We’ve been hard at work lately having pitching scripts to industry, having pitch meetings with producers and distributors about our many projects! Alex and Ian had a productive meeting at BAFTA recently, discussing the slate and future opportunities. So, what have we been up to? Let’s take a look…
We’ve also recently had pitch meetings with many companies including Film4 and several of our winners’ projects have been going from strength to strength!
We guarantee pitching to industry for the top three scripts from our competition – so enter our Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest today from just $44, and you can follow in the footsteps of our past winners and get your script out there!
The Final Deadline is fast approaching for our Spring Contest 2018! Add the finishing touches to your script and submit it by this Sunday, June 17 to win fantastic prizes.
There are 9 winning categories, $2000 available in prize money, plus over $3000 in script development for the 3 winners, bonuses and promotion through InkTip – we promise to develop and promote them to the top of the international film industry.
Plus, twice Academy Award nominated director Habib Zargarpour and WriteMovies founder Alex Ross are looking for VFX driven scripts to take to Hollywood – make it yours by entering our competition!
In addition to our Overall Winner, we also have prizes for the Best Studio Script, Best Indie Script, and Best Short Script – and we’re not just interested in screenplays, either. Our competition includes several other categories: get your television series started with Long and Short Form Pilots, raise the curtain on a future in theatre by sending in your Stageplay, and unleash the screen potential of your Book!
And don’t forget our newest category: Best Video Game Script! Guide us into your gaming universe and show us how creative you can be – we’d be thrilled to read your projects!
See the prizes available below, and enter our competition here!
Prizes and awards up for grabs in each category… Click on the prizes to learn more about them!
Part Two of Alex and Habib’s Hollywood pitching whirlwind tour from early May 2018… Want us to promote your script in our next our next Hollywood pitching whirlwind tour, or other pitching? We are seriously looking for 2-3 scripts for 2x Academy Nominated and 2x BAFTA winning, Habib Zargarpour to direct. If you have what we need please participate in: https://writemovies.com/spring-2018-screenwriting-contest/ now! (more…)
Want us to promote your script in our next our next Hollywood script pitching whirlwind tour, or other pitching? We are seriously looking for 2-3 scripts for 2x Academy Nominated and 2x BAFTA winning, Habib Zargarpour to direct. If you have what we need please participate in: https://writemovies.com/spring-2018-screenwriting-contest/
WriteMovies founder and producer Alex Ross and VFX expert turned movie director, Habib Zargarpour, just went on a tour of various Hollywood production companies talking to top executives about their new project. Here’s what happened!
Meeting #1: Skrzyniarz & Mallean. High powered Boutique law firm. (A lot of Los Angeles law firms now also act in a management capacity opening doors for clients etc. They, along with talent managers tend to be easier to work with than agents)
Alex and Habib started with an early morning meeting during which Habib gave a full presentation on the script they were pitching. The lawyer was very impressed.
Among other things she suggested who to get in touch with for funding. Alex gave the attorney a follow up call and there is definite interest on working on this project, and potentially other suitable scripts.
Meeting #2: Rough Diamond Productions
Another great meeting during which the producer showed interest in the project. She and her team totally got the value that Habib would add, to deliver a studio grade, VFX based picture for a fraction of the usual price. Many of the smaller production houses want to get involved in higher end VFX based projects but cannot afford the costs. This is what is so interesting about Habib’s work, in that he and his team at Digital Monarch Media have devised a software/hardware package, which has been tested by some of the greats such as Spielberg, Jon Favreau, and Denis Villeneuve, which allows producers to deliver studio grade VFX for a faction of the price. Their latest Virtual Film Toolset is called Expozure and was used on Blade Runner 2049 and Tom Hanks’ Greyhound.
There was a request for more info on budget so the team have a better idea on how and where to take the project –with the packaging suggestions we had in the first meeting, there’s some good signs and avenues for us to explore.
Habib Zargarpour and Alex Ross on their script pitching whirlwind tour in Hollywood, May 2018
Meeting #3: Branded Pictures Entertainment
After a full demonstration by Habib, the producers expressed interest in the project and explored Habib directing another of their projects as well.
Meeting #4: Meeting with Epic Pictures:
An interesting meeting with the top brass. They already really like the script. Totally got what Habib can bring to the table as a director. Needs us to come up with a formal proposal. “See you on the red carpet”.
Meeting #5: Blue Ant Media
Alex and Habib finished their day by meeting with Julio Sobral, former senior Fox Studios executive and now top of the food chain at BAM. Julio has a very deep background in post-production and FX and also really liked the fact that Habib was a partner at Microsoft Studios and helped to design a number of games which generated more revenue than a lot of blockbuster movies. So the ability to fully map out the ancillary revenue streams for your project are key to production companies and something you need to work out before you go to pitch.
