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

Karen "Kay" Ross
The New Perks of the Writer's Room

Hey, Stage 32-ers!

Myself and the Stage 32 team were just marveling at the magic in the works, and it dawned on us... it's possible y'all don't know all the cool NEW things we've started doing in the Writer's Room! Here's the rundown:

- PITCH PRACTICE: Weekly Pitch Practice sessions, hosted by Brookly...

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Liked by Ben Patrick Yates and 7 others

Tray Powell
Action Lines

Good morning

Does anyone have any advice/video on writing action lines?

Brent Bergan

Check script notes, podcast, They have a recent podcast on action, with a PDF with several great examples

Tabitha Baumander

remember what the characters are doing physically. For pacing I would keep all comments short and to the point.

Oscar Ordonez

I've read a lot of scripts that mention you should use sounds like "CRACK!" and preface it with the action line:

The pistol whipped across his scarred face--

CRACK!

Freshly opening his old wounds.

I'm no...

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Bill Albert

If you have a long sequence break it up into several paragraphs instead of one long continuous description. It's easier to read and keep track of.

Debbie Croysdale

Action lines may differ considerably due to available budget. EG Big car chases with weapons for big studio to a character does a simple walk in the park in lower fund Indie. However, money and big pr...

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Liked by Jim Boston and 3 others

Craig D Griffiths
How to create a believable character

We like to think that there are special tools for writers, there isn't really. We just rebadge and reconfigure existing tools all the time. Here is a tool called an "Empathy Map", it is traditionally used to find how you can influence someone by building empathy for their situation. As a writer use...

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Liked by Oscar Ordonez and 6 others

Craig D Griffiths
Your plan

Where were you two years ago?

Where are you now?

Where do you intend to be in two years?

Do you have a plan? A plan should be constantly revised and revisited, but it is needed. You also need to have a measure of success and milestones. I am on track. Have others mapped out a plan, milestones etc

Doug Nelson

I'm with you Dan. I get so frustrated having to deal with all the angry empty-headed pizzlewits and snowflakes that I just withdraw every now-n-again.

Dan Guardino

Doug. I thought I was the only one:)

Craig D Griffiths

I think I must have developed my moron teflon working in Government. Dan I think you have the perfect answer for the next person that asks “do I need an agent”.

Oscar Ordonez

For two years I had no plan, only a goal. Just recently, I had to hear it from not only RB but by one of my favorite entrepreneurial podcasters, Andy Frisella, that I NEED a plan and how simple it is...

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Karen "Kay" Ross

Thanks for the prompt, Craig D Griffiths! It reminds me of one of my "favorite" films, Serenity (2005). "It's not your way, Mal." "I gotta way? Is that better than a plan?" If I make the plans and put...

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Vic Burns
Bonfire Night!

This story isn't, (I guess) as familiar to those of you in the US, but here in the UK - the 5th of November (always remember) is as big a deal (probably bigger) as Halloween to us Brits here.

In 1605, Guy (Guido) Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament - big fail.

Yada, yada, yada - Fawkes ev...

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Liked by Oscar Ordonez

Vanshdeep Singh
This is A Tight Question

I recently got feedback from two (unrelated) people about my first ever screenplay and what they both had in common was that they suggested me to "tighten" my screenplay more.

I do reckon the fact that my screenplay has some loose ends and some loop holes but still, can any of you advice me on better tightening a a screenplay? Thanks a Lot :)

Christiane Lange

Identify the scenes or parts of scenes that are crucial to the plot. Then look at everything between those scenes. Is it necessary? Does it move the story forward? If not, cut it or rewrite.

Also, do y...

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Craig D Griffiths

Do you enter a scene as late as possible? Do you leave it as soon as possible?

This is a. easy way of making a script tight.

Loose version:

EXT. SHOP

Craig walks up to the shop.

INT. SHOP

He enters, he ap...

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Bill Albert

Have you checked out the flow of dialogue? Sometimes adding a few lines here and there can add some flavor to characters or situations but other times it can just be distracting. Does it stay focused?

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services Coordinator

Hey Vanshdeep Singh, tightening is often a loose term that applies to trimming and/or streamlining certain aspects of a script. So it could vary depending on the context. Think of it more like sculpti...

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Julia Petrisor

I agree with Nick, there is context to what needs tightening and without knowing specifically what that is for you I don't know how to help you. However, I learned once (and from whom I can't recall)...

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Elaine J Jackson
Multiple Format Entertainment

My current WiP is a dystopian science-fiction adventure that I originally conceived as an animated feature, then a comic book series or graphic novel. I've also considered writing it as a long form novel, and as a screenplay for television. It has the potential to be all of those, and a computer gam...

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Oscar Ordonez

Elaine, it's crazy that I had the same approach for the SAME genre... I wonder if we're writing the same thing? Hmmm... still, I'm very new at this. I've only been writing for roughly 3 years and of t...

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Liked by Oscar Ordonez and 26 others

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services Coordinator
Industry Etiquette

I thought to say this because of a recent thread and just wanted to share my two cents on a subject. If you want to work in the industry, you shouldn't openly bash anyone or any films just because you don't like them. It's poor etiquette. I live in LA and I get nervous if I'm out with friends and th...

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Martin Reese

Great advice, Nick. A good friend of mine once told me either you want to be a critic or a writer. You never know who you're going to tick off in the industry. This was even after I wrote a nice revie...

