Articles & Advice

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The 7 Elements of a Viable Story

In my experience as a professional screenwriter on projects like Band of Brothers -- and in the years I've been teaching and consulting -- one thing has become abundantly clear: projects live or die mostly based on their central idea. Yes, they...
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Size Matters! What the Length of Your Screenplay Says About You

A few recent incidents made me realized that I have to talk about it. Shallow though it may seem, I have to talk about size. Or, more accurately, length.First, it was the 120-page 2-hour TV pilot from a first time, unrepresented writer.Then it was...
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One Movie, Three Structures: The Avengers

Whether you are a self-taught writer, in school, or reading books on your own, the structure of a screenplay is critical in the analysis of your professionalism. But which structure is “right?” Which structure should you adhere to in...
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When I Talk to Writers...

WHEN I TALK TO WRITERS... There are a number of key points I emphasize - 1. How readable is your script? In other words, is it gripping, compelling, well-paced, uniquely interesting? If not, we make a plan to fix it. 2. Is it an acceptable length?...
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Should I Work For Free?

Should you work for free? That depends on what you mean by “work” and by “free.”Work is what you do as a professional, when you make a promise that involves rigor and labor (physical and emotional) and risk. Work is showing...
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The Five Most Common PitchFest Questions Answered!

PitchFest season has turned into a year-round, worldwide affair. If you have a project and want to network with executives, you can go to LA, New York, Austin, London, Rome, and many other cities all over the globe. If you are preparing for a...
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How To Prepare Your Pitch

I say “Pitching,” and writers groan. I’m no different. As a writer myself, my instinct is to say, “If I could tell you my story in 90 seconds, why would I have told it to you in 90 pages?” But pitching is a necessary...
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Should Screenwriters Enter Screenwriting Contests?

  There are as many ways to break into screenwriting as there are ways to skin a cat. One of the ways to make it as a screenwriter is to enter reputable screenwriting contests. Careers have been launched as frequently as money wasted in entry...
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THE HEELER: Brett Edwards

ShortsTV sat down with actor/writer/producer Brett Edwards, whose body of work includes Westworld, American Sniper. You also may recognize Brett from Halfway There, and The Heeler, American Muscle, American...
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How to Format a Script for the Spec Market

If you’re confused by how to format a script, you’re in the right place. The following post contains excerpts from our book, “Master Screenplay Format: A Clear Guide On How To Format a Screenplay For The Spec Market.”The...
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Interview with ISA Fellowship Winner Sean Collins-Smith

Ever since graduating from film school in 2010, Sean Collins-Smith has wanted to move to Los Angeles to pursue a TV writing career. His goal seemed unobtainable, though, until he won an ISA Fast Track Fellowship on the basis of his...
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Screenwriting Within The Parameters of a Film Budget

Films right now are very expensive to make, and very expensive to market. Even TV series on streaming networks such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO are dealing with multi-million-dollar film budgets per episode. If you're trying to work in Hollywood, you...
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The Power of Belief

We all have obstacles of some kind. A personal challenge. A flaw, or for most of us, a series of flaws – a whole host of issues, really. We deal with them on a daily basis, whether they’re literal and physical, or mental and...
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Why You Need a Professional Consultant to Give You Screenplay Feedback

What should expect from a script consultant? Creative Screenwriting Magazine gets into the weeds with our friends at the International Screenwriters’ Association to help elevate your screenplay to a marketable level and strategize your career.When...
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BIG LITTLE LIES - The Wild Card

In HBO’s Big Little Lies (based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty), series adapter/showrunner David E. Kelley (The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal) and his stable of amazing performers examine the idea of "tribe...
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“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” 7 Tips for Great Dialogue

Jacob Stuart's advice on writing dialogue for screenplays.Hollywood has a short attention span. Unlike writers, who may have all day to sit and ponder, plotting out their next script, or revising and revising a screenplay until their fingers are...
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Chronicles of my hats: Why Chaplin?

“One day, tired of being professionally frustrated and inspired by the great Charlie Chaplin, I decided to start writing about my different hats in life. So besides my frustrations, failures, achievements, and complicated moments; I believe...
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ATLANTA: The Existential Quest of Life

Recent Princeton dropout Earnest “Earn” Marks (Emmy-winning creator/showrunner/star Donald Glover) is on a journey of self-discovery. But he’s flat broke and his parents have not only cut him off, they also refuse to allow him into...
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To Every Character Their Moment

Art Holcomb discusses the importance of Moments for characters, and offers advice on how to use them in your own scripts.By Art Holcomb.Moments.They’re what the audience remembers about a great movie. They’re what actors (and script...
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8 Keys to Writing a Marketable Script

1. ONE GENRE TO RULE THEM ALL I recently sat through a webinar where writers were given the opportunity to pitch their concepts. One lady stuck out to me because she described her project as a suspense, thriller, and comedy, with horror elements....
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