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Dirty Dancing is one of those great movies that still delights us after 31 years. Taking place over one summer in the Catskills, themes of honor, loyalty, idealism, class and romantic love gives this movie depth that proves it’s more than just a dance flick. Not only are the two leads, Baby (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze) compelling, well-rounded characters on their own, together, they are unstoppable and their chemistry on the dance floor has yet to be replicated in any modern film. The dancing, the music, the social commentary all come together in this gem of a film that almost didn’t happen.

In the latest episode of the podcast To Live and Dialogue in LA, Aaron Tracy chats with the self-described “indefatigable” screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein about writing the script and her fight to keep the music (and the abortion) in the movie. 

1. Fight for what you believe in.

Most of us love to sing along to “The Time of My Life,” an original song, written for Dirty Dancing, but most of the other music in the film came from Bergstein’s old 45s she listened to as a kid. She chose every song for a reason and wrote them into the script – a risky idea considering screenwriters almost never get to pick music for their movie. Despite Bergstein being a producer on the film, she admits having to fight tooth and nail to get the songs she wanted. In the podcast, she says to Tracy, “Would you like to see the scars [on my body]? I had to crawl over broken glass!” She says the studio wanted a pop artist like Fine Young Cannibals or the Blow Monkeys to record songs. “I said ‘No,’ you’ll ruin the movie,” she said. Eventually, she won out and got the music she wanted. 

2. It’s not enough for two people to fall in love.

Every character, whether it’s a drama or comedy, needs to have a wound – something that makes them vulnerable. But they also need something that makes them noble (this can be learned through the movie). 

“[Baby and Johnny] are two people with honor and a crack inside that wants to heal by making the world better. It’s a love story but it’s also about honor. If you reach out your hand and behave with honor, at some point the world will turn on its axis and that’s what happened with Baby. She was very brave, she reached out her hand and Johnny, who believed in nothing, saw someone behave with absolute selfless honor toward him and that’s what gave him the courage to pull her back,” says Bergstein.    

3. Every character needs an arc.

Surprisingly, Bergstein says Johnny has a bigger arc than Baby. “He changes more than she does.” Bergstein goes on to say that at a certain point Baby loses faith that the world is a good place, but it’s Johnny who tells her she’s wrong. “They reverse roles,” she says.  Johnny becomes the optimist and brings Baby back to the idealism she had once before.  

4. Social class matters. 

According to Bergstein, there are multiple social classes at the Catskills resort.

“There’s the staff, there’s the middle-class guests, there’s the working class – there are two kinds of staff: college boys working their way through law school and the kids who do the yard work and go back to filling station. There’s Max, the owner. There’s the doctor, Baby’s father who does not have much money but is there as a guest of the owner. Then there are the richer people above like Vivian’s husband.”

Class matters because it informs character. Each character from a different social class will behave differently, and when they interact, there are often predisposed or unconscious biases. Understanding the social class your own characters are from helps to create dynamic, complicated characters. 

5. Find filmmakers that get you.

Everybody hated the script when it first made rounds, Bergstein admits. 

“It was just when Flashdance and Footloose and Saturday Night Fever [had come out].” She says she thinks it would have been a disaster if a big studio had released Dirty Dancing because, “None of those [other] films are reality-based. They would have turned [Dirty Dancing] into one of those fables.”  

6. Maybe sending music with your script isn’t a great idea.

Bergstein admits she began sending a cassette tape with the script because she thought if people could listen to the tape of 60s music while they read the screenplay – or at least on the drive home – they would be as charmed by it as she was and see the value in making the movie. No big studios bought the script but after a few months, “I would get a little note, often from the secretary of the man who turned it down, saying, ‘He’s been playing [the cassette] in his car and it’s worn out, could you send him another cassette please?’” 

7. Keep excessive description out of your screenplay. 

It’s kind of hard to believe but Bergstein had 60 pages of dance description for her screenplay. Not knowing if it’s okay to put this much description in the script, Bergstein called one of the writers of Saturday Night Fever to get his advice. “I called him up… and said I’m writing a dance-musical and I have one very quick question… Did you put the dance description in the script? He said, ‘What?’ I said I have 60 pages of dance description and I don’t know whether I’m supposed to put it in the script or not.” He said, ‘I don’t have time for you!” and slammed down the phone.” Being treated so poorly really hurt Bergstein’s feelings. She says she’ll talk to anyone who calls her so she can avoid making someone else feel that way. 

8. Handling controversial topics can be tricky. 

Bergstein was very concerned about the abortion scene because she wanted the audience to be clear that Penny suffered a botched abortion. “I put a lot of purple language in: dirty knife, folding table, screaming in the hall. I didn’t want people to think she had an appendectomy that went badly.” 

When an acne medication company wanted to sponsor the film, Bergstein was told the abortion scene would have to be cut out. “I said, ‘I’d be so happy to do that, but it’s the reason for the dancing, it’s the reason Baby meets Johnny, that she learns to dance, they have sex and fall in love, it’s the reason that her father gets involved, without [the abortion] the whole story falls apart.” The sponsor dropped out and the abortion scene stayed in. 

Bergstein says, that if you want to put a moral message in your story, “Make sure it’s written into the whole story and it’s the reason the story takes place, otherwise it will end up on the cutting room floor.”

9. Bergstein’s advice to writers.

When things look tough and you’re feeling discouraged, “Just pick yourself up off the floor again, and again, again, and again. Something that is enormously popular seems inevitable but it never is. The only way it will be inevitable is if it’s a copy of something that’s been done before and who wants to do that? If it’s something nobody has done before you’ll get a lot of pushback and misery. Staying power is all. I will be indefatigable, sit in the face of scorn, I will fight… Make sure [screenwriting is] your ambition because it’s an awful lot of work.” 

Listen to the podcast on iTunes here.

Shanee Edwards graduated from UCLA Film School with an MFA in Screenwriting and is currently the film critic for SheKnows.com. She recently won the Next MacGyver television writing competition to create a TV show about a female engineer. Her pilot, Ada and the Machine, is currently in development with America Ferrera’s Take Fountain Productions. You can follow her on Twitter: @ShaneeEdwards

For all the latest ScreenCraft news and updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The post 9 Big Takeaways from DIRTY DANCING Screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein appeared first on ScreenCraft.

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Screenwriters have high expectations when it comes to reading script coverage of their own screenplays — as they should — but it’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t expect from it in the end.

There are two kinds of script coverage — the kind written by studio, agency, management company, and production company readers and the kind that you pay for through a consultant or service.

The first is very difficult to get your hands on. Those types of Hollywood entities don’t like to share what’s behind closed doors. And even if you could get your hands on it from a generous development executive or producer, most of the time it’s better of not knowing what the reader said about your script. Direct coverage like that isn’t written for the writer. It’s written for the Hollywood boss. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

The second kind is going to be the most helpful. Consultants and consulting services — which include coverage you pay for through major contests, competitions, and fellowships — are developed for the writer, written under the specific guidelines of offering constructive criticism (see below) so that you can make your script better.

That said, here are the true expectations you should and shouldn’t have when it comes to getting script coverage done for your screenplays.

It Is a Tool, Not a Crutch

Despite its worth, script coverage should never be used as a crutch. Too many screenwriters spend too much money purchasing coverage package after coverage package for each draft of each script they write.

Script coverage is an excellent tool, especially if you pick the right consultants and services. When you have industry professionals writing coverage for your script, you’re getting a plethora of knowledge and experience from an individual that has likely read hundreds of screenplays and has a keen eye for what works and what doesn’t.

This is valuable information that you can utilize to better your work.

So use it — as a tool. It’s helpful and can make a huge difference. But use it wisely and never rely on it as a crutch.

It Is an Opinion, Not the Definitive Answer

In the end, yes, the coverage is just an opinion — no matter how experienced the reader is. Iconic screenwriter William Goldman once said, “Nobody knows anything.” It’s so true. Remember that all studios passed on Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., and Back to the Future.

So always remember that whether the coverage is favorable, unfavorable, or somewhere in between, it’s just an opinion in the end. But that opinion may have some fantastic points that you should consider.

Too many screenwriters believe the coverage they pay for is the be all, end all. If the reader says it’s brilliant, that doesn’t mean you’re sitting on a surefire hit. If they say it’s horrible, that doesn’t mean you’ve written a piece of s**t.

But you always have to ingest what they say — good and bad — and see for yourself, as a writer, whether or not certain points made make sense.

It Is for Pointers, Not Proofreading

Don’t expect a word-by-word and line-by-line proofread with your script coverage. That’s not what the reader is there for. They are not proofreaders looking to “mark your script” with every grammatical, spelling, and format error from cover-to-cover.

The essential details are the concept, story, characters, plot, characterization, pacing, tone, atmosphere, marketability, and catharsis, to name a few.

Less important are the homophones you missed, the words you spelled wrong, and the formatting you used incorrectly. To be quite honest, those issues should have been taken care of before you sent the script out to anyone.

However, the reader is there to point these issues out in a broad stroke notes. But if you want a full proofread, ask a friend or hire an editor.

