Weekend Reader – April 4ish (The Spoiler-Free Steve Rogers Edition)

Has anyone else just had the worst week?

Well, it would have been the worst week, except I got to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So it was the best worst week.

Did you know Cap has his own froyo? So many flavours. Including Cheesecake! I wouldn’t think he’d be into that, considering how long he was on ice. Insensitive? Anyway…

My only Cap-related complaint is that’s it’s really hard to find non-3D screenings. That’s the definition of first world problems right there. Like I said, anyway…

If you read the header of this post, you know what I’ve been reading this week. And you don’t need me to tell you how good this movie is. I’m sure there are lots of reviews you can read. But, if you’re looking for your Avengers news fix, you are in the right place:

An interview iffy in quality from The Guardian

THR had SO MANY THINGS

 

A WARNING: this link is a bit misleading… Someone cut together scenes from different movies and used the word naked in the title… But, really, he’s wearing pants. Mostly.

(And go see Snowpiercer as soon as you have a chance)

As for the other Avengers…

And…

 

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The Weekend Reader – March 14ish (Still Lazy After All These Days)

Wow, I am so still not caught up on anything life-related yet. I’m working on it. Sloooooowly, but still…

I feel like I did do a lot of reading this week. Some of it was for two awesome classes:

Social Issues Through Comic Books

Get A Grasp (for comic creators)

(Both of which are FREE classes you can still join, so do it!)

Class reading probably included the best thing I read all week: Taste versus Ability

But there was more…

 

 

And some other notes…

My heart goes out to the citizens of Austin, TX and the folks who lost their lives at SXSW this year. But there were some lovely bits of news out of the fest, and the one about the swag bags benefiting the homeless was by far my favourite.

As always, there will be more next week. In the meantime, have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. If you still need something green to wear, you can always get a little Loki on your lips

 

The Weekend Reader February 14! HAPPY LOVE DAY!

Enjoy it while it lasts, because we all know what happens after Love Day:

Lots of (random) links today:

 

I treat this time of year like Thanksgiving- I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes me happy and what I can do for others. So, just because it’s Love Day, here are (very random) things you’ll love:

And me? What do I love? I love you guys. You’re all such awesome creatures- throwing yourselves against the walls, trying to knock ’em down and let more of us in. Keep working hard. Keep accomplishing great things that seem impossible. And keep being excellent to each other along the way. 

Woody Allen And A Strange Twist Over Broadway

Don’t forget, there is always more strangeness to be had…

The Wrap asks a fair question, given the talk around town: Will the Woody Allen Scandal Torpedo ‘Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical’?

I don’t know what has happened, or what will happen, in the portion of the universe that Woody Allen occupies. I’m going to be really honest about what I do know- he’s not my favourite filmmaker. So many people raved on how much I would looooooove Midnight In Paris, for example. I admit, it’s as close to loving a Woody Allen film as I’ve ever gotten (Come on- Set in Paris? Corey Stoll as Hemingway?! Tom Hiddleston as F. SCOTT FITZGERALD?!!!!1 Ahem.) But I didn’t love it nearly as much as the chorus of recommenders thought I would. But this?

Yes, please. More.

And that’s all I know for sure.

But, randomly (and the real point of this blog post), I noticed the article included this related link: Broadway Audience White, Middle Aged and Female, Study Finds and I went all WHAAAAAAAA?

If you read the entire article (and I recommend that you do), it basically states the Broadway audience is in their 40s and female. My question is what, exactly, is the “Broadway Audience”? There’s a pretty heavy divide between musical theatregoers and those who see plays, for example. And using selective surveys at 34 productions that only amounts to a cross-section that includes 5,000 or so voluntary respondents? How accurate is this data, really?

Considering it’s taken from 11.58 million attendees who saw a Broadway show last year… Ummm…

I like to think everyone sees live theatre as often as they can. It can be tough, based on where you live and what your life involves, but I know you want to.

And admission is always the first step on the right path.

