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MICHAEL WIESE PRODUCTIONS

Published by Michael Wiese Productions mw@mwp.com | www.mwp.com ISBN: 9781615931170

© 2011 Michael Wiese Productions

CONTENTS
7 8 12 15 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 33 34 37 39 42 4 « contents An Invitation Foreword by Ken Lee Occupy Hollywood! Michael Wiese The Inspiring Providence Of Filmmaking Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D. Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Kathie Fong Yoneda Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Carole Lee Dean A Life In Film D.W. Brown Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Joshua Friedman Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Carole M. Kirschner Why Try To Be A Filmmaker? Howard Suber Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Write For Television Pamela Douglas Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Pen Densham It’s A Wonderful Life Michael Halperin Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Judith Weston Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Ellen Besen You Are Not Alone Linda Seger Top Ten Reasons Why It’s Great To Be A Sitcom Writer Sheldon Bull Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Michele Wallerstein

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Why It’s Great To Be A Filmmaker Eric Edson Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Launch Your Film Marcie Begleiter Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Hester Schell Misconceptions Of A Teenage Filmmaker Christina Hamlett Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Make A Film… Now! Tony Levelle Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Gael Chandler Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Monika Skerbelis Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Gil Bettman Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Rona Edwards Ten Steps To Becoming An Independent Filmmaker David Worth Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Kim Hudson Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Jennifer Grisanti Discovering The You In YouTube Jay Miles Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Christopher Riley Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Aubry Mintz R.I.P. Barbie Jennifer Dornbush Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Pamela Jaye Smith contents » 5

87 89 90 91 93 95 96 98 100 102 104 110 113 115 117 119

Dynamic Uncertainty: Inquiry Into Screen Story Neill D. Hicks Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Helen Jacey Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Ken Rotcop What To Subtract From Your Filmmaking Carl King Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Todd Klick Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Morrie Warshawski Secrets On An Island Christopher Kenworthy Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker LD Thompson Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Troy DeVolld The “Don’t Have To” Of Your Dreams Dale Newton Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Voiceover Artist Terri Apple Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Maureen Ryan Can You Make A Difference? Catherine Ann Jones Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Paul Chitlik Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Ross Brown The No-Excuse, No-Kidding-Yourself, No-More-Bullshit Cure To Finishing Your Screenplay D.B. Gilles Top Ten Reasons Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Filmmaker Stuart Voytilla

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AN INVITATION
FOREWORD BY KEN LEE
I hold this young man’s life in my hands. Well, perhaps, not his life, but the stakes are pretty high. I meet John at a screenwriting conference. His father urges me on to tell his son why it is a good idea to attend film school. Before the economic meltdown in 2008, I probably would have told him that film school is a wonderful opportunity to be creative, expressive. It would be a cool place to challenge himself in collaboration with other like-minded people. But now, the game has changed and the future is anyone’s guess. What jobs would be available to this young man after he graduated? How would he and his parents pay for the student loans they would have to get him through film school? So, instead of giving him a pat answer, I ask him “What do you want to study?” He tells me that he doesn’t know, but that he wants to take a lot of classes to see what he is drawn to. I tell him this is an excellent strategy and then I give him something to think about. I tell him to take some classes that are outside of his comfort zone. “It’s important,” I say, “to push yourself in your areas of weakness rather than relying on your strengths and what you know you can do. Y ou’ll learn more about yourself when you challenge yourself.” John seemed relieved that I didn’t give him a definitive “Y or “No” on film school. es” And then I add, “Y ou’re young. The world is your oyster.” His slow emerging smile showed me that it was the first time he had heard that phrase, but that he understood it completely. And so, this compilation of essays, lists, and articles by the authors of the world’s best books on filmmaking and screenwriting is NOT a mandate for people, young or old, to BE A FILMMAKER. Rather, it’s an invitation to explore your own thoughts, feelings, and ideas. And dream a little too: allow yourself to think about the possibility of what it would mean to you to be a storyteller/filmmaker and perhaps what stories you would tell. I encourage you to read these articles and let your feelings wash over you. Share your favorite articles with others. Print out your favorite ones and post them by your laptop. Good luck on your journey. If you have any questions, contact us at Michael Wiese Productions and we’ll be happy to share more. Ken Lee Vice President, Michael Wiese Productions foreword » 7

TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE

OCCUPY HOLLYWOOD!
MICHAEL WIESE filmmaker and publisher
As people all over the globe challenge the underpinnings and practices of banks, stock brokers, and politicians, those of us in media can do our part by challenging the destructive and morally vacant — almost invisible by its pervasiveness — vast meta-program that drives the Hollywood mindset and its output. It’s clear to those who look deeply that the very quality of human life on the planet is dependent upon storytellers (that’s right — you and me) to step up and transform the story mythos of our community. Mythos is defined as “the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as seen in its beliefs and aspirations.” Hollywood media is one of the largest U.S. exports. Embedded in so-called entertainment are American materialist values that are sold worldwide. More and more people fall under its spell so that now billions of people in India, China, and Africa have been taught to crave the consumerist lifestyle they have enjoyed for decades in American television programs and films. It’s hard to untangle the mass of false beliefs embedded in our current culture which sadly results from a misreading of the true nature of reality. Most of us accept what we are told rather than examine things through our own experience. We have been taught not to trust ourselves. • To an extraterrestrial observer, the purpose of human life would appear to be to sell things to one another. Perpetual consumerism drives over consumption and over-production. Planned obsolescence creates massive landfills. (50,000 tons of old electronics are dumped in India each year.) If the goal is to sell us more of everything, then the result is burgeoning personal debt, obesity, and an insatiable need to acquire more than your neighbor, creating alienation and competition rather than cooperation.
Michael Wiese is a filmmaker and publisher. His recent feature documentaries are “personal sacred journeys” and include The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas (Tibet), The Shaman & Ayahuasca (Peru), and Talking with Spirits (Bali). His company publishes the world’s premiere line of books on filmmaking (www.mwp.com) and on spirit, art, and culture (www.divineartsmedia.com).

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• The over-exploitation of natural resources has decimated vast rainforests, polluted oceans, diminished air quality and brought about the extinction of countless plants, fish, and animals. The first step is to admit that the way we perceive reality (and thus the actions we take) is completely askew and has failed us completely. • We live in a world where the dominant force is male-driven. It’s aggressive, competitive, war-mongering, resource exploiting, and based on “may the toughest guy win,” “get it while you can,” “me first” philosophies. It is really any wonder why things are as they are? What’s missing is the female-oriented mythos based on nurturing, cooperation, preservation, and compassion. In the male-dominated media industry hierarchy, only 17% of its executives are female. (If the natural world utilized only 17% of its feminine energies, all life forms would be extinct by now.) It’s no surprise that most films, television, news, and commercials are violent, and sexual, and marginalize women in an attempt to convince us to buy more things we don’t need. Our diet of television news generates fear. Video games teach children killing skills and disregard for life. Commercials and magazines have subverted sexuality (which can be a path to ecstatic divine states) into a kind of bait-andswitch game to flog their products. • Humans are kept deaf, dumb, and blind by a staggering number of poisonous messages blasted from all forms of media, from films and televisions, to mobile phone texts and social networking. Human beings are persuaded that we are small, powerless, and ineffectual. The media (which is 90+% controlled by half a dozen international corporations) and governments have kept us in fear and distracted as a way to control us. We have become slaves caught in habitual behaviours linked to our electronic machines. None of this is news to you or me. We are aware we are deep in the muck. We know it and we try to keep it at bay, hoping and praying that there will be a technological solution. Surely, someone will invent something. Maybe there will be a new Apple App that will fix it all. We shirk responsibility because we feel powerless to do anything. That’s where the change must come. What is needed is a new paradigm and a remembrance to older paradigms from the wisdom cultures of the world. We need new stories to tell, new visions to put forth, and awakened filmmakers to co-create them. This is where you come in. The new vision would: • Celebrate our capacity to be magnificent, compassionate, and generous. • Understand that we are not separate beings, but exist as one living entity interconnected with the planet and each other. • Understand that we depend on plants for our existence (what they breathe out, we breathe in, and vice versa). Respect and cherish forests, streams, oceans, and clouds, and not exploit this part of Ourselves.

