Monday, 29 February 2016

Honest Trailers - Spectre

Haven't seen Spectre? You probably saved yourself some time and money, but judge from what we learn here.


Sunday, 28 February 2016

Every Best Picture. Ever

Here's a great little refresher on every Academy Award Best Picture winner.


Saturday, 27 February 2016

Conclusion - Martin Scorsese - A Personal Journey Through American Movies

This is Part 14 of Martin Scorsese's Personal Journey Through American Movies.

Movie clips included in this video are as follows:
America America (1963) - Elia Kazan



Friday, 26 February 2016

Staten Island Ferry Views

Here's another In a Brooklyn Minute video from Luci Westphal.
The Staten Island Ferry is one of the best New York City tourist attractions and locals' excursions - besides providing necessary public transportation between the boroughs Staten Island and Manhattan.
    First of all, the Staten Island Ferry ride is free! It provides fantastic views of Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, the harbor, Governors Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge. Especially, on a sweltering hot summer day, the open space of the water and the fresh breeze make you feel even better than the AC on the subway. And last but not least, I believe it to be the cheapest bar of New York City - no matter if you get a Fosters oil can or a bottle of Stella Artois.
    This video shows first some Staten Island Ferry views on the ride from Manhattan to Staten Island, then from Staten Island to Manhattan - giving you an overview of the whole round trip.
    The ferry runs 24/7 on the hour or half hour (depending on the time of day or night). The journey across takes about 25 minutes. Since 9/11 you can't stay on the ferry for the return trip. You have to get off one boat and then onto the next boat.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Vince Gilligan on Breaking a Story

Vince Gilligan shares his wisdom on how to "break" open a story, while working with others.


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Why Screenwriters and Filmmakers Fail

Elliot Grove is a Canadian-born film producer who founded the Raindance Film Festival, the British Independent Film Awards, and Raindance.TV. He has produced over 150 short films, and five feature films; he teaches writers and producers in the UK, Europe, Japan and America; and has written three books which have become industry standardsRaindance Writers' Lab, Raindance Producers' Lab Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and 130 Projects to Get You into Filmmaking.
From all that we can deduce that he knows a few things about filmmaking. Here are some of his thoughts on why people fail in at screenwriting and filmmaking.



I was sitting around contemplating the careers of so many of my friends and acquaintances, when I had a moment of clarity: Why not write up the mistakes and pitfalls so many filmmakers and screenwriters fall into? I know I am going to get into a lot of trouble here. You might not like or agree with me—and that is totally fine. I might even offend you. That is not fine, and I am apologising in advance. Perhaps you’d rather not read Why Filmmakers and Screenwriters Fail...

1. Their Screenplays Don’t Tell Stories

One of the most common failings with films submitted to the festival is that they lack structure. If there’s no story, people won’t watch it. This applies to documentaries as well as fictional narratives. The best documentaries have a strong story with a beginning, middle and end. Try to condense your story into one or two lines which are at it’s heart, and link everything you write back to that.

2. They Don’t Clear Music Rights

You can’t put someone else’s music in your film without their written permission. If you do, you are in breach of copyright laws in every single country of the world.

3. They Don’t Understand Social Media

It’s a whole new world out there, media-wise. Get a firm handle on what you need to do to build a following of people for you and your film.

4. They Don’t Move With The Times

The films that people love to watch are groundbreaking, either with regard to topic or techniques used. Films like Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity have inspired many filmmakers and played on trends of the time.

5. They Don’t Have a Marketing Strategy

Successful filmmakers can visualise the film buyer and distributor of their film BEFORE they make it. And more importantly, they visualise the marketing honcho.

5. They Don’t Network

It’s a people industry. If you don’t talk to that person sitting next to you, how do you know whether they could be the producer/director/writer you’re looking for?
    You need to meet people and get to know them. They may not be able to work on your project, but they might know someone or they might be able to give you the advice that will solve your problem.

