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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 14, 1998
Re "Giving Credit Where It's Due," May 11: There's another element to the "Wag the Dog" type of screenwriting credit controversy: When the original story is based on a book or other source material, why protect the credit of a previous hired screenwriter whose material was deemed unusable? I recently was hired by HBO to write a completely new adaptation of a book. Another screenwriter had previously been removed from the project. After changing the film from a drama to a comedy and writing an entirely different screenplay, I received notice from the Writers Guild that there would be shared credits on the film.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 14, 2014 | By Richard Verrier
Following a predictable script, female film writers continue to lag behind their male counterparts when it comes to earnings and employment, according to a new survey . In the film sector, women writers fell further behind their white male counterparts in 2012, accounting for just 15% of sector employment, down from 17% in 2009. Overall, women remained underrepresented by a factor of more than 3 to 1 among screenwriters, concludes the 2014 Hollywood Writers Report from the Writers Guild of America, West.
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NEWS
December 15, 2011
Will Reiser on his creative process, his work space and how difficult it can be to fictionalize a true account. Where he writes: Anywhere, but his favorite place is his first-floor home office in Echo Park, which has a giant desk and a lot of Post-It notes full of advice. One note reads: "SPECIFICITY," while another says, "Go deeper, more emotional turns. " Instrument of success: Apple PowerBook, but he also sends notes on his BlackBerry and via email. "I used to hand write, but I've stopped — I'd find I'd lose things when I would hand write.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 29, 2014 | By David Colker
Lorenzo Semple Jr. was one of the hottest screenwriters in Hollywood in the 1970s and '80s, working on star-studded films such as "Papillon," with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman; "Three Days of the Condor," headlined by Robert Redford; and "Never Say Never Again," Sean Connery's last movie as James Bond. But, rare in the trade, Semple didn't much mind if he was not the sole writer on a film. "Almost all the good scripts I've been involved in, I've been fired off of for one reason or another," he said in a 2011 video interview conducted by the Writers Guild Foundation.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 9, 2012 | By Nicole Sperling
Salman Rushdie has led a very full life: successful novelist at age 33, threatened novelist at 41, cultural icon today. Now, thanks to the persistence of director Deepa Mehta, the 65-year-old writer can add screenwriter to his list of credits. For Rushdie has done what many thought impossible, adapting his sprawling, Booker-prize-winning novel “Midnight's Children” that he wrote 31 years ago into a manageable screenplay. It's an effort that's been tried twice before with little success: first by the producers behind Richard Attenborough's 1982 film “Gandhi” and more recently as a five-part miniseries from the BBC. Rushdie is grateful that neither of those adaptations came to fruition.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 27, 2008 | From Staff and Wire Reports
Leopoldo Serran, 66, the Brazilian screenwriter behind 1970s art-house hits including "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" and "Bye Bye Brazil," died Aug. 20 of liver cancer at Ipanema Hospital in Rio de Janeiro. Serran was the son of a naval admiral and grew up in the Ipanema section of Rio. He got his start by adapting Joao Felicio dos Santos' novel "Ganga Zumba," along with screenwriter Rubem Rocha Filho and director Carlos Diegues. The 1963 film, which marked Diegues' directorial debut, is considered a classic of Brazil's Cinema Novo movement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 28, 2012 | Elaine Woo
In 1950s Hollywood, screenwriter Joan Scott seemed so adept at turning out tough-guy scripts that she became known as "the girl who writes like a man. " What the studios didn't know was she wasn't the writer. Her husband was. She was married to Adrian Scott, a screenwriter who was blacklisted after refusing to cooperate with the communist-hunting House Un-American Activities Committee. Cited for contempt of Congress, he went to prison as one of the Hollywood 10. When he was released he was unemployable, so Scott became his "front," taking his work to story conferences, keeping track of the revisions and giving him the notes at home so he could do the rewriting.
NEWS
April 3, 2013 | By Elaine Woo
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, a novelist and screenwriter whose long collaboration with Merchant Ivory Productions yielded two Academy Awards for her work on the films “A Room With a View” and “Howards End,” has died. She was 85. Jhabvala died early Wednesday at her home in Manhattan after a long illness, said her daughter Firoza. A prolific author, Jhabvala (pronounced JOB-vah-lah ) wrote 19 novels and short-story collections that reflected the cultures she absorbed on three continents during her half-century career.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 28, 2010 | By Susan King
"Ed Wood" and "The People vs. Larry Flynt" co-writer Larry Karaszewski will present an evening with Oscar-winning screenwriter-director Frank Pierson tonight at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre. The program begins with the 1975 film classic "Dog Day Afternoon," directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino, for which Pierson won the screenplay Oscar. Pierson will discuss it after the screening. Rounding out the programming is a free showing of the 1992 HBO biopic "Citizen Cohn," which Pierson directed.
