I been kind of losing control of this site, or rather my screenplay(s) on this site. I say that because the whole reason to write a screenplay is to produce a film from the script you have written. I submitted a script to Amazon through the Amazon Storybuilder because it appeared (to me) that that's the format they require, or, at least, prefer, to read it in and because of Amazon's promoting the Storybuilder's formatting to their specifications, their readers, to read it. So, I sent in a draft and it went through their 5 stages but they didn't take an option on it. Now, I noticed that a reader named Naeem Liles gave the script a 5-star review and I read it but, then, because of a small mistake I made, I submitted a 2nd draft that went through their 5 stages again but, also, wasn't optioned. Now, it says on my profile page that I have 3 projects Liberty City (Keith G's Original Draft (Script 1) Sonny Liston's Eyes (Keith G's Original Draft (Script 1) and then Liberty City (Private) and underneath that Keith G's 1st Draft. Makes no sense and when I click on it it says: “your project is private and underneath that: “Learn more about project visibility and under that: “Your :project is not ready and under that: “Your project is still processing.” Very strange, to say the least. The review by Naeem Liles disappeared with this first draft, even though it states that he reviewed the script app. 30 days ago and when you click on that it says the page has been removed. Anybody got any ideas about this? Or is this the usual “Twilight Zone” episode everyone gets: maybe to produce a science fiction project about a writer who gets sucked into his computer?
I'm inclined to think that "Sonny Liston's Eyes" is worthy of a more rivetting
logline then the wordy one you're using.
As for Miami hoodlums in Liberty City youth court,lockup
Who cares about the punks!Shoot em all !
Keith, I'll be honest with you... I glanced at the 2 scripts that are public, and they're written more like stage plays. Perhaps you've already produced them as plays, I'm not sure. But if you haven't produced them as plays yet, perhaps you should give it some thought. After all, Tyler Perry began his career as a playwright, and look at him now. The guy literally owns his own studio. If you grow a following as a playwright, perhaps those plays can be turned into movies. Right now, the writing just isn't cinematic. That's not to suggest that it's bad. I think you're talented. But the way it's currently formatted is more suitable for the stage, in my humble opinion. Anyway, I wish you luck with your projects. Take care.
This is what happens when you make your script private on amazon. If they do not buy it and you still leave it private, they allow you keep it on their website for an additional 30 days. After those 30 days is finished, they automatically remove it plus any other info associated with the script, eg positive reviews. The reason amazon does this is that since they have refused to buy your script and you have refused to make it public to the outside world to give you more positive reviews, and they are not going back to re-read it, then they see no point in hosting your script. They remove it exactly 30 days after you made it private. If your script is public, amazon allows you to leave it forever. There are script that have been up on amazon for nearly 10 years simply because they are public. So, after Naeem Lilies, who is not an amazon reader, reviewed your script, you must have unwittingly made it private, and amazon will remove it 30 days from the day you privatized it. If you believe you never made it private, and have facts to prove it, then write to amazon studio customer service and inform them of their error and request a restoration of the script and the review...but I am willing to bet it's you who made the mistake.
I decided to take a look at your script LIBERTY and these are my honest opinions. There are some scripts that are called "page 1" rejects or "page 10" rejects and even "act 1" rejects. In page 1 rejects, the studio rejects your script after they read page 1. I have very bad news for you. The only reason any studio will buy your script is if your name happens to be James Cameron, or Quentin T, or Woody Allen or Knight S. In your script, LIBERTY, you have made the job of amazon or any other studio very, very easy. Your script LIBERTY is not a page 1 reject, it's a page ZERO reject. No studio or amazon will ever read LIBERTY. If you had printed it and sent it by USPS to a studio, the moment a studio mogul opens the envelop, unless your name happens to be one of the directors above, he will use your script for target practice - ie trying to target the garbage bin as he tosses it into it. The simple reason for this is the PAGE COUNT of your script. It's 199 pages. No one will ever read that. Hollywod wants movie scripts between 78 - 110 pages. Anything beyond that is amateurish or as highly professional as those directors aforementioned. So for you to have your script to be actually read by amazon, you need to cut it down by half. And glancing through the script, it seems you have a lot to learn about script writing. There are a wrylies all through and wrylies are hardly used these days. But the main issues is that, whatever story you have to say in LIBERTY, you must say it in half the pages it is currently in now.
> After those 30 days is finished, they automatically remove it plus
> any other info associated with the script, eg positive reviews.
Never heard of this before. It only applies to public-made-private, correct? Mine are nothing but private, and ones I submitted a year and a half ago are still there. It's like they're waiting for me to do heavy revisions and then resubmit, which I have done several times on quite a few of them. That's why it says that I have "119" scripts, when in fact I've sent only about 40 (of my 48) up to Amazon.
