Screenwriting Tips RSS

blank page, blueprint, instrument, multi-dimensional set of skills -

The blank script page is your instrument, in the same way a guitar or piano or horn is a musician’s instrument. The guitar doesn’t play music by itself; left to its own devices, it will sit there in silence. That is, until it is picked up and played, at which point the guitar becomes a tool through which you are able to transform your talent, emotions, creativity, practice, and experience into sounds we call music. The same can be said for the page, and writing. However, screenwriting is unique because it involves a duality. With a novel, short story, or...

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Tropes are a key component in cinematic storytelling because they function much like the moving image in the sense that they relay a lot of idea in a relatively small package. Tropes become tropes for a reason: because they work. Let’s take for instance the trope of characters doing a lot of drugs. This choice is very often used to relay two ideas. The first is to establish “these are the wild party days.” The second is to shorthand the idea of a “beginning of the end.” For example, look at BOOGIE NIGHTS. We have scenes in which the characters...

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CLUE, clues, confusion, engagement, GLASS ONION, mystery, resolution, reveal -

Sometimes scripts mix up the distinction between mystery and confusion. With both mystery and confusion, we are giving the audience a story that is unclear; they don’t know exactly what is happening or why. The difference being with mystery, the script is carefully building a machine comprised of gears made of clues. The script knows exactly what is happening and why, and is revealing both by presenting the audience one piece of the puzzle at a time. It’s a purposeful crafting of narrative, with a clear pay-off for the audience: they have fun trying to guess what’s going on, and...

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antagonist, protagonist, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, statement of intention -

The story isn’t just about the protagonist; the protagonist is the story. We should establish the protagonist as quickly as possible, and from there maintain a tight focus on the protagonist’s actions to move the story forward. We can find examples of this in the most elemental of story forms. For example, fairy tales. “Once upon a time, there was a princess who lived in a castle…” Bang, there’s our story: a princess is living in a castle, and then something happens, so then she does X, which leads to Y, and onto Z, and so on. That’s our narrative....

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dreams, idle thought, new energy, New Year, rewrites, screenplay, screenwriter, Screenwriting vocabulary -

If you start working on a new script right now, with the intention of writing one page per day, you will have a brand new completed full-length screenplay in hand by the end of April. If you write one page per day every day of 2023 then by this time next year you will have three (and maybe four) scripts. One page per day is very do-able. This is because if you know that you are going to be writing that page, throughout the day you’ll be thinking about that page. You will have thought about that page so much...

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