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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Screenwriting, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 58
1. Editor Ellie Sipila on Screenwriting to Tighten Prose, Antiheroes as Protagonists, and Romance in YA

We are so pleased to have Ellie Sipila join us today to answer writer questions as part of our Ask a Pub Pro series. Ellie is currently editing for Fitzhenry & Whiteside in Canada, but has also worked for other publishing houses as well. I've been fortunate enough to have Ellie edit my work and value her professional eye for detail and sympathetic, insightful feedback. But not only is Ellie an editor, in her alter-ego, she's also Kat Hawthorne, author of The Boatman, which recently released.

If you have a question you'd like to have answered by an upcoming publishing professional, send it to AYAPLit AT gmail.com and put "Ask a Pub Pro Question" in the subject line.

Editor Ellie Sipila on Screenwriting to Tighten Prose, Antiheroes as Protagonists, and Romance in YA -- An Ask a Pub Pro Post

Reader Question 1) I've heard that writing a screenplay can help a writer improve their plotting for a novel as the pacing has to be so tight for a screenplay. Do you know anything about this and what advice would you offer?

Great question. Here is a little known fact about your friend Ellie (otherwise known as Kat Hawthorne): I wrote the screenplay for an online RPG called Fearless Fantasy. (SHAMELESS PLUG, here's the link). Let it be known that I had never in my life before this written for the screen. So when the creator of the game approached me with the concept and asked me if I could write a story around it, I thought…okay, no problem. I’m a writer, I can do anything. Frankly, I thought it would be a simple task. I mean, there is no need to even write tags, dialogue, action, or otherwise – that’s like, less work. All you have to do is tell a story through the character’s words. Easy, right?


Screenwriting is very different from prose writing, just as poetry writing is different from prose writing. The most challenging part of writing for the screen for me was learning to trust in the animator (or actors as the case may be). You see, I had my own ideas about how the characters should say a thing, the inflection and intonation, but those ideas did not always gel with the way the voice actors thought they should be said. I could not direct that but for a little in the screen manuscript, though of course I had full control over that in my prose writing. This was a strange and frightening revelation for me. That, in my opinion, is the greatest difference between writing prose and writing for the screen. You can write the bones, but the fleshing out is up to someone else.

Also, if anyone has read my work (HAVE YOU??) you will know that my style is very literary. I like to describe things, often in great detail. But…not only does this not work in screenwriting, it is flat out discouraged. Actors are paid handsomely to put the words into context., the director has an opinion too. The writer must let them earn their keep. The writer is not the most important one in the screenplay equation.

If you really want to tighten your prose, write poetry. Or better yet, write flash fiction – now there’s a challenge! Write a complete story with a fully formed arc in exactly 97 words. Then, take that mentality to your novel manuscript. As an editor, I am well known for my ability to reduce an 80k word manuscript to a 60k word one. I am dead serious. Dialogue tags are not often needed. You can often use an action to both give some life to your scene and to name the speaker. Seriously, try it. Rather than saying, “he said” at the end of a phrase over and over, show the character doing something. Two birds; one stone.

Here’s an example:

“Why, that’s ludicrous!” After reading Ellie-Kat’s comments on the Adventures in YA blog, the reader slammed the book closed, causing a great waft of dust to slip up his nose. He sneezed once and then again, the force of which reopened the book. “What do you mean I shouldn’t use ‘he said’ so much? That’s, like, a staple!”


2) I'm writing an historical novel and am considering using a timestamp at the beginning of many scenes as the novel spans quite a bit of time. Are there guidelines for how I should or should not use them? Is it acceptable to write the time in at the beginning of a scene like this?

Interesting question. I have seen this done before (for example, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus features the time stamp at the beginning of each chapter, as does Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries – both arguably quite successful books!) but to be honest…as a reader, I don’t always grasp the importance of the dates, particularly if there is a degree of jumping ahead and jumping back in time. The dead honest truth is that numbers are not my forte – they don’t tend to stick with me. I can’t even remember my own phone number. I imagine I’m not alone in this. (I’m not alone in this, RIGHT?)

This is just my opinion because there is technically nothing wrong with including time stamps as you’ve suggested. But…unless your manuscript is in journal format, I would personally prefer a character to mention the time jump somehow – have it worked into the narrative. Of course, your particular manuscript may be perfectly suited to time stamps, in which case you should definitely use them. So to sum up, it depends on the context, but use them knowing that they may not stick with every reader (AKA, don’t depend on them to get your message across. Guaranteed at least a few of your readers will miss the point).

