Articles & Advice

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The Most Important Rule for Entering Screenplay Competitions

Running the International Screenwriters’ Association (ISA), I’m often asked, “What’s the fast track to selling a screenplay for an emerging screenwriter?” My response is to make sure your script is at its absolute best...
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Breaking In: Justin Haythe

British-born writer Justin Haythe achieved success with his debut novel, The Honeymoon back in 2004—the same year his first screenplay was produced: The Clearing (co-written with the director Pieter Jan Brugge). This fine...
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Surviving the Pitch: My Five Essential Survival Tips

A guest blog post by Greta Heinemann  Greta is a Supervising Producer on NBC’s “Good Girls”, has a show in development with HBOMax and a movie in development with Amblin Partners and 87North. More on her bio at the bottom of this post.In...
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Telling Your Story In A One Minute Pitch

As screenwriting consultant and author Robert McKee once said, “If the story you’re telling, is the story you’re telling, you’re in deep sh*t.” What McKee means is, if your story is just a series of occurrences or a set...
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Writing Effective Female Characters

Throughout the history of cinema, there have been a lot of underwritten characters. Sometimes the story is amazing, but the people – the moving parts – aren’t. If you are unable to connect with who you are watching on screen on a...
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Making Lemonade: Should You Look for Representation in the Time of Corona

A few weeks back, I received an email from a very talented writer I had the good fortune to work with some years ago:  “Is it appropriate for writers to query agents and managers with the current virus? Is it callous, thoughtless or...
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Networks, Platforms and Studios Open For Development

QUESTION FOR FILMTVLAW.COM: Thanks for the amazing articles Brandon! Hey, I want to get out there with my series but I’m nervous about the big production halt. Is it a good time to try to set up a series?ANSWER BY BRANDON BLAKE, ENTERTAINMENT...
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The Latest on The Industry, Screenwriting & COVID-19: Where are We Now? V2

And so it begins. The need for yet another industry updates, because while we are all sheltering-in-place and living a life where one day often feels like it bleeds into the next and it’s easy to forget whether it’s a Tuesday or a...
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What You Need To be Writing Right Now

Even in a pandemic, I’m still getting daily calls and emails from execs and producers asking if any of my students have a new pilot spec they should be reading.Because with Amazon and Netflix committed to spending billions on new content, and...
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The ‘Loh’ Down On How Screenwriter Elaine Loh Navigated Her First TV Writer

Last year we interviewed ISA Development Slate and award-winning screenwriter Elaine Loh about her TV pilot Stringer. She was also an HBO Writing Fellow which led her to a coveted spot in the Gossip Girl writers’ room....
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Showrunner Liz Tigelaar Is Putting Out “Little Fires Everywhere”

Liz Tigelaar is a writer/producer with a stellar resume in the TV writing and producing space. Her credits include Casual (2015-2017), Nashville (2013) and Bates Motel (2014). She recently developed Little Fires Everywhere for Hulu, starring,...
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“Make Something Happen Quickly” Davah Avena...

“Make Something Happen Quickly” Davah Avena on ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ Are TV musical comedies having a moment? NBC thinks so with their comedy TV series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Queue a show...
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Carolina Groppa Explains Exactly What Film Producers Do. So Be Nice To Them

For as long as the film industry has existed, so have producers. But so has the general public’s confusion about what producers actually do. It’s surprising how poorly it is understood given the importance of this high profile position....
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“America’s Story, by a Black Woman” Screenwriter Elle Johnson...

“America’s Story, by a Black Woman” Screenwriter Elle Johnson on ‘Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker’ “I got my start by giving myself a start.Don’t wait for the opportunities to come.You...
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111 Free Tools to Help You Through the Coronavirus Pandemic

There are more than 10,000 coronavirus cases and more than 150 deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. The stock market has taken a hit. Businesses are losing customers, and workers are losing jobs. It has become frightening,...
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7 Screenwriting Hacks If You’re Stuck

Hands up if you’ve ever been stuck on a scene while writing your screenplay. Come on. Be honest. The scene that causes you to sweat profusely and gives you heart palpitations. (If that happens, walk away from your computer for a while). Every...
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Building and Revealing Character

Simple but powerful tools for building fascinating characters and revealing their inner truth. I get Dr. Format questions flung at me every day it seems, and many of the questions have nothing to do with formatting.  For example,...
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“What Would Picard Do?” Kirsten Beyer On Co-Creating ‘Star Trek: Picard’

TV writer Kirsten Beyer is considered the knower of all things Star Trek. She seemingly burst onto our screens from writing oblivion to co-create Star Trek: Picard. Kirsten has been busy writing novels in the Star Trek Universe including Voyager and...
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Everything You've Wanted To Know About Voice Over And Off Screen

QUESTION: Could you please clearly explain O.S. and V.O.? I hear different things from different people, and sometimes I see O.C. in older scripts. I'm starting to get obsessed about this.ANSWER: In addition to your question above, I have received...
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Let’s Talk About Subtext In Screenwriting

Subtext – n.The underlying personality of a dramatic character as implied or indicated by a script or text. An inner world. A place glimpsed peripherally. Overtones.In screenwriting, subtext is implicit (intimated) versus explicit...
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