CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 18, 2013 |
In the 1970s, Syd Field's job in Hollywood was reading scripts all day and picking out the gems that might make it to the screen. In one two-year period he figured he read 2,000 screenplays - and turned down 1,960 of them. The rejects were an "amorphous goo" of confusing plot lines and poorly developed characters that often caused him to close his office door at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and go to sleep. But eventually he figured out what distinguished the winners from the losers. The answer was crystallized in "Screenplay, The Foundations of Screenwriting," Field's 1979 bestseller that today remains the bible of scriptwriters.
November 14, 2013 |
Pulpy dross of surpassing dumbness, "Charlie Countryman" takes the blender approach to mixing dark adventure, doofus comedy and pie-eyed romance, but forgets to put the lid on when pulsed. Scruffy emo-puppy Shia LaBeouf plays the title role, a young Chicagoan who hightails it to Bucharest after the death of his mother (Melissa Leo) and gets mixed up with Evan Rachel Wood's smoky-eyed, tough-girl cellist Gabi and her psychotic criminal husband Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen). The film starts with the thuddingly whimsical, showing us that Charlie can talk to the dead.
October 18, 2013 |
Los Angeles film and TV writer Galen Tong is the feature film grand prize winner of the inaugural Beijing International Screenwriting Competition. Tong, a graduate of USC's School of Cinema-Television, was among nearly 1,000 U.S.-based writers who competed for the award, which includes $15,000 in prize money and the opportunity to have their script produced into a movie. Tong and four other feature film finalists were honored in May. Called "The Monkey King," Tong's script is a martial-arts adventure movie set in Beijing at the turn of the century.
September 26, 2013 |
Peter Morgan wouldn't be the first screenwriter you'd think of to tell the story of the 1976 Formula One rivalry between the uptight clinician Niki Lauda and the seat-of-his pants swashbuckler James Hunt. Known for upscale real-life stories about presidents and royals ("Frost/Nixon," "The Queen"), the screenwriter would be far down the list among people putting pen to paper on two hyper-competitive auto jocks. But Morgan - who wrote the script for this weekend's wide Ron Howard release “Rush” starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl - found himself stirred by the idea when it first struck him on a Spanish beach.
September 25, 2013 |
Screenwriters who once viewed television as inferior to the big screen increasingly are giving the small screen more props. That's one of the key takeaways from a survey by the Writers Guild of America, East, which polled about 20% of its 4,000 members who write for film, television and new media. Although more than half of the respondents said they wrote feature films in the last five years, nearly 90% said they intend to seek guild-covered work in television in the next year. "In other words, screenwriters plan to explore opportunities in TV," the guild said in a statement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 25, 2013
Paul Dietzel Coached LSU football team Paul Dietzel, 89, who led Louisiana State University to an undefeated season in 1958 and its first college football national championship, died Tuesday after a brief illness, the university announced. He was a resident of Baton Rouge, La. Dietzel coached LSU from 1955 until 1961. In his first three seasons, the Tigers were 3-5-2, 3-7 and 5-5. But among the players he recruited as freshmen in 1956 were Billy Cannon, who became a Heisman Trophy-winning running back.
September 12, 2013 |
Bestselling author J.K. Rowling is to get her first screenwriting credit working on a new series of films based on the world of the Harry Potter books. Warner Bros. announced the partnership Thursday. The first film, “ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ,” will be based on a textbook of that name from the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the adventures of Newt Scamander, the texbook's author. In a statement, Rowling said she decided join the project, and so return to the wizard-world, because of her affection for the character Scamander. “Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years,” Rowling said, “'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 11, 2013 |
Don Nelson, a screenwriter, film producer and musician who co-wrote scripts for "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" - the classic American television series centered on his brother Ozzie's family - as well as for more than two dozen other films and TV series, has died. He was 86. Nelson, who had Parkinson's disease, died of an aortic aneurysm Tuesday at his home in Studio City, said his wife, Marilyn. As a staff writer for "Ozzie and Harriet," one of the longest-running family comedies in TV history, Nelson came up with Ricky Nelson's trademark catchphrase "I don't mess around, boy," and contributed to more than 200 episodes of the series with storylines anchored famously on the harmless.
September 5, 2013 |
When Shane Salerno turned 40 last year, he decided it was finally time to let his obsession go. The screenwriter, best known for his collaborations with Michael Bay ("Armageddon") and Oliver Stone ("Savages"), had toiled for close to a decade trying to document the mysterious life of J.D. Salinger. The author of the bestselling "The Catcher in the Rye" had stopped publishing in 1965 and retreated from the public spotlight, leaving fans to wonder why - and to guess about what he had been doing in the 45 years until his death in 2010.
August 17, 2013 |
Anyone traveling around Los Angeles recently has likely noticed the menacing imagery of men in paramilitary garb with their faces covered by spooky animal masks. They appeared for a time as ghostly figures overlaid on posters for other movies, though they have recently been seen more clearly in ads all their own for the new horror-thriller "You're Next. " Referred to in the credits as Lamb Mask, Tiger Mask and Fox Mask, the characters are the main villains of much of the film. They invade the reunion of a wealthy family at a remote country estate seemingly at random, charging through the windows with crossbows and machetes.