Articles & Advice

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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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“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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“I Want To See Something I Haven’t Seen Or Felt Before” Says Roger Avary

Academy Award™-winning Screenwriter Roger Avary graced onto our screens in a big way after co-writing a little indie film called Pulp Fiction with an equally little-known screenwriter Quentin Tarantino. Avary continued his...
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TWIC/When is Your Screenplay or Pilot Ready for Competitions?

At a Career Coaching Intake Session this week, a new client just at the start of her screenwriting journey and wanting to make sure she goes about it in the smartest way possible, came to meet me armed with questions. She told me that she...
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Greta Gerwig Gives Us a Thoroughly Contemporary Take on “Little Women”

In this overpopulated age of remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings, how do you find a new path in on a property that’s already been told on the big and small screen over a dozen times? Filmmaker Greta Gerwig has managed to make something quite...
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Want to Give Your Screenwriting Career a Push in 2020? Ask Yourself THIS

I am a constant planner. A summarizer. On my good days, I’d like to think that I’m an observer and a learner. Which makes end-of-year such a great time for me, along with my clients, to take a step back and reflect.If there is one thing...
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7 Ways To Check If Your Script is Done

You think your script is done? How do writers know when a script is ready for submission? This is a very important question as you might not get a second chance with the right person.If you want to know when your script is ready to submit to a...
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10 Surefire Tips To Boost Your Screenwriting Career

Pen Densham has been telling stories since he was knee-high to a grasshopper so he knows a few things about selling your screenplay in the Hollywood jungle. He is also well-aware of the tenacity and resilience screenwriters require to...
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TWIC: Do I Really Need a Writer’s Group?

Week ending 11/22/19. As before, all names have been changed to protect the innocent…A few days ago, a working feature writer – who, for the sake of this blogpost, will be known as Randy – came to meet me for what has become...
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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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“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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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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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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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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