Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) has deposited twenty seven cents into my bank account. Yeah, I know, but it’s a start.
I am a screenwriter, but I chose to publish a few of my screenplays as e-books. I am still learning the mechanics of converting screenplay files into book files. The format appears a little wonky depending upon which electronic device you read with. I am sure I will figure it out eventually.
In the meantime, here is a link to my latest effort.
Last week I handed in the first draft of my screenplay to Gold Valley Films. It’s a musical animation feature with pirates, mermaids, ogres and a cast of talking creatures. It will be released in Chinese theaters in the spring of 2015. That’s all I can tell you at this point. Stay tuned for more…
My friend Brian and I were both limping on the same leg. What I mean is, HE was limping on HIS right leg and I was limping on MINE. Or maybe it was his left. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.
Brian claims his limp is from an old football injury that occasionally flares. I think he slipped in some buffalo wing sauce during Super Bowl halftime. No, wait. Brian is British. Make that World Cup and malt vinegar. I finally went to a doctor and found out what my problem was. Osteoarthritis. But I am getting ahead of my story.
We hobbled around for about a week and things did not seem to be getting any better. It finally got serious when neither one of us could make it up the stairs of our favorite Chinese Pub (is that an oxymoron?). The pub is in the basement, so we were trying to go home. There might be another reason we couldn’t make it up the stairs. But I digress.
Finally, Brian suggested we get a Chinese Fire Treatment. His ex-girlfriend is part owner of a tea shop on the other side of Guangzhou. Apparently, they do fire treatments in the back room. I know what you’re thinking, but let’s not go there. Actually, that’s what I said to Brian. And I quote, “let’s not go there.”
So the next afternoon Brian picked me up in his Buick. Yes, he drives a car in China. Buicks are very popular here because they are American. But I digress again. Re-digress?
Now, let’s examine the situation, shall we? What my friend and I were heading out to do was get ourselves lit on fire in the back room of his EX-girlfriend’s tea shop. Sound like fun? You betcha.
We arrived at the tea shop without incident. We had the obligatory Gong Fu Tea out front. Then it was time for the fire treatment. Since there were two of us, Brian went in first. Fine with me. Then it was my turn. When I went into the back room, Brian was alive and resting on a narrow massage table with his knee wrapped tightly. He gave me the thumbs up.
Now, all evidence to the contrary, I am not a complete idiot. I did have the foresight to wear shorts instead of long pants. That way, I could keep my pants on and preserve my dignity as I ran flaming out of the building. I must re-digress again. If you are reading this—which I assume you are—and you are British, then I was wearing short trousers, since you people mistakenly think that shorts means underwear.
Anyway, treatment began with some magic Chinese formula—Ben Gay, which is Chinese for “Are you out of your mind?” Actually, it wasn’t Ben Gay, but whatever it was, she slathered it all over my knee. Next, she wrapped my knee in several small towels and let me rest a bit while the magic Chinese formula soaked in.
Now, here is the part where you need to remember the famous quote from George Washington as he stood in the boat crossing the frozen Delaware river at two in the morning. “Kids, don’t try this at home!” Rubbing alcohol. I think that’s what it was. I don’t read Chinese labels so well. She soaked the towels with it and then took one of those long lighters, you know, the kind you use to start your backyard grill. She took one of those and lit the towels on fire.
I didn’t feel anything at first. But then, my knee began to warm up. About the time I was ready to panic, she deftly threw more towels over my flaming knee and the fire went out. After a while, she repeated the entire process. Then she wrapped my knee, towels and all, in plastic wrap. I’m guessing this part of the traditional treatment was added after plastic wrap was invented.
And that was it. Brian and I drank more tea and rested while the heat soaked in. Kind of like using an electric heating pad. Wait a minute… what a great idea!
Got an idea for a blockbuster movie rattling around in your head? Ever told yourself you’d sit down, write that screenplay and send it off to Hollywood? Although it’s not as simple as it sounds, it’s for sure they don’t give out any Oscars for “good intentions!” Here are some tips to help you get started writing your first screenplay.
Unless you’re writing for a very avant-garde audience, all stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. Since movies generally last about two hours, you should think in terms of your beginning (introduction) lasting about 30 minutes, your middle (development) lasting about 60 minutes, and your end (conclusion) lasting about 30 minutes.
As a rule of thumb, one written page of script is equal to about one minute of action on the screen. Your finished screenplay should be more than 90 pages and less than 120 pages in length.
Screenplays must follow an industry standard format. Fortunately, formatting software is available. Some of it is even free. The beauty of this software is, when you edit or rewrite, it will automatically re-format for you. Check out the Internet for more information on screenplay software.
One method for getting started is with note cards. As you visualize each scene, jot down as much information as you need to remember it. You can arrange and re-arrange the order of scenes in this way.
The moment you create something you have an automatic copyright which is called the statutory copyright. You shouldn’t worry too much about someone stealing your ideas. However, once you have completed your first draft you should register your screenplay at the very least. Check out the Internet for more information on screenplay copyright and registration.
It’s called a movie for a reason. Fill your screenplay with action words and only as much explanation as needed to paint a scene in the director’s mind. Less is more.
Listen to the way people talk. Often, a conversation does not follow a straight path. Try to mimic this in your dialogue while still getting the story told. Again, less is more.
Tips and warnings:
You can read examples of famous and not-so-famous scripts on the Internet for free. Check out free movie scripts.
Once your masterpiece is completed you may want to let family and friends read it. Unless you’re related to a famous Hollywood executive, take what they say with a dose of salt. And if you do know a famous Hollywood exec, why are you reading this?
EXT. KUWAIT CITY SCRAP YARD -NIGHT
Not long after the first Gulf War two shadowy figures sneak
along a chain link fence.
DIMITRI holds up the bottom of the fence so MICHAEL can
slither under. Next it is DIMITRI’s turn, but his butt is
too big. MICHAEL slides out and they try it in reverse
I think it’s this way…
MICHAEL and DIMITRI approach an old yellow school bus half
hidden with canvas. They force open the door and climb
MICHAEL and DIMITRI flip on their flashlights and look
around. All but the driver seat is removed and there are a
few empty crates in the corner. Keys dangle from the dash
and a padlocked panel is cut into the floor.
Well… what have we here?
Dogs begin barking in the warehouse office. MICHAEL and
DIMITRI freeze. Foreign shouting is heard over the dogs. A
door opens and the dogs get louder and closer!
Do you suppose they’re friendly?
I’m not waiting to find out!
If you would like to read more, send me a message and I will send you a copy in PDF format. Ron