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Archive for August, 2013

Kraig Wenman, Screenwriter

by Justin Samuels

Today’s interview is with screenwriter Kraig Wenman, who has been a prolific screenwriter since 2006.

Justin Samuels: Do you think the Internet has made it a lot easier for screenwriters to break in and find work?

Kraig Wenman: Absolutely, without the Internet, I wouldn’t’ve been able to make so many inroads in the industry. But like anything, it’s a tool within a larger toolbox.

JS: What’s your opinion on online services like Inktip?

KG: Da’ best. Almost every job I’ve had has come from a connection I made on/through Inktip.com. There’s other services out there, but it’s the only one I use.

JS: What roles do social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail play in networking? Have they replaced the Rolodex?

KG: It’s helpful to an extent, but at the end of the day, people want to work with people they know they can interact and hang out with. Going into a film is a lot like a relationship. So a blind date via Twitter or LinkedIn hasn’t replaced face-to-face meetings, lunches, dinners and the inevitable conception and birth of project.

JS: How did you learn screenwriting?

KG: The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier was where it was at for me when I started. Had been to film school before that.  But I hadn’t focused particularly on screenwriting, so Trottier’s book saved me. It’s great because it’s an actual working textbook that you can write in. Had read the usual books by the usual gurus, but I’d rather write than talk about writing any day.

By this, I mean that the best way to learn screenwriting is to do it. Don’t wait for inspiration.  Force it or you’ll be waiting a long time. You can always press delete, and no one’s going to read it but you. There is no such thing as writer’s block, only fear of failure. Fail, try again, and then say, “Tomorrow I will make better mistakes.” You’ll learn more from your mistakes than from your triumphs.

JS: Is Absolute Deception, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., your first film to star an A-list actor?  Absolute Deception is distributed by Sony, isn’t it? How did it feel to get such a big deal?

KG: I originally wrote Absolute Deception at the end of 2008 as an assignment, and it was originally meant as an MOW. I didn’t even know it was getting made until the first-day-of-principle-photography check showed up. It was written in Canada, shot in Australia and bought at Cannes, so it’s made its journey around the sun and many other creatives’ hands. I haven’t seen it yet, but looking forward to seeing what they’ve done with it.

JS: How did you feel when you got accepted by the WGA?   How do you think the Guild is supportive to writers?

KG: Being Canadian, I’m currently in the WGC and transferring over to the WGA in the next month, so I’ll keep you posted on my experiences. But the WGA is cool because it’s a great proverbial crucifix that helps protects you from the demons of the Hollywood.

JS: The Body Farm is the first feature film that you’re both writing and directing, right?  How does it feel to step into the director’s chair?

KG: Haven’t stepped yet, but making steps toward it. Currently in development and financing so unfortunately not much to report. What is exciting, though, is a new project called Creation of the Gods that I’m co-writing with Transformers/X-Men producer Tom Desanto. Tom’s a solid guy with a lot of passion for the project, so things are heating up substantially. Gods is like an X-Men meets Lord of the Rings. It’s an epic tale that you’ll see out in theaters soon.

JS: Can you say who will star in The Body Farm?

KG: Still in development, so nope.

JS: Do you have any advice for other writers out there that you’d care to share?

KG: When you first start out, everyone will tell that, in Hollywood, everyone has a script. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good or filmable (that’s not a word is it?) script. Millions of people have cars too, but how many good drivers do you know? Don’t be discouraged, as there’s a way into the industry or no one would already be there. It really just takes persistence and then more persistence. It’s not in how many times you fall, but how many times you get up.

However, a good way to see it is that Hollywood is a party you haven’t been invited to yet. No one owes you anything, or needs to hold open a door to let you in. So you need to earn that invite past the Doorman (who also has a script) by hustling and writing every day. It’s like lifting weights: the more you do it, the stronger you’ll get. The more you sweat in training, the less you’ll bleed in battle. Damn, can you tell I’ve been researching war movies for the last couple of months?

Softball: 2013 Season Recap

by Timothy Cooper

On August 5, the WGAE softball team made it to the first round of the Corporate Sports 2013 League Championship Playoffs. There, we faced our most difficult opponent of the past several years: the league’s #1-ranked team, the Marsh Casualties. This intimidating name happens to be way more interesting than their actual jobs, which involve insurance. This explains why they have so much time to dedicate to softball: They have no

softball

satisfaction in any other area of their lives. Thus, we should feel proud that they only scored four runs on us–and that zero of those were on our errors. That’s how we want to go down, if we have to go down.

