BPS 015: How to Write a Screenplay FAST with Jeff Bollow

Have you ever wanted to learn how to write a screenplay fast? I know I do. This is why I invited on the show award-winning producer/director, best-selling author, film festival organizer and public speaker, Jeff Bollow.

He is the author of Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning SpeedJeff Bollow began as an actor at age 12 in his native Los Angeles (credits include Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and TV’s Columbo) before working nearly every job in production, from camera to sound to lighting — and including jobs in development, post-production, and distribution.

Jeff has worked on feature films, TV series, commercials, music videos, radio, and corporate productions for companies such as Universal, Castle Rock, Propaganda Films, DNA and the Oxygen Network.

After migrating to New Zealand, where he directed television for TV3 and co-founded the Big Mountain Short Film Festival, he moved to Australia, where he launched Embryo Films. Through his company, Jeff has reviewed over 20,000 project submissions and has edited, assessed and/or mentored over 350 projects. He has script doctored in Singapore, Australia, NZ, and the US; and has conducted over 80 live weekend workshops to over 1200 writers in 9 cities in 5 countries, with a unanimous “recommend” approval rating.

His students have been optioned, produced and won (and placed) in competitions worldwide. He designed FAST Screenplayin 2004 and began officially building it in November 2009. It was finally completed in July 2016, nearly 7 years later. Alongside it, he created the FASTscreenplay YouTube Channel, which now includes over 30 detailed and insightful free videos to encourage writers and screenwriters around the world.

In May 2015, Jeff Bollow delivered his first TED Talk, “Expand Your Imagination… Exponentially” (see video below) at TEDxDocklands in Melbourne, Australia, to prepare for the next phase of the larger plan. Jeff’s aim is to build an independent film studio that inspires creativity worldwide, to help prepare humanity for the dramatic changes our future holds. When he’s not busy helping writers with FAST Screenplay, he is working on a new book, developing a television series, and planning two feature film projects. Enjoy!

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Alex Ferrari 0:00
Jeff, thank you so much for taking the time to jump on the the podcast. I really appreciate it.

Jeff Bollow 3:32
My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 3:34
So, Jeff, tell me how you got into the film business in the first place. This crazy business.

Jeff Bollow 3:39
I got into the film business. Well, I was a little kid. And I was dreaming of being a movie star and I decided to get in to pursue acting and I started acting when I was about 12. Okay, so I grew up in LA so it's been around me all my life and just started pursuing that got some work as a as a kid actor and fell in love with the filmmaking process and started making my own short films and got bitten by the travel bug and moved to Australia. Where I tried to make an independent film with a friend of mine. We spent about seven years trying to make this info

Alex Ferrari 4:17
man, I've heard that story before. Yeah, I can imagine

Jeff Bollow 4:21
it we ended up abandoning it in post production because by the time we had gotten near to finishing, it had sort of already become a bit obsolete some of the references or like structural story based references were out of date and that kind of thing. It just we sort of went okay, well, that was our film school, I guess more or less

Alex Ferrari 4:41
so as a long film school.

Jeff Bollow 4:43
Yeah. Painful film school.

Alex Ferrari 4:47
I've had I've been in posts for about 20 years, and I seen so many this kind of stories like but I've never heard seven years, seven years as a record. Now I've heard I've heard three and we've been doing this for three or four years and we're like, oh, man, that must just be Pain? Well,

Jeff Bollow 5:00
well, we were doing it for three or four years. And then that sort of, you know, drags on because at a certain point, I mean, the biggest problem that, you know, you run out of money and yeah, you gotta keep working to pay to generate the money to pay the bills and keep it going. So it just, you know, becomes weekends and evenings and you know, it's location.

Alex Ferrari 5:20
It's like a really bad cocaine habit. You just have to keep working to pay for the drug. But that's not going anywhere yet, but I have to keep paying too. It's like it's a vicious vicious cycle.

Jeff Bollow 5:28
I've never had that habit. So I can't

Alex Ferrari 5:30
mean either, sir. I've only seen so far. I've only seen Scarface so this is my reference for movie

Jeff Bollow 5:35
references. I think that's true.

Alex Ferrari 5:39
Now, when you say you were an actor, you weren't one of my favorite movies growing, though. Don't tell mom the babysitter's dead.

Jeff Bollow 5:47
There you go. I said. I said the immortal ridiculous line Parkett. yourself. Metallica breath?

Alex Ferrari 5:53
Yes. I'm sure a highlight.

Jeff Bollow 5:57
I can't tell you. I tried to get them to change that line. And the director was pretty adamant. So all right. Turns out there you go. It's the only it's my it's my one memorable thing from from 510 years of being an actor. So

Alex Ferrari 6:10
if that came out of when in the late 80s or early 90s, I think well, it was it's,

Jeff Bollow 6:15
it came out it we shot it in 1990. It came out in 91. At basically the same time as Terminator two.

Alex Ferrari 6:22
Right. So and it was actually a very, it was a big hit for what it was. It was well,

Jeff Bollow 6:28
I mean, they made it was a relatively low budget that they made it on. So it certainly made its money back just barely, I guess at the at the box office. But then it was it was co financed by HBO film. So HBO right? Just ran it and reread it ran it on on HBO in the early days. Right? And so it's sort of developed this thing called following over the years through that largely, and it's bizarre to me that people still remember that

Alex Ferrari 6:56
film. Oh, no. I mean, I was working at a video store in 91. So I'm very well aware of that movie. And, and of course like everybody else at that time in history. I had a crush on Christina Applegate. So I had a crush on Christina Applegate. And she was still just married with children girl and she just had her and she ran with it with that movie. So sorry. I don't mean to geek out guys about Don't tell mom the babysitter's that. By the way. If you haven't seen it, and you're a 90s kid, you should definitely, definitely watch it. It's

Jeff Bollow 7:26
a really does capture that arrow pretty well. It's, there's something there's something tangible about it. Like texturally. It's it's it's interesting. It's there. I mean, it's not, you know, not the greatest movie of all time. But Oh God, no fun.

Alex Ferrari 7:39
It's still it's still had it still had some of the ad stank on it. But it was It wasn't. It was in a full 90s movie, but it had a little bit of ad stank slapped on just all those movies in 9091 92 they still had that 80s

Jeff Bollow 7:51
Well, I remember somewhere someone had called it the last 80s teen comedy that was made in the 90s.

Alex Ferrari 7:59
No, that makes perfect sense. Actually, that makes exactly the perfect. It's like I always said like, you know, 1980 that's not really the 80s 80s didn't start till maybe 8182 You still got the stank of the 70s laying around.

Jeff Bollow 8:11
I figured out what the 90s are yet.