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The new vision would: • Understand that our link to the future is through our children and not let Hollywood corrupt innocent minds and natural knowingness with corruptive and destructive media products. • Create alternate ways of learning that lead us back to a relationship with nature and an understanding of our true place in the world. The new vision would: • Welcome women to fully participate in the top decision-making positions in media, government, and all professions, to regain a balance in solving the great challenges before us. The new vision would: • Convert “weaponry” to “livingry.” Convert national defence budgets to “plowshares” to eliminate hunger, poverty, and homelessness. (The $500+ billion that the U.S. spends annually on the defence budget would make quite a dent.) If one person is hungry, then we are all hungry. The standard of living could be raised worldwide for everyone. But this transformation cannot come about through the old world paradigm in which most of us live and breathe. At the moment, we can’t see what needs to be done because it’s all around us. Our own beliefs have to first be examined and changed. The filmmaker needs to make a commitment to transform and connect with other parts of his or her own mind in a profound way so that he or she will not just be making the same old stuff. The filmmaker needs to look to “the man in the mirror” and make a change, and in doing so the new mythos will arise. How does one do this? By having an experience of one’s own divine nature. By realizing that we are far greater and more magnificent than we have ever believed. By knowing that we are capable of greatness. This can be achieved in many ways: through meditation, prayer, yoga, Tai-chi, or plant teachers. This path is personal and private and does not follow dogma or pre-digested religious doctrine. Its goal is a direct connection with the Divine, the Creator, Great Spirit, Mother Gaia, Supreme Intelligence, or whatever you wish to call it. When the filmmaker is transformed, expression is transformed, and in turn, the audience is transformed. It is the Divine Intelligence reaching through the interconnectedness of the filmmaker to the audience. Anyone who has been to Bali will have been amazed by the astounding creativity of the Balinese in everything they touch. It appears that they can all dance, paint, make offerings, and play music. They live life spontaneously, cooperatively and in great appreciation. Why? Because they have cultivated taksu, which I understand to be “divine inspiration” or “divine energy.” Through their spiritual practices they connect with their gods and ancestors who provide the artist with taksu which gives them the creative power to deeply affect their audiences. We might think of it as a kind of “spiritual X-factor.” This is the subject of my next film.

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Once filmmakers establish a connection as co-creators with the Divine Intelligence, the pathway to create a new world is clear. Filmmakers can obtain their taksu, through whatever practices work for them, and then return to share their discoveries about how to make the world work. They will find themselves aligned with the true nature of reality, which is that we are all connected: plants, animals, humans. Filmmakers and writers can stimulate this transformation by telling fresh stories that envision a world that works for everyone. Things are already headed in this direction, so you will have a tidal wave of energy behind you. Audiences will awaken from their slumber, realizing their own magnificence and power, their connectedness, their natural knowing, and the result can be a global transformation. In my own film work, I’ve explored ancient wisdom cultures with lineages that go back thousands of years and are still practiced today. I experienced the incredible humanity of the Balinese and their deep connection to the divine. In Tibet, even after the invasion by China and the destruction of 90% of their monasteries, I experienced a rejuvenation and spiritual vitality in their cultural commitment, whose goal is no less than enlightenment for everyone. In Amazonian Peru, I studied with a shaman and discovered his amazing work with “plant teachers” that bring healing and entry into other realms and dimensions (which quantum physics has begun to map). The answers and solutions to our current crisis already exists among us. So in Occupying Hollywood, let’s make a new kind of film, one that envisions a world that works for everyone, where humans, animals, and plants can rejoice in our mutual dependency and interconnectedness. Remember, we live in heaven here on earth — let’s not blow it.

