhol film at half speed than there is in talking to you.

        • mulesandmud

          Matty, I’m not sure you’re being completely fair…to Warhol.

          • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

            I’m sorry, Andy! Please forgive me!

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      Randy, thank you for the kind words. I certainly do hope my responses came off as gracious, as they were definitely not intended to be anything other than that. Anybody who takes the time to read my work – whether five pages or all 113, whether they liked it or didn’t – is good people in my book :)

      Thank you again, very kind of you to say.

  • carsonreeves1

    Sorry guys. The Scriptshadow machine had to endure maintenance when one half of it had to leave the state. Everything got messed up and the amateur offerings were a casualty of that. Should’ve announced it on Twitter or something. So sorry. :(

    • Ange Neale

      Could’ve been worse… A run-in with a killer bunny or something.

    • Citizen M

      It caused consternation.
      (props to grendl for the clip.)

      • carsonreeves1

        Wow, a Scriptshadow Meme. Sweet!

    • Randy Williams

      Machine? ….Chicago has a machine. Scriptshadow has a hand pump.

      With no AOW, I resigned myself to reading “Breaking The Chain” since the title was bounced around here for some reason, so I looked for the link. Anyway, thought it was pretty good. Textbook. I thought, on how to write characters the reader would care about, although the ending for me wrapped up too quickly without much drama.

      • Casper Chris

        Yea, I agree with that assessment. It fizzled out a little toward the end. But then again, it was a fairly low-key story throughout…

      • Bifferspice

        Thanks for reading it, Randy, I appreciate it. I’ll look for ways to boost the drama at the end. :)

    • Casper Chris

      You can just review Breaking The Chain next Friday. It deserves a shot. I believe it’s The Devil’s Hammer this Friday, correct?

      • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

        Oh yeah, we have something picked for this Friday, don’t we??

        It’s next Friday that’s open… I did just download that script, haven’t read it yet… but plan to at least crack it open.

        But I still vote for Nick’s script…

        Let Breaking the Chain go through proper channels as The Harvester did, which was a very close second to Matt’s script, and some people actually read the entire thing, while I don’t think anybody made it through Matt’s script all the way (no hard feelings Matt lol) during the voting period.

        But that’s just me :)

        • Casper Chris

          Haven’t read The Harvester so can’t vouch for it. But sure. One of those two makes sense.

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            Well, go read the first 15! ;)

        • Matthew Garry

          I know for a fact there’s at least one person who read both Savage South and Harvester in their entirety :)

          As for the proper channels for “Breaking the Chain”: I think the author mentioned submitting it but not getting picked, so he just posted it in the comments, as is encouraged, and others picked it up from there. I don’t think he was trying to circumvent any proper channels to get featured.

          That said, “Breaking the Chain” was a decent script, and I can imagine the author wondering why it never got picked for AOW, and wondering what was wrong with it. Now I’m wondering about that too. I would have to think back a long way to get to an AOW in which not at least two of the five entries were of lower quality (by my standards) than “Breaking the Chain”.

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            I don’t think what the writer did was wrong. You do whatcha gotta do.

            And it probably just got lost in the shuffle, which is why Carson says to resubmit after a week or two. And even sending an email reminder doesn’t hurt. If it were me, I’d submit the script every week (with the reminder) until it got its shot up against the other four. Persistence pays off.

            The other thing is maybe the logline needs work? I think he put a logline and reason to read on Lobster article, I just can’t remember what he wrote lol and too lazy to look it up.

            The only reason I suggested The Harvester is because people seemed to like it, and it really was neck and neck with Matt’s script. If people wouldn’t have liked it and voted for it, then I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it.

            Just waiting for Nick to send the revised script, and I’ll at least read the first 15, see if it grabs me.

    • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

      Just review The Harvester for AF, since he seemed to have almost as much votes as The Savage South… and he was a very gracious loser, so I vote for The Harvester!! ;)

      I couldn’t get past page 2 (too cartoonish for my taste. Seemed to fit what 10 year olds would think is cool), but don’t hold that against him haha but those who powered through (a couple who couldn’t put it down and got to the end) had good things to say about it… so why not give the guy a chance?

      Who else votes for The Harvester to get its chance??

      • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

        I agree! Give him the shot! If I’d been in a voting position that weekend I’d have voted for it. Solid first 15 pages that I read.

        • Nick Morris

          Whoa. Not sure if I deserve that, but I’m all for it! Thanks, guys.

