Saturday, March 21, 2009


Hi, folks! My name is Steve Emmerson. Up until last December, I worked as an assistant for an entertainment company for three years. I did lots of things there, like reading scripts of films that need to close their financing with foreign distribution agreements and screening movies that still need distribution. Film school is no substitute for experience. Some people do these blogs anonymously, but I need a new job so I have to get my name and contact info out there as much as I can. My email address is

Movies and scripts are my great loves. What you'll be seeing on here will be mainly things like movie reviews, thoughts on how to make scripts better, discussion of major goings-on within the industry, and probably just random thoughts and gripes.

First up, I recently picked up a script reader gig reading scripts of movies that are going to be made and still need a little financing. The last one I read was a likely direct-to-video sequel of a thriller from the late '90s. I can't get into specifics because I don't want to lose the gig. My main issue with it was the same issue that a lot of sequels have: not as much bite as the original and too similar to the original story. Also, it was an ensemble piece that did not give enough development to critical characters.

The lesson is this this: A sequel is still a separate story from the original movie. Use the same characters, themes, and elements, but you have to tell a different story, one that ratchets up the stakes and urgency. It should feel like the first film set the stage for a sharper, edgier sequel to supplant it. Think of DARK KNIGHT vs. BATMAN BEGINS.

That's all I can think of for now. In closing, since I like pictures let me include a poster from my all-time favorite movie (also a guide on how to write a proper crime screenplay): THE USUAL SUSPECTS. Whatever you thought of THE WAY OF THE GUN and VALKYRIE, you have to give Christopher McQuarrie props for range.

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