Screenwriting

From structure to content to representation to industry trends, this is the place to discuss, share content and offer tips and advice on the craft and business of screenwriting

Screenplay hosting sites

Hi all, I'm a newbie. Have written two novels, a stage play and two screenplays. Currently going nowhere but enjoying the journey. Does anyone have any experience with The Black List? The hosting website; not the annual best-liked list.

Dan MaxXx

I know 2 east coast based writers who were discovered on BL. One sold a spec to a studio and the other signed with a management agency in LA. But it was more due to their individual dedication; both a ...

Expand comment
Fabia Sabella

Thanks Dan. Sounds like dedication is key.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi Fabia. Perhaps do a search by topic in the Lounge. All related threads will be shown. There has been many many discussions over the years about the BL database script listing website. Hope that helps. ;)

Fabia Sabella

Splendid, thanks Beth!

Laika Lee

I get a 5. a 4, a 2, two 3. want to cry.

Writing is about rewriting?

As screenwriters, we've all heard writing is about rewriting and that all first drafts are shit. Friday, while touring the strand in Galveston, I received a call from a director I'm working with. He said he really liked the second draft script I wrote for him. He now wants me to fine tune the ending...

Expand post

NAMES or NO NAMES

Just wondering do all characters need to be named? they will be part of the story yes but a very small part, can it be titled, BOY, MAN, TEACHER, PRINCIPLE etc. AND do we introduce them in full caps in the action for the first time in their title or small letters since they are not that important?

Shaun Michael Goldsmith

Hi Nuha: The general rule of thumb is if a character speaks a line of dialogue they should be given a name. However, if there role is limited it is not always necessary. What you want to avoid is confu ...

Expand comment
Lisa Bogner

I don't see a problem in giving minor roles descriptive names (man, woman, boy, girl, etc.). I actually see that in scripts all the time. Nonetheless, if you have more characters of that sort for exam...

Expand comment
Dan Guardino

I agree with LISA an you do ALL CAP there name. Keep in mind you only ALL CAP a character's name when they first appear on film which is not always the first time they appear in your screenplay.

Olaojoyegbe Bolarinwa

Lisa has well answered your question.

Nuha El Tahir

Thank you all for your comments, I appreciate it.

Writing while listening to music?

I sometimes do that... Does it influence the writing in any way(without you realizing it, uncounsciously)? If you wrote something while listening to a song, would you have written it differently if there was a different song playing, or all writing is the same, regardless of music?

Doug Nelson

I listen to music that befits the genre in which I'm writing. I'm writing a paranormal script right now - so I listen to a lot of spooky-dead-people music (an' no, I don't mean Elvis.)

Jacob Buterbaugh

My writing playlist consists of Slayer, Morbid Angel, Butcher Babies, In This Moment, and Sister Sin. It's great for writing horror. It probably wouldn't be so great if I were writing romantic comedy.

Richard Whiteside


I prefer orchestrated feature music that matches the tone of the scene I'm writing. I prefer orchestrated music because anything with lyrics pulls me out of my creative state.

Jack Bybee

I have done a modicum of research into energy and vibrations; also I have heard repeatedly of the 'Mozart Effect'. I love the violin concertos etc. and the inspiration or, if not inspiration, then the...

Expand comment
Anthony D Paul

I bought the batman begins soundtrack. The music fits well with something I'm writing. Or I might listen to classical or music like Enya. It depends on what I'm writing. If I'm writing a serious scene...

Expand comment
A message I received today

I received this message in my Stage 32 inbox today.  I don't even see a previous message from this person in my inbox.  Maybe I missed it.  Maybe I deleted it accidentally or intentionally.  Maybe there was a tech glitch and I never received it.  My point in posting it anonymously is to invite peopl...

Expand post

Owen Mowatt

I can understand your frustration, Regina, but it isn't really something to dwell on. Imagine if you HAD helped this person. It's likely that at some point their true character would have come out and...

Expand comment
Dan Guardino

Regina. The person that sent you that message should have just asked if you received the previous one and if you had a chance to read it instead of going off the way they did. This is a people busines...

Expand comment
CJ Walley

I'm glad Regina has called this behaviour out. It's totally unacceptable to send industry members unsolicited scripts. It's not only incredibly rude but also, as she has explained, can be legally jeop...

Expand comment
Zlatan Mustafica

Typical emotional response from a person hungry for success but in the process shooting him/herself (although it sounds like a dude) in the foot thereby. Unfortunate response, though. Like you said, R...

Expand comment
Anthony D Paul

Someone wrote something similar to this on the Nicholl Fellowship facebook page on why their script wasn't accepted.

Passage of time

Many thanks for the previous CUT TO: tips. If I may, I would like to pose this one. One of my main characters spends a scene or two cleaning up the attic. During the chore, he discovers so much about the life of another character - he finds family photos, an 8mm film, a wedding dress, etc. He starts...

Expand post

Dan Guardino

Yes. Anytime you change time you need a new scene heading. Example:

INT. ATTIC - DAY
Blah, blah, blah...

INT. ATTIC - LATER
Blah, blah, blah...

Patricia Zell

Here's a little bit of advice: Cut the attic scene(s)--it's wasted time, and it can be logistically/monetarily hard to shoot. Instead, have your main character carry a box (from the attic) to a table...

Expand comment
D Marcus

Ratter than deciding where the editor should place the cuts could you just write what happens. For example: He holds the photo to the light. It is a toddler on a tricycle. He opens a box. It holds a wed ...

