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Ian’s LA Diary, Friday March 6th – Producers request our clients’ scripts!

Ian’s LA Diary, Friday March 6th – Producers request our clients’ scripts!

We guarantee to pitch ALL our winners’ scripts to industry, and with two new competitions now open – the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award 2020 and the Summer 2020 Screenwriting Contest – we already can’t wait to get more great scripts into the hands of top producers! To give you an idea of how we do that, we’ve been giving you an inside look at Ian’s LA Pitching Diary. Here’s the final instalment – featuring more conversations with key decision-makers and a request for scripts from our slate… (more…)

Happy Valentine’s Day! – Our favorite romance films

Happy Valentine’s Day! – Our favorite romance films

Valentine’s Day is the day to celebrate all things romantic – including movies! And with our first ever Romance and Comedy Award closing just last week, this seemed like the perfect time for us to put together a small list of our favorite romantic films that we think all writers should watch.

The list isn’t intended to be comprehensive, and these aren’t categorically the best the genre has to offer! But they are our favorites, and there are important lessons for writers to learn from all of them this Valentine’s Day…


1. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO
David Lean was on a roll by the time he came to make DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, having just made BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – and it shows. The bleak wastes of Russia make for a beautiful backdrop, but center stage is a sweeping love story that carries us through the brutality of the country’s political turmoil of the early 20th century. This film is the very definition of the term “epic”. At over three hours long, it shows that if you make the human elements of your story strong enough, it’s still enough to keep an audience engaged for however long.

2. ROMEO + JULIET
There was no way we could compile this list without mentioning the original pair of star-crossed lovers – it was just a question of which version! Special mention goes to the 1968 version, but it’s Baz Luhrmann’s modern re-imagining which gets our vote. The beginning of the film is too hectic, but once the lovers meet it becomes a sumptuous, tragic tale full of stolen moments and forbidden love.The original script was written by some guy called Shakespeare, who seems to have been pretty good at his job: he fills the story with passion, jokes, despair, tragedy and revenge all in one go.

3. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
Memories of a failed romance can be painful – and that’s why Joel and Clementine choose to have theirs erased in Charlie Kaufman’s Oscar-winning script. Like much of Kaufman’s work, it’s a mind-bending concept (literally, in this case), but it’s also a touching exploration of love, loss, and the nature of heartache. Jim Carrey turns in a surprisingly subtle and understated performance that suits him, while Kate Winslet picked up her fourth Oscar nomination for hers, but ultimately it’s the script that powers this beautifully poignant film.

4. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
The first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is either a film about Stockholm Syndrome or how true love looks beyond mere appearances – but we choose to believe the latter. With fantastic animation, catchy songs, and a tale as old as time, this is the perfect example of how to tell a fairytale romance. Just don’t get us started on the live-action remake, which turned the Beast into a jerk and featured a bit too much auto-tune.

5. HER
Okay, so here’s a bit of a strange one: a man falls in love with the operating system on his computer – and it falls in love with him in return. Another winner of the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, writer-director Spike Jonze takes his unique premise and weaves a touching story about the nature of human relationships… despite one half of the central relationship not being human. But then, that’s part of the reason why it works. It’s an insightful look into the psychology and emotion of love, demonstrating both its vulnerability and its boundlessness.


SPECIAL MENTION: TITANIC
James Cameron’s epic is the gold standard for a lot of people, even if it’s a bit overwrought in our opinion. Its impact and technical achievements can’t be ignored, though.

SPECIAL MENTION: 4 minutes of UP
The “Married Life” segment of Pixar’s UP brings all but the hardiest to tears, charting the entire marriage of Carl and Ellie without a single word being said. Frankly, we’d have included it in our list if it were a film in its own right, but since it’s just a small part of one, it’ll have to make do with a special mention instead.


So there you have it – our favorite romance films. We don’t claim that they’re the best, but they’re the ones that have touched us the most and we think that all writers can learn something from them!

What are your favorite romance films that you’ll be watching this Valentine’s Day? What would make your list? Let us know by getting in touch on Twitter or Facebook!