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THE INSPIRING PROVIDENCE OF FILMMAKING
TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE
STANLEY D. WILLIAMS, Ph.D. author, The Moral Premise: Harnessing Virtue and Vice for Box Office Success available at www.amazon.com and www.mwp.com
Even in times of recession, year-after-year, decade-to-decade, the film business soars. Do you know why? The answers all have to do with the critical importance of storytelling to a culture, and why filmmaking fulfills that purpose better than anything else. Here are the top ten reasons why no job in the history of the world tops filmmaking.
1. Films Elevate. The best films inspire both filmmaker and audiences

Stanley D. Williams is an internationally award-winning filmmaker, writer, and instructor. During the past 30 years, he has produced, written, directed, shot, or edited over 400 projects.

to be better. There are two aspects of this inspiration. The first is anchored in what Aristotle wrote about what makes a successful story: A convincing impossibility is better than an unconvincing possibility. When storytellers come up with a good high-concept story hook, they’re conceiving an improbably juxtaposition of story plot and characters. They’re only allowed one per story — it’s the lie that tells the truth. But that “reaching” for the “impossible” and then revealing it in a reasonable and convincing way, is what inspires and kicks society forward. Arthur Clark, the physicists and science fiction author that inspired Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey conceived the “impossibility” of satellites decades before they changed the world. And remember this exchange from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland: “There is no use trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half of an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Such elevation of the soul connects with audiences, and spurs them on to greatness — to say nothing of the achievement of creating a film in the first place.
2. Films Educate. Experience is the best teacher. But how can every-

one experience everything they need to know in order to survive?

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Through stories that expose us, and simulate physically dangerous situations without every truly endangering us. Movies do this especially well through the darkened theater and fully occupying our primary senses. Filmmakers learn more than 20 different visual, emotional, and moral “identification” techniques that put the audience inside a character’s body, mind and spirit. This allows the audience to experience the physical and moral dilemmas that lead to psychological responses, physical actions and ultimate consequences. To the extent that the filmmaker portrays this cause and effect truthfully, the movie will resonate viscerally with audiences.
3. Filmmaking Expands. Filmmaking involves every physical and mental discipline known in

the history of humanity. What disciplines? Well, we may think of the principal moviemaking disciplines like writing, directing, art direction, acting, and that all important lawyering and financing. But the best filmmakers are also students of fine art, language, sociology, psychologically, history, theology, and science. And is there room in the film business for carpenters, painters, plumbers, tutors, and truck drives? Y get the point. If any of these ou other disciplines are important to society, then filmmaking is the sum of the important of all the others. Oh, I forgot bedtime storytellers.
4. Films allow us to explore the universe. Good stories and movies give us a sense of Provi-

dence’s infinite knowledge. The Perfect Storm taught us about the rigors of commercial fishing, The Green Mile enlightened us to the horror of death row, and Amadeus revealed the politics of culture in 18th century Vienna. While it is true that movies rarely get all the facts right, they still tell us more than we could know otherwise. Filmmakers are able to condense into two hours what one person could never absorb in a lifetime. Someone had to do a lot of research and the filmmaker had to employ his or her art to the n’th degree. In a movie we are treated to a glimpse of infinite knowledge presented as a unified whole in a manner we could never conceive on our own. In this way, movies give us a preview of our destiny to know as Providence knows
5. Films allow us to explore the heart. Good stories and movies reveal the truth hidden in

the hearts of our audience. Die Hard is about a vacationing New Y cop who battles a ork team of terrorist-thieves in an L.A. office building on Christmas Eve. But what the movie is really about is how true love of a man for his wife dies hard, regardless of the obstacles, trials, and terrors, and arrogance. In short, he learns humility. That’s a simple way to state Die Hard’s moral premise. Research indicates that the greater the validity, or truth, of the moral premise, the greater the movie’s popularity. That is because what is truly right and wrong is written on our hearts; and when our hearts resonate with the truth on the big screen, word-of-mouth promotion draws large audiences.
6. Films allow us to explore the mind. Good stories and movies allow us to know what is

in a person’s heart. In a novel the author often writes with an omniscient voice telling us what is motivating a character to do good or evil. In a movie, this is replaced with images of characters in private moments or voice-overs of their thoughts. (Remember, I said there were 20 some identification techniques.) In What Women Want, the audience, along with womanizer Nick Marhsall (Mel Gibson), hears the brutally honest thoughts on the hearts of the women in his life. Movies can, therefore, reveal the good and evil at the core of a person’s heart and we see them as nature does. stanley d. williams » 13

