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Now displaying: Page 34
May 25, 2016

We're off and running! Episode 3 - Chapters 4 and 5 - and these two were chapters were taken nearly verbatim from the last draft of the screenplay I wrote for this story. The way Thane and Shea meet and their eventual relationship dilemma was too fun to let go of, so I quite literally copied and pasted the script's scenes into a Word document for the first draft of my book's manuscript. Note: FIRST DRAFT (ha)

For those of you who know the screenplay world, it's obvious that I added quite a bit of prose to the two chapters - there is no way I could get away with that much prose in a screenplay. But while I was putting together this book based on the screenplay version, my very first draft of the book was almost entirely a copy and paste. I copied the screenplay and pasted it into Word. After some basic formatting, I then jumped in and started breaking up the individual script scenes into chapters in the Word document...

May 24, 2016

Whether you're a writer or not, you need a champion - someone who is pulling for you. Someone who wants to see you succeed just as much as you want to. Whether this is your mom, a husband or wife, or in this interview guest's sake, the VP of Talent Development and Outreach with Nickelodeon! The process of writing, and really overall the entertainment industry in general, is a solitary and at times, terribly frightening experience...but if you don't go it alone, and you have a mentor or someone backing you, supporting you emotionally and most importantly, believing in you, you're on your way and things will simply feel a little easier.


When I asked Karen Kirkland to my guest on the Curious About Screenwriting podcast, I honestly believe she was even more excited to be on that I was to have her as my guest! And listen, I was thrilled to schedule her interview. I was thrilled not only because I knew Karen would be a great interview, but because she is a natural champion of writers and creative people

May 24, 2016

"Money Monster" posts too many losses in its indictment of Wall Street.

"Money Monster" would like to be a shrewd dissertation about contemporary America, similar to 1970's classics like "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Network" were in their time. Unfortunately, the script here is too predictable and its characters two-dimensional. Jodie Foster directs a game George Clooney and Julia Roberts in the story of a financial cable show host who's taken hostage on air by an irate investor (Jack O'Connell) who lost his shirt. That's a timely premise, what with all the issues concerning Wall Street these days, but it squanders the opportunity with rudimentary flaws.

The story plays out in real time, but its ticking clock is abandoned with half an hour left. Most of the supporting characters are woefully underwritten. And even its villain is nothing more than a greedy CEO. How cliché. "The Big Short" indicted the whole broken economic system, but this popcorn thriller doesn't come close to that film's sting. It's not a bad investment for two hours at the Cineplex, but it should have been something much more worthy.

May 16, 2016

Welcome back to The WishKeeper serial podcast, and thanks for coming back! I guess that means I did something right in the first episode. Let’s keep going with Shea’s story – it’s barely just begun. We last saw Shea dealing with not only remembering a difficult past, but managing her boring and monotonous day-to-day life. The argument with her dad at the end of chapter two is just a very brief glimpse into their relationship, and really just the tip of the proverbial iceberg where they’re concerned. Their relationship is a bit of a powder keg because neither of them have dealt with the loss of Shea’s mom very well. Shea just wants to forget, and Beren needs to hold on. And even though we all deal with loss differently, Shea and Beren have allowed their processes to push each other away.

Stay tuned after this episode is over. We’re moving on to Chapter 3, and yes, this episode will contain only one chapter, but that’s because Chapter 3 is kind of an epic one, and a very interesting one for me to write. I’ll give more insight into my process of writing this chapter. It’s rarely easy getting exposition across in a quick and succinct way, and since I have built a rather huge universe in this book, there is a lot to cover. Little by little, I reveal bits about the world, so listen in. Pay attention. And hopefully you become as enamored with my wishing world as I have. So let’s dive in and get back to Shea and see what kind of trouble she’s about to get into. Enjoy and thanks again.

www.wishkeeperbook.com

www.facebook.com/thewishkeeper

Instagram: TheWishKeeper or InstaMax9

Twitter: iMaxTimm

May 14, 2016

I've been told that I'm too dramatic at times. I complain. I curse. I overreact. I vent. My friends and family know this about me and, thankfully, the know what I know - I really don't care about 90% of the crap I complain about, nor am I really all that invested in the stuff about which I so often vent. I mean, I'm a Cubs fan, guys. As a baseball fan, I was raised on managing constant instances of what this episode is all about. It's what so many consultants and screenwriting experts call - the Low Point. Growing up as a Cubs fan, every day was a low point. For those of you overseas who don't care about American baseball or know anything about it, imagine a sports team that has been around for a hundred years and hasn't won a championship. There ya have it. The Chicago Cubs. But I digress... and I need to digress, otherwise this entire episode will be about my unfortunate love for the Cubs. This season for the Cubs, however, has been very different, but I'll get to that.

