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Topic: I adored "The King's Speech" but I refuse to watch "Black Swan"

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 01/20/11 05:57 PM

And of course I watch just about every dance musical or dance theme movie that there is. But Im really tired of the same old poor anorexic (sorry about the spelling) ballerina. Ballerina's MUST be as little as possible because they are constantly being thrown around by male dancers.

If you get too tall and you are not naturally very slim, then you have no buisness becoming a ballerina. There are other dance outlets where skin and bones is not so important.

And of course there is also the fact that there are actually a lot of very strong black male ballet dancers around who could easily heave ANY white ballerina with ease. But oh let me see why most ballet companies have a problem with THAT. See, the whole thing is very tiresome.

But hey "the King's Speech" was awsome. I like it almost as much as "Young Victoria".

Author: Terry Frazier Posted: 01/31/11 07:17 PM

Janet,

Neither Natalie Portman nor Mila Kunis, the stars of BLACK SWAN, is anorexic. Nor do they look anorexic. And, imho, it's an excellent film.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 01/31/11 10:41 PM

Then it must be a truly unique film about a ballet company doing "Swan Lake" just about the most common ballet there is, because almost every ballerina I know is anorexic and I know several. Which is why Im against this film because I feel they are just doing another tear down, as usual.

Instead of focusing on all of the new and different things ballet companies are doing these days and all of the very strong and mentally healthy and stable dancers who are usually anorexic, because that is part of the job and they dont cry about it, they make a film about the same old tired ballet and same old tired issues. Most professional dancers these days are incredible and they are doing incredible dancing. But it doesn't appear that that they focus on any of that in this film and THAT is my complaint.

I will watch it when it comes out on DVD and if Im wrong and they do in fact show all of the wonderful things that the ballet is really about these days then I will admit it.

Author: Irin Evers Posted: 02/01/11 10:37 AM

But it's not a documentary on ballet, it's a thriller. And due what the story is about, the film is very dark. There's also a reason why Swan Lake was chosen in regard to the main character (and hence the title Black Swan).

Should we have the same debate about how Hurt Locker only shows the bombs and killing vs. the rebuilding? It's a thriller. Showing the rebuilding of the war torn country isn't what it's about.

Author: Michael Raymond Posted: 02/01/11 11:44 AM

Irin's documentary comment pretty much took the words right out of my mouth.

Reminds me a little bit of a friend's reaction some years ago to Apocolypse Now. He was a Vietnam vet and said something like, "That didn't remind me of any experience I ever had . . . "

Of course, he had this problem with Vietnam War movies in general and I tried to tell him that each story was approached like a different style of painting . . . Apocolypse Now as painted by Salvador Dali . . . Platoon by some realist painter, etc.

Anyway, I digress . . .

Author: Martin Burke Posted: 02/01/11 01:14 PM

If I was into dance flicks and musicals and one came out, I'd at least go see it before publicly condemning it. Who knows, you actually might end up endorsing it. My wife and I will see it this weekend just because of the award buzz.

That's the trouble with sites like this. Posters tend to come out against something before they really know what's what.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/01/11 02:20 PM

I also don't watch "spoofs" of dance musicals and remakes of classic dance musical ie Footloose and Dirty Dancing. I was simply trying to explain why. Im quite sure there are certain movies the rest of you stay away from also.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/01/11 02:32 PM

Sorry, certain TYPES of movies.

Author: Michael Raymond Posted: 02/01/11 03:05 PM

I try to stay away from bad movies.

Author: James Pickering Posted: 02/01/11 04:06 PM

I'll actually watch anything. First thing we were told at University was to watch as many films as we can; old, new, good, bad, Asian, Hollywood, French New wave, Italian realist, any genre, etc etc... You'll learn something from them all. Was some great advice, and I still agree with it.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/01/11 04:30 PM

Yes Michael of course, but sometimes even if we can agree on what movies are good and what ones are bad. Which I think most of us can. Personal biases seem to sneak into our views of what is good or bad.

For instance, I basically agree with most of the Oscar picks this year. I definitely agree with "Kings Speech", "Inception" and "The kids are alright".

But I haven't seen 127 hour yet which I really want to but my mother refuses to go see it with me even though I told her several times its up for Oscars. She can't seem to stand the thought of you know what (spoilers).

And I'm not so sure I can stomach "Social Network" because I dislike facebook so much. So see, personal biases about certain things could keep a lot of people from even watching a "good movie".

Also, I have very seldom seen a "good movie" that I didn't want to see in the first place for some personal reason, that I ended up liking . I still don't think they are good if I have a bias about the topic. The only one I can think of that I was forced into to watching that I did end up liking was "The Terminator".

And then of course there are ones that I can learn to like over time. I didn't want to watch Aliens and I even walked out on it when the alien shot through his chest. But I have since gotten use to it and somewhat like it. But not a lot. So see, personal biases have a lot to do with it.

