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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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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, […]

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Political Thrillers & Sci-Fi: Track the World

It is a common mistake for political thrillers and sci-fi screenplays to dump too many characters in the openings. This gets very confusing quickly. As a reader, I always feel the strongest choice is to introduce the protagonist alone, so that he/she stands out and is clearly identified in the mind of the reader. Once […]

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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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Example of How To Introduce Your Protagonist (Erin Brockovich)

One of my favorite scripts is “Erin Brockovich,” because I love the writing. It is abundantly clear, sparsely written, and dense with meaning. This script captures worlds of information with just a few simple, extremely well chosen words. To my mind, that is excellence in screenwriting. Please read this excerpt of the opening of the […]

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Introduce Your Character to the Reader

Now that we’re heading back into competition season for 2010, I am going to revisit the most important aspects of the screenplay, and in some cases I will try to link to examples of how they’re done correctly. I just read a pile of scripts and only one of the writers bothered to introduce me […]

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