Your Screenplay Opening

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Some screenwriters think that just about every screenplay should open with a bang of some kind: perhaps a literal explosion, or a murder, or a chase. Those may well be good choices for certain stories, but my take on this is that what an opening actually needs to do is to prompt two questions and one feeling in your audience. The questions are simple: 1. Who are these … [Read more...]

Making a Movie

The other night, I did a film school talk at the UCLA film school about how to make, market and sell your movie without the middle-man. And while most of the UCLA film students in attendance agreed that my way of making a movie may not be fully inline with the studio ideal - many of these filmmakers agreed that getting a movie made is better than merely just talking about … [Read more...]

Feature Filmmaking Advice

Prior to getting my own features off the ground, I worked for an indie producer in New York City. I took the gig because I wanted to uncover the "secrets" to making movies. And after a few months, I ended up working in development - which pretty much meant it was my job to read screenplays and write reports about the material, called coverage. When I wasn't reading, most of … [Read more...]

Screenwriting Tips – Hope for shy screenwriters

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Shy and awkward is how screenwriter Seth Lochead describes himself. When he was starting out he felt he had to choose between building his career by socializing or by writing a great script. He decided to try to do the latter. The result is "Hanna," co-written by David Farr, starring Kate Blanchett as the daughter of a rogue ex-CIA agent. He told the Vancouver Sun: "“I … [Read more...]

How to give your screenplay emotional intelligence

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"Chasing the Monster Idea" is a book by Stefan Mumaw in which he identifies seven questions that will help you determine whether you have a "monster" idea rather than just a good one (or a bad one). These questions also can help you figure out whether your movie idea is a monster. The first one: Does it evoke an emotional response? People go to movies not just to see … [Read more...]