I don't mind at all that they have a history of the project on-hand.
I get all this but, see the thing is this: The name of the screenplay is "Liberty City," it's about a ghetto in Miami that I lived in for a short time when I was boxing in Miami Beach; I soon moved to another ghetto, Miami Beach, yeah South Beach and the farther south the bigger a ghetto it was. This was in 1966-1972. I first wrote "Liberty City" in 1970 and it was a short story of about 50 pages. The thing is I've written hundreds of poems, short stories and several novels. I tried my hand at plays and I see absolutely no difference between a play and a screenplay. In a local playhouse, here in Spring Hill, my son acted in "A Few Good Men," and the cast were not given anything in a play format, but simply a copy of Sorkin's screenplay .
Liberty City is a story that is as true today as it was when I first wrote it, as a short story, 40+ years ago, and for some reason, it has morphed from 50-pages into 150 pages but, I, the writer, know that it's all good: it only makes the story better. It addressed the problem of race in America and since I wrote about it, in the mid-1960's and up until this very day the bias and circumstances has not changed (for the better) not 1 iota. My question is why and my story addresses something that no one capable of its production is willing to gamble on and so, I fully realize that it is not the length, or anything else, it is the subject and the fact that movie-makers will continue to make fantasy and "feel-good" flicks that they feel they are not gambling on and that also has not changed and, likely, will never change because, truth be known, the truth is that colonel character, played by Jack Nicholson, is true for all these movie people: "you want the truth: you can't handle the truth," because the truth is they don't want the truth and don't know it when they see it: money rules Hollywood, Bollywood, and every other capitalist venture in this world and especially in America.
Your decades-long passion for your story is all well and good, Keith, but the simple truth is that it takes a lot of capital to produce a movie from start to finish. Everyone who's invested in the production wants it to turn a profit if not win awards. It would be a sad day if all the studios folded up their tents only because there were fewer risks and more profit to be had by investing solely in Wall Street.
Here's my take on your loglines:
Sonny Liston's Eyes:
“A secretive invitation causes a former sparring partner of pro boxer Sonny Liston to travel to New York to speak with the man who claims he was the assassin of Sonny Liston, JFK, MLK, RFK and others in the latter half of the 20th century.”
“A “slice of life” look at the Miami ghetto known as “Liberty City” that delves deep into the fabric of the lives of those who live there, those who police them, and how there is neither liberty nor justice at all.”
Keith, I'd bet $100 it has nothing to do with your subject matter.
Moonlight won best picture (and screenplay) this year and it is, coincidentally, a story taking place in Liberty City and dealing with two gay black men growing up there in the 80s mid-90s to present day, facing bullying racism and all the hardships of the so-called "ghetto".
Your script couldn't be more attractive right now if it tried. :) If you can cut it and format it to the correct size and style you might have a good chance shopping this around given the current climate.
I always tell my friends that Hollywood works within trend waves, and the trend right now is Liberty City, Black Lives Matter, the underprivileged, the underrepresented, and in the case of moonlight the gay African American.
So, take your time to rewrite this script to the correct format and pay some Virtual Pitch Fest and use Amazon to shop your story around.
The time couldn't be better.
@Catcon - maybe they made an exception for you. In a rejection letter they sent to me they made it clear that if my script remained private, they'll remove it within 30 days. If i make it public, it stays for ever. This was for a script I forgot to make public after submitting.
@Keith - no one is going to read 199 pages of script from an unproven writer. If you need it read, you have to cut it by half. Look at things this way. there are books that are more than 500 pages and when Hollywood buys it for production, the adapt it to about a hundred pages.
