AFW.

Screenwriter Terry Rossio

Guest Post: Screenwriter Terry Rossio: The Impetus to Produce

A friend completed a historical drama and was brainstorming with me on ways to get the material out there and read by the right people.  I introduced her to Terry Rossio, who knows a hell of a lot about getting material out there and read by the right people. Terry gave my friend advice so good I asked Terry if I could share it on the blog. Terry, being the great guy he is, said of course. So now you get the benefit of Terry’s great advice too.

The Impetus to Produce

~by Terry Rossio

Your situation speaks to the heart of the heart of the screenwriter’s dilemma.

You have a project that is clearly above average and worthy. There are people who need projects to film. So, how to get them to decide to film this project?

The Writer's Press Kit

The Writer’s Press Kit

I’ve been all over 5150 workshoppers to create usable press packets. Or, Hell, just usable  photos. With that in mind, it might be helpful if I spell out what should be in an artist’s press packet. So let’s do it yay!

RÉSUMÉ: A professional résumé  lists out professional points:

PROJECTS: Projects both produced and unproduced — and separates projects by type, for example, mine separates film, plays, and books.

AWARDS: Any prizes or awards or placements in competitions you have won or placed in — that are industry related. Winning a trip to Hawaii at a car dealership does not count. Winning Nicholl does.

Five Kick Ass Female Character Introductions

Five Kick Ass Female Character Introductions

DANCES WITH WOLVES, Michael Blake

EXT. INDIAN CAMP – DUSK

Several travois are parked in a clearing. It’s a scene of terrible woe. On the travois are dead bodies. Women members of several families are grieving as they collect the dead men.

Writing Above the Line

Invariably, at the end of any interview, the interviewer will pause and then say, “What advice would you give newer writers trying to break in?”

This used to seem like an impossibly broad question. Seriously? You want me to sum everything up in one piece of advice?

And then one day it wasn’t impossible. It wasn’t too broad. One day I knew the answer.

Stop trying to fit in and start trying to stand out.

To Sizzle or Not To Sizzle

Writers ask me a lot about making short film clips or “sizzle reels” for their scripts. Here’s the answer: “Yes, if it’s this good.”

Not if it’s “Sort of that good.”

Only if it’s “That good.”

Five Instant Logline Fixes

Five Instant Logline Fixes

THE BAD NEWS:  If you’re making these 5 mistakes, you’re not ready for prime time.

THE GOOD NEWS:  Correcting these 5 mistakes will rocket your logline quality up so fast NASA might ask to read your script.

1:  KILL THE METAPHORS:  Metaphors in a logline are not your friend. How many story descriptions have you seen that mention “personal demons”? [I have seen a lot.]

Five Instant Structure Fixes

Five Instant Structure Fixes

THE BAD NEWS: If you’re making these 5 mistakes, you’re not ready for prime time.

THE GOOD NEWS: Correcting these 5 mistakes will rocket your script quality up so fast NASA will dial you for launch tips.

  1. KILL THE FIRST THIRTY PAGES: Stories are supposed to be a strip tease. Drop one veil at a time. If you explain EVERYTHING up front about every character — in other words, plop a naked fat woman waving her psych file on the couch? That’s not sexy. That’s not mysterious. That’s not interesting. Knock off the first thirty pages of the script and see if the story still plays. Odds are it will. If it doesn’t? What must you put back in to make it play? Odds are, not all thirty pages.
Author, Screenwriter & Director Eric Red

Guest Post: Writer-Director Eric Red on The First Ten Pages

This is a guest post from screenwriter, director and author Eric Red.  Eric’s film credits include The Hitcher, Near Dark, Blue Steel, Cohen And Tate, Body Parts, Bad Moon and 100 Feet:

THE FIRST TEN PAGES

~ by Eric Red

As a screenwriter, you have ten pages to hook the reader or you’re dead. The First Ten Pages are the most important pages of a screenplay. Why?  Because if you haven’t hooked the reader–be it producer, director, star, development executive, script reader or anyone else down the film business food chain—-you’ve lost them. They will probably put the script down and not read any further, and not buy or make the script. You want to start your story, particularly a horror or thriller movie, with a bang.

Actor Bait, or, Think Like an Actor

Actor Bait – Or What Your Script Really Really Needs to Be

There’s a great anecdote in the book Your Screenplay Sucks: 100 Ways to Make It Great.”

It’s the year 2000 and William Akers, the author, is standing in line at a movie theater to see Finding Forrester. Two guys are in front of him and one says, “What’s it about?” And the other says, “Sean Connery.”

Let that sink in.

Five Instant Script Fixes

Five Instant Script Fixes

THE BAD NEWS:  If you’re making these 5 mistakes, you’re not ready for prime time.

THE GOOD NEWS:  Correcting these 5 mistakes will rocket your script quality up so fast NASA will dial you for launch tips.

1:  NAKED SCENE HEADERS: Naked scene headers are headers floating on the page with no scene description:

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

BOB
Who won the game?

No scene header should float alone on the page. At the very least — and I do mean very least — a reader must know WHO is in the scene:

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Bob looks up at Dan.

BOB
Who won the game?