Nowadays, it seems that everyone wants to get into screenwriting. However, most find that screenwriting isn’t like any other form of writing. Looking at a sample screenplay can be quite intimidating considering screenplays don’t look like stage play scripts nor do they read like a novel. Screenwriting is a very concise form of writing that is very visual in nature and is written in such a way actors can act out the script, not simply read it. It’s also is a marketable form of writing in which most screenwriters understand that they are not writing for mere aesthetic pleasure but for the expressed purpose of making themselves or their superiors money.
Most people who want to get into screenwriting don’t always have the privilege of moving to Hollywood or even attending college all over again to acquire the skill to do so. In most cases, those that want to learn the art and craft of screenwriting often turn no further than the local bookstore to find a book that can give them insight on the subject. However, one of the biggest complaints that most readers have is that these screenwriters who write these books are not accomplished or known in Hollywood themselves. So, it begs the question – just how reliable is the information?
Unlike most of these published authors on the market, Michael Lucker is no stranger to Hollywood. He’s worked on numerous projects including Vampire in Brooklyn, Home On the Range, Good Intentions, Mulan II and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Therefore, he can back up his advice by many years of experience and success.
Michael Lucker is no stranger to Reel Focus, either. A few years ago, he provided us with insight into screenwriting and offered a little advice specific to Georgians wanting to break into the market. This month he is back to share with readers information about his new book – Crash! Boom! Bang! How to Write Action Movies – releasing in June and will briefly discuss how he is helping to build Atlanta’s screenwriting community, one class at a time.
Welcome back, Mike! It’s always a pleasure to showcase you and your work on Reel Focus. Screenwriting is becoming a very popular form of writing because it’s the style of writing associated with Hollywood. For most, screenwriting equals big bucks, but before the big bucks start rolling in, screenwriters must have the right type of skill to entice producers to produce a film. Mike before we delve into how awesome your new book is, share with our readers one of the biggest myths that aspiring screenwriters believe.
That’s easy. They feel it’s too hard… to write a script, to break into the business, to get a movie made. Look at how many channels are on your TV, I say. Cable, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon! How many movies are playing in theaters around the world? Someone has to write them. Why can’t that be you? Those writers had to learn to write movies and series. Why can’t you do it?
Now onto the meaty stuff. Tell us more about your book and what makes it much more different than most screenwriting books currently on the market.
“Crash! Boom! Bang!” is the sum of my experience working in Hollywood as a screenwriter and in Atlanta as a screenwriting professor. It’s full of all the nuts and bolts one needs to know to not only write great action movies, but all kinds of movies. What sets it apart, I think, are the stories. I open up about the wins and losses I’ve had in the screenwriting business in order to help others. While it’s forced me a bit out of my comfort zone, I’ve found that the real and often funny tales from the trenches are what make writing for film and TV feel accessible. My students leave my classes with not only the know-how to write great screenplays, but the belief they can succeed doing it. Hopefully the book will do the same for people all over the world.
You have had a substantial amount of success and consistency and have made it past the “one script wonder” stage of screenwriting. How well do you think you will perform as a book writer?
The jury is still out on that. And I’m sure I have a lot to learn in the book business. But I was fortunate to land my book deal with the largest publisher of independent film and screenwriting books in the world, Michael Wiese Productions (www.mwp.com). And they know what they’re doing. They have a whole team of talented editors, designers and distributors that believed in what I was doing and gave wing to my words. However, I do know that the lessons in the book are proven, not only from what I’ve learned from working with Steven Spielberg, Wes Craven, Eddie Murphy and others, but from what I’ve seen work in classrooms with students young and old.
Mike, it’s great to see that you have not only been successful in your own right, but you also are very much involved in teaching aspiring writers within the local Georgia film community. Tell us more about your contributions to Georgia’s film community and how budding and experienced writers can get assistance from you in the screenwriting process.
I love teaching. The last few years I have been lecturing in the creative writing program at Emory University which has been a wonderful experience. I now also teach in the Communications, Media & Journalism department at the University of North Georgia and lecture in the new MFA program in creative writing at Reinhardt University. The talent coming up is extraordinary and it’s gratifying for me to equip the next generation of screenwriters with the tools they need to tell their stories in the industry exploding in our backyard. For those who are not in college, I offer weekend workshops on screenwriting at my Screenwriter School (www.screenwriterschool.com), where in one fast and furious weekend, I walk participants through everything they need to know to turn a great idea into a sold screenplay. The last several years I have also had the pleasure of serving as the chief advisor to the Atlanta Film Festival’s annual screenwriting competition. Now more than ever really, there are a multitude of ways screenwriters can study the craft in Georgia.
Is there anything we can expect from you in the theaters anytime soon?
Well, the past year I have been knee-deep in adaptations. I was hired to script an incredible autobiography called PRIVILEGES OF WAR, about an American green beret who led the largest rescue in the history of the special forces, which is set to go into production in Vietnam this Fall. Currently, I’m finishing adapting the harrowing true story, QUICKSAND, about a beautiful young schoolteacher who marries the man of her dreams, only to find he isn’t anything he claimed to be. And later this month, I’m flying to Uganda to meet with the President who led the rebellion to overthrow the evil dictator Idi Amein and lead his country to freedom in SOWING THE MUSTARD SEED. With any luck, one or more of these will be coming soon to a theater near you.