Beat Sheet

In-N-Out 3x3 Burger

The Wide Margin: My First Writing Course (A Fairy Story)

Do you remember your first writing course?  I do.  High school.  Junior year.  Part of Mr. K’s honors British Literature class.  Mr. K worked hard at his reputation of being the most no-nonsense, scariest teacher that the good little middle class boys and girls of my sleepy, no-movie-theater town could imagine.  Even...

Script Angel: How To Get From Story Idea To Polished Screenplay

Hayley McKenzie is a Script Editor and founder of Script Angel, helping screenwriters elevate their craft and advance their screenwriting career. Follow her on Twitter @scriptangel1. Click to tweet this article to your friends and followers! So you’ve got an idea for a story. You’re pretty sure it’s not been done...

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...

Monday Morning Editor Picks: Screenwriting Software

With most of us working day jobs while we write our scripts, it’s critical we use time-saving tools to help us achieve our goals. Screenwriting software is just that. Software can be expensive, so I want to give you a special DISCOUNT CODE, good until December 31, 2013 (excluding all sales...

Specs & The City: Sequences and ‘Toy Story’ (Part 4)

Welcome back to part 4 of my series on the eight sequence method for screenwriting (see Paul Joseph Gulino’s book, Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach) using Toy Story as our real-world model. Last week we passed the midpoint of our analysis and saw our main characters at their lowest point. Now it’s...

ARGO’s Effective Use of Creative License

Having adapted a number of true stories for the screen, I found myself wondering, as I watched Argo, which moments might have been created for the movie. I guess I’m something of an apologist for Hollywood, in that I see a need to do more fictionalizing and authorial shaping of history...

Using SAVE THE CAT’s Ten “Genres”

SAVE THE CAT has redefined how Erik Bork looks at types of movie stories, in a way that he thinks can be really helpful to writers. He believes Blake Snyder's “genres” speak to the main question professional readers are asking: “Is the main character’s problem (and plan) big, compelling, and entertaining...