How to Write a Play

Writing for the stage is different than writing for a film script. While many of the storytelling aspects are the same, there are differences important to note. In Script Magazine’s How to Write a Play section, you’ll find tips on theme, premise, plot, outlining, formatting a stage play, writing dialogue, scenes and the differences between successful one-act or multi-acts plays.

The Wide Margin: Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!

So, it turns out that no one knows exactly what day William Shakespeare was born.  We know it was near the end of April 1564.  Scholars believe he was born on the 23rd since he was baptized on the 26th.  But since 1582 lost 10 days when we adopted our present...

Script Gods Must Die: The Playwright as Screenwriter

“I was so mad at my agent. I had polished and polished and polished… and he referred to it as a draft. I wrote him a bitter letter: ‘How can you call this a draft? I don’t do drafts.”–Cynthia Ozick “Movie makers buy plays because it makes them feel smart. Acquiring...

Script Gods Must Die: On Rejection

“I am in the smallest room of my house. Your review is before me. Soon it will be behind me.”—Max Reger Paraphrasing here, when Samuel Beckett wrote of the ugliest word in the English language: “C-r-i-t-i-c”. Charles Bukowski once wrote me about this subject. I was complaining about a bad review....

The Wide Margin: (Parenthetically Speaking…)

I learned more about the craft of screenwriting by studying acting than from reading books on screenwriting. There.  I said it. Actors, after all, are my real audience.  Without them, I might as well write a novel.  The moment I decide I’m going to write for performance, I have committed to...

worried cat

The Wide Margin: Tell the Cat to Beat It!

Writers today are obsessed with structure.  I’m not talking about the traditional beginning-middle-end style structure.  I’m talking about the micromanagement of page counts as typified by anal retentive “techniques” like “saving the cat.”  I’m pretty sure Paddy Chayefsky never thought in terms of a beat sheet, assigning plot points to script...

The Wide Margin: A Writer’s Carnal Knowledge

“So, that’s one for “Cah-nahl Knah-ledge…” That’s how they sold tickets at the old Hahvahd Squah Theahter Harvard Square Theatre where I first saw the classic Mike Nichols’ film.  The Harvard Square Theatre – before succumbing to the sweeping home viewing revolution – used to host both old films (different daily...

The Wide Margin: A Writer’s Rules, A Writer’s Tools

Hello.  I’m Kevin. And I’m a writer.  I have never thought of myself as a playwright.  Never thought of myself as a screenwriter.  Nor a novelist.  I’m not an essayist.  And I’m most certainly not a blogger because – let’s face it – until the Internet was invented, “blogging” was what...

TV Writer Podcast 074 – Beau Willimon (House of Cards)

From never being on a TV staff, to becoming the creator and showrunner of “House of Cards,” Netflix’s original foray into dramatic television and the corrupted world of politics… this week’s interview with screenwriter, painter, and playwright Beau Willimon is sure to inspire you! Beau Willimon is a screenwriter, playwright, producer...

Story Talk: Playwrights Have It Better Than Screenwriters—or Do They?

We’ve all heard the laments: why are playwrights more respected than screenwriters; why do playwrights retain copyright and screenwriters don’t; why do screenwriters get treated like dirt  and playwrights like gods; why can’t you change a single word of a playwright’s work, but it’s okay to completely rewrite a screenwriter’s script?...