Screenwriting

action-lines

From The Lens: Writing Action Lines

When a screenplay lands on my desk, I spend a lot of my time breaking it down, analyzing it as a whole, and analyzing the individual characters. As you may assume, a major part of my focus is on the action lines, because they give me visual cues I need in order to understand each...

MerylStreep

Producers POV: Charlie Kaufman’s Women

A great deal has been written over the past forty years about (Alfred) “Hitchcock’s Women.” Immaculate blondes, sensual ice queens that could be both treacherous yet vulnerable. These strong independent women often drove the action of his famous suspense films – and they suffered for it. They have become icons of his era. One of our...

adverb

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 communicate everything – my...

photo credit blog.laughlin.com

Story Structure: The Evolution Of An Idea Into A Script

How do you develop an idea into a script? What is the evolution process of an idea? After 20 years of working with writers at every level in the story development capacity, I’ve come up with what I’ve surmised is how the creative process goes during the writing process of a TV pilot script....

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 pages with a...

Carnal Knowledge still Nicholson Ann-Margaret

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 double features!) and...