March 16, 2009

Screenwriting + Pure Hilarity = Brian Spaeth

The Writer

Brian Spaeth was raised in Hudson, Ohio, and attended The Ohio State University, where he went to class twice in two years. Anything else he would write here would be a lie or a joke, because he is very exciting and enigmatic in that way. His hobbies have all been abandoned, but he likes watching professional basketball and working out. Brian lives in Los Angeles, which is on the Western coast of the United States, right next to either Nevada or Arizona. He always gets those two mixed up.

Check out Brian at his blog, at his Twitter and Facebook pages, and at Prelude to a Super Airplane, his book's official site.

The Web Series

2WO G2N G2Y [official site] tells the story of a man with no memory, no name, and two guns.

Embroiled in an international revenge plot between a pair of secret, international revenge seeking organizations, who are international and want revenge, he must rely on the only things that his body remembers how to do - be really tough and use two guns at once.

He wears four belts.

2WO G2N G2Y is a 30-part web series, which is made exclusively to be online, on the internet. Told in 30 parts, it's for the web. It's broadband, how you like it - online.

What does it all mean? The internet is officially on fire. More on fire than anything as ever been ever.

Check out the trailer!

Writing for the Screen

For those of you who write for different arenas - big screen, boob tube, stage, page, web - what are elements that differ for you as the writer in regards to how you SEE the story unfolding in each arena?
None of it differs for me – I write almost the same in all areas. I mean, web and film are different structurally, but other than budgetary issues, I don’t really see a big difference. Web is just shorter form, and there are a bunch of rules one could go into about ideal length, etc., but none of them are set in stone.

As for book writing, I’ve not written a “traditional” novel. The books I’ve written and those I have ideas for are all meant to eventually be translated to film in some way, so I’m never coming from this like an “internal monologue” place.

I guess what I’m saying is I’m always looking at the eventual screen version, and if it becomes a book, I start there and work backwards. On a completely side note, you see a lot of people doing this with the comic book format these days because almost any comic book has some small chance of getting optioned if it’s halfway decent and in publication.

What similarities, things no matter the medium, are important for a good story to be told?
Obviously, you need a beginning, middle, and end. There are a shocking number of writers I’ve read who forget one of these parts. After that, it needs to be entertaining or meaningful in some fashion. If it’s boring or has zero effect to the majority of the people who read it, you’ve failed.

I’m not saying go write some artsy abstract thing or something, because for the most part, I think especially screenwriters who are starting out need to be concentrating on really basic, commercially viable product. That’s what will get you in the door.

But…as long as your reader feels they’ve used their time in a positive fashion by reading your material, you’ve done a good job on your story. (But if you forget your beginning/middle/end, it’s not technically a story – I’m not sure what that’s called.)

How has the internet and the marketing/promotional opportunities that exist there helped to create a buzz with the projects you do?
Basic awareness. The alternative/new distribution methods are still figuring themselves out in terms of attaining revenue streams in a ratio equal to traditional methods, but the ability to skip the studio/publisher and go right to the audience exists. That’s a very powerful tool if you can harness it.

If I can plug something here, I’ve been working on a little side thing in this area for self-publishers. If any comedy (and comedy ONLY) writers are currently (or soon to be) self-publishing are interested, please get in touch with me at

The only requirement is your writing has to be good, and you need to be willing to do some legwork to promote.

What three things should writers/filmmakers have in their arsenal if they want to heighten their chances of success?
a) Multiple Ideas – You need to be seen as an ongoing revenue stream for anyone you’re working with, i.e. agents, producers, etc., and also – sometimes the throw-away idea you think is garbage might be the one someone else sees as gold.

b) Humility/Muzzle – Know when to shut up and listen, even when the person talking to you has no idea what they’re talking about. Telling them they’re an imbecile does you know favors, and nobody likes a pretentious artist.

c) Knowledge – Read as much as you can about the business, so you understand how it works. Go to the WGA website and read the sample contracts if you’ve never seen one. Follow box office and know what kinds of material the industry will be looking for. Research agents or producers before you meet/contact them. Watch old movies – have a working knowledge of film history.

What are three sites that writers/filmmakers of your field should bookmark for great information?
Variety [link] – Hop on the RSS for both Film and TV news. See what’s selling, know what’s happening.

John August’s blog [link] – Screenwriter of Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc. A wealth of info on the craft and business of screenwriting.

I’d also read Deadline Hollywood Daily [link] and David Poland’s The Hot Blog [link] – they both cover industry news in-depth. The latter also thinks the former is garbage, so you get some alternative views on the same issues.

What is your artist mission statement? In the projects you have developed, are planning to develop, what is important to you to convey?
Hmmm…I don’t really consider myself an artist, so I guess it’s somewhere in the area of, “Have fun and be able to avoid a real job.” I kinda consider myself a business type who happens to be a good creative writer – I just want to write stuff that entertains, makes money, and allows me to continue doing it.

Is it luck or something else that allows me to have my personal taste aligned with what’s big and commercial? I don’t know.

In short, I love explosions and fist-fights, and I’d much rather produce and act than write. :-)


Zetta Brown said...

OMG that is too funny. A 30-part series sounds pretty cool. I'm going to have to check it out. Thanks!

Shonell Bacon said...

Zetta, it was TOO-TOO funny. Brian's Prelude to a Super Airplane [book] is pretty funny, too.