Friday, July 21, 2017

On the Warner Bros. Studio Lot
SHAPE:AT&T TECH AND ENTERTAINMENT EXPO: VIRTUAL REALITY
by Janet Lawler
Los Angeles

The SHAPE AT&T Tech and Entertainment Expo at Warner Bros. Studios made one thing clear -- Hollywood and Silicon Valley plan to make Virtual Reality a bigger part of your entertainment future.  The two-day event (July 14-15) in Burbank showcased top movie talent and virtual innovations.
Expo attendees try the VR world
According to the experts, plan on soon using VR to watch your movies and sporting events.  Toss aside those 3D glasses and strap on state-of-the-art VR goggles.  VR technology is getting more advanced with HD and 360 immersive viewing all designed to enhance an audience's experience both at home and in theaters.   You won't just be watching a movie or sports event -- you'll be in it -- feeling a part of it.  It's pretty mind blowing and a little disorienting.
Kathryn Bigelow
Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") spoke about her passion project The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes, a virtual reality short film she directedWatching her short film, we put on the VR goggles.  Some of the goggles worked fine, but there is a learning curve on operating them (like not touching the sides or you'll stop the movie) and beware of poking the person sitting next to you as you move your head up down and side to side entering this virtual world.  

Bigelow's film "The Protectors" focused on African elephants’ as they near extinction from ivory-seeking poachers.  The overall movie experience was definitely more exciting wearing the VR goggles feeling like we were walking through the African jungle.  Collectively, our hearts were beating faster.
"Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins
As if Bigelow wasn't enough to please the audience, Shape AT&T Expo next brought out "Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins.  She was an audience favorite giving advice to emerging filmmakers.

Jenkins discussed her career (having worked as a camera person for years before directing) and presented the AT&T Entertainment Short Film Finalists and its winner Nicholas Arioli.  

Nicholas Arioli wins the Entertainment Project Emerging Filmmaker Award presented to him by   Director Patty Jenkins and AT&T’s David Christopher. 
 
Actress Kate Hudson talks Social Media in Hollywood
On day two of the Expo, Entrepreneur/Author/Oscar-Nominee Kate Hudson spoke about being a celebrity in today's social media age.  She said she does her own posts on social media and won't allow someone else do it for her.  She likes being authentic with the content she puts out (often of her singing on Instagram!).  Hudson noted the downside in today's fast-paced digital environment is that stars don't have the luxury of having their careers groomed like in traditional Hollywood (naming her mom Goldie Hawn as an example), but rather celebrities today and content are quickly disposable.  There is a constant desire to be relevant or appear to be.  And, that causes headaches for talent agents who have to handle crisis management when stars get into trouble with their posts or videos.   Hudson agreed that it's an exciting time in technology, being able to have more fan engagement, multiple platforms for creativity and global distribution. 

The Expo capped things off by offering Warner Bros. Studio tours.  I was like a kid in a candy shop!  Warner's has such a rich movie history with everyone from James Cagney, to Bette Davis to Clint Eastwood and now Ben Affleck having called the studio home.  We toured the set of "The Fosters"... and checked out the iconic "Friends" set... and the DC Super Hero section where "Wonder Woman" is on display right along with Batman and Superman.
Outside the Steven S. Ross Theater
Wonder Woman at Warner Bros. Studios Archive Museum
"Friends" set at Warner Bros. Studio Tour
Kudos to a job well-done, SHAPE AT&T Expo, and to all the outstanding speakers, participants and volunteers!  It was an inspiring and innovative weekend.

Until next time. 
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4868043/




Thursday, July 13, 2017

THE 69TH PRIMETIME EMMY AWARD NOMINATIONS (2017)
"Stranger Things" Nominated for Best Drama (Netflix)
Find the list of nominees below compliments to The NY Times.  The show will air on September 17th.   Hope your favorites made the list.  My faves are in yellow highlight below.

