Archive for the ‘ General Screenwriting ’ Category

Article by Scott Morgan

WRITING FOR ACADEMY AWARD WINNERS

As the Academy Awards approach, many people are curious how screenwriters make it, what goes on a page, and who makes a script better. There are so many questions I can only describe some real life situations, and also add some facts in film history. Working for years as a Screenwriter for Hire, and also as a Spec Script writer, my stories are sometimes wild, sometimes sad, but always entertaining and informative.

I’ve mentioned in other blogs how rare it is to find Producers that know how to improve a script nowadays. This was mandatory a few decades ago. I think that the digital age and expansion of film schools allowed more Producers to rush ahead to production. In my mind, hey, it’s great that they get to produce a film. But steps along the way – steps learning the elements of better storytelling – are often skipped. That is why you hear so many bizarre comments in studio meetings about rewrites on your scripts. Here you are a writer that toiled away at writing s solid story, and suddenly a Producer asks if you can make the death of the midget drowning in the toilet more glorious for midgets (this is an actual note from Warner Brothers on a comedy assassin movie.)

I have been lucky enough to work with several Academy Award winners. I would be either a Screenwriter for Hire or I would have written a script they wanted to set up.

Here is a list of the infamous Producers or Directors I worked with, learned from, or set up projects with:

Freddie Fields: GloryJerome Hellman: Midnight CowboyJohn Badham: Saturday Night FeverBarry London: Head of Paramount/Titanic, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, Top GunCort/Madden: Mr. Holland’s OpusAlbert Magnoli: Purple Rain (early guidance in film making/writing)Sydney Pollack: Tootsie, Out of Africa, countless others (seminar mentoring)Tony Scott: Top Gun, Man on Fire, Unstoppable, A-Team, countless others.

Joel Silver (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, etc.) didn’t really do script improvement or mentor/advise me in any way. Though he is a big name.

My experiences with the big days of New Line were interesting, and I learned a lot.

But the three most influential are Freddie Fields/Jerome Hellman, and Barry London. John Marsh at Tri-Star was fantastic at showing me how to improve a script. As was Justin Dardess. I’ll concentrate on Fields, Hellman, and London, since I credit them with advancing my talents far beyond most writers, especially when it comes to Marketing, Funding, and Distribution savvy.

Freddie Fields. Wow, what a legend. I met him through Cary Selig, a fantastic female producer. She was a D-Girl for him before moving to create Bel-Air Pictures (Collateral Damage, Message in a Bottle, The Replacements, Pay It Forward, and more.)

Freddie Fields was the Producer or Executive Producer on: American Gigolo, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Poltergeist, American Anthem, Glory, Milennium, Fever Pitch, Crimes of the Heart, andVictory. But before that – get this – he was one of the heads of ICM (then called CMA) and was credited as instrumental in the careers of Judy Garland, Woody Allen, Henry Fonda, Marilyn Monroe, Robert Redford, Peter Sellers, Steve McQueen, and married a Miss Universe. He set up Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KKid, American Graffiti, and Star Wars.

And I was mentored by him for a year. Unbelievable. I learned more than I could ever put into a blog – about the energy and the deal making behind closed doors. (Only Barry London taught me more.) Here is how it all happened.

Keri is a stunning brunette with a perfect body, the type you would imagine came to L.A. to be a star. But she was only interested in production. I met her out at a bar, through friends, and she gave me her number for business. We met a few times for drinks, then sort of vanished from each-other’s lives.

I started writing an action script called Hard Knox. It is the story of the stealing of the gold out of Fort Knox during a tornado. The tornado ends up being the bad guy. It had some unique plot twists in it. I knew it was a hot idea. I was on page 80 when I ran into her and she told me she moved to Fields/Hellman. I went in for a talk, and she had me pitch her three ideas. Since Hard Knox was not finished, I pitched that one last, but she knew this was the one. She asked me for a sneak copy. I went home and touched up what I had written and, unfinished, delivered it to her.

In the meantime, I had met a small time Producer that had a film deal at I think Millenium Pictures, plus an open door at some studios. He needed a screenwriter for hire. I don’t even remember his name for sure but think it was Jacque. I only remember his attitude toward the film he was directing in a month. It was a million film, shooting in Vancouver. He called it shit, a waste of time, etc., and something that he wanted to do and flush in the toilet but he needed the money. I felt so sorry for the actors. The story and writing was very watered-down and anemic. He had read Blood, Sweat, and Gold after a lawyer told him I was the best undiscovered (cheap and willing to do ghost writing is how he saw it) writer in Hollywood. He wanted me to do a ghost writing fix on his dream project for a few thousand dollars, so I took it. I was working on that at the same time as Hard Knox, but had not told him about it.

