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Screenwriting

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.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 9, 2012 | By Irene Lacher
Attica Locke's latest thriller , " The Cutting Season," explores a murder mystery and the tangled history of a Louisiana plantation-turned-event venue, managed by a descendant of its slave population. The book, which hits bookstores Sept. 18, follows her debut novel, "Black Water Rising," set in Locke's native Houston, which was a Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist. She lives in Los Angeles with her public defender husband and daughter. Is there a story behind your first name?
BUSINESS
August 7, 2012 | By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times
Screenwriter-director Dan Harris has listed his gated home in the Hollywood Hills West area at $2.395 million. The French Normandy-style home, built in 1938, features three bedrooms, 31/2 bathrooms, a wood-paneled library, an updated kitchen with marble counters, coffered ceilings and 3,085 square feet of living space. There is a swimming pool and a spa. Public records show he bought the property in 2005 for $2.075 million. Prior owners of the house include Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and pop-star Kylie Minogue.
BUSINESS
August 6, 2012 | By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times
Screenwriter Kevin Williamson has sold his house in the Hollywood Hills to Indiana Pacer Danny Granger for $3.715 million. The chic contemporary, built in 1990, features walls of glass, city views and 15-foot-tall ceilings, which may have appealed to the 6-foot-8 small forward. Designed for entertaining, the house has three expansive terraces, a pool area bar and a swimming pool. There is a gym with a sauna, a home theater, four bedrooms, 51/2 bathrooms and 5,140 square feet of living space.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 24, 2012 | By Richard Verrier
Free rewrites, competitive pitch sessions and late payments are becoming a fact of life for many screenwriters, according to a recent survey of screenwriters by the Writers Guild of America. The confidential survey, which was sent to members who had worked on feature films or pitched movie ideas in 2011, found that screenwriters are increasingly unhappy with how they are being treated by producers and studios. "The guild has become increasingly concerned based on anecdotal evidence from our members about deteriorating conditions in screen employment and the rise of certain practices that harm both screenwriters and the overall quality of films produced," WGA, West leaders wrote in a recent letter to members.  Among the findings: Most writers working for major studios did rewrites without being paid because they felt it necessary in order to keep their job or get hired in the future; a majority of screenwriters received only one or two guaranteed payments for drafts in their deals; and nearly a quarter believed they weren't paid on time.
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 2, 2012 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski
Screenwriting jobs and wages in Hollywood declined for a second straight year, reflecting the broader pullback in production by the major film studios, according to the Writers Guild of America West. The WGA, which represents about 12,000 writers, reported that employment fell 8% for screenwriters in 2011, compared with a year earlier. Total earnings were down 12.6% from the prior year. Over the last two years, 15% fewer writers worked in film, earning about 20% less in the aggregate.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 26, 2012 | By John Horn and Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times
Nora Ephron, who cast an acerbic eye on relationships, metropolitan living and aging in essays, books, plays and hit movies including "Sleepless in Seattle," "When Harry Met Sally... " and "Julie & Julia," died Tuesday in New York. She was 71. Ephron died at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she was being treated for acute myeloid leukemia and pneumonia, said her close friend and Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. A rare author and screenwriter whose works appealed to highbrow readers and mainstream moviegoers, Ephron wrote fiction that was distinguished by characters who seemed simultaneously normal and extraordinary.
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