Articles & Advice

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Interview with ISA Fellowship Winner Sean Collins-Smith

Ever since graduating from film school in 2010, Sean Collins-Smith has wanted to move to Los Angeles to pursue a TV writing career. His goal seemed unobtainable, though, until he won an ISA Fast Track Fellowship on the basis of his pilots End of...
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HOW TO FORMAT A SCRIPT FOR THE SPEC MARKET

If you’re confused by how to format a script, you’re in the right place. The following post contains excerpts from our book, “Master Screenplay Format: A Clear Guide On How To Format a Screenplay For The Spec Market.”The...
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Story Lessons from Get Out

In my work as a script consultant, I discovered a chronic problem among aspiring screenwriters: 99% fail to tell a story. What the 99% do instead is present a situation. In order to explain the difference, I created the Nutshell Technique, a method...
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Screenwriting Within The Parameters of a Film Budget

Films right now are very expensive to make, and very expensive to market. Even TV series on streaming networks such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO are dealing with multi-million-dollar film budgets per episode. If you're trying to work in Hollywood, you...
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The Power of Belief

We all have obstacles of some kind. A personal challenge. A flaw, or for most of us, a series of flaws – a whole host of issues, really. We deal with them on a daily basis, whether they’re literal and physical, or mental and...
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Why You Need a Professional Consultant to Give You Screenplay Feedback

What should expect from a script consultant? Creative Screenwriting Magazine gets into the weeds with our friends at the International Screenwriters’ Association to help elevate your screenplay to a marketable level and strategize your career.When...
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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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“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” 7 Tips for Great Dialogue

Jacob Stuart's advice on writing dialogue for screenplays.Hollywood has a short attention span. Unlike writers, who may have all day to sit and ponder, plotting out their next script, or revising and revising a screenplay until their fingers are...
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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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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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8 Keys to Writing a Marketable Script

1. ONE GENRE TO RULE THEM ALL I recently sat through a webinar where writers were given the opportunity to pitch their concepts. One lady stuck out to me because she described her project as a suspense, thriller, and comedy, with horror...
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You're Not Going To Win An Oscar...

You're Not Going To Win An Oscar......but hold on, I'll explain.I'm sure most of you did it Sunday night at some point in the evening (if you watched the Academy Awards). You imagined what you would say if you were up on that stage accepting...
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“There’s both light and dark…There’s a lot of dark!” Black Mirror

Charlie Brooker & Annabel Jones on screenwriting levers, satire, and why checking your phone is like smoking. Plus great practical advice for writers! Black Mirror. The term refers to the dark, shadowy image you see of yourself while...
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Vince Gilligan on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul

Showrunner Vince Gilligan discusses structuring an episode, pacing a season, character development, and Easter eggs for fans.It’s not every day one has their work referred to as quite possibly the greatest television series of all time. And...
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How to Write Action Description

Alex Southey explores five different kinds of action description, and how they dictate tone in a script. Many people tend to assume that because it doesn’t affect the final film, action description doesn’t matter very much. But this couldn’t...
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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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Does it come in black?

A good screenplay is watched, not read. In so many scripts I am t/asked to read, I find that the words get in the way of the story. When I read a good script, I feel I’m watching it. The words reveal the story in a visceral way.Good stories...
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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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