Best Screenwriting Books: Eric Edson’s Screenwriting Book Now Available in Chinese

Eric Edson’s Screenwriting Book Now Available in Chinese

Screenwriting Book In Chinese Los Angeles, CA: In an effort to help screenwriters around the world improve their craft Eric Edson, a career screenwriter and university professor, has announced that his best-selling book, The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take, has now been published in Chinese.

The Chinese version of The Story Solution provides a full translation of Edson’s original concept of a “Hero Goal Sequences” story paradigm that can be used to build dynamic screen stories and keep producers and audiences glued to their chairs. The book is for new writers, as well as those who already have experience in writing novels or screenplays and want additional insights on transforming their lead characters into emotionally powerful heroes.

Edson says that all stories must impart some type of emotion to the viewer or reader to be effective. The Story Solution provides aspiring screenwriters with insights on how to construct an emotional experience through “hero goal sequences” which lead readers to discover for themselves the real merit of the main character, or hero. His book provides a list of nine ingredients that can help create an emotional bond between character and audience. The character attributes he focuses on are: courage, unfair injury, skill, funny, nice, in danger, loved, hard-working and obsessed. The more of these that are included in a story, the more emotionally effective it becomes.

As a professor who helps students sharpen their screenwriting skills, Edson loves to share his knowledge and experience with others who hope to break into movies, television, and other forms of writing. He teaches that there is a certain structure which can be followed to create believable heroes in an innovative way which insures effective plotlines for both screenplays and novels. “The art of storytelling is practiced around the world, but it doesn’t always necessarily translate into big screen success,” said Edson. “I’m really looking forward to bringing my Hero Goal Sequences to the Chinese audience. This powerful, proven strategy can help writers create characters of any background or nationality that will really come to life with an audience. I hope to provide the insight that helps aspiring screenwriters and novelists in China take their story to the next step.”

Edson has written seventeen feature screenplays on assignment for such companies as Sony, Warner Brothers, Disney, Fox, ABC, Showtime, NBC, and TNT. He has written and directed for episodic TV as well. A tenured full professor at California State University, Northridge, he is Director of the CSUN Graduate MFA in Screenwriting Program.

About The Story Solution:  The Story Solution was written by accomplished screenwriter Eric Edson. It reveals the 23 actions used to create dynamic, three dimensional heroes and link all parts of a captivating screenplay. He also covers screenwriting tipsscreenwriting resources, and screenwriting booksVisit the website and Facebook page for a wealth of screenwriting tips and resources.

Avatar of Eric Edson Eric Edson has written seventeen feature screenplays on assignment for such companies as Sony, Warner Brothers, Disney, 20th Fox, ABC Motion Pictures, Lifetime, Showtime, NBC, and TNT. He has also written for episodic television. He is Professor of Screenwriting and Director of the Graduate Program in Screenwriting at California State University, Northridge, and lectures through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, the largest screenwriter training center in the world. Eric holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting and Film Directing from The American Film Institute, and a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting from UCLA. He also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English at UCLA. Eric has been a member of The Writers Guild of America since 1981. He lives in Calabasas, California. Eric can be reached at: eric@thestorysolution.com

The Color Purple by Alice Walker: A Short Summary

In this poignant epistolary novel that relates the story of two sisters Celie and Nettie, Alice Walker condemns racial and sexual oppression and severely criticizes the brutality that victimized the black women especially in the South. This is an extraordinary tale, painful and uncomfortable that plays out over two decades of Celie’s life through her letters beginning at age 14, when she is sexually abused by her stepfather, who later removes her children.

Celie’s real nightmare begins with her marriage to Albert, who rather needs a servant than a wife to take care of his four children, look after his house, and work in his fields but Celie is happy to marry him to save her younger sister Nettie from her father’s clutches. However the latter constrained to leave for refusing the sexual advances of her sister’s husband goes to Africa as a missionary after promising to write to Celie. With this painful separation and a complete silence from Nettie, her life worsens and Celie begins writing to God; a correspondence without any hope of reply but yet these missives save her from despair… She continues addressing to “Dear Good Lord” and relates her miserable condition, describing the nightmare of the violence and isolation but also hope, when her husband brings home his mistress Shug Avery for Celie to nurse her back to health.

