The Dreaded “Block”

Writer’s block.

We’ve all had it, we all hate it. If you’ve ever stared at a blinking cursor on your screen, or at a stack of empty note cards, or off into the abyss and thought, “I’ve got nothing,” know that you’re not alone. Even the greats find themselves in creative and motivational funks. But just because things may seem difficult or bleak, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way out.

Here’s a concise and action-centered list of things to do to shake off the gloom and get back into the swing of things. It also has a handy list of things that do NOT help with writer’s block (like reading and writing articles about writer’s block, whoops!).

But as every article, blog, and well-meaning professor or mentor will tell you, the only true way to get through the writer’s block is by simply writing. Writing crap, writing nonsense, writing something terrible and confusing and so off that it’s cringe-worthy. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, so long as you actually do it. So stop dragging your feet, stop expecting perfection or inspiration or ease, and just write already!

How have you dealt with your creative blocks? Share any helpful tips or encouraging stories in the comments.

The Query Letter

You’ve brainstormed a concept, you’ve outlined and rearranged, you’ve written, rewritten, and then rewritten again, and you’ve got yourself a daggum screenplay. Congratulations! First, take a second to pat yourself on the back. Everyone’s got an idea for a movie, but very few people actually finish what they start. Once you’re done being proud of yourself, that sinking feeling sets in and you ask yourself this horrifying question: “what do I do now?”

There are countless ways to “break into the business” which can somehow make it seem more difficult to accomplish. But if you’re starting from scratch, the next best step is to get your query letter together.

A query letter in today’s world is an email with a casual introduction, a killer logline, and a polite sign off. That’s it. Take a look at this helpful article from ScreenCraft about how to construct the perfect query letter.

Want to Act AND Write? Markus Redmond Shares His Story

The folks at Film Courage sat down with Markus Redmond to discuss his professional journey how he broke into Hollywood as both an actor and as a writer. For those incredibly ambitious folks, pin this and watch it. Enjoy 🙂

Have additional insight? Feel free to comment, discuss, and share.

See the full interview here: How I Broke Into Acting and Screenwriting in Hollywood – Markus Redmond [FULL INTERVIEW]

Scripts vs. Novels

Scott Myers discusses the difference between writing scripts and writing screenplays, and what to do when your more familiar with one but want to switch to the other. His answer: do both. He also discusses the challenges and advantages of each side of the writing spectrum.

Have thoughts about this or have additional insight on the subject? Feel free to comment and discuss in the comments 🙂

Read the full article here: Reader Question: What’s the biggest challenge novelists face when switching to screenwriting?

Graduate School Experiences

Teresa Warner discusses her experience with attending graduate film school and how it impacted her life. As a graduate film student myself, I can say that I agree with her and share her sentiment that I also found myself in graduate school. But I don’t want to spoil the article!

Read her full story here: STORY BROADS: What Graduate School Taught Me About Screenwriting, Hollywood, and Myself

How to Trick Yourself Into Writing Your Screenplay

Naomi Beaty with ScreenCraft offers three tricks to help you get your screenplay done. Time and motivation are hard to come by sometimes, so you have to be creative about how you keep yourself from getting jaded.

Read the full article here: Trick Yourself Into Writing Your Screenplay

6 Filmmaking Tips from Ben Wheatley

Christopher Campbell from Film School Rejects gathers and shares six pieces of filmmaking advice from British filmmaker Ben Wheatley. As creatives, we find inspiration from many people, places, events, and things. Here’s more insight into how one successful filmmaker gets work done. Use your inspiration wisely 🙂

Read the full article here: 6 Filmmaking Tips from Ben Wheatley

Are Locations a Character?

The folks at ScreenCraft discuss the location of a screenplay and how it works as a character to a story. Films such as Fatal Attraction, The Fugitive, In the War of the Roses, and The Woodsman are used as examples to explain just how location plays a role in bringing your story to life and how it completes your story onscreen.

Read the full article here: Do Your Locations Have Character?

Happy Birthday, Tim!

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On behalf of everyone at Hollins University, I’d like to wish a very happy birthday to Tim Albaugh*, the director of the Hollins University Summer Graduate Screenwriting and Film Studies program.

For over a decade, Tim has worked tirelessly as a champion for not only the program but for every single student who joins the Hollins University family. Running a graduate program based in Virginia from the opposite end of the country in California is no easy task, and Tim does so willingly with enthusiasm, diligence, good humor, and love. Whether students are gathered in Texas, California, or Virginia, Tim has made genuine efforts to build a strong community of creatives, artists, and storytellers.

Thank you for all your hard work, encouragement, and support. Here’s to your next lap around the sun. May there be many more.

 

*Link to biography

 

Who’s Who at Hollins U?

Hollins University is a little, hidden gem. The gorgeous campus is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where cicadas buzz about while you sit in a rocking chair on the front porch. It’s mostly known as a women’s college and has some famous alumnae, such as children’s author Margaret Wise Brown. But the university also has fantastic, low-residency, co-ed, graduate programs. Among them is the summer graduate screenwriting and film studies program. Since this unique program runs for only six weeks during the summers, students here have had the opportunity to learn from numerous industry professionals, whether they serve as professors or guest speakers. The specialties of our visiting faculty include horror, children’s television, comedy, drama, minorities in film, and production. While we have many professors who join us summer after summer, no two summers have the same line up of professors, so there are plenty of opportunities to learn from as many industry experts and make as many professional connections as possible from other universities such as UCLA and NYU. Included is the list of professors who have graced Hollins University in past summers and who will be joining us this summer. See any familiar names? Great! Come learn from them here at Hollins.

See the full list of visiting faculty here: Hollins University Summer Graduate Screenwriting & Film Studies Visiting Faculty

See the full list of Program Faculty here: Program Faculty at Hollins Summer Graduate Screenwriting & Film Studies