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SYS Podcast Episode 120: Screenwriter Max Landis Talks About His Latest Film, Mr. Right (transcript)

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 120: Screenwriter Max Landis Talks About His Latest Film, Mr. Right.


Ashley:  Welcome to episode #120 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I’m Ashley Scott Meyers – Screenwriter and Blogger, over at – “Selling Your Screenplay.com” Today I’m interviewing, Max Landis, of his new film, “Mr. Right.” Max is one of the hottest new writers right now. And the script for, “Mr. Right” is one of the spec. scripts that kicked off this hot streak. We dig into the process of how he wrote this script. So stay tuned for that.

And before that we have a special segment today. During my Kick-Starter Campaign, one of the rewards was a review of the first five pages of a screenplay that a writer submitted. I had two people that contributed for this reward. And this is the first of the two, so stay tuned for that as well. I’m going to be reviewing these five pages. And you can hear my notes on those.

If your screenwriting career would benefit from meeting Oscar winners, working writers, producers, agents, managers, and instructors. Come to “Script Fest” May 20-22 2016, in Burbank California. The only non-for profit, operating in Los Angeles California, London, and Canada. Script Fest. was created by screenwriters for screenwriters. Be your own protagonist, and come to Pitch Fest. To more than 120 companies, visit – www.scriptfest.com for details. And use coupon code – SYS15, to save 15% off any of our pitch fest packages, if you order before

April 20th 2016. Again, please visit – www.scriptfest.com, that’s – www.scriptfest.com.

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Any websites or links that I mention in the Podcast, can be found on my blog or the show notes. I also publish a transcript with each episode. In case you would rather read it, or look up something later on? You can find all the Podcast show notes at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast. Then just look for episode #120.

If you want my free guide – “How to Sell Your Screenplay in Five Weeks?” You can pick that up by going to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free you just enter your Email address, and I’ll send you a new lesson once a week for five weeks. Along with a bunch of bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. How to write a professional log-line, and quarry letter? How to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for new material. It really is everything you need to know to sell your screenplay, just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.

So, a quick few words about what I am working on this week? So, once again, this is probably going to be a, like a broken record here, for the next few months. I’m working on my crime action thriller, “The Pinch.” I got a draft of the script that I’m happy with. The last couple of weeks I have been doing a re-write on the script, just trying to polish it up. I’ll probably, there will be some more tweaks. But, I’m pretty close I would say. I’d say, I’m pretty close to the final shooting script. But as I said, there’s always going to be some tweaks. I’m getting very close to being basically, you are locked into the final draft.

We need scene numbers and it becomes kinda like the shooting script. And if you make changes, you start doing it in a particular way. So, you can see where those changes were made. And the production people will get that version of the script. So, I’m kinda real close to locking in the script. Again, there’s always going to be some amounts of tweaks made on the day of the production and shooting and all that. But, pretty close on that. So, now I’m officially moving into pre-production. This week I would kinda say this is my first full week of pre-production. Right now, I’m planning on shooting the film in July. That date has become a pretty firm date in July, early part of July, going all the way to the end of July. It’s going to be a three week shooting. Not sure of the exact date we’ll start? But, early part of July to the end of July. Might move a little bit, as I said, a couple of days, probably after the July 4th Holiday. So, we’d be talking July 7th, 8th, 9th 2016. And probably starting somewhere in that range. I’ve got a few people on board coming to help, that have volunteered to come and help on some of the positions. So, I want to get those people locked-up and start to actually start to give them firm dates. So I say, that July date right now is looking very, very firm.

I’m starting to work with my Cinematographer, he’s actually a guy I met through the Podcast. He was listening to the Podcast. He reached out to me. He’s a film maker himself; writer director himself. And he’s also a Cinematographer. So, I’m bringing him on board. Hopefully, we’ll finalize that this week. And start really working with him. I think we’ll do a shot list. He’s much, much more experienced, you want that experience than myself. So, I’ll definitely be working with him. As I said, this is my first time actually directing. So, I’ll be working with him, relying on him for a lot. He’s written and directed and obviously a photographer on a feature film before. So, it’s great having somebody with experience, who I can kind of rely on. As I said, I just met through the Podcast. He reached out to me and said he was listening. This was during the Kick Starter Campaign. And he sent me, a film of which, he had done. Which I thought was excellent. And so, we just kinda got into a conversation going. And now, it looks like he’s going to come on and a basically be my Cinematographer of this film. So, if you have production experience, and you live in the Los Angeles area? Please do drop me line, if you want to work on this film. I need all the help I can get. You know, as I have been chronicling this along. The total budget is $25,000.00. And pretty much that cost covers the hard costs. You start to do the math on, like: Food, it’s like there is almost $5,000.00 in food, just to feed the cast and crew for 15 days. It’s going to be a fifteen day shoot. So, about three weeks. You need just physical hard drives just to store all the footage on.  Those cost a couple, thousand dollars. That and these couple of props, you will need to spend on, you will need on location. When you start to spend, it starts to add up. The money that $25.000.00, just barely covers the hard costs. There’s nothing to pay people. Hopefully I’ll get some people that just want the credits. That just want to be a part of the project. And that’s ultimately where we are going to be relying on for this film. Just people, I’m going to be asking people if they, just asking for favors. So, you have any production experience, and you live in the Los Angeles area, and you would be willing to volunteer. Please do reach out to me. Getting ready to fill pretty much every position, that you know, AD – Second, AD, Production, PA’s, you know, I’ll be pretty much from top to bottom I’ll be looking for people. Right now, I’d say the main position I’m looking to fill is a Production Designer. And I need to get that person pretty much ASAP! Because they need to break down the script and start working on all the props. And that ought to be, there’s not a whole bunch of props in this script. But there is some things, some guns, there’s some knives, you know, a couple of cars that we need to work through. So, I just need to bring on Production Design. Who basically is able to break down this script. And then start to work on getting those props. As I said, there’s a little bit of a budget for getting some of these props. But, this will be maybe be a copy credit. There might be a gas stipend, so we will be able to help out a little bit on gas on that kind of stuff. This is going to be an unpaid position. So, if you know anyone, or a Production Designer such as yourself? By all means, reach out to me.

