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Screen Writing Tips

In addition to our new Filmmaking 101 series, we thought it’d be interesting to take a look at screenwriting and offer tips from both personal experiences, and to have discussions with other professionals in the film and television business and hear their thoughts on the process of screenwriting.

If you are sitting down to write your first screenplay, there is one key piece of advance that you’ll get across the board.

Write what you know.

It is as easy as that.  No matter what your age, or where you are in life, you have experiences to pull from.  Whether you are a Mechanic in Brooklyn, a High School Student in Des Moines, or a Property Manager in Columbus, use that to your advantage. Pull from your past, write characters that have aspects of people you know, write locations that you know.

You might have a cool concept for a down on his luck detective in 1950s Detroit, but that was a different world. You’ll have to spend days or even weeks (maybe months) researching the time, the people, the job. Detectives were very different in the 1950s than they are now. This is a lot of work to add to your first script, especially when you aren’t comfortable with the proper script format or structure.

So, write what you know. Brainstorm interesting ideas and twists on the normal. A High School Student finds a briefcase of money in his locker. What would you do with the money? What does he do? How do his friends react? A Mechanic falls in love with a woman who brings her car in. Does he take his time fixing her car so he can see her longer?  Find an interesting story with people and places that you understand. You’ll see, the words will flow a lot easier…

Posted on June 13th, 2010 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Filmmaking Resources

The Working Screenwriter Blog has posted an excellent interview with an anonymous literary agent. The insightful interview focuses on what agents are looking for in submissions, what to avoid, and how to stand out as a writer.

“Most of the scripts submitted to me are not marketable. If they were, I would be signing 10 clients a day. I’m still amazed screenwriters don’t go watch blockbuster movies and see why they worked.”

Click here to read the full interview.

Posted on September 1st, 2008 by ThePit | Leave a Comment (1)
Filed Under Filmmaking Resources

Pulp 2.0 posted a very interesting article showcasing just how to write a Sci-Fi Channel original movie. The article breaks down the channel’s seven act structure and describes the elements that are needed for a script to be considered for the network and independent production companies that produce for the network.

Learn how to write a Sci-Fi Channel original movie here.

Reading screenplays before or after viewing a film can teach you a lot of about how a film changes and develops throughout production. It is also a lot of fun to find missing things and figuring out if you should blame the writer or director for particular scenes. One of the best sources for screenplays on the web is Drew’s Script-O-Rama.

Script-O-Rama is a collection of links to film, TV and anime scripts from across the web. The site is a direct path to hundreds of scripts. A lot of the films featured have multiple drafts and there are even completely unproduced screenplays (wanna read Michael Chabon’s Spiderman 2, or how about two different rejected Freddy vs Jason scripts? How do these stack up against the one the studio finally settled on?).

You can check out Drew’s here.

Posted on August 5th, 2008 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Filmmaking Resources