How To Begin Writing A Book The Right Way

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Hi everyone – Alexa Donne here and today I am talking all about starting your novel in the right place.

Now this is kind of a buzzy phrase that you may have heard, especially if anyone has ever told you, if you’ve heard people tell other writers ‘hmm I think you’re starting your book in the wrong place’.

You hear this because it’s really critical to start your book in the right place. Ideally you want to start with a scene that illustrates character, conflict, world and ideally also stakes. Now this is a tall order. There’s a lot to accomplish in whatever your opening scene or chapter is.

Essentially, what people mean when they say that you’re starting in the wrong place is your pacing is off. If you start too early, you’re pacing is going to drag. It’s going to feel slow, and if you start too late, your pacing is going to feel too fast.

You’re throwing people into a situation, usually an action scene, where they don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know who people are and they don’t have a reason to care, so you kind of have to strike that balance between boring people to tears and confusing the heck out of them.

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Video Transcript (cont’d)

How To Start Writing A Novel Beginners – A Few Tips

There’s that kind of middle ground. My best advice is to think about starting your novel the day that it all changes, or alternately 15 minutes before it all changes. Not necessarily literally by the way, you want to think of it kind of abstractly, as what is the thing that happens right before the big change happens?

The big change being your inciting incident. Very often the answer to this question will tell you where you might want to start your novel. In many cases this is going to be a slice of life of kind of, who your characters are and kind of what their life is about before everything changes.

But that said, you want to be careful not to make it boring a play-by-play of everything that your character does in there life. Their normal life is going to be frankly boring. You have to think more dynamic than that.

Whatever scene you choose, as I mentioned, is gonna have to perform all of those functions – introducing character, the world, the conflict and the stakes. Often, part of this is introducing multiple characters, how they relate to each other and and how they tie into the conflict end of the stakes.

You want this scene to be interesting and specific. Whatever you choose should say something about your character and your world. That said, this shouldn’t be like a massive info-dump. Now I’ve said it before and I will say it again – don’t all start your books this way but one of my favorite ways to accomplish this is through party scenes.

How to begin a book with structureParty scenes tell you a lot about the character, the world they live in, how they interact with people and you can throw a lot of conflict into a party scene. This by the way, it might not be the literal start to your book but a party scene or something similar to it.

You want to think of other dynamic, social situations that are kind of similar to what a party is. Having that kind of in that first part of your book before the inciting incident can be really really useful. I have indeed started two books like right in the middle of a party scene and I rather like them. It can work really really well.

You also want to remember the adage of entering late and leaving early. You don’t need to have a prolonged set-up of, whatever it is, of like again, the play-by-play of everything that a character is doing. You want to throw people into the scene when things are basically kind of already happening.

Then you want to leave before they peter out and get boring. I mean this is the rule of thumb for any scene but especially your opening scene. if you don’t start, if you start too early essentially and it’s not dynamic, and it’s boring people won’t read past the first page.

Now I want to talk a bit about prologues. You’ve also probably heard that you shouldn’t start your book with a prologue and I’m gonna reinforce that advice. I say 98% of the time do not have a prologue. The reason for this is is that very, very typically especially in things like fantasy and sci-fi the prologue is from a different point of view or a different perspective or takes place in a different time.

It’s often not the main thrust of your story and your main character, and so prologues can be really off-putting. They can be confusing and they don’t accurately give the reader an idea of what your book is actually about.

This is especially prudent for querying because you really only get that one chance for agents to read your first page but even when it comes to readers picking up your book in a bookstore, a prologue could potentially put them off the story.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules. There are prologues that definitely work. If you have a favorite book and it has a really effective prologue, take a look at it. I will say typically they’re pretty short. They are in line with the tone and the themes of the book, and they typically aren’t from a completely different perspective or point of view from the main character.

How To Begin Writing A Novel – It’s The Beginning That Counts!

How to begin a novel - the beginningPrologues just kind of slow down the pacing cuz beginnings really are all about pacing. Now I want to give you some concrete examples of openings to great books that I think work really really well. It’s tricky to kind of talk in the abstract about, well, how you should start your novel.

I mean, I just did it – I gave you some of these parameters for what you should and shouldn’t do but I find most useful is looking at novels that start really really well. You can like start to pick them apart and see why they work. So I’m gonna start with my perennial and favorite example which is the Hunger Games.

We open with Katniss and it’s actually fairly domestic. It’s essentially that slice of life, that day in the life. It is also the day that everything changes for her, so by showing us Katniss interacting with and taking care of family The Hunger Games tells you a lot about the character of Katniss and the characters that she interacts with, and a lot about the world it gradually starts to reveal.

Kind of who this character is, the world that they live in. From home she goes hunting and hunting and interacting with Gale. The conversation that they have about the reaping and taking care of their families and your name goes in the bowl more than once if you break the rules, etc.

It tells you a lot about the oppressive world that they’re living in, and also literally you know, is barreling you towards that inciting incident. It’s dynamic, it’s interesting. As you’re reading you’re like ‘oh well this is weird. what’s going on?’

I think it’s incredibly effective, so obviously this isn’t a single scene. This is a series of dynamic character and world specific scenes that drive you neatly to the reaping. By the time you get there, you know who Katniss is, you know where she lives you know who she cares about, most importantly.

So when everything happens with the reaping and prim you have an emotional reaction. You are furiously turning the pages to find out what happens next. Another favorite of mine is actually a bit prologue too, but it works really really well and that is Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

The first chapter of Across the Universe takes place hundreds of years before the main thrust of the action of Across the Universe but it is an essential glimpse into the past and setup because it sets up the entire novel.

How to begin writing a book guideYou’re with Amy or in her perspective. She’s with her parents. She’s made the decision to be cryogenically frozen and go on the speech. You’re with her as she’s going through this process and she’s giving you the context of where she is, which fills in the back story and also sets up again the conflict and the stakes.

We get the chance to meet her parents and get a a sense of who Amy is and what she cares about, where she’s going and so following chapters, when it’s a couple hundred years later, she wakes up and you know the plot kicks off.

It’s a very tightly paced novel and you’re already emotionally invested in a very very good opening. A good specific choice for where we start with our character leading up to the inciting incident. I don’t think it would have been quite as effective if it had started on the spaceship with Amy waking up.

I think having that glimpse into the past is really essential in the case of this novel for setting up the plot and the characters. Then there is Frost Blood, which is actually another good example of a prologue that is not a prologue. See if you know how these things work. You can cheat and basically do the same function because the first chapter of Frost blood is essentially kind of like a flashback.

It isn’t but it is. It takes place a year before everything else in the novel, like the main plot, takes place. It is the set up of who Ruby is, the world that she lives in. We become familiar with the characters that she cares about and then it nails you right at the end of the first chapter with the conflict and stakes.

Her mother is murdered in front of her, because of her, so you get her guilt and her feelings and of course why she would have a drive for revenge, which is what fuels the rest of the plot. Now wasn’t a spoiler because it is basically on the jacket flap that Ruby’s mom dies but that is it’s a very exciting setup, because it starts showing her secretly using her powers.

You know immediately that they’re forbidden, that she shouldn’t be doing this, that she lives with her mother and her mother is all she has. Then the soldiers come to town and you know immediately it’s like ‘oh god’ – conflict, stakes – what’s gonna happen?

So that’s another example that I really really like. Talking a bit about some of the choices I have made in my books and how I have started off my novels. I actually tend to favor that slice of life day-in-the-life approach. I like to settle into the characters in their world and who they are before ice them in the face with the inciting incident, so in brightly burning.

How to begin writing a novel infoIt’s really mundane, relatively speaking, the way that I start the book. I hope it’s not boring – it’s mundane in the sense that it is kind of normal everyday life stuff but in the case of you know Where Stella Lives normal everyday life stuff is a bit chaotic.

The book starts with a gravity failure and she has to go to engineering to basically fix the ship. So you know that Stella lives on a ship that has problems. She is an engineer so she’s responsible for fixing those problems. I clue you in really quick to the fact that she hates her job and is trying to escape.

She wants to become a governess, a teacher on another ship and you know in that you know first couple of chapters leading up to the inciting incident, which happens inchapter three or four, which is later than a lot of inciting incidents.

You don’t always have to stick to chapter one or chapter two. Your inciting incident, it’s all a buildup of where she lives, the things that she’s facing, the things that she wants and we know why she can’t have them.

Then Oh inciting incident – she gets what she wants and she goes off on her adventure. Then in my new book So Space Sucks (this would be my NaNoWriMo project) I start with a party. I really love parties so I just go right into it um you know, there’s a party.

I introduce the whole cast of characters and kind of how they interact with their world. This start is very very different to Brightly Burning. Brightly Burning starts immediately, telegraphing to you this is a ship that is falling apart. Things are not going great.

Whereas in my new book in space, it’s set on a very different ship and in a different time in the fleet for my world build and so I’ll just tell you like from a class perspective it’s a very different experience.

It’s a fancy party. I talk about the food and the drinks and the way people are dressed. There’s less dress porn and kind of who is interacting with whom and why it matters. In this case I did stick that inciting incident right at the end of the first chapter, so you have to kind of go with your gut for what beginning and what pacing is going to work for your novel projects.

Also in the case of Space Dunks I do the case of enter late and leave early. I start kind of smack-dab in the middle of the party. It’s almost reached its peak. My character is kind of totally over it. I have her interact with a bunch of people and then she leaves before the party ends, to go deal with stuff.

How to start writing a novel for beginners guidelinesIt would have been boring if I’d started it ‘oh well she’s at her closet and she’s picking out a dress and she puts on her shoes’. What’s the party sound like and what does the party look like. It would have dragged, whereas I started right in the like the the meat of it. so that I could move the plot along.

So those are my main tips first starting your novel in the right place. Think about slice-of-life, think about right before the inciting incident. Think dynamic scenes that show off character, world, conflict and stakes. Who is in your character’s life? Why are they important to them?

What’s in their way? Think about scenes that are gonna illustrate this without having massive info dumps, you know people just talking at each other. These need to be scenes where things happen and people interact with each other and there are micro conflicts within the scene.

Katniss interacting with her mom and her sister – in very different ways those are micro conflicts. Katniss hunting and running into Gale. There are micro conflicts in those scenes and there are conversations that people have but they’re not info dumping.

They’re having these conversations for an organic reason, so think about some of those examples in terms of how you are starting your novel. I hope this helped, though definitely drop some comments down below. This is how I approach starting novels but I’m sure there are things that I haven’t thought of. If you have specific questions hit me up with them – I will answer them in the comments.

If they spark a new idea I will make another video. Thank you so much for watching everyone. If you liked this one I’d love thumbs up. It lets me know that you like the video so I can make more of them. Good luck starting those novels or revising those novels. if you think you’re starting in the wrong place, and as always everyone ‘happy writing’.

How To Begin Writing A Book PDF

Basics Of Script Writing – How To Write A Basic Script

Basics of script writing - post image

All right – so you have this awesome idea for your next story and you’ve decided that writing it in a short story or a novel isn’t quite right. You want to make it into a movie. Where do you start?

I really think that one of the best places to start when trying to write your first screenplay is understanding the 3 act structure that most movies are written in. This structure is pretty simple and straightforward.

There’s a beginning, there’s a middle and there’s an end, and we split that up into 3 acts. What most people don’t realise is that the way that it’s split up is not quite even.

Act one is 25% of your screenplay, act 3 the end of your movie is 25% of your screenplay, and then that middle chunk, act 2, is actually 50% of your screenplay, with that act 2 being split up into two parts.

Acts 2a and 2b each composing half of your screenplay, so 25%. One of the most important things that a writer can do is outline before they dive into trying to tell their story. There are a couple of common ways to outline for a screenplay that aren’t necessarily so common in the novel writing world.

Screenwriting Basics & Basic Screenplay Outline

Video Transcript (Cont’d) …

One of the most popular is using note cards. Go pick up index cards from the store – I probably have a million line around here. I use to them in one of my videos about web development because I always have them lying around …

Each note card is a scene. You write down the same title and what happens during it, and you put it on a table or on a board and it’s like a big kind of storyboard for you, for your writing. So you have X number of scenes in act 1, X number of scenes in act 3, and then X number of scenes in act 2a and 2b.

In that way you know that your screenplay is weighted the proper amount. You have the right amount of scenes and you’re beginning your middle and your end to make sure that everything will be smooth. You follow that structure that most people are looking for when they’re looking into movies.

