How character and story logic can make or break your script

Brian Herskowitz • July 22, 2021

Paths, Ripples & Choices: How character and story logic can make or break your scriptRipplesI recently read a student’s one-hour television pilot, and while the dialogue was on target and the action moved at a fine clip, there were...

You Will Never Run Out Of Screenwriting Ideas If You Keep Killing Them

James Napoli • July 21, 2021

At some point early in the creation of their screenplays, students I work with need to share their loglines with their fellow screenwriters, and very often the air of unease about this process is palpable. Not so much because these authors are...

Celebrating "Kids in the Spotlight," Filmmaking by Los Angeles Youth

Caitlin Arcand July 20, 2021

For the past several years, the ISA has had the honor of partnering with Kids In The Spotlight (KITS), a program that supports youth from disadvantaged areas in Los Angeles and allows them to learn filmmaking by writing, casting, and starring in...

Scaring Up Funds: How to Acquire Investors When Your Movie’s in Horror

Brian Herskowitz July 20, 2021

(REPOST) Scaring Up Funds: How to Acquire Investors When Your Movie’s in Horror, the Most Profitable Genre of Them AllBy Brian Herskowitz and Tony Timpone on November 14, 2017There are a few paths you can take to finding investors for your...

Producer Adam Fratto’s Advice To Screenwriters

Adam Fratto • July 19, 2021

Producer Adam Fratto’s Advice To Screenwriters: “No Cowardly Storytelling.”Adam Fratto is a prolific film and TV producer, currently based at Reel One, he has a lot to say about what screenwriters should be doing to build their...

“Don’t draw the line at good enough.” Diane Drake on Screenwriting

Brianne Hogan • July 16, 2021

We interviewed Diane about the essentials of a first act, getting to know what your story is really about, and whether or not Hollywood will ever return to the golden age of spec scripts.Were you always interested in telling stories?I always felt...

How to Handle Notes

Lucy V. Hay • July 15, 2021

If you’re a savvy writer, you know it’s a good idea to get feedback from multiple readers and make comparisons between the sets of development notes. As a script editor and script reader myself, I’ll frequently be dealing with...

What Writers Can Learn From Musicians

John Davis • July 13, 2021

On the face of it, musicians and writers do not have much in common. Musicians perform in public, writers work alone in private. Music is fleeting and intangible, writing endures forever. Musicians are often extroverts, writers tend towards...

Arenas and Finish Lines in Screenwriting

Michael Hauge • July 12, 2021

Imagine a story about a soldier, wounded by past battles, who is sent to a hostile, unfamiliar place filled with danger and overwhelming obstacles. He’s a stranger in a strange land – the geography and the climate are almost the...

How To Become a Professional Writer

Corey Mandell • July 9, 2021

I always start my UCLA classes by asking my students to raise their hands if their goal is to become a professional writer. Usually everyone raises their hands.I then tell them that I have good news and I have bad news.  The good news is that...

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: A Cinematic Prototype

Michael Welles Schock • July 8, 2021

If one wished to select the most well-known story in the English language, a top contender would surely be Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Originally published in 1843, this little novella has reached the rarest heights of...

Writing a Dramatic Script: Five Key Techniques

Scott Mcconnell • July 7, 2021

One of the oldest clichés about writing fiction is that “the essence of drama is conflict.” It is also the truest. There are many ways to make a script dramatic, but the following five techniques are key to creating...

Legendary Horror Filmmaker John Russo Discusses His Films

John Russo • July 6, 2021

No need to check your calendars. It’s not yet October. Horror screenwriter, John Russo who put Night Of The Living Dead in every horror movie fan’s library, talks to us about his career, his movies and gives some simple advice to horror...

12 Powerful Principles of Story Structure

Michael Hauge • July 5, 2021

James Cameron’s screenplay Avatar is an outstanding example of using many structural tools and devices successfully in one script.In addition to the overall structure of your screenplay – the three acts, the five key turning...

Character Arc: The King’s Speech

Ruth Atkinson • July 2, 2021

Movies are about transformation. We want to see someone change. It’s the reason we are drawn to sit in a dark room and eat popcorn with a bunch of strangers. But this transformation has to have a larger meaning. This is where knowing what your...

Questioning Your Screenplay

Brianne Hogan • July 1, 2021

We caught up with the busy Aaron Mendelsohn to discuss the importance of asking questions about your characters, common mistakes new screenwriters make, and the most important question you can ask about your story. Recognizing that his...

“Introduce Yourself As A Writer & Your Brand.” Advice From Zimran Jacobs

Brock Swinson • June 30, 2021

“Introduce Yourself As A Writer & Your Brand.” Sage Advice From Zimran Jacob, Netflix Showrunner’s Assistant On ‘The Punisher’ & ‘Narcos’:We sat down with Showrunner’s Assistant, Zimran Jacob,...

Plot Patterns in Screenwriting

Michael Welles Schock • June 29, 2021

What if I told you Star Wars and The Godfather were the same story? You’d call me crazy, right? Now what if I said both are essentially the same as Die Hard? Crazier still? What if I sweetened the pot...

What Are Friends For? The Reflection Character

Michael Hauge • June 28, 2021

Stories are built on a foundation of desire and conflict. To create an emotionally-involving and commercially-successful screenplay, you must give your hero some compelling desire he or she is desperate to achieve. Then you must make that goal seem...

Revealing Your Hero’s Wound

Michael Hauge • June 25, 2021

At the beginning of your screenplay, your hero should be in a state of inertia — settling for a life that may be emotionally safe and tolerable, but that lacks passion, risk and fulfilment. Their life might be filled with activity and...

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