Writing Tighter Screenplays


Jeanne Veilette Bowerman from Script Magazine gives some advice on writing better screenplays. TAKE THE RISK If you ever get the opportunity to learn from someone with more experience than you, do not hesitate. Do whatever it takes to make it happen, even traveling the globe. It is better than any screenwriting course you’ll take. No…

Three Steps to a Killer Query Letter


Marvin Acuna from the Business Of Show Institute lists three basic guidelines to consider when crafting your next query letter: 1) KNOW YOUR MARKET Targeting CAA or any of the top-tier literary representatives as an emerging writer is simply the wrong strategy. They are shaping careers, not inventing them. They are elevating a career, not…

The Second Draft


Anne Norda is a creativity coach who helps unlock your storytelling power. After completing the first draft, the real work begins to hone and tighten your story. It is a distinct process requiring different parts of the brain. The terms may not immediately make sense, but ultimately they relate to the difference between the first…

Types Of Romantic Comedies


Pilar Alessandra discusses the different paradigms that make up romantic comedies. 1) I DON’T LIKE YOU, BUT I LOVE YOU These typically involved two people who can’t stand each other being forced together and realize that they actually love each other. Their low point occurs at the end of act 2 when they are torn…

3 Ways To Add Symbolism To Your Screenplay


Symbolism adds a layer of depth to your screenplay. Symbols and images are potent tools to enhance your screenwriting. Consider the use of trees in “Avatar” to highlight the connectivity of the Nevi to the earth or the color red in “American Beauty” to highlight passion, rebellion and anger. Symbols are multi-layered and operate on various…

How Unique Are Your Characters?


Hal Croasmun writes on assessing the quality of your characters in your screenplay. In the first five pages of your screenplay, we should see an extremely interesting lead character. Great lead characters make great screenplays. There is something about them that is so interesting and entertaining that they carried the movie by themselves. 1.  UNIQUE…

Writing A One Sheet


Danny Manus, an L.A. based script consultant sums up what a one sheet should contain. Your one-pager (another term for one-sheet) is your calling card; a selling tool for your story and also for yourself. It differs from a synopsis in a few ways. First, as its name dictates, it’s only ONE page. Secondly, unlike…

Secrets to Writing a Low-Budget Screenplay


The average budget for a Hollywood movie is well over 8o million dollars according to David Santo. But if you’re waiting for a producer with a Scrooge McDuck sized jack to come along and finance your film you’re begging. A bigshot producer that doesn’t personally know you is not going to trust you to write…

Effective Screenwriting


Corey Mandell speaks on how professional writers broach rewriting. The key problem with many early drafts is that readers often perceive a different story to what the writer intended. This often results from writers making too many assumptions about what the reader should know about the main character, their backstory and motivation. They have also not…

Questions To Create Character Backstory


Anita Riggio asks how much about your characters do you really know? Small details might seem superfluous even irrelevant to the story you intend to write, but the smallest detail informs the bigger picture. The more you know about your characters, the better you’ll create believable characters who live and breathe on the page and…

How To Succeed In The Film Business As A Screenwriter


The film and TV business is an industry both like any other, and like no other. It is mired in creative accounting, budget blowouts and rubbery box office figures. Despite these obstacles, we writers love it, because we have a story to tell. We want to share our life experiences with the world. However, professional…

What Is Character Backstory?


I’ve previously written about the importance of backstory in your screenplays. Here is some further pertinent information from the eLearning center at dummies.com. Backstory refers to everything that occurred in your story’s past. A character’s backstory may include family background, job history, psychological condition and any memories you create for that person from childhood on….