The importance of specificity and decisions for the writer

Well, as I write this I’m thinking, “George, you have a [expletive deleted] script to finish,” but specificity and decisions are top of mind for me now, so I feel compelled to address these critical issues that are key Continue reading “The importance of specificity and decisions for the writer”

How to write a sitcom (step #3): Strengthen the story

Now that you have a strong idea of who your main characters are, how they relate to each other, and where the sitcom primarily is set, you probably already have thought of a number of funny scenarios that could drive numerous episodes, and now’s the time to choose one idea and add Continue reading “How to write a sitcom (step #3): Strengthen the story”

Write what you like and who you know

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Annie HallOne of the best ways to learn how to write a screenplay is, yes, to just write one, but if you’ve never written one before, it’s easy to get derailed by the debilitating thought, “what should I write about?” Just write the film or TV show you want to see, for you’ll naturally be drawn to the genre that interests you the most, which, in turn, Continue reading “Write what you like and who you know”

How to write a sitcom (step #2): The setting

All television shows have a few primary locationsAll television shows, regardless of genre or “on location” shooting, have scenes in every episode set in a handful of primary locations:

Recommended screenwriting book: Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Great

Screenplay books come in different flavors and from different perspectives and offer varying degrees of instruction.

William M Akers’s Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Great stands apart from the crowd in a good way, and what I particularly like Continue reading “Recommended screenwriting book: Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Great”

How to write a sitcom and where to start

Since the sitcom I’m developing will be part of TheFilmSchool’s FREE staged screenplay reading series later this summer (August 1, at Seattle’s ACT – A Contemporary Theatre), I thought, for some reason, it would be a good exercise to document the full-on, start-to-finish process of developing a sitcom. This way I can either colossally fail or succeed — or perhaps somewhere in between — in front of the whole world. So, let’s get on with it, shall we? Continue reading “How to write a sitcom and where to start”

Beyond dialogue: Write the story as characters live it

When I heard a new silent film, “The Artist,” directed by Michel Hazanavicius, was generating a bit of buzz at Cannes this year, I promptly checked IMDB.com for details, but was shocked to discover there was no writing credit, because screenwriting isn’t just about dialogue, it’s about conveying a story. Continue reading “Beyond dialogue: Write the story as characters live it”

The value of a script reading and how easy it is to do it

There’s no greater sense of accomplishment than, after months or perhaps even years of toiling over your script, you get to type those magical words: “FADE OUT.” Your characters have said what they have to say. Your plot has Continue reading “The value of a script reading and how easy it is to do it”

Mastering the reveal: The art of revealing character traits

How best to reveal character traitsRecently been reading William Goldman’s screenplay, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” rediscovering its brilliant reveals, among them: