Posts Tagged ‘Morgan Freeman)’

After LeBron James announced in a letter to Sports Illustrated he was returning to play basketball in Cleveland, comedian Frank Caliendo read the letter on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show in the voice of Morgan Freeman. I decided it would make a nice mash-up to combine all of those elements with a few scenes from The Shawshank Redemption and create the parody The LeBron James Redemption.

I’ve mentioned in the past about personally transitioning from editing on Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere—little projects like this are great in forcing you to learn a new platform. And a break (and more fun than) tutorials.

P.S. My ties to Northeast Ohio include my grandfather spending 30 years working for the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company. (Struthers for those in the know. I have a YS&T Zippo lighter given to my grandfather for his 30 years of service.)

Related Posts:

The LeBron James Spotlight on Northeast Ohio
The Real & Creepy Shawshank Prison
Youngstown’s Hollywood Connection
Screenwriting and the Little Fat Girl from Ohio (2.0)
The Superman from Cleveland
The Lucky Slob from Ohio
Toy Story 3’s Ohio Connection 

Scott W. Smith

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My January 1 post Write 2 or 3 Scripts This Year was based on a quote by Christopher Lockhart on how to improve your craft. Today is a nice bookend to that post adding a little advice on one way to chip away at that goal.

“I have a rule: I try to open my script file daily, I say to myself, I must write at least one line. It doesn’t feel hard or overwhelming. And, strangely, when I do open my file, my brain will often find itself dictating a stew of words or concepts that I had no previous conscious sense would come out of me.”
Producer/writer/director Pen Densham (Moll Flanders)
Riding the Alligator

Here’s the trailer to Moll Flanders, a movie based on the Daniel Defoe novel, that Densham wrote and directed. It stars Robin Wright and Morgan Freeman.

P.S. A couple of years ago I did an interview with Densham but never got around to transcribing it. So I’ll make that a point to do this year along with the interview I did with writer.director Dale Lautner (My Cousin Vinny). I’m looking at using something like Dragon Diction to help with those interviews and ones in the future. If you have a system for streamlining an audio interview into a text please pass that info on to me.

Scott W. Smith

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Screenwriter Michael Schiffer is known for writing screenplays that have attracted some of the finest actors of this era; Crimson Tide (which starred Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman), Lean on Me (which starred Morgan Freeman as inner city principal Joe Clark) Colors which starred Robert Duvall and Sean Penn, and The Peacemaker (which starred George Clooney and Nicole Kidman).

Coming off the post Writers Getting Older I thought you’d be interested in hearing from a screenwriter who came to screenwriting later in life.

“I drove to Hollywood when I was 35 to become a screenwriter. Directing theater in college made me want to write stories myself. I gave myself five years and worked really hard, writing 14 specs before I got hired for Colors.”
Michael Schiffer
The 101 Habits of Highly successful Screenwriters
Karl Iglesias

And Shiffer, who must be around 60-years-old now, is still at it. Though I’m not sure where it is on the production chain, The Hollywood Reporter announced last year Shiffer had sold his script Speed Boyz to Alcon Entertainment.

Scott W. Smith

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Now that it’s 15 years old, I think it’s safe to say that Se7en is a modern-day classic. When Se7en director David Fincher first started to read the Se7en script he didn’t get too far because the set-up was too common. It was the old detective/young detective scenario. But his agent encouraged Fincher to continue reading the script and he soon discovered what set the story a part and knew he had to make the film.

One key element that made Se7en usual (other than the ending) was the use of the seven deadly sins as an integral part of the story:


On the Se7en DVD commentary, screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker says;

“I don’t think I ever really had the seven deadly sins preached to me, just an awareness of what they were. I don’t know when I thought about it I could have sat there and named them for you even. I mean I was stupid, I thought—seven deadly sins—you could look them up in the Bible. But they weren’t in the Bible. I had to do the research to find out about St. Thomas Aquinas and them being used as a teaching tool. I love the fact that I think now more people can name them than maybe used to be able to because Brad Pitt was in a movie about them.

Researching the seven deadly sins it was like, I didn’t sit down and read all of the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas because that stuff would just go flying over my head. Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is a perfect example. In order to make a character like Somerset, who is kind of hyper intelligent on the intelligent scale you just have to have the tip of the iceberg intelligence to imply that the iceberg that lies underneath is Somerset.”

What that means is that personally in his writing Walker did not have to go as deep as he implied the character Somerset appeared to go. You don’t need to be as smart as a character like Somerset to write a character like Somerset. And when writing and directing the scene to show Somerset’s intelligence the filmmakers only needed one scene in the library to convey his attention to detail, research methods, and intelligence. (And Fincher and Walker basically conveyed that info without any words, just visuals and Bach music.)

And even that one scene can be boiled down to one five second clip that shows Somerset writing a note to Mills (Brad Pitt) that reads:


You may want to check
the following books RE:

7 Deadly Sins:
Divine Purgatory
The Canterbury tales
The Parsons Tale
Dictionary of Catholicism

So when you have expo you need to convey in a script, remember you usually only need to show the “tip of the iceberg.”

Another good example of “tip of the iceberg” writing is in Good Will Hunting where we just need to see one quick scene to show Matt Damon reading a book with other books around him to know that he is smart and a voracious reader.

Can you think of other movies that revealed character by just showing the “tip of the iceberg”—or a scene that implied there was a lot more beyond the surface?

Scott W. Smith

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