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 Jurij Fedorov

Robert J. Verlander
Using 'Beat' in a spec script

Spec scripts have to be a an easy read and visually tell your story, so my question is. If there is a dramatic silence after one character stops speaking and another starts. What is the accepted convention?

Dan Guardino

It should not be confusing. Since nobody is paying anyone to write a spec screenplay they can do whatever their little hearts desire. I just happen to hate beats in my screenplays I never use them.

Robert J. Verlander

I stopped using 'Beat' sometime ago. I now use.DANNYBut you said...LISA...What if I did?I know it's supposed to be a trail off but it works for me when I want to emphasise that silent pause....

Expand comment
Elisabeth Meier

I first read this 'Beat.' in the script of Whiplash by Damien Chazelle who also is the author and director of LaLaLand where you found it. Then, he directs his own scripts what explains why nobody wou...

Expand comment
Joleene Moody

Like so many other elements in a script, it's preference. I've been told not to use it, and to allow the actor do decide...and I've been told to use it if I feel it's needed.(beat)I use it. :)...

Expand comment
Jurij Fedorov

Actors may have the choice to decide if they will say a line in this or that way. But when I use the ... it's just as much to illustrate that the script is a bit longer here. You can write a 10 page s...

Expand comment

Liked by Erik Jacobsen

How do you promote/ market your scripts?

I just finished a rough draft of a script called let me out and I don't know how to promote it. I did the middle and end today and tomorrow I can hopefully finish the rest.

Pamela Bolinder

Erik, excellent article by Ray Morton. Thank you.

Emily Ann Jefferson

Lol I've written it over like four times already.

John Iannucci

If you read my post - I was against coverage because of the scammers out there (not all but some) but I recently broke down and got some. (It was my original script and had gotten some gecognition - i...

Expand comment
Peter Roach

The Universe knows that first drafts are not yet ready. But I have another strategy. I will pay for a early review about Version 2/3. I EXPECT to get criticized. I then note EVERY criticism, pull it up in another window and rewrite according to the listed critiques.

Danny Manus

dont promote anything until it is truly ready. usually around the 8th draft.

Liked by Harri-Pekka Virkki and 4 others

Phillip "The Man Who Can'" Hardy
Are you afraid someone's going to steal your idea?

Over the past few years, I've had a number  of people say "I have the killer idea for a screenplay. Would you be interested in writing it?" To which I politely answer great ideas are a dime a dozen. It's not the idea that matters, it's the execution of the idea. And in screenwriting that means craft...

Expand post

Gustavo Freitas

LOL. Thanks, Pam!

Jurij Fedorov

I think it's as likely as getting hit by lighting. So no, I'm not afraid of this. On the other hand I would love for this to happen. Imagine that some idea you didn't do anything with is turned into a Blockbuster. Bragging rights for life right there.

Dan Guardino

You can't steal ideas because they are free for the taking.

David E. Gates

I had a great idea for a movie... Then, five years later saw "Jumper" and thought, beggar, that's MY movie! LOL.

Elisabeth Meier

I agree to Dan Guardino and I wonder if you guys also find yourself working on an innovative idea and then, being one of the first to watch the latest movie in cinema, you are there just to figure out...

Expand comment

Liked by Pat Savage and one other

Steven Harris Anzelowitz
Why are you a screenwriter?

We all have our reasons. What's yours? On your marks. Get set. SHARE!!!!

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Natalie- Through sharing our experiences we not only become better writers but better people.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Fiona-Grateful you got hooked.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Peter - "I'm sorry Sir, did not catch your name, Roach, Peter Roach".

Phillip "The Man Who Can'" Hardy

I guy came to me in 2012 and asked me to write a book. I said "No" and wrote a teleplay instead. And, the rest my friend is history.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Phillip- That is so cool!!

Taylor Nanea
Looking for Screenplay editor

Hi Everyone, I'm looking for a editor. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Dhritiman Kakoty

I am looking for experience and exposure. Can I help?

Dan Guardino

Dhritiman Kakoty. What do you mean you are looking for experience and exposure? Do you charge or are you just looking for some experience?

Dhritiman Kakoty

If the employee can then I will charge but otherwise if the gig is a learning opportunity then I will work for credit

Pierre Langenegger

Hi Taylor, if you're still looking, I'm a proofreader/editor and I'd be happy to discuss this with you. I've sent you an invitation to connect.

