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10 Tips for Networking at the Sundance Film Festival

If you’ve never been to the Sundance Film Festival and you're thinking about going next year, now is the time to start planning. Sundance is the place to make connections, see inspiring movies (and now TV shows) and learn about new trends. ...

How to Turn Your Feature Idea Into a Short Film?

It's nearly impossible to arrange financing for an independent feature film if you don't have (m)any credits.  To get financing, it helps to have a "proof of concept" that shows why an investor or company should give you money to execute your vision.  It is also MUCH easier to finance a short film.  But where do you begin?

The Muddle in the Middle: Strategies for Your Second Act

Second acts can be notoriously difficult. It is the longest portion of your script and the easiest to lose your way. Here are five strategies for getting through your second act and onto the end.

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.

The Super-Duper Act One Check List

Here’s a checklist of everything you need to be thinking about when you write, rewrite and rewrite again the first act of your movie. Some of these ideas have been covered in previous articles so links will be added so you can read about them in more depth. Let’s get started.

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.
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