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Best Screenwriting Tips, Writer's Help & Advice

Find expert screenwriting advice articles, industry leading interviews with writers, expert writing advice, screenwriting tips and answers to commonly raised questions from screenwriters, scriptwriters, filmmakers, and writers of all types. A little insider screenwriting help can go a long way toward improving the writing craft and working with screenwriting software.

Riding the Alligator: We All Have Doubts

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create." - Albert Einstein YES, BUT CAN I WRITE? This chapter hopes to journe...

Read more... | Published: 12/30/10 | by Pen Densham

The Writer as God

Sick of being controlled by other people’s plans? Frustrated by rules nobody asked you about? How would you like to play God and create a world according to you? Well, you can – write a pilot! Because that’s what a pilot for an original series is:...

Read more... | Published: 12/03/10 | by Ellen Sandler

How Oscar Scripts Really Work

Whether a screenplay deserves an Oscar nomination depends on how it reads on the page and plays on the screen. But if you want to learn how Hollywood’s best screenwriters got that way, you have to begin by determining the challenges they faced at ...

Read more... | Published: 12/03/10 | by John Truby

Making your A, B, and C Stories Work in your Rewrite

In every movie of quality, there are three stories going on either simultaneously or in close proximity. One of the first things you need to look at when you approach a rewrite is to make sure all the stories are fulfilled and in the right propor...

Read more... | Published: 10/28/10 | by Paul Chitlik

How to Break in from the Outside

"How do I break in?" It’s the most often-asked question I get at classes and conferences around the country and from my clients. And honestly, I hate this question. There is no ONE answer. Everyone has a different “breaking in” story and everyone...

Read more... | Published: 10/28/10 | by Daniel Manus

7 Things Writers Need To Know About Production Budgets

Why should a writer bother to learn about production budgets? Isn't that the Production Manager's responsibility? Let me tell you why. Though the writer may not be directly involved in the business side of making the film, the script that he or sh...

Read more... | Published: 10/04/10 | by Deborah S. Patz

Platforming Strategies for Screenwriters: 21 strategies for breaking in and advancing your screenwriting career

When you write your first screenplay, the path to glory seems clear—find an agent who will get you a six-figure deal. A hundred and fifty query letters later, you’re languishing at Hollywood’s front gate. You’ve received a lot of encouragement, bu...

Read more... | Published: 10/04/10 | by David Trottier

The Dreaded Doppelgangers (or "Why I Reject Scripts About Twins Twice As Fast")

When I was in high school, there were three sets of twins – two fraternal and one identical. The latter - a pair of sisters a year ahead of me – were a particular object of fascination. What would it be like, I mused, to have a lookalike sib who e...

Read more... | Published: 09/07/10 | by Christina Hamlett

Finding the Woman’s Voice

Is there a woman’s voice in screenwriting? And if there is, how do we recognize it? If you’re a male writer, you might think this question doesn’t even apply to you. You might think this is simply a problem for women writers. Besides, how often ha...

Read more... | Published: 09/07/10 | by Helen Jacey

Write your Screenplay in 10 Minutes a Day

I know you’re busy. Trust me, I’m with you. You’ve got work, school, kids, you name it. Family counts on you, friends need you – someone’s probably e-mailing, texting or instant messaging you right now! So how in the heck are you going to find ti...

Read more... | Published: 08/03/10 | by Pilar Alessandra

Writing the TV Spec and Pilot Scripts

How can you write a memorable spec script that helps get you staffed? Why is it so hard to write a TV pilot script that not only gets you noticed, but could sell? I believe that strong writing will rise. In helping to launch countless careers, I...

Read more... | Published: 07/06/10 | by Jen Grisanti

Images and Symbols of Love, Sex, and Romance

Film, TV, games, YouTube, graphic novels, manga, comic books, murals ... it's all visual art and depends on engaging the eyes in order to engage the hearts and minds of your audience, as well as their loyalty and their purchasing power. In this ar...

