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FADE IN: on Screenwriting, by Jeffrey Scott

Blogs GOT A RESEARCH QUESTION? ASK GOOGLE. GOT A STORY QUESTION? ASK YOUR MIND!

Every screenwriter is born with an amazing writing tool. It’s called the human mind. But if you don’t know how to use it effectively you could be wasting a lot of creative potential. I’ve found a very special way to resolve creative story problems that I think you’ll find very useful...

Blogs WISH IT WASN’T SO DAMNED HARD TO WRITE A GREAT SCREENPLAY? WISH NO MORE!

Wish it wasn’t so damned hard to write a great screenplay? Wish no more! Emmy-winning writer Jeffrey Scott reviews THE CORE ELEMENTS screenplay writing method.

Blogs WRITE SCREENPLAYS THAT COMMUNICATE!

The secret to great screenplay writing is keeping it simple and visual. Words can be your friends as well as your deadliest enemy. Here’s a short tip that will improve your writing with every word you don’t write.

Blogs DRAGON AGE: DAWN OF THE SEEKER - WRITTEN BY JEFFREY SCOTT

When I’m not writing important blog posts I’m writing frivolous stuff like feature films. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working with Chris Moujaes, the Director of Original Entertainment at FUNimation Entertainment, and producer April Bennett on Electronic Arts/Bioware’s animated feature film, Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker...

Blogs THE FUTURE OF ANIMATION

As you graduate today, and face an uncertain jobs market, many of you are asking yourselves 'What does the future of animation hold for me?'   To see what lies ahead, one only need look to the past...

Blogs How To Flush Writer’s Block Down Your Mental Drain

There is no precise definition of what writer’s block is. Most likely, it’s just the terror of staring at a blank page or screen and thinking that the next words that come out of your cranial matter have got to be Oscar quality. Whatever it is, it’s really not that hard to handle. Over the years I have found three effective ways to get past whatever is blocking my creativity...  

Blogs The First 10 Pages: How to Hook the Audience

Ever get a big fish on the line only to have it get away before you could pull it into the boat? You probably didn’t set the hook. Rule #1 in fishing: set the hook. The same is true in screenwriting, only you’re not trying to hook a fish, you’re trying to hook the audience. You don’t need a fishing rod, you need ten great pages.

Blogs But Wait, There's More! A Final Post on Self-Promotion

Self promotion turned out to be the hottest topic yet on my blog.  My three posts on the subject are approaching 6,000 reads! I have received dozens of comments, both on the blog and at LinkedIn, over 95% of which were in agreement that self-promotion is vitally important. You get it!  That's good!  Here's what I got...

Blogs Does Self-Promotion Really Work? The Results Are In for My Experiment In Self-Promotion

Does self-promotion really work?  What happens when you promote your writing via blog, Facebook and LinkedIn?  Over the past several weeks I’ve done just that.  The results are in.  Check out this post and find out exactly what happened with my experiment in self-promotion...

Blogs Does Self-Promotion Really Work? Let’s Try It And Find Out

I got a huge response to my last post, Why Do Many Artists & Writers Hate Self-Promotion?, including several active discussions on various LinkedIn groups. Self-promotion is a very hot topic! Many of the people who commented on the post talked about their shyness, self-doubts, the unworthiness of their creativity, and other barriers to promoting themselves and their work.  One of the biggest concerns was whether or not self-promotion was really effective.  Well, let's find out...

Blogs Why Do Many Writers & Artists Hate Self-Promotion?

A funny thing happened on the way to my Facebook page.  A handful of professional contacts refused to be my friend, not because they didn’t like me, but because they weren’t on Facebook.  The interesting thing was that they seemed to take pride in not being on Facebook.  This reminded me of something I’ve noticed over my career, an odd anomaly about many writers and artists: They don’t like to promote themselves.  Not a good idea!

Blogs Creative Momentum

Do you write part time?  Do you write for just a few hours a day?  Are you writing a spec screenplay a few days a week or month? If you answered any of these questions in the affirmative you may be losing more time (and creativity) than you think. Let me give you a few suggestions that will help you get a lot more writing done...

Blogs The #1 Most Important Screenplay Element. Are You Interested?

What is the #1 most important ingredient of every great screenplay? 

Is it great characters? 

Great plot?                 

High Concept? 