Alex Ferrari 8:14
Exactly, exactly. So So you move to Australia, I have to ask you, how's the film business down there? Like how is it to make movies and we're on a production company and stuff, you know,

Jeff Bollow 8:25
the film industry in Australia, thing with Australia is it's a much smaller country. So there's only you know, compared to what 300 Something million people in the US, there's 25 to 30 million in Australia. So everything gets gets scaled down almost by a factor of 10 kind of a thing simply because there's, you know, the audience, the homegrown audience isn't big enough to sustain you know, the kinds of budgets that are made in from Hollywood films, that sort of thing. So it almost the industry there almost has an indie feel throughout, except that there's this government funding sort of mechanism woven into the DNA of the industry. So so the way screenwriters for example, think about making money in Australia is they think about getting funding from the government. I $10,000 for a draft sort of thing, you know, so it's

Alex Ferrari 9:24
no you got no you're kidding me really.

Jeff Bollow 9:27
It's kind of that way so it's so everyone is like competing, I guess for government dollars, which is, you know, disconcerting for someone like me who comes from LA and has this sense of, you know, I want to make, you know, commercially viable films that have artistic merit and all that sort of thing. So to, to have to sort of fit into that it's difficult. So what ends up happening is, is you know, you've got writers who are writing for something other than what someone like me is looking for? Generally right in large, right. So the great challenge I think of the Australian film industry is, I mean, the film industry anywhere, I guess, is making a living while you're trying to make your films. But they're I think, because it's smaller, the upside of it is also smaller. So it doesn't attract as many people. So it's a thinner field in which to play, I guess. I mean, it. They're very serious. They take it very serious. That's great quality, particularly in the performing arts there. Which makes for a very robust community. But it's because it's a little small and little parochial. It's very, it's, it's hard for, it's hard to build something and sustain it, they have distribution troubles, and it's, you know, Australians, the Australian audience often doesn't necessarily embrace Australian film, because it's, you know, first of all the marketing dollars spent by this studios and the Hollywood films, and all the all the American films are coming down there with these enormous budgets, and just blanketing press coverage. So the little Australian film, even in Australia has a real hard time getting noticed and getting hurt, and it's in. So in some ways, it really reflects the indie arena across the board.

Alex Ferrari 11:31
Gotcha. So in other words, if you made an indie film in Australia, you would have to bring it to Sundance to be big again, if that's

Jeff Bollow 11:38
true. Yeah, it's it's it's a little ironic that way. It's definitely true that the films that have had breakout success really actually do succeed at overseas film festivals first,

Alex Ferrari 11:49
right? Well, I remember Crocodile Dundee was the biggest hit in Australia for a long time.

Jeff Bollow 11:55
It was but that's sort of a US Australian. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. It's similar with things like Baz Luhrmann film, you know, Australia, or, you know, Mullen Rouge are those kind of like, it's yes, technically, Australian, but most of the money is us, the US. So that it's a, if you're talking about truly Australian homegrown product, it's, you know, the budgets are smaller, and they're and they're more niche. And it's, it's harder to find that audience. So it's a struggle. It's a it's a real struggle.

Alex Ferrari 12:28
And do you do you work in New Zealand as well? Do you jump in back and forth?

Jeff Bollow 12:32
Yeah. So when I moved down there, I ended up migrating to New Zealand. So I lived in New Zealand for many years and have, you know, Direct TV there, and I've acted in commercials on shows and stuff in there. So it's, but you know, then you're scaling it down to a population of 4 million people, right? It's even smaller than Australia. Yeah. So one of the so one of the big problems, and I think this is it, I think gives me an interesting perspective on all this is, if your market is small, you in order to make something at a larger scale, or something that that resonates with audiences wider, you really have to have almost a global perspective on it, rather than the perspective of the local, the the challenge of that is that we want to see local stories. And so if you, you know, this, that whole idea of stories with universal themes, right, like, universal themes are best expressed through specific local, you know, right, if you if you tell a local story that resonates culturally, locally, there's a great film. I don't know if you ever saw it out of New Zealand called whale writer. No, yeah, of course. It's

Alex Ferrari 13:42
wonderful film,

Jeff Bollow 13:43
fantastic film. It's so very specifically New Zealand, it's very specifically the Maori culture. It's very specifically, it's it's small and indie. But it it's themes that we that resonate, right, so it's the parent, the parent child relationship, and where do I fit in? And in my culture now that the culture isn't quite what it once was, and all those kinds of things we can relate to that, whether we're in Australia, whether we're in the US, we can relate to that story, but yet, it's a very specific locals story. I think that is, that's a great takeaway for filmmakers.

Alex Ferrari 14:23
No, what now? What drew you to kind of get into the storytelling aspect and the screenwriting aspect of things?

Jeff Bollow 14:28
Well, when I was in Australia, and I had a good friend of mine down there, and I were wanting to make a film, and I was waiting for him to get his. I don't know if I can use the word shit. Yeah. I've been waiting for him to get as good as stuff. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 14:46
it's tough to get his stuff together, together.

Jeff Bollow 14:50
So, you know, I was waiting and waiting and waiting and I just got very frustrated. I felt at a certain point that I was like, you know, I grew. I grew up in LA So, to be sitting in New Zealand going, what am I doing? Or you know, at a certain point, it's like, I just need to write something and we need to go try to make it. So I did that I don't particularly love writing, I'm, I think I'm good at it. But it's not where my passion lies, my passion is in directing and producing. And so. So when we, when we were in that three or four years into production, post production on that film, that we ultimately abandoned, I started looking for other scripts. And I put out a call I was back in Australia at this point, put in a call Australia wide, looking for screenplays and God in probably about 300 scripts that knowing how hard it was for me to write, I committed to reading every word of every small my man, gosh, and I will never do that, again. Because it quickly becomes apparent that there's no, if most people don't know what they're doing,

Alex Ferrari 16:00
of course, here here in LA as well. They don't have a monopoly on not knowing what they're doing. It's very much the same.

