Articles & Advice

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Good Will To All

The other day, a student challenged me with this statement and question: “Conventional wisdom suggests that there must be a clear goal and an antagonist, but I don't buy it.  I've seen many movies where there appears to be neither a...
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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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“Writing Is In The Rewrite” Says HBO Story Analyst Mark Chandley

Mark Chandley reads a lot of scripts – good ones – bad ones – and everything in between. As a story analyst for HBO and other organizations, as well as a writer’s assistant for A-list film and TV writer Roger Wolfson, Mark...
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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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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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Building a tapestry: Kenneth Lonergan on Manchester by the Sea

Kenneth Lonergan discusses making the story your own, the use of flashbacks, and rooting your script in realism. Playwright and screenwriter/director Kenneth Lonergan returns to the big screen after a 16-year absence with Manchester by the...
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Why Is Mrs. Maisel So Marvelous?

Why Is Mrs. Maisel So Marvelous? Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino Tell All! It is a rare surprise that a near perfect TV show is made. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, now in its second season on Amazon Prime Video, is one of those shows...
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What's at Stake?

In response to our survey asking about how our followers are using stories, and what challenges you’re encountering, screenwriter Taha Ali asked what it means when “the stakes are high” for a hero. I replied by first...
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BIG LITTLE LIES - The Wild Card

In HBO’s Big Little Lies (based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty), series adapter/showrunner David E. Kelley (The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal) and his stable of amazing performers examine the idea of "tribe...
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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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To Every Character Their Moment

Art Holcomb discusses the importance of Moments for characters, and offers advice on how to use them in your own scripts.By Art Holcomb.Moments.They’re what the audience remembers about a great movie. They’re what actors (and script...
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Why The Crocodile Dundee Super Bowl Ad Made An Impact

Are They Really Remaking Crocodile Dundee? No, but the Super Bowl ad was pretty fun! For all of you out there who are Eagles fans, I send you a happy congratulations on your Super Bowl win. Being a fan of the Chicago Cubs, I know how difficult it...
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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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Dedication, Discipline & Cultivating Self-Worth in 2018 with The Story Farm

It's A New Year - So What?This is part of a weekly email series delivered to The Story Farm email list by the ISA's Max Timm. If you would like to join the email list and receive inspiring messages and upcoming offers from Max and The Story...
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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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Navigating Your Story: Salva Rubio on Save the Cat Goes to the Indies

Since its inception over twenty years ago, the methodology of Blake Synder’s Save the Cat has been as synonymous with storytelling as Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and Syd Field’s Paradigm Worksheet.Many screenwriters can’t help but...
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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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