» Posts Tagged ‘screenwriting’

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James Franco screenwritingIf you’re looking for some guidance on how to write your next (or current) screenplay, you may want to hit up James Franco. The actor/director/writer/producer/teacher (he’s taught in the film and English departments at USC, UCLA, CalArts, and NYU) has joined forces with former classmate and Rabbit Bandini Productions co-founder Vince Jolivette, as well as Skillshare to offer a self-paced, online class on how to tackle short scripts, including 15 video lessons on concept development, budgeting, and pitching. Enrollment is now open and only costs $25 (or $20 with a Skillshare membership). More »

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no film school summer films grants deadlines screenwriting documentary narrative

Our massive list of grants is back, and for summer it’s bigger than ever — more grants, more markets, and more opportunities for both US-based and International filmmakers to get funding! Looking to finance your next 3D feature? Develop your humanities documentary? Get your script picked up by a top agency? Yup, there’s an app for that. If granting puns don’t get you excited, this list of relevant opportunities with deadlines this summer just might. More »

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A Conversation with Jeff Nichols AFF part twoEarlier this year, I posted excerpts from my conversation with Jeff Nichols at the 20th Austin Film Festival and Conference, thanks to the generosity of AFF. Reading parts of the interview is nice, but I honestly believe you need to hear Jeff Nichols share his thoughts on writing and filmmaking in his own words. Now, thanks to AFF’s OnStory podcast, you get that chance. Using specific examples from his three films Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud, Jeff Nichols talks about his approach to characters and writing/directing, and he also hints at how his upcoming film Midnight Special will be different from his previous work. More »

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Final DraftIt’s time once again for another Final Draft 9 sale. If you are looking to upgrade to Final Draft 9 or purchase the full version, you can save 20% on upgrades, 30% on the academic version, and 32% on the full version if you buy from The Writers Store. But the sale ends today, May 31, 2014, so you don’t have much time if you want to take advantage of this sale. If you miss it, you’ll just have to wait until Final Draft 9 is on sale again a few months later. Check out the details below and find links to take advantage of the current sale at The Writers Store. More »

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Austin Film FestivalIf you already polished your screenplay for the Academy Nicholl Fellowship deadline earlier this month, you may want to consider one more submission. The final deadline for the Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition is May 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm PST. Why submit your screenplay to AFF? Read on to find out the benefits of submitting your script to the one film festival dedicated to screenwriting. More »

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Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 8.11.15 PM

Our festival run is almost complete and we’re preparing for our imminent online launch. Direct distribution is a moving target, and we’re constantly shifting our release strategy and making adaptations we feel are necessary. Our latest adaptation is going to be making the film available on more than one platform when we release. For this post I’ve also put together the first of three videos from hours of interview footage on the cast & crew’s experience of making Menthol. Click through to keep following along and to watch the video. More »

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The Note Behind the Note Rewriting CENTS for Production

After several rewrites leading up to the Academy Nicholl Fellowship semifinalist status, then several more beyond, we’re finally gearing up to shoot CENTS this July. Now the rewrites are for production. We can’t afford that location, so can the scene take place somewhere else? Can we combine those two parts into one? Does that waitress have to say a line? It will cost us $268 plus fringes. While rewriting for these production logistics, I’m also rewriting the script as the director. With this in mind, my fellow producer sent me some notes she had solicited from her trusted sources along with her own comment. Paraphrasing, my fellow producer essentially said, “I couldn’t put my finger on it before, but now that I have seen these notes, I’m not sure I really like our protagonist.” Oh boy. Time to take another hard look at the script and address the note behind the note. More »

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MentorlessHow many times have you been feverishly writing your screenplay, making great headway, only to stop abruptly because you didn’t know how to format exactly what’s in your head? Learning how to write action or a character description can be tricky enough, but how do you write/format the phone calls, inserts, montages, and flashbacks (or audio flashbacks!) that you want in your stories? Screenwriter and founder of Mentorless, Nathalie, has taken a ton of the guesswork out by creating a catalogue (of sorts) of over 430 screenplay examples from 25 scripts, and she’s offering it up to all of us for free! Continue on to learn all about it, as well as how to get your hands on it. More »

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conanFor most writers, the internet provides them with virtually every tool they could ever need to write their respective narrative pieces. Word processors, screenwriting applications, even outlining programs exist (and with features ad infinitum) to make life easier, but Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin takes a much, much, much simpler, old-fashioned approach to completing his work. In fact, it’s downright ancient. No, I’m not talking “quill, ink, and a scroll of papyrus” ancient. I’m talking “WordStar 4.0 on a DOS machine” ancient. Though such a word processor may seem obsolete, Martin’s reason behind why he uses one is anything but. More »

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The Black List NFL Company partnershipIf your passions for screenwriting and the NFL collide, this could be your big opportunity. The Black List has been announcing several partnerships with studios to find new, diverse talent among the screenwriting masses. Today, the screenplay discovery service unveiled a partnership with one of the largest entertainment companies in the world — it just isn’t a studio. Together, the Black List and the National Football League along with Charlie Ebersol and Mike Lanigan’s The Company are looking for writers to write the next great NFL-themed screenplay. Find out how you can get on the short list of writers by July 25 below. More »

