Michael Lee Barlin.com
Writer / Director / Producer
Stranger Than Pictures

Official Website of Screenwriter/Director Michael Lee Barlin


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Posted by Michael Lee Barlin.com on October 16, 2015 at 3:10 AM Comments comments (22)

My screenplay FINAL JOURNEY was just named a Bronze Prize Winner in the Page International Screenwriting Awards! Very excited. While Googling some news about it online, I also realize the script was a Finalist in the California Women's Film Festival in July! I must've missed the announcement.


And I'm excited to be heading to the Austin Film Festival in a couple weeks because my short script TWO WRONGS made it to screenplay competition's Second Round!


Very excited about everything going on!

Fun Times!

Posted by Michael Lee Barlin.com on September 30, 2015 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Fun Times!


I'm heading to the Austin Film Festival at the end of October because my short script TWO WRONGS made it to screenplay competition's Second Round! Very excited about that.


And my feature script FINAL JOURNEY is currently a Finalist in the 2015 Page International Screenwriting Awards! I find out mid-October if the script wins anything. The script has also been a semi-finalist for the Sundance Feature Film Program, Cynosure Screenwriting Awards and the Fade-In Screenwriting Awards.


Below is coverage from the 2015 Nicholl Fellowships:


The story has an original premise which is a solid starting point for the movie. The strong beginning is followed by an intriguing middle and a satisfying ending. The story, even with its surreal visions, is linear and makes perfect sense. We’re on a journey with these characters which connects with us emotionally.


The voice of the script is distinctive, giving us a sweet story in the despite the characters’ extremely tough living conditions. The premise, story and characters are all new to us.


The characters in this script have a great deal of depth. Even though there’s not much dialogue, each character has his or her own unique voice. We come to care about them and we want to know what happens to them. The central character changes over the course of the story as she finds the love and acceptance that she missed from her own family. The dialogue and tone are consistent throughout. The way that the people speak fits the setting of the story.


Descriptions of the landscape and the people are really lovely. The dialogue reflects their culture, creating the drama of the story. The inner conflict experienced by the central character propels the story forward. Her actions and those of her companion move the story along. Those actions are a direct result of who they are.


This script genuinely makes us want to keep reading. First we’re drawn in by the exotic location and culture but we’re sustained by the emotions and attachments that develop between the characters. The theme of the accepting death so that younger people may live on the limited resources available is thought-provoking. This is a special screenplay.


Big things going on! Stay tuned for more!

2011: Awards and Doll Houses

Posted by Michael Lee Barlin.com on January 21, 2011 at 2:34 AM Comments comments (0)

So 2011 starts and I'm getting ready to put a new short film on the interweb called San Generic Feast (coming real soon!).  So I's goes into my YouTube site to dust it off (YouTube.com/StrangerThanPictures),  and what do I find but the 7 second short I made with my son three years ago FIGHT CLUB DOLL HOUSE has over 10,000 hits.  And the short I made MICHAEL JACKSON DOLL HOUSE has over 6000 hits (and tons of hate mail ever since his death).


Well, that got me thinking about the original reason for shooting those ridiculous shorts which was to make a million of them (since they're so easy) and keep them going and see if they find an audience at all out there in the ether.


So I started making a ton of them and now plan on making new weekly episodes for the rest of 2011 to see if anything happens.  So far, so good-- I have up about seven episodes already including Star Wars Doll House, Avatar Doll House, King's Speech Doll House, 2001 Doll House, Elf Doll House and Nightmare Before Christmas 2 Doll House (and I took down Michael Jackson Doll House to minimize the hate mail).  So we'll see how that goes.


I also dusted off SNUFF FILM with partner Nick Sexauer as two different producers approached him recently with interest in the comedy.  Looks like the times finally caught up with that idea-- we'll see if we can get anything going for it in 2011.


And I just found out that TURKEY DAY is a Quarter Finalist in the 2010 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition.  I'll find out next week if I make it to the next round-- the Semi Finals.