Liked by Erik Jacobsen and one other

Callum McKay
Writing Peeves

Hi all, so last night my sister was watching a film that I won't mention the title of here, but it got me thinking of things that are included in stories that really bug me, and was wondering what are people's biggest peeves in scripts or stories? So for example my biggest peeves are stories that in...

Expand post

A. S. Templeton

For peeves: on-the-nose dialogue & exposition bombs.

Erik Jacobsen

Get Rid of On-the-Nose Dialogue Once and For All - https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/on-the-nose-dialogue/

Jurij Fedorov

Characters needing to be good to seek redemption. The most overdone storyline ever and more often than not it just ends up being cliche and boring because the writer doesn't really understand any of t...

Expand comment
A. S. Templeton

Perfect examples of on-the-nose dialogue and blatant expo, utterly free of subtext and done on purpose with dry British wit, may be found in the recurring "Control and Tony" sketches in the BBC comedy series A Bit of Fry and Laurie, season one, at least.

A. S. Templeton

Biggest peeve: swearing. In the Blonde Ambition script, SmartEdit Pro found 134 instances of language many find objectionable, including f!ck, sh!t, f!cking, d!ck, b!tchy, b!tch, p!ssed, f!cked, sh!tty, h@rd on, a$$, t!ts, b!tches, h3ll, m0therf!cking, tw@t, d@mn.

Phillip "The Man Who Can'" Hardy
Blonde Ambition by Elyse Hollander. Methinks tis good writing.

The Script Shadow has just reviewed “Blonde Ambition” by Elyse Hollander, a young screenwriter who secured the number one position for her biopic screenplay on the 2016 Blacklist. Here’s an excerpt from Deadline Hollywood that addresses this subject: Elyse Hollander’s Madonna biopic Blond Ambition...

Expand post

Screenplay Review - Blonde Ambition (#1 Black List Script!)
Screenplay Review - Blonde Ambition (#1 Black List Script!)
Genre: Biopic Premise: Set in New York in the 80s, Blonde Ambition tells the story of how Madonna hustled her way to stardom. About: Today we have the NUMBER ONE script of the 2016 Black List. The pro…
Eric Christopherson

Another thing the manager told me was you have to promote a script to get it onto the Black List, beg for votes from peers, in other words. So "most liked" is a tad misleading. "Most flogged" might be better.

Dan MaxXx

Eric Christopherson From what I see, Hollander is winning. She has a studio deal and is a WGA member. Name the manager who told you her script sucks. Isn’t that a rep’s job to hustle for clients, earn...

Expand comment
Eric Christopherson

Well I can't name the manager, Dan, because I was told what I was told in confidence. I'm not trying to knock the Black List or what managers and agents do, just recognizing the political factor in ho...

Expand comment
A. S. Templeton

With such filthy language (66+ f!cks alone), methinks Blonde Ambition would be yet another movie I'd so look forward to not seeing. Maybe throwing in a couple dozen f!cks is what it takes to get somet...

Expand comment
Erik Jacobsen

My fck counter must be off. I got 69, which seemed appropriate.

Liked by Erik Jacobsen and 2 others

Jared Moses
Making a living...

What are some other ways a screenwriter can make a living as a screenwriter? (Besides breaking into Hollywood)

Gustavo Freitas

Dan Guardino, why have I not think of it before? LOL. This is actually a good logline: After failing in breaking into Hollywood, a frustrated screenwriter start to write ransom notes to pay his mortgage.

Erik Jacobsen

Kidnappers text from burner cells these days, but food menu writers are always in demand. The majority of restaurants fail and I'll bet it has something to do with how the food is represented on the menu.

Aray Brown

Freelancing

Joshua Katz

I have three actual answers: writing copy for commercials, writing coverage for other writers, and teaching screenwriting to others.

Erik Jacobsen

"The only way a screenwriter can make a living is as a "screenwriter". All other drudgeries are merely attempts to save one's self from dying destitute." - John Wilkes Booth ("Dr.Tooth" - Dentist in Beverly Hills.)

Liked by Chad Stroman

Bill Albert
How do you write?

How do you write? How does the process work for you? I've noticed, over the years, that 99% of the time I come up with the very last scene first. I'll know exactly how it's going to end. Then start writing and aiming to, basically, do the back story that leads up to that moment. Rarely does it ever ever change in the story. Anyone?

Dan Guardino

I use Save the Cat beat sheet as just a guide and start writing.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi Bill. For me, I often work backward. Like you, I always know the ending first. Then I build the script/action from that ending. ;)

Dan MaxXx

every ten pages have a big whammy moment.

Natalie Farst

I usually start with the ending as well, but then piece it together. Different sections come through as I am writing and I add or delete as I put the project together.

Jurij Fedorov

I start with the concept. I kinda think that's what people mean when they say that they start with an ending. I don't start with half of the people dead. I start with the concept and the conflict. The...

Expand comment

Liked by Harri-Pekka Virkki and 2 others

Steven Harris Anzelowitz
Which GENRE is best for your screenwriting?

There is a saying: "Write what you know" Some of us are more passionate about one particular GENRE than others. Of course among the "HAPPY WRITERS" there are talents that can spin great narratives in multiple GENRES. So what works best for you in 90-120 pages of complex characters, plot twists, and amazing stories? On your marks. Get set. SHARE!!

Morley Shulman

As a former standup comedian, I definitely gravitate towards comedy. However, my first screenplay, turned out to be a dramedy. The characters decided that's the way it was going to be and who was I to argue? ;)

Fiona Faith Ross

I've experimented with different genres. Family films and Supernatural Thriller/Horror seem to suit my skills best, so that's Fantasy, if you like, the dark and the light side. I like exploring the me...

Expand comment
Laura Scheiner

I think of all the genres, comedy is the one that the fewest amount of people can write well - because you have to not be able to write a good screenplay and tell a good story you also need to be funn...

Expand comment
John Iannucci

I agree Laura but a think the problem from most of the bad comedy scripts I've read is the comedy must also follow who you are. For example - I have a very dry sarcastic humor taste. As I result my be...

Expand comment
Mike L Edwards

I write awesome comedy. You must have a great concept and a title that attracts the people. Hence KUNG FU CONGRESSMAN tells the story in the title. It won First Place at WIND INTERNATIONAL

Liked by Derek Reid and 3 others

Phillip "The Man Who Can'" Hardy
Nightcrawler Screenplay: Overrated or a great piece of writing?

I’ve talked shop with several screenwriters who say not only is Nightcrawler one of their favorite films, but it’s also one of their favorite screenplays. I’ve attached a link here for screenwriting forum dwellers to check out this Dan Gilroy script. Read the first five to ten pages and see if you n...

Expand post

Kevin Carothers

Dark as 20,000 mile 10W-40 motor oil.

Eric Christopherson

Excellent script, but it always takes me some time to get into the unusual formatting style when I read Gilroy, sort of like reading Shakespeare takes some time to get into. The most interesting thing...

Expand comment
Beth Fox Heisinger

Read the script if/when you have the time. It is truly unique, a great example of stylistic writing. ;)

Derek Reid

Eric Christopherson I sort of envisioned the main character as a stand-in/totem for the worst of the media-industry practices... and since they haven't changed neither has he. Don't know if that was t...

Expand comment
Dan MaxXx

I’m guessing Gilroy wrote script using Word document than a screenwriting program.

Liked by Gustavo Freitas

Jared Moses
Need some Clarity

I see a lot that you should read screenplays to better grasp how things should be done on the page. But within screenplays that are professionally written, there are a lot of things that are said a spec script shouldn't have. for instance, Cut to, Capitalization besides introductions, camera angles,...

Expand post

Dash Riprock

Do what works. Period. You're job is to move the story along in an informative and entertaining way. You're trying to get from Point A to Point B so that it all makes sense, not only along the way but...

Expand comment
John Iannucci

Saw a video on YouTube a way back by two award winning writers (I forgot who they were) They were giving a free seminar in LA. One of the participants asked why they didn’t charge. They said there was...

Expand comment
Dan Guardino

Dash. Just because someone is pro doesn’t mean they know more than a guru. They got paid because they probably knew someone not because they know more than someone.

Dash Riprock

Dan G., I respectfully disagree. If they knew more than the pro, then they'd be making their primary income as a screenwriter, not a "guru". I mean, don't you find it...strange...that people who have...

Expand comment
Dan Guardino

Dash. I would agree except for the fact that Lady Luck and who you know plays such big roles.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In