I know there have been several good movies about priest molesting boys and teenage pregnancies but I wont watch those either. But hey maybe thats the difference between Oscar hits and Box office hits. Oscars do not recognize personal taste and Boxoffice hits do.

Author: Patricia Fox Posted: 02/01/11 04:39 PM

"all of the very strong and mentally healthy and stable dancers who are usually anorexic, because that is part of the job and they dont cry about it." I personally have trouble with the statement "mentally healthy" and anorexic" going in the same sentence...

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/01/11 04:57 PM

Sorry Patricia, you are right. I didn't mean it that way. If they are in fact Anorexic they are definitely not stable and healthy. I was throwing that label around to make a point and Im sorry.

A lot of dancers get labeled that when it is not in fact the case. They are simply very small but they do in fact look anorexic. Those are the ones I was talking about. There size is important to their job and because they are naturally small... its ok. As I suggested in my first post on this thread, even non-small ballerina's have options now so being "anorexic" is not necessary these days at all.

I don't of course agree to all of the actresses who are in fact anorexic. I don't think that "anorexic looks" is important to their job and because it is not natural for them it doesn't help their looks at all. But I think they simply get carried away.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/02/11 06:59 AM

Just one more thing. Biases are very stupid, aren't they. I could be missing out on a fantastic movie simply because I'm not open to certain subjects. I think that goes for agents and producers who wont even touch a script that involves a black and white romance.

I still have not received a single request to read my script. It has been almost 4 years now and 22 contest placements. Some of them pretty high too, 2nd and 3rd place. So good grief , its readable..

But of course my point is, I believe my script is much more universal than anyone gives it credit for. We are all women no matter what color we are so what does it matter? So please just give it a chance.

Author: Martin Burke Posted: 02/02/11 03:22 PM

Janet, here's a few tips that may help.

Keep writing to get more scripts in your arsenal. It's a numbers game. The more projects you have ready for market, the better your odds of not only getting requests but also an eventual sale.

Cold call production companies who have produced projects similar to yours.

Target the assistants and cultivate them. Best results come from relationships first and then get down to business.

Be professional. Not just during cold calls but anytime you put your name out there in public, even these threads. The last thing you want is to develop a reputation of being difficult to work with. When you constantly complain or rant about things like how unfair Hollywood is, your lack of success and race bias, it's sends up a red flag. As you said in your post, bias is a bad thing. You don't want it working against you.

Take online classes like Screenwriting U's Pro Series or others. They will not only increase your skills as a screenwriter, they also offer the opportunity to develop friendships and contacts.

Consider writing a solid short and possibly producing it for a local film festival. It might even get you on IMDb Pro.

Volunteer at any film festival you have time for. It's another way to network and build relationships.

Hope this helps.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/02/11 05:01 PM

Just one more thing. Biases are very stupid, aren't they. I could be missing out on a fantastic movie simply because I'm not open to certain subjects. I think that goes for agents and producers who wont even touch a script that involves a black and white romance.

I still have not received a single request to read my script. It has been almost 4 years now and 22 contest placements. Some of them pretty high too, 2nd and 3rd place. So good grief , its readable..

But of course my point is, I believe my script is much more universal than anyone gives it credit for. We are all women no matter what color we are so what does it matter? So please just give it a chance.

Author: Martin Burke Posted: 02/02/11 05:29 PM

Unbelievable!

Author: Irin Evers Posted: 02/02/11 05:33 PM

I just copied your logline from this site:

"When a stunning black coed from Chicago participates in her roommate's country wedding she's curiously pursued by a charming local cowboy. A Ballroom dance musical set in rural Iowa, 1995."

And from this, I didn't even realize it's a black and white romance. I just get that the "coed" is black. So I wouldn't say that's the reason for the rejections. This is the first time I've ever known that and I've known about your script for a while.

I've won or placed in lots contests where I received 0 requests - some very well known. It's hit or miss whether your logline catches the right person at the right moment. I even won mass e-queries that came up totally empty.

Also, have the contests you've placed in really pushed your script? Do they have any pull?

I still believe that a "ballroom dance musical" is a tough sell. There's not a big track record for this. But we've disagreed about this in the past.

Also, it seems that most of the production companies that we have access to (through queries or contests) are the smaller ones that are often looking for genre pieces (horror, comedy, etc.) and often low budget ($1-2M). That's what I think at least.

I don't know if any of these are the cause for the lack of requests, but I'm just not sure it's the interracial couple either.

