Monday, 7 July 2014

The Official Screenwriting Podcast

Adam Levenberg is a former production company executive, a script consultant, and the author of The Starter Screenplay. He is also the host of the Official Screenwriting Podcast.

Back when I was commuting to and from the office every day, I would have loved the podcast approach. These days I prefer a paperback, which I can dog-ear and highlight and, when appropriate, hurl across the room. At the same time, I am increasingly the innocent victim of middle-aged spread. This is clearly a genetic defect, with some environmental factors contributing, but everyone is telling me to get more exercise. Harrumph!

So I've embraced stationary cycling. Yes, the exercise bike. Half an hour of vigorous pedaling increases my rate of respiration, meaning my body converts more oxygen to carbon dioxide, meaning I am single-handedly boosting global warming. (Not as much as Al Gore's private jet, but to some degree nonetheless.) Still, it's worth it, just to not have to listen to so much well-intentioned advice. Instead, I listen to podcasts. Like Adam's.

He releases a new episode every two weeks or so. Some of his early ones were less polished than they are now. They were recorded in a single take, and lack music and clever editing. I like them. Adam doesn't. The thing I like is that they reveal the man thinking on his feet. And, in the end, the way his mind works is his greatest asset.

There are endless books and articles dealing with all and any aspect of screenwriting/ filmmaking. This blog links to more than eighty other screenwriting/filmmaking blogs, and I could expand that by quite a few more if I wanted to be comprehensive. The bulk of those are published by screenwriters. How many come from former production company executives?

The point is, those people think differently to most of the rest of us. They are so well drilled in the Hollywood success formula that they think along different paths. You might not like those paths, you probably despise executives, but they play a big part in the overall scene. They also have insights into how scripts work that are worth considering. At the absolute minimum, you can get to know your enemy.

Try starting with the current episode: Character Introductions & Pitchfest Wrapup. (You can find it through that link, or on his website or on iTunes.) This is the episode Adam made after he moderated the Great American Pitchfest panel with Ryan Engle, Shane Black, and Alvaro Rodriguez, all people who know a bit about storytelling.

Or you could start with one of the early podcasts, such as Writing Great Loglines. (You can find it through that link, or on his website or on iTunes). That's one of the untidy episodes, but I got a lot out of it.

You have an opportunity to learn a little about how an executive thinks, for free. Why wouldn't you take advantage of that?

1 comment:

Kathy Smart said...

In "Character Introductions & Pitchfest Wrapup" Adam Levenberg spends a lot of time advertising his services, but the podcast is nevertheless worth listening to.

He describes a onesheet. It is one page with a logline at the top. The remainder is called a summary but is not a summary in the general sense of the word. Levenberg advocates focusing on the hero. Show:
**what the hero's life was like before the catalyst
**the catalyst
**the mission
**who the antagonist is
**a general sense of the "fun and games" that go on
**how the character changes