Source: J. Kristopher
So I booked a feature film and the call time was 9AM. It was NON PAYING but I felt good about it because I talked the director into using my friend as another character in the scene.
My friend and I arrived together. There weren’t any CARS around so I wasn’t sure I was at the right address. I knocked on the door to the place. The A.D. (assistant director) peeked out of the drapes with a dazed look on his face, like he’s been smoking a joint. I ALREADY KNEW WE WERE IN TROUBLE. He opens the door in boxers, “COME ON IN MAN, have a seat.”
ME: “Hey did I get the call time wrong, I thought it was 9AM.”
HIM: “No…they are going to start soon, they just wanted to actors here.”
Never in the history of projects have I ever seen actors arrive before the crew but whatever… So we are sitting there making small talk, all the while I’m thinking…..I WONDER WHEN EVERYONE ELSE IS GOING TO ARRIVE.
All of a sudden, the guy’s roommate walks out of the other bedroom (startling because I didn’t even know anyone else was home) and he yells, “DAMN IT BRO. YOU’VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THESE DISHES!!!”
The A.D. goes to the kitchen to try to calm his roommate down, “ok ok man….I said I would get to them. We have people over.”
ROOMMATE: “GOOD I DON’T GIVE A SH*T, MAYBE THEY KNOW THAT YOU DON’T CLEAN YOUR DISHES!!! COME ON BRO!!”
My friend and I look at each other as if we were witnessing a domestic dispute. I suddenly felt like an intruder. Finally, more actors came. THEY WAITED. By now, I’m thinking DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEA WHEN THE CREW or THE DIRECTOR gets here? The A.D. gets on his cell phone and starts making calls. FINALLY someone is taking charge. He leaves for about 15 minutes.
My friend looks at me like WHAT DID YOU GET ME INTO? I felt bad. I wait a little while and decide to join him outside. I walked up to the A.D. interrupting his conversation on the phone “Hey man, what did they say? Did they tell you what time they were going to be here?” He says, “Huh? Oh……I don’t know. I’m on the phone with my dad.” **Blank stare** My friend whispers, we should just go. I’m thinking, Lord knows I want to but REPUTATION is everything is this town. Someone will take this situation and PUT the blame on ME.
Finally I cave in and said, we will give the another HOUR since we planned on being here anyway. If they don’t come, we are out. Another 15 minutes goes by and I see them come up the driveway. THANK GOD! The director says, “Ok so where are we shooting? OMG!! They don’t even have their location down. This is the first time he’s seeing it. They open the garage. The director says, “Ok…ok….THIS WILL DO for a police station. All we need is a table. Did anyone bring a table?” (Did he just say police station?) Everyone just looks around at each other like WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TABLE?? Then one person speaks up and says, there is a HOME DEPOT down the street.
I exhaled…I had this HELL NO look on my face. No more waiting.
So I speak up, “excuse me mr. director, I don’t have that kind of time. I can give you an hour or two at the MAX. But I have another shoot to prepare for and I have to drop my friend off.
Director gets mad and pulls me aside with my friend. “J. Kristopher, I just want to let you know this is HIGHLY unprofessional. You know you should of planned on being here ALL day. But I guess we can get your scene out of the way since it is short.”
I look at my friend and he already could read my thoughts. DID THIS _______ just say I WAS UNPROFESSIONAL? ARE THEY SERIOUS? OK J, REGAIN YOUR COMPOSURE…… and I speak up….”You’re right. My apologies. I just didn’t think it I was going to be here this long considering my call time was 9AM and we are now looking at 1PM.” Director said, “well on future sets you should always plan to be there all day unless you let someone know.” I smile.
We shoot the scene WITHOUT THE TABLE and leave. Needless to say, another day in the life.
