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Tagged With: Screenwriting

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 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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