A comprehensive, book-length collection of articles on the craft and business of writing and pop-culture …

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I believe anyone who creates, as opposed to destroys, is a hero.

Thanks to Joseph Campbell for the inspiration behind those words.


Or, where is Mr. Miyagi when we need him?

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Noriyuki “Pat” Morita in “The Karate Kid” (1984)

Last week’s newsletter was not what one would call “light and airy.” See here. I was raw, having written the newsletter while still in shock over last week’s insurrection.

This coming week holds the potential to be equally volatile, considering the inauguration of a new president, a thought which led me to my question, above: Where is Mr. Miyagi when we need him?

The idea is we need, as a people, someone with great wisdom to help guide us from the anger presently gripping the U.S.

Perhaps Yoda would work equally well. …


Why limit yourself? That’s the answer.

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In a prior article, “How to Sell a Script During COVID-19,” I suggested the following talking point is, in reality, a myth: “Companies are only looking for projects that take place in the pandemic era.”

This is emphatically false. Quoting from the article: In my experience, having had conversations with executives and writer friends about exactly this, the projects being purchased on a larger scale take place largely in a modern time period where COVID-19 is not mentioned and no pandemic appears to exist, or they take place in an identifiable post-COVID world. Not quite science fiction, but entertaining fare looked upon as a break from today’s harsh reality. …


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An effective, top-level producer treats his title as a business. This producer will oversee all aspects of a production, from development to post-production. The better they do, the better the end result will be and the more work they will be offered.

I sent a script to one such producer, something I believed could spin off into various iterations. Indeed, we set up the project, based on my novel series with Steve Hillard, with Ovation Network. See the full story here.

The value of attaching Gilbert Adler, lead producer of several top studio films and television series including “Valkyrie” with Tom Cruise, “Constantine” with Keanu Reeves, and “Superman Returns,” along with every episode of my favorite old HBO show “Tales From the Crypt,” immensely aided our network deal. …


“The key to successful screenwriting is writing.” — Every other screenwriting guru who has ever plied the trade.

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We know. It all starts with the written word. We get it. Then, if you truly want to sell yourscreenplay, the real work begins. Effort, refining your craft, and dogged persistence representsthe rest of the equation. I know first-hand. I preach all this constantly, and I practice all this daily.

Maybe a little luck has something to do with it too.

Or, maybe prudently positioning yourself to earn an above-average income writing movie-related product while working on your script, which will also service your all-important networking needs, can actually manifest that luck. …


I became a current member in my 50s. I wish I joined sooner.

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The quest for WGA (Writers Guild of America) membership is not for the faint of heart. It requires some real dedication to your craft and even more persistence. That said, I have a few questions to ask you:

1. Would you like free healthcare with one of the top plans in the country?

2. Would you like to write for a living and earn a pension doing so?

3. Would you like to have a minimum financial threshold for which to write, with a union to back up your earnings?

4. Would you like to vote for awards?

5. Would you like to receive free screeners for film and television, as well as invitations to screenings, parties, seminars, and other exclusive member events? …


In this regard, little has changed, save for an adaptation here and there.

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Aman Upadhyay, Unsplash

The film industry has been rife with uncertainty since its inception. When the studio system withtheir unbreakable contracts gave way to corporate ownership and the rise of independents, the playing field was leveled.

Make no mistake, breaking in has always been immensely difficult. But the one consistent aspect of it all is film has always been akin to the Wild West. There are no rules, and no one way to get anything done.

2020 had given rise to a new shift, where our advanced technology allowed us to still make a living despite a global pandemic.

Yesterday is no longer, and the basics have shifted: Anyone who can raise money can still make a film and attain distribution. Anyone with a smartphone can make a film. From today’s on-demand channels to streamers, premium cable outlets and networks, the opportunity to showcase your product is greater than ever … save for within, perhaps, the old standard: Theatrical. …


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Stock Image

I sincerely hope a second part of this article is forthcoming, with a happy ending. For now, I am going to tread lightly, and not use my friend’s name in the risk of alienating him if he really is still alive.

I relocated to Los Angeles, California in 1989 from Brooklyn, New York to begin a writing career. Like so many others, I wanted to try my hand in Hollywood. …


From the 1984 classic to the blockbuster success of today’s “Cobra Kai,” the long-running saga has become unexpectedly resonant all these years later.

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Copyright 1984 Sony Pictures

Introduction

The above photo has become pop-culture lore. In the finale of 1984’s “The Karate Kid,” Ralph Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso returned from injury and defeated William Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence with a crane kick. As taught to Daniel by his sensei and father figure, Mr. Miyagi (Noriuki “Pat” Morita), the finale was expected for the well-done but formulaic film by “Rocky” director John G. Avildsen, and the producer of that Best Picture winner, Jerry Weintraub.

As the series went on …

The evil John Kreese (Martin Kove), head of the Cobra Kai dojo and Johnny’s sensei, was sickened by the embarrassing loss of his star student. …


First, keep in mind many executives, as with many writers, manage a degree of Attention Deficit Disorder in their day-to-day …

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Photo by Mike Kenneally, Courtesy of Unsplash

If they do not manage a degree of Attention Deficit Disorder, then when they look at their watch or to the door during your pitch, they are not doing so to grant you extra time.

Same with a reader. If he or she cannot read past the beginning pages of your script, usually up to the first five pages, you will likely not receive a second chance with the company that is reviewing it.

When you write a script, as when you pitch a script, concision is key. And you need to be scrupulous in your discipline. The value of grabbing a reader in generally the first five to 10 pages of a script is immeasurable, as the majority will not move forward if they cannot get past the first scene. …

About

Joel Eisenberg

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

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