Professor Richard Walter will present on the “Essentials of Screenwriting” at the Alameda Writers Group Meeting on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 10:45AM. The meeting is open to the public and will take place at the Glendale Public Library on 222 East Harvard Street in Glendale, California. For more information, visit http://alamedawritersgroup.com/.
The LA Times recently rounded up the annual Oscar nominees with their predictions. On deserving films for this year’s Academy Awards, here’s my view:
I loathed American Hustle. O’Russell is hugely, vastly over-appreciated in my never-humble view. Like his similarly over-praised Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle is a lot of yelling and screaming and repetition. At least forty minutes too long. He tips his hand at the very opening of the picture when we spend too, too much time with Christian Bale fussing with his hairpiece. A few minutes later, the Bradley Cooper character yanks the toupee off Bale’s head. Do we really need to reminded that he wears a rug? Wouldn’t it have been smarter to skip the opening with the toupee and have the whole conceit revealed in the latter scene with Cooper? It’s not that big a deal all by itself, but nothing’s all by itself in a movie.
Every little thing is part of the whole picture. If he’s so inefficient and uneconomical here, by squandering lots of time and delivering precious little story and character freight here, it bodes ill for the rest of the movie. If this section is twice as long as it ought to be, so also will be (and is) the movie.
In more than forty years of WGA membership, it seems there’s a strike threat with the expiration of every contract as talks between the studios and the WGA went into a two week recess in mid-February. Nobody ought to be surprised that I blame the studios.
An ancient movie executive characterized writers as “schmucks with Underwoods.” (For the younger among you, Underwood is a brand of typewriter. Visit Wikipedia for ‘typewriter.’)
Irving Thalberg, the head of production at MGM during Hollywood’s Golden Age, said that the most important people in the business were the writers, and that every step must be taken to prevent them from knowing that.
Surely the biggest mistake writers ever made was to assign copyright of our material to the studios. This is not true for playwrights or authors of books. That’s why no editor can simply throw me off a book I’m writing and bring in a team of punch-up artists to add some spice. This is why Neil Simon can’t be kicked off his play so that the producer’s pal from the gym can rewrite him.
Einstein told us there are two—and only two—constants in the universe: 1) the speed of light and 2) The Rolling Stones.
They showed up in downtown Los Angeles last spring celebrating their fiftieth anniversary.
The first time I saw them was October of 1965, in Syracuse, New York, when I was enrolled in a jackpot, give-away, draft-dodge of a Masters program in television and radio at the Newhouse School of Public Communications on the Syracuse University campus. I had heard a handful of their earliest hits on top-forty radio and had not been particularly impressed. From afar they sounded like rich London white kids trying too hard to sound like oppressed, impoverished American black kids.
The graduate screenwriting program at UCLA enjoys an embarrassment of riches. We receive fifteen times as many qualified applications as we have available slots for new writers.
The ‘take rate’ for students admitted is virtually one hundred percent.
That is, among applicants admitted, almost everyone enrolls.
In the December 12, 2013 issue of the LA Times’ story, “Losing Brad Pitt’s Plan B puts focus on Paramount Pictures’ strategy”, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television professor Richard Walter commented: “Paramount’s paradigm is a different model. It’s a business organization run by MBAs, and I am not saying that in a pejorative way.”
To read more, visit: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-paramount-pictures-brad-pitt-plan-b-entertainment-20131212,0,3190983.story#axzz2nK8FqdlN
Join Richard Walter for the London Screenwriters’ Festival 2014! For the three days, over 1,000 screenwriters, filmmakers, producers, practitioners, actors and executives congregate to share ideas, build powerful relationships, hear pitches and get a creative shot in the arm. The event takes place from Oct 24-26, 2014, for more information visit: www.londonscreenwritersfestival.com.
The New York Times‘ Michael Cieply recently reported on ”Suit Filed Against Warner Bros. in Screenplay Theft” — mentioning how intellectual property litigation expertise is to be provided by Richard Walter. The story notes:
Yet Mr. Brooks, on getting a close look at “Trouble With the Curve,” became convinced that the film had Mr. Handfield’s “writing DNA” all over it. According to the complaint and subsequent interviews with Mr. Brooks and his lawyer, Mr. Fox, two prominent film experts — Sheril D. Antonio, of New York University’s film school, and Richard Walter, co-chairman of graduate screenwriting at the University of California, Los Angeles — are prepared to support the case by spotting strong similarities in the projects.
Read the complete story: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/11/business/media/suit-filed-against-warner-bros-in-screenplay-theft.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0
A new Mandarin-language screenwriting book by Richard Walter, celebrated storytelling guru, movie industry expert, and longtime chairman of UCLA’s legendary graduate program in screenwriting, will be available starting October 22, 2013. Three weeks ahead of its premiere, the book is already topping the charts as the number 3 best-selling film/TV book on Amazon China’s site. Pre-orders can be placed at Amazon.com China’s site.