I’ve asked my friend Sharon to write a short article about plotting, because she plots from character as opposed to story. I wanted to provide you with an alternative means of breaking story and beginning the outline. Ultimately, every writer must find the process that best taps their natural gifts. Here’s what Sharon says: I […]
Archive | June, 2009
“You Suck,” and Other Things You’d Love To Scream at Someone Giving You Notes on Your Script
I’m writing again about giving and receiving notes because it’s important. In this last week, I’ve had two hard notes sessions (giving notes). Okay, we’re adults. We can admit it. Getting notes is hard. It’s usually shocking. We pour our heart and soul into something, we hear the notes, feel that the person “doesn’t get […]
What, Technically, is a “Beat” in a Screenplay?
A writer friend of mine emailed asking me to better describe what is a screenwriting “beat.” Here’s the skinny. This is actually a point of confusion for many people, and I recall it was very confusing to me when I started at film school because there are actually three kinds of beats, but people just […]
The 2009 List of CineStory Screenwriting Awards Semifinalists
The 2009 List of CineStory Screenwriting Awards Semifinalists ARMY ANTS, Andy Cannistra, Sleepy Hollow, NY BEADED ROAD, Wenonah Wilms, Minneapolis, MN BLACK GARDEN, THE, Joe Bright, Studio City, CA FROZEN FIRE, Paul Pawlowski, Redondo Beach, CA GIRLS ON THE RUN, Lukas Hassel, New York, NY IN THE COMPANY OF THE UPRIGHT, Cyndi McLean, Alberta, Canada […]
The Screenplay Outline: Carding Out Your Story
I am a big outliner. I think it’s important when breaking story. I know some screenwriters approach writing the screenplay as do many novelists: they let the story find them. However, with the script, page count is so limited and every scene and every word so valuable – so why take the risk of not […]
Screenplay Genre and Structure: Why the Beat Sheet?
The beat sheet is the best way to learn about screenplay structure, genre conventions and how to structure your script when you’re starting to outline. A beat sheet is basically what you should create for yourself as an outline before going to page, however even before you start beating out your own script it is […]
Romantic Comedy Beat Sheet: The Wedding Planner
Here is a breakdown I did on The Wedding Planner. First of all, I love this movie (love you, Shankman!). I think it’s funny, romantic, really charming and well written (go, Pam and Mike!). It is also very well structured, so it’s a good one to study. What is of notice is the major plot […]
Screenplay Competition Reading: It’s All Subjective
Here is the good, bad, and ugly of screenplay competitions: art is subjective. For everything everyone tells you, in the end it all boils down to taste. That’s why you just have to write your passion. One reader (producer, manager, agent) might not have any interest in your story. But another will. We write for […]
The Screenplay Competition “Do Nots”
The basic “do nots” before you send your script to a competition. The following is a very basic list of items that do not impress me as a competition reader and, more often than not, will get your script a resounding pass. If your script contains any of these points, consider rewriting before submitting to […]
The Screenplay Competition “Dos”
The basic “dos” before you send your script to a competition. The following is a very basic list of items that get my attention as a competition reader. If your script addresses each of these points, you’re doing a good job. I will be excited to read your script. DO have a title page. Sometimes […]
How To Make Your Script Stand Out: Character, Character, Character
I read two scripts this morning about which I seriously debated, “to recommend or not to recommend…” For me as a reader, it really comes down to whether or not I would fight for a script. If I’m on the fence, that’s not a resounding, “yes!” There are too many resounding yeses at this level, […]
Your Protagonist: Likability and the Finish Line
You should have one protagonist – someone undergoing a life-altering journey. We experience the journey through his or her world paradigm, and we want to root for that hero to succeed. That’s a key point, actually, that is sometimes lost on writers. We’re supposed to root for the hero to win. If I don’t like […]
Do Not Write What’s Not on Screen
Okay, we all know, “Show, don’t tell!” I will never forget my sophomore English teacher hitting that point home with a sledgehammer every class. As a screenwriter, I hear, “Exposition is bad.” Now I have a better understanding of what this really means. With screenwriting, it’s fairly simple, actually, but hard to do well and […]
Where To Buy Scripts?
Whenever I need a copy of something, I call Hollywood Book & Poster. They have an amazing film and TV script library, as well as posters, stills, etc. If you need something and they don’t have it, they’ll get it for you. They can express mail as well.
CineStory Summer Camp at Idyllwild
Here is info for the CineStory screenwriting camp up at Idyllwild, just an hour and a half outside Los Angeles. CineStory is an organization that mentors writers by getting them together with producers and agents. I have participated in the CineStory experience, and it’s worth it. You will learn a TON.