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Adam Sandler, Character, Concept, Conflict, screenwriting, Tension, The Safdie brothers, UNCUT GEMS -

The screenwriting in UNCUT GEMS is easy to take for granted. The film uses a documentary/realist style that almost makes it feel like a story the filmmakers just happened to film, vs. a carefully-scripted production. But it was carefully scripted. In a recent podcast, “The Big Picture”, the Safdie brothers, the writer/directors of the film, revealed the script went through 160 drafts, over many years, and was re-shaped repeatedly for different actors. Here’s where we must get into SPOILERS. If you have not seen UNCUT GEMS, don’t keep reading. This is your SPOILER WARNING. The magic of the film, from...

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Big-budget spec scripts, High buget, intellectual property, Low concept, opportunity cost, Perfect a screenplay, screenwriting, spec script, THE DEPARTED -

Letting a script die is probably the single hardest thing for a screenwriter to do. You’ve spent months, maybe years working on this material. The dream of what this script could be has fueled that process. But some scripts are in trouble from the point of conception, because their inherent nature makes them an uphill battle. This has become especially true in the feature realm, in a post-Marvel age. The overwhelming majority of big-budget films are based on pre-existing intellectual property. For writers with a big-budget spec script, this presents a significant problem. What it means, practically-speaking, is that a...

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nirvana, screenplay notes, screenwriting, script coverage, The Buddhism of Screenwriting -

Receiving notes on your screenplay sucks. No screenwriter likes getting them. Or does it suck? Defining Buddhism is perhaps beyond the purview of this article, but the two-second definition of Buddhism is that the path to enlightenment is to cease craving impermanent things. This is also, coincidentally, the path to enlightenment in receiving notes on your screenwriting. Screenwriting is inherently egotistical. Any good screenwriter has a healthy ego, or perhaps a too-healthy ego. It takes a certain level of hubris to say, “My writing needs to be out there in the world.” Because of this, receiving notes is painful. Because...

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inspiration, Producers, protagonist, screenwriting, The Producer’s Guide to Saying No -

Why do producers pass on screenplays? There is no magic or absolute answer to that question, but there are plenty of practical guidelines to be gleaned from producers. Here at ScriptArsenal, we know a good deal of producers, and have learned a thing or two about why they might pass on a piece of material. Improper presentation. If your script does not adhere to basics of formatting and presentation, chances are any legitimate producer will toss the script on page 1. Because any legitimate producer has much more pressing demands on their time than reading an amateurish script. With the...

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budget, filmmaking, interesting scripts, originality, Producers, screenwriting, storytelling -

The most important thing any writer should know is how to get a producer to fall in love with their script. There is no magic or absolute answer to that question, but there are plenty of practical guidelines to be gleaned from producers. Here at ScriptArsenal, we know a good deal of producers, and have learned a thing or two about what it takes for them to commit to a screenplay. Give them a reason to give a damn. This is the most important guideline. Producing movies is a huge pain in the neck. It takes a long time. By...

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