» Posts Tagged ‘writing’

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BeethovenIt’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, allowing our creative endeavors to go by the wayside indefinitely until we can work them into our schedules. But it’s interesting to remember that every single one of our creative heroes all have (or had) the same number of hours in a day to complete their work. RJ Andrews of Info We Trust has put together an enlightening infographic using the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work that illustrates how some of history’s greatest creative minds fit their creative work into their daily life. More »

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Episodic_1VOD platforms are beginning to change everything about the creation and consumption of TV shows and movies, with one of the big changes being the sheer amount of media audiences are wanting to consume in a single binge. “TV” shows are making out like bandits, attracting more and more filmmakers to work in the world of “television”, and the Sundance Institute wants to lend a hand to them with their newly announced Episodic Story Lab, which will teach writers how to develop stories and characters that grow and develop over the course of a series. More »

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AmtrakWell, it has happened — and much sooner than expected. Less than a month ago, writers Zach Seward and Jessica Gross made a passing comment on Twitter expressing their desire for Amtrak to start offering residencies for writers, and after a couple of test runs and ironing out of details, the railroad service is now accepting applications into their #AmtrakResidency program! What does a residency entail? A long distance roundtrip ride on one of Amtrak’s many trains for the sole purpose of writing — for free! That’s it. Sound like a dream come true? Once you learn the details, you’ll find that, yes, indeed it is. More »

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BooksIf you have ever written a screenplay before, or are in the process of writing one, chances are you’ve put in your fair share of research into the world you’re reproducing on the page. Research — is no joke. More often than not, a screenplay is going to require many weeks, if not months of fact-wrangling and study to turn you into the pseudo-expert you need to be to aptly tell your story. Lucky for us, Raindance has shared a bunch of tips on how to approach this sometimes tedious, but vital step in the screenwriting process. More »

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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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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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Writer's Block Cast & Crew

While on the set of the Tze Chun/Bryan Cranston thriller Cold Comes the Night in 2012, Hurricane Sandy rolled into New York. This led to some downtime on set, and that’s when Cranston — sport that he is — came up with a short film contest: the best script submitted by a production assistant gets to produce it with Cranston in the lead role. Click through to watch the film that was born from the contest and read our interview with director Brandon Polanco. More »

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clichesLet me be the first to say that clichés aren’t inherently bad. They play an important role in filmmaking and screenwriting as a sort of shorthand expression that is easier to convey than the larger, more complex idea it represents. However, clichés can also be a crutch; I’m sure all of us are guilty of leaning too heavily on a tried and true tired and trite line of dialog or action. This infographic presented by the New York International Latino Film Festival highlights several movie clichés that you might want to avoid, or get really, really good at selling to your audience to keep your story from arriving DOA in the hands of a reader. More »

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Typewriter

Screenwriting is a tough gig. We have to wade through creative, narrative, and professional dead ends, accept an existence lived almost entirely apart from the “real” world, and somehow learn to work with our cynical, tired, and troubled minds that often seem to be working against us. As 2013 draws to a close, and I look back on another (good) year, I notice all the more the blinking cursor, the empty pages, and the parts of my imagination I never unfurled and ask myself, “How will I make 2014 my best screenwriting year?” Here are my semi-unusual New Year’s screenwriting resolutions that may help inspire your own. More »

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Hunger GamesWhen writing a script, there is absolutely nothing worse than staring at an empty page. For some, the blank screen blues come from a terrible case of writer’s block, but more often than not, it has more to do with struggling to maintain a firm grasp of the direction of your story. Screenwriter Billy Ray, who wrote films such as The Hunger Games and Captain Phillips, has shared a few screenwriting tips, covered by Film Independent, that may help you solidify your narrative and get that blinking cursor moving steadily down the page. More »