Read more... | Published: 07/05/10 | by Pamela Jaye Smith

The Virgin's Promise - A New Archetypal Structure

The title The Virgin's Promise has two meanings and in a nutshell, it describes the journey of the Virgin. The first meaning is the community's belief that the Virgin has agreed to live up to their expectations. She has made a promise to them. T...

Read more... | Published: 04/05/10 | by Kim Hudson

The Compelling Question

You've slaved away for months. Your script's structure is great, the character arcs are satisfying, the premise is original, the dialogue is snappy and organic and your story has a theme. Or so you think . But what is the compelling question in...

Read more... | Published: 04/05/10 | by Julie Gray

How to Write a Screenplay: Script Writing Example & Screenwriting Tips

It's easy to feel intimidated by the thought of writing a screenplay. The rules! The formatting! The binding! Don't let the seemingly endless parade of screenwriting elements scare you away from writing your first script. Since a familiarity with ...

Read more... | Published: 03/09/10 | by Mario O. Moreno and Kay Tuxford

Subtext Speaks

The dialogue scene you're struggling with? Take the page, crumple it into a paper ball and throw it into the trash can across the room. If you can make the shot, then you instinctively understand everything you need to know in order to write subte...

Read more... | Published: 03/01/10 | by Penny Penniston

Tales From the Script: 5 Things I Learned Interviewing Screenwriters

Sitting down for intimate conversations with dozens of Hollywood's best writers was a transformative experience. Although I've been a professional screenwriter for many years, most of my work has been in the independent realm, so collecting materi...

Read more... | Published: 03/01/10 | by Peter Hanson

Character Emotion Makes the Plot

Some writers excel at pithy banter. Others create dramatic action. The writers I most admire are the ones who in their own natural style convey a character's emotional personality in scene through active, non-verbal communication with just the rig...

Read more... | Published: 02/01/10 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

How to Research Literary Agents

Read part one of this series here . The reason 99% of manuscripts get rejected is, simply, because authors approach the wrong agents to begin with. As writers, we know there is no comparison between a good word and the perfect word. Similarly...

Read more... | Published: 01/04/10 | by Noah Lukeman

The Top 10 Reasons to Write a Spec Pilot

Whether you're an established film/ TV writer or an aspiring one, you've heard it - everybody in town has said it - you should write a spec pilot. Didn't used to be that way. Up until about five years ago, it was considered crazy or just plain clu...

Read more... | Published: 01/04/10 | by Ellen Sandler

Writing to a Quota

Whenever I do interviews or seminars concerning my book, The New Comedy Writing Step by Step , interviewers and writers invariably ask "What's the first thing a person should do if he or she wants to become a comedy writer?" My response is a two-...

Read more... | Published: 11/30/09 | by Gene Perret

How to Evaluate a Literary Agent

When it comes time for you to research agents, you may find it difficult to determine whether any given agent is legitimate, effective, or the right one for you. Most authors are so eager to land an agent, that they will rarely stop and take the t...

Read more... | Published: 11/30/09 | by Noah Lukeman

Writing for Editing

"The humbling truth is that the film is made in the editing room." -David Mamet introducing the nominations for editing during the 2002 Academy Awards ceremony Editors are often called the last re-writers of the show. Another way to put this is ...

Read more... | Published: 11/02/09 | by Gael Chandler

Plot Depth through Thematic Significance

Plot involves at least three primary threads: Dramatic Action, Character Emotional Development, and Thematic Significance. Of these three elements, writers are equally divided between those who begin a project by concentrating on the Dramatic Act...

Read more... | Published: 11/02/09 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

How to Sell a Screenplay with These 10, Must-Use Story Techniques

The key question that all screenwriters should ask themselves is: how do I write a script that Hollywood wants to buy? Most writers mistakenly think that success is all about connections and star power. Not so. The real trick to writing a script t...

Read more... | Published: 10/28/09 | by John Truby