Get Adobe Flash player

Write On

Archive for November, 2013

Interview: David Guggenheim (2010, 2012 Black List)

David GuggenheimThanks to our partners at The Black List and their bountiful blog, Go Into the Story by Scott Myers.

David Guggenheim broke into the business in February 2010 by selling the spec script Safe House which was produced and has grossed $208M worldwide. Since that time, Guggenheim has sold two more spec scripts: “Black Box” to Universal and “Narco Sub” to 20th Century Fox, as well as the pitch “Puzzle Palace”. With several other projects in development and having made the Black List twice (2010, 2012), it’s safe to say Guggenheim is one of the hottest action-thriller screenwriters in Hollywood today.

Here are links to the six installments of the entire interview:

Part 1: “You know, I just love the craft of constructing a story, coming up with movie concepts. That’s the fun for me. Just you and a blank page and you’re just coming up with stories.”

Part 2: “I love spy movies, and that’s my favorite genre to work in. And what I like doing, is taking a piece of a movie, that’s usually isn’t the focal of the movie, and blowing that up, and saying let’s do the movie from that point of view.”

Part 3: “For me, the best action movies are always the character‑driven action movies and they’re the one’s you always remember.”

Part 4: “Obviously, for the sake of the read, you want the action to jump off the page as much as possible, but what’s more important than the actual choreography is to come up a fresh way figuring out how the characters got into the action scene in the first place and how they get out of it.”

Part 5: “I think in a spec you need to make sure you’re hooking your reader in that first 15 pages, and that it has a strong enough concept. Because your concept it what’s going to set it apart.”

Part 6: “I will take any idea and I will try it. I may not agree with it when it’s given to me, but I always give the idea a chance, and I’ll try it.”

Please stop by comments to thank David and ask any questions you may have.

David is repped by Paradigm and Madhouse Entertainment.

So… That Happened

By W. Kamau Bell. Originally posted here.

So… that happened.

That is one of my favorite lines in the history of film. It is from David Mamet’s brilliant State and Main. It comes out of the mouth of Alec Baldwin’s character right after he totals his car and the underage girl he was — and shouldn’t have been —with runs from the scene of the crimes. Alec casually looks to the person who witnessed the whole thing and says, matter of factly, “So… that happened.”

I always took that to mean, “I don’t know what the fuck that was exactly, but it happened. And now we all just have to deal with it and move on.”

Yup, Totally Biased has been canceled.

So… that happened.

Although what DID happen with Totally Biased has happened thousands of times in the history of show business… nay the world. It goes like this. Person gets job. Person works hard at job. Person loses job. My whole career I’ve seen talented comics get opportunities that I thought, “WOW! That is definitely going to be the THING for her!” And then I’ve seen that thing not become the THING. This is just my time for that. I thought Totally Biased was going to be my “THING!” I worked hard to make it so, and it didn’t happen. So now I get the chance to find a new “THING” and to see how that goes. That’s amazing. The show was canceled. I’m not canceled. 99.999% of stand-up comics don’t get this far. If I’m really lucky, what we did on Totally Biased will be remembered long after it stops airing. Heck, my mom is still mad that they canceled Frank’s Place. (Google it. It was great.)

The one thing I truly hope is that whoever the next comic is to be considered for a show doesn’t get judged by my lack of… you know… still having show. I hope John Landgraf and the beautiful people at FX (and FXX) continue to take chances on the underdogs. Their batting average is kind of amazing. I hope this doesn’t bum them out too much.

I am very proud of Totally Biased. The Lindy West / Jim Norton debate was amazing. For the rest of my career I will chase the highs of Sikh vs Sheikh. Hell, I got to talk to Rachel Maddow for nearly TEN MINUTES! I learned I like talking to random people on the street about real things; (I will be more proud of Anything to Say to a White Guy than anything else I do in my career.) Also I got to have one of my heroes, Vernon Reid of Living Colour, write me a theme song. I was able to work closely with the comedy Jedi Chris Rock. And, above it all, I was able to employ some awesome comics with original voices. Many of whom are my friends… and who will hopefully forgive how crazy I have been the last several months.

There are so many people who worked on the show. So many talented people who have much more experience in TV than I have (not hard to beat since I had none before this.) And they humbled themselves to pull in my direction, even when they sometimes had no idea where we were all headed. I appreciate all of their support. I will never forget it.

Most importantly, when Totally Biased was at it’s best it gave comedic voice to people and issues that do not often get that space on television. (I am overwhelmed by the love the show is getting now.) I tried. I really tried. And I’ll keep trying somewhere else.

Who knows what the next thing will be? (Seriously, who knows? I need a job. — Kidding… Mostly.) I am literally boiling over with ideas, and I can’t wait to get started. I am excited to get back into stand-up in a big way. I can’t wait to get my voice back. Many of you who watched Totally Biased have only seen a sliver of the real me. Check out my Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross for a more distilled version. But until then, I will see you on Twitter, Facebook, and in a city near you. I have a lot to say.

Thank you for your support. And still remember to stay totally biased.

Now, I’m gonna go update my LinkedIn profile.

Kamau

P.S. Bring back Frank’s Place.

I Love My Writers Guild of America, East

By Amanda Cole

A couple of nights ago I was at a small film get together hosting Derek Cianfrance (writer/director of Blue Valentine). He used phrases like “I thought I was cursed” and “people thought I was delusional” about making his first movie. This language oddly made me feel better, then as I was bitching to him about my own personal film curse and delusion – which if you are ever going to bitch and moan to a well-known successful writer/director, friends, he was an elegant pick- he told me master marble makers used to strike at marble 1,000 times with a hammer and it would look the same. Then they would strike that 1,001st time- and blammo! It would crack. Then I went home and wrote 20 pages of my newest screenplay. I love my Writers Guild of America, East. Thanks for making that happen.