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Alan BallSome of the most important screenwriting advice you’ll ever hear is to write what you’re passionate about. In fact, screenwriter Alan Ball says that that’s the best piece of advice he’s ever got, and it certainly shows in his work. Ball is known for his dark themes and sordid stories, which have won him many awards, including the Best Screenplay Oscar for American Beauty. While participating in a lecture series for Ideas at the House this last June, Ball details his big break, his writing process, as well as his experiences writing some of his most notable work. More »

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Action ContestIf you’re finally done with that action/thriller screenplay you’ve been working on, it might be time to consider entering it in ScreenCraft’s Action & Thriller Script Contest. First prize winners get $1,000, as well as exposure to ScreenCraft’s panel of judges, including development executives from Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony and After Dark Films. Continue on for more info on how to enter. More »

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ScriptReally, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to write a screenplay, but there definitely are more sellable ways to write one. One issue that comes to mind specifically is how to ensure  an effective, moving, and entertaining reading experience. Some schools of thought insist on leaving out as much detail as possible, still others insist on being very, very precise. So, should you include adjectives and adverbs aplenty in your descriptions, or leave it up to the filmmakers to make those decisions? How exactly should your screenplay read, anyway? More »

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Ingmar Bergman CriterionWe’ve talked a lot about influential filmmakers from the past and present, but haven’t really talked much about one of this writer’s favorite directors: Ingmar Bergman. Few filmmakers have been able to put together such an impressive body of work, and keep doing it well into their later years. Not every film was a masterpiece (far from it), but every single one had a piece of the filmmaker deeply ingrained in it. That idea is explored in the Criterion Collection video essay embedded below: More »

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TypewriterSo, you’ve finished your screenplay. Maybe you’re still tweaking things here and there, but for the most part, that lovely swell of satisfaction has washed over you and you’re thinking that it’s about time to show it to people. Or is it? That’s a question that all screenwriters think at one point or another:
“When is a good time to have people read my screenplay?” The natural answer would be, “Uh — when it’s finished,” but there might be more to it than that for a lot of you, especially if you’re like me and terrified to show anyone. Continue reading for a few thoughts from ScreenCraft on how to know when you’re ready to make your screenplay known. More »

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ScreenwritingScreenwriting, as most of us know, isn’t just about sitting down at your computer and slapping your fingers across the keyboard until you have a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It takes preparation, study, hard work, and lots and lots of rewriting to put one together, and offering insight into this tempestuous process through BAFTA’s web series, How I Write, a collection of screenwriters talk about their experience with preparing, writing, and rewriting screenplays. More »

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writers-blockOf all the parts of a movie, from cinematography, to editing, and everything in between, writing is perhaps the most (what with all the books, classes, weekend seminars), and least (at the end of the day it’s just you and the page), understood. The art of crafting stories and creating indelible characters that will make an unforgettable film is a real gift, though it can and must be developed through careful, patient work. The Guardian has a great piece about a new book that explores creativity, and they’ve come up with six habits of highly successful writers. Check out the tips below as well as more advice from the masters. More »

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Frank DarabontOne of the most pressing questions when filmmakers first get started, the one that seems to always be at the forefront of the mind is, “How do I get into this business? How do I get started?” There are plenty of stock answers, too, like enrolling in film school, studying films and screenplays, moving to LA or New York, buying a bunch of gear and shoot a movie. The list goes on. Writer/Director Frank Darabont offers up his own response, which may leave you frustrated, but may also inspire you to discover your own path to becoming a working filmmaker. More »

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Rod SerlingTo many he’s just that eerie, stilted voice of The Twilight Zonebut to others he was an incredibly talented writer and mind behind one of the most popular TV shows of its time — and still today holding its own. Rod Serling was widely celebrated, winning 6 Emmies, the Peabody, 2 Golden Globes, and 2 Writer’s Guild of America awards during his unfortunately short career. Three months prior to his death, Serling gave his final interview in which he talks at length about screenwriting: his process, his motivation, and how he dealt with rejection early on in his career. 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 »