Monday Starters #18

A collection of links, fun and serious, on film and culture, to start the week, with a special focus on writers’ blogs.


Blog link: Is 80’s Style Action Dead?, by William C Martell

A great article in which William C Martell examines 80s action films.

“You may have noticed that Stallone’s new film BULLET TO THE HEAD was not #1 over the weekend (it came it at #6!)… and that An-nuld’s movie THE LAST STAND sunk like a stone last weekend (it opened at #10… and two weeks later was #27 behind the Oscar Nominated Short Films in limited release!). We have a new DIE HARD movie right around the corner, and there is lots of talk on various movie message boards that 80s style action movies are over. Maybe even action films are we know them are over. Do you think that’s true?

I hope it’s not true – since I have a book on how to write action movies (though it’s good for all genres).

Well, let’s take a look at 1980s action flicks. Both Ah-nuld and Stallone were the #1 stars of action films in that decade and they spilled over into the early 1990s.  These guys were as big as Burt Reynolds was in the 70s! Hmm, maybe that wasn’t a good example…”

True Lies

True Lies


Blog link: Friday Fight Scene – Shane, by Joshua James

“Today we look at the classic western, Shane.

Which is about, of course, a gunfighter… but the fight scene we will examine isn’t a gun fight (though there is a great one in there) but an actual fight scene, with fists and guts and will power…”


Blog link: Do pro writers try to sabotage aspiring writers?, by The Bitter Script Reader

“Every now and then – usually in the darker corners of the internet – I see one belligerent jackass or another accusing pro screenwriters of trying to sabotage other aspirings.  Sometimes this is prompted by posts like one written by Geoff LaTulippe last week.  In it, Geoff lays out the long odds against one ever making it as a pro writer.  I guess that this provoked a few people into accusing Geoff of trying to discourage aspiring writers because he “doesn’t want the competition.”


Creativity T.S. Eliot on Idea Incubation, Inhibition, and the Mystical Quality of Creativity

“What one writes in this way may succeed in standing the examination of a more normal state of mind; it gives me the impression, as I have said, of having undergone a long incubation, though we do not know until the shell breaks what kind of egg we have been sitting on. To me it seems that at these moments, which are characterised by the sudden lifting of the burden of anxiety and fear which presses upon our daily life so steadily that we are unaware of it, what happens is something negative: that is to say, not ‘inspiration’ as we commonly think of it, but the breaking down of strong habitual barriers — which tend to re-form very quickly.”


Blog link: Reacting to Emotions, by Evan Jobb

“I’m writing about this topic because of a script I was writing.  I found myself stuck, sputtering ideas around in my head and not going anywhere.  I had the characters, I had the story arc, it all had a beginning, it had an end. But everything was going wrong because I found my characters trapped in the middle of the story.  It was clear why the characters were all there, and I knew where they would all be going.  But they didn’t want to go there.  I found myself forcing them to make decisions, I found myself making them say what I wanted them to say.  And I was getting nowhere.”



Beyond The Surface

Six women tour India, experiencing the harsh economic differences and hoping to evoke unique ways surfing, yoga, and ecological creativity can bring about change.

Ishita Malaviya, India’s first female surfer, is joined by a unique and talented group of women – 
Crystal Thornburg-Homcy, Liz Clark, Lauren Hill, Emi Koch, and Kate Baldwin. With unshakable determination for a better world they will travel through Southern India documenting the ways that surfing, yoga, and ecological creativity are bringing hope and fueling change for local people and the Planet.

Beyond the Surface

Beyond the Surface


Over six hours filmed panels from Tallinn Industry Days 2012 are now available to watch online.

Topics include:

  • Getting Things Done: producing hits with(in) Asia
  • The Golden Triangle – Funding and Co-production Markets in East-Asia
  • A Scary World – Genre Films as Global Phenomenon
  • Hot Hollywood – getting your foot between the (independent) door in North-America
  • Undiscovered North-East Europe



Errol Morris, Forensic Epistemologist, by Lawrence Weschler

Errol Morris: What upsets me about a lot of writing about photography is that the writer just emotes. The photograph made me feel x, or y, or it made me feel z. Or the photographer must have intended x, y, or z. I have gotten into terrible trouble criticizing both Barthes and Sontag––the sacred cows of photographic theory—but what bothered me about those two sentences of Sontag’s is the suggestion that she knew what Fenton was thinking. I wondered, how does Sontag know that the photograph with the cannonballs on the road, which I will call “ON,” came after the one with the cannonballs off the road, which I will call “OFF”? How does she know that?


Long-exposure Photography of Lovers Sleeping by photographer Paul Schneggenburger

or see the CNN gallery

Paul Schneggenburger is an artist living in Vienna. His project, “The sleep of the beloved” will be exhibited at the Anzenberger Gallery.

(C) Paul Schneggenburger

(C) Paul Schneggenburger



Blog link: Storylining & Plotting Part 3 – A Day In The Life, by Sitcom Geek

“In Part 2, I suggested that the best way to make story-lining fun and easy, or less like pulling teeth and easier, is to have a bigger list of ideas to choose from. You need a pilot episode and 5 one-paragraph outlines to sell you show. So you should be picking from 10 well-worked and plotted ideas. Those 10 should be chosen from 20-30 decent, usable ideas…”

Script Editing

Blog link: Script Editing – The Low Down, by Yvonne Grace

“A good, expert, fantastic script editor will be able to give you script notes (some large, some small, some irritating, some illuminating) without you, the writer, ever feeling exposed, or unsure, without ever feeling that your work is being ridiculed, overly-criticised or downright changed too much.

The writer on any long running show is an essential part of the dramatic process because obviously, without them, there wouldn’t be a script.  However, although the writer is very important, on a long-running, story-gobbling, writer-exhausting, fast-running train that is the drama series format, it is the relationship between the script editor and the writer, that is, in many ways, more important.”


Blog link: The Storytelling Lesson in Jon Klassen’s “Stolen Hat” Books, by Chuck Wendig

“If you care about this in the context of children’s books (at which point I must assume you’re like, eight years old and probably don’t belong here anyway): the following post has a spoiler warning for Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back and its follow-up, This Is Not My HatKay?”


Blog link: How to Please a Screenplay Reader?, by Howard Casner

“In Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy opens his novel with the line “[a]ll happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. I’ve just finished reading for several screenplay competitions for the year, and Tolstoy’s observation can also be applied to screenplays, though in a vice versa manner: all good screenplays are good in their own way, but all mediocre to badly written screenplays resemble one another.

So I thought I would start a series of articles based on what are for me the most common errors I have run across in my years as a reader and script consultant, not just for contests, but for a production company as well as with my personal clients.”


If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.

– Tennessee Williams



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