Script brings you behind the scenes to get to know our family of contributors on a more personal level. Check out our Script Industry Expert Q&A posts to dive into the minds behind the screenwriting advice.
Script Secrets by William C. Martell: William has written 19 films that were carelessly slapped onto celluloid: 3 for HBO, 2 for Showtime, 2 for USA Net, and a whole bunch of CineMax Originals (which is what happens when an HBO movie goes really, really wrong). He has been on some film festival juries, including Raindance in London (five times—once with Mike Figgis and Saffron Burrows, once with Lennie James and Edgar Wright, plus 2009 and 2012 and in 2013 with Julian Assange and back in 2018). The late Roger Ebert discussed his work with Gene Siskel on his 1997 “If We Picked The Winners” Oscar show. He’s quoted a few times in Bordwell’s great book, “The Way Hollywood Tells It.” His USA Net flick, Hard Evidence, was released on video the same day as the Julia Roberts’ film Something To Talk About and out-rented it in the USA. In 2009 had two films released on DVD on the same day and both made the top 10 rentals. Recently wrote the remake of a hit 1980s horror flick for a minimajor, and should have a family film shooting in the USA later this year. He is the author of The Secrets of Action Screenwriting and can be reached at Scriptsecrets.net. Twitter: @wcmartell
Meet the Reader by Ray Morton: Meet the Reader looks at the art, craft, and business of screenwriting from the perspective of an experienced script analyst an story consultant. When it comes to screenplays, script “readers” are the gatekeepers to the industry and having your work assessed by a professional analyst is the first step in the development process for every screenwriter, so it is vital that every script makes the best possible first impression. Every month, Meet the Reader examines the issues that analysts encounter in the screenplays they read and offers constructive advice to help screenwriters make their work script “reader”-friendly. Twitter: @RayMorton1
Breaking In by Staton Rabin: If you’re old enough to have felt a pang when Mickey Rooney died, but young (or hip) enough to know who Pharrell Williams is, BREAKING IN is for you. Quality is quality, whether in a classic movie, or the latest Oscar-nominated song. Learn from the best. Staton Rabin has evaluated more screenplays than there are grains of sand on Laguna Beach. Her credo? Write with passion, learn craft, market intelligently. With wisdom garnered from decades in the film business, realistic but never cynical, Staton Rabin’s myth-busting column gives you the nitty-gritty on becoming a better screenwriter. Twitter: @StatonRabin
Joshua Stecker: Joshua Stecker is a freelance entertainment journalist based in Los Angeles. His bylines include The Hollywood Reporter and Death & Taxes Magazine. Stecker is the former west coast/web editor of Script magazine. He’s also the co-founder of the Modjeska Playhouse theatre company in South Orange County. Twitter: @joshuastecker
Dave Trottier (AKA Dr. Format) has sold or optioned ten screenplays (three produced) and helped hundreds of writers sell their work, win contests, and break into the biz. He is an award-winning teacher, in-demand script consultant, and friendly host of keepwriting.com. Follow Dave on Facebook and Twitter: @DRTrottier
Bob Verini is the Los Angeles-based theater critic for Daily Variety, for whom he also contributes features on film, theater and television. Since 2000 he has been a senior writer for Script Magazine, also their resident go-to guy for all things Oscar related, and a frequent moderator of live screening talkback sessions and podcast Q&As on industry topics. By day, Bob is an academic director and teacher for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, welcoming your questions on standardized tests and stress management issues. Twitter: @BobVerini
A Flick Chick by Paula Landry: A Flick Chick is a column to help writers and artists become creative entrepreneurs and take advantage of trends to improve, promote and sell their work in the rapidly changing film industry and media landscape. A Flick Chick shows screenwriters where movies, media and business intersect, covering screenplay and TV writing, pitching, social media and production hacks, trends in filmmaking, marketing as a writer, contests and disruptive ways to give writers an edge in creative pursuits and growing a successful media career. Motivation, inspiration and practical encouragement are key to the activation of achieving writing success. Twitter: @paulalandry
A Writer’s Voice by Jacob Krueger: A truly great script is like a rare bird, so infrequently spotted that it’s easy to wonder if it actually exists. With so many writers following the same tired formulas, catching that bird requires a leap of faith in yourself, trusting that the answer lies not in some get-rich-quick screenwriting book or (gasp!) some miraculous software program that promises to solve all your plot problems for you, but in your own instincts, your own characters, and your own voice as a writer. Learn to achieve the craft you need to survive, without sacrificing the art you need to succeed, with award-winning screenwriter Jacob Krueger’s new column, A Writer’s Voice.
Alt Script by Clives Davies-Frayne: Alt-Script is about screenwriting for independent filmmaking and independent filmmakers. The skills and knowledge needed to work in this sector of the film industry are very different from those needed to write mainstream spec scripts. It’s different simply because independent filmmaking encompasses everything from zero budget alt-cinema to multi-million dollar projects. Many of the articles offer an alternative and very personal point of view about the way that scripts are written and careers are built. More than anything else, Alt Script encourages screenwriters and filmmakers to control their own destiny and think for themselves.
Alternate Routes by Marty Lang: Independent filmmaker Marty Lang offers advice to folks who want to work in film (as a writer or anything else), but who don’t have access to the industry’s traditional power centers. Or to folks that are in the business, and are struggling to take that next step in their careers. Twitter @marty_lang.
Anatomy of Selling a Script by Wendy Kram: Producer Wendy Kram takes you into the screenplay development process, sharing conversations with her screenwriting clients to help writers better understand the anatomy of selling a script. Wendy is an established producer with credits that include the feature Mad Money with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes, directed by Oscar-winning writer/director Callie Khouri. Wendy is also the owner of L.A. FOR HIRE, Inc., an international consulting company for screenwriters, facilitating talent packaging and sales. Creative Screenwriting Magazine ranked Wendy as one of the leading script consultants in the industry. With a proven track record selling projects to major studios, networks and cable companies, Wendy’s column focuses on marketing your screenplays, making them the best representation of your writing ability possible and getting your screenplay sold in Hollywood. Twitter: @wendyla4hire
Balls of Steel by Jeanne Veillette Bowerman: Balls of Steel is what it takes to survive in this industry. Screenwriter, producer, industry speaker, and ScriptMag Editor, Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, takes our readers on the journey of her screenwriting career, sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. Her narrative adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Slavery by Another Name, launched her Balls of Steel column, which now inspires screenwriters to face their fears and go after what really matters… their dreams. Twitter: @jeannevb
Behind the Lines with DR by Doug Richardson: Doug Richardson cut his teeth writing movies like Die Hard, Die Harder, Bad Boys and Hostage. But scratch the surface and discover he thinks there’s a killer inside all of us. His Lucky Dey books exist between the gutter and the glitter of a morally suspect landscape he calls Luckyland—aka Los Angeles—the city of Doug’s birth and where he lives with his wife, two children, three big mutts, and the dead body he’s still semi-convinced is buried in his San Fernando Valley back yard. Follow Doug on Twitter @byDougRich.
