Screenwriting 101

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"The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style" (Christopher Riley)

Have spent most of the afternoon sipping Jameson's, and discovering my nascent screenplay is totally written wrong. According to Christopher Riley (and he sounds like he knows what he's talking about), there is a very precise form and style to any screenplay, and screenplays that break the rules get discarded, unread. We've mostly been brainstorming, but last weekend I wrote out a couple scenes, in a seemed-like screenplay-like format. Apparently, I'm going to have to rework those pages, changing nearly everything except for the font. Not difficult necessarily, just hard for me to kowtow to the dictum of using so much white space on a page. I tend to want to fill up every part of a page with words. Riley claims it has something to do with the rule of thumb that a page of script covers about a minute of filming.

I've tackled film treatments before, but never had a solid enough idea to actually write an entire screenplay, nor had a willing collaborator. This script covers some of my pet ideas (and favorite visual themes) - urban decay, industrialization, and merges them with other (fun) themes - murder, insanity, duplicity, racism. I can't say more because you might steal our concepts, and type faster than our inexperience allows us to type. A competitive game, film making.

Wish us luck. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

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Godard's "Pierrot Le Fou" (1965) is the same film I liked so much when it opened here in 1968, and assigned a 3.5 star rating. ... But while I once wrote of it as "Godard's most virtuoso display of his mastery of Hollywood genres," I now see it more a... Read More


What can I do but wish you good luck or hope you get to know someone in the business who can help? (Ha-ha) I have a few screenpalys and had never noticed the detail of space/minute. But then again, when I am famous, someone will type my screenplays for me.
I hope you are feeling better.

We have several contacts and friends who claim they have 'juice' in the industry (various screenwriters, executives, ex-executives, hangers-on). We'll see. First order of business is making a coherent screenplay. My tendency is to write as if it were a novel, but that's apparently the wrong strategy. Supposed to use the present tense, for instance.

We have been talking about this idea for two or three years, we'll soon see!


Good luck - keep us up to date on the process and just fyi, I excel at typing (hey, we all have to have something we're good at).

Miss Cominoto (or something like that) - yep, I had her - I'm not sure why.

My favorite quote:
"Doughty, you are THE worst Freshman typist I have ever had the displeasure of teaching in all of my years." Delightful woman. I miss her. I actually got an A in the class and she invited me to come back for advanced typing. I'm sure I gave that the best 15 year old eye roll I could muster up.

More story time:
She once reported me as absent when I was sitting in front of her. I came home to a "Beth, where were you today? We got a call from school..." Great.

AND during the typing final (insert another eyeroll) - a heavy set kid brought in donuts to which Miss Cominoto commented: "Johnson, what do you want to be when you graduate?" "I want to join the Air Force." "Johnson, do you think they'd let a fat slob like you into the Air Force?"

She was adorable!

... and damn, if you can already type well I can't contribute. How are you on filing? I can file, too? You should see me alphabetize - a site to behold! Seriously, what's the point of you getting coat tails if we can't ride them?

Thank GOD, I'm not still bitter about it all. Nosirreee.

Filing. I hate filing. In fact, I have mounds and mounds of papers waiting to be filed right now. That's why I bought a document scanner in fact. Though, now I have piles of papers waiting to be scanned. Doh!

I'm pretty sure I had Miss Bitty 2nd Period, Freshman year (wasn't our English class 3rd P? Scotty or something), but I don't remember much else about the class other than her prune face, and repeated admonitions to sit up straight.

But hey, I can type well at least (crappy grade in the class notwithstanding).

Fun High School Factoids:

Scotty Joe Roberts
4th period
B Lunch

3rd period, for me, was orchestra

It's because of this useless information clogging my brain, that I can't make room for new material.

Being recognized as a talent, or making a living in the field of script writing takes serious work. It can only be accomplished through the study of techniques, and control of the tools. You should write the types of stories that you not only like to read, but those that you like enough to spend several months researching and creating.
Presenting a method of story design that is easy to understand and easy to do, The Scripped Writer! This is the key to unlocking your future as a working screenwriter in Hollywood.

Professional Screenwriting Program

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on February 17, 2008 5:45 PM.

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