What do such movies as The Hours, Shakespeare in Love, Empire of the Sun, Wag the Dog and The Untouchables have in common? Here’s a hint: their authors are David Hare (The Hours), Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love and Empire of the Sun) and David Mamet (Wag the Dog and The Untouchables). Still stumped? Each of these movies—and we’re talking about some very good films—was written by a playwright. OK. So a few good playwrights needed to make some extra cash, and they turned to the much more lucrative film industry to finance house payments and upscale vacations. That may be true, but what if I told you that they’re all better screenwriters because they write plays?

Screenplay Contest

Contest: the CineStory Foundation’s Screenwriting Contest

Criteria: 18+ | 85-130 pages | English only

Prizes: First Place - $10,000; free tuition, meals, and board at the Retreat; 12 month fellowship program with 2 industry members; 5 year Script Pipeline Database membership | Second Place - $1,000; discount on Retreat tuition; 5 year Script Pipeline Database membership | Third Place - $500; discount on Retreat tuition; 5 year Script Pipeline Database membership | All Finalists - discount on Retreat tuition; 5 year Script Pipeline Database membership | All Semifinalists - 1 free entry into Script Pipeline Writers contest; invitation to the Retreat and various perks at the Retreat

Entry Fees: $45 if early entry | $55 if regular entry | $65 if late entry | $70 if extended late entry

Entrance: online, email, and snail mail (see online link for information for all entrance types)


EARLY - December 15, 2014 ($45 Entry Fee)

REGULAR - January 15, 2015 ($55 Entry Fee)

LATE - February 15, 2015 ($65 Entry Fee)

EXTENDED LATE - March 25th, 2015 ($70 Entry Fee)

More Information


Edited down from a similar documentary made for a long out-of-print LaserDisc release, The Making of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest  features interviews with Miloš Forman, Saul Zaentz, Ken Kesey, and both Michael and Kirk Douglas (the only true disappointment here is the absence of Jack Nicholson).

Kirk Douglas bought the rights to Ken Kesey’s novel before it was even published in 1962. While the book became a bestseller and a counterculture classic of the time, Douglas produced a Broadway adaptation with himself in the lead role of Randle P. McMurphy and spent years trying to get a film version off the ground. Turned down by every Hollywood studio and most of the major American directors, it was finally made independently by a pair of first time producers-actor Michael Douglas (who bought the rights from his father) and jazz record impresario Saul Zaentz—and émigré director Miloš Forman (Hal Ashby was originally going to direct, but eventually dropped out and replaced by Forman, according to Danny DeVito's 2009 appearance on Inside The Actor's Studio). It became a box office smash (eventually earning $200 million on a budget of less than $5 million) and the second picture in Hollywood history to sweep the top five Academy Awards.

Thanks to frame-paradiso for this trip down memory lane. If you haven’t seen this amazing film or not for a while, don’t hesitate and get the 35th Anniversary Collector’s Edition available at Amazon.

Miloš Forman about the movie:

One day, I got a package from California. There was a book inside I’d never heard of written by an author I’d never heard of but when I started to read I saw right away that this was the best material I’d come across in America.

“Hell, Milos, I tried to get the rights to the fucking book, if you know what I mean, but that old boy Douglas beat me to the punch,” said Jack Nicholson when I offered him the part.

All the scenes stood or fell with Jack Nicholson, who was a dream to work with. He had none of the vanity, egomania, or obsessions of a star. He insisted on receiving the same treatment as everyone else. He was always prepared for his scenes and had a clear idea of what he wanted. His sense of humour put everyone at ease, which is always a great asset on a set. He helped the people around him because he knew that the better their performances were, the better he would look in the end.

Discovering Nurse Ratched in the prim, angelic Louise Fletcher surprised me, but the more I thought about it, the more it made me sense. I’d learned long before that it’s better to cast against type in the leading roles and with it in the minor roles. For reasons of economy and clarity, I prefer to give the audience a quick read of secondary characters by casting obvious physical types, but with the principal roles, it’s more engaging to uncover a different personality under the obvious type, to peel away the erroneous expectations, to be surprised by a deeper knowledge of the character.

Also, recommended viewing: here’s a little over 13 minutes of deleted scenes, courtesy of frame-paradiso.

These scenes display what a fine director Forman is. They are all excellent scenes but it’s often said that the ability to cut good material in order to make a better total picture is a hard-learned skill. Scenes included here play fine on their own but the film is so right as it is that they aren’t needed. Of particular note is a scene where McMurphy has the various behavior altering punishments utilized by the hospital explained to him.

Dear every screenwriter, read this: Lawrence Hauben & Bo Goldman’s screenplay for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest  [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only). The DVD/Blu-ray of the film is available at Amazon and other online retailers.

For more film related items throughout the day, follow Cinephilia & Beyond on Twitter. Get Cinephilia & Beyond in your inbox by signing in. You can also follow our RSS feed. Please use our Google Custom Search for better results. If you enjoy Cinephilia & Beyond, please consider making a small donation to keep it going:

Fake Ass Posters’ benmadethis has created yet another stunning poster, this time for Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.

How about the stylization of the violence? A lot of it is very funny, and what actually happens to Alex, in the brainwashing sequence, is much more unpleasant to watch than what he does to anyone else.
Kubrick: Well, of course, the violence in the film is stylized, just as it is in the book. My problem, of course, was to find a way of presenting it in the film without benefit of the writing style. The first section of the film that incorporates most of the violent action is principally organized around the Overture to Rossini’s Thieving Magpie, and, in a very broad sense, you could say that the violence is turned into dance, although, of course, it is in no way any kind of formal dance. But in cinematic terms, I should say that movement and music must inevitably be related to dance, just as the rotating space station and the docking Orion space ship in 2001 moved to The Blue Danube. From the rape on the stage of the derelict casino, to the super-frenzied fight, through the Christ figures cut, to Beethoven’s Ninth, the slow-motion fight on the water’s edge, and the encounter with the cat lady where the giant white phallus is pitted against the bust of Beethoven, movement, cutting, and music are the principal coasiderations—dance?
And the use of speeded-up motion, in the scene with the two girls Alex picks up at the drugstore?
Yes, of course, I forgot to mention the high-speed orgy. This scene lasts about forty seconds on the screen and, at two frames per second, took twenty-eight minutes to shoot. I had the idea one night while listening to Eine kleitie Nachtmusik. The vision of an orgy suggested itself, shot at two frames per second. As it worked out in the film, though, the fast movement William Tell was more suitable to the purpose of the scene.

How much do you preplan scenes? You don’t do the Hitchcockian kind of detailed advance planning?
I do a tremendous amount of planning and try to anticipate everything that is humanly possible to imagine prior to shooting the scene, but when the moment actually comes, it is always different. Either you discover new ideas in the scene, or one of the actors by some aspect of his personality has changed something—or any one of a thousand things that fail to coincide with one’s preconceived notions of the scene. This is, of course, the most ci-ucial time of a film. The actual shooting of a scene, once you know what you are going to do, is relatively simple. But it is here that the picture always hangs in the balance. The problem, expressed perhaps a bit too simply, is to make sure that something happens worth putting on film. It is always tempting to think of how you’re going to lilm something before you know what it is you’re going to film, but it’s almost always a waste of time. —An interview on A Clockwork Orange, Saturday Review, 1971

In Great Bolshy Yarblockos! Making A Clockwork Orange, we follow Stanely Kubrick as he creates one of the most controversial films of all time, one that retains its power to shock audiences, even after 35 years. At the time of its release, A Clockwork Orange  created a firestorm of controversy. Through interviews with collaborators, filmmakers, screenwriters and authors, we come to appreciate Stanley Kubrick as an artist unafraid to take risks and court controversy, committed unwaveringly to his single-minded goal: the highest artistic quality of his films.

The powerful things that you remember may be the images but perhaps their strength comes from the words that precede them. Alex’s first-person narration at the beginning of the film increases the power of the images.
Kubrick: You can’t make a rule that says that words are never more useful than images. And, of course, in the scene you refer to, it would be rather difficult to do without words to express Alex’s thoughts. There is an old screenplay adage that says if you have to use voice-over it means there’s something wrong with the script. I’m quite certain this is not true, and when thoughts are to be conveyed, especially when they are of a nature which one would not say to another person, there is no other good alternative.
This time you wrote your script alone. How would you equate the problems of writing a screenplay to writing a novel?
Writing a screenplay is a very different thing than writing a novel or an original story. A good story is a kind of a miracle, and I think that is the way I would describe Burgess’s achievement with the novel. A Clockwork Orange has a wonderful plot, strong characters and clear philosophy. When you can write a book like that, you’ve really done something. On the other hand, writing the screenplay of the book is much more of a logical process — something between writing and breaking a code. It does not require the inspiration or the invention of the novelist. I’m not saying it’s easy to write a good screenplay. It certainly isn’t, and a lot of fine novels have been ruined in the process. However serious your intentions may be, and however important you think are the ideas of the story, the enormous cost of a movie makes it necessary to reach the largest potential audience for that story, in order to give your backers their best chance to get their money back and hopefully make a profit. No one will disagree that a good story is an essential starting point for accomplishing this. But another thing, too, the stronger the story, the more chances you can take with everything else. —Kubrick on A Clockwork Orange, an interview with Michel Ciment

Stanley Kubrick’s screenplay for A Clockwork Orange  [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only). The DVD/Blu-ray of the film is available at Amazon and other online retailers.

For more film related items throughout the day, follow Cinephilia & Beyond on Twitter. Get Cinephilia & Beyond in your inbox by signing in. You can also follow our RSS feed. Please use our Google Custom Search for better results. If you enjoy Cinephilia & Beyond, please consider making a small donation to keep it going:


Micro-budget filmmaking 101: sketches of DIY camera rigs used by Sam Raimi and company for the original The Evil Dead, courtesy of Deep Fried Movies.

Raimi is interviewed behind a wall of posters for Evil Dead 2 in this piece which offers a nice retropective of his pre-Darkman work (Jonathan Ross casually mentions that Raimi currently has a few projects in development with Universal). Numerous clips from his early super-8 shorts are shown in addition to choice scenes from the super-8 Evil Dead promo Within The Woods, a film which Raimi presented to prospective investors as proof of his filmmaking abilities. Also included is a visit to the set of Scott Spiegel’s Night Crew (aka Intruder) where Sam is seen playing a cameo role of a doomed butcher. The production nightmares of Raimi’s big-budget sophmore effort Crimewave are discussed and the film ends a short segment on Evil Dead 2 where Raimi seems unsure of whether Ash will re-appear in another film again.

Dear every screenwriter, read this: Sam Raimi’s screenplay for The Evil Dead  aka Book Of The Dead, with the back & front cover images as drawn by Tom Sullivan [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only). The DVD/Blu-ray of the film is available at Amazon and other online retailers.

For more film related items throughout the day, follow Cinephilia & Beyond on Twitter. Get Cinephilia & Beyond in your inbox by signing in. You can also follow our RSS feed. Please use our Google Custom Search for better results. If you enjoy Cinephilia & Beyond, please consider making a small donation to keep it going:

I hope to be selling a screenplay very soon. It’s one that I wrote back in my daydream days like ‘maybe one day I could sell a screenplay’.. and when I first moved to L.A a bunch of people
read it and they told me to turn it into a T.V show but I was like ‘No..’
So now I’m taking it back out like ‘seriously, I want it to be a movie guys’…

Hannah Hart x