I’m also starting to look for the locations. There’s basically four locations in this script. There’s a couple, of guys, you know, driving down the street, or something like that. Basically four locations; there’s an office setting, there’s two different offices. But, I think the one is just a woman talking on the phone in a cubical. So, my guess is, if I can find like an office aid, I can kinda cheat that. Maybe combine that, even though they are separate locations. Really just do one location, and it’s an office setting. It means one kinda like a cast or office that we can shoot in, and a reception area, and another cubical area as well. That kinda looks a little bit different. It’s kinda off in the corner, so, it won’t necessarily be in any other shots. But we only need that for one day, maybe two at the most. So, that’s kinda the smallest location. And I need two apartments, I might be able to double up and use the same apartment, make them different. But, I don’t think so? Because one of them is kind of a really low rent, almost flop house kind of apartment. One of them is more like a middle class, like normal middle class apartment. The middle class apartment will need to shoot in the elevator in the stairs in the hallway. And then in the underground garage. That actually plays a pretty good part of it as well. Is the car pulling out of the garage. So, a little bit of specifics with that. Then there’s the main location for the movie is a house. Preferably some place in the San Fernando Valley, I live in the San Fernando Valley. A lot of the cast and crew that I’m already starting to talk with is in the San Fernando Valley. So, ideally, the house will be, needs to have a pretty big garage. It needs, the garage has to be pretty much empty because a lot of the action takes place in the garage. It’s pretty containable, we need to be able to move around and shoot quite a bit in the garage. But that’s kind of the one stipulation. I can probably work around just about anything else that the house might have. Like in terms of the living room, bathroom, we can sort of punch that, or sort of re-write the script. And then call that work. But then it has to have I’d say, a two car garage and then the garage basically needs to be empty. It’s not a house that the garage can’t be filled with boxes. I mean, the house garage basically has to be empty. So that we can pull our car in and shoot around that car nicely. A two car garage would be big enough and give us plenty of room to roam around and work. So, if you know anybody, again, if you know anybody that might have these locations? Again, I do have a little bit of a budget for the locations. That is something we are supposed to spend a little bit of money on. Or, if you have experience, and are willing to donate a role and time. And again, it’s going to be in July. Please do reach out to me, and fill out, “Selling Your Screenplay.com” even if you just have some ideas. Or if you know someone, or some websites. I’ve gotten some websites from people that are on a list of locations. So, I’ll be going through those. But anyway, any help or ideas that you have, by all means just reach out to me, again that’s – info@sellingyourscreenplay.com. So, that’s kinda what I’m working on. I had a big question this past week, via – Email from a screenwriter? And I thought it was just worth talking about in a Podcast episode. I thought it was kind of an interesting thing. And I think it’s something that we see a lot of. The screenwriter was in contact with the producer. And the producer was looking for Crime Thrillers that were based on true stories. This writer had a crime thriller, but it wasn’t based on a true story. So, he was just wondering whether he should submit his screenplay or not? I once optioned a creature feature, thriller script. I take that back, I optioned a horror, it was a horror thriller script to a producer. Who wanted stories based on famous novels. Or at least based on like literary works. Something that was somewhat famous. My script was not based on any famous novel. But it was just a spec. script. So this producer just wrote on a phone call, we just started wracking our brains about what novel, you know, “The Cannon of Great American Novels.” What novel could we kind of loosely tie this to? And between 1999 and 1998, there was a novel called, “Time Key” by Herbert Melvin, who was on and wasn’t all that famous book by Herbert Melvin. But it was basically about a bunch of cannibals on an island in the South Pacific. In my script it was about a bunch of cannibals in located somewhere here in the United States. So, there was a little bit of a tie in because through that cannibal angle. And so, we were like, yeah, we could use this. And it’s kind of a back-track, it’s not necessarily mean you would think about. But, this producer, he was looking to submit this to production companies. And that’s specifically what they were looking for, for they wanted that angle. But based on things, obviously typed by human, even though it was public domain, it was written hundreds of years. I think it was written in the 1800’s. And down, and so it’s in the public domain, we don’t have a rights issue. And, you know, it was on obviously it was on and the connection was how shall we say, loosely based on type “A” I’d say. But you could probably get away with a scene based on type “A” and nobody would know. Just kinda tie that in. And they key is to just look at it from the angle. In the case of my producer, he, who’s pitching this screenplay, this story, to a TV network. That wanted like a low-budget, horror, thriller script. And they wanted them based on some sort of a famous novel. And again, if you look at it from the producer’s angle, and then ultimately from the production company’s angle? They had done some other movies that were again, were loosely based on some novels some people had heard of. From authors from people had heard of. And then those films by whatever metrics they used on their network. Those movies had been successful. So that’s what they were trying to do, was to try and shoe horn a few other projects in that same sort of model that they already had working. They already had a model that worked, so they just wanted to get more projects in there. But they honestly, they care about the book it was based on, or being true to them. It’s just purely for them, it’s just purely a hook that they needed for their marketing. And so, they fact that it was kind of a little bit of a back tread. Probably would not have bothered them at all if, as long as you could say, “Oh, you know, based on the time period of Herbert Melvin.” When Herbert Melvin was certainly someone most of us has heard of. So you get that sort of market post. Nothing ever happened with it, the project. So, I don’t really know if the TV Network signed this producer to it, offered the script to it? But the point is, sometimes you can back track on these things. So, always keep that in mind. You know, you can always kinda be a little bit creative. If you have a crime scene script, and you can find a true story, that’s even a little bit like your screenplay. That you might be able to make the claim to. As you know, based on a true story. And there’s different kind of things, you know, inspired by true story as kind of, I would say, a lesser one? But you might be able to get away with that, inspired by a true story. Even though, you know it’s very, very, loosely. Even though you know, kind of back tracking on your new script. I don’t think, again, there might be a “Rights” issue if you’re basing it on like, a true crime story. You might want to be careful about “Rights” I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t play one on TV. So, definitely check with a lawyer if you want to you know, figure out about “Rights” and what you can use and what you can’t use? That might be an issue? Then in my case it was not an issue because it was a book by Herbert Melvin, that was written hundreds of years ago. So, it wasn’t an issue. In my case. But, you might want to talk to a lawyer to make sure that the “Rights” are not going to be an issue. But, you might be able to back track a little bit. And I don’t know, that, I think it might always be a good thing. If you can say, “Inspired by a true story” or “Based on a true story.” I think that would always help you, your pitch. I think for the most part, producers like those kinds of angles. Because it gives people a little bit of a marketing hook. And it gives, and it can be very loose. And give you, you want to talk to them a lawyer and figure out how loose it needs to be. So you don’t need to get the “Rights” from the people involved. But, it’s just something to think about? Again, be creative, obviously you want to be honest with the producer you’re working with so, he understood kind of what was going on, he wasn’t necessarily blind going down the road. You know, if your script was vastly different. But, loosely based on it. So, you want to be honest with the producer. Like I said, I was, me and my producer were literally on a phone call and wracking our brains to, for this, trying to come up with this. So, he understood exactly what we were doing. He, you do want to be up front with the producer so he’s not blind. So, matter about, and again, think about your story, and think about it if there is not some other angle to pitch to them. Do a little Google, open up a Google, you know, a Google website and do a little searching. And you might find something that can actually fit a story. That may perhaps something you have already written.

