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

Liked by William Rivera-Bradley and 5 others

Stevan Šerban
Swim with sharks.

Do aspiring screenwriters need to write much better than professionals, and why?

Whitney L

CJ-That's a very eloquent and honest post about the realities of this business. Your honesty and insight are very much appreciated. It's rare to have this type of honesty. There's definitely an entire...

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CJ Walley

Thanks for those kind comments, Whitney.

Pitching will always be subject to the relative status between the person pitching and the person being pitched to. The good news is, there's plenty of industr...

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Stevan Šerban

There are many ways to choose to break into the industry. HAPPY CIRCUMSTANCES seem to be the most important factor in the end?

Stephen Floyd

What you see as happy circumstance is actually hard work and determination. And yes, those are the most important factors.

Adam Rolfson

Hey CJ, I think some, maybe even myself to a degree, are afraid that if our voice offends the wrong group our careers will end before they begin. There is some sensitivity needs to ensure we don’t alienate our audience or the person we’re trying to sell the treatment to.

Liked by Jim Boston and 6 others

Matthew Barker
Thank you!

I've been very lucky over the past few months to have some fellow Stage32-ers give me generous, constructive feedback on my work. While not naming names, I have this past week received some very generous feedback from someone in this forum. They went through my script with a fine tooth comb and gave...

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Jim Boston

Matthew, thank YOU for being part of Stage 32.

You help make Stage 32 better...and all the VERY BEST to you!

Liked by John Ellis and one other

DC Harrison
Group Character Introduction?

EXT. LAKESIDE CAMPSITE - NIGHT

The sounds of nature give way to muffled voices. Fo...

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Dan Guardino

Like Julia I like to describe them when they're doing something. Plus character descriptions are the one place where it is okay to describe something we can't see on screen. Example would be DANA, 22, stunningly beautiful and equally mischievous downs the last of her tequila.

Tasha Lewis

First line is OK. Provide description of each in the same paragraph. This will begin to make the audience find the characters more relatable.

Christine Capone

Also just to comment on the first line. Give us a feel for the scene. "Sounds of nature". Go into more detail. A coyote howls. An owl...etc. Day sounds versus night sounds are different. Anyway, just a thought.

Ally Shina

I think it's lacking... it's all good and well to describe the setting but if any one of the four women in the main character is the story, your intro makes her an unidentifiable ghost. In fact it does that to all four of the women. Even the smallest description would go a long way...

Dan MaxXx

Read scripts and study introductions, especially first page.

Here is Queen & Slim. The writer creates world building by first sentence.

Angela Anjii Bryers
Avoiding writing 'Too much information'

Hi, quick question for you. I'm writing a screenplay with a lot more action than dialogue. My logic tells me that flexibility for production budget leans toward writing the basis of action and set, without providing way too much information about the set or action.

Friends (laymen) who have read the...

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Dan MaxXx

There's no way your 60 pages will equal 90 minutes of screen time if you haven't made a feature film before - go through development, on-set production, post-production.

Some of the best sparse dialogu...

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CJ Walley

At 60pp, it's less going to whet the average industry member's appetite and more likely going to cause them to baulk a little. Don't beef it out. Add more entertainment.

Stephen Floyd

Your intuition is incorrect, though not uncommon. By excluding detailed information you create more work for the departments that would bring those action scenes to life. It’s like telling a waiter yo...

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Tasha Lewis

Checklist are available on almost every topic checklist.com .

Liked by Jim Boston and 2 others

Steven Michael
Voted a Semi-Finalist

Had to pick myself up off the floor when I found out my second script, OUR BETTER ANGELS, made the semi-finals of the Shoot Your Sizzle competition. There are 100 semi-finalists, so I'm not that hyper about it.

I joked with my wife that the total number of entries must have been 102.

Ally Shina

102, funny guy. Congrats.

Joshua Quartermaine
What to do next

Hello guys. I have been wondering something for a while and I was wondering how to get my name out there with my screenplays. I know Disney and the like usually do thing like that in-house, but I still want to land a job regardless. I realize that in the place I am in, I can not spread my wings as m...

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Craig D Griffiths

Josh, the default position for most people is stuck. I am a writer of spec scripts. I focus on low budget stories as they are easier to sell. If I want a career my specs would be sent to a different m...

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Dan MaxXx

Ava Durvenay has a famous SWSX keynote speech about removing the “desperation coat.”

Chris McQuarrie is a Hollywood filmmaker and he gives advice all the time about the business.

https://nofilmschool....

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Stephen Floyd

Like Dan said. Find local filmmakers and work with them on whatever they need help with. Disney uses in-house writers not just for the convenience, but because there’s a relationship and a rapport there. Build reputation and rapport by being someone fellow filmmakers can depend on.

Tasha Lewis

Watch a program called "Made In Hollywood."

Craig D Griffiths
Group opinion please.

I have a script set in an alternate universe. There are phones in this universe.

In Australia we call them “Mobile Phones”, in the USA I think they are referred as “Cell Phones”.

In my universe they are called “Walk Arounds”. I also refer to them as Walk Arounds in the action as well. No where in the...

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Beth Fox Heisinger

As long as it is clear and consistent seems fine, but do not capitalize. We do not capitalize "mobile phone" or "cell phone"—these are general terms, not proper nouns. If in your script's alternate un...

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Craig D Griffiths

The world is desolate steam punkish. Stephen Floyd The phones are throughout the story. They are an item of desire and status.

Jeff Caldwell I think I have made it clear. I hope anyway. I was hoping th...

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CJ Walley

It's fine, Craig.

Rutger Oosterhoff

I would call it my mobile phone my "precious".

