Adaptations and Authenticity

I’ve been waiting until my latest article in Creative Screenwriting Magazine came out to post this.  I am so happy this was published now, just before the Oscars happen.

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Spotlight co-writer Josh Singer, to discuss the writing process and the making of the Oscar-nominated film.  He discussed with me his and co-writer/director, Tom McCarthy’s commitment to truth and authenticity, the power of the newsroom, and the challenge of condensing life stories into a 2-hour film.

From a news story that broke in Boston, to a major motion picture that was just nominated for six Academy Award nominations (best picture, best director, best screenplay, best supporting actor, best supporting actress and best film editing), Spotlight is a very interesting film, because there is not one hero, but several working together to accomplish one goal. In brilliant fashion, writers Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer capture the themes of moral corruption in great institutions while revealing the power of the newsroom and crusading journalism.

To continue reading my article click HERE.

 

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Starlight Blogger Award

Greetings Blogging Community! I’ve been nominated for the Starlight Blogger Award by my blogging friend, Rami Ungar, The Writer (https://ramiungarthewriter.wordpress.com/) I am honored and surprised, since I am not always consistent with my blog posts, but thank you Rami Ungar!

Here are the RULES for this award:

  1. Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.
  2. Answer the 3 original questions and then the 3 new questions from your nominator given to you.
  3. Nominate your 6 favorite bloggers! In your nominees I would like for you to think at the light emanating from the stars the ones that truly touch your soul with their work, the ones that are the light for you a true STARLIGHT Blogger.
  4. Please pass the award on to 6 or more other Bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated by you.
  5. Include the logo of the award in a post or on your Blog, please never alter the logo, never change the 3 original questions answer that first then answer the 3 new questions from your nominator and never change the Award rules.
  6. Please don’t delete this note:

The design for the STARLIGHT Bloggers Award has been created from YesterdayAfter. It is a Copyright image, you cannot alter or change it in any way just pass it to others that deserve this award.

This Award is created to highlight and promote Inspiring Bloggers.

This Award is created to highlight and promote Inspiring Bloggers.

Copyright 2015 © YesterdayAfter.com – Design by Carolina Russo”

Here are my answers to the original questions:

  1. If you could meet anyone throughout history, who and why? Boy, that is hard. It reminds me of being asked “who” is my favorite author, which is impossible to answer…there are far too many. Honestly, because of his huge historical significance over the ages, I would first want to meet Jesus. Here are a few more: Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, Aristotle, Diogenes, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Francis of Assisi, C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Lewis Carroll, to name a few. Why? Why not? It would be nice to pick their brains.
  2. What is your favorite book and why? There is absolutely no way on earth I can name my “favorite” book. That’s like asking me to choose a single star out of a constellation. Here are some all-time favorites: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, The Nose (short story) Nikolai Gogol, William Shakespeare (all his Sonnets, As You Like It, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Nights Dream,), The Divine Comedy by Dante, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde’s by Geoffrey Chaucer, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Moments of Being by Virginia Woolf, The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Ovid’s Metamorphism, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup, The Barrett’s of Wimpole Street by Rudolf Besier, shall I continue? J
  3. Who is your favorite fiction character from any medium and why? Oh, I truly wish the word “favorite” were not in any of these questions. It really is impossible to answer this. Since I am such a Shakespeare fan, let’s look at Hamlet. There is no getting around the complexities and layers that make up this character. Simply put…he’s genius. Why? The layers that make up Hamlet are many. He’s fearless and fearful, brave and confused, indecisive and calculating, and hurt and angry, and he also has a lot of questions about life.

Here are my 3 original questions:

1.) What excites you about writing and reading?

2.) What is your definition of “education?” Do you believe being educated is important?

3.) If you could meet a fictional character, who would it be and what would you discuss?

…And now…here are my six nominees:

Dana Iste @ Southern Bell Goes AWAL

Dr. Robert O. Young @ PHoreverYoung

Chris Young @ The Renegade Press (Tales from the Mouth of a Wolf)

Cogito Ergo @ iSpocklogic

Christine Murray @ Poethead

Rami Unger @ Rami Unger, The Writer

*******************************************

Well, that’s about it! Thanks for the nomination, Rami Unger. I’ve (of course) nominated you back! :)

There’s Something Deeper Going On…

According to William Indick, author of Psychology for Screenwriters, “film is an extremely powerful psychological force.” If this is true, then we don’t just go to the movies to be entertained. There is something deeper going on.