So, now let’s move into the special segment. Today, as I mentioned, this is going to be the first of two reviews I’ll be doing. The writer’s first one of nine pages. The writer sent my five pages, the first five pages of the script. I then read it, and given them basically I’m about to read off, I’ve basically sent them off to the writers. So they have those, I’ll only be doing two of those full on contributed during my Kick Starter Campaign. So, this is the first of two. I hope people find it valuable. And kinda just go in and get into it now. I have posted a link in the show notes, to a PDF of these first five pages. So, you want to go get that and click on it, it might be a little bit more contexting in it, once you read the pages. I don’t think you necessarily need to need them. But, if you want to I have made that available to you. It might help you get a little bit more context. So, this is a script called, “Mosquito Harbor” it’s written by a writer, Katherine. I’m going to just start out with a quick summary of the first five pages. So you kinda understand what the story is about. The writer, first off, the writer was nice enough to post the log-line at the top of page one. Obviously, you would do this when you submit your script anywhere. But I appreciate that the writer did do this. In that this case, she knew that I was only going to be reading the first five pages. So, posting a log-line is actually not a bad thing to do. I’ll just read the log-line so that you kind of understand what she was going for? The log-line is – A prominent doctor in the Maine Coastal town – Harbor, holds a secret. If revealed could tarnish his reputation and that of his infant son. So, now just quickly review the first five pages of the script for you. And then I will get into my notes. So, the script openings of the opening slug line of the script gives us the year. It took it’s place in 1862, that’s going to be very important. On page one, some fisherman are out in the ocean, coming in towards Harbor, a couple of islands. And they find a body in water, the body is of a woman drown, dressed in red. Then we cut to a doctor, who is our protagonist. His name is Nathan Fletcher, he walks along the beach and eventually see a reflection of a woman in the water, and the red reflection says to him, “I want to keep my baby.” This isn’t like a supernatural thing, and it’s not written like that at all. I just, as I was saying, that it just felt like maybe I was describing this thing supernatural, and it’s not supernatural at all. It’s important, and if you read the pages you’ll see the writer did not intend it to be supernatural at all. It’s just kind of a memory of the protagonist. So, then at the bottom of page one, we have a little slash, it says, “One year earlier.” So what we’ve seen is kind of a flash forward. And then now we’re going to go flash back. And then build up to this scene and the body and the water. So, then we cut to then he’s at home, we meet his wife Anne. Nathen tries to make love to his wife but, his wife gets angry, and wants nothing to do with him. The next morning Ethan finds a note from his wife, the note says she’s gone to visit her family. We are then introduced to a girl named Stella, she’s 20 years old. She is on the beach dancing. And Nathan is watching her. We then cut to Captain Brewer’s house, where Nathan talks to the Captain, and we get some expositions here. The Captain is leaving, and wants Nathan to take his daughter who is Stella, to school in Boston. And then we get a little bit of exposition from Nathan, and he says, “Sorry, that he was not able to save Clara.” And he sort of, the impression is that Clara is the mother of Stella. And the deceased wife of this Captain. So then we go onto a ship with Stella and Nathan, and there is a scene with them interacting. And then there is a storm. And eventually the two of them end up killing the scene and falling into bed together. So, that’s basically a wrap up of those first five pages.

So, again, the writer is clear of the log-line so, I thought for a minute we could just discuss the specific log-line. I think this log-line actually has some issues with it. That I think are very typical. Thought I think it would be worth, I review a lot of log-lines over the year. I’ve read, dozens, hundreds, thousands of these log-lines coming through the SYS Select form. So, I think I have a pretty good sense of kind of what some typical problems are? And I keep meaning to write and post a blog post. That really doesn’t do this into depth. But, I think this log-line has some common issues that I think are worth addressing. So, the main issue I have with this log-line is, and I think again, it’s a very common issue that I see with a lot of log-lines. This log-line is simply too vague. It’s just, a really good one, I read a really good log-line. You’re able to kind of see the story in your head. You kind of understand what the story is all about. And it just feels like a movie. This one, is just way, way, way, too vague. It’s just, I really don’t understand, you don’t really understand any of the details. It’s just way too vague. So, as an example of something, that is too vague. It says, you know, the secret, the log-line is, you know, if revealed? It’s a prominent doctor who lives in Harbor. It is a secret that is for real that it would tarnish his reputation. So, what is that secret? But, more details used that you can give us, the better off we’re going to be. Even if you don’t tell us exactly what it is? At least hint at it? So, we have some idea, sort of the tone, scope of the movie. You know, and the problem, and as I said, the reason, at least for me, that I want? In not able to visualize it, with this movie in my head. You just sort of feel like you can see it. The movie is, because I don’t sort of know what the tone is, or what the scope is? Is the doctor a witch doctor with magical spells to cast? So, this is like some sort of like some sort of Harry Potter kinda thing, type of a story? Or is it a, you know, infancy son? Maybe this infancy son is a vampire, so it’s a horror movie. Or is this part of it, you know, it’s an alien race from preparing to take over the world? In some sort of “Men in Black”

inter-dependent stay sort of thing? Think about what I just did. I just laid out some possibilities for this story. Sometimes you have random possibilities, they are completely different, and ultimately, the way this story is about an illegitimate son, and sort of a consequences in a small town in the 1800’s. And that’s a big difference between, you know, a Harry Potter type of thing of a story. Or a Men in Black meets Independence Day. That’s like, those are worlds apart. But, we can’t tell from this log-line, which one it is? And that’s a big problem. Like you’ve got to be it. Like if you can get those sort of elements into the log-line. Then all of a sudden people can kind of get a sense of, Oh, okay, I understand what this movie is about. You don’t even know that this is a period piece until then. And I think that, that happens to be, you have to understand that this is the business of a log-line. And again, these are all these points about all this is sort of just dove tailing into the next point. So, my next big issue with this log-line is, if you understand what the secret is? And we understand the time and the place, that this is a period piece? You’ll have sort of more stakes, the stakes will all of this movie will be more clear. And you know, what I mean by that is, the way the log-line is laid out. And again, just looking at the log-line, prominent doctor, you know, harbors a secret that is revealed could ruin his reputation, and the reputation of his son. It’s like, that doesn’t feel like very big stakes. And then part of the issue is, that we don’t know it’s 1862. We notice, it’s 1862, we understand that being an illegitimate son is a much bigger deal. You can’t just

