Archive | Process

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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 – […]

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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 […]

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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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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 […]

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Biopic: A Character’s Journey

I’ve been reading a number of biopics based on very famous historical personages. They are flat and dry, like cardboard. The feeling I have reading them is that they take a marionette of a historical figure and dance them through the major events of their life. I start off with little or no understanding of […]

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Writer’s Block? Rediscover Your Passion

Writer’s block is the devil. To my mind, it’s like being trapped inside a Sartre play: locked inside a room with no windows and no way out. I’ve been blocked lately – and it’s actually not a normal state for me. In fact, this might be the first true writer’s block I’ve experienced in the […]

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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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