script

Courtesy Free Dictionary

Why Spec Scripts Fail: The “Wrylie” (Parentheticals)

Courtesy Free Dictionary In our previous examples, we explored a few of the many reasons Why Spec Scripts Fail. For better or for worse, screenwriting conventions have evolved over the years with the emphasis on evolved. When an author pens a stage play, the playwright’s words are sacrosanct – none can be changed without permission....

Editing Screenplays

From The Lens: Editing A Screenplay

As a kid, I sometimes thought: Isn’t it unrealistic that the characters in nearly every film never take a break to go to the bathroom? Maybe they aren’t drinking enough water? For that matter, I never see them drinking water either! Later I realized that would be far too much information for the audience....

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...

writer's tools

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 you did after...

highconcept.jpeg

Story Talk: High Concept—Yes—It Actually Means Something!

As screenwriters, we have all come up against the agent, publisher, studio hack or fellow writer who when asked to give feedback on our story retorts, “Yeah, good idea, but… it needs to pop more. There’s no high concept.” Sigh. “High concept”: what the heck does that mean—really? What is a writer supposed to...

From Option to Premiere: A Writer’s Journey #2

September 2, 2012 To paraphrase an old military adage: movie-making is a lot like war—long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of life and death. And so … I (we) wait. Let us recap the process so far, the process every writer can expect after optioning a script: #1: Flurry of excitement, lots of...

first 10 pages

The First Ten Pages of a Screenplay

Yes, it’s true a writer might only get the opening pages of their script read — and it will likely be put down right away if those pages don’t immediately engage the busy industry professional who has given it a chance by opening it. Most screenwriters who have been at it for a while...