Sometimes it’s tempting to start pounding out dialogue for a scene before you’ve fully plotted the story or thought about core character traits, but such hastily written dialogue quite often is the worst thing screenwriters write — at least during the first draft anyway — because the goal of the first draft is to finish a first draft, not to have in hand a refined industry-worthy screenplay. But it’s okay, because dialogue easily can be improved simply by Continue reading “How to write a sitcom (step #4): Delivering the snappy dialogue”
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”
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”
One 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”
- “The Big Bang Theory:” Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment; the cafeteria, Penny’s apartment.
- “Dexter:” The police office; Dexter’s apartment.
- “Entourage:” The agent’s office; Continue reading “How to write a sitcom (step #2): The setting”
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”
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”
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”
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”
Recently been reading William Goldman’s screenplay, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” rediscovering its brilliant reveals, among them:
- When their only escape is to leap from a cliff into a raging mountain river, Sundance reveals to Butch, “I can’t swim!”
- After Butch convinces Sundance to move to Bolivia, Continue reading “Mastering the reveal: The art of revealing character traits”