» Posts Tagged ‘script’

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script reader passes profound_whatever reddit thumbnailThe first audience for your screenplay (besides yourself) is a reader. Certainly, this reader can be a friend, a partner, a spouse, your mom — all put-upon by your request to read your script, by the way — but eventually, your script will find its way to a professional script reader. These script readers are the gatekeepers to the agents, managers and producers who may actually be able to help a screenplay become a movie. And one of these script readers recently created an infographic listing 38 recurring problems that keep screenplays from being recommended. More »

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Vince Gilligan Breaking Bad Austin Film FestivalThe series finale of Breaking Bad left most viewers quite satisfied – an exceedingly rare feat in television. Yet, the finale also left a vacuum in our collective entertainment. Now what are we supposed to watch on Sunday nights? Or on Netflix? Or iTunes or Amazon? Breaking Bad changed the way many of us discover and watch television as well as the way we view the basic cable landscape. Now that it’s over, we want our next fix. Until then, the 20th Austin Film Festival and Conference recently presented an in-depth and candid conversation with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan. The conversation ranged from Gilligan’s early influences to breaking in to Breaking Bad. More »

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CreepshowIf you’re a big horror fan, especially of the film movement that flooded the US in the 1980s with blood spilt by zombies, machete-wielding maniacs, and tiny Yeti-like creatures, then this might be right up your alley. We’ve come across some rare behind the scenes footage from the set of George A. Romero’s Creepshow, as well as the rare 1st draft of the screenplay, which was written by Stephen King. With nearly 2 hours of Creepshow’s special effects, makeup, and direction, not to mention 142 pages of Stephen King goodness, I’d say you’re set for the rest of the day (or maybe that’s just me.) More »

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ScriptBreakdown

Most people know what the cinematographer does on a set. However, have you ever wondered what exactly cinematographers do during the pre-production process? What about what they do once the production has wrapped? Over the course of the next few months, nofilmschool will put out a series of articles that describe in detail the various steps that a cinematographer and his team must complete in order to take a project from a script to a finely tuned finished product. Today’s post: taking a script and breaking it down for technical, subtextual, and character concerns. More »

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typewriterJust about every spare moment I have is spent researching for, suffering over, or banging my head against a wall because of my screenplay. In fact, very little writing actually gets done these days, and I often wonder, as I look at my bookshelf full of material on sharpening my screenwriting and narrative tools, “What am I not getting?” Sometimes what it takes to get your screenplay off the ground isn’t advice on how to write it, but what kind of attitude to adopt when you do. Award-winning screenwriters Henry Bean, Larry Gross, Naomi Foner, and Andrea Arnold shared some excellent advice at the Story Creation and the Artistic Process panel as part of the NYFF Live series of filmmaker conversations. Read on for what they said. More »

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Tony Gilroy BAFTA Screenwriting Lecture 5 Simple Rules for Writing an Original ScreenplayNarrative film is certainly a collaborative medium, but almost always it begins with a writer putting words on a page. The blank page, unfortunately, isn’t the most collaborative partner. So, how do you write an original screenplay? Every writer has his or her own methods, and I think we can learn a great deal from the methods of a successful screenwriter. A few days ago, writer/director Tony Gilroy tackled this most basic question of how to write an original screenplay in his talk at the BAFTA Screenwriting Lecture series, which essentially boils down to five simple rules. More »

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Sundance Film Festival 2013 Exclusive Screenwriter InterviewsLate summer and early fall is the time of year when Sundance favorites find their way into select theatres, VOD channels and the occasional iTunes stream or download. Back in January, we posted a series of exclusive interviews with screenwriters from five films in competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Now that you can see all of these films for yourself, we thought it would be a good time to revisit these interviews and pull out some choice words for the aspiring screenwriter in all of us. Check out interview excerpts below to learn lessons from the screenwriters of C.O.G., Mother of George, Austenland, Concussion, and The Kings of Summer. More »

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Breaking BadAs I write this, there’s no doubt that a large number of you are sitting in your living rooms, bedrooms, or tucked quietly inside the bathroom at work watching the final episode of Breaking BadThe show has been captivating audiences and inspiring filmmakers and screenwriters for 5 seasons, and as we say goodbye to Walter White, let’s also take a look at one aspect of the show that made it one of the most important shows to watch and study: the writing — the process of taking a simple high school chemistry teacher and turning him into a deadly meth dealer. More »

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Brian KoppelmanSince the introduction of Vine, we’ve seen the 6-second video looping app used for art, inspired memes, and even an attempt at a feature film. Vine begs the question: what can you do in 6 seconds of video? Screenwriter Brian Koppelman realized that 6 seconds is just enough time to offer a clear and concise screenwriting tip. Plus, at only 6 seconds a clip, you can make a bunch of Vines with screenwriting tips in quick succession – Koppelman is up to 26 so far. So, take 60 seconds and check out the first 10 screenwriting tips from Koppelman below. More »

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the spectacular now screenwriters scott neustadter michael h weberMany of us can relate to coming-of-age dramas because we’ve suffered through similar rites of passage. To work well, though, coming-of-age films need honest writing and performances. The Spectacular Now, adapted by screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber ((500) Days of Summer) and directed by James Ponsoldt (Smashed) features two very honest performances from its leads, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. In a recent DP/30 video interview, Neustadter and Weber talk about what drew them to the source material, how they worked to create an honest story, and how they dealt with sensitive story issues in realistic ways. More »