Best Comedy

Atlanta” (FX)
“black-ish” (ABC)
Master of None” (Netflix)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
Silicon Valley” (HBO)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix)
Veep” (HBO)

Best Drama

Better Call Saul” (AMC)
The Crown” (Netflix)
The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
House of Cards” (Netflix)
Stranger Things” (Netflix)
This Is Us” (NBC)

Best Limited Series

“Big Little Lies” (HBO)
“Fargo” (FX)
“Feud: Bette and Joan” (FX)
“Genius” (National Geographic)
“The Night Of” (HBO)

Best Actress, Comedy

Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”)
Jane Fonda (“Grace and Frankie”)
Allison Janney (“Mom”)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)
Ellie Kemper (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)
Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”)
Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”)

Best Actor, Comedy

Anthony Anderson (“black-ish”)
Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”)
Zach Galifianakis, (“Baskets”)
Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
William H. Macy (“Shameless”)
Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”)

Best Actress, Drama

Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”)
Claire Foy (“The Crown”)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Keri Russell (“The Americans”)
Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”)
Robin Wright (“House of Cards”)

Best Actor, Drama

Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Anthony Hopkins (“Westworld”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”)
Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”)
Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”)
Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”)

Best Actress, Limited Series or TV Movie

Carrie Coon (“Fargo”)
Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”)
Jessica Lange (“Feud: Bette and Joan”)
Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”)
Susan Sarandon (“Feud: Bette and Joan”)
Reese Witherspoon (“Big Little Lies”)

Best Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie

Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of”)
Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock: The Lying Detective”)
Robert De Niro (“The Wizard of Lies”)
Ewan McGregor (“Fargo”)
Geoffrey Rush (“Genius”)
John Turturro (“The Night Of”)

Television Movie

“Black Mirror: San Junipero”
Dolly Parton’s Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
“Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
“The Wizard of Lies”

Supporting Actor, Drama

Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”)
David Harbour (“Stranger Things”)
Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”)
Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”)
John Lithgow (“The Crown”)
Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”)
Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”)

Supporting Actress, Drama

Uzo Aduba (“Orange Is The New Black”)
Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”)
Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”)
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)
Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

Supporting Actor, Comedy

Louie Anderson (“Baskets”)
Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”)
Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)
Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”)
Tony Hale (“Veep”)
Matt Walsh (“Veep”)

Supporting Actress, Comedy

Vanessa Bayer (“Saturday Night Live”)
Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”)
Kathryn Hahn (“Transparent”)
Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”)
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
Judith Light (“Transparent”)

Limited Series

“Big Little Lies” (HBO)
“Fargo” (FX Networks)
“Feud: Bette and Joan” (FX Networks)
“Genius” (National Geographic)
“The Night Of” (HBO)

Supporting Actor, Limited Series or Movie

Alexander Skarsgard (“Big Little Lies”)
David Thewlis (“Fargo”)
Alfred Molina (“Feud: Bette and Joan”)
Stanley Tucci (“Feud: Bette and Joan”)
Bill Camp (“The Night Of”)
Michael Kenneth Williams (“The Night Of”)

Supporting Actress, Limited Series or a Movie

Judy Davis (“Feud: Bette and Joan”)
Laura Dern (“Big Little Lies”)
Jackie Hoffman (“Feud: Bette and Joan”)
Regina King (“American Crime”)
Michelle Pfeiffer (“The Wizard Of Lies”)
Shailene Woodley (“Big Little Lies”)

Variety Sketch Series

“Billy On The Street” (truTV)
“Documentary Now!” (IFC)
“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)
“Portlandia” (IFC)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“Tracey Ullman’s Show” (HBO)


Congratulations to all the nominees!  Until next time... 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Eleanor Coppola Makes Her First Movie

STANDING IN NOBODY'S SHADOW
Eleanor Coppola Makes Her Directorial Debut at Age 81
by Janet J. Lawler

Eleanor Coppola Directs
Eleanor Coppola has a famous last name, but she's quick to note she doesn't carry the Coppola DNA.

She's only married to Francis Ford Coppola ("The Godfather") for fifty-four years now. Oh, and she's also the mother of Sophia Coppola ("Lost in Translation"), but Eleanor has her own artistic voice.