It Is for Constructive Criticism, Not Glowing Reviews

If your script is that good, they’ll let you know. But don’t have high expectations that most novice screenwriters have — that the reader will dazzle them with kudos about how good the writing really is.

Most screenwriters believe their work is brilliant when they start out. The smarter and more prepared ones think otherwise and know that they’re paying for coverage so that they can get constructive criticism to help them evolve into better writers — and to help develop their scripts into cinematic experiences worth glowing reviews.

If you can’t take the heat in the script coverage kitchen, don’t pay to be in there in the first place. But understand that the ability to take notes and feedback is vital to your success as a professional screenwriter.

It Is for Inspiration, Not Answers

You can’t rely on any ready to fix your screenplay for you. Many have high expectations that the reader is there to do just that.

This is the pitfall that screenwriters fall into when it comes to coverage being the aforementioned crutch. They hold the reader and the coverage so high, to the point that every negative thing written in the coverage has to be fixed and the only person that can fix it is a professional reader. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Readers are there to point out what works, what doesn’t, and how the market may react based on current trends and expectations. And beyond that, they are there to ask questions and offer some minor options that writers could be inspired by to find the answers they seek.

You may not agree with everything they write. They may not understand everything you write. But they are there to help guide you on the many possible paths that your screenplay could take.

If you read any coverage that outright dictates where the story should go and what the characters should say and do, run like the wind and find a better consultant or service.

The best coverage offers an educated opinion and dangles a few possible solutions.

Read ScreenCraft’s How to Write (and Assess) Amazing Screenplay Coverage and Feedback!

Script coverage is a reliable tool that you can utilize to better your writing. You just need to manage your expectations to get the most out of it.

Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.

He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies

For all the latest ScreenCraft news and updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The post What You Should and Shouldn’t Expect From Script Coverage appeared first on ScreenCraft.

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What are some of the most common mistakes screenwriters make when writing dialogue scenes?

In most screenplays, there are at least a couple of lines of dialogue in every scene. Which means that screenwriters are always susceptible to the many common mistakes made when writing and formatting dialogue exchanges and the scene description in between.

Here we have an example of a dialogue-heavy scene, written with a number of mistakes that we’ll soon point out. The page count is roughly one and three quarters.

So the scene has some funny moments of back-and-forth between two characters in the same location, along with two lines of dialogue from two characters not directly in the same location.

It’s a short scene, which is good — consisting of only a page and three quarters. But let’s take a closer look at what some may deem as, at the very least, a passable scene.

1. Avoid Using Parenthesis as Acting Directions

In the opening lines of the scene, the writer chooses to use the parenthesis as a way to direct the potential actor’s performance by inserting an adverb to denote the type of emotion that the line of dialogue should be delivered with.

This type of screenplay element should be avoided when you’re writing you’re dialogue. It’s tempting, we know. You, the screenwriter, have a sense of what emotions are behind the words because you hopefully see the scene within your mind’s eye and are trying to communicate that visual in the best way possible.

However, film is a collaborative medium. A director and actor often work together to enhance the words that screenwriter’s write. So in this case, remorsefully might not be the better choice compared to a possible actor’s note of performing the line with a sense of distaste.

Being remorseful and having distaste towards someone are two very different emotions and types of line delivery.

In short, don’t limit the dialogue by assigning a specific adverb and performance direction.

Yes, there are times when a particular type of line is appropriate to the story and must be performed in a certain way. But using parentheses to direct the actor or convey a specific emotion should be used few and far between. Too many writers overpopulate their dialogue with those types of parenthetical direction. It’s more often than not a waste of prime screenplay real estate.

Read ScreenCraft’s How White Space Makes Your Screenplays Better!

2. A Beat Is Not a Pause

The writer chooses to use the parenthesis to convey a pause in line delivery by using the term beat. This is an acting reference that has many different types of meanings, only one of which implies a pause.

Once again, the writer is defeating the nature of film collaboration by trying to dictate where an actor should pause in their performance. That’s not the screenwriter’s job.

Screenwriters need to leave that type of interpretation to both the reader who reads their script and the eventual actor that performs their dialogue.

If the story and plot call for the character to pause their dialogue for whatever good reason, write (pause) instead of (beat). Or better yet, insert a line of scene description that explains the reason behind the pause.

3. Don’t Overuse the Ellipse

The ellipse (…) can be used in place of writing pause within a parenthesis, yes. But with that knowledge, most screenwriters are tempted to overuse them to, once again, direct the actor’s performance of the line.

In our example, Jack’s first line of dialogue utilizes multiple ellipses to denote a confused demeanor, complete with pauses between words as he searches for what to say.

To add to the mess, the writer has also decided to include (confused). This is not only redundant, but both the parenthesis and ellipse are entirely unnecessary.

Beyond the collaboration issue, multiple ellipses break the flow of the dialogue. It’s overly formatted screenwriting that does more harm than good.

The reader’s interpretation of the scene doesn’t need to be spelled out by pauses and hesitations. The nature of the character and the situation they are in will inform the reader how the line is being delivered.

4. An Ellipse Is Not Used for Interruptions

Screenwriters also make the mistake of ending lines of dialogue with an ellipse, trying to communicate that the character has been interrupted by another. They also use a parenthesis (see below) to communicate that below as well.

Interruptions as such should be formatted using two dashes at the end of a sentence (–) and two dashes at the beginning of the interrupting dialogue.

When you end a line of dialogue with an ellipse, the true purpose is to denote that the character is trailing off in their words or waiting for someone to finish what they are saying.

5. If You’re Going to Have the Characters Swear, Have them Swear

The writer chooses to use symbols to portray what would be an F-bomb within the dialogue (see above image).

Don’t worry. You’re not going to offend the reader, producer, executive, director, or actor. They’ve read and said plenty of strong language in this industry. And if you’re not comfortable writing it, maybe the word isn’t necessary.

Read ScreenCraft’s How Writers Can Use the F-Word More Wisely!

From a characterization standpoint, it sometimes is necessary though. Don’t be shy and don’t make it difficult for the reader to decipher which swear word to choose from. There are so many.

6. Delete Lines that are Underlined and in CAPS

We understand the meaning behind underlining lines of dialogue and putting them in all CAPS — you want to communicate that the line is to be said with force or should be accentuated in some way, shape, or form. When screenwriters use CAPS in dialogue, they’re trying to make sure we know the character is yelling.

As always, the problem is that too many writers use this type of formatting excessively. Any time a character says something important, it’s underlined. Any time a character is supposed to be yelling it’s in CAPS.

Wrong. It’s overly busy formatting and overly-used, which breaks the flow of the dialogue and, on a lesser note, hurts the reader’s eyes (especially the CAPS).

You can use exclamation points to dictate whether or not a character is yelling. That’s kind of the point of the exclamation point — they are exclaiming something, which is defined as crying out suddenly, especially in surprise, anger, or pain.

7. But Don’t Overuse Exclamation Points and Other Punctuations

One exclamation point or question mark is enough. We’ll even give you two on occasion if you want to further convey emphasis. But when screenwriters unload ridiculous amounts of them after a line of dialogue, it’s getting to be too much — and looks very unprofessional.

8. Know the Difference Between “Voice Over” and “Off Screen”

Now, there’s some gray area here because some readers have different definitions and preferred usages of the two.

Voice Over (V.O.) should primarily be utilized for narration, meaning that the Voice Over dialogue is attributed to a character that is not only not on screen but also isn’t directly involved with the present scene at all. They are literally narrating the scene.

Off Screen (O.S.) should primarily be utilized for anyone that is literally not present on the screen but is technically in the vicinity of the characters that are. This could mean that they are just off camera (you can also use the more specific O.C. for that), hiding or hidden behind something, or are located in an adjacent location to the one seen on screen.

The gray area lies within the cinematic realm of phone calls, radios, and other devices that can bring Off Screen characters into the present on-screen scene via their voice.

Read ScreenCraft’s Screenwriting Basics: How to Write Cinematic Phone Conversations!

In our example, Jack’s Mom is just upstairs and is yelling out her dialogue down from an adjacent room. The Eighth Grader (Timmy) is connected to the scene through Jack’s gaming headphones. (V.O.) is the improper way to incorporate them in the seen because Voice Over denotes narration.

This is a very common and misunderstood element of screenplay format that even seasoned writers forget or don’t understand. But from a reader’s perspective, Voice Over is narration and Off Screen means that the character is still connected to the scene, but just isn’t physically present within it.

9. There’s No Need to State the Obvious

Whether you are using parenthesis or a line of scene description, there is absolutely no reason to state what is evident to the reader.

In the original example, (she can’t believe it) isn’t necessary. It’s obvious from the dialogue that “she can’t believe it.”

When Jack is yelling up to his mom, that is communicated through the exclamation points. The writer doesn’t need to include (yelling).

In the scene description, the writer states the obvious by detailing that she’s waking up to the fact that she’s either dating a man-child or something worse. The previous lines of dialogue point to this already.

