Screenwriting 101: What Every Budding Film Writer Needs to Know

Film writing, creative writing’s least loved offspring.

It gets so little respect from the other mediums. Well, just look at the movies—you may say—just look at how many bad ones are made each year! Yet, to judge film writing overall based on a few bad seeds is not fair to the great stories that we have had on the silver screen over the ages. It’s like comparing all literary classics to the work of a few pulp romance or sci-fi novelists.

Film is very different from other story mediums. The limitations are extreme, and many times you will hear people dismiss the medium, not realizing the art needed to work within the strict borders film dictates. Yes, writing for film successfully is an art no matter what your friends who read 1000-page length novels and wear all black say; just as important as a perfectly structured and meaningful poem.

Here are some points I have always felt crucial in beginning an understanding about writing for film. Continue reading

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Adapting One’s Precious: Why most new novelists should personally avoid adapting (or thinking about) the inevitable screenplay

It’s always funny to me how often, when speaking with new novelists, that they are already planning the movie version of their “epic”… sometimes even before they finish the book.

We are a very film-focused society and it is hard to escape the world of movies, especially for someone excited for the world to embrace their first major story. What can I say? We writers are nerds and we want everyone to love us and think of us as popular. Movies are the “cool table” in the lunchroom; novels are the table near the library.

Oh, you are different? You never imagined a certain actor playing one of your characters? Reading one of your lines?

Yes, the dream of adaptation can be like a drug for a writer and, like a drug, dangerous; since it can effect how you write your novel. The fact is each of the storytelling mediums are different with different pros and cons, and if you allow yourself to think too much about, for example, movies while writing a book it can limit the possibility of the book.

How are the storytelling mediums different? Well, let me explain: Continue reading