Erik Bork won two Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for his work as a writer-producer on the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and From the Earth to the Moon, working with executive producer Tom Hanks (and Steven Spielberg, on Band of Brothers). Erik has sold original series pitches to the broadcast networks, worked on the writing staff of primetime drama series, and written feature screenplays for Universal, HBO, TNT, and Playtone. He teaches for UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program, and National University’s MFA Program in Professional Screenwriting. He has also been called one of the “Top Ten Most Influential Screenwriting Bloggers” for his website, Flyingwrestler.com. Twitter: @flyingwrestler
Angela Bourassa is the founder and editor in chief of LA Screenwriter. She is also the co-founder of Write/LA, a new screenwriting competition created by writers, for writers. A mom, UCLA grad, and alternating repeat binger of The Office and Parks and Recreation, Angela posts articles through @LA_Screenwriter and unique daily writing prompts through @Write_LA. Twitter: @angelabourassa1
Breaking & Entering by Barri Evins: Breaking & Entering is a working producer’s guide to breaking into screenwriting. Whether you’re miles from Hollywood or it’s just around the corner but seems far away, Breaking & Entering is your roadmap to get there. You may be at the start of your scriptwriting journey or on the road but have run out marketable screenplay ideas, are lost when it comes to marketing and selling your script or stuck in rewriting. This is the Auto Club of Advice. Avoid roadblocks, discover short cuts, get on track for success. These practical, insider pointers send you confidently in the direction of your dreams. Twitter: @BigBigIdeas
Joy Cheriel Brown is an accomplished screenwriter, with an MFA in creative writing from National University and a bachelor’s degree from Howard University, where she studied film and English and graduated summa cum laude. She has written six feature-length screenplays and received numerous accolades. She is the founder of Third Person Omniscient Productions, a production company whose mission it is to produce quality movies, plays, and television shows that enlighten audiences about the human condition and shed light on the meaning of life. Her first feature film, Love’s Duty, is currently in development. Joy also coaches screenwriters who want to write meaningful, production-ready screenplays. She has served as a screenwriting mentor for the DC Shorts Filmmaking Mentor Series and a panelist for the screenwriting panel at the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council’s Festival of Literary Arts. She recently launched a YouTube channel where she presents script analyses of box-office and independent films. Twitter: @JoyCheriel
Comedy Writing by Evan Smith: “Dying is easy, comedy is hard—and getting paid to write comedy is really really cool!” This column is for people who want to write funny scripts that pay the rent. Evan Smith has written for NBC, CBS, FOX, USA, and various producers, and has worked as a programming VP responsible for developing network TV movies, specials, and series. Evan is the author of the bestselling book WRITING TELEVISION SITCOMS, he teaches screenwriting at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, and he serves as a private script consultant for screenwriters and entertainment companies.
Cross Road to Films by Dan Goforth focuses on the Christian filmmaking community. The Gospel has a long history in the movies, dating back to 1903 with the French silent film Vie et Passion du Christ (Life and Passion of the Christ). Recent movies have brought the Good News to film studio awareness, showing that not only is there already a built-in audience for these stories, but there is also an opportunity for filmmakers to reach out beyond their brothers and sisters in Christ. Twitter: @Dango_Forth
Getting Writers Writing by Lynn Dickinson: There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to writing. Trying what works well for other writers is a great start, but ultimately it comes down to discovering what practices and strategies and methods and rituals work to get YOU writing – and then doing them! This column will help you explore you – and with any luck – will get you writing more than ever before. Twitter: @LifesizeLD
Valerie Kalfrin is an award-winning crime journalist who dives into fictional mayhem as an author (Quicklet on The Closer: Season 1), essayist, film critic, screenwriter, and emerging script consultant. She’s written for The Script Lab, The Guardian, Bright Wall Dark Room, ScreenCraft, Hazlitt, Signature, and the blog for Final Draft. A member of Screenwriters of Tomorrow, she’s affiliated with the Tampa Bay Film Society and has vetted material for the Austin Film Festival’s screenwriting competition. She lives in Florida. Find her online at valeriekalfrin.com.
Susan Kouguell, award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, teaches screenwriting at SUNY College at Purchase, is a regular contributor for IndieWire/SydneysBuzz, and other publications. She is the author of THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER and SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS!: A comprehensive guide to crafting winning characters with film analyses and screenwriting exercises. As chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a motion picture consulting company founded in 1990, Kouguell works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, executives and studios worldwide. Her short films are in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection and archives, and were included in the Whitney Museum’s Biennial. Kouguell worked as a story analyst and story editor for many studios, acquisitions consultant for Warner Bros., wrote voice-over narrations for (Harvey Weinstein) Miramax and over a dozen feature assignments for independent companies. Twitter: @SKouguell.
Cheryl Laughlin is a reader for the Nashville Film Festival screenplay competition, gopher for indie sets throughout NorCal, and grass roots marketer for micro-budget documentaries via 20KFilms. As a Midwestern transplant to California, she hopes Francis Ford Coppola was talking about her when he said, “Someday a little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the next Mozart and make a beautiful film”… although she openly admits she can’t write a lick of music. When she’s not screenwriting or editing screenplays, you can find her quietly tweeting her support of all things indie film @cheryllaughlin and occasionally blogging eclectic inspirations at bitsoflovestyle.com/blog. She also believes you can never say please and thank you enough for all the kindnesses to your scripts along the way.
Legally Speaking, It Depends by Christopher Schiller: Christopher Schiller is a NY transactional entertainment attorney who counts many independent filmmakers and writers among his diverse client base. He has an extensive personal history in production and screenwriting experience which benefits him in translating between “legalese” and the language of the creatives. The material he provides here is extremely general in application and therefore should never be taken as legal advice for a specific need. Always consult a knowledgeable attorney for your own legal issues. Twitter: @chrisschiller
Lisa McFadden is a screenwriter and essayist living in Los Angeles. Her short scripts have placed in the semis in the First Glance and Blue Cat competitions. Most recently after an amazingly melodramatic panic attack, she entered a short script into the Austin Film Festival and placed as a 2nd Rounder. She has published essays in Role Reboot as well as performed her essays in numerous storytelling shows. Lisa has volunteered as a staff journalist for the Dallas International Film Festival for several seasons as well as programmed short films for a variety of other film festivals. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @CrispyPhoenix where she’s taking boredom to new heights and because she feels obligated to have a social media presence.
