‘All About Eve’ (1950) – 10 Greatest Screenplays Ever Written

Legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock once said, “To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script and the script.”

I have watched a lot of motion pictures in my time. My wife and I watch at least 10 films a month, and we’re constantly finding little gems. Recently, we watched a sublime movie called “Sons and Lovers,” a film based on a D.H. Lawrence novel.

Over the years, some pictures are the best because of the directing, while other pictures are superb because of the writing. A great actor can make a mediocre script good (just ask Claude Rains), but a bad actor can make a good script terrible (I’m looking at you Lizabeth Scott). This has been going on since the dawn of cinema.

For the average moviewatcher, he is just looking to be entertained. For the moviebuff, the cinephile, every aspect of the film is honed in on, whether it’s the angles or the pacing. In a writer’s case, the screenplay is what makes or breaks a viewing experience.

Here are 10 of the greatest screenplays ever written, whether they’re original or adapted (in no particular order):

“The Sweet Smell of Success” (1957)

“Annie Hall” (1977)

“Casablanca” (1942)

“Breathless” (1960)

“All About Eve” (1950)

“Network” (1976)

“Pulp Fiction” (1994)

“The Thin Man” (1934)

“Sunset Boulevard” (1950)

“Citizen Kane” (1941)

Here are some honourable mentions:

“Reservoir Dogs” (1992)

“Cool Hand Luke” (1967)

“The Apartment” (1960)

“His Girl Friday” (1940)

“Memento” (2000)

Indeed, there are just so many great screenplays that have been produced since the invention of talkies, but these are screenplays that stand out in my mind as well as my wife’s. I would also recommend checking out Writer’s Guild of America (WGA)’s list, too.

What are your favourite screenplays? Let me know in the comments section!

#FlashFictionFriday: The Case of the Torn Trousers

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The Case of the Torn Trousers

“Walter Tracy did it,” said Auguste Hercule Sherlock in his usual confident manner. “I know it.”

Stunned and shocked by this revelation, the detectives from Boulevard Yard demanded to know how exactly the world-famous private investigator came to that conclusion without fully examining all of the facts of the case, posing questions to witnesses, and seeking out motives.

One was so taken aback that his half-smoked cigar had fallen out of his mouth.

“It is simple,” he started, “just take a look at his trousers.”

Taking his gold-covered pen out of his blue shirt’s front pocket and bending down in front of the primary witness, Auguste pointed at the man’s knees and alluded to tears. Additional rips were also found around the suspect’s thighs.

Auguste, satisfied with his deductions, mildly chuckled and explained further:

“Let’s assess two important facts: one, the deceased was found buried in a shallow grave somewhere in the woods, something that comes with a lot of dirt and requires strenuous effort, particularly around the knees. Two, why would Mr. Tracy, a wealthy man, be sporting torn attire? He isn’t a homeless man. He can afford clothes perfectly sewn together.”

He returned to the upright position, massaging his lower back and slapping off the dust of his white pants and long black coat that traveled down to his own knees.

Everyone in the room muttered among themselves, stroking their chins.

“Is that how you came to that conclusion, sir?” discreetly inquired a novice detective.

“Indubitably, young man,” Augustine responded in his typical sanguine tone, one that dates back to the days when he was just starting out. “I have come across these types of cases before. Years ago, a foolish but impoverished old man repeatedly fibbed that he was nowhere near the crime scene, but a quick glance at his trousers suggested otherwise. It is rudimentary, gents.”

Looking at one another for a nod of agreement, followed by a brief moment of silence, several policemen, the three detectives, and Walter Tracy suddenly bursted out laughing. Slapping their knees, with tears streaming down their cheeks, the home of the suspected perpetrator morphed into a comedy club.

Augustine, confounded by the ordeal, demanded to know what was so funny. This was the first time that anybody had the audacity to laugh at his expense.

“Should I tell him or will one of you blokes?” a policeman, in the background, having a hard time containing his cackling, asked his superior.

“You can go right ahead!”

“You see, Mr. Sherlock…” the young policeman disrupting his own explanation from the giggles.

“Yes, yes, what is it? Go on, spit it out!”

“Trousers with tears at the knees are the fashion of today!”

“What the devil are you talking about?” Augustine was unamused.

Another police officer, also in hysterics by Augustine’s ostensible simplification of the murder, chimed in: “All of the kids nowadays wear trousers with ‘oles in them! That’s why ‘e ‘as those rips, sir! ‘E is of the modern type, ‘ou know, sir? Those pants cost two-’undred-dollars. Walter didn’t commit the murder, ‘e didn’t. Even if ‘e did, it wasn’t because of the pants!”

