The J-Man Show#14
Title: Stop that damn lying!
Synopsis: This week J looks into the recent pivot/calmer tone of the 45th retrograde and speaks about why he’s not buying it or anything from the political climate right now. He also touches base on the 21 announced films of the DCEU, the craziness regarding the Oscars, and speaks about the mainstream movie market and why it isn’t taking risks. While J attempts to get through the latest smog of lying, he gives his comical insight along with providing an optimistic view about how other aspiring artists can make it by writing for the media.
Cold Open Music credit goes to
“The Descent” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Well it’s the first week of the new year and we still have an abundance of holidays to get through but I appreciate this one’s existence. It deals with the creative industry and the most underrated aspect where you build the framework for everything that takes place in the movie, The Scripts!
A long time ago when I started J360 Productions, we were all about improving and working without using screenplays. It was an interesting first year sure we’ve made some funny hits but we’ve also made a lot of misses in terms of punchlines, blocking, structure, and after awhile things got formalistic and lost. Not too mention the craziest running times since the epic Ben-Hur but after awhile you learn to appreciate why scripts and the aspect of screenwriting is so essential. Ever since I was taught the foundations involved in screenwriting I loved it ever since. It takes a bit of time to pen the right script but the point is no one said you couldn’t have fun in trying to carve the story you want to tell and there is no right or wrong way to do such a thing (especially when it’s an outline or a first draft).
Don’t be afraid of Format and Structure
The most problem anyone has with screenwriting tends to be format and structure for the final aspect of the screenplay. You should look at it as a sandbox when you’re starting, outline your story as best you can if you’re about that aspect, look into writing the logline for what your story is entirely about as if you’re pitching it to an executive. Get yourself a stack of notecards, and pen the story’s main plot down and begin to expand by writing the same thing but adding more notecards on what your characters are up to in each scene. Even if the first idea is outlandish and a bit ridiculous stop looking at the screenwriting as just work and make it into something fun because you are building worlds. Even if no one understands it at first much like me preparing this blog right now, you need to just stay dedicated and focused upon your first screenplay and write it.
Format is important but right now you’re just carving out your ideas, and planning can actually save you time in the long run. Especially as you get well thought out characters designed and places into your new story. You’ll be well on your way in no time in creating Iconic characters for bloggers to talk about from years on in as you learn the process and then create your own style in making the magic. Right now you’ll need the right mindset and that is
- All Ideas are welcomed
- No such things as Bad Ideas
- What can I do differently?
- Always ask “What If?”
Stay on track for the finish line.
You must always think with the end in mind, that you have a story here with a beginning, middle and an end. Too many new writers stop in the middle of the story and do not finish the production which is horrendous. It can be either through distractions, hesitations, self-doubt, and probably other people who scoffed at the idea. Never fall into the pit, pull yourself from it by always knowing you’ll have to rewrite anyways especially if some characters just don’t fit with the tone of your story. Writing is Rewriting in this business and the business is built on results so if you can feel that urge to write in the beginning, your duty is to control it and always show up for work so you can finish the story.
Never think with the mind of a perfectionist
Perfection doesn’t have a place in screenwriting, that’s only when you pitch it to the producer, and that’s after you’ve done your revising and editing. A lot of perfectionists I’ve seen as I worked with them through college and so on are mostly applying pressure to themselves and tend to suffer the wildest breakdowns. Don’t torment yourself like this if your idea was perfect in your mind, that’s beautiful but in reality you will have to make compromises as it goes to being produced and it will never look the same way as it was in your mindset. So you’ll just need an accurate representation and it can only be made once you put your concept to paper. Plus a lot of perfectionists tend to make scripts that they never want anyone to read because it has to be “perfect.”