Navigating Hollywood with Manny Fonseca is a harsh, truthful look into what it’s like working in Hollywood. Join Manny as he regales you with tales from his days as an executive working the pitchfest circuit as well as current, nerve wrecking stories working as a writer. He’ll share the successes, the failures and everything in between without pulling any punches. If, after reading, you still want to work in Hollywood, then you might just be crazy enough to be successful. Twitter: @mannyfonsca
Notes from the Margin by Danny Manus: Danny Manus is an in-demand script consultant and founder of No BullScript Consulting, and was ranked in the Top 15 “Cream of the Crop” Script Consultants in 2010. He is the author of No B.S. for Screenwriters: Advice from the Executive Perspective. Danny shares notes, tips, lessons, anecdotes and information that will hopefully improve your writing, enlighten you about parts of the business that aren’t talked about, lessen the number of notes you get in YOUR margins, and help you further understand what breaking into this business and staying here really entails. Twitter: @DannyManus
Brian O’Malley started his career in film production working for legendary B-movie maverick Roger Corman in 1997. He’s written and directed three feature films, including Bleak Future, Minimum Wage, and Audie & The Wolf, and in 1999, assembled a team of experienced script readers to launch the script coverage company Screenplay Readers, providing brutally honest, actionable script feedback for screenwriters, agents, and filmmakers. Twitter: @scriptcoverages
Reel Story by Corey Mandell: The Reel Story is where professional screenwriter Corey Mandell breaks down the tools and techniques required to write a spec screenplay that can get an agent or manager, and eventually lead to a script sale or paid writing gig. Topics explored include organic story structure, deep character development, thematic subtext, cohesion and compelling conflict. In the past three years more than 50 of Corey’s students and clients have sold features, TV pilots, landed studio assignments and won prestigious screenplay contests. Twitter: @coreymandell
Mike Sargent is a nationally quoted film critic and Co-President of the Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC). He is chief Film Critic for WBAI RADIO’s host of ‘Reelworld’ and of popular late night show ‘Niteshift’. Mike was also the creator and host of ‘Arise Onscreen’ for Arise Networks which was the first African-American hosted film review television show ever. Mike is a frequent film commentator on PBSNewshour, i24News & FoxBusiness News. An established Filmmaker, Sargent’s writing and directing debut feature film, Personals (aka Hook’d Up) starred Malik Yoba, Stacey Dash and was the feature film debut of comedian Jim Gaffigan. Twitter: @Mikeonscreen
Tim Schildberger is a an experienced writer, script coach, and Founder/Director of LiveRead/LA where winning scripts are read by professional actors and receive feedback from an ‘Industry Insider’. Tim is also co-founder of Write/LA – 3 winning writers will go to L.A. for a workshop, meetings with Insiders, and a gala invitation only reading of their winning script. In his spare time, Tim is a husband, parent, sometimes a tennis player, and always a passionate fan of his beloved Australian Rules Football Team, the Richmond Tigers. He will gladly explain the rules of the sport, if you have a day to spare. No, it’s not soccer, or rugby, so stop guessing. Twitter: @timschildberger @LiveReadLA
Denny Schnulo began his writing career at age eleven with the release of his first collection of poems to the kids on the school playground. Years later as he struggled through the Writers’ strike of 1988 he once again stood tall against the wrath of bullies. Believing that first hand reports are always best, he spent his early adult years living and working throughout the world. His writing today is informed by the real people he met and things they did together. Denny and his family live in Chandler Arizona, where the heat forces him into his den to write. Twitter: @DennySchnulo
Screenwriter’s Guidepost by Mario O. Moreno: When Mario O. Moreno first stepped off the plane in Los Angeles, new screenplay under his arm, he was confident some producer at the baggage claim would bid on it. But no one did. And life as a budding screenwriter has been anything but predictable since. In his blog, Screenwriter’s Guidepost, Moreno candidly answers questions on all topics related to screenwriting, from the page (story, character, theme, structure) to the business (managers, agents, notes, meetings, writing partners). Moreno shares his unique perspective, gained from his experiences and those of his peers (writers, filmmakers, and the suits). These are the truths, tips, and tricks he wished he’d known getting off the plane, and those he’s still discovering everyday. Twitter: @MarioOMoreno37
Script Gods Must Die by Paul Peditto: Script Gods Must Die will be a place of teaching about screenwriting and playwriting. I will never bullsh*t you. Hollywood rejection sounds like this ———— Silent. Economical. Perfect. You try to “make it” as a writer by sending out query letters, entering screenwriting contests and attending Pitchfests. What the hell else are you gonna do? How about controlling what you can control? How about not waiting for the phone to ring? How about making something happen. Read Script Gods Must Die. It will help. You might be the genius in the crowd. You might not. Let’s find out. Vamos! Twitter: @scriptgods
Script Notes by Michael Tabb: Michael Tabb is a firm believer in giving back to fellow artists in an ongoing effort to constantly elevate the medium of visual storytelling through the exchange of free-flowing ideas. This column is one WGA writer’s perspective of entertainment from within the screenwriting trade, including craft as well as industry, occasionally separating conceptions from misconceptions. It’s part trade analyses and part opinion column. Writers are story surgeons. Scrub in and let’s dissect this living, breathing, evolving thing we do called entertainment writing. Twitter: @MichaelTabb
Script Tips and Sitcom Success by Marilyn Horowitz: Professor Marilyn Horowitz has been teaching screenwriting for over 15 years. In addition to her books, she has written over 100 tips intended to inspire writers to new heights or to overcome a problem that has plagued them. Each tip is a writing prompt with an exercise that can be completed in 15-30 minutes. Each tip challenges the writer to see their screenplay in a different light – and provide helpful insights on all aspects of the process, from time management to understanding structure. Twitter: @marilynhorowitz
Selling Your Screenplay Podcast by Ashley Scott Meyers: The Selling Your Screenplay Podcast was created to help screenwriters sell their scripts. Most screenwriting books, blogs, and podcasts try and help screenwriters write a better screenplay. While writing a good script is important, most screenwriters grossly underestimate the importance of aggressively marketing their screenplays. The Selling Your Screenplay Podcast aims to fill that gap and teach screenwriters exactly what they need to do to effectively market their material. The Selling Your Screenplay Podcast includes interviews with successful screenwriters, actionable screenwriting marketing tips that all writers can use, reviews of screenwriting marketing services, and a host of other marketing information for screenwriters. Twitter: @ashleymeyers
Short Circuit by Dan Goforth: From writing a short film to shooting and distributing it, Short Circuit is your portal into the art and craft of short filmmaking (documentaries, original narratives and adaptations). We’ll cover a wide range of information, including interviews, tips (everything from securing script rights to film distribution). screenwriting contests and film festivals. Twitter: @Dango_Forth
Nick Sadler is an actor, filmmaker, and founder of AWD Creative Consultation. Among his current projects, Nick’s developing a film with Todd Field (Little Children, In The Bedroom), and is in post-production on TIMES LIKE THESE, a feature documentary. As a consultant, he advises writers and filmmakers in all stages of their projects. You can learn more about Nick by visiting his website.
Story Broads are an international collective of women filmmakers who stand for equality with a goal of creating a place for women in film to come together for community, support, and empowerment. Their ultimate goal is to champion for a female presence both in front of and behind the camera. Each week they bring you information on much more than femalecentric topics. After all, no job or aspect of this industry should be defined by gender or race. “Like” The Story Broads on Facebook and follow them on Twitter: @StoryBroads
Meet all the Story Broad writers HERE!