Sorry this is not a particularly definitive answer.

3) How difficult do you think it would be to sell a YA that had no romance thread whatsoever?

You know...it's no secret that I am not a fan of romance. I find it very exciting that authors such as yourself are considering moving away from the worn out mandatory kissing scene in your YA manuscripts. High fives all around. That said, as with many other genres, YA readers expect at least one mushy scene in their books. Therein lies the problem.

The current trend is definitely toward romance in YA. However, there are some wonderful YA books that don’t have any included, such as James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. It’s possible, my friend, though perhaps yet a little cutting edge.

In honesty, for a great long while, romance in YA was almost a prerequisite. However, I am hopeful that we are now on the leeward side of that stiff wind. The times, they are a-changing (much to my infinite glee). I think, if your story is strong enough, you can scrap that concept of mandatory romance in YA altogether. And then when your book publishes, as a non-fan of romance, let me know because I want to read it. :D

4) I'm considering an antihero as my main character for my new WIP. Do you know of any YA novels with an antihero that you could recommend I read?

Um, well... Joe Abercrombie’s recent Shattered Sea trilogy (considered YA in the UK but unfortunately classed adult here in North America) features several characters back-stabbing one another (literally and figuratively, of course, as is common in Master Abercrombie’s work) including the main characters, who may or may not be “heroes” of a sort. Kinda depends on how you look at it. These are a little gory though and there is some questionable language used (though not much in these particular books), so if you’re not in the mood for that, keep looking. Consider yourself warned.

I’m not sure how you’d classify this, but if you were to look at any DC comic book, you’d find several fine examples of antihero as protagonist, and many of these were written for the YA-aged reader. Okay, maybe not any one of them, but many of them feature characters that are not at all against the idea of revenge or vendetta, and the readers are right there alongside them. You may be breaking some new ground with this concept, and indeed your challenges will be many, most specifically writing an effective antihero that your readers will like and that they will connect to. But I don’t think it’s impossible. Actually, I think it sounds rather interesting.

I say go for it. And again, when you’re done…

About the Book:

Isabel Wixon is weird. Not only does she see dead things, but her list of friends consists of a talkative ventriloquist’s dummy and the gentlemanly spider that lives in her hair. Real friends? Too hard. Inventing friends is much easier.

Inventing the Boatman—a terrible monster that lures kids into a strange sleeping sickness and never lets them go—probably wasn’t one of her better ideas though.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

About the Author:

Ellie Sipila attended Ryerson University for copy, stylistic, and substantive editing and then went on to earn a specialization in editing books intended for young people (picture books, middle grade, and young adult). She is a member of the Editors' Association of Canada and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Under her pen name, Kat Hawthorne, Ellie is a multi published author with two novels, eight pieces of short fiction, four poems, and one screenplay out in the great wide yonder.

Ellie has the great joy of being a house editor at BookFish Books LLC, though she is currently on a short term sabbatical to chase her dream of being an in-house editor at Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited. There, she whiles away her hours reading submissions, substantively editing contracted manuscripts, and trying not to drool on her keyboard so astounded is she that she has landed such an awesome job.

Oh, and she's also a wife, a mom, a cellist, and an all around geeky chick.

Website (author) | Website (editor) | Twitter | Goodreads

-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers

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2. Screenwriting Vs. Writing Young Adult Novels

A screenplay is a blueprint for a story to be carried out in another medium, by a bunch of other artists. A novel is a finished work, and it’s all yours.

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3. What Can You Do in a Month?


Yesterday was the last day of National Poetry Month and I'm missing it already.

To close out the month I wrote a new poem, made a tiny origami kimono, and sprayed fixative on one more mixed-media illustration (above) for "30 Days of Kimono." I'm far from finished with this particular project, but right now it's Happy May Day and a brand new month of writing, this time back to my screenplay for 31 days. No rest for the writer!