This girl unlike Celie is sexy and independent and with Shug she discovers the mystery of Nettie’s silence for her husband has been hiding her sister’s letters in a locked trunk and finding them unlocks a new world to her. With the sensual Shug Avery, Celie familiarizes with her body, learns self-esteem and also love; realizing the full extent of the abuses suffered from her husband also gives her the strength to start a new life with Shug. Her sister’s letters completely transform her when she learns that her father was not actually her biological parent and her childhood house actually belonged to her and Nettie since their mother passed away.

These letters also reveal that her sister Nettie is living with a Reverend who has adopted her two children and several decades later, when they return the sisters at last have a blissful reunion. In this excellent novel, the author uses the themes of violence and sexual abuse to a stunning effect and the development of the main character Celie, displays her transformation from an unhappy, miserable person into a happy, successful, independent woman.

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Screenplay Writers: Eric Edson To Provide Scriptwriting Tips At Story Expo 2014

story expo

Los Angeles CA: When writing screenplays, all aspiring screenwriters face a challenge in building their hero’s journey large enough to fill the big screen.  Authors who want to gain those skills necessary for mastering movie storytelling should attend Eric Edson’s classes on screenplay writing at the upcoming Story Expo.

Accomplished screenwriter, professor and author of the best-selling book, The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take, Edson advises authors to focus on “Hero Goal Sequences” when writing a movie script. They help transition the story from one scene to the next, build audience support for the story’s hero, and link together all parts of the story. Referencing it as one of the best books on screenwriting, author Jessica Davis Stein says The Story Solution “may well be the best cure for writer’s block ever written.”

Story Expo takes place from September 5-7, 2014 at the Westin LAX Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.  The Expo is billed as the world’s biggest convention for writers from all mediums including screenplay writers, TV writers, novelists, and filmmakers. Attendees will learn the craft of storytelling, determine which medium is best for their story, and learn how to package and pitch ideas and scripts.

Edson is one of over 100 world-renowned speakers who will discuss all aspects of storytelling. His first class on Friday, September 5, from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m., covers “14 Character Types in All Screen Stories.” Understanding the fourteen character types available to a screenplay writer is crucial to writing powerful scripts. Edson breaks down all story characters into the 14 categories every screenwriter should know.

His second class, on Saturday, September 6, from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m., covers “10 Plot Forms In All Great Movies.” Scriptwriting involves many choices, and figuring out the right plot form is key, says Edson. These important plot forms offer powerful story-creating tools. He presents all ten plot forms in detail, and reveals the story advantages and differences of each.

Edson’s final class, on Sunday, September 7, from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m., covers “Building Great Stories – Hero Goal Sequences.” Mastering screen story structure is both a challenge and essential skill for screenplay writers.  Here the author details his powerful story-building concept of Hero Goal Sequences.

“I’m really looking forward to the Expo,” commented Edson. “I enjoy sharing my knowledge about writing screenplays with aspiring screenwriters. Story Expo is the ultimate environment for those who want to concentrate on the art and craft of telling a story.”

About The Story Solution:  The Story Solution, by accomplished screenwriter Eric Edson, is an in-depth handbook for authors who are writing a movie script. It reveals the 23 actions screenplay writers use to create dynamic, three dimensional heroes. Visit the website at http://www.thestorysolution.com/ to download a sample chapter of the book“Like” the Facebook page to receive screenwriting tips and insider insights on writing screenplays.

Avatar of Eric EdsonEric Edson has written seventeen feature screenplays on assignment for such companies as Sony, Warner Brothers, Disney, 20th Fox, ABC Motion Pictures, Lifetime, Showtime, NBC, and TNT. He has also written for episodic television. He is Professor of Screenwriting and Director of the Graduate Program in Screenwriting at California State University, Northridge, and lectures through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, the largest screenwriter training center in the world. Eric holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting and Film Directing from The American Film Institute, and a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting from UCLA. He also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English at UCLA. Eric has been a member of The Writers Guild of America since 1981. He lives in Calabasas, California. Eric can be reached at: eric@thestorysolution.com

Fun Facts About “Life of Pi”

The movie “Life of Pi” is based on a novel of the same name written by Yann Martell. Although the book and movie revolve mostly around characters that are from India, Martell himself is Canadian. During his childhood and teenage years, Martell lived in Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico, France, and Canada. He writes in English, but French is his first language. Other books by Martell include “We Ate the Children Last” and “Beatrice and Virgil.”