Story Structure by Jen Grisanti: In this column, Jen will write articles on story structure in film and television from the studio executive perspective. She will give story tips and tools. She will also offer insight from current TV shows and films to help illustrate some of what she will be covering. The intention of this column is to help the reader see and understand structure in a new way by teaching new tools and drawing examples from some of the best work being done. Twitter: @jengrisanti
StoryTelling to Story$elling by Heather Hale: Heather Hale’s StoryTelling to Story$elling columns help you get your stories out of your head and onto the worldwide stage. From the inspiration and conception of all kinds of creative writing, through the development and refinement of all the elements, to navigating the legal, financial, physical production, distribution and marketing labyrinths of the overlapping businesses of mass media, she explores how (and why) we write, co-create, share and monetize stories around the world today. Check out her webinars, tutorials and online classes. Connect with Heather on Twitter: @HeatherJHale, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Storytelling Strategies by Paul Joseph Gulino: Storytelling Strategies takes a look at contemporary popular films and studies them for the strategies they use to tell their stories. Subjects covered have included or will include adaptation, hooking the reader, romantic comedy, horror, sci-fi, drama, fantasy, rewriting, screenwriting, character development, dialogue, plot development, theme, structure, writing inspiration, how to deal with writers block, discussions of screenwriting books, theme, premise, plot, outlining, dramatic scenes, rewriting. The column looks not only at successful films but those that are less successful and discusses strategies for improvement, tying these in turn to screenwriting craft as it applies to those seeking to master it.
The TV Writer Podcast by Gray Jones was founded in 2010 by TV editor/writer Gray Jones, to profile television producers and writers, authors, educators, and other industry personnel of interest to TV writers. The purpose of the interviews is to inspire up and coming writers, to raise the profile of existing television writers, to introduce helpful resources, and to aid in career development. It is released in video format, though an audio-only version is available through the Script Magazine iTunes feed. The podcast website at www.tvwriterpodcast.com has many helpful resources, including links to free scripts and a Twitter database. Twitter: @GrayJones
The Unknown Screenwriter is a screenwriter, producer, and script doctor for hire. He works with director Roland Joffé and a New York Times best-selling author that must remain anonymous as well. He enjoys riding his motorcycle extremely fast and the occasional triple of Wild Turkey. Visit his site and follow Unk on Twitter: @UnkScreenwriter
TV Writing Tips & Tricks from Script Advice by Yvonne Grace: Yvonne Grace writes about her experience as a TV Drama Producer of Series. She covers the craft of writing for television from the writer and the producer’s perspective. Yvonne talks about the relationships in television; how the production works with the writer to get the job done. She writes about script editors, agents, social networking, working collaboratively and digs into what makes great TV drama and how to create must-have documents that sell your best ideas to the max. She features links, tips and the do’s and dont’s when working in TV as a writer. Twitter: @YVONNEGRACE1
Understanding Screenwriting by Tom Stempel: Tom Stempel taught film history and screenwriting from 1971 to 2011 at Los Angeles City College, and has contributed to Slant Magazine and Creative Screenwriting. He has also written six books on film, five of them about screen and television writing. You can learn more about his books here. His latest book is Understanding Screenwriting: Learning from Good, Not-Quite-So- Good, and Bad Screenplays. The book evolved into his column “Understanding Screenwriting.” In the column he reviews movies and television from the standpoint of screenwriting. He will be looking at new movies, old movies, and television movies and shows, as well as writing occasional other items, such as appreciations of screenwriters who have died, plays based on films, books on screenwriting and screenwriters, and assorted other sundries.
Unscripted – Editor’s Blog by Jeanne Veillette Bowerman: Unscripted, gives ScriptMag.com readers miscellaneous screenwriting thoughts from Script Magazine’s editor, including Monday Morning Editor Picks, sale items at The Writers Store, and tips on what’s new in screenwriting. Twitter: @scriptmag @jeannevb
Why Spec Scripts Fail by Stewart Farquhar: You are told that you have a flair for writing. You borrow money then travel to writing seminars. You outline then write and re-write your heart out. You fail to invest in you with books and formal screenwriting classes. You fail to enlist the guidance of a qualified writing coach. Your folks and close friends say you have a blockbuster story. You look for support and are convinced to try online pitchfests. You borrow or spend your savings to attend pricy pitchfests in person. You take the feedback, make adjustments and enter contest after contest. Stewart Farquhar explores why spec scripts can fail. Twitter: @stewartfarquhar
Writer’s On The Verge by Lee Jessup: Lee Jessup’s column, Writer’s On The Verge, investigates the different elements that go into building a screenwriting career, from agents and managers to pitching, taking meetings, writing assignments and the contests to launch your screenwriting career. Relying on years of industry experience working with novice and professional screenwriters as a screenwriting career coach, Lee delivers in-depth, no-nonsense information about building your screenwriting career, marketing your script and selling your script. Her insights are derived from daily interactions with aspiring and working screenwriters, coming to answer the many business questions plaguing writers trying to make their way into screenwriting today. Twitter: @LeeZJessup
Writers On the Web by Rebecca Norris: Writers On the Web strives to empower writers to create their own work by demystifying the web series production process, from development through distribution. The column also provides inspiration and insight through interviews with writers and producers, both established and new. Twitter: @beckaroohoo
X-Ray Spec by Robert Piluso: X-Ray speak is written by Robert Piluso, a film critic (The Essential Sopranos Reader), screenwriter (CS Expo 2011 Winner-Best Comedy Script, Strum & Wail; Austin Film Festival 2012 Feature Comedy Second Round), poet (Dash, The Chaffey Review), and English Professor at Chaffey College. He earned his Master of Arts in English from CSU Fullerton in 2008, and his Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Screen and Television from the University of Southern California in 2012. Twitter: @RobertPiluso
Your TV Guide by Tawnya Bhattacharya: Working TV writer & founder of television writing program, Script Anatomy, Tawnya Bhattacharya, draws on her adventures in the industry as well as her ten-year teaching background to help you navigate the complex terrain of the business and reach your career destination. For more info about Script Anatomy, go to www.scriptanatomy.com. Follow Script Anatomy on Facebook or Twitter: @ScriptAnatomy
All Write by Charles Kipps: Writer/producer Charles Kipps has won an Emmy, a Peabody, and an Edgar Award. Kipps’ television credits include Exiled: A Law & Order Movie, Little Bill, Fatherhood , The Cosby Mysteries, Columbo, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Among his film credits is Fat Albert: The Movie, co-written with Bill Cosby. Kipps is the author of the Conor Bard Mystery Series. The first two installments are Hell’s Kitchen Homicide and Crystal Death, which was chosen by publishing trade magazine Kirkus as one of the best mysteries of the year. Twitter: @times2ck
Back to the Chalkboard by Brad Riddell: I’ve learned a lot of lessons in twelve years as a working screenwriter. Lessons leaving home to chase the dream, lessons as a MFA student at USC, lessons breaking into the business, lessons trying to stay in the business, and for the past eight years, lots and lots of lessons as a screenwriting professor. I’ll be sharing these lessons with you here on the chalkboard, as we discuss writing and the business of writing through the eyes of a teacher. Twitter: @bradriddell
Blue Sky by Lisa Alden: To have a “Blue Sky” session in a writers room means that every writer has the complete freedom to pitch whatever they want about anything. For a certain amount of time. Usually until the lunch menus arrive and things get serious. This is a column devoted to the awesome spirit of “Blue Sky”, wherein all ideas are not only possible but valuable. Temporarily. Until the next one comes down the pike that sounds even better. Because as William Goldman so famously once said, “Nobody knows anything.” Truthfully, I probably titled the column “Blue Sky” because I have to do lots of things to trick myself into writing, including starting this column. So it seemed pretty clever to give it a title that would allow me the freedom to write about whatever I want. And guess what, it worked. So far. As a person who generally goes through life with an opinion about everything and a “more than the average bear” amount of experience in Hollywood as a studio executive, d-girl, teacher and TV writer, I hope to be able to offer some advice or at least musings on writing, not writing, writing for television, watching television, pilots, finales, and how to have more fun being a writer (hint – get at least one dog). Ie. Blue Sky. Blog: www.lisaaldenme.tumblr.com Twitter @lisaalden3.