Writers often feel the need to overexplain things to the reader. Readers read dozens of scripts per month, as do agents, managers, producers, executives, directors, and actors. They’ll get it. And if you don’t spell it out for them once (let alone twice), they’ll more than likely assume it.

10. Avoid Any and All On-the-Nose Dialogue and Description

On-the-Nose is often defined in writing terms as words lacking in subtext, too obvious, and/or having neither subtlety nor sophistication.

If a character is feeling angry, this shouldn’t be accompanied by an obvious line of dialogue that states just that. “I’m so angry at you right now!” That’s bad dialogue.

In our example above, Kate offers on-the-nose dialogue that just isn’t necessary. The reader will pick up on the subtext of the scene that clearly communicates that she has finally realized what she has gotten into with this relationship.

The writer also uses scene description for this very same piece of information.

Here is a rewritten version of the scene that better adheres to the ten points we’ve covered so far. It “clocks in” at a page and one quarter, one half of a page less than the original version. While it may not seem like that much, consider those lousy writing habits spread throughout the whole screenplay.

We have eliminated the direction of the actor, beats, unnecessary ellipses, incorrectly utilized ellipses, unnecessarily underlined dialogue, unnecessary CAPS, overused punctuation, improperly used Voice Over, over-obvious parentheticals and lines of scene description, and all on-the-nose scene description and dialogue.

We also showcased some examples of when you can use parentheses.

The rewritten version uses parenthesis to point out that Timmy’s dialogue is coming from a specific place. This avoids the initial confusion that a reader may have as they try to place where that unseen character dialogue is coming from. We do the same for Jack’s Mom as well to denote that she is calling from upstairs, which is an adjacent room to current scene location.

And lastly, we use parenthesis to communicate that Jack is saying that very last line to himself. A perfect example of a choice you can make that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re directing the performance. Instead, you’re detailing the context of the line and who it is directed towards.

Eliminating these ten unnecessary screenplay elements from your screenplays can save you multiple pages in the long run. It can also help with the read of your script, creating a better-paced screenplay and cinematic experience for the reader. And your dialogue scenes will flow so well.

It’s not about being nitpicky. It’s about getting you to the tightest draft possible.

Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.

He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies

For all the latest ScreenCraft news and updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The post 10 Things to Delete From Your Dialogue Scenes Right Now appeared first on ScreenCraft.

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Conflict is the cornerstone of compelling drama. We might have engaging characters, imaginative locations, and dialogue that crunches in the actor’s mouths. However, if everything goes right for every character in our story, if no one ever does anything to upset anyone else, or if every decision the characters choose represents the pinnacle of wisdom, audiences will be left bored, convinced the story was unrealistic. It takes time for some writers to learn to be mean to their characters, putting them in the most diabolical of circumstances. Yet, only when we learn to trap our heroes and heroines in impossible predicaments can we know the satisfaction of seeing an audience that can’t stop watching what we’ve created. 

While conflict is universal to story, the way it should be executed in a given medium is not. Both books and screenplays originate on the page, but scriptwriters know that their work will ideally transcend the written word and become an experience for a viewer’s eyes and ears. The conflict created must be visual – something the audience can see. Those whose stories are written for books, on the other hand, know that their medium gives them the capacity to explore more deeply a character’s inner world and what that character is actually thinking, as well as the external conflicts common to both literature and film. 

Have you written a book with cinematic appeal? We’d love to read it. Enter the 2018 ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Contest here.

Regardless of what medium you are working in, here are three ways to increase the conflict in your story, with specific examples of how writers of both film and books have used these motifs.

1. LIMIT TIME

The stakes of a story always feel higher if the characters are working against a deadline that must be met. Stories set in high schools often include goals that must be accomplished before the last day of school or the prom. In some stories, a time limitation involves a character trying to get their hands on a sacred object before their enemy does. In others, there is a variation on the classic scenario of a character trying to defuse a bomb before it explodes. Knowing that a story has a definitive finish line is comforting to audiences. 

In the cinematic realm, we see Miguel face the sand in the hourglass in Coco, where he must return to the Land of the Living before sunrise or he will become one of the dead. Similarly, if Cinderella doesn’t accomplish her goal and make it home before midnight, her disguise and royal ruse will disappear. Marty McFly is also racing against a literal ticking clock in Back to the Future. If he doesn’t reconnect his parents, get his time machine working, and hit an electric wire going 88 MPH at the exact moment the clock strikes 10:04, he will be stuck in 1955 forever. More recently, we’ve seen Ron Stallworth race against the moment that the KKK will figure out he is actually an undercover African American police officer in BlacKkKlansman. In this film, the impending revelation is the clock being raced against. 

In Michael Connelly’s best-selling book, The Black Box, homicide detective Harry Bosch battles his own 48-hour rule. Most homicides are solved in the first 48 hours, according to Harry. Cases not solved in that window usually aren’t solved at all – something he cannot abide. In George Barr McCutcheon’s Brewster’s Millions, Montgomery Brewster must spend one million dollars, with tight restrictions on just how the money can be spent, in thirty days in order to inherit seven million dollars. If he fails, he loses everything. In a similar bet, Phileas Fogg must circumnavigate the globe in eighty days in the appropriately titled Jules Verne classic, Around the World in Eighty Days

2. LIMIT SPACE

Constructing a story where the protagonist and antagonist never have to be in the same room can make the stakes feel low. Forcing the central characters into the same realm leads to imminent conflict, especially if we know only one character can emerge. Conflict also rises whenever the physical, relational, or emotional space a character can accomplish her or his goal in is compressed. 

In film, we see Owen and Claire, in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,  tasked with rescuing the remaining dinosaurs on a small island before a volcano destroys everything on it – a key to the conflict being the small island. Icebergs are used to similar effect in Ice Age. Like with many prison movies, the walls of an institution close in around Andy Dufresne, where his physical and emotional safety are at growing risk in The Shawshank Redemption. The films in The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise use pirate ships in the same fashion, limiting the amount of space characters have to escape their archenemies and accomplish their goals. 

On the page, Edgar Allen Poe’s classic The Pit and the Pendulum uses physical space to inch the protagonist closer and closer to a deep pit, combining the aforementioned element of a time limit in the form of a pendulum. David Schickler uses an elevator to enclose the space around one of his characters, trapping them physically and emotionally in Kissing in Manhattan. William Mumford more dramatically encloses space with the use of an imperceptibly contracting iron torture chamber in his short story, The Iron Shroud. Of course, no mention of compressed space in literature would be complete without mentioning Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, where Ishmael confines himself to the tight quarters of a fishing ship after becoming bored with the space on the shore. 

3. LIMIT PATHS FORWARD

Perhaps the most powerful tool we can use to raise the stakes of a story is limiting a character’s options. The more a character feels trapped, the more we as the audience clench the edges of our chair. Limiting the options that allow the character to move forward is one effective way of accomplishing this. Many stories begin with a character having an unlimited number of options. As the narrative progresses, those options begin to be quickly and methodically be removed. Finally, the character is left with two options that both feel like losing propositions in some respect.  Sometimes, even one of those options is then also removed. When faced with two difficult choices, clever writers should find a way to provide the character with a third path that had not been clear before.

Determining a character’s choice, in the end, can be as difficult for the writer as it would be for the character making that choice in real life. Of course, few of us make these choices alone. We rely on wise mentors and allies. But what happens when we remove these resources for our character as well? Most of us can face life’s troubles more easily if we know we have friends and family standing by to walk through suffering with us. Removing these aids can raise the stakes significantly. Allies can be eliminated through death. Other times they are jettisoned through betrayal. Seeing a protagonist move forward on their journey after losing those they are closest to can be a harrowing experience for the character and audience alike. 

On screen, Rachel Chu slowly and methodically loses her allies and the options she has for making her relationship with her fiancé work in Crazy Rich Asians. In The Revenant, Hugh Glass quickly loses all his allies. He moves through the entire story in isolation and loneliness. The more characters seem to lose, the higher the stakes seem as well. The character of Ma begins with no allies and few options in Room. As her son gets older, her options narrow even further.

Literary classics also offer no shortage of characters whose paths to proceed become problematic.  Stag Preston singlehandedly eliminates his allies and eventually his possibilities when his megalomania gets out of control in Harlan Ellison’s Spider’s Kiss. Faust’s options to move forward slowly disintegrate after he makes a deal with the devil in Goethe’s classic of the same name. In John Updike’s Rabbit, Run, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom seems to exhaust all his options over the course of the narrative, leaving him with an uncertain fate at the novel’s end. 

The key to creating conflict in your story, regardless of medium, is limitations. Knowing where to limit time, space, allies, and options takes trial and error. Eventually, you will find the right mix of boundaries and restraints for your character that will cause your audience to feel the reality of just what’s at stake in the story. 

John Bucher is a mythologist, story strategist, and writer based out of Hollywood, California. He is the author of six books including the best-selling Storytelling for Virtual Reality. He has worked with companies including HBO, DC Comics, The History Channel, A24 Films and served as a consultant and writer for numerous film, television, and Virtual Reality projects. Currently, he teaches writing and story courses as part of the Joseph Campbell Writers Room at Studio School in Los Angeles and at the LA Film Studies Center.