The detective in charge of the case walked up to Augustine and asked circumspectly:

“Are you the old-fashioned, out-of-the-loop type man, Mr. Sherlock?”

“I’m afraid so.”

The entire outfit was still laughing, while Augustine excused himself to visit the bathroom. In the meantime, Walter, still handcuffed, vanished from the scene. The police unit was too distracted by the laughing that they neglected to pay attention to the suspect.

One of the detectives knocked on the bathroom door and informed Augustine that the suspect had escaped.

The turn of events, making the policemen blush, prompted Augustine to chuckle and gloat.

“Always listen to your elders, gentlemen.” Augustine, drying his wet hands with a towel and wagging his right index finger, grinned from ear to ear. “Now let’s catch that killer.”

“Wait a minute!” A detective stopped everyone, noticing something odd about the item the Quebecois private investigator was holding. “Mr. Sherlock, that towel you’re holding…”

“Yes?”

“It is covered in blood. That’s evidence. You’ve now tampered with evidence.”

“Could this case become any more embarrassing for us?”

Augustine, who put the towel in his pocket, and the police squad, who were still wiping away their tears, fled from the premise and chased down Walter Tracy.

41 Tips to be a Successful Freelancer

Freelancing is becoming a career choice for many across North America.

It was reported last year that approximately one-third of the workforce in the United States is comprised of freelancers.  In Canada, one-fifth of Canadian workers are freelancing.

The numbers are only getting bigger. As young professionals decide to ditch the tie and the 9-to-5 lifestyle, a great number of millennial and Generation Z workers are deciding to freelance and be their own boss. This is commendable because it takes a lot of temerity to attempt to be successful in this tough business.

Whether you are choosing to freelance as a way to supplement your income or if you want to freelance full-time, there are numerous things that you must know in order to survive and thrive. Before you plunge head first in this realm, you will need to plan, research and prepare yourself for this kind of lifestyle. It won’t be easy at first.

Here are 41 tips to be a successful freelancer:

1. Have state-of-the-art equipment, a reliable Internet connection and the necessary software.

2. Launch your own blog and show off your skills, past experience and services.

3. If you don’t have any examples of your work then produce something that you specialize in, such as writing articles on a subject you’re passionate about or creating some sort of graphic design.

4. Do some pro-bono work at first in order to build your portfolio and expand your clientele.

5. Establish social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others.

6. Always conduct yourself in a professional manner; refrain from swearing online,  and be sure to always be polite to everyone you meet.

7. When you start out freelancing, you have to offer your work at discounted rates.

8. Constantly search for work all across the web (Freelance Writing Gigs, Upwork, ProBlogger Job Board, Craigslist and many others). This should be done every day.

9. Be ready for downtime, but don’t panic. When you have free time on, for example, a Wednesday then work on your personal website, hone your skills or look for work (see tip No. 8).

10. Never panic when you don’t have enough work to fill your day.

11. Always save your money. Whether you are inundated with work every day for months at a time or you are spending more time hitting F5 on job boards, you have to live within your means at all times. The recommended number for freelancers is 20 to 25 percent, which does not include what you have to put away for taxes.

12. At the end of a three-month job, remember to ask for a reference or a testimonial to put on your website for future clients.

13. Be active on social media by sharing insightful news, updating your network that you are available for work or connecting with others in your industry.

14. Look after your health. This is sometimes difficult because you could be chained to your desk from 8 a.m. to noon without even realizing it. When you’re freelancing, time is money, and every time you’re not working you’re not earning money.

15. When you are working, do not wear your pajamas or beach attire. Instead, you should definitely be wearing your professional clothing.

16. Concentrate on quality rather than quantity. If you are working on 50 blog posts for a client in a two-week time span, it can be easy to sacrifice the quality. But you must never get stuck in this rut because you risk losing a client or eroding your reputation.

17. Never outsource or sub-contract your work. Your clients have hired you and only you. Plus, you are risking losing precious dollars and you are perhaps sacrificing quality.

18. Change your scenery once in a while. If you are freelancing on a full-time basis then it can be pretty boring to work at the same desk in the same part of your home every day. Moving forward, every once in a while take your laptop and work at a coffee shop.

19. If you are accepting payment through PayPal then you will have to factor in the fees in how much you charge.

20. Throughout your newfound career, take the time to either update your skills or learn something new. When bitcoin became a trending topic, I taught myself as much as I could in order to garner writing gigs in this field.

21. Before you are finished for the day, take the time to create a plan for the next day. This should essentially consist of a checklist of tasks and chores you need to get done tomorrow.

22. Close the email and social media tabs on your web browser when you are working on an assignment. You should only check email once an hour – if you receive an email from a client then respond to it right away.

