On Writing : Just introducing myself by Donna Hoke

Donna Hoke

Just introducing myself

Hi all! I'm excited to see this new category as many playwrights also write screenplays. I've only just written my first, so while I'm an accomplished playwright, I have a lot to learn about the screenwriting world and would love to hear your advice. I feel like playwrights and screenwriters are related tribes who live on opposite sides of the island. Even the contest world is so different!

Right now my burning question is "If I have a romantic Christmas screenplay (think Hallmark/Lifetime), what genre is that when submitting to a contest?" These are things I don't have to worry about in playwriting!

Donna Hoke

Karen "Kay" Ross

Hey, Donna!

1) You are so right - plays and screenplays are incredibly similar, although plays allow for exposition/extra dialogue where screenplays can be hurt by it. With the added camera language, so much is communicated without the spoken word. But plays are made to show off acting chops, so I'm willing to bet you write a mean monologue!

2) It would be considered a holiday film first, and then subsequent genres after that - RomCom (HoliDate) or Family (The Santa Clause)

Looking forward to hearing more about your screenwriting journey!

Stefano Pavone

Welcome to the club. :)

Xaviera Iglesias

Hi Donna! Hope you find this community as awesome as you are! :)

Donna Hoke

Are there contests for the holidate or holidays genres?

Anthony Moore

Hi Donna. I learned while doing the "Pitchfest" circuit that there's no such thing as a "Holiday" genre. You either have a Romance, Rom-Com, or Drama with romance, that happens DURING the holidays. I also learned that the moment you say "Christmas" or "Holiday" movie at the beginning of your pitch, your pitch is already over. You have pitch it in the "real" genre that it follows. "I have a Drama about a girl who is alone at Christmas..." or "This Rom-Com is about a man who must find love before the new year or else..."

Donna Hoke

That's super helpful, Anthony; thank you! But curious how to find the producers who are specifically looking for holiday romance... I feel like made-for-TV Hallmark/Lifetime-type movie is never going to rise above a feature-intended script, you know?

Lynne M Bell

Hi Donna! Welcome to the world of Screenwriting. After years of solely writing and Producing plays. I took a filmmaking production course and fell in love with my scripts in the form of screenplays. So, at 60, I decided to go to college to learn how to write screenplays the proper way, got a Bachelors degree, then figured out that was a waste of time and money. I YouTubed everything I know on how to write a script for film and tv and now, I feel my studies have paid off. Yes, my professor gave me excellent advice and told me I was an amazing writer, but I think I learned more on YouTube and google, then I learned in my 4 years of college. My suggestion to you, is read, read, read, to convert from plays to screenplays. Screenplays are so different, and my passion and love for writing has grown. Now if I can just get someone to help me produce, I’d be in a better place.

Donna Hoke

Lynne... what started me down this road is that I got a couple of small commissions during the pandemic to write audio plays, and realized what close cousins they are to screenplays--and I enjoyed them! I hadn't really thought about converting my plays to screenplays but I bet some of them would really work well. It's long been on my bucket list to write a made-for-TV romance, so I cut my teeth with that. But it seems such a specific sell that it might be hard to get in the right hands.

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