6. They Don’t Make Films/Write Scripts

Practice makes perfect. If you can’t make a decent film for $200, no one will believe you can make a decent film for $200,000. If you can’t write a short script, no one will commission you to write a feature. No matter where your talent lies, start filmmaking.
    Get together with a few mates and film something on someone’s mobile phone. Then, with whoever still wants to do it, make another. And another. Your first mobile phone film may not have been Oscar-worthy, but with a couple of films under your belt you’ll be rapidly improving. There’s no better way to learn how to make films than by making films.

7. Don’t expect handouts from government

The government has slashed arts funding over the last five years and we can expect even more cuts as money is channeled ever elsewhere. Do not rely on government funding. Use social media, use contacts, and use your initiative.

8. They Don’t Train

Everyone makes mistakes when they’re starting out, but you can minimize these by talking to people who have already made them. Film theory won’t help you when you’re learning to make films, but listening to people with practical filming experience can. They’ve done it before and they can give you hints which will help you avoid some of the nightmares that first time filmmakers often face.

9. The Favourite Wine of Failed Filmmakers

“We can’t make a film, or write a screenplay because…” Don’t make excuses. Make Movies. Write Scripts.

10. They Say ‘But I don’t know how anything works’

If it’s something that you need to know, find out! There are loads of classes available and hundreds of websites with hints about every aspect of filmmmaking, from special effects to directing.

11. They think “I’ll fix it in post”

With all the advances in post production technology, you can now do almost anything in post. And with software getting cheaper all the time, it’s easy to rely on it to fix our mistakes, but don’t be fooled. Whether you’re dubbing the audio or getting rid of a boom in shot, fixing stuff in post should only be used as a very last resort. If there’s any way that you can fix it during production it will almost always work out quicker and easier than sorting it in post. If you get everything as good as it can possibly be, then post-production will be a calm and stress-free process.

12. They Break The Rules

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for breaking the rules when it helps a story. Crossing the line to cause confusion or disorientation often works and, let's face it, rules are made to be broken. To break the rules successfully, you need to understand why the rules are in place, and you need to do it deliberately. If you accidentally cross the line it will look amateurish and it will pull the audience out of the story.

13. They Alienate Their Crew

The words "please" and "thank you" cost nothing, yet so many people forget them. If you’re making a low budget film, the chances are that most, if not all, of your crew are working for nothing, because they love your project, so be nice to them. Try to get them decent food and decent coffee. When you’re frustrated that the sun has gone in on that perfect shot, don’t take it out on your DoP. When a train goes past, just as you’re filming a pivotal moment, don’t take it out on your sound engineer. It’s simply good manners.

14. They Don’t Get Permission to Film on Location

The rules on where you can and can’t film in most big cities are notoriously complicated. It mostly depends on which area you’re filming in, and how much disruption it will cause, but it’s best to do your research well in advance of filming. The last thing that you want is to have your schedule disrupted because you suddenly discover that you cannot film somewhere. You’ll also need to make sure that you have permission to film on any private property, and be clear on whether your location is private or public property.

15. They Don’t Consider Other Opinions

If you show someone your script and they have constructive criticism, don’t ignore it—you may not agree, but consider whether it will improve your script. The same is true if someone on your crew has another idea of how to achieve an effect. People who have worked on different projects will have different approaches to a problem. Make sure you give someone’s idea full consideration.

16. They Believe Their Own Press Kit

Being narcissistic is part of the artistic personality. One needs a certain amount of arrogance as an artist. How else does a painter know where to put the brush? Sometimes, however, one’s judgement gets clouded and you need to recognise this and be open to criticism.


First posted: 26 June 2012

Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Geometry of a Scene

Tony Zhou gives us a quick glimpse into the staging techniques of Akira Kurosawa.


Saturday, 20 February 2016

Iconoclast - Martin Scorsese - A Personal Journey Through American Movies

This is Part 11 of Martin Scorsese's Personal Journey Through American Movies.