I understand, Clint, David and these are good points but I've been through this long ago: in 1979 I partnered with a producer, Leroy Robinson, who wrote the screenplay for "Car Wash," a successful movie and after he wrote a screenplay and had cast Liberty City with 3 well-known actors in the lead roles, Redd Foxx, Jim Brown & Michael Warren, we couldn't get any investors. I was living in Sacramento at the time and a close friend of mine, Dennis Byrne, called me to let me know that another fighter I knew from Miami Beach, Vinnie Curto, was in Lake Tahoe for a fight. I called him because he was managed by Sylvester Stallone, who was coming to Tahoe the following night to see Vinnie fight. Vinnie had read "Liberty City" which was published in a magazine published by The Phoenix Press, given him by this same friend of mine in Miami Beach, and knew it had a screenplay being shopped around for investors. I called him and he said come up, an 80 mile drive, and give him the precis, which I did. and Vinnie said he'd leave 2 tickets at the box office for me but I didn't attend the fight that night or speak to Stallone personally, because I had a wife and two daughters waiting on me at home and because I felt Stallone would read it and make up his own mind. I called Vinnie the next day and he said Frank Stallone would be in touch with either me or Leroy very soon. Yeah, you guessed it: we never heard from Frank or Sylvester. I also knew many close friend s of Muhammad Ali and gave the precis to them but never heard back. This was at a time when Ali was said to be "punch-drunk" with Parkinson's disease and so, I never delved to far into what happened. You see, things don't change much, just as the the circumstances in Liberty City, Overtown, and every other ghetto in America has not changed and that includes the horrific ghetto neighborhood's that border the very White House that does nothing at all and that included Barak Obama and every other democrat, save FDR, that ever sat there because America is not a democracy but a Capitalist Nation where money means everything, truth means nothing and the POTUS pays no income taxes. Hey, maybe a story there? How about this for a story: people are (literally) dying everyday in America, in ER's, in their homes, in ghetto's and not only because it's the easiest country to buy a gun in, but because they haven't the money to be treated and this in a country that cannot, and will not, pass universal health care, even though, and because of, the fact that the very politicians who could make it law, get that health care themselves by the same insurance companies that they subsidize and lobby with.
No offense but paragraphs may be a good place to start that re-writing.
I agree with some of your statement regarding America.
I just don't see the connection between that and your wordy stage-play with three minute monologues, a long ass dialogue even for Gilmore Girls standards.
Plays and screenplays are cousins not twins. One is dialogue-driven the other is visual driven.
Btw, did you deliberately ignore my comment that Moonlight, a movie set in the exact same neighbourhood you claim no one cares about, won the highest film accolade in the country?
I think you have a shot with this story. You just need to make a visual presentation of your short/play to convince Hollywood indie people it's worth the risk.
Preferably below the 100 page length.
It doesn't register you have to just skip spaces; why bother? Read anything I've written the net is filled with it. I do occasionally write long paragraphs however but I don't believe it negatively affects anything I write unless you're a reader who automatically stops reading when you find a typo or what you consider an "educational" mistake.
I don't agree that a stage play is strictly dialogue driven: if that were true you wouldn't need all the costume changes. Why do you think a good stage play becomes a film? Because they are both driven as much by dialogue as they are visual.
I didn't ignore your comment about Moonlight, it's just that I have never seen it and don't comment on something unless I do. I plan to (see it) as soon as I can find the time. When you get older, time goes by much faster, not slower as I always (had) figured.
Well Keith, it's not really a matter of opinion.
The base of classic theater is dialogue and it has been since Greece and the foundation of western performing arts. Same goes to Chinese theater and musicals.
Film/TV is visual and it follows the SHOW DON'T TELL rule of scriptwriting. Unless you're going for a very indie low budget movie (which incorporates the theatrical elements due to budget restraints) your script must have predominantly visual scenes and interesting situations going on all the time.
Your script must read fast and flow like an image passing before our eyes. Most great scripts share this trait with each other.
If you write a screenplay with good visuals, interesting situations and with a decent flow, typos and all the other grammar-nazi influenced pet peeves will be ignored. If you write long ass dialogues/monologues and boring scenes taking place in a single location, that's theater, not film.
Mind you, Amazon's "The Wall" and several horror films take place in single locations but the situations are interesting and suspenseful.
Dialogues are important and good scripts make use of them to grab your attention. But expository dialogues, long monologues reminiscing about the past only works in film during a funeral scene or during the intro of a movie. The art of film is to show things rather than listen to them. It's not radio.
So, my guess is that even though your story and theme is kind of hip right now, your presentation is lacking and that's why they're passing on it.
Readers have hundreds of scripts to examine in a day so if they look at all that blocky text, they'll automatically skim though it, there's no other way around it.
Good luck, I think you have a decent premise and a hot topic to show. You just need to make it more presentable.
Brother, the reason it is what it is, is because the truth seldom comes in a pretty package. And, like I said I first wrote this in 1970, so it basically picked me; I knew I had to write it the first time I heard the name Liberty City, a predominantly black ghetto where there was anything but liberty. If it's hip, well, fine, if it ain't we all gotta live and die and do what we do to the best of our ability. Maybe someone will invest in it; maybe not but I kind of feel like, after all these years, if it is ever going to be a film, I will have to make it myself. And, as far as dialogue being theater and visual being film, I disagree but see your pov nevertheless and thanks for the dialogue.
Well, again, Moonlight won the Oscars, so all stories taking place in Liberty City and about African Americans are now a "hot topic". It's that simple. Take advantage of that.
Again, you can disagree all you want about the dialogue thing. It doesn't make it less true. If you want to sell your script, you'll have to make it visual and less wordy. That's the way it is.