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Barry John Terblanche

Bashing it? That's extreme. Would you want to work with that person? ~ A person that is opinionated, expressive, real. Hell yeah!

Elaine J Jackson

I tend to agree, Nick. I think if you're asked for an opinion, or for constructive critisism, then that's something else, isn't it. I was raised to beleive that if you can't say something nice, it's b...

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Oscar Ordonez

Nick thanks for that. I was hosting a short youtube podcast on movies. It was interesting to watch myself grow to understand this concept. I love movies to a fault where I can't find anything "bad" ab...

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Liked by Wayne Jarman

Julia Petrisor
Quibi tanks after 6 months?

I will admit, I tend to think only in long form and I'm only just opening up to the concept of writing short films.

But when Quibi started, I panicked -- will it be the new way we do content? Am I going to have to figure out short form content? What?

Anyways, I never subscribed to it and really don't...

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Quibi to shut down, a flameout less than 7 months after launch
Quibi to shut down, a flameout less than 7 months after launch
Quibi -- a star-studded, mostly mobile streaming service that struggled to keep up with its own hype -- will shut down, the company said Tuesday, a flameout coming less than seven months after it laun…
Doug Nelson

Dan M - this is sort of a side note (to which I have no knowledge). If Quibi owns the rights to scripts for 7 years but they go belly-up; Quibi no longer exists which means (to me) that those rights revert to the original owner. If not - why not?

Craig D Griffiths

Doug Nelson I would say they are a saleable asset. Someone may want to buy them for a few years.

Dan MaxXx

Doug Nelson I was wrong, Quibi doesn’t own rights, they “license” from Creators for 7 years. Wall Street Suits value Quibi from $500M to $1B before shutdown.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-art...

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Christiane Lange

Doug Nelson Depends on the contract. But if they outright hold the rights for 7 years, then it would be an asset and could be sold on, when the company is dissolved.

Doug Nelson

Dan, thanx for the info. I'm not sure those 'licenses' really are saleable assets. I also read this: "After just two years, however, creators can reframe their shows into longform and sell them elsewh...

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Steven M. Cross
Diversity

I had a thought today, which is kind of dangerous for me anyway. I don't know if this is the right place to put this, but here goes. I see a lot of script requests that say things like, "looking for a script with diversity." I think these kinds of scripts are beautiful and in our society needed. Whe...

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Richard P. Alvarez

I always describe the characters, but it's rarely necessary to give detailed physical descriptions. I'd rather imply their appearance. "A cop, two donuts away from a heart attack'. "A woman that could...

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Craig D Griffiths

Love the businessman description

Doug Nelson

Richard, I take a similar approach so the Casting Director has something to work with.

Dan MaxXx

Basically the playing level has been rigged since the beginning of pictures (like the rest of American history).

You can write whatever, cast whoever on the page but how would you make a movie working...

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Anthony Moore

I agree with Dan. Additionally, I've seen in several so-called "diversity" contests where the past winners were almost always white males. I even read an article where one guy complained and protested...

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Barry John Terblanche
Jaws has no teeth.

Novel V script. Tell V show. I real good novel to read is Jaws. Written by Peter Benchley in 1974. And made a joke of by Steven Spielberg the very next year. Bear with me here... The logline reads: When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach community, it's up to a local sheriff, a marine biologi...

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Tony S.

Attention glass house dwellers. Put down the stones.

Barry John Terblanche

Read my post again. I wrote: It's, in my opinion, the worst movie I have seen. Did I say it was a shit movie? No! And, I made more reference to it been a poor story (again, in my opinion). And yes, St...

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Beth Fox Heisinger

Hey, Barry, you do you. ;) Yup, it's your opinion, and this is a forum open for discussion and healthy debate. So... in all fairness, all I will say, only based on what you wrote in your statement abo...

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Sam Borowski

Barry, Nick recently wrote a post concerning industry etiquette that I do think you should read for another perspective: https://www.stage32.com/lounge/screenwriting/Industry-Etiquette...

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Tony S.

Pass on it, Barry. Some people choose to live on their feet rather than die on their knees. Others cannot parse opinion by instead judging it as right or wrong. Opinion is neither There can only be di...

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Steven M. Cross
Is it good?

I'm writing a very intense screenplay, so intense that sometimes I just have to put it down and walk away from it for a while. Naturally, I think this screenplay is fantastic ... or will be when I finish it completely. Now, what do you believe is the absolute best way to get an idea if it is really...

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Dan MaxXx

i give my script to my agent and readers I respect/trust (my main readers are a produced Studio writer, a brain surgeon, and a VFX supervisor) and if they read it in one seating without interruptions- a page turner, I know the idea/concept has legs, or it's a decent writing sample

Eric Sollars

Finish it while you are feeling the excitement of the story. That is tough to experience. After the first draft send it out for reading by trusted family, friends, and professionals.

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services Coordinator

I always put it out there and get a professional opinion. If I don't feel like bothering a friend (because reading and noting can be exhausting work) I get coverage from an exec on Stage 32 to see where I'm at.

Craig D Griffiths

This is subjective to the audience. Let’s discount the writing. We will assume that you have written it well.

All stories have an audience. The question is, “Can your screenplay be made into a film and...

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Julia Petrisor

Readers, readers, readers. Feel good about your work and then see how it lands with as many readers as possible. In terms of "check yourself" I'd say go ahead and feel good about yourself! Be unabashe...

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