NOTE: There are three videos (below) to this episode.

Movie clips included in this video are as follows:
Broken Blossoms (1919) - D.W. Griffith
The Wedding March (1927) - Erich von Stroheim
Hell's Highway (1932) - Rowland Brown
Wild Boys of the Road (1933) - William Wellman
The Scarlet Empress (1934) - Josef von Sternberg
Citizen Kane (1941) - Orson Welles
The Magnificant Ambersons (1942) - Orson Welles
The Great Dictator (1940) - Charles Chaplin



Movie clips included in this video are as follows:
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) - Elia Kazan
On the Waterfront (1954) - Elia Kazan - EDITED due to copyright, Scorsese commentary remains.



Movie clips included in this video are as follows:
The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) - Otto Preminger
Sweet Smell of Success (1957) - Alexander Mackendrick
One, Two, Three (1961) - Billy Wilder
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - Arthur Penn
Lolita (1962) - Stanley Kubrick
Barry Lyndon (1975) - Stanley Kubrick
Faces (1968) - John Cassavetes



Friday, 19 February 2016

Who’s Who on a Movie Crew

Making a video can be a one person production but the more elaborate your ideas get, the more likely you'll need a crew to execute your vision. In this video, the people from Vimeo provide a rundown of the basics of how all the work is divided up on a basic crew.


Thursday, 18 February 2016

Steven Spielberg // David Fincher

A short video essay on Spielberg's influence in David Fincher's visual language.


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The tricky art of trailer-making

This one's a quick trailer for an old Jerry Seinfeld movie, called Comedian (2002), a movie I never saw.

The trailer is worth watching because it raises a lot of questions about trailers.

"No, I like it in here."



The real voiceover master was Don LaFontaine (1940-2008). He was known as "Thunder Throat" and "The Voice of God." He was also the guy who invented the line, "In a world where..." He recorded those words thousands of times, having made over 5,000 trailers.

Don LaFontaine: One man, in a land, in a time, in a world... All his own.
Here's his story in his own words.



Here's some other people's stories, as well.


Okay, so I'm a sucker for a good trailer. Here's one manufactured from the Vandelay Industries sequence of Seinfeld.


And just one more, the thriller, Hello Newman.



First posted:  18 June 2012

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

History of Japan

You were wondering about the history of Japan? Well, wonder no more...


Monday, 15 February 2016

Ensemble Staging

How do you emphasize to the audience that something is important? Well, you could always cut to a close-up, but how about something subtler? Tony Zhou considers ensemble staging — a style of filmmaking that directs the audience exactly where to look, without ever seeming to do so at all.


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Cutting Loose

Having a tough day? Cheer up, things could be worse. In this short film, we visit Scotland's prison hairdressing competition: where prisoners are given scissors and a chance at a new life.


Saturday, 13 February 2016

Smuggler - Martin Scorsese - A Personal Journey Through American Movies

This is Part 9 of Martin Scorsese's Personal Journey Through American Movies.

Movie clips included in this video are as follows:
Cat People (1942) - Jacques Tourneur
I Walked with a Zombie (1943) - Jacques Tourneur
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) - Max Ophuls
Scarlet Street (1945) - Fritz Lang
Detour (1945) - Edgar G. Ulmer
Double Indemnity (1944) - Billy Wilder
Crime Wave (1954) - Andre De Toth
Outrage (1950) - Ida Lupino
Gun Crazy (1950) - Joseph H. Lewis
T-Men (1947) - Anthony Mann
Raw Deal (1948) - Anthony Mann
Kiss Me Deadly (1955) - Robert Aldrich



Movie clips included in this video are as follows:
Silver Lode (1954) - Allan Dwan
All that Heaven Allows (1956) - Douglas Sirk
Bigger Than Life (1956) - Nicholas Ray - REMOVED due to copyright
Forty Guns (1957) - Samuel Fuller - REMOVED due to copyright
Pick up on South Street (1953) - Samuel Fuller - REMOVED due to copyright
Shock Corridor (1963) - Samuel Fuller
Two Weeks in Another Town (1963) - Vincente Minnelli



Friday, 12 February 2016

Ooh Child

Here's a cute short film from Matt and Oz in L.A.


