Tag Archives | film genre

If It Doesn’t Buy You Something, Take It Out

The more I write and the more I read, I find I return to this mantra again and again: If it doesn’t buy you something, take it out. Screenplay beats to me are a commodity. You have to buy the beats in the beginning of your story to cash them in later on in the […]

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Screenplay: The Importance of the First Five Pages

The opening five pages of your screenplay give me a ton of information about the breadth and scope of your project. As with the opening of a novel or any other literary work, the opening of your screenplay should be a microcosm of the world of your script. It’s the first taste – but as […]

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Do Your Homework: Watch AFI’s Top 100 List Films

If you’re writing screenplays, it’s very important to know the field. You should be watching movies in the theatre now and also studying previously released films. Here is a wonderful basic list of the great movies, which you should see to have a basic understanding of our industry. In addition, you should endeavor to watch […]

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What, Technically, is a “Beat” in a Screenplay?

A writer friend of mine emailed asking me to better describe what is a screenwriting “beat.” Here’s the skinny. This is actually a point of confusion for many people, and I recall it was very confusing to me when I started at film school because there are actually three kinds of beats, but people just […]

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Screenwriting Homework: Beat Sheets

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 […]

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