Like I said, I'm dramatic and I love to complain. It's who I am and, well, I kind of like that part of me. It helps get the junk out so I can be a happy person again. Because, I actually am a happy person. Nonetheless, just because we like to complain now and then, doesn't mean that we're experiencing a low point in our lives. It certainly doesn't mean we're experiencing a quote un-quote, "dark night of the soul" and hence the name of this episode. The reason I bring this up right off the bat is because we, as writers, need to understand how low we really need to go in order to present sequence 9 of a screenplay.

May 13, 2016

In Part 1 of this podcast, we discussed the structural elements that allow Everybody Wants Some to overcome the challenges of its meandering plot and nearly total subversion of every rule of screenwriting.

But there are other reasons, beyond structure, that Everybody Wants Some succeeds, in spite of its complete disregard for the rules. And whether you're a traditional Hollywood writer, or a rule defying auteur like Richard Linklater, there are concepts you can use to great effect in your own writing."

May 12, 2016

"Captain America: Civil War" tells a lot of story with a lot of character.

Marvel Studios is on a roll with the continuing juggernaut of its "X-Men" franchise and recent megahits like "Ant-Man" and "Deadpool." This new adventure film is the third in the "Captain America" series but it more closely resembles "The Avengers" as it brings together a large collection of famous superheroes for a truly epic battle. But despite such big ambitions, the film never loses sight of its characters.

With over a dozen costumed crusaders to account for, the script never loses sense of who they are and why they're in the fight. Their humanity informs every plot point, line of dialogue and punch thrown. Filmed and performed with wit and warmth, this is everything that "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" was not. This movie is truly a marvel balancing serious themes, rollicking adventure, clever repartee, and state-of-the-art CGI in one of the better superhero movies to ever take flight.

May 9, 2016

"The Huntsman: Winter's War" is at war within its own storytelling.

In 2012, "Snow White and the Huntsman" was a critical and financial success, but this sequel entitled "The Huntsman: Winter's War" fails to build on most of its predecessor's strengths. For starters, Snow White isn't really in this one. Then there's the fact that this story is both a prequel and sequel, so its focus is muddled. Finally, it seems more interested in the character arc of its warring queen sisters (Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt) than that of its leading man (Chris Hemsworth).

This fantasy tentpole is impeccably produced and has gorgeous sets, costumes, and special effects. But if there are problems on the page, it will suffer on the stage, and that's undeniably true here. The Brothers Grimm deserve a more cogent adaptation of their work, and so does the Cineplex audience.

May 9, 2016

"Midnight Special" is a truly special sci-fi thriller.

Genre films don't have to be filled with obvious clichés and hoary old tropes. Jeff Nichols' screenplay and direction find all sorts of different ways to confound genre expectations and keep the audience off guard in his his sci-fi thriller "Midnight Special." It's the story of Alton, a young boy with special God-like gifts that a religious cult and the FBI both want to get their hands on. 

His concerned father Roy, played by Nichols favorite Michael Shannon, runs off with Alton and their road trip together is tender, as well as terrifying. Complex characters and surprising story twists belie any expectations of another "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "E.T" or "Starman." Nichols' sci-fi is less interested in special effects and more interested in the effect God, family and society have on normal people dealing with an extraordinary child. This is a thriller that you'll be thinking about, and talking over, long after this special film has ended.

May 9, 2016

Episode 1 of The WishKeeper Serial Audiobook

This episode brings to you an extended introduction by the author, giving a background and history on how the book came about, where Max found his inspiration, and discusses the long process of adapting the book from a screenplay.

The WishKeeper, a young adult paranormal fantasy novel, officially hits bookstores on June 10, but pre-orders begin May 15! If you're a fan of Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, or The Hunger Games, you might enjoy this action-packed fairy adventure.

Prologue, Chapter 1 - Goggles, Goggled, and Chapter 2 - Forget Me Knots

Written by Maximilian Timm

Read and performed by Molly Kasch, and Maximilian Timm

Edited and produced by Misha Crosby 

You can find Max and The WishKeeper on virtually every social media outlet, so stay tuned to the book's official release by going to:

Instagram: instamax 9 and TheWishKeeper

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thewishkeeper

Twitter: iMaxTimm

Website: www.wishkeeperbook.com 

May 5, 2016

Over the past 15 years that I've worked in the screenwriting world, I've interviewed and have been interviewed by countless consultants, writers, students, teachers, industry pro's, and during the last few months of hosting my Curious About Screenwriting podcast, I've been asking professional working screenwriters the same question. What is voice? I ask them virtually the same exact question, verbatim, and I always get a different answer. Sometimes the answers are remarkably different, and almost always do I get some new form of insight.