Thursday, 11 February 2016

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

22 Story Lessons... from Pixar


Emma Coats is an animator who works for Pixar. Although she is a relatively low-level employee, she listens when the serious story-people talk. And when she hears something good, she writes it down. 

Early last year, she tweeted a series of “story basics”—guidelines she learned from her more senior colleagueson how to create appealing stories. In May 2011, the Pixar blog (The Pixar Touch) published a story about Emma's lessons

Some of the Pixar crew, hard at work
For those who missed them first time around, here are Emma's twenty-two Lessons.  
(Note:  I was interested to see Brian McDonald's story outline method included on the list.)
________________________________________________________________________
  • You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
  • You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
  • Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
  • Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
  • Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
  • What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
  • Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
  • Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
  • When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
  • Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
  • Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
  • Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
  • Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
  • Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
  • If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
  • What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
  • No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on—it’ll come back around to be useful later.
  • You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
  • Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
  • Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
  • You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
  • What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
________________________________________________________________________

To finish, here's The Beauty of Pixar.


First posted:  15 June 2012

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

How to Structure a Video Essay

Another offering from Tony Zhou, this time a layered explanation of how to structure a video esay, with help from Orson Welles and others.


Monday, 8 February 2016

Pixar’s Tribute to Cinema

Jorge Luengo Ruiz shows that the super-successful Pixar studio draws on cinema for some of its ideas. Interesting video, one you'll need to watch a few times to keep up.


Sunday, 7 February 2016

SuperBowl 2016 - Commercials

The Super Bowl. Yeah, it's really all about the commercials. Here's a few to sample.
















Then the universal principle of unintended side effects kicks in...


Saturday, 6 February 2016

Illusionist - Martin Scorsese - A Personal Journey Through American Movies

This is Part 7 of Martin Scorsese's Personal Journey Through American Movies.

Movie clips included in this video are as follows:
The Cameraman (1928) - Buster Keaton
The Birth of a Nation (1915) - D.W. Griffith
Death's Marathon (1913) - D.W. Griffith
Cabiria (1914) - Giovanni Pastrone
Intolerance (1916) - D.W. Griffith
The Ten Commandments (1923) - Cecil B. DeMille
Samson and Delilah (1949) - Cecil B. DeMille
The Ten Commandments (1956) - Cecil B. DeMille
Sunrise (1927) - F.W. Murnau
Seventh Heaven (1927) - Frank Borzage
Anna Christie (1930) - Clarence Brown
Her Man (1930) - Tony Garnett
The Big House (1930) - George Hill
Scarface (1932) - Howard Hawks
The Public Enemy (1931) - William Wellman
Leave Her to Heaven (1945) - John Stahl



Movie clips included in this video are as follows:
Johnny Guitar (1954) - Nicholas Ray
The Robe (1953) - Henry Koster - First movie in Widescreen
East of Eden (1955) - Elia Kazan
Some Came Running (1958) - Vincente Minnelli
Land of the Pharaohs (1955) - Howard Hawks
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) - Anthony Mann
Young Indian Jones Chronicles (1993) - George Lucas, Producer
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Stanley Kubric - Birth of Special Effects
Cat People (1942) - Jacques Tourneur



Friday, 5 February 2016

The Batusi

1966. Note the year. Pulp Fiction (1994) wouldn't come along for almost thirty more years. (With thanks to Brian McDonald.)