Breaking Into Hollywood by Gary W. Goldstein teaches strategies that magnetize ‘insiders’ to support you and your goals, projects and passions. As an attorney, literary manager, author and producer of ‘indie’ and major studio films, Gary discovered keys to turn your talent into a more rewarding business and is committed to teaching creatives how to take control, save years, gain access and build relationships with people that truly matter. Follow Gary on Twitter: @garywgoldstein, Facebook, Google+, Google+ community, and YouTube.
Building a Bridge to Hollywood by Monica Lee Bellais: Building a Bridge to Hollywood requires a well-structured and crafted screenplay demonstrating creative skill and the understanding of industry standards. As a first impression, it can link a screenwriter to entertainment financiers and executives who may otherwise be hesitant to take a chance on unproven talent. Whether you are a beginner who needs to learn the fundamentals of creative development and storytelling or an emerging pro who wants to improve, the Bridge to Hollywood column will give insightful tips and tools necessary to get there. Monica Lee Bellais is a screenwriter / producer who has bridged experiences working in Hollywood, Washington, DC and international markets. Twitter @CreativeMonica
Business of Screenwriting by Michele Wallerstein: Michele Wallerstein’s column, Business of Screenwriting, informs readers of all the intricate maneuvering they must learn to become successful screenwriters. She helps writers learn how to get an agent, sell their scripts, why and if they also need a personal manager and an entertainment attorney. Michele is a story and screenplay consultant who spent many years as a literary agent. Michele shares her knowledge of networking, marketing your script, story, structure, character as well as pitchfests and writing contests. She writes about Indie vs. Studio decisions and the art of pitching your script. Twitter: @Scpconsult
Casting and Acting Magic by Hester Schell M.F.A. focuses on great performances and casting. Schell examines casting choices and the various way actors approach their craft. “When you understand more about how actors do what they do, you can write better character arcs and create better action.” Schell is the author of CASTING REVEALED: A Guide for Film Directors.
Column D by Drew Yanno: Screenwriter, screenwriting professor and story consultant Drew Yanno shares his ideas on screenplay structure, story design, plot and pacing, writing rich characters, crafting memorable dialogue, employing theme, rewriting the script, creating stories outside of three act structure, writing great endings and everything else that goes into fashioning a commercially-viable screenplay in today’s screenwriting market. Twitter: @drewyanno
Craigsgrist by Craig Van Sickle: Television Writer/Producer Craig Van Sickle believes talent is innate, only fools rely on luck and that on this yellow brick road known as show biz, hard work is the key element writers control. Good thing, given that writing is hard work. In his decades of fending off witches and monkey bats in the poppy fields of Hollywood television, Craig would like to share his vast writing/producing experiences with integrity and a smile; from the blank page of a writer’s mind to the wondrous glow of a writer’s imagination pouring out from flat screens across the globe. Twitter: @CraigVanSickle1
Development Hell by Brad Schreiber: Development Hell is a column that defies description, though not comprehension. It is an amalgam of articles on craft, essays on the writing life, TV or film reviews and in general, an exploration of issues that affect screenwriters, be it helpful advice, analysis of the marketplace, anecdotes about development or production and the like. Twitter: @bradschreiber
Donna ON PR by Donna Hardwick: Public Relations specialist Donna Hardwick’s specialty is marketing and publicity on behalf of film and television programs, but she also has a flare for coming up with campaigns that are tailored to meet the needs of her projects. In this column, she shares some of my passion and expertise and provide you with guideposts on your journey to tell your own amazing stories. Donna will take you into the world of marketing your film or screenplay and teach you tips on getting the most exposure possible for your art. Twitter: @onandonpr
Dream Career Toolkit by Shawn Tolleson: Career Coach Shawn Tolleson gives writers like yourself the tools you need to accomplish your dream career. Her Dream Career Toolkit Column gives you powerful and practical tips and tools so you can avoid mistakes, stop wasting time, overcome fear, procrastination and rejection, get optimum results from your efforts, and have the writing career you’ve always dreamed of! Enjoy! Twitter: @shawntolleson
Fragments by Tyler Weaver explores the new storytelling possibilities available to filmmakers through digital technology and transmedia concepts. With a special focus on the evolution of transmedia concepts and analyses of projects that have worked throughout the modern (and not-so-modern) era, “Fragments” aims to get filmmakers and screenwriters excited about the unparalleled potential available at their fingertips, while offering practical applications to make the worlds of their films even more thrilling than they thought possible. Twitter: @tylerweaver
From the Lens by Nathan Blair: Director of Photography, Nathan Blair, shares his viewpoint of breaking a script down from the cinematographers point of view to help screenwriters learn more about their writing craft and the collaborative process. Nathan has worked on a variety of productions of many sizes and budgets. His experience ranges from short and feature films, to commercials and branding videos. Twitter: @Nathan_Blair
Get Real by David Garrett: When I didn’t win the Razzie Award for “Worst Screenplay” in 2005, I proclaimed in public that it was an honor just to be nominated. In private, I was embarrassed, humiliated and almost gave up writing forever. After some serious soul-searching, I actually grew a pair and climbed back on the screenwriting horse. I hope this column will inspire you to ignore the haters, adapt to adversity and build a career as a working writer. Whether you receive your umpteenth rejection letter or get raked over the coals by a jaded film critic, you too must get back in the saddle when things get rough. Twitter: @DavidCGarrett
Good in a Room by Stephanie Palmer: This columnist shares advice from the buyer’s perspective and focuses on helping screenwriters learn how to pitch and sell their projects. This includes preparing for meetings, strategies for getting in the room and knowing what to do and say when you’re pitching your ideas to a decision-maker who could buy your project. Twitter: @goodinaroom