For all the latest ScreenCraft news and updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The post 3 Ways to Increase Conflict in Your Story appeared first on ScreenCraft.

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What if we took a look at a successful script and imagined how a lesser screenwriter would have handled some of those iconic cinematic moments? What screenwriting lessons would that hypothetical approach teach?

In this inaugural installment of ScreenCraft’s Where the Script Could Have Gone Wrong series, we turn to one of the most iconic movies ever made — E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. We’ll look at key moments in the screenplay and eventual film and imagine that the script was either written by a novice screenwriter or we’ll ask ourselves the hypothetical question of “What if screenwriter Melissa Matheson had made some of the most common novice screenwriter mistakes?”

By imagining such a scenario — with this or any successful screenplay — screenwriters can look at screenwriting examples from a much more different analytical perspective. Not by examing what they did right or what they did wrong, but what could have gone wrong had they made some of the most common mistakes that many screenplays are plagued with.

The Genesis of E.T. 

The concept was inspired by an imaginary friend Director Steven Spielberg had created after the 1960 divorce of his parents. He said that the imaginary alien was “a friend who could be the brother [he] never had and a father that [he] didn’t feel [he] had anymore.”

He planned on shooting a small personal film on the subject of divorce called Growing Up in 1978. When production was delayed on his film 1941, Growing Up was pushed aside. He later began to develop a follow-up to his critically acclaimed box office hit Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The film would be called Night Skies and tell the story of aliens that terrorize a family.

While filming Raiders of the Lost Ark, his mind began to wander back to the concept. He told screenwriter Melissa Matheson, who was dating Harrison Ford at the time, about the project and they began to develop a subplot from the story, in which Buddy, the only friendly alien, befriends an autistic child. The last scene was that alien’s abandonment on Earth. That moment would be the genesis of the concept that audiences now know and love.

Matheson wrote the first draft titled E.T. and Me in eight weeks. The script then went through two more drafts, deleting an Eddie Haskell-like friend of Elliott. The chase sequence was developed, as well as the scene where E.T. gets drunk.

The script was written for Columbia Pictures but was put into turnaround because the studio heads thought it was too Disney-like and wouldn’t be commercially viable.

Steven Spielberg approached President of MCA (then-parent company of Universal Studios) Sid Sheinberg, asking him to acquire the E.T. script from Columbia Pictures. Sheinberg wisely agreed and bought it back for $1 million, striking a deal in which Columbia would retain 5% of the film’s net profits.

The rest is cinematic history.

“What If… The Script Focused More on the Mysterious ‘Keys’ Character?”

Peter Coyote’s character was referred to as “Keys” in the original script. This was due to the fact that we never saw the E.T. pursuer’s face. The camera always focused on the keys attached to his pants as he surveyed the scene of the forest that E.T. and his extra-terrestrial friends explored.

Keys and his government cohorts are utilized as the story’s antagonists — always hot on the trail of Elliott’s alien friend. We later learn that they aren’t an embodiment of evil government agents. They actually want to learn from E.T. But because they are up against Elliott’s plan to keep E.T. safe from harm — and later to get him back home — they are antagonists through a majority of the film.

E.T. Opening Sequence - YouTube

We’ve seen this type of antagonist before.

In the film The Fugitive, U.S. Marshall Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) is in hot pursuit of Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford). The story bounces back and forth between Gerard’s pursuit of Kimble and Kimble’s investigation into his wife’s death with the hopes of proving his innocence. The characters are given near-equal screen time.

What if the same treatment had been given to Keys in E.T.?

While that approach was appropriate for The Fugitive, it would have been a drastic mistake in the context of E.T.

The whole story of centers on the relationship between Elliott and his new friend. Elliott is dealing with the divorce of his parents. He’s struggling to find his place in this new situation. And then comes E.T.

Had the script attempted to push more thriller plot points into the mix with a secondary narrative focus centered on Keys, the intimacy of the relationship between Elliott and E.T. would have been drastically affected. The central story and characterizations would be shifted from that cathartic relationship to more of an on-the-run chase thriller piece.

While this wouldn’t necessarily be a rookie move from a screenwriter’s perspective, there is the truth that many novice screenwriters don’t know or understand what the true story is that they are trying to tell.

Over-plotting the story is a common issue with screenplays. When you spread the screen time between multiple characters and their own perspectives, something is lost every time.

Lesson Learned?

You always need to explore every possible angle of your concept before you start writing it. You need to ask yourself what character arc you want to focus on and, in turn, which character offers the most emotional, dramatic, and cathartic narrative.

“What If… The Writer Delivered Elliott’s Plan of Rescue and Escape Through Exposition?”

In the movie, after Elliott has discovered that E.T. is alive, he and his brother try to break him out amidst the close grasp of the government agents and police in and around their house.

We cut from a visual of Elliott telling his brother Greg that E.T. is alive to their little sister Gertie walking into a room full of government agent activity, holding the now-alive flowers and a note. Her mother is talking with Keys about how long they are going to be detained.

Gertie interrupts them, asking, “Are they gone, Mama?”

This leads to confused looks from Keys and the mother as Gertie reveals that she was told to give their mother a note when they boys were gone.

We then go directly to the thrilling escape sequence.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - 'Escape' scene [1080] - YouTube

But, what if the screenwriter had made the common mistake of telling us, rather than showing us.

We’ve seen it many times before. Characters are making a plan to escape or pursue something, which leads to at least a few pages of expositional dialogue explaining how they are going to go about doing that.

Read ScreenCraft’s Three Easy Ways to Write GOOD Exposition in Your Scripts!

In a lesser script, there would have been an additional scene after Elliott told Greg that E.T. was alive. They would likely have hidden in the closet as Elliott explained his plan. Greg would have surely asked many questions about how they were going to pull this off, leading to more dialogue from Elliott explaining the obstacles and how they would overcome them.

Yawn.

Thankfully, Spielberg and Matheson decided to show, rather than tell.

The Gertie moment offers us some mystery and intrigue. We don’t know what’s going on. We don’t know where Elliott, Greg, and E.T. are. We don’t know what the note says. We don’t know what Gertie means when she asks if the boys are gone yet.

And even when the escape sequence begins, with Elliott running down the plastic tunnel towards the van that holds E.T.’s body, we have no clue what their plan is and what’s going to happen.

This throws us into an amazing chase sequence.

Had the script described all of these events and obstacles, the thrill factor would have been cut in half because there would have been no twists or surprises, no matter how subtle they would be.

Lesson Learned?

Always choose to show rather than tell. When you catch yourself writing dialogue scenes where a character is explaining past, present, or future actions, stop and try to find a way to unveil these elements organically.

Cinema is a visual medium. Show us.

“What If… E.T.’s Powers Were Kept as a Surprise for the Climax?”

Throughout the movie, E.T. displays his ability to move objects with his mind. We see this first when he’s in Elliott’s room with the kids, trying to communicate where he is from. He uses his telekinetic powers to manipulate objects, revealing that he’s from another part of their solar system. We see him use this power again as he lifts himself and Elliott, both riding on a bike, off of the ground and into the night sky. He also uses the power to put his intergalactic phone together as well.

Later on, when Elliott, Greg, and Greg’s friend are escaping with E.T. on their bikes, they face a barrier of police cars, police officers, and government agents. At the last second, E.T. uses his powers to lift all of them to safety within the nearby forest.

E.T. Bike Chase Scene (1982 Original) - YouTube

A lesser writer may have made the common screenwriting mistake of not setting up the rules of the story and concept early on, as far as what the world and the characters are and are NOT capable of, and not offering some key methods of plant and payoff that screenwriters need to master.

Read ScreenCraft’s Best “Plant and Payoff” Scenes Screenwriters Can Learn From!

When you’re writing a genre script, we need to know the possibilities and boundaries of the premise and any powers or capabilities within. Had the writer withheld that information of E.T.’s powers and suddenly had him unleash this otherwise unknown ability at the last second when the characters were in peril, without any form of foreshadowing or set-up, the reader and eventual audience would have been left scratching their heads wondering, “Where the heck did that come from?” The plausibility factor of your script would have been challenged.

A moment like that with no set-up or explanation would have been a cheat. And audiences don’t like to be cheated.

Within the movie, E.T. and his abilities were properly foreshadowed, planted, and later paid off. While we had never seen him use those powers to make multiple characters fly into the air, his moment with Elliott planted that question of what the bound of his capabilities were.

Lesson Learned?

Plants and payoffs are so important. You need to pepper your script with them. And beyond that, you need to set up the rules of your concept and world. The audience needs to know at least some of the perimeters. And those plants, payoffs, and reveals are the best ways to accomplish that.

“What If… the Ending Was Written as More Upbeat and Happy?”

In the film, E.T. escapes, thanks in due part to Elliott, his brother, and their friends. We’ve also now learned that Keys isn’t the “evil” government force that we thought he may be. He doesn’t want to hurt E.T. at all.