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Book review: "Bill Idelson's Writing Class"

Bill Idelson's Writing Class was recommended to me by Brian McDonald. It is one of those books you stumble across and wish you'd found years earlier. If I were suggesting a hierarchy of screenwriting books for beginners to read, I'd place this at the top of the list. 

Bill Idelson worked in television, writing shows such as The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Flintstones, The Andy Griffith Show, Get Smart, Bewitched, Gomer Pyle, Love American Style, The Odd Couple, The Bob Newhart Show, Happy Days, The Betty White Show, M*A*S*H and others. 

He was also a television actor, appearing in many of the shows he wrote. His last role was on The War at Home, in a 2007 episode called "No Weddings and a Funeral," a few months before he died at the age of 88. 

Bill Idelson's Writing Class
is a small book, 179 pages (including the full scripts for an episode each of Get Smart and The Andy Griffith Show). The Writing Class proper is barely 70 pages. But the ideas contained in them hold basics of story-telling that many of the hefty books never get around to. Each chapter ends with a writing exercise. Do the exercises before reading on. They will open your eyes to the secrets of story-telling. 

Before it was a book, the Writing Class was an actual writing class that met at Bill Idelson's home, in his kitchen, seated at a pine table that had once belonged to Humphrey Bogart. I don't know if the table helped, but many of his students went on to become successful writers in Hollywood.

Here are a few quotes to give you a feel for the man's style.
________________________________________________________________________

  • If you want to sell your product and make a lot of money, it's got to have a story. It almost seems too simple, doesn't it? But it's true.
  • The cardinal rule is ... no story, no money. You need a story that makes the juices flow. Something's got to stir. You've got to feel amused, or sad, or frightened, horrified, disgusted, turned on ... sexually. 
  • Everyone reacts pretty much the same. It's called "group behavior," and is important to a writer. It's what makes hits and flops. If you watch an audience during an emotional scene, you'll see the handkerchiefs all come out at the same time. People are very much the same. They have the same sorts of organs: heart, stomach, nerve endings, entrails, etc. It's what makes it possible to transfer a human heart to another human. It makes it possible to evaluate a script or a performance. It makes Oscars. 
  • When I tell students that hardly anybody knows what a story is, not even professional writers in Hollywood, they look at me as if I'm daft. How could people who make a living telling stories not know what a story is? Well, in my experience, most professional writers tell stories by the seat of their pants. They know what it feels like to have a story when they're writing. And they know what it feels like when they have no story or a weak story. But most of them couldn't explain what a story is if their lives depended on it. Oh, they'll give explanations of what a story is, but it won't help anybody write a story, and few of them use their own definition when they write.
  • So I ask the class: What is a story?
    "It has a beginning, a middle and an end."
    Always the first answer. And I tell them what Mel Brooks said when they told him that. "So has a piece of shit."
  • You need three elements to tell a story. The hero—(who) does not need to be heroic. He can be a crook, a shyster, a con-man, a mobster, anything, just so long as he wants something and the audience empathizes with him. His goal. And the obstacle
  • The story is the struggle to get what you want.
  • You want something: a girl, a guy, a raise, and there's an obstacle: the girl, the guy, the boss. 
  • The story is the struggle; the more difficult the struggle, the stronger the story. 
  • How do you make it more difficult? Well, it's the irresistible force against the immovable object. The hero has got to desire the object a lot. The obstacle has got to be unyielding. The audience has got to believe there is no solution. If you can make them believe that, they'll be on the edge of their seats. The hero cannot give up. The obstacle cannot give up. The longer the impasse the longer the audience will pay attention. The minute one side surrenders, the story is over. The story is the struggle.
  • When does a story start? When all three of the ingredients are established: The hero, goal and obstacle. When all three of those are known, the story starts.
  • The writer must not avoid conflict.
  • There's no limit to the lengths a beginning writer will go to avoid conflict. The easy way out. Don't do it. Intensify the conflict if you want to make a living.
  • Every person wants something every moment of his life, from the instant he's born to the minute he dies.
  • Everybody wants what is in their own best interest.
  • If everybody wants what is in his own best interest, what happens when people get together? A clash of interests. Conflict!
  • There are only two ways to get what we want. Your Final Draft software indicates what they are. Two settings: Action and Dialogue. In primitive times and places, such as the old west, action was the key, or at least that's what we're led to believe. But in our civilization, dialogue is used more. There is no more fascinating and complex a subject than dialogue. It's a subject for a lifetime study, and it better be a long life.
  • Good dialogue is spoken by the character, generally to another character, and makes the audience believe what they are watching is really happening. It makes audience's juices flow and holds their attention and puts money in the writer's pocket.
  • I believe that storytelling is kind of a natural thing. All of us, from an early age, were pretty good at telling stories, true or false. And we never worried about construction (read 'structure'). It always seemed a simple thing to tell a story that was interesting. The main thing was that if the story was interesting to us, it would probably be interesting to other people.
  • If you read the rich writing teacher's How-to books and believe that on page thirty you must establish the determining moment, and on page sixty accomplish the character change, your story might become just the wee bit mechanical, nest ce pas? Maybe that's why these writing gurus never make much money writing creatively.
  • The rich construction (structure) experts are not so much instructors as critics. They take a successful movie and dissect what the successful writer did. They remind me of wannabe painters who move a canvas chair into the museum and copy the brush strokes of Whistler's Mother. I only mention these charlatans to save student's time and money. 