Guerrilla Screenwriting by Martin Shapiro: In today’s ultra-competitive entertainment industry, a writer needs every weapon at his disposal to get ahead of the competition. Our Guerrilla Screenwriting column provides unconventional strategies and tactics to help writers sell their work and build successful careers. My goal is to open your eyes to new possibilities and make you aware of how important marketing is to your success. I’ll share practical advice and war stories, not only from my own experiences in Hollywood, but those of other successful screenwriters and entrepreneurs as well. We’ll discuss such topics as transmedia, graphic novel writing, web series, video game writing, independent filmmaking, selling your script, networking, personal branding, and internet marketing. Twitter: @MartinShapiro
Hollywood Bound and Down by Joshua Caldwell: Hollywood Bound and Down follows the exploits of writer-director Joshua Caldwell as he attempts to navigate the ever-shifting paradigm of indie filmmaking. Opinionated and outspoken, Joshua is a believer in the power of “just doing it” and of finding ways to get your script or your film made no matter what it takes. And he’s done it. Joshua’s first feature film Layover was shot for only $6000 and had it’s World Premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival where it was nominated for the prestigious FIPRESCI New American Cinema Award. Twitter: @Joshua_Caldwell
Improvising Screenplays by Brett Wean: Improvisational actor Brett Wean shares how the concepts of theatrical improvisation can be applied to the work – and play – of writing your script. Based on the methods taught at theaters such as The Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, and The People’s Improv Theater, the column reveals how to use techniques such as agreement, Yes-Anding, and heightening to: get past writer’s block; generate compelling ideas that resonate with any audience; create strong, three-dimensional characters; write sparkling dialogue; recognize patterns and archetypes to determine story structure in any genre; develop bulletproof outlines; and make the most of professional feedback. Twitter: @brettwean
Indievelopment by Jeff Richards: Indievelopment is about the art and business of screenwriting from the independent film perspective. No matter the genre, directors and producers are looking for marketable screenplay ideas that they can make in an independent framework. Loglines or networking, screenwriting contests or writing rules, let Indievelopment be your guide to selling your script independently and launching your career in screenwriting (plus, you might even learn a thing or two for Hollywood). Twitter: @jeffrichards
Indie Film Academy by Jason Buff: How to build a career as a filmmaker. We know what we’ve been told, but how does the film industry really work? We ask filmmakers from all levels of success how they got to where they’re at and what advice they have for those just getting started. Is it possible to make a living? What were their biggest mistakes? We’re out to discover all of the things that you don’t hear about screenwriting and filmmaking as well as my personal advice to help get on the right path to success. Read Jason’s Indie Film Academy blog and follow him on Twitter: @indiefilmacdemy
Indie Film Hustle by Alex Ferrari will cover screenwriting and filmmaking from the trenches. Alex’s RAW and in your face approach to indie films will jolt you awake from your creative funk. Having 20 years of experience working with filmmakers and screenwriters, Alex’s perspective on the film industry is from the street level. Guerrilla filmmaking at it’s best. What does it really take to make a screenplay into a feature film in today’s world? Can a script writer direct, producer, edit, market and sell his/her own movie script? Indie Film Hustle is here to show you the way. Read Alex’s Blog: Indie Film Hustle. Twitter: @IndieFilmHustle
Indie Reel by Dennis Rainaldi: Dennis is a late bloomer. Three years ago, he left a cushy job at the United Nations where he worked as a technical project manager to chase a life-long dream – a dream to make movies. Indie Reel follows Dennis through this transition. Interviews with writers, directors and producers will shed light on just what it takes to make it in this business while the personal stories of his own successes and failures trying to produce and promote his own creative work will offer insights into a hungry newcomer trying to make it in the Independent Film Industry. Twitter: @drainaldi; Instagram: @dennisrainaldi
Inner Drives by Pamela Jaye Smith: Create unique, dynamic, believable characters using the chakras, our Inner Drives. Chakras are actual bundles of nerves that control the endocrine glands which release hormones, which affect our feelings. Each chakra has unique hopes, fears, strengths, weaknesses, actions, speech styles, and more. Whether a writer, director, actor, or designer, you can develop characters, arcs, and ensembles that’ll hook the readers and viewers of your novels and scripts, features, TV shows, stage plays, and web series. Learn to use these Inner Drives and you too can tap into the power of mythic archetypes no matter your genre or style.
Michael Lee is a writer, script consultant, script reader and judge. He’s worked as a creative executive for a few production companies and as reader and judge for some of the most prestigious screenwriting contests in the country including PAGE and Final Draft Big Break. The last five years his life has consisted of reading lots and lots of screenplays. He’s recently optioned his latest project: a science-fiction comedy entitled How to Conquer the Earth. Follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter: @GoldenAgeofGeek.
Legitimacy Pending by Erica Rosbe & Sarah Carbiener: In Legitimacy Pending, writing partners Sarah and Erica explore the excitement, heartbreak and reality of breaking into television, tackling subjects like writing original pilots, the ins and outs of staffing season, working with production companies, pitching to networks and balancing life, day jobs and writing. Since they’re in the “hustle and pray” stage of their career, they focus on subjects that are particularly useful to newer writers. Twitter: @crashrosbe and @TooAdorkable
Jon James Miller won Grand Prize of the 2008 AAA Screenplay Contest sponsored by Creative Screenwriting Magazine, the 2009 Golden Brad for Drama and was a finalist in the 2011 Austin Writers Conference for “Garbo’s Last Stand.” Jon co-wrote Adapting Sideways: How To Turn Your Screenplay Into A Publishable Novel (Komenar Publishing), which chronicled the process of adapting his screenplay to novel. Garbo’s Last Stand is Jon’s first novel. He is represented by Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and Kevin Cleary with Pooka Entertainment. Twitter: @JonJimMiller.
Sammy Montana has worked in several different capacities. He served as the VP of Production and Development for the Producer of the HALLOWEEN remakes. Then he ran his own Film/TV literary management company, Anarchy Management and had an active list of clientele, including writers and directors. Currently, he is a script consultant drawing on his years of experience in the film industry. Under the Anarchy Management and Anarchy Management & Consulting banner, he is developing in-house projects. To stay up to date and get constant invaluable free information listen, watch, subscribe to and share Anarchy Consulting Blog and to Anarchy Consulting YouTube Channel. Click on this for script coverage and consultation at the most affordable prices.