The story in both the novel and movie centers on the life of Piscine Molitor, an Indian boy who was named for a swimming pool in Paris. Because his name draws jeers from boys at school, Piscine takes on the nickname Pi. “Life of Pi” is told in a framed story format, which means an older Pi is telling the story to a reporter. The story is mainly about how the younger Pi survived a shipwreck and spent time on a lifeboat with wild animals, including a fully-grown Bengal tiger.

In addition to drawing a lot of attention from moviegoers of all ages, “Life of Pi” also has quite a bit of interesting trivia associated with it. The film is directed by Ang Lee, but numerous other popular directors were attached to the film at some point in development, including M. Night Shyamalan.

“Life of Pi” also has several fun connections to the Spider-Man franchise of movies, including links to the trilogy starring Tobey Maguire as well as the reboot film “The Amazing Spider-Man.” The first link involves Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who played Peter Parker in the newest film. Maguire was originally cast as the reporter who interviews the older Pi, but Garfield was also considered for the role. Although Maguire filmed some scenes, Ang Lee made a decision to replace him before editing. According to reports, Lee felt Maguire was too big an actor for the role.

Another link to Spider-Man can be found in actor Irrfan Khan. Khan, who plays the adult version of Pi, played the role of Dr. Rajit Ratha in “The Amazing Spider-Man.” The name of the tiger in “Life of Pi” is Richard Parker, which is also the name of Peter Parker’s father in “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Martel did not get the name Richard Parker from the Spider-Man stories, however. He got the name from an English law case from 1884. The case, known as R. v. Dudley and Stephens, centered on an argument about whether necessity could be used as a defense in a murder trial. Specifically, the argument was about cannibalism in a castaway situation. Four men, including a seventeen-year-old cabin boy named Richard Parker, were shipwrecked. After days of hunger, the three other men killed a possibly dying Parker and ate him. Martel’s choice of this name for a shipwrecked tiger that could, at any moment, eat Pi is full of dark comedy.

The name of the ship from the 1884 court case was the Mignonette. In a scene in “Life of Pi” where the older Pi is being interviewed, a ship called the Mignonette passes in the background.

An interesting fact about the film’s creation has to do with the tiger. Suraj Sharma, the actor that plays Pi, was reportedly never in contact with an actual tiger. In fact, all scenes depicting Sharma and the tiger within the lifeboat were computerized. Although the CGI is very well done, there is at least one moment in the movie where it is apparent to viewers. The tiger jumps from an island to the boat, but there is no movement on the surface of the boat. When Pi makes the same move a moment later, the surface of the boat flexes under his weight.

Sharma was almost not seen on the lifeboat at all, though. He didn’t even mean to audition for the film. He was with his brother, who was responding to a casting call, when the casting team spotted him. With more than 3,000 other young men showing up for the role, the team chose Sharma as the lead. “Life of Pi” was Sharma’s first movie and, as of January 2013, he has not appeared as an actor in any other film.

“Life of Pi” is a fun and thoughtful film that examines topics like survival and religion in an offbeat and unique manner. It is fitting that the movie is also associated with so much fun and odd trivia. (MovieRoomReviews.com/life-pi)
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Screenwriting Blog: 15 Noteworthy Art Professors in Los Angeles

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We have spent a fair amount of time highlighting the work of artists and the impact they have made on the art world as a whole, but there is another type of art professional who is constantly leaving their mark on the art world as well – art professors. In many cases, these people are the behind-the-scenes contributors who not only influence the art world through their own work but also by helping groom the next generation of young artists. Of course to sit here and try to put together a list of all the art professors across the country worth highlighting would be nearly impossible, so we decided to break up geographically and start in one of the most culturally rich and artistically diverse cities in the entire country – Los Angeles.