I'm also novelizing one of my screenplays THE TOOTH LARRY after talking with Jay Douglas over at CastleBright Studios.  The script is so good that it's a pity it has to sit there on the shelf after we got beat to the box-office by the recent Tooth Fairy effort starring The Rock.  When my son's teeth started to wiggle last summer, I approached Jay about novelizing the script and he loved the idea. I thought maybe I'd do a little at a time and give them to my son under his pillow as little stories coming from the Tooth Fairy.  Then I got busy with TURKEY DAY and decided to hold off on the novelization.  (As the son's teeth started coming out I decided to write him letters instead from the Tooth Fairy capturing the spirit of some of the great ideas born in this script).  But talking to Jay got me thinking I should definitely try to novelize this baby for us so I decided to do a little bit on the project every night and see what I can get done in a few months time (by day I'm working on my new supa-dupa comedy script LTH which will also hopefully be done in three months time).  So we'll see how all that goes as well.


And that's about it for me.  For someone that used to 'blog' every day before 'blog' was a word, I sometimes get guilty I don't write more often anymore.  So today I forego a little sleep to pop this little update out there for anyone still interested.


2011 has been pretty good so far.  And I plan on making it even better... San Generic Feast (coming soon), Doll House (every week), Snuff Film, Turkey Day, LTH and The Tooth Larry... oh yeah, 2011 is gonna be a good year... :)




Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition Feedback

Posted by Michael Lee Barlin.com on December 10, 2010 at 4:06 AM Comments comments (3)

Though the finalists and winners have yet to be announced for the 2010 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition (www.fresh-voices.com), I just received my feedback/coverage from the competiton, which was quite amazing-- especially considering I did an additional rewrite of the script after some great feedback from Bob Tzudiker (screenwriter for The Lion King, Tarzan, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Anastasia, etc) who called the script 'A very marketable idea and a fun, fast read,' so the version of the script Fresh Voices read has been improved even more since they've read it.


And I'm now doing another small but significant rewrite thanks to the wonderful feedback I got from Fresh Voices.   Here is a selection of their response to the script:


'Hi Michael, Thanks for an adorable, fun, and action-packed script! I really enjoyed reading it and can definitely see it making a good children’s animated movie. The story is super cute and engaging. You used every possible turkey pun and they all worked. It was funny and entertaining all the way through.


Structurally it was great; you have a strong grasp of three-act structure. The story was always clear and easy to follow. Your characters were awesome and you did a great job of giving all the turkeys’ unique personalities and roles in the story. A film about a bunch of turkeys that all have names beginning with “T” could have been a confusing nightmare, but you clearly knew all of your turkeys inside and out and made sure we did too. Fantastic job!


This script is awesome, so my notes are very nitpicky...   your Act III is completely packed and overflowing with excitement and Act I opens with a bang...


Overall, you’ve got a brilliant writing sample here with the potential to be a broad, commercially appealing film with strong market value. While Hollywood can be adverse to making animated films with similar characters to those already done, I hope the difference between chickens (Chicken Run) and turkeys is enough as this would make a wonderful film and a great Thanksgiving Day release! Awesome job! I loved it.'


Thanks Fresh Voices for the great coverage and constructive feedback!  I look forward to hearing who the winners are!

Inktip Pitch Summit I a Success for Mlee!

Posted by Michael Lee Barlin.com on September 29, 2010 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

What a weekend!  I got sick on Friday, 9/24/10 and didn't get a chance to rest as I prepared for going to Inktip's Pitch Summit I on Sunday 9/25/10.  I had to research all the companies I wanted to pitch, plus prepare the actual pitches for roughly six projects, plus four others I could potentially shop but was keeping in the hip pocket.  Stayed up way too late...


On Saturday, however, I had to go shoot a web short at the San Gennaro festival with new and old friends Mario Macaluso, Ryan Grassmeyer, Krystal Tini and Jeff Bergman.  I was so sick and stressed about also preparing for the pitch summit that earlier in the week I tried cancelling on Mario but luckily he guilted me into seeing it through-- it turned out to be an amazing, funny short despite the incredibly hot weather we had-- though more on that to come later.