NEWS
June 20, 1991 | BOB SIPCHEN
Remember the one about the particularly naive ingenue who wanted to get to the top? She slept with the screenwriter. RIM SHOT. And here's Entertainment Weekly's recent definition of a screenwriter: "In Los Angeles, anything with opposable thumbs." RIM SHOT. "There is only one thing I can recall being treated with anything like the amusement and contempt and condescension reserved for screenwriters," screenwriter Robert Towne writes in the July Esquire.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2014 | By David Colker
Screenwriter Eric Bercovici knew he was not the first choice to adapt "Shogun," the blockbuster 1975 novel by James Clavell about an English seaman marooned in 17th century Japan. Bercovici, who worked on the Paramount lot, read the novel anyway. "I knew right away how to adapt it," he said in a 1981 Los Angeles Times interview. "But damned if I would tell them. " Other writers fell by the wayside, and he was called to meet with Clavell, who had creative control over a proposed TV miniseries based on the book.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 18, 2014 | By David G. Savage and Maura Dolan
WASHINGTON - The California-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is known for progressive rulings that champion individual rights over government and corporations, but when it comes to show business, the "Hollywood Circuit" - as it has been dubbed - stands accused of routinely siding with the home-turf entertainment industry. Judges famously sided with film studios in the early 1980s when the studios sued Sony for infringing their copyrights by selling the Betamax video recorders.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 16, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
The 10 films nominated for this year's Academy Awards for original screenplay and adapted screenplay tell diverse and distinctive stories: those of a couple squabbling on a Greek vacation, an Irish mother searching for the child she was forced to give up, a Texas electrician turned AIDS activist, and a con artist compelled to work with the FBI on a corruption sting, to name a few. But a common thread emerged among many of the screenwriters in...
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2013 | By Kelly Marcel
Every writer who sits down and begins a screenplay thinks they know why they're doing it. Knowing why is essential to the process. But sometimes - maybe all of the time - we're fooling ourselves. We don't truly understand why we've written something until long after we're done. From the moment Alison Owen, our British producer, came to me with a preexisting script of P.L. Travers' story (by Sue Smith) and shared her ideas for how it could become the movie that's in theaters as we speak, I was enthralled.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2013 | By Melisa Wallack & Craig Borten
Craig Borten My emotional attachment to "Dallas Buyers Club" starts with the loss of my father, Buddy. In 1981, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and given six months to live. I observed firsthand the coldness and disconnect of the doctors as well as the limited protocols available. I remember my father's frustration with the medical system. Instead of accepting his sentence, he asked questions, became proactive and looked into alternative treatments in Mexico. Ultimately, my father lived for five more years.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp
As we've exhaustively reported , the motion picture academy is on the older side. The average age of eligible Oscar voters is now 63. And as much as we'd like to picture these people as open-minded and artistically adventurous, reality just keeps slapping us in the face. To put it another way: We want to picture academy members as being like this guy when, in some cases, they're more like him . Now, with age comes certain privileges , but there is also an expectation that you've learned some manners along the way, which makes the dust-up at Saturday night's academy screening of Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" all the more ridiculous.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 24, 2012 | By Nicole Sperling, Los Angeles Times
A writer for as long as he could remember, Frank Pierson penned his most famous line, "What we've got here is failure to communicate," decades ago for the 1967 script "Cool Hand Luke. " At the time, he thought there was no way such a refined line would be allowed to be uttered by the redneck crew captain who has just taught Paul Newman's Luke a brutal lesson. To ensure the line stayed in, Pierson wrote an entire biography for the captain, one he never needed to use because no one ever questioned the quote that has since become one of the most iconic in movie history.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 27, 2013 | By Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times
Fay Kanin, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for the 1958 Clark Gable-Doris Day comedy "Teacher's Pet" and former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, died Wednesday. She was 95. In a writing career that spanned more than four decades, Kanin penned screenplays for movies such as the 1954 Elizabeth Taylor romantic drama "Rhapsody" and television specials such as "Tell Me Where It Hurts," for which she won two Emmy Awards in 1974. She won another Emmy in 1979 for producing "Friendly Fire," a critically acclaimed Carol Burnett TV movie based on the true story of an American soldier killed in the Vietnam War. Kanin served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1979 to 1983, and was its second female president after actress Bette Davis.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 2013 | By Peter Morgan
I should declare I have never been a fan of motor racing. I don't watch Formula One, the intricacies of engine refinement and lap times leave me cold, I don't even drive fast. So how come "Rush" ended up being an unusually personal screenplay to me? The answer is that the two racers at the heart of the story, James Hunt and Niki Lauda, represent in some way two halves of me. I was born the son of immigrant Germans and was brought up in the UK, teased as "a Kraut. " Jump forward 20 years, and I married an Austrian and live in Vienna, where now I am known as "a Brit.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 5, 2013 | By John Ridley / ‘12 Years a Slave'
A nearly universal desire among writers is to make themselves conspicuous in their work. It's completely understandable. When a script that you've spent months - if not years - writing has your name on the title page, who wouldn't want the material inside to crackle with style; full of snappy rejoinders that audiences gleefully repeat as they exit the theater. Moments that scream: "I wrote that. " Having worked the whole of my professional life toward achieving such, it's kind of ironic that in adapting Solomon Northup's "Twelve Years a Slave" I would end up taking the exact opposite approach.
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