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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.

Understanding Your Own Fear for Fun and Profit

Horror is transgressive art . It seeks to show the darker side of human nature in all its ugliness. Using the medium of film, we explore themes that are considered off-limits to other genres. Our explorations of the dark underbelly of life can gi...

Read more... | Published: 10/05/09 | by Devin Watson

Money Matters: Don't Just Make Your Points, Define Them!

Points? Points? What on earth are those things people keep promising me when I work on a film? A friend of mine said recently she ran into a name actor at Crate & Barrel. She's a bit new to producing and had actually been pursuing this actor thro...

Read more... | Published: 10/05/09 | by Jeremy Juuso

Conscious Media: Part 6

Read the rest of the series: Part 1 ; Part 2 ; Part 3 ; Part 4 ; Part 5 . A lot of people believe that "Art" just comes into being full blown and word perfect straight from the cosmos, the collective conscious or unconscious, spirit guides,...

Read more... | Published: 10/05/09 | by Pamela Jaye Smith

Conscious Media: Part 5

Read the rest of the series: Part 1 ; Part 2 ; Part 3 ; Part 4 ; Part 6 Some historians and anthropologists believe that the earliest art was created while under the influence of mind-altering substances. Well, duh. Artists, by their ver...

Read more... | Published: 08/31/09 | by Pamela Jaye Smith

The 11 Laws of Great Storytelling

Throughout my 18 years of screenwriting I have read and analyzed thousands of scripts from writers of all levels, including screenplays from my students at Buffalo State College, Cornell University, Syracuse University's Newhouse School, and R.I.T...

Read more... | Published: 08/31/09 | by Jeffrey Hirschberg

Conscious Media: Part 4

Read the rest of the series: Part 1 ; Part 2 ; Part 3 ; Part 5 ; Part 6 Archetypes are very in, very cool, very now. That's great. There are lots of fine books, seminars, and consultants to help you understand the various and sundry arche...

Read more... | Published: 08/03/09 | by Pamela Jaye Smith

The Curse of Quirky Parentheticals

When I was a young aspiring writer, I had a strong aversion to the use of "said" in a story. My justification was that it was blah. It was uninspired. It was pedestrian. Why use "said," I rationalized, when there were so many other words in the En...

Read more... | Published: 08/03/09 | by Christina Hamlett

Hidden Structures in Great Stories and Their Enormous Power

When I speak of a great story, I mean stories or films that are critically acclaimed and generally acknowledged to be classics. I also mean bestsellers, box office successes, and stories that have lived for hundreds or even thousands of years. So ...

Read more... | Published: 07/06/09 | by James Bonnet

Conscious Media: Part 3

Read the rest of the series: Part 1 ; Part 2 ; Part 4 ; Part 5 ; Part 6 Metaphysics is not for amateurs. And that's on purpose. Everything you think you know about Conscious Media, spirituality, or metaphysics is probably wrong, half-wro...

Read more... | Published: 07/06/09 | by Pamela Jaye Smith

Your Rewrite: 3 Angles of Attack

"The first draft of everything is shit." -Ernest Hemingway Hemingway, charming as ever, was correct. Everybody's first draft is shit. Even his. Yours too! You have to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until you nail it. Then you stop. The good news...

Read more... | Published: 06/01/09 | by William M Akers

Conscious Media: Part 2

Read the rest of the series: Part 1 ; Part 3 ; Part 4 ; Part 5 ; Part 6 Conscious Media is Transformative Media. What is that? How can you create it? Writers schooled in the ageless Wisdom have been consciously creating transformative myt...

Read more... | Published: 06/01/09 | by Pamela Jaye Smith

Conscious Media: Part 1

Read the rest of the series: Part 2 ; Part 3 ; Part 4 ; Part 5 ; Part 6 Conscious Media is nothing new. Initiates of the ancient and modern Mystery Schools have always crafted stories that carry universal truths dressed up in a particular...

