Bottle Films!

Some of these cost an ocean of money, but they could be have been done low budget.

Hard Candy, Pieces Of April, Rachel Getting Married, Being There, Breakfast Club, Glengarry Glen Ross, Dog Day Afternoon, Reservoir Dogs, Sexy Beast, One Week / Buster Keaton, Warm Nights On A Slow Moving Train, Downfall, She’s Gotta Have It, Sleuth, Flight Of The Phoenix, Delicatessen, Moon, Dead Calm, Clerks, Bound, Castaway, Lifeboat, Rear Window / Disturbia, Assault On Precinct 13, Loves Of A Blonde, In The Company Of Men, Wait Until Dark, The Art Of Negative Thinking, The Sunset Limited, Tape, Phone Booth, Paranormal Activity, Saw, Open Water, Devil, Rope, Psycho, Terminal, The Strangers, Diner Des Cons, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, 127 Hours, Misery, Blair Witch Project, Inherit The Wind, High Noon, Huis Clos, Exterminating Angel, Das Boot, The Phantom (they found a submarine and shot the film in it), Buried, Cube, Frozen (not the animated one), The Wild Hunt, Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, Return Of The Dead, The Haunting, House On Haunted Hill, And Then There Were None, Strangers On A Train, 20th Century, Simon Of The Desert, Baby Doll, Mall Rats, The Panic Room, Witness For The Prosecution, Braked, 1408, Obsession, Dogville, Come Back To The Five And Dime Jimmy Dean, Vacancy, Open Water, La Nide, Two Girls And A Guy, Alien, Last Train To Freo, Telephone, Night Of The Iguana, The Shining, Texas Chainsaw Massacre!, The Postman Always Rings Twice, El Hombre De Al Lado


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Handout for ISA Conference call!

Here ya go!

Beating Writers Block Handout Jun 20 15


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What’s up?! My talk on Beating Writers Block…

Been out of the country. Took students to London and Paris to make films. They made ’em. We came back. Didn’t lose a one!

On the 20th of June, I’m giving a conference call talk on Beating Writers Block. It’s at 10:25 a.m. Pacific time. And, it’s free. Sign up now…

Working on a screenplay, which is different, I must say, than working on student homework. I can maybe sell the screenplay. Never found much of a market for used student homework, sad to say.
Working on the sequel to my children’s book. Or my novel for grownups. We’ll find out what it is when the book actually comes out in March. The first book is about the hero’s battle with his 5th grade homeroom teacher. The sequel is about his battle with his baseball coach.
Researching baseball, about which I know next to nothing. A long uphill event, that’s for sure.

Reading Cheryl Klein’s superb book on writing: Second Sight. It’s about children’s books, but boy oh boy does she understand story. You might find it helpful in your writing.

Dying to see MAD MAX. Have you seen it? What did you think?
I adored THE WOMAN IN GOLD. Best film I’ve seen in a long, long time.

And, finally, have discovered wonderful author of witty English books: Barbara Pym. What a delight!

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Lunch with Dara Marks!

Author of Inside Story, Dara was briefly in town and we had lunch. It’s so much fun to talk about writing with anyone, as no one at my house cares to, and especially with someone who knows a ton about it.

School’s about out for the summer, and when vacation starts, first thing I’m going to do is read her book.

So should you!

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Dinner with Linda Seger… advice!

Had dinner with Linda Seger, author of Making a Good Script Great and a ton of other superb screenwriting books.

Asked, “What is the most common mistake beginning writers make?”

She knew.

“They think it’s easy.”

Really? How could ANYONE think this is easy? They must, though. What an amazing thought.

“And they don’t rewrite. That’s the difference between a professional and an amateur. Amateurs think they’re done. Professionals rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.”

Linda said she never shows anyone anything she’s written until she’s done at least four drafts. She never feels anything is finished until she has done at least ten drafts.

So. Food for thought.


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A Letter to Me as a Young Writer

Next weekend, I’m doing a workshop for young writers. All the teachers have been asked to send in a letter “to themselves as a young writer.” Here’s mine.

What I Really, Really Wish I’d Been Told as a Young Writer…

by William M. Akers

It’s never easy. Even when it seems easy… at some point, it’s going to get difficult.

Treat your craft with respect. Work hard at it.

Never write something you don’t care about. Well, that’s not true… sometimes you have to do homework.

Nobody wants to read what you’ve written. Your teacher doesn’t. Your parents might. When you have a boss, she is only going to want it to be clear and concise. Heaping more big words on the page for a higher grade is not a way to learn to write.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. This is difficult for everybody. You don’t know that because you’re alone in your room fighting your own demons.

Everybody worries whether they’ve got talent. Michael Crichton, who wrote Jurassic Park and 29 other books, worried he was untalented. In his office bookcase, he had every book he wrote in every language it’d been translated into so he could sit at his desk and look at all he had done and think, “I did that. I can get through the next one.”

You’re never going to figure out how to do it. Every project is a new project with its own invisible rules. For decades I thought I would come up with “my method.” When I finally realized there was never going to be a “method,” my life as a writer got much simpler.

Write about what you’re interested in. I knew nothing about the fall of Saigon, but I made a lot of money because I sold a screenplay based on something I knew nothing about, that fascinated me.

Welcome notes. Do not argue with someone kind enough to give you suggestions on how to improve your work.

It will never be perfect. One reason some people don’t write is because they’re afraid it won’t be perfect. Art & Fear by David Bayles asks “What in your life, up to now, have you ever done that was perfect? Nothing, right? This won’t be perfect either. So just get on with it.”

Keep a diary. Even a simple one. You think you’ll remember stuff but you won’t. It will make a gigantic difference when you’re older.

You’ve got to learn two things. How to write a sentence that’s clean and clear. And how to figure out what you want to say. Technique and emotion. Two worlds to conquer.

It will take years to get good at this! Don’t worry about it if you’re not great now. The wonderful thing about writing is: the more you do it, the better you get!

Don’t despair. If you do despair, at least write about it.

Enjoy the process. On some level, doing it has to be fun. If getting published is the only thing that will make you happy, figure out something else to do with your time. The process of creating the work had better be the reward.

Learn to be businesslike. If you’re not businesslike, people won’t be interested in working with you.

Never miss a deadline. Be early for everything. Selfish people and idiots are late.

No matter how much trouble your writing is in, if you sit down and work on it, eventually you will solve the problem.

Try to write comedy. It’s the hardest thing there is but, who knows, you might be great at it.

Impress your teachers. If they think you’re worth it, they will move heaven and earth to help you.


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Do you say “lock eyes” in your script? Everyone else does too.

If it’s there, maybe think about getting rid of it.

I see it all the time.



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