pack up and move, it’s not that easy to move back then to another town. But not understanding, sort of the scope of this movie, and the tone of this movie. It really doesn’t feel like a lot of stakes, losing one’s reputation. It doesn’t feel like that big of a deal for me, if an illegitimate child. You just, you don’t feel like that’s a big deal, unless you know that it’s 1862. Your world, you know, your town in 1862. And again, understanding what that secret is? The being the illegitimate child, will enhance that plus knowing what the year is. Those two things combined, giving real specifics. Understanding what the secret is, and understanding what the year is? Those two things will give us some stakes. And again, it will start to bring this thing down to like a couple of concrete terms. We’ll understand sort of what this script is. And again, there’s going to be some producers who don’t want a period piece. But at least people will know what they are in for. And it’s kinda like you know, when they read the log-line? And you don’t know what to think? They are just going to sort of pass on to it. You know, there’s going to be a certain number of producers that are opened to reading it, a period piece. And know what it is when they read it. And then know what it’s about. Those are the people you’re trying to hit. In general too, it’s nice to understand sort of the dramatic question? You’re telling it, the writer’s telling us from the log-line. That the main dramatic question is that a doctor struggling to keep a secret. I mean, it’s, in and of itself, it doesn’t sound like a great device for a movie. It’s a very reactive goal the protagonist is just kind of reacting to. He just trying to prevent presumably, the antagonist from accomplishing his goal. Which is revealing the secret. So, he, it’s a very sort of defensive goal for the protagonist of the movie. So, it doesn’t sound like it’s that great of a goal for a protagonist. And again, think of something like the “Wizard of OZ.” You know, Dorthy tries to get home, that’s a bigger goal, in the “Wizard of OZ.” She’s trying to get home. And that’s a very proactive goal. She’s the one out trying to get home. With when you read this log-line, it’s okay, what is this, literally is this guy going to hide in a closet for two hours trying to prevent people from uncovering the secret? Again, that doesn’t sound like, and it’s not that the script is flawed. Because that’s not what this is really about. If you just reverse it a little bit and think about what his real goal is? I think that you can remove that, you know. You can remove that bit and tell us what his goal really is? It’s probably already been put into the screenplay. If you get more specific with the tagonist, then just the Coastal town, I think it would help it as well. Then hopefully, you know, we’ll understand sort of the dramatic conflict, and the antagonism goal will hopefully be in direct contact conflict to the protagonist. And again, by bringing this out, and making this more specific. Coming up with a story specific protagonist, and that goal. It can play off of the protagonist’s goal. And that can really get them to see the conflict. Right now, we’re not able to exactly sure what the conflict is? I guess the conflict is, you know, someone trying to get with this secret. But again, that doesn’t seem like the greatest of stakes, the greatest of conflict.

So, anyways, that’s enough of the log-line, that’s just one sentence. And so, let’s go ahead and move into the actual continue of this five pager. So, the writing, the thing I think of this writing did very, very well is? Her writing is very clear and concise. I can really see what’s happening on the page, the way she lays out everything with the slug-line and her description. It’s all well written. And I’m never wondering, like what just happened? Someone like, do you read scripts and you literally just can’t literally understand what’s going on? What’s the action, what’s the geography of this scene? And this writer clearly is very visual in the way she’s thinking about this because I find it laid out nicely. I never wonder like, where’s this? She gives them great descriptions of the houses. Which gives us a good sort of feel of this 1800’s, just the way she describes stuff. The boats and the way people are sort of acting, the way sort of people are doing. You get a real good sense of that, it’s in the 1800’s. Again, I’m never fears kinda buys that at very, very concise and that’s all great stuff. And I really applaud the writer for doing that very, very, well.

So, my first note, is that there is not really a lot happening on this first five pages. But, a lot should happen. There is a good bit of action, and things kinda sort of do happen. But, there’s not a lot of subtlety to it, or understanding. It’s a husband fights with his wife, a husband cheats on his wife. But you don’t really dig into sort of the complexities of the relationship. And I think we need to see what actually are what’s on these pages. You could probably, or the writer could probably cut this down to like

two and a half pages. But that will, and then get into some other notes. So, let’s leave it at that. That’s my first note, that just more stuff. There should be more understanding of, and it’s not the action. And I think I’m kind of, it’s not the actual plenty of things happening. But there should be more understanding. So, of the relationships in these first five pages. So, another thing I want to mention is the struggle, and this is right on page one. I want to mention this sort of this convention of you know, having a quick see and then during, the, you know, this one year ago. This sort of a flashback, I’m not sure what that’s called? But you see it, sometimes in movies. But I am considering not doing this. If you’re, I’m specifically, not doing this to writing on these pages. If you do considering doing it with your own script. Again, you should open with a flash forward, and after one or two pages, you know, you have one earlier. And a week earlier or something? And again, it’s something you do see occasionally in a movie. If you listen to genre-ist, Podcast script notes, they will occasionally do what I call a “Loop page challenge.” It’s actually where I got the idea for doing this. But it’s a running joke between John August, and the other fella that is the host of the show. It’s a running joke, between them, that writers do that. It’s like half the scripts that show up at the same convention. So, it’s very, very, much over used. So, unless you can do it in an original creative way, I would not do it, and that goes for, you know, people that listen to Nate. And people and writer of these pages. I don’t think he wrote needed, these pages really need it. There’s not that much missing, mystery, suspense, set-up in those first page. So, I just don’t think it’s really needed. I think you need to spend the time, as I said, developing those characters. So, I felt like the pages were again, moving onto another one. Felt that the pages were a little clunky. And there was to many slug lines establishing shots, and just felt a little bit over written. Again, I felt the writing was super clear, which was good. But I felt like the writer could go through and cut, cut, cut, a lot of this stuff down, just to make it more concise. Just to have less words on the page. Hopefully without losing any of that sort of that clarity that the writer has. So, this has to be kind of a tough challenge. But there was a couple of scenes, and I wrote down some of them, the scenes. You know the interior, Nathan, which was home in bed all day. He stands at the bureau mirror, combs his hair, inspects himself before he has his. I would say, I don’t know, I would say, do we really need that? I don’t get that? The sort of subtlety of it, around that scene. We kind of get it already, so, I would cut this scene. There was another scene, let me see here? There was just a bunch of scenes, I think the writer could really go through and just cut. Really ask yourself and then, this goes for everybody, including myself. Really go through these, five, ten, fifteen pages, really the whole script. But especially those first few, twelve pages. Like some, and ask yourself, what happened with this scene if it were completely removed? Would it really confuse me, or my readers? In many cases find that it doesn’t.