Cathy Opie

1. Catherine Opie, Professor of Photography, UCLA

Many people can go an entire lifetime without realizing what they want to be when they grow up. Catherine Opie realized by the time she was nine that she wanted to be a social-documentary photographer. If it sounds a bit specific, that’s because it is, but to her credit, the Ohio native made her dream a reality and is now an internationally recognized documentary photographer and a tenured professor of photography at UCLA. Armed with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Master’s in Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts, Opie has both the real-world experience and academic know-how to make an excellent professor and clearly, she is already well on her way. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/csopie

2. Meg Cranston, Chair of Fine Arts, Otis College Art and Design

A multi-discipline artist who can count sculpture, painting, and writing among her many artistic endeavors, Meg Cranston is an artist through and through. She also just so happens to be the Chair of Fine Arts at the prestigious Otis College of Art and Design. She originally started teaching just to support her work but soon realized the importance of art education in Los Angeles and has become one of the more well-recognized art educators in the City of Angels. Her experience and talent alone should justify her ability to teach, but her recognition of the importance of art education and her passion for teaching help set her apart in a city full of artists and art educators.

3. Ron Rizk, Professor of Fine Arts, USC

Rizk has a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and an MFA in Painting & Printmaking, from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has had solo exhibition of his work displayed on both coasts and his work can still be seen at the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego in Balboa Park. Did we mention he is also a respected and well-liked fine arts professors at one of the country’s foremost schools for the arts? Rizk has taught drawing and painting and more at USC and his students seem to find him fun, easy-going, and passionate about the subject. Some students credit him with helping them learn to love drawing and others talk about his patience and ability to engage even the non-art-centric students who take his class. Trust us that is easier said than done.

Credit: Mayte Delgado

4. Adele Bass, Graphic Design Professor, Art Center College of Design

Although she calls herself a “graphic design consultant” in her bio, “graphic design guru” is probably a more apt title. Bass is an award-winning and accomplished graphic designer who boasts previous clients such as the Los Angeles Zoo, USC, and the City of Pasadena. She is also something of a homegrown talent. After getting a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY-Binghamton, Bass went on to earn her BFA and MFA from Art Center College of Design and is still teaching there today. Bass has earned a reputation as a tough but fair teacher whose criticism is stern and helpful without being insulting. She is considered a first-class typographer with a real passion for the subject and is enthusiastic about helping her students learn.

5. Judith Royer, Theatre Professor, Loyola Marymount University

After being bestowed with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for her 40-year career as a theatre professor, you shouldn’t really need much else to understand that Judith Royer is an exceptional art educator. Royer has taught at LMU for more than 40 years and has directed more than 35 plays and 40 original scripts. She has also endeared herself to her students with her charming personality and passion and knowledge for the theatre. Teaching theatre is more difficult than teaching other, more technical and tangible art subjects, because it deals with the abstract more often and good theatre can often be a matter of personal opinion. That said, few professors are able to teach any subject for more than 20 years let alone 40 years. That she has been able to teach for this long is a testament to her skill and perseverance.

6. Craig Elliott, Figurative Art Professor, Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art

Apparently the Art Center College of Design has a prolific teaching tree because Elliott is the second instructor on this list to receive his education from the prestigious school. As an artist, Elliott is both experienced in the world of fine art and in animation where he has worked on animated films for Disney and Dreamworks. Did we mention that he also dabbles in landscape architecture, sculpting and jewelry design? Yeah, the guy is multi-talented. His teaching career includes stints as a visual arts teacher at the Art Center College of Design as well as the Pacific Institute of Art and Design and now the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, and Motivarti.org. It’s one thing to learn from an instructor who is knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. It’s another thing entirely to learn from someone so accomplished and versatile in his own field, which is why Elliott deserves the shout out. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/craig_elliott

