Last-minute reminder to download all the Oscar screenplays before the Academy Awards — they’ll be taken down soon. Happy reading!
Archive | Ideas
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Don’t Forget Film is a Visual Medium
The visual medium is the essence of “show, don’t tell.” A lot of scripts I’m seeing this year seem to have disregarded the fact that these stories should be a blueprint for something visual. This reading season has been the season of the chatty dramedy. By dramedy, I mean stories that at their essence aren’t […]
To Adapt or Not To Adapt?
Is it a good choice to adapt a project as an unproduced writer – or should you concentrate more of your energies on writing your own original screenplays? I actually discourage new writers (i.e., unestablished, without credits) from writing any screenplay to which they don’t own the rights. The problem with then adapting something as […]
Writing and Rights
I know there can be some confusion about adapting work for the screen and owning the rights. If you are absolutely in love with a novel, cartoon, graphic novel (or ANY work that is not your own) and feel that it is your life’s destiny to adapt this work for the screen, then GET THE […]
What is “High Concept”?
“High concept” is an expression within the entertainment industry that basically boils down to meaning ‘highly commercial.’ But what does it really mean? “High concept” indicates a few things: 1. A universal concept, whereupon every person hearing the idea will have a specific common point of reference. Successful universal concepts can be based on tropes, […]
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 […]
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 […]