BAM is part of a substantial chain of media companies, so Julio wanted us to come in and pitch not only with a view to getting Habib and Alex’s film done but also to consider working on some of their other projects.
And that was just day one! Next, look what happened on day two of our Hollywood script pitching whirlwind tour! And don’t forget: We are seriously looking for 2-3 scripts for 2x Academy Nominated and 2x BAFTA winning, Habib Zargarpour to direct. If you have what we need please participate in: https://writemovies.com/spring-2018-screenwriting-contest/
We’re looking for a script for a two-time Academy nominee and two-time BAFTA award-winning director – and submitting your VFX-driven script to our Spring contest can make it yours! Habib Zargarpour has worked with Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron and Villeneuve, on movies that countless millions of people have seen – and soon your script could join them. We’re looking for a great commercial script for him to work with, and if you submit to our Spring 2018 contest, you will be in the running for that opportunity.
As we’ll tell you very soon, Habib and our founder Alex have been getting a lot of success in recent meetings with senior Hollywood execs about their next crossover project, and yours could be next! We’ve introduced many new categories to the Spring 2018 – long and short form TV pilots, indie and studio scripts, and video game scripts. Inspired by this opportunity, we will be giving a special recognition to the Best VFX Driven Script that we receive. There’s no special prize – just kudos – but if Habib loves it then we CAN make this happen.
Award-winning VFX expert Habib Zargarpour
What we want is the script where VFX can help drive the plot, the characters, and the script as a whole. We don’t want style over substance, we want style to give substance! We’re looking for a VFX-driven script with crossover potential to make an awesome video game. The director of this project, Habib Zargarpour (find out more about him in THESE past interviews, and in more articles we’ll publish soon!) has been VFX consultant on lots of major movies and major video games including 007 and NEED FOR SPEED titles – so we have the potential to take this to both markets, which is exactly what Habib and Alex have been doing for another project in Hollywood in the last few days – as we’ll be telling you next week!
So polish up that movie script you thought would be too expensive for anyone to make, and get it to us NOW!
Taking Flight in THE SQUADRON: VFX expert Habib Zargarpour on becoming a writer-director and the getting the balance right with real VFX.
In the third of our series of interviews, our Ian Kennedy asks Habib about his transition to writing and directing, the unique eye his new film will give to WW2’s aerial warfare, and why VFX pros have to keep it real too.
IAN: So next for you is THE SQUADRON which you’ve written and are directing!
HABIB: Yes, we’re doing a lot of visual effects shots for this shoot, we’ve got a lot of actors in cockpits, we’ll have to replace the background with what’s going on in the skies. It’s very tricky to light and to put greenscreen around real authentic planes, because the light has to move to show that the plane is moving, but you don’t want something [a heavy light] that could fall and wreck the [actual] plane, so we have to be super-careful with that, there’s a lot of technical challenges to it.
IAN: I was lucky enough to be consulted by Alex Ross (THE SQUADRON producer and WriteMovies founder) about one of your very early drafts of this one, it was fascinating to see how visual your ideas were – too many writers come from the opposite direction, getting heavy with dialogue and exposition, and you’re coming from the other way round with that.
HABIB: This is interesting to hear, because I don’t know any different, from you guys’ point of view! I do know I’m getting better at it for sure, it really helps to see how things evolve once you start shooting, we also got great synergy between the actors when we shot in a warehouse in Vancouver, them playing off each other. When I wrote I had the cast in mind, and things have worked out even better than I thought – they enhance it, they also bring stuff to the table by saying things like “I think my character would be more “…” in this situation, he’d say this other thing…” – so that’s woven into it. This next shoot should come together really well because all of these elements will come together, and hopefully the continued dialogue will keep getting even better at the same time. I’m looking forward to sending you a rough cut of the trailer, see what you think!
IAN: That’ll be amazing yeah! The pictures I have in my mind from what I’ve seen in the script are a really distinctive use of that whole World War 2 setting. Sometimes we feel like we’ve seen all there is to see of that conflict, but there’s always more to explore and it felt like you’ve put a good new edge into that.
HABIB: I had a lot of fun preparing for it, even though the timeframe was very tight, I only had 4 weeks to get all that in mind, finishing the script, getting the props, getting wardrobe, all the logistics for the travel and permits and things like that. One of the more fun things was to design and 3D print and build the props that I couldn’t find, and others that I wanted to custom design, taking advantage of my ArtCenter experience, building models of products that look authentic. I was able to apply those and use the latest technology – I have a 3D printer that I use, that gets the models and then we do the finishing and polish on them. The other things are all authentic that I was able to gather over a long time, by going to air races and going online on eBay, there were these authentic goggles and flight caps. A lot of things needed adjusting for size because people were smaller then, which was interesting!
