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5 Ways to Structure Your Screenplay

Not every movie is told the same way.  I thought I'd talk about five basic film structures, and give a few examples for each different structure.  When you are thinking about how best to tell your story, you might consider trying one or two, or even all five of these methods.

7 Steps to Tackle Your Screenplay Rewrite

The most important thing I tell any writer who is embarking on writing their screenplay is to just plow through and get that first draft done.  Here's the rub though.  Finishing that first draft is only the beginning of the journey for you as a writer.

Steps to Writing the Modern Western like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

All cinefiles love a good Western. High Noon, Shane, The Good the Bad and the Ugly and Unforgiven are a few of the best. But a Western doesn’t have to take place in the past, or even in the Old West. Some Westerns take place in space, like Outlander, Star Trek and Avatar. Others take place in modern day like Hell or High Water or Black Hat. Some are set in the future, like Mad Max or Logan.

How to Write Binge Worthy TV

Ever wonder how the creators of shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards or Stranger Things get us to stay up late on a work night or spend an entire weekend watching a full season of their show?

How to Use the Hero’s Journey to write about Jeffrey Dahmer in High School

Written and directed by Marc Meyers, My Friend Dahmer is based on the award-winning graphic novel by John “Derf” Backderf, who was a classmate of Jeffrey Dahmer’s in high school.

How to Make Formula Your Friend

One of the worst things that can be said of a film (or your script) is that it’s too formula. This is a common criticism among reviewers, audiences and probably even members of your writing group. This criticism is taken so seriously that I’ve seen young writers doing everything in their power, and wasting a lot of time, trying to avoid formula and instead be original. So let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat…

5 Tips to Make Exposition Invisible

A hundred years ago it was popular to start a story with two maids working in a foyer talking about the crisis the family of the house was facing. They would then leave and the play would begin. That kind of thing is far from acceptable these days. In fact, you have to do the opposite. You have to make your exposition invisible. Here are five tips to doing just that.

Taking the note: “Good idea, but not so good execution”

Very often screenwriters will get a funky note that goes something like this, “It was a good idea but the execution wasn’t there.” Like many notes you’ll get in your career, it could mean a lot of things. To help you sort out what it means, let’s go over a few terms.

Five Tips for Writing Fast

As a screenwriter, there are times you’ll be asked to write fast. Whether it’s a class, a contest, an opportunity to submit, or an assignment—a screenwriter’s life is full of deadlines. And, at the beginning of your career, you’ll get this question “We really liked your script, what else do you have?” In that moment, you’ll realize just how important writing fast can be. Here are a few ideas on how to get those juices flowing and keep them flowing.

The Danger of Competing Projects and How to Protect Yourself

So you have an idea for a movie. Before you commit to doing any hard work, research what’s in development and production to make sure a competing project doesn’t already exist. Depending on where you’re at in your career, it’s likely the other project will take the wind out of your sails and render your screenplay dead in the water. The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself!

In the Beginning… There Was the Joke

If you are writing comedy, or drama, and want to get a laugh, it’s tough to avoid jokes. There is both craft and talent involved in joke creation. To make this article more interesting, we sat down to write without a specific joke in mind. ...

How to write a screenplay in 10 steps

Writing a screenplay can be intimidating, even if you’ve done it before. It’s a lot of time, a lot of brainpower and a lot of staring at a blank screen. But don’t strees out! Here are 10 simple steps you can use to guide you through the process.
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