Friday, August 28, 2009

Don't Forget the Music in Your Horror Movie

It's an old cliche that music makes a horror movie scary, but I found this out first hand recently during the scoring of a short film I wrote and help produce. After watching Sucker with an effective yet minimal score, and feeling there was something missing, we had a pro do some additional sound work, and wow, what a difference a proper soundtrack can make. Empty spaces suddenly become contoured with mood, emotions felt heightened, and a general sense of dread began to permeate everything.

Ominous Music Heard Throughout U.S. Sends Nation Into Panic

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Blake Snyder Dies at Age 51

Yesterday I found out that Blake Snyder died at the young age of 51 and was immediately filled with both shock and sadness. Blake is widely known in Hollywood because of his many spec sales and his fantastic book, Save the Cat, which is the best book on structuring commercial Hollywood movies that I’ve encountered (and I’m a junkie when it comes to such texts). I’ve recommended the book to countless people and my own marked up copy has a permanent place in my backpack.

I’m not only sad that the world has lost a great teacher, but a great person. I listened to Blake speak at the Alameda Writer’s Group in Glendale a few years ago which is where I first encountered him and his material. I emailed Blake after the presentation with some questions about B-story, and he got back to me promptly. He not only encouraged people in the writer’s group to email him, but made his email address available to the public in his books and from what I understand made great efforts to get back to everyone who contacted him.

I really enjoyed Blake’s open and friendly manner at the writing group, and planned on taking a class with him someday, but the timing and my finances were never right. A friend of mine took a class with him and told me that he was extremely generous with his time and really wanted to see his students succeed. He met with her even after the class was over to review her material and advise her.

I’ve experienced a lot of teachers in the screenwriting world and they run the gamut from the great to the should-be-tarred-and-feathered. Blake was definitely in the first category. Rest in Peace, Blake. Thanks for the book and movies. I know your students will miss you and everyone else who knew you will too.