“The Miserable Adventures of Burt Squire Aboard the Horn High Yo”

A report from the latest Black List Live! stage reading in Los Angeles.

I flew to L.A. a day early for the Black List Feature Writers Lab so I could attend the Black List Live! stage reading of one of my favorite annual 2016 Black List scripts: “The Miserable Adventures of Burt Squire Aboard the Horn High Yo”.

As usual, the reading took place at The Montalban Theater on Vine Street in Los Angeles and there was a big crowd on hand. The actors:

Burt Squire — Milo Ventimiglia
Captain Vernon J. Knux — Matthew Modine
Mel Squire — Janina Gavankar
Trevor Squire — Raphael Alejandro
Wyatt Squire — Brandon Scott

Narrator — Cooper Thornton

Written & Directed by Ben Bolea

Ben Bolea, Cooper Thompson, Brandon Scott, Matthew Modine, Milo Ventimiglia, Janina Gavankar, Raphael Alejandro.

The performance was both terrific and hugely funny in large part due to the interplay between Ventimiglia as Burt trapped with the foul-mouthed, opinionated, blowhard Knux played Modine. Some background on the project from Deadline from October 2016:

LD won a spec battle for a Ben Bolea spec script that has the longest title I can remember. The Miserable Adventures of Burt Squire Aboard the Horn High Yo is fact-based, and follows a family man in the midst of a midlife crisis who embarks on what he hoped would be a dream sailing vacation. He ended up shipwrecked in the Atlantic Ocean with a charming but unhinged sea captain who was off his meds.

Three writing takeaways from the stage reading:

  • Locking together two ‘strange sojourners’ is a tried and true narrative conceit, and it works for a reason: when the characters are well-drawn and come from two very different worlds and world views. It also helps if one or both of them has a way with words and is prone to act on their own self-interests, the former purely for entertainment, the latter to create conflict and twists in the plot.
  • In an era in which the major studios are addicted to branded content, now more than ever original screenplays have to work as actor bait. You need those attachments to get a film made. And the best way to do that: Write compelling, entertaining characters actors will want to play. Tonight Ventimiglia and Modine completely through themselves into their roles and you could tell they were having a hell of a good time doing it. Why? Because they were playing a pair of well-written characters in a compelling narrative circumstance and the chemistry between the two was palpable.
  • At one point late in the reading, Gavankar returned to a secondary character — Wyatt’s self-absorbed teen girlfriend — and gave those handful of lines an awesome take. To which Cooper Thornton threw out an aside: “There are no small roles.” This is how a writer needs to think. Whether a character you’re writing is a primary, secondary, or tertiary one, you need to treat them as complex individuals worthy of an actor’s attention and focus.

Oh, and one final point: The script is yet ANOTHER blast against those who ascribe to the theory that a screenwriter can only write scene description which can be seen or heard on screen. There were dozens of times in which the ‘Bert Squire’ script used scene description to editorialize on the action. Yes, we have to be judicious, but as an extension of our Narrative Voice, we have the freedom to do this. And as in the case of ‘Bert Squire’, it added greatly to the entertainment value of the read.

“The Miserable Adventures of Burt Squire Aboard the Horn High Yo” was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

‘Kingsman 2’ Finishes #1 as September Grosses Near Record High

The weekend’s new releases fell shy of Mojo’s weekend forecast, but Kingsman: The Golden Circle still managed to debut larger than the original, finishing in the #1 spot. Unfortunately, The LEGO Ninjago Film fell well short of expectations as did Friend Request, which delivered a mere $ 2.4 million opening. There were, however, some bright spots among limited release titles as Battle of the Sexes and Victoria and Abdul delivered strong opening results as September’s calendar grosses continu…
Box Office Mojo – Top Stories

Apple TV 4K Provides Stunning Images in High Dynamic Range

Apple promises the ‘greatest image quality ever’ with its Apple TV 4K.

Today at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Apple unveiled its upcoming products to an excited crowd. The lineup of gadgets included a new Apple Watch, three new iPhones, and the new Apple TV 4K. Apple touted the new TV 4K as having the “greatest image quality ever.” To illustrate that fact, they connected one to a 4K HDR cinema projector and showed the audience a few clips, as well as highlighting the new 4K interface.

Any HD content you’ve already purchased will be automatically upgraded to 4K HDR at no additional charge.

Apple designed its new product around two (not so recent) advancements in image technology: 4K and HDR (High Dynamic Range). “4K isn’t everything,” teased Eddie Cue, Senior VP and speaker at today’s event. After making this claim, he showed the audience a split screen image of a hummingbird—the left side in 4K and the right in 4K HDR, with a noticeable difference in image quality. Apple TV 4K is capable of producing these images since it supports Dolbyvision and HDR 10, two industry standard HDR platforms.

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No Film School

First Trailer for Cheesy High School Horror Thriller ‘Deadly Detention’

Deadly Detention Trailer

“Attention students, the rules have changed. I am your new principal.” Yes, I fully admit this looks terrible, but thankfully you don’t have to waste any time or money on this if you don’t want to – all trailers are free to watch! Deadly Detention, originally known as The Detained before the title change, is a new horror thriller about five “archetypal teens” (eye roll already) serving detention who “find themselves in a life or death situation.” The main cast includes Henry Zaga, Alex Frnka, Sarah Davenport, Coy Stewart, Jennifer Robyn Jacobs, Kevin Blake, and Gillian Vigman. At least they admit in the description that the characters are archetypal, because everything about this looks cheesy and awful and not worth watching. ›››

Continue reading First Trailer for Cheesy High School Horror Thriller ‘Deadly Detention’


Politician’s missed high five is so awkward it’ll make you shudder


Going for a high five is a risky business at the best of times.

Best case scenario: you end up pulling it off and look moderately cool.

The worst case scenario? Probably this:

That’s UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attempting to high five Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry during Thursday night’s general election results. As you can see, it didn’t quite go as planned.

TFW you risk it all for a high five and fall short pic.twitter.com/1klvBMEt84

— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) June 9, 2017

Never try to side-hug AND high five! YOU FLEW TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN! https://t.co/b9ci6gW7ZM

— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) June 9, 2017 Read more…

More about Uk, Awkward, Jeremy Corbyn, High Five, and Emily Thornberry

This Waterproof Drone Will Let You Shoot High in the Sky or Down in the Water

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.

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No Film School

Dance on top of the (very high) Sydney Harbour Bridge like no one’s watching


The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a popular spot to climb for your average tourist, but celebrities love it too.

Zoolander has been up there. So has Oprah. Even the musical genius behind “Sandstorm,” Darude, has graced the Australian bridge’s great heights.

But now you can embarrass yourself and scare the crap out of yourself at the same time, by busting a move on a light-up dance floor installed on top of it. 

It’s called “Dance Floor in the Sky” and across May and June (as part of the city’s Vivid Festival), it’ll offer locals and tourists alike a chance to pull a Saturday Night Fever on a frighteningly-small looking patch of d-floor.  Read more…

More about Bridge Climb, Dancefloor, Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and Australia

How I Met Your Mother’s Josh Radnor Joins Drama High Pilot

How I Met Your Mother's Josh Radnor Joins Drama High Pilot

How I Met Your Mother’s Josh Radnor joins Drama High pilot

Another cast member has been added to the lineup for the upcoming NBC pilot Drama High. According to Variety, former How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor is joining the show in a lead role. Drama High is based on the book of the same name written by Michael Sokolove about his high school drama teacher Lou Volpe. Volpe is known for moving to the blue collar town of Levittown, Pennsylvania and inspiring the students there with productions of sometimes controversial musicals and plays that kids could relate to. The pilot comes to us from Friday Night Lights executive producer / showrunner Jason Katims and Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller.

RELATED: Stranger Things’ Shannon Purser has landed a role in a pilot called Drama High

Radnor will play Lou Mazzuchelli, who is, “a left of center leading man who has to discover his own passion, drive and charisma. He is a father of three, husband and an English teacher at a school in a rust belt town in Pennsylvania, who decides to take a leap on taking over the drama department and it ignites an excitement in him which surprises him and spreads to his students.”

Already cast in the pilot for Drama High are Shannon Purser (Stranger Things), Rosie Perez (White Men Can’t JumpThe View), Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) and Rarmian Newton (The Family, Dance Academy). Katims will produce with Michelle Lee through True Jack Productions, with Seller and Flody Suarez for Seller Suarez Productions.

Radnor spent two seasons on the PBS drama Mercy Street, which was canceled earlier today. What do you guys think of the casting? Are you sad to hear about Mercy Street. Let us know in the comments or tweet us @ComingSoonnet!