When they arrive in the forest and the spaceship arrives, Elliott doesn’t want E.T. to go. And E.T. wants Elliott to go with him. They clearly have a close connection.

But in the end, E.T. chooses to go home. But not before expressing to Elliott that he’ll always be with him — likely implying that their special connection can span the light years between Earth and wherever E.T. is going.

It’s a sad and heartbreaking moment because we, the audience, have grown to love E.T. We don’t want to see him go either.

I'll Be Right Here - E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (10/10) Movie CLIP (1982) HD - YouTube

But what if the script had made the mistake of offering the more upbeat ending of E.T. somehow choosing to stay with Elliott?

Choosing the more upbeat and happy ending is often a common mistake — both by novice screenwriters and by executives giving notes. There is a frequent misconception in movies that audiences want to leave the theater happy, knowing that their characters have been left in a good place by the end of the story and that everything is all right.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Audiences want a cathartic experience. They want to be moved. They want their emotions to be f***ed with, for lack of a better phrase.

**Spoiler Alert Below***

In Shane, the title character leaves the family he helped as the young son yells his name in tears, hoping he’ll come back.

In Forrest Gump, Forrest loses the love of his life and is clearly mourning her death, despite the fact that he’s been blessed with his son.

In La La Land, the two lovers and dreamers don’t even end up together.

But those endings left audiences feeling a deep catharsis. That is what screenwriters need to strive for.

And in the case of E.T., having E.T. leave was the ultimate way to create a lasting cathartic response from the audience.  Sure, it would have been cute to end the film with the family back in their every day lives with E.T. watching cartoons while they were at school and work — many scripts in the market choose to go that route — but the final ending of the iconic film touched the heart of millions because it pulled at our heartstrings.

Lesson Learned?

Always strive to create a cathartic response in the eyes of the reader or audience. You have to be willing to end on a conflicting note. You have to be willing to let go of your characters, either by killing them off for emotional effect or sending them off into the sunset as their loved ones wave goodbye in tears.

Before you start writing, explore your concept and all of the avenues you could take with it — and then choose wisely, as far as what characters you focus on and what story you want to tell.

Always choose to show, rather than tell. Remember that you’re writing a cinematic feature. And cinema is a visual medium.

Do your best to pepper your script with plants and payoffs, and use them to dictate the rules of your concept, story, and the worlds and characters you create.

And finally, always strive to conjure those cathartic moments within your script, even if it means sacrificing characters and the relationships they’ve built within your story.

Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.

He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies

The post Where the Script Could Have Gone Wrong: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial appeared first on ScreenCraft.

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Meet Melody Cooper, winner of the 2018 Urbanworld Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay for her thriller screenplay Northern Cross. She was one of 10 Women Horror Directors listed in a 2018 A.V. Club article on who producer Jason Blum should consider. In March 2018, she was selected for a month-long writer’s residency in the south of France by La Napoule Arts Foundation to develop her horror TV pilot Sundown, which is set in LA in 1938 and features folklore monsters. Sundown was also a semi-finalist for 2018 Sundance Episodic Lab and Showtime’s Tony Cox Television Pilot Competition at the Nantucket Film Festival.

Her supernatural thriller The Sound of Darkness is a 2018 Athena List Finalist and was also selected for AMC Networks Shudder Labs, NY Stage & Film Filmmaking Workshop (mentored by It Follows producer Joshua Astrachan), the Writer’s Lab, and the Tangerine Entertainment Fellowship at Stowe Story Lab.

Melody’s work has placed in top 10% of the Nicholl competition, won the Woods Hole Film Festival, and has been a Finalist for ScreenCraft, Creative World Awards, Shriekfest and the International Sci-fi and Horror Film Festival. Her screenplay Monstrous was Winner of the Women in Cinema International Screenplay Competition, and took Third Place at Slamdance.

With a grant from AMC Shudder Labs, Melody directed a short based on The Sound of Darkness. She also directed a short documentary Detained, that won a 2018 Award of Excellence at Docs without Borders. Born in NY, Melody is also a produced playwright who won the Jane Chambers Award and was nominated for an Off Broadway Alliance Award. Her play Sweet Mercy was developed by NY Stage & Film (starring Danai Gurira). Currently, she’s writing a horror film with director Sebastian Silva, and developing a genre film project with producer Adi Shankar.

We had a chance to sit down with Melody and discuss the craft of genre screenwriting and what it’s like to be an up-and-coming writer/director.

Where are you from and how long have you been a screenwriter?

I’m from NY (grew up on Long Island) and I’ve been writing screenplays for about 8 years.

How have screenwriting competitions and labs helped your career?

They’ve helped me become a better writer, especially when I got notes early on, and they add to your resume when you place or win, and that can open doors. I’ve been lucky to have every script at least advance to semifinalist. My very first screenplay was a second rounder at Austin Film Festival. I went to the fest thinking that was so impressive. At the roundtables, an agent said it was great, but it takes about 7 screenplays to get really good at it. 8 years and 7 feature scripts, 4 pilots and 2 short films later I revisited and revised that first screenplay… and it won at Urbanworld Film Festival.

When did you sign with Circle of Confusion and what has that experience been like for you?

I signed two years ago and I was so excited about it. I met the owner, Lawrence Mattis in NY and we couldn’t stop talking about sci-fi. He told me flat out that I was a unicorn and HAD to join them (I was also being courted by another major manager). I went into it knowing I would still work to make connections because it’s a partnership. I’ve never sat back. I’m a combo introvert/extrovert and I love the hustle around something I’m passionate about. Circle gets me seen. Gets people to read what I want to send them. Gets my calls taken. They represent the best and biggest genre writers, so I’m really a small fish in a big pond. But early on, Lawrence got me in front of Tandem Pictures, which needed a rewrite on a stagnant script. They loved it so much that they attached me to direct it. I’d love more of that.

How do you use genre as a springboard to explore complex thematic issues — things like identity, cultural POV, and systems of oppression?

That’s essentially my modus operandi. I was weaned on sci-fi and horror as a kid and it’s the lens I most effectively view those themes through. I read the best: Asimov, Pohl, Le Guinn, Octavia Butler, King, Barker. They all use genre to try to explore humanity and society… our weaknesses, beauty, potential, capacity for evil. Genre allows me to deal with the issues of racism, sexism, intolerance head on but by turning the box over and taking a different perspective. From a blind woman who can hear the dead. Or a man who has the ability to create monsters. Or a scientist whose fight against sexism helps her make a frightening discovery. The stories are steeped in reality but flip the script to make you think differently about what you think you know about yourself and your fellow humans. That’s why I like Black Mirror so much. Right up my alley.

What is it about dark genres that you love so much? Have you dabbled in any others?

I don’t think of them as dark. Though someone once told me that every script I’ve written has some kind of haunting in it, which is not always obvious and is actually true (and weird). I have a subversive quality. I like to disrupt audiences, disarm them, to help engage them in thinking about different issues. And horror can do that beautifully. Get Out, The Invitation, The Babadook, Pan’s Labyrinth are great examples. I have written a straight thriller called Northern Cross that deals with immigration, and that won Urbanworld and was in the top 10% of the Nicholl Competition, so I can write that kind of script. Though there’s some magical realism in that one.

Recently, you were featured on the AV Club in this article: We rounded up 10 female horror directors for Jason Blum, who seems to have trouble finding them – What was that like? Did anything come out of it for you?

Oh wow. That was AMAZING timing. I had already decided to make a trip out to LA off of the Urbanworld win and had meetings set with Madison Wells Media and director Christine Crokos. I was landing at LAX when the article hit and people kept texting me about it. I think I skipped through the terminal. By that night I had four more meetings set up.

So, coming to Los Angeles from New York for a whirlwind week of meetings; what was that experience like for you?

I had a great time. And I’ll be honest, between myself and a great friend, Joey Tuccio, we set up every meeting. Ironically, none of them were through my manager. I realized how helpful in-person meetings are, especially after a contest win and an article like the one A.V. Club posted. I want more of that. As a direct result of the trip, I’ve met with three other major producers. You have to jump on it fast, ride the wave, and make the most of the moment, especially if you’re a woman.

Who did you meet with on your water bottle tour and what can you tell us about the meetings you took?

I met with Blumhouse, Crypt TV, Will Packer Productions, and Madison Wells Media. It was my best set of meetings ever. I think because of the confidence I had from the film festival win and the article. The first meeting warms you up, and if it’s great, you just fly from there. Every person I met with requested at least two scripts. I’m having 8 different scripts read as a result of the trip. I felt like I could collaborate with each of them tomorrow, there was so much synergy. Ryan Turek, VP at Blumhouse invited me to join the Blumhouse team for drinks and to see an opening night screening of Halloween. I mean, come on!

What do you know now that you wish you knew before the meetings started?

That I should have been doing this more. That I should do it every week. That I need to make more trips to LA (or move there). That producers are looking for women writers like me, but aren’t sure where to find us.

You’re so great at putting yourself out there – what advice do you have for those just starting out?

