Studio Ghibli is Back from the Dead! Miyazaki is Developing New Film

Studio Ghibli

Can you believe it?! I don’t know if I do?! Reports are going around that Studio Ghibli has re-opened its doors, started hiring a new team of animators, and will soon start working on a brand new project. It was massive, heartbreaking news a fear years ago when legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement (after finishing The Wind Rises in 2013) and then subsequently the studio he helped start, Studio Ghibli, decided to stop making new films and instead focus on monetizing their old filmography. In the last few years, Miyazaki kept himself busy by making an animated short film for the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. But now the studio is back from the dead and Miyazaki has a new idea for a film, which is what this is about. ›››

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Tweetstorm: Craig Mazin on the Working Relationship between Studio Execs and Writers

If you are an aspiring screenwriter, Twitter is an amazing resource. In October 2014, Rachael Prior posted a series of tweets about life as a feature development executive, which I posted here. Inspired by that thread, Craig Mazin followed up with his own tweetstorm. Reprinted in its entirety here by permission.

Craig Mazin

First, make sure you are primarily motivated by fear. This will be easy, as it’s that thing you’re soaking in at work.

You’ll likely be working at a studio or production company in which everyone is frightened to death. And of what?

They’re frightened of everything. There is no formula for success. Movies succeed because they magically connect with millions of people.

Sometimes they do not magically connect with millions of people. The “magic” part isn’t actually magic. It’s substance, but here’s the catch.

It’s not substance that you, the development exec, provides. It’s substance the writer provides, at least initially. So you have a choice.

Believe in their ability, and guide and help them to do the best they can, or attempt to mitigate your fear through CONTROL.

It’s likely the people you work for are big believers in the CONTROL method. Because this is what the fear tells you:

1. Writers don’t have the answer. The only answer is to repeat a past success, because that’s controllable.

2. Writing isn’t a proper job like “put in x hours to assemble y widgets of measurable in z units of quality.” So writers are suspect.

3. The harder you beat a writer, the more work you get out of them, and quantity is quantifiable, ergo CONTROLLABLE.

4. Your job and your livelihood are unfairly tied to the output of this self-important non-real-job artiste, so you must CONTROL them, or…

5. …the will control YOU. Then you will be seen as weak by your coworkers and bosses. You will be the wounded gazelle.

It also requires you to downgrade the importance of the quality of the script. A script is just a script anyway. Who knows?

By the time the movie comes out and flops, you’ll be developing THE NEXT BIG THING and you won’t be fire-able.

Remember, the CONTROL method is about making your emotional state Job #1. Risk is for idiots. It rarely pays off. In fact, you’ve noticed — -

— almost NOTHING pays off in development. Go ahead. Try and be good. Congrats. Your movie didn’t get greenlit. Or did and flopped.

Meanwhile, the sociopath in the office next door just got promoted, and their output is no different than yours. So why bother?

You were told that there was the promise of great power in development. You could be the Big Shot with the Green Button.

And THEN… on THAT day… you could finally do some good and make some terrific movies. At last! Ah, but even now, you know that’s a lie.

You’ve been trained by those people, and you can see there’s only fear and desperation for control in their hearts. That’s all there is.

And the higher you climb the ladder, the worse it gets. You’re not just afraid for your job. Now you’re afraid for EVERYONE’S job.

There are some development executives who seem to have succeeded by caring for writers and putting the movie above all other concerns.

But they’re the rare ones. Keep telling yourself that. There’s far more people doing your job worrying about what you’re told to worry about

So keep worrying. Hold on tightly. Show no faith. Control. Compromise to mitigate risk. Chase past success. Aim for quick, easy approval.

If you can do all that, there’s a .001% chance you’ll run a studio one day. But there’s a 99% chance you keep your job today.

There’s also a 99% chance you’ll burn out and move on in ten years, because one morning, you wake up and think “Wait. What am I doing?”

“What’s the point?”

Maybe then you will remember why you cared in the first place. Maybe then you will understand the true nature of risk and reward.

It’s easy to be the wrong kind of development executive. It’s hard to be the right kind. But there is no reward for being the wrong kind.

If you want to make money, you’re in the wrong business. Go work in finance. If you want power, you’re in the wrong business. Go to D.C.

You do not make movies. You love and support and guide and challenge the people who do. That’s the heart of it. And I promise you this:

If you can truly love us, we will love you back in a way you can’t even imagine. Because we are desperate for people like you.


Addendum: WHO is as important to me as WHAT. I love the people I’m working with these days. I won’t work for anyone I don’t.

Final addendum: when dev execs truly put the writer first and control of the writer second, they invariably get more control of the writer.

There you have it, straight from the front lines from a writer who knows both the craft and the business. Insight into what it’s like to work on both sides of the desk and a plea to aim for our higher angels when it comes to actual act of developing and making movies.

Thanks, Craig!

Follow him on Twitter: @clmazin.

You may read all of the Screenwriting Tweetstorms here.

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Tweetstorm: Craig Mazin on the Working Relationship between Studio Execs and Writers was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Logan: Darker Tone Was Concerning for Fox, According to Studio Chief

Logan: Darker Tone Was Concerning for Fox, According to Studio Chief

Logan: Darker tone was concerning for Fox, according to studio chief

Logan, the third and final film in the Wolverine trilogy (beginning with 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine and 2013’s The Wolverine), is going to have a decidedly darker tone than the character’s earlier appearances. This was a concern for Twentieth Century Fox, according to chairman Stacey Snider. Variety reports that Snider spoke about their feelings during a Q&A at the Recode Media conference in Laguna Niguel, California on Tuesday.

Snider said: “Inside, there was real consternation about the intensity of the tone of the film. It’s more of an elegy about life and death. The paradigm for it was a Western, and my colleagues were up in arms. It’s not a wise-cracking cigar-chomping mutton-sporting Wolverine, and the debate internally became, isn’t that freakin’ boring? Isn’t it exciting to imagine Wolverine as a real guy and he’s world-weary and he doesn’t want to fight anymore until a little girl needs him?”

Back in October 2016, director James Mangold posted a picture of a script page on Twitter, which gave us a look at the tone of the film. It described fight scenes and began with an F-bomb, making the R rating clear from the get go. By the end of the page, Logan is getting beaten up with a variety of weapons, including guns, knives, fists and a drill.

In the film, a world weary Logan is taking care of Professor X in a hideout on the Mexican border. A young mutant, however, will change everything for him. This will be the ninth time star Hugh Jackman has played this role on the big screen. The film also stars Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E. Grant, Stephen Merchant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal and Elizabeth Rodriguez. Logan will hit theaters on March 3, 2017.

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How the KIRA Robotic Framed the Microsoft Surface Studio

If you’ve been following the lateest word on tech you may have seen the buzz around the new Microsoft Surface Studio:

Now just how did they produce that sleek spot? Well as with any piece of high end advertising, it’s a mix of CG renderings and real live practical shooting. To accomplish the elegant precision of movement in the live demos, Microsoft utilized Motorized Precision’s KIRA.


Simply put, camera systems like the KIRA are a dream for any camera movement enthusiast. Check out more details in the article below.

I wanted to know more about the development and production of this commercial, so I reached out to Sean Brown, the President of Motorized Precision. Here’s what I learned about the Microsoft Surface Studio spot.

The Microsoft Hardware Design Team reached out to Motorized Precision to create and execute the motion control shots for the launch video. Shot at Cinerent West in Portland, Oregon, the KIRA was equipped with a RED EPIC DRAGON and Canon 15.5-47 mm lens. 

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