So I went to the shoot in the morning and then came back and worked on my pitches/researching companies for the summit.  Stayed up way too late...


Then on Sunday I went to the pitch summit and pitched to, I guesstimate, roughly 40 companies (maybe more)  thanks to the cool pitching structure they had.  And I ended up getting 7 projects requested by multiple producers!


So it was an exciting event and now I've been busy getting out the scripts and follow-ups to everyone who requested the screenplay or web-products.  Stayed up way too late last night (Monday-- after working the day job all day), and again tonight.


Shooting that short and going to the festival have been horrible for my health this week, but what a productive weekend otherwise!  I'm very psyched and pumped right now about my future.


And that's still not even mentioning the feature project I've been approached to direct but which is still in the works.  More on that to come as well.


Now I'm going to sleep-- 10:45 PM-- a record early night!


Night!  And Peace...

Turkey Day Comes Early This Year!

Posted by Michael Lee Barlin.com on September 22, 2010 at 3:44 PM Comments comments (0)

I finished my latest and final (until I hear otherwise) draft of TURKEY DAY, my Thanksgiving-oriented, but universally geared, animated family adventure screenplay.  I'm very proud of it-- 90 rocking and rolling pages that should give the kiddies (and parents) exactly what they want when they go to see a fun, 3D, animation movie at the theatres.


And since there's never been a Thanksgiving animation movie released over the Thanksgiving weekend (a big one by Hollywood standards-- especially for animated movies), I think there's a real opportunity here.


I'm going to the Inktip Pitch Summit in LA this coming weekend to begin shopping the script around (along with 7 other scripts, most of which I haven't ever shopped before like HEADLESS (horror), SNUFF FILM (comedy), S.C.O.P.E. (comedy) and, possibly, THE TOOTH LARRY (family adventure written for CastleBright Studios).  I'll keep you posted if anything exciting happens.


The day before the Pitch Summit, however, I'm shooting two shorts with some funny buds of mine so look for those online soon.  I also found an editor for LOST PANTS so that webseries spoofing LOST will finally be online sometime in either October or November. 


I also may be helping out some colleagues from my home town with an amazing, inspirational, timely and heart-warming true story, so more on that to come as well, I'm sure.


And this Holiday Season I'm probably going to be shopping around a holiday non-fiction book which I'm extremely excited about.


So lots going on.  If you want to stay informed about all my going-ons, now that the train is moving again, sign up to be a member of this website and stay up to date on what's happening with my scripts, movies and books.

Turkey Day is Coming!

Posted by Michael Lee Barlin.com on May 28, 2010 at 7:12 PM Comments comments (0)

Lucky script #12 is on it's way.  Draft 2/3 (based on how you look at it) is currently making the rounds to my colleagues and it seems to be on the right path.  The next draft should be easy and then it's ready for getting out there to industry contacts.  Looking forward to it.  More to come soon!

The New Stranger Than Pictures

Posted by Michael Lee Barlin.com on February 8, 2010 at 1:31 AM Comments comments (2)
Hey all. Michael Lee Barlin here from Stranger Than Pictures-- a website of journal entries I've had up on the internet since 1997 (before the word Blog was even invented!). That site was maintained on Geocities.com but Yahoo has folded Geocities so I've moved here to start over on webs.com. I'm about to get a 3-part webseries up and running with partner Nick Sexauer (see our website at VeryPerplexingPictures.com). It's a spoof of LOST called LOST PANTS about the survivors of Levitas flight 501 who have crash-landed on a strange island where, mysteriously, nobody has any pants. We hope to get the project online during the final season of LOST. More on that to follow. I'm also finishing up my 12th screenplay right now (an animated family adventure comedy) which I hope to either sell or make myself as a stop-motion movie. Plus I'd like to get a rough draft completed for screenplay #13 (a super-hero story I also hope to turn into a comic), get a children's book I wrote illustrated and out to market, and finish a non-fiction book I started two years ago). So 2010 should be a very interesting year. We'll see what happens. Please visit back for more. - Updated Feb, 7, 2010, Mlee