  • Jarman Alexander

    Could anyone let me know if I’m alone on this? I know Philomena came out “a while” ago, and had tons of success (people saw it) before it became nominated for everything (people saw it again), but I still had it on my “to watch” list. After reading about the plot in the article, the first guess I had was the journalist was her son, and the unmarked spoiler quickly confirmed. Carson is SO GOOD about marking spoilers. I’ve never seen him miss one before. So, is it my fault because the grace period of spoilers are over on this movie due to it’s success?

    • ScottStrybos

      The journalist traveling with her, Steve Coogan? No, he wasn’t her son.

      • Citizen M

        I nearly cried when he was abducted by aliens as she sank into the Irish Sea. *nostalgia*

      • Jarman Alexander

        Thank you for clearing this up! I must have biased the reading.

    • Ange Neale

      The journo’s NOT her son. There’s no spoilers there, unless you count the nuns being the assholes.

      • astranger2

        Oh, thanks for that. Hadn’t seen the film yet and made the erroneous assumption it was fact. Now I can see it, or read the screenplay and still be surprised. Unless this is a juke… lol

    • Brainiac138

      Your assertions are inaccurate. Philomena is based on a true story, with real people, and from what I can tell, the movie, for the most part, stuck to the facts.

  • Fistacuffs

    Garfield is the perfect Spider-Man/Parker.

  • ElectricDreamer

    “I remember this guy who used to write all these goofy comedies that
    never quite got the tone right. It occurred to me after awhile that I
    never saw him actually go to any of these movies”

    Hey! I do write goofy comedies.
    Not only do I go to the movies to see what’s passing for funny these days…
    As equally important — I go to current flicks to gauge AUDIENCE REACTION.
    I like to see and hear what the paying folks think is funny. Chuckles, groans, LOLs, etc.
    Sitting in the back and observing your target audience’s behavior never hurt.

    • BSBurton

      Great post, I completely agree

  • ScottStrybos

    I didn’t feel the chemistry between Garfield and Stone in the first Amazing Spiderman that everyone referenced was present in abundance. And watching two of the most beautiful people on the planet pretend to be gawky and awkward together… fumbling their words… it just felt forced and unreal.

  • PoohBear

    Philomena grossed $100M worldwide, budget $12M.
    Amazing Spidey 2 debuted $370M worldwide, budget $255M.
    It’s all about the money. The valuable lesson here is to milk IP for all it’s worth. I’m ready to reboot prequels to The Hunger Games, who’s with me?

    • Citizen M

      Titanic 2: Down Again
      Titanic 3: We’ll Get it Right This Time… Oops!
      Titanic 4: Saved by Global Warming

      • PoohBear

        Titanic in Space! I can see Jack’s frozen body tumbling end over end like Sandra Bullock in Gravity.

        • Hadley’s Hope

          I think there was a Doctor Who holiday special that was sort of a Titanic in space tale.

      • witwoud

        Iceberg! The musical. In which we get to hear the iceberg’s side of the story.

        • klmn

          Here’s the story done as a square dance song.

      • Hadley’s Hope

        TITANINATOR: Shadows From The Abyss

        After losing the final battle against John Connor and the human resistance, Skynet enacts one last ditch plan to save itself from annihilation.

        The villainous AI opens a temporal portal and streams itself back through time to the bottom of the icy Atlantic, where in the dark depths lies the ultimate weapon.

        Built from the wreck of the White Star Line’s once majestic ocean liner is the now repurposed machine salvation. The T-1-Tanic.

        A sentient super-cyber-fortress that will lay waste to the entire West Coast. The only heroes capable of stopping it are Sgt. Candy (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger), a cybernetically enhanced resurrected from the dead Rose DeWitt Bukator (Kate Winslet in tight spandex), and Optimus Prime.

        • Citizen M

          Sequel: Titaninator vs. Megashark: Battle for the Seas

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    Maybe it was more the traveling part that made me feel so close to the character. Not sure. But I’m sure I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. :)

  • Stevetmp

    Found the Philomena script online and am about to tuck in. Here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/l6luzcm

  • bluedenham

    Who is going to see all these Spiderman repeats? Are there really that many 8-14 year olds?

  • klmn

    In addition to Mish-Mash Monday, it’s also Melanoma Monday.

    http://melanomamonday.com/

    So Carson, hit the beach!

  • Franchise Blueprints

    I immediately lost interest in the Spiderman reboot when Garfield said why can’t Spiderman have a boyfriend in a interview. It would be a similar situation if I mentioned why couldn’t Clint Eastwood and John Wayne be in Brokeback Mountain. Certain I.P’s don’t need a politically convoluted revisionist take on the material. Plus Garfield looks goofy as Peter Parker. I’ll save my money and wait for netflix to air it.

