Writing Your Screenplay: Starting the Process

Writing Your Screenplay: Starting the Process It all starts with these words: I'm going to write a screenplay. Knowing that these words mean roughly a 6-month commitment from first draft to final. Knowing that if the film gets picked up, you could be talking about 3 years of development. If it gets developed, you could be talking about another 6 months of production, and after production, assuming it hits Awards season right (maybe you've finished it in the summer and the studio decides it's really a fall picture), you're looking another 3-6 months of screenings, marketing and Q&As before you're finally done. Also, let's not forget that after you sell a script, you're more likely to get on the writer-for-hire market, so you'll be doing all of this while working on another draft of another screenplay. When I start any idea, I go through a process that may or may not be familiar to you. That process is this:…

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Script Tips In Action: A New Direction

For the past year, the Script Tips…In Action column has taken a variety of tips found on TheScriptLab and discussed how they're used in a different film, a certain screenplay, or how they can shape your life as a writer. But over the last few weeks, I've begun to ask myself, "Am I full of shit?” All of this talking about how to write a script seems like a lot of talk-- unless it actually works. Enter the Script Tips…In Action Project, where we will be putting Script Tips- you guessed it- into action. Over the next several months, I’ll be putting together a screenplay using Script Tips found on TheScriptLab.…

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Desire: How to Find Your Story

Desire: How to Find Your Story In my attempts to finish several writing projects that are stuck somewhere between pages 13 and 30, I've begun looking for stories. That's the one thing that books can't tell you. There are hundreds of "must-read" books, that tell you everything about how to write the screenplay: give your protagonist a goal, have an equally powered antagonist, have an emotional change at every scene; but not a one (that I've read) actually tells you how to find the story. And I don't know about you, but sometimes, that's exactly the book I need to read. I have several protagonists that I love. Funny. Personable. Some of them are real pricks, but really lovable. But every time I throw something at them, they react like anybody would. And while I'm trying to get to a completed first draft, I just look at these perfect and lovable characters on the page and think, "What the hell do I do with you?"…

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Creating Memorable Dialogue

Creating Memorable Dialogue It's the end of the second act. Your Hero's so close to getting the girl, defeating the baddy, and becoming an all-around superstar. And in just the right moment, he pulls his weapon, turns to the villain and says… What, exactly? This is exactly the moment you want to come up with some piece of memorable dialogue. Some line that people will be quoting for years to come. "You've gotta ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?" "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." "I coulda been a contender! I coulda been somebody!" "You talkin' to me?" "I love the smell of napalm in the morning. Smells like… victory." You know what I'm talking about. Simply reading these lines gives you happiness. Hearing them changes your life. A great line is magic to a film. It can take a good movie and push it to the heights of film history. But how the hell do you write them?…

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