I like working on month-by-month projects. I think it all started with my first attempt at National Novel Writing Month. Ever since then (gosh, what's it been? 8 years?) I've found that dedicating an entire month to a solid project is a serious way to get things done, mainly because:
  1. I can focus. For one month, nothing else is quite as important as the work I've chosen to concentrate on. This doesn't mean I abandon my other writing and art projects; they just don't take center stage for a few weeks.
  2. I don't have to think too hard about the month's structure or schedule--usually someone else has decided for me what the month will entail. A good example is my current decision to go with screenwriting this month. I saw a notice for a Facebook group planning to write screenplays in May. It sounded too good to pass up.
  3. Even allowing for spontaneity, like finding this FB screenplay group only a couple of days ago, I can still plan out my year in advance. Working with a calendar helps to accomplish my yearly goals.
  4. And I do get A LOT accomplished!
  5. Signing up for a month of writing is the perfect reason to say "no" to potentially time-wasting activities and energy drains.
  6. Month-size chunks of creativity make big projects do-able.
  7. They are also great motivators (e.g. "Just five more days until I don't have to work on this horrible manuscript ever again . . .")
  8. It's a good excuse to give yourself a special present or reward when the month is finished (no cheating allowed!).
  9. You can use the month to complete a single project . . .
  10. Or you can  take several months for the different aspects and stages of a longer project, e.g., a month for a first draft, a month for extra research, a month for editing, etc.
  11. If you stick to a month-by-month plan, you will actually get where you want to go!
  12. And you'll never wake up in the morning wondering what on earth you will tackle or write about that day.
Don't think you have to restrict yourself to "just writing" either. How about giving yourself  a month to explore a new art technique? Or to take photographs of a favorite subject? Or perhaps you want to set aside some time to plan out your creative life with a month-long vision quest and accompanying goal map.

One of my favorite parts of working on projects-by-the-month is that they're often group-oriented. Whether it's just a small bunch of Facebook friends, or an undertaking as huge as NaNoWriMo, everybody gets the chance to be part of a movement much bigger and friendlier than hours of writing alone. The support and inspiration from working alongside other writers is invaluable and highly recommended.

So what are your plans for the month? Leave a comment and let me know--maybe it's something we can work on together.

Tip of the Day: Make a chart listing the current and next 6 months of the year. Assign either an established project to each month, such as NaNoWriMo in November, or create your own, e.g. "July is Edit My Novel Month. August is Market to Magazines Month." See what fits you and your writing and then stick to your given plan.

0 Comments on What Can You Do in a Month? as of 5/1/2013 11:51:00 AM
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4. The 24-Hour Screenplay

Screenwriter David Skaufjord wrote a long, unedited but quite practical post about how he wrote a script in 24 hours.

After exploring his unorthodox method, you can read The Karate Kid-themed script he produced during the writing marathon. The post includes some invaluable advice about screenwriting structure:

One of the questions that get tossed around the most when it comes to screenwriting, is how long it takes to write a screenplay. Speaking from my own experience, I´ll say that it takes somewhere between 24 hours and 3.5 years. Now, how long it takes to make a good one is a whole other scenario. But most “writers” you´ll run into never actually finish one. Here´s how I wrote a screenplay in 24 hours. I´m gonna make a habit of forwarding this to every person I run into who claim to carry around a great story, yet don´t have time to write it.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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5. Apply for Universal Pictures Writers Fellowship

Screenwriters can apply for Universal Pictures’ new one-year Emerging Writers Fellowship. Through the program, the movie studio will hire up to five screenwriters “who have the potential to thrive, but don’t have access to or visibility within the industry.”

The movie studio opened this application link on September 3rd, but will only accept 500 applications.

Along with the application, you can submit one original feature length script, a resume and “two letters of recommendation from industry professionals.”


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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6. Clyde Phillips to Aspiring Screenwriters: ‘Don’t fall in love with your first script too much’

MediabistroTV recently talked to Clyde Phillips, bestselling crime novelist and current showrunner for Nurse Jackie. He shares some advice for aspiring writers, and tells why novel writing is not that different from TV writing:

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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7. The Dark Knight Rises: Batman’s Third Act

The “titles” of Batman Begins showed the symbol of a bat formed in a swarm of bats, the titles of The Dark Knightshowed it in fire, now The Dark Knight Rises shows it in ice. The bats in Begins were a symbol of fear, the titles a metaphor for an identity forming out of shadows. The fire of The Dark Knight was like a wall of fire for that bat, that symbol, pushing through the chaos inflicted by the Joker. Now, the bat is, literally, the cracks in the ice formed by the isolation of Gotham City at the hands of Bane.