She'd like you to give it a listen by seeing her new film "Paris Can Wait".  It opens this weekend in select theaters.
Eleanor and Francis
Eleanor Coppola is more known for her documentaries such as "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse", which focused on the insanity surrounding the making of her husband's movie "Apocalypse Now".  She also wrote a book about it ("Notes: The Making of Apocalypse Now").

But her new movie "Paris Can Wait" stars Diane Lane.  It's Eleanor's debut as a narrative feature film director.   She produced and wrote the movie too.  And if that isn't commendable enough, she's also 81 years old and venturing into a new world.

How hard was it to get this small movie made in today's Hollywood?

As Eleanor noted in recent interviews, it wasn't easy getting financing for her original story (loosely based on a road trip she took in France with a business associate of Francis Ford Coppola's while in Cannes).  The "Paris Can Wait" script didn't contain action, violence, sex or explosions.

Instead, it's a breezy, lovely film reminding us to slow down and savor every moment --  to venture off the main road of your life and explore new terrain, neighbors, food, scenery, art, see how others live and, maybe, just maybe, find a moment to breathe.

Boy, can we use a movie like that right now.  I could use a long weekend excursion through France.   And who better to spend a road trip with than Diane Lane?  In the French country side?  Sipping a glass of wine?
 "Paris Can Wait" is out.

Be sure to find it in your town and buy a ticket.   See it on the BIG screen.  Don't wait for it to land on Netflix or iTunes.

Not only because the director's last name is Coppola, but because Eleanor poured her heart and soul into making this film.  She took a chance on us, the mature movie audience, to find it.  It's a cinematic treat.  So, savor it like a French truffle.

These type of original movies won't be around for long.

Enjoy!

Be sure to check out The NY Screenwriting Life on Facebook
Visit Janet's IMDB page here  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4868043/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1



 

Monday, April 03, 2017

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF STORYTELLING WITH LINDSAY DORAN
by Janet J. Lawler

The Black List recently sponsored the above titled talk by Lindsay Doran at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.  Great audience turn out and an impressive talk.   
Writer/Producer Lindsay Doran
Lindsay Doran, a former film executive and Oscar-nominated writer for "Sense and Sensibility" knows a thing or two about storytelling.  She's been around movie making most of her life, in some form or another, and makes a living these days as a story consultant, as the Script Whisperer, for major studio projects.

Lindsay's talk focused on many things, but mainly on how most dramatic movies win Oscars and Golden Globes, while happy, uplifting movies (like, say, for instance, 2008's Mamma Mia which grossed over $600 million dollars at the global box office) get snubbed or mocked by Hollywood.
  
Why is that?  Why do depressing dramas win more Oscars than comedies year after year?  Are we conditioned to think sad is better?  More award-worthy?  It's no wonder Moonlight beat La La Land this year.  Maybe it wasn't such a shocker after all.

So, what's a screenwriter to do?  Stay away from the happy ending?  The feel-good movie? Is a good cry valued more on the big screen than a good belly laugh?   It looks that way, according to Lindsay's research.  She probed Hollywood executives, agents and producers about the above questions and found that most favored sad over uplifting stories, pessimism over optimism, and goal-driven flicks over relationship movies.

But how do audiences feel?  What are we craving when we pluck down money at the box office?  With the success of many children's animation movies maybe we are chasing the happy endings.
Lindsay suggests screenwriters consider the psychological benefits of writing more positive stories, heartwarming tales and happy endings for our characters.  To ask the question, what is the human moment in your script?  What are the relationships worth writing about here?  Will a movie about characters still make money?

