Screenwriting Tips RSS

contest, rejection, screenwriting competition, tilt the odds -

The 2018 winners of the Nicholl Fellowship, widely considered the most important screenwriting competition, were recently announced. There were 4 winning scripts. There were 6,895 scripts submitted for the competition. That means 6,891 scripts LOST. With rejection such a big part of this profession, how can a screenwriter keep hope alive? 

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storytelling, surface plot, thematic, theme -

Let’s take a standard plot, absent any true theme. A cop must stop a serial killer. You can dress up the serial killer with any sort of elaborate methodology or ritual, and give the cop all sorts of gritty edge. None of that means anything other than window dressing unless it’s in the service of a substantive thematic thrust.


Plot doesn’t stand the test of time in the same way theme does. 

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commercial script, contained thriller, grounded scifi, lifetime style, supernatural horror -

We thought it might be interesting, now having nearly 60 producers signed up (new producers are added every month), to breakdown what common features we’ve seen amongst the producer needs. These most popular commonalities are, within this sample, “commercial scripts." 

The data here reinforces long-held beliefs in the spec market. High concept is king, contained is a plus, and contained action or supernatural horror is an even bigger plus, with sci-fi an increasingly commercial niche here as well.

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feature film, producer, producer notes, screenplay notes, screenwriting tips -

Screenwriters and film producers are a marriage of necessity. Producers need scripts. Writers need producers to get their scripts made. Industry lore is littered with examples of screenwriters feeling jerked around by producers, and there’s a combative relationship often implied between these two parties.

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good vs great, make it great, market ready, professional readers, script coverage, script ready -

What does “market-ready” mean? A truism that floats around in screenwriting is to “never send a script out before it’s ready.” It’s safe to assume that most writers have no desire to send out a bad script to the market. The logical question that comes next is, how do you know when it’s market-ready?

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