    • Casper Chris

      Just curious, is there an actual gay angle in the new Spidey? Haven’t watched.

      • Franchise Blueprints

        I’ve read Spiderman since the mid 80’s. Never has Peter Parker been remotely gay. Garfield said this after filming the first Spiderman reboot.

        http://insidemovies.ew.com/2013/07/10/andrew-garfield-spider-man-gay/

        I don’t care what they do with this new reboot. Spiderman 4 will be out before I watch all of 1 or part of 2.

    • mulesandmud

      Of course, Andrew Garfield doesn’t write the films, and has limited influence on the franchise. Sony would never even consider that direction, nor would Mark Webb. You know that. So, just so you can hear yourself, you’re saying that you ‘lost interest’ in a movie because the lead actor is open minded.

      There are plenty of good reasons not to see this movie. The one you mention is not remotely one of them.

    • Hadley’s Hope

      Probably not for Spider-Man. A remake of the old 1960s era Adam West Batman? It’s certainly possible. BOOM BAMF POW!!!

  • Craig Mack

    ‘I read your script. You obviously haven’t learned much.’ – Grendl

    Grendl- that was my first script. I know its not a masterpiece.

    I’m serious about reading new material. I’m looking forward to reading yours.

    You need to relax a bit.

    Best,

    C

  • Franchise Blueprints

    I’ve pondered having a low budget horror film script in my resume just to cover the basis of what’s currently selling these days. Sometimes the burning idea you have may be more lucrative than the master piece you’re working on.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

    I already posted to Carson’s comment… but with no AOW, I think he should review The Harvester (I’ll actually try to read past page 2 this time :)

    With enough votes, I don’t think Carson can deny him his chance.

    I do recommend the writer make his changes and submit by Thursday afternoon a better draft, addressing some of the stuff people brought up, so it has a better chance at a higher rating by Carson…

    Like those first two pages that I only think a ten year old will find cool (because that’s what I thought was cool when I was ten, and those are the kinds of things I wrote about when I was a kid! lol)

    Anyway, that’s my thoughts on AOW for this week. So if Carson tried to make it so he didn’t have to read anything Friday haha let’s make it hard for him to skip this week ;)

    • Nick Morris

      Haha, thanks man. I do not pretend to be anything more than a big ten-year-old, lol!

      • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

        No problem. I think we need to show that nice guys do succeed, and good and unexpected things do happen.

        I’ll actually read the first 15 and if you can win me over in those pages, I’ll repost and even email Carson that we need to put you for Friday. Not that he’ll listen to me haha but I can still try, because truthfully, I didn’t give it a fair shot… I looked for any reason to put something down so I could vote for Matt’s… but that first scene really didn’t work for me, and didn’t want to make me read further (as I’ve already said numerous times like a broken record)… but it sounds like others had a problem with the first scene as well, and when they got past it, they really liked it…

        so I will read past it and see what happens.

        • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

          It has a lot of nice allusions to The Seventh Seal if you’ve seen that. I really liked that stuff :)

          • Nick Morris

            Thanks, brother.

        • Nick Morris

          Thanks for that, Rick. I’m still working on revisions, but I’d be happy to send you my current draft if you’re interested.

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            Sure. screenwriter@cheerful.com

            I say there’s nothing better than a cheerful screenwriter lol though I suppose it could make for boring material!

  • witwoud

    It’s worth giving a shout-out to Stephen Frears, the director of Philomena. He aways strikes me as a workmanlike director in the best possible sense — i.e., the exact opposite of an auteur. The scripts he chooses are typically low-key, intelligent, literate ones, often adapted from books. He doesn’t try and impose his own vision onto them: he gets out of the way and lets them do the talking (while also getting great performances out of his actors.) He’s probably best known for Dangerous Liaisons and High Fidelity (and now Philomena) but it’s worth checking out some of his lesser-known films: I’m particularly fond of his adaptation of The Snapper by Roddy Doyle, which is about as much fun as you can have on a bleak North Dublin housing estate.

    • Hadley’s Hope

      I think of him primarily for “Dirty Pretty Things” overall.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

    There was a reason that movie got nominated for an Oscar. I got most of the Oscar movies as screeners from SAG, so we could vote for the SAG awards.

    Well, I didn’t, I didn’t pay my dues on time :/

    But this one is still on my list. I also still want to watch Nebraska. The writer is a very nice guy… and it’s his first movie to really get made, and the guys in his 50’s or 60’s… crazy. Not a whole lot of confidence in himself… seems to have a Billy Ray complex, but good for him.