Basic screenplay outline guideAll right so the next thing that we should probably learn when it comes to screenplays is outlining how lining is an important part about any writing process, just as much as editing can save you a ton of headaches when you’re trying to write your story.

This is a really common way to outline when it comes to screenplays that works for some and doesn’t work for others. It’s not exactly my favorite way to outline but it is something that a lot of people use.

Basically, what it is, you get a bunch of note cards and you write down the scenes on the note card. Each note card represents one scene in your movie, so every time a camera cuts like you’re looking at somebody interior bar scene and two people are talking, once we leave that bar that’s a new scene so that would be a new card.

And what you want to do is, you want to write on each card where they are, what’s gonna happen and like what characters are there and you lay those out. You lay them on a table or you put them up on a cork board – you have your roadmap right there.

It’s really easy to tell like if you have 30 cards in Act one section and ten cards and Act three sections something’s wrong there because more so than novels, screenplays are very heavily reliant on structure.

The industry enjoys understanding that act 1 and act 3 are this length, and act 2 is this length and it all kind of flows together. That’s something that you kind of have to wrap your head around and accept that when you’re first trying to do this it’s a lot better to kind of work within the confines of what Hollywood wants.

Then you can break rules later as you get more experienced. All right, so another big thing to think about when it comes to screenwriting … is formatting and formatting is a huge deal in Hollywood. Studios have different ways they enjoy like for their particular screenplays to be formatted.

Screenplay basics explainedAs a writer who doesn’t have a deal with a studio, you need to use industry standard formatting and the easiest by far way to do this if you ever want somebody to read it and not laugh you out of the room, is to use a screenwriting software that is trusted and worth the money you pay for it.

The two that I’ve used in the past are Final Draft, which is my personal favorite, not because I know that it’s better than every other screenwriting software out there, but because know that it’s the one that I know the best. It’s kind of the industry standard, like Microsoft, where it is the standard for word processing

Then Celtx, which is actually a free online tool that you can use. If you have access to the Internet, you can use it and it’s free and pretty a pretty good formatting tool and screenwriting tool, if you don’t want to drop a hundred bucks on Final Draft.

There are others out there if you have Scrivener, Scrivener has a movie or screenplay feature on it. I don’t know how good it is but it is also an option out there. If you’re one of those creative people that likes to write in different fonts when you’re writing, don’t do it with a screenplay because like I said, the industry is rigid.

There is no exception to the rule that all screenplays are written in courier font and 12-point, so if you want to break from that go ahead, but like I said that nobody’s going to take you seriously if you do.

Alright so we have our 20-second overview of structure. We have our 20-second overview of formatting. You’ve played around with a screenwriting software and you’ve set your text to carrier 12-point. Now you want to dive in and write this screenplay and write your next blockbuster Hollywood movie.

Right. Well, what I would suggest your next step is, once you get all of those things under your belt, is to take a minute and pick up a couple of screenplays. The best way to familiarize yourself with any kind of new concept or new formatting is to pick up a screenplay and see how it’s done.

The best way to do this is, there are free online resources. The Blacklist puts out a list of screenplays for free download every year and then also the IMDB. Oh acronyms are hard. It’s the international movie script database, which puts out free screenplays.

Basics of script writing for beginnersYou can go to their website and look at them there and I suggest you to just read a couple. All right. You’ve looked over a couple of screenplays online and you’re ready to dive in for your very first screenwriting experience.

What should you do to make it so that you don’t look like the biggest noob in entire history of the world? At its most basic a screenplay as three things.

  1. One – it’s slugs which tell the director or whoever is reading your screenplay where and what time-ish your scene is happening
  2. Two – action
  3. Three – dialogue

Those are the three things that you need to understand how to write in a screenplay. Let’s come at the very beginning. They tell you whether you’re inside or outside, so interior or exterior. They have the name of the area which they are – Erin’s bedroom – and then they say whether it’s daytime or night-time – day or night.


It’s that simple but before every scene that you write, if you’re switching locations or if it’s switching times, or if you’re switching from indoors to outdoors you need to add a slug in there to let the people know.

Dialogue is one of the hardest things to master, whether you’re writing screenplays or novels but it’s something that screenplays rely on heavily. It’s a visual format and we have to use words to get parts of our story across. Into shared motivation of our characters, dialogue is written in a screenplay.

Script writing basics explainedIt’s formatted towards the center. Character name is in the middle and always capitalized. Dialogue is one of the hardest things to master and it is very important to a screenplay. It needs to be compact and full of information and full of irony and full of drama and it’s one of those things where. if you can nail, it you can really have a career in this industry.

Aaron Sorkin is a master of dialogue. If you ever want to read somebody who just has it down, take a look at one of his screenplays. Last but not least, there’s the action part of the screenplay. This is what is actually happening on the screen in between when characters are talking.

This may be the hardest thing for people to come into a screenplay writing, especially if you’re coming from like a novel background. The concept, when it comes to writing action, is that it needs to be as short as it possibly can be and it needs to only contain elements that are going to be seen upon the screen.

Things that you don’t want to say when you’re writing action in a screenplay are that Aaron looks upset, or Aaron is happy. These are things that you can’t really show with a camera. You need to talk about actions of the characters that show that they’re happy – Aaron is laughing and holding his belly and slapping his leg. Aaron is in a corner, head in between his legds, to show that he’s sad.

It’s something that is hard to pick up on at first but you have to make sure that it’s something that you do. You don’t want to be writing a novel in between lines of dialogue. The point of a screenplay is for it to be short and concise and have lots of white space sao it flows – you’re just supposed to be able to rip through the pages.

It’s not supposed to be a dense read. You’re not trying to be the next Charles Dickens. This is something that you’re getting to the point and you’re getting there really quickly, visually, to make sure that this movie is going to be packed full of awesomeness.

Basic screenplay format information

This concept of having a lot of white space on the page and making sure your dialogue is centered and making sure that your action scenes are written relatively shortly is something that all helps with the next concept, which is page count.

The theory is in screenwriting that one page equals one minute of screen time, so if you have a 120 page screenplay you have a two hour movie in your hand. That is the theory and that’s why the formatting is the way it is.

It’s a another good concept to remember when you’re writing. If you’re starting to write and you’re only halfway through your movie and you’re at page 100, then you’re looking at a three and a half four hour long movie, which isn’t something that ever gets made.

We have to remember to be short and concise and only give the reader and the director the information that they need to create what they need to create on the screen. I think that it takes a very specific kind of writer to enjoy screenwriting.

I can maybe feel some people out – they’re thinking about how ‘well, when I write I like to go into great detail about everything and I like to describe the inner workings of my characters brain and all of these things and I don’t feel like I’m gonna be able to get that across in my screenplay’.

The short answer is you probably won’t. That’s not your job as the writer. See, in screenwriting the story is the king. It’s about the plot and that’s almost all you’re here for. You’re here to tell the story from point A to point B to Point C and resolve it.

The inner workings of your characters brains are going to be put on display by your dialogue to some degree and also the way that the actors take that character and run with it. Every little kind of detail and facet of the world that you’re creating isn’t your job to show when you’re writing a screenplay.

It’s the director’s job to film, because nobody’s gonna read the words on the page to hear about how the moss grew on the trees where your love scene happens or something like that. It’s the director’s job to show what is important to the viewer.

As a medium, screenwriting is a lot more of a collaborative effort than what a novel is. A novel you write, it’s your baby and you have an editor who tells you and gives you suggestions but it’s you and you get to create that world in its entirety.


As a screenwriter, you get to write a story and then that story gets plopped into a world that has a million different moving parts and a million different people thinking about it on a day-in and day-out basis.

I think that’s a beautiful thing and it can be scary to let your baby out into the world and not know exactly where it’s gonna go, but if the next story that you have is an idea that would be good on the screen, think about writing it as a screenplay.

Alright guys, so that’s all I have for today. If you enjoyed this screenwriting video, please hit that thumbs up – that’d be super awesome. If you want to keep following along in my journey as a writer or as a developer or any of these things, hit that subscribe button down below.

I would SuperDuper appreciate that as well, and if you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them down below. Let me know what you think about screenwriting. Have you ever tried it? Do you plan on trying it in the future?

Is it something that you want more information on? And if there’s any kind of video that she’d like me to film about screenwriting in the future leave it down below as wel.l I’d be super happy to do that. Alright guys, I appreciate you for joining me today. As always, take care, keep writing and I will see you guys again soon. Bye.

Basic Of Script Writing PDF

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How To Sell Your Screenplay Without An Agent

How To Sell A Screenplay Without An Agent - featured image

Do you have a completed and polished Hollywood screenplay but no idea how to get it into the right hands? Let’s talk about all the different ways that you can market your screenplay.

So the first way is kind of not really in vogue anymore. This is kind of the old days and that is a query letter or a query email. This is where you would solicit a production company, or an agent or manager, and basically just ask them to read your screenplay. You need to learn how to sell your screenplay without an agent – don’t make the usual mistakes!

Don’t ever send your scripts unsolicited to any company or manager. Don’t stick it in an envelope and don’t drop it off – they won’t take it. Now this really doesn’t work. They kind of ignore those everyone.

If you have an amazing story, like you used to be a CIA agent and you have a story about your career in the CIA or something that, would just make people take notice then. You might be able to send an email to a production company and ask if they would like to read your screenplay.

How To Sell Your Screenplay Without an Agent – Advice From Word Dancer

Video Transcript (Cont’d)

But if you just work at Best Buy and there’s nothing too different about your background, you could still have the most amazing story about a CIA agent ever, but they’re probably not going to take your query email too seriously.

So that’s kind of an old way to solicit – query letters or query emails, but a great way to break in is contest and the website to go to for screenplay contests is I’ll put a link down below. That will show you all the upcoming contests, all the information.

You’ll get report cards, people make comments about different contests, it will give you the web pages for the contest and I put down below in the links the most major contests. Because there are a lot of different contests and some of them, the industry takes seriously, and some of them not so much.

I won the Nicholl Fellowship – that’s definitely very major in the industry. Other contests that are significant are things like the Paige Awards … there are a lot of different contests and those can break you in. The other good thing about contests is we all make this mistake.

How to sell your screenplay without an agentTrust me, we all make this mistake. Sending your material out too soon before it is ready, so when you enter your script and contest, if six months later you realize ‘oh my gosh, that had so many problems. I did a re-write, I made it so much better.’ Just the contest saw no one important. It didn’t place high in the contest as opposed to getting it in the hands of a potential agent manager.

It wasn’t ready for primetime and you kind of burn the bridge and burn the Reeds, so contests they’re very low risk way of tiptoeing into Hollywood. Then there are also some what I call like listing services. There’s two main ones and there’s some more starting to crop up.

One of them is InkTip is more if you have a movie that you wouldn’t mind going straight to television or it’s maybe a red box, or it’s kind of more of a low-budget movie. There are screenwriters who are totally making a living selling their screenplays on InkTip and that’s a listing service where producers can go on to the site and they can search for type of script they’re looking for.

They can look for certain character roles, they’re looking for certain genres, and they can read your logline. I haven’t been there a long time. I don’t know if they can automatically download your script or if you have to give them permission to download your script.

Either way it’s direct access between you and producers who are looking for screenplays. There’s a lot of success stories there but if you’ve got something that’s like big-budget that only a studio could do, that wouldn’t be the place to put your screenplay. That’s more for lower budget screenplays.

If you do have a bigger budget Hollywood giant spectacular that would cost a hundred million dollars you don’t want to put it on ink tip. You’re going to more look at like the Blacklist. The Blacklist used to just be a list that came out every year that all the producers voted on what they thought were the best unproduced screenplays they read that year.

So it was this list that came out every year and then eventually it became a website. It’s a website where you can go, and you can put your screenplay up there, and so producers can again search for different types of material they’re looking for.

How to sell a movie script in bollywood infoThey can directly access your screenplay. You can also pay for, I don’t know if they call it coverage, they might call it coverage. You can pay for reads and if it gets a high enough number of reads, they’ll sometimes to feature it to all of their industry insiders, and it gets more attention.

You can also have direct access to producers by putting your script on the Blacklist another Spec Scout. I don’t know as much about that one, but you can also get your material on Spec Scout. Another way to get your face in front of Hollywood literally are pitch festivals.

They’re ‘in person’ pitching and this is kind of like speed dating. You basically go into a big room where they’re all these producers or agents and managers sitting in chairs, and then like there’s a certain ding or a time changes, and then you go and sit in front of that producer or manager and you have like five minutes to pitch them your material.

