When Is A Genre Not Really A Genre


There are four main genres in film: action, drama, comedy and thriller (includes horror.) Scripted TV is generally broken down into drama and comedy. Sure, there are hybrids like action comedy and dramedy, but the main genres remain intact. Screenwriters should familiarize themselves with these terms. So when to these genres transcend their boundaries into…

What Format Should You Write In?


Screenwriters often wonder what format best suits their story. Is it a film, TV show or web series? So many questions. Screenwriting is such as versatile writing form, that stories can be told across multiple platforms. The key differential between them is time. FEATURE FILMS This is a full-length film typically spanning 90-120 minutes. Generally…

20 Emotions Found In Horror Films


Horror movies continue to be a staple on cinema screens and television on-demand queues. Audiences can’t seem to get enough of these films. So screenwriters continue to write them. Horror films must still follow the tropes of good screenplays in order to be successful. They need to take the audience on an emotional journey. By…

Does Your Main Character Have A Guardian Angel?


The main character in many screenplays has a BFF, a guardian angel, an ally, a teacher or a mentor. Although they each have their own nuances, they all serve a similar purpose; to protect, to provide moral guidance and facilitate the path to personal growth. Or as the New Age types call it– manifestation of…

How Much Research Should You Do For Your Screenplay?


Listen up fellow screenwriters.  We’ve all been told to do background research  before writing your screenplay. How much should you actually do? Why Do Research At All? Quite simply, it adds authenticity to your screenwriting. It let’s your audience know they’re in  good hands and your story is factually correct. That said, your research should…

Why Is Fear So Important In Your Screenplays?


FEAR is a significant motivator of human behavior. It dictates what we do and what we don’t do. Therefore it’s important for screenwriters to understand how fear works in human development and subsequently write richer characters in your stories. Fears make our characters human. It exposes vulnerabilities and informs character backstory. Fears are either physical…

What Makes An Engaging Screenplay?


This is one of the most common questions screenwriters ponder after “How do I sell my screenplay?” The screenwriting bar has been raised many times over the years, so a strong grasp on the writing craft is vital. Your ability to create solid characters with defined goals and formidable obstacles, write scintillating dialogue, and have…

Not All Comedy Films Are Equal


Comedy is one of the hardest screenplay genres for screenwriters to master. This is because comedy movies are so broad, so personal and so nuanced.  The writing style ranges from jokes so subliminal they barely register with the audience, to laugh out loud slapstick humor. Writing comedy movie and TV scripts is serious business, so…

A Rough Guide To Independent Film Finance


I’ve previously written posts on financing movies in the studio arena. The principals of raising independent film finance are similar. The main difference lies in the extended patchwork of funding sources to get an indie film made. Each piece of the budget pie also tends to be smaller. There is no hard and fast rule…

Do You Know The Difference Between Screenplay OPTION and SHOPPING Agreements?


If you’re one of those screenwriters who’ve had their film scripts purchased outright, on the spot, in pitch meetings, you’ve conquered the virtually impossible. Congratulations, it is the pinnacle of your screenwriting career. For most writers, they are typically offered one of two types of screenplay agreements, an option agreement or a shopping agreement. Option…

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…

We Don’t Need Another Hero (Or Do We?)


The main character in screenwriting is often referred to as the hero. They differ from the main characters or protagonist in a film, because they must display great strength and courage to battle intense danger. They are more than fighters who battle the bad guys. They are selfless warriors who play the long game. Traditional Heroes…