After her overnight success — and Academy Award — for the Juno script a half-dozen years ago, Diablo Cody became quite the Hollywood sensation. Two films, a Showtime series and some uncredited stuff later, she’s making her directorial debut with Image Entertainment’s October 18 release Paradise. In that time the polarizing Cody learned a few lessons about extending her first 15 minutes into a career: Namely, learn to deal and tone it down. Yawn. Here’s one of seven tips she shared with Vulture: “I said a lot of stupid things in interviews because I figured no one was paying attention — who cares about screenwriters, generally? But my big mouth got me into trouble countless times. As a ‘visible’ writer, you have to learn to conduct yourself like an actor. Say what you’ve been coached to say. Don’t talk shit about anyone. Behind closed doors, I’m still a drunk train wreck, but in interviews, I try to channel Sandra Bullock or someone else the public finds charming.”
An American screenwriter in London, the Bourne franchise scribe was taking part in the BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters’ Lecture Series when he unveiled these lessons for success. Among the things Tony Gilroy says aspiring writers need to do, according to BBC News: “Make stuff up, but keep it real,” “Learn to write anywhere, anytime” and “Don’t live in Los Angeles”. Here’s the full list, along with his Gilroy’s comments:
Related: Mike Fleming’s Q&A With Tony Gilroy
1. Go to the movies
I don’t think there is anything you can learn from courses or books. You have been watching movies since you were born. You have filled your life with narrative… and food. It’s already way down deep inside you.
Going to the movies, having something to say, having an imagination and the ambition to do it is really all that is required. You can learn how to do anything.
2. Make stuff up but keep it real
This is imaginative work – screenwriters make things up. Everything I have in my life is a result of making things up. There is one thing that you have to know that is a deal-breaker – human behaviour.
The quality of your writing will be directly related to your understanding of human behaviour. You need to become a journalist for the movie that is in your head. You need to report on it; every scene has to be real.
Attention American writers: China is calling. Beijing’s municipal government is launching an international screenwriting competition for U.S.-based writers of all nationalities. The “tale of Beijing” themed contest is open to aspiring and established writers who submit short and feature-length screenplays centered on China’s capital city and its culture. Stated goal of the initiative is to foster artistic collaboration and creative dialogue between China and the US. Unlike many other contests, there is no entry fee for the 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition.
Christy Grosz edits Deadline’s awards publication Awardsline:
Argo screenwriter Chris Terrio, as well as the movie’s origins material authors Joshuah Bearman (the Wired article “The Great Escape”) and Antonio J. Mendez (Penguin book The Master Of Disguise), won the 25th Annual USC Libraries Scripter Award for best literary movie adaptation tonight at a gala held at the university’s Doheny Memorial Library. So Warner Bros’ Argo continues its nearly uninterrupted march towards the Best Picture Oscar. In fact, 4 out of the last five Scripter winners went on to win Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars, and all 5 won theWGA Award. Previous winners include The Descendants, The Social Network, Up In The Air (the only non-Oscar winner), Slumdog Millionaire, and No Country For Old Men. This evening Brokeback Mountain screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana received the group’s Literary Achievement Award.
The Scripter Award goes to both the screenwriters and the author of the material on which the script is based. Although there are normally 5 finalists, this year featured six because of a tie in balloting. The Scripter Award is solely given for adaptations, not for original screenplays, but it still has a prime slot during the final Academy balloting period. Argo beat out the other Scripter Award nominees: Beasts of the Southern Wild – Dramatist …
EXCLUSIVE: Imagine Entertainment partners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard have started the Imagine/Reliance Writers Lab, an enterprising venture that pools a group of 10 screenwriters. Those writers are being paid a set annual salary to generate scripts in a variety of genres, and they are financially incentivized to participate in a collaborative support system.
Universal Pictures and Reliance gets first crack at the screenplays that come out of the arrangement.
The venture hatched from an idea that Howard has worked over in his mind for 15 years. The Lab will be run by Karen Kehela Sherwood, who has been an executive at Imagine for 24 years. She will continue to oversee other Imagine projects but will be the connective tissue between the writers who are participating in the experiment.
“Basically at its core, the idea of this is meant to take away the loneliness from the creative process that writers face,” Howard told me. “We are adding a collegial environment to authorship, a support system and guidance and we will help get their work made into movies. When we talk to the writers Karen has recruited, the thing that was attractive to all of them was the notion that this will be an antidote to writer’s block and the terror that goes with the blank page. There will be a running exchange and conversation going on about the projects, led by Karen and with me pitching in. We are grateful to have found …
Beverly Hills, CA – Five writers have been selected as winners of the 25th annual Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Each writer will receive a $30,000 prize, the first installment of which will be distributed at a gala dinner in Beverly Hills on November 4.
This year’s winners are (listed alphabetically by author):
Destin Daniel Cretton, San Diego, Calif., “Short Term 12”
Marvin Krueger, North Hollywood, Calif., “And Handled with a Chain”
Andrew Lanham, Austin, Texas, “The Jumper of Maine”
Micah Ranum, Beverly Hills, Calif., “A Good Hunter”
Cinthea Stahl, North Hollywood, Calif., “Identifying Marks”
The winners were selected from 6,304 scripts submitted for this year’s competition. The competition is open to any individual who has not sold or optioned a screenplay or teleplay for more than $5,000, or received a fellowship or prize that includes a “first look” clause, an option, or any other quid pro quo involving the writer’s work.
Final judging of the competition was conducted by the Nicholl Committee, chaired by producer Gale Anne Hurd and composed of writers Naomi Foner, Daniel Petrie, Jr., Tom Rickman and Dana Stevens; actor Eva Marie Saint; cinematographers John Bailey and Steven B. Poster; executive Bill Mechanic; producers Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro; and agent Ronald R. Mardigian.