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It’s been a long silent stretch, but I am finally back to the blog.

Stay tuned for weekly posts and more.

In 2015 I started teaching screenwriting, so get ready for more detailed information — breakdowns, beat sheets, more detailed analysis of beats, genre analysis, analysis of current material.

As promised, a lot of this information I’ll tease through newsletters first, and then will post it openly to the blog. This is for a variety of reasons, but one of the reasons is that I’d like to be creating community here.

Let me know what you want more of. Let me know what’s helpful and what’s not.

Happy writing!

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Screenwriter-to-Screenwriter.com Online Writers Group

So now that I am officially back in Santa Fe, my wonderful, amazing LA writers’ group kicked me to the curb and said I had to drop (boo, hiss). Practical, but I miss them — they were my writing team.

I have reached out here to try to find a new writers’ group […]

Concept Is King

I was speaking with a client recently who, unnecessarily insecure, joked that I might read her draft and then think it was complete crap and needed to be scrapped completely. But I already knew this wouldn’t be a problem because when she told me the title, I laughed. It’s a super high-concept broad comedy.

The […]

Floating on an Ocean

This year was like floating on an ocean. At first, it seemed peaceful. Sacred, even. Not here nor there. The expanse. Then, as the chill bit and the solitude weighed, any lingering thoughts of peace flew out the window and it was like, get me the fuck out of here.

As 2011 comes to a […]

The Seed of Your Story

I personally think in many cases the difference between a script I love and a script I’ll pass on is the emotional density of the project. When reading, do I feel deeply for the characters – does their journey make me feel? Do I laugh and cry with them or for them? Do I want […]

Emotional Density

Many times screenplays are simply dry. They may be cleanly written, even well written to some degree. The plotting can make sense. The characters may even be charming. But they leave me feeling thirsty for more. The experience of the script feels like tissue paper – it just has no density. As a reader, I […]

Nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards

Just in case you missed them, the Oscar nominations were announced for the Academy Awards earlier this week.

Here is a complete list of nominations.

2011 “Where I’m From” Short Film Contest

The 2011 “Where I’m From” Short Film Contest for the Austin Film Festival and Texas Monthly is taking submissions now.

For all you writers out there who are really directors at heart…

Click here for more details.

2011 CineStory Competition – Enter Now!!!

It’s not too late to enter the 15th Annual CineStory Screenwriting Awards.

Approximately 20 finalists and semi-finalists of this competition are invited to participate in a weekend retreat wherein writers work closely with Hollywood professionals on their material. Previous attendees have gone on to accomplish great things in entertainment. It is a really wonderful mentorship […]

Okay, Fine… But What’s Your Story About, Really?

Anyone who knows me well can probably tell you that sometimes I can be wholly oblivious to the most obvious points but pick up on subtleties the average person wouldn’t even think to look for. This is an interesting character juxtaposition and probably what makes me a writer before anything else. Documenting and chronicling the […]

Be Your Own Audience

When I’m writing and rewriting something – a script, story, manuscript – it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Much of the time I get so inside my story that it’s hard for me to step outside of it and think rationally if what I’m trying to construct is working or not, and […]

Screenwriters Are Storytellers First

A professional screenwriter said to me recently, “If someone reads my script and says, ‘Man, I really loved the writing,’ I want to punch them in the face. What I want them to say is, ‘I really loved your story.’ There’s a big difference.” He explained that the difference is that we’re primarily storytellers – […]

The Season of Weird, Chatty Dramedies

I can’t say I totally understand it but this year was definitely the reading season for the Weird, Chatty Dramedy.

I’d estimate that approximately 20% of the scripts I read this year involved an ensemble of types sitting around, chatting about various personal issues that were of absolutely no interest to me.

Many of these […]

Dunne: The story is the journey for truth. The plot is the road it takes to get there.

I’ve just started reading Peter Dunne’s “Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot” and it’s giving me a lot to think about.

Dunne writes in Know Your Story, Know Your Plot, Know the Difference:

When we think about great stories, about great movies, we remember first and foremost about whom the story is told.
The answer […]

Beat Sheets

I’m going to start working on posting some beat sheets to the blog – requests, anyone?

I’ll try to do one film in each genre grouping to start.

And if any reader has some beat sheets they’d like to share, please send them on over!