Invent

2011 September


My sci-fi animated feature

I just wrote FADE OUT on my latest script.

Think WIZARD OF OZ meets STAR WARS and you’ll have a pretty accurate idea of the tone and scope. It’s based on characters from my comic strip, and is essentially a sequel story set three years later. The great thing is, I know these guys like the back of my hand, so it really adds a richness to the story. The characters are well defined and I’ve managed some very satisfying subplots.

Seeing as I was on a roll, I also rewrote my horror spec to get it into shape. Rewriting is NOT TO BE MESSED WITH and I had to fix so much stuff it was insane. Now it’s presentable. The weird thing is, I did so much work on the rewrite I feel like I finished two new scripts in the space of a week.

What I learned: This is a topic for another post, but I outlined the new script and it was a great help. I’ll do it every time from now on. Also – and I’ve heard people say this but never really believed it, because I never listen – knowing your characters well means they almost write their own dialog. And, it’s true. Finally, writers really do get better every time they finish a story. I can see the progress here. So keep going!

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Learning how to write a script just got easier

There’s been some interesting developments in the land of screenwriting advice recently. Some sites are joining forces and others are branching out, which is great news if you’re like me and want to steal ideas from people that actually have them. Here’s a quick rundown:

Scriptnotes

John August has been running his invaluable (for stealing from) blog since forever, now he’s added a podcast with Craig Mazin. These two know screenwriting backwards and forwards and they’re eager to share their knowledge. It also helps that they have reassuring voices, their dulcet tones make you think everything’s going to be alright. WELL, IT’S NOT. Anyway, subscribe. It will be useful.

Blcklst.com

The Black List is an annual list of the best unmade scripts floating around Hollywood. Started by Franklin Leonard, it looks like he’s leveling up his empire as he’s added ‘Go in to the Story’ and ‘Screenwriting Tips… You Hack’ to the official blcklst.com site. These are the two best sources of screenwriting advice out there, and the Black List is hugely influential, so I’m excited to see them combine like Devastator.

#scriptchat

This isn’t recent, but I just discovered it on Twitter, so it counts. The hashtag #scriptchat is used by a bunch of writers to talk about screenwriting and give out solid advice about the industry. It’s great for finding out about specific stuff like what contests are worth entering and how to break in. I followed a transcript on the site and found a prod co. who opened their doors to unsolicited queries for a week, so I followed it up and got a request. BAM! You see that? That’s social media in action.

What I learned: There’s never been a better time to learn about writing screenplays. Those sites above, plus Scriptshadow, The Tracking Board and IMDb Pro will absolutely give you all you need in terms of help. So what I’m saying is, if you fail, it’s totally your fault.

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