Then they contact you later and say whether or not they want you to send them the script, so those can be very fun and also allow you to come to Los Angeles. Kind of feel like the dream, is a possibility and meet with other screenwriters, that kind of thing.

The ones that I know over like the great American pitch festival Hollywood pitch festival and then the story Expo, I think, has a pitch fest inside of the Expo. That’s the golden ticket pitch fest. So in person pitch festivals – I’ll put a link for them down below.

Then another way to pitch to Hollywood are Skype pitches. That’s where you have your little webcam in front of your computer and you would sign up to pitch with a particular agent or a particular producer or a manager and then at a set time they would call you on skype.

Then you would just on the Skype camera pitch while you see the producer the agent on the other side. That’s kind of an weird dynamic because it’s different than someone in person. You can’t really bounce off them. The energy is kind of weird. They just kind of stare at you like you’re a TV.

sell your movie scriptYou just have to know they’re not going to interact with you much. They just that there and expect you to perform like your TV showing and so you have to kind of get used to how to do those. You might practice with your webcam a couple times on that one.

The places to go for Skype pitches, Roadmap Writers and then also Stage 32 Happy Writers – they also do Skype pitches. Now if the idea of having to pitch on Skype or actually talk to a producer makes you break out in hives because you’re so nervous, you can also just pay a manager or a producer or an agent to read your screenplay.

You can just pay them. Now sometimes, some of the people that you’re paying, they may might be like very new at the production companies. They might be the assistant or they may be a very new producer, but that’s fine because they are still a gatekeeper.

They can still take it to their higher-ups, that’s not a problem. So both set like Roadmap Writers and stage 32. You can pick a certain company that you think would be good for your material. You could just pay them to read the script and if they like it, they’ll want to meet with you and it can go further.

Or if it’s not for them you’re still going to get great feedback back. You could get some great notes. You’re going to get more insight into why they liked it, why they didn’t like it so that is another way to go, to pay for someone who is a Hollywood insider to read your screenplay.

Then there’s also online written pitches. This is where you would do a written pitch like a little log line, a little something about your screenplay and that would get sent to either an agent or a manager or producer.

How to sell a script without an agent infoThe place to go for that is Virtual Pitch Fest – so you pay for each pitch that you send but the great thing about that website is they’re guaranteeing the person is actually going to look at it and you’re going to get a timely response.

You get to choose what companies you want to pitch to. It’s not like they’re going to just make them random. You buy little packages of pitches and then you know for sure your pitch is being seen and then you can have your screenplay read that way.

Finally there are coverage services with scouting, instead of you paying a particular agent or a particular producer to read your screenplay. It’s more a will affected company that you paid them to have a reader, give coverage on your script but then they have connections with a lot of different industry insiders.

If the coverage comes back high enough like they might need to be a consider or recommend they will then pick up the phone or type emails or somehow contact all of their industry people and get it into the right hands.

There’s Script Pipeline, Script Arsenal at the Writers store, their script expert. The Blacklist also promotes material that scores highly in evaluations and if there are any other sites that you know of let me know and I will keep the description below this video constantly updated with new information.

I hope that helps you come up with a game plan of how you can get your script into the hands of Hollywood. If you liked this video don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more videos and I will talk to you later.

How To Sell A Screenplay Without An Agent pdf    Word Dancer’s Youtube Channel


How To Write A Story Plot

How to develop a story plot - featured

Did you know that story and plot aren’t necessarily always the same thing?

In casual conversation the words are more or less interchangeable but when you’re actually sitting down to write something, it’s important to understand that these two are independent factors that you must consider.

It can be kind of difficult to understand the difference and why that difference is important, so stick with me for a second. To put it simply, plot is two people shooting at each other. Story is why they’re shooting at each other.

The why here isn’t because the hero has to beat the bad guys so we can disable their big doomsday weapon. That’s still plot. The ‘why’ is what’s going on internally with the character. This is story – what the narrative that you’re crafting is about.

At its core, story cuts to the heart of why the characters are doing the things that they’re doing and where they are. The plot is then the sequence of events that they go through that tie the novel or movie together.

The plot is comprised of the things that they actually do, the events that move them from one scene to the next. If plot is what where when and how, then story is who and why.

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Video Transcript (cont’d)

How To Come Up With A Story Plot

Notice that he didn’t say that he wanted to go blow up a space station or even to beat the Empire but that’s what happens at the end of the movie. Luke has a drive that is relevant to the physical quest that he goes on but doesn’t completely define that quest.

His internal desire of the force stuff, the legacy stuff, wanting to be a hero – that’s the story. The plot is about stopping the bad guys. This is important to understand because any two given movies or books or TV shows or whatever could potentially have the same plot.

For example, acquire a bunch of money illegally but the emotional context behind why the characters are doing the things that they’re doing could be vastly different. In the same vein the emotional context could be approximately the same but the events could be vastly different.

Now this may sound like some high concept nonsense that only has a place in like a pretentious French art house theater or a college classroom somewhere in Southern California. Like this only applies to your highbrow stuff here, citizen Kane’s here, 7th seals but this stuff applies to everything.

How to develop a story plot tipsThe relationship between story and plot can make or break a narrative. If your film or game or book or whatever, it doesn’t have some kind of central story holding it together, adding meaning to the proceedings, then it’s just a bunch of people doing things in a linear progression to the conclusion.

Look at any below-average episode of a crime drama ‘oh no someone has been killed!’ The characters interview some people, picked up a false lead, chasing guy or two and eventually have a shootout with or arrest the person who did it. How exciting.

This is an example of a narrative that’s basically all plot and no story. I think I’ll just come back for the season finale when all the emotional stuff is gonna happen. On the other hand having a film that’s all story and no plot means you wind up with the kind of pretentious fluff that film critics love but general audiences can’t sit through.

Movies about people sitting in a room and being depressed. They go places and talk to people but never really do anything. A lot of people just don’t like watching these films because there isn’t much happening.

Now if you’re some kind of genius or insanely lucky you can theoretically get by with just one of these. Maybe your film has such flawlessly perfect technical execution and it’s just so thrilling and charming that you don’t really need a deep story to become invested in it.

Or maybe your story is so emotionally evocative and your lead actors are so magnetic that you don’t really need much of a plot to steer them along. The thing is, if you lean more in one direction or the other, your success is really going to depend on execution.

If you’re writing a novel or whatever you’ve just got to play to your strong suits.If you’re a good enough writer that you can make your book work leaning heavily into either plot or story then good on you, but especially from a screenwriters perspective for film and television it’s usually a safer bet to try and balance both, unless you’re writing for a specific filmmaker.

How to make a story plot guideLet me explain what I’m getting at. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a really good movie, it’s a classic and people love it. It’s also definitely more plot heavy than story heavy. There’s a bit going on with Indies faith in his relationship with Marian but at the end of the day the movie is about punching Nazis.

It works because spielberg is a master of directing kinetic compelling action. The film is tightly paced and the whole thing has a nice easy flow to it but in the hands of the wrong filmmaker the movie would probably be a disaster.

If you asked Michael Bay to make Raiders of the Lost Ark – indeed, yeah it’d probably be pretty good. This script plays in strong suits but if you handed this script to Woody Allen he wouldn’t really know what to do with it.

In that same vein, if you hand Michael Bay that ‘Lost in Translation’ script, he’s probably not going to handle it with quite the same precision as Sophia Coppola did, but you know Woody Allen would probably make a halfway decent movie from that script.

I know I’m making some serious generalizations here but I hope that you can understand my point. I just want to demonstrate that you can really lean heavily into one or the other camp but it requires a particular skill set a mastery of whatever form of entertainment you’re working in be it an episode of a TV show or a film or a novel or whatever.

So now that we understand how these two can work on their own when they’re in the right extremely talented hands, let’s talk about why putting them together is a special kind of magic. What’s important to understand is that neither of these things is necessarily more important than the other.

A lot of times when you’re sitting in a classroom setting it can kind of sound like story chasing after the themes. The deeper meaning and symbolism or whatever can trump the actual action of the story but that is not necessarily the case.

How to come up with a story plot nowCreating something super deep and symbolic and inaccessible actually takes a lot less effort than creating a narrative with a compelling story and an accessible driving plot. In the best case scenarios you’re actually going to be looking at a final product where either half the equation is strong enough to support an entire film on its own.

‘No McFly ever amounted to anything in the history of Hill Valley’, the history is going to change. What if they say ‘get out of it kid, you got no future’? I mean I just don’t think I could take that kind of rejection. I’m from the future. I came here in a time machine that you invented. now I need your help to get back to the year 1985.

You could just have a movie about a guy trying to make a name for himself and better his family and you could just have a movie about a guy who gets trapped in the past and has to find the energy supply necessary to return to his own time.

Either of these could be their own thing but together they produce a movie that people seem to like quite a bit. The movie is fun to watch and it’s fun to think about or in other words it’s good to chill with and it’s good to get hot with.

On that subject let’s briefly look at The Incredibles, which is another movie that’s so good to chill with and good to get hot with. It’s got two distinct halves that blend together to make something stronger than the sum of its parts and that can be enjoyed on different levels.

The story is about a guy going through a midlife crisis. He hates his job and he has some family problems but he’s gonna get over himself so the whole family can get along and be a better healthier unit. Mow that’s a nice story in theory but without a plot it had just be two hours of people arguing with each other and being sad.

The most exciting scene in the movie would probably be this bit, if it even made the final cut. On the other hand, the plot is about a superhero getting called out of retirement to come and kill a robot but it turns out that the robot is a specifically designed superhero killing machine.

How to write a story plot for beginnersThe story on its own is interesting but it might get a little bit too serious. The plot on its own is exciting but after you watch the movie once or twice and see all of the neat explosions and fight scenes, there really wouldn’t be a whole lot to draw you back in.

But with the two combined you have an exciting, well paced film that keeps your attention but also has enough going on under the surface to keep it engaging upon repeat viewings. The real trick to all of this, the real thing that makes writing so difficult, is finding the perfect way of combining both elements together.

Like if you just put peanut butter on some bread and you stop there, then you’ve just got sticky bread. Nobody wants that but if you put jelly or jam on some bread and you didn’t toast the bread ahead of time now you’ve just got untoasted toast.

You can’t put that in the toaster. Now when you put the two together you have both elements blended together so that on a second to second scene to scene level you’re getting both ingredients at the same time and you can’t even really tell the difference anymore.

I don’t know, I kind of feel like I’m losing this metaphor. Maybe I should have gone with an Oreo cookie because they’ve got two different parts but you can take them apart and eat them in so many different ways and there are so many different flavors to choose from.

Wow I sure can’t wait to try watermelon Oreos. Speaking of watermelon Oreos, let’s talk about another awesome thing. This movie is so good it could just coast on flawless technical execution and a decent plot, but it doesn’t need to.

Developing A Story Plot For A Novel

All parts of a story plotOkay, just like most James Bond films, the movie opens with a big stunt sequence that is only kind of sort of related to the rest of the film. It’s an absolutely fantastic chase sequence and it’s an exciting enough scene that it doesn’t really need to be anything more than just exciting.

But this scene and the scenes immediately following it all serve to tell us about our main character James Bond. This guy is chasing this bomb maker here and the bomb guy is more agile than Bond and does a bunch of crazy parkour stunts but bond is still able to keep up with Bomberman through a combination of smarts and brute force.

He uses everything in his environment to his advantage. The bad guy basically exists in the moment. He reacts to things as they happen and doesn’t really plan ahead, so even though bond has a hard time keeping up with him physically, he’s really always two steps ahead.

We also see that bond is vulnerable. He botches jumps, he takes a couple of hits here and there and, since he’s not invincible, there’s still some tension in the scene despite his admirable intelligence and strength.


Add this to the fact that we’re told he’s chasing a terrorist and the fact that our hero is me, he’s Daniel Craig, and you’ve got a character you want to root for. The audience wants to cheer for this guy and see him succeed. This is all great plot stuff.

The other big thing that we learn about Bond in this scene is that he’s really driven and focused. He takes impossible risks to keep the chase up. The sequence is so exciting and it sucks you in so much, that a lot of people in the audience might not notice the moment when bond makes a huge mistake.

Bomberman runs into an embassy and thinks he’s escaped. Any reasonable person would call off the chase at this point but bond doesn’t. He jumps right over the fence. If you sorm into an embassy, you violate the only absolutely inviolate rule of international relationships and why? So you could kill a nobody.

