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News From The Web - Writing Archive

Plan Your Journey - You Can't Make the Trip if You Don't Know How to Get There
Should Screenwriters Write “Omnisciently”?
Industrial Scripts


Film is a visual medium, and for that reason it often has to imply what written media can state from an all-knowing perspective: sadness. Short of characters exclaiming exposition, what’s going through Ryan Gosling’s head as he weeps or the taste of Oh Dae-Su’s octopus are things you can only infer visually, while in text the author has the ability to outright tell us. Yet many screenwriters still choose to write omnisciently while others eschew it. Which should you do?

Gideon's Screenwriting Tips: Now You're a Screenwriter
J Gideon Sarantinos
Gideon's Way


You’ve finished your screenplay and you’re ready to organize a table read. Good for you. You’re taking your screenwriting to the next level. What do you need to do to organize a live table read?

Martin Scorsese Breaks Down the Difference Between Story & Plot
Justin Morrow
No Film School

What is story? What is plot? What is the sound of one hand clapping? Who knows? While story and plot might seem, at first, to be synonymous, in fact they are two different things entirely, and if you're a beginning screenwriter or filmmaker, it can be tough to sift through all of the contradictory information that's out there, but never fear, because that cinephile unrivaled, Martin Scorsese, is here to straighten matters out.

MEET THE READER: 11 Reasons Why I Pass on a Screenplay
Ray Morton


My job is to evaluate screenplays – to read them for my employers and to recommend either that they be considered for development or passed on. While it is always my goal to find material I can recommend, the truth is that I pass on 90% of the scripts I read.

Hatching a Pilot: One Writer’s Diary for Television Pitch Season

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

New York Times

I am a journalist and author who stumbled into writing pilots. I had an idea for a drama, called “The Ordained,” about a former priest trying to stop an assassination. I pitched it to networks. None bought it, so I wrote a script on spec.

In 2012, the script sold to CBS, which produced it. This is unusual. As Deadline Hollywood noted, by way of saying pigs are flying, I had no TV credits and live in New Jersey.

Christopher Lockhart

The Inside Pitch


Upon completing a screenplay, most writers will set out to market their work. This can be a Sisyphean task in a town where tens of thousands of scripts compete for the attention of busy agents, stressed producers, and overworked executives. In a business where supply exceeds demand, it would be impossible for an executive to read every script on the circuit.

The Lie Most Frequently Told In Hollywood
Stephanie Palmer


You know those stories where the hero is lied to, but doesn’t know it, and the best friend knows about the lie and has to decide whether or not to tell the hero? With rare exception, the sooner the hero is told about the lie, the better. It might hurt, but better to know the truth.


In this post, I’m playing the role of the friend, you’re the hero, and I’m hoping that you won’t be upset when I tell you: Sometimes, the compliments you get from decision-makers aren’t true.

8 Famous Screenplays That Were Rejected
David Silverman

Psych Central


In an effort to demonstrate to new writers how thick their skin must be to handle rejection, and shed light on the roller coaster of getting packages together, only to watch them fall apart, I want to run down how even the best scripts had major problems getting sold, and often fell apart in studio development.

9 Simple Lessons for Writing Effective Horror Screenplays
Ken Miyamoto


Crafting a horror screenplay is a unique process that goes beyond just telling a story. The genre is an entity that must tap into the audience’s collective fears in order to offer them that rush they seek when they watch these types of movies. Story and character arcs are great, but in horror movies, the central focus is less about the story and characters, and more about leaving audiences with an unsettling feeling, accompanied by an adrenaline rush.

10 Scripts to Read Before You Die
Cameron Cubbison


This is by no means an exhaustive or definitive list, but these are ten scripts every screenwriter–whether aspiring newbie or seasoned pro–should read, the sooner the better. All of these screenplays are extraordinary, not just due to the quality of the writing but also because of their far-reaching impact on American cinema.

Amateur Screenwriter Confident Hollywood Will Make His Movie Exactly As He Envisions It

Breaking Burgh


Sean Tierney knows how to write a screenplay and is excited to have finally finished his first feature-length script after working on it for the past six years. He initially thought his magnum opus was finished two years ago, so he mailed a copy to DreamWorks Studios (Attn: Steven Spielberg or David Geffen if Steven’s out on location) but he received no response.