There is nothing like a film that jolts your emotions. Whether you are moved to tears, or nearly fallout on the floor laughing, when your reactions to a story are vivid, you will remember the story long after you’ve digested the popcorn and moved on with life; it is indelible. But lasting connections do not just happen, especially in works of literature or in film. It is the result of calculated writing, which includes an understanding of human behavior and the relationship between conflict and human emotion.

Thank you screenwriter J.V. Hart and WriterDuet creator/software developer Guy Goldstein for creating a new story-mapping tool kit for screenwriters, which not only focuses on the plot, but the emotional journey of your characters.

I am excited to see how the collaborative efforts of these two masterminds will pay off!  I have used WriterDuet since it was first launched a few years ago, and I continue to stay amazed.  Screenwriter J.V. Hart has certainly seen his share of success with screenplays like:  Hook, Dracula, Tuck Everlasting, Muppet Treasure Island,  and Contact, and while HartChart is not new, it’s going live,  and I can hardly wait until its launching at the Austin Film Festival in October!

Details and Sign-Up here:  HartChart

Screenwriters should learn from Shakespeare: Language governs the action

There is no doubt that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet continues to be one of the most intriguing and highly analyzed plays ever written, and the protagonist Hamlet is arguably one of the greatest dramatic characters ever created. From the moment this disconsolate prince enters the scene the audience/reader is made acutely aware of his conflicted soul. This tragic hero is a walking dichotomy that provokes every sort of human emotion, and th-2

sets the stage for the revengeful plot to be carried out. Shakespeare uses the power of language to not only control the plot, but also to establish the storyline, reveal Hamlet’s varied complex character flaws, control fate, establish irony, and to govern the action of the play. Shakespeare brilliantly uses this character to hold the weight of the play with his dialogue, and reveal a vivid display of universal conflict within humanity.

Hamlet’s distress over his fathers death, his mother’s new-found marriage, and obvious distrust of the King are revealed with his entrance in Act 1, Scene 2 as he discourses with the Queen, his mother. However, his comment to the King is most insightful, when he reveals his suspicion and distrust. This comment reveals a lot, because Hamlet is not only displeased with his mother’s choice to marry so quickly after his father’s death, but it discloses Hamlet’s fermenting resentment.

King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,

And thy best graces spend it at thy will!

Hamlet. [Aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind. (1.1.62-65)

Perhaps one of the most dramatically revealing moments in Hamlet is with Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, “To be, or not to be.” Shakespeare introduces this during the middle of the play in Act 111, Scene 1. This moving and powerful monologue alerts the audience/reader that something grim is about to happen, as Hamlet uncovers his “sea of troubles.”

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Hamlet. To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?—To die,—to sleep,—
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die,—to sleep;—
To sleep: perchance to dream:—ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,—
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns,—puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. (111.1.56-88)

Hamlet moves into a very dark, contemplative state, and exposes the flaws in his thinking, his conflicting views on death and nobility, his possible fate, and the recognition that he will have to do something about his own personal conflicts and the plague that looms over Denmark. This is a perfect example of Shakespeare’s use of language to drive the plot forward, establish conflict, reveal Hamlet’s disposition, and set the tone for the remainder of the play.

The Ghost is also an interesting character whose dialogue has a pivotal affect on Hamlet’s mental and emotional state and the fate of the play. By the Ghost revealing the truth about the circumstances surrounding Hamlet’s father’s death, he motivates Hamlet to commit murder, the ultimate revenge, and lose his soul!

Ghost. My hour is almost come,

When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames

Must render up myself.

Hamlet.   Alas, poor ghost!

          Ghost. Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing

To what I shall unfold.

Hamlet. Speak; I am bound to hear.

Ghost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt

hear.

Hamlet. What?

Ghost. I am thy father’s spirit;

Doom’d for a certain term to walk the night,

And for the day confined to fast in fires,

Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature

Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid

To tell the secrets of my prison-house,

I could a tale unfold whose lightest word

Would harrow up they soul, freeze thy young blood,

Make thy two eyes like stars, start from their spheres,

Thy knotted and combined locks to part

And each particular hair to stand an end,

Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:

But this eternal blazon must not be

To ears of flesh and blood. List, list O, list!

If thou didst every thy dear father love—

Hamlet. O God!

     Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

     Hamlet. Murder! (1.5.7-26)

Not only does this speech reveal background, and feed Hamlet’s rage, it unlocks a thick unsettling within the plot of this play. Is the Ghost used by Shakespeare to create a diabolical manifestation that lures Hamlet into a fated doom? The dialogue certainly plays an intricate part in plot development and discloses the power of choice existent in every man. Is Hamlet’s madness self-induced? The language in this play is a powerful tool that helps impart Shakespeare’s theme within the play.

