Tag Archives | screenplay outline

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 Openings: Most Beginnings Are Overwritten

This article follows up on Screenplay: The Importance of the First Five Pages. In the last batch of scripts I read for one of the screenwriting competitions, I would say about 30% of the screenplays had beginnings that were overwritten. It’s not uncommon. In several cases, the real story didn’t start to pick up until […]

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Subject Matter: Don’t Write About Writers or Hollywood, Please

Today I’ve read a couple of stories about Hollywood aspirings – aspiring writers, directors, actors, etc. In this reading season I’ve probably read a number of these kinds of scripts. Please, people, no. Don’t do it. Ninety nine times out of one hundred, your life as an aspiring writer isn’t interesting enough to warrant a […]

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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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Look at It From the Reader’s Perspective…

I just got through another big push of scripts. There were a handful of recommends, but overall many of them were dismal. When writing, just get the words down on the page. Get through that first draft. But, then rewrite. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. As you get closer to the time you’re going to send your […]

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The Scoop on Line Edits

A lot of writers really get all bent out of shape and neurotic about the level of control with the words on the page. In most cases, I look at this as a writer who’s inner critic has run amok. This is one of the many ways to self sabotage. There was one girl in […]

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Screenwriting Punctuation for Dummies

I’m a stickler for proper English grammar. I get really annoyed when people justify their horrible grammar with excuses, as though it’s snobby to use subject-verb agreement. It’s not. It’s our language. If you want use English to a professional end, you should have a level of mastery. I’ll admit it: my skin crawls when […]

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Plotting From Character

I’ve asked my friend Sharon to write a short article about plotting, because she plots from character as opposed to story. I wanted to provide you with an alternative means of breaking story and beginning the outline. Ultimately, every writer must find the process that best taps their natural gifts. Here’s what Sharon says: I […]

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