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

Michael Cantrell
Anyone else try writing novels only to find...

...that you absolutely hate it. I decided to make my story a novel after bunches of people telling me it’s nigh to impossible to make it screenwriting. Which is true of course so i thought self publishing novels, that’s the ticket. People will at least read the story. Except i find novel writing ins...

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Julia Petrisor

I don't know if it's worth chiming in since this post was 2 years ago but I hope you found something fun in the novel and/ or abandoned it to the kind of writing you do actually enjoy. Plus, writing s...

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Julian Martin

My sympathies! I wrote seven scripts before I felt I could pull off a novel, and I wrote just the one. It was only 60K, but it felt like running several marathons. It takes different writing muscles t...

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William Martell

I wrote some novels in my 20s (unpublished due to my laziness), and am currently adapting a screenplay of mine that got me a bunch of studio meetings and probably a deal on something else - but never...

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WL Wright

I write both, I love screenwriting more but I'm not entirely over novel writing at all.

Deborah Sawyer

I write both. Some stories lend themselves to just a screenplay, others to the novel format. Part of it may come down to how fast the story needs to move. A fast-moving story is probably better turned into a screenplay.

Pietro Schito
Character arc in Raya and the Last Dragon

Have you already watched Raya and the Last Dragon? It's a great example of how to create a character arc based on The Truth, The Lie and The Ghost as described by K.M. Weiland ➡️ https://youtu.be/0f04bzqWVmA  

Chaun Lee

Love this film!!!

Karen "Kay" Ross

Haven't seen it yet, but I'm looking forward to it!

Pietro Schito

FYI The video I shared is full of spoilers

Karen "Kay" Ross

Yep, yep - thus why I'm waiting to watch it ;-)

David Tackett
Character Intros on Pilot Scripts

As a noob, I don't know what the best option is with placing character bios. Are they expected to be in-line as action elements? Or do you place in in a separate cast sheet? Is it enough to just describe them physically or do you need the back story as well? I attached an example of both options on...

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Christine Capone

Hi David, Something as simple as "Leroy, the truck stop handyman and Oklahoma born and raised, is peering through an open wall panel. He's Unbothered by the fact that his butt crack peeks over his dir...

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Barry John Terblanche

Well said Christine. - Character description.

David Tackett

I just did what I should have done before even posting this... i went and read finished pilots, specifically Newsradio (IMO, one of the better multi-cam pilots out there) and 30 Rock. (The BEST sitcom pilot IMO) Caught my formatting mistakes as well.

Christine Capone

Thanks Barry! He had a lot to work with!

Christiane Lange

The second option. You do not want to clog up the script with blocks of character description. You can give some hints, and a brief physical description, but the rest has to come naturally from what h...

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Dustin Quinteros
Pitching: How long is ten minutes....exactly

When I decided to start live pitching I had some serious concerns. How do I get my 90 to 120 min idea condensed down to a 10 min call, and leave time for questions. Not to mention why, introduce myself, logline. Well, it turns out 10min is a lot longer than you think if you really know your material...

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Marc Turner

You write a treatment, which is a summarized version of the script. Hit what the story is about, where it takes place and some plot points. Let them know your vision of the project. Is it in the future, is it a period piece, etc.

Kiril Maksimoski

Two years ago I had a pitching session at BFM presenting one of my early scripts a mish-mash of a story you couldn't get to the point having several hours on disposal. I had only 8 minutes. Working wi...

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Dan MaxXx

that yt clip is a spoof by a yt personality. He/that channel dont make movies or write movies for a living.

Live pitch (not paid through a website) is however long you need to get a Yes Or No. For a jo...

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Dustin Quinteros

Dan MaxXx, yes it's satire/parody however; at it's core they're pitching a movie. Movies people are familiar with just just to give an example of how much information you can relay about a story in a...

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Danny Manus

If you have a 10 minute pitch session, you should not be talking for more than 5 minutes. then let them ask questions, fill the holes, and have a back & forth so you can get to kmow them. i promise, that will serve you better than getting across 3 more minutes of plot.

Carol Rose
NO FILM school?

Outline

Synopsis

Plot

Treatment

Beat sheet

There are many people who say that you can still be a good screenwriter without going to film school, but as someone who has no film education, I am confused about these things and I don’t know the difference between them.

What's the difference?

Actually, I...

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Brad Mason

I second Richard's comment. As somebody that attended Film School, I can say with kept confidence that you can learn 90% of Film School curriculum easily on your own, from books or online. You only ge...

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Christiane Lange

I second William Martell [won't let me tag again]. There is so much information available out there. It takes time and effort to sort through it, but whatever you need to know, you can find the answer...

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J R O'Hara

Some great screenwriting books: "Save the Cat" Blake Snyder, "Write Screenplays that Sell" Hal Ackerman, "Essentials of Screenwriting" Richard Walter...and many, many more.

Kiril Maksimoski

There's this anecdote when Tarantino received Palme D'Or for Pulp Fiction, French media asked him where did he go to film school to what he replied with the name of the movie theater he often went in...

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Christiane Lange

@Kiril [tagging not working] The making connections thing is not only Balkan. That's everywhere, and a useful aspect of going to school for many professions. I also think you can learn a lot of the ba...

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Lisa Simpson/LS Book Services, Llc
My newest client

I am excited to announce my newest client! Jon Shallit is a seasoned screenwriter, who can write a script right off of his cuff! On May 27th, 2021, he signed on with me to be his manager/agent to continue on in his journey in the script writing field! One of his scripts is uploaded on my page. Other...

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Barry John Terblanche

Hi Richard. I converted my scripts to windows write, then modified it to remove some screenplay formatting that "book readers" would not understand like (V.O) (O.S) etc... In all, the book never reall...

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Danny Manus

You dont charge your clients a monthly fee, do you? And which are you - an agent or a manager? Because those are 2 very different things in Screenwriting and serve different purposes and have differen...

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CJ Walley

This, part way down the page, is a concern.

"Our Industry List grows weekly, and all companies & names are kept strictly confiden...

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Lisa Simpson/LS Book Services, Llc

I worded that incorrectly. It will be fixed momentarily. I went back and read it, and I understand what you read. No excuses, it is now fixed.

Lisa Simpson/LS Book Services, Llc

Danny Manus... I do not charge anyone a monthly or up front fee. I simply take commission on sales or options on the back end. I am a Book Editor - Screenwriter Manager - Literary Agent. I do know the...

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Christine J. Whitlock
Last night, at our Free Zoom Scriptwriters and Filmmakers meeting

Last night, at our Free Zoom Scriptwriters and Filmmakers meeting, we had introductions and talking on webinars, contests, and other news. We discussed Writing Theme. We discussed markets, project update – what are you working on. See the unedited meeting at https://youtu.be/L8tMbkrrtR0 . This Zoom...

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Brad Mason
Discovered Talent

So, I happened to peer-review a script from a new writer on another Script Peer-Review Platform I have never met, nor have I communicated with ever. This script was magnificent. Not to say it's perfect, but it's one of thee best reads I have ever encountered out of all the subpar and terrible script...

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Barry John Terblanche

There is also another 1,882 registered screenplay competition companies. Send the script to 5 of the top competitions with feedback report, and use those as a testament to further the scripts market/production value. All the best.

A.C. Patterson

It would help to repair the grammar in the first sentence of the synopsis (which seems more like a long logline). I would suggest editing it to say: "When a grieving mother decides that the only way t...

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Brad Mason

I don't own her script, nor do I want to submit it myself on her behalf without her knowledge. I just want to help get more eyes on a talented writer's work, rather than let it collect dust beneath a tonne of terrible others. I think she's truly deserving of it in this case.

Barry John Terblanche

Hi Brad. This here is a free community site. Why not have HER communicate directly with us very helpful folks here? You did say you want to help her?

CJ Walley

There's not a great deal you can do in the short-term but you can support her in the long-term which will be powerful. Champions are a wonderful thing to have when you're looking for validation and a reason to keep going. I'm sure thankful for mine.

Adrian-Asia Petty
Screen Writing exercise

Describe in one line the internal dialog of the guy in the blue shirt.

Kevin Johnson

"If you knew what I know, you wouldn't do it son."

Amy Tierney

Which of these windows open?

Hanna Strauss

I need to pee but there's a line for the bathroom.

A.C. Patterson

Describe his internal dialogue? That's a prose technique that doesn't belong in a screenplay. "As Daryl eyes the man who's kneeling on the restaurant floor to propose to his girlfriend, it reinforces once again his steely resolve to never get married." Nah... that doesn't work in a script.

Geoff Wise

No soup for you!

Christine Capone
Flashbacks

Hi Everyone, someone on here brought up a good point, as I have them in my script. What's the best way to write a flashback? In mine, I have a voiceover where the character states that an incident happened "seventeen years ago" and then we go to that year with a song from that era. In the slug, I pl...

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Dan Guardino

A.S. The slug is not the wrong place for the year. It helps the person doing the breakdown and scheduling. If you just have someone say “seventeen years ago” in the previous seen might work for the re...

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Christine Capone

Johnathan this definitely works. I did use the word Flashback and then used music from that era. I know that the cinematography would change as well to show it's also from a different era. So many factors can play into the flashback.

Christine Capone

True Dan Guardino I'll just keep it. It makes it an easy read. I mean, I'm sure it wouldn't be held against me, right??

Dan Guardino

Christine. Nobody will hold it against you.

Stefano Pavone

I just write in parentheses "Flashback" (without the quotation marks) as part of the scene heading.

Mg Srinivas
Searching

Hey guys this is mg Srinivas film maker from Bangalore, INDIA..

I am in search of a screenwriter who can Co write with me for my next feature.. Which is a Action thriller.. Lemme know if anyone is interested.. U can connect on mgcinemas@gmail.com

Thank you

Rutger Oosterhoff

Richard, check Mg out, he's laughing his socks off right now. That's why the "Sure", without even bothering to use a period; he's a produced Writer/Actor/Director/Producer, who is stepping up his game...

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Mg Srinivas

Hi Debbie it's more of heist action thriller with more mind games with fighting/combating.. We can discuss more over a mail.. @

Mgcinemas@gmail.com

Mg Srinivas

Thank you rutger.. U too stay safe..

Mg Srinivas

https://youtu.be/nirRr3j1MwI

This was my previous films trailer.. Do watch it n lemme knw Wat u guys think.. Also do watch the full film on Amazon prime.. Thnk u all

A.C. Patterson

I enjoyed the trailer (interesting cinematography style), and have sent you an email.

Surina Nel
TV Broadcast

In the new piece I am working on, I have a scene where I need a news broadcast, that is seen by many different viewers at a variety of places, ranging from inside their homes to on the streets of New York and in some storefronts. How would i write such a scene? Do I need a scene heading for every scenario?

Doug Nelson

One scene heading is probably all you need with a series of inserts - I've done a one four screen shot to remain static in time. Every time you write a new scene you add a lot of expense for set takedown, crew relocation, setup with new lighting. Try to avoid that.

Surina Nel

Awesome, thatn k ypu for the input, it is much appreciated

Dan Guardino

Sound like series of shots.

Matthew Parvin

Personally, I'd use one scene heading. Then use a series of shots to jump around.

Doug Nelson

When I think of a series of shots as she's described I visualize change in location more along the lines of a Montage - which must include the action of going from one location to another. To avoid that, I suggest a single split screen shot - easy in post.

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