Advice — expert series
How Oscar Scripts Really Work
Posted by John Truby on
Whether a screenplay deserves an Oscar nomination depends on how it reads on the page and plays on the screen. But if you want to learn how Hollywood’s best screenwriters got that way, you have to begin by determining the challenges they faced at the outset of their tasks. Then you can identify, and learn, the techniques they used to meet the challenges.For Oscar nominees, these techniques typically fall into three major categories: mixing and transcending genres, and connecting character to plot to theme. Best script nominees, even when they are indie films, not only combine two or three genres,...
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Making your A, B, and C Stories Work in your Rewrite
Posted by Paul Chitlik on
In every movie of quality, there are three stories going on either simultaneously or in close proximity. One of the first things you need to look at when you approach a rewrite is to make sure all the stories are fulfilled and in the right proportions. The closer they are in theme and proximity, the better. They should support each other and the script as a whole. Knowing what they are and how to integrate them will make your script more consistent and stronger in its core. Here’s how I do it and how we talk about it in my...
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How to Break in from the Outside
Posted by Daniel Manus on
"How do I break in?"It’s the most often-asked question I get at classes and conferences around the country and from my clients. And honestly, I hate this question. There is no ONE answer. Everyone has a different “breaking in” story and everyone gets in a different way. And of course some don’t get in at all. It’s hard to break in - but here are some keys to finding your way.My no B.S. answer to the question is - you should’ve gone to school for it! Going to film school doesn’t give you any guarantees, especially in this economy, but...
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7 Things Writers Need To Know About Production Budgets
Posted by Deborah S. Patz on
Why should a writer bother to learn about production budgets? Isn't that the Production Manager's responsibility? Let me tell you why. Though the writer may not be directly involved in the business side of making the film, the script that he or she writes will be.A completed script is not a finished product unto itself; it is the production's road map to making a finished product: the completed film. Moving from development of the script through production and post of the movie adds an enormous number of collaborators and factors that affect the original story on its journey from script...
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Platforming Strategies for Screenwriters: 21 strategies for breaking in and advancing your screenwriting career
Posted by David Trottier on
When you write your first screenplay, the path to glory seems clear—find an agent who will get you a six-figure deal. A hundred and fifty query letters later, you’re languishing at Hollywood’s front gate. You’ve received a lot of encouragement, but, as Pauline Kael put it, “Hollywood’s the only town where you can die of encouragement.” Maybe it’s time to try another approach. In the film marketing business, if you lack resources but have a winner, you platform that winner by showing it to one or two markets at a time and letting it accumulate positive reviews. In other words,...
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