It’s none of these.  The #1 most important ingredient of every great screenplay is...

Blogs Software Review: Final Draft 8

In my previous post, How to Turn Microsoft Word into a Terrific Screenwriting Program, I explained how to use Word’s “styles” to automatically create script formatting.  I received a blog comment from Ben Cahan, the creator and co-founder of Final Draft, who pointed out that a true screenwriting program was more than just “margins and capitalized slug lines and character names”.  Ben makes a good point.  Whereas Word allows you to easily and automatically format basic script elements such as slug line, action, character name, parenthetical, dialog and transitions, that’s about all it can do.  Final Draft, in contrast, does those things and much more.

Blogs Publishing a Book is Now So Easy Even a Writer Can Do It!

The book publishing industry, like the newspaper biz, is on a glide path to oblivion.  It's just too easy and cheap to download a book to your computer, iPad, Kindle or smartphone.

And that was last year!

Now it takes less time to publish your own book than it does to write a publisher query letter, let alone send it out and wait for the rejection letters.

Blogs How to Prosper in Toon Town — An Excerpt from "How to Write for Animation"

Before you run off half-cocked with that shiny new animated six-shooter of yours, here are a few pieces of advice that will help you live long and prosper in this business. It would be foolish to think you could become a good animation writer without first understanding a little bit about creativity, especially considering cartoon writing is one of the most creative forms of writing there is. Fortunately, creativity is not as ethereal as some might lead you to believe.

Blogs K.I.S.S. Bad Stories Goodbye

One of the most useful maxims in life is known by the acronym K.I.S.S. I'm sure you've heard of it. It stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid”. But simplicity is not just the key to a happy life; it's also the key to great storytelling—which only makes sense because stories are about life. Well-written animated features, no matter how complex they may seem upon first viewing, have basic character and plot elements that are very simple. To create a simple, well-constructed story you need only answer the following questions...

Blogs Learn the Three R’s to Become a Better Screenwriter

There are only two things you need to do to become a better writer: study and write.  The question is: are you studying and writing optimally?  I wrote screenplays for Columbia and Paramount on instinct, and wrote hundreds of animation scripts the same way.  But I’d never really “learned” how to write. I finally decided to get serious about my craft and read all the best-selling screenwriting books.  I learned quite a bit.  But one of the most important things I learned was that WHAT you read is only half of the journey.  HOW to read is the other.  Learn the three R's and become a better screenwriter...

Blogs How to Get a “God’s-Eye View” of Your Story in Microsoft Excel

The reason I use Excel to develop story structure is based on a writing principle I discovered years ago.  I call it getting a God’s-Eye View of the story.  I realized that by writing my outline beats in a normal word processing program it took screen after screen to go through my scenes.  So while I was looking at one portion of my story, the rest of the story was out of sight.  And as they say, “Out of sight, out of mind”.  But when I write I want all of my story in mind.  And here’s how I do it...

Blogs How to Turn Microsoft Word into a Terrific Screenwriting Program

Several of you have asked me for instructions on how to set up Microsoft Word “styles” for script writing.  A style is simply a saved bundle of formatting instructions.  If you are familiar with screenwriting software such as Final Draft or Screenwriter, you know that what they basically do is make it easier to write scripts by automatically formatting script elements, fonts, paragraphs, etc.  If you follow the instructions below you will turn Microsoft Word into a simple but effective screenwriting program.  

Blogs You May Have Written More Than You Know!

Here's a tip for professional television and film writers.  If you haven't thought of this one yet it will save you time by eliminating the need to write some things twice.  But best of all, in just a couple of minutes it will let you see that you've probably already drafted over half of your script.  And that will make most any writer feel GREAT! What I do is this: After I've written an outline, and am ready to start the script, I cut and paste the outline directly into my script document.  But then I take it one important step further...

Blogs The Difference Between Live-Action and Animation Writing

If you want to write animation—or if you just want to produce or direct it—it’s important to know the difference between live action and animation writing. Animation stories are developed pretty much the same as in live action.  You come up with a concept, sometimes called a premise, describing the basic beginning, middle and end of the story.  The next stage is an outline, laying out each scene, including action and gags.  The final step is the script, with full scene description and dialogue.  The script form in animation is virtually identical to live action. It’s the differences that are important to understand.  

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