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“Dolemite Is My Name” Wears Its Heart on Its Velvet Sleeve

Screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have a soft spot for pop culture’s underdogs and their struggles to gain legitimacy. They wrote the screenplays for the movies Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon,...
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“A Masterpiece Stoner Movie” Kevin Smith On ‘Jay & Silent Bob Reboot’

When indie screenwriters are asked to name their most prolific and influential filmmakers, Kevin Patrick Smith undoubtedly places on that list.Back in 1994, the iconic stoner comedy Clerks, set in the convenience store where Smith worked,...
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Why Demons and Devils Make for Superior Villains

We all know that “the devil is in the details,” but why are there so many demons in movies and on TV these days? In the past two years, there have been 26 horror movies released where the primary antagonist is some sort of supernatural...
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4 Secrets To Selling Your Screenplay… And Not Your Soul!

As a four-year-old, I was impressed by seeing my parents making short 35mm films for the movie theaters, even riding a live 7 ft alligator in one of them. Those experiences caused me to have a life-long desire to conjure visual and emotional magic...
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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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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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Villains And Their Functions In Stories

“…But when the tragic incident occurs between those who are near or dear to one another—if, for example, a brother kills, or intends to kill, a brother… or any other deed of this kind is done—these are the...
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Up Close And Personal With Guillermo Del Toro

Señor Del Toro is a very special filmmaker. The self-described traveling Mexican lives out of a suitcase from film set to film set, from life experience to life experience. He is simultaneously a Hollywood studio system misfit and Hollywood...
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Warner Bros. Chiefs On The Present And Future Of Film & TV

Each year, the Producers Guild Of America (PGA) hold the Produced By Conference to discuss the state of the industry with film and TV powerhouses. Good times. Bad times. Things are certainly changing fast. Screenwriters and producers...
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Unconventional Roles for Women Aren’t Just Empowering...

Unconventional Roles for Women Aren't Just Empowering, They're Game Changers  It’s a shame the wonderful coming-of-age comedy Booksmart has not done well at the box office. Expectations were high for the clever story about two...
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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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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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Where Does The Legal Battle Between the ATA and the WGA Leave Producers?

With the ATA (Association of Talent Agents) and the WGA (Writers Guild of America) deep in a legal battle for the foreseeable future, where does that leave producers? Here are some practical tools to help producers connect with writers and navigate...
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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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5 Ways to Get Your Screenwriting Year Off to a Great Start

I am, by nature, a planner. Calendar, task lists, goal sheets, schedules, productivity journals and life planners are all my friends, so I love taking a little time come January, both privately and with my coaching clients, to look back and learn...
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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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Honoring the Little Moments: Lost in Translation

An interview with Sofia Coppola, and an examination of her Oscar-winning screenplay.When Sofia Coppola began writing Lost in Translation, her first original screenplay after her adaptation of The Virgin Suicides, she knew there were certain...
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