WGF Notes on Craft

October 14, 2010 We're attending a 6-week Noes on Craft series hosted by the Writers Guild Foundation. Each Wednesday a panel of working screemwriters discusses the preset topic. Tonight's topic: Premise and Concept, "concerned strictly with developing the initial idea behind a script - from generating compelling concepts to molding those concepts into complete scripts."

The panelists (L to R): moderator and Academy Award-nominated writer Dan Petrie Jr. (Beverly Hills Cop, The Big Easy, Turner & Hooch); Allan Loeb (The Switch, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, 21); Ann Peacock (The First Grader, Nights in Rodanthe, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe screenplay); and Dan Pyne (Fracture, The Manchurian Candidate, The Sum of All Fears, Any Given Sunday, Doc Hollywood.



Ann Peacock is inspiring. Wish she'd work on more original ideas. Allan Loeb "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" is candid, approachable, prolific. Dan Pyne is super friendly, courteous and generous with his thoughts. Dan Petrie Jr. requires most of my patience to get through all of his uh, um, um, uh , and if he could speak in complete sentences, that would be nice. However,

Creative Screenwriting Expo

Ocober 7-10, 2010 Our fourth year at CS Expo. It's a whirlwind every year, but I'll summarize a few highlights.

Shane Black makes his way through the room, escorted by two police officers and ... Lloyd!

Our dear friend, Den, asked Lloyd to be Shane's handler while Den juggled his keynote speaker agenda.

If you don't know Shane by name, you already know his work: "Lethal Weapon", "The Last Boy Scout", "The Long Kiss Goodnight", "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", among others. In the mid-90s Shane gained the distinction of being the highest paid screenwriter; he earned $4,000,000 for his "The Long Kiss Goodnight" spec script. He's also known for his potty mouth.

Regardless, Shane is a given on our agenda. Not only is he a Hollywood success, he's a funny, sincere, passionate, and likable guy. Shane and Den the moderator:

John August wrote "Go", "Charlie's Angels" (2000 & 2003), "Big Fish", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Corpse Bride", "The Nines" and more. John also created and runs one of the best ever blogs for screenwriters. John and Den:

Gary Whitta and Den:

Gary is best known for writing the script for "The Book of Eli", "A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind".

We attended educational sessions hosted by screenwriting "experts" including producers, managers, story/script consultants, and screenwriters with produced credits. Our favourites: Erik Bork ("Band of Brothers"), Linda Heys, Bill Lundy, Michael Hauge, and Bill Marsilii (another record breaker: co-wrote "Deja Vu" with "Pirates of the Caribbean" scribe Terry Rossio, which sold for $5,000,000).

As always, we spend just as much time socializing and catching up with fellow writers from L.A. and from around the globe.

Best screenwriting event of the year, anywhere.


Navigator of the Seas

April 10, 2010 A 14-night, Transatlantic cruise to Europe, a working cruise with plenty of play time, an experience of a lifetime that we hope to repeat next year... We want to share our experience with you and hope you enjoy the posts.

We left a grey day at Ports of Miami ...

... for the big open blue. Here's the view from stateroom 7274:

Nine "at sea" days. If you think that might be boring ... the ocean is vast and ever-changing. It amazes me. It's hard to realize how big it really is until it's all you see for seven straight days and again for two days more. Amazing...

We had a calm sea the entire time and just enough beam sea to gently rock us to sleep at night.

Inside stateroom 7274:

And outside. My half of the balcony. ;) I loooved the balcony.

Sixteen writers spent most waking hours in the Boardroom on Level 2, just above the waterline.

