10 Ways To Define Your Characters By Their Speech Patterns


Screenwriters often define their characters in two key ways; via their dramatic function such as protagonist or antagonist. and by their personality traits such as kindness, selfishness or generosity. However, we can also enhance our screenwriting by paying attention to character speech patterns. This is not just their dialog (actual words spoken), but more the way…

How I Got My Script Reader To Say Yes


Script readers are the initial gatekeepers of screenplays. So it’s important for screenwriters to know how to treat them. Screenplay readers are jaded and overworked due to the overabundance of mediocre, derivate and reductive material. Make sure you impress them in the following ways to enhance your chances of your material being referred to the decision makers:…

Why It’s A Good Idea For Screenwriters To Write Books


Selling a screenplay to the studio system is getting more difficult. Budgets are shrinking and studios are making fewer films. The temperamental independent world is slowly sputtering back to life. Only to collapse again. What’s a writer to do? It’s a well known fact that studios have a preference for pre-existing works in another medium…

Writing For Comics And Graphic Novels


Comic books and graphic novels have spawned a plethora of material adaptable to screenplays. Despite their similarities with screenplays, they have marked differences in story and writing conventions. The relative explosion of comic book creations is related to their low cost in relation to film and TV. Their distribution mechanism ranges from print to online media,…

The Difference Between Character Motivation and Goal In Your Screenplay


These two screenwriting concepts are inter-related by exploring why characters behave the way they do. MOTIVATION This draws from a character’s backstory and morality driving their current need to take a course of action. It is a deep-seeded factor in a character’s make up. A character may often not be aware of their behavioral motivation. Motivation is shaped…

The Seven Deadly Dialogue Sins


Dave Trottier discusses seven dialogue errors readers of this blog never make. 1) OBVIOUS EXPOSITION This often happens when writers tell us backstory or plot. Consider the following: Husband: “Darling, how long have we been married now?” Wife: “Silly, it’s been 20 years.  Remember Hawaii—the North Shore?” Husband: “Oh yeah, that little honeymoon cottage.” When…

Creating Dynamic Dialogue


Pilar Alessandra, script consultant, gives a few tips on removing the flatness from your dialogue. COME IN LATE, LEAVE EARLY Begin on a conflict and end on a question, cliffhanger or strong out line. REDUCE MONOLOGUES Screenwriting isn’t speech writing. Can you cut down your dialogue to one line that encapsulates its meaning? PLAY VERBAL…

Transform Your Screenplay Dialogue From Drab To Fab!


Good dialogue in your screenwriting is subjective, but bad dialogue is obvious. Ouch! What Film Genre? Movie dialogue must capture the mood of your genre. It you’re writing a comedy, say something funny. If you’re writing a horror film, say something scary. Do this from page 1 in your screenplay. Sure there can be moments of…

See The Irony?


Story consultant Daniel Manus discusses the use of irony in screenplays. Irony is a dramatic device that expresses an idea which is the antithesis of the underlying concept to draw attention to it such as the super fit Olympic athlete dying of a heart attack after a marathon. There are 3 major types of ironies used in…

Climbing The TV Writer Ladder


The path to being a produced TV writer is a peculiar one. Some writers can languish in the realms of writers assistant for years, while others can become a TV showrunner just as fast. TV broadcast networks tend to have a more rigid structure, while the newer TV cable and streaming platforms are more fluid….