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…

Why Do Some Screenplays End Up On The Pass Pile?


Why Isn’t Your Screenplay In The Recommend Stack? 1) THE STORY IS TOO WORTHY Just because you’re covering sensitive, timely, important material, you still need to worry about  the dramatic elements of your script. Audiences don’t like being preached to. Let them discover the message on their own. 2) PASSIVE PROTAGONIST The main character just hangs…

When Is It Time To Pass On A Screenplay?


A PASS grade on a screenplay is not like a pass grade in school. Screenwriters want a RECOMMEND. Or at least a CONSIDER. 1) YOU CAN’T FIGURE OUT THE TYPE OF STORY IT IS Oftentimes these appear as a series of loosely connected scenes or ideas without a clear through line. The genre, tone, premise…

Writing Effective Screenplay Evaluations


Every screenwriter needs a second or third opinion on their screenplays. It’s all part of the screenwriting game. Script evaluations are a necessary part of script development. They are slightly different to script coverage which includes a scoring grid for various story parameters, a summary and some notes. Script evaluations highlight the strengths and weaknesses…

What Is An Origin Story?


Origin stories are the birthing stories of the main characters. Where their journeys began and why things turned out as they have? They give the audience an understanding of the characters’ psychology and helps us make sense of the choices they make in the story. The origin is the missing piece of the story puzzle…

Story Templates


According to Pilar Alessandra, most successful stories have for key building blocks. We generally call them plot points, act breaks or story beats. They tend to fall in these major categories. Act 1 Trauma – This sets the stage until the point where an event disrupts the character’s world forcing them to act. Act 2A…

How To Impress The Entertainment Industry


Lee Jessup, entertainment career consultant, gives some pointers on being a desirable brand in the industry. What agents, managers, and other executives are looking to deduce is this: Are you an able content creator? Do you come up with compelling, industry-friendly ideas consistently? Can you aptly talk about your work? Are you memorable, in a…

The Types Of Fear In Horror Films


Fear is a negative emotional response precipitated by an actual or perceived danger.  It often manifests as anxiety or an  increased awareness of harm. It is an primal survival mechanism designed to remove us from an imminent threat.  On a deeper level, it helps us tackle the negative situations we experience in life. It is…

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…

The 10 Screenwriting Sales Commandments


From the Gospel of Marvin Acuna. 1) THOU SHALT SMILE AND BE PASSIONATE  Sales is a transference of energy. So if you are passionate and believe in your material, then your passion will be contagious. But if your pitch is a snoozer, then don’t expect Hollywood Professionals to embrace your material. And remember to smile. 2) THOU SHALT…