23. Be appreciative and grateful for your clients,  especially the ones who pay you on time and respect your work. This means always being courteous, respectful, understanding and accommodating at all times.

24. Speaking of clients…prepare yourself for clients from hell. It is true that 98 percent of the clients you come across will be stupendous, but it is the other two percent that will be difficult for no apparent reason – they will expect the world for $2 an hour.

25. If you worked with a client a couple of months ago, follow up with them and see if they need any tasks to be completed by you.

26. Unless you are writing for an ultra popular website, where articles generate on average 10,000 views per day, only accept a fixed-rate payment. If you have spent an entire afternoon working on a 2,000-word article, you don’t want to risk only earning pennies.

27. Take breaks to rest your eyes, to fill your stomach with healthy food and to get your legs moving.

28. Spend about 15 minutes on Sunday evenings to check your email so you know what is in store for Monday.

29. After your first year or two freelancing, it would be fiscally prudent to start raising your rates to keep up with price inflation. If you charge $10 for a 500-word article then raise it to $12.50.

30. As the years go by, you will be more in demand, and newcomers will want your advice or websites will want to interview you. Whenever you get the chance, share your wisdom with the rest of the world, particularly if it is a video interview.

31. If you’re a freelance writer and your hobby is writing then you should also find another hobby (does reading count?). This could consist of playing an instrument, acting on stage or filling empty gin bottles with tiny boats. Do something other than writing.

32. Check out this list.

33. Use gimmicks to get more clients and make more money. For instance, you can offer clients a five percent discount if they pay within 24 hours or you will offer a flat rate of $100 for a batch of 10 articles related to Christmas.

34. Start a referral program. Let’s say that your client, John Smith, referred you to another client, Jane Doe. If Jane orders a minimum of $100 worth of work then you will give John 10 percent off his next order.

35. You could be a freelance photographer, designer or writer. Whatever field you specialize in, you must be anal when it comes to your spelling and grammar. This is imperative, and it will certainly help you stand out from the crowd in this global economy.

36. Do you speak another language? Offer your freelance services in German, French, Mandarin or Russian.

37. Once you start freelancing full-time, you have to form the best family-friendly schedule. Sometimes 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. doesn’t work, and neither does 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. If you have a husband or wife and kids then maybe you can break up your days: 9 a.m. to noon and then 6 p.m. to 10 p.m, or perhaps a couple of hours on Saturday mornings.

38. Working with editors? Never be at odds with them.

39. Drink plenty of water throughout your day, snack on vegetables when you’re hungry and avoid too much coffee (that’s hard!) and fatty and sugary snacks.

40. Listen to classical music during your day. You will find that you have better concentration when you do. Here is a great compilation:

41. Have fun, be happy and be grateful that you are earning an income working from home as a freelancer. If you practice enough gratitude then you will be rewarded with even more clients down the line (it’s the law of the universe).

Do you have any other tips? Please leave them in the comments section below!

5 Things I’ve Learned as a Freelancer After 10 Years

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It has been more than 10 years since I started working as a freelancer.

Over the years, I have performed a wide array of tasks as a professional freelancer: writing, and editing, proofreading and commenting. I have worked with clients all over the world. Some clients have been tremendous, while others have been…we won’t go any further.

In this time, I have also learned quite a bit about the freelance business. Everything from how you should communicate with editors to how little you will earn in any given month, there is so much to know. You simply don’t embark upon a freelance journey out of nowhere and expect to make a six-figure income. Like a fine garden in your backyard, it takes cultivation, dedication, and patience. With these three attributes, you will be handsomely rewarded.

The freelance industry is ballooning, which also means competition. You have to stand out from the crowd, conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times, and always be on the prowl for clients. Even when you are overloaded with clients, you still have to seek them out. Otherwise, one month you will barely have any work and the rent will be late.

Here are five things I have learned as a freelancer after 10 years:

Always Save Your Money

I am grateful that I have been consistently busy for the past few years. There isn’t a month that goes by where I am not crammed with a heavy workload. (I am by no means complaining!) It is a freelancer’s ultimate aim to be constantly inundated with orders.

With that being said, you should always save your money, maintain a budget, and be ready for anything to happen.

Whether you are overloaded with work in March or have just one daily task to complete in September, you have to spend as if you’re in recession mode every single day. Since being a freelancer means not having vacation pay, benefits or perks, you have to sock away a minimum of 20 percent if your earnings in addition to how much you have to pay in taxes.

But you can only save if you are not spending beyond your means. Just because you might be making $5,000 in one month, it shouldn’t lead to you splurging every single day on Starbucks (or Tim Hortons) or going out to expensive restaurants every second night.

As a freelancer, you have mimic the behaviours of squirrels.

