The Big Finish: Tips for Act Three
In some respects, writing your third act is the easiest part of your script. You’ve done all the exposition, the audience has fallen in love with your characters, and the only thing left is explaining how the story resolves. Well, maybe it’s not that easy. You do have to answer all, or at least most, of the questions you’ve raised, let the audience know what happens to each of the characters, tie up every loose end and make it all really, really exciting.
What Makes a Great Christmas Movie?
Christmas movies are becoming more and more popular. This year, the Hallmark Channel ran a Christmas movie for the first 25 days of December. Meanwhile, in the theaters there’s The Man Who Invented Christmas, Daddy’s Home 2, and A Bad Moms Christmas. So, what do you need to know to jump into this growing market? What are the basic elements of a Christmas movie?
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.
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.
Writing What’s Not There: Subtext in Film
For many of us, just hearing the word subtext gives us a flashback to our high school English class. In that class, the teacher probably discussed subtext in terms of dialogue and left it at that. But, subtext really refers to all that is not spoken and encompasses much more than simply dialogue. Subtext is important in all genres but works ...
What is the Narrative Question?
The narrative question is what’s happening in the audiences’ mind or, more specifically, what you want happening in their minds. At any given point in a film, there is a question in your audience is thinking about. As the writer, you should know what that question is. And, you should have put it there.
5 Tips for Your First Ten Pages
You’ve probably had this feeling: very early in a movie (or a book) you think, "wow, this is going to be really, really good." And whenever you have that feeling you’re almost always right. So, why does that happen? It happens because the writer made it happen. The writer took care to make sure you knew exactly what was going on, and they did ...
5 Conflict Management Tips for Screenwriters
Most screenwriters prefer to keep the drama in their scripts. Occasionally, when working with agents, managers, development people, producers, directors and actors conflict will arise. How you deal with conflict is a huge issue and most of us spend a great deal of time trying to get good at it. Here are five ideas to put in your back pocket should the need arise.