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The Black List 2016

Last week, I mentioned how humbled and honored I was that my newest script, Saving Charlie Chaplin, had made it onto this year’s The Hit List.

This morning, things got even better when I found out that Chaplin had also made it onto 2016’s The Black List. To make matters even more awesome, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris officially made the announcement on Twitter.

Again, I can’t express how much this means to me, and I’m so thankful for all of the love, encouragement, and support.

Guess I better get started on a new script now, huh?

Learn more about The Black List (and see the entire list) here.

2017 is the year,

-Shady

The Hit List 2016

Yesterday, The Hit List—an annual ranking of the best spec screenplays of 2016—named my newest script, Saving Charlie Chaplin, as one of the best of 2016. The list is determined by members of the film industry who vote for their favorite script of the past year.

To put it in perspective, 372 scripts were eligible. Of those, 92 made the list. And of those 92 scripts, Saving Charlie Chaplin came in at #14 with 47 votes.

"Saving Charlie Chaplin"

For those of you who aren’t all that familiar with the film industry (or this list), this is a pretty big deal. I’m so honored to be on The Hit List this year, and am super appreciative of everyone who voted for Saving Charlie Chaplin.

Now… let’s sell this thing!

Robert Downey Jr. should reprise the title role,

-Shady

PS: You can view the entire list, and learn more about The Hit List, here.

With the recent wrap of my latest screenplay (The Gets), the reality of twelve new scripts in the next year is now, well, a reality. But rather than wait for 2015 to get started on the first of a dozen scripts, I’ve decided to get busy on Christmas Is Gonna Be Awkward This Year right away.

My process of writing scripts is a weird one. I never knew I had an odd process until I read how other writers went about writing scripts, but it works for me so I don’t really care if it’s odd or not.

I don’t create outlines, act breakdowns, or even one-page synopses of the scripts I write. Typically, I have no idea where any one scene is headed, or which scene it will lead me to next.

Instead, I develop a few key characters (in an extremely minimal way), and then create six bullet points: the first and last scenes of Acts I, II, and III. Most times, those six points are the only outline I have before starting a script; other times, I don’t even have that much. Sometimes I have four of the six points figured out; with America’s Guest, I had two.

Rather than having a story fully fleshed out before getting started, I create from things that have influenced and inspired me along the way. These can include stories, old acquaintances, funny sounding words, a bit of history, or even something as minor as something I overheard a stranger say.

I eavesdrop on the conversations of strangers frequently, especially in public spaces; sometimes, these conversations turn into character dialogue. Basically, I’m a collector of people’s thoughts.

That is to say, I pull inspiration from weird places. Today, I’d like to pull some of that inspiration from your weird place. (Heh… dirty.) Your head. (Heh… also dirty.)

Below is a 20-question survey. If you have a moment, I’d love for you to fill it out. You can either post your replies directly in the comments section (under your real name or anonymously), or (if you’d rather not flash your weirdness to the masses) you can email me your answers here.

No need to be overly detailed in your answers. I appreciate brevity, mostly because it allows/forces me to creatively expand on your answers.

None of the information below will be used as a full story (to be read: stolen). Instead, some of your answers might show up as a bit of color in one of my scripts. A name you recognize might appear as a tertiary character, or a brief scenario you outline might end up being the spark a bigger story arc. I’m not looking to take stories from anyone, but rather gather inspiration from your suggestions for what my stories might become.

So… here you go!

20 QUESTIONS:

1. What is the name of the worst teacher you ever had (preferably, his/her full name)?

2. What made that teacher so awful? Specific, brief anecdotes appreciated.

3. Give me a word you think sounds funny.

4. Now, give me another one.

5. Tell me a short, supposedly true story you heard (at least) second-hand, like a “friend of a friend” type of tale. Specifically, a story so ridiculous sounding that you highly doubt its authenticity, but one that’s so amazing it also doesn’t keep you from spreading the lies.

6. Give me a word you think sounds gross.

7. Now, give me another one.

8. Where do you think would be the absolute worst place to get hit with a bout of diarrhea? Please be specific.

9. Tell me a short story of something that happened to you as a child that, at the time, you thought was life-ending, but looking back on it now is just silly and stupid.

10. Where’s the weirdest place you’d like to have sex? Not have had sex, but would like to have sex.

11. Name someone (non-famous) you think is a sweetheart (preferably, someone I don’t know).

12. Name someone (non-famous) you think is a shithead (preferably, someone I don’t know).

13. If you had a child and could name it anything you wanted without fear of ridicule or retribution from your family, friends, or society, what would you name it? Full names appreciated.

14. What was the worst gift you’ve ever received?

15. What was the worst gift you’ve ever given someone?

16. Finish this sentence as honestly as you can: “One time, I was so drunk/high, I _____.”

17. As a child, what was the strangest Halloween costume you ever trick-or-treated in?

18. If the eight-year-old you had owned a car, what would its vanity license plates have read?

19. Name an animal you think is total bullshit. Explain.

20. If you were a wrestler, what would your name be? Also, what would your finishing move be? Bonus points for creating a finishing move rather than naming an existing one.

Can’t wait to read these replies,

-Shady

…that held a few old scripts I wrote years ago. But before I do, I figured I’d share two original sketches that Dave Crosland drew on the front of each one.

The first folder was for my “Bad Ideas” script. Dave drew himself, Jim Mahfood and yours truly (as Wayne Chinsang) on the front.

The second is for a spec one-shot I wrote for Marvel called “Dinner for Six.” (They passed on it.) Dave drew Rhino (of Sinister Six fame) on the front.

I always dug these quick sketches… but not enough to keep them forever.

Downsizing,

-Shady

Old Poop!