This episode of The Craft is another Sidenote episode and we'll get back to the sequence building next episode (specifically sequence 9, next time), but I hope you listen to the entirety of this episode. It's essential, really, and not because I'm the one recording it, but because it's essential to at least grasp the meaning of voice, and what it means to you.

May 1, 2016

With "Everybody Wants Some!!" you'll get a movie that zigs while others zag.

Writer/director Richard Linklater likes to tell his stories with less plot and a looser structure than most everything else in Hollywood. His latest film "Everybody Wants Some!!" is no exception. Shaped in a similarly casual episodic fashion like his acclaimed films "Boyhood" and the "Before Sunrise" trilogy, this new film concentrates on the first three days that jock Jake (Blake Jenner) spends at college, getting to know his baseball teammates and get a lay for the land. He'd like to get laid too, but this nuanced film has much more on its mind that its title would suggest. It's really a coming-of-age ensemble piece about maturation, doled out in small increments and not big character arcs. The movie's leisurely pace and introspective sensibilities may not be for everyone, but for screenwriters and movie fans tired of paint-by-numbers superhero flicks, this is a welcome antidote.

Apr 30, 2016

The ISA's mantra, and what our focus has been on for the past few years is, "Tell Your Stories Brilliantly". There is an emphasis on "your" because we're all different. We all come from different backgrounds, different upbringings, different motivations and intentions. This all breaks down to voice, and we all have one, but like our own personal individuality, no creative voice is the same as another's. In my interview with the Co-Executive Producer of the upcoming Netflix series (that's sure to be amazing), "13 Reasons Why", Liz Benjamin, was also the Co-EP on Blood & Oil, and countless other TV shows over the past decade. Liz and I dive pretty deep into what voice is and how it can be discoverable...and yet, like the definition of voice, we still couldn't quite put our finger on the exact meaning. It's up to interpretation because it's something deeply personal that only you can discover for yourself.

Apr 30, 2016

I'm pretty sure we have all had days where we've said out loud to ourselves, "I just can't win." Whether we mean it or if we're just venting, the daily struggle of things simply not going as planned is just part of life. What's that quote I've heard a hundred times? When you make plans, God laughs, or something? I'm sure I'm destroying that quote in some way, but it's true. If you were to break it down into a microcosm of one day, you wake up in the morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, eat some breakfast, grab some yummy coffee, and then dive into your daily prep - I'm gonna do this, this will get done after my 1:00 meeting, and then my work out at 4, and some happy hour drinks with friends. Boom. The day is lookin' good.

About an hour later, the meeting has been changed to 10am, you roll your ankle on your way back from Starbucks, and your friends bail on you for happy hour. And even after all of that, you figure, fine. I'll catch up on what's sitting on my DVR and have some TV time...only to find that your satellite dish is out and your internet isn't working. This all happens in one way or another at least a couple times a week, but again, it's just part of life. We make plans, but they don't always work out they way we hoped.

That's a very light version of what Sequence 8 is all about. But Sequence 8 is a very interesting sequence, and unlike any of the other sequences for one primary reason. It can technically exist within any sequence prior to its own existence. I'm getting kind of meta there. Let me explain through some form of a weird or uncomfortable story example like in my previous podcasts. I love making this stuff up as I go along, so here we go.

Apr 30, 2016

Structure is the first of a million skills a screenwriter must master, but thousands fail. And if structure fails, everything else won’t matter. If structure triumphs, everything else falls into place. Three Act Structure is good, as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. Learn the Mini-Movie Method to break your story into easy, manageable “bite-size” chunks, like the chapters in a novel, each with its own TENSION, SUSPENSE, each its own vital part of the story.

In this recording of a live teleconference, the Million Dollar Screenwriter, Chris Soth, offers up an 8-sequence approach to delivering 8 individual mini-movies that will help you understand the importance of tension and conflict throughout the story as opposed to only coming up with a bird's eye conflict or level of tension. It's extremely helpful to say the least. You're smart for downloading this podcast! And I think you'll come away from it a better writer and storyteller. That's the whole point of the Curious About Screenwriting network of podcasts. We're here to create better writers, and to help you tell your stories brilliantly. So listen in, take notes, and get your butt stationed in front of your writing desk, and get to work. 

Apr 27, 2016

If you go to see Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, you're going to have a very mixed experience. There are elements of this movie that are truly beautiful, and then there are elements that are just so incredibly dissatisfying. So WTF is wrong with WTF? Why did a movie with such a stellar cast and compelling concept fall so flat both critically and at the box office? And what can you learn from Whisky Tango Foxtrot about your own writing.