Here is the Bill Idelson story.


First posted: 11 June 2012

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

First and Final Frames

Here we have an interesting study in two parts, of the first and final frames of some 125 movies.
Some of the opening shots are strikingly similar to the final shots, while others are vastly different--both serving a purpose in communicating various themes. Some show progress, some show decline, and some are simply impactful images used to begin and end a film.
The second part has the name of each film as a subtitle, a helpful feature notably absent from the first.


Films used in Part 1 (in order of appearance):
The Tree of Life 00:00
The Master 00:09
Brokeback Mountain 00:15
No Country for Old Men 00:23
Her 00:27
Blue Valentine 00:30
Birdman 00:34
Black Swan 00:41
Gone Girl 00:47
Kill Bill Vol. 2 00:53
Punch-Drunk Love 00:59
Silver Linings Playbook 01:06
Taxi Driver 01:11
Shutter Island 01:20
Children of Men 01:27
We Need to Talk About Kevin 01:33
Funny Games (2007) 01:41
Fight Club 01:47
12 Years a Slave 01:54
There Will be Blood 01:59
The Godfather Part II 02:05
Shame 02:10
Never Let Me Go 02:17
The Road 02:21
Hunger 02:27
Raging Bull 02:31
Cabaret 02:36
Before Sunrise 02:42
Nebraska 02:47
Frank 02:54
Cast Away 03:01
Somewhere 03:06
Melancholia 03:11
Morvern Callar 03:18
Take this Waltz 03:21
Buried 03:25
Lord of War 03:32
Cape Fear 03:38
12 Monkeys 03:45
The World According to Garp 03:50
Saving Private Ryan 03:57
Poetry 04:02
Solaris (1972) 04:05
Dr. Strangelove 04:11
The Astronaut Farmer 04:16
The Piano 04:21
Inception 04:26
Boyhood 04:31
Whiplash 04:37
Cloud Atlas 04:43
Under the Skin 04:47
2001: A Space Odyssey 04:51
Gravity 04:57
The Searchers 05:03
The Usual Suspects 05:23



Monday, 1 February 2016

'Monica' - Web Series

Here's episode one of a different style of webseries, It was inspired by the article Monica Takes Manhattan by Vanessa Grigoriadis and, yes, it is about Monica Lewinsky. Seems people can't get enough of that particular lady. Anyway, this is an example of where and how to get ideas for your own webseries. Nothing beats real life, does it?