A big mistake for a lot of writers is they’ll work on the first twenty pages of their screenplay over and over and it’ll be a great twenty pages, but then the next eighty pages is slowly getting worse and worse. It’s like if you were to focus on the hand of a sculpture you were making - the hand might be beautiful, but it would be grotesquely huge as compared to the rest of the body. Each time you do a pass you have to go all the way to the end, is a rule I’ve made —
Darren Aronofsky on his advice to writers.
This is so true… make sure you focus on the whole thing and not just the begining it will save you time in the long run.(via beerosie)
(Source: blogs.indiewire.com, via beerosie)
The first two Iron Man movies were basically written on the fly, and while that jerry-rigged approach produced a gem of a first film, the hastily sewn seams showed in Iron Man 2. If there’s anything Iron Man 3 has in full over its two predecessors, then, it’s a clever, well-plotted screenplay that practically hums with luxury-car confidence; no surprise, since it was co-written and directed by one of the masters of the modern action movie screenplay, Shane Black. The 50-year-old isn’t Hollywood’s most prolific writer — he only has a handful of credits, including the first Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and The Last Boy Scout — but for a time, he was its most highly paid, and the $4 million he earned for the 1996 action film The Long Kiss Goodnight is still a Hollywood record for a spec script. How did Black do it? Simple: He made reading his screenplays way too much fun.
It’s an open secret in Hollywood that studio executives do very little reading themselves, instead employing script readers to do the dirty work of slogging through multiple scripts a day. Black wrote screenplays that were practically engineered to perk up a weary script reader, packing his scene descriptions with clever in-jokes, meta flourishes, and — when all else failed — flattering entreaties to the readers themselves. The most famous thing Black ever wrote isn’t even a piece of dialogue … instead, it’s this description of a setting from Lethal Weapon, structured as a muscular meta boast that practically defined the swinging-dick attitude of mid-eighties action movies:
It’s a self-promotional masterstroke: In his screenplays, populated with broken men who rouse themselves from hangovers and beatdowns to defeat the bad guy, it’s Black himself who emerges as the movie’s most charismatic antihero. He might be a loose cannon with unorthodox methods, but you can’t deny that the man gets the job done. That posh Beverly Hills home? You can fucking see it.
The irony is that when Black is scripting an action scene, he rarely writes down what you’ll actually see. Instead, he’d rather find the perfect metaphor for all those punches, kicks, and gunshots, as in these excerpts from Lethal Weapon:
And these two bits from The Long Kiss Goodnight:
Though his wink-wink, tell-don’t-show sensibility was never more notorious than when he scripted this sex scene for The Last Boy Scout:
Black was a master of setup and payoff, telling the Guardian, “Audiences love those moments when something from much earlier in the film comes back and makes them slap their foreheads and say to themselves, ‘Of course!’” That said, he wasn’t above winking at the idea …
… or just winking in general. Black peppers his scripts with jokes and asides that won’t be seen on the screen, but still manage to capture the sense of humor his films ought to have:
And the man sure knew how to set up an establishing shot.
Still, though his scripts are practically soaked in ironic distance, Black knew when to snap to attention and surprise the reader (and the audience) with something authentic. Suddenly, he’d become his own hype man, going from devil-may-care insouciance to holy-shit-this-is-big-folks bravado, like a weary action hero who finally, finally learns to give a damn.
And after all that setup, he delivers those hero scenes in full, as in this climactic moment from Lethal Weapon:
After reading that, is it any wonder that Shane Black is in charge of a superhero?
66 Behind the Scenes Pics from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK - Imgur -
Got to love some Behind the scenes stuff!
I Will Not Look Away - is a documentary I was able to to help create. Its about the mission field in India.
As told by an actor friend…
“So I am at a networking function and I time it to where I run into a producer in the restroom. I wash my hands and he crosses behind me without washing his. I stop him in the hallway as we are headed out. I give him a business card to check out my stuff. After we were done conversing, he extends his elbow (because he knew I saw him not wash his hands). He starts laughing. I touch elbows with him and he said, “you already know.” I saw him shaking hands and hugging people as the night went on.”