7. Films allow us to explore time. In Joan of Arc (Duguay, 1999) the filmmakers cut between

five different storylines hundreds of miles apart. Skillfully we are treated to the convergence of the mystical Joan, her peasant parents, the scheming king, a vengeful bishop, and landhungry dukes. We are like supernatural voyeurs watching displaced storylines being woven together into a tapestry of intrigue and destiny. We feel privileged — even superior — as we witness the desperate struggling, the naive decisions, and the malice aforethought. We see everything, everywhere, as it happens, just like God does.
8. Films allow us to explore eternity. In eternity God perceives time in multiple dimensions,

just as we see pieces on a game board. As we can see length, height and depth, so eternity perceives the past, present and future. Movies access the times and events of eternity with flashbacks and flash-forwards. In Amistad, during the courtroom scenes, flashbacks are used with staggering clarity to reveal the atrocities that were inflicted upon the slaves months earlier. To people in the courtroom the scene was described with words in the past tense. But to us, in the theater, the scenes were shockingly real and very much part of the present. Thus, movies give us a sense of eternity’s reality.
9. Storytelling allows the filmmaker to leave their mark on the world. Filmmakers must learn

to not know a little about everything, but must nearly master everything. It is the ultimate high. The best moviemakers learn to be storytellers, photographers, graphic artists, composers, psychologists, lawyers, coaches and jugglers — and merge those diverse disciplines into a work of art that will last beyond their lifetime. Teachers always learn more than their students. And so, filmmakers must become near-experts about the subjects they tell stories about, and must learn what it means to live a fulfilled and purposeful life.
10. Films Entertain. For all the reasons above, stories and movies, then, are entertainment

on a cosmic scale. We can sense what it is like to have all knowledge, our souls can resonate with moral truth, we can clearly understand a person’s heart, we can at once witness events in different places, and we can experience the past and the future as if it was now. Just as contemplative mystics seek dark corners in which to encounter Providence’s presence, so moviegoers seek dark theaters in which to encounter eternity’s attributes and sample their divine destiny. That is why movies are so popular and filmmaking is a labor of love.

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WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A FILMMAKER
TOP TEN REASONS
KATHIE FONG YONEDA author, The Script-Selling Game: A Hollywood Insider’s Look At Getting Your Script Sold and Produced — 2nd Edition available at www.amazon.com and www.mwp.com
Some civilizations predicted 2012 as the end of the world. Fortunately, it looks like 2012 is the beginning of some great opportunities — take a look at the following ten reasons why it’s better than ever to be a player in “The Script-Selling Game.”
Technological Advances

Technology has advanced in the past decade and with these strides, there’s a larger marketplace as the entertainment-hungry public watches films, plays games, and enjoys web content on screens as large as six feet across to as compact as their cell phones. And while most consumers use their electronics to “communicate,” entertainment “apps” for cell phones, computers, and tablets are a huge business, which guarantees that along with a perfect-sized gadget to keep you in touch, there is plenty of content to keep you entertained as well. So, if you have a creative and technical skill set, writing content applications or creating “mobisodes” is a creative option to consider.
Improved Software

Kathie Fong Yoneda has worked in film and television for more than 30 years. She has held executive positions at Disney, Touchstone, Disney TV Animation, Paramount Pictures Television, and Island Pictures, specializing in development and story analysis of both live-action and animation projects. Kathie is an internationally known seminar leader on screenwriting and development.

Another “plus” for writers is the advancement in screenwriting format software. The thought of hand setting margins and “tabbing” over for dialogue, parentheticals, etc. was a nightmare for would-be screenwriters. But today’s software is light years ahead of when it was first introduced! Now you have templates for feature films and television genres, the ability to easily move scenes around, an index card feature for keeping track of changes and now you can do spell check in a language other than English, making scriptwriting so much easier!
Improved Resources

One of the challenges of good storytelling is doing research. Writers can thank their lucky stars for Google, as well as more classes in scriptwriting/filmmaking in most mid-sized colleges. And if you

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are a writer holding down a job, quality online classes and webinars are available, including MWP Online Film School, Gotham Writers Workshop, and Writers University. With a quick “search,” writers can also locate consultants, articles, and columns by experts in almost any area — medicine, law, criminal procedure, etc. — to help you with your research.
Internet Content

