MY RELATABLE STORY…

Due to the successful optioning of “The Eleventh Plague” I was recently asked to fill out a questionnaire for InkTip Pro.  This is the service I used that helped put me in touch with the producer that ultimately took my script under his mighty wing.

I really like the InkTip service.  It beat sending out hundreds of cold query letters that are moved to the circular file before they are even opened.  I know this for a fact because I did the cold query route, and it sucks.  InkTip essentially emails you a newsletter every week detailing information about the a script or scripts certain producers are looking for.  These producers are also members of InkTip and are awaiting your query, though the InkTip site.  To me this is great because they will at least read the query, the rest is up to you.

It’s also great because, unlike some similar services, it does not charge per query or pitch,  it’s just a flat fee, I think 50 bucks for 4 months of leads.  Great stuff because I’m a writer damn it, not a doctor.

Anywho… InkTip likes to promote success stories, it looks great to potential and current members, and gives the producers and writers a much needed boost in the chest beating area.  One of the questions they asked me was if I had any story that other writers or members of InkTip could relate to when going through the option process.  Below is my answer to the question… If you are an artist, especially a writer, I hope you find some inspiration in my words and advice.

“The story I can relate is just one of perseverance.  If you have written a good script someone will eventually notice.  It is very hard in the industry to get someone to read your work, agents won’t touch you without a recommend and producers won’t touch you without an agent.  Inktip is great because, if you are as yet undiscovered talent, it is targeted and puts you in touch with producers who are willing to work with you.

One of the things that I think is very important is the synopsis of the script that you include with every query.  If the synopsis is not proper it not only seems unprofessional, but it may not do justice to your screenplay.   I advise every writer to spend time writing a very good synopsis that accurately and concisely portrays your script.  This can sometimes be harder then writing the script itself.  If needed, I suggest paying a reputable source to do the job for you.

As far as the contract process goes I think that many writers are in the dark, especially if this is their first time, as it was for me.  I feel it’s important to talk the contract through with someone who knows the legalese.  I personally used the option negotiation process to reach out to agents.  I was lucky enough to find one wonderful agent willing to spend the time on the phone with me to explain everything and make suggestions.  Although she had never read my script and didn’t know me, she was an enormous help with the entire process and, I of course, thanked her generosity by sending her a bottle of wine.

I also found it important to hire an entertainment lawyer.  He also helped very much with understanding the contract and helping me get what I wanted out of it.   Writing is an investment and it doesn’t stop when you close the keyboard.

In the end it is important that you feel comfortable with what you are going to sign.  I never worried that I wouldn’t be able to find another producer to option my script if this didn’t work out, I only worried that I was happy with what I was going to sign.  I made a deal with myself only to sign a contract that I would never look back on and wish that hadn’t signed it, or wished that I had asked for something else.  A producer that truly believes in your work and has the ability to get it made will be willing to negotiate.”

Category: The 11th Plague | Comments Off on MY RELATABLE STORY…

THE CONTRACT IS SIGNED!!!!

I’m pleased to announce that my script “The Eleventh Plague” has been optioned by Producer Danny Rodriguez at Transcendent Entertainment, based out of LA.  After weeks of negotiations we were finally able to work out a deal and everyone involved is super excited.

Return of the Living Red
The perfect toast!

To celebrate the occasion I cracked my traditional mini-bottle of champagne, but I also cracked a bottle of wine that I had bought and saved for this exact occasion.  When I was introduced to this wine by my sister and brother-in-law, and knew it was meant to be.  The wine?  “Return of the Living Red”!

Being that “The Eleventh Plague” is a zombie movie I thought how appropriate it would be to toast to the Zombie Movie Gods with this lovely wine.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I went in expecting a fun wine whose merits lay mainly in it’s relation to zombies but found a wine that was robust, complex, and smooth.

Trading cards!
Wine with trading cards!

I think that this wine is most appropriate to toast to “The Eleventh Plague” because I know that you will also be pleasantly surprised by the screeenplay.  You may be attracted by the lure of zombies, but you’ll stay for the deep and complex character work, the surprising twists and turns, and the unexpected plotline.

As a huge fan of the zombie genre it is been a dream of mine to see a zombie movie that I wrote up on the big screen.  When I started writing the script I thought that it was pipe dream, but now it seems it may become a reality.  In writing the script I strived to achieve something more then what is available to today’s zombie fans.  Something that was elevated from the general muck while still holding true to what everyone wants, deadly, scary zombies.  I think this is something I achieved with gusto, and the fact that it was just optioned so quickly speaks volumes about the script.

To wet your whistle a bit here are two pieces of concept art sent to me by Danny of the hotel lobby in the script.  What is so fun about this is seeing another persons take on what I have written, and imagining what it will look like when it is brought to life on the big screen.

Concept Art
Concept art for the hotel lobby location.

 

Concept Art 2
Second piece of concept art, a different angle.
Category: The 11th Plague | Comments Off on THE CONTRACT IS SIGNED!!!!

WRITERS WRITE

As you well know I have been silent for quite awhile.  As is the curse of many a human here on earth I have had to suffer through the tired and true colloquialism of “when it rains it pours”.  Recently I have been so busy that in order to keep my head straight I had to minimize anything that could distract me.

Finally I’m back on the wagon, or is it off the wagon?  I’m not sure which one, and as I am primarily lazy I refuse to look it up at this very moment (I’m also an innate procrastinator).  However there is one thing that I try not to be lazy with, or to procrastinate on, and that is my writing.  If you’ve never heard before “writers write”.  Pure and simple.

Lately I have put my pen (or rather my keystrokes) to a little si-fi/horror ditty that I call “Variable A”.  Oh, doesn’t the name just speak of the possibilities?!  Deadly off-world contagion caused by immoral super-conglomerate Space Wal-Mart?  A modern-day Jekyll and Hyde genetically engineers a deep sea parasite that slowly drills not into the brain, but the memories, of its unsuspecting victims and effectively deletes them from reality with it’s ability to alter the context of time as we know it?

I guess you’ll just have to wait and see, but I promise it’s a good one.  I’m excited about it and I really feel like the characters are starting to take on a life of their own.  This may seem like a cliché statement but it’s true.  When starting on this project, as with all my projects I only have a vague idea of where it will go and an even vaguer idea of the characters and their personalities.  Part of the fun of writing is to see how everything develops.

Keep checking in for updates on “Variable A”, and I promise not to keep you waiting long.  I’m already into the second act and it’s gonna be a good one.

Oh!  And, it goes without saying, hands off my ideas, anything I speculate on here as a possible plot for a movie, novel, or amusement park for dogs is mine, all mine.  (Insert Evil Laugh Here).

 😉

Category: On The Craft Of Writing, Variable A | Comments Off on WRITERS WRITE

At the Canadian Film Fest

I’ve been downtown this week, attending the CFF and promoting our film Webdultery everywhere I go.  It’s been an exhausting but exciting & fun filled time, and tonight it all comes together with the screening.

Please check out the latest Webdultery news:

ET Canada –  plugs Webdultery

102.1 The Edge – if you missed the live broadcast here’s the full interview on Fearless Fred’s blog

Also, look forward to my review of the CFF next week.

Category: On The Craft Of Writing | Comments Off on At the Canadian Film Fest

MY HUSBAND ON THE PRESS CIRCUIT

To promote Webdultey’s Toronto premier Charles has been hitting the radio and TV circuit.  Check out all these fun interviews!

Newstalk 1010 – Charles talks movies with Bern Eulerk & Richard Crouse.   If you didn’t catch the broadcast a podcast is available.  Their segment comes in at about 18:30.

Charles @ Innerspace
Charles @ Innerspace

Innerspace – See Charles be interviewed by @SPACEchannel to promote Webdultery as a part of a feature to promote the Canadian Film Fest.  Airs tomorrow on Space.  Don’t worry I’ll post a video as soon as it’s available!

102.1 THE EDGE – Charles goes on the air live to talk about Webdultery at 3pm this Wednesday.  Don’t forget to tune in!

I’LL KEEP YOU UPDATED WITH MORE TO COME!

 

Category: This n' That | Comments Off on MY HUSBAND ON THE PRESS CIRCUIT

NAKED GAMES

Generally I reserve my blog for writing related topics only, but today I will bend that somewhat flexible rule.

I would like to present to you the “Naked Games” video promo for Dirty Deeds.  Directed by my husband Charles Wahl, they are already getting massive attention, and were even the top feature in Shots magazine.

Charles Wahl - featured in Shots
Shots magazine

 

Amazing!  And this is only the first set.  For the next little while a new video will come out every Monday.  There is a censored version and uncensored version for each video, and both versions are great and have their own merits.  The catch is, enough people have to share the censored version to unlock the uncensored version.

Lucky for you I have access to both versions of the first video.  Enjoy!

Dirty Deeds – Uncensored

Dirty Deeds – Censored

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Grey

Boy was I looking forward to this movie.  Good reviews, great cast (I love Liam Neeson- who doesn’t?), and of course it’s a horror movie; right up my alley.  I should have known better when I saw someone compare it to “Jaws” on land.

