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

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Alden Tan
To be safe, we should never use real world brand names in our scripts?

Hey guys, I was just wondering about this. Is it an absolute must to never use real world brand names in your script? Because of copyright stuff and... stuff? (Lol. Sorry that's about the only way I can explain it.) So if your movie has people using an online social network, don't say it's Facebook? Da ...

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Dan MaxXx

Dan G is correct. Don't worry, do your job and write. There's always a lawyer waiting, errors & omissions procedures, tons of legal stuff that screws and protects a Writer. Usually people sue the movie production, not the Writer because Writers don't have ownership

Beth Fox Heisinger

Absolutely, YES, you can use trademarked names in writing. Of course! The question really is how to use them. It is perfectly fine to say something in a script, like: The Goodyear Blimp flew overhead....

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Beth Fox Heisinger

Also, consider this: Using real world brand names adds a sense of authenticity and realism to your story. I mean, how many action scripts refer to specific weapons or guns—most of 'em, right? In JUSTI...

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Dan Guardino

Beth. You are right and there are companies that do that sort of thing. If a producer doesn't get clearance they probably won't get insurance of distribution.

C Harris Lynn

There are literally firms and individuals that handle that very thing: Product placement in film (TV/movies, et. al.). They look for lines in your script like, "He grabs a tissue" specifically to turn...

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Doug Nelson
Spec script format

I've seen numerous posts regarding the "correct/proper" spec script format (what I think of as the template). I think most of you new/beginning screenwriters are targeting the US major's market. The digital filmmaking world of today remains fragmented (lets stay away from the technical for now - PAL...

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Linda Hullinger

lol I didn't realize that I had to hit the tab button on Final draft for that to come up. I usually just typed it in myself. I first began writing screenplays with Movie Magic Screenwriter and I belie...

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Dan Guardino

Linda. Maybe his screenplay sucks. lol!

Raymond Negron

Awesome! It's good to be harsh on yourself when writing and move forward or you will never get anything done. Look for credible Story Analysts to read your draft and give feedback. Finish the first dr...

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Linda Hullinger

Dan, LOL!

Dan Guardino

Linda. I am glad I made someone laugh today.

Anne Pariseau
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...

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Wayne Mathias

Hi Anne, it's hard to trace precisely what I did or what happened to me that caused my return to writing after a long interval, as it was a gradual thing, not like throwing a switch. I read books, wat...

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Florica Cimpoies

Alow your self to day dreaming about what you like to do, think, see, make....then it will come to you and it's starts all ower again.

Alden Tan

Watch movies. Write. Watch movies. Write. Read some scripts. Watch more movies. Write.

Dan MaxXx

Ditch writers' forums & online gurus and hangout with filmmakers. All this book theory and watching movies is useless in real world situations, under stress and deadlines. Who knows, maybe you will find an industry job you'd like to do other than being the rockstar Writer/Director.

Dan Guardino

Dan M. I agree. I read a few screenplays to get an idea how they are written and that is about it. I read a half a book when I first started out and read another when I was employed as a Staff Writer....

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Christopher Henry
How dark and why?

A recent post by Dene Stark got me thinking about the ethics in writing and so I wanted to post the question: Is there content that simply should NOT be written about? And why or why not? "13 Reasons Why", Season 7 of "Walking Dead", "Sinister", and other ventures into the most disturbing possible t...

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Dan MaxXx

It's entertainment. If your story, real or fictional, becomes a movie, published book, TV series, the audience will tell you if they like it or not with $$$.

Anthony Cawood

I wrote a short called First Kiss, very dark even by my standards (I'm a Horror fan/writer) and I sat on it for nearly six months before finally making it public. It had a lot of positive feedback fro...

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A. S. Templeton

Oftentimes showing darkness just promotes it. Every time I accidentally view a movie or TV episode addressing squicky issues or depicting evil, immoral behavior, I sincerely hope that 1) the producers...

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Martina Camatta

Good questions. I thought about it in the past. The real question is do you need to push it so hard? And if yes, why? I hate the SAW movies, I find that horror unnecessary. I go to the movies to ident...

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Gabriel Perez

Depends on what people understand as dark. Does dark=reality or it is just gore. Reality will always be worse than fiction. 13 reasons why shows bullying and how it can evolve. That is not taking too...

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Manoj Shinde
Just finished on Marathi script

Hi everyone, just finished one Marathi script and would love to discuss the same.

Tao Ryan Moua
The movie CRASH

Okay, I understand this lounge is only for discussions on screenwriting, but you can't talk about screenwriting without taking about structure, characters and dialogue. So I don't think I'm trailing off too far here. Please, keep it objective. CRASH is one of the best structured stories that is rank ...

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Dan MaxXx

I wouldn't know a good v. great script and I doubt many folks can either from reading since a script is just a blueprint to a movie. So many other factors come in play- from directing, casting, acting...

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How do you know if one of your concepts/ ideas is a series or a feature film?

I've been really curious about this and wondered if any other screenwriter has gone through the same thing. Lets say you came up with an idea and you see it as a feature film. You get feedback and start making improvements day by day. After some time you realize that you see your concept as a series...