    So imagine writing in your 50’s with a full time job, and then all of a sudden you write something that not only gets made, but up for an Oscar.

    So it’s never too late to make it!! But please, screenwriter gods, hear my prayer, and please don’t take that long! Thank you. And amen.

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      Nebraska is great! Probably my second favorite Payne film behind Sideways. Beautiful little film.

      • Abdul Fataki

        Wrong place to comment, I’m sorry, I loved your script but found the ending to be a bit weak, there was no climax. I understand you needed the Dominic/Hollis dialogue to send a message and show us his arc (by letting him live) but I felt that it was a bit empty.

        What would be GREAT (in my humble opinion, of course) is if Archie turned out to be Dominic. Think about it, some random dude, who spends most of his time in a secluded little garage. He already killed his mother, imprisoned his father, the last blow would be him being a father figure for Hollis, ouch.

        • Nate

          As I was reading Matty’s script and getting close to the end of it I started thinking that Archie was actually Dominic. If he was I would have been disappointed that I figured it out. So I’m glad Matty went with the ending he did. If he wanted to go the route you suggested then he should come up with a character we’d never suspect.
          Obviously there should be subtle hints so it doesn’t come out of nowhere but it shouldn’t be easy to figure out. Perhaps the sister could have a boyfriend who is Dominic’s son. Just an example.

          • Abdul Fataki

            Dominic is a mystery box so by having it be just some random old dude, I think he’s not maximizing his potential. Maybe make it less obvious that it’s Archie?

            Or maybe have a double twist – when we find out his father is innocent – have Hollis bust him out or something just for us to find out — that his father = Dominic.

          • Nate

            Maybe Kessler’s father could be Dominic. He kills Hollis’ mother and knowing that his father will likely kill him, frames him for the murder then creates a new identity and starts up the Detroit mob, sort of like the mob boss in Smoking Aces.
            Or maybe Kessler’s father hires Hollis to eliminate the competition and sets him up like Death Wish 4.

          • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

            I did consider some kind of twist – though Archie never crossed my mind oddly enough that I recall – however, I ultimately with the ending I did because I personally wasn’t too interested in some kind of big twist reversal at the end. The script, to me, is more of a drama than an action story, and it’s more of a meditation on violence and what drives us (whether that’s family, the pursuit of wealth, power, father/son relationships, etc.) and I didn’t want to distract from those themes by blindsiding the reader with a big shock of a twist.

            Just trying to show where I was coming from when I approached the ending and how to handle it. Even the fact that its slightly anticlimactic was intentional.

            But, I’m not saying its perfect, because I know it isn’t. Just explaining the angle I was coming from and perhaps that will spark an idea from somebody as to how to amp it up a bit. Several people have made interesting suggestions about what to do at the end there, so I haven’t settled on anything in particular yet. So I’m still inviting any ideas or suggestions :)

            Thanks a bunch for your comments :)

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            I know I gave you a pretty nifty idea worth considering (in my book!)

          • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

            Oh yes, I did like your idea a lot actually, doing that in lieu of the phone call. It’s simple, but really effective I think. Right now that’s my plan to change that scene (along with some other minor tweaks)… unless I come up with something better. But so far that’s what I’m going with :)

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            Though, these Scriptshadowers are coming up with some intriguing ideas here… definitely more out of the box than my idea (which has technically been done before, but still a better choice than the phone call. Just because our guy has changed internally and doesn’t kill the old oxygen sucker, and lets him live, doesn’t mean somebody else wouldn’t kill the old man… especially the other mob who has had a vendetta against him for years).

          • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

            No, that’s exactly why I like it.

            We think Hollis is going there to kill this guy. But he’s really just going there to confront him, because he’s changed now – Declan is the last person he murders, but he needs that resolution. And so he confronts him as he does in this draft, but then when he leaves, it’s basically “okay, now you can do whatever you want with him” to the other guys. And we’d obviously assume they execute him.

            This also ties up any potential loose ends that Dominic sends anyone else after Hollis or any of that.

            Like I said, it’s a very simple change, but I think quite effective. Great idea sir :)

          • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

            Cool. Glad I could help. lol

        • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

          Thanks for the kind words and the suggestion! I actually had one other person suggest that very thing, and I thought it was an interesting idea. Definitely something to think about going into my next rewrite! :)

      • astranger2

        Sideways is a beautiful film. One of my all-time favorites. Giamatti is superb in it. Always enjoyed Election too — quirky little dark comedy.

    • Hadley’s Hope

      Hitchcock did some of his best work in his late 50’s and early 60’s.