Jeff Bollow 16:12
Exactly. But but when you as you start reading this stuff, you look at it from the perspective of the reader and the perspective of someone going, I want to make a film, let me see if there's something that I can find out there. Because I don't want to write something again, you start to see all the problems and you start to realize that, you know, I can I can get 30 pages in and realize there's no point in reading any further. And then as you read more you go, I really only need to read 10 pages, and I don't need to go any further. And eventually I realized that, you know, I can actually determine whether or not a script is legitimately viable. In about two sentences. Like, it's really that easy to determine. And, and it's now cut to 16 years later, and my production company has a submissions form on the website. And we've had submissions from all around the world, over 25,000 submissions. And literally I have found about 20 projects. And you go okay, at a certain point. So it's, it's pretty much you can and this is the this is the reason producers don't want to hear the pitch. This is the the reason people don't want to read your screenplay, is because 99.9% of them are awful. So it's more not awful, but just unusable. So not viable, not a viable product. They're not viable. And even if they are viable, they're not viable for that producer at that moment, right. So so ultimately, they're kind of right to say I'm not going to read your, your material, which creates that catch 22. So here I am in Australia saying, okay, but I need scripts, I mean, we need we need, what are we going to make, I don't want to sit down. And so I have this ambition to start an independent film studio that would make between three and six films a year, this was my goal back 1617 years ago as well. And the if you've seen my TED Talk, that's those are the kinds of films that I want to make. Right? So I had this sort of big vision for changing the future and not changing the future, but preparing people for what's to come. Right. I want to make movies that inspire us for what I believe to be a radically different future that's on its way to us.

Alex Ferrari 18:39
So okay, so can you talk a little bit about because I loved your TED talks, one of the reasons why I reached out to you I absolutely love your tech talk. Can you talk a little bit of can you share a few of the points in your talk to the audience?

Jeff Bollow 18:51
Well, so the basic idea is that there's this notion of exponential change. It's really hard for people to wrap our brains around what exponential change means. But the simplest way, I think, to grasp it is, is technology increases exponentially. So so if you have a computer and you use that computer to build a better, faster computer, it's going to double the output of it right? So but then that new computer, building, a new computer will double the output again. So rather than going step one to step two, to step three, to step forward to step five, you go, step one to step two, to step four, because you've doubled to step eight,

Alex Ferrari 19:38
because you double up and go on and on and on. Exactly.

Jeff Bollow 19:41
And but this is the nature of progress. This is the nature of change. And I believe that the future is going to look radically different today, by Essence by by the fact that everything is changing on this exponential scale. So we're early in the in the exponential curve, which is why doesn't seem all that groundbreaking. But if you actually go back and look at, don't tell mom the babysitter's day, like many things about society are quite the same. But it's a dramatically different world that we live in. Oh, Jesus. Yeah. And it's going to get extremely dramatically different from here. As you know, things like, Well, look,

Alex Ferrari 20:26
I'll just use a perfect example. i Since I live in LA, I just discovered maybe I'm old, but I just discovered Amazon. Now. Okay. And I don't know if you know about Amazon now. Which one is that? Amazon now is you log on to Amazon, you can you could just place an order, and it's at your doorstep in two hours, right? Yes. Yeah, that's insane. Like, that's the firt. And literally, the first time I did it, I was like, I'm gonna see if this is real. I really was I honestly, I'll order this. Sure. Sure. I'll give you a tip. No problem. And I really thought it was a scam. I'm like, Nah, it's just it's never gonna. And then an hour later, I hear a knock on the door. I'm like, wow, really? I'm like, you've got to be

Jeff Bollow 21:10
kidding me. So but that's just that's delivery distribution, right? But take it another step further. What about 3d printing? What about when you can go on to Amazon? And you say, I want this pair of pants and your 3d printer prints the pants for you? Or take it another step and say, I'm I'm hungry right now. And the 3d printer prints a beautiful, healthy organic meal for you Star Trek style Star Trek style. Right? Yeah, absolutely. And it you know, what was once science fiction becomes imagination to the next generation of scientists who then turn it into reality. So there's no, when we look at science fiction, we have to, we have to realize someone's getting inspired by that sci fi. And this, if somebody sits and figures out how to make this happen, this may be our future. So

Alex Ferrari 21:58
it was just like what happened with Back to the Future to the back that came out in the nine I think 1990 And a lot of a lot of the stuff that they predicted came true. A lot of it didn't but you know, sure there is there is a hoverboard. You know, it's it's not like everyday stuff by Mattel.

Jeff Bollow 22:15
That's the one that blows up though. No,

Alex Ferrari 22:17
not that hoverboard. There's an actual hoverboard that uses the same technology. Well, levitation

Jeff Bollow 22:20
technology trains that work on maglev. So it's I mean, but I think I think the thing is that when the way we live our lives, because we're all sort of, you know, beholden to paying our bills, and whatever. I mean, we live our lives today, we imagine that the future will look like today, but a little more gadgety and a little faster, right. But, but we're not paying attention to the fact that those changes are, are approaching how fast they get here is anyone's guess. But I think they're approaching faster than we imagined. So, you know, to me, I see the future as a very, very different place than than what we exist, what exists today in 2016.

Alex Ferrari 23:05
And that's basically the essence of the TED Talk, like to prepare yourself for what's coming.

Jeff Bollow 23:09
Well, and so the TED and so the TED talk, then takes that idea and says, you know, that this launched me into this launched me into this desire to make this film studio beak in part because well, no, so I wanted to go into, I wanted to create movies and television entertainment about these ideas, but through the process of teaching, through the process of saying, Okay, well, people have great ideas. I need great screenplays, how do we get them from here to here, and I sat down on a basically reverse engineer the process, people don't understand this concept very well, because a lot of people think fast screenplays, a screenwriting course, which is not, it's at the end of the day, whatever technique you use, whether you use a three act structure, or you know, whatever 10 other formulas are out there, everyone goes through the same process, the process is start with the idea, turn it into a story, get it on the page, shape it, reshape it until it's solid, make it a compelling read for the reader, and then connect it with the people that you're trying to reach. Right. So that process is the same, that's what I basically did. But through the act of reverse engineering that process, I came to see and appreciate and realize how creativity works and how imagination works, and how we harness imagination and creativity and turn it into something that satisfies our own goals. But and so as you start to look at this on a I guess meta level, you start to realize that will really every person on this planet goes through that same process during creativity, right? We all witness life through a different vantage point, right? You're seeing whatever you're seeing in this moment, wherever you are. And anyone who's listening to this is seeing something completely different to what you're saying completely different to what I'm saying. And our backgrounds are all completely different as well. So we interpret it differently. So, in, I guess, this analogy, this metaphor that I came up with is that the earth is like a giant brain. And we're like, individual neurons. And so when we interact with each other, we're, we're sparking that other neuron, right? Where, when I say something to you, that resonates with you, you go, Oh, wow, that's really cool. And then you incorporate it into your thinking. And then that sort of informs where you go from there. Similarly, when you say something to me, or a list of when your podcast and I go, I got that so amazing, or this person's fantastic. So writing, creativity, filmmaking, storytelling, is that, right? So it's, it's, when you're trying to tell a story, when you're trying to write a script, when you're trying to make a movie, you have an idea in your head that you're trying to share with other people with an audience with the world, right? You want you want the most people possible, to hear your idea and to understand it and to connect with you and and to inspire them. So it's all kind of the same thing.