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Raiders-of-the-Lost-ArkA few weeks ago, we shared a great Austin Film Festival On Story podcast with Lawrence Kasdan, which gave us insights not just into Kasdan’s views on screenwriting, but also little anecdotes about his screenwriting adventures on such classics as The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Listening to AFF’s Kasdan podcast reminded me of the extensive transcripts of the story meetings that George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Kasdan had in 1978 to flesh out the character of Indiana Jones and beat out the story of Raiders. These transcripts provide fascinating and valuable lessons for screenwriters on how much time, thought and energy goes into creating characters and story before a single page of a screenplay is written. More »

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Elmore LeonardWhen I heard about Elmore Leonard’s passing earlier this week, I’m sure I had the same thought many writers had: “I need to read more Elmore Leonard novels.” A few months ago, I read Road Dogs, Leonard’s follow-up to Out of Sight, and realized as much as I have enjoyed Leonard’s characters and stories, I’ve consumed most of them as movies. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have this experience as over 40 film and television projects have adapted Leonard’s work since the late 1950s. Thankfully for writers, Leonard gave us more than his novels and short stories. The prolific author also distilled his habits into the book Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, and you can watch Leonard talk about these rules in the video below. More »

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Universal launches Emerging Writers Fellowship Just a few weeks ago, Warner Bros. announced its partnership with The Black List to find emerging, diverse screenwriters and offer them two-step WGA deals. Looks like finding emerging, diverse screenwriters is now emerging as a trend. Universal Pictures has announced its Emerging Writers Fellowship in the hopes of finding talented new screenwriters who don’t currently have access to the industry. Applications for this new fellowship open Sept. 3. For more details about this fellowship, and what qualifies as “diverse”, hit the jump. More »

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Lawrence Kasdan Austin Film Festival On Story PodcastWhether staring at the blank page or struggling to cut 30 pages from a bloated first draft, every screenwriter has likely had the same thought: “This is so much easier for other screenwriters.” Guess what? It’s not easier for other screenwriters. Writing screenplays is hard. Sure, some screenwriters are very successful at writing great screenplays, but that doesn’t mean it was easy to write them. Don’t take it from me, though. Listen to Lawrence Kasdan tell you about the challenges he still faces today when he writes a screenplay, thanks to Austin Film Festival’s On Story podcast. More »

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Typewriter

As screenwriters, it’s always so frustrating when our wellsprings of ideas and creativity dry up, leaving us with nothing more than an unfinished scene, an unrealistic character, or even worse, a blank page. There are a lot of great ideas floating around out there in books, videos, and websites — I know I’ve added listening to music, watching films, and reading my screenplays aloud to my arsenal. But, I’ve compiled my own list of methods, some pretty unconventional, that are more or less surefire ways to kickstart my creativity and avoid those dreaded screenwriting dry spells.  More »

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P.T. Anderson CroppedBack in 1997, a young writer/director named Paul Thomas Anderson (who had already directed the excellent Hard Eight, alternately titled Sydney) made arguably the best film about the porn industry of the 70s to be released, well, probably ever. Anderson was able to take what would seem to be such a sleazy topic and turn it into art with his superb command of camera, editing, and direction of brilliant performances. Click below to read the screenplay for Boogie Nights and watch some of his early films, including the original Boogie Nights, his short The Dirk Diggler Story, as well as Cigarettes and Coffee, his hard to find short film. More »

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william goldman 90 minute interview screenwritingWilliam Goldman is one of the greatest screenwriters ever. Yet, borrowing from his own character Vizzini (Princess Bride), he truly feels that his successful writing career is “inconceivable”. In fact, with the exceptions of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Princess Bride, he hates all of his writing. Thankfully for the rest of us, that hasn’t stopped Goldman from writing stories. And thanks to the Writers Guild Foundation, we can sit down with Goldman for over 90 minutes and listen to him tell us all about his writing career: how he got started, how he conceived his masterpieces, and how he still thinks writing stories is really, really hard. More »

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Writers Guild WestHere at nofilmschool, we’ve written several posts covering the evolution of The Black List and its paid screenplay hosting service. Just last month, we analyzed the Black List success story of Richard Cordiner getting noticed on the service and signing a deal with Warner Bros. Now, The Black List has announced a major partnership with The Writers Guild of America, West, providing free and discounted services on The Black List to WGAW members. Originally, The Black List paid service seemed like a gateway for undiscovered writers to access industry executives, so this new announcement begs the question: Who really benefits from The Black List’s services? The Black List founder Franklin Leonard offers some insight as he explained this new partnership with WGAW. More »

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Female ScreenwriterI — love — screenwriting. I love it. And if you love it too, you’ve probably had dreams of selling a spec script to Hollywood and finally earning a living doing what you — love. And now might be a good time to start finishing up those drafts. Spec sales are on the rise — nearly doubling in the last two years. However, even though those numbers are up, the number of purchased female-written specs is down. In fact, a recent infographic shows that the percentage of sold spec scripts penned by women is the lowest it’s been in the last 2 decades. More »

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Break Media Prototype CompetitionIf you’ve had a dream of making an action, sci-fi or effects-driven film, but lacked the funding and resources to make it come true, you’re in luck. Break Media and New Regency Productions have teamed up to bring you the Prototype competition, which will award 8 finalists with $20,000 to make and distribute their short films. One of those lucky filmmakers will go on to win a feature film development deal with New Regency. All you need is a short film script and a vision for the feature version. Details on how to submit after the jump. More »