  • cjob3

    There is a way to do multiple villains right. I’d wish they’d try a superhero movie that’s TRULY like a comic book. If you pick up an average ish of Spider-Man- he lives in a New York teaming with super-villains. Not one, not three, probably fifty at large at any given time. It’d be nice to see him run into a villain he doesn’t know- and we don’t know- after all, Spider-Man isn’t privy to every origin – he could be as surprised and confused as we are. The problem is, movie makers always have to sit through the ORIGIN of each of these villains. I thought they missed the trick with The Lizard, for example. They should have show the Lizard first – then later, Spidey sees this guy REVERTING back to his science teacher. (Class would be awkward after that) Like a backward origin, instead of walking us through the now-standard fare of every singe the ‘experiment gone wrong.’

  • cjob3

    They literally are making them to keep the rights.
    As a Marvel fan, I’m torn. Do I support it? I want the rights to revert back to Marvel but that won’t happen unless the movie bombs. I don’t want that to happen either. Guess there’s nothing to do but sit helplessly while Sony runs the franchise into the ground.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

    The Amazing Spider-Man 1 was a complete bore. I understand having a love story, but that’s not what I came to see lol

    The Original Spider-Man 2 is the best of the franchise so far.

    • BSBurton

      No doubt! Make you could play the new Jameson ?

  • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

    I wouldn’t want to be the actor who had to replace Robert Downey, Jr.

    I
    never thought Maguire was that awesome as Spider-Man, so it was easy
    for me to accept Garfield taking over. But RDJ? I can’t see anyone
    filling his shoes.

  • carsonreeves1

    As he’s been known to do every now and then, Grendl’s typical angry rants have turned to the drunken crazy-person kind, which means he’ll be put in a corner for awhile to learn a lesson. Give some guys an inch. Sheesh!

    • guess who

      Honestly Carson I wondered if grendl was a concocted character to add Gsu to your comment section. He was too perfect of an arch nemesis … a green goblin to your script shadow. That’s my conspiracy theory anyway….

      I know Thursdays are for articles but would you consider having a bonus article say on Tuesday from time to time. I just so look forward to the articles.

  • carsonreeves1

    When you’re coming up with conspiracy theories on a screenwriting website, chances are you need medication.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

    I just want to set the record straight… (by the way, thanks for not saying me by name)… BUT I have no influence over Carson. He’s his own person with his own mind with his own ideas of what he likes and doesn’t like.

    For me, Matt’s script was a (X) Worth The Read. Good stuff, with room for improvement.

    But it wasn’t like Carson was going, “Oh my God, I have to meet this Rick character. He’s just so awesome (which I am, by the way lol), and I can now die as my life if fulfilled and my dream come true!”

    Trust me, if I had that kind of influence, I would have submitted one of my features already… but they’re not ready, so I wait and continue to work on them.

    So as far as Thursday goes… it was a fluke. I was hanging out with another writer who Carson did want to meet, and a couple of us went with him, since we were all writing together (so we’re not all tucked away in some dark corner by ourselves with no human contact turning into vampires…).

    But Carson was a nice guy, very gracious, and Lauren (who I had met before) is pretty awesome, too. So it went very well, just shooting the shit with each other, talking shop, coming up with ideas about an Alex Felix short Alex and Carson wants to make.

    I was in the presence of very talented and inspiring people, all of whom I think will go far. And was very grateful to be there.

    So yeah, I have no hypnotic power of Carson, or anybody else. But I am lucky to good, nice, and gracious people out here.

    So Matt’s (XX) Worth The Read, was earned on his own merit, and by Carson’s own tastes. I actually thought it would get a (X) Not For Me, and I was honest with Matt about that… so it was a pleasant surprise to see him get higher marks than I even rated it.

    In the end, I think we’re here to help each other… though it can be fun to watch people duke it out haha I think our main priority is to just help each other be better writers.

    Personally, both Grendl and Matt have helped me by reading my stuff and giving notes, for which I am extremely grateful. Some of it good, some of it, not so good.

    And so has Mike(Link), and Michael (Drifting)… so I’m thankful to the people here, and I think Carson has a good thing going here. We just have to choose to use it to our benefit… it’s a choice.

    So I’ll now be your Yoda and say, “May the force be with you.”

    lol

    Happy writing! And keep working hard!

  • Nate

    I think that happens to every writer. It happens to me at least twice a week. It won’t necessarily be a story that pops into my head, it might be a scene or something. One that doesn’t fit into the script I’m writing at that time. So I have to get it down before I forget about it.