Expand comment
Beth Fox Heisinger

Perhaps a montage would work here? Simple. Concise. Easily shows passage of time...

Peter Smith

Thanks so much. Seems there is no ideal way to do this, but your advice is really helping.

Getting Your Mojo Back After a Break

So, I've taken an extended break from all things film making for about 9 months. I know, it was sacrilege. Chalk it up to temporary insanity. During that time, I seemed to lose my inspiration. I'm wondering, what are some ways that you re-invigorate your passion after a lapse like that? What gets yo...

Expand post

Anne Pariseau

Thanks everyone!! I laid low for a little longer and found inspiration here recently in taking on directing a full feature film. Getting active on set reignites me. I forgot that is how I got started...

Expand comment
Jack Bybee

Anne: Just the opposite worked for me. After writing the Journal of Rudd (book) I started slogging through the screenplay. I was exhausted by the book(!) Just burnt out. So... I stopped. I left all hist ...

Expand comment
Anne Pariseau

Thanks Jack, that's a great point as well. Sometimes I just need to rest my mind.

Jack Bybee

Anne... Yes, rest your mind/brain... but also open your mind to receiving the creativity you need (not want). I find going into Nature, meditating, wandering an art museum, a bookstore, or reading a bo...

Expand comment
Doug Nelson

Annie - I know the feeling. I've not written anything for months and now it's time to start up once again - I'm a little overwhelmed right now.

50 Of The Best Screenplays To Read And Download In Every Genre

Here's a mega list of 50 best screenplays to read for aspiring screenwriters. Download these scripts, get reading, and improve your screenwriting: http://www.scriptreaderpro.com/best-screenplays-to-read/...

Expand post

The CUT TO: problem

Hello everyone, I am facing a big "cut to" problem and would really appreciate some opinions. Firstly, should I even use CUT TO at all? This is really contentious and many different opinions seem to exist. Secondly (and if so) where do I position it - to the left or to the right. Thirdly, can I use...

Expand post

Peter Smith

Just a follow on - I wrote a title sequence that has specific cuts between two separate pieces of action in wildly contrasting locations. The final image of one scene and the first image of the next t...

Expand comment
Dan Guardino

Peter it sounds like you are trying to direct the film instead of just telling the story. Let the director control the camera.

Dan MaxXx

Just read produced scripts with similar scene actions to your script and steal/copy how Writers organized the action on page

Peter Smith

Hi Dan, yes perhaps, but I am more concerned with screenplay convention. I realised the problem - which is why I posted in the first place, but I am quite prepared to get rid of every CUT TO if the st...

Expand comment
Dan Guardino

You can't use intercut because you only have one scene. Intercut is only used when you want to switch back and forth between scenes. Private message me if you want me to look at it and maybe I can help.


Introduction of already existing characters

I'm playing with the idea of having characters from other TV shows or movies guest star on my TV show in later episodes -- all the copyright issues aside, how would I introduce them? Can I just put their names in all caps like you usually introduce new characters or should I rather underline them as...

Expand post

Doug Nelson

It's done all the time (last Man Standing has brought in Jay Leno, Boreland and Tim's wife from the Tool Time series) - see if you can find those scripts as examples. I can think of others but they were more spin-offs.

Evie Marie Warner

I don't think you do anything different. Normally, a network airing the episode will hype up the fact that a certain actor will be making a guest appearance. But I don't believe you need to do anything special with the formatting of their character's name.

Dan Guardino

When the first appear on screen in your film you introduce them with ALL CAPS like any other character.

Script Doctors.

What would become of all writers if there were no script doctors? How do we get our material read and corrected and learn about the craft and industry? Thx!

Dan Guardino

They didn't have script doctors years ago and screenwriters still managed to write screenplays. I have never used the services of a script doctor or a script consultant and I only one how to book yet I managed to write screenplays okay.

Robert Franklin

thx guys!

Beth Fox Heisinger

Seems there are different personal definitions and notions to what this phrase means...???? Are you referring to Script Consultants? Writing Instructors? Critics? Readers? Editors? Other screenwriters...

Expand comment
Olaojoyegbe Bolarinwa

I don't use script consultants. I'm not saying that I may not need their service in the future when I have a lot at hands and my writing is compelled by inspiration only and I can't really be in contr...

Expand comment
Pierre Langenegger

The absence of script doctors would have no impact on screenwriters. I think you may have the wrong idea as to what a script doctor is and does. They're not studio readers.

Looking for a Stage Play Script

Hi All, Hope all is going well for everyone. I'm looking for a script for stage, a 2-3 hander.. Does anyone know of web sites like Ink Tip which is for playwrights? Or better still is there anyone here who has a play, 2-3 hander, running time of not much over 1h30m. Something relationship based not too ...

Expand post

James Hutchison

Check out the New Play Exchange: "One place to share your work with the entire new play sector quickly and easily. One platform to make your work discoverable by precisely the right people. One smart...

Expand comment
Olaojoyegbe Bolarinwa

Hello Steel! How are you doing? I want to believe good. I do have a play which is based on relationships (both sexual and societal) and it is a play that's sieved of all irrelevant, but just hammered...

Expand comment
Steel Wallis

Thanks James,, that is exactly what I was looking for,, my google search did not help me.. Much appreciated

register for stage 32 Register / Log In