Real Screenwriting: The Business & The Life by Ron Suppa: There are lots of books on screenwriting out there, most of them covering the same tips — the 12 step programs to turn your idle daydreams into award-winning screenplays. My previous books and the 100 or so columns and articles I had written for various trade publications dealt instead with the hard facts of the business and everyday life of the screenwriter. This column will continue in that vein, offering up the yin and yang of a writer’s daily angst and a straightforward view of a real screenwriting life. I hope you enjoy it, get inspired or frustrated by it and will write me your thoughts either way. Twitter: @rasuppa
Rona’s Reel Take by Rona Edwards: Ranting and raving about the film/TV/Transmedia industry is what producer/writer Rona Edwards does every day whether writing about it, putting it into practice as a producer, or teaching it at various universities around the world. She believes you have to think with both your left and right brain as a creative artist. A former development exec, she was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of producing, and understands success and what it’s like to be caught in the web of development hell. Now she’s going to help you understand the business at hand with frank tips and advice on all facets of the industry. In addition, Edwards co-wrote the critically acclaimed books, I Liked It, Didn’t Love It (Screenplay Development from the Inside Out) and The Complete Filmmaker’s Guide to Film Festivals with former studio exec, Monika Skerbelis, with whom she is the co-founder of ESE Film Workshops Online. Their mission: “Help You Succeed.” Twitter: @ronaedwards @ESEFilm
Sci-Fi Circuit by Jenna Avery: Sci-fi screenwriter and writing coach Jenna Avery explores what makes great sci-fi, what it takes to make sci-fi spec scripts sell in today’s market, and how to master the art of sci-fi screenwriting. Jenna’s articles about the craft of sci-fi, her reviews of sci-fi features, and and her interviews with industry experts and working screenwriters are designed to help sci-fi screenwriters discover how to make their scripts marketable, well-structured, effective, and meaningful in this unusual and important genre with the power to provoke cultural insight. Twitter: @JennaAvery
Script Angel by Hayley McKenzie: Script Angel will help you develop your screenwriting skills, break into the industry and survive the development process. Script Consultant Hayley McKenzie advises on writing great spec scripts by honing your screenwriting craft, covering genre, story structure, hooking your reader, character development and writing dialogue. Script Angel is your screenwriting career coach with advice on setting goals and keeping motivated. We’ll tackle breaking into the industry and the development process; getting noticed, getting feedback, handling script notes, rewriting your script and turning your spec script into a shooting script. Script Angel will help you turn your screenwriting talent into a career. Twitter: @scriptangel1
Studio Notes by Brad Caldirola: Driving home one day from a lengthy and somewhat inane notes session, I started thinking, “Hell, you could probably give notes on even the greatest scripts ever written.” That night as an experiment, I pulled out the screenplay for The Godfather and started marking it up from a film executive’s viewpoint. Thus was born “Studio Notes” — a comedic take that envisions how head honchos might have critiqued (and likely destroyed) cinematic masterpieces. It’s funny, irreverent, and, it turns out, a good way to let off steam.
The Scoggins Report: The Scoggins Report is a terribly unscientific analysis of the feature film development business based on information assembled from a variety of public and non-public sources. The numbers in the reports are by no means official statistics. Each week, spec sales, pitch sales, and the screenplay market are analyzed and reported. Twitter: @jscoggins @SpecScout
Script Partners by Claudia Johnson & Matt Stevens: Claudia and Matt met on the FSU Film School faculty and have been writing together since. The leading experts on collaboration, they co-authored Script Partners: How to Succeed at Co-Writing for Film & TV. Their feature Ruby has been optioned by Invitation Entertainment, and they recently finished the screen adaptation of their published novella, A Christmas Belle, a sequel to A Christmas Carol. Matt also works as a Senior Copywriter and Digital Content Specialist in L.A. Author of the widely adopted Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect, Claudia taught at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Follow them on Facebook.
Script Hacks by Script Reader Pro: Tired of reading vague screenwriting advice and feedback on your screenplays like “Just trust in your story” or “You need to go deeper” with no mention on how exactly to do it? Or what about misleading advice, like “Never use camera angles” or “Your protagonist needs to be more likable”? Script Reader Pro’s Script Hacks posts cut away the confusing and vague “fluff” found in many screenwriting books and coverage by de-mystifying theory and utilizing writing hacks and practical exercises. Check out their script coverage and screenwriting course at Script Reader Pro and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter @ScriptReaderPro.
Script Symbology by John Fraim: The Script Symbology column investigates the study and application of symbols and symbolism to scripts by exploring the relationship of symbols and symbolism to character archetypes, drama, storytelling, screenplay structure, film genre, screenplay acts and scenes, mythology, multi-media, popular culture and leading communications theories and technologies. It combines a synthesis of leading screenwriting books and theories with the author’s long-term research into symbolism and provides a structure for providing powerful dramatic and powerful scripts. Such a synthesis is long overdue and greatly needed. In the same way mythology ideas of Joseph Campbell have revitalized film structure, so will symbolism do the same if understood and applied.
Snark a Film by Miranda Sajdak: Miranda is a writer/producer/director currently living in Los Angeles. As a script reader, she has done coverage for producers of films ranging from indie hits like Drive to studio features including Final Destination, American Pie, and television shows Huge, Man in the High Castle, and My So-Called Life. She co-founded Script Chix in 2012 to provide coverage services to screenwriters. She was a winner of Go Into the Story‘s Quest Initiative in 2013 and was also a winner of The Next MacGyver competition in 2015, paired with mentor Clayton Krueger at Scott Free to develop original pilot Riveting. Her last project as a director premiered in LA at Outfest, and as a producer at Screamfest. She enjoys hard-hitting dramas, films with female leads, and ’90s legal thrillers. She takes film snarking suggestions over on Twitter @MirandaSajdak and further potentially dangerous lifestyle choices can be supported at https://www.gofundme.com/MirandaDirects.
Specs & The City by Brad Johnson: Specs & The City is a weekly column that aims to help anyone writing a spec by talking about specific screenwriting tips, techniques, or general advice, and then taking it a step further by providing an actual example from a produced film to help you then apply that advice to your own spec. By pulling these examples from successful high concept films and across all genres – Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Action, and Drama – you’ll learn the skills successful screenwriters use in hooking the reader with their marketable screenplay ideas. Twitter: @RWWFilm
Show Me the Love! All Kinds of Love for All Kinds of Stories is based on the how-to book by Pamela Jaye Smith and Monty Hayes McMillan. Screenwriters and filmmakers of every genre and style – drama, comedy, romance, adventure, horror, thriller, fantasy, animation – from features to TV to web series, all need to have some kind of love in their stories to hook the reader and the engage the viewer. Each column covers a different type of love and will touch upon character psychology and motivation, mythology, symbolism, and cinematic techniques so you can create better stories.
