Archives For Screenwriting

“Maybe nobody’s perfect but Billy Wilder comes as close to it as you’ll find among filmmakers in Hollywood today, and also yesterday.” – Jack Lemmon

Six-time Oscar winner Billy Wilder is one of the most respected and beloved screenwriters and directors of the twentieth century. In 1999’s Conversations with Wilder by fellow filmmaker Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Elizabethtown), Wilder discussed his extraordinary career in detail and shared the following tips for writers:

  1. The audience is fickle.
  2. Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go.
  3. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.
  4. Know where you’re going.
  5. The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.
  6. If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.
  7. A tip from [Ernst] Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.
  8. In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they are seeing.
  9. The event that occurs at the second-act curtain triggers the end of the movie.
  10. The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then –
  11. – that’s it. Don’t hang around.

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Judging Your Own Work

4 September 2014 — 3 Comments

Judging Your Own Work - Brian McDonald

By award-winning writer and director Brian McDonald
Excerpted from Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories that Resonate

 

A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
– Thomas Mann

Don’t write for other writers. People are drawn to writing for different reasons and many people do it to seem smart. If you have a good first act, most will never recognize it, because they’re not really clear on what a first act does. They know nothing of construction, but will turn their noses up at the idea of it anyway. The less they know about it the more they will object to it.

The one thing I have noticed about people who are exceptional in their creative work is that they are always trying to get better. That’s how they got good in the first place. These people judge themselves against the best work. They aim for the top.

Just worry about the craft and the art will take care of itself.

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Competitions and Fellowships for Screenwriters

Competitions, fellowships, workshops and residencies for screenwriters. Please check the relevant websites for full terms and conditions, and don’t forget that entry fees are applicable in many cases.

Nick Darke Award
celebrates the best writing for screen, stage and radio, awarding the winner £6000 to allow them to complete their script. It is open to all writers aged over 16. The theme is the environment; entrants may interpret the theme widely. The first submission stage involves outlining an idea in the form of a 25 word or less pitch, followed by an outline for the story idea in 750 words, suggesting character, plot and structure. Applicants are asked to also submit 20 pages that represent their writing, either in the form of a new or existing piece. Entries close 14 April.

PAGE International Screenwriting Awards
were established in 2003 by an alliance of Hollywood producers, agents and development executives. This competition awards a cash prize of $25,000 to a screenwriter who has written the best screenplay in any genre. There are also prizes in ten genre categories. The final date for entries is 15 April.

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
awards up to five fellowships of US$35,000 each year. This international screenwriting competition is open to writers based anywhere in the world, regardless of citizenship. All entrants must be aged over 18.The final entry deadline is 1 May.

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Writing Advice from Trey Parker and Matt Stone

In 2014 iconic animated series South Park turns 17 years old. Since debuting in August 1997, over 240 episodes have gone to air and the show has won five Primetime Emmy Awards. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America included South Park in its 101 Best-Written Shows Ever.

With its highly controversial story lines, South Park may have as many enemies as it does fans, but its creators and writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone clearly know how to create a storyline that grabs an audience’s attention.

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Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting 2014

Applications for the prestigious and lucrative Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting are now open for 2014.

This international screenwriting competition awards up to five fellowships of US$35,000 each year. Since 1986, 133 fellowships totalling $3,600,000 have been awarded.

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Opportunities for Writers January and February 2014The ‘Opportunities for Writers’ posts were some of our most popular articles in 2013. We hope you enjoy the first post in the series for the new year.

Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize
is offered by Lake Forest College in conjunction with NOW Books. It offers an emerging writer under forty years old with no major book publication a two months residency at their campus in Chicago’s northern suburbs on the shore of Lake Michigan. The stipend is US$10,000 with a housing suite and campus meals provided by the college. Applications are open between 1 January and 1 March but only the first 200 will be considered so apply early.

Red Planet Prize for an original TV drama script
is open to anyone in the UK and Eire. Entrants must upload the first ten pages of an original 60 minute script for TV along with a short synopsis; this can be a single play or a pilot for a series. The winner receives a £5000 cash prize and development opportunities with Red Planet Pictures and Kudos for an original TV drama script. Entries close 6 January.

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Opportunities for Writers October and November 2013

We are pleased to present our regular round-up of competitions, fellowships, publication opportunities and more for writers around the world. For updates and news of more opportunities for writers, follow Aerogramme Writers’ Studio on Facebook and Twitter.

Quirk Books
is running its inaugural ‘Looking for Love’ Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts. Works must be at least 50,000 words, be written in English and feature a love story. The grand prize is US$10,000. Closes 1 October.

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