  • carsonreeves1

    Honestly, Grendl, I’d think twice about what you’re saying today. You’re having an epic meltdown. I allow you to comment because you provoke discussion. But when you go into “batshit crazy” mode, nobody gets anything out of it. You’re very close to being permanently blacklisted. If I were you, I’d put down the bottle, call it a week, and come back refreshed next week.

    • tokyoYR

      Truthfully I wish you would blacklist this character. A couple of days ago he/she attacked me out of the blue with some misplaced vendetta. I considered saying something to you because it really lowers the reading and commenting experience of this site when I have to hesitate saying thoughts lest some unhinged maniac behind his computer decides to gun for me.
      And he/she’s always here. Really sinks the quality of experience.

  • Logic Ninja

    The new Spidey struck me as just plain bizarre. Truly weird. First off, in a movie that felt like two movies spliced together, we never hit the “low point” beat, and therefore there was never a true climax. On the one hand, I hate by-the-numbers screenwriting, in which you HAVE to hit certain beats–but in this case, it was noticeable. It felt weird.
    Second, whoever edited this thing for sound was on crack. And meth. And oxycontin. This guy was the Jordan Belfort of sound editors. I mean, at one point, the bad guy starts PLAYING A TECHNO SONG by blasting a bunch of metal pillars with his electric vibe. What the hell was that?! Just weird.
    Oh. And please. Let’s never have the “Blue Danube Waltz in the creepy lab” cliche. Ever. Again.

  • Linkthis83

    • astranger2

      Must have watched that commercial a thousand times. And every time, it brings a smile to my face… ; v )

      • Linkthis83

        I really thought it appropriate here :) I don’t want grendl to be this way towards other posters, but I don’t want to lose him either :)

        • astranger2

          You’re absolutely right. Guess I haven’t been around long enough to see all the grendl permutations. But, on occasion, his insight inspires and sparkles.

          I copied this from one of his posts, and I know these ideas aren’t exactly innovative. But we get motivation where we can, and when he’s playing nice he does have some instructive things to say:

          “There aren’t tools to writing. There’s principles you have to learn.There’s no tricks. Just watch movies and see how it’s been done in the past. And there are no easy ways to do this effectively. Just write and experiment and rewrite until your protagonist finds his way through the story to a satisfying money shot, when he faces his deepest fear. And punish the hell out of them for not being proactive. Many of you have a tendency to take it way to easy on your protagonists, and are afraid to make them look bad. But that’s the key to empathy, the flaws are where we connect. IMHO.”

          (Ironically, note the “H” in the IMHO… which I think comes across in SOME of his posts…)

          So, I hope he won’t be blacklisted, but I can see how that could potentially happen…

          Grendl brought out the Beowulf in Carson… No hall Thane he…

          Good luck to you in the contest! Entered late myself, and found it fun to work in a genre I wouldn’t have necessarily pursued on my own.

          • Linkthis83

            Thanks. I’m already out though. It is my belief that while they say to be creative with your interpretation of the logline, they don’t really mean it. Which is fine by me. I was never going to write a story that fit that logline anyway. And I love the concept I came up with. That’s a story I can write all the way through.

            Good luck to you as well. I have a feeling, if you hit a more literal version of the logline, you’re at least still in the running :)

            I’ve gone back and forth with grendl in the past. He’s even taken some personal shots. I can handle it. When people feel justified about their stance, it’s hard to get them to see anything else. That’s what I believe, IMHO :)

            Keep me posted on your status in the contest. I’m sincerely interested.

          • astranger2

            How did you find out? Do you have to visit the site? I don’t know anything about these type of contests, but I would think you need to be truer to their concept as they may see it more like assignment writing?

            It was actually your post that got me thinking about entering, and I figured I’d give it a shot. I only read a few pages of your’s, and I found the characters rich and engaging. You might be right, however — you might’ve strayed too far from the designed path.

            Maybe I’m out too and just don’t know it. Did you sign up for the review?

            It was interesting. Because writing 15 pages for the contest is a different 15 pages than if you were actually writing a full screenplay. Hope you had as much fun with it as I did?

          • Linkthis83

            I know because I opted for the feedback. They actually tell you if yours is a “pass” or “consider” after the first read.

            Based on all the other entries I had read that have got “considers”, they are all right on with the logline. One entry, which played with the concept a little, got a consider but the feedback stated they didn’t like this writer’s twist on the logline. So, my advice to others would be to stick closer to the logline. Even though they state this:

            “The logline is intentionally broad, to allow your own creative spark to shine through.

            Our advice to you? Make it your own. Show us your storytelling skills, and find a way to take the concept in an unexpected direction.”