As a writer, You must remember that your script is to be read by someone and it could be anyone that’s working on the picture you’re penning. Especially if they don’t like it, you just have to have that faith in yourself in that you’re doing your best and carry yourself well. If you have a producer or a director that is interested in your screenplay stop being shy and share them the essence of your work. If they don’t like it or the script-reader doesn’t care for it, well hear them out on it, and if they’d like a few changes, see if you can go about doing them before they find a script doctor and the whole thing becomes a mess. Be open to what others have to say but never stop writing or putting your skills to the test in creating your masterpieces because for every “no” there is a “Yes” out there. The business is made of 99% rejection and really you’re strong enough to make the shot count, you don’t become the greatest by sheer luck, you become through daily training, and the willingness to show off your skills (Something Bloggers go though every day).
So throw the perfectionist thoughts out of the window, we’re all perfectly flawed creatures and if you want your movie or screenplay produced just focus on getting it done rather than being perfect. Renown celebrity status comes later but you need to make sure you’re putting in the work for people to read otherwise it’s just “talk” but if you have your written manuscript in hand and are presentable to task. You have action by your side and that’s a step in the right direction there. There’s plenty of people out there who do more talking instead of taking action and they are called “phonies” so don’t be one of them.
Now for those of who that were always interested in writing and have been writing your ideas with no idea of how to get started or layout your screenplay.
Here’s a few websites to help you with that.
All of these are great sources for me but you’re going to need some software to write the screenplay right?
In terms of Software for those of you starting out, you can use Celtx or Amazon Storywriter. They even have notecard and character outlines built in on them so it can also help with you outline as you prepare your stories. We’ll look into the industry standards: Final Draft 10 and Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 at another time.
Make time for your craft, and stop all distractions.
When you do write, please stop using social media, put the phone on vibrate, and put aside time for you and your craft. I know some of you use it for music but try to have a playlist that you can put on a CD or something so that it can get you away from the tweets and spend time in the world you’re trying to create. This is technically the age of distraction and every one says we’re so easily distracted by things when you don’t have the focus to tone them out. So create a block of time (if possible) for your writing, this dedication is something that you must build and flex just like the creative muscles and believe if I can finish several screenplays using this technique so can all of you. The social scene will just have to wait for a little while as you carve a masterpiece that filmmakers worldwide could be starving to film.
“I’m never home” and all traveling excuses.
If you are someone always on the go and can never stop for a minute but want to write something, buy yourself a pack of memo pads, along with a set of wired notecards to get your items outlined. There is the Celtx app for mobile phones and I think Amazon Storywriter has one as well. Considering the other apps on your phone however build your tolerance and focus for your craft first. You have stories to tell and fans awaiting them so Facebook and Twitter can wait. It’s up to you whether you want to make your mark as a screenwriter and since I’d love to see the future grow as much as possible (especially in the artist field) I hope I can set you on the right track in creating some great material. Have fun and take it easy in your adventure and here are some additional books that can help you in your process.
J’s Screenwriter Reading List
- Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
- The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
- The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottler
Hey J360 Legion
It’s a tough pill to swallow regarding the Election Day fiasco but in the end if you think of it, the country is still facing too many issues. This is just another one of those bitter things that happen in life, and despite some of the movies, 2016 hasn’t been a good year for a lot of people regarding these circumstances. Although the govt is going though these same problems, I still have optimism and faith in my country. I love the USA and that will never change despite some of the idiocy and rampant ridiculousness that takes place from time to time. Sometimes things have to get worse in order to get better and I believe plenty of others are going to get a severe wake-up call from all of this unexpected news. Don’t let yesterday’s outcome ruin today’s progress though you don’t all live through the government do you?
Like outside of the obvious things, you do make other independent choices like where you want to work, go to college, and etc, right?
I’m talking to the ones out there who are capable not the unfortunate ones who have to live though government assistance due to illness and etc…you aren’t forgotten, make sure if you’re able to speak on your behalf, do so if the govt attempts to wrong you in any way (you still have a voice). Make sure you’re getting the best care because you don’t deserve to live in a lesser life than anyone else.
Now for those of you who are abled body and are capable to take action.