Alex Ferrari 26:39
So then, basically, so So let's back up for a second you have a you have a system called fast screenplay. Basically, it's a it's a system, correct? Because we kind of went into it first before explaining what fast screenplay was. So can you can you break down the seven parts? Did you already the seven part system of fast screenplay? And then from what I'm getting, just so I understand, it's not a like how to write a screenplay. It's a different kind of process to get the idea to the final end endpoint? Is that kind of what it is?

Jeff Bollow 27:10
Well, no, it's both. Okay. So okay, so let me let me back up a second. So fast screenplay fast is an acronym. So it's all capital letters, right? Focus is the F. A is for apply. S is for strengthen, and T is for tweak. So what I realized when I sat down to sort of reverse engineer this process is that writing is a, there are four phases to writing. The first is to focus your ideas where you basically take all the random ideas that you haven't, you focus them into a specific story, right? One you choose, you choose and shape your your story. Now, once you have your story, you have to get that onto the page, you have to write it, which I call the Apply phase, you're applying that story plan that you created. Right, so there's your first draft, once you have your first draft, you have to rewrite, you have to strengthen it to make it in sync with your intentions. So make it the best story that it can be. Once you've got it being to be the best story, then you tweak the words, you polish it, you refine it so that the readers experience when they read your script is there it's a page turner, it's compelling. They want to go through this experience. So focus, apply strengthen tweak is the writing process. So about what 10 years ago now I wrote a book called Writing fast how to write anything with lightning speed, which you can get on Amazon. The Kindle version is really cheap. Anyway, so. But that's the that's the four part writing process. Now, what I also realized was that if a writer goes out and starts just writing scripts, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're writing something that a producer like me could use, right? So the only way that they're going to write something that I can say yes to is if they write something that is aligned with my needs, right? So that doesn't necessarily mean they have to write for me, maybe they write something that's so amazing. I want to make that film. One way or another though, we have to be aligned in order for us to sit for me to say yes, and for us to move forward and make the film. So what I realized was, you could actually add a phase before this writing process, which I call the setup phase, which prepares you for the process and sort of pre aligns your imagination with the needs of the producer. So that when you start the process of writing, your your your brain is off is serving up material to you that is in sync with producers needs right so that you're not going off way on a tangent, but it's still your creativity. It's still Whatever it is you want to write.

Alex Ferrari 30:03
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Jeff Bollow 30:13
Right? So then you go through that process, once you're done, you're going to need to get notes and feedback, you're going to need to see how your work is interpreted and responded to by other people. So we have what I call the alignment phase. And that's basically you're sending your work out for notes and feedback, and how do you interpret notes and feedback? So many writers, and I've given notes over so many years now that writers drive me crazy, because they take notes personally. Yep, they say, Hi. How dare you not appreciate and respect the brilliance of what I wrote, and you're like, Okay, I'm giving you a note telling you what the reaction to your work is. And rather than taking that and adapting your work, so that it serves your goals, you're going to reject the note out of hand and take it like I've like, I've killed your baby, right? So you go ego, and egos ego really gets in your way. And at that stage of it, because at the end of the day, we all write crap. I've written so much crap, it's not even funny, right? Arguably, maybe the things I'm talking about right now. But that's for someone else to decide. But at the end of the day, all the goal is not good or bad. The goal is creating something that is effective at what you're trying to get across. So the alignment phase helps you see what other people are getting, and then adapt what you what you've created, so that they get what you want. What you want them to get, also teaches you the skill of adapting your work to the needs of a producer, if you want to go that road. Right? So then the final phase is the payoff phase, which is where now that you have this script now that has been through this process now that it's aligned with. So you know, it's, you know, they like it, you know, it's what they want, how do you then connect with the producer? And how do you identify what producers and how do you then connect with them? So in the whole system of fast screenplay, the seven phases, set up focus, apply, strengthen, tweak, alignment, pay off, it's a,

Alex Ferrari 32:16
it's huge, of course, no, it's absolutely

Jeff Bollow 32:18
it. And it's so it probably takes about a year to learn the process. But I also have been subsequently distilled each of those steps, so that once you get the whole process, you can then condense it, and you can move through it and gradually make the process intuitive, which is what leads to mastery. So it's sort of this thing that looks daunting at the start, but it's really not because most riders think they know all this stuff. And they really just don't, I mean, even intermediate, even advanced riders, to be honest with you, there are things throughout the system that they just don't go, I never even thought of that before. This fills in a gap of something that I didn't know before. So the point my point in creating the system wasn't to teach screenwriting, I have no interest in becoming some screenwriting guru. This is not like I'm at the end of this road, I don't want I don't want this to be my life. From here. I created this because if you're in Australia, and you can't find scripts, and you don't have discretionary funds to pay writers to just develop stuff, which may or may not end up getting produced, because that's wasted money. And when every dollar counts, you can't spend that money. I basically needed an in house script development system like a studio might have, but out of house, right? Right. Like I needed something that anyone could go start here go through this deliver something that we could make. So the idea was hopefully through this process, we'll end up getting scripts and stories some of which will be aligned with what we want to make some of which writers will go off and find other producers. But then in theory will gradually as more people discover it be able to make our three to six films a year and then hopefully change the world

Alex Ferrari 34:12
so so um, basically what you created fast screenplay was a selfish reason you just want better screenplays.

Jeff Bollow 34:17
That's pretty much yeah. I want well, I want I want better screenplays. I don't want to have to write them myself.

Alex Ferrari 34:25
So then, since since you've already said you've read tons of scripts 1000s of probably lifetime, what are the most common mistakes you see with first time screenwriters?

Jeff Bollow 34:35
I mean, seriously, the the it's across the board. You you have problems of ideas, selection, there's like people will have an idea and the kernel of the idea is good, but then they've turned it into a story that just doesn't really make any sense or is not the best expression. Look. Think about the reasons why you you watch a movie and you don't like the movie I mean, how many movies do you watch for you go? That was awesome. Like that was fantastic. Like, it's actually a few.

Alex Ferrari 35:07
I just actually I just actually watched last night for the first time, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I love that movie. And it was, but I just loved it. Like my wife and I sat there and go, it's so unique. It's such a well told story. It's so beautiful to look at. It's just gorgeous film. And that's like, it's rare. And it's rare to actually hear yourself say, that was a good movie. And then of course, there's a spotlight and The Big Short and a bunch of the Oscar nominated films as well this year, but just Grand Budapest like, oh, we just have never got around to there's like, my god, that was really a good film.