You’re the Worst Creator: “There’s So Much Damn TV You Can’t Be Afraid to Alienate Viewers”
Joanna Robinson

Vanity Fair


When FXX’s half-hour comedy You’re the Worst premiered last summer, it came on the heels of a handful of failed and canceled network rom-sitcoms. But this show, from creator Stephen Falk, delivered something new: an acidic, realistic, and sometimes cynical look at modern love and dating. The series—a critical smash with a very small but devoted audience—got renewed for a second season, and Falk and his writers didn’t take that opportunity lightly. They doubled down on the drama, turning their comedy into one of the more poignant dramas of 2015.

BREAKING & ENTERING: The Myth of The Slam Dunk

Barri Evans


The hushed moment of anticipation…The swoosh of the basketball through the hoop…The roar of the crowd!

The Howard Cosell-like announcer’s voice bellowing out, “She shoots, she sco-o-o-res!” More cheering from the crowd, jubilant teammates, and an inner high-five to myself.

The film industry Slam Dunk – the fast, smooth, “nothing but net” project set-up that takes only a day or two from hitting the marketplace to finding a buyer – is the stuff fantasies are made of.

5 Ways to Realize the Budget of Your Screenplay
Ken Miyamoto



“I’m a screenwriter. It’s not my job to know how to budget my screenplay.” 

This is a common misconception that screenwriters have when it comes to the business side of things. Many will also say that screenwriters shouldn’t write with a budget in mind, but knowing the general budget range of your screenplay is vital to your eventual marketing campaign to get it read by those that can purchase it and get it made.

How, Why, & When to Use Dialog in Your Film
V Renée


There is a lot of advice out there for screenwriters looking to make their dialog better, but what I like about these videos, specifically Nugent's, is that they don't treat dialog as an impediment to the image. Many times we hear "show it, don't tell it," or "don't say with dialog what you can show with images," which, for the most part, is true, but those axioms tend to paint dialog in a negative light—as if it were a lesser art form than cinematography or editing. But dialog, when written well, can add dimension, beauty, and dynamics to a scene that would be impossible with silent mediums. 

Pixar Has a Free Storytelling Course You Can Take Online, Right Now
Derek Beres
Big Think


The ways we tell stories is always changing. Oral cultures evolved into literary cultures. Theater is an ancient art. Movies offered a visual way to tell stories that painting and photography never could. One of the greatest and most popular storytelling machines of today, Pixar, is celebrating, as well as helping evolve, the story with its free online program,The Art of Storytelling.

Why Do Sceenplays Have Three Acts?
David Silverman



Writers, screenwriting teachers, guru’s, historians, storytellers and countless others have been debating the merits of the three act dramatic structure as it’s applied to plays, novels and screenplays. A little research reveals that Aristotle may have been the first to call it a three act structure. Apparently he pointed out that a drama needed to consist of a beginning, middle and an end.

3 Keys to Compelling Characters
From Lisa Cron’s book Story Genius: “Story’s evolutionary purpose is to allow us to vicariously navigate unexpected situations from the safety of our own armchair…” “Vicariously” literally means “felt or enjoyed through imagined participation in the experience of others.” So we need “others” through which to imagine navigating these unexpected situations, right?
Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters Share Worst Studio Notes
Matt Donnelly
The Wrap


You might think a screenwriter who gets an Oscar nomination would be exempt from “notes” — the heavy-handed suggestions given by studio executives, producers and sometimes actors in the process of developing and shooting a film. You’d be wrong.

Anatomy of a Scene: Using the “Rule of Three” in Action Sequences


Three is a very satisfying number. In the world of drama especially, the number three is king when it comes to just about anything. After all, there are three actions in a film. The first act sets up the drama, the second has everything go to hell, and the third sports the story’s resolution. But if you look at any single sequence with a dramatic set up in an action film, we’re guessing you can probably see three iterations of something.

How to Win a Nicholl Fellowship
Reel Authors


Want to win a Nicholl Fellowship? Read this series of articles on how to do just that. And then start writing.

How Much You Should Write A Day Or You're A Failure
Max Landis

How much should you be writing to be considered a professional? If you don't reach a prescribed number of pages in a certain amount of time, are you a failure? Max Landis give you his take.

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