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

by Claudia H. Johnson

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

by Claudia H. Johnson

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

by Martie Cook

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…

Photo by Dyanna

Screenwriting Tip #100: The Three Acts of Writing a First Draft

by Xander Bennett

Screenwriting Tip #100: The point of a first draft is just to exist. Nobody should ever spend more than three months on a first draft unless they’re hand-chiseling it on a stone tablet. The psychological process of writing the first draft follows a predictable arc. At first it feels like love in the springtime –…


Transmedia Storytelling – Weaving the Universe

by Tom Dowd

Weaving the Universe Weaving the universe relates to the fact that any successful transmedia intellectual property is like a tapestry – many threads that are well-woven to create a beautiful pattern. This points to the concept that really successful intellectual properties tell many stories that weave into a larger picture or larger understanding of the…

Photo by Brînzei

Cardinal Sin of Screenwriting: Fear of Offending

by Guy Gallo

Perhaps the cardinal sin a writer can commit is to mitigate his intention for fear of offending. I always say: if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing extremely. “Drama doesn’t like sort of.” The most benign form of this error is timidity. I have often seen descriptions of characters that pull punches. Make a decision….


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,…


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…


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…

Photo by espensorvik

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…

Latest Tweets

Stay Informed

Click here to register with Focal Press to receive updates.

about MasteringFilm

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.