Class-action lawsuits have been filed in at least three states — California, Illinois, and New York. Whether or not Apple violated any consumer rights is for the courts to decide. What is known at this point is that some people are disgruntled, though it’s for all sorts of different reasons.
Saturday Night Live has always taken great care to strike the right tone after tragedy, and this week’s episode managed to delicately address a terrible week on multiple levels, but with a single, thoughtful stroke.
Instead of a cold open mocking the Donald Trump administration — breaking what must have been some kind of record streak — the first face we saw was that of country singer Jason Aldean, about to make his first public performance since leaving the stage last Sunday as the shooting rampage in Las Vegas began last Sunday night.
Reader Question: Do you have any time management tips on how to write while holding down a full-time job?
Some practical advice to engender productivity even while working full-time.
A question from Tom:
I’ve always believed that emulating those who are successful is a key to success. You say to immerse yourself in cinema and I agree. It’s also very difficult to do while working full time at something only vaguely related to writing. I’ve wondered for years how you do it. What does your typical day look like? What did your typical day look like when you wrote K-9, Trojan War or Snowbirds (i.e. when you wake, how long you write, how much you read, when you watch films, are you a Churchill kind of sleeper, etc.)?
I’ll answer this in three parts: (1) How I wrote K-9. (2) How I worked full-time as a screenwriter. (3) How to balance writing with work and family commitments.
How I wrote K-9
In the fall of 1986, I was performing as a stand-up comic, traveling up and down the state of California. When I started working on the spec script K-9, I booked gigs to allow me to maximize my time on my writing. So I’d work for 3 weeks, 7 nights a week, then take off a week, then back on for 2, back off for 1, and so on.
When I was traveling between gigs, I would carry a pocket tape recorder with me. So for example as I was driving up Interstate 5 from southern to northern California, I would work out the plot on tape. Then when I would wind my way back home to Berkeley where I was living at the time, I would transcribe all those notes into my wife’s Apple IIc computer (complete with the 5 1/4 inch floppy discs).
Then back down to L.A. to meet with my writing partner. Once we cracked the plot, I’d head off on the road again for more gigs, but then I focused on working out each scene, again using the tape recorder, and again transcribing those notes.
When it came to actual page-writing, I scheduled a week off and wrote as many hours a day as I could stay awake. I managed to write a first draft in five days and revised it in another two.
After receiving feedback on that draft, I did a marathon rewrite session, basically staying up for 36 straight hours, slept for half a day, then did one final polish. Sent it off and it sold in January, 1987.
So if you have a flexible schedule like I did, here are a few points to take away:
You can work on your story any time using some sort of voice memo device.
When you are ready to pound out pages, schedule a good chunk of time (1 week is optimum), then commit yourself to your writing — nothing else.
Make sure to take off a week or so between drafts to clear your head.
How I worked full-time as a screenwriter
I did that for 15 years in L.A. working on 30 paid gigs for studios and networks. On projects I worked on with a partner, we wrote in the afternoons, generally from 1–5. If we were writing pages, the goal was to produce 5–7 pages per day.
[Note: I always took care of personal business including exercise, emails, and all the rest in the morning, making sure to get all that ‘stuff’ done by noon].
If I was working on my own projects, I would do that at night (I’m a night owl). Also I would go away to Lake Arrowhead for 48 hour writing weekends. This was especially valuable for pounding out first drafts as I would typically knock out anywhere from 50–75 pages.
But as I described in this Business of Screenwriting Post — The Art of Stacking Projects — whatever paid gigs we had lined up, I always had a couple of things I was working on privately, one spec project I was researching, another I was either breaking the story or writing the pages.
So if you can work at screenwriting full time, a few tips:
Write every day.
Set a goal for the number of pages you need to hit each day.
Stack projects: Researching one, breaking the story of another, writing one, polishing another, etc.
Balancing writing with work and family commitments
Today my life probably resembles yours: I have my day work — teaching, consulting, mentoring, blogging — and my writing (currently working on a book). I’ve found I’ve had to completely alter my approach.
