Pen Densham

Curiosity Did Not Kill the Cat: Can New Story Ideas Thrive?

Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. …it made it buy a movie ticket! Hollywood Studios seem trapped between two goals: replicating their franchises and creating clones of other studios’ hits. As I am writing this we are in the Twilight Zone (not Rod Serling’s, but Summit’s).  I get the sense that the...

Riding the Alligator: Falling in Love … Literally

In creating a fast-paced adventure, we often have little time to flesh out our characters, let alone take the time to sculpt out a love relationship that is supposed to profoundly affect the protagonists. I remember, as a little kid, squirming in movies when the hero and his love interest go...

Alligator Tales: Sometimes I Have No Idea

My bird guy mentioned the time he found himself in an inspired frenzy, writing a play that eventually got produced. He wrote the first act in a three-hour gusher. After lunch? My bird guy lifted his hands like fluttering wings, “empty." The flow had gone. It took him another year...

Alligator Tales: Creativity Cannot Have Rules

We frequently depress ourselves when we look at what others have completed and compare it with the vague little spirits of ideas that we are trying to piece together. When we see a completed film, book, or artwork, it can seem like some overwhelmingly successful vessel, loaded with powerful exotic goods.

Alligator Tales: Weird Feelings About “Life Scripts”

I remember driving to work and listening to a PBS radio item about an Orphans and Foundlings home in England where they’d discovered letters a hundred years old or more, written by women when they abandoned their children on the doorstep. I thought: What does a woman say to a...

Alligator Tales: A Cheesy Way to Start

In order to teach, I had to ask myself questions. How had I survived in this business? Why was I still dedicated to taking the giant risks of time and resources of writing spec scripts and trying to sell them? How do I overcome my ever present “imposter syndrome” and fear...

EXCERPT: Riding the Alligator by Pen Densham

EXCERPT FROM RIDING THE ALLIGATOR: STRATEGIES FOR A CAREER IN SCREENPLAY WRITING (AND NOT GETTING EATEN) by Pen Densham THE GOLDEN RULE Do I have to read the whole darn book to get the secret to success? In a word, no. The greatest key to success is another word: PASSION! It...