11 Comments on The Dark Knight Rises: Batman’s Third Act, last added: 2/12/2013
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8. Who Will Win the Screenplay Academy Awards?

Who will win the Oscars for best adapted screenplay and screenplay? Below, we’ve linked to all the nominees in the top writing categories.

On Monday morning, this GalleyCat editor will talk about the screenplay winners along with a team of Oscar experts in a Google+ hangout. Here’s more about the virtual event:

Join GalleyCat’s Jason Boog, TVNewser’s Alex Weprin, FishbowlLA’s Richard Horgan and GoldDerby editor Tom O’Neil for a post-Oscars Google+ hangout. What book adaptations were snubbed? How did TV news cover it? Learn more about the history of the awards show and get the L.A. perspective.  All this and more on Monday, Feb. 25 at 11:30 a.m.  And we want to hear from you. With the hashtag #mbhangouts, send us your questions and comments on Twitter, Facebook or Google+


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9. Quentin Tarantino: ‘This Will Be the Writers’ Year’

“This will be the writers’ year, man,” Quentin Tarantino cheered as he accepted the best original screenplay prize at the Academy Awards.  Screenwriter Chris Terrio won the best adapted screenplay Academy Award for his Argo script.

Paperman, Disney’s short film about the joys of print and love, won the award for Best Animated Short Oscar. Watch the trailer embedded above…

We’ve linked to all the nominees in the screenwriting categories below. On Monday morning, this GalleyCat editor will talk about the screenplay winners along with a team of Oscar experts in a Google+ hangout.


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10. Writing Advice from Producer of The Tudors, History Channel’s Vikings

“My instinct is to absolutely recoil when talking about writing in a mechanistic way,” says screenwriter and producer Michael Hirst. With a bunch of film credits under his belt, along with the award-winning series The Tudors, Hirst talks to Mediabistro for the latest installment of So What Do You Do? Though he writes for a different medium than most of you GalleyCat readers, his advice for research and crafting characters is useful for any writer.

“The key for me with historical characters is they’re interesting because they’re human beings,” he said. “A little bit of Hemingway goes a long way here, but journalists and writers should honestly look at their material and have a real interest, a real passion in what they want to write, and they should also have a lot of knowledge, as well. You don’t write police procedural stuff unless you really know that beat, but it’s ultimately not the procedure that makes the show work — it’s the people. The more real they are, the better.”

For more, read So What Do You Do, Michael Hirst, Creator of The Tudors and Vikings?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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11. ‘Frankenstein Theory’ Co-Writer Shares Script Advice: ‘Send it out. Get rejected. Start another screenplay.’

On today’s edition of the Morning Media Menu, we spoke with Andrew Weiner, director and co-writer of The Frankenstein Theory. Press play below to listen on SoundCloud.

The screenwriter shared tips for other aspiring filmmakers, exploring the script-writing process. Follow this link to watch the trailer for the scary found-footage movie. He offered this advice for first-time writers:

If you are an aspiring writer, just focus on the screenplay. Really focus on the craft of screenwriting. The screenwriters that I know who have become successful, almost all of them went through years and years of struggle. Writing, writing, writing without selling a movie … for most of the most successful writers in Hollywood, it is not unusual to go ten years before selling your first screenplay.


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12. What Are the Best Day Jobs for Writers?

Writers around the world struggle to pay the bills and maintain a writing career in their free time.

Over at the screenwriting section of Reddit, readers compiled a list of the best jobs you can take while working on your first script.

We’ve collected these suggestions below, but it is a question we’d like to pose for all GalleyCat readers–what are the best day jobs for writers?


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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13. 21 Days to Writer's Fitness

They say it takes 21 days to make--or break--a habit, and after 21 days of inspiration from Leigh Medeiros and Silver Wings Scripts, I can happily say it's true. Leigh is (amongst other creative accomplishments) the creator of "Screenwriter Shape-up", a 21-day program designed to turn your screenwriting wishes (I wish I had more time/ I wish I could follow through with my ideas/I wish I could write every day...) into established realities.

