5 Hacks for Writing a Killer Opening Scene
The first scene in a movie has many jobs to do. Not only must it nail down the tone, time and place where the story is being told, it must also tease the journey ahead. It’s no wonder some writers spend months conceiving and writing the first five pages of their screenplay.
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?
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 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…
Do You Overwrite? Here’s How to Stop.
One of the biggest mistakes screenwriters can make is overwriting their screenplay. Unless you’re Aaron Sorkin, whose screenplay for The Social Network was a whopping 164 pages with scenes lasting eight pages, you need to keep the dialogue, scene descriptions and page count as short and tight as possible. It’s worth repeating that film is a visual form of storytelling and we want to support the images with our screenplay, not the other way around. Here are a few guidelines to keep you from writing too much.