IAN: CGI has really taken over so much of VFX in recent decades. Have you missed working with physical materials and objects, like the models you’ve brought back into THE SQUADRON?
HABIB: [You should use] whatever can be done the most easily that makes the most sense and most helps the actors – you’d want to do something practical, if it’s something they’re wearing or touching. I myself had to do a lot of CGI for some of the very complex aerial combat scenes. That’s always a question of how much of the real you can bring in. Theoretically you could shoot someone against a greenscreen and put the whole airplane around them, as opposed to filming them in a real cockpit around them, each of those brings different challenges and pros and cons to it. Usually, the more you can get the real stuff in it, the easier it’s gonna be to get the right look.
IAN: And there’s been an audience backlash against overdone excessive CGI and unreal characters, so it’s important to keep that balance.
HABIB: Yes, and I recently saw Dunkirk, and I know Christopher Nolan’s a massive fan of ‘as much practical as possible’. I’ll send you my trailer rough cut soon too…
IAN: Definitely. And we’d love to talk about your work as a lead designer in famous computer games too!
© WriteMovies 2017. Exclusive to WriteMovies – To syndicate this content for your own publication, contact ian (at) writemovies dot-com.
The eye of the storm: in the second of our series of VFX interviews, VFX expert Habib Zargarpour reveals how his teams achieved such awesome effects in A PERFECT STORM, TWISTER, STAR TREK: GENERATIONS, STAR WARS EPISODE I (THE PHANTOM MENACE) and many other films.
In the second of our series of VFX interviews, Habib tells our Ian Kennedy how to achieve natural disasters and why yogurt holds the key to VFX. His credits include two STAR TREK movies, STAR WARS EPISODE 1 (THE PHANTOM MENACE), THE BOURNE IDENTITY, JUMANJI, THE MASK, SPAWN and lots more so he must be onto something!
HABIB: I’ve had the chance to work on a lot of disaster films, especially natural disasters. For those we would work with storyboards but also with tons of real-world reference, which was difficult. People have seen on TV what tornados look like, stormy seas look like, how water looks, what fire looks like, things that we had very difficult but precise things to match to. There were other projects where we had much more creative freedom in the effect, for example on Star Trek, there would be maybe one concept art of the energy ribbon nexus effect in STAR TREK: GENERATIONS, then we would come up with what that would look like in 3 dimensions, how that would move, and what the colours would be, so that there’s a nice range there. Other times we would take, let’s say the tornado effect in Twister, turn it upside down, turn it around and that would be the rocket flow, you know? I equate it to making yogurt – you always need a little bit of [older] yogurt that helps to get the new one going, it saves you a bit of time, you know? And so for example, for A PERFECT STORM we had to do sprays and splashes of water, but we already had a particle system from TWISTER and we were able to do different things with it. How to we take things that are meant to simulate a dust storm and something that looks dusty and thick, and make it look like water vapor, make it look like a splash. There’s the physics of how all that moves, but when it comes to the look of it, there’s actually a lot of similarities between dust in the air and spray and water mist in the air, you study the difference. We added in light penetrating deeper which was able to scatter more, and that gives you the water splash. We had real water splashes to match to on set, and references of stormy seas – that kind of stuff’s really tough.
A still from one of Habib’s films, A PERFECT STORM.
Things have come a long way in 17 years since A PERFECT STORM. Software is able to simulate all the different components of water, it still takes a huge amount of time to run those things, but at least some of it’s more achievable all in one place, whereas back then we had to divide things up into elements separately so the machines could deal with it, and the artists, actually. We learned a lot from meteorologists and people who study oceans and storms, I don’t know whether they gained anything from us other than enjoying it visually. It’s amazing watching on TV these days, it’s a strange combination of things going on at the same time, like earthquakes and watching these hurricanes going on through all the time. At the time I was working on TWISTER I had trouble driving, because I would get distracted by cloud formations in the skies, sometimes I’d have to pull over and take pictures of it. That could be dangerous!
IAN: I bet! So – if all the directors and DPs and VFX people you’d worked with all separately asked you to work on their different projects at exactly the same time, who would you choose?
HABIB: Oh God! (laughs) That’s a really tough question. I think it’d be a tie between Denis [Villeneuve] and John Nelson. Denis is a really great visionary director, and I know whatever John Nelson does next is gonna be maybe perfect!
© WriteMovies 2017. Exclusive to WriteMovies – To syndicate this content for your own publication, contact ian (at) writemovies dot-com.