Saturday Hot Links

Time for the 278th installment of Saturday Hot Links, your week's essential reading about movies, TV, streaming, Hollywood, and other things of writerly interest.

WGA Membership Meeting Shows Guild On Strike Footing As Contract Talks Loom.

2017 Writers Guild Awards Winners Announced.

Writers Guild Award Analysis: It's Still 'Moonlight' and 'Manchester' At the Oscars.

Trump, Triumph and Speaking Truth to Power: Politics Take a Bow at 2017 Writers Guild Awards.

Oscars 2017: Who Will Win, Who Should Win.

How the Oscar Best Picture Winner Is Chosen, in 8 Not So Easy Steps.

List of Oscar Presenters.

Only 40% of Americans Can Name a Single Best Picture Nominee.

What's a Best Picture Nomination Really Worth: A Look at Return on Investment.

IFC, Film Independent Renew Spirit Awards Telecast Deal Through 2020.

Humanitas Prize winners announced.

Studio-by-Studio Profitability Ranking: Disney Surges, Sony Sputters.

Paramount Seeking Studio Chief, But Who Would Want the Job Now?

Brad Grey Bids Adieu to Paramount Staff: Read the Memo.

IMAX Is Counting on a Big 2017 International Box Office.

China's Recon Buys 51% of Avi Lerner's Millennium Films for $ 100 Million.

Toronto Film Fest to Shrink Movie Lineup by 20 Percent.

How is a cinema's box office income distributed?

Male Movie Stars Get Almost Twice as Much Screen Time.

Paul Feig, Nina Jacobson and 50 A-Listers Reveal New Campaign to Tackle Hollywood Gender Inequality.

Number of Female Film Protagonists Hit High in 2016.

What This Year's Oscars Race Means for Female Protagonists.

Why Latinos Are the Multibillion-Dollar "New Mainstream" Audience Hollywood Is Missing.

Hayao Miyazaki is coming out of retirement.

Fox Reveals Finalists for 2017 Writers Lab.

4 New Rules To Successfully Distribute Your Short Animation Film Online.

Judge Pauses Enforcement of IMDb Age Censorship Law.

The Truth Behind the Infamous 2000 Oscar Heist.

The World's Busiest Oscar Has Traveled Over 3 Million Miles.

'La La Land' Deserves Your Respect: Why Damien Chazelle's Oscar-Bound Musical Is A Dream Come True.

TV's Newest Genre: Beautiful People Behaving Badly by the Sea.

Why Hollywood Awards Are Failing Independent TV.

Only 22% of Children's Book Characters Were People of Color in 2016.

Tom Hanks Plans First Book 'Uncommon Type'.

Long Lost Walt Whitman Novel Has Been Found 165 Years Later.

Read: Kate Hagen: Get Your Screenplay Reader-Ready.

Read: Doug Richardson: Pitch Meetings — Reductive Reasoning.

Listen: Scriptnotes (Episode289).

Watch: 29 Screenwriting Mistakes.

Watch: Learn How Pixar Animation Changes Their Movies for International Audiences.

Watch: Every Best Animated Feature Winner. Ever. (2001–2016 Oscars).

Watch: 'Arrival': A Response To Bad Movies.

Watch: 'La La Land' as directed by David Lynch.

Finally 'One of the fathers of American film criticism': Time critic Richard Schickel dies at 84.

Screenwriting Master Class tip of the week

On February 27, I'll be offering a terrific one-week online class. It's called Scene Description Spotlight which sounds super practical. And in a way, it is because at one level, it's an immersion into the nuts and bolts of the writing craft. However what it's really about is this: Exploring and expressing your voice as a writer.

You hear this over and over and over again in Hollywood development circles. Agents, managers, producers, execs, talent. All looking for writers with distinctive voices.

If you think voice just means character dialogue… think again. Voice also involves scene description. You know, that boring stuff you write to set up and play out a scene.

Over the years, professional screenwriters have learned to use scene description as a way to create strong visuals… convey mood… entertain the reader… and express their voice. Like this from The Matrix:

The Big Cop flicks out his cuffs, the other cops holding a
bead. They've done this a hundred times, they know
they've got her, until the Big Cop reaches with the cuffs
and Trinity moves --
It almost doesn't register, so smooth and fast, inhumanly
The eye blinks and Trinity's palm snaps up and his nose
explodes, blood erupting. Her leg kicks with the force of
a wrecking ball and he flies back, a two-hundred-fifty
pound sack of limp meat and bone that slams into the cop
farthest from her.

Or this from Wall-E:

It hovers gracefully above the ground.
White. Egg-shaped.
Blue-lit eyes.
Wally is transfixed.
Inches closer.
Watches Eve from behind the device.
Tilts his head.
Time stops.
She's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen.

Or this from Little Miss Sunshine:

No one knows what to make of Olive rocking, her back turned.
However, when the first verse begins, Olive turns and 
strides up on the stage -- hands on hips, shoulders swinging
-- with an absolute and spectacular physical self-confidence.
She rocks out, busting crazy moves this stage has never seen: 
shakes, shimmies, twirls, dips, undulations -- a melange of
MTV rump shakin', Solid Gold Dancers re-runs, and
out-of-left-field inventions of her own. Other moves are
clearly drawn from Grandpa's sixty-year career of strip-bar
She dances with a total command -- an exuberant, even witty 
mastery of her body, the music, the moves, everything.
Most of all, she's doing it for herself -- for her own sense 
of fun -- and the judges are instantly irrelevant.
The audience is stunned. No one moves. Mouths hang open.

In my 1-week Scene Description Spotlight class, you will learn about:

  • How Genre + Style = Narrative Voice
  • The crucial importance of 'editorializing'
  • Using tempo and pace to make scenes spark to life
  • The freedom screenwriters have to break grammatical rules
  • Directing action through line management
  • Imagematic, psychological, and action writing

And much, much more!

The class includes dozens of examples from notable movie scripts as well as some of the most recent selling spec scripts to give you a clear sense of how to use scene description to give expression to your voice and make your script worthy of one of Hollywood's highest compliments: It's a good read.

I'm really excited about this class and you should be, too. Take something as seemingly simple and mundane as scene description… and use it to show off your voice.

To learn more and enroll, go here.

The class begins Monday, February 27. As always, I look forward to the opportunity to work with you!

Saturday Hot Links was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

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