Glossary of some terms I use

  Alt: An alternative joke or moment for a script. Example: TED: Great idea… not! (alt) That’s like the opposite of a good idea! Bottom of the scene: Refers to stuff that happens near the beginning of a scene. Call out: Moments where dialogue or action underlines unusual behavior. Could be a mention, or evenContinue reading “Glossary of some terms I use”

People outline imperfectly. That is a good thing.

This December, I taught an online class about outlining. I broke development into 6 phases. Express an idea as a simple premise. Expand logline as a one page precis that delineates act breaks. Break the one page in a series of 30-50 distinct beats, 7 words per beat. Flesh out the beats into 100-300 wordsContinue reading “People outline imperfectly. That is a good thing.”

Beat sheets and how to use them

A “beat sheet” is a form of an outline. In this form, you can think of each beat as an individual unit of plot, so a beat sheet in an outline that’s specific purpose is to touch on each of those.  (John August’s screenwriting.io). Note that beat sheets are also commonly written after there isContinue reading “Beat sheets and how to use them”

How to beat writer’s block

AUTHOR’S NOTE ADDED 9/5/13 – This is one of the first blogs I wrote.  I didn’t really know what I was doing, and it embarrasses me.  I rewrote the article here, but I thought I would leave the old draft up for posterity. I don’t want to write this blog.  I actually never feel likeContinue reading “How to beat writer’s block”

Record your ideas as soon as you have them.

I’m writing this blog from the driver’s seat of my car Okay,  I’m actually recording a sentence of it every time I hit a stop light.  I use an Sony ICD-PX333. The typing up comes later (or, if you’re really lazy, you can plug it into Dragon Naturally Speaking and it’ll transcribe your words for you. IContinue reading “Record your ideas as soon as you have them.”

File your screenplay ideas in a trusted system.

People ask writers where they get their ideas.  The more interesting question is where do you put your ideas, once you have them?   Every writer needs a “trusted system” to file ideas in, a system that enables you to record, collect your ideas and easily recall and deploy them in a context specific way. That’s aContinue reading “File your screenplay ideas in a trusted system.”

Five things to do after ‘finishing’ a draft (and before you show it to anyone).

So you’ve finished your draft. Kudos, mazel tov, congratulations. It’s a heady rush and your instinct might be to send it off into the world. Wait. Don’t query that agent, don’t post it to that forum or subreddit, don’t enter that contest, don’t even bug your friends with it. Resist that temptation. Your work is newborn, vulnerable, unready. Sending it off now would be like sending a toddler to fight Floyd Mayweather.

Five productivity tips for screenwriters.

Productivity is a vast and complex field of study. You may have seen bits of it in articles like “lifehack your day,” or “Five tips to turbocharge your output!” Basically, productivity is the study of best workflows and best organizational practices. Ironically, productivity fans waste a lot of time reading productivity tips. This article isContinue reading “Five productivity tips for screenwriters.”