Todd Boyd

7. Todd Boyd, Critical Studies Professor, USC

At one of the country’s most famous film schools, it can be difficult to stand out, unless you’re Dr. Todd Boyd of course. The endowed chair for the Study of Race & Popular Culture and Critical Studies Professor, Boyd is an extremely well-known media commentator especially when it comes to the intersection of race and pop culture. He is a prolific writer and author with a number of well-known books published, he is a regular on ESPN and other news outlets, and he is also not coincidentally a well-liked teacher in his classes. He joined the faculty in 1992 and has been teaching ever since. His students rave about his charisma and his ability to make lectures interesting and he also has plenty of passion about the subjects he teaches. He was an easy inclusion on the list. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DrToddBoyd

8. Michael Zakian, Art History Professor, Pepperdine University

Although he is only listed as an adjunct art professor at Pepperdine, Zakian is a staple at the University where he is not only a well-liked teacher but also the Director of the University’s Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art. Making Art History fascinating can occasionally be a difficult task, but students rave about Zakian’s ability to transform his passion for the subject into interesting lectures and courses on the subject. He is also an accomplished artist who has been working at the Weisman Museum for the better part of two decades, helping him earn plenty of recognition in the Southern California art world. Pepperdine is an oft-forgotten art community in Los Angeles especially in the shadow of USC and UCLA, but Zakian has helped the university earn plenty of acclaim in the last 20 years and has managed to engage many young students in the world of Art History as well.

9. Mark Ruwedel, Professor of Photography, Cal-State Long Beach

Ruwedel has been a professor since 1984 and a talented photographer since long before then. He received his MFA from Concordia University in Montreal in 1983 and spent nearly the next two decades teaching there before moving to Long Beach and teaching at Cal-State Long Beach. He is an award-winning photographer whose work has been exhibited in some of the country’s most famous museums (the J. Paul Getty Museum and the San Francisco MOMA to name two) and he is also an excellent professor who was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award from the University in 2010 and receives high marks from students for his dedication to helping them because better photographers and soft-spoken demeanor. Sometimes it is difficult for accomplished artists to transition into excellent professors, but given his experience in both fields, Ruwedel has clearly struck the ideal balance.

Dan Neuman

10. Daniel Neuman, Ethnomusicology Professor, UCLA

Technically Neuman counts as a music teacher, but he is as much an anthropologist as he is a music teacher. Oh and he also happens to be one of the university’s most popular music professors. Neuman got his Bachelor’s degree and his PhD from the University of Illinois in Anthropology but quickly blended his love for culture with music when he developed World Music Navigator, a computerized ethno-atlas. He is also an accomplished author with three books about music and culture (especially in India) to his name and has an impressive resume from academia as well. Neuman previously taught at the University of Washington, where he was the Director of the School of Music for a decade before moving to UCLA to serve as Dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and as UCLA’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. He gets high marks from his students for his knowledge and passion of the subjects and also for being helpful and approachable in class. That’s more than enough for us to give him some well-earned recognition.

Bruce Claypool

11. Bruce Claypool, Design Professor, Art Center College of Design

The Art Center College of Design is one of the most prestigious design schools in California if not the entire country and so it’s only fitting that one of its most popular design professors makes our list of noteworthy professors. Students don’t just like Claypool – they love him. Almost everyone agrees that his classes are hard and that he expects a lot out of his students, but they also almost universally agree that you leave his classes as a better artist than when you came in. A graduate of the Art Center College of Design himself, Claypool was the former Art Director for NFL properties and his work has been featured in countless galleries in and out of the immediate area. It may not be easy to get an “A” grade in his class, but if you are going to school to become a great artist, Claypool is the kind of professor you want to cross paths with.

12. Theresa Hayes, Director of Instruction, American Academy of the Dramatic Arts

A star graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts at the ripe old age of 19, Hayes has been a performing arts staple in Los Angeles ever since. She starting teaching at the Academy in 1992 and is now the Director of Instruction and Managing Director of the Academy. She has founded her own production company, starred and appeared in countless theater performances, worked in television and film, and has been a guest instructor and choreographer for many more works of performance art. She has likely forgotten more about the theater than most will ever know. She is also known as a passionate teacher by her students who really tries hard to get the most out of their abilities and thus deserves a spot on our list as much as anyone.

