5 Things Melissa Rosenberg Knows For Sure

At the end of every O magazine there is a list called “5 Things I know for Sure.”  Usually Oprah provides the “things” for this list based on the focus of that particular issue.  This month O has asked Melissa Rosenberg what her five things are.  Here is what she said:  

Special effects and stars do not necessarily a good movie make.

The film industry sees the writer as fungible: The thinking goes, As long as we have Brad Pitt and all this money, we have a great film! No, you need a writer with voice and an engaging story, or what you have is a bomb. 

Kindness counts.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the smartest person in the room: If you’re not someone who people want to be around, you won’t get far. Likewise for helping those in line behind you. I take seriously my role as a mentor to young female filmmakers—I make sure my time is tithed.

We all have a calling.

Everyone is given one gift, a reason for being, and it’s our obligation to do something with it. Obviously, it’s a challenge—but if you’re not taking the bull by the horns, I have no patience for you. You’re just taking up space.

Hell, yes, there’s a double standard in Hollywood.

You could produce a ridiculous action flick for 13-year-old boys, and critics will say, “Oh, it’s just an action flick.” But the vitriol directed toward Twilight is astounding. It may not be Doctor Zhivago, but I think some critics call it stupid and frivolous not because it’s inherently bad but because it’s made for girls. 

Frustration is my motivation. When I’m stuck in my writing, the world is amiss. If I’m eating a sandwich, it’s an unsettled sandwich. If I’m in the shower, it’s an incorrect shower. It’s profoundly uncomfortable. But it’s what keeps me pushing.

Source: O Magazine

Breaking Dawn Makes EW’s Best of 2012 Behind the Scenes

Melissa Rosenberg talks about the battle scene specifics as part of EW’s Behind the Scenes series

I always write out battle scenes, not because I think that they’re going to shoot the action sequences as I write them, but because we need to know who dies when, why they die, how they die, who kills them, what is the emotion of the moment. Ultimately it lands with the director and the stunt coordinator; I took it as far as I could on the page.

The way I approached it was, who would be the most shocking to kill? Because the first death initiates the battle, it has to be someone who everybody cares about. And because they’re all there for Carlisle, it made sense that he was the one. Well, actually, the first one who is killed in reality is Irina. But the whole company doesn’t actually know her — Carlisle, they’ll go to battle for. And you also want, like, who’s going to be the most satisfying to kill? Who have been the various nemeses? So everyone kind of gets a moment. Of course, Bella and Edward had to be the ones to kill Aro. That was the ultimate, and that they do it together felt really right. I really wanted to see Bella just rip his frickin’ head off. [Laughs]

Check out more on EW

Melissa Rosenberg Auctions Twilight Memorabilia for Charity

Screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg is participating in the charity auction for Women’s Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai.  She is auctioning off many of the gowns she wore to the various premiers as well as autographed copies of the scripts for the films.  The script for Twilight is currently going for $275.  You can also bid on the opportunity to meet Melissa and have coffee with her in L.A.  The current bid for that once in a life time chance is at $500.  

Check out all the auctions at CharityBuzz.  

Source: Twilight Examiner

Melissa Rosenberg Talks Difficulty of Adapting Book to Screen

Collider has an interview with Melissa Rosenberg were she discusses some of the difficulties she had in adapting the second half of Breaking Dawn into a two hour movie. She talks about the need for special effects as well as writing for thirty new characters, all with deep backstories, who only get about a minute or two of screen time.  Read the whole interview at Collider

Were there any of those new vampire characters you wish you could have explored more? ROSENBERG: Oh, all of them! Absolutely! For the very smallest characters, Stephenie has this very complex, rich history, for each one. Any one of them, for me, were so cool. There just wasn’t the time [to tell all of their backstories]. Pacing dictated what stayed in and what didn’t. Did you catch yourself writing too much for any of the characters, in particular? ROSENBERG: Yeah, the character of Garrett. I wanted to write more for Garrett and Kate because I love that relationship, and Alistair. I had more for the Amazons because Stephenie has such a complex backstory for them. I love those guys. They’re women of few words, but who doesn’t love an Amazon? How challenging was it to add all of these new characters without overshadowing the main story? ROSENBERG: The challenge was bringing in all of these characters and not leaving any of them out. You’re introducing each one and, in many cases, I had to just [give their name]. You have to keep the drive going, which is that the bad guys are coming, so you have to fight them off and find an army. It was a very tricky balance between those two. Was it exciting to see all of the vampire powers brought to life, from off of the page? ROSENBERG: It all has to be written, and that was something Bill was very helpful with. It has to be on the page. How do you show Bella’s shield? That was the hardest thing to do, from a writer’s standpoint. In that case, it was making suggestions, and then Bill and the special effects guys had to figure out what that actually looked like. I wrote, “She’s standing there and puts a shield over Edward. We see a little ripple in the air.” But, it’s very hard to imagine. I’m not sitting there with effects people. I’m just sitting there with the black page and going, “What does that look like?!” So, I did my best, and then Bill and I went back and forth while he talked me through his vision. And then, the special effects guys got ahold of it and I was like, “Okay, now I see it!”