She wasn’t even finished with it when she called me and said, ‘My boss wants to meet you.” At that time, I did not know who the legendary Freddie Fields was, or what would happen to me if he did a film for/with me.

I walked into his office and there was this 70 year young man, Freddie. We had a fairly formal meeting. He talked about his accomplishments, and was generally seeing me as who I was – a na

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How To Write A Screenplay

Article by Sam Tinky

Learning how to write a screenplay is not the same as writing an article for your local newspaper or even like writing a normal fiction book. While many of the same skills are required, things must be done in a particular way or your screenplay will never see the light of day. Here are some tips and tricks, as well as a recommendation on how to get started, so you can begin writing your screenplay today.

A screenplay is built as much as it is written. The parts are written and then put together to form a completed project. The first thing to decide is what genre your movie will fall into. Then you develop your concept and build conflict into it. Movies are driven by conflicts in one way or another. A movie without a conflict will not be able to hold an audiences attention for very long. Once you have your concept and conflict you will build your characters to fit within the story. Next you build scenes from intro to conclusion and create dialogue within the scenes for your characters.

There are particular formats that you have to follow. Often you will only have one shot with a producer so you need to make sure your production is not thrown out just because you didn’t format it correctly. The margins, dialogue and page numbering has to fit certain criteria. That is why most people follow the advice in the next paragraph. It takes care of everything in the formatting department for you, so all you have to do is concentrate on writing the best story that you can.

Probably the best thing you can do, especially if this is your first attempt, is find a good software package that can guide you through the entire process. There are many software packages available, from free to very expensive so make sure you read exactly what each one offers. If you don’t need the one with the most bells and whistles then there is no need to pay the extra money for the top of the line. You can use the money you save to market your finished script.

The final piece of advice I can offer is don’t wait to get started. If you want to write a movie then get started today. There is no profit in procrastination. It doesn’t even matter if your first one isn’t very good. You will get better as you write more, and you can always go back and fix things that you don’t like when you edit your finished product.

Sam Tinky recommends learning more about how to write a screenplay at HowToGuides365.com










Screenwriting Tips

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How to Write a Screenplay

Article by David W. Brown

Bitten by the Hollywood bug? Think you have an idea for the next number-one hit TV script? Wonder how to write a video script? All writing begins with the basics, including screenplay writing. If you’re wondering how to write a screenplay, then you should know that WhiteSmoke English writing software will help you with the most important part: the writing!

Many people have a great idea, then wonder how to write a great script using that idea. If you are thinking of selling your screenplay, it will need to be written in the best English. One thing for sure, the way not to write a screenplay is to leave it full of errors! WhiteSmoke writing enhancement features, including its synonym finder, dictionary, grammar check, and spelling check can help you present your ideas in your best English. A screenplay has unique features when compared to other forms of writing. The features require special formats, depending on whether the script is a movie script or a TV script. A screenplay is written with acts and scenes, like a play. Each scene has a brief but detailed description of the setting, including time of day, location, season of the year, who is present, even where the camera is focused. Each act is a collection of scenes that tell a significant part of the story.

Movies are often divided into one, three or five acts. The first act introduces the main characters and their lives. A one act is a short film script, and everything happens in that one act. It is usually set in one location, or at most a limited number of locations. Short films and most TV scripts have a smaller number of characters and fewer complications.If there are more than one act, the acts between the first and last provide complications and difficulties that the main characters overcome–or don’t. Usually, these grow in significance until it appears that all is lost. Then the main character of a movie script usually finds a solution.

In a comedy, the complications are usually funny or poignant. In a drama, they usually create tension and difficulty. A tragedy leads toward an unhappy end, so the complications and difficulties usually cannot be overcome in the end, or overcoming them leads to bad results. If you want to know how to write a horror script, think of each complication as a growing terror, a dark surprise lurking in each scene, each horror movie scene usually eliminating at least a minor character and increasing the fear of the remaining characters.The last act of almost every movie “wraps up the story,” making sure all loose ends are explained and the main characters accounted for. In tragedies or horror movies, the main characters might have died. In comedies, they often marry each other.