Eric Edson

13. Eric Edson, Screenwriting Professor, Cal-State Northridge

A screenwriting veteran with 17 feature screenplays under his belt, Edson is really the perfect person to be the Director of the Graduate Program in Screenwriting at California State University, Northridge. He even moonlights as a lecturer through the UCLA Writers’ program and a number of the screenplays he has worked on have been produced by major companies such as Sony, Warner Brothers, and Disney. He is also the author of the popular screenwriting book called “The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take” and is a dedicated and knowledgeable professor who has helped churn out more than his fair share of accomplished screenwriting students. The graduate program at Northridge has received a lot of acclaim under his direction and his passion for the craft shines through in his teaching as well.

14. Marc Lowenstein, Theater Professor, California Institute of the Arts

An active conductor, singer, composer, and one of the most highly recommended teachers at Cal Arts by his students, Lowenstein is a no-brainer for this list. He has conducted on New York City Opera’s VOX showcase festival, the premiere of Anne LeBaron’s WETand was music director for a number of US premieres. He has sang in a number of performances as well and is an accomplished musician capable of playing a bunch of different instruments. At the California Institute of the Arts he teaches theory, skills, history, and composition and his students give him high marks for his attention to detail, willingness to help, and his innate ability to make lectures and class time more interesting. This kind of combination of experience and teaching savvy is hard to find, which is of course why Lowenstein is on the list in the first place.

Jack Epps

15. Jack Epps Jr., Associate Professor of Writing for Screen and Television, USC

We have to end the list strong and there is no better way to end it than highlighting the Chair of the Writing Department at one of the country’s most revered film schools. Epps studied screenwriting as an undergraduate at Michigan State University and not long afterwards he was writing episodes for shows like Hawaii Five-O and Kojak. He also has experience as a cinematographer and co-authored famous movies like Top Gun and Turner & Hooch. It’s clear that he is a talented and knowledgeable screenwriter and his students seem to agree. They give him rave reviews for his knowledge and admit that it doesn’t take long to become a markedly better screenwriter under Epps’ tutelage. Simply put, the man is a screenwriting legend and for him to still be passing his craft along to other students says a lot about his passion for teaching and helping the next generation of screenwriters.

All of the wonderful content and creativity on theartcareerproject.com is brought to you by+Leah Jachimowicz. Leah graduated from University of California at Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and has a Master of Fine Arts from Academy of Art. She has long wanted to enjoy a career in the arts and now has that luxury as the head art expert of TACP as well as being the owner of printmaking boutique Coffee n Cream Press in San Francisco, CA. Read more about Leah and her journey through her education to art business owner: On printmaking and how it’s a “labor of love”.

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Upcoming Zombie Movies

Zombies have of late gained a large amount of interest in pop culture. The reasons might be myriad – a morbid fascination with apocalypse situations, a metaphor for the way that most people allow themselves to be herded like sheep, a growing fear stemming from recent virulent diseases that have wreaked havoc on populations. Whatever the reasons may be, Zombies now have their own genre despite seeming mindless, no pun intended.

Though first featured in White Zombie (1932), it wasn’t until the premier of Night of the Living Dead (1968) that Zombies in movies really garnered attention from the majority of the viewing public. A slew of Resident Evil movies later, Zombie movies were regarded as a completely action and horror oriented subject. With the release of Shaun of the Dead (2004) though, Zombie movies have been explored for their comic value, thus bursting the dam on what can be done with thousands of mindless, smelly creatures all intent on eating those still alive. The success of AMC’s The Walking Dead, a zombie apocalypse survival television series, has promptly brought on the year of the zombie, with more than a dozen films and ventures that attempt to cash in on the success that these undead freaks of nature have achieved. Here we take a look at some of the Zombie movies set to be released soon:

World War Z – One of the biggest zombie movies to be released yet, WWZ stars Brad Pitt in the leading role as Gerry Lane, a United Nations worker whose task is to coordinate resistance and help stop the global Zombie epidemic that threatens to tear down human civilization. Based on the eponymous book by Max Brooks, the director, Marc Forester portrays the Zombie cadres like a colony of ants whose strength is in numbers. With a budget in excess of $200 million, Paramount Pictures is set to release the film in June of this year. This is likely to set a record as the highest grosser of Zombie movies 2013-14.

