How to Write a Screenplay

A moviegoer has certain expectations of a film’s journey, whether conscious or subconscious. The execution of the concept has to deliver. Besides simply “good writing,” producers are looking for scripts with proper format and stories that follow a three-act structure. Discover the essential techniques that grab an executive’s attention and make the execution of your story as good as the hook, all while taking the audience on an emotional ride. Learn outlining, writing dialogue, crafting memorable scenes, proper screenplay format and more.


Breaking In: Abraham Lincoln, Verbosity Hunter

Abraham Lincoln was a great writer and public speaker– and a master of brevity.  His entire Gettysburg Address was just 272 words.  A tall man, he knew just how long or short anything should be.  Once, while riding in a stagecoach, Abraham Lincoln was asked by one of his fellow passengers how long a man’s...


Writing Dialogue: Beats of the Dead Horse

Don’t miss Jim Mercurio’s webinar on Advanced Scene Writing: Breaking the Rules with Style on Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 1:00PM PDT. When I dove into a theoretical approach to teaching and writing dialogue, I was pleasantly surprised that although writing dialogue seems in some ways contrary to structure, the way to improve it...

Do It or I Chew It

Why Spec Scripts Fail: Failure To Do Your Homework, Part 4

In our previous homework discussions, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, several reasons spec scripts fail may have seemed obvious or simplistic to some readers… As obvious as looking both ways before you cross the street. Or as basic as not falling prey to “TEXTAHOLISM” while you hold up traffic at a stop...

Writing a Documentary Film

Writing a Documentary Film With No Rules

By Susan Kouguell Writing a documentary… Want to learn how? Register for Susan’s upcoming Screenwriters University class, starting August 28, 2014. There is no “right or wrong” way  when it comes to writing a documentary film. Sounds easy then, right? Well–wrong! While there are no set screenwriting rules for writing a documentary script, it...

abandoned cineplex

Column D – Story Receptors

In case you missed it, The Hollywood Reporter published an article recently (two actually) bemoaning the dismal summer box office numbers this year. So far, reports are that movie revenue is down twenty percent, and if the trend continues, the full year will come in at four or five percent below last year. The...

Hubba hubba Will Smith in the Shower. Thanks, Hollywood

Submissions Insanity: Clichéd Character Introductions

As all spec writers know, there are two things that count above all else when it comes to this screenwriting malarkey, and that’s story and CHARACTER. No one ever disagrees with this … because you’d have to be CRAZY, right?? Yet too often, characterisation is underwritten in the spec screenplays I read. What’s more,...

script consultant

Meet the Reader: Should You Use a Script Consultant?

I’ve noticed that there’s been a spate of articles on the webnets lately asking the question “Should you use a script consultant?” Since I am a script consultant, I thought I would throw my two cents into the discussion. First of all, I don’t think you “should” do anything – an analysis by a...

Brainstorming Technique

Writer’s Edge: Brainstorming Technique – Stumble Into

Stumble into is a brainstorming technique that has a man or woman accidentally falling into a dangerous, unplanned situation in the normal course of their day. It was a favorite technique frequently used by director Alfred Hitchcock. In the Hitchcock film, Rear Window, Jimmy Stuart plays a man who’s confined to a wheel chair....

Mission of the Moment

Back to the Chalkboard: The Mission of the Moment

Have you ever found yourself in a singular moment where you felt hyper-driven to achieve a very specific goal? I’m sure you have, and I bet you can think of something better than that time your morning was placed in serious jeopardy when your favorite Starbucks was unexpectedly closed for maintenance, leaving you desperate...