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The Many Faces Of Supporting Characters

Supporting characters serve a lot of functions in films and TV, and, when approached properly, they enhance and burnish the overall impact of visual storytelling. Let’s take a look at some of the key functions of supporting characters in...
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What Makes A Good Scene In Your Screenplay?

What Makes A Good Scene In Your Screenplay?  An estimated five hundred thousand feature films are floating around on earth, circulating among us, streaming on Netflix or Hulu, stacked in dated DVD collections, or stored in a basement...
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9 Ways To Make Your Supervillains Truly Villainous

9 Ways To Make Your Supervillains Truly Villainous:  Stories are typically told in terms of a hero putting his or her wits against a villain hellbent on thwarting their efforts. Writing these characters is not as simple as the good guys (or...
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13 Types Of TV Writers’ Rooms Whiteboards

13 Types Of TV Writers’ Rooms WhiteboardsEvery TV writer dreams about being part of the team that plots entire seasons and individual episodes of a television series. And for some, it will become a reality. In a few weeks, scripts of each...
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“Uncut Gems” Makes for a Tense and Tumultuous Character Study

“Uncut Gems” Makes for a Tense and Tumultuous Character Study:There are many outstanding qualities to the new film Uncut Gems. It’s a vivid character study that stars Adam Sandler in his best screen performance to date. The...
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The Taste of the Academy’s Animation Branch is Broadening

A funny thing happened on the way to the Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature this year. The Academy decided not to nominate the all-time biggest moneymaker in animation history. That’s right, Frozen II did not make the final...
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“Emotional Procedural” How Showrunner Austin Winsberg Classifies Zoey

“Emotional Procedural” How Showrunner Austin Winsberg Classifies ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ Musical comedy-drama Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist has been a welcome hit for NBC with its whimsical...
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“Characters Should Be Understandable In Their Vulnerabilities”

“Characters Should Be Understandable In Their Vulnerabilities” Raphael Bob-Waksberg On ‘Bojack Horseman’ Talking animals have been seen in films and TV shows for decades. There was even a show about a talking horse...
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Tell Me A Little. Show Me A Lot.

A screenplay, or movie script, is more of a format than an art.Good dialogue is individual to each character, but when it’s used as a crutch to explain the plot, the lines become blurred. That’s where an old saying in screenwriting...
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Do you need to outline?

Most books say you do. So do many of the screenwriting seminars. One of the better known gurus says there are two types of writers – those who figure out the story before they begin writing and those who fail. Pretty strong words.But knowing...
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“Be Careful What You Wish For” Screenwriter Jillian Jacobs

“Be Careful What You Wish For” Screenwriter Jillian Jacobs Talks ‘Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island’ Do you have a fantasy? Do you imagine going to a mysterious tropical resort where dreams can come true and anything is...
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The Rarity of Rug-Pulls in the Modern Era of Entertainment

Pulling the rug out from under an audience is tricky work these days. We’ve all seen so many hours of entertainment, even the casual viewer has become well-versed in narrative structure, the tropes of Hollywood storytelling, and genre clichés....
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“Fix Problems in a Surgical Way” Jessica Sharzer

Film and TV Jessica Sharzer wrote the first episode of the Steven Spielberg, Edward Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz executive produced series Amazing Stories for Apple TV. Creative Screenwriting Magazine caught up with her to discuss her work and her...
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Nonlinear Storytelling Techniques

Over the course of human history, art has always been reflective of the time in which it was created. Neoclassicism was born from the Age of Enlightenment. Abstract Expressionism exploded onto the scene during the Cold War as a release of social...
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Why Story Structure Formulas Don’t Work

The following is a true story.I did a script coaching session for someone I’ll call Lisa. Lisa had spent the past four years pursuing her dream of becoming a professional screenwriter. She had written six scripts with nothing to show for it....
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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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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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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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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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