Articles & Advice

ALL ARTICLES

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...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

Screenwriter Ted Campbell Goes “Underground”

As part of Creative Screenwriting Magazine’s mission to showcase screenwriters making waves in the film world, we spoke with Ted Campbell who recently set up his thriller script Underground with Film Bridge International. Acclaimed director...
Read More»

The Circle of Lady Parts

It has been a whirlwind of a month. Ups and downs. Lows and highs. It’s almost as if I’m doing this thing called life. June marked my two-year anniversary of moving to Los Angeles. For those of you who do not know, I purchased a one-way...
Read More»

7 Reasons Your Characters Hurt Your Script

Your characters compel you to be honest, and this creates a challenge. The actions of the characters make your story. Writers often focus on plot, structure, theme, dialogue, description, amongst many other elements, but the success of your script...
Read More»

Comedy Screenwriting Craft: Using Metaphors

One of my favorite plays (and films and TV shows, for that matter) was Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, in which a pair of mismatched friends, one divorced and one soon-to-be, decide to room together. On the surface, Oscar Madison and Felix Unger...
Read More»

Screenwriting Craft: Creating a Proactive Protagonist

I sometimes joke that if someone were sitting next to me regularly during my client meetings at the Akasha Cafe in Culver City, they’d think I have one note in particular that I REALLY like to give. And that note, said in many different ways,...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

Writing Effective Plot Twists

Creative Screenwriting Magazine contributor, James Napoli details the different types of plot twists screenwriters can use in their screenplays. There are several different types of plot twists you can use in your screenwriting. Let’s take a look...
Read More»

Subtext: That Passive/Aggressive Friend You Hate, But Can't Drop

On Facebook and a myriad of other places, people put forth various requisites or must haves, do’s and do nots, they claim are needed to write, if not a great screenplay, at least a perfectly serviceable one. One of the most popular ones...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

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...
Read More»

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...
Read More»