Jeff Bollow 35:40
Well, and so if but if you think about then all the other films that you've seen that you sort of go, well, it was good or hands Okay, or you walk away gone cheese, that was terrible. Like, the The reasons are, there are many different reasons for that. But now think about this as screenplays where you're gonna have the same reaction, you know, you're not gonna like every screenplay that you read, even if a screenplay might be good. I mean, there are some awards contenders this year that it's not my thing. Right? Right. Of course, of course, I'm not into it. So. So we have that we have you have writers don't grasp the essence of the character transformation. I mean, stories are about a character, or a situation or something changing. So what changes if that change happens too fast or too slow? Or it doesn't? It doesn't it's not plausible, or it's just not handled very well. All that can be problems, you have problems of dialogue, you have problems of structure, structure, grammar, grammar, but structure, I want to be clear, just because it's not three act structure does not mean it has problems of structure, I think there's over reliance on the three act structure, I've got a video series that I'm working on at the moment, that'll should be up end of February or so on the YouTube channel. But that, that addresses why our reliance on this three act structure is maybe a little a little too extreme, right? That's one story form. But at the end of the day, a film structure has to be right for it. It has to be right for what you're trying to say and how you're trying to set and the point and purpose that you're trying to get across.

Alex Ferrari 37:18
Well, you know, like watching Pulp Fiction in a different structure. And like, if you did a proper three act structure in chronological order, that movie doesn't have the same zing.

Jeff Bollow 37:27
Absolutely. Yeah, that's absolutely true. So, so, there, so when I say that, that most films have structural problems, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's that they're not adhering to three actors. So it's, it's, but But yes, structure is a huge problem for for a lot of writers and, and, you know, also just writing style is a big thing people don't necessarily appreciate but if you're reading lots of scripts, there's something to be said for like a really great writing style, like something that just pops off the page and, and implies more than it says, you know, there's there's screenwriting requires an economy of words that writers often don't fully appreciate, when in some ways, you want to use three words instead of 10. But you want those three words to say more than the 10 would have. Right? So it's it there's a lot in the in the whitespace there's a lot in the in the there's a lot that's implied that should be implied in the way a great screenplay reads. And if writers can really learn to play with that it'll make their it'll make their scripts jump out a lot better.

Alex Ferrari 38:37
I know there's some some screenwriters that when you read because I've read so many bad screenplays in my life, mine mine included

Jeff Bollow 38:45
I'm in the same boat. Mine included with all my earlier efforts are like

Alex Ferrari 38:49
Oh, some rough stuff. But but then you read Shane Black's old stuff like you know, Lethal Weapon and last me a bit heavy but yeah, it's heavy. No, obviously for the time period, but still the stuff you could see that voice is so clear Walter Hill, back in the day, John Miletus. You know, who was an insane writer and of course, Tarantino and million other right, but when you start reading those guys, they all have very, very unique voices. Absolutely. And they and it pops right off the page. Like you read a Shane Black script, you chant black, you read it. Obviously Tarantino probably has the loudest of all of those voices.

Jeff Bollow 39:25
Yeah. There's some there's a danger though also with that, because often the scripts that you find online are some of the most beloved scripts that you find online are written by writer directors. And right if you're writing a screenplay on spec, if you're if you're not going to make your own film, then you have to be careful because there are certain things that writer directors will do. They'll include shots or they'll, yes, certain language that they can get away with because they're describing how they're going to film it. But as the as the as The writer submitting your project, trying to get a story made, you don't want to include that stuff. Because you really want the creative team that is going to ultimately say yes and make your film. You want them to infuse their own creative vision into it. And so if you steer it too much from a, you know, a control standpoint, then it's a turn off to the reader. And, you know, I can't tell you how many times you read a script, it's like, okay, you think you're directing this?

Alex Ferrari 40:32
Right and that? Yeah,

Jeff Bollow 40:34
this isn't even written well enough. Like, let alone directed? Well, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 40:38
Yeah. I was told many years ago, you know, by many different people. Like, don't put direction in a script, unless you're directing if you're directing, do what you want. But generally, don't put like close up here. Dolly in here. Like don't do that. Because exactly for that reason, like Yeah, obviously a Terran to movie will have that because he's gonna direct it. But like, if you read, you know, Shane Black's last last Boy Scout, which was his he wasn't a director back then. Or Lethal Weapon. He wasn't a director back then those scripts just, I mean, they are 80s. And they are, they are what they are. But they're so well put together. I mean, and I still put up Lethal Weapon is one of the best action films.

Jeff Bollow 41:18
I agree, of course, and die hard. I

Alex Ferrari 41:21
mean, Jesus, I mean,

Jeff Bollow 41:22
absolutely. But and they stand the test of time, because the stories are so rich, the characters are so well written and the and the pacing and the tension and the

Alex Ferrari 41:31
masterful, it's masterful to watch, like, you know, considering like watching an action movie today. And then watching Lethal Weapon one, two predator, the original predator or diehard, those 80s action movies that are just like you could pop them in right now. And they do their job, like they will do their job. So well. I mean, even Star Wars for that matter, the original Star Wars. I mean, that was in the 70. There's not many movies that were done in the 70s that hold today, like you could put Star Wars in right now. I'll put it on for my six year old.

Jeff Bollow 42:03
And hang on a part of that is is because the setting isn't the 70s Correct.

Alex Ferrari 42:09
But the storytelling is yes. Universal forever. Yeah, obviously. Yeah. Well, but like The Godfather, you could put the Godfather on. And it still holds very much, though the pacing is a little different than what people are used to today, especially now with the new seven hour version being released on HBO, Godfather one and two, which I'm really interested, I'm not sure if I have the time to watch

Jeff Bollow 42:28
that. That's the big question then, like, Who has the time to watch

Alex Ferrari 42:32
it and sit down and watch seven hours of The Godfather?

