A Handy Guide To Everything A Screenwriter Should Not Say. Ever.

Yup. Everything not to say. All in one place.

I am well familiar with the work of William Nicholson (as are you) but I know nothing about the man outside of his work. I thought well, maybe the clickbaiters are taking quotes out of context to try and drive some traffic… But there was this:

“’12 Years a Slave’ came out in America and that sucked up all the guilt about black people that was available. They were so exhausted feeling guilty about slavery that I don’t think there was much left over to be nice about our film. So our film didn’t do as well as we’d hoped, which was a bit heartbreaking.

“We showed it to test audiences very extensively and it got astounding responses. These things are measured in percentages and it was in the high 90s every time. So, honestly, we thought we had a winner. And when it didn’t become a winner it was devastating, actually, it was very distressing.

“I really thought it was going to win lots of awards, partly because it’s a good story but also because I thought I’d done a really good job and the director had done a really good job. So it has been very tough for me. Some things work and some things don’t. You just have to soldier on.”

… Ummm. Yeah…

There’s more in the Hitfix article, but be warned- it’s more than a bit heartbreaking. I mean, where to begin…?

Comparing Mandela’s struggle to slavery in America is so… misguided is the word I’m going to use.  There are others. Even going so far as to imply that people would see 12 Years A Slave (or Mandela, for that matter) out of guilt? Or that one filmic struggle cancels out the other because they both involve “black people”. What? I’m amazed he didn’t drag Fruitvale Station into the discussion. But, hey, it didn’t steal his awards thunder, so I guess it further didn’t merit a mention.

Wow. I’d honestly like to break this down further, but it’s making me too sad. This cannot be diversity in 2014, folks. We have got to do better.

Pretty Funny Hamlets and Writing In Fruitvale Station

I have been terrible at updating this blog the past couple of weeks… You, of course, know the reason- too much writing work to do otherwise (the old blessing/curse Catch-22… The Weekly Reader will arrive tomorrow). But I was thinking about the Oscar noms and, as I sat down to write something, I instead procrastinated my way into reading this from John August. Needless to say, this is as eloquent as it gets. I have nothing to add, so just read it. I’ll wait.

My only beef is Fruitvale Station not being included in the Best Picture category. Admittedly, I haven’t yet seen all the nominated films and, while I’m sure they’re all equally worthy, I can’t believe there weren’t enough Academy members who were hit over the noggin with Fruitvale Station to get that one in.

I don’t vote, but if anyone who does wants to write it in, I think it would be a worthy campaign… Just sayin.

Honestly, I think Humphrey Bogart had the right idea about awards:

The only honest way to find the best actor would be to let everybody play Hamlet and let the best man win. Of course, you’d get some pretty funny Hamlets that way.

The Award Goes To… Fruitvale Station

I still have a scant few 2013 movies to see but, of all the movies I have seen, I loved maybe a few. The movie that stays with me, though, the one that still haunts me with it`s depth and clarity and vision – that`s Fruitvale Station. Any movie that still gives you shivers six months after seeing it once, well, in my experience that`s incredibly awesome and rare.

It doesn`t matter to me if Ryan Coogler gets an Oscar – for writing or directing or whatever else –  but he should get some kind of a parade. A first script and film that powerful… he`s magic or something.

(Also, I doubt very much Grudge Match will knock it off the top of my list of 2013 favourites. But I do promise to have an open mind and let the magic happen… Seriously.)