I am a big outliner. I think it’s important when breaking story. I know some screenwriters approach writing the screenplay as do many novelists: they let the story find them. However, with the script, page count is so limited and every scene and every word so valuable – so why take the risk of not […]
The beat sheet is the best way to learn about screenplay structure, genre conventions and how to structure your script when you’re starting to outline. A beat sheet is basically what you should create for yourself as an outline before going to page, however even before you start beating out your own script it is […]
Here is a breakdown I did on The Wedding Planner. First of all, I love this movie (love you, Shankman!). I think it’s funny, romantic, really charming and well written (go, Pam and Mike!). It is also very well structured, so it’s a good one to study. What is of notice is the major plot […]
Here is the good, bad, and ugly of screenplay competitions: art is subjective. For everything everyone tells you, in the end it all boils down to taste. That’s why you just have to write your passion. One reader (producer, manager, agent) might not have any interest in your story. But another will. We write for […]
The basic “do nots” before you send your script to a competition. The following is a very basic list of items that do not impress me as a competition reader and, more often than not, will get your script a resounding pass. If your script contains any of these points, consider rewriting before submitting to […]
The basic “dos” before you send your script to a competition. The following is a very basic list of items that get my attention as a competition reader. If your script addresses each of these points, you’re doing a good job. I will be excited to read your script. DO have a title page. Sometimes […]
I read two scripts this morning about which I seriously debated, “to recommend or not to recommend…” For me as a reader, it really comes down to whether or not I would fight for a script. If I’m on the fence, that’s not a resounding, “yes!” There are too many resounding yeses at this level, […]
You should have one protagonist – someone undergoing a life-altering journey. We experience the journey through his or her world paradigm, and we want to root for that hero to succeed. That’s a key point, actually, that is sometimes lost on writers. We’re supposed to root for the hero to win. If I don’t like […]
Okay, we all know, “Show, don’t tell!” I will never forget my sophomore English teacher hitting that point home with a sledgehammer every class. As a screenwriter, I hear, “Exposition is bad.” Now I have a better understanding of what this really means. With screenwriting, it’s fairly simple, actually, but hard to do well and […]
Whenever I need a copy of something, I call Hollywood Book & Poster. They have an amazing film and TV script library, as well as posters, stills, etc. If you need something and they don’t have it, they’ll get it for you. They can express mail as well.
Here is info for the CineStory screenwriting camp up at Idyllwild, just an hour and a half outside Los Angeles. CineStory is an organization that mentors writers by getting them together with producers and agents. I have participated in the CineStory experience, and it’s worth it. You will learn a TON.
From the CineStory site, a conversation between the 2007 and 2008 competition winners, Kevin Caruso and Nino Del Pesco. Enjoy!
Just wanted to let you all know that I’m not posting this week because I am slammed with scripts and thus won’t have time to write. That said, the more reading I’m doing, the more wonderful ideas I have for postings… so please stay tuned! And I had the brilliant idea to post some beat […]
Screenplay is about structure. Structure isn’t a random fascist convention designed to sabotage and infuriate would-be screenwriters: it’s a means for the reader and audience to know where we are in the journey. Structure as it relates to screenplay is a tool to help writers develop and increase the dramatic stakes of their story. Everything […]
One of the most sweeping and common mistakes I see in about 30% of the scripts I read is confusion of genre. And, by “genre,” I don’t mean “horror.” There are a variety of genres, and each specific genre and genre sub-set has its own conventions. By convention, I am not talking about overall structure. […]