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cageIt is a truism that, “we tell ourselves stories in order to live.” But, it is remarkable what a human characteristic the drive for narrative is. What purpose does it serve? No matter, it’s pretty much like the opposable thumb at this point, and we’ve been telling stories since we learned how to communicate; the weirdest thing, perhaps, is that the experiences of everyone who has ever lived and died in the history of the world are both altogether unique and so similar that we can have stories to begin with; to a degree, then, we all must live the same story (that’s deep.) And the way we’ve been telling stories in the West still owes much to the work of Aristotle. We’ve shared a rundown of the evolution of narrative, its study, and how both can help you become a more successful screenwriter, so continue on to find out more.  More »

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LockeI was in 8th grade when Cast Away came out, and I remember thinking, “How can you make a movie with only one character?” “One-man” shows can be supremely engrossing pieces of cinema, full of rich explorations into the human condition, as well as debilitating human struggle. However, from a filmmaking standpoint, there are plenty of pitfalls that a director must navigate and maneuver around in order to avoid a flat, undecipherable, and ultimately uninteresting film. Directors Steven Knight (Locke) and Rodrigo Cortés (Buried) offer some insight into how they approached their one-man films, as well as some excellent advice on how you can approach yours. More »

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IdeasFinding which tools will bolster your creativity is not only important for your work, but to also keep things interesting. Maybe you’ve had friends, colleagues, even industry professionals share their secrets for maintaining a creative spirit to ensure the influx of ideas, but what about science? What do scientists consider to be major conductors of creativity? Fast Company shares 6 tools that, according to science, may help you live and work more creatively. More »

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Film Independent Screenwriters LabAre you a screenwriter living in Los Angeles? Do you have a finished screenplay that could use feedback from professional screenwriters to get it into top shape? Then you should consider applying to the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab. Fellows in this 5-week program meet twice a week in September and October to get feedback on their scripts from a Lab Mentor, outside advisors and other Fellows. So, if you meet the criteria above, make sure to get your application into Film Independent by May 5, 2014. Check out more details about the fellowship and online application process below. More »

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BAFTAHeroes are fallible. Even superheroes must have their faults and weaknesses, and the screenwriters behind some of the most memorable portrayals of comic book heroes and real life heroes in recent years are certainly far from perfect. Yet, two long-time screenwriters, David S. Goyer and Susannah Grant, have both battled failures as writers to give us memorable scripts with complex heroes, whether pulled from comic books or ripped from the headlines. Thanks to the BAFTA Screenwriter Lecture series, both Goyer and Grant share their experiences as screenwriters with the rest of us so we can learn how to overcome our own obstacles to create memorable film heroes. More »

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Richard LinkaterRichard Linklater is a DIY filmmaker hero for many reasons. He’s self-taught, completely obsessed with cinema and making films, and his approach to telling stories is one that I think many can relate to. And if you were just thinking about what an experience it would be to actually be able to sit in a room and pick his brain about all of this, you’re in luck. Linklater answers a bunch of questions from a small group of folks for one of Fox Searchlight’s Searchlab lectures, which gives us an inside look into how the director goes about writing screenplays, rehearsing with actors, and working on-set. More »

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Periodic TableAttention everyone: We have found it. We have found the Holy Grail of online screenwriting/storytelling resources. If you’re a screenwriter and/or a complete glutton for geeking out, you need to stop what you’re doing immediately and check out Design Through Storytelling’s Periodic Table of Storytelling, which — is exactly what it sounds like — a collection of story tropes organized by purpose and name, all of which are clickable links that take you to their own TV Tropes wiki page. More »

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Academy Nicholl Fellowships in ScreenwritingFor screenwriters planning to submit to the Academy Nicholl Fellowships this year, the clock is ticking. In fact, if you plan to take advantage of the Regular Deadline submission fee, you only have until this Thursday, Apr. 10 at 5 pm PT to submit your screenplay. So don’t wait until 11:59 pm PT on Apr. 10, or you’ll discover those few extra hours just cost you fifteen extra bucks. Check out the details on how to submit your screenplay and the current data from this year’s competition below. More »

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TypewriterA screenplay is a puzzle made up of pieces you cut yourself that you fit together to form a picture you make up as you go. And if a screenplay is a puzzle, think of genre as the box it came in. It has to be accommodating and accurate to the structure and picture of the story, otherwise, you make it hard on your audience. In an enlightening article, Raindance lists 10 techniques that sell scripts, 8 of which has something to do with genre. So, let’s take a look at genre from the perspective of both a buyer and a screenwriter, figure out how it can help or hinder your story, and finally, ways to add or change characteristics of your chosen genre in order to not only write a story that is fresh and original, but one that works well with audiences. More »

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Michael ArndtSome of the greatest pieces of screenwriting wisdom that I’ve come across in my journey of learning the craft have come from Pixar alumni. Regardless of what kinds of stories you’re trying to tell, Pixar has offered many great tips on how to form the structure of your screenplay, and in this animated video, screenwriter Michael Arndt walks us through, step-by-step, how to construct the most difficult first act. So, if you’re currently struggling to get your screenplay off the ground, you’re gonna want to check this out! More »