Every movie makes a promise to its audience. if you deliver on that promise, you can get away with almost anything. But if you make that promise and you fail to deliver, the audience is going to eat you alive. And that's very much what happened with Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Apr 27, 2016

Richard Linklater has called this film a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused. He has also referred to it as a sequel to Boyhood, his brilliantly structured (although very unusually structured) film, which basically ends right before this film begins: at the end of boyhood and the beginning of college. Everybody Wants Some picks up the baton where Boyhood left off, and centers around a freshman baseball player who is just starting college in the days leading up to the first day of classes. And though the main character may be different from the character in Boyhood, and though the structure may be different than the structure of Boyhood, confined to a few days, rather than evolving over many years, Linklater is once again building a sprawling, multi-character journey around young kid in a different kind of family, at defining point of discovering his identity and what gives meaning in his life.

But the question remains: does Everybody Wants Some actually work?

Apr 27, 2016

We're in a golden age of TV right now, and every network is getting in on the fun. And it really is fun. The amount of excellent content on the small screen today is rather epic, especially when considering how far the TV industry has come in the past decade or two. My guest today, Stephen Scaia, had an interesting comment about the TV industry and how it is intersecting with the film industry. He said thatTV writers are wanting to get into writing for the movies, and film writers are wanting to write in TV. Even though that may sound as if the industry is at odds, it's actually a really good sign. It means that the two worlds may be merging in some way, and it will be very interesting to see what happens over the next couple years. Will the TV market become over saturated, and will it allow for more mid-level, indie dramas to be produced for the big screen? In my opinion, no matter what happens, the winners and beneficiaries of all of this are the viewers and the audience. We're blessed to have so much amazing content available at our fingertips, and I'm eager to see what else can come of it in the coming years.

My guest, Stephen Scaia, is the Co-Executive Producer on the CBS show, Limitless. I had previously met Stephen while moderating a panel at the NoHo Cinefest film festival in March. He was a panelist and since that panel was relatively short, I wanted to get him on the Curious About Screenwriting podcast to expand on some of the answers he gave at the live panel, and he doesn't disappoint. We talk about hisearly career path, some of the crappy jobs he took when he first moved to LA, and how he worked his way up through the Hollywood ranks not only by writing for television, but in the film world and even the comic book world.

Apr 25, 2016

Episode #120

Screenwriter Max Landis talks about his new film, Mr. Right.

Apr 22, 2016

While I've used examples of made-up stories and attempted to show you what can happen during a particular sequence based on what has happened in produced movies, I'm going to share a slightly personal insight that roughly summarizes our current topic - sequence 7. No, I won't be using this podcast episode as a therapy session. Even though it can't hurt to talk through things from time to time, I'm lucky and grateful that I'm relatively stable emotionally. Relatively.

I'm going to share this little bit with you because I'm pretty sure you can relate, and because it really is a solid way to exemplify the main character's emotional and mental state after the mid-point complication. Very generally - it's fear. But it's a kind of fear that often times is completely unconscious. In other words, we don't know we're exhibiting this fear - it just sneaks up on us because it has been somehow programmed within us to unconsciously think this way. The kind of fear I'm talking about can be, in a small way, related to the fear of success.

Apr 20, 2016

Episode #119

John, the screenwriter of Trainspotting and The Beach, talks about his latest project, The Program.

Apr 19, 2016

As a writer, you always want to put your best foot forward when submitting your work for consideration. Most of the time, the only thing that a producer, director, or reader will know about you is what you've written on the page. This is why it's so important to ensure your script is in the strongest place possible before sending it in and possibly wasting money on film festivals and contests, or getting frustrated without understanding why you haven't heard anything back.

This live recording of another ISA teleconference will help to demystify what makes a strong screenplay. As a currently working professional script reader based in Los Angeles, Joanna Ke has read and assessed countless feature scripts. She evaluates what's presently out on the market and sees first hand what's going into production. Joanna noticed that there are common notes she offers on why a screenplay is not ready for production or consideration. Get those notes BEFORE you submit!

Joanna passes on to you the Top 5 reasons that cause a screenplay to be weaker, knocking it out of consideration and even affecting the writer's reputation. It can be frustrating not knowing why your screenplay didn't go as far as you'd like or hearing crickets when you've put in a lot of hard work. Educating yourself on what readers actually look for can help you be a step ahead in the game before anyone even sees your script.

Hearing it straight from a reader like Joanna is a rare opportunity to gain insight into what might seem like a mysterious process. Even if you've never written before, shedding light on the screenwriting process from the perspective of a reader will help to understand a different aspect of the writing process that's not often discussed.

Apr 19, 2016

Episode #118

Anna talks about raising the money for her latest film, A Country Called Home, via Kickstarter.

Apr 19, 2016

Episode #117

Steve talks about his new book, Beating Hollywood, and offers a ton of practical screenwriter advice.

Apr 19, 2016

Episode #116

Shant talks about his award winning short film, Night of the Slasher.

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