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Box Office: Logan Rides High with a New March Record

It appears that there won't be a Logan after-credits scene after all

Box Office: Logan Rides High with a New March Record

What should end up being a very busy March at the box office kicked off with 20th Century Fox’s latest Marvel mutant movie, as Hugh Jackman played Wolverine for the last time in the James Mangold-directed Logan. After grossing $ 33 million on Friday (including $ 9.5 million in Thursday previews), the action movie co-starring Patrick Stewart, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen and Boyd Holbrook,  brought in an estimated $ 85.3 million over the weekend.

While that wasn’t a March opening record per se, it was the biggest opening in March for an R-rated movie, one of the many differences between Logan and the previous two Wolverine solo outings and all previous X-Men movies. The previous record holder for an R-rated March release was Zack Snyder’s 300 way back in 2006, which opened with $ 70 million, arguably starting the race for March release space. (Last year, Snyder’s Batman v Superman set a new March opening record.)

More importantly, that estimated opening surpasses the $ 85.1 million opening of 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, although it still falls short of X2‘s $ 85.5 million opening in 2009. It’s still pretty good and Logan’s strong “A-” CinemaScore shows it to be well-received among the fans with the same CinemaScore as 2013’s The Wolverine.

On top of that, Logan grossed an amazing $ 152.5 million from its day-and-date international roll-out into 81 markets, which is Fox’s third biggest international opening after X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avatar. It was #1 in China with $ 46.3 million, #1in the UK with $ 11.4 million, and #1 in South Korea ($ 8.2 million), Brazil ($ 8.2 million) and Russia ($ 7.1 million)

$ 10.1 million of that domestic opening gross came from 381 IMAX screens, which ended up being just under half the total global IMAX gross for the weekend. Of the $ 10.6 million made from IMAX internationally, $ 4.4 million of that was from China’s 388 IMAX screens.

Normally horror movies do their biggest business opening weekend and then quickly tail off, but that wasn’t the case at all with Jordan Peele’s Get Out from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions. Not only did it hold up well against the blockbuster juggernaut that was Logan, but it held up better than any other horror movie in recent memory, dropping to second place with $ 26.1 million in its second weekend, down just 22% from its opening. It has grossed $ 76 million in just ten days and that’s based on a $ 4.5 million reported production budget. That’s fairly unheard of and is clearly showing the movie to be something that has really connected with moviegoers even with plenty of other options in theaters.

Opening in third place was Lionsgate’s faith-based drama The Shack, starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer. Based on the 2007 bestselling Christian novel from William P Young,  it opened with $ 16.1 million over the weekend in 2,888 theaters, a decent average of $ 5,575 per theater. It received an “A” CinemaScore, showing that fans of the book appreciated the movie more than critics.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ The LEGO Batman Movie dropped to fourth place with $ 11.6 million, bringing its four-week domestic total to $ 148.6 million, not bad but not nearly as good as its predecessor, The LEGO Movie, did three years ago.

Keanu Reeves’ second outing as the title character of John Wick: Chapter 2 (Lionsgate) took fifth place with an estimated $ 4.7 million and $ 82.9 million in its first four weeks. That’s compared to the less than $ 40 million that the original John Wick made in its first month of release in 2014, which means Lionsgate should probably go ahead with a third chapter. (Nothing has been announced as of yet.)

The other book adaptation of the week was Open Road’s Before I Fall, starring Zoey Deutch and directed by Ry Russo-Young, based on Lauren Oliver’s book. That brought in an estimated $ 4.9 million in 2,346 theaters or $ 2,089 per theater, which is better than Open Road’s other recent release, Collide, which dropped 87% in its second weekend, making it one of the top 3 worst second weekend drop-offs ever.

20th Century Fox’s Hidden Figures brought in $ 3.8 million in its 10th weekend in the Top 10, remaining in seventh place and bringing its total gross to $ 158.8 million, while Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-winning La La Land (Lionsgate) also remained in the Top 10 with just under $ 3 million over the weekend and a grand total of $ 145.7 million.

Universal and Legendary Pictures’ The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon, took a tumble in its third weekend, down 62% to take ninth place (down from fourth) with $ 3.5 million and $ 41.3 million domestic. Internationally, it’s fared better with $ 279 million, which includes the huge windfall the movie had in China.

Universal’s other movie Fifty Shades Darker also had a significant drop (down 55%), bringing in $ 3.5 million over the weekend bringing its domestic total to $ 110 million.

Fox Searchlight’s ensemble wedding comedy Table 19, starring Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Wyatt Russell, Stephen Merchant and more, ended up getting a last-minute wide release on Friday into 868 theaters, but it only took in $ 1.5 million its opening weekend, or $ 1,575 per theater.

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