Important elements of a story plotWe wanted to question him, not to kill him. The same drive, an obsession with victory that made Bond such an appealing hero during the chase are turned on their head. We see that, even though he was thinking ahead in terms of the chase, he wasn’t thinking ahead in terms of the big picture.

We’re trying to find out how an entire network of terrorist groups is financed and you give us one bomb maker. Hardly the big picture, wouldn’t you say? They’re doing the job properly was secondary to winning, to beating the guy, that he’d spent so long chasing.

After all that incredible stunt work and all the blood and sweat, what was he’s just supposed todo – walk away and try again another day? Come on – he earned that victory. Any thug can kill. I want you to take your ego out of the equation and you judged the situation too special.

Just like this, in the first twenty minutes we’ve pretty much set up the conflict that Bond we’ll be dealing with for the entire run of the film. We know that Bond will pursue his enemies well beyond the point of reason and save lives as a result, but we also know that same blind passion and drive to win will see the people around him get hurt or worse.

The plot is about stopping some terrorists from getting some money. The story is about Bond contending with his own faults. He’s so self-assured and confident in his abilities, that he takes unnecessary risks and lands himself in trouble. Because of it you lost, because of your ego.


This is good storytelling right here. You see how much we learned about this guy just from one simple chase scene and the dialogue following it and how it sets up something interesting and relatable for the rest of the film.

Now all of this may be really obvious to some of you but other people gotta be filled in on this kind of stuff. Writing anything really great is not easy. It takes a little education and years of practice to get good at this kind of stuff and it’s not restricted to a hoity-toity artsy nonsense.

In fact, I would say they’re writing a truly good story that can be enjoyed by just about anyone is infinitely harder than writing some abstract or symbolic material. Plots and story are two important tools for engaging your audience and making sure that whatever you say sticks with them along after they’ve moved on.

Learning the difference between the two and mastering how to use them in conjunction is one of the most important tricks that a new writer can learn. Thanks for watching this whole shindig. I’ve got some other videos you might like and hopefully I’ll get around to making some more videos about writing and storytelling in the near future.

Hard to say for sure, when you’re a busy college student. If you want to see someone break this sort of stuff down on a scene to scene across an entire feature film, you should check out Pirates of the Caribbean, accidentally genius by reality punch films. Really awesome video – can’t recommend it highly enough.

Or you could stick around and watch me talk about how one of the biggest video game publishers in the world sabotage one of their own releases and their own reputation with a horribly mismanaged marketing campaign. Bye.

How to write a story plot PDF

Script Writing Basics

Script writing basics

Script writing is an art form in itself but by no means does it have to be complicated. We’re going to talk about today, we’re going to talk about script writing with the mechanics of script writer, not the art form of storytelling.


Those are two different things. In a later segment we will get into the art of storytelling but right now we’re going to concentrate on the mechanics of script reading. And like I said the four things you want to concentrate on is who your characters are, what they do, where they go and what they say.

Screenwriting Basics – The Basic Screenplay Outline

Video Transcript:

Hello. Welcome to maverick movie-making and today we’re going to talk about scripts. Script writing is an art form in itself but by no means does it have to be complicated. We’re going to talk about today, we’re going to talk about script writing with the mechanics of script writer, not the art form of storytelling.

Those are two different things. In a later segment we will get into the art of storytelling but right now we’re going to concentrate on the mechanics of script reading. And like I said the four things you want to concentrate on is who your characters are, what they do, where they go and what they say.

That’s it, those are the four things. If you know a lot of people get intimidated by writing because they maybe they can’t put words on paper, or maybe they’re not very good at grammar or spelling. That’s okay. Don’t let that be a reason to stop you from making movies.

Because all script is, a script is just a blueprint to your movie, so if you’re the one shooting your movie you can do whatever you want. If you you can write down on a piece of paper ‘characters go from A to B’ – it’s it’s not a hugely complicated ordeal.

There are many different types of scripts but for the Maverick moviemaking we are only going to concentrate on two types. We’re going to concentrate on the shooting script and the spec script. The shooting script is the blueprint for your movie.

So basically if you’re a maverick movie maker, shooting script right now is where you want to live. That’s going to be your world for a while because it’s all you got to do. It’s like I said, it’s the blueprint to your movie.

A spec script on the other hand, that has to be right on because basically what you’re doing with the spec script is your writing the script to sell to somebody else or to give to somebody else so they can make your movie.

Well that’s a different animal entirely. Those have to be the Gnat’s ass. You want those to be grammatically and spelling you want all that stuff to be right on, because if you read a script and you give it to somebody and your grammar and your spelling is off, it’s going to show that you’re an experienced writer.

Basic screenplay outline tipsOn the resources page of the Maverick moviemaking website you can find a ton of resources about scriptwriting. I’ve got four or five books on there that’ll give you a good idea of what people are looking for in their script writing.

What the books aren’t going to tell you is that there are a thousand ways to write a script. There is no one way. You write the script however you want. If it’s good, and the story is good, it will sell but make sure your grammar and your spelling are correct.

No matter which way you’re going, whether you’re writing a spec script or a shooting script story is still King. Story is still the most important part. You know, in our example, characters a and B go to sea. Well, that can be the case but that a to b has to be intriguing or it doesn’t matter.

You can write a piece of, you can write a script on a yellow piece of paper like this. If it’s good it doesn’t matter. If it’s bad it doesn’t matter. Just as long as the story is good like I said. I will always go back to that – story is king no matter what we’re doing.

If you’re watching this and you’re taking part in the Maverick moviemaking program because you want to become a scriptwriter, do your homework. Buy the books, buy the script writing program and learn how to become a fluent scriptwriter.

If the ideas are just pouring out of you and you don’t want to wait, then you can always do an outline. Outline the bullet points of your story as you’re reading and as you’re doing your research on how to write the script.

I would suggest eventually you get into the habit of writing good scripts and writing a full-length script or writing all your projects, whether it be ten pages or 90 pages. Write those into your script. Excuse me, I would suggest that anybody do that if you’re writing.

Screenwriting basics guideIf you want to do shooting scripts or spec scripts i would suggest, especially for you guys doing shooting scripts, i would suggest that eventually you get used to writing scripts. Whether it’s a 10 page, five page to page 90 page. I would suggest that you get used to the mechanics of writing scripts that are good.

It helps you to kind of visualize what you want to do, but to get started, by no means let the fact that you don’t know how to write script. So that you might not be good with grammar or spelling, by no means let that get in the way of you getting out there and shooting.

That’s the most important thing. That’s the whole overall tone of the Maverick moviemaking – simplicity and getting out there and doing it no matter what your resources are. In the maverick store at you can find all kinds of information, all kinds of books on screenwriting, all kinds of software on screenwriting.

Make sure you check those out. If you don’t feel like you want to shell out the money to buy the script writing program right now, go to the screenwriting block. There’s a link to it right here and you’ll see a template that I first use when i first started that i created.

Feel free to download that and use it to your heart’s content to write scripts. So until next time, thank you very much. Thanks for watching. Please subscribe and go to my every movie making at

Basic Screenplay Format – Screenplay Writing Basics

You just came up with an awesome story that you want to turn into a film. What do you do? Now it’s time we get that written on paper, that very script. Welcome to the film on. This episode is brought to you by premium beat cop, by an exclusive production music for your next film.

A script or screenplay is the backbone of your film. It is the blueprint you’ll follow when you plan to shoot and edit your movie. In the last episode we talked about story structure and character conflict and goal to craft a compelling plot. Now it’s time to put that into action and start drafting out a proper screenplay.

Basics of script writing explainedFirstly, let’s break down the elements of a screenplay using a page from our latest saw film backstage. A scene always starts with a scene heading. The scene heading is there to tell you the location, a time of day of the scene you’re about to read.

It always begins with ‘int’ or ‘ext’, signifying if the scene is inside or outside. Then a brief description of the location. For example, ‘locker room’. This is followed by the time of day. ‘Day’or ‘night’ are standard descriptions but if you plan on shooting in a certain lighting condition you can be more specific.

Such as ‘golden hour’ or ‘dawn’. Next you have action. This is why you place the narrative description of events inside the scene. This is the meat of the script, so in here you can describe characters, the events, the location and character interaction.

When a character is introduced for the first time their name should be in all caps. This is to clearly identify that this is a new character who we haven’t seen yet. After that you should use sentences with a capital letter at the beginning of their name.

Next up we have dialogue. it always starts with a character’s name at all caps in the center of the page and underneath it you have the written lines in sentence case. We won’t be getting into the nitty-gritty of margins, spacing and indents, because Final Draft, Celtx and other screenwriting programs basically do this for you, I’m not going to bore you with it.

Script writing basics tipsNext up we have parentheticals. These are seen a small descriptions placed between a character’s name and that dialogue inside parenthesis. They have multiple uses and all linked to the dialogue being performed. They can be used to indicate where a line is being outputted, such as from phone.

They can also be used if a line of dialogue needs to be performed in a specific way, such as sarcastically and they can be used when a character is addressing another specific character. In the scene such as – Bobby jazz ler you can some aims use parenthetic in replace of action, such as ‘takes off gloves’.

This should only be used if the action can be written with very few words and is delivered during that line, otherwise break from the dialogue and write it out as an action line. Parentheticals should be used sparingly and it’s common to see parentheticals unused in a script altogether.

If you don’t know whether to use them or not, I would say just leave them out. There are a few more intricate details to script writing but now we’ve got the basics down. What’s next. It’s time to start filling out the action.

If you have some brief notes from your beat sheet, such as ‘a bunch of wrestlers are getting ready for the fight’, you can now turn it into something more descriptive. Just remember to avoid anything that is unfilmable, and by this I mean anything you can’t capture on the screen.

Instead of writing the ‘locker room smells like a boys bedroom’, describe ‘dirty laundry in the corner’. Don’t describe anything which you can’t point a camera or microphone towards and don’t write anything that jumps into the role of another filmmaker.

If you start describing the character’s eye and hair color, you’re doing the job of the casting director. If you start describing all of the camera angles, you’re just taking over the cinematographer. Once you have a finished draft it doesn’t stop there.

A first draft is a good starting point but there is always room for improvement. We’ve got a bunch of videos on our channel on ways to improve your script writing. I’ve put a link to our writing playlist if you want to check them out and once you’ve written your first draft print it off.

Give it to someone to read it – you never know, they might notice something which you didn’t. If you liked this video, why not subscribe? We make film-making videos every Tuesday and every Sunday. Thanks to premium beat for providing the music we used in this episode.

We’d recommend you check them out whenever you need a great track for your film. Visit that royalty-free library to see what we mean. We’ve added the link in the description below. If you want to check out our latest film Backstage, it’s up on screen now. I’ve been Richard Scott, thank you for watching the film. Good luck and remember to achieve it one shot at a time.

Where To Sell A Screenplay

Where to sell a screenplay information

Hi, its screenwriter Philip Hardy and today I want to talk about websites that allow you to pitch your feature screenplays and your pilots, and I don’t mean the guys that fly air-planes. To relive, industry people, some of them allow you to do written pitches.

Others have more sophisticated means of doing those and you would think with all the people that are out there writing spec screenplays, un-produced and aspiring writers that are out, there trying to sell the that script and make the next tent pole picture, there would be more of these sites. Because it’s a very lucrative business – that is not the case.

There are really only four of these websites that are considered to be worth a damn and that’s because they have the perceived value of industry types that are being paid to hear your pitches or read your pitches, whatever the case may be.

I’m gonna review those four websites in no particular order. First let’s talk about the Blacklist. The Blacklist has been in business now I think four five or six years, maybe longer and what they do is, they have a web hosting site for screenplays. They charge $25 a month for you to upload your script and hopefully there are people that will read that script after it’s uploaded.

Where to sell your screenplay – How to sell a movie script

However the best way to get attention is to pay $75 a pop to get your screenplay read and reviewed by other screenwriters and I guess in some cases industry people, but I suspect it’s more frustrated writers that are trying to sell their specs replays that are reading your spec screenplays and reviewing them.

Sometimes those people can be rather nasty with what they say about your work. Other times I guess, in much less instances, they will gush over your work and they give you a score and if you get a score of a ten above and you get several of those reviews, suddenly you may be a hot property on the Blacklist.

Where to sell my screenplay infoAt the end of the year the Blacklist, they put together a list the top approximately 75 unproduced screenplays and that gets a pretty broad attention from folks out there in Hollywood land. There are several Blacklist writers that have gotten signed to agencies after having top-ten script, let’s say.

