Reel Story by Corey Mandell

The Reel Story is where professional screenwriter Corey Mandell breaks down the tools and techniques required to write a spec screenplay that can get an agent or manager, and eventually lead to a script sale or paid writing gig. Topics explored include organic story structure, deep character development, thematic subtext, cohesion and compelling conflict. In the past three years more than 50 of Corey’s students and clients have sold features, TV pilots, landed studio assignments and won prestigious screenplay contests.


Reel Story: The 101 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

Last year the Writers Guild of America voted on the 101 greatest TV shows of all time.  It was a lot of fun to cast my ballot, and I’m excited that the final rankings weren’t too far off from how I voted.  Hopefully many of you are hard at work on spec TV pilots...

script rejected

Reel Story: Most Common Reasons Why Scripts Are Rejected

Click to tweet this article to your friends and followers! Whenever a script is submitted to the industry, it is passed off to a reader for analysis.  The reader will give the script a “recommend,” a “consider” or a “pass.” And unless it gets a recommend, probably no one else is going to look...

writer zombies

Reel Story: Beware The Writer Zombies

By Corey Mandell Click to tweet this article to your friends and followers! Beware: The world is full of writer zombies seeking to destroy your chances of screenwriting success. Real zombies — if movies and TV shows are to be believed­ — are easy to spot. They don’t walk, they lurch.  They hiss.  They...

photo credit

Reel Story: Why Story Structure Formulas Don’t Work

By Corey Mandell The following is a true story. I did a script coaching session for someone I’ll call Lisa. Lisa had spent the past four years pursuing her dream of becoming a professional screenwriter. She had written six scripts with nothing to show for it. No agent, no manager, no meetings, no nothing....

'Breaking Bad'

REEL STORY: How ‘Breaking Bad’ Almost Wasn’t

Corey Mandell is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has written projects for Ridley Scott, Wolfgang Petersen, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Warner Bros., Universal, 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Family, Working Title, Paramount, Live Planet, Beacon Films, Touchstone, Trilogy, Radiant, and Walt Disney Pictures. Corey teaches screenwriting at UCLA and offers private online...


Reel Story: You Need the Truth

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  — John 8:32 “The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.”– Gloria Steinhem When I was a student in film school, I joined a writing group where the members were committed to providing no-holds-barred, honest feedback...