Screenwriting

TV Outside the Box

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Excerpt from an interview with TOM FONTANA: The Man in the HAZMAT Suit The original trailblazer, Tom Fontana has spent much of his extraordinary 30-year career writing about crime and punishment. Accordingly, I’d be committing a felony by not starting the story of the digital television revolution with him. Not only did he create, write, and produce Oz, the…

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

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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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Tips for Screenwriters – Preparing for an Agent Meeting

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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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The Successful Showrunner Checklist

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*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,…

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

The Mathematics of Your Script

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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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FREE eBook Excerpt – 7 Steps to Busting Writer’s Block

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An e-book excerpt from the soon to be published book Anatomy of a Premise Line: How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success by Jeff Lyons. 7 Steps to Busting Writer’s Block There are scores of books in the marketplace telling you how to handle writer’s block, but none of them tell you…

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Making an Image or Action Crucial to the Scene

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Liking an image is not enough. No one cares what you want, what you like. They care if the story is pulling them forward, interesting them, confusing them in interesting ways. In my years of teaching screenwriting, the most frequent response given by a student to the question “Why did you do this or that?”…

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FREE eBook Excerpt – The Moral Premise

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An e-book excerpt from the soon to be published book Anatomy of a Premise Line: How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success by Jeff Lyons. The Moral Premise This e-book discusses the single most important thing any writer or storyteller needs to know about when they create a new story: i.e., how…

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Writing for the Green Light – Putting Your Line-Producer “Blinders” On

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There’s lots of producers on a movie. . . . There’s the producer-producers (the ones who carry the project from beginning to end, who hustle and grind, hire and fire, and manage the project from concept to completion), there’s executive producers (who effectively represent the money or the financial interests behind the film, or are…

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FREE eBook Excerpt – Character Development: What They Don’t Teach You

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An e-book excerpt from the soon to be published book Anatomy of a Premise Line: How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success by Jeff Lyons. Character Development: What They Don’t Teach You All fictional supporting characters fall into three basic categories, and writers need to understand these categories BEFORE they start writing….

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about MasteringFilm

MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Routledge 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.