But I’m sure if you make the list there’s people that may request to read your screenplay again. Remember this though – a lot of these guys are very project centric. They may love one screenplay but if they can’t get anybody interested in it, they’re not necessarily looking for unproduced writers that they’re gonna work with for the long term. That’s just my opinion.

The next website is Virtual Pitch Fest and Virtual Pitch Fest allows you to do a written proposal or a pitch with a logline and synopsis. They give you a limited amount of space for the synopsis and you can select from their whole list of producers and industry folks.

Okay, here’s virtual pitch fest up on the screen and they have extensive lists and alphabetical order of people looking for animation action and comedy, all genres of films and man they got tons of people on here.

Production companies, literary agents, producers directors. Okay, for example … this guy, Aberration Films- he’s been involved in a couple projects. One called Brick and the other one the Punk’s Not Dead.

He’s supposedly looking for action, comedy, family, fantasy, romance, blue, block – pretty much every genre. So what you should do before you decide to lay down your hard-earned money, which is $10 per pitch, is I’d look these guys up on IMDB and see what else they’ve been involved with.

Anyway a $10 a pitch it’s fairly inexpensive to use Virtual Pitch Fest and they also run specials where they do 10 pitches for a hundred bucks, and then they’ll throw in two free pitches which is a $20 value. Personally I have not had much luck with Virtual Pitch Fest.

How to sell a movie script explainedI haven’t used them a lot but the ones I’ve gotten back, the feedback’s been rather generic and although I’ve got one or two nice notes back, I never got any action from using. However, take that with a grain of salt. They also will get back to you within a fairly short window. I think that technically speaking they’re supposed to answer you back on your pitch within 48 hours.

Correct me if I’m mistaken. Send me a nasty note if I’m wrong. anyway that’s Virtual Pitch Fest. They’ve been around for a while and I do know some people that have gotten script reads out of that and had some successes. The next website is Happy Writers.

Now happy writers has not only can you submit a two-page written pitch to their industry types, you can also do an 8 minute Skype session, which is the next best thing to being in an office with somebody. You know, you’re gonna do like that the quick pitch where you tell them why you have a sexy idea for a movie or you have a sexy script.

There are pluses and minuses to doing that way. I’ve done them both and I’ve had more success doing the written pitches, but that’s just me and not everybody’s as handsome as me. So when you go to a Skype meeting you may want to take that into consideration.

On their Happy Writers website, I think you can see they have pictures of the folks that are there, that are hearing pitches and a lot of these sessions that particularly the Skype sessions, say they’re sold out and they’re thirty five dollars of crack.

So let’s take this young lady here, Sarina films – Tatiana Kelly. Let’s view the details of this one. Tatyana Kelly specializes in biopics, dark comedies, romantic comedies, thrillers, sci-fi and projects based on books, so that’s what she’s looking for.

Then they give you her background and probably her most famous project that she’s been involved with is a movie called Wrist Cutters, a love story which I did see. That movie it’s, it’s a very good little indie film but that’s been a quite a stretch of time since that movie came out.

I don’t know what else she’s done in the meantime so, my warning to you is buyer beware when you’re submitting to one of these industry types. You may want to look to see when’s the last time they had a movie produced or what’s the most recent things they’ve been involved in.

How to sell a movie idea beginnersEarly on in uncle Phil’s career he worked with a guy that hadn’t made a movie in quite some time and although he had a extensive track record, it had been quite some time so he was a little gun-shy about pitching to his contacts.

So I spent a lot of time trying to develop that script but there wasn’t much pitching done at the end of the day. What I do now is I make sure that the people I work with have very fresh connections in the industry and that they’ve worked on films and major projects within the past at least two years.

That’s just my recommendation. Anyway Stage 32 costs 30 to 35 bucks a pop. I have had some success, probably more than most. I’ve had a half a dozen screenplays read. I’ve actually had one make it to the next base and I’m currently in talks with a producer who’s reading now a second one of my scripts.

Were talking about a possible collaboration on an upcoming project. So anyway, Stage 32 isfor real but if in my opinion it can be a very difficult nut to crack and you better have a very good pitch to even get your screenplay read.

That means a very well-crafted synopsis, or if you go in to do the Skype pitch, that you practice that you really have your shite together when you’re pitching it to the industry people. Finally, out of the for sites that allow you to do the stuff there is Ink Tip and that’s uncle Phil’s favorite.

I’ve had a fair amount of success with them and several options and right to shop agreements that I’ve gotten from using Ink Tip. In my opinion there’s also a good value because you can use their script hosting site for 65 bucks every four months, so that comes out to be a pretty good value.

I aggressively use their newsletter and I have not had very much success with the web hosting. Though I’ve had screenplays downloaded and read, I’ve had no further responses off of that. Now on the web hosting, the script hosting site, they allow you to upload your screenplay.

Where to sell your screenplay guideThey allow you to put in a lot of details about the genre and sub-genre, the budget for your film, the cast size, all the things to make your work as palatable as possible to their audience. They have a couple thousand people in their base that they’re working with. Most of them are looking for projects from let’s say $100,000 maybe on up typically four or five million dollars.

So they’re not working in in most cases with big temple companies or big six companies or, you know big-name guys, like you know Spielberg, or you know David or Russell, or whoever. Again, they’re working with more indie type producers so for that again do your homework on who you’re submitting to.

As far as the newsletter goes, that’s where I’ve had success and the reason I’ve had success is because I don’t try to compete with everybody on the things that are gonna be the most popular.

Where there’s 50 to 100 people that are gonna submit on those and that would be things like low-budget horror thriller zombie movies, vampire movies, anything where there’s a lot of material out in the ether, I look for things that are more obscure.

Case in point – I got an option deal in September because a guy was looking for two crime thrillers about a guy that went on a shooting rampage in 2013, and though I didn’t have a screenplay for that, I figured nobody else would.

I put together a idea for the story and I gave him a sexy log line, and that guy optioned the project and he’s currently shopping that material right now. I got another option for a screenplay that I’ll call a spec script but I actually wrote it for another producer that did nothing with it.

That had a right to shop and didn’t go anywhere and this guy was looking for a faith-based film about Jewish culture and I had what was really more of a war picture, but it has a lot of Jewish culture in it because it’s about the Six Day War.

He liked the screenplay, was a long shot but the guy liked the screenplay, and I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of people competing for that, so again I look for things where the competition’s gonna be thinner.

I probably am one of the fewer people that do that, because most people it’s like they go direct, they’re running with the football, rather than doing a fancier play. They’re hoping that they can sell one of their spec projects.

Where to sell a screenplay information

I can tell you it’s probably easier to sell somebody on something that they’re looking for and how you’re gonna fill that need. Why just last night there was, there’s a person that’s looking for a script about how Hattie McDaniel and you know they’re actually looking for somebody that’s got one of those laying around.

I just think, sorry folks, but there’s not a lot of people all that probably written about Hattie McDaniel, even though in some respects she’s a very important figure because she’s the first african-american actor to get an Academy Award for her role in the Gone with the Wind.

So in my opinion competition thin on that one, so I actually put together a pretty good pitch and I told the producer ‘hey pal, your chances you finding somebody with a Hattie McDaniel script are slim and none, so I wrote a sexy log line and I told the guy I’m the guy for the job.

This is why I’m the guy for the job because I’ve done the exact same thing several times before where I’ve produced material for people looking for an obscure subject matter. So anyway that’s what I did with InkTip. That’s how I’ve been effective and utilizing that service.

So that’s my take on the four major websites that are allowing you to do pitches to industry folks. I hope that’s helpful to you and I’m going to say goodbye.

Philip Hardy’s Youtube Channel

How To Write A Good Script For A Movie

How to write a good script

Any fool can write a movie script, and I’m sure that the great screenplay writers out there will laugh, but also tend to agree with me. How to write a good script for a movie, there’s the rub. It’s not even twice, or three times as difficult. Think of it like comparing your house with a skyscraper – not only is it going to take much more time to build, but you also have to know how to do it.

Once you get the script format down pat (and it’s not that hard) you need to know what makes a great movie script tick. Everything seems to be in the right place to enhance the story. Is this by chance? Of course not. Successful screenplay writers know exactly where each event should be to drive the movie forward.

Add some snappy dialogue and your half-way there. But, yes, you’ve got it – half-way isn’t enough. The video below takes a look at the script of Collateral, a 2004 film starring Tom Cruise, and examines why it’s so good. If you want detailed help with writing and selling a script, check out the course by James Lamberg – he guarantees that you’ll sell your script. Can’t be bad.

How To Write A Good Screenplay – Collateral Analysis

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Michael. This is Lessons from the Screenplay. At first glance, Michael Mann’s 2004 thriller Collateral might seem like just another run-of-the-mill action movie. But in between its action sequences lies a well-crafted story of personal transformation over the course of a single, terrifying evening.

A cab driver, Max, is taken hostage by a hit-man and forced to drive him around Los Angeles as he eliminates the targets on his list. This set up puts the protagonist and the antagonist in constant, direct conflict, allowing each of them to learn from each other.

How to write a good script for a movie tipsAnd while you might not think that a ruthless murderer would be the best influence, as screenwriter Stuart Beattie says… “The killer’s gotta have a point of view.” “That was always the idea behind him-that he actually had some, you know, some solid viewpoints.”

So today I want to examine why it’s important that an antagonist represent everything the protagonist lacks… To look at how characters filled with contradiction can feel more true-to-life… And show why one of the most important moments of character change doesn’t come at the end of the story, but directly in the middle.

Let’s take a look at Collateral. Living in society is hard. We all have important goals we want to achieve, yet are often afraid to take the necessary steps to attain them. This tension is also found in great characters. As John Yorke writes in his book, Into the Woods: A Five-Act Journey Into Story…

“This conflict between who a character is, and who they want to be, is real life’s gift to drama. Writers have always known that when their characters act in a manner they profess to disapprove of, when they lie, when they self-sabotage and generally act contrary to their conscious proclamations and beliefs, they are far more interesting, far more exciting to write, and feel far more true to life.”

In Collateral, this contradiction is immediately apparent in the protagonist, Max. Max is not your typical cabbie. In his first scene, we see the juxtaposition between him and the other cabbies.

“…some unshaven, swapping stories, counting cash, one stands on the passenger seat to shout over the roof to his pal, spills his coffee, couldn’t care less…

Not Max. His cab is fly. Among cabbies he is GQ. We soon learn that this is because Max doesn’t think of himself as a cab driver.

“…limo company I’m putting together. Island Limos. It’s going to be like an island on wheels. It’s going to be a cool groove, like a club experience. When you get to the airport, you’re not going to want to get out of my limo. So I do this part-time until I get my Benzes off leases, staff up, get the right client list, you know, things like that.”


“An uncomfortable beat.”

This is Max’s facade. He wants to be thought of as someone who runs a successful, A-list limo company, so he presents himself as being just around the corner from making it a reality. After all, the cab driving is just temporary.

“I’m not in this for the long-haul. I’m just fillin’ in. It’s just temporary while I’m getting some things shaped up. This is just temporary”

“How long you been driving?”

“Twelve years.”

“Hardly temporary…”

How to write a good screenplay guideHere we see Max’s contradiction fully rendered. He wants to own a successful limousine company more than anything, yet he’s been driving a cab and making excuses for twelve years. This is his character’s flaw / weakness, and we soon see that his lack of self-confidence and inability to take risks are holding his inner self back.

In his book, John Yorke creates a simple visualization to help demonstrate the relationship between the facade and the inner self over the course of the story. The protagonist begins clinging to a facade— the idea of themselves that they want others to see. But hidden away is their inner self— the part of them they must learn to embrace to become who they need to be. So what drives the character to change?

“What’s your name?”


“Max? I’m Vincent.”

Coming into conflict with the antagonist. A person uniquely suited to push the protagonist in exactly the right direction. And as John Yorke writes…

“The antagonist they fear, then – the ‘monster’ they must overcome – is the embodiment of the very thing lacking in themselves.”

The function of the antagonist is to strip away the facade of the protagonist and force the inner self to rise up. Enter Vincent. A well-dressed man of action who plays by his own rules, he is the anti-Max in almost every way. When Max picks up Vincent and agrees to be his taxi for the evening, he has no idea what he has really signed up for. (loud crash)

“Oh no! You killed him?”

“No. I shot him. The bullets and the fall killed him.”

