- 100 Rules & How to Break Them (8)
- 7 Act Structure (18)
- Action & Image (4)
- Adaptation & Revision (7)
- Character & Dialogue (16)
- Conquering Writer's Block (26)
- Feedback (9)
- Free Video Lectures (19)
- General (17)
- Industry News (1)
- Pitching & Hook (9)
- Podcasts (78)
- Revision Tips (10)
- Screenwriting Articles (150)
- Screenwriting Books (2)
- Script Analysis (27)
- Student Blog (1)
- Studio Events & Fellowships (10)
- Writing For Television (4)
- March 2, 2017March 2, 2017Read more
This week we’ll be looking at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Which is about as far as we can go from last installment’s Oscar Winner Manchester By The Sea.
Rogue One is a silly joyride of a script, built with half-drawn characters, nonsensical plot twists, and a hundred other flaws. And yet, while clearly feeling a bit trifling in scope compared to the other Star Wars films, it nevertheless delivers in a big way what its audience is seeking.
What’s also particularly interesting about Rogue One for screenwriters is the way it dives into a moment that is literally just a blip on the radar in Star Wars: Episode 4, and discovers there an entire backstory, worthy of a film itself.
The ability to dive deep into any moment and find drama is one of the most exciting things about screenwriting (and one of the most important skills you can develop as a screenwriter). It means that truly anything– even just a little question like “how did they find those Death Star plans anyway?” can become a movie, if you’re willing to look closely enough.
But it’s also a reminder of how easy it is to get waylaid…
- February 16, 2017
- February 8, 2017February 8, 2017Read more
Like poems, screenplays are written in a highly focused format, where literally every word matters. Like poems, screenplays are not just about what happens, but about the rhythm and meter of how it happens. Like poems, screenplays invoke the visual and emotional senses, creating a kind of hypnotic state of hyper-awareness, in which words on the page start to take form and shape in your mind’s eye–playing out as if they were real on that little movie screen in your head.
Like poems, screenplays exist within specific genres and forms with specific rules. And, to be successful, like poems, screenplays must both conform to and break with audience expectations in relation to those rules.
And like poems, in the best screenplays, form = function.
- February 2, 2017February 2, 2017Read more
…I had planned this week to talk about La La Land. But with the new Executive Order barring refugees, immigrants and green card holders from our country, I want to use this podcast for something much more important.
As filmmakers, writers, actors, directors, producers, executives, we have a sacred responsibility to our audience. Our films and TV shows shape the narrative of this country, and the belief systems of the hundreds of millions of people who see them.
In many ways, the most powerful political movies and TV shows are often the ones that are not overtly political. Because it’s these shows that shape our worldview from the inside, sneaking past our defenses of what we think we believe, and slowly changing the way we view the world.
Which is why I want to implore you, as writers, as directors, as producers, as actors, as artists, as filmmakers, to recognize the power of mainstream Hollywood movies and TV shows.
These movies are not just popcorn movies. These TV shows are not just mind numbing entertainment. These movies and shows are the mythologies that shape our world. Working on us, through subtle repetition, to shape our view of the world. Powerful because…
- January 19, 2017January 19, 2017Read more
…Great writing begins with getting your vulnerabilities out on the page– the parts of you that you don’t normally express, the truths that you don’t normally look at, the characters that exist inside you: both the beautiful ones that you want to share with the world, and also the ones that scare or disgust you, who often represent parts of you that you don’t want to believe are possible, or that you’d never express in the outside world.
That doesn’t mean that you are your characters. It means that you contain them. Some, in a form that is already integrated into your personality, and others in a form that is not integrated, or not expressed.
Meditation experts talk about breath as a waveform, a symbol of the polarity of life– the inhale and the exhale, the positive and the negative, the good and the bad, the yin and the yang, the dark and the light.
And I’d like to suggest to you to think of writing as a waveform as well…