Every "at sea" day went like this:

9am-Noon - Writing workshop with Cynthia Whitcomb


1:00-5:00    -  Write on own (no talking), technically 2-5pm, but we needed every spare minute

5:05-5:20    -  Scramble to get ready for dinner

5:30-7:30    -  Lovely, amusing, inspiring dinners with our group and a little shop talk

7:30-8:00    -  Dress down, cram, grab a tea

8:00-10:00  - Writing salon: readings, critiques, problem solving

10:00-           -  Cocktails at the Champagne Bar, sometimes a brainstorm/problem solving session

?                      -  Fall into bed and lose another hour to the time zone monster


We made it to the gym the first five mornings, but after losing an hour at night, seven (AGH!) times, we cared less about gaining elsewhere. Our room attendant, Al, a giant in size and energy who was always, "As cool as a piña colada," or "As cool as the ocean breeze," said, "You're going to need a vacation after your vacation."

Pictured (L to R): Lloyd, Beryl, Richard, Joan, Joanie, Penny, and Jackie.

***NEWSFLASH*** I met Lloyd seven years ago and this was the first time I saw him wear a necktie. Doesn't he look dapper in his tie? I better send a pic to our Moms ...

One of three formal nights at Swan Lake Dining Room:

Pictured (L to R): Billy, Lorraine, Maryka, Molly, Chris, Cynthia, Jessie, Bernadette and Lloyd #2.

We were on our own for lunches and enjoyed the gourmet salad bar at Nutcracker restaurant, otherwise we preferred the speed of Windjammer, a huge buffet open for every meal. I especially enjoyed the ethnic dishes. Overall, the food was very good, the desserts were good enough to double up on after dinner, and the coffee was strong enough to fuel a Prevost.

We had little time to explore the ship, but here are a couple views:

The casino:

We have a lot more to share with you. Stay tuned!



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Bon Voyage... Writing the Waves

April 10, 2010 - Atlantic Ocean We leave today for a Trans-Atlantic cruise aboard the Navigator of the Seas on a voyage to the Canary Islands, Barcelona, Nice, Florence, and Rome.

While at sea we will participate in Cynthia Whitcomb's screenwriting workshop. We have seen Cynthia before at the Screenwriting Expo in LA and the Screenwriting Conference in Santa Fe.

We have rented an apartment in Rome and look forward to several days of touring this grand city with our friend and artist, Dennis Cigler. Dennis heads the art department at one of Rome's most prestigious schools. In his spare time he guides couples on exclusive private tours of the city, in the style of the Grand Tours of the nineteenth century.

We look forward to visiting so many great places and hope to capture some great images and more stories. -L

Writing Workshop

[caption id="attachment_4383" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Lloyd reading at The Secret Spot following writer\'s workshop"][/caption] March 20,2010 - Key West, FL While in Key West I decided to participate in a writer's workshop sponsored by The Studios of Key West. We had two great instructors Hallie Ephron, sister of Nora Ephron, the writer of many great screenplays like When Harry Meet Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Julie and Julia, and You've Got Mail. Hallie is book reviewer for the Boston Globe and successful novelist. Our other instructor was Roberta Isleib, a writer with several successful mystery series and President of Sisters in Crime and chairs the selection committee for the Edgar Award.

We had a small group of fiction and memoir writers that critiqued each others works. At the end of the two day workshop we met at The Secret Spot a local night club and had a series of reading over cocktails. -L

Screenwriting Conference in Santa Fe

santafe-090529-L9990925 We have spent the last six days at Screenwriting Conference in Santa Fe, with over a hundred fellow screenwriters. The six days were filled with lectures, networking, and pitches. Though it is substantially smaller than the Screenwriting Expo in LA, we made many new friends and connected with fellow students from UCLA. The Conference was hosted at the The Lodge at Sante Fe.


The workshops were small and allowed us both to find new inspiration to finish our current screenplays. The instructors are working screenwriters and professors from UCLA and UNC.


The first day started with a Bacci Ball tournament and we lost our first game and won the next two to finish first among the losers. The field shown below was astro-turf and the fast surface added to the challenge and excitement. A fun time was had by all.


During one of the breaks I walked around to take a few photos.



Next week we participate in a Triassic fossil dig with the NM Museum of Natural History. Until then... -L