And while this is clearly the worst night of Max’s life, it’s also, in many ways, the best. Since Vincent is everything that Max isn’t, he directly and indirectly forces Max to stand up for himself and do things he never thought he could. For example, early on, cops stop the cab while there is a dead man in the trunk.

“Get rid of ‘em.”


“You’re a cabby. Talk yourself out of a ticket.”

But Max isn’t able to.

“Get out the cab. Open the trunk. Come on.”

He’s still clinging to his facade and suppressing his inner self. Luckily, the cops get called away before Vincent has to kill them. Later, Max’s boss call over the radio…

“Max? Max? You out there, you son of a bitch?”

To get him to stop calling, Vincent poses as an official, and encourages Max to stand up to him.

“You tell him to stick this cab up his fat ass.”

“I can’t do that. That’s my boss.”


“I need my job.”

“No, you don’t.”

How to write a good script for movie - good advice

This chips away at Max’s facade, and forces the inner self to begin to emerge.

“And next time you pull any shit, I’m… I’m gonna stick this yellow cab up your fat ass.”

Over time, Max even starts to stand up to Vincent.

“Come on, Vincent, give the dude a pass.”

“I’m working here.”

“No, listen. You the one sitting here talking about improvisation. You like the guy, you like how he plays. Let’s just play a little jazz. Come on.”

“Improv… That’s funny, coming from you.”

And when they visit Max’s mom in the hospital, the depth of Max’s facade is embarrassingly exposed.

“Limousine companies.”

“Is that right?”

“He drives famous people around.”

“Famous people. Limousine companies. Now that’s quite an achievement.”

How to write a good script for a movie beginnersAt the end of the scene, Max steals Vincent’s briefcase— a demonstration of his inner self growing in strength. During the entire first half of the screenplay Vincent is destroying Max’s facade and teasing out his inner self. And if we look at the the progression of these two lines, there is a clear trajectory.

The facade is chipped away at and the inner self is forced to rise until something happens— they collide at the midpoint of the story. John Yorke says of the midpoint:

“As a story progresses and need supplants want, the traits that help a character sustain their outer appearance are slowly transformed by the ‘better’ angels within. Need becomes conscious at the inciting incident, is embraced at the end of the second act, and at the midpoint triumphs for the first time. The subconscious has been dredged and brought to the surface to take over.”

The midpoint of Collateral is shortly after Max destroys Vincent’s files.

“You are screwing with my work!”

He needs the list of names to finish the job, so he sends Max in to talk to the dangerous drug lord, Felix.

“You go in there, say you’re me. Score the backups. They’ll be on flash drive or CD.”

“If I don’t pull it off, then…”

“They will kill you.”

“I can’t do this. I can’t.”

This scene begins almost exactly halfway through the film’s runtime. And in this case, the screenplay creates a literal example of the metaphorical change happening in the story structure. To overcome his character’s weakness, Max has needed to be more like Vincent— the embodiment of everything he’s not. Now, his inner self and his facade collide, as he is asked to become Vincent.

“Say it’s Vincent. I’m Vincent.“

Inside the club, Max is threatened by Felix, and it’s clear that the old Max is not cutting it.

“So, tell me Vincent. What do you think?”

How to write a good script 2018So just before the jig is up and Max is killed, his inner self truly takes over and for the first time we really see what he’s capable of.

“I think you should tell the guy behind me to put that gun down.”

“What did you say?”

“I said, I think you should tell the guy behind me to put his gun away before I take it and beat his bitch ass to death with it.”

Soon, Vincent’s words are even coming out of Max’s mouth.

“Improvise. Adapt to the environment. Darwin. Shit happens. I Ching. Whatever, man. We gotta roll with it.”

“Gotta roll with it. Adapt. Darwin. I Ching.”

Max successfully acquires the list and makes it out alive. The midpoint represents an important change for the protagonist. As John Yorke writes…

“A new ‘truth’ dawns on our hero for the first time; the protagonist has captured the treasure or found the ‘elixir’ to heal their flaw.” But the story, obviously, isn’t over. And he goes on to write… “At this stage in the story they don’t quite know how to handle it correctly. The ‘journey back’ is therefore built on how the hero reacts to possessing the ‘elixir’ and whether they will learn to master it in a wise and useful way.”

The first half of the film was getting Max to recognize he can overcome his weaknesses. The question for the second half of the film is…will he? Collateral demonstrates how an antagonist can be designed to bring out the best version of the protagonist.

It shows that a character who expresses the contradictory nature of human beings not only feels more realistic and relatable, but also lends itself to dramatic story structure. And it highlights the importance of the midpoint, the moment when the hero’s inner self truly emerges for the first time.

In the case of Max, he must learn to use this newfound strength to try to survive the rest of this fateful night, which will leave one of the characters alive, and the other nothing more than collateral. Another thing I love about Collateral is that the antagonist goes on a character arc that is similar to the protagonist’s.

The same way Vincent tears at Max’s facade, so does Max tear at Vincent’s. This was something I wanted to talk more about, but unfortunately it didn’t fit the flow of the video. So I took that section of the script and made it a blog post available on my website.

This process was simple and quick because I use Squarespace. Starting with one of their designer templates made setting up my website easy, and adding features like a place to sign-up for my newsletter is always a hassle-free experience. So if you’re looking to share your ideas with a new blog, or simply want a beautiful website to showcase your work, make it with Squarespace.

Head to slash L-F-T-S for a free trial, and when you’re ready to launch, use the offer code L-F-T-S to save 10% on your first purchase of a website or domain. Thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this video. Hey guys! Hope you enjoyed the video.

I just set up a Discord server for my Patreon supporters where we discuss movies we’re watching, share works in progress, and occasionally share cute pictures of our pets. So if you want to support the channel and chat about movies on Discord, head to my Patreon by clicking on the link below. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

How to write a good script for a movie

How To Write A Screenplay For A Movie

How To Write A Screenplay For A Movie

Video Transcript:

How To Write A Screenplay For Beginners

Film Courage: What is the first step in writing a screenplay?

Richard Walter: Getting your butt in the chair and hands on the keys and seeing where it goes. I believe you have to have an outline, but then you have to throw away that outline. It will take paths that are surprises to the artist that created it. I’ve never known anyone who wasn’t surprised by lines of dialogue that characters seem to invent by themselves, twists and turns in the story.

I remember asking Neil Simon “Do you laugh at your own jokes?” And he said “Sure I do, the first time I hear them.” And I think that’s fantastic that he actually hears them. It’s as if someone else is telling them…telling these jokes to him. And that’s the experience of a lot of artists. I wrote…I sold a TWILIGHT ZONE episode years and years go about a muse, some sort of composer of commercial jingles and his muse that proposes…I’ll spare you the story.

How to write a screenplay for a movie pdf


If I told you the story you’d think “Hey, what a good story!” But the thesis underneath it was the notion that muses don’t desert their artists. It’s really the other way around. You have to be available. It’s never easy to get into. And you have to own that. And you have to know that. Not sure that answers ‘What is the First Thing You Do?’

Usually something occurs to you that seems kind of odd. Imagined if this happened or that happened? I remember when our first child was going to be born we went to birth preparation classes which were held at Cedars Sinai. And everybody was supposed to bring a pillow.

how to write a movie outlineSo suddenly outside you know, Beverly Blvd. near San Vincent [in Los Angeles] all of these couples, all of the women are quite pregnant and everybody is carrying pillows “What’s that about?” Imagine you drive past the bus stop and there are like 60 people at the bus stop and they all have accordions.

I don’t know they all have accordions for some reason. “What could that be?” You start to think about that and also you don’t think about it you just sort of let it simmer and cook and the notion will come to you.

And you start to play with it and see how it unfolds. I know there are other people, including people you are talking to I’m sure, who have much more precise steps. Well I reject that in my own work and in the writers that I know. Again, I think that it’s a function of surprise, a lot of art is.

And the important thing for the artist is to stay open to those surprises rather than trying to drag the narrative back to some previous intellectual perception that you had. The very first script I ever wrote and I never did sell it (I wrote it in class) like my own class, except it was cross-town it was Irwin R. Blacker, legendary teacher of screenwriting, now long deceased, but he taught George and Milius and all these people.

And I wrote a story based loosely on a when I worked on the project, the pilot HEAD START program, the war on poverty Lyndon B. Johnson program having to do with support for pre-schoolers in the schools. And there was one social worker (a white guy) advantaged, privileged guy, but he would kind of speak with kind of a fake black accent, this street-ey kind of black jive “Hey Bro…wuz goin’ on?” and he thought that really impressed the black kids he was working with. He was not working with preschoolers.

He had started working with adolescents in another program. And the establishment, the people who ran that program thought “Boy this guy really goes the extra mile!” I thought he was an idiot! That he’s just patronizing and condescending. You know, I’m a jew. Imagine someone trying to make points with me in a Yiddish Accent “Richard….” [imitates a heavy Yiddish accent]. “What a cool guy this is. He talks the talk!”

how to write a movie script for beginnersWell, this guy got killed. He was murdered and I thought well that is something to write a script about. When I wrote the script, I thought it was the social worker’s story (the white guy’s story). But when I was done, it was really the black kids story and I didn’t realize this until I was done with the first draft.

And the smartest thing I did was to leave it alone in that regard. That is to say I rewrote it several times but I let it become the black kids story, which is a much more interesting story. The white guy was a subsidiary character now, not the protagonist of the piece. I never sold that script but I did get top representation.

I got assignments. I got on staff at Universal [Pictures]. A lot of writers don’t get it that when a script doesn’t sell that’s not the end, it’s just the beginning. There are all kinds of rewards that can flow from a script that doesn’t sell. Also a script that doesn’t sell now might sell you know, down the line.

Clint Eastwood made UNFORGIVEN which won the Oscar for best screenplay, best movie 20 years after he acquired that script. So you never really know. Again, if all the work you put into the first draft and you end up realizing that the guy you thought was the protagonist was not the protagonist (it’s not his story at all), that’s not a waste.

That shouldn’t be frustrating. That’s a really good use of that draft. You’ll salvage some of the stuff in the draft but also you’ll have used it to point you in the direction that you need to go. You can’t figure it out in advance, you just can’t. Kushner at the LINCOLN screening…have you seen it?

Maybe you won’t like it at all but it’s impossible not to be astonished at how important it is and engaging it is in the best sense of important. And it is a stupendous screenplay by Kushner. And Tony (Kushner) was saying “A lot of people think you think the thing up and you write it down but the writing down of it is sort of the thinking of it.

There is a nexus between the pen or the keyboard, or the hands on the keyboard that you just never know and you have to live with that uncertainty. You have to sort of rejoice and celebrate and face that uncertainty instead of trying to eliminate the uncertainty.

You look at the studios today and what is less interesting than what they are doing now? They are doing prequels and sequels, items of franchises. What they are trying to do is minimize risk. And they are trying to make it so when an audience goes to see a movie they get what they expect. Well when I go see a movie, I don’t want to see what I expected.

My expectations should be exceeded. I want to be turned upside down. I want to be frightened. I want life to be changed forever. It’s funny, I lectured in September a year ago to an evangelical Christian conference in Chicago, 500 passengers all across the nation on narrative and scripture.

I was never more warmly greeted or generously received. They also payed me very well. But I never had a better time, you know. I’ve given hundreds of speeches all around the world and I never had a better time than I had with all these sweet Christians.

And one of the things I told him was if you wanted to keep people in the Church even after they leave the Church on Sunday morning…that is to say…thinking about the sermon just like after when they leave your movie…I’m still thinking about LINCOLN and I saw it over a week ago and it’s still playing in my head.

how to write a screenplay for a movieAnd the more time that passes, the more I’m into it. It’s not fading, it’s getting stronger. Maybe I’ll go see it again? If you want people to stay in the movie, just like if you want them to stay in the Church, what I told them was you don’t need to make people feel good, you just have to make people feel. Scare them half to death.

Make them cry, you know? I remember walking out of the theater and the doors in Westwood…I was walking down the street past the theater and the doors and people started to steam out and it [the movie] had just broken and I saw somebody I knew but there were a lot of people between us and I sort of indicated…we waived hell and then I pointed to the marquee and shrugged meaning “So what did you think?” and at this point he was able to get up to me and said “….it’s….a….yeah…a worthy…movie I think you should see.”

And I said like I said to you earlier (and this does not make me very popular with people when I tell them what THEY thought of a movie. Or they tell me what they thought of a movie and I tell them “No, that’s not what you thought. What you thought was such and such.”