Let the Editors be the King

What a mistake I made years ago!

I happened to write for one publication for about five years. I worked with the same editor during that time. He eventually quit the company and was replaced with someone else. One day, I submitted an article to the outlet and the editor had incorrectly modified the headline – it didn’t make grammatical sense. I informed the editor of the mistake, and the reply suggested that he/she was insulted. After this incident occurred, I was never given another assignment ever again, even as I regularly made contact, asking if there was any work for me. I was kindly told that I would be emailed if there was any assignments available. To this date, I have never been assigned an article.

Simply put: you must allow your editors to reign supreme, to be the king (or queen). You must never second guess them, never correct their errors and never make suggestions!

Treat Your Clients Like Gold

For the last decade, as I previously mentioned, I have worked with hundreds of clients worldwide. I will be honest: ninety-nine percent of them have been gold, but that remaining one percent has been hard, even if they were treated like gold.

A majority of the clients you come across will pay you well and on time. If they like your work and your professional demeanour, they will return for more and may perhaps be your primary client for the next couple of years.

With this in mind, you need to be respectful at all times. You have to go that extra step to ensure you are the go-to freelancer for their needs. This consists of many acts, such as sending end-of-year thank you notes or being understanding if they have to pause their work orders for the next month.

Remember, respect is something that is earned, and it is always a two-way street.

Never Sub-Contract Your Work Out

If there is one thing that you should absolutely avoid – and if there is something that clients detest the most – it is sub-contracting your work out. This is terrible in multiple ways.

First, clients are hiring you to perform the job at hand, not someone else. Second, you are wasting your money and risking your personal finances by eroding your overall earnings. Third, you risk the quality in your work, which may ultimately disappoint the client. Fourth, you may actually lose your client if they find out that you have outsourced your job.

Even if you lack the time, you will need to make time in your busy schedule to complete the orders. Again, there will be times when you have no work at all so it is important to take and complete every job that is sent your way.

Sport Professional Attire at Home

One of the apparent benefits of working from home as a freelancer is wearing whatever you want. This could consist of sporting your birthday suit or covering yourself in velvet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. a la George Costanza.

Don’t do this.

Sporting professional attire – pants, shirt, socks and a pair of shoes – is crucial to help you stay in work mode. If you’re wearing your pajamas, or even your beach attire, your mind may not necessarily be focused on your work but rather the television, the beach or your Facebook.

This is similar to the fact that you shouldn’t perform your freelancing duties on the sofa in front of the TV or working in bed (we’re not all Proust, you know?).

Final Thoughts

Every freelancer has his or her own experience. They may have their own tips and suggestions, but these are mine.

It is risky to exit your career in the corporate world in order to be self-employed and live month-to-month. There are numerous benefits to working as a freelancer – the hours, the freedom and being your own boss – but there are also some negative factors that you will inevitably face once you dive into the freelance pool.

More and more people all over the world are bringing their talents to the freelance world. As the years pass, the competition will increase, and you may need to constantly update your skills and bring your prices down. This may be hard at first, but, if you dedicate yourself enough, you can persevere and flourish.

My 200th commodities article on EarnForex.com

It was said in the 1945 motion picture “Children of Paradise” that time speeds up without you noticing when you’re performing the same act over and over again.

Truer words were never spoken.

It has been close to a year already since I started writing for EarnForex.com, and I have already published my 200th article on commodities. What a time it has been, and I haven’t even noticed how quickly it has gone by. It has definitely been a delight writing for this website, reporting on gold and oil, orange juice and wheat prices every day from Monday to Friday.

Here is my latest article:

Gold Soars on Weaker US Dollar, Dovish Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve pulled the trigger on the third rate hike in a decade on Wednesday, but that did not stop gold prices from surging. The yellow metal climbed on Thursday as investors started to comb through the US central bank’s remarks and take a look at the market’s response to an increase of 25 basis points to interest rates. The precious metal is also benefiting from a weaker US dollar.

April gold futures soared $28.60, or 2.38%, to $1,229.30 per ounce at 16:31 GMT on Thursday. Gold futures are now poised to settle at a two-week high and will post its biggest one-day percentage gain since June 2016.

Silver is also joining in the rally. May silver futures rose $0.43, or 2.55%, to $17.35 an ounce. Silver is set to record its largest one-day percentage gain in two months.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen announced on Wednesday that rates would go up for the second time in three months. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) overwhelmingly voted in favor of raising its target rate by 25 basis points to a range of between 0.75% and 1%. Yellen also stuck to the central bank’s forecast of two more rate hikes sometime this year. The market was disappointed by the Fed not hinting at any initiatives to quicken the pace of monetary tightening. This move was considered to be a “dovish” or “neutral” rate hike.