Premise test – notes on stakes.

"The stakes are not ours. They are the characters."*   Stakes are both easy and hard. It’s a category that's easy to fill in with something, hard to fill in well. Stakes are consequences. They are what will happen if the hero fails to meet his goal. If our heroes are blue collar heroes who... Continue Reading →

Case study – fixing a script that’s all romance and nothing else.

Tomasino (not his real name) first hired me in 2014. He had me read three of his scripts, which all had what I call the “hopeless romantic problem.” It's one of the seven types of beginner scripts I run into a lot. Scripts like this tend to prioritize pathos and urgency of the romance over... Continue Reading →

1. Always have a pen and paper (or a voice recorder, or a smartphone with a good battery).  A pen and paper is best, as it's living testament to your desire to capture ideas as opposed to just having a cell phone.  Productivity nerds call this ubiquitous capture.  The thinking is that your brain won't... Continue Reading →

On Genre

We screenwrite to produce spec scripts that communicate our talent to a decision-maker who will then pay us to write. To this end, your spec script should be familiar. Familiar means in a recognizable genre. We know genres - if a comedy makes us laugh it works. If a horror movie scares us, it works.... Continue Reading →

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