Screenwriters may also want to look into Internet content. Blogging on various subjects with a unique point of view can serve as a launch pad for film writing careers — the most famous example being Julie & Julia. Web series are one of the fastest-growing ways to gain recognition as a screenwriter. Even best-selling author Stephen King wrote a web series and over a dozen web series have been turned into TV series which have led to web writers now working on staff or developing properties for both the Web and television. Ross Brown’s book Byte-Sized Television will give you the “skinny” in this expanding arena. And for those writers pursuing documentaries, low-budget indie flicks, or short films, you can use the Internet for fundraising with sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and Crowdrise.
Animation

Since animated films finally got their own Oscar category, animation has been a hot area for screenwriters. With improvements in computerized animation programs, the cost of this entertainment format is more affordable. Writing for animation requires a much more visual, stylistic approach to storytelling, but for those who have that vision, animation can definitely be much more than just Saturday morning cartoons! Take a look at Ellen Besen’s book, Animation Unleashed.
Oscar-Worthy Television

In the last few years, there has been an upturn in high-caliber projects on the smaller screen, obliterating the former “stigma” between film and TV Premiere filmmakers like Martin . Scorsese, Glenn Close, Oliver Stone, Gus Van Sant, Kate Winslet, Neil Jordan and Steven Speilberg are crossing over from the big screen to produce, direct and occasionally star in some projects that are not only Emmy-winning, but also Oscar-worthy! This could mean a larger submission pool!
Reality Shows

The fastest-growing segment of television is Reality Shows. And while some shows appeal to the baser aspects of human interest, ratings prove this is no “passing fancy.” Reality shows are a rare blend of live filming, judicious editing and creative writing. Y es, I said “writing.” While most shows don’t put scripted dialogue into the mouths of contestants (or “housewives”!), there are hosts who need to ask questions or voiceovers that need to be written to bridge the ongoing action and provide the necessary structure and continuity for the unfolding story. I recommend reading Troy DeVolld’s book Reality TV.

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Game Development

Another expanding arena for screenwriters/creators is game development. In addition to games for Wii, Nintendo and PlayStation, the arena of online and mobile gaming has shown tremendous expansion. With the rise in technology and the synergistic approach to developing projects across different formats (aka Trans-media), more games are becoming the foundation for animation or film projects and, in turn, many films are developing games in tandem using the same characters and same worlds.
Social Media

Before there was “social media,” there were not many writers groups. Through the likes of Facebook and Twitter, there’s an increase in writing groups. While writers in rural areas were restricted by distance, social media has broken down that barrier. Some writing groups are specific — only screenwriting or only romantic fiction, etc. But once you find (or start) a group that focuses on screenwriting, you’ll find that members are open to sharing work and giving constructive criticism and encouragement… and let’s face it, writing can be a lonely journey, but having others who help one another to move upward and forward makes it a trip worth taking!
Global Network

Not long ago, screenwriting meant writing more for a North American market. With the advancement of communication technology, the world has gotten smaller. And as a result, our entertainment audience has expanded. Having taught workshops worldwide, I am constantly amazed at how much people around the world have in common. With more direct contact (via email and Skype) we gain a closer understanding of the human condition and the universal bonds that hold us together. Until recently, there were very few online classes. Now there are thousands of them. Through my international seminars and my global reach through online classes, I now have a worldwide network. In turn, my writers also have a global community — they share their writing, help one another with research, give advice, and in most cases, have become valued friends and colleagues to one another. With our shrinking world, the writer now has an opportunity for a larger outlook as well as a more intimate perspective on projects for the global marketplace.

