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The Interactive Future - 5 Tips For Creating Choice-Driven Content

Interactive movies, television, and ads are here to stay. While Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch thrust the medium into the mainstream, storytellers have been creating this type of content for decades. In the...
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8 Things to Avoid Writing on the First Page of Your Script

Have you looked at the first page of your script lately? Page one is the very first thing a reader will see when they open your script, and often times problems exist immediately and set the story back before it even gets started. I’ve opened...
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Subtext- The Beauty Of What’s Left Unsaid (Or Unwritten) In Your Screenplay

A problem I frequently come across as a screenwriting consultant and instructor is the tendency of writers to overwrite and to include too much on-the-nose exposition. This can quickly mark as a screenplay as amateurish, whereas its...
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“Find Your Way Into The Story” Says Robert Reiner

Actor-writer-director-producer-activist Robert Reiner has no problem being a multi-hyphenate. Reiner first came to fame as a two-time Emmy Award-winning actor on the landmark television series All In the Family. He...
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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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What An Audience Really Wants From Your Script

If you’re trying to write a successful script—-a script that gets produced and seen by a large number of viewers—-you obviously want your script to be loved by your audience. So if we want people to watch our work, we need to know...
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Write Worlds And Characters Actors Want To Play

I am convinced that actors with creative intelligence want to play roles that challenge, expand, and refresh their artistic instincts. They want to get involved with films that get noted for Oscar consideration. It’s the job of the...
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Screenwriter Ted Campbell Goes “Underground”

As part of Creative Screenwriting Magazine’s mission to showcase screenwriters making waves in the film world, we spoke with Ted Campbell who recently set up his thriller script Underground with Film Bridge International. Acclaimed director...
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The Circle of Lady Parts

It has been a whirlwind of a month. Ups and downs. Lows and highs. It’s almost as if I’m doing this thing called life. June marked my two-year anniversary of moving to Los Angeles. For those of you who do not know, I purchased a one-way...
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7 Reasons Your Characters Hurt Your Script

Your characters compel you to be honest, and this creates a challenge. The actions of the characters make your story. Writers often focus on plot, structure, theme, dialogue, description, amongst many other elements, but the success of your script...
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Comedy Screenwriting Craft: Using Metaphors

One of my favorite plays (and films and TV shows, for that matter) was Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, in which a pair of mismatched friends, one divorced and one soon-to-be, decide to room together. On the surface, Oscar Madison and Felix Unger...
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Screenwriting Craft: Creating a Proactive Protagonist

I sometimes joke that if someone were sitting next to me regularly during my client meetings at the Akasha Cafe in Culver City, they’d think I have one note in particular that I REALLY like to give. And that note, said in many different ways,...
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Don’t Ruin a Good Read! Screenwriting Mistakes to Avoid

While I don’t fashion myself a script or story consultant (because, let’s face it, there are already enough of those – including a few really great ones – out there), the simple reality is that at this point in my career, I...
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Moving Beyond Screenplay Structure

I have been studying, practicing, and teaching screenwriting for three decades, and the one thing I’ve learned is that young screenwriters (in experience, not age) struggle to learn the craft. What they don’t always...
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The Same Answer to 11 Questions

There is one answer I give to a great number of questions I receive from developing screenwriters. Here is that answer:The script (or scripts) you are referring to was developed in the studio system, or was written by an established writer, or was...
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Writing Effective Plot Twists

Creative Screenwriting Magazine contributor, James Napoli details the different types of plot twists screenwriters can use in their screenplays. There are several different types of plot twists you can use in your screenwriting. Let’s take a look...
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Subtext: That Passive/Aggressive Friend You Hate, But Can't Drop

On Facebook and a myriad of other places, people put forth various requisites or must haves, do’s and do nots, they claim are needed to write, if not a great screenplay, at least a perfectly serviceable one. One of the most popular ones...
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On Writing Child Characters: “Children Don’t Think Like Little Adults”

One of the challenges of writing great characters is getting inside the heads of persons of much different background than yourself. It takes great effort and empathy to understand those of differing gender, age, ethnicity, or orientation in order...
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Coloring Scenes

It's all in the writing. After all the structuring is done, the scenes themselves have to shine. Most often, when I read a script, I think to myself, "It needs color." Color the characters; color the scenes; color the dialogue. It's all in the...
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Test Your Story Concept

I recently taught a webinar for The Writers Store on Story Development. In it we talked about the importance of testing your story concept before you end up like Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation lost in a sea of notes and pages with no idea...
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