I understand that this is pretty arrogant but what can I tell you? I’m just reporting honestly, my own reaction. I said to this guy “I hear you saying it’s a worthy movie but in my impression it seems like you didn’t like this movie.” Now I want you to imagine that instead of the picture breaking and people streaming out, they are all crying, everybody is sobbing with tears streaming down their faces.

Well you wouldn’t want to see that movie would you? The hell you wouldn’t! You’d immediately go to see that movie. You’d stop. You’d stand up your date or your next appointment and you’d get in line to see that movie if it could affect people so strongly.

Writing a screenplay for beginners

Interior room. Day a girl walks into the room wearing a trench and black pants. She faces us and begins to talk breaking the fourth wall.

Hi there, my name is Rina and today I’m going to talk to you about how to write a screenplay and discuss some story writing techniques. Check it out. So some of you may have seen my short films and some of you may have not. If you don’t know I’m a filmmaker and I write all of my own content.

I’ve written, directed some short films and a feature film. If you want to check them out then click on one of them here you can check out all of my films on my main youtube channel called Wondering Pictures. If you want to take a look at those before you actually watch this video, just so you know the type of style of writing that I do, you go ahead and pause this video and then go watch them quick and then come back.

Ok, so let’s get started. So before we get into how to write a screenplay, first let’s discuss what exactly is a screenplay. Well a screenplay is a story told with images and sounds in a specific way and a story is simply a series of events. Obviously these events need to lead up to something, like a conclusion or a punchline.

how to write a screenplay outlineBefore you actually start writing you need to know what story you’re going to tell and why you want to tell this story. So that brings you to tip number one to writing a screenplay – know your ending before you actually start writing. If you start writing a story without knowing how it’s going to end, then eventually you’re just going to get lost and your story might fall apart into nothingness.

It’s the same thing as if you’re going to drive somewhere. Would you get into your car and just start driving aimlessly if you didn’t have a destination? No you wouldn’t, because then you would just get lost. That’s where you get into your car you first need to know what address you’re putting in your GPS.

The route that it takes you on will bring you through a bunch of different and interesting locations until you reach your final destination. So it’s the same thing as writing a story. You need to know how it’s going to end, because there needs to be a sense of direction and drive for your story to move forward.

And also the conclusion defines the reason of the entire story. Why all this is happening, what everything is leading up to, a final end.Iif you don’t know your ending then there’s no story, because there’s nothing to be achieved. So make sure that you do have a clear conclusion to your story. The entire movie will then simply be a series of events that lead up to that conclusion.

This technique I find works best with short films because it’s a short enough timeframe to tell an interesting event and to kick it off with a really fun punchline. Number two – creative character with a need. One of my favorite books that my father gave me is the Syd field book ‘Screenwriting According to Syd Field’.

Stories and movies are always about someone, somewhere, doing something. Stories are events and events happen to people, aka characters. Your character needs to be the driving force of events that are happening and in order for your characters to act upon these events he needs to have a drive or a need or a goal.

writing a screenplay for beginnersWho is your character? What does he want? In Birdman, the main character is a former movie star who wants to be relevant again. In the film Castaway the main character just wants to survive and go home. Every good story needs a main character that’s anchored to a desire. He needs to have a want or need that causes him to take action and force the movie forward to its conclusion.

So figure out what your character wants and make sure that that is clear to the audience. Tip number three – once you have a clear story idea, character, and conclusion, write out your outline. Before writing your script is always best to write out a clear outline. With all the series and what with all of the scenes and situations that are going to happen in the movie, this will help make the movie make sense and give a stronger sense of what’s going on scene by scene.

This will also help you organize your thoughts and ideas into a coherent timeline that will form into your story. Tip number four – divide your script into three acts all, divided by plot points. Act one should be the set up of your film. This is where you introduce the audience to their characters and their situations.

After Act one you need your first plot point. This should be an event that just flips your story 180 degrees. It should be something that happens to your character that screws everything up and it’s a problem that he has to solve, or is just something completely unexpected. It should be an unplanned mishap that happens to your character, which therefore brings him to the events that happen.

After which is Act 2. I did think of act 2 as solving the problem, then there needs to be a final plot point at the end of act 2, which is another twist of events. I don’t know what it is that then brings your movie to act 3 which is the conclusion of your film. This Basic structure is called the paradigm and it’s key for screenplay writing.

And lastly, tip number 5 – write your dialogue with gut feeling rather than words, if that makes sense. What I mean by this is that your dialogue should never be direct but rather it should be implicit. You shouldn’t be saying exactly what you want your audience to know. Your characters should talk the way any person would talk. They can be talking about anything. They can be talking about the weather. They could be talking about how their back hurts.

Whatever, but if you want a different meaning or if you want a different emotion coming from that I put that in the description part of writing your screenplay and the character will show it with body language. I don’t think that makes sense. It’s just so cliche. When your characters just say ‘what’s up’, they’re just talking about what’s going on, and they’re talking about what just happened or they’re talking about their feelings, so direct like ‘oh so sad’.

To me, people talk like that in real life and I think it’s so poor when scripts have that. It’s just so corny and cliche. I just hate it, so instead try implying those emotions in the situation. Try describing things through your characters body language, or through his demeanor. For instance, let’s just say this scene is about two characters and one of them is changing a car tire.

And the other guy is scaring him, I don’t know what, he’s like threatening him or whatever. So this guy feels scared. Okay, let’s just say he’s scared. He doesn’t want this guy to beat him up. Let’s just say that’s the scene. In the scene you wouldn’t have the scared character be changing the car tire and then say ‘oh dude you’re scaring me, please don’t hit me.’ You don’t say that.

You can already tell that he’s scared right? Your actor’sgoing to portray this in his body language, so you don’t need to say. Instead, you would have the character drop the tools out of nervousness and be like ‘oh sorry let me get that’. Like, he would feel scared, you know, like the way he says. This shows that he’s nervous and he doesn’t want to piss off this guy. I don’t know if that example was good or not. I don’t know if it makes sense what I’m trying to say but hopefully it makes sense.

Anyways, that’s about it. After completing the video Marina reminds the viewers, who she is and concludes the video.
Marina: ‘I’m marina and those were my tips for screenwriting and storytelling. I hope this video was helpful. If you enjoyed them, please do subscribe to this channel and also check out my short films. You may enjoy them. You may enjoy my writing style, you may not. Maybe you can give me some tips and techniques. Oh and also be sure to follow me on Instagram. Do you have script writing tips? Let me know in the comments below.’
Marina waves goodbye.
Marina: ‘Catch you later.’

How Do You Write A Movie Script?

How to write movie scripts post

Okay, so we have Act 1, Act 2, Act 3. This is your basic story formula. So what happens in Act 1 that makes it different from 2 and 3? Here’s how it works. You have a formula, let’s say it is a boy meets a girl.

And in Act 1 that’s what we’re going to describe. The meeting, what happens to them, who they are and that information. In Act 2 you’re going to have boy loses girl. And here in Act 2 you are going to describe all the problems that they are having in their relationship and he loses her. He’s found her and he’s lost her. In Act 3 boy gets girl back.

How do you write a screenplay outline? The 3 Act Structure

How do you write a movie script 2018That is the basis of your story. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Okay, I can hear you, what you’re saying. You’re saying to yourself well my story’s not a love story. I don’t have any boy meeting girl.

It doesn’t matter and you’ll see how the same format it used for any situation. Let’s say you’re going to write a Western instead. Okay, so you might say – the farmer buys a farm. And, following our formula as we did before.

The farmer, what happens here, he’s going to lose the farm, right? And what’s going to happen in Act 3? I can hear you saying it before I do. The farmer gets the farm back. So you see, it doesn’t matter what your story is. The idea is the same. The format, this is how it follows.

How do you write a screenplay? Creating Great Characters

Okay, so using our formula we’ll now discuss what happens next in Act 1, Act 2 and Act 3. Under Act 1 here’s what I want you to write. The next thing you are going to do once you decide what your concept is going to be, is I want you to introduce your main characters.

This is all what is happening in Act 1. In Act 2, I want you to develop these people and tell us more about them, show us some of the challenges they’re going to face. And, basically build them up. And, in Act 3 I want you to resolve the character’s problems that happened in Act 1 and Act 2.

How do you write a screenplay outline correctlyI want you to resolve them, to bring them to a completion as people and as living beings. You don’t want to make them one dimensional, you want to make them have a life. Challenges they have to face so that the person in Act 1 hopefully will not be the exact same person in Act 2.

They learned their life lesson or they developed some skill or whatever it is you are trying to accomplish with your character. The other thing is, you never want to have more than 6 characters as your main characters.

You want to have 6 to 4, 4 being the best. Why? Because you have to introduce them all. You have to develop problems that they resolve for them all later in Act 3. So, the more main characters you have the more difficult that becomes.

You want to really define these people here in Act 2, their strengths, their weaknesses, what their conflicts are, how they do handle them or how they don’t handle them. And in Act 3, as I said, you’re going to find a way to resolve whatever problems your characters faced. So you see why writing too many characters could become a nightmare.

How do you write a script & what is the right length?

So, we talked about introducing characters in Act 1 and further to that in Act 1 you’re going to introduce your main characters, of course. And then you are going to introduce any other characters that you want to have, all others.

You really don’t want to continue adding new characters all the way through the movie if they have an important part in the film. So that all the characters introduced in Act 1 are all developed and all resolved in part 3. So, you know, take care not to write in too many, too many, too many, extra, extra people.

Especially if you are trying to make a low budget film. You want to concentrate on the important people in the story. How much do you write?, and how does that work? Well, Act 1 is about one quarter of the story. Act 2 is about one half and Act 3 is about a quarter of the story. So Act 2 is the most information there.

How do you write a successful movie script todayWhich is why worldwide writers and films and books and stories always have problems with Act 2 because it’s the longest section. Sometimes it gets the weakest response because there’s so much information to give, it’s sometimes not as exciting and some scripts fall down in Act 2. So you want to keep it really alive in Act 2.

Now, what is one quarter mean? It’s actually probably about 25 pages. This is about 40 pages and this is about 25 pages. OK, so an average script, feature film, is about 90 pages, 90 to 120. Your first time out I would stick with 90.

It also means that writing a script is basically like this, one page of words or dialogue equals one minutes of screen time. One page of dialogue equals approximately 1 page of screen time. Now if you have a lot of action in your narrative, which I will explain in a moment what a narrative is.

If you have a lot of action in there, you have helicopters blowing up, you got love scenes, you got a storm, you got an earthquake. It’s going to be a lot more than the one minute. I’m speaking of just people talking when I say one page a minute. And that’s it, we’ll move on.

What do you need to write a movie script

Film Courage: What advice do you have for a screenwriter when they sit down to start writing a screenplay? What are some things they should have already done before before they type that first page?

Whether it’s outlining, etc.? CSUN’s Eric Edson: They should have beside them a list of the 100 most-recent screenplays that they have read. The published ones, the successful ones…Okay!…I’ll give you a break…make it 50.

You are not ready to write until you are very well-read and well-versed in the literature you are proposing to create. And in this case, it’s screenwriting. I would say systematize your organization. The first thing you have to do…see a really bad habit that most screenwriters have is that they’ve got a great idea and they’re cooking and they just start writing a screenplay “I’m writing screenplay pages. Oh boy!”

How do you write a script and sell it?And it’s fun but it’s going nowhere ultimately without a plan and a very well thought out one. The hard work is in the outline and it has to be a very complete outline and you have to have confidence that all story problems have been addressed. So the first thing you have to do is the dirty work, the outline.

Write yourself…I would say hero-goal sequences because I happen to think and I happen to know that it works. But however you know, beat sheet, (however they do it), have a very complete outline. And then good bloody luck.

It’s a lot of work and then I would also say…yeah, you can write it on a little piece of paper and tape it above your desk, “Write Badly With Pride.” No writer’s block. None. Just write badly with pride. Write a piece of junk. You know, if you haven’t, just sitting there staring at the wall for an hour, okay.

What would you write if you were just really writing trash, really writing garbage? Go for it. Because you’ll never know when the real idea is the depth of what you are doing will be sparked. You just don’t know. You don’t know and there’s so many things you have, the tone. I’m working on and beginning to have some fun at this stage of things.

I have some original screenplays (of course) as it turns out, that never sold. And frequently what happens is the stuff you like the most, that’s the stuff that doesn’t sell. And there are three or four of them that I want to turn into novels before my clock and race have been run. And I started on one some months back.