            Thanks for reading some of my pages :) And if posting my work helped to push you to enter, then that’s freaking fantastic.

            Very true about the 15 pages. It’s a different strategy for sure. Advice I gave some writers is: Come up with really intriguing stuff. You don’t have to have the answers to your twist. You just need to get them wanting to read more :)

          • astranger2

            I entered mine very last minute. So, I hope it didn’t fall through the cracks as I’ve received nothing back and I opted for feedback. I might have added too many open questions as I gave this to a friend and she said she was confused to many of the plot twists… lol. Thanks for sharing your experience.

          • Linkthis83

            did you get the confirmation email after you sent them your script? Not after you placed the order, but sent in the script?

            A friend of mine thought he sent his script in and realized he sent it to the wrong email addy after I asked him about his confirmation email. He got it sorted on the last day. And he is also out. Lol. But it was his first attempt ever at any screenwriting.

          • astranger2

            Hey, thanks for responding. Called them, and they did receive it, but as I was a last minute person, they’re still working on those. So, guess I’ll get my rejection in four or five days, she said… lol Appreciate the help. I’ll let you know my outcome one way or another.

          • Midnight Luck

            I actually haven’t heard back either. They are actuaally quite helpful if u call the customer service number. Good luck with it, we need another SS person in the running.

          • astranger2

            They are great there. I was worried, however, as I didn’t decide to enter until last minute — committed the cardinal sin of submitting raw work, and rewriting until midnight. So, wasn’t sure they received it in time.

            The woman I spoke with was very helpful though — and informed me late entries like mine would probably hear one way or another in three to five days. I did learn something about Final Draft from her that could’ve save me a lot of time in the past. I wondered if there was a tool where you could change a character’s name all through your entire script very simply, including action lines. There is… ; v (

            Not too long ago I spent hours going through a script changing all the names of a main character. What’s especially nice about this feature, which I’m sure I’m the only moron that doesn’t know about it, is that it will change it EVERYWHERE. So you don’t need worry if you missed it in a line of description.

            Good luck to you too! You write so beautifully in your posts, I’ve always hoped to see your work. (But if you end up having dinner with Sheldon at The Ivy — don’t forget to schmooze. Know how much you love that sort of thing.) ; v )

          • Midnight Luck

            Yeah it is too bad u didnt know how to change the characters name. I went through that years ago and of course it was on deadline and it stressed me out. I called final draft and they told me how. I have to say u couldnt hide it in a more convoluted place, or make it more difficult. But once u know where it is or how to do it it is quite simple. Saves so much time and u dont run the risk of an error by missing a straggler. Though i missed one back then because i had accidentally not capitalized the name or something dumb and it didnt recognize it as the name to replace. Ah the awesome times in screenwriting.

          • astranger2

            Are the pages you submitted from the story about the multiple cadavers on the pier? Or was that for another project?

          • Midnight Luck

            That is a different project. I thought briefly about adapting it, but decided against. came up with a good idea for the logline and there was no need to use those characters or tear it apart and contort it to fit the contests parameters.
            Thanks for remembering though.

          • astranger2

            I never read it as it was already unavailable. I remember there was a detective involved, and then a lot of fuss on whether or not men speak to one another at urinals. Hope to see it on AOW soon…

          • Midnight Luck

            Interesting, you know about it but haven’t read it, that is cool. Yes the urinal scene. Never did i think that would bring the most discussion. Since then it has made me notice that kind of scene. In just a few months there has been no less than twenty, (twenty!) scenes (in both TV and Film) of guys talking at urinals. The best was in Along Came Polly where Alec Baldwin rubs Ben Stillers ear, smacks him on the ass (“good things”) and chats non stop at the urinal the whole time. Doesnt ever happen? Youve got to b kidding me. It was a long strange discussion that day. If no one talks at a urinal, there sure was a lot of talk about talk at a urinal. My email is m(at) blackluck dot com if u are interested in reading it i can send it.

          • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

            Grendl absolutely does have plenty of insight quite a lot, and is capable of it at all times, but unfortunately we see this side of him too much. He reminds me of a good friend and writing partner I once had, who I still believe to be one of the best writers I’ve ever met, but whom would unfortunately and quite easily succumb to very similar outbursts. And no one would read anything he wrote, no one would work with him, and after a certain point I was his only defender because I knew the other side of him, but that ultimately didn’t matter. Eventually we just slowly lost touch because his attitude made it difficult to work with him, but even worse was that he’d burn every bridge we got to before we even crossed it.