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Whiplashed Times Three

I’ve now watched the movie Whiplash three times, and I see clearly why Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 94% rating. The movie is riveting, intense, and well-acted.

Academy Awarded for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (J.K. Simmons…he’s incredible), Best Achievement in Film Editing, and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing. It not only won 3 Oscars, it received 96 other nominations with a total of 90 wins.

Reviews:
Beat the drums for a Simmons Oscar, and add a cymbal crash for Whiplash. It’s electrifying.– Peter Travers·Rolling Stone

More Full Metal Jacket than Dead Poet’s Society, the film is an epic battle of wills between two fanatical artists, one doing everything in his power to painfully make a master out of the other.– A.A. Dowd·A.V. American Kennel Club

Indeed, Whiplash is a dramatization that takes everything to extremes, which makes a great platform for the actors. The relationship between Fletcher, the drumming instructor (J.K. Simmons and the hungry student, Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is not just intense, it’s incredibly engaging, and one of the major focuses in the storyline.  The final scene is a wonderful culmination of the power-play and rather twisted relationship between the two, all wrapped up in an incredible drumming solo.

Rated R for violence and language content

If you’re a music/jazz lover, this is a great flick to see.

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Let’s talk about connecting to the audience — Why is this important?

Greetings Everyone!

I will be teaching a Webinar for the Writers Store on Thursday, June 25, 2015 1:00 PM / 4:00 PM ET
The Audience’s Connection to a Screenplay: Engaging through Conflict

Screenwriters sign up now for my webinar on June 25 on writing engaging conflict. Use the code CARLA20 to save 20%  bit.ly/EngagingConflict 

At a Glance

Whether you are a novice, intermediate or seasoned screenwriter, this webinar will fuel you with insightful and important information to help you create a story with universal appeal.
Gain a deeper understanding about the fundamental importance of conflict in a screenplay.
Learn how conflict affects the pacing of your story, helps develops your main character, and connects the audience to the hero.

Please note: If you purchase any webinar, you will get a recorded version of the webinar sent to you after the presentation day. So if you can’t attend live, you will still get all the materials.

ABOUT THE WEBINAR

Screenwriting is a rigorous process, and for a story to work in this medium the audience must connect to the hero – you must make the audience care! However, this does not come about by giving your character good personality traits. The audience needs to see strength in overcoming; they need to see “reality” through conflict.

Carla’s passion for storytelling begins with her connection to the journey of the hero, and for an audience to root for a hero; there must be a relationship with the character based on weakness and character defect. With a background in the dramatic arts, and English literature, Carla will share with you her process for creating relatable, “realistic” characters through the use of conflict.

Discover why so many scripts fail at the get go, how good characterization is based more on weakness and need than personality traits, and how both internal and external conflict is used to move the story forward and bring the hero to transformation.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

How conflict helps to deepen the main character
How conflict works in a storyline
About the many faces of conflict
Why audiences must have a connection to the hero
How to make your audience “care” about the hero
The importance of dramatic tension and how it works with the hero
The essence of storytelling, no matter what the genre
The importance of universal appeal

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Screenwriters who want a story that connects to the audience
All-level screenwriters
Screenwriters who want a better understanding of dramatic conflict and how it is used in the story
Screenwriters who want to expand their writing skills
Screenwriters who want to impress readers and (hopefully) sell their scripts

Participate Live or Watch Later

This webinar includes both access to the live webinar where you may interact with the presenter and the recorded, on-demand edition for your video library. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for one year. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation. In all webinars, no question goes unanswered. Attendees have the ability to chat with the instructor during the live event and ask questions. You will receive a copy of the webinar presentation in an e-mail that goes out one week after the live event. The answers to questions not covered in the live presentation will be included in this e-mail as well.

BONUS: With purchase of this webinar, you will receive $79.99 off of a yearly subscription to the Screenwriting Tutorials website, which has specialized tutorials from experts that explore screenwriting topics covered nowhere else on the web!

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: This webinar will be broadcast using GoToWebinar. To see if your system is compatible with GoToWebinar, please review this page, which lists the system requirements for the software.
Meet the Author: Carla Iacovetti

Carla Iacovetti is a published writer, awarded poet, and screenwriter. She has authored more than a half dozen screenplays, and her poetry is featured in over a dozen anthologies. Carla, who works as a freelance writer, script editor, ghostwriter and copywriter, is also a regular feature writer for the Ventura County Reporter and is a screenwriting instructor at Santa Barbara City College Center for Lifelong Learning.

SIGN UP HERE: The Audience’s Connection to a Screenplay: Engaging through Conflict
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