10 Key Rules For Writing For TV


According to the crew at Raindance: 1) CHARACTER CAST SIZE Consider how many characters you will feature. Typically 4 or 5 with a stronger ‘lead’ character seems to work. Pick a handful of shows and check for yourself. 2) CHARACTERS IN CONFLICT Create characters that will constantly create their own conflict, even if just locked…

10 Super Scary Steps To Writing A Horror Screenplay


A  horror movie has certain rules. If you break too many the audience will be disappointed according to Henrik Holmberg. Here is a template that any horror screenwriter can use. 1) THE HOOK Start with a bang. Step right into a suspense scene. “Scream” opens with a terrifying sequence with Drew Barrymore on the phone…

How To Come Up With Catchy Screenplay Ideas


You think you have writers block? Creative juices running as slow as molasses? Do you have a million concepts floating around in your head but no real story? Welcome to Brainstorming 101 for screenwriters. Your screenwriting is not doomed. Here are some steps you can take to harness your creative energy: 1) Create a table…

More On Pitching


Doug Eboch and Ken Aguado, co-authors of “The Hollywood Pitching Bible”, discuss the key components of a successful pitch. Most pitches range from 15 seconds to 15 minutes long and they are often delivered in an unstructured, spontaneous environment. The key to delivering an effective pitch is to have a compelling idea with a strong…

The Dual Protagonists


There is a long held mantra of screenwriting that there can only be one protagonist in each story. It is the character that undergoes the most change.  By definition, the protagonist should occupy the most screen time. More recently, such character structure is becoming skewed to allow for dual protagonists. That is, two characters, occupying…

Creating A Powerful Hero


According to The Scriptlab, the most important character in your screenplay is your protagonist: your hero. Without them, there is no story. Good stories are about character growth and change. 1) CREATE AN INTERESTING PROTAGONIST YOUR AUDIENCE WILL HOPE AND FEAR FOR When creating your hero, audience connection is key. Your hero needs to be…

Secrets Of Writing Better Scenes


Bill Martel discusses ways to improve your scenes. Scenes are the the building blocks of screenplays. Each one functions as a self contained dramatic unit and should contain a beginning, middle and an end. Feature films usually have between 50 and 60 scenes, which averages to just under two pages per scene. Make sure all your…

Introduce Your TV Pilot With A Dilemma


TV script consultant, Jen Grisanti discusses how to approach writing a TV pilot. A hot trend in story structure is having the series dilemma link to the pilot dilemma. When done correctly, you set up both a closed-ended arc and an ongoing serialized arc for your story. A dilemma is defined as being forced to…

How The Good Guy Defeats The Bad Guy


The dance between the good and bad guys (or gals)  is becoming more intricate in cinema. The morality lines more skewed. Are the good guys exclusively good and the bad guys pure evil? Not anymore. However the predominantly bad guy (villain) doesn’t normally win in movies. Chris Soth considers what end should our villain/antagonist/bad guy…

Structuring Your Scenes


Tom Benedek, screenwriter tells Script Magazine how he organizes his scenes. The rewrite process begins with an evaluation of the scenes. Are the flabby? Do they have too little or too much to say? Is there conflict in most scenes? The right amount of exposition? Is there is an abrupt shift that is disconcerting? Should…

TV Procedural = Occupation + Personal Story


Erik Bork discusses the two main types of 1 hour procedural television drama. Despite the array of jobs available to write about, “work responsibilities” generally can only drive stories and series concepts for certain kinds of occupations. The kind of jobs that can do this generally have two specific qualities. The first is that they are…

Shifting Your Protagonist’s Power Balance


Robert Piluso, writer for Script Magazine discusses the use of shifting power between the protagonist and antagonist to create tension and conflict in your screenplay. Push and pull, strength and submission, master and slave, who has “the power” when your story begins? It shouldn’t be your protagonist! At least, not for long… Often a story…