We all truly live through the sacrifices we put in and give to the worldview or lifestyle we create. Our government exists to handle other things and should serve as a foundation. It’s a necessary entity we all have to work with and try to understand. Sure we’ve got a joker in there now but the thing is he’s a figurehead that serves as a link between us and our government. He doesn’t run anything without the congress and if we as the people pay close attention to what he does, perhaps we might have a strong say against some of the outlandish things he may plan. Believe in freedom but understand that the cost of it is high, and we must be willing to pay to maintain such. The idealism should be enough to note that we’re all striving to achieve our goals and we all want to make our achievements.
Now as Americans we can either choose to whine and live in fear about all of this, or we can do better, improve ourselves, and try never to make the same mistakes again. I’m not just talking about Elections, I’m talking in general. You all know what you’d love to do and what you can do to make your lives better but it will take all of you and the willingness to take a risk to make it happen.
Start anew today and no matter what, remember you’re all you have and the choices you make matter. You may even inspire the future to do the same so try to leave a strong legacy regardless of the lunacy you face.
I know I should be taking the time to discuss the Monster Fest and the movies involved with it but I wanted to speak about the TMNT for a moment.
It’s still a toss up in the air if we’ll ever see a TMNT 3 from Paramount Pictures due to Out of The Shadows’ lackluster intake from the box office. Unfortunately I missed seeing its theatrical run (was busy with other interests at the time), and I really don’t remember it being promoted as heavily as the first installment from 2014. Now that it’s on the home release I do know that it’d be a real cop-out to pull the plug on a movie franchise cause of a horrible sales weekend. Even on holiday weekends you know some people just aren’t taking themselves to the movies like they used to. Regardless The Turtles still have a strong market appeal and despite the evolution that has taken place regarding their designs and everything the reboot movies tend to have the heart of the beloved 80s series in mind in addition to the attitude of the 2012 animated series. I don’t think we’ll see a movie made in the vein of the classic black & white comics because of the dark tones and really the only movie that came close to that style is the classic 1990 movie.
Even the classic series of movies had a few bum steers but even then it was steady, uneven but steady until that large gap between Turtles 3 and TMNT (2009). Remember no film franchise is perfect and then when we found out that they were rebooting the Turtles for the big screen again, many a turtle fan was joyful. That is until we found out whom was at the head of the production regarding the movies (-cough- Michael Bay), and remembering full well what this man did to Optimus and Co. Many Turtle fans went into a frenzy and yelled out their venomous hate for the man and his childhood destroying ways. I too was among them especially when one of his premises dealt with aliens…bah…although the ooze did come from the TGRI Building and the subplot with the Utroms but that’s not important right now. Many of us wanted to see the Turtles done well as we envisioned in our minds for the new production but since Paramount already picked their guy to be in charge of the production, marketing, and gameplan. We all had to wait and see what would happen in 2014.
We saw four huge turtles battling about a cyber shredder, sure Splinter was there and Megan Fox was April but it didn’t matter. As superficial as we humans can be, we saw the redesigns, casting choices, and reacted accordingly with increased hatedom to the new franchise. Plenty of people were hating more but I started to change my mind a bit because I started to see signs from the new trailer that perhaps the action sequences are good. Maybe there’s something positive in this circle of negatives because people tend to hate what they don’t understand (especially in the movie process).
Why did they design the Turtles in the reboot to look the way they do?
I have no clue but I could see through their interactions with each other and the way they do their job of protecting the city.
They were the same turtles in Spirit and that was good enough for me, plus Bay wasn’t even directing this movie. It was all from Jonathan Liebesman and this isn’t Transformers. This is something new, something fresh to watch, and as it isn’t the Turtles designs I’ve grown up with, it shows that the TMNT have to evolve with the times too. So when I went to see the 2014 movie with Guardians of the Galaxy as a double feature, I had a great time. I’ll admit the designs took some getting used to, and the plot really wasn’t important to me. I got to see the turtles battle the foot mercenaries, and eventually battle Shredder while showing how powerful they are as a team and a family. There was charm in this film, I didn’t expect to see a unique take on the Turtles and I was entertained which is what movies should be about in addition to money.
