» Posts Tagged ‘scriptnotes’

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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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Scriptnotes 100 episodes USB flash drive - mediumThe one thing that has helped my screenwriting the most over the past two years — with the exception of actually writing — has to be the Scriptnotes podcast with screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin. The wealth of knowledge from August and Mazin not only on the craft of screenwriting, but also on their own experiences as screenwriters navigating an ever-changing business has been invaluable. Scriptnotes is a weekly master class in screenwriting, and it’s free. If you happened to have just tuned in, or even joined the audience around Episode 50 and never had a chance to hear the early episodes, now is your chance to get the first 100 episodes on a USB flash drive for only $20. But hurry, because you have to order by Aug. 16. Hit the jump to find out how. More »

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green_headshot_300Scriptnotes, the podcast from screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin that we’ve featured on nofilmschool a number of times (and also happens to be one of the most popular podcasts about that topic), is running a challenge for listeners to submit three pages of their original work, to be read and critiqued on an upcoming podcast. Click below for more details and learn how to enter! More »

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scriptnotesWhen we initially put together our stories for our screenplays, we typically think about all of our major story beats, jotting them down on notecards or writing bulletpoints in outlines. Everything looks great on our whiteboards or corkboards or cinema displays and we’re ready to dive into the screenplay itself. We come to the end of our first scene and realize something is missing. Transitions are the glue that holds our screenplays together, the peanut butter between our scene-size crackers, the chewed-up gum in our MacGyver writing contraptions (alright, I’m trying too hard here). Without transitions, we’re left with a bunch of scenes and no cohesive story. On a recent episode of the Scriptnotes podcast, John August and Craig Mazin offer the following five tips on screenplay transitions to help you keep the reader and the viewer engaged in your story. More »

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Hollywood rewrites statistical analysis matrixIf there is one axiom about screenwriting for the studios that holds true above all others, it may be this: your screenplay will be rewritten. If you’re lucky (depending on how you define “lucky”), you’ll get to rewrite the script yourself. You may even get fired off your original screenplay only to be rehired a few drafts down the road to fix what other screenwriters have changed, like screenwriter Michael Arndt on his Oscar-winning Little Miss Sunshine, according to his introduction to the published version of the script. Studios want to take the guesswork out of rewrites to figure out which changes will lead to the biggest return on their investments. Enter the world of statistical analysis and script consultants who make script notes purely based on the numbers. More »

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Last week, The Black List announced a new paid service for aspiring screenwriters to get their scripts in front of industry professionals. The idea of putting together a database of undiscovered screenplays that professional readers rate and industry professionals can search sounds pretty good. Add to this the fact that algorithms promote scripts to industry professionals based on their preferences à la Netflix or Amazon makes it sound even better. Knowing that over 1,100 industry professionals using the database have been vetted (chosen from over 5,000 applicants) and range from agency assistants to studio presidents may convince several aspiring screenwriters to submit their scripts post haste. The idea of paying for access to these industry professionals, however, may stop several aspiring screenwriters in their tracks – is this just another scheme to make money off the thousands of wannabe screenwriters with no industry access? Thankfully, John August and Craig Mazin put The Black List founder Franklin Leonard in the hot seat during their live podcast recording at the Austin Film Festival last week to find out. More »

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As screenwriters, we need to tell good stories, and to tell good stories, we need to great endings. Duh. What fascinates me about this axiom, though, is how much time screenwriters, myself included, worry about the opening of a script to hook a reader and how little time we may spend crafting a great ending to satisfy the reader. Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin tackle this very subject on their latest episode of Scriptnotes and how writers should handle the endings of their screenplays. More »

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As screenwriters, we spend a lot of time writing, re-writing, and obsessing over dialogue.  Let’s face it — the audience won’t read the amazing writing of our action sequences, but they will certainly hear our pithy dialogue.  But do each of our characters have a unique voice? Thanks to the ongoing generosity of John August and Craig Mazin, their most recent Scriptnotes podcast provides five tests to see whether a character’s voice is working.  See the five tests from the podcast below and my personal take on each: More »