An experienced screenwriter may switch around the order of these acts–starting in the middle of a complication, or at the end, for instance. However, the main elements remain. Experienced screenwriters also know the importance of using spell checking software, grammar software, a thesaurus, and a dictionary. They like respected others to check their work and suggest language enhancements. WhiteSmoke English writing software includes all of these features in one package. Use it to improve your screenplay writing. If one or more of your characters will be using words from a language other than English, you should also check out WhiteSmoke translation dictionaries.

Movie and TV scripts have special formats and unique requirements. Be sure to consult with an authoritative reference so that you use the correct format. A script must also be perfect in its grammar and spelling. WhiteSmoke grammar check and spell check will assure your film script find success on its way to Hollywood!

WhiteSmoke is online at http://www.whitesmoke.com

David W. Brown is the marketing psuedonym of a successfully published author and former college professor. You might know his name, so










Screenwriting Tips

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How to Write a Screenplay

Article by Chamberlane Altatis

You might have been watching a lot of movies and now you wanted to write a story and create your own movie too. For you to do so, you must learn then the Steps on how to write a screenplay:

How to Write a Screenplay Step 1 – Think of A New Story

No matter how good your story is if you just totally adapted it, viewers who know where you got the idea will not be impressed. I admit it’s hard to think a new and unique story today since there were so many stories that were already written. However, I believe you can still be crazy and think of new things. You may adapt a bit from other movies, taking them as inspiration but be sure to put your personal touch on it.

To help you think of those good and interesting ideas, just try to look around you. Be a very observant with what’s going on with people and environment today. When people are talking to each other, try to listen to what they are talking about. You’ll never know you’ll be able to make a good story from those things. Or remember those experiences you had. You know experiences are good basis for a story since they happened in a real life situation. You surely can do it! Since it is a movie, you have the opportunity to invent your own universe may it be a fantasy or real life scenarios. Your imagination is just the limit of what you can write.

In these step, you can already create a title. Just make it catchy.If you still don’t have a title in mind, that’s alright. You can create one later on anyway. Just proceed to the next step.

How to Write a Screenplay Step 2 – Write Your Logline

A logline is a single sentence that describes what your story is all about. This will give focus and drive to where your story will be going. We can say that it is your road map for your story journey. It should be derived from emotions such as love, anger, hatred, whatever. Moreover, it should also revolve around the three C’s – character, conflict, and conclusion.

Let me give you an example of a logline:

"A former leader of a gangster becomes a teacher because of his passion, taming his very naughty students."

If you watched the cartoon movie "Great Teacher Onizuka," this can be the logline that I can make for it.

How to Write a Screenplay Step 3 – Develop Your Character

The next thing to do is to develop your characters. Just list them down with their names, roles, and their personalities in the story. Write also if who is your protagonist and your antagonist and all those supporting characters.

How to Write a Screenplay 4 – Create The Story with Dialogues

You now have a logline and characters so it’s now time to write your story. In writing your story, be guided with the three-act structure:

1. Act 1 – character and conflict is introduced.

2. Act 2 – conflict deepens until it reaches the climax.

3. Act 3 – conflict resolves and leads to a conclusion.

Since you are writing for a movie. learn also to write visually:

1. Express external behaviors through dialogue or physical actions.

2. Show what is happening instead of telling it.

3. Character behaviors, time, place, and mood of a scene are described in the script stage directions.

4. Stage directions are with action verbs in present tense.

5. Don’t overload your stage directions with extraneous details such as camera angles, scene colors etc. (that’s the job of the director and cinematographer).

6. Don’t over-describe the personalities of the characters.

7. Stick to the details that have visual equivalents

How to Write a Screenplay Step 4 – Write the Story in a Screenplay Format

After making the logline, developing the character, and creating the story and dialogues, it’s now time to write those things in a screenplay format. You must then learn the format for a screenplay.

Alright, those are the ways on how to write a screenplay. I guess you’re now ready to write one.

If you need more reference, you can also grab some ebooks about screenwriting.

Chamberlane Altatis howtomakemoneyinphoto.com Photographer/Videographer/Photo and Video Editor/Writer/BusinessmanOwner of Make Money in Photography Site

Screenwriting Tips

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