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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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Dunne: The story is the journey for truth. The plot is the road it takes to get there.

I’ve just started reading Peter Dunne’s “Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot” and it’s giving me a lot to think about. Dunne writes in Know Your Story, Know Your Plot, Know the Difference: When we think about great stories, about great movies, we remember first and foremost about whom the story is told. […]

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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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Off the Grid

I’ve been off the grid for a while. I don’t have Internet access where I’m staying now, so it’s been hard to write and post to the blog. However, I’m still here – just very busy with reading and everything else going on right now. Anyway, thank you all for being patient with me and […]

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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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The Modern Western

An individual posted a question to one of the screenwriting forums on LinkedIn about the western genre and whether it’s worth his time to finish his western script and start querying. My thought was yes. The western genre appears to be back – but it isn’t strictly John Wayne anymore. The western has evolved into […]

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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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Descriptors: Be Precise

Don’t forget when you’re writing to use precise descriptors that evoke something very clear in the mind of the reader. Even in screenwriting, the quality of prose to some degree either engages or repels the reader and thus the experience of your screenplay. Try to avoid descriptors that are ambiguous, contradictory or confusing, because the […]

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