Author: George Covic Posted: 02/17/11 04:24 PM

Janet- From reading your logline that Irin posted, I can see why you haven't had any requests. Where's the hook, the irony, the twist, the sacrifice? There's nothing there that says, READ ME! I'm sure you have the writing chops (all your placements in the contests) BUT, you need to go back and re-work that logline if you want somebody to read your script. As it is... there is nothing special, commerical or interesting in your story. That's the problem with many contests, they would rather pick a "non-commercial, independent, small type" of story than pick something that Hollywood would be interested in producing. (I guess it makes them feel good and arty.) Hollywood and many producers want BIG, lots of stakes, life and death situations in their stories. That's what MOST movie goers go to see and that's where the money is. Small stories don't cut it anymore unless you have an actor, director or a producer attached with money. Just my two cents.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/20/11 08:09 AM

Irin and George, thank you. I think you are right. Im sorry I didnt admit it sooner but I had to think about it because I didn't understand it at first. I thought "what are you talking about?" of course the conflict is obvious. But I tend to forget that most movie people and yourselves live in California, New York and Texas which are all multi-racial states.

So just because I say Iowa or country wedding doesn't necessarily clue people that Im talking about a state with a 99% white population and definitely almost 0% minorities in the rural areas which is what we mostly are. Basically, there are no yellow, black or brown people here. Sorry, I forget that other people do not necessarily know that.

Author: Irin Evers Posted: 02/20/11 01:56 PM

Yes - I'm in NYC. And most of the people you're submitting to are LA and NYC - which are very mixed. So I wouldn't put that as the cause of the rejections because I didn't even realize that from the logline. And if you want it to be more known, you should state it.

Author: George Covic Posted: 02/20/11 04:51 PM

Janet, Even if you fix your logline and state the obvious, it still won't attrack producers. Black and white in rural Iowa in 1995? So what, what's the big deal? Maybe in 1955 or earlier, but then it would be a period piece and period pieces written by new writers are a very hard sell.

I'm sure this is your "masterpiece" but put this one aside until you hit the big time and write something that is much more commercial. Something that has a greater hook, a universal appeal, and is cheap to produce. A script that you may not want to go see, but millions of others would. Which will get your foot in the door and possibly have it sold and produced. Then bring out, "Looking for a Man with a Corvette."

Here's a reality check, go to "Winning Scripts" and tell me how many of those contest winning scripts were made into movies or even sold to Hollywood over the past 5 to 10 years. Then read their loglines.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/20/11 07:58 PM

If its not a big deal then why hasn't it been done in movies more frequently? Im not saying it hasnt been done at all because it has. But as compared to the actual number of romantic comedys and romances that are made each year, I would guess at least hundreds, I can count on one hand how many have been black and white in the last 5. So, it seems like a big deal to somebody. Don't you think? Its just an observation.

Author: TJ Cimfel Posted: 02/21/11 08:59 AM

Hey Janet. Couple things from my perspective.

1) There's no conflict in your logline. I'd work on building some tension into it.

2) It's too easy to get stuck in the mud trying to perfect a single script. Are you working on any other scripts? Take what you've learned from this script and apply it to the next. It'll help to get your mind on something else.

Just two cents from a complete stranger.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/21/11 09:08 AM

As a matter of fact. According to the latest US Census, interacial marriages made up 30% of all marriages. So I would say a more accurate reflection of our society would be to have 1 out of every 3 (Romance-Romantic comedys) black and white instead of 1 out of every 100.

Then.... I would agree , it's no big deal. But as it is, it sure seems to be for some reason.

Author: George Covic Posted: 02/21/11 10:29 AM

Janet- The problem is, who wants to go see it? It's not a subject matter that screams... WHAT A GREAT CONCEPT! I HAVE TO GO SEE THIS! Our society/morals have changed over the years. We see black and white couples all the time now. That's why it's no big deal. There's nothing unique about the story that the general public would want to spend money on to go see. Maybe if it was the very first interacial couple way back then. But in 1995? Re-read my other two posts.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/21/11 12:30 PM

We don't see it all the time on the movie screen George so I think it does scream SEE ME. Expecially for that 30% of all married couples that would like something they can relate to for a change. What exactly did all of the 100 romances and romantic comedies made last year scream at everyone? Aside from the interacial couple mine also has the ballroom dancing draw which judging by the popularity of Dancing with the stars and other ballroom dancing shows seems to be a pretty good one.

Im not trying to argue with you George but my script is a romantic comedy/romance/family and maybe even action script not a thriller or what ever you're trying to say works better. I believe you, it probable would work better if my man with a corvette was a vampire. But come on. Thats silly.

Author: George Covic Posted: 02/21/11 02:31 PM

Janet - You're ridin' a dead horse there, babe. YOU may think it screams out, but look at your results. No one has requested your script. Doesn't that tell you anything???

Just because a writer writes a script doesn't mean automatically someone HAS to read it or BUY it. Even if it wins or places in a contest. It doesn't even mean that it's a movie.