Jeff Bollow 42:34
I think one of the frustrating things for me at the moment, though, is that, you know, we have we are technologically capable of making extraordinary stuff today. Oh, and, and one of the biggest, I think let Downs is story and script development. Because Because people people are so enamored of the production process and the post production, CG and editing, all that stuff, the stuff that the stuff that all you really need are the tools and you can start tinkering. When it comes to writing, we all have the tools to start tinkering is a little harder because it's there's no defined shape to what it's supposed to look like. And you know, you can you can write in anything you could ride on the back of a napkin at the end of the day, right? It's not, you know, the, what you write on how you write is not the most important thing. What's important is taking that idea, turning it into a compelling story. And there's this homos, pervasive attitude of, well, I'm just going to bang out a script. You know, I'm just going to spend two weeks or three weeks knocking out my screenplay. I'm ready to go. Alright. And it's like, you wouldn't expect I remember doing a workshop, a live workshop in Melbourne, in Australia once and this woman had attended and she was a novelist. And she made these epic fantasy novels, like each novel would have 800 pages. She had multiple trilogies on the bookshelf at the at the local bookstore, and, and she was she had come to do my screenwriting workshop, because she said, in between my big 800 Page novels, I usually have a month or two off and I'll I thought I'd bang out a script between them. Oh, okay. So. So I met up with her like six months later and said, How's it all go? She said, I was amazed to discover that it's as much work to write a screenplay as it is to write an 800 page novel. Mm hmm. If I could, if I could just let that point sink in the mind of every writer I encounter, oh my god, life would be so much better because if you if you if you realize that that's the amount of effort and skill and nuance that you have to use, I think you would treat the whole thing much more seriously. And if you treat it more seriously, you're you're more likely likely to create better quality. I mean, I don't know how old you are. But the you know what I worry about

Alex Ferrari 45:06
that we're about the same vintage, I think, probably. So you're a little younger, probably, I'm not sure.

Jeff Bollow 45:11
Okay, so we so what you know, but when we were young, we probably wrote stuff, we probably tried to make stuff, you look back at it now. And it was terrible. But new writers don't have the benefit of that. So they assume that what they're creating is great. Even though like, when I create something, if I write today, I'm assuming it's not good enough, you know, I'm going into it with the assumption that I'm seeing those, those early drafts of stuff that I wrote 20 years ago. So

Alex Ferrari 45:41
you know, what, you What's interesting with yours, and I'm gonna cut you off. But what's interesting with what you're saying is, it's so, so true, because when you're, when I started writing at the beginning, or creating things at the beginning of my career, I just assumed that they were awesome, right? It just just didn't only

Jeff Bollow 45:58
not, I mean, that's kind of where the inspiration comes from. So you were right, hit berate yourself, and assume it's awful and never gonna keep going, though.

Alex Ferrari 46:06
But there's a sense of, there's a sense of being humbling as life is life beats you down in the business beats you down as you go through it. And this, this is at every level, I feel that a certain time like now I sit down to create something, I don't assume all of a sudden, it's awesome, I beat it up a lot more I look at it more I analyze it more to see to see if it's like I put it to the test to see if it holds up, where at the first like, you would just put something out there and you're like, oh, look, and then the world will beat it up for you. And it'll do a great job. By the way, they do a fantastic job doing

Jeff Bollow 46:44
that. But you know, I really think it's, it's also in how you interpret things. So if you if if when you say the world beats you down, or or you get beat up for your story, on some level, all all that the world is really doing and saying to you is that you're out of alignment, right? You're not what you think you're trying to achieve. You haven't presented in a way that is achievable yet and if you if you I think if in general, we not you specifically but we all start to look at the negatives at the rejections at the nose at the criticisms, if we look at that, through that filter of well, okay, so the thing that I put out there didn't resonate, why? It I think it will help us improve it helps us It helps us adapt, refine, because ultimately success is available to absolutely anyone who wants it. Yep, really is because all that you have to do is not give up. That's it. I like to say there's only two outcomes for screenwriters. Either you're going to see your movie going to you're going to see your movie made your script made into a movie, or you're going to quit. That's it, there's no other option. If someone says no, then you adapt, you refine, you keep persisting until you get it made his movie.

Alex Ferrari 48:05
You know, I always use I've used this example on the show before but the matrix, I heard the story of the matrix on a documentary I was watching probably like a year ago or something. And what I found out was that the script was so obviously revolutionary. And the story was so out there that people don't really understand it. It took so long to get it made. It took about four to five years to get made. And in that time they shot bound that the workforce, the brothers at the time were shot bound to kind of prove that the contractor, but during that five year period, they were beating the hell out of the script. Yeah, they were rewriting it and rewriting it. And so by the time they finally got to make it, that was the tightest scripts in the world. So they they they beat that thing up so much. So by the time it got released into the world, the world couldn't do any more beating. They couldn't they couldn't tear it down. They've made something so structurally sound, that there's it there's nothing you can do to tear it down. It was just it was just it's like Shawshank Redemption you watch a shank redemption you just go there's I can't. I can't say though anytime I feel bad. I do look up bad review Shawshank. And there are there are some by the way, and I love reading them because it just like you create it.

Jeff Bollow 49:20
This is an interesting point. Because ultimately, I used to use exactly that as an example in my live workshops, I would say you know, ultimately, there will always be people who hate what you do. There will always be people who try to knock you down or not even maliciously, maybe they just genuinely don't like it. But that's okay. I mean, if you if you go back to that brain metaphor analogy, you know, not everything that you put out into the world is going to electrify all the other neurons in the system, right? It's only All that matters is is that it lands with where you're trying landed, you know

Alex Ferrari 50:01
exactly, exactly now, can you? Can you talk a little bit about this free course that you were that you've been working on for a year that fast story development? How to create the detail?

Jeff Bollow 50:08
Yeah, so. So it's a it's a, it's a four part YouTube video series. So if you haven't been to my YouTube channel, check it out. There's a lot of me talking. But it's youtube.com/fast screenplay. And there are, what 30 videos or something like that there at the moment. And this one is a four part series. So one of my biggest challenges is helping people really understand what fast screenplay is all about. So I wanted to do something that was both simultaneously really quality information people could use and run with immediately, but also something that threw through explaining that helps you really understand what what fast then is all about. So it's a it's a four part series. That's called fast story development, how to create detailed original stories in one hour. And so it's got four parts. And the first part is the hidden story dynamic. So as I'm reverse engineering, this process, I'm looking at the three act structure, why does it work when it works, why doesn't it work when it doesn't work. And I realized that there's this sort of hidden story dynamic underneath at all, sort of what I call the building block of all storytelling. But that building block then also applies to, you know, infinitely beyond just storytelling, it's almost like the building block of anything that we choose to do, which means you can actually apply it to story development as well. So in part two, it's called How To Grow stories organically, where you basically start with an idea, and you more or less, just grow it organically into a compelling screen story. So I walk you through that. Now, once you've walked you through that, then part three is how you can do that entire process in one hour. So I walk you through that. And then Part four is why you'd even want to do this why speed actually turns out to be the key to writing success. So each each one's like about 10 minutes, a little less than 10 minutes long. And and they're they're full of animation and all this stuff, which is what has been taking so long, firstly nailing it down. So it's so you know, the pacing, and all, all the normal stuff, make sure that it's effective and entertaining, but also that it is legitimately helpful. I think all four episodes are just packed with stuff that people will be able to use immediately whether they continue on to fast screenplay or whether they go off and do their own thing. It's my goal. My goal has never been to be a screenwriting teacher. So ultimately, if you don't join me, as that's not the end of the day for me, like I fast is fast is not about making a profit. We all proceeds that come into fast get reinvested into fast to make it bigger and faster. And to make it you know, expand it

Alex Ferrari 53:18
exponentially as you said, Yeah.