When they first came out with (silent) films your argument would hold water but as soon as the talkies came in the difference between plays and movies shrunk to only changing the scenery. I will cut & send in 160 pages of Liberty City just to see if they even read it, which I doubt they will.
I have some private scripts still up, and they have been for months since being passed on. I will keep an eye on them out of curiosity. Half are features the others are pilots.
Michelle L De La Garza
Keith, have you thought of expanding the story from a 160-page screenplay to a novella or novel and then self-publishing it through Amazon?
Frankly, I think that's the way for you to go, mostly because you seem to have a lot to say about the story topic and a fire in your belly to get the story ”out there.“
After that's done (a feat unto itself), *then* go back and rewrite your screenplay to the acceptable norms of length and format. The “exercise“ of writing the novella might better help you see which elements of the story are most important and may also better help you to see the story as a 110-page screenplay and as a movie.
190 pages? Maybe it's a first story and its sequel, or a miniseries.
Well, I'd usually let go of this, but I won't. I'll take this opportunity to address other people's attitudes towards screenwriting and the film media as a whole.
Your attitude of denial is part of the reason so many writers fail.
You seem to believe that the differences between stage and film are only blank spaces and changing scenery when in fact, they're much deeper and until you realize and understand them, your script will be ignored -- because they are written to a completely different medium.
The difference isn't in whether there is dialogue or not, but what KIND of dialogue is used and how the action flow is presented. You can't be that dense to the point of ignoring that a play is restrained by the stage itself (compensating with wardrobe changes and props) whereas a film expands this notion not only by adding multiple locations but also by using several techniques to emphasize drama (too many to write, such as camera work, juxtaposition, editing, etc. etc. etc.).
Change this attitude and understand the difference and you'll have a shot. Insisting on your uneducated guess of what a script is will take you nowhere.
I'm not being a dick, I'm trying to show you why you're wrong and why you need to change your attitude to get your film made.
Ingmar Bergman was arguably the most celebrated film director in history. He was a a man of the stage who decided to make films. His movies are considered very theatrical, restrained by space and emphasizing expository dialogue (a sin in screenwriting) and combining the techniques of filmmaking (close-ups, dollies and tilts) with theater scenery lightening and composition in a mix that has influenced a whole generation. You can see his influences today even in horror films.
After Sergei Eisenstein introduced us to editing as a tool to emphasize drama, cinema would never be like filmed theater again. They're not the same and should never be considered as such.
There's certainly a market for filmed theater emphasizing long ass dialogues (jokingly referred to in film circles as mumblecore) but do you really want to restrain all your ideas to boring small spaces and tiring exposition?
Watch Moonlight (which was based in a PLAY no less) and learn how the camera movement, editing and film techniques can change an entire dialogue-focused story to an immersive experience. They're very different.
Here's the script for that movie in case you're interested:
Don't write stories where audiences are passively watching characters move within a frame. Throw them inside the action, give it movement and depth, that's what film is all about.
That goes to all of you.
The Moonlight script is a lesson on screenwriting. No surprise it won an academy award for best adapted screenplay.
It's so visual you can barely guess it was once a play: whole pages of actions, silences and movement to thrown you inside that situation rather than showing cold framed action with boring dialogue. Here's an excerpt of a full page:
"No words spoken, but Little’s face: he’s lost.
INT. JUAN'S HOME, DINING ROOM - DAWN
Perhaps a bit later than “dawn” but it’s early.
Juan moving about in a long-johns top and sweats, rubbing sleep from his eyes.
The moment would seem pure and sweet were it not for the revolver, the tightly rolled wad of bills strewn across the table.
Teresa is at the table with a notepad and pen. Teresa is counting.
Juan moves to the table but doesn’t sit.
Teresa takes up a cup of coffee, gives him a look, goes back to her ledger.
A beat of them in silence this way, Teresa counting, Juan thinking, then...
Juan crosses to the near wall, looks down to a roller there, a semi-dried pan of paint. He takes up the roller, adds a streak of white paint.
Looks off a moment, thoughts gathered. Adds another streak of white, then
......a POUNDING at the door, a startle to them both and, as the POUNDING resumes, alarming.
Juan sliding the wad of money toward Teresa, takes up his pistol and heads for...
THE FRONT DOOR
...Juan just to the side of the door, pistol dangled in his hand.
A beat, then...
Juan looking down in confusion, doesn’t immediately open the door, but... of course opens the door, pistol tucked behind his back to conceal.
Gets a good look at Little. "
See? That's a whole page of movie magic emphasizing movement and immersion within a scene.
Liberty City has been published in different formats in The Phoenix Magazine, 1979, The Oracular Tree, 2004, AuthorMe.com, 2005, The Manly Art, in 2014 and as a play last year. Everything I've written is available, somewhere, online, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc. or just go to www.kglaufenberg.com