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

Craig D Griffiths
I am looking for the screenwriting Maxims

Hi All,

I know the common ones:

Show don’t tell.

Start late, end early (or however you want to say it)

Less is more

What others do you good people know. I am putting together some articles for each saying. Just realised I couldn’t remember many.

Thanks again.

Judith Grace Bassat

Here are Billy Wilder's:

The audience is fickle.

Grab 'em by the throat and never let 'em go.

Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.

Know where you're going.

The more subtle and elegant...

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Kat Rollinson

Here's a few that I've taken from Instagram - Outstanding Screenplays feed (had to credit them - it is a good feed, lots of tips):-

Don't get it right, get it written (applies to first draft, of course...

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E. Lamoreaux

I've got a couple:

• Write every day.

• Don't say you're gonna write. Just write.

Dan Guardino

If you are writing for money and fame you're writing for the wrong reason... Actually I kind of like that one.

Tabitha Baumander

spending twenty years researching is not writing. WRITE THE DAMN THING THEN FIX IT

Enrico Green
Looking for screenplay

Hello...I’ve gotten accepted into a Sundance directing workshop and I am looking for a screenwriter to work/partner with that has a competed Feature length screenplay. 

No big budget action or Sci- Fi stuff. Ya know? This is an indie and I think we all know the “Sundance” type genres and stories. 

I c...

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Craig Propst

Just emailed you pitch deck for my movie "What Red Wrote."

Enrico Green

Didn’t get it

Tabitha Baumander

send you an e-mail.

Samantha Lee
Advice - TV Pilot

After more advice cos you guys are just too good at it, so today's question, I had feedback from script coverage, took on board all the advice so what next, do I resubmit for coverage again, or do I go one step up for a script consulting.

The reason for asking is on the feedback I was given they said...

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Matthew Parvin

If you feel confident, step it up. You need to reward your confidence with moving forward.

Dan MaxXx

write more tv specs. The chances of being a tv creator with 0 tv experience and making a series off your own original idea is slim. But look up unicorn writer Mickey Fisher and read his blogs. He did it with 0 tv experience but was vouched by Spielberg.

Nick Assunto

Hi Samantha, often times writers will request the same reader for feedback to see how the notes were implemented and if it gets them to the next level. Those resubmissions lead to a double recommend in a lot of cases.

Barry John Terblanche

Hi Samantha. I'm a competition reader/feedback-notes - send me that report, together with your script and I'll give it an overlook for you. - N-C.

Kat Rollinson

Nick Assunto - thanks for that tip, will bear that in mind!

Mohamed Ali
Logline must die.

I need help with that logline, I feel something wrong with it but I can't figure it out. 

"When a disturbed withdrawn young man finds the right job, woman and life, he kills the first woman that reminds him with his cheating mother, now he must face his worst enemies, him self, before losing his new...

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Adam Jestin

Try this:

After getting his life together, a disturbed man kills the woman that reminds him of his immoral mother.

Evelyne Gauthier

Stick to your A-story. Don't talk about the B-story in the logline. Ideally, try to follow this guideline to write your guideline: Protagonist+Inciting incident+action+antagonist (obstacle or enemy).

Mohamed Ali

Thank you all for your kind comments, what I was looking for is Adam Jestin's concept, but I wasn't sure that the hero's life went straight and then collapsed due to the impact of the trauma on him, r...

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Barry John Terblanche

The logline is no more than an exposition.

Monica Mansy

Hi, Mohamed Ali! Loglines can indeed be tricky! Sometimes we try to fit the whole story into it, but the focus is at a higher level. Here’s a template I received from a fellow screenwriter and friend:...

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Maurice Vaughan
Screenwriting Tip: Use shorter words

When I write scripts, I use words like "ok" and "TV" instead of "okay" and "television." This saves space in dialogue and action lines.

This is a simple tip, but it can help cut down on unnecessary extra pages in a script.

Barry John Terblanche

... a dark alley, a quiet night, but for the overhead thundering clouds that thunder the words of the narrative, Maurice. Leave CJ to be.

Brad Mason

Brevity is key to good writing after all.

Who has the time to peruse an article chock-full of extraneous adjectives and adverbs after all? But trimming down individual words sounds like a symptom of st...

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Maurice Vaughan

Nicely put, Brad.

Tasha Lewis

Depends on needs of the producer and team involved.

Christine Capone

J.O.

Karen "Kay" Ross
Attaching Named Talent? Why Not Co-Write with Them?

Jonah Hill is attached to act in Kenya Barris's directorial debut (whom you may know as the creator of Black-ish), but it's worth noting that they co-wrote the script. What a great idea! I'd love to hear about y'all's experience attaching talent as writers.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/mo...

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Jonah Hill to Star in Kenya Barris Feature Directorial Debut for Netflix (Exclusive)
Jonah Hill to Star in Kenya Barris Feature Directorial Debut for Netflix (Exclusive)
Kenya Barris and Jonah Hill have teamed up for a comedy feature at Netflix. Hill will star in the project, which he co-wrote with Barris. Barris, perhaps best known for creating the critically acclaim…
Dan Guardino

I attached Charlie Picerni to my "Glass House" Screenplay. It was option shortly after and died in development. I attach Vic Armstrong to my "Hot Stuff" screenplay that was optioned but died in develo...

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Stephen Foster

I want to attach RB to one of mine! LOL

Dan MaxXx

back in the day when erotic movies were a hot genre and Playboy was spending big $ for original content and shooting on 35mm film, I got a verbal committment from actress Julie Strain for my erotic de...

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Barry John Terblanche

Yeah, Dan, I'm old enough to remember Julie Strain... Shoooo :-))

Maurice Vaughan
22 Screenwriting Tips for Better Movie Dialogue in Your Scripts
22 Tips to Write Better Film Dialogue
22 Tips to Write Better Film Dialogue
You want to know how to write dialogue, but many of the screenwriting tips you get are too broad, less specific, and feel a bit hollow. Learning how to write a screenplay starts with writing action li…
Phil Parker
Screencraft Action/ Thriller Contest

My spec 'The Third Bomb' made it to the FINALS :-) http://www.screencraft.org/blog/2014-screencraft-action-thriller-script-... ...so tantalizingly close!...

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2014 ScreenCraft Action & Thriller Script Contest Winners Announced! - ScreenCraft
2014 ScreenCraft Action & Thriller Script Contest Winners Announced! - ScreenCraft
After months of some explosive debates, hand-to-hand combat and breakneck chases, the jury has come to a triumphant consensus and we're proud to announce THE ENEMY WITHIN by Ken Miyamoto as the grand…
Phil Parker

Thanks again for the support guys!!

Anthony Cawood

Congrats!

Karen Keslen

Congratulations!

Phil Parker

Thanks everyone! It looks good in a pitch/ query letter at least :-)

Tito Germaine 'Ontherise' Ellis

Ace!!

Jill A. Hargrave
Practicing Your Pitch

I received a message from Ruchika who wants to improve her pitches. I am a member of the Writers Room and every Thursday Brooklynn Fields and Nick Assunto host Practice Pitch for us to pitch our screenplay in a non-judgmental environment. Their notes are tremendously helpful and I've learned so much...

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Karen "Kay" Ross

I second this nomination - Nick & Brooklynn give such valuable feedback! The Writer's Room also hosts a monthly Pitch Tank where you get the chance to pitch to one of our Stage 32 Executives as well....

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Cherie Grant
What are your recurring themes?

I always seem to have two themes running through all my stories and just a minute ago I discovered a third. Freaks and outsiders, vigilantism (or fighting the bully) and struggling with failure. I guess these all reflect aspects of my own life. How about you?

Maurice Vaughan

Some of my recurring themes are "patience," "teamwork," "unselfishness," and "don't be reckless."

Jim Boston

Cherie, since most of the stuff I've written emphasizes ensembles, my biggest recurring theme is "We need to work together."

Another recurring theme of mine is "Music is the healing force of the world,...

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Amy Gray

dark comedy, my life story ;)

Lori Jones

Ego verses Authenticity.

I write about people in powerful positions who attempt to suppress what they fear the most – being exposed as frauds when compared to individuals who are grounded in talent, character, or courage.

Kat Rollinson

People hiding their true selves, and being much happier when they have been on their voyage of discovery. I also do a mean line (literally) in manipulation.

It never hurts

I have to admit of all the festivals this one was the one I was sweating out. A few days ago I was notified that my TV Pilot Script "In the Shadows of November" had been selected and the winners were to be announced in just a few days. How many times can you hit refresh on a website? More than you c...

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Barry John Terblanche

Well done Bill.

Mariannjely Marval

That's great! of course :) time to celebrate!!!

James Welday

Awesome Bill! Congrats!

Karen "Kay" Ross

YAY! Congrats, Bill!

Kat Rollinson

Well done!

Evelyne Gauthier
Problem with your logline? Check this out

Hey guys (and girls),

I see that many screenwriters struggle a lot with their loglines. Let me share with you a little guide made by Studiobinder. It helped me so much to understand what a logline is and what it should contain.

Here's the link to the page. I also suggest you download the free documen...

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How to Write a Logline that Producers Love | Log line Examples
How to Write a Logline that Producers Love | Log line Examples
At any stage of a video production, a movie logline is a tool used to sell your screenplay. Learn from famous logline examples how to write a logline that makes producers wanna read your script. Even…
James Welday

I love Studio Binder. Their teaching tools are of great value. Thanks for posting!

Evelyne Gauthier

James Welday, me too! They're great! I think they are partners with stage32 as well.

Danny Cameron

I feel like being a copywriter has helped immensely with my loglines. I see a lot of writers not understanding that the logline has got to hook me immediately. It's that sentence you say to get your f...

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James Welday

Evelyne Gauthier even better!! I didn't know that!

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