Screenwriting

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The Spectacular Spec

by Martie Cook

WRITING FOR EXISTING SHOWS IS YOUR FIRST STEP It’s important to understand that no one is going to hire you as a TV writer simply because you want to be one. As with any business, in order to get work, you have to prove that you can actually handle the job. Hollywood is heavily unionized,…

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Transmedia Storytelling – A Story for All Screens

by Tom Dowd

Transmedia storytelling creatives, or those who develop and make transmedia content, have a unique set of responsibilities to satisfy an inquisitive and insatiable audience. The rising generation of media savvy consumers are adept at using social media tools to find information. They are “seekers” who do not want to be given all of their content…

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Tips for Screenwriters – Preparing for an Agent Meeting

by Chad Gervich

Finding the right agent or manager is like dating. You’re hoping to find someone who’s not only a creative and (in a way) spiritual partner, but someone who shares a vision for your work and career. If you see yourself as a genre writer, writing sci-fi and slasher films, but a manager sees you as…

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Out With the Old, In With the New

by Martie Cook

It’s official. Television has entered a new Golden Age. A revolution, so to speak. And with it comes the promise of innovative change and unimaginable opportunity. For writers and creators, the good news is that this new, exciting digital age is all about content. It’s about writing and producing shows that are as addictive as…

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What it Takes to Write Comedy

by Martie Cook

“Does it have to be funny?” While the answer may seem rather obvious, this is a question I am asked repeatedly. Each time, I am a little taken back. The word “sitcom” is actually a hybrid of two words: situational comedy. What this means at a core level is that sitcoms are about funny people…

Fig. 3.4 Measuring 1/8th pages; first in inches, then in 1/8ths of a page.

The Mathematics of Your Script

by Mary Cybulski

Scene Count Format the cells in the scene count column (at the right of the “Total” block) for plain numbers. This option is found in the Format menu. Go to Cells, then chose the category Number. This will prevent the program from turning your numbers into dates, decimals, etc. Add a 1 in the scene…

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It’s All in the Family

by Neil Landau

Defining Character by Familial Role Family dynamics are especially useful when assembling an ensemble cast. It’s not that you’ll need to cover every gender, age, or familial role. But it is helpful to determine how each character might relate to one another in both positive and negative ways. Police detective partners, even if both heterosexual…

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Pitching Guidelines for Original TV Series

by Neil Landau

Here are my guidelines for preparing and delivering a great pitch for an original series. Every pitch needs to be customized, so these guidelines are not rigid and do not have to be in this precise order. In fact, depending on genre and format, some of these rules may not apply. 1. Your pitch presentation…

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The Successful Showrunner Checklist

by Neil Landau

*Remarks quoted are excerpts from the showrunner roundtable discussions sponsored by Variety and Hollywood Reporter (2013). According to my informal showrunner poll, the following are the most essential qualities and skills for the successful management of a scripted, episodic TV series: Staying on time and on budget: According to veteran showrunner, Jeff Melvoin (Early Edition,…

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An Interview with Damon Lindelof

by Neil Landau

David Lindelof Credits Star Trek Into Darkness (feature) (Producer/Writer) 2013 Prometheus (feature) (Executive Producer/Writer) 2012 Cowboys & Aliens (feature) (Writer) 2011 Lost (Executive Producer/Writer/Co-Creator) 2004–2010 Emmy Award Winner (Outstanding Drama Series) 2005 Emmy Nominated (Outstanding Drama Series) 2008–2010 Emmy Nominated (Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series) 2005– 2007, 2009–2010 WGA Award Winner (Dramatic Series) 2006…

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MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Focal Press authors and industry experts, features tips, advice, articles, video tutorials, interviews, and other resources for aspiring and current filmmakers. No matter what your filmmaking interest is, including directing, screenwriting, postproduction, cinematography, producing, or the film business, MasteringFilm has you covered. You’ll learn from professionals at the forefront of filmmaking, allowing you to take your skills to the next level.