And I’ve been working a month and a half now on the first five pages. Every day I do…I kind of fell into it, but it’s what Ernest Hemingway did. Everyday he started at page one and that’s what I have to do by instruction of being instructed by him but also by a nature, every day I start at page one.

How do you write a script for a movie guide

You can do that for the first 40 or 50 pages you reach a point, you know it doesn’t work anymore but what you do by that, what you gain by that is do not be in a hurry to zoom onward. Because those first five to ten pages are the most important pages in the whole thing, in a novel, in a screenplay.

You either convince your audience it’s worth to come along (or reader), it’s worth their time to come along for this journey with you or not. Either they trust you by then or they don’t. So in the search for the tone, rhythm, the use of language and character, it’s amazing spending five pages with your central character in this case.

What you can learn about that character and doing the same five pages over and over and over and over. You’ll learn a heck of a lot about your hero. This is invaluable as you move forward. So I would say also, don’t rush.

How do you write a movie script Tips – Film Courage PDF

How To Pitch A Movie Idea To Hollwood

Where to pitch a movie idea

Several prominent script writers say that before even starting to write your script, you should create your log-line? What’s that? Just one or two sentences that describe your movie script. This is the first step in learning how to pitch a movie idea.

The initial query letter that a script writer normally send to an agent or film company is very short, normally just one page. It’s purpose is to hook the reader, whoever it is. It should be quite informal, but extremely well thought out, delivering all the important information about your screenplay.

Pitching A Movie Idea Is Just As Important As A Great Script!

The idea is explored further in the video below by Alan Ury, so I won’t duplicate it here, but I wanted to impress upon you that it is perhaps THE most important writing you will ever do! After all, if the reader doesn’t get past your pitch letter, the movie will not get made – period.

Professional screenplay writers say you should start with the log-line for your movie for a simple reason. It’s hard, very hard, to compress a 90 minute movie into a couple of lines.

It takes skill. It’s also said that, if you can’t do it, you don’t really know your movie well enough. Luckily, if you don’t want to do it, there are plenty of professionals out there who can craft you a stunning letter.

A great way to start is to head over to IMDb and do a little research. Choose any title you like or just browse, and read the movie descriptions. On-wards …

How To Pitch A Movie Idea – Advice From A Professional

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Alan Ury and I’m here to talk to you about the fine art and science of pitching a movie ideaNow what is a pitch? Well a pitch is a sales tool. It’s your verbal tool for convincing someone who’s in a position to move your project forward – agent, producer, studio executive – that this is the kind of project that they’re going to be interested.

In the pitch itself really is your movie and microcosm. What you are trying to do is to compress two hours into basically six minutes, but it’s going to keep the same proportions. It’s still going to be recognizable as the same script.

Now if you have written your script traditionally, you have a first act that’s about 25 to 30 pages that represents about 25% of your screenplay. You’ve got a long second act which is about 50 to 60 pages and 50% of your script. And a third act that is 25 to 30 pages, 25% of your script, so that makes a hundred percent.

Your pitch should do the same thing. Spend about 90 seconds on act one about three minutes on act 2. Act 2 being the place we all know where scripts go to die, and then another 90 seconds on Dec 30. You do not want to forget act 3.

Movie In A Month - Pitching A Movie Idea

Another way to look at the pitch is comparing it to the trailers that you see in movies. It’s the same thing. It’s a pitch. They are trying to pitch that movie to you in the audience, to get you to buy it. So what do they show you? They show you all the good stuff.

They show you all the action sequences. They show you all the conflict. They show you all of the spectacle. If it’s a comedy, they should they show you the big laughs. Sometimes you go out of a trailer and you say ‘can there be anything left in the movie. I think I’ve seen the whole thing.’

If they’ve done that in two and a half minutes, they’ve done a great job and you’ve got six minutes to do it. Put in all the good stuff because that’s what’s going to sell them. So when you are starting your pitch you’re going to sit down either in front of a live person or perhaps you’ll be videotaping your pitch. You want to look right into the camera, right into your eyes and you begin.

You begin with ‘hello, my name is and I have a … ‘. What is it? What is the genre of your film? Is it a romantic comedy? Is it a horror picture, thriller, science fiction, space opera? Whatever it is you want to tell them because you want to set expectations.

How to pitch a movie idea presentation

Nobody goes to a movie without knowing what kind of a movie it is and no studio executive is going to buy a picture without knowing the kind of movie it is either. Most producers in fact gravitate towards certain kinds of films.

If you’re going in to pitch Judd Apatow’s company, you’re going with a romantic comedy. They’ll probably listen to you because they produce romantic comedies. You go in with, you know Prometheus part two, and they’ll look at you blankly and thank you for coming and throw you out.

Because they don’t do big science fiction films. So state your genre. Set the expectations. Give your title. Hopefully, you have spent a lot of time thinking about the title. Titles are extremely important in movies.

Studios, they spend hundreds of thousands of that millions of dollars testing various titles because titles sell. Then the next thing you’re going to do is you’re going to say the logline. So I’ve got this picture this kind of picture. It’s name is … and it’s a story about …

Now a logline is basically one or two sentences. Some people say it is the TV Guide version. All you get is the little, the little descriptor. Now a good blog line is going to have three elements. The first element is a problem and a hero, and that problem is something that the hero cannot just walk away from without suffering severe consequences.

How to pitch a movie idea or screenplay

There have to be stakes. If they’re not stakes,s if there’s not something to win, if there’s not something to lose, then we don’t care.

Number two – you need a wild factor and that’s anything that is new unusual, unique to twist whatever it is that makes your script different from every other script that’s ever been made.

And every other script that’s going to be made and every other script that’s out there circulating in Hollywood right now. What is the ‘wow’ factor? Why do we go ‘wow I wish I thought of that‘. The third thing you need, and this is really, really important, you will find it in every successful movie out there from 1920 to today, and that is an element of irony.

There must be something inherent in the hero’s problem that is the antithesis of what that hero naturally stands for. Something that runs against some that runs against the grain that puts that person all automatically in the worst possible position.

For example if I’m in an auto accident, and I’m horribly disfigured, no one’s going to know the difference. That’s not much of a movie but if the world’s top fashion model is in a horrible auto accident, is permanently disfigured and now has to deal with living life, that’s interesting.

That’s ironic. If I get cancer, it’s terrible, that’s my problem. If the world’s top oncologist gets cancer, he’s a horrible patient, that’s a movie. It has to have irony. Now so what is the logline like? Well I’m going to use for an example the Avengers, which at the time of this recording has been out for a few weeks and has made something like a hundred trillion dollars worldwide.

So it’s going to be kind of a benchmark film that Hollywood is going to be trying to emulate for a long long time. So the logline for that is, it should be something like ‘a top-secret spy organization recruit six of the world’s greatest superheroes to fight an extra dimensional megalomaniac who has come to earth to enslave the entire planet. But before they can fight this extraterrestrial foe, they first have to learn to stop fighting each other’.

Simple right? Okay, so does it have those three elements? Does it have hero or heroes with a problem they can’t just walk away from? Yes, you’ve got six heroes and the problem is the extra-terrestrial megalomaniac who’s going to destroy the earth. So it’s not a problem they can just walk away from.

There are stakes; it’s the entire planet! Is there a ‘wow’ factor? Well yeah. I think you’ve got six superheroes. You’ve got a top-secret spy organization. You’ve got an extraterrestrial megalomaniac yet, so that’s pretty much a ‘wow’ factor, and then finally is there irony?

Yes, that’s in the last sentence ‘before they can fight the megalomaniac from outer space they have to learn to stop fighting each other’. They are their own worst enemies and that’s the irony of the story. If they all work together beautifully at the beginning, it would be over in half an hour.

Where to pitch a movie ideaAll you’d have is Act three. The first two acts are about them not getting along and that’s the irony. So now you’re ready to tell your pitch. Now the important thing to remember when pitching is to tell your story, don’t explain your story. 90% of people who are doing this for the first time make the mistake of explaining step by step.

They why they wrote the story, what the meaning of the story is, what the theme of the story is, why the story is important and then they talk about the various characters. This character means this, this character means that, these are the relationships the character has.

That is not telling the story. Instead, think of your story like a fairy tale. A fairy tale you’re telling to a four-year-old child. How do you do that? Once upon a time in a far-off Kingdom, there existed a fairy princess who was trapped in a gigantic castle. Trapped there by an evil witch, Yatta Yatta Yatta Yatta, but you’re telling the story.

You’re setting a place and a time. Where does your story take place? What’s the first thing we see when the movie begins? Is it opening in Manhattan? Are you in a coffee shop in Rome? Are you in a spaceship, you know somewhere out in outer space?

When are you? Let us know. It’s very important have the character in motion already. The character should have a problem. The character is doing something. It could be something very minor, trying to get all of your kids to school on time, or it’s a guy getting ready for a big sales presentation.

Or it’s a guy training to meet the the greatest karate master of all time. Whatever – the character is trying to do something and the character already has a problem. That’s why we start to connect with that person. Then lead us to the beats of the first act, until you introduce the inciting incident.

Whatever it is that comes crashing down on the hero and changes that hero’s plans. Then the hero has to step back. As we evaluate the situation, start a whole new set of plans which then takes us into Act two. The problem has become much much larger.

How is the character feeling in these times? Is the character angry? Is the character frustrated? You know, is is a character in a murderous rage? What is going on in the character’s head. You just want to drop these in. You don’t want to dwell on it but weave that into the story.

How do i pitch a movie ideaNow act 2 as I said earlier is traditionally where screenplays go to die. What happens is, people have a great time setting out the act 1 but then they don’t follow through. They don’t know how to develop it, so try to think of it.

Your second act is actually two acts. The first quest and the second quest. Every movie you see usually follows the structure. So instead of 30 pages, 60 pages, 30 pages; it’s 30 pages ,30 pages, 30 pages and 30 pages. Everything is in quarters.

At the beginning of act 2 a new plan has been created due to the inciting incident and the change in that person’s life and now we follow that character as he or she is trying to reach that new goal. There is a series of setbacks. There are false starts. There are small triumphs.

There are great losses. You’ve got the antagonist at work. Never forget the antagonist. The villain is as important to the hero is any other character in the picture. And then by the midpoint of the story, page 60, the first quest is over. Either the hero has succeeded or the hero has failed.

If the hero has failed, the hero needs a whole new plan now because things are getting worse. If their hero has succeeded it doesn’t matter because they didn’t work. Anyway, he missed something. Something there. Is it the stakes have escalated far beyond what that person originally anticipated?

So now we have the second act. The second quest, and against the traditional structure is that here the character’s life completely falls apart. Until by the end of act 2 the character is in a position that is worse off than he or she was at the beginning of the story.

This is the the black moment. All is lost and then something happens. They learn something. Somebody steps forward. They get a new weapon. They get some new knowledge that allows them to strap on the gun belt and get ready to confront the bad guy, the antagonist in act.

Act 3 is what the movie is all about. This is what we’ve been building towards and it’s a big one. This is Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed battling it out. This is Luke and you know Luke Skywalker. It’s at the Death Star. This is sheriff Brody and the shark. This is the big battle and it goes on and it goes on.

How to pitch a movie script and get paid

There’s back and forth, up and down. It looks like the hero is down. The hero comes back. Something happens – ‘boom’ – it’s over. Either the hero survives, is triumphant or in some cases the hero loses, but hopefully there’s a moral victory, that at the end you say ‘okay’.

And how does the story end? What’s the last thing we see? It is their great last line. We’ve talked about those great last lines? Do you have one in your script? If you have one, that’s it, it’s over – curtain. Now a lot of people ask ‘should I give away the ending’?

There are some screenplay gurus who say ‘no’. You said this is the hook, to get the agent to read the script. I think it’s a really lousy idea. This is not a third grade book report you’re trying to picture, if you want to attend, you’ve got to read the book.

No, you want these people to make a hundred million dollar investment in your vision. You’ve got to give them every reason to say ‘yes’ and remove every possible reason for them to say ‘no’. Give them everything you’ve got and that includes the ending because that’s how the audience is going to remember your film.

You’re going to tell the greatest story out there and if the ending falls flat (and we’ve all seen those movies where the ending falls flat) it doesn’t matter how good everything else was. It stinks, so give them the end and give them a good ending. They will be very, very appreciative. They’ll be very, very happy. More info.

How to pitch a movie idea PDF