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 […]
Coming up with an amazing title is important. Why? As a script reader, if I smile when I read your title, that’s a huge bonus – because it means I will be excited to read your script. Conversely, if the title evokes nothing, that’s bad. I don’t know what that script is about and I’ll […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Okay, okay, so it was based on a book. Let’s forget that and look at why this project didn’t work as a film. There’s an adage about screenwriting that you shouldn’t write movies about a dream within a dream within a dream and then *ta da!* oops, you only imagined what you saw this whole […]
Inspired by Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, The Guardian asked authors for their personal dos and don’ts. Part One of the article from The Guardian. Click here for Part Two of the article.
An interesting article on how Pixar focuses on writing complete stories from Story Fanatic.
It’s probably worth your time to think about how you want to get sold as a writer. If you have material worth selling, at some point someone is going to discover this, and they’ll try to package you and sell you as a certain kind of writer. What kind of writer do you want to […]
I’m sitting here watching Jennifer’s Body, which is a movie I should love. I think the concept is amazing – a girl who gets taken advantage of by men only to turn the tables and start fucking over men. It should be edgy, fucking hilarious, scary as shit and I was expecting this movie to […]
I was Skyping with a writer friend the other night who had sent me a list of about 10 loglines and was wanting to brainstorm which project to write next. He later sent me an email indicating he’d chosen to write a horror movie starring a young boy character and, in essence, a CGI character. […]
I’m visiting with one of my best friends now whose son, my godson, tragically died in October. This is a part of why I haven’t been writing since that time. I’ve also been trying to prioritize my own creative writing, but I’ve not had an easy time getting those pages in, either. It’s cold and […]
You might not like it, but I just have to say it: My advice with legal thrillers is “just say no.” Legal thrillers can be completely amazing, but this genre is pretty well tapped out. We’ve now birthed three solid generations of “Law and Order” and franchise viewers, as well as two strong generations of […]
Let’s take a fresh look at writing “fresh” subject matter. Subject matter is key, because there is a tremendous amount of material out there that doesn’t bring something that feels new or unique to the table. There is no fresh take on the material. Hollywood doesn’t really want something totally new. This is for a […]