Monday, July 19, 2021

Sharing my Tools


A colleague of mine, filmmaker Jason Horton, asked if I’d be interested in creating a series of videos about some aspect of filmmaking that he could host on his YouTube channel. I was honored and said “Yes!” before realizing I might not have anything new to say.

But maybe the way I said it would resonate with someone. Or maybe I’d reach people who hadn’t heard some of these ideas before. In other words, if I did some good for anyone, it would be worth it.

So I did.

I decided to focus on writing—specifically screenwriting, since I do consulting for folks on that front. I thought I’d share some basic tools to help people make their writing a little better—even after a single video.

So, if you’d like to take a look, feel free. Some of the tips and tools are specific to screenwriting, but many of them are usable for all writing--including email, blogs and other prose.

The series is called ”Tools, Not Rules” and can be found on Jason Horton’s YouTube channel—which is full of great content for filmmakers.

The introduction is here:  https://youtu.be/RrbPYihHZ4s

Enjoy. And feel free to leave a comment!


And for tons of other great filmmaking stuff, visit Jason's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/jhorton2003


Oh...and if you're interested in my screenplay consulting, check out http://www.2writers.com/Gregory_ScriptConsulting.htm



Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Keep Pushing


Long ago,                 Today, 
trying to fit in         being myself


When I started to try to get film roles, no one wanted me. I didn’t fit any brand. I wasn't tall enough, pretty enough, bulky enough. Back then there just wasn’t a cornucopia of roles for off-beat, quirky 20-somethings. So, I did background work. Some people love background work; I find it tedious and unfulfilling.

I finally got a few meaty roles in a few independent projects and, after years of that, landed an agent. Through him I got a nice recurring role on TV One’s “Love That Girl”—a perfect fit for my off-beat, quirky look and style. We all thought this was the beginning of a new trajectory in television. But, what we both learned, eventually, was that off-beat, quirky roles remained far rarer than the hunky, handsome heroes and winsome pretty boys that make up the bulk of male roles in film. The competition for the few crumbs was fierce and the roles often went to "known" names.

That’s changed a bit in the last decade or so with the explosion of new entertainment platforms creating a much wider variety of material—often aimed at niche markets. Sure, hunky handsome heroes and winsome pretty boys remain at the top of the food chain, but there are a lot more opportunities for those of us outside that domain of pedestrian pulchritude: those of us who fit in with Steve Buscemi more than Tom Cruise.

I’ve been fortunate enough to find directors, producers and audiences for my unique brand. But it took years—decades, in fact—and I’ve still got more to do.  The point of all this to remind any of you pursuing this careeror any career in entertainment or the arts—that this is a long game and there are many ups and downs. So my advice would be to tell you to enjoy whatever you can, wherever you are and (as the title of this entry spoils) keep pushing forward.

Best of luck on your journey!

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Story of How Things Work


I wrote a biopic script over twenty years ago. It got optioned once, but never produced. So, it sat on the proverbial shelf collecting proverbial dust for decades. 

Then, I was in a production of the musical “Working” a decade or so later. Theater is such an act of love and investment; I always make friends that last a lifetime when I do it. In this case, I met Jacquelyn Levy.  We did another musical together nearly a decade later.

Then, just last year, she hooked me up with a novelist who wanted to do a joint screenplay and novel deal about a famous musical group. I sent him a copy of my thirty-year-old script as a biopic sample. He dug it and so I started the new script. 

A few months later it was done, and he started pitching it. A producer contacted me to get a copy and find out more. I told her the story you’re reading right now.  She asked me to send her the new script as well as my thirty-year-old script.

A few weeks later, she called and said she wanted to produce the script that had been collecting proverbial dust for decades.

In short, it took time, friends, networking, patience, and the script finding the right person for this story to have its long-overdue happy ending. 

“Behind the Smile: The Story of Hattie McDaniel” is slated to go into production this June.

The moral of the story is: things have a way of working that you may never be able to force or foresee. So, make your art and let what happens happen.