» Posts Tagged ‘screenwriting’

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AmtrakPicture your perfect place to write your screenplays — somewhere comfortable, inspiring, a place that gets your creativity moving? Of course, 100% of all writers everywhere are picturing a train right now, right? Okay, it might not have been your first thought, but writing on trains is a wonderful experience — something that Amtrak has recently come to find out on social media, and now they’re doing something about it. After an overwhelming reaction from Twitter users, Amtrak is planning to establish a long-term writers’ residency program, which will allow writers, perhaps including screenwriters, to hop on any one of their trains for free for the sole purpose of writing. Find out how you can potentially get in on the ground floor. More »

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David DobkinWhat is the funniest movie you’ve ever seen? Do you lean towards the slapstickiness of a Farrelly Bros. flick, or do you prefer Wes Anderson’s boarding school style of humor? There are all types and styles of comedy, but one thing they have in common, other than being laugh-inducing, is that those laughs were hard-won. Writing and directing comedy is not easy, despite how effortlessly people respond to it, and if you’re in need of a little guidance, check out this article Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin wrote for the Directors Guild of America: his 10 Commandments of Directing Comedy. More »

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sundance screenwriters lab fellows 2014

It takes a village to make an independent film, and there are few villages as important and supportive as the Sundance Institute. If you don’t know the institute and its programs, you certainly know the films that exist because of the Institute’s immeasurable support. Previously I shared how I got into the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and speculated about why I was fortunate enough to be selected this year after not making it in the past (hint: make a short – regardless of the labs, so many of this year’s festival features were adapted from shorts). Now that the lab and the festival are over, I’d like to share some things I learned at the life-changing (and I don’t use that term lightly) Sundance Screenwriters Lab. More »

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Weekend Read iPhone script reader app Quote-UnquoteHave you ever tried to read a screenplay on your iPhone? It’s awful. You struggle with pinch and zoom in a vain attempt to read the stupid thing. The iPhone just isn’t meant to read screenplays. Or is it? Thanks to Weekend Read, a new iPhone app from Quote-Unquote Apps, screenplays now actually look good on your iPhone. In fact, the next time you’re stuck in line or riding the subway to work, you may actually want to read a screenplay on your iPhone with Weekend Read. And it’s free. More »

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15th Story Beat More Lessons Learned from CENTS Kickstarter
If my research of Kickstarter campaigns for film and video taught me anything, I learned the final days of most successful campaigns are wild rides. The Kickstarter for my upcoming feature film CENTS was no exception. Near the end of our Kickstarter, I shared lessons learned from the 15 story beats of our campaign, but since our campaign wasn’t finished, the 15th story beat had yet to be written. Now that our Kickstarter is done, allow me to take you behind the scenes of our final week to share more lessons learned from the exciting conclusion of our crowdfunding campaign. More »

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Scream CraftScreenCraft has partnered with ShockTillYouDrop.com this year to bring you the 2nd annual Scream Craft Horror Script Contest, and  the jury they have lined up is so good it’s scary. Of course, the prizes (one of which includes a phone consultation with writer/director Scott Derrickson) are well worth a submission, but even if you don’t win — you still kind of do, because your screenplay has the opportunity to be read by judges that not only know horror, but are also extremely influential. So, if you’ve got a script and you want to submit, continue on to find out how. More »

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Black List TNT TBS Partnership New WritersI was a little busy last week, so we’re a bit behind on this announcement. In case you missed it, on Feb. 3, Time Warner announced a partnership with The Black List to find new writers for TNT and TBS in an effort to increase diversity. Considering The Black List already has a diversity initiative partnership with Warner Bros. for new feature film screenwriters, this announcement is a natural progression in the relationship between The Black List and Time Warner. The agreement should also draw attention to The Black List’s recent expansion into hosting original television pilots. Got a spec pilot script? Find out how you can opt into this new opportunity on The Black List. More »

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Academy Nicholl Fellowships in ScreenwritingIf you apply to one and only one screenwriting competition a year (and I don’t recommend that you apply to very many screenwriting competitions), the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting should be that one competition. Beyond awarding five $35,000 fellowships each year, the Nicholl Fellowships publishes the names, contact information and loglines of the quarterfinalist, semifinalist and finalist screenplays for industry executives. This is the one screenwriting competition many industry executives watch. As a result, the Nicholl Fellowships actually launch screenwriting careers. But you have to write a really good screenplay, because the competition is tough, and the early deadline of Feb. 28 is fast approaching. More »

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spring grants film narrative documentary screenwriters

It seems like every week a grant deadline flies by, and you find yourself looking forlornly at the expired application for free money, mumbling “coulda been a contender.” To give everyone more time to work on your films and scripts — and a little less time researching how to fund them — scroll through the list below to find relevant opportunities for your narrative films, documentaries, and screenplays with deadlines this Spring. More »

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Sammy calculus in stall

For over three weeks, I have been fully immersed in one of the best adventures of my filmmaking career: the Kickstarter campaign for my first feature film, CENTS. Running this Kickstarter has been a full-time job with so many unexpected twists and turns, you wonder who exactly is writing this script. One of the best parts about running a Kickstarter campaign is reconnecting with old friends and finding out that they will not only back your project, but they will pick you up with their words of encouragement. I have really enjoyed answering all of their questions about the film and the Kickstarter in particular. So I wanted to take this moment to share with you, the NFS audience, what I have learned so far from the 15 story beats of my CENTS Kickstarter. More »

