A screenplay’s first 10 pages are key

So you’ve finished your screenplay and are ready to shop it around, but how exactly do you know when your screenplay is ready to stand out in the crowded market? Start with the “First 10 Pages Challenge.” Give the first 10 pages to a variety of friends — not all need be trained screenwriters — and ask them to summarize what they think the story is about. They should be able to identify some key story elements that should be present in the first 10 pages of any entertaining feature script: Continue reading “A screenplay’s first 10 pages are key”

How to introduce your main character

How you introduce your main character not only affects how the audience perceives your character, but, more importantly, whether the audience is likely to be emotionally engaged with your character, and, therefore, your story. Without that engagement, your story is dead because Continue reading “How to introduce your main character”

How to write a sitcom (step #4): Delivering the snappy dialogue

Andy Kaufman, Danny DeVito from TaxiSometimes 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”

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 #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:

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: