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Denouement, FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, Franchise, STAR WARS, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, THE LORD OF THE RINGS -

Last week, we talked about the elements that make for a strong denouement. Now let’s get super laser specific and discuss the kind of denouement that best helps a project shape itself toward a potential franchise. To clarify: “franchise” is the term the industry uses for an intellectual property (including a film) that can be taken to other projects beyond itself: more films (sequels, prequels, remakes, etc.), TV series, video games, novels and graphic novels, and so on. The current industry is strongly focused on projects that have franchise potential. This is because a movie by itself represents a massive...

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hook, JAMES BOND, JAWS, PSYCHO, STAR WARS, statement of intention, WEDDING CRASHERS -

One of the most important parts of the script is the opening sequence. This is sometimes referred to as the first-10, as we’re talking about business that happens in the first ten pages or so. Basically, the first, opening scenes of the movie. It’s typically best to use the opening sequence as statement of intention. Simply put: we’re letting the reader/audience know right off the bat what the movie intends to deliver. So if it’s a comedy, we open on a funny scene; if it’s horror, we open on a scary scene; if it’s action, we open on an action...

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30 pages, Avatar, Ex Machina, First Act, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, Screenwriting Groups, Star Wars, Table Reads, The Hunger Games, The Lion King, The Matrix, Titanic -

I run one of the largest writers’ groups in Hollywood, with writers at all different skill levels. Every week the group hears 30 pages of a screenplay acted out by professional actors (like a table read), then the rest of the writers in the group gives notes on the pages. As you can probably imagine, people mostly present the first 30 pages of a feature. At this point I have heard nearly 1000 Act One’s, and in this article, I want to discuss what makes an Act One FLY or DIE. There are multiple things you need to accomplish in...

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belief in your material, creative freedom, GET OUT, inspiration, make it great, PULP FICTION, rejection, SEVEN, STAR WARS -

If you truly believe your script is great, and you have objective reasons to think that opinion is credible, there is no reason to ever give up on it. The crucial point here is that the reasoning behind the belief must be at least somewhat validated in reality. In other words, if this is the first script you’ve ever written, and everyone who reads it hates it, that might not be the hill to die on. But if you’ve gotten objective third-party reads that have been enthusiastic, and you’ve spent years polishing your craft, and in your heart of hearts...

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