            It was extremely sad to be so close to such an extraordinarily talented writer and watch them fall apart like that, having meltdown after meltdown after meltdown and never learning from it. I sincerely hope he is doing well.

            I truly wish the best for every writer. It’s great to see people who are talented and work hard succeed because they deserve it. And I’m absolutely not one of those people who thinks that the less writers achieving success out there, the better for me. I want every deserving artist to find their place. And I truly hope grendl does. But it’s just not a bet I’d take at this rate.

          • astranger2

            Everything you said is true. Maybe, and I say MAYBE, you can get away with it as a novelist, ala Nicholson’s character in As Good As It Gets. But screenwriting is a highly-collaborative process. And if you’re lucky enough,or skilled enough, (probably have to be both, lol) to have an opportunity to have those meetings about potentially producing your script, you’d better be dancing on your toes with alternate ideas and changes — coupled with an EAGER willingness to compromise.

            As you said about your friend, I think underneath there is a very sensitive, caring spirit coursing through grendl — much like Melvin from As Good As It Gets. Or maybe I’m too much of a Holden Caulfield devotee who tries to understand the misunderstood. But as Aristotle once said, “it is what it is.” Or was that Grand Master B? I forget.

            Regardless, I wanted to apologize for an earlier post that might’ve been misconstrued. I only wanted to compliment you on a fine WTR script — and it wasn’t you that referenced the time frame. My intention was just to say, since I recently entered this contest, your work is excellent. And it stands on its own. You have a flair for this genre, and the pacing and plot points were great.

            But as you also said, like life, everything is a work in progress… IF you do a rewrite, would love to read it. I enjoyed it. ; v )

          • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

            You are spot on – screenwriting is perhaps the most collaborative of any writing medium (including TV writing of course). And even if someone is incredibly talented, they can destroy their career if they don’t play nice with others.

            To be a successful writer, you can’t just be tolerant of criticism. You have to welcome it. You have to respect others’ opinions. Sure, you should defend your choices, don’t be a push over, but also don’t be immovable. It simply will not work unless you’re also the producer, director, actor, etc.

            Anyway, thank you very much for the kind words about my script and writing. And there is no “if,” I will be doing a rewrite :)

            And good luck with the contest! It is a fantastic experience if you make the top ten. I hope you do. I know the deadline has passed, but if you still want any thoughts anyway on your pages (or anything else), feel free to shoot me an email anytime (mwilliams.691@gmail.com).

            Best of luck with the contest!

          • astranger2

            Wow, that’d be super! Thanks!

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

    Damn you Carson! I’m spending too much time on SS today… time to get off and get some actual work done before 24 starts!!

    lol ;)

  • Eddie Panta

    Forget Mish-Mash Monday. I want to read Grendl’s drunken crazy rant.
    What did I miss?

    • Kirk Diggler

      Not much.

  • Logic Ninja

    You’re probably right. I guess to me, something felt a little off–maybe since the low point you mention wasn’t preceded by any kind of serious Act 2 conflict–which, in a superhero movie, usually means carnage. For instance, in The Avengers, we have the massive airborn battle for SHIELD’s flying base, immediately followed by the low point: Coulson’s “death.” I’m sure the scene you mention was the intended low point–for some reason it just didn’t read that way to me.

  • Montana Gillis

    “Don’t write a Movie you wouldn’t pay to see yourself.” This advice seems like it would be the last thing anyone would ever need to hear. Our natural writing instinct should intuitively push us toward those subjects that hold the most interest to us. I write to entertain myself. Hopefully, if I become a great writer, I will get the chance to entertain others as well. Ah… perchance to dream…

    • Hadley’s Hope

      While I certainly wouldn’t be shocked to hear a writer state that they worked on a spec script based around a marketable concept, yet didn’t love that particular story/concept, it is likely a rare thing. I suppose with all the pressure to hit marketable demographics and have a simple straightforward high concept that is an easy sell to producers, some writers might once or twice fall into the trap of writing solely for the market while neglecting their own passions and interests.

      I like this quote by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet:

      “When you are in love with a story, you have to take your time to follow it and to fall in love again one time. You need some time. And I need to be in love with a story because I am going to spend four years of my life inside without pleasure, without seeing anybody, you work 16 hours per day and at the weekend and I need to be in love with each detail.”

  • Caroline

    Can we have Devil’s Hammer this week for AOW and The Harvester for AOW the next Friday to sort up this mix up. This seems to be what everyone is asking for.

  • NajlaAnn

    Excellent, insightful article – thanks.

  • BSBurton

    So true. Especially this time around. They should cut down on the spidey jokes though, undermines the drama.