I’m still trying

Ok, I’m still here and I’m really happy with myself. I’m still posting (more than a week after the relaunch) and apparently I have something to say as well. Ok, there’s the slight problem that I don’t have any readers but that’s a minor detail.

So, what is going on? Well, the new “Saber Rider” draft came along great. I managed to get some good changes in and I’m currently waiting on some feedback. I still need to check the typing and have a look at some of the dialogue but other than that, the draft is done.

After that I’ll focus on an idea for a new animated short and I hope to spend some time on the “Passion of the Geek”. The animated short is something we’ve been working on for quite some time and after a few setbacks we’re finally in a place where we think we have an idea we can work with. It’s strange how many good ideas just don’t work out the way you intend them to work out. You start with something you really like and you work on it as good as you can but somehow you just never get it to work.

So this is a short one. I’m binge watching West Wing but I want to leave you with something to get you into the right mood for the holidays.

The Awesomeness of “THE CORE”

I’ll let you in on a secret, it’s a big one…ready? Ok, here it is. I few years ago I found it, the most awesome bad movie ever. Forget “Tremors”, forget Ed Wood, don’t even mention that Asylum crap, the most awesome bad movie ever is Jon Amiel’s “The Core”. Let me explain why.

You know the story, it’s basically “Armageddon” in the other direction. Yes, that’s the whole plot of the movie. Earth is in danger, let’s fix it by going down to the core. Let’s build a vessel that can dig a tunnel to the core, let’s blow up some nukes to make the core spin again, let’s loose some people on the way to make it (mildly) exciting and (ok, this is not in Armageddon) let’s have this whole government conspiracy thing going, where the government is responsible for creating the problem by (and here it gets absolutely bonkers) building an earthquake machine. Yes, I’m not kidding, let this one think in nice and slow…the US government built an earthquake machine. Before you ask, no, Dr. Evil is not part of the plot.

So why is this movie so awesomely bad. Well, somehow nobody realized that the story is so completely bonkers and the played it totally straight. Nothing to indicate that they know what a turd they have, nothing. Everybody treats the material like Shakespeare. It is totally awesome. But before we delve deeper (see what I did here?) into the movie let’s have a look at the trailer.

Awesome, isn’t it? It’s not so much how totally silly it looks, it’s the fact that everybody plays it totally straight. They look really serious doing all that crap. It’s just beautifully bad.

What strikes me as odd, is the fact that we have a great cast but a premise straight from an Asylum movie paired with a decent budget. It’s hilarious too me that someone thought this would be good idea. I can see how they wanted to emulate other disaster movies but how can you fail to see that the premise, or (to be more exact) this premise paired with this execution is a perfect recipe for a disaster movie.

They could have gone another way. Picture it looking like an Ed Wood movie. Bad effects, wooden acting (even more than there is now) and bad (you don’t have to change too much here) dialogue. For additional points, let the composer go wild and let him use strange instruments from the fifties and maybe you could throw in a few German or Russian scientists and your set for an awesome experience. But I’m getting sidetracked, after all this post was about how awesome “The Core” is right now, in his state of “perpetual mindfuckness” (Is that even a word? I think it should be.)

So, what m I trying to say here? Well, get yourself a copy of “The Core” and enjoy it, preferably with some friends. I promise it’s worth it.

How not to get an agent

Yes, we are trying to get an agent but so far no luck yet. Not exactly a big surprise but who knows, maybe we get lucky. Taking a cue from all the other screenwriting blogs, this seems to be quite a popular topic so I thought I’ll give to a go. 

So, what did we do?

Basically we’re working on two things. Orlindo is contacting various producers and production companies while I’m looking into agents. I bought a reference book for British writers with a whole bunch of addresses for agencies in it. I browsed through the lists and compiled a list for interesting agencies that fit our criteria (basically: we accept submissions). We decided to start with Britisch agencies. We think that the competition is a bit smaller and we hope that it is easier to get a foot in and frankly, we’d both be perfectly happy to work in Britain. 

But as I said, so far no luck. I contacted 8 agencies so far and received 2 answers so far. Obviously both of them negative. That leaves 6. We haven’t heard anything back from any of the producers or production companies yet. 

We know that an animation screenplay is a hard sell but we really believe in the story and we’re convinced that it is a good writing sample. Once “Saber Rider” is complete we’ll try the same routine with that screenplay and then again with the one after that. There0s just the tiny issue of coming up with another idea again but since we fancy ourselves writers, that should be the least of our problems and judging from the vastly improved timeframe we had with “Saber Rider”, chances are that we have a new screenplay ready to go in about a year.

Stay tuned. 🙂

Writing Saber Rider

I promised, I’m really trying this time.

I’m still in the process of rewriting the “Saber Rider” script and I thought I could share some insights into that project.

It startet in July 2012 in San Diego during the Comic Con. We sat at the bar in Hilton Bayfront after a long day of nerdgasm….what could possibly go wrong?

The answer is nothing. Sitting there, thinking about the great day we just had and discussing the sci-fi movie we decided to write. We wanted to write a cool sci-fi movie. Nothing too fancy, no big mythology, just a cool story and some cool space fights. We had some interesting ideas and we tried to figure at the story when we caught ourselves referencing the same old TV show over and over again. 

A few drinks later we were ready to admit what we both knew what really wanted to do. So we scraped our generic sci-fi idea and started work on Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs”. 

We loved that show when we were kids and even though we know that it is a long shoot we tried to write the best possible movie version we could think of. We decided to take the story of the pilot episode and expanded the story and filled the plot holes. We got rid of some of the dated stuff in the story and toned down the western elements a little bit (you know, Lone Ranger and so…). We looked at some of the classics of the sci-fi space adventure genre and we decided that a “chase movie” is probably the best structure for it. We knew we had to change a few things but this structure allowed us to incorporate what we really loved about the show in a way that doesn’t feel outdated.

