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

Michael L. Burris
Sorry for playing.

In reality all of fantasy drive I'm sorry if my playing seems in any way such.

I'm just a snarky old man.

I mean after all the reality of fantasy is living that dream... right?

A dream should never have bitter reeking upon seeking but just a truly downtrodden failure to success ratio factor until... t...

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Stephen Floyd

Questions and discourse.

Have they lost their meaning? No.

Save it for your blog.

Liked by Erick Jimenez and 5 others

Andrea Celis
Script Consultation

So, I´m an amateur when it comes to screenwriting. I am also nineteen years old and barely just starting writing my firsts scripts. I obviosuly cannot afford to pay a script consultant but I need to find a way to know if I´m making progress or if I´m any good at this, for that matter.

I showed my scr...

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Dan MaxXx

Sam Borowski Sam is right. Can't do the big Hollywood stuff without doing the small stuff first - shorts, indie features, local stage plays - the small jobs that build experience. Very few folks jump...

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Sam Borowski

Dan, Absolutely correct. In fact it was my cousin, Danny Aiello, the Oscar-Nominated actor, who convinced me to do a short years ago. I wouldn't listen. Then, finally, I relented, and the short played...

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Staton Rabin

I'm a screenwriter and also a longtime freelance story analyst. If you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay, and can't afford the services of a qualified script analyst, many screenwritin...

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Eric WC Harmon

I totally understand wanting to hear someone validate what you’re working on. Especially if you tend to be inherently good at things, it can be frustrating in something like screen writing where anyon...

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Patrick Peter

Hi Andrea, screenwriting is fun. When I say is fun, I mean it gives you free room to create what you feel. But before you begin writing, I advice you to learn the rules, first thing. Sharing with you...

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Brent Beebe
Screenplay formats

I'm sure this has been answered a million times before, but could anyone point me to an article or someplace where not only lists technical format but the proper style when it comes to description.

I'm from the old school, so I want to see how much has changed.

Brent Beebe

Oh, and thanks to Dan M. Great article.

Pamela Bolinder

Thanks, Dan G!

Dan Guardino

Brent. Glad you found it helpful.

Michael L. Burris

Per section... Perfection... Giving enough to never be assumed but knowing direction.

Kay Luke
Opinions, please.

This is not a spec. It’s a production Script, so it’s somewhat flexible.

The film opens on a TV Commercial already in progress. The question is how best to format this and keep it simple and crystal clear. Which one works best:

1

A TV COMMERCIAL ALREADY IN PROGRESS

FADE IN:

INT. BALLROOM

Elegant....

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Jeff Caldwell

I personally think 2 is the most clear.

Michael L. Burris

OPENING/HEADLINE... Make me wonder.

CUT TO:

AN ELEGANCE (OF WHAT?)

INT. BALLROOM MORE FANTASTIC THAN

E.G.

FADE TO:

Your point hopefully in some parallel thought of usefulness of elegance.

IDK. Just a dummy here.

Craig D Griffiths

I am unsure what I am seeing.

Am I seeing a TV with the commercial? Am just a little unsure.

Not sure if my confusion helps.

Nathan Smith

I agree that it's unclear. Is the commercial playing on a TV in the ballroom or is the ballroom part of the commercial? If you're starting with a commercial, I'd write it out like a normal scene than transition into the room with the TV it's playing on.

Liked by Patrick Peter and 7 others

Paul Zeidman
Same destination, different route

A writer may know what they want to happen in their script, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. The characters might unexpectedly guide you in a different direction, or maybe you realize what the story really needs is to take a sharp turn off to the side, or you decide that this is the perfe...

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David Downes

Paul Zeidman "WRITE IT DOWN. IMMEDIATELY." - You are so right! Burned me more than once.

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

I actually do the opposite. I don't write it down immediately. I wait, I think on it, and if I remember it I treat it as an idea that I genuinely am excited about, and if I forget about it I don't fee...

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Michael L. Burris

I once threw out so many parallel lines my story forgot to curve. It was total anarchy and all I relly wanted was an archy.

Liked by Michael L. Burris and 2 others

Eric WC Harmon
Remember that period of time right after you completed the very first draft of your very first screenplay and regardless of what everyone says, deep down you KNOW this ticket to the big time?

It sure was fun being that naive lol I just came across one of my first screenplays from high school. In all honesty reading it now; I see that it was 104 pages of doo-doo but at the time, I was sure I’d be yacht shopping within the year. It is kinda fun looking back at early work though!

Bill Costantini

Sam: Two shows a night! LOL.

Hope the work on your upcoming film The Pitch Fork is going well, Sam - I look forward to seeing it, and best fortunes with all of your other projects, too!

Peter Roach

Bill, I booked you at the Pechanga Resort & Casino, Oct 8-12.

Patricia Zell

Here's a story for you: About 20 years ago, I wrote the first 15 pages of a screenplay (using primitive screenwriting software) called "Love's Fire." I sent it plus a synopsis of the rest of the story...