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WHY TRY TO BE A FILMMAKER?
TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE
HOWARD SUBER author, The Power of Film and Letters To Young Filmmakers available at www.amazon.com and www.mwp.com
Dear Howard, My parents wanted me to choose a profession — any profession — and they would have been happy. I had the grades and the educational background, but oh, no; I didn’t listen to my folks. Mr. Genius here decided to write and direct films instead. For about ten minutes, I considered law, medicine, and other competitive professions, before I opted for insanity. As it turns out, filmmaking is much more rigorous and competitive than law or medicine. If you pass the bar, you get to practice law, and continue doing so for the rest of your life. Ditto for med school; you’re set for life. We poor day laborers in the film field are never set, and the competition is cutthroat. Success is so rare in our field, I’m beginning to wonder why anyone tries. Dear Benjamin, One of my favorite quotes comes from Mahatma Gandhi: “I proceed with no expectation of success, and no fear of failure.” It’s an appropriate attitude for anyone who wants to change the world, discover something new, or create any kind of meaningful art. Y ou’re right; the odds are against success. It’s possible to go to Las Vegas, put a dollar in a slot machine, and win $5,000,000 dollars. It’s possible to buy a $1 lottery ticket the next time you get gas and win $40,000,000. It’s possible to write your first screenplay in three weeks and sell it to a studio for a million bucks and live on the profit participation payments for the rest of your life. The operative word here is “possible.” If any of these miracles occurs, you can be sure your good fortune will be instantly reported and the entire country will become aware of it.

available Feb. 2012

For 46 years, Howard Suber has taught generations of screenwriters, directors, producers, and film scholars at UCLA’s celebrated film school, and his former students are today creating films and television programs and teaching film studies throughout the world.

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WHY TRY TO BE A FILMMAKER?
TOP TEN REASONS | ARTICLE
HOWARD SUBER author, The Power of Film and Letters To Young Filmmakers available at www.amazon.com and www.mwp.com
Dear Howard, My parents wanted me to choose a profession — any profession — and they would have been happy. I had the grades and the educational background, but oh, no; I didn’t listen to my folks. Mr. Genius here decided to write and direct films instead. For about ten minutes, I considered law, medicine, and other competitive professions, before I opted for insanity. As it turns out, filmmaking is much more rigorous and competitive than law or medicine. If you pass the bar, you get to practice law, and continue doing so for the rest of your life. Ditto for med school; you’re set for life. We poor day laborers in the film field are never set, and the competition is cutthroat. Success is so rare in our field, I’m beginning to wonder why anyone tries. Dear Benjamin, One of my favorite quotes comes from Mahatma Gandhi: “I proceed with no expectation of success, and no fear of failure.” It’s an appropriate attitude for anyone who wants to change the world, discover something new, or create any kind of meaningful art. Y ou’re right; the odds are against success. It’s possible to go to Las Vegas, put a dollar in a slot machine, and win $5,000,000 dollars. It’s possible to buy a $1 lottery ticket the next time you get gas and win $40,000,000. It’s possible to write your first screenplay in three weeks and sell it to a studio for a million bucks and live on the profit participation payments for the rest of your life. The operative word here is “possible.” If any of these miracles occurs, you can be sure your good fortune will be instantly reported and the entire country will become aware of it.

available Feb. 2012

For 46 years, Howard Suber has taught generations of screenwriters, directors, producers, and film scholars at UCLA’s celebrated film school, and his former students are today creating films and television programs and teaching film studies throughout the world.

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What you will not find reported as news are stories about all the people who put their mortgage money on Vegas gambling tables and lost it all, or the people who spent every spare dollar they had on their state lottery and got maybe $40 back during twenty years of playing. Nor will you read about the countless number of people who waited on tables, held boring jobs, or did drudge work way below their capabilities while they wrote screenplays, directed short films, or took endless development meetings with agents, managers, producers, junior executives and maybe had a number of “sure things” that never actually made it onto the big screen. The odds are always against the artist. But it is the same with people who train to become professional athletes, start up their own business, engage in scientific research, or participate in any other high-risk activity. If you want something that pays great rewards, you can be sure that many other people want it as well, and the greater the competition, the more the odds are against any individual. Some people engaged in high-risk pursuits do manage to succeed. I’m not just talking about success in the eyes of the world. I am also talking about that equally important idea of success in your own eyes. What keeps many creative people going is not just the positive feedback they receive from others but the negative feedback from within their own heads that tells them what they’ve done isn’t enough, that they are capable of doing better, that they haven’t yet fulfilled their potential. Some people consider the pursuit of nearly impossible goals to be irresponsible. I consider it one of the most admirable traits of our species.