Jeff Bollow 53:20
Eventually, yeah. So it's, I mean, it's, you know, I want to make my money off of the movies that I make eventually, right? So I'm not, I don't I don't take a I don't take a salary from fast or any of that stuff that I really want people to do fast, because it's going to help them get where they want to go fast. And yeah, well, yeah. Ultimately, fast has multiple meanings. There's the idea of writing it fast. But really, there's no point of writing something fast if it's crap, right. So the only fast screenplay actually refers to the speed at which the screenplay reads. So when I as a as a producer, when I, if I'm, if I'm looking at a screenplay to evaluate it, if it's a slow read, there's no way it's going to be bought. It's just not going to happen. Right? Like, if it's a fast read, that means it's a page turner. That means it's grabbed me, it's pulled me in. I'm there. I want to see what happens next. So a fast screenplay is a screenplay that reads fast. It's a screenplay that people want to find out what happens next for that's what everyone wants to write. That's what you should want to write. Now, writing that fast requires mastering a whole lot of skills and nuances and details, character structure, theme, setting all that stuff, right. So to master it, it's going to take a little bit of time. So you go through the fast screenplay system, which is the acronym which is the system and the and the process itself. You

Alex Ferrari 55:00
Well, we come to the part of the show that I asked the same three questions to all of my, all of my guests. So these are the toughest questions you'll ever have. So be yourself.

Jeff Bollow 55:09
I didn't, I didn't, I didn't. I didn't listen to other ones to prepare. So this is new to me.

Alex Ferrari 55:14
Okay. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn in life or in the film business?

Jeff Bollow 55:21
The lesson that took me the longest to learn? That's a good question.

Alex Ferrari 55:30
Thank you.

Jeff Bollow 55:33
Do you often have people stumped looking at

Alex Ferrari 55:35
the wall? First, second, but it comes to the

Jeff Bollow 55:39
I think I think that probably is that I'm enough.

Alex Ferrari 55:45
Yeah, that's, that's a that's an answer. I've heard from other. Yes. as well.

Jeff Bollow 55:49
Yeah. You know, look, it's funny because my, you know, all along. And I often attributed to growing up trying to be an actor in LA. He really, I mean,

Alex Ferrari 55:58
it was an actor. It was an actor who said that, by the way.

Jeff Bollow 56:01
It's, it doesn't surprise me as a kid. I went to probably without exaggeration, 1000 auditions, and I probably booked about 50 parts. And that's a lot of rejection. Right? I'm too. I'm too thin. I'm too fat. I'm too tall. I'm too short. I'm too good looking. I'm not I'm ugly. I'm all All right. So on some level, I always attributed to, to that, that I, I hadn't felt like it was okay to express my creative core. And so through teaching writing, I think it was only through teaching, right? I never wanted to be a writing teacher. That was I never would have imagined back then that that's what I that's what I would be doing today. But in many ways through doing that, it's helped me realize and appreciate now, because because I see the insecurities in every single person, every writer, you can see the insecurities. And it's like, now just trust it. Trust this trust you and you trust. I always tell people if you can trust me, you can trust my system that will turn into a trust for yourself. And so in some ways, I'm trying to convey that very lesson to everyone that I teach.

Alex Ferrari 57:21
Good answer, sir. What is your top three films of

Unknown Speaker 57:26
all time? Ah, see, that's always a killer. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 57:29
it could be just a bunch of lists that could come to mind today.

Jeff Bollow 57:35
Well, I think it's hard to go past Shawshank Redemption just because it's such a it's just such a flawless film, right? It's a beautiful piece of filmmaking. I don't want here's the thing. I don't know that I could say of all time, because I find value in even crappy films.

Alex Ferrari 57:53
Of course, I do, too. Like there's some there's some like 80 schlock that I'll watch. And you know, I love watching Commando, like Commando is awesome. Yeah, but it's a horrendous film. It's horribly structured. There's cardboard cutouts that are being blown up as soldiers. I mean, it's a horrible, horrible, horrible film. But I love it. So, yes, I completely feel. So just three favorite films that really ticked me.

Jeff Bollow 58:17
Well, I'll tell you one that I saw recently, I don't know if I would call it as, as an all time favorite, but I loved it. It's a tiny little indie film called coherence. Okay, if you're if you're since you're an indie film, podcast, I think your listeners would probably love this film. It's made on a tiny budget, I don't even know like micro budget. And it's just such a cool idea. And it's really well executed. And it shows you what can be done. And it's also sci fi in a cool sort of way that I like, I don't want to say too much about it, because it actually gives away Sure. Sort of the core premise of it. But that have you seen a movie called primer? Yeah, of course. Okay, so it's it's not like primer in that sense, but it's that low budget indie thing where they've done something really, really cool. Oh, very

Alex Ferrari 59:05
cool. Okay.

Jeff Bollow 59:07
Yeah, I mean, I'm a huge sort of time travel and sci fi not I love those kinds of stories so Back

Alex Ferrari 59:14
to the Future obviously.

Jeff Bollow 59:17
There's another flawless film it there are some films they're literally they are flawless you can't you can't make it nothing you would change even down to you know, which on the actor's face like it's just flawless So yeah,

Alex Ferrari 59:34
those are three Those are three right there yeah what I'm

Jeff Bollow 59:38
what but I have a I have a very wide variety of I like obscure films and for you know what another one is great one is cinema parody. So

Alex Ferrari 59:46
no cinema parodies. Yeah, if any film any film lover any any movie Love. Yeah, well, maybe

Jeff Bollow 59:51
that's it. Yeah, you just got

Alex Ferrari 59:53
it. Yeah, as a film lover. You just watch that using sa

Jeff Bollow 59:57
good one is Living in Oblivion. Oh, I love living in a place So we're gonna get onto that. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:00:01
if you're a filmmaker everyone out there you must look for a movie called Living in Oblivion. I'll put it in the show notes. Oh

Jeff Bollow 1:00:07
boy. It is it is Steve Buscemi. Early.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:11
Early Steve Buscemi. It's a movie about making movies. And when I hear

Jeff Bollow 1:00:16
Dinklage has the greatest Oh, big part in the history of time.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:20
And and my favorite part of that one of my favorite parts is when the grip, pulls out the screenplay and gives it to the producer. Exactly like I have the script I've been working on and I'm wanting to tell you Oh, that Oh, my God, but he carries the screenplay in his back pocket. That's what I remember. It was so vividly He's like, he's just like bust it out and give it to state in Maine is another great one. Oh, state Maine is fantastic. Dayton Maine is another weight movie making movie movie about moviemaking is absolutely brilliant. Who was a Mamet? Right? That was Mamet wasn't a

Jeff Bollow 1:00:52
Mamet? Philip Seymour Hoffman. The actor

Alex Ferrari 1:00:56
so brilliant, wonderful. And then can you name one under really underrated film?