Read more... | Published: 05/04/09 | by Pamela Jaye Smith

15 DIY Book Promotion Tools You Need to Know | WritersStore.com

You're not a New York Times bestselling author. You don't have a publicist. And your Amazon sales numbers are awful. Should you quit writing books? Absolutely not. No matter what kind of book you've written (or plan to write) there are ma...

Read more... | Published: 05/04/09 | by Tony Levelle

Animation and the Art of Action-Based Storytelling

You're considering a move into writing for animation. After all, you've always liked animation; you have a feel for fantasy - talking animals, stuff that flies - and maybe you already have a background in live-action writing which should give you ...

Read more... | Published: 04/06/09 | by Ellen Besen

How to Win a Film Grant

I read thousands of proposals a year for my Roy W. Dean film grants. I know what wins grants and what turns judges off quickly. Getting it right can be a piece of cake. Documentary film funding starts with a well-written, organized proposal. It o...

Read more... | Published: 04/06/09 | by Carole Lee Dean

The End is the Beginning

An agent flings a promising work against the wall. When asked why, she rages about all the times she has read entire manuscripts only to be disappointed in the end. She softens as she explains how, by the time she reaches the final quarter of the ...

Read more... | Published: 03/02/09 | by Martha Alderson, M.A.

The Storywheel

In this article, I will introduce you to a new phenomenon called the Storywheel, which brings all the different types of story together into one grand design. To help picture the Storywheel, visualize a wheel with eight spokes. Then, starting at ...

Read more... | Published: 03/02/09 | by James Bonnet

The Toughest Part: Getting Started

"I'm gonna write a screenplay" "Good!" "I've got this great idea for a story. I'm really excited" "Go for it." "Except, I've got this problem." "Oh?" "I stare at my computer and all it does is stare back at me!" "Have you tried using the ke...

Read more... | Published: 02/02/09 | by Ken Rotcop

Surefire Formula for Writing Success

Archangel Shecky makes an arrogant pronouncement that he can teach infallible, irrefutable, unassailable, one-size-fits-all formula for success. "Who is this blowhard who makes such an astounding claim?" you ask. I'm glad you did. He's the lead ch...

Read more... | Published: 02/02/09 | by Gene Perret

The Screenwriter's Vision

I'm going to let you in on a secret. Some years ago I found a simple technique that turned me into a better writer, producer and director. I stumbled across this technique by accident, due to an unusual illness. The good news for you is that you d...

Read more... | Published: 01/05/09

Keeping Your Writing Resolutions

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. - Mark Twain Ah, January! A new year, a fresh slate, a virtual meadow of pristine winter white that stretches for mile...

Read more... | Published: 01/05/09 | by Christina Hamlett

The Coming Age of Story

The interest in story is greater now than it has ever been, and - putting aside for a moment the movie business, television, book publishing, other major producers of story and their consumers - that interest now extends to every facet of our soci...

Read more... | Published: 12/01/08 | by James Bonnet

Do It Right, Period

The Duchess was such a disappointment. Though the wigs were beyond fabulous and the sets stunningly gorgeous and aristocratically dignified, the characters were flat, their dialogue practically non-existent, and their emotions understandably abs...

Read more... | Published: 12/01/08 | by Pamela Jaye Smith

How to Plan an Unscripted Documentary

How do you make a documentary when you have no script? I was faced with this problem when I shot my first unscripted documentary for a class in documentary filmmaking. We had the assignment of making an 8–12 minute unscripted documentary. I starte...

Read more... | Published: 12/01/08 | by Tony Levelle

Shamanic Screenwriting

Shamans were the first master storytellers. As the preeminent narrators of our age, screenwriters can share in this venerable heritage. And in so doing, you can help reverse movie making's current disastrous trend of taking us deeper and deeper in...

Read more... | Published: 11/05/08 | by Mary Trainor-Brigham