And we went down admirably. It was a tight two-run game until the sixth inning; we were never all that far apart, skill-set-wise. Sure, our offense may not have been at its best, but our defense was pretty much completely error-free. We communicated, we brought the ball in, we played smart. There were a few runs we couldn’t do anything about. But if we had played this beautifully in the field throughout the whole season, we would have easily been first in our division. That’s why there’s always next year!

The lineup: Jo returned to the fold–and the field–to run some sick D from third. Marni rocked second. Jake played short, for a change, and Emmitt was rock-solid at first, while Zayd hit the strike zone nonstop, providing a seamless combo. Zach and I kept active in left, while Tina, Sharon, and Lauren covered right. Marcia at catcher rounded out a tight on-field team. Meanwhile, Doug and Parnie provided invaluable base coaching, and Susan cheered us on. Everyone came together on a beautiful Tuesday evening for a moment we should all be proud of.

Zach and I made some nice catches in the first, but we only advanced as far as second base. In the second, they scored one on a walk. In the third inning, about as much happened as happens on a typical day in the Marsh offices: nothing. After we took multiple walks in the fourth, Jake made it to third but was tagged on the way home; then they scored an additional run. We made it to second base yet again on my walk in the fourth inning, but I got stranded on third despite Emmitt’s hit. Their one triple (on a bogus foul–I’m telling you, those cones curved WAY to the left) and a walk in the sixth gave them two more, for a final score of 04.

Still, we deserve to congratulate ourselves on an excellent season. We clinched second, and I have a feeling we’ll be the division champs next year. Playoffs two years in a row–that’s nothing to sneeze at. Plus, we can sleep soundly tonight, knowing we don’t work in insurance (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).

There will be a team celebration/reminiscing/potluck in the fall, to which all are invited–even if you didn’t play this year. And if you’re interested in a fall-ball league that Marcia may be putting together, contact her at MDeb8695@aol.com. Why not stay all fit and stuff in the off-season?

Well done, everyone, for 2013. Thank you for letting me manage you–and I’ll see you all back on the field next year!

Your faithful manager,

Timothy

 

A Staged Reading of Your Dramatic Screenplay

The Guild’s next Screenplay Reading will be held in February 2014. We will feature two screenplay excerpts, each chosen by a panel of judges from among your submissions. One except will be a comedy, chosen from among the previous round of submissions. We are now accepting submissions for the dramatic screenplay reading.

The readings will be cast, directed and performed by experienced industry professionals. WGAE President Michael Winship will conduct a Q&A with the writer after each reading, and a reception will follow the Q&A.

To enter:

1. Pick the best 20-page excerpt from your screenplay.

2. Write a narrative to cover the rest of the story, making sure to indicate where the excerpt fits into the narrative.

3. Include a one-paragraph bio.

4. Submit all of this in PDF or MS Word format to scriptreading@wgaeast.org.

Do not include your name or other identifying information on the title page. This is a blind entry process. ONLY the title should appear on the cover page. Your name, bio, contact information, as well as a logline and any comments, should appear in the body of your email and nowhere in the screenplay itself.

The competition is open only to WGAE members; only one submission per member will be accepted.

The deadline for submissions is 5pm EDT on Tuesday, September 3.

SAG-AFTRA/WGAE Film Society, 2013–14 Season

Join the SAG-AFTRA/WGAE Film Society for the 2013–2014 season for screenings of newly-released, major-studio foreign and independent films. Most screenings are held at the Directors Guild of America Theatre at 110 West 57th Street in New York City.

•For those with a tan, barcoded membership card, this season’s renewal fee is $130.
•For new members, or for members who need a new membership card, the fee is $140.
•During the season, the fee for a replacement membership card is $25.

You and a guest may attend 24 regularly scheduled screenings, plus additional bonus screenings. Last year, there were 49 screenings in all. So, for $1.42 per show, a member with guest could attend all 49 screenings. For the 2013–14 season, you will pay $2.91 per film for you and a guest–but factor in the bonus screenings, and the price drops to less than $2. What a great deal!

To join the Film Society, renew your membership or request more information, please visit the Film Society section of our website. Screenings dates are posted online.

Subscriptions are limited and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. We anticipate greater demand because of the SAG-AFTRA merger, so do not delay in sending in your application.

Membership cards will be mailed in late August/early September. Screenings will begin September 9, 2013, and end August 31, 2014. If you have any questions, please contact Venesa Gomez at 212.767.7811 or Nancy Hathorne at 212.767.7812.