Writing

10 story types


I have previously blogged (meh) about SAVE THE CAT. A great screen writing hand book written by Blake Snyder. The man has unfortunately passed, however, his work is still practical and insightful. Once you begin to unpack a script you might find that they way in which you unpack it is unlike the way your pitch audience has. And if you realize this too late you have already lost the pitch.

Roby Stancel emailed me this today. Although I like the simplicity I think it overlooks a little too much, in film at least.
For your convenience I googled the 10 story types for you so that you can simply copy/paste/print and put it up on your wall. I got this list from TV TROPES

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Dreamers Draft 3. And now?!

Writing is hard. Like you dont know that already. While I just got some amazing feedback on our third draft of Dreamers I dread having to write the next draft, I would almost rather jog. Not quite.

PLUS read 5 pages of our script!

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Amazon Studio


Although not “hot off the press” it is still pretty cool and worth noting! Amazon Studios will not “make” you but they may buy you a house in Camps Bay and that is good enough for me!

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Save the Cat

The last book on screenwriting you will ever need.” And thats whats on the cover!

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The return of Zombie


Its all been Vampires lately, Zombies are soon back and they mean more to us than we give them credit for.

I’ve been researching Zombie flicks over the last little while and have now had the pleasure of watching Zach Sniders “Dawn of the dead” (which is a superbly crafted narrative) and Norwegian recent called “Dead Snow” - a gory romp of Nazi Zombies in snow, its amazing!

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Kubrick old becomes new…maybe?

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How much would you pay to see a new film by Stanley Kubrick…? Well, the legendary film maker has left behind tons of research on various projects (including AI - remember?) and now the skeletons are coming back to haunt us.

Kubrick’s brother-in-law Jan Harlan appears to have been acting as the executor of Kubrick’s cultural legacy. He was one of the producers responsible for Spielberg’s AI – and it was Spielberg’s AI, not at all Kubrick’s – and now it looks like Harlan seems keen on resurrecting The Aryan Papers too.

Warner Bros still owns the rights to the film, which is based on the 1991 novel Wartime Lies by Louis Begley, and Harlan said the studio should employ a leading director such as Ang Lee, who made the Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain, to bring Kubrick’s vision to the screen. He said he would happily become involved in the project again.

Kubrick, who died of a heart attack in 1999 days after completing his final film, Eyes Wide Shut, wrote the screenplay for Aryan Papers, which tells how the woman and her nephew had to pretend to be Catholics to escape the Nazis. “I regret it never got made but it was a decision made by Kubrick and Warner Bros, probably very wisely at the time,” said Harlan, the brother of Kubrick’s wife Christiane.

There you have it - Kubrick lives on…even if it just in his screenplay.

New Story Platforms

We know by know that story telling has come a long way from sitting by a fire and hearing an old lady tell of the man that came form the river…..Stories themselves have not become more sophosticated but the delivery methods have. Dee Cook looks at three different stories being told in three different ways.

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Alabaster
The Queen has told you to return with her heart in a box. Snow White has made you promise to make other arrangements. Now that you’re alone in the forest, it’s hard to know which of the two women to trust. The Queen is certainly a witch — but her stepdaughter may be something even more horrible…

Alabaster is a form of interactive fiction that sets about to retell the tale of Snow White from a somewhat different perspective. The story is told through text, and you are given a prompt to enter responses. The story then reacts to what you have just told or asked it. Additionally, Alabaster includes illustrations that change in accordance with the mood of the story. This collaboration between 11 different authors is a sophisticated tapestry of dialog and plot. In all, 18 separate endings are available, depending on the choices the player makes.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to explore the world of interactive fiction, or IF, you’re missing a treat. If Alabaster whets your appetite, give the classic Zork series a shot next. Theatre of the mind at its finest.

Nawlz
Another sort of storytelling entirely, Nawlz is an online graphic novel. Nearly every panel features some sort of animation and sound, and some have interactive hotspots that readers can play with. The cyberpunk setting “follows Harley Chambers as he kicks thru the futuristic City of Nawlz engaging in overlaying virtual realities, mind-bending drugs and other strange techno-cultures.”

What’s interesting about Nawlz is that the panels are not static. Items and elements appear and rearrange themselves within the panels as the reader navigates through the story. This gives a totally new dynamic to the experience and is exciting even for graphic novel neophytes to navigate through.

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Survive the Outbreak
When the zombies attack, are you dead meat or will you be leading your people to safety? Chris Lund’s Survive the Outbreak let people put their best armchair zombie quarterbacking skills to the test, providing a choose-your-own-adventure style interactive movie that allowed viewers to make the decisions what to do next. Unfortunately, the high quality version seems to be a victim of its own success (or perhaps it’s a vast undead plot), but a reasonable facsimile of the movie/game can be found on YouTube complete with the decision tree. According to the designers, there are eight possible endings - but only two where the protagonist lives. As Homer Simpson would say, “I like those odds!”