So, the next note I have, is about exposition. I would say, especially in the first twelve pages. You’ve got to be real, real careful. You want to keep things moving, and I would say as long as a little exposition as possible. Especially with this first five pages. And I’m going to get to sort of some of the reasons why in a minute. But, for instance there was this scene where Nathan says something to the effect of, is he’s talking to the captain. Where he’s talking to the captain, and the captain says, “Take my daughter to school in Boston.” And then Nathan sort of out of nowhere says, “I’m sorry I couldn’t save Clare for you and Stella.” And you know, you want to be real careful with exposition. It’s especially, you don’t want to, you want to be real careful with it at any point. But especially in the first five pages. These pages are very precious, and especially in this context. I mean, I understand the write, he’s trying to get some back story out. But it felt very ominous, and wrong, organic it didn’t feel like something that person would really say in the moment. So, it kind brings you out of the story. And I think if you have some of that exposition, you want it to be organic. You want it to be, to make sense. But, I think we can get some of that back story later on. You know, when it’s out, when he’s going to start, when he makes love to Stella at the end of these pages. So, I think there’s going to be a lot of opportunities to talk to Stella about these things. Or maybe even the name of the captain, later on, and hopefully in a more natural setting. You know, ordinary people as opposed to scripts. This is obviously, you know, the mother died in the movie. She died in child birth, we do not know or quite sure. But, she died, it was her natural now. There’s this back story. Ordinary people is it a great film? I think it’s from the early 80’s. It’s about a family coping with the death of a son. It’s considered kind of a classic screenplay. Highly recommended if you never read it or seen the movie. And like the first five-ten pages, you don’t get any of this specifics of that this family has lost a son. You understand that people are coping with a horrible situation. You understand that some thing bad is happening. But it’s not at all on the nose. It not, you know, it’s not, there’s no real expectation position. You just see how these people react. And I think that’s a great motto, especially for again, a first five or ten pages. Be very, very, precious. And don’t, really, I guess see if you  can get it in national, maybe that’s okay? But I think probably would really try and shy away from a lot of exposition early on in the script. You want to develop the characters.

And, getting into my next note. It really is kind of the core. I would say, the most important thing. This scene on page two between Anne, the wife, and Nathen, kind of confused me? First, she seemed to be a little bit into having sex with him. And then she stopped him and was annoyed. I wasn’t really sure why? What happened? I read the scene a couple of times, and I couldn’t really figure out the subtext of the, of what happened? And she, and he just kind of rolled on top of her. It seemed like they were going to start to have sex? And then all of a sudden she got annoyed and pushed him off of her and was very, very annoyed. And then just sort of sent him packing. And I wasn’t really sure what had transpired between them? Obviously there is some back story? Here again, I don’t know or necessarily need to talk about on the nose dialog. With her talking with the back story. But, I think this scene needs to be more clearly defined. I’m not sure, and the reason is, I’m not sure if Nathan is being a jerk trying to pressure his wife into having sex. Or I’m not sure if Anne, is being a jerk? It just was not clear. And then later when Nathan cheats on Anne, with Stella. I’m kinda thinking is Nathan a jerk here? Or maybe at the same time, it maybe justifies his wife as a jerk? And maybe he’s not so bad. And again, I do not know how I’m supposed to feel, for mainly it’s Nathan. But, I think in order to for us to feel for Nathan. I think you’re also need to develop the character of Anne. And maybe it’s Nathan. But, I think both of them is interesting. I think you’re going to have to figure out those characters and the situation. And make us actually have some feelings for them. And again, this is probably the biggest issue I have with these pages. And probably, I would say is the biggest note, the biggest important note that I’m giving them. And the biggest note that people can take away from listening to this Podcast. One thing you must do with your opening pages, is establish with it, your audience, how they should feel. It really evokes some emotions for the characters in their story. If you do nothing else, and just do that, you’ll be in pretty good shape. And what I mean by that, is like any actual clear example, here. Right now, I’m unclear how to feel towards Nathan. I’m not sure if he’s a jerk, for cheating on his wife? Or if his wife is just super bitch and is justified to be cheating on his wife? And you’ve got to be absolutely clear on that. And sometimes you’ve got to make that a little bit on a notes. And you’ve got to really define those characters clearly. So the audience is not wondering, who is the jerk here? And who is the one that is the good guy and bad guy? And I’m just left wondering? And it’s not like these characters are well enough defined, that you can make an argument for either one of them? They are just not well enough defined, the situation, and the relationship. But, between them is not clear enough that we can accurately discern how we’re supposed to feel towards these two characters. And I think that is so, so, important.

A script, again another example, another script that came to mind as I was just writing up my bullet points for this section was? “Unforgiven” that’s a great Clint Eastwood movie. You might have to read the first twelve or fifteen pages. But, one of the things that impresses me about that script? Is that it’s so clear, in the first, I think it’s about maybe ten pages. It’s the first sort of opening segment with where the prostitute gets her face cut. And Gene Hackman comes in and basically issues it, the punishment for the guy. And it’s so clear, as we as the audience are supposed to feel about each one of the characters. The characters are just so clearly defined. There is the whore with the heart of gold. She’s the whore that’s tall and is always speaking up. And is pissed that, you know, the guy’s cut her friend and he’s not going to get punished. There’s the bad cowboy who’s done the cutting. It’s clearly defined as sort of an evil bad person. There is the other cowboy, who’s kind of very sorry about the whole thing, situation, he didn’t really do anything. And this is all going to be important. But we understand that we are sort of conflicted with himself, defined well enough. This is all like, well, five characters that are really well defined in about ten pages. And we as the audience need to know how we are supposed to feel with them. Then there is the owner of the whore house, he’s very business minded. He doesn’t really care about what happened to this girl. He just cares about potential lost income. So, he’s trying to get the girl with the heart of gold. He’s trying to get her to quiet down. And then Gene Hackman character, he’s the local sheriff of the town. And he comes in, and you can see he’s just sort of, I’d say, A. Morality, he just has really no morality. And he’s just, you know, sort of issues his decree, okay, we’ll give the guy a little bit of a whipping. And it does not seem to me the punishment does not seem to fit the crime. So we as the audience are definitely on the prostitute’s side. We really feel like they’ve been wronged. And obviously it’s good writing on the page, I mean it’s, you know, clearly written, and all that stuff, It’s a professional screenplay. But, the key is not the good writing on the page. Hopefully that will be a part of the solution here, but the key is choosing the right situation, and the writer had to choose a situation that would highlight each one of these characters point of view very, very clearly. And it would highlight them, and you know, give them conflicting points of view. And that’s the real, I would say, the magic of writing. And it’s really, really hard. I mean, you have to be so smart about what you choose as your opening scene. And it’s not a function of writing an opening in Final Draft. And crafting that perfect sentence, you’ve got to do the work before you even open Final Draft. You’ve got to figure out what is a situation, or a scene that is really, really going to define these characters, and all of these characters, it’s not just one character. But, it’s all five of these characters that are in this situation. And that’s a really tough thing to do. But you know, it’s not word smithing, crafting the perfect sentence. The perfect character just description. It’s just before that. It’s then figuring out what is a situation, define this. And you know, in this particular example, for this script, it’s going to be about, you know, finding a moment that really defines Anne and Nathan’s relationship. Finding that moment, where we as an audience understands what that relationship is? And we feel bad for Nathan. You know, we know, from kind of reading on all this, that Nathan is ultimately the protagonist. And when that happens we’re going to have to decide. So, I think it’s a matter of really making Anne, the end character. Kind of almost evil, but really bad. And making that comfortable, we need to feel bad for him. So, when he cheats on his wife we don’t just think this guy is a jerk. It’s not an easy thing to do. And that’s what’s difficult. But, you’ve got to sit down and think about your opening pages. And again, it’s not like hitting writing. It’s a matter of, I would say, going for a walk and mulling over your options. And coming up with lots of ideas. And picking the one idea that really exemplifies this relationship between these characters. Okay, so that’s my review of the first five pages of

