15 Screenwriting Lessons People Learn Too Late

This video popped up on my suggested articles the other day. My first thought was, “great, another listicle. I’m so sick of these.” My second thought was, “An hour?! Are you kidding? I’m a millennial, I don’t watch anything longer than 3 minutes.” But it kept popping up, no matter how many times I ignored it. And I’m so glad it did. I listened to the first couple minutes, intending to turn it off. The first two minutes were so good that I listened to the whole thing.

This is an hour of help, motivation, advice, butt-kicking, reality checks, and inspiration that I do not regret. Take a look and you might find a nugget of help for you in here too.

 

The $25 Million Dollar Man

Parks and Recreation is my favorite show of all time. Although, the new(ish) The Good Place is threatening to knock it out of first place, if they would just make more episodes! Needless to say, I think Michael Schur is amazing. But do I think he’s worth $25,000,000? That’s 6 zeros, people. I’ve been suggested a lot of articles recently about the deal NBC has struck to keep The Office writer/producer around. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are really changing the way media is being produced, distributed, and consumed. And some people are really benefiting from it.

Take a look at this (and this, and this) article talking about the deal. What do you think? Are these good changes? Does the deal make sense? How will this affect your future as a content creator? Will this deal get them to make longer seasons of The Good Place, PLEASE?!

Netflix vs. Spielberg?

Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz, perhaps you haven’t, but things are changing in Hollywood and not everyone is on board. Steven Spielberg (maybe you’ve heard of him?) has some strong opinions about streaming services and awards eligibility. And Netflix has some strong opinions about his opinions.

Check out this article for the latest on the saga.

And leave a note in the comments about YOUR opinions. How has streaming changed things for us aspiring filmmakers? How should eligibility be determined for awards? Who is right, who is wrong? Also, what are you binging right now (I’m looking for some new recommendations)?

2019 Academy Awards

It’s no secret that the Academy has hit a few road bumps this year. The absolute disaster of the “Popular film” category; accusations of bigotry, racism, and sexism; and the inability to procure a host made for a tense and awkward lead up to the Oscars. So awkward and tense, in fact, that I didn’t even watch. But even if I claim to be above the noise of awards, I can’t help but be a little invested… so I looked up the winners first thing this morning.

Best picture winner, “Green Book” was a most welcome surprise for me. I saw the film and loved it. The acting, the writing, the story. They were wonderful and I was pleased to see it get some recognition. So even though I didn’t personally watch the Oscars this year, I recognize the clout that comes with one of those little gold statues and concede that I will continue to watch Oscar nominated and Oscar winning films. And you probably should too.

 

Here’s a list of this year’s winners.

Love is in the Air

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you love or hate this day, the fact remains: it exists. So why not use it as an excuse to eat a bunch of chocolate, buy yourself something nice, and veg out in front of the TV?

Here’s a fun list of the best romantic movies to watch today.

Or if you’re a Valentine’s Day hater:

Here’s a list of anti-romantic movies to watch today.

No matter what your preference is, make sure you take every opportunity you can to watch more movies.

Writing A Winning Script

“Screencraft,” that well of interesting topics and almost countless screenwriting competitions, has released an end of the year report. And it’s a pretty good read. As part of their competitions, writers are always able to purchase feedback. They’ve collected overall information from that feedback and have produced some of the most apropos tips you’re going to find for free anywhere on the net.

Take a look Here and write on in confidence!

Free Screenwriting Seminar

Are you an aspiring screenwriter? Do you want to hone your craft? Are you super cheap and want free help? Then today is your lucky day. Over the past 10 weeks, NoFilmSchool.com has been posting free seminars to help you write your script page by page.

Take a look HERE for 10 weeks (or 100 pages) worth of free help and advice from some people who know what they’re talking about.

Tidying Up

If you’re anything like me, you have found yourself in the middle of binge watching the new Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” staring at your overflowing closet, and wishing that you could live a simpler life. But you like your stuff!

That same cramped, crowded mindset often spills over into our writing. We’ve all heard it a billion times, but writing really is rewriting. Whether you are of the mindset of “killing your darlings,” or adhere to Marie’s “keep only your joy” philosophy, we have to find a way to tidy up these vomit drafts.

Here’s another way to look at rewriting. Hopefully you’ll find some tips that help you clean out and organize your overflowing script. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here looking at every line and asking myself, “does this bring me joy?”

 

 

New Year, New Movies

Happy 2019! This year promises to be a big one for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is film releases. Some sources beleive that Disney will have it’s biggest year yet, and Hollywood is recognizing the need for more diversely representative films. One of the best ways to become a better writer is to watch good movies, and read good scripts. Take a look at:

The most anticipated movies of 2019

And don’t forget to watch the Golden Globes this Sunday. Nominees are here, and some of the scripts can be found here.

Happy writing and happy reading! Let’s make this the best year yet.

Competitions

The number one reason I enrolled at Hollins University was not for the top notch faculty or Hollywood connections or practical, hand-on experience (though, c’mon, those are all amazing). It was because I need deadlines. I need assignments and schedules and someone expecting me to get X number of pages to them by day Y. When school is out for the year, or classes are less structured, I have a hard time creating and meeting my own mile markers. I’ve found that the best thing for me during these off months is to submit work to a competition.

Screenwriting competitions are not only a great way to get your work out there and receive helpful feedback, but for people like me to have a goal and deadline to aim for. Here’s a great place to get started when looking for which competitions to enter. And if you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, entering at least one a year is a great goal! Happy writing!

Best Screenwriting Competitions to Enter

What have your experiences been with contests? Share in the comments!