So take note, storytellers - every day there is someone out there finding another new and innovative way of captivating an audience. What’s been most interesting has been to see the shift from author-driven story to author/audience collaboration. Giving your audience a stake in the story is a sure-fire way of building a very strong relationship with them. Finding interesting ways of doing that is the challenge - and the fun part.

Dee Cook was elated to discover the world of interactive storytelling because, at that moment, she finally discovered what she wanted to do when she grew up. A fish out of water with lofty ideals and meta-theorizing, Dee finds herself most at home with her sleeves rolled up and the grease of a good story under her fingernails. In the last several years she has written, designed, and consulted on over a dozen alternate reality games, extended realities, and marketing campaigns, most recently World Without Oil, True Blood, Dead Space, and My Home 2.0. You can find her online at Addlepated.net.

Fans Friends and Followers

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This new book looks at what is going on in the digital age and independent media. I am going to show you the content of this book and get you excited about it that way…because it is RAD.

Table of Contents

Understanding the New Rules: Building an Audience and a Career in the Digital Age

Table: Defining the Terms

Introduction to the Interviews

Film & Video

Michael Buckley: Creator of “What the Buck”

Mike Chapman: Animator and Writer, “Homestar Runner”

Ze Frank: Multimedia Artist and Creator of “theshow”

Curt Ellis: Documentary Producer and Writer, King Korn

Michael “Burnie” Burns: Creator of “Red vs. Blue”

Sandi DuBowski: Documentary Filmmaker, Trembling Before G-d

Gregg and Evan Spiridellis: Co-Founders, JibJab Media

Timo Vuorensola: Science Fiction Director, Star Wreck

Steve Garfield: Videoblogger

Robert Greenwald: Documentary Filmmaker, Iraq for Sale

M dot Strange: Animator, We Are the Strange

Music

Jonathan Coulton: Singer-Songwriter

Damian Kulash: Singer and Guitarist, OK Go

DJ Spooky: Composer, Writer and Multimedia Artist

Jill Sobule: Singer-Songwriter

Richard Cheese: Singer

Chance: Singer-Songwriter

Brian Ibbott: Host of the Podcast “Coverville”

Visual Arts

Natasha Wescoat: Painter, Designer and Illustrator

Tracy White: Comics Artist, “Traced”

Matt W. Moore: Artist and Graphic Designer

Dave Kellett: Comics Artist, “Sheldon”

Dylan Meconis: Graphic Novelist, “Family Man”

Writing

Sarah Mlynowski: Novelist, “Magic in Manhattan” series and Me vs. Me

Brunonia Barry: Novelist, The Lace Reader

Lisa Genova: Novelist, Still Alice

Kris Holloway: Non-Fiction Author, Monique and the Mango Rains

Comedy & Magic

Eugene Mirman: Comedian and Writer

Dan and Dave Buck: Pioneers of Extreme Card Manipulation

Mark Day: Comedian and YouTube Executive

Resources

Exploring the New Business Models

Power Tools for Audience-Building, Collaboration and Commerce

Supplemental Reading

Acknowledgments

About the Author

*You can buy the book here*

Short review from www.chutry.wordherders.net

Scott Kirsner’s Fans, Friends, and Followers: Building an Audience and a Creative Career in the Digital Age uses interviews with a number of prominent artists who have been able to forge careers and gain widespread popularity primarily through promotional and distribution tools available online. For those of us doing research on digital cinema, Kirsner’s book is a valuable resource, one that illustrates the ways in which content creators are navigating, and sometimes profiting from, what Chris Anderson has described as the “long tail” of digital distribution and what others have described as do-it-yourself (DIY) distribution. While my own research, in Reinventing Cinema (Amazon) , focuses exclusively on filmmakers, Kirsner assembles a number of key figures from what he calls the “era of digital creativity,” including musicians, comics artists, visual artists, and novelists, in order to establish or explore how a set of practices have emerged that allow artists to escape the “gatekeepers” of traditional distribution and market themselves. While Kirsner’s book is generally optimistic about the potentials of DIY, a number of significant themes surfaced throughout the interviews.

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Story is Dead.

Scott Brown from WIRED mag wrote a fantastically entertaining piece on why ‘Hollywood Story’ is DEAD. It revolves around a new story format he calls the ‘Brown Ziggurat’.

