Monday, May 28, 2012

And They Will Know What We Can Do!

Battle speeches. They have fascinated me for years. Breaking down all my favorites and exploring what each battle speech accomplishes for film would fill a book. I love them so.

Much greatness missing from this mash-up because, really, who can get them all? One absent speech that speaks the universal language of the underdog is Meatballs. "It just doesn't matter! It just doesn't matter!" Regardless, this clip makes you FEEL what battle speeches are about. For me, the primary point of the battle speech is to make sure the viewer is in on the plight, is climbing that mountain with you, and is invested in the outcome. Sure, it reveals character and advances the story into high gear but it also puts your viewer in the front seat and makes them want their own hands on that steering wheel.

This is your time!

Seize the day!

Never surrender!

Victory or death!

That's the Chicago way!

Who's with me!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Are The Odds?

The Nicholl has tallied the entries and we now know that a whopping 467 more entries were submitted this year than last.  Now, my math is not very good but is that not a 6.93 percent increase? That's huge.

Let's do more math.

There are 7197 entries. What are the odds of advancing to the quarterfinals? Assuming the exact number of screenplays advance to the quarterfinals as last year (351) , that would give you a 4.8 percent chance of advancing out of the 7197 screenplays entered.

But wait. That 4.8 percent is not really accurate -- it can't be -- because with regard to odds, the playing field is not level. Great storytelling has better odds of floating to the top than good or average storytelling. Duh. Good writing has less of a chance than great writing and screenplays that are poorly crafted all around won't float at all. Unfortunately, neither will a lot of other screenplays. Last year 4554 screenplays sank to the bottom.

So what are the odds, really?

Well, regardless what I do with the numbers, my entry is still ONE out of 7197.

My, Nicholl, how you've grown!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Screenwriting Bucket List

The floodgates are closed. The Nicholl application deadline is now a thing of the past and I am curious how many entries there are. Since I"m sure it is a ridiculously high number in the 7000-ish range, I have long since given up any hope of winning the thing. I would, however, like to advance before I die. It's at the top of my screenwriting bucket list, a list that is rather short and contains goals that are unlikely in my real world. But in my sometimes delusional and often contrived reality, I would like to ---
  • Advance in the Nicholl at least once.
  • Attend a big Hollywood premier and sit in the audience.
  • Watch an epic beast of a film get shot.
  • Hear one of my favorite screenwriters say about my work, "what a great story".
If I reach those goals, I have a secondary list.
  • See my own film get made.
If I reach THAT goal, I do have yet another list.
  • Witness a great actor begging on his hands and knees to portray my character.
  • Author a screenplay that gets caught up in a bidding war.
  • Receive a phone call from Hans Zimmer or James Horner saying he just finished my score.
Once I'm dead, there is still one more list.
  • Be remembered by my children as somebody who left a positive footprint on this earth. 
You know what? I think my last goal may actually be the only one that really matters. After all, we only have one life, one earth, and two feet. But yeah, I'm one of those 7000-ish. I don't really believe in luck but best of luck anyway to all my fellow screenwriting buddies who entered!