Yes, Lindsay Doran says.  Most moviegoers remember "the relationship" part of a movie rather than the goal accomplished.  She noted iconic movies like Dirty Dancing (it's not Jennifer Grey flying into Patrick's Swayze's arms at the end of that movie that really mattered, but instead, her father recognizing his daughter's talent and her becoming a young adult); along with Rocky (how we tend to forget that Rocky Balboa actually LOST the fight to Apollo Creed in the original Rocky movie... but it's still uplifting to audiences forty years later because Rocky, instead of beating Creed, found self-worth and true love at the end.)  Adrian!  That's what we remember (and the great training montage).  

So then, when you sit down to write your next script, it doesn't have to be a downer to move people.  It can be a musical, a comedy, a happy fairy tale... just don't expect it to win the Oscar.  But you never know, La La Land came awfully close this year (and even won it for Best Picture for a few brief shining moments!).

Until next time.








Tuesday, January 24, 2017

FINDING SOLACE IN LA LA LAND AND THE OSCAR NOMINATIONS

It's that glitzy time of year.  The elections are over, the inauguration in the history books, so now it's time to get some much-needed pizzazz in our lives.

Who better to do that for Americans than that little gold man Oscar?

Mark your calendar for the Oscars airing on February 26th, 2017 on ABC.
Make plans to attend an Oscar party to watch or stay home in your pajamas comfy on the sofa.  I'm  more the stay home and watch it on the sofa type (I really want to watch the show and not socialize), but this year we may break tradition, and watch The Oscars at a friend's house.  (Talking only during commercials).  Yeah, that won't last long.  Plus, I'll have to dress up, although no need to be fitted for a designer gown... yet.  A girl has to dream... speaking of... 

My favorite dreamy movie to win the Oscars is La La Land.  It received 14 noms.  Strictly speaking as a self-anointed dreamer, this movie truly lassoed my heart from its odd opening number.  I loved the direction, the cinematography, the acting, the homage to old Hollywood and Los Angeles (being new to California I'm still in awe of this town).  A musical about following your bliss may not be your particular cup of tea, but considering the tense climate we're all living through right now in our beautiful nation (and world), an uplifting song and dance movie sweeping the Oscars may not be such a bad thing. 
A shout out also for Moonlight (a deeply moving story with gripping performances).  I'm letdown that Taraji P. Henson didn't get nominated for Hidden Figures.  She gave an amazing, heartwarming performance and a complete departure from her character Cookie that she's best known for playing on Empire.  Don't miss Hidden Figures.  It's eye opening and will take you to the moon and back.

No nomination for Annette Bening in 20th Century Women?!  Surprising and disappointing.

Before the end of next month,  go see as many great movies and performances that you can fit in.  Read the nominated screenplays and cast your ballot either home alone online or with your friends.  Either way, have a wonderful time and forget the world's troubles at least for one magical night.

Here is the complete list of Oscar nominees.  http://oscar.go.com/nominees
Read best screenplays for free here http://www.cbsnews.com/news/download-screenplays-of-award-contenders-2016/

Saturday, December 31, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU & YOURS
2016 was sure an interesting year.  It will go down in the record books and not for many positive reasons.  It was a year of political unrest and shocks and celebrity deaths that rocked our world.  We lost David Bowie, Prince and other pop culture icons.

Debbie and Carrie
So sad about the passing of actress Carrie Fisher and her mom Debbie Reynolds.  Talk about a love story.  For those who have experienced it, there is nothing like the bond between a mother and daughter.   Both of those ladies were true talents and their wit and voices will be missed.  Their legacy lives on together now and apart.
City of Stars
My favorite movie of 2016 was La La Land.  It's such an uplifting, colorful and vibrant movie with a great soundtrack.  The story is about two artists trying to find their way in the world, to stay true to themselves and yet open their hearts to another.  Sweet story and two great performances by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.  It's just the type of movie needed for 2016.

Next month we'll have a new President of the United States.   Should be interesting to watch and see what our 45th President accomplishes in his transition of power.  Enough said.

On a writing note, 2016 was a solid year.  I signed with a manager in Los Angeles and my spec script The Tenant is now officially In Development with a director attached.   You can read more about it on IMDBPro.  I just finished my first "rewrite assignment" for a producer on an international film project.   And my short play The Kiss premiered on Distilled Radio https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/dtc-radio/episodes/2016-11-16T21_00_00-08_00

I'll keep you posted on other developments in 2017!