Warm Bodies – Based on a book by Isaac Marion, Warm Bodies is a Zombie romantic comedy that explores Zombie love. Jonathan Levine, who wrote the screenplay and also directed the movie, ventures into the untested by providing a Zombie’s perspective. Nicholas Hoult stars as Zombie who shows signs of human emotions towards Teresa Palmer’s character and the movie explores the possibility of humans and zombies living in a harmonious environment. Released early February of this year, this Zombie movie has already grossed over $100 million, making this a must watch for any Zombie movies lover.

The 4th Reich – Combining the two greatest villainous entities in Hollywood, this Sean Bean starrer terrifies movie goers with Nazi Zombies. Directed and written by Shaun Robert Smith, this World War 2 era movie portrays an elite team of a British Infantry Division as they go about killing Nazis and eliminating the threat of Zombies created by Nazi scientists during their experiments to create a superior human race. Set to be released late this year, The 4th Reich is another in a long list of WW2 movies, but with a slightly undead twist.

Invasion of the Not Quite Dead – A dark comedy thriller about the inhabitants of a small island off the coast of England that is turned into Zombie death trap by a deadly virus, this is one of the more entertaining Zombie movies, written and directed by Anthony Lane is not one to miss. Starring relatively well known Andrew Ellis and Ajay Nayyar, the movie promises a unique look at how a small group of survivors face the rigors and challenges of escaping Zombies.

Wyrmwood: This is an Australian movie set to be released in late 2013, with post-production work going on. The movie is styled after the Will Smith starrer I AM LEGEND, and falls in the action category of Zombie Movies 2013-14. Written and directed by Kiah Roache-Turner, the movie stars Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey and Leon Burchill. The story revolves around Jay Gallagher, whose character loses his family on the eve of a zombie attack. He teams up with a friend and together they drive through the Australian Bush to the safer interiors, battling the undead on the way from the comfort of a fortified van. This movie seems to have a better storyline when compared to many of the other Zombie movies 2013-14 has to offer.

R.I.P.D – Also known as Rest In Peace Department, is a Zombie action comedy that has a star studded cast. Ryan Reynolds plays a recently murdered cop and joins the likes of Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges and Mary-Louise Parker who along with others and forms a team of undead police officers. With a release date in mid July 2013, this Zombie film portrays the undead as the good guys who use their undeadness to fight crime. Directed by Robert Schwentke who has blockbusters like Red (2010) and The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) under his belt, this is one of the better Zombie movies 2013-14 and is sure to exceed all expectations.

The Harvard Zombie Massacre – Another Zombie movie that is presently in pre production, it is set in a Harvard University campus overrun with Zombies. The twist that sets this movie apart from the rest of the Zombie movies is that these particular Zombies aren’t as mindless as one might suspect. Produced by Warren Zide of American Pie and Final Destination fame, the film chronicles how America’s most brilliant minds can survive an onslaught from the most brilliant Zombies. This horror comedy written by Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit will be released late 2013 or early 2014.

Movies set for release in 2014:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – An adaptation of the classic Jane Austen story of a woman’s quest for independence and love, the screenplay has been reworked to include her fight to eradicate a growing Zombie threat. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are provided with zombie flavored distractions from their pristine 19th century English manors and questions of morality and marriage are superseded by the need to survive. Though the film is still in its planning stage, its unique twist ensures that it will generate a great deal of interest, and not just with zombie movies lovers.

The Curse of the Buxom Strumpet – A dark comedy set in the early 1700’s and starring Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench, this Zombie movie focuses on the accomplishments of a lord of fictional Upper Trollop, a small town in Oxfordshire, England. Based on E’gad Zombies!, a short film by the same director, Matthew Butler who worked with Ian McKellen, this movie promises a showing like none other, partly due to the tremendous acting talent and also due to the unique settings. Set to be released early 2014, this is one of the Zombie movies that will set itself apart from the rest.