Jeff Bollow 1:01:02
We probably did. There a few. You know what, I'm gonna go on record saying Star Wars The Force Awakens.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:11
Very, very underrated film, is it? No, no, no spoilers. But go ahead.

Jeff Bollow 1:01:15
That movie has gotten a lot of a lot of flack from especially from industry people or people who are saying that it's just a rip off of A New Hope and you know, that it's not I here's the thing about that movie,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:28
I love that you've called this the most underrated

Jeff Bollow 1:01:31
you're going to you are well only only because there I know there's a lot of haters about that film. But you're going to look at this film after the next to come out and see brilliance in The Force Awakens that you can't see right now. Because I one of my one of the whole sort of principles upon which everything I do is built is the notion of setup and payoff. I believe that that is sort of the core of it. All right, so everything is either set up or pay off. And that movie is set up set up, set up set up and it's fantastic. It's just gonna pay off in May I'm so I've always been a Star Wars fan. I didn't like the prequels, but I, I I'm not I'm not a geek fan. I'm just I'm just appreciative fan. That is like, I'm just so excited about what they've done with that and where they're going with the whole thing. I think it gets derided from especially from a screenwriting standpoint, because everyone's only looking at the similarities to a new hope and they're not a they're not appreciating why those similarities are likely to be there.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:40
Yeah, it's I love it. Um, I am I am actually at it's a very well documented Star Wars full blown geek

Jeff Bollow 1:02:48
okay you know as a new things like the ring theory and all that No, I'm

Alex Ferrari 1:02:53
not that I don't go but I but I carry Yoda close to me all times. He he's always on all times. So I I'm a big more geek than me is much more. I have a life sized Yoda here in my office. It's it's I've had him for Wow years. Cool. Yeah, it's I've had Yeah, I could, I don't want to go down to Geek road because I could I could go hard really, really quickly. But the thing is, I saw the movie and I loved it. And I'm a big fan of it and I can't wait to go see it again. But I just enjoyed it and I enjoyed the trip and the whole thing that JJ did with it and he did it so nicely and so tightly and there is a lot of haters out there but I don't I don't I don't personally care and I know there's a lot of but there's more lovers than haters because it's made to build No

Jeff Bollow 1:03:40
I mean there are and and that movie will be just fine whether it's got me as it's different. Yeah, exactly. But but just but only because the the sort of circle that I've been playing in for a while is the screenwriting and screenwriting education Stan, anything within that world? It's it's it gets consistently bashed, and I think it's just so unfair, because it's it's far more remarkable than it appears to be on the surface. It's also just a great ride. You know what I mean? Oh, yeah, it's just that's icing on the cake. It's but underlying that is, is quite a stunning achievement in my opinion.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:18
And he's created probably one of the best hero, female hero heroes in the last heroine in the last 20 years, if not longer. Yeah. Cuz she's amazing Ray's character that character is absolutely remarkable. Well, I

Jeff Bollow 1:04:33
think there will be some I think there'll be some cool reveals. Yeah, in future episodes, we

Alex Ferrari 1:04:38
won't we won't we won't go down too far. But again, going the same route where you were talking about the the screenwriters kind of, you know, snub their nose at it. They also snub their nose at Titanic and they also snub the rose at avatar. And as Avatar is just FernGully it's just dances with no,

Jeff Bollow 1:04:55
but so you know, that actually makes it brings up a really interesting point because I'm also a fan of Avatar there mistaking the mythological structure for copycatting, right, right. So that in order if you so in the hands of a hack writer, a truly hack writer, you he would copy FernGully and it would not have the same resonance as Avatar does. But what Cameron has done even cameras, an exceptional film, I mean, not box office success. He's like amazing, truly is he actually is really good at what he does. Yes. And he's another one that gets derided a lot which is by the way this doesn't I'm not trying to imply that I'm only about the blockbusters. First I love the I love obscure cinema. I

Alex Ferrari 1:05:49
live in an Oblivion, you know, those? I mean, that's a very small movie. So,

Jeff Bollow 1:05:53
but I think you have to respect I always judge something based on what is it that they were trying to achieve? And did they achieve it effectively. So by that, by that you if you look at a screenplay, or you look at store a story through that filter, a lot of these things that look to be simplistic or plagiaristic or copycat are actually not there. They're using the mythological structure in a completely original way. And so, you know, Avatar is i, if you had done this podcast back then it probably was the avatar is the most underrated. So I think it's important for writers and filmmakers in general, to understand the big mythological structures to understand most people don't understand the three act structure. They understand where the things happen, but they don't understand why the things happen where they happen. So that's what leads to hack ism. That's what leads to people copying something ineffectively, right, but if you understand what the why behind all of it, you can use the the structures to your own advantage. Or you can play around with the structures and come up with something new and different in a way that is also effective.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:12
Jeff, I won't take up any more of your time. This is we've we've geeked out a little bit too much. Hopefully, hope hope the audience didn't mind. But there's some good there's some good knowledge in that geek out as well. So that hopefully something hopefully somebody learned something today. So oh, so where can people find you sir?

Jeff Bollow 1:07:31
The probably the easiest place is to go to fast screenplay.com or, or the YouTube channel youtube.com/fast screenplay. Or just Google my name or writing fast or fast screenplay.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:45
Great. And I'll have links to everything we've discussed in the show notes as always guys, stuff sounds good. Jeff, thank you again, so much for taking the time man. I really

Jeff Bollow 1:07:53
appreciate it had a great time.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:55
I hope you guys learned something from that episode. Jeff was a bald to talk to you, man. And we did geek out a bit on the show. So please forgive us. But I think there's some knowledge that got mixed in there somewhere with all that geeking geeking out. So hope you guys enjoyed it. And if you need the show notes, just head over to indie film hustle.com forward slash BPS 015. And if you haven't already, just head over to screenwriting podcast.com And leave us a good review. It really helps to show out a lot. It is a new show and every review helps us in our iTunes ranking. So please go leave us a five star review. I really, really appreciate it. And as always, keep on writing no matter what. Talk to you soon.


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