The first draft turned out quite well and I’m currently in the process of rewriting it. There are a few things I need to clear up and I have to work on something I like to call “information flow” – when does which character know what and why? It’s really important that this makes sense in the movie and I think it enriches the the story and the characters when a writer pays attention to this. I don’t want to go too much into details (spoilers and so) but by limiting the flow of information we managed to achieve some great reveals in the story and changed some of the character dynamics in an interesting ways.

I hope to complete my rewrite until the end of december.

It’s alive!

It’s one of those posts again….so skip reading if your sick if m ”This time it will work mantra.”

It’s alive!

Still here?….Ok, here we go.

As you can see, I redesigned the blog again. I found a neat theme that I really liked and didn’t require too much fiddling. Some of you may notice that I used the same theme on the newly redesigned www.whiteworms.com, this is no coincidence. I think of this site as a companion site. Whiteworms is were I try to sell screenplays and gregorvogt.com is where I blog about writing them.

I just feel I need to write more and sometimes I just don’t want to write screenplays and this here seems like a nice little distraction. I rely hope that I can post one real entry every week and maybe one or two little ones in between.

I will primarily write about writing and movies or tv shows or other things that I like or find interesting. I won’t write reviews, there are better places for that but I might tell you what you need to read/watch/listen to/eat/… . Maybe I’ll include a “Greg Recommends” feature at some point but who knows, don’t count on it.

So, let’s start with some news.

In october we mainly worked  on the new homepage. I redesigned the site (the old one was from 2007) and we relaunched it as a place to showcase our screenplays. We really want to make the site the best Whiteworms homepage ever.

I  also put some hours into rewriting “Saber Rider” and “The Passion of the Geek”.   We had some generous people who read our first draft of “Saber Rider” and they gave us some good notes and feedback. We are currently trying to solve some minor potholes and address some of their concerns. “The Passion” is coming together nicely. The plot still works (even though it doesn’t make sense) and I’m surprised that some of my jokes are still funny.

You’re probably asking why I didn’t tweak “Skyscraper”. Well, we are currently in the process of sending the script to various production companies and producers around Europe. We know that it is a long shoot but you never know.

We are also working hard on a few ideas for animated short movies. We are not completely there yet but we hope that we can present one in the near future. We are toying around with a few ideas but we want to make sure that we settle on the right one. We don’t want to repeat our past mistakes.

That’s it for this week. Stay tuned for the next entry. I promise there will be one.


Let’s not get offended by trombones

Ok, let’s do this. I’m always telling myself that I should write more (blog and screenplays) but so far I only succeeded on the screenplay front. Don’t get me wrong I’m really exited that I finally have a story that is good enough to get me through third act but I also wanted to reinvigorate my blog. So far I failed miserably at the blog but I don’t give up yet and strangely the more screenplay pages I write, the more I feel the urge to write a blog post. But until now, the urge wasn’t big enough and I was missing the right topic.

Enter John August. If you don’t know his blog, check it out. He and Ken Levine are probably the best (Screenwriter) Bloggers around. In addition to his blog Joh also has a great Podcast with Craig Mazin called Scriptnotes. But, I’m not here to advertise other peoples blogs or podcasts, even if the are great.

Today I want to talk about something really *insert mean and/or derogatory word of your choice* John August did. What he did you ask? Well, he had the audacity to write a blog post on HIS blog in which he gave us HIS opinion about why he thinks children should learn the guitar or the piano before moving on to another instrument.

Man, did he hit a nerve. On the shit-storm was out of proportion. Unfortunately he turned of the comment section so you can’t read it now but trust me when I say some people went overboard and let me tell you why.

Do I think Mr. August has a pont? Yes. Was the argument well laid out? Yes. Do I agree? No. Do I hate him now? No, why should I?

I get his point. I play the Saxophone myself, Tenor to be precise, and I love it. Looking back at my own biography and other circumstances (music education works different here in Liechtenstein) I don’t think that I would still play an Instrument if I had chosen a different path. I always liked playing in a group and speaking as the president of the local music society  I hope that mister August’s plan doesn’t get implemented because we need clarinets, trombones, …. I play the saxophone quite well and contrary to Mr. August I think that it’s equally as useful as playing the piano … and don’t get me started on those camp fire guitarists. Sure there are days when I would love to know how to play piano but last year our orchestra performed Bolero and Rhapsody in Blue and I wouldn’t miss that for the world.

But why don’t I get offended then you might ask. Well I might disagree with him, but he never wrote that I’m stupid if I don’t agree with him. So why should I call him names. It’s an argument and it is a complicated subject matter so nobody is really right or wrong here. It’s a discussion. It’s boring if we all agree and just because I don’t agree with something you say doesn’t mean I don’t respect you or what you do.

People get easily offended. I think some people even search the internet to find things to be offended about and by good there’s a lot out there to be offended about. But a well written argument you might disagree with is not one of them. If you’re offended you get defensive which is really stupid because nobody attacked you. You don’t have to defend yourself. Just make your point, preferably politely and follow the discussion. You might learn something new or even change your mind. Imagine you change your mind, really embarrassing of you trashed the author at first.

To be honest, I’m not really talking about John August’s post. Sure, in a way I am, it’s the reason I wrote this but the issue is an old one and you can see it everywhere, especially in politics. Barack “Muslim-fashist-socialistic-christmas-killing-devil-worshiping-tree-hugger-who-is-to-chicken-to-really-do-anything-substantial-about-global-warming” Obama comes to mind but let’s not go there. I think I made my point.

Don’t be a dick and don’t get offended.


P.S.: Thanks John for the comment holiday, it made me write this post. 🙂