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Frozen screenplay Jennifer Lee ScriptNotes v2As a father with two young kids, I see almost every single animated movie that hits theatres. Thankfully, I skipped out on The Smurfs 2. So when I saw Frozen with my kids on Saturday afternoon of opening weekend in a packed theatre, I was thoroughly in awe. Somehow, Disney had managed to publicize a movie for months and never reveal it was a musical. It’s a really good musical, too, taking story risks not typically seen in Disney animated films. Now as screenwriters, we get an excellent opportunity to hear writer and co-director Jennifer Lee break down the entire creative process and screenplay of Frozen on the latest episode of ScriptNotes. More »

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I'll See You in My Dreams Kickstarter Brett HaleyFinding an American film with a female protagonist in her 70s is a rarity these days. Now, discovering an American film with a female protagonist in her 70s in a relationship with a much younger man — that’s essentially unheard of. Yet, as I run my Kickstarter campaign, that’s exactly what I discovered in one of my neighbors, I’ll See You In My Dreams. After watching the pitch video and backing the project, I reached out to co-writer and director Brett Haley to learn more about his inspiration for the story, how attached actors Blythe Danner and Martin Starr have affected the script, and what he learned about his story after interviewing people in their golden years for his Kickstarter pitch video. More »

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American Hustle ScreenplayHere at NFS, we have posted links to several award-contending screenplays for free, legal download for your consideration. We’ve even highlighted half a dozen 2014 Oscar-nominated screenplays that are available for you to download and read. Now that awards season is rapidly approaching the final big show, we expect a few more Oscar-nominated screenplays to appear online from the studios. As proof, you can now download and read the screenplay to American Hustle, thanks to Sony Pictures. More »

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Norman Kickstarter still 1

When you launch a Kickstarter campaign and track its position on Kickstarter’s Discover page, you quickly realize you have Kickstarter neighbors. These are campaigns that launched around the same time as yours or happen to share the same popularity rating. Of course, I love checking out Kickstarter campaigns for films, and soon my Kickstarter neighbor Norman captivated me. After backing the project to help writer/director Joel Guelzo get funding to finish the film’s VFX, I realized his DIY feature project would resonate with the NFS audience. So, I asked Joel a few questions. Check out our interview below to hear Joel tell us the background of his sci-fi labor of love, Norman. More »

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Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Oscar nominated screenplaysThe nominations for the 2014 Oscars came out earlier today. Over the past several months, we have been sharing screenplays that you can download legally for free for your consideration. After today’s announcement, you can now download and read 6 of the Oscar-nominated screenplays for this year’s awards (and we wouldn’t be surprised to find more contenders making their screenplays available online in the coming weeks, so stay tuned). For now, check out the list below of screenplays up for Oscar gold, now available for your consideration. We’ve also got the full list of Academy nods below. More »

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The Black List 2014 Writers CalendarThe beginning of each year seems to be a good time for screenwriters to get motivated for the year ahead. You may have 8 somewhat unusual screenwriting resolutions. You may have 6 things you’re doing to write the best screenplay ever this year. Or maybe just 1 thing. Whatever it is, staying motivated is one of the keys to screenwriting. To give you actual goals and deadlines, The Black List has unveiled its 2014 Writer’s Calendar for screenwriters — a living document available online in HTML as well as for your Google Calendar and iCal. More »

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Amazon StorybuilderOne of the best ways to get your screenplay under control and nicely organized is to outline it, and there are literally endless methods, tools, and materials that can get it done. One that might interest you is the just-launched Amazon Storybuilder (currently still in beta). This cloud-based digital corkboard was developed by Amazon Studios to help users virtually plan out and tack up notecards for their scripts for free. Continue on to find out more. More »

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CENTS - Kickstarter image v2 KS logo black
Last January, I posted 6 things I was going to do to write my best screenplay ever in 2013. I even reviewed my progress midway through the year. Did I achieve my goal? I guess that’s subjective. Am I satisfied? Never. So, this year, I am doing only 1 thing to write my best screenplay ever: I’m going to make my first feature film. Here’s why making my first feature film will help me write my best screenplay ever. More »

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PsychoAlfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is interesting on many levels, namely its narrative structure — for anyone to kill off your star actress halfway through a film meant committing a screenwriting atrocity. Screenwriter Joseph Stefano took several risks while writing the script for Psycho, which ended up paying off big time with audiences (though critical reviews were mixed). Cinephilia and Beyond has shared a great making-of documentary about the film, in which Stefano talks about the development of the screenplay, as well as the changes he pitched that got Hitchcock’s attention. (C&B has also made the original shooting script available online for your studying pleasure.) More »

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Final Draft 9 Now AvailableSeveral screenwriting software alternatives have arrived on the market in recent years to challenge Final Draft as the industry standard – or simply to improve upon its shortcomings. Despite its position as the top-selling screenwriting software, Final Draft seems to be playing catch up in certain areas. Now that Final Draft Writer for iPad has been available for quite some time, Final Draft 9 for Mac and Windows has arrived with a new look and new features. Many of these new features are welcome additions to Final Draft, but some new features will look familiar to screenwriters who have sought out alternatives to accomplish certain screenwriting tasks. With this new release, you can now save over 30% off the list price on Final Draft 9 at The Writers Store until Jan. 31. More »