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Sam Borowski

Patricia, Very inspiring. I personally have produced 18 films and directed seven of them, so please allow me to offer you some advice: Seek an experienced producer to help you on your journey. And, yo...

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Dan Guardino

I sent my first screenplay to John Travolta's Agent who passed it on to his manager/producer. It was piece of crap but I guess they liked the story and they tied it up for about a year. I have another...

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Michael L. Burris
Perceptions

What is true perception of ant-sexism like?

Those powers that be perhaps sometimes see an unfortunate fit to what is brought to a table. Why?

Because innately and with beautiful instinct I believe creative men and women think different. To not let go of or fire someone based on sex or even at times d...

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Eric WC Harmon
How long do you spend on a first draft?

I’ve never tried to speed my way through my pre writing for early drafts. Truth be told, my pre writing and outline could probably stand to be streamlined. But once I start writing, I know my story, so my first draft—while still needing work—never has to go through any extensive rewrites. All in all...

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Craig D Griffiths

It truly depends.

I have been working on “Bad Love” for 10 days. Another 10 and it should be done.

“Guilty Man, Innocent Mind” has been with me for a decade. I don’t want to work on it till I am a better writer.

Kay Luke

It totally depends.

But if there's money on the table, as fast as you want it finished.

Tony Ray

As little time as possible. Just get the story down and written for the first draft, worry about nothing else. It's the second draft, and all the other ones after it, that you need to take your time with.

Just my opinion.

Dan MaxXx

Two months or so. But I gotta increase my pages, treat writing as a PT job. Agents always want new material. Gotta keep pumping new pages, first drafts, polishes all the same time. Or else Agents drop you.

Liked by Jack Binder and 5 others

Kathryn Wasson
Top sites that get attention

Hello everyone! I have my pilot posted to several sites and pay for them. Just curious if anyone has had success on certain sites, and which ones to steer clear of. I have some attention on my pilot and really want to move forward! Any and all suggestions are appreciated!!!

Craig D Griffiths

I get the Inktip leads once a week. I am beginning to see “if you have pitched us before don’t resend”. I am think they are not getting as many producers using their service as it did before.

Kathryn Wasson

Thanks for all the info, just signed up on script revolution... is it worth it to donate for additional info?

Bill Albert

So Script Revolution and Ink Tip are places to check out?

Louis Tété

Slated is useful, i heard some success stories from partners. You should check it out Kathryn Wasson

Richard Buzzell

I sold my feature script, "Robot Love" through Script Revolution, so I would definitely vouch for it as a worthwhile place to list your scripts.

Krista Crawford
Synopsis feedback

I just updated my feature synopsis on my page. Would love to get some feedback if anyone is willing! It's on my page and the title is "Oh Deer."

Evan Dwyer
Alternate Endings in a TV Pilot

Hey all,

I just put the finishing touches on a TV Pilot after receiving some positive coverage here on Stage32.

As a result, I have two endings that could definitely work.

With a few minor changes to the final two pages of the pilot, the story can take a unique twist and go in an entirely different dir...

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Dan MaxXx

Okay, so you have an ALT ending, but what is your endgame? Do you want a staff job, be a creator for network TV, impress REPS with your writing?

Personally, I haven't read any spec tv Pilots with ALT...

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Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi, Evan. Perhaps ask Jason Mirch, Director of Script Services at Stage 32, he has years of experience as a former Head of feature and television development. j.mirch@stage32.com. ;)

Brian Shell

Use your best "buzzworthy" epic ending... to get your foot in the door first.

Keep the other one in your back pocket to pitch if needed.

In these days of transmedia spin-offs, ya might use it.

Get in the room. The other may be sequel potential.

Brian Shell

OR... write in the structure of Run Lola Run and/or Butterfly Effect

Derek Reid

An included Alt Ending sort of comes across as "BUT IF YOU DON'T LIKE THAT..." to me personally.

Rutger Oosterhoff
Screenplay Schindlers List

Schindlers List is one of the best films ever made. The screenplay is also considered one of the best screenplays ever. Why then is it ?cluttered? with the "ING" form? All reactions are welcome, except any form of "these writers can do whatever they want"...

Bill Costantini

A couple side facts on "Schindler's List" that I have mentioned before:

1. It took like 20 years to make it to screen (have faith, patient screenwriters!)

2. Spielberg didn't think he was "mature enough...

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Rachel Walker

Nice Bill! YOU too! :-)

Rachel Walker

PS and not "nice" the grief and inhumane suffering shared by brilliant peoples for which I am grateful that movies such as Schindler's List are made to affect us on-going for without truth exposed how do we see....

Phil Parker

John August's advice is spot on. Use the grammar that best suits the moment. Avoiding 'ING' is just another stupid 'rule' that should be tossed on to the growing heap of stupid screenwriting rules out there.

Craig D Griffiths

Well said Phil Parker. My rule is if we encounter Someone doing something they are “ing”.

We could rewrite the sentence to remove the “ing” but that isn’t how people communicate.

Shhh she’s sleeping ver...

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