Video Wyck Godfrey, Melissa Rosenberg, and Stephenie Meyer Full Q & A from Breaking Dawn 2 Press Junket

Here’s the full Q & A. Laura had the first question about the characters and when resembles most what she had in her head. Amanda Bell from Twilight Examiner asked about the approval on changes from book to film. Laura also asked the question on a travelling exhibit.

Melissa Rosenberg Breaking Dawn 2 Interview Lexicon Exclusive part 2

We brought you part 1 yesterday you can read it here.

So, given this, of all these directors, who would you most like to collaborate on a future project with?

Certainly Bill, but I’d love to work with any one of them.  They all have very different strengths.  I actually asked Chris to work on a project with me but he turned me down.  I’d work with David in a heartbeat. There are projects I have that I’d totally bring to David.

Would you ever tackle writing for such an iconic book series again?

Absolutely. If I only ever did series adaptations I’d be happy.  To me you spend all this time building a world and rich characters and to just have that be over in one two hour film. It’s such a huge undertaking. If they are interesting enough, if the world is interesting enough, I want to see what happens next!  For Twilight Stephenie handed me this incredible map. I mean what a gift.  With those characters, that mythology, that journey just as a reader I kept think well what’s next?

I’m actually doing another adaptation for Paramount, Earthsea.  I want those characters to be interesting enough and to build it. It’s a responsibility when you adapt.

 If you could pick any Twilight character and write a sequel or spin-off for, who would you pick?

That’s a tough call. You’ve got Garrett and Kate, that could be quite fun.

But I think Leah. He’s probably the most unfinished character of the series.  She’s very unhappy and she lends herself to wondering how does her life work out. At the end of Breaking Dawn she’s happier, but not totally happy. 

Then again there’s also Jacob and Renesmee, that is just starting out as well. That could be good too.

I love the name of your production company, Tall Girl Prods. I’m 5’8” and I love that you’re proudly wearing 3 inch heels right now.  And I know that you are being recognized as a female writer at the Bold Ink Awards next week. Can you tell me what’s next on the Horizon for you?

 We just decided to house ourselves over at ABC. It’s been such a great time working on a midseason replacement series called Red Widow with them. It’s based on a Dutch series.  It stars Radha Mitchell and Goran Visnjich  and a very large ensemble cast. It’s about this woman who grew up in the Russian mob, and when her husband is assassinated she has to delve into the criminal world herself in order to protect her children.  It’s another strong, flawed, complex female character Over the course of the series she comes to realize she’s actually better at business than most of the men.

These are the stories that compel me. Women and girls who are flawed, complex, finding their place in the world and what their lives could be that’s what intersts me. It’s the story of Bella, of Earthsea…it’s the story of anything. I’m getting a little redundant I guess, but that’s what interests me.

Do you feel like doors are opening now for there to be more female driven franchises with these kinds of complex characters?

 You hope so. Every time there is a successful there is a successful female driven film, people start saying “Oh this is going to be a whole new thing” and it never is. So we have to be diligent and keep pushing. I think The Hunger Games, which granted was a successful book, but I don’t think it exists on screen without Twilight, or in fairness it would have had a much harder road to get studios to accept that kind of heroine.  They always think “will people show up to watch a female lead”?  I’m like yeah!  Studios are finally having an awareness that girls are box office! Up until this point it’s all been about teenage boys and what they’ll watch and what 13-year-old boys want. Well 13-year-old boys are home playing video games, and they’re not coming to the movies they way they used to. Studio are finally realizing maybe they aren’t your core audience. Look at Twilight.  Women will see a film several times in a row that speaks to them and they’ll bring their friends.   They’ll buy the DVD, the tee shirt, …everything the studios thought were just for boys.  And let’s face it, we’re a pretty frickin passionate audience!

Melissa Rosenberg Breaking Dawn Part 2 Exclusive Lexicon Interview Part 1

Yesterday, Laura was able to sit down with Melissa Rosenberg and chat with her one-on-one about the final Twilight saga installment. Here is Part 1. Part 2 Will be out tomorrow.

One of my favorite things when these books are made into movies is that point of view expands. The books are from Bella’s point of view, so unless she’s right there you only hear about things, or you have to surmise what happened in another location. In this movie the world opens up: we see Jake transform in front of Charlie, the acquisition of the witness vampires, and Irina in Volterra. Which of the expanded point of view scenes was your favorite to write?

Well certainly Jacob and Charlie. You picture that and you think, “well how did that happen?” Did Jacob just burst into fur, or did he probably take his clothes off first? And then if you’re Charlie, you’re like, “What’s going on boy, put your clothes on!” And when you know you have both of those actors (Billy Burke and Taylor Lautner) who are so great with comedy, you can really write to them, knowing their strengths.