 

Sexism- Call It Out or Tune It Out? (Also, A Shakespeare Sunday Chaser)

I keep an eye out for freelance writing gigs of many kinds, mostly because freelancing for ages makes it a hard habit to break. But, hey, you never know what you’re missing if you don’t look around, right…?

Recently, I saw a very legit posting on a very legit website for a seemingly legit freelance gig. I went through and started work on the application process, part of which was going to the site in question and looking at some existing entries. That’s generally a good idea, even if it’s not required, I’d say.

In this case, it might have saved me time even just filling out the application.

You see, two of the reference articles on the very first page were 1- types of women that are easy to hate and, well, there’s no nice way to say it…

2- The first article on the first page was a list of girls who look hot with jizz on their faces.

Not joking. Needless to say, I’m not naming the publication, which was supposedly an all-ages/demographics kind of site.

Now, my original plan was to do the application and say “By the way, since you’re aiming for a wide audience, you may not want to alienate 50% of the population with misogynist content like that. And that’s not the type of content I’m interested in writing. Ever. But here are some cool factoids about Tom Hiddleston…”

So I thought about it and started the application. And then I walked away. I went back. And walked away again. Repeat x3. I think I’ve pretty much decided, aside from this commentary, to just leave it alone.

But still I wonder- Is it crazier to engage or to walk away from something like that? I know you have to engage when it’s in your face. But, when it’s online and could just die off with a lack of attention, is silence the better treatment?

In the meantime, I guess I’m going to have to post all my cool Tom Hiddleston factoids on here, instead. Thankfully, it’s Shakespeare Sunday, so I have a further excuse. Enjoy.

(Bless that man for taking the ick out of the interwebs…)

Best Bits of 2013 – The Year of Screenwriting Dangerously

There are a glut (a word I do not use lightly) of “best-of” lists that appear this time of year. Originally, I wasn’t going to add to the pile at all, but I wanted to recap the work of screenwriters I’ve enjoyed in 2013. I’ve been blessed to be on the receiving end of so much great wisdom this year, so I figure this is the least I can do.

(A disclaimer- I am not a movie critic, so my viewing isn’t as thorough as someone who watches movies for a living. I see a lot of movies because I write movies. I sometimes gravitate more to movies/genres/stars/writers I like. And there are still a handful of unseen films on my must-see 2013 list, as listed below. So, better yet, don’t even consider this a year-end list. This is just a collection of films I liked in 2013 that had awesome writers and creators that I’ve learned a whole lot from. Enjoy.)

1-Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg – The World’s End

The only film I can ever imagine seeing in a theatre 13 times (which I really did do) because I am so much in love with the Pegg/Wright aesthetic. Shaun of the Dead turned me on to a whole genre and Hot Fuzz turned a genre I already loved on its head, but The World’s End was something… else. Something really beyond your average film-going experience. Something really smart,  invaluably sweet and utterly enjoyable.

Screenplays for all three films are available on The Ultimate Three Flavors Cornetto® Trilogy Blu-ray™ and there are oh-so-many how-to writing and filmmaking bits floating around online that the guys have shared in their decade-long writing partnership. A huge inspiration to me.

 

2-Ed Solomon – Now You See Me

My all-time favourite screenwriter since forever turned out to be the coolest, sweetest and most generous writer, possibly ever. Did I mention the smartest? Also, probably that. And did I mention I love his work. Swoon. Just swoon.

I was really enchanted by Now You See Me (remind me to post more about how great Mark Ruffalo always is) and I can’t wait to see whatever he works on next.

 

3-Katie Dippold – The Heat

I watched The Heat in theatres, on planes, in airports, in bed. I loved everything about it – including the performances and director – but I especially loved the funny and fearless script. It also prompted the realization that Katie Dippold was one of the few female screenwriters I could actually name… And that was part of the reason why this blog was created in the first place.

