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Michael Thompkins
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Shrinking Writing: Meet Shelly Frome

by Michael 2/22/2009 3:00:00 PM

With the help of the writer conferences I teach at and this blog,I have a habit of picking up new author penpals at a regular clip; my newest pal is Shelly Frome who is a retired college professor from back east. He is just launching his newest book on screen writing and sent me (prepub) the Introduction for the ShootingShrink blog.

The Art and Craft of Screenwriting.  North Carolina & London:   McFarland & Company, Inc., 2009 by Shelly Frome.  Advance copies available at Amazon.


            Dateline Hollywood:  First impressions.


Among the magazines and newspapers that line Al’s open-air newsstand on fashionable Beverly Drive, arguably the most prominent are preoccupied with the entertainment industry along with screenwriting ploys to breach the barriers.

            A featured article in one issue of Los Angeles declares that L.A. is the mecca of movies and television, “the two most powerful cultural forces of the last hundred years.”  It also underscores the city’s preference for pop culture over high culture.  For those who are adept at networking and trying to get an edge, there are the trades like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.   Here you will find the daily changing currents: which company is buying what kind of scripts and who brokered the deal, the movements of various development execs and story editors, a list of films that are going into production.  For the seasoned veteran, these are clues to current trendy material.  

For the hopefuls that are not in this league, Fade In magazine is available, touting yet another annual Hollywood Pitch Festival where, for the price of $400 dollars, starry-eyed screenwriters from all over the country are given a chance to be one of the first in line outside the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel (not far from Al’s newsstand) to give  a seven minute pitch of a sure-fire “high concept.”  Those on the receiving end of each face-to-face encounter are Hollywood buyers and brokers, scouts from top talent agencies like Endeavor or management firms, studios and production companies.  Aspirants who arrive later than 6:30 a.m. may find themselves pitching to lesser lights:  younger agents and junior executives from second-tier outfits who, as a rule, don’t accept unsolicited ideas or scripts.  Though only a small percentage of those who have spent hours rehearsing their notions are deemed worthy of follow-up, everyone in line appears optimistic. More...

Signed First Editions of Gun Play Available

by Michael 2/20/2009 8:18:00 AM

I was cleaning out a closet last week and discovered another 50 copies of Gun Play vol.1 Shooting Shrink, left over from the launch at Book Expo. I am offering these copies at cost plus shipping: $18. The last time I saw a Signed First available on Ebay, it went for $50. Some folks apparently think the Shooting Shrink Series will be successful and the value will rise. The First Edition of Gun Play differs from the following editions: the blurb on the back cover reads "reluctant detective" not "reluctant Palm Springs detective." The first 50 emails I get from fans get the copies signed by me in anyway you like and a picture of yours truly.  Limit one copy per address. Email me at


Shrinking Fiction: How Psychology Can Help You Write Good Characters at the Southern California Writers Conference San Diego, Presidents Day Weekend February 13-16, 2009.

by Michael 2/1/2009 1:00:00 PM

"Following his packed workshops at our L.A. and Palm Springs events, back to SCWCSD, by popular demand is 'Shooting Shrink series author and semi-retired psychologist Michael Thompkins." 


I will be repeating for the fourth time at SCWC my workshop Shrinking Fiction, How Psychology Can Help You Write Good Characters. We will be videotaping the workshops and a syllabus is available now by emailing me at The workshop is divided in to Part 1 and Part 2. On Friday afternoon in the first session, using film clips, we will go over the general framework of concepts from Somatic Psychology and Emotional Anatomy that we will be using in the second session on Saturday morning where we will dissect some of your characters for their believability.  You are welcome to atttend either or both sessions; my students report that the most value is found in attending both sessions. I will be available at the conference to answer your questions so don't be afraid to come up and talk to me.

 Join us in San Diego on Presidents Day Weekend February 13-16, 2009.


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.