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Five Things Comedy Writers Can Learn From "Step Brothers"
2008’s Step Brothers was written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Adam McKay and the film’s costar Will Ferrell (John C. Reilly contributed to the story). In addition to some classic SNL skits, McKay and Ferrell had previously collaborated on Anchorman ...
Choosing and Introducing Your Focus Characters
Oftentimes the new screenwriter will populate their spec with numerous characters. But how many characters are too many?
What Is Nonlinear Storytelling?
"A story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order." - Jean-Luc Godard
The Frame Story and the Flashback
Flashbacks can be utilized for several reasons in a script. If you want to reveal a plot point from the past or something about a character that needs illuminating, a flashback might be the best route to take. Sometimes this storytelling technique ca...
Is Your Screenplay "Too Arch"?
A phrase you’ll sometimes hear in development circles is “too arch”. It’s usually in regards to characters and their behavior.
How To Write a Winning Spec Script
Writing a television spec script is demanding, but winning a major writing competition with one is far more difficult. We sat down with Meghan Fitzmartin, winner of the Big Break Hour-Long category for her spec of Arrow to uncover the secrets behind ...
“The Revenant” Teaches Us About Writing Action Sequences
The Revenant screenplay by Mark L. Smith and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, based on the book by Michael Punke, is one of the best action films of the year. Set in 1823, the action scenes lack sophisticated weaponry, machinery or major explosions – all...
Through-lines and "The Empire Strikes Back"
I never heard the term “through-line” before I became a professional screenwriter. After I sold my first script, however, and started working with producers and studio execs on various projects, I started to hear it all the time.
Music Cues In Your Screenplay?
Conventional wisdom says don’t. But this same wisdom also tells you never to direct in your script, nor telegraph what a character is feeling, etc. I respectfully disagree with this.
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