On the set of “Frackers”

Shooting “Frackers”

On the set of "Frackers"
On the set of “Frackers”

We’re on the set of “Frackers,” a science fiction comedy shooting at a studio in Plano, TX.

This week, we’re taking you to the set of Frackers, which is shooting over the Memorial Day weekend.

The days are long, the cast and crew are working hard, but everyone is having fun.

On the set of "Frackers"

Listen carefully – I promise you can learn a lot from these interviews.

As the director, Jeff helps set the mood during the production. And the mood is good. Even with the long, demanding shooting days, the cast and crew have bonded and are having a great time.

Today, I’m an extra. I don’t have any lines – because I’m dead.

All in all, an interesting way to spend the Memorial Day weekend.

On the set of "Frackers"

As always


22 Tips for the science fiction screenwriter and filmmaker

Contests for science fiction screenwriters and filmmakers

In my search for tips and quotes for science fiction writing and filmmaking , I came across a couple of contests you might be interested in.

22 tips for sci-fi filmmakers and screenwriters


Screencraft 2016 Sci-Fi Screenplay Contest – “We’re thrilled to announce our 2016 Sci-Fi Screenplay Contest! Whether you’re writing a contained science fiction drama or an epic space saga, we want to read your film script. The jury is out of this world — with judges who love sci-fi movies — from top companies including Warner Bros, Sony, Lionsgate and CAA! Don’t miss the industry’s #1 sci-fi feature screenplay contest.”

Early deadline is June 12, 2016.


“Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Fantasy, Cult, Experimental, Weird… Can your film make us Shiver?”

It’s not too late to enter your science fiction script or movie in the Shiver International Film Festival. 

My Twitter search terms

  • #amwriting
  • #writing
  • #screenwriting
  • #scifi
  • #filmmaking

The tips

@Novelicious Write a first draft as though you were thinking aloud, not carving a monument. Patricia T. O’Connor

@AdviceToWriters When you write – explode – fly apart – disintegrate! Then give time enough to think, cut, rework, and rewrite. Ray Bradbury

From The Writer Files podcast – from Kelton Reid’s interview with bestselling hybrid author Dean Wesley Smith (part 2) – “Dare to be bad.” Nina Kiriki Hoffman

@WrtrStat Sometimes it takes faith and courage to write badly. So that later on you can improve on your writing.

@luvyameenit You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plow right ahead. George Lucas

@DrewAvera I wrote some words today, yay!

@ReaderFaves The best time to start writing a book is when you have no time to spare. Cynthia Kraak

@Trey_Sativa Revise it then submit it! Thats my plan.

@Sally_Ann_Melia Why I write: Because kidnapping people and forcing them to act out your interesting make believe worlds is technically illegal.

@mediamitch Unless you’re a filmmaker. me

@FrankLuchs In 2014 more than 400 movies were made, more than 4000 scripts were optioned.

@Novelicious The trouble with so many of us is that we underestimate the power of simplicity. Robert Stuberg

@WrtrStat Writing early in the morning or late at night when you are sleepy, may help you remove your inner rejection voices.

@screencrafting The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. Albert Einstein

@Hillizard They key to the success of this series is to never, EVER, let the air out of the balloon – the battlestar Galactica lives in a perpetual state of crisis, one in which the Cylons can appear at any moment, and where terrorist bombs, murders, rebellions, accidents, and plagues are the unfortunate routines of day to day life. There are no … safe havens, nothing approaching the quiet normal existence they once knew. They are on the run for their very lives.

This series is about a chase.

Let the chase begin. Ronald D. Moore

@PJBraley All great sci-fi is: be careful what you wish for. Damon Lindelof

@AnnMateja I hope there’s enough science in my fiction and the right amount of fiction in my science.

@JennaAvery When baby toys come in handy for modeling space structures. 🙂

Tip @WavemStudios Plan your shot list to make the most of actors time and locations.

@crossbowfilms Passion, Patience, Perseverance. You have to do this if you’ve got to be a filmmaker. Robert Wise

@crossbowfilms There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness. Frank Capra

@mediamitch Keep writing. Keep shooting. Keep learning. me

As always


Create your science fiction film in a few minutes a day

 Getting started

Your science fiction filmmaking adventure begins… with just a few minutes a day.

Most of us are pretty busy. I am no exception.

I’m up before five every morning. I leave for work a few minutes later and don’t get home until seven or so.

That doesn’t leave me a lot of time to write and make a movie.

But I’m doing it.

Here’s how

I got a copy of The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time – 2nd Edition (Affiliate link).

I did the first (of many!) ten-minute exercise in chapter one of the book. In this exercise, you write an overview of your movie.

You only have ten minutes – that’s your deadline.

I started with a blank page and no story idea.

Ten minutes later, I have a very promising story idea.

And I’m going to keep going, even if it’s for only ten minutes a day.

