Outlines, Treatments, and Scriptments: What’s the Difference?

Writing requires a tremendous amount of work and that work often happens in phases. If you were to look at the first drafts of Hamilton or Harry Potter, they would look undeniably different from their final products. First, you brainstorm. Then you create outlines about your story, the characters, the plot, and every other detail imaginable. Writers do this several times in several different ways. Then they write the first of many drafts. Ken Miyamoto with ScreenCraft discusses the difference between outlines, treatments, and scriptments and how each of them is important to the story development process.

Read the full article here: Outlines, Treatments, and Scriptments, Oh My!

The MacGuffin

Ken Miyamoto with ScreenCraft discusses the MacGuffin, what it is, and how to properly use it to tell your story as effectively as possible. He uses films such as James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Citizen Kane to illustrate how the MacGuffin can be an effective storytelling tool and add conflict to the story.

Read the full article here: How Screenwriters Can Master the MacGuffin

Ten Screenplay Structures That Screenwriters Can Use

Every story is different and there are different ways of telling a story. Ken Miyamoto from ScreenCraft discusses ten different story structures that writers can use to structure their screenplays. Yes, sometimes chronological order works best and makes the most sense. Other times, a different approach proves to be more effective or allows the storyteller to be more creative. All successful stories have a structure to them, but by utilizing different methods of structure, writers can create a more visually fascinating and engaging for the audience.

Read full article here: 10 Screenplay Structures That Screenwriters Can Use

Thirteen Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Brad Schreiber discusses thirteen common mistakes that screenwriters make, offers insight on how writers can spot those mistakes and provides advice on how to fix them.

Read full article: https://www.writersstore.com/13-things-bad-screenwriters-commonly-do/

Uncomplicating Complicated Plots

Creating complicated stories doesn’t need to be complicated. Ken Miyamoto with ScreenCraft breaks down complicated story plots and offers advice on the best way writers can create the complicated stories. He uses films such as “Pulp Fiction”, “Memento”, and “The Sixth Sense” to illustrate the discussion.

Read full article here: 7 Simple Ways to Craft Complicated Plots in Screenplays

*Music for Your Screenplays

Ken Miyamoto at ScreenCraft shares his thoughts on how to use music to enhance your screenplays and stories. He uses several films as examples to illustrate the power of music and how it can add that extra layer to the story for the audience.

Full article here: How to Use Music to Write Better Screenplays

 

*In other news, this is our 200th post!! Thanks for tagging along. Here’s to the next 200 🙂

Twelve Tips for Writers

Fun fact: writing is hard. Very hard. Sarah Cool shares a video from writing coach Stephanie Newell that discusses useful advice for writers. This is geared specifically towards prose and novel writers, but her advice is equally useful to screenwriters.

See full article with video here: 12 Tips For Every Writer

Screenwriters Final Draft Checklist

Ken Miyamoto from ScreenCraft provides a checklist for screenwriters to use to perfect the final drafts of their screenplays. Consider these guidelines for a well-polished and ready script for readers.

Click here for full article: The Ultimate Final Draft Checklist for Screenwriters

Marvelous Lessons Creatives Can Learn from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Amazon’s new show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has been a huge hit this season. The show created by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman – Palladino picked up two Golden Globes at the 2018 ceremony: one for Best Musical or Comedy Series and a second for its leading lady, Rachel Brosnahan, for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series. So we weren’t alone, or crazy for that matter, for falling head over heels for this show. Go watch it. It really is marvelous.

I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers for those who haven’t watched it yet. But the show is about a woman in 1950s New York who begins pursuing a career in stand up comedy after her picture-perfect life gets turned upside down. I found that Mrs. Maisel’s story has some valuable lessons for anyone trying to pursue their dreams, especially in a creative field.