Your story would probably work much better as a novel. But hey, either way... you just keep thinkin' that way, Janet. It just makes more room for me.

On a side note, none of my scripts have a vampire. That would be silly.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/26/11 09:29 AM

George, it is true that I don't get any requests to read my script. That is what I was complaining about. But the fact is, I bet that more than any one elses "logline and title" on this board, I get more HITS. I could bring my title and logline up right now and easily get 20 hits before it falls off. And I've be listed for over two years.

Heck, I get several daily HITS without even moving it. That should say something too.

If THAT wasn't happening (all the time) then I would definitely agree. My topic must be boring and a "dead horse". But something on it is attracting somebody. A LOT!

My details on my script listing only add that a mixed race couple is involved in the romance. It always has. So,that's why I believe it's scares people off.

I do get some reads of my excerpt. But not very many. So it seems to me the DISCONNECT is AFTER they read my "script listing details" which only includes how many contests I placed in and that the leading rolls are black and white. Not any more about the script itself or topic. They would have to read it to see that.

So thats why I have a hard time believing you George. That my topic is uninteresting and boring. Possibly my script itself is, which I have been working on. But they would have to read it to think that and like I said, no one has, except for contest readers and maybe 10 pages. So see, Sorry. But I still don't believe that my "title and logline" suggests something boring and uninteresting. For some people, like men, yes probably. But a lot of women watch movies too. Duh.

Author: Irin Evers Posted: 02/26/11 01:52 PM

The hits on this board aren't industry though. Don't get me wrong, I've gotten a few requests over the years, but most of the hits we get are other writers. So I wouldn't equate any hits on here to industry opinions.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/27/11 01:05 PM

Is that true? Because I personally dont look at other writers script listings at all. Once in great while maybe, but regardless....

I was simply equating hits to interest (whether it be industry or other writers). The statement was made that my TITLE AND LOGLINE does not suggest anything exciting or interesting. If Im getting at least 20 hits a day after 2 1/2 years on the board with the same listing (unless of course its the same 20 writers every day) which makes no sense at all, who ever it is. ITS STILL INTEREST.

Author: Martin Burke Posted: 02/27/11 05:06 PM

Hits are meaningless unless they result in script requests. Two and a half years and you're still putting all your hopes on this one non commercial script. You should have moved on and written at least another two specs by now. Ones that are more commercial. Perhaps most of the people who look at your logline do so merely because you go on and on about it in post after post. Wake up and move on. A writer writes, so write and stop whining. You're only cheating yourself and boring everyone else.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/27/11 05:54 PM

I hate to break it to you Martin, but they hit it even when Im not whining. And by the way. Whining and complaining IS part the function of this board. Its for writers to question, discuss problems and concerns. Besides supporting and helping each other. That's how us whiners learn. Which I have learned a great deal from MOST OF YOU on this board in the past years and I THANK YOU.

Author: Janet Hogate Posted: 02/27/11 06:52 PM

And one more thing Martin. You seem to have somewhat of an extended knowledge about "the industry" . You're not listed on the site so I assume that Martin Burke. is a psuedo.

So... you are possibly a contest reader, coverage reader or maybe even you run a contest of your own? Don't you think that its a JUST A LITTLE bit "conflict of interest" that you voice ANY opionion at all on this board that is suppose to be for NEW WRITERS and occasionally others who DO USE THEIR REAL NAME.

Don't get me wrong, I could care less if someones a psuedo, heck this place is crawling with them any more. And I do like Dave Barkley. But he was a skilled debater. You're just mean and destructive.

Author: George Covic Posted: 02/27/11 08:34 PM

Janet- Both Irin and Martin make great points. We are all here giving you a big REALITY CHECK. Why? Because we do care... believe it or not. No one is trying to be mean or destructive. I think everyone on this board wants success for all writers.

You can take our advice or not. It doesn't matter to me. I'm just putting it out there from my experiences. As a writer living in California and dealing with the realities of Hollywood, I get hit everyday with a reality check smashed and crushed against my face. So, until you move out here, and truly understand what a writer is up against, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

Like I said before... you just keep thinkin' that way, Janet.

... And good luck with your writing.

Author: Martin Burke Posted: 02/27/11 09:19 PM

Tough love, Janet. That's all I'm trying to dish out here. You do yourself a tremendous disservice by constantly complaining and calling me mean every time I try to tell you the way it actually is. Believe it or not, I'm trying to be constructive, not destructive. I have nothing personal against you and frankly, wish you nothing but success. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is a tough fucking business. No one in the biz wants to work with a cry baby or someone who refuses to consider good advice. This is not a site for whiners, it's a site for writers who are passionate about screenwriting, strive to be professionals and willing to learn from the advice and experiences of others. Try to be that and you'll benefit, refuse and you'll definite continue to fail. It's totally up to you.