I also liked writing the gathering of the vampires. Particularly them finding Garrett (Lee Pace). I spent a lot of time talking with Stephenie over this. She has very detailed backstories for all of them. Because you’re getting into meat-eaters now.

Exactly, you now have the T-Rexes of the vampires coming to Forks. The cuddly, vegetarian Triceratops Cullens aren’t the only ones.

Even Garrett, who is one of the good guys, is one, and that expands your range of what you can do with him. What is he like around people.

Who was the most fun of the new vampires to write dialogue for?

Definitely Garrett. Alistair too, he’s all gloom and doom, we’re all going to die.

That’s actually a very cool way he’s written in the film. I think on the pages of the novel he gets a little lost in that vast influx of vampires, and people just remember him as a moody guy who goes to the attic. They don’t have a firm sense of who he is. I felt when I watched the film that he was a bit of a foil to the optimistic outlook of the Cullens. He was the voice of reality. Did you feel that way in writing it?

That is suggested in the books too. He is sort of the naysayer. They’re all going, “It’s fine we’re going to win” and he’s going, “I’ve been around forever. I’ve seen a lot. It’s a load of crap. You are not going to win.”

I honestly wrote major scenes for all of the new vampires, and then it comes to decisions. Is the action of the storytelling slowing down or even stopping. You have to start picking, and you feel like you are killing your children. It came down to who is driving the story forward the most.

Was coming up with who had a more prominent role among the new vampires a collaborative choice with you Bill Condon and Stephenie Meyer?

It was totally collaborative. We started looking at what was the emotional arc of the story. What pieces do you need to structure that. And in doing this, pieces start to naturally fall out. Some people you have to have with a speaking role, and others it breaks your heart . You go through feeling, “I wrote this scene. I love this scene”. And then you know it’s just not going to make it. And even sometimes things are shot, but later on in editing they have to make decisions and things go. I know there were some things I really loved with the new covens that didn’t make the final cut.

Well, hope spring eternal on the DVD.

You’ve worked on all the films, and in doing so you’ve had four different directors. Some came from a writing background, others purely from a director’s view. Looking back, who were you the most collaborative with?

Definitely Catherine Hardwicke on the first film. We had very, very little time. We had 5 weeks and we knew the writers strike was coming and we were trying to beat the clock to get it done. I’d write something, show it to her, get her feedback, revise, it was intense! Unfortunately, then the writer’s strike happened and I had less ongoing collaboration with her than I would have liked.

The next two movies were written ( New Moon and Eclipse) before the directors came on. I think I had more collaboration with David Slade as rewrites started.

But in reality, thinking about it, the deepest collaboration I had was with Bill Condon. I had written the outlines for the two movies, but I had no actual script. So, he came in at that stage. He’s an academy award winning writer, and that kind of thing can go either way. You can have someone who is like, “I’m a writer, but I don’t know how to tell you what I want so I’m just going to do it myself” which is certainly legitimate. I think Chris Wietz is more in that vein, which was fantastic with things he did it was a great job. Then, on the other hand, you have the writer/director who knows exactly what he wants and how to articulate it. And when you have Bill Condon as an academy award winning writer he’s uniquely qualified to articulate it. So when we first sat down he said, “I don’t want to write this. I want you to write this”, and at that point I was so tired and I thought, “really, don’t you want a part of it”? He made me work for my money (laughs) , but it was collaborative. It was hours and hours of bouncing ideas off each other.

I’d write an action sequence and give it to him. He’d give it to the stunt coordinators for their feedback and get their notes and I’d revise. I actually went down to Louisiana with him before shooting to talk some more. It was one of the best collaborations in my career.

Melissa Rosenberg to be Honored by Bold Ink Awards Benefitting WriteGirl

melissa-rosenbergheadshotAccording to their press release:

On November 5th, 2012, WriteGirl will present the 6th annual Bold Ink Awards, a benefit for WriteGirl, at the elegant Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Last year, the Bold Ink Awards was attended by over 300 affluent women screenwriters, novelists, journalists, producers and directors, along with their supporters, who include entertainment executives, agents and actors. It is an incredible evening that leaves people inspired and helps to truly honor the strides that women are making as writers, directors and producers. This year we are proud to honor:

Melissa Rosenberg
 (Screenwriter/Producer, Twilight series, Dexter
Lisa Cholodenko (Screenwriter/Director, The Kids Are All Right)
Zoe Kazan (Playwright/ScreenwriterRuby Sparks)
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Authors of the Beautiful Creatures series)
For more information about the Bold Ink Awards, please visit http://www.boldinkawards.org or our website at http://www.writegirl.org,

Melissa Rosenberg Taking Fan Questions

Melissa Rosenberg is taking fan questions over on her Facebook page.

“All right! Send in your questions and I’ll answer the best ones on video leading up to release. What do you want to know? xoxo Mel”

Hop on over here to her facebook page and maybe your question will be answered.

Video: Five on 5 with Melissa Rosenberg

Here is an interesting up close conversation with Melissa Rosenberg.