Stories Without Borders: When Julie Gray, Hollywood script guru and blogger moved to the Middle East in 2012, she had no idea just how much vibrant creativity she would find there. From film to fiction to theater and more, creativity is bubbling up in arguably the world’s most contentious place. Stories Without Borders is about the power of story and how Hollywood writers have much more in common with writers and creators on the other side of the globe than they might have imagined. Twitter: @JulieGray972
Story Development by Tim Long: Mr. Long is a screenwriter who has sold, optioned, and pitched feature film projects at the studio level, and has had original screenplays in development with Academy Award® winning and nominated producers. Mr. Long is also a nationally recognized screenplay consultant, and taught screenwriting at the MFA level in a top ranked University film program. He’s currently Founder and C.E.O of PARABLE, an online, interactive, screenwriting course. Follow Tim on Twitter: @ScreenplayStory
Story Steps by Jeffrey Schechter: Jeffrey Alan Schechter is an award-winning screenwriter and producer as well as the author of the bestselling book My Story Can Beat Up Your Story! A popular international speaker and script consultant, Jeff has written for such diverse studios and broadcasters as The Disney Channel, Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, ABC, NBC, The Discovery Channel, Hallmark, Nickelodeon, the Walt Disney Company, and the BBC among many others. Twitter: @mscbuys
Story Universe by Jerry Flattum: The human experience is a universe of stories, from prehistoric cave drawings to ghost tales around a campfire, from classic novels to a $250 million dollar Hollywood blockbuster. Speaking of the universe, how was the universe created? Now there’s a story! Our past is a story. And most certainly, so is our future. Storytellers need an audience. And for audiences, reality is perception. Reality or fiction? Truth or illusion? How audiences interpret/engage stories is as important as what kinds of stories are told and how they are told. Stories move us; take us somewhere. The best stories even change us. Twitter: @JerryFlattum
Story Talk by Jeff Lyons: Story Talk is a regular Script Magazine column written by Jeff Lyons, a leading U.S. story consultant, script doctor and story development teacher. Along with opinion pieces; spotlight articles on hot, new entertainment-related books; and stories about the latest issues facing screenwriters, the movie industry and television, Story Talk focuses on the nuts-and-bolts of screenwriting craft and storytelling essentials, while informing readers about cutting-edge story development tools every writer needs to lift their game to the next level. Story Talk is therapy for your stories and an invaluable addition to any screenwriter’s toolbox. Twitter: @storygeeks
Submissions Insanity by Lucy V. Hay: Finding an agent or producer is hard… Especially as screenwriters usually have to go through a script reader first. Submissions Insanity is dedicated to the madness that is the spec pile and how scriptwriters misrepresent themselves, especially when trying to “stand out” from the crowd. From classics like accompanying CDs, to the truly bonkers: the adaptation (that wasn’t); the cheese-covered screenplay; or the one page pitch shaped like a jigsaw, UK Script Editor Lucy V Hay has seen them all! So forget everything you know… or think you know about submissions. Here’s what NOT to do… Twitter: @Bang2Write
Rob Tobin is a produced, award-winning screenwriter (Storefront, Broken, Vengeance, The Camel Wars, and a contributor writing on Dam 999) published novelist, former motion picture development executive, and author of two well-known screenwriting books – The Screenwriting Formula and How to Write High Structure, High Concept Movies. Rob just signed a six-figure, three-book adaptation deal. Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobTobin
TV Writers’ Room 101 by Eric Haywood: If you’ve ever wondered what goes on inside a television drama writers’ room, look no further. “Inside the Writers’ Room” will pull back the curtain and show you how “the room” functions, how ideas get pitched and stories get broken, how the writer functions on set when an episode he or she has written is being filmed, and more. This column is geared towards writers who are either actively seeking to break into television writing or have already landed their first job on staff and could use a little help navigating the unspoken do’s and don’ts. Twitter: @EricHaywood
Visual Mindscape by Bill Boyle: The primary focus of this column is to explore the Visual Mindscape of the Screenplay. If film is first and foremost a visual medium does it not make sense that the script which is the heart, spine and soul of a film should also be a visual experience? From a visual point of view the column will discuss, narrative, character, scene development and even the visual aspects of dialogue. Visual storytelling is most effective in engaging the interest of the script reader. Using visual tools the column will also cover the marketing elements such as log lines, query letter and even the pitch. Twitter: @VisualMindscape
What’s in a Mind by Kayley Loveridge aims to help writers understand human nature at it’s very core. Story analyst, Kayley, breaks down the psychology of primary characters in screenwriting to help develop them from their two dimensional existence into the three dimensional universe. She takes a look at interpreting the dream world and memories and writing the surreal into your narrative. Of course, overcoming procrastination is key to the writing process, What’s in a Mind also touches on optimising creativity and the importance of mental routine when it comes to writing. Twitter: @k_loveridge1
The Wide Margin by Kevin Delin: It’s a closely guarded secret that the City of Angels contains a thriving theater community. In fact, this group freely exchanges its artistic talent back and forth with that other entity better known as “The Biz.” During any given weekend, on dozens of intimate theater stages across Los Angeles, faces familiar from film and television will pop up in plays often penned by those who also write for “The Industry.” Going live provides incredible opportunities for writers who wish to create works longer than a YouTube sketch and see them performed by seasoned pros. The Wide Margin is a backstage pass to that artistic place bridging the gap twixt set and stage. Twitter: @kdelin
Write, Direct, Repeat by Kim Garland: Write, Direct, Repeat is a filmmaking column geared to screenwriters who want to learn about directing and/or producing their own work. Written by writer/director Kim Garland, the column chronicles the early stages of her career while she shares the lessons she is learning about breaking into the world of independent film. Articles focus on a range of topics including writing and directing short films, self-producing your own script, working in your local filmmaking community, and the film festival circuit. Twitter: @kim_garland
Write in the Wild by Katiedid Langrock: Katiedid is a Hollywood scriptwriter, TV development exec., author, internationally syndicated humor columnist and guest lecturer. She recently founded Write in the Wild, a nature-based writers retreat and creative space for story classes and script consultations, which blends her years of story coaching experience with her previous job as an adventure tour guide in the Australian Outback. Join her in breaking story around the campfire. Scrawl outside the sprawl. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter: @WriteInTheWild
Writer’s Edge by Steve Kaire: Having been a screenwriter/pitchman for over 30 years, my mission now is to impart my knowledge and experience to up and coming writers. Everyone knows that there is fierce competition for those who want to become screenwriters. Plain and simple, my job is to maximize a writer’s chances for success. I cover all aspects of the creative as well as the business side of the industry in my articles. My strength is High Concept, having sold 8 High Concept projects to the major studios without representation. The title of my CD says it all: “High Concept- How to Create, Pitch & Sell to Hollywood.” Twitter: @SteveKaire
Zen in the Art of Screenwriting by Jose Prendes: Jose briefly considered titling this segment Hey Idiot, Just Write Already! But he decided to go with a more lyrical, less harsher column title for what is your weekly shot in the arm to get you past that bastard writer’s block that is eating up all your precious creation time. Instead of a how-to and or a how-not-to, each week Jose gives you a gentle reminder of what it is you are really doing and what is truly important. We sometimes get so caught up in the drudgery of screenwriting as a job, that we forget that movies, and writing specifically, is first and foremost an art form before it is a commercial prospect, and in so doing it we should derive pleasure from it. So whenever the blank page has you down and you need a little pick me up, swing by and give this a read. Jose hates the mosh pit of Facebook, but you can stay in touch and make bird noises at him on Twitter: @JosePrendes