Diana Vacc Sees “Money Monster”

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The summer movie season is in full swing. In keeping with current trends, it’s all about the blockbuster, so I found it refreshing to see a movie come out that focuses on real people (as opposed to superheroes) and situations that at least somewhat reflect what is truly going on in the world.

Instead of featuring Captain America or Batman, “Money Monster” follows the very human TV host Lee Gates (a businesslike George Clooney) and his Director Patty (the very worried Julie Roberts) as they are put in a very dangerous situation I won’t describe here (just to prove that I can avoid spoilers when I have to, really.)

THE GOOD:

  • With one exception that I’ll get to later, the writing by Jamie Linden, Alan Difore, and Jim Kouf is clever and full of surprises. What surprised me most were the comedic moments in this film, many of which I just plain wasn’t expecting. Even the dialogue in some of the more dramatic scenes is funny, and I particularly enjoyed the conclusion, when the reporters show the “social media memes” about what has just happened.
  • The directing by Jodi Foster was great. She leads her team to a fully realistic world of finance and finance reporting. Working without sweeping outdoor action scenes, the camera angles managed to be both striking and in-your-face intimate. And as a viewer bonus Foster manages to get Roberts’ and Clooney’s best performances in years. (Take that, Coen Brothers!)

THE BAD:

  • Not to spoil anything but the villain of the piece was generic and typical. It’s the 21st Century. We’ve already seen more baddies like this than we can count. C’mon, Jody, give us something more!

I recommend “Money Monster” as a rental and not for the movie theatre experience.

Happy Summer Movie Season!


Diana Vaccarelli is the TVWriter™ Critic-at-Large. Learn more about her HERE

Web Series: GRIDLOCKED

A show that really, really works, about freeways that don’t. Somewhere in here is the key to the future of creative transportation, or transportive creativity, or…something.

Enjoy! We here at TVWriter™ sure as hell did!

And here’s Episode 1

How to be a Unique Screenwriter

Some people say that the key to screenwriting success is to stick to the template established by other successful writers. “Don’t make waves.” “Don’t be original.” Time now to hear from someone who said “Stuff it!” to all that and, well, so far so good:

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How I Broke the Rules and Survived
by Craig D. Griffiths

ving a unique and compelling voice as a writer is something we all desire to have. Yet we are told (in forums and by so called gurus) that “We must follow the rules” to be a screenwriter, we must do everything exactly the same as everyone else.

People have looked at great screenwriting and found commonalities. However, commonality is not causality. Because if these common things are all that is needed to create a great script, writers wouldn’t be needed.

How the Rules came about

The rules came about by people looking at previous works and analyzing them to see what they could discover. (As far as I can see) Christopher Volger was credited with sending a memo that outlined some rules, which is what I think kicked off this entire rule concept.

This was intended as a way of quickly weeding out the vast number of bad scripts and making a studio’s workload less. It works, as bad writers do break these rules, but of course, so do some great writers.

People seem to point at the vast number of movies that comply with the rules, so therefore, the rules must be correct.

It is also a bit of a self-weeding garden, meaning that if everyone believes the rules must be followed, then all scripts and all movies would be following and complying with the rules.

The truth is, bad writing is just bad writing and squeezing it into some rules or structure would just make it well-structured bad writing, but there are commonalities between bad writing and good writing, which very few people are willing to admit or acknowledge.

As you can see by the graph above, Bad Writers and Great Writers don’t consider the rules when they are creating their work. They are focused on the work, but the only difference is that the great writers have craft and skill. It may be true that the rules outline the thousand-year-old patterns that have evolved in storytelling, but they are not rules. They are at best-accepted norms and as such are easy to recognise and are comfortable, but they are not mandatory, which is after all the definition of a rule.

What I have a problem with is people saying that things MUST happen or that you MUST never do something. Those are the rules that I think are wrong and don’t need repeating….

Read it all at Stage 32

WGAW Career Longevity Special Event

wgaw lear and lorre

by TVWriter™ Press Service

What can we say but “These guys are giants!?” This looks to be the most valuable evening of the year for WGAW members and non-members alike. TVWriter™ heartily recommends it. Hey, maybe we’ll see you there?

WHY HOLLYWOOD A-LISTERS ARE FLOCKING TO TV

The showbiz paradigm probably has changed more in the last year and a half than in the preceding decade. And we owe it all to the fact that TV isn’t merely TV anymore. Witnesseth:

true-detectiveby Christine Persaud

Flip on your television any given day, and you might think you tuned into a feature film. The once-held stigma about “real actors” appearing on the small screen has virtually vanished, and high-quality television programming has been attracting a swarm of A-list Hollywood talent. Christian Slater, Matthew McConaughey, and James Franco have all recently made the move to TV, and the shows in which they appear are doing very well. This begs the questions: What started this migration, and will the trend continue?

The rise in TV quality

Last summer, Variety interviewed several A-listers appearing in television series: Jessica Lange (American Horror Story, FX) Taraji P. Henson (Empire, Fox), Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex, Showtime), Julianna Marguilies (The Good Wife, CBS), Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder, ABC), and Clive Owen (The Knick, Cinemax), to name a few. They all declared that it’s this supposed “golden age of television” and cited “the material” as the key that unlocked the TV world. Owen noted that, while he wasn’t actively looking to do TV, he “couldn’t put down the script for ‘The Knick.”

“Television is raising the bar on the character-driven drama series.”

During his 2014 Critics’ Choice Awards acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Drama Series for HBO miniseries True Detective, accomplished Hollywood film actor Matthew McConaughey said that, “television is raising the bar on the character-driven drama series.”

In an interview last year with The Independent, veteran film actor and seven-time Academy Award nominee Dustin Hoffman sang the praises of television. “I think right now, television is the best that it’s ever been,” he said. “And I think that it’s the worst that film has ever been – in the 50 years I’ve been doing it.”

Jane Fonda, who appears on Netflix original series Grace & Frankie, says actors simply want to go “where the good writing is.”

And the good — no, great — writing has made its way to television, across genres, from drama to comedy; and through various platforms, from broadcast network TV to premium networks and streaming originals.

Who’s making the move?

Screenwriters, directors, and producers, like J.J. Abrams, known for directing such massive movie blockbusters as Star Trek, Mission Impossible III, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, have long recognized the potential of the television format. Abrams’ hit series Lost (2004-2010), which won two Emmys, could never have been as compelling and complex in the movie format as it was able to be as a television series, which ran for a total of 121 hours over six seasons. Shows like Dexter, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones have proven that the quality of writing in the television space has dramatically improved from the days of cookie-cutter cop dramas and mystery thriller programming….

Read it all at Digital Trends

A New Approach to TV Diversity

These days, diversity representation in and on TV is a huge issue, on which many experts, mayvens, stars, et al have weighed in. Time now for a word from somebody we respect even more: A genuine member of that very diverse population known as…the audience!

from gothlolilunitic 

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Whatcha think?

Let us know!