The version of Screenwriter Shape-Up I took started on February 11 and lasted until March 3. The mission was simple: write down a series of do-able goals for the full 21 days and then...well, do them! My goals this time around were fairly straightforward: to write a 1-page treatment of my most recent screenplay idea--a supernatural thriller--followed by a 2-page treatment, and then to outline my various scenes. But after a week into the program, I found the goal-setting was just the beginning of something much deeper . For instance, there was:
  • Discipline! As much as I'm intrigued by screenwriting, far too often it ends up on the back burner, especially when I'm working on a novel or even this blog. But now I've learned to carve out a dedicated screenwriting hour for myself every day. And you know what? That one little hour is  helping all my other writing as well.
  • Discovering that 21 days goes fast--and it's the perfect time frame for any kind of deadline or project in the future. The 30 days assigned to the more well-known writing marathons such as Nanowrimo or Scriptfrenzy can seem overwhelming, especially to new writers. 21 days is short and sweet.
  • I met so many nice new people--wow, there are some great and friendly writers out there.
  • I finally grasped how to use Facebook. This might not sound that amazing to my Internet-savvy friends, but Facebook has always been difficult for me to use. Being part of the discussion groups helped me to see the value of the site and fearlessly join in.
  • Working every day toward my goals allowed me to  accomplish them, and more--I now have a complete screenplay outline. Current goal: a complete first draft.
  • I learned I could use the 21-day plan for other projects, too. For instance, how about 21 days just for art journaling, 21 days for editing, or 21 days to write 21 poems? This could be a good schedule for all those spaces between various manuscript drafts awaiting revision and rewrites.
  • Best of all, now that the 21 days are up and I find myself lodged in my new screenwriting habit, I feel I can truly call myself a screenwriter. In the past I used to consider myself more of a screen-dabbler, a person who liked to play around with screenplays but never thought anything I wrote was worthy of entering into a competition or receiving serious consideration. No more! I love my current project and hope to have it contest-ready by next year.
So as you can see, my goals led me to some pretty good places. Which doesn't mean I can rest on my laurels. A writing habit means that once again it's time to stretch those fingers, lift those pens, and start writing. After all, they don't call them "exercise books" for nothing!

Tip of the Day: Set up your own 21-day program for a project you've always wanted to work on but have delayed for some reason. Choose "start" and "finish" dates that will help, not hinder you, assign yourself an achievable goal or two, and go for it!

1 Comments on 21 Days to Writer's Fitness, last added: 3/20/2013
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14. Joseph Gordon-Levitt Seeks Writers for TV Show

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his Hit RECord production company have launched a new television variety show called “Hit RECord on TV.” In the YouTube video embedded above, they invite writers to contribute work for the show.

The show will be broadcast on the brand new Pivot channel. If you want to submit, you need to join the hitRECord network and share your work online. Gordon-Levitt explained the process:

Hit RECord is a collaborative production company. So we are going to make this TV show together. Anybody can come contribute to our collaborations or start your own … As with any HitRecord production, if we use your stuff, we pay you for it. So. Writers, write us a short story or a script or a poem. Maybe another artist on the site will act that out and that becomes a short film.

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15. Novelist/Screenwriter Noah Hawley on Hollywood, Pitching and Parenthood

Noah HawleyNoah Hawley is a novelist and screenwriter (Lies and Alibis, The Unusuals) whose latest book, The Good Father: A Novel, is the powerful story of a man trying to understand and defend his son, who stands accused of a terrible crime. 

In this exclusive guest post, Hawley talks about the secret to Hollywood success and how little a pitch has to do with actual writing.

I started The Good Father in 2007. I put it down twice in order to create and run two television shows. In the fall of 2010 I finished the book. As we were about to submit the finished manuscript to publishers, a disturbed young man in Arizona shot a congresswomen and six other people in a supermarket parking lot. Jared Loughner, the latest in a long line of lone gunman that America has produced.

Immediately in the aftermath of the shooting, my agent and I decided to put off the sale.

Over the next few weeks I went back and incorporated references to Loughner’s crime into the novel. The Good Father is a novel that explores the lone gunman archetype, presenting case studies (assembled by Dr. Allen) of shooters like Sirhan Sirhan and John Hinkley. I felt I would have been remiss in not addressing this latest shooting in the novel. The truth is, it would have been the first thing Dr. Allen thought of after his son was arrested, the first case study he would have compiled. He was looking for his son in Loughner’s eyes, asking, could my son have done what he did?

