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Surviving the Pitch: My Five Essential Survival Tips

A guest blog post by Greta Heinemann  Greta is a Supervising Producer on NBC’s “Good Girls”, has a show in development with HBOMax and a movie in development with Amblin Partners and 87North. More on her bio at the bottom of this post.In...
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Telling Your Story In A One Minute Pitch

As screenwriting consultant and author Robert McKee once said, “If the story you’re telling, is the story you’re telling, you’re in deep sh*t.” What McKee means is, if your story is just a series of occurrences or a set...
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Making Lemonade: Should You Look for Representation in the Time of Corona

A few weeks back, I received an email from a very talented writer I had the good fortune to work with some years ago:  “Is it appropriate for writers to query agents and managers with the current virus? Is it callous, thoughtless or...
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The Latest on The Industry, Screenwriting & COVID-19: Where are We Now? V2

And so it begins. The need for yet another industry updates, because while we are all sheltering-in-place and living a life where one day often feels like it bleeds into the next and it’s easy to forget whether it’s a Tuesday or a...
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What You Need To be Writing Right Now

Even in a pandemic, I’m still getting daily calls and emails from execs and producers asking if any of my students have a new pilot spec they should be reading.Because with Amazon and Netflix committed to spending billions on new content, and...
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How Comedy Works

So, how exactly does comedy work? First off, let’s differentiate between funny and comic. Funny is whatever makes you laugh. Period. End of story.  When my niece was five, I could shake a set of keys in her face, and dissolve...
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Building and Revealing Character

Simple but powerful tools for building fascinating characters and revealing their inner truth. I get Dr. Format questions flung at me every day it seems, and many of the questions have nothing to do with formatting.  For example,...
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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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But… Do I Really Have to Outline?

(Hint: It’s a Screenwriting Career Requirement!) Here’s the thing: Over the years I’ve heard every reason why writers hate writing outlines. They kill the magic. They leave no space for discovery. They are too confining. They take...
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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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Industry Speak: Terms and Vernacular for Screenwriters

A few weeks ago, a screenwriter who has yet to break in, reached out to me over email. It became clear in the first one or two lines of his message that he was not yet a working writer, was not of the industry, and not yet familiar with industry...
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The Single Golden Key Of Success In 2020

Want success in the new year?  Create a Weekly Action Plan of specific steps or actions you will take during the coming week towards achieving your overall goals. Thus, your first step is to make a few goals for the...
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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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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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Following Up on Your Screenplay or Pilot Submissions

The other day, I was sitting across from a new client who came to me feeling frustrated that he sent out his screenplay to the few managers who asked for it, but not heard anything back. The screenplay had gone out two months before we met, and ever...
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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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Answer These 3 Questions About Your Screenplay or TV Pilot

The other day, I met a new writer, who sent me his pilot to read ahead of our session. He was a talented writer, for sure; the world of his show was rich, and his plot well thought out. But it also left a number of questions for me, the sort of...
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Pearls of Wisdom from Working Writers: Early Career Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. You only know what you know and you learn as you go along so… making a mistake is inevitable. That said, isn’t it always useful to learn from other people’s mistakes? With that in mind, I turned to some of...
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The Screenwriter’s Guide to General Meetings

Following last week’s THIS WEEK IN COACHING: MEETING PREP! installment, I thought it wise to take a bit of a deep dive into what general meetings are, and how they work. In fact, I couldn’t quite believe I hadn’t broken...
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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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