Oscars 2019: What we learned

Oscars 2019: What we learned

Whatever you think about the Oscars, there’s always something to be learned from them. Last night was no exception: there was the usual number of sure-fire wins mixed with a few shocks that leave us scratching our heads. Here’s our take on what happened at the Oscars 2019…

  • The big news of the night was the surprise win of GREEN BOOK for Best Picture. This may not have been the most competitive year for this category, but stacked up against films like BLACKKKLANSMAN and ROMA, it’s still not what we expected. Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times even went so far as to call it “the worse best Picture winner since Crash“. Ouch. But the main thing to take from this? ROMA might have been the favorite on the night (rather than THE FAVOURITE… okay, it’s a bit confusing) but the Academy isn’t ready to give highest honors to a Netflix film just yet. The big studios continue to guard their territory.
  • Spike Lee finally has an Oscar, winning Best Adapted Screenplay for BLACKKKLANSMAN. When it comes to films about race, the Oscars have generally favored less hard-edged material than Lee makes, so at first glance, this looks like it could indicate a shift for film’s biggest awards ceremony. However, that’s all kind of cancelled out because…
  • The winner for Best Original Screenplay also went to GREEN BOOK, which has come in for a lot of criticism for perpetuating the “white savior” trope and couldn’t be more of an opposite to BLACKKKLANSMAN if it tried. Take a look at that article from Chang and you’ll see why it’s so confusing that the two screenplay awards went to these two films. On the one hand, a film that takes an intense, no-holds barred look at racism – on the other, a film that deals with it through a feel-good story. One thing is clear – Hollywood still hasn’t figured out how it wants to deal with this kind of subject matter.
  • Away from the main controversies, superhero stories are starting to gain some traction at awards ceremonies to go with their popular appeal, with BLACK PANTHER picking up three awards and SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE winning Best Animated Feature. This is where the real money is right now – and it looks like there’s even the possibility of picking up some nice shiny awards to go with it.
  • On a similar note, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY took home four awards. Even though the only big one here was for Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie Mercury, it’s a surprise to see a film that got mixed reviews from critics fare so well at the Oscars. Is the Academy really becoming more democratized to reflect popular opinion? We’ll have to wait and see how next year unfolds…

From a screenwriting perspective, the main thing here is the confusion of seeing two totally contrasting films take home the awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay. Here at WriteMovies, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this, with several of our past winners – such as BLACKOUT.COM by Ruben Bush III dealing with this kind of subject matter.

The Oscars 2019 may not have had the drama of the wrong winner being announced for Best Picture like a couple of years ago, but they’ve certainly given us a lot of food for thought…

Oscars Predictions: Best Actors and Actresses

Oscars Predictions: Best Actors and Actresses

We continue our Oscars prediction by looking at the big guns in the acting categories…
By Jamie White.

The glitz and the glamour of the Oscars really comes alive when we get to the main acting categories. These categories are arguably the most entertaining and interesting for the general audience, and this year interesting is the right word!

Best Actor

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

This category seems pretty straight forward, to be honest – even with Daniel Day-Lewis involved!

DARKEST HOUR is one of the most blatant examples of an Oscar-bait film we’ve seen since… well LA LA LAND. Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood, after all. But, Churchill just seems like a character that someone would win an Oscar for playing. It’s about time Gary Oldman got one, too.

This category does seem to already be over, and it reminds us of the time Leo won his Oscar – the joke about him never winning was running thin, and the same can be said for Oldman. It would be a genuine shock if Oldman didn’t win this.

Best Actress

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The    Post”

Now this category seems more like it! And again, we don’t think the Oscar nominee stalwart in this group (sorry, Meryl!) is gonna come out on top.

For us, we see this as a three-way stand-off between McDormand, Robbie, and Ronan. McDormand is definitely the front-runner, and rightly so. And if the love for McDormand at the BAFTAs is anything to go by, this should be as much a walkover as the male category should be for Oldman.

But for some reason our very own John Sullivan has  this voice in the back of his head saying “It’s Margot’s time!” Similar wins have happened in the recent past (see Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone). But, maybe another year, John. This time we’re gonna overrule you! McDormand all the way for us.