The Coffee Break Screenwriter book
My copy of The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script 10 Minutes at a Time and my notes for my movie

My lost opportunity

Years ago, I was trying to make my first film. My belief at the time was I needed to raise some money from investors to make the movie.

I had a friend who is a published writer in the horror genre.

I approached him about partnering on the project – he has a proven track record and, I reasoned, investors would like that.

My writer friend asked if I already had a story in mind.

I did. I went home and wrote a five or six page synopsis.

He took my synopsis and came back a few weeks later with a script. The most extreme and violent script I ever read.

“There’s no way I can take this to investors,” I thought.

So, I sat on it.

Months later, my writer friend asked me if he could adapt the script into a novel. I never thought I would do anything with it, so I told him to do what he wanted.

That novel got published.

It sold well and was in print for a long time.

In hindsight, if we had made that movie back then, it might have been successful. Maybe a cult hit.

Lesson learned.

You action plan this week

  1. Find a screenwriting book or course you want to use.
  2. Spend at least 10 minutes a day working through the book or course.
  3. Use the book or course to guide you through your script. Think of the book or course as your writing partner.
  4. Feed your head with ideas for your movie
    • Movies and TV shows
    • Comic books
    • Book books
    • Music
    • Podcasts
    • The news
  5. Get out of the house for more ideas! Go somewhere you’ve never gone before.
  6. (This step is really a rule) Don’t talk about your script. Write it!

Dead Drift update

Season 2 of the sci-fi comedy web series “Dead Drift” continues this week. Check it out!

As always

Affiliate link-o-the-week


Podcasts for science fiction filmmakers

Filmmaking podcasts I recommend

There are a lot of good podcasting resources for science fiction filmmakers and screenwriters you should check out.

Podcasting Microphone

Here is a list of some of the shows I’m listening to.

Curious About Screenwriting Network

This is a podcasting network for screenwriters from the International Screenwriter’s Association. Shows include:

  • The Craft – hosted by Max Timm. Tips on the craft of writing – Max breaks up the screenplay into twelve ten-page sequences.
  • Write Your Screenplay – hosted by Jacob Krueger. Jacob talks about writing your screenplay. The show covers a lot of ground.
  • Selling Your Screenplay – hosted by Ashley Scott Meyers. Ashley interviews screenwriters and filmmakers about how they sold their screenplays.
  • Page to Screen (The ISA Reviews) – Writer-centric take on movie reviews – hosted by Jeff York and guest reviewers. This is a great way to study scriptwriting by example.

When you subscribe to the Curious About Screenwriting feed, you will receive all of their shows.

Highly recommended!

Indie Film Hustle Podcast

Hosted by Alex Ferrari, an independent filmmaker who has been in Hollywood for over 20 years.

He talks about how to survive and thrive in the film business. Alex has the experience to back that up.

Alex talks mostly about working in the Hollywood system, but there is a lot to learn even for outsiders. A recent interview with Lloyd Kaufman (Troma) is a good example of how to work outside the system and the realities of the marketplace.

Highly recommended!

On the Page Podcast

Hosted by Pilar Alessandra, a screenwriting teacher, lecturer, writer, and consultant.

Her guests include “successful writers, producers and instructors from all corners of the industry.”

I’m currently reading her screenwriting book, The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time – 2nd Edition (affiliate link).

Very informative and entertaining show. Love the theme music.

Highly recommended!

Indie Film Academy Podcast

I just started listening to this show, so it’s a little early for me to recommend it. Check it out and decide for yourself.

There are many other podcasts to check out on iTunes you might find useful – some about filmmaking and screenwriting and others about Internet marketing, building an audience, and so on.

You just might find some tips and answers you need to succeed as a science fiction filmmakers.

Quick update

Season 2 of the sci-fi comedy web series”Dead Drift” continues. This is the third episode of season 2.

Check it out!

As always


How to get your science fiction film noticed

Does your movie stand out?

A question I hear from a lot of science fiction filmmakers is “How do I get my film noticed?”

There is a LOT of competition out there for independent science fiction films.

Retro Astonaut
Illustration by William “Bubba” Flint

Ten questions to ask yourself about your movie

  1. Are your shots in focus?
  2. Is the sound recorded properly?
  3. Can you tell who and what the story is about?
  4. How is the acting?
  5. Is the movie entertaining?
  6. Are you just showing off your special effects abilities?
  7. Did you make another depressing, dystopian snoozefest?
  8. Is it original?
  9. Does it look and sound unique?
    1. Costumes
    2. Sets and locations
    3. Sound effects
    4. Make up
    5. Music
    6. Lighting
    7. Props
  10. Why would anyone want to watch your movie?

Quick update

Since out interview with Ken Carlson, season 2 of “Dead Drift” has begun.

Coming up

  • Film festivals
  • Distribution

As always