Articles & Advice

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Gravity

I watched GRAVITY (Alfonso Cuarón 2013) again recently. Why? The film's astonishing visual impact. I think Gravity is one of if not the most phenomenal technical productions in film history. I am also fascinated with all things space. 2001 A...
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Max Timm's Book on The Craft of Screenwriting - Sneak Peek

This is a sneak peek into the introduction of Max Timm's debut book on screenwriting, (Not Just) Another Book on The Craft of Screenwriting. Max Timm, the Co-Head of the ISA Development Program, creator of the ISA’s 30-Day Screenwriting...
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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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The 7 Elements of a Viable Story

In my experience as a professional screenwriter on projects like Band of Brothers -- and in the years I've been teaching and consulting -- one thing has become abundantly clear: projects live or die mostly based on their central idea. Yes,...
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Should I Work For Free?

Should you work for free? That depends on what you mean by “work” and by “free.”Work is what you do as a professional, when you make a promise that involves rigor and labor (physical and emotional) and risk. Work is showing...
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What’s the In? What’s the Out?

In the movie biz, there’s a question that studios and development companies often put to any screenplay they’re evaluating:  What’s the in? What’s the out?  What they mean is, “What is this script’s opening image and closing...
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The 2 Copyright Forms Every Screenwriter Should Know

Every screenwriter should know two specific copyright forms used to protect qualifying written screenplays, often referred to as “Intellectual Property” or “IP.”  Why is this so important? Because Intellectual Property...
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The Mysterious Development of Your Villain

The Mysterious Development of Your Villain(an excerpt from Max Timm's online class, The Craft Course)In this week's lesson, we will be focusing on how the other characters in your story - namely the Secondary Character and The Villain/Rival - will...
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The Neurotic Superhero: From Comic Book to Catharsis

There’s a historical pattern around the popularity of the superhero—he or she is most needed during dark times in the real world. In Captain America: The First Avenger, when Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) visits the US troops...
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Sharpen the Screenwriting Craft With Your Voice

“Sharpen the Screenwriting Craft With Your Voice.” ISA’s Craig James On Navigating Your Career Every screenwriter has a story. Every story needs a voice. Screenwriters must keep writing to develop their unique voice in order to...
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The 5 Traits of Successful Writers

Writers want success, but how do you define it? Is it writing enough to pay your bills? Is it writing to find an audience, regardless if you make enough money or not? Maybe you want to be famous or win an Emmy or Oscar. Any writer would probably...
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Magical Realism in Game of Thrones (Some Spoilers Present)

There’s a hint of the magical from the very teaser of the pilot of Game of Thrones. This is a fantastical world, where showrunners/writers/adapters David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wisely make sure not to introduce too much too soon for the...
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Lee Jessup’s Screenwriting Resource Guide

On any given day of client meetings I will find myself rattling off my favorite resources when it comes to any and all things screenwriting. Books, blogs, competitions, labs, programs, fellowships, consultants, I’ve made it a point to get to...
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Breaking into Screenwriting is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

“I broke in sooooo fast!!!”… Said no writer anywhere ever.Seriously. I mean… in the 90’s, maybe? Back then, it seemed like writers were emerging from complete obscurity to sell a screenplay seemingly overnight (only...
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Chronicles of my hats: Why Chaplin?

“One day, tired of being professionally frustrated and inspired by the great Charlie Chaplin, I decided to start writing about my different hats in life. So besides my frustrations, failures, achievements, and complicated moments; I believe...
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The DO’S and DONT'S of Taking Notes

The other day, I had a call with a new coaching client, who had sent me his original screenplay prior to his initial session with me. The script had some good things going for it, but me being me, I had thoughts, some conceptual, some technical. The...
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ATLANTA: The Existential Quest of Life

Recent Princeton dropout Earnest “Earn” Marks (Emmy-winning creator/showrunner/star Donald Glover) is on a journey of self-discovery. But he’s flat broke and his parents have not only cut him off, they also refuse to allow him into...
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Desperation, Dread, & Determination

I call them the triple D’s of screenwriting. Dread. Every screenwriter experiences this eventually. You get to a place where it feels like it’s all over. You’ll never get that agent. The manager will never call you back. Will...
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One Movie, Three Structures: The Avengers

Whether you are a self-taught writer, in school, or reading books on your own, the structure of a screenplay is critical in the analysis of your professionalism. But which structure is “right?” Which structure should you adhere to in...
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An Introduction to Max Timm's The Craft Course Online Class

You are getting a little view into how the online course that Max Timm created for the ISA works and is presented. In order to take advantage of the full online course, you must go to www.TheCraftCourse.com and select one of the class options. If...
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