The dialog could be something like this:

"Where's your "precious"?... Where is she?" "Do you mean my girlfriend?" "No, I mean your mobile phone! You idio...

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Tasha Lewis

Appropriate parallel since people communicate while walking.

Geoff Wise
New concept, same premise

Hi, does anyone have success re-working a concept for a production company that liked the premise, gave helpful notes, but ultimately said No to the script with concept #1? It's a sci-fi feature with a premise that lends itself to many different possible thematic directions. My plan is to send them...

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Craig D Griffiths

I didn’t think it was great. I have tried to hunt down one of Vince’s drafts. Apparently they are available.

Dan MaxXx

VG was hired to rewrite Hancock aka Tonight, He Comes, an original spec by Vy Vincent Ngo.

Craig D Griffiths

Dan MaxXx yep. Like he said, it was good money, but could make anything they wanted.

If anyone has a link, please add it to the thread.

Geoff Wise

Thanks Craig. I know the premise is gold, so I'll continue to hang alt concepts on it until one sticks.

Craig D Griffiths

Geoff Wise it is like the writing version of CPR, it only officially dead when we stop.

Alex Bloom
Download this year's Oscar-nominated Screenplays

The Oscar nominations for best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay 2020 have been announced!

Reading screenplays is a great way to improve your writing style, dialogue, scenes and much more. With that in mind, here are the ten Oscar-nominated scripts that you can download and read right a...

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Download the Best Original Screenplays for the 2020 Oscars
Download the Best Original Screenplays for the 2020 Oscars
The Oscar nominations for best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay 2020 have been announced! Reading screenplays is a great way to improve your writing style, dialogue, scenes and much mor…
Pat Savage

Thanks going to look through them!!

Dan MaxXx

Los Angeles, Monday, 27th. Goldsmith is hosting a free Q & A with an All-Star roster.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/attend-the-12th-annual-screenwriting-nomine......

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Michael L. Burris

Sharing knowing understanding where to read is great.

Dillon Horner
Plays vs. Films

I love good writing and am curious about how successful plays like 'August: Osage County', 'Fences' or  'A Few Good Men' can work in both formats?

What is the difference in the writing? Things to remember when writing a play and not a script? 

Damian Lloyd

You might be interested in Ken Levine's blog: http://kenlevine.blogspot.com. He was a writer for "MAS*H", "Cheers", "Frasier", and other shows and now writes stage plays. He writes amusingly about man...

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Dan MaxXx

WGA writer-friends came up from theater world and they said stage pays worse than filmmaking. But the writer is King. Theater respects words on the page.

Craig D Griffiths

The container. A stage contains the story. No cuts to feet approaching the door for 1 second than back to the scene.

Scene changes are so hard you must get as much mileage as you can out of a set befor...

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T.L. Davis

The one and only play I ever had produced was called Chosen Realities about a twisted love triangle. Four total actors, a split set, lots of dialog. Dan MaxXx when I first saw it on stage, I was impre...

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Craig D Griffiths
Other channel for your story.

Hi All,

This is what I am planning to do. I am wondering if anyone has tried something similar?

As storyteller/screenwriters we have more than one story in us. So I am not concerned about any particular story escaping into the public. I started writing a novel a few years back and never finished it. I...

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Craig D Griffiths

T.L. Davis I have about 200 pages written and only a few chapters to finish. But I am just not a novelist (I am honest with myself). It is like writing 5 features, but not as much fun or reward.

I am g...

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Michael Cantrell

I’m in the same boat. I have been trying to write a novel for two years but I absolutely hate it. I can’t seem to nail prose writing. At the same time, I’d like to reach a wider audience and have peop...

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Michael L. Burris

Who hasn't at this point.

Good luck.

So hard to get noticed in a noisy world.

Kiril Maksimoski

Craig D Griffiths , ever heard of Lesscenarios?

Screenplay is generally not such material, but as all written work it can be published...Milcho Manchevsk...

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Craig D Griffiths

The reasons for the podcast for me:

1) I have done hundreds in the past. I had 125 of “Making Business and Sales Work”, I was a regular on “The Bunker Project” out of Canada as well as a guest spots on...

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Elbron James Eramia
Hybrid-genre movies

Does anyone have additional tips tips for writing Hybrids such as LOGAN?

https://industrialscripts.com/genre-hybrid/

OPINION: The Key to a Great Genre Hybrid | Industrial Scripts®
OPINION: The Key to a Great Genre Hybrid | Industrial Scripts®
A genre hybrid, a cross between two or more genres, can be a boon. It's giving the audience something familiar, tapping into genre conventions, but also fresh. However, it can also confuse audiences (…
CJ Walley

Feels to me that the journo has simply invented the term Genre Hybrid. Surely there's nothing that applies here that wouldn't apply anywhere else. To be frank, your voice will always break through genre which is why it's wise not to get hung up on where you fit.

Stephen Floyd

Guillermo del Toro says he doesn’t tell ghost stories; rather stories that happen to be about ghosts. Just like CJ noted, our writing needs to transcend genre, hybrid or otherwise. But if you’ve just...

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Dan MaxXx

it's a made-up word, Hybrid, like "Script Guru".

We got filmmakers like Bong Joon-Ho and Scorsese who have been crossing genres forever.

Beth Fox Heisinger

This article is an opinion piece, note "opinion" is in the title. Genre/sub-genre is how we categorize work that shares similar elements into various groups. It's also how audiences decipher what a fi...

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Craig D Griffiths

I think there is a difference between a Hybrid and Influenced. His firefly reference is wrong I believe. When tech on many planets has collapsed people go back to early tech. Since they went back to a...

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