Articles & Advice

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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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The Power of The Self-Imposed Deadline

With lots of activity around the publication of my new book “Murder Your Darlings: And Other Gentle Writing Advice from Aristotle to Zinsser,” I have been fielding lots of questions about productivity. It often comes in this form:...
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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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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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But… Do I Really Have to Outline?

(Hint: It’s a Screenwriting Career Requirement!) Here’s the thing: Over the years I’ve heard every reason why writers hate writing outlines. They kill the magic. They leave no space for discovery. They are too confining. They take...
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Industry Speak: Terms and Vernacular for Screenwriters

A few weeks ago, a screenwriter who has yet to break in, reached out to me over email. It became clear in the first one or two lines of his message that he was not yet a working writer, was not of the industry, and not yet familiar with industry...
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The Single Golden Key Of Success In 2020

Want success in the new year?  Create a Weekly Action Plan of specific steps or actions you will take during the coming week towards achieving your overall goals. Thus, your first step is to make a few goals for the...
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Pearls of Wisdom from Working Writers: Early Career Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. You only know what you know and you learn as you go along so… making a mistake is inevitable. That said, isn’t it always useful to learn from other people’s mistakes? With that in mind, I turned to some of...
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Dates For TV Pitching Season, Pilot Season, and Upfronts

QUESTION FOR FILMTVLAW.COM:Thanks for all the super informative articles over the years! Hey, I’m always hearing terms like “pilot season” and “pitching season.” Is there a strict rule about this or is it more of a...
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Meaning and Toy Story 4

Two days after putting the finishing touches on the new 7th Edition of The Screenwriters Bible, I viewed Toy Story 4 for the first time.  I loved the film, but it was too late to add my thoughts about its contributions to the latest edition of...
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Your Screenplay or TV Pilot: How Long Should it Take to Write?

Okay, I admit it, I’ve been in denial. I did not think that this blogpost would need writing. Which, let’s face it, is nothing short of stupid on my part because, well, I have this conversation ALL. THE. TIME.Even as I write this, I...
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Let's Talk About Specs

I hear it all the time:“I want to sell my screenplay.”“How do I sell my screenplay to studios?”“My goal is to sell a spec (or two) a year.”I hear these from writers all over the world. Writers who just finished a...
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How a Big Life Leads to Better Writing

The other night I read a script that could be simply and, without question, described as one thing and one thing only: Derivative.The first act was almost 100% a poor man’s INCEPTION, the second and third act had bothersome parallels with EDGE...
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Choosing Between Agents, Managers and Lawyers

QUESTION FOR FILMTVLAW.COM:I’m an experienced showrunner with two series under my belt. I’m shopping around a third but getting shut out of all but current connects and friends. I never went the agent route, but now considering agent vs....
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When Social Media Meets Research, How Do You Know What To Believe?

When there’s a “wow” moment at an awards show or when a new movie trailer drops online, people around the world grab their phones and race to social media to voice their opinions. Even more people jump on just to read the...
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First Impressions: The Length and Look of Your Pilot or Screenplay

It was a long day. I had just finished 9 client meetings back-to-back. I had a bunch of emails that I still needed to answer, and, just as importantly, a screenplay I needed to read that night for a meeting the next day. All, for the record, great...
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Why Screenwriters Should Write With A Producer’s Cap On

Screenwriters need to think strategically about what they’re writing and why they’re writing it. Are you writing for yourself, a screenwriting contest, or are you looking to position your work in the marketplace? Charles Borg spoke with...
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Here’s What We Found Out About Ageism In Hollywood

Ageism. It’s a thing!  But what does it really mean? Is it simply a matter of screenwriters reaching an expiry date on their fortieth birthday, or is there more to it than that? Creative Screenwriting Magazine spoke with veteran agent...
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Breaking In: Representation – GETTING SIGNED

When one of my clients emerges from a meeting with a potential manager that, for all intents and purposes, seems to have gone well (good flow to the get-to-know-you conversation, interests in similar types of projects, maybe a few people in common...
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