You Need a Logline


Screenwriting Tip #12: If you don’t know your own logline, you probably don’t know what your script is about. Some writers will tell you they don’t have a logline. Their screenplay is “too complex” or “too character-driven,” or they just didn’t bother to think of one before they started writing. These writers are either idiots…

Figure 3-1  “Irish” Micky Ward’s (Mark Wahlberg) boxing opponents are nothing compared to the battles his family puts him through.

Defining Conflict


Conflict is essential to drama, but can be defined in different ways and take many different forms. Conflict can come from external factors, from within a character, or arise from a combination of forces. Person versus person (external conflict) Person versus environment or social institution (external conflict) Person versus a task they are compelled to…


Writing for the Green Light – Hollywood’s Biggest Secret


The big secret that almost never gets told to anyone outside Hollywood’s professional walls: Most films are green-lit before a final script exists. Think this is crazy? It’s not; it’s absolutely the truth. If a studio or an independent production company knows who their audience is, knows what channels and platforms will showcase their finished…


The Key Stages of Script Development


There are a number of stages in the evolution of a screenplay, and each stage usually requires various drafts. Each stage has a specific purpose as you proceed, step-by-step, from a general outline of your story to a script that contains the full dimensions of your film, including locations, actions, dialogue, sounds, movements, etc. This…


The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing an Original TV Pilot


In the coming months, TV execs will read hundreds of pilot scripts and hear at least that many ideas for new shows.  If you are an aspiring television writer, now more than ever, it’s important to have an original script in your portfolio.  Be it comedy or drama, a good pilot can jumpstart your career…


Deciding What to Write – 5 Factors that Make a Script Attractive to Buyers


As writers, we like to think a well-written and compelling story should be enough to sell a script. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. In fact, it’s rarely true. Sure, selling a script requires a well-told story, but there are other, equally important factors that make a script attractive to buyers. Perhaps the five most important…


Craft Your Script to Fit the Needs of the Moment – The Blueprint vs. The Sales Document


SO YOU THINK THE SCRIPT IS READY? You think your script is perfect. It’s wonderful, it’s awesome, you could shoot it tomorrow if someone gave you all the money for it. At least, that’s what I thought after I finished the second draft of Found In Time. However, this is rarely the case. Scripts are…


Writing Screenplays – Everything You Need to Know You Can Learn from City Lights


Okay, that’s a bald overstatement. You can’t learn everything you need to know about writing screenplays from City Lights, but you can get pretty close if you pay close attention to one scene in the film. You’ve probably seen it—Charlie Chaplin meets the blind flower vendor—but I recommend that you screen it again. Several times,…


Top Ten Reasons to Write with a Partner


A former screenwriting student, Tom Kurzanski, e-mailed me one day: I just wanted to thank you for planting the seeds of writing with a partner.  The seeds took root and I partnered up with a good friend and colleague of mine (Michael Young).  Now here I am with a TV pilot that, I feel, is…


Sitcom Structure – Classic 2-act vs. Modern 3-act Structure


THE IMPORTANCE OF STORY STRUCTURE Quite simply, structure is one of the most important elements of your script. It is the glue that holds your story together. Think of structure as how you choose to tell your story. What happens in each scene and what is the order in which it happens? Let me warn…

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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.