This unorthodox approach to storytelling is not something you could pitch in a room full of studio executives. If you tried to sell them a story that followed both a father and a son, and also present non-fiction histories of famous assassins, they would say that it sounds very “execution dependent,” which is a phrase they use. “Execution dependent” describes a film or TV idea that can only be successful is if it is written and directed and acted well. The success of the venture, in other words, is in the execution of the material. Which, in Hollywood, is no sure thing. The Amazing Spider-Man is going to make a billion dollars no matter how good it is, is their logic. But a complicated drama told in two time periods with a history lesson to boot, requires risk and skill, and that’s a gamble.

But here’s the thing: I didn’t have to pitch this story to anyone. There was no segue, no bottled water or receiving line of handshakes with a view of swaying palm trees. I just sat down and started writing. Which is what a writer does, everywhere except in Hollywood.

Read more on the Amazon Studios Hollywonk blog.


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16. David Simon: ‘Anything that says content should be free makes it hard for all writers, everywhere’

Journalist and screenwriter David Simon has published his first blog dispatch. His new site is called “The Audacity of Despair.”

After holding on to his website for many years, the creator of The Wire opened his site to share his online thoughts. In his introduction, Simon included a stern warning for all creators who write for free on the Internet. Check it out:

In short, for newspapers and book publishers, it has lately been an e-race to the bottom, and I have no desire to contribute to that new economy by writing for free in any format.  Not that what is posted here has much prolonged value — or in the case of previously published prose, hasn’t soured some beyond its expiration — but the principle, in which I genuinely believe, holds:  Writers everywhere do this to make a living, and some are doing fine work and barely getting by for their labor.  Anything that says content should be free makes it hard for all writers, everywhere.   If at any point in the future, this site offers more than a compendium of old prose work and the odd comment or two on recent events — if it grows in purpose or improves in execution — I might try to toss up a small monthly charge in support of one of the 501c3 charities that I soon hope to list in the How To Help section.  And yes, I know that doing so will lose a good many readers; but to me, anyway, the principle matters.   A free internet is wonderful for democratized, unresearched commentary, and it works well as a library of sorts for content that no longer needs a defense of its copyright.  But journalism, literature, film, music —  these endeavors need people operating at the highest professional level and they need to make a living doing what they do.  Copyright matters.  Content costs.


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17. Amazon Studios to Fund Comedy & Children’s Series

Amazon Studios will now accept pitches for comedy and children’s series, hoping to add one project a month to the company’s growing slate of projects to develop for its instant video viewers.

The company will pay creators $55,000 if they distribute the series, along with “up to 5 percent of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses” for the work. If any children’s writers in the audience apply, keep us posted on your progress.

Here’s how to apply: “To submit, a project must have a five-page description, along with a 22-minute pilot script for comedies, or an 11-minute pilot script for children’s shows. Within 45 days of submission, Amazon Studios will either extend an option on the project for $10,000 or invite the creator to add the project to the Amazon Studios site. If a project is not optioned, creators may remove their idea from the Amazon Studios site or leave it to get community feedback.”

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18. Amazon Studios to Fund Comedy & Children’s Series

Amazon Studios will now accept pitches for comedy and children’s series, hoping to add one project a month to the company’s growing slate of projects to develop for its instant video viewers.

The company will pay creators $55,000 if they distribute the series, along with “up to 5 percent of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses” for the work. If any children’s writers in the audience apply, keep us posted on your progress.

Here’s how to apply: “To submit, a project must have a five-page description, along with a 22-minute pilot script for comedies, or an 11-minute pilot script for children’s shows. Within 45 days of submission, Amazon Studios will either extend an option on the project for $10,000 or invite the creator to add the project to the Amazon Studios site. If a project is not optioned, creators may remove their idea from the Amazon Studios site or leave it to get community feedback.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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19. Another weekend of controlled chaos

“Controlled chaos” is Tohubohu Productions director Bill Coughlan’s term for what we’re about to do, and I can’t disagree.…

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20. What Book Should Never Be Filmed?

Over at Tor.com, comic artist John Bonner published a simple and elegant strip explaining why one science fiction classic should never be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. Follow this link to read the whole comic book review.