Until then, have a WONDERFUL and PROSPEROUS New Year!  Much joy and great health!  Keep writing and enjoying movies!

Happy New Year (from the City of Stars in California!)

Be sure to follow The NY Screenwriting Life on Facebook.  Janet J. Lawler is a screenwriter, playwright and novelist.  Her debut novel From the Ground Up is available in Amazon and Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F3CYSU8





 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

PROCRASTINATION NATION
by Janet J. Lawler
July 21, 2016 
I blame it on watching Crazy Ex Girlfriend!

I'm about to start writing my new spec script.  BIG idea.  Lots of mojo. 

I just need to START writing it.

But it's mid-July.  Easy, breezy, HOT summertime.  My days are jam packed with things I MUST do BEFORE I can begin writing.  Like what, you might ask?

Here's my list for today:

Check Twitter page
Check Facebook (for the third time and it's not even 10 am yet.  Does it count as checking again if you use different devices?)
Check emails
Respond to emails, even Spam
Donate to my cousin's charity event
Vacuum the house
Do that small load of laundry piling up
Prepare my tennis bag for the weekend
Wash wrist bands by hand
Watch that damn Netflix DVD (yes, we STILL watch DVDs too)
Read the one of three books I borrowed from the library
Renew library books
Walk the dog
Exercise (does walking the dog count? 2 miles, yes.)
Clean the car
Check oil and fill tires with air
Make the bed
Empty dishwasher
Decide what's for dinner
Decide where to eat out tonight
Meditate (I'm six days behind on the Oprah & Deepak 21 Day Meditation)  Sheez! I'm stressing!
Listen to the new Scriptnotes podcast  (What do you mean Stuart is quitting?  John's moving to Paris?  WHUT?!)
Go to Trader Joe's for Pita Chips
Buy margarita mix
Charge all my electronic devices (my iPad always konks out at the worst time)
Check movie listings (must see Ghostbusters to support those 4 actresses!)
Watch the last 3 episodes of Orange is the New Black
Watch Crazy Ex Girlfriend (Rachel Bloom is AWESOME!)
Catch up with Season 2 of UnReal (Constance Zimmer is AWESOME!)
Watch that new Tony Robbins documentary "I'm NOT Your Guru!" on NetFlix  
I watched it.  I feel renewed.  (Who knew Tony had such a potty mouth?)
Dust with new Swifter
Clean desk (again)
Straighten closet
Organize my shoes
Buy new shoes on Amazon Prime (Summer clearance, baby!)
Clean out the microwave (Something exploded in there.  Think it's Chicken Tikka Masala)
Order my new Audible book (another one that I will start and never FINISH!)
Watch highlights from the GOP convention (HELL to the no!  World is already too depressing)
Post a new photo on Insta
Read the NY Times online (Arts and Home Page only)
Visit the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline Hollywood websites (for research, of course)
Check my IMDBPro page (that star-meter ranking is so humbling!)
Check Facebook (again ) (can't forget a friend's birthday)
Learn new chord on my Ukulele (I learned four chords in three years, not bad!)
Read The New Yorker (haven't read an issue since April)
Organize Mac Desktop
Unclog the bathtub drain
Febreeze the house
Learn the new Running Man Challenge on YouTube (Cops sure can dance!)
Download that super hot Pokemon App (No, I'll never play it)

Whew!  Amazing what a writer can accomplish in less than 24 hours.

If I can squeeze in just one more thing today, maybe I'll start writing something.  Or maybe re-read something I've already written.  Rewriting is writing. Or read what someone ELSE has written.  Even better!   Hey, there's always August.  Summertime is precious.  I'll start next month and shorten my to-do list.

Until then, it's  margaritas and sunscreen!   Have a safe, happy summer!   www.janetjlawler.com

 “I hate writing, I love having written.”
Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker