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8 Reasons you need to read screenplays

We all love watching movies. A good film takes you on a journey of adventure and self-discovery. Watching and re-watching classic films like Taxi Driver, Casablanca, or Titanic is what inspired us to become screenwriters in the first place. If you write in a particular genre, it’s important to watch all the current and past films in your genre. It’s also good to read books about screenwriting or take classes. But the one thing many screenwriters tend to overlook is the importance of reading screenplays.

Why Mary Queen of Scots has historians freaking out

The new historical epic Mary Queen of Scots is written by Beau Willimon (creator of the American version of House of Cards) and is based on the 2004 biography Mary Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy. Well, it’s mostly based on the biography by Guy. Willimon took a liberty with one simple scene and British historians are calling it “problematic.” I call it genius.

Shakespeare in Love turns 20: A look back at the 5 best scenes

It’s pretty difficult to believe that it’s been 20 years since Shakespeare in Love graced the cinema and reignited people’s passion for Shakespeare, the man often considered the greatest writer of all time. The film went on to win 7 Oscars, including Best Original Screenplay for Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, Best Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow, Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench and Best Supporting Actor for Geoffrey Rush. John Madden was nominated for Best Director.

Remembering Screenwriting Legend William Goldman and His Quotes on Writing

The two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter, William Goldman, passed last Friday in New York after losing his fight with colon cancer and pneumonia. He was 87.  Even if you don’t know Goldman’s name (though if you’re a screenwriter, it’s likely you do), you certainly know his films like Misery, inspired by the book by Stephen King, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid that starred Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and the Marathon Man, from Goldman’s own novel. Many people consider The Princess Bride, also based on his own book, a perfect, if not their favorite, film.

We Honor Stan Lee’s Writing By Sharing His Most Exciting Movie Cameos

Beloved superheroes like Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and Dr. Strange are just a few of the brilliant comic book and film characters created by comic book legend Stan Lee.  It’s with great sadness we report he passed away on Monday, November 12 at the age of 95 after being rushed to Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. Well into his 90s, this human fountain of creativity remained full of energy, attended Comic-Con with glee and was an icon of American optimism without ever seeming naïve.

Video: ScreenwritingU interviews writer/director Joel Edgerton on Boy Erased

ScreenwritingU sat down with Australian filmmaker Joel Edgerton to get his take on this emotional story. He writes and directs this film based on the memoir of Garrad Conley. In his early 20s, Conley personally experienced abuse at the hands of Love in Action, the fundamental Christian program for gays.  Edgerton himself plays Victor Sykes, lead counselor at the gay conversion ministry who’s clearly in over his head.

Suspiria dismisses ‘jump scares’ to explore deep, dark anxiety

If you’re a fan of horror films from the 1970s, it’s likely you’ve seen Dario Argento’s mind-bending Suspiria from 1977. The movie is about a coven of witches operating out of a ballet academy in Germany and is a brutal examination ...

Crafting Your Protagonist: 4 Ways To Up Your Game

We all know that crafting a protagonist is one of the most important elements of storytelling. Whether you're writing film or television, you need to create a character compelling enough to reel audiences in and keep them watching.  But what, exactly, can we do to up our game, in terms of creating a protagonist? What are some specific exercises we can do to improve our current and future protagonists?

First Man writer Josh Singer on writing a nontraditional character arc

As storytellers, many of us frame our screenplays around The Hero’s Journey architecture, where the hero goes on a dangerous quest and returns forever changed. In many ways, the new film First Man, about astronaut Neil Armstrong, is the ultimate hero’s journey – he spends years sacrificing as he prepares to go to the moon, then, despite setbacks that are both scientific and personal, he makes the perilous journey to the moon – a huge victory for himself and for humanity – and returns home triumphant.

Video: Bad Times at the El Royale writer shares tips for writing multiple protagonists

We sat down with Goddard to find out what inspired him to make Bad Times at the El Royale and get tips on writing a screenplay with multiple protagonists. 

5 Ways To Hook Your Audience

Producers, directors and actors read hundreds of screenplays every year. Chances are, unless you're a world-famous writer, they are reading quickly to find out if the story hooks them or not. Movie audiences make the same kinds of decisions when they choose something to watch. Are they going to stay nailed to their seats? Are they going to change the channel or switch off the television?

What Does ‘Write What You Know’ Mean, Anyway?

One of the most common pieces of writing advice is "write what you know," but how many of us truly know what it's like, say, to be chased by heavily-armed intergalactic space whales? Most of us regular-types shy away from extreme violence in our everyday lives, which makes writing action-packed movies tricky, if we are strictly sticking with what we "know."
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