Assorted ends & odds

Woman Food Shopping
Nothing like a little variety – and at such reasonable prices

A lot of developments on several fronts around Maximum Z HQ this week. Don’t want to go into much detail, but among the highlights:

-outlined a horror-comedy short, and have now moved on to writing it. Seriously considering making it, so watch this space for further developments.

-working on the short, plus some inspiring and motivating comments from a few colleagues, makes me weigh the option of revising the horror-comedy spec I wrote last year. This would be done with the intent to lower the potential budget – smaller number of characters and locations. Defnitely doable.

-I’ve always been a fan of the The Flash TV show, and came up with a story idea I think would be fun to see. So, I’ve decided to attempt to write a spec episode about it. Since I’ve never written for TV before, this will be quite the learning experience.

-forgive the self-promotion, but my western took the top spot in its category for Creative Screenwriting’s Unique Voices contest. I’m quite thrilled, and even if it doesn’t take the grand prize, it’s still something I’m very proud of having accomplished.

-Here a few external items of note:

-There are lots of screenwriting retreats, but how about one at a 5-star game lodge in South Africa? Networking. Mentoring from industry professionals. A safari. All the details at scriptoafrica.com.

-Chris Gore of Film Threat has launched a crowdfunding campaign for his documentary project ATTACK OF THE DOC. If you were a fan of G4TV and/or Attack of the Show, this sounds right up your alley. Donate if you can!

-last, but not least. Yours truly is one-third of a trio of hosts of the new Creative Writing Life podcast, which offers up our thoughts on all sorts of writing and writing-related topics. Co-hosts include author/friend-of-the-blog Justin Sloan and author P.T. Hylton. As of this writing, it’s on Spotify, and we’re working on getting it onto iTunes. No matter what platform you use, feel free to give it a listen!

Hope you have a great weekend. Go write something.

Bulletin board back in action!

times square
It’s not your name in lights, but pretty darned close

Reinvigorated from their summer vacation, the hard-working staff at Maximum Z HQ has assembled the latest batch of projects from savvy creatives well worth your time and attention.

-Writer/director/producer Aaron Mendelsohn is offering a special 20% discount for his new ebook The 11 Fundamental Questions: A Guide to a Better Screenplay. Aaron is the co-creator and co-writer of the AIR BUD franchise (12 films and counting), has served as Secretary-Treasurer for the Writers Guild of America, and is currently a Professor of Screenwriting at Loyola Marymount University.

-Writing coach and author EJ Runyon runs the online writing service Bridge to Story. She’s launched the Little by Little crowdfunding project to help her build a vehicle that with your help will bring her services to those without internet access “anywhere in the lower 48”. You don’t “donate” to her Kickstarter; you book a coaching or story editing session and your funds go to the build!

-Screenwriter Phillip Hardy has launched his own script consulting company The Script Gymnasium. Phillip’s scripts have placed or won at over 30 film festivals and script contests, including Austin and Screencraft, and he also serves as a judge in the New York City Midnight Screenwriting Challenge. Seeking help to get your script in shape? He’s your guy.

-Writer-director Josh Mitchell runs Wicked Pissa Publicity, but has also worked on a lot of short films and is now running a crowdfunding campaign for his feature-length family film project HARRY HEAD, an original story about loyalty, family, unity and differences. Donate if you can!

-Screenwriters Chris and Jay Thornton have been busy the past couple of years with some script sales and developing a TV show with The Weinstein Company, but they’re now working on their debut feature CACTUS JACK, “an ultra-contained, thematically supercharged and extremely relevant gonzo micro-budget film.” A crowdfunding project is up, and you can view the NSFW proof-of-concept trailer here. Donate if you can! And as an added bonus, an interview with the Thorntons will post in the very near future.

Have a project of your own for which you’d like a little help getting the word out? Our email inbox is always open.

That’s MY job?

While the re-organizing of the first act of LUCY continues (including a title change to one that is sheer awesomeness), I got a call yesterday from the director of the short I wrote back in the summer.

I really thought he was going to tell me it was all wrapped up and when the party was.

Nope.

He’s shot three scenes so far, but keeps running into scheduling problems with his actors. One of them can’t be there for shooting the final scene, so he wanted to know if I had any ideas about how to fix it.

I thought it over for a few seconds. The final scene is set in a small hotel lobby and the character makes a 2-second appearance (but has a bigger part earlier in the story).

Put the guy’s headshot in a picture frame and make him Employee of the Month.

Then the director asks whether he should show it in a close-up or start on it and pan over to the hotel desk. Just have it as part of the shot; don’t draw attention to it, I say. He’s not sure.

Okay, then slap the headshot on some posterboard and make it a lobby card for the headliner in the hotel’s lounge. He asks what if I make it greenscreen and fill it in later? That’s making it way more complicated than it has to be, I say. Posterboard, a black Sharpie, maybe some gold stars and a headshot. Five bucks, tops. He’ll think about that one, too.

But we’re not done yet.

A pivotal scene is supposed to take place in a pool hall, but the hall he wants to film in is undergoing renovations. How could he get around this?

I’d like to add that the pool aspect was his idea because he had a clever way of showing trick shots through cgi. So much for that, apparently.

Again, a matter of seconds.

Make it a poker game. Cards, chips, a table, minimal lighting. Easy peasy. Again, he’ll think about it.

Even more amazing is that he wanted to be done before the end of the year so he could submit it to festivals. I hope he makes it.

The last time I saw him in person (mid-August, I think), he told me he was planning to move to LA in January to break into the industry.

I worry he may not be completely prepared. Nevertheless, I still wish him the best of luck.