Archive | Beat Sheet

John Carter’s Massive Bomb and Screenwriting Beats – Part 3

Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this post. Let’s more carefully investigate exactly why John Carter didn’t work. What are the lessons learned from this? Analysis:  Flashback and Voice Over Not to overstate the obvious, but within the opening minutes of this $600mm trainwreck, there are two separate instances of voice […]

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John Carter’s Massive Bomb and Screenwriting Beats – Part 2

Click here to read Part 1 of this post.  Click here to read more about screenwriting beats.  What went so wrong with John Carter? Well, let’s look at the beats. Here’s a basic breakdown of the beats of Act 1.  1. Open on Mars with the space wars going on. Fast and furious voice over […]

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John Carter’s Massive Bomb and Screenwriting Beats – Part 1

If you are unsure what screenwriting beats are or need a quick refresher, please read my article on beats first. Now… The film John Carter was a very expensive, massive bomb in the spring of 2012, almost five years ago now. (Reading online that it was estimated this film would have needed to gross $600mm […]

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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! Thanks!

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The Script Reader’s Top 10 Screenplay “Dos”

The following is a very basic list of items that get my attention as a script reader. If your script addresses each of these points, you’re probably doing a good job. I will be excited to read your script. So, here we go, a list of my top 10 screenplay “dos” when reading: DO keep […]

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The Script Reader’s Top 5 Screenplay “Do Nots”

The following is a very basic list of items that do not impress me as a script reader and, more often than not, will get your script a resounding pass. If your script contains any of these points, consider rewriting before sending out. So, here we go, a list of my top 5 screenplay peeves […]

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If It Doesn’t Buy You Something, Take It Out

The more I write and the more I read, I find I return to this mantra again and again: If it doesn’t buy you something, take it out. Screenplay beats to me are a commodity. You have to buy the beats in the beginning of your story to cash them in later on in the […]

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Screenplay Openings: Most Beginnings Are Overwritten

This article follows up on Screenplay: The Importance of the First Five Pages. In the last batch of scripts I read for one of the screenwriting competitions, I would say about 30% of the screenplays had beginnings that were overwritten. It’s not uncommon. In several cases, the real story didn’t start to pick up until […]

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Screenplay: The Importance of the First Five Pages

The opening five pages of your screenplay give me a ton of information about the breadth and scope of your project. As with the opening of a novel or any other literary work, the opening of your screenplay should be a microcosm of the world of your script. It’s the first taste – but as […]

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Do Your Homework: Watch AFI’s Top 100 List Films

If you’re writing screenplays, it’s very important to know the field. You should be watching movies in the theatre now and also studying previously released films. Here is a wonderful basic list of the great movies, which you should see to have a basic understanding of our industry. In addition, you should endeavor to watch […]

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