Agree with our predictions or not? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook! Next we look at the big one – Best Picture!

© WriteMovies 2017. Exclusive to WriteMovies – To syndicate this content for your own publication, contact ian (at) writemovies dot-com.

2018 Oscars Predictions: Supporting Actors and Actresses

2018 Oscars Predictions: Supporting Actors and Actresses

2018 Oscars Predictions: Supporting Actors and Actresses. By Jamie White.

The supporting actors categories don’t’ always get the recognition they deserve. They’re sometimes overlooked because the main acting category gets SO much attention. But this year may be the most interesting and competitive supporting acting categories yet… here’s our 2018 Oscars predictions for the Supporting Actors categories…

Supporting Actor

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Five great actors with nominations in a category so competitive it sees two actors from the same film challenging each other!

And in truth, it would be a bit of a shock if THREE BILLBOARDS didn’t see one of its stars win out here. Both Harrelson and Rockwell were excellent performers in this masterpiece.

To choose one is difficult, though. But considering the critical buzz about his performance and his BAFTAs success last night, we’re leaning towards Rockwell taking this little gold man home.

Supporting Actress

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

As if it couldn’t get any harder to predict a winner…

A truly outstanding group of nominees here, including Octavia Spencer who is now tied for most Oscar nominations for a black actress (tying with Viola Davis). But while we love THE SHAPE OF WATE and Guillermo Del Toro, the film’s acting isn’t it’s strongest suit.

We see this category as another two-way head-to-head, this time between Allison Janney and Laurie Metcalf – and once again, it almost hurts to pick a winner here!

But we will – and we’ll give it to Metcalf. Despite missing out to Janney at the Globes, we think this will be Metcalf’s night for her astounding performance in LADY BIRD.

Agree with our predictions or not? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook! Next we’ll look at the main acting categories…

© WriteMovies 2017. Exclusive to WriteMovies – To syndicate this content for your own publication, contact ian (at) writemovies dot-com.

Oscars Predictions: Best Actors and Actresses

WriteMovies Oscars Nominees Reaction – Adapted Screenplay

With the full list of Oscars nominees having been revealed this week, it’s time to get excited for the most glamorous awards ceremony in America. THE SHAPE OF WATER leads the way with 13 nominations, while Meryl Streep got her annual nomination for just appearing in a film (this time it’s THE POST), and there were one or two surprises. One of which happened in the screenplay categories. So, let’s take a look, shall we?

Adapted Screenplay Nominees:

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, James Ivory
THE DISASTER ARTIST, Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
LOGAN, Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
MOLLY’S GAME, Aaron Sorkin
MUDBOUND, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

The Adapted Screenplay category is one of the most debatable categories considering the projects excluded. It feels strange to not have further biopics included in this category – THE DARKEST HOUR immediately springs to mind as one noticeable exclusion. But this category has one nomination that will spark some conversation…

The category is fairly… understated really. All excellent films, but this category doesn’t have the same stand out picks as others do. Still, some interesting inclusions. Most notably, LOGAN. This is the FIRST superhero film (that we can think of) that has been nominated in the Adapted Screenplay category. THE INCREDIBLES got a nod for Original Screenplay, making LOGAN only the second superhero film to EVER get an Oscar screenplay nomination.

The rest of the category isn’t as “standout” because of that, but some noticeable inclusions of THE DISASTER ARTIST and MOLLY’S GAME add some meat to the bones. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME and MUDBOUND are perhaps lesser-known to wider audiences, but the latter should definitely not be discounted considering it’s WWII setting and juxtaposition of white and black veterans; with GET OUT a strong contender this year, do not count MUDBOUND out!

Predictions…

John: I think considering the hype of GET OUT, and the racial tensions and relations in this country, MUDBOUND could be the winner here.

Jamie: I would love it if LOGAN won and set the new precedent for superhero/comic book films. It’s not even a superhero film really! Saying that… I think THE DISASTER ARTIST may take its token award in this category…

Watch out for our thoughts and reaction to the Original Screenplay nominations coming Monday…

Check out the full Oscars nominees list here: http://variety.com/2018/film/news/list-2018-oscar-nominations-1202668757/