Nowadays the first thing I do in the morning is put in 50 minutes writing. It has to be before I do anything else because as soon as I check my emails or my calendar, I am down the rabbit hole, and lost for hours. I have so many things going on between teaching at UNC, teaching, consulting and doing private mentoring through Screenwriting Master Class, and GITS, if I don’t get my writing done in the morning, I never get to it.
That morning time is for actual page-writing. For research, brainstorming, and prep, I do that at the other end of my day, late at night when I don’t have any distractions.
So if you’ve got a day job and you’re trying to write, read scripts, watch movies, and all the rest, here are a few tips:
Create a master calendar with goals. Fix those to specific dates. Hit those deadlines.
Write every day (some things never change).
Stake out a consistent time during the day to write and stick to it.
Here’s the biggest tip of all: Download this app. It’s called Focus Buster. It sits on your computer’s desktop and gives you a 25-minute work block, then dings to give you 5 minutes to do whatever you want (e.g., check e-mail, stock market, soccer scores). Then start another 25 minute work session.
Given the sheer volume of stuff I have to do each day, this has been a godsend. It just makes you work more efficiently and keeps you focused.
How about you? What time management tips do you have?
Tomorrow’s question: What about writing for the web?
Oscar-winner Walter Murch’s set of criteria for a good cut is essential knowledge for any editor.
Have you ever heard about the Rule of Six? It’s a set of editing “rules” created by editor Walter Murch that essentially reveal the Oscar winner’s creative process while in the editing room, and though he would be the first to tell you that following these criteria is more of a personal choice than a requirement, the Rule of Six can be incredibly helpful for those who want to grow in their craft.
If you’ve never heard about Murch’s famous rules, SNL editor Adam Epstein explains them in great detail in his MZed editing course “The Cutting Edge” and luck for us, the Film Riot crew offers this portion of his presentation in the video below. Check it out!
We’ve covered Murch’s Rule of Six here a couple of times, but Epstein, being not only the editor for Documentary Now! but an SNL alum as well offers plenty of excellent insider advice on how to approach each “rule” in your own work.
It was one of those nights where try as you might, you couldn’t keep yourself off the floor. Using some awkward gymnastics, I managed to drape myself over a sofa arm and found myself looking at the television with my chin skywards. Goodfellas was on, and watching the film upside down lead to a whole […]
Last weekend saw the top twelve films gross a combined $ 110.4 million, less than half of what the top twelve grossed over the same weekend last year. On top of that, last weekend’s overall cumulative gross for all films reached $ 122.7 million, almost $ 11 million less than Suicide Squad’s $ 133.6 million opening last year alone. Unfortunately, this weekend is actually looking to be even worse. Of the weekend’s three new wide releases, the Warner Bros. and New Line horror, spin-off sequel … Box Office Mojo – Top Stories
The waterproof Splash Drone is not just an aerial drone; it’s also aquatic.
SwellPro has come out with a drone that is a lot like other drones. It comes with GoPro, has a gimbal for smooth shooting, and will let you take to the air so you can capture beautiful images from incredible heights. But, this thing has one major difference from other UAVs; it floats.
Meet the Splash Drone, an aerial/semi-aquatic drone that allows users to drop it into any body of water and capture images from below thanks to its waterproof housing. Now, I say “semi-aquatic” because, no, it doesn’t fly (swim?) underwater like a submarine drone (drone submarine?), but it does float and can withstand plenty of rain and water unlike many other drones out there.
While Netflix and Amazon Prime are going all out to capture the burgeoning video streaming market in India — a country of 450 million internet users — a homegrown ‘challenger’ so to speak has slowly emerged as the champion.
Hotstar, the two-year-old on-demand video platform from the house of Rupert Murdoch-owned Star TV, has crossed 100 million downloads on Google Play Store. If we count App Store downloads, it would go up to 130 million or so.
To give that some perspective: Netflix took nine years to reach 75 million subscribers. Even after its global launch, it could add only 11 million subscribers. Amazon Prime Video, on the other hand, clocked 63 million subscribers at the end of 2016. Read more…