The zombies are taking over the movie theaters and cinemas, after the last few years which were dominated by the vampires and werewolves. Every big Hollywood studio and the not-so-big ones, not to mention the independent movie makers are trying to cash in on the latest craze for the undead, set off the by the popular television series. Zombie movies are invading the cinemas and theaters around the world and there seems to be no stopping the undead, anytime soon.

I am a freelance writer. Writing is my passion and I love doing it.

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Best Screenwriting Books: What I Learned From 6 Great Movie Villains

Movie Villains

When I teach about writing a movie script, I advise students that it takes real work to become a great screenplay writer who makes characters come alive. In my book, The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take, I discuss writing screenplays that use Hero Goal Sequences® to create dynamic heroes, but a screenplay can also become successful when memorable villains are created as well. Screenplay writers love to add a villain who serves as a counter-balance for their hero.

The best books on screenwriting reveal that movies work because of conflict – the better the conflict, the better the movie. When it comes to scriptwriting, a great villain can make a good movie terrific. Here is what I learned from six great movie villains:

  • Willem Dafoe in “Spider-Man”: The Green Goblin and Spider-Man are similar because they are both transformed. While Peter Parker turns to fighting evil, Norman Osborn taps into his psyche’s dark side. This echoed inner conflict reflects the struggle we all have when choosing between good and evil.
  • Tom Cruise in “Collateral”: Cruise plays Vincent, a hired killer who takes Jamie Foxx’s unsuspecting cab driver, Max, along as he eliminates people on a hit list. Vincent constantly thinks about what life means, even as he takes it. In an argument the driver calls Vincent a sociopath, while Vincent derides him for being so passive. After the car crashes and the hit man runs off, Max realizes the next person on the hit list was his recent passenger Annie – a woman he “hit on” himself. Max turns hero as he rushes off to save Annie. This villain was necessary for our hero to be confronted about his faults, and learn what he was capable of achieving.
  • Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”: Streep plays the villain who sparks a transformation in Anne Hathaway’s mousy character. Although she spends most of the film being unbearably demanding, the curtain is pulled back and we see her anguish over her personal life. The best screenwriting books provide advice on how to make an audience empathize with a villain, but here it is done to perfection.  Give your villain their own inner suffering.
  • Angela Lansbury in “The Manchurian Candidate”: Before becoming the dowager detective in TV’s Murder, She Wrote, Lansbury played the perfect villainess as Mrs. Iselin. Hailed by Time as one of the top 25 best villains, she twists the ideals of motherhood into evil while directing her son on a killing spree that will lead to her husband becoming president. This is the perfect example of screenplay writing that turns the notions of hero and villain upside-down when mothers are villains and assassins are heroes.
  • Stephen Lang in “Avatar”: Lang played the villainous Colonel Miles Quaritch in James Cameron’s original Avatar so well that he will be back for all three sequels. According to Hero Complex, Lang’s secret is that he was just playing a man doing his job. “He makes choices. Quaritch cauterized some aspects of his soul. Dirty wars numbed his psyche and spirit, but I did not go at him as a villain.”
  • Michael Douglas in “Wall Street”: Even after more than 25 years we remember Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” advice. Douglas provides a great example of how a villain corrupts a young associate who is the hero of the story, Charlie Sheen, as Bud Fox. Bud is conflicted between following Gekko’s ideals or his own father’s. Our young hero eventually realizes there is more to life than money and turns against his former mentor.

 

I hope these thoughts on screenwriting help aspiring screenwriters learn how to define their onscreen heroes and villains. To learn more about writing a great story, attend Story Expo 2014, coming September 5-7 to Los Angeles. I’ll speak, along with many other great lecturers, on the art and craft of storytelling.

Good Luck and Good Writing!

Eric Edson

screenwriting book author eric edson Eric Edson

About The Story Solution:  The Story Solution was written by accomplished screenwriter Eric Edson. It reveals the 23 actions used to create dynamic, three dimensional heroes and link all parts of a captivating screenplay. He also covers screenwriting tips, screenwriting resources, and screenwriting books. Visit the website and Facebook page or call 818-677-3192 for more information.