The Mymax is not a lame old Freytag climax but a hot Escher mess of narrative possibilities suggested by you, the audience. With a mere click of your handset (and a charge of 99 cents), you furnish a Youclusion(tm) to your liking. This is how McClane somehow ends up defeating terrorists—and winning American Idol—with his ultrasonic melisma. McClane and Holly then celebrate by making a sex tape. (Awww!)

This article will definitely start you thinking along the right paths for marketing and future storytelling avenues!

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Scott Brown on Why Hollywood Needs a New Model for Storytelling
By Scott Brown 01.19.09

SAFE. The perfect 10.

I worked with Inspired Minority back in 2005-2006 during production of SPOON. The film it self is still in Post Production due to the fact that these film makers are doing it all Indy styles. As a matter of fact that’s the only style Inspired Minority does. So far at least.

Spoon was entirely self produced with Simon and Sharlto taking big risks to get the film made, including hiring a young bunch of enthusiastic film makers to make it. Although Spoon is still getting graded I ever so often have a stranger come up to me and ask me when the film will show becuase they were an extra in a scene somewhere and it made a great impression on them. That is the effect of these film makers.

South African Film Exchange (SAFE) is now Simons baby. We spoke of the idea shortly after finishing Spoon in a broad sence and I offered my two cents on why such an idea would work. It is a great idea to spreads the risk for investors and creates a sharing community amongst film makers.

Instead of trying to convince an investor to give you R1 milj. for a film and then hope to God that your plan works so that you can make the next, SAFE is about a community. A concept I am turning to more and more. The community would make 10 films, a group of investors would invest in 10 films. At the end of the day the community would need two of these films to be really sucesfull in order to make the return on say a R10 milj. investment.

With two workshops already done, one in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town, the Perfect Ten are making way. Besides looking for 10 scripts, they are also looking for acting talent, a sore point in Indy film making in South Africa. With hope to start pre-production on some of the films by the end of 2009, SAFE is looking for talented and inspired film makers to join in.

I hope to make at least one or two workshops this years and be part of this great vision. You can find SAFE on Facebook and join the group if you are interested. Here is a great opportunity for film makers to actuate their dream.

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Celtx - No more excuses

In 2007 during our initial Big Eyed Deer stint Sebastian found Celtx. Of course Sebastian found Celtx, he finds most cool things on the net, he also coined the phrases “Digital Native” and “Produktors” both terms I love and you will hear again…Point being, he found Celtx so that we could and write and schedule scripts online and thus not be office bound. The reality of an office free office is one I dream of. A complete organization that works independently only linked via internet. Why not I say! Wear what you like, smell if you want to, just as long as you log yourself in and make your deadlines!

Celtx is the answer for this quest. We still used the Beta vers.0997 and it was, I admit, slow, unresponsive and buggy. However we saw the potential of Celtx and it was free. Final draft cost $169, that’s about R2000 too much for me! We have since written a comic book, and two scripts using Celtx. The latest version is now vers. 1.0 and its great.

Celtx starts wherever you want to. You can start by inputting your characters, name, description, antagonist, protagonist etc. You can then build your characters into great detail including likes and dislikes, history and even hair colour. When you lock an actor you can then enter that information into your database. Essentially you write an entire script on Celtx which links to the production database you have assembled during this time. There are options to link media, upload files and bookmark web pages to your specific scripting project. If it’s true that it all starts with the script, and it is true, then this is the resource you would want to use in writing your script. Finally you can then link and share with other users and they in turn comment/review/add to your work.

Once the script is nailed you can do a production schedule, get various breakdowns and start to plan the shoot. The key here is that its all centralized and by adding your production team everyone is able to see information, add, comment and so on and so on. Celtx is allowing a producer and director to sit at opposite ends of the world and know exactly whats going on with their project. BRILLIANT!

You are able to download for Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s easy to use and gives you a complete new experience for writing scripts. Now there’s no more excuses of not having software. It’s here, it’s free it’s awesome so start writing!

Download Celtx Here

Novel Movie Deals

With more novels being turned into films here’s a great article on what novelists have to say and what publishers are doing.

Chuck Palahniuk also says he’s happy just to sit back while the filmmakers do their work. Palahniuk was working as a mechanic when his 1996 novel “Fight Club” was made into a film directed by David Fincher. “I only quit my job … because my phone rang with personal calls all day, and I couldn’t get my real work done,” he said in an e-mail message. “On the day ‘Fight Club’ started filming, my agent sent dozens of white roses to the garage where I worked — that kind of botched my standing among the other mechanics.” In August, he traveled to New York to watch Clark Gregg shoot a film based on his novel “Choke.” “It was interesting to see everyone’s interpretation,” Palahniuk said. “Beyond that, I ate my weight in location catering and ogled during the nude scenes.”

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