“Mosquito Harbor.” I hope that the writer has some very specific, has got some very specific help from me doing this. And I hope people just in general listening to this, I hope they found it helpful as well. Feel free to give me some feedback. Send me at Email and just say, “Yeah, I liked the five pages. I didn’t like it.” You know, I’m always looking for new things to do on the Podcast. So, if people found this helpful. I could potentially do more of it. If people don’t find it helpful, you know, I won’t do more of it. But, feel free, if you felt this was a really good segment/section of the Podcast, or a really bad section. A strong feeling one way or the other. Please do drop me a line. Because I’d be curious to know what people thought

Okay, now, let’s get into the main segment, today I’m interviewing Max Landis, here is the interview.

 

[42:37]

 

Ashley:  Welcome Max, to the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast” I really appreciate you coming on the show with me.

 

Max:  Thank you so much. I’m honored to be on your show.

 

Ashley:  So, let’s go ahead and let’s dig into your latest film, “Mr. Right.” Starring Anna Kendriff, and Sam Rockwell. Maybe to start out, you could give us a quick pitch or a log line for the film.

 

Max:  It’s about an emotionally unstable sort of weirdo, woman. Who meets a very sweet kind of guy who she has a chemistry with. Only to discover that he is insane. And this guy is totally insane too.

 

Ashley:  Perfect, perfect. So, this was a spec. script correct?

 

Max:  Yeah, it was actually my first spec. script since seven years ago, “He Got Me Any Kind of Heat.”

 

Ashley:  Where did this idea, where did it, or what is the sort of genesis of it, this idea?

 

Max:  I was involved in with my girlfriend at the time. And she wanted to go to work. And I was like, wouldn’t it be funny? A movie started with a girl catching a guy, cheating on her. And then trying to turn that into a three-some. And she thought it was funny. And so she went to shower, and I went to see. Which brought a lot of unique situations in seven years. But when she came back, she was like, this is only three pages. And I was like, well, maybe I’ll keep writing? She got back into bed, and I would write. She started limiting my writing legs. And with the laptop, on her feet, and I would write for her. And I did that for about 40 hours. And we got to about page forty, and then she had to go to work. Because she called that audible lunch. And so, then that day, she came home, and I knew she was coming home and I finished it off. So, I finished as much of this as I can before she got home. And so, I got to about page 70, and I sort of just kept winging it. It just about finished, about people enjoying each other. And I kinda wanted to build an elaborate sort of get lucky.

 

Ashley:  No, no, go ahead.

 

Max:  I like to build in a lot of things. That’s why you really go to see a movie. Dozens of movies about, you know, all this sort of corny old same old movie about a romantic hit man movie. And so, there are moments in this movie that I think that are from the script, and are very unique, that I am very proud of it. And that’s sort of where the inspiration came from.

 

Ashley:  When did you, when did the idea of having a hit man? Because obviously the opening scene really has nothing to do with the hit list? What, or when did that inspiration of putting in a hit man come into it? Somewhere in the three hours that you are writing the first forty pages?

 

Max:  Yeah, I thought it would be really funny if there was a hit man, and he decides I’m not going to be a hit man. Yeah, but it was still notorious enough that people still try to hire him. And I try those people who try to hire him, because murder is wrong.

 

Ashley:  And again, that’s.

 

Max:  I thought that would be really funny.

 

Ashley:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that all within this sort of three-hour period, you came up with that. Because that’s kind of the main story really. It’s sort of him and getting hired by the gangsters. And that all came just in that three-hour period, as you were actually writing.

 

Max:  I really don’t see, it all makes sense to me, the main story. I feel like the, maybe you could feel differently. But the main story for me was the wild relationship. I mean, much more screen time is spent on them just fond and dating than are spent on the gangsters.

 

Ashley:  Yeah, yeah. That’s fair, I get as the script goes along. Like the back half of the script is pretty much all devoted to that whole sub-plot. Of getting the gangster, and the gangsters brother and all that stuff.

 

Max:  Yeah, but he doesn’t give a fuck about that, and neither does she, you know? It’s like an experiment in your action film in which your leads are completely different backstory, from the action plot.

 

Ashley:  So, is this typical of your process of, you just kinda come up with an idea, and so writing? I always like to just dig into just sort of the process of screenwriters? And other screenwriters have had, you know an extensive outline period. Outline process, first set, second set, and pages of data. And a lot of time for outlining. Is this indicative of how you typically write spec scripts?

 

Max:  A yeah, I wrote, “Brighton” in about two weeks and in two days. A, you know, “Frankenstein” in two months, “Chronicles” took me two weeks, “American Ultran” took me a month and a half. It’s different, every story is different. I’ve been working on the script, “Captains” for almost two years. Every story is different. I kept time, and I only outline ones that are really complicated. And if you read my scripts. You know, generally, they are the reason I am successful. If I could pin down one reason. In terms of actually selling things actually, getting meetings. Is that my scripts are very fun to read, and flow. And that’s because I have a lot of fun writing. I mean, this is pretty high concept. In fact, it’s like Jason Bourne meets comedy. So, don’t you think there’s a pretty high concept hook you have in this to write.

 

Max:  Yeah, sure, I’d say, yeah. Actually the movie itself, is very weird. It’s like having a very high concept it is a strange movie with very strange characters. But that’s, I almost always try to write high concept, simple to explain movies with a twist.

 

Ashley:  A-huh. So, again, let’s just talk about sort of your concept of coming up with ideas. Is there any vetting process? Like, it sounds like this inspiration fact, you know, just open up a topic and just start writing. Is there any sort of like, limit themselves. Or do you come up with a bunch of ideas that you don’t actually write?

