On theme (or movies are an illustration of a moral universe).

Life is poorly written. The objectives are vague, the plotting is sloppy, and characters enter and exit without any logic or any guarantee we’ll see them again. Even if you hold there is some kind of god-like author up there, even the most devout will point out that he moves in mysterious ways. In life,... Continue Reading →


Knowing about something is not the same as knowing it.

In an ideal world, knowledge would be like a Pokemon: you could capture it once, and keep it forever, ready to serve at a moments notice. Sadly, knowledge isn't so readily gained. You need to reinforce it ad naseum until it's ingrained in your subconscious. If there was any confusion...   Here are some old school writing pointers that... Continue Reading →

How to lose a reader in the first three pages.

A few days ago, /u/eddieswiss [+4] posted his script on reddit asking for opinions. I asked If I could post my notes and he graciously agreed. Eddieswiss is a promising writer and a nice person. He has the rare ability to take criticism, which is surprisingly rare. People who can take criticism develop faster than people who can't.Here's... Continue Reading →

An outline is a reality check.

I'm skeptical of people who are too vocal about never outlining. For every one person who doesn't need to outline, there are a hundred that do. Some people seem to see any form out outlining as a form of hackery or cheating. Breaking down a story into beats? Cheating. Identifying a premise and then identifying... Continue Reading →

The Beats of a Screenplay.

If I've learned anything in years of discussing screenwriting online, it's that people have an unending appetite for being told that they CAN write, but that they violently resent being told HOW to write. Even the merest suggestion of assumed orthodoxy can set off flame wars. Writers rarely agree on anything. People hear beats and they... Continue Reading →

The value of straight answers pt. 2

This is a common conversation for people who work in showbiz: "Hey man, I heard you lost your job." "Yeah, between things right now. If you have any leads?" "Do you have the UTA job list? I'll send it to you." "Gee, thanks." Offering up the job list is literally the least you can do... Continue Reading →

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