Specs & The City by Brad Johnson

Specs & The City is a weekly column that aims to help anyone writing a spec by talking about specific screenwriting tips, techniques, or general advice, and then taking it a step further by providing an actual example from a produced film to help you then apply that advice to your own spec. By pulling these examples from successful high concept films and across all genres – Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Action, and Drama – you’ll learn the skills successful screenwriters use in hooking the reader with their marketable screenplay ideas.

Specs & The City: Death Scenes and ‘Blade Runner’

Click to tweet this article to your friends and followers! The act of screenwriting is, at its most basic level, the act of giving life to the words and ideas inside the writer’s mind. By making the conscious choice to tell your story, you’re bringing something new into the world. To me, it’s a...

Specs & The City: Story Tone and ‘Batman’

Know what story you want to tell before you sit down to type FADE IN. It’s the best single piece of advice a writer can be given, but too many of us still don’t follow it. Now, I’m not talking about knowing your characters, or having a firm plot outline in mind, or knowing...

Specs & The City: Raising The Stakes In Your Script and ‘The Fugitive’

It’s one the biggest stumbling blocks for any screenplay. You’ve finished your first draft, and everything is in place – your amazing, original high-concept idea has been fleshed out with a well-developed protagonist, an equally as compelling antagonist,  and a cast of colorful supporting players – but there’s one thing missing. The stakes. In...

Specs & The City: Voice-Over and ‘The Usual Suspects’

“God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends. God help you. That’s flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write a voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character.” – Robert McKee (as played by Brian Cox in ‘Adaptation’) While decried by many industry gurus as lazy writing, there’s an...

Specs & The City: Top 10 Films of 2013

It’s that time of year again. Every year around this time, we’re barraged by list after list of the year’s “best” films. It’s an arbitrary assignment of quality based on nothing but personal opinions, but it’s also a ton of fun to look back on the year that was and reminisce a little bit....

Specs & The City: The Power of Character Names

What’s in a name? When it comes to the characters in your script, it’s probably a lot more than you think… or at least it should be. I’m always surprised by how many writers pour their blood, sweat, and tears into the most miniscule plot details of their story, only to slap names on...