Don’t be afraid, but make sure you have the goods. So keep writing. I write every day. Never go with anything but your best and TARGET who you reach out to. Read the trades, know what’s happening in the industry and your genre. If you already have a connection, use it to make others. Enter competitions for labs. Some of my first and best connections were made through the amazing mentors at Writers Lab, Shudder Labs, NY Stage & Film and Stowe Story Lab.

Competitions are great so use them too to get seen. I like to enter them now to win money to help make films. I’m shooting another short in 2019 with the prize money from Urbanworld. If you have the aptitude and desire, DIRECT. Create a visual calling card. My shorts and mood videos have gotten me meetings and work. I’m currently writing a horror film with award-winning director Sebastian Silva, and developing a genre project with producer Adi Shankar (Castlevania, The Grey, Bodied). The first came about from a connection I’d made with a producer. And Adi was because of a ScreenCraft recommendation. And here’s what’s important about that: I hadn’t won the ScreenCraft competition, I was just a finalist. So winning isn’t everything, it’s about putting your best out there, getting noticed and making the most of it!

For all the latest ScreenCraft news and updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The post Interview With Up-and-Coming Genre Writer/Director Melody Cooper appeared first on ScreenCraft.

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What screenwriting wisdom can we learn from the late, great storytelling master Stan Lee?

We’re still mourning the loss of Stan Lee, an iconic storyteller that created many of the 20th and 21st Century versions of mythology — superheroes. He collaborated with other Marvel figures like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko to create modern mythical characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, and Ant-Man. For most of those characters, he was the driving force behind their conception.

As a storyteller, Stan changed how superhero stories were told. With him, it was less about action and fights and more about character development and compelling stories. He was a leading force in diversity within the comic book realm.

On November 12th, 2018, Stan passed away at the age of 95.

His face was familiar to Marvel Cinematic Universe fans worldwide, having cameoed in all of those movies. His voice is perhaps his most notable attribute, having narrated the likes of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and other Marvel animated cartoons.

In celebration of his life and work, here we feature seventeen of his best quotes about writing and apply them to screenwriting through our own elaboration.

1.  “If you are interested in what you do, that keeps you going!”

When you choose a career, it has to be for the right reasons. Too many people think that screenwriting is an easy lottery-type paycheck. They read the trades and screenwriting books that mention six-figure and seven-figure paychecks. They read about the “overnight success stories” (there is no such thing).

But if you’re not genuinely invested into writing cinematic stories, you’re going to find it very difficult to keep that engine churning. Why? Because rejection is the nature of the film and television industry, especially when it comes to screenwriting. And if you aren’t completely invested in this trade, you’re going to lose that necessary drive to keep you going.

Secondly, these wise words apply to what you choose to write. If you’re chasing a trend because it’s popular and it’s what everyone seems to be buying in Hollywood, you’re going to lose the will to write. You have to choose subjects, genres, and characters that you’re interested in.

2.  “If you wanna be a writer, keep writing.”

Those “overnight successes” we mentioned? Those are nothing more than media catchphrases that make people read articles. Almost every “overnight success” is years in the making with plenty of failed attempts and rejection.

If you want to be a screenwriter, you need to keep writing — despite what will surely be multiple years of near hits, rejection, and silence. One script isn’t going to be enough. You have to keep writing. And when you keep writing, you’re honing your craft and creating your own voice.

That’s what makes you a writer.

3. “I’m happiest when I’m working. If I’m not working, I feel like I’m wasting my time.”

You’ll really know that you’re a true writer when you feel strange about not writing.

Writers write. That’s what we do. Others can try it out and walk away from it easily when things don’t go their way. True writers can’t do anything but write.

It’s a calling. It’s an internal flame that can’t be extinguished.

4. “I’m sort of a pressure writer. If somebody says, ‘Stan, write something,’ and I have to have it by tomorrow morning, I’ll just sit down, and I’ll write it. It always seems to come to me. But I’m better doing a rushed job because if it isn’t something that’s due quickly, I won’t work on it until it becomes almost an emergency and then I’ll do it.”

Deadlines push you. They’re necessary. And if you can’t handle the pressure of a deadline and write amazing material in a very constricted timeframe, you better choose a different path.

You need to train yourself to be ready such deadlines. You can’t simply wait and see how you’ll react. So challenge yourself. Set seemingly unrealistic deadlines for your next scripts and hold yourself accountable. You’ll only be doing your future self a favor if and when those writing gigs finally start coming your way.

Read ScreenCraft’s Are You Truly Prepared for Success as a Screenwriter?

5. “The more you read, the better you’re going to become as a storyteller.”

It’s a misconception that the primary way to evolve as a writer is to write.

To truly evolve, you have to broaden your storytelling horizon. Read books. Read plays. Watch movies and television series. All writers and storytellers — be it cinematic, literary, or from the stage — help each other evolve. We inspire each other. We open doors for each other. And we explore doors that others introduced but didn’t fully venture through.

The more you read, the better you’ll be as a storyteller.

6. “Most people say, ‘I can’t wait to retire so I can play golf,’ or go yachting or whatever they do. Well, if I was playing golf, I would want that to finish so I could go and dream up a new TV show.”

Again, it’s all about the drive. You have to need to do it.

7. “To my way of thinking, whether it’s a superhero movie or a romance or a comedy or whatever, the most important thing is you’ve got to care about the characters. You’ve got to understand the characters, and you’ve got to be interested. If the characters are interesting, you’re half-way home.”

Stan created some of the best characters we’ll ever know.

Spider-Man isn’t just about a superhero that fights crime. It’s about a teenage boy struggling with his identity and trying to find a place in the world.

X-Men isn’t about a bunch of superheroes saving the day. It’s about a diverse group of characters that are different from everyone else. They want to be understood and accepted. And yes, they just happen to use their unique powers to defend the human race.

Characters are everything. If you’re writing an action film, it’s not enough to just have a good guy fighting bad guys. If you’re writing a horror film, it’s not enough to have characters screaming and jumping at scary bumps in the night.

Make the characters interesting.

8. “I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like, none of our readers would like, and shove him down their throats and make them like him.”

The worst advice that seems to be a staple in studio notes and script coverage is, “The protagonist needs to be more likable.” Far from it.

Look at the character of Wolverine. He’s not a very likable guy a majority of the time. Even in the latest incarnation, Logan, the title character (a.k.a. Wolverine) spends most of the film rejecting the insistence of helping this little girl in need.

Iron Man/Tony Stark is an arrogant egomaniac — but he’s one of our favorite characters.

Don’t worry about making your characters likable. You can still choose to root for a character that you don’t necessarily like. It’s often best to present the audience with something more interesting than likable.

9. “There’s never a time when I’m not working.”

Writing isn’t about typing or pen-to-paper. We do most of our writing during our day jobs or going through our day-to-day routines. Your creative mind should always be in play.

You’re always writing — even when you’re asleep.

10. “If you’re writing about a character, if he’s a powerful character, unless you give him vulnerability I don’t think he’ll be as interesting to the reader.”

Some arch villains aren’t always that compelling. They’re usually pure evil. But when you look at a character like Magneto, you’ll find that there’s such a vulnerability to him. There’s depth. He has a history with Charles Xavier. He has an even deeper history rooted in the Holocaust.

Even in Creed 2, we enjoy the villains of the film (Drago and his son) because they are vulnerable. The father is dealing with the shame of losing to Rocky, which caused him to lose everything. The son is dealing with his father’s shamed legacy, as well as his mother not wanting to be a part of his life. They are the best villains or antagonists since Apollo Creed in the Rocky and Creed franchises because of that.

11. “I see myself in everything I write. All the good guys are me.”

The best way to write great characters is to inject yourself within them — in big or small ways.

When you can live through those characters eyes and relate to what they are supposed to be feeling, the characters really write themselves because they are partly you.

12. “I always wrote for myself. I figured I’m not that different from other people. If there’s a story I like a lot, there’s got to be others with similar tastes.”

Write what makes you laugh. Write what scares you. Write what makes you cheer. Write what makes you feel a certain emotion. That’s the only way you can truly write with the idea of making a connection with someone.

You can’t expect to know what makes others laugh, cry, scream, or cheer. Instead, write for yourself. There are billions of people on this planet. Hundreds of millions of them watch movies. The odds of connecting with someone similar to you are in your favor tenfold.

13. “No matter what you write, it’s a matter of putting words in a certain order so that the reader will be interested in what you’re writing.”

Screenplays are cinematic. You can’t just write scenes and dialogue to move a plot along. It has to be pop. It has to be cinematic. You have to capture the audience’s interest by crafting story structure that is compelling and engaging.

Read ScreenCraft’s Why Screenwriters Should Think Like Film Editors!

14. “My first thought is always ‘What can I do that hasn’t been done, story-wise? What will this character’s objective be, his motivation, his weakness, how can I make an audience care about this guy?’ That’s where the fun comes in.”

You always have to be pushing the envelope. That’s what it takes to get noticed in the film and television industry. Chasing trends or writing your version of what has already been done isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Hollywood wants scripts that stand out and offer audiences something new. Yes, it can still be familiar, but you have to create that hybrid of familiar but different.