 

4-The Great Teachers of TX (Austin, to be exact)

I have been promising myself every year, literally, for nearly 20 years that I would make the trek to Austin, Texas to spend a week of sun and fun there during SXSW. Finally, this year, I made it… almost. I made it to Austin just in time for the 20th Austin Film Festival. I do not regret that choice. Those folks aren’t kidding around.

They say it’s a writer’s festival and they mean it. I spent a lot of time and money on screenwriting events over the past 12 months and, though Austin was kinda pricey, a lovely bunch of people made it worthwhile, including:

Craig Mazin – Identity Thief

Craig Mazin is really, really good at his job. Aside from the weekly Scriptnotes podcast with John August, he wrote both this year’s Identity Thief and The Hangover Part III. But it was Craig’s A-Game at the AFF that floored me. Especially his panel Structurally Sound. I couldn’t explain it to you if I tried but, man, it felt like a whole screenwriting education crammed into an oh-so-brief session (in a very tiny room, even).

Listen to Scriptnotes

 

Shane Black (with Drew Pearce) – Iron Man 3

This year, after a long and flirtatious courtship, I really fell hard for Shane Black. At AFF, listening to him talk in such loving, dulcet tones about noir, hard action, insane thrillers and Iron Man… You had me at noir, Shane. You had me at noir.

Listen to the brilliant On Story Podcast with Shane Black

 

Vince Gilligan – Breaking Bad

This was the year of Vince Gilligan was capped off with the heartbreakingly brilliant end of Breaking Bad. I very nearly expected the AFF crowd would organize a parade to hoist and carry him through the streets. And deservedly so.  In the lead up to the AFF, I did some binge-watching of classic Gilligan-penned X-Files eps like Memento Mori and Drive. I have so much respect for someone working at that insane level of talent.

Listen to the lovely On Story Podcast with Vince Gilligan

 

(Side note: is it weird that I can’t find any of the video from the Austin Film Festival? They seemed to film everything, and there was so much good stuff… If anyone knows where I can point to, let me know!)

5-For Heroes, Thrillers and those Lost in Space

Joss Whedon (with a little help from William Shakespeare) – Much Ado About Nothing

Find someone Joss Whedon hasn’t inspired and I’ll give you a nickle. I have a lot of nickles and I’ve never had to give one away. (I forgot about Much Ado initially, only because I first saw it at TIFF in 2012. It was magic, though, no matter how or when or where you saw it. Enough with the Marvel nonsense Joss! Make more Shakespeare!)

 

Nicolas Winding Refn – Only God Forgives

Another early entry that may not be for everyone, but film I liked from a generous filmmaker nonetheless.

 

Scott Z. Burns – Side Effects

There aren’t enough straight-up adult thrillers. I don’t think Hollywood ever had an era where they cranked out an excess of these. There’s no time like the present…

 

Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight

I love these movies. Richard Linklater has written a bunch of other brilliant movies. Julie Delpy has written a bunch of other great movies. Before Midnight is a masterclass in everything.

 

Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron – Gravity

One thing I’ve learned in 2013 is that the more movies you watch, the more cynical you can get about the strained, cookie-cutter fare that seems to rerun endlessly. If you ever wake up feeling like that, watch Gravity. Or anything Cuaron, really.

 

7-The New Kid

Ryan Coogler – Fruitvale Station

I’ve already declared my Best Picture for 2013 because the only movie that made my heart stop in 2013 was Fruitvale Station. So, if you haven’t seen it, do. And if you’re the type who votes, take it under consideration.

Read the unlikely story of Ryan Coogler

 

Still playing 2013 catch-up (some are available for reading right now, thanks to Go Into The Story for the links):

Enough Said by Nicole Holofcener

Dallas Buyer’s Club by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack

Saving Mr Banks by Kelly Marcel

Philomena by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope 

Nebraska by Robert W. Nelson

Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom by William Nicholson 

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts 

Inside Llewyn Davis by Joel and Ethan Coen

 

And, yes, this is still my favourite clip from 2013. No contest. Happy new year indeed.