(How could you not laugh at this clip?)
2014 came and went, there were several sequel hooks to let you know that a new film is coming soon. So I was psyched to hear that it the movie that eventually became Out of the Shadows was coming to theatres in 2016. The thing is, there were so many superhero movies coming out at once so that it was hard to catch up. You had Batman v.Superman coming out in March, Captain America: Civil War in May, and Suicide Squad in August. Right in the middle was the TMNT coming out with an April release during Easter weekend for goodness sakes. In my opinion, the reason why the 2014 film was a sleeper hit is because August is the end of the Summer Rush. The series has market appeal but during the last times of summer people are just running to the movies or the beach to get that last bit of fun. The franchise was well marketed in the previous outing because it’s trying to establish an audience and product placement from Crush sodas, commercials, and toys were there so people just had to go see this movie. The 2012 animated series was running at full steam so that was enough fire to push the first movie. The reviews haven’t been that great from mainstream critics but they never are for any movie these days.
(Results are courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes)
As 2016 rolled around, it was questionable on what happened in TMNT 2’s results? Perhaps they didn’t have a good spot to push it or maybe they felt that having it on Easter Weekend was a marketable strategy as it is Spring Vacation for kids and families to go to the movies. I knew the movie was coming but during the time after the DCEU’s appearance and knowing full well Captain America: Civil War was coming in May, I wasn’t thinking about the next TMNT outing.
That’s the thing about Marvel movies you know? None of us expected something like the MCU to take off and carry well into mainstream filmmaking. You’re always wondering what’s happening next but you have to bid your time and wait but you’re too excited to care unless you get Superhero fatigue.
If Paramount were to do what Disney did regarding Star Wars by keeping the films marketed in the same slot (for the year’s end in December). It gives that charm and sense of something big is going to tie up the last month. They could’ve done this with the TMNT regarding the last two weeks in August. It would’ve made a spectacular ending to a potential summer rush but as it was placed in the middle between DC and Marvel both armed by WB and Disney’s marketing it got lost in the crowd. Even if most people claim that BVS sucked, they weren’t thinking highly about about the next TMNT adventure as Team Cap/Team Iron Man was stuck in the brain.
I will say that by looking at both films on the home release they were both quite enjoyable, and not every film is the Revenant or a box office smash but they’re good in their own way. I think that Paramount should try again and not leave the current/new gen TMNT fans hanging. See us in the elder Gen Y realm, we already know what our ideal Turtle film would be like (The original prime Turtles) but we shouldn’t ruin it for the next generation. The big wigs at Paramount should try to see if a third film could work, they had the actors signed for three films and they may as well complete the trilogy. Next to Universal, Paramount seems to be having a hard time outside of the Transformers films to find a steady shared universe for their properties. Universal is going to attempt to create a new one with their classic monsters line-up, and eventually we’ll have nothing but shared universes on the movie platform and it’s just getting to the point where people are getting tuned out but this is another subject to cover at a later time.
Ever have problems finding the right screenwriter software to create your masterpiece?
I’ve been there too, the original program I used wasn’t being updated anymore and to compensate while looking for the next big addition in my bag of tricks, I made a game out of comparing various different programs while creating the screenplay for Hourglass.
This mission helped with the rewriting process and the #1 professional software that comes to every writer’s mind is Final Draft. The problem is that a lot of aspiring/beginning filmmakers and screenwriters may not have the cash for the product.
For instance, Final Draft tends to retail for $249.99 from the main website, and various prices from other stores like Amazon.com. I know there is an academic version that can allow me access to how FD functions but sometimes you just want more.
So I stumbled upon a VideoMaker article where they compare the 6 best screenwriting software options. Feel free to look into it and educate yourself on the different choices that are out there for you. While the article is a little dated, it is still a fascinating read and could save you in a lot of time in making a decision.
Far as my screenwriting software choice goes I managed to catch Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 on a deal, and the rest is history.
If you need some help to start writing, or formatting your story I recommend looking into these five websites.