Screenwriting

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Why Spec Scripts Fail: Ignorance vs. Arrogance

Stewart Farquhar holds Screenwriting and Advanced Screenwriting certificates from the Professional Program at The UCLA School of Theatre Film and Television. Stewart has analyzed over 4,000 scripts for private and studio clients. “Knowledge makes people humble. Arrogance makes people ignorant.” I wish I knew the correct author of that thought. The desire to write a successful spec...

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Column D: Should You Take Him Back? (When to use Flashback)

I want to talk to you today about one of the more controversial tools in the screenwriter’s toolbox – and that’s flashback. Like voice-over, flashback is “frowned upon” by screenwriting gurus, professors and so-called purists. The reason for all that frowning is that flashing back slows the forward momentum of the film and “takes...

Screenwriting Polygamy

Back to the Chalkboard: Screenwriting Polygamy

It’s a Sin! No manager or agent will represent you. No studio or producer will buy your script. You must build your brand and be consistent! You must not confuse the very smart, often Ivy League-educated people who run production companies, studios, and networks! You must either write alone or with a writing partner,...

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Why Spec Scripts Fail: Failure to Do Your Homework – Part 5

Together we explored some aspects of screenwriting homework and how the failure to apply yourself to its completion is a reason why many spec scripts fail. It’s important to understand that these should be considered less as rules and more as filters that an overworked, underpaid and, in some environments, highly stressed reader uses...

Losing it over Loglines

Submissions Insanity: Losing It Over Loglines – 6 Big Pitch Mistakes

Loglines: they’re tricky lil’ b******s. Whether writing loglines on paper or pitching them out loud in person, scribes have a horrible habit of totally BLOWING IT when it comes to encapsulating their story and hooking their pitchee’s interest. Yet this is the very definition of submissions insanity! It’s simply NOT POSSIBLE to get a...

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Stories Without Borders: Why You Should Reconsider Screenwriting

Script consultant Julie Gray is a veteran story analyst of some of the biggest production companies in Hollywood. The author of Just Effing Entertain Me: A Screenwriter’s Atlas, Julie has taught story at Warner Bros. Studios, The Great American PitchFest and Oxford University. Contact Julie here. Screenwriting is one of the most challenging, fun,...

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Writers’ Room 101: Pitching Tips

In the last post, I gave you a general overview of what pitching in the room is like. Hopefully, the information wasn’t too overwhelming. If it was…don’t panic! I’ve got some specific pitching tips that’ll make it all make sense. Pitch Solutions, Not Problems This is an expression you’ll hear a lot, and it’s...