 

Max:  I do now, I didn’t used to. Every time I used to have a movie. Every time I used to have an idea for a move I’m writing. And that’s going to my mind for the future now. I just finished writing this script, “Hire” last week, and that took me two weeks. But, I do have many ideas that I pursue now. Because I sort of develop, you know, I got, I don’t want to say I’m, I guess this doesn’t sound graceful. But, I’ve developed an ear for what sells. And sometimes I’ll get an idea for a movie and I’ll think, that one, I think is cool. But I don’t know if anybody else, I need to rethink if that movie is cool? If that makes sense.

 

Ashley:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. Is there anybody else in the process, other managers, other agents? Do you pitch these ideas to friends and see how they would react to them?

 

Max:  No, they’re my friends, they’re all positive, and I’m good at pitching. So, I can, with enough enthusiasm, and enough detail. Those, you can make a bad idea sound great. Or you can make a great idea that wouldn’t be sellable, make it a movie they would want to see. I’m lying if I can find pitching movies would be caviar. But they aren’t sellable. But it doesn’t seem they might not be in the money case, but, a cool movie. It used to be a very, very tough vetting process. Or every week I would send, with my manager, it stinks. You know, five significant ideas, that I had, had. And she would look at them, and say, none of these, or one of these. And finally, you know, one day she said, “it wouldn’t sell.” I was surprised, and I believed in it, thought this would sell more than anyone, so I wrote it anyway. But, most of the time, I trust her, and I believe in the process. And also, you can’t find the right something most of the time. So, that’s the future, trying to write the scripts that are selling. Because you know, it’s just not interesting, you know, my I feel like a ship, I talk to other writers about, how do you write so fast? How do you complete things without an outline? You know, they are like, hey, when you get your ship back up. Because I love writing. I don’t tend to have things. And then I don’t have any other hobbies. And in my spare time I am not dinking around. My version of basically fooling around is? I work till I crash. And I do tremendously well. In that thing that has become my job, you know? It gets put towards my own.

 

Ashley:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. So do you ever get those moments where it just becomes work. And it’s just like banging your head against a wall?

 

Max:  I mean, sometimes during work, yes, of course. Yeah, you know, sometimes when I write it’s incredibly hard. It’s the box, I’m trying somebody else’s toys. Whenever I’m playing with my own toys. Whenever I’m playing with my own toys and I’m just writing for me, it’s a fucking wild ride. I just have the best time. I think that often comes across in my scripts, it’s how much fun I’m having.

 

Ashley:  Yeah, yeah.

 

Max:  And so, hey, don’t touch that, hold on. Don’t touch that. Don’t touch that, I’m sorry. I’m in my office, and my friends just came in. And he messes with my lights. Sorry, okay.

 

Ashley:  So, let’s talk about in this.

 

Max:  Turning off and on my light.

 

Ashley:  Let’s talk a bit about car, with, “Mr. Right?” What was some of the challenges you faced just as a screenwriter going into this script?

 

Max:  Well, going into it, none. But, after it finally sold, and it was getting made, a lot. We had two tremendously cut down on the action. Which was hard, we had to re-write four locations, since we had so much less money for location. We actually cut down entire plot elements that were cut down or removed, or minimalized, or shrunken. Which of course some of them, were like to go and change the ending. Because the entire production team started liking the ending was getting sort of sweet on it. Like a comedy, they wanted more action. I, it was intense, you know, I was, it was just enough, especially hard for me to go back and regroup myself as a young writer in a lot of ways. Because my writing has changed tremendously since then, right, in a plot meaningful way, it was a wild ride doing that. It was a lot of challenges that compromised the script.

 

Ashley:  Yeah, yeah. What, one of the things I wanted to ask about, was, you know, you essentially had a super hero at the center of the story. I mean, this guy is literally dodging bullets from a sniper. And one of the things I’m, and people are always challenged with a movie like this. How do you give them a movie like this, actual real stakes, when you basically have a guy that you know is going to be able to survive anything that gets thrown at him?

 

Max:  Well, have you seen the film?

 

Ashley:  I did, I did, yes.

 

Max:  Do you recall, how he winds up? He needs to be rescued by a random doctor. Formerly bad guy, because he is unable to beat one of the girls. In fact, he doesn’t kill any of the ones. They one up on him, take him for dead. He is able to free marker, that’s first. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie. Martha herself shows up both of the primary bad guys. Despite, like, if you don’t see when Martha’s tied to the chair, she’s been repeatedly slapped in the face. If you didn’t have stakes, certainly more brutal than anything terrible movie to kill it. You know, it’s just a case of challenge. I mean, if you watch my movies, characters are given their special skills. And then put into situations. Like being hit on the side of the head with a baseball bat. Or a chopping this movie, or shot in the face. Shocked both my leads in this movie. If you recall, shot gun, gets one up on him, but twice. You know, it certainly suffers more than the first one. You know, you talk about things. Most of them, Bruce Willis, in “Die Hard.” Are more and more indestructible. I was shocked, you understand. And gently, and so, of trying to get out of the way of one bullet once. And jaw kicks once in a while. And even takes punches from random thugs.

 

Ashley:  I guess you, it is, that one scene sort of in the middle of the movie where all the guys come to that one woman’s apartment. And you’re right, he doesn’t kill them, but he doesn’t kill them by choice. And that he could have killed them, but a chose not to, enough, is kind of the just of it.

 

Max:  Yeah, because if she was shot in the face. She’s the only reason why he’s not killed. Is that old shot gun.

 

Ashley:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, okay, so, what are you working on next?

 

Max:  A lot, I just finished a movie called, “The Hire.” It’s just on the verge of hook attachments. So, I think it’s my best work. My movie “Bright” is going into production. “Hooks” is in September, with David Air. I’m trying to only be involved in good movies for now. I sort of have this weird art curve realized. Because I’m same thing in such a short time. I really have any control, like forever, or enough experience for a major directive, to a major productive leveler. For what I am going for. I love “Chronicle” and action of American Opera. Nothing rises as far and wide as that. I bet the director never even heard of that author. But I’m not looking for, I’m looking for odd man out bigger bowl. I’m trying to spread my wings as much as I can. But still keep my career going. I got my TV show, that I am the Executive Producer on. “Channel be Wrote” coming out in October. And then also be calling from the officer, that I’m still running, gently. My new director will be out soon. I’m trying, you know, I’m really, good if I know all the scenes. But, I really, work more. I don’t really get to work, I mean, I just write more. And if there is any kind of advice? If I can get young writers, or writers trying to sell their script. It’s love it, get in there and don’t give up if you love it. To tell stories, you, and you tell stories and that’s what you want to do? Shake it, never stop chasing it. Because the second you stop chasing it? The second you go, “Oh, too hard, or oh, I’ll never do it.” You know, like you’re like people who have their foot in the door better than I did. But I had to take a step inside. And it’s just work, you gotta, work, work, work. And so, please, with that little you sit down and you write, and you like it, get excited about it, about stories. That’s what I’m working on next. Because right now I want you, if you’re listening to this, you’re a writer. To know, that even if your first draft sits there on your laptop and you don’t write anything until you sit down and you know what, close, Final Draft. Go out there and get a copy. And just think about stories, think about stories all the time. Story time is the last thing humans can do that computers can’t. So, we need you. And you’re awesome, and good luck.