The Grey
"The Grey" - Official Poster

In fact, I usually am very wary of any movie compared to “The Exorcist” or “Jaws” or any other great.  Undoubtedly these movies fall far, far short of these undying classics. But I was sucked in my Liam Neeson’s amazing record.

What bothered me most about this movie was not the fact that it was a drama in disguise, but the fact that even as a drama in disguise it didn’t work. Now, before we continue, if you haven’t seen “The Grey” and you plan to (I recommend you do not) then be warned: SPOILERS.

When writing a horror movie (or a drama disguised as a horror) I find there is one major thing that can separate a good movie from a bad movie, treating your monster correctly. For this example let’s briefly compare “Jaws” and “The Grey” (since some many other people found this necessary to do so).  To treat your monster/creature correctly DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES use the creature in your creature feature as something that pops up conveniently to move along an otherwise stale story.

“Jaws” did it right. The creature (in this case the Great White Shark) is an omnipresent being, and even if you can’t see the shark you are thinking about the shark.  You can truly feel it’s presence in every scene and even more important you can feel that the characters feel it is there.  The shark is oppressive in it’s unrelenting grip on the story. Now, I could literally teach an entire lecture, no, an entire curriculum  on how “Jaws” achieved this, but I don’t have the time on my soap box today.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it and learn, if you have, you already know.

On the other side of the scope while watching “The Grey” I did not feel the omnipresence of the creature (in this case a pack of deadly Alaskan Grey Wolves, lead by an Alpha wolf). I don’t need to tell you that the prospect of facing down a hungry pack of wolves while stranded in Alaska is a pant wetting notion, so how the heck did the writers of this film mess it up? They lost sight of what the plot was about: the wolves! In any good movie you must have a through plot, but in this plot the creatures nearly drowned (yes, terrible pun intended). Instead the story focuses on the characters backgrounds and how horrible it is that they will die then their need for survival.

Trust me, I’m a huge advocate of character development… but not if character development is your plot. With no real outside pressure character development gets boring, and takes you out of the movie. It’s gratuitous, and just as distracting as gratuitous violence, cursing, nudity, or gross out gags… but I digress.

The movie started out great, got right into the action with a great set-up, and when the first wolves appeared I was on the edge of my seat, I thought I was really in for a treat… then things began to go amuck. Aside from a few convenient attacks I never felt the wolves, I only felt their absence.  Why? Because we are never shown that the creatures stalk and kill.

In “Jaws” the shark does not just convientiely appear to knock off characters and then disappear into the ocean for a nap until the plot calls for it again. No way! The shark is vengeful and hungry. It rocks the boat, literally, and even if not attacking we know it is thinking of attacking…. plotting its best time… laying in wait… This was of course in part due to the fantastic direction of Steven Spielberg, but was also present in the writing.

What “The Grey” lacked was this presence of the creature.   For over half of the movie the characters walked around Alaska willy-nilly and only at random, plot-dervived times, did the wolves appear and attack. It left me wondering where they were while the characters slept, battled a blizzard, and had heartfelt conversations. Sure a wolf would pop up to kill someone, but I really felt like they must all be sleeping or playing somewhere and then decide: “Hey guys, I just remembered there is a bunch of guys in our territory, let’s go kill one for fun.” In fact, I felt the omnipresence of the cold, bitter, Alaskan climate as more of through plot then the wolves.

My next point of contention, and I’ll keep this short, is why in the world the writers thought it would be more scary to make the wolves’ motivation territory, and not food. To me a mindlessly vengeful K-9 upset you’re in his territory and with a pack of equally mindless followers to do his bidding is way less scary then a smart, coordinated, and hungry pack of wolves. Hungry animals will brave almost anything, fire, bullets, loss of life and limb, just to eat. They will hunt relentlessly and gorge because they do not know when their neck meal ticket will come in. This, to me at least, is way more scary that a turf war with wolves that inexplicably don’t eat their kills to, what, make a point? Ug.

I have so many other issues with this movie, both writing related (i.e.- what the hell was with the flashes of the presumably dying woman? Totally, totally unnecessary! Did not add a thing to the screenplay!) And the Direction of the film (Come on guys, if it’s snowing like crazy in the wide shot don’t stop the snow for a clear shot of the shocked faces of the characters on the fracking close-up.  Geeze!) But not dealing with the wolves properly is my first and foremost problem.

Not dealing with your creatures properly in a creature feature is what separates “Aligator X” and “Sharktopus” from “Jaws” and “The Exorcist”. Unfortunately for this movie it was a great idea that went awry. The only good thing about it was the performances, they were awesomely solid at every angle.

I want my money back.

Category: On The Craft Of Writing | Comments Off on The Grey