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WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO WRITE FOR TELEVISION
TOP TEN REASONS
PAMELA DOUGLAS author, Writing the TV Drama Series — 3rd Edition available at www.amazon.com and www.mwp.com
Opportunity is spelled TELEVISION because today’s TV series are:
1. T = Timely

TV is fast. If you’re on top of your writing craft and can deliver a script quickly, you’ll be able to deal with what’s happening in the world and on your mind right now. Current subjects — our hopes, fears, and pressing issues — reach your viewers with immediacy. Y ou’ll also have the satisfaction of seeing your work on screen mere weeks after writing “The End.”
2. E = Energized

Pamela Douglas is an award-winning screenwriter with numerous credits in television drama. She was honored with the Humanitas Prize and won nominations for Writers Guild Awards and Emmys. Twice her shows also won awards from American Women in Radio and Television.

Excitement and a sense of exploration infuses much of TV Long . gone are the days when TV was limited to 3 networks with their predictable and imitative shows. Of course they’re still around, as are some mind-numbing series and reality shows that are “cheap” in every sense of the word. But anyone entering TV today can find new outlets on cable and new media, and a hunger for fresh material. Despite the dross that also fills the airwaves, a sense of growth abounds.
3. L = Long

Never mind the half hour or hour length of episodes. TV series offer the largest story-telling arena in history. Successful shows may have 100 hours of characterization and plot development and some shows have gone on for more than a decade. Compared to TV ancient , Greek plays that lasted for several days are what we’d call mini-series.
4. E = Entertaining

The audience for television shows keeps growing despite doomsayers who thought new media would wipe it out. That’s because people want to be entertained in their homes by fare they can relate to. At the end of a hard day or in hard times, people want to kick back and watch effective stories told with casts they care about.
5. V = Vigorous

The amount of writing and production needed each television season is difficult to grasp if you include all the venues — basic cable, premium cable, Internet, mobile, web and other off-broadcast 28 « pamela douglas

shows, as well as local and international projects. And behind what is visible on screens are armies supporting each venture including multiple staff writers and writers who are creating pilots for new series. People who work in television have to work hard to keep up, and that’s a sign of the potency of the medium.
6. I = Internet-savvy

All current shows have applications online. These may include webisodes, mobisodes, interactive games, blogs, fan-sites, graphic novels, a social networking presence and anything else you can imagine. Beyond the advantage of staying in touch with viewers and promoting their series, the expanding online presence creates potential jobs: someone has to write all that. As the line between TV and computer screens continues to dissolve, and both TV and Internet delivery systems cross-pollinate, both will continue to grow.
7. S = Salable

The market for theatrical feature scripts has shrunk and many former financial sources have backed away from independent films. But excellent TV pilots that are professionally crafted are launching writing careers and occasionally being bought for new series. For those who approach filmmaking as a personal art form, or who have the funds to make their own movies, a career writing TV series may not seem appealing. For everyone else, TV is the place to work.
8. I = Innovative

Any genre that has ever existed in any time or place can be found among a thousand TV channels. Beyond the plethora of choices, creative re-interpretation is challenging prototypes on HBO, Showtime, AMC and elsewhere. Franchises like western, medical, legal and family dramas are new again in attitude, narrative style and characterization. Though the re-hashed action-hero tropes that are familiar in big movies do still appear in places like the Syfy channel and on some network shows, the general trend is towards extending and bending old franchises.
9. O = Omnipresent

In 2010, the debut of AMC’s series The Walking Dead was seen simultaneously in 120 countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, carried in 35 languages. Meanwhile, Americans viewed the show across all platforms including on-air, online, on demand, and mobile. That doesn’t even count subsequent DVDs or web streaming. And that’s just one show, and only on basic cable. Around the globe, the most-watched show is House. Law & Order is being made in many languages throughout Europe. Currently, China is re-making Little House on the Prairie into Little Yurt on the Prairie. No kidding. So if you as a writer really want to reach people, TV (with its Internet apps) is the way.
10. N = Now

For groundbreaking, insightful literature, the most innovative stories and characters, the largest reach, and the bravest content in shows like The Wire, this is the time to write for TV More opportunities exist than ever before because of the multiple outlets and the need . for product. First, polish your craft. Then if you have contemporary stories to tell, the time to go for it is now.

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