And the true fun behind writing is asking those key questions that define the character’s struggles, the story’s conflicts, and the audience’s investment in both.

15. “You just have to think up an interesting character and an interesting problem, which it seems as though that character will never be able to solve, or a hurdle that he or she will never be able to overcome, and then you find a clever way for the hero to overcome it at the end.”

Stan was the master at conceptualizing characters and concepts. And in the end, it’s often more simple than you’d think. Create an interesting character and pose an equally interesting problem which they have to solve or deal with, and overcome it or succumb to it. Conflict, conflict, conflict.

16. “I had fun with all these characters because I literally knew where they lived, as well as what their personalities were. All that was left for me to do was make up the villains, which was even more fun than making up the heroes.”

Know your characters. Know how they would react to any given circumstance. Know where they are from. Know what scares them most. Know what makes them happy.

It’s not enough to just put a cardboard character into a situation. For the audience to really feel that these characters are living and breathing, you need to live in their shoes as you write.

And then, yes, have even more fun creating those that are going up against them.

17. ‘You know, my motto is ‘Excelsior.’ That’s an old word that means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.'”

Stan’s catchword tells us always to be moving forward in our pursuits of glory. Never let anything drag you down to a full stop. Never let rejection pull you back.

And this word is now bittersweet after the passing of a legend. Stan has moved upward and onward to greater glory. He’ll be missed, but never forgotten.

Thanks for the characters and stories, Stan. They will live on forever. And so will your spirit.

Special Note From Ken: I had the great fortune of meeting Stan Lee briefly during my days at Sony Studios. He rolled up in a Rolls Royce and welcomed me with that signature voice I grew up listening to on Saturday mornings. He always had a smile, and he was always full of energy. He will be missed.

Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.

He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies

For all the latest ScreenCraft news and updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The post 17 Must-Read Screenwriting Lessons From Stan Lee appeared first on ScreenCraft.

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Listed below are the finalists of the 2018 ScreenCraft Drama Screenplay Competition, selected from over 1,000 submissions. We’re excited to be exploring this genre and to have received a slate of such compelling screenplays.

This year’s jury is comprised of agents and managers from Verve Talent Agency, Management 360 and Brillstein Entertainment Partners as well as a development executive from Fox Searchlight.

Stay tuned for the upcoming announcement of the grand prize winners here and on our Twitter and Facebook pages within the next few weeks! And if you’d like to receive a notification when this contest re-opens for entries in 2019, you can subscribe for updates via Coverfly here.

Here are the 2018 finalists:

65 South Thomas Southernland
Albatross Gardens Lee Whitten
Blackbird in Brooklyn Alexandra Farias
Dark-Skinned Girls Edith Cheng
Electronic Sounds from a Still Heart Finley Mulligan
Goodbye, My Brother Jason Grote
Into Silence C. Andrew Hall
Man in a Cage Kevin Bachar
Oh Mists, My Mists Guilherme Viegas
On Time Xavier Burgin
Paper Thieves Michael Mirabella
Pop Y.S. Kim
Saving Washington Jane Hampton Cook
Snog Paul Holbrook
Sod Man Cam Patterson
The Coffin Club Joel Santner
The Deed Brady Morell
The Dreamer of Dreams David Kushner& Joshua Bullock
The Innocent and the Vicious Dominique Genest & Nick Kreiss
The Twelfth of Never Anne Carmack
The Understudy Jenna St. John
The Weight of Lies Amanda Samaroo
The Wood Man Kevin Sheridan
Tucumcari Kristin Goodman
Wild World Anne Carmack

For all the latest ScreenCraft news and updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The post 2018 ScreenCraft Drama Screenplay Competition Finalists Announced appeared first on ScreenCraft.

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Listed below are the semifinalists of the 2018 ScreenCraft Pilot Launch competition. These exceptional pilots were selected from roughly 2,500 submissions. Congratulations to the writers who have made it this far and thanks to all for submitting.

This year’s jury is comprised of creative executives, coordinators and development heads at HBO, AMC andAmazon Studios, as well as a manager at3 Arts Entertainment and a story consultant for NBC’s Writers on the Verge.

Stay tuned for the upcoming announcements of the finalists and grand prize winners here and our Twitter and Facebook pages within the next few weeks! And if you’d like to receive a notification when this contest re-opens for entries in 2019, you can subscribe for updates via Coverfly here.

Here are the semifinalists:

200 Miles to Broadway Luke Jarvis, Rob Pooley & Nick Chambers
40 Rings Kaitlin O’Leary
808 State of Mind Courtney Avichouser
A Little Something Like This Marcus Thomas
Abraham’s Wake Adam Luaces & Katie Neuner
Aikwood Nuri Tal
Alcatraz Island Kelly Gregorio
American Made Sam Tofsted
American Psyche Richard Nguyen & Vinita Mehta
Amorous Naomi Pandolfi
Angeles Tom Becker
Animal Mayhem Stewart Skelton
Antlers Ercoli  Crugnale
Apache Cameron Barsanti
At Risk Kristin Goodman
Avast Ye Pirates Sarah K. Moss
Bad Beat Eric Wang Schwager
Bad Girls Standard Bradley Spinelli
Bad Medicine Sydney Dire
Bedford Arms Clea Montville-Wood
Big Man K.C. Scott
Black Bonnie Jeremy Colvin
Blood Brothers Peter Hunziker & Cynthia Riddle
Boosters David Lawrence Hill
Bounty Gary Howell
Branded Christian Lybrook
Break A Leg! Brian Laughran
Buffalo Roam Howard Wen
Caledonia Daniel Snoddy
Case Unsolved C.J. Arellano
Casey Blatt Carolyn Mazanec
Chalk Nick Jones
Changing Views Kari Mote
Chasing the Wolf Alan Hayes
Chavez Ravine Ben Mesirow
Cheap Thrills Jaime Osnato-Rosario
Children of Free Kaycee Hughes
Chrysalis Keaton McGruder
Citizen Of The Week Nicky Burgess
Closers Xan Wynne-Jones
Come Prepared to Stay Forever Heather Davis & Robert Vornkahl
Concrete Jungle David Kushner
Connection Jace Lacob
Dark Horizons Carlo & Erin Carerre
Dark Irish Erin Kathleen
Dead Beat Collin Lieberg
Deadalive Christian J. Hearn
Deadsville David Karner
Death Kindly Stopped Dontonio Cabreana
Dementia Village Laura Wigod
Desert 10 Zachary Tomlinson
Destroy All Heroes! Thomas Yungerberg
Diabolical Renier Murillo
Disrupted Meghann Plunkett
Docked Joe Abel & Dwayne Perkins
Don’t Forget Your Axe During the Robot Apocalypse Derek Asaff
Drowning Abigail Mangin
Druid of the Danu John Paul Murphy & Chris Bramante
Earlybirds Charlie Schulman
Earth-Like Sarah K. Moss
East/West Artie Mead
Edgewood Sarah Grodsky
Elvis’s Home for Dead Celebrities Peter Dudasko
Facility Stefan Tihanyi
Failure to Communicate Cala Adair
Farmed Erika Abdelatif
Firebrand Justin Hughes
Flowerfield Mukilan Thangamani
Food & Drug Jason Grote
Foul Arton Baleci
Four Crows Lyndal Simpson
Frat Star Lauren Fields
Fruit Fly Ryan Logan
Fufu Bill Horace
Gaiatown Dane  McCauley
Giant Milena Korolczuk
Good Night, Moon Saaret Yoseph
Gordon, Too Matthew-Lee Erlbach
Gunpowder Kevin Sheridan
H.B.I.C. Matthew Weiss
Hargrave Max Harp & Quentin Basnaw
Hella Bae: “Rollin’ Hella Deep” Maria Lingbanan
Her Majesty’s Spymistress Marcus Goodwin
Highwire Gareth Smith
Hill Christopher Lastrapes
Hollywood Enterprises LLC. Joshua Yonkin & Sean Downs
How to Girl D. Scott
How to Grieve Chelsea  Gray
Hustlers Jason Kubik
Ice Dance Abigail Mangin
Imposter Yellowlees Douglas
In Chrysalis Nelson Downend
Inn Love Dana Quercioli
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: “The Gang Thrives Without Dennis” Richard Turgeon
J.P. Kimble, Wish Lawyer Patrick Allan Laffoon
Jessica Exalted Khadijah Iman
John & Meryl Jimmy Prosser
K-Cons Sherman Li
Keele Street Kings Tony Tang
Kewobuk Kayak Company Emily Chase Smith
Kingdom of Children Kristen Joy Bjorge
Kingdom of God Travis Opgenorth
Krewe Christopher Lastrapes
L’ecole Du Micro D’Argent Sophie Dab
Laundry Service Catherine Delaloye & Mariana Trevino
LEGACY Kellen Hertz
Leviathan Ben DeLoose & Matthew Chilelli
Lexicon Amanda Keener
Life After Society Jack Maron
Littlefish R. C. Beauchesne
Loop Steve Miranda
Lost Eden Canyon Alan R. Baxter
Lot 47 Stephen Tramontana
Love Scenes, LLC Lira Kellerman
Love, Chelsea Jenny Rauch
Mad Bird Meghann Plunkett
Maintenance Max Ash
Malaya Stacie Gancayco-Adlao
Man Of The People David Negrin
MK Ultra! Andrea Ash
Molineaux Deron Albright
Monogamous? Jessie Gant
Morgan And The Evil Skye Tenorio
Most Likely to Succeed Matthew Kunkel
Mourning Glory Craig Coyne
Muse Keely Schafer
N A T I V E Kevin Walls
Nearly Super Nova Annie Nishida
Negative Space James Comfort II
NetSleuths.com Elizabeth J, Musgrave
New York Noir David Hudacek
Newsers Jennifer Kim
Noctem Kayla Knutson
Noise Matt Ackels
Nothing Left R. Cadell Cook, II
Novel William Bienes & Aimee Parrott
Novel Endings Christine Bendorf
On Cannery Row P.J. Palmer & Eric Enno Tamm
On Probation Sergio Cámara
Otherworld Dawn Prato
Outward Brian Koffler
Overly Critical Dick Scott Seiler
Pain & Suffering Eran Lagstein
Pansy: An American Aversion Jack Flynn
Past Lives Raymond Santos
Peninsula David MacGregor
Phantom Vicky Wheeler
Placidville Marc Zatorsky
Plain Janeisha Angela Magnus
Playing the Palace Alex Williams
Plight Mykell Barlow
Post-Nuclear Family John Niemiec
Pressed Chase Block
Promiseland Stephen Wallenfels
Prophet Margin Adam Skelter
R.P.M. Jeffrey Jackson
Rearview Jared Gordon
Record-Breaking Cala Adair
Relics Rose Skye
Revolutionary Gangsters Martin Andres Markovits & Niko Kyriakou
Rise and Shine Lull Mengesha
Rock Show Liam Semple
Rocky Mountain High Mark Dylan Brown
Saint Mephistopheles Hospital Lily Cheng
Salvage Justin Rettke
Samsara Mitali Jahagirdar
San Francisco Sound Tim Bartell
Savage David Schlow
Savior Tim Molloy
Schrodinger’s Cat Amanda Keener
SEX:XES Brian Ellis
Shanda Jillian Lauren
Shared Space – The Pilot Mark Stuver
Shikari Thomas Hunkin & Jamie Lewis
Sidekick Joey Capuana
SkyFire Mark Morris & Jeff Whitehead
Slow Wake Jacob Salzberg
Smut Nancy Amestoy
Soldier.Spy.Diplomat Jerry Oliver
Somerville Dayna Duncan
Sorority Ghosts Annie Pace
Southbound Katerina Grishakova
Southern Draw George O’Connor
Space Captain Smith John Palfery-Smith & Bruce Hanson
Sprinkles and Buttons Steve Miranda
Staten Anthony Sellitti
Stock JoAnn McLean
Stone’s Throw Samantha White & Joshua Korngut
Storyville Mariah Gretchen Robinson
Strange, CA Ben Warner
Suburban Gold: “The Milk” Paul Burow
Supernote David Owens
Swann Song Lindsey Dier
Tales From The Creeps : The Feeteaters Diana Davis
Tavistock Marie-Emmanuelle Hartness
Tears Of The Angels Courtney LoCicero & Charles Musser
That Sister Thang Lindiwe Mueller-Westernhagen & Dale Winton
The Adventures of Penny Patterson Stephanie Donnelly
The Aftermath Juliana Rabadjija
The Ballet Murders Victoria Augustine
The Battle of Marble Hill Andrea Lawson
The Boys From Pine Bluff Alexandra Salerno
The Chop Ryan O’Leary
The Dead Travel Fast Cody Wareham
The Deep Burn Jerry Landry
The Deep End Mark Lyons & Alex Harris
The Deported Joe  Abel
The Draft Karolyn Carnie
The End Derek Asaff
The Greatest Show on Earth A. S. Thompson
The Grove Zach Messner
The Guardian Cedrick May
the Hellhounds Z. R. Denis
The Immortals Tyler Hein
The King is Dead Gabriel Cruz
The King of America jess leslie
The Line Jeff Bower
The Lobbyist Brent Lewis
The Long Road Elie  El Choufany
The Maharaja – Pilot Amar Rehal
The Maulers Adam Dick
the Mogul Maxine  Milan
The Mortician Miguel Lozano
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Larry Karaszewski has made a career out of writing biopics. With his writing partner Scott Alexander, he has written Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon, as well as writing the TV series The People v. OJ Simpson, which add up to some of the most memorable biopics of recent years. Karaszewski recently joined Aaron Tracy on Yale Podcast Network’s To Live and Dialogue in LA to discuss his craft and approach to tackling real-life subjects and events. Below are some snippets from the insightful conversation.

1. Approaching “Real-Life” Screenwriting

Karaszewski has a couple of films under his belt that aren’t based on actual events — Problem Child, an adaptation of Stephen King’s short story 1408 — but his resume is mainly built with scripts featuring the disclaimer: based on a true story. So who better to ask about the best ways to tackle bio-pics or historical adaptations? Karaszewski’s method is to put on his “reporter” hat and start digging as much as he can.

“We embrace this genre, the biopic of a fairly obscure person,” Karaszewski says. “Most of the things we’ve done, there was no book on… So when we’ve done it, we’ve kind of had to act like journalists… And so a lot of times when a director comes on, it’s very helpful for him or her to use us as a resource.”

2. Balancing The Fiction With The Truth

One of the challenges of bio-pic writing is feeling confident enough and free enough to, essentially, put words into a real person’s mouth — yes, this is a character in your script but it’s also based on a real person who may even still be alive. How do you know or decide what this person said if there’s no written record of it? This question is posed to Karaszewski, who embraces this challenge.

He elaborates, “This stuff appeals to us because of the whole ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ aspect of it.” He goes on to say, “Of course we’re putting words in people’s mouth, of course we’re doing it from our POV… the bias is always there and I think that’s not a bad thing. But you don’t want to distort, in a sense, certain things that occured, so you present them from the angle of what you actually think happened. And the thing of it is, when you read some things on OJ, every single person in that trial wrote a book… and there’s ten different versions of an event so you wind up [asking yourself] what makes sense? What makes dramatic sense?”

Karaszewski sums it up with something he learned from director Milos Forman while working on Man on the Moon, saying, “Always be true to the spirit of the facts. You can’t know exactly what was said in a room. You know what kind of happened after that, so [it’s about] what led people to make that decision.”

3. Avoiding Real-Life Redundancy

Similar to the struggle of feeling confident enough in creating a voice for characters based on real people, bio-pic writing also presents a challenge of possibly feeling constricted by the facts. How do you, as the writer, avoid redundancy when the audience knows the ending, after living through the event once already?

Karaszewski says, “I think Scott and I do a pretty good job at avoiding the inevitability of history. That so much stuff that’s based on true events… presented as, yes, this is the way it happened. In the sense like manifest destiny, there’s no other way this thing could happen. Everything we do is always about how random shit winds up being. That it could have happened ten thousand different ways but things spun out of control… That was one of the best things we heard about the OJ piece — people knew what happened, they [don’t know] why it happened.”

4. Tapping Into The Humor-Drama Of Reality

Karaszewski is asked about his and Alexander’s writing voice — how they find a way to smoothly blend humor with drama, all the while sticking to the truth. Karaszewski finds it to be, really, the natural way of things. As he says, “People are constantly mixing tones [in real life].”

He continues, “I think [Scott and I] had [our] voice all along. It definitely came out more when we wrote Ed Wood, and that was pretty early in our career. That’s sort of where it all came together because it wasn’t really a genre movie… You know, if you’re writing a comedy, it pretty much stays in its lane. And I think we still kind of consider ourselves comedy writers, in the sense that, like comedy writers, there’s two of us in a room battling back and forth… what we found, probably when writing Ed Wood, is that there are very sad things in that but it doesn’t mean things can’t be humorous… that’s kind of what life is.”

5. First Impressions Go A Long Way

“We like to introduce our characters in an iconic way,” Karaszewski says proudly. Of course, this is creative writing 101, a good, memorable introduction for your character. But, as most of us probably know, it can be difficult to pull off well — or to even remember. Karaszewski uses the facts of life, taking advantage of quirks and idiosyncrasies of the real-life person to bring them onto the screen for the first time.

He details, “You meet Johnny Cochran in a closet full of colorful suits. You meet Bela Lugosi asleep in a coffin. You meet Tor Johnson in a wrestling ring… You introduce them the way they’re meant to be introduced.”

Listen to the podcast on iTunes here.

Travis Maiuro is a screenwriter and freelance film writer whose work has appeared in Cineaste Magazine, among other publications.

For all the latest ScreenCraft news and updates, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The post 5 Screenwriting Tips from Bio-Pic Master Larry Karaszewski appeared first on ScreenCraft.

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