 

Ashley:  So, how can people see, “Mr. Right? Do you know the release schedule for it?

 

Max:  I don’t, if it comes out on April 8, on, “On Demand.” It’s hard, it’s some movie.

 

Ashley:  Yeah, yeah. Alright, well, I’ll round all that up. And I’ll put all that in the show notes. I always like to just wrap up the interview by asking the guest if they care to share their Twitter handle, Facebook page, blog, anything you want to share so people can kind of just keep up with what you’re doing and follow along with your career.

 

Max:  A wait, what?

 

Ashley:  I just like going.

 

Max:  I just heard, follow me on Twitter? It’s a terrible experience.

 

Ashley:  Okay, perfect, perfect. I’ll get that and put that in the show notes. And how about a blog? I think I saw you had a blog? As well, what’s the URL for that?

 

Max:  I’m a nice guy, I don’t have a blog, but, a nice guy collects my writing and puts it on a website called, “Actually it’s write.”

 

Ashley:  Okay, perfect, perfect. So, it sounds good max. I appreciate you coming on and talking with me. Good luck with this film. And all your other projects.

 

Max:  Thank you so much dude, I hope this was helpful to someone?

 

Ashley:  It definitely was, I appreciate it.

 

Max:  Okay, have a good day.

 

Ashley:  You too, talk to you later.

 

End Interview  — [01:00:33]

 

Ashley:  A quick plug for the SYS Screenwriting Analysis Service. It’s a really economical way to get a high quality professional evaluation on your screenplay. When you buy a Three-Pack, you get evaluations at just $67.00 per script for feature films, and just $55.00 for tele-plays. All the readers have professional experience reading for studios, production companies, contests, and agencies. You can read a short bio on each reader on our website. And you can pick the one you think best fit for your script.

Turn-around-time is usually just a few days, but rarely more than a week. The readers will evaluate your script on six key factors.

 

  1. Concept
  2. Characters
  3. Structure
  4. Marketability
  5. Tone
  6. Over All Craft – Which includes: Formatting, Spelling, and

 

Every script will get a grade of – Pass, Consider, or Recommend, which should help you roughly understand where your script might land if you were to submit it to a production company or agency. We provide an analysis, we provide an analysis on features and television scripts. We also do proof reading, without any analysis. We will also look at a treatment or outline and give you the same analysis on it. So, if you are looking to vet some of your projects. This is a great way to do it. We will also write your

log-line and synapsis for you. You can add this service to the analysis. Or you can simply purchase this service as a stand-alone product. As a bonus, if your script gets a “Recommend” from a reader. You get a free Email and fax blast to my list of industry contacts. This is the exact same blast I use myself to promote my own scripts. And it’s the same service I sell on the website. It’s a great way to get your script into the hands of producers who are looking for material. And so, if you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay at a very reasonable price, check out – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants.

In the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing Writer and Director, Michael Hurst. He wrote a content sci-fi time travel thriller screenplay, called, “Paradox.” Which he directed, we talk through his early career and how he got his first big break, with a low-budget film. And then we talk specifically about this film and how he got that produced. So, keep an eye out for that next week.

To wrap things up, I just want to touch on something about this interview with Max. When I asked Max about stakes? He seemed to be a little put off by that, the question. I really didn’t mean it that way, it wasn’t a way to pick a fight with him. It wasn’t a criticism about the film. I really think this is pretty much is an entertaining movie, despite not have any real stakes. And let me just explain that for a minute.

Along comes, as an example, comedy usual don’t have much in terms of stakes. I mean, we go way into the end of the movie. Based on knowing that the two people are going to end up happily ever after. But it’s all about the journey and the highs and the lows of that journey. I mean, that’s what life is, about a journey not the destination. So, that’s kinda when we and comedy comes. I guess this can kinda be, what we’re talking about, those kinds of stakes with it. The point is, it is that, the stakes, there are not necessarily any real stakes in a comedy film, even the best ones. Because both of them are kind of know that the two people are gonna get together. Just a part of the genre. I often hear people say, Superman is a form of protagonist because he doesn’t have any flaws. And this is opposed to someone like Batman who is more human and has some flaws. But, I don’t really agree with that sentiment. The first Christopher Reeves, Superman movie, back in the late ‘70’s. I really liked that, as a film, I thought it was good. So, to me, it’s not, you know, there’s no stakes with some of them, like Superman. It’s more like, just about the execution of the script, the execution of the material. And that’s what I think Max did really well with this script. I never felt like this guy was in any real danger. Again, as I mentioned it to him last, I mean, he committed dodged bullets. So, from where I was watching it, I mean, yeah there were some people taking shots at them. But, myself, in “The Pinch.” You could probably just die away from the bullets. Because he’s capable of doing that. So, I never felt like, the guy was in danger, wasn’t going to come out on top? But the thing that Max I think did really well was? The action scenes were entertaining, funny and very, very original. And I think to me, that’s what worked about this movie, despite that there really wasn’t any danger or stakes for the protagonist, or a sort of love interest as well. And again, this is not a romance film. I am just looking at sort of the mechanics of how this film worked? Because I do think the film, basically worked. But, again, I don’t know my, at least from my stand point. I didn’t sit around thinking, gee, I wonder if this guy is going to get killed? Or I wonder if this thing is going to end all, alright? I mean, he’s not Superman, and that he can dodge bullets. From a sniper he didn’t even know was there. So, you don’t really get the sense that he’s in any real danger. He’s able to handle any situation, any number of bad guys. He’s pretty much able to disbatch them. But it’s about making those means original and fresh. Making playing with that sort of idea and making it, entertaining and funny. And the action scenes as I said, were some really original and funny, action scenes like you never seen before. This guy’s trying not to, indecisive, he’s trying not to deceive people because he doesn’t want to kill people. Because his girlfriend doesn’t want to kill people. So, he’s got a problem trying to get out of this situation by shooting these guys in the leg. Which he’s able to do pretty easily. So, again, this is really, really fresh and original. But I don’t know if it’s got a whole lot of stakes involved. So, check out the movie yourself, if you can sort of decide yourself? Entertaining movie and worth checking out.

Anyway, that is the show, thank you for listening.

 

 

End Audio.

 

[01:06:26]