Check it out: “Every so often, comic artist John Bonner reviews books, audio, and more, then turns his reactions into a comic strip. You can check out many more of them at Bonner’s site and more of them here on Tor.com. He recently reread Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama and tried to imagine how Hollywood would turn it into a film that held as much wonder as the book.”

What book should never be filmed? Share your thoughts in the comments, and we will publish your answers in a future post.

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21. Here’s our 48 Hour Film!

Hey, here’s a surprise! For a limited time only, director Bill Coughlan is letting us show the full version

0 Comments on Here’s our 48 Hour Film! as of 1/1/1900
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22. Clive Barker to Rewrite Zombies vs. Gladiators for Amazon Studios

Horror novelist and screenwriter Clive Barker has been hired to rewrite the Zombies vs. Gladiators for Amazon Studios.

Although the press release doesn’t mention their names, the original script was  written by Michael Weiss and Gregg Ostrin for Amazon’s annual slate of film-writing contests. At Amazon Studios, you can watch an animated test movie version of Zombies vs. Gladiators or download a copy of the original script.

Barker had this statement: “I’m excited by the opportunity to interweave two very rich narrative threads. One of them concerns itself with the reality of the decadence of Rome and its rise and fall. The other is a fantastical narrative element – the living dead. My brief to myself on this project is to give the audience not only zombies they have never seen before but also a Rome they have never seen before … In twenty-five years of working in this town, I’ve rarely had people listen to what I had to say as closely and as carefully as they did and then simply give me the freedom to go do it.”

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23. T.D. Jakes on Breaking Into Hollywood and Selling Your First Script

After penning over 30 self-help titles and novels (two of which became New York Times bestsellers) and producing films like Jumping The Broom and the highly anticipated Sparkle remake starring the late Whitney Houston, Bishop T.D. Jakes has become a true force in Hollywood. But his breakthrough into the media bizz was anything but conventional.

In his Mediabistro So What Do You Do? interview, Jakes gave some valuable advice for writers and authors looking to break into the film biz.

“The old adage is it’s not what you know but who you know. I think that’s very, very important. There are a lot of people who know the ‘what’ of it but don’t know the ‘who’ of it. Everything advances through relationships, and the better you build strong relationships, the more opportunity you’re going to have.”

So, what makes a script great for TDJ Enterprises? “I think it has to be something that has a message,” he said.

Read the full interview in So What Do You Do, Bishop T.D. Jakes?

Andrea Hackett

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24. The Art of Breaking Breaking Dawn

From The Hobbit to Harry Potter, Hollywood loves dividing popular novels into two separate films.

With the second adaptation of Stephenie Meyer‘s Breaking Dawn coming to theaters this weekend, we caught up with screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg to find out what it was like to break the novel into two pieces.

She explained in an email interview: “There was a very natural place at which to break the two books.  The second movie needed a little filling out, but the book itself offered many possibilities for that.  Because the book is all told from Bella’s point of view, things sometimes happen off the page and are related by Bella after the fact — for instance, when Jacob tells her father she’s a werewolf.  In the book, Bella finds out about this conversation after it happened, but in adapting the movie, I got to write the conversation itself.”


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25. Scriptwriting Advice for Executive Director of the Nickelodeon Writing Program

Over at kiyong’s blog of creative pursuits, Nickelodeon Writing Program executive director Karen Kirkland shared scriptwriting advice for aspiring TV writers.

The writing program aims “to attract, develop and staff writers with diverse backgrounds and experiences” for Nickelodeon Network. There is no fee to apply, and accepted writers can land a paid position that lasts up to one year–earning some invaluable experience in television writing. Here’s some advice from Kirkland:

I love it when I read a MODERN FAMILY spec where the writer has not only given me a fresh perspective on the show in terms of the story idea and the premise, but I can still feel the tone of the show, the character voices have remained intact, but the writer’s voice – in terms of his or her perspective, is also coming through in that script. That’s a really difficult thing to do. And of course, your script has to make me laugh out loud! It has to be funny. The dialogue needs to be witty. Your story, the arcs and your characters all need to be multi-layered. I can always tell when a writer’s had fun writing their script because I have fun reading it. Most of the common flaws are a result of writers that aren’t invested in their work. Before you write your spec, do yourself a favor – write a 1/2-page premise first, then an outline, then (and only then) should you write your first draft. Do your research – it’s not enough to watch a couple of episodes. Watch them all – multiple times!


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