  1. Sometimes life takes unexpected turns when every plan you ever made falls apart. Sometimes you realize what your dreams are later in life or that you should chase that fantasy you thought was only a pipe dream. Sometimes, your eyes are opened to a gift you never realized you had. It’s okay when that happens. Go for it. Will it be difficult? Yes. Will it be difficult? Yep. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.
  2. The fear of failure is a fear worth confronting. Will you experience failures? ABSOLUTELY. Will you make mistakes? Yes. Will you hear the word “No”? Yes. Lots of people, powerful and influential people, will tell you no. Sometimes the material you come up with just doesn’t work. Sometimes you don’t like the material you created. Fear of failure of a very legitimate fear and it can cripple you. But it can also empower and strengthen you. Failure and mistakes are how you learn. You also have to acknowledge the fact that you failed. Think about a diamond. It’s a rock, a hunk of carbon to be exact. It’s made of the same stuff as the graphite in your pencils. (See the connection?) Diamonds are not only one of the most beautiful gems, they are also one of the strongest. But what did that hunk of carbon experience that separates it from the pencil graphite? It’s experienced more heat and more pressure for a longer period of time. So the next time you mess something up, get rejected, totally bomb, or something doesn’t happen in the time frame that you think it should happen, (looking at you fellow 29 and 30 – year olds) Remember that you are a diamond undergoing the necessary heat, pressure, and time and you are one step closer to becoming that drop-dead gorgeous diamond. You will get there. Now go get your pencil graphite and make something 🙂
  3. Plan and prepare. Spontaneity is great, but preparation is greater. A lot of people who are not me are great improvisers. They can come up with material on the fly. It seems that some people have this coveted superpower of the creative gods and others don’t. Some people can whip up Shakespearean levels of perfection in seconds. It’s infuriating. But is it really that spontaneous? Nope. Creatives spend lots of time creating, bombing, and creating some more until their work shines like diamonds. Spontaneity is great. It can make your work feel exciting as your creative energy bursts. But sometimes, like a secretary on a pre-QWERTY typewriter, the gears can jam. You can get stuck and flop on your face, or your butt, or both. You need to plan and prepare your material. It may be difficult to do at first. I struggle with prep work myself. My head refuses to produce anything until the last possible moment. But the more you prepare and organize your thoughts and outline your plans, the more it will benefit your work. This is much easier said than done. Preparation leads to better work. Better work leads to boosted confidence. Boosted confidence leads to more opportunities. Having more opportunities leads to success. This is the “pressure” piece of the diamond-making equation.
  4. Be your truest self and go with your gut. This sounds cliché, but it’s true. Lots of well-intentioned people will give you lots of well-intentioned advice on how to pursue your work. They will give you lots of do’s a don’ts. At the end of the day, the work is yours. You have a unique voice that deserves to be heard. Like the Miles Davis quote goes, “you have to play a lot of other people’s stuff before you start sounding like yourself”. You will have to learn the craft, the business of the craft, and what material already exists as you begin creating your own. Take notes of your life’s experiences. Carry a notebook so you can do so. But by being your truest self, you ultimately become your best self and can carve out your place in the creative world by showcasing your unique perspective. If you study notable people’s careers, you will notice this pattern. This is the “time” piece of the diamond-making equation.
  5. Not everyone will understand what you’re doing. Go for it anyway. Especially if your heart, your head, and your gut are all in the same place. Some people will tear you down, insult you, laugh at you and your ideas, and constantly demand justification as to why you’re pursuing the career you’re pursuing and it often comes from the people closest to you. You will want to quit and, for a period of time, you just might. Please keep going. Keep working. Channel your inner Dory and just keep swimming. Use the things that excite you, make you curious, or make you furious. Those aspects of you are what make your worldview unique and worthy of sharing. One now-famous example is when Lin-Manuel Miranda first introduced his early Hamilton material at a White House event (a poetry slam hosted by the Obamas, I believe). He began with saying something to the effect of “this is about someone who embodies hip-hop: Alexander Hamilton.” The audience literally laughed at him. Just shy of a decade later, he’s gotten the last laugh as that material from the poetry slam has grown into a Broadway smash hit. Excellent proof of what you can accomplish if you just keep working at what you are genuinely passionate about. It will feel like you are the only person in your corner; it’s because you are. You will have to be the only person standing in your corner to prove to others that your corner is worth standing in. This is the “heat” piece of the diamond-making equation.

Contrary to popular belief the creative life is not for the faint of heart. It takes a tremendous amount of work, mistakes, determination, and vulnerability to find your voice and learn how to use it. You are capable of becoming a diamond, but you will have to endure the heat, the pressure, and the time. Keep going and you will get there.

 

 

Story tricks from Spielberg’s BFG

Spielberg is an icon and a legend for good reason. Shanee Edwards with ScreenwritingU Magazine dissects the film to study seven story tricks screenwriters can use when creating children’s films.

Read the full article here: Spielberg gets all Spielbergian on The BFG: 7 great story tricks we learned from the cinematic giant