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:

What is Stream of Consciousness Writing?

Sarah Cool shares Overall Adventures insights on a thing called stream of consciousness writing. What it is is simply sitting down with a journal or at a computer and literally writing everything that comes through your head as it comes to you. They explain the benefits of using this technique of writing and how it can help you create the world you want in your head and on paper, but can also help you solve problems in your real world.

Full article and video here: Stream Of Consciousness Writing

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

The Power of Vulnerability

2017 Sundance Screenwriting Fellow Edson Oda discusses vulnerability and how it can empower you creatively as writer and filmmaker.


STORY BROADS: 6 Top Tips for Dealing with Feedback

Vicky Hinault with Story Broads uses her delightful brand of humor and wit to deliver insight on how to deal with feedback. Every profession requires that you be receptive to feedback in some way, shape, or form; but it’s especially important in the creative world. Don’t worry, Quentin Tarantino still gets notes.

STORY BROADS: 6 Top Tips for Dealing with Feedback

5 Storytelling Lessons from Bill Murray

John Bucher with LA Screenwriter extracts five storytelling lessons from the work of the legendary Bill Murray. He uses examples from films such as Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation, Groundhog Day, St. Vincent, and Rock the Kasbah to help illustrate each point. And seriously, who doesn’t love Bill Murray?

Read full article here: 5 Storytelling Lessons from Bill Murray

The Engine of Empathy

Caitlin Durante provides three key rules to effectively convey characters’ emotions in your stories and screenplays. She pulls examples from The Godfather, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Edward Scissorhands to help illustrate the points.

Read full article here: The Engine of Empathy: Three Ways To Convey Characters’ Emotions

Meet the Blogger!

I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been running this blog page for Hollins University for a year now and I have yet to properly introduce myself. Where are my manners? Allow me to ameliorate this.

Name: Amanda Hobbs

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia, USA

How long at Hollins? I’ve been a graduate student in the summer graduate screenwriting & film studies program since 2015.

What made you chose this profession? Long story short, this place feels like the right place. This industry has given me more chances than others. I believe in following the yes’s. So this is where it’s lead me. 

Favorite films/directors/writers/scores/composers/costume designers? Favorite films: Chicago, A League of Their Own, The Sandlot, just about any Disney film, The Princess Bride, Invictus, Long Strange Trip, Midnight in Paris, The Dark Knight, Charlie Wilson’s War, Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen… Directors: Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, Susanna Bier… Writers: Joss Whedon, Aaron Sorkin, Quentin Tarantino… Composers: Michael Giacchino, John Williams … Costume Designers: Colleen Atwood, Alexandra Byrne, Jenny Beavan

Goals for this blog: To reach as many people as possible and be a valuable tool for as many people as possible. I strive to include articles about multiple aspects such as filmmaking and production, the atmosphere and culture of the industry, women and minorities in the industry, and perspectives from the actor’s or director’s points of view. I seek out multiple – if seemingly unusual – sources for inspiration, creativity, and anything else I think could be of value to anyone working or hoping to work in the film industry. Since this page is sponsored by an actual living, breathing university, I also like to showcase the work of our students and professors in hopes that you will come spend time with us so you can become better at your craft and become a part of this incredible family of creatives and artists.

What genres do you like to write? Is there another genre or aspect of the industry you’d like to explore more? I’ll admit my brain tends to go into a Hallmark/Lifetime kind of place. But, I do have an incredible fascination with history. It’s really not as boring as people think. History is all about people and their stories. As far as the film industry goes, I want to learn about anything and everything I can get my hands on: writing, directing, acting, film scoring, or costume design. My skill set, however, is an entirely different discussion – ha ha. Anything can be learned if you’re willing to be a student.

Where do you find inspiration? History and real life stories fascinate me. I also find myself gravitating towards stories about women. Women have stories just as rich and compelling as anyone else. I’m not the sort to condone or resort to man-bashing; I think it’s neither necessary nor appropriate and contradicts the goals of gender equality. I just think women deserve to have the credit for their contributions, respect for the abilities of their brains, and deserve to have their stories shared and celebrated.  

Tricks for sustaining/maintaining creativity? How do you fight creativity blocks? When I write, I like to lock myself in room with a big window, stick my earbuds in and listen to classical music (which is also not as boring as people think). The Beethoven station on Pandora does the trick for me. It’s nice to have something in your ear that will block out the outside world for a bit while also stimulating your brain enough to keep your attention. Whenever I find myself struggling to write, I realize that it’s time to take a break. The brain needs some rest. So I’ll find something else to do like go for a walk – fresh air does wonders, find a craft to do, read a book, or exercise. I like to think of it this way: when you hit a block, the creative fuel tank is empty. So in order to keep going, you need to refuel. I find it enormously helpful to go find something else to do because staring at a blank page all weekend accomplishes nothing. Go socialize, enjoy a meal with people, have conversations… I’m an introvert and I’m saying this. Yes, private time is important. But humans are social creatures and require interaction with other humans for a multitude of reasons. That’s neither an accident nor a fluke. Also, pick a writing time and defend it like mad – this is something I struggle with immensely.  

Fun facts/favorites/interests/hobbies: Fun facts: I attended the Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City for the first time this year and volunteered with the Richmond International Film Festival. Both wonderful experiences. Interests: outdoor activities, travelling, gardening, music, cooking/baking, crafts, reading

Bio: A little bit about me. I’m Amanda, your humble blogger. I grew up in Chesterfield, VA (just south of Richmond). I received my Associate’s in Arts degree from Richard Bland College, my Bachelor of Arts in History from Virginia Tech, and I’m currently working on my MFA at Hollins University. As far as my involvement with the film industry, I’m slowly but surely, making my way. I was an active member of the music community as a band student in high school and wanted to pursue a career as a music teacher, but eventually realized it wasn’t a good fit for me. However, I did become a sister of Tau Beta Sigma, the National Honorary Band Service Sorority. I considered pursuing a theatre major, but opted for history because I felt it would be more versatile, it was subject I was genuinely interested in, and I still thought I wanted to be a teacher. After teaching preschool for several years, spending a semester in a teacher licensure program, and not satisfied with where I was headed, I decided to take another direction and go after something that I really wanted. I came upon Hollins University after doing an online search for film programs in my home state of Virginia. I stewed over it for some time before applying, but once I did I never looked back. I’ve continued to pursue work in this industry because it’s given me opportunities that others wouldn’t. And, plus, there’s more than one way to be a teacher. 


Amanda Hobbs - photo 2
Amanda Hobbs