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Craig D Griffiths

TV has two version, the Fargo, American Horror Story model were each year is a contained story. These are like in the case of Fargo sometimes based on films. The difference between TV and Film concept...

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Dan Guardino

Some stories are more suited for film. Some are more suited for a television series. Some are suited for both. I have some that aren't suited for anything. lol!

A. S. Templeton

We all know of series that turned cr@ppy before they were retired. Sometimes showrunners depart in a huff, or stars. Last two seasons of classic Doctor Who were considered pretty bad. Took ten years to find its mojo again.

Alden Tan

Personally, as someone who's learning and yet strongly believe that art is feeling, it's just something you feel. If you want it to be a feature and you can visualize it as such, then it is just that.

Claude Gagne

I'll agree with Kyle. A lot of hard work and time consuming. I would suggest, what type of life you want to live? If you want to live a stressed out life, where you need to revise your episodes on sho...

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Alden Tan
Telling VS Showing

Hey all, I had some feedback on my script that I should 'show' more than 'tell.' To my knowledge, I 'tell' way too much, to show that a character is a rough, bad boy type, I write, "He's the rough bad boy type. His friends know him as that." Instead of showing: "He lights up a cig in front of the girl ...

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Beth Fox Heisinger

Well, "show, don't tell," a commonly used phrase, typically means to use action to convey characters or information instead of straight-up "telling" your reader, or using a lot of dialogue (talking he...

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Dan Guardino

Authors tell their stories and we show are stories. Movies are moving action so you want to tell as much as you can through action instead of just having your characters just tell us the story. The ex...

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Alden Tan

Thanks guys!
My friend who checked it out for me does more plays and some directing of shorts, so I think to him showing is more important.
Definitely liking the comments here, especially how it's all about subjective.

Craig D Griffiths

Film started as silent. Think if you could do a thing visually. It is ultimately better to show someone acting in a loving way to someone, a hug, touching their hand as pass, a loving stare, then have them say "I love you".

Claude Gagne

If I had to show everything in my scripts, it would be as long as "Gone with the Wind." Craig has a great point. A word, an expression, action, etc... can show a hell-of-a-lot.

Dene Stark
13 reasons why

I recently watched a show called "13 Reasons why". It was recommended to me by a friend, by now almost everyone has heard of it and has watched it. It is the highest rated show on Netflix and has blown everyone away. The characters are brilliantly written, the story flips from past to present effort...

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Craig D Griffiths

Dan G, I have a script which happens nearly entirely on mobile phones. It has INTERCUT and VO all over the place. But the age of the characters live on their phones.

Dene Stark

Beth - As someone who has been at that place of emptiness and hopelessness I could understand exactly why she did it and thought she had no other option. Your parents are the last people you go to for...

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Christopher Henry

I kinda felt like it was a brilliant way to introduce an issue to an audience that mostly has no personal experience of the subject matter. There was a little bit of "hand holding" but it seemed neces...

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Dan Guardino

Craig. Like most people I use INTERCUT to go back and forth between .

Beth Fox Heisinger

Dene, so sorry to hear of your experience. Respectfully, my comments are only in regards to the context of the series. What they presented. And Hannah, the character, was thinking very rationally to c...

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[QUESTION] Has anyone purchased an Academic Version of Final Draft for someone else?

Does the academic version have to be registered to the name/e-mail of the student/teacher? I can save someone $120 using my validation link. But I'm sure this person isn't going to want my name/e-mail attached to it.

Thanks.

Beth Fox Heisinger

No. One must provide academic status verification for oneself. FD has a list of ways to qualify: valid student ID scan, class schedule, registration receipt, letter of enrollment, etc. And, sorry, it'...

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A. S. Templeton

Sadly, The Golden Rule holds little sway over thieves. There's one in every crowd. Every new security feature & verification step added to deter thievery only drives up the cost of software for everyb...

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Erica Benedikty

So you want to use pirated software to write your script? I'm guessing after you've put in all that hard work writing the script, you want to be paid? Or will it be okay for someone to just copy paste...

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Dan Guardino

Erica. That is not pirate software because the software is legit. It is the person stealing it that isn't legit.

A. S. Templeton

Dan, obviously the verb to pirate refers to a person, not to a thing.

Who are you writing for? Who is your audience?

Are you spending too much time writing and too little time trying to sell a screenplay or get a writing job? One of my pals in LA just told me I need to spend more time selling.

How are you branding yourself? Not with a hot iron I hope. What say you? Who are you writing for?

Dan Guardino

Bill. I wouldn’t know but maybe pitching is an art and a science, however it is not sales because even if they say "send me the script" you aren’t selling them anything. All you are doing is trying to...

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Craig D Griffiths

And if we go back to Phil's original question " how are you branding yourself?". Well brand is definitely different to selling. Brand is what people think when they hear your name. Great horror writer...

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Dan Guardino

I never considered branding myself, in fact I don't even have any tattoos.

C Harris Lynn

I eschew online branding of human beings as commodifying life. Also, I write sit-com and am available for staffing! ;)

Phillip E. Hardy

Dan G:
No tattoos for me either. But if I get, I think it'll say writer for hire. Or I consider a picture of William Goldman, but I don't think anybody would recognize it.