As a craps dealer, call 11 and you’ll get cheers all day long. 7 and 11 win on the Come Out roll but alas, this has little to do with screenwriting. I’d call out the stickman’s call, Good Reader, if it got you closer to a sale. 11 is lucky in the dice pit so here’s hoping this V.11 of best screenwriting links is worthwhile for you.
Can I tell you a quick one before we move on to business? Cold February night. Well-groomed fellow at my dice game on the Hollywood Casino Aurora riverboat. Loses his roll in the first 15 minutes of the cruise. Man leaves table, proceeds to leap off the rail of upper deck of the riverboat, splashing into the Fox river. He walks to shore, the mighty Fox river being all of four feet deep. He is arrested without commotion upon reaching shore.
Ah, to the remembrances of degenerates. Onto the links…
- THE ULTIMATE DIALOGUE GUIDE
Thanks to the good folks at Screenwriting Spark for assembling this impressive list of 50 links for better dialogue writers. So Peditto is writing a link’s post and recommending another links post? Yep. The sources are beautifully varied and have got to help a writer looking for help with the brutal task of dialogue writing. Can you teach someone to be funny? You’ll find answers here. Also included, three excellent videos on the subject of dialogue writing, plus a hysterical 100 Cheesiest Movie Quotes video, shown here. Recommended.
- THE DEFINITIVE REWRITE CHECKLIST
I don’t care that the post is nearly 10 years old…this is good advice. Kudos to the excellent Two Adverbs blog for writing what looks to me to be the definitive list of questions you need to ask yourself before you start your rewrite. Writers too often want to jump back into the rewrite without giving time to gain a modicum of objectivity. If you can answer half these questions you’ll be in a better place to make meaningful changes to your script. Put the script away. Let it cool off for a week or two. Hit this checklist. From the post:
“Each story is its own fingerprint. Since each script has its own set of goals, it can be difficult to offer up a checklist to which all screenplays should subscribe. I think each screenplay has its very own unique checklist. However, there are certainly general points that can be considered. The problem with a checklist is that a clueless scribe will review it and mistakenly believe he has all points covered. By no means is a checklist any sort of cureall. Ultimately, the checklist must come from within – not without.”
- SCREENWRITER AS JOB CREATOR
Talk about positivism, you gotta love this James V. Hart article about screenwriter as job creator. It’s easy to forget that the entire movie-making process with an idea from the screenwriter. He’s a recollection of that simple fact, eloquently brought to us by the writer of Hook and 16 other movies. Let this inspire you, Good Reader. From the article:
“The late great Frank Pierson who wrote such brilliant screenplays as “Cool Hand Luke” and “Dog Day Afternoon” explained this alchemy to me over a couple of single malts at the Hole in the Wall bar at Sundance in 1994. I was in the process of having two of my scripts made by two of the most legendary directors of all time and I was not handling it well.
Frank said in that distinct shrill drill sergeant voice of his; “When you’re in the dumps at the end of your rope ready to throw yourself off a cliff because you’re convinced no one gives a shit about your stories, just remember that no director, including those two legends, no actor, no cinematographer, no set designer, costume designer, sound mixer, no SFX guys, no editor, no caterer, no driver, nobody, nobody has a job until you type “THE END”.
Now, that bit of wisdom has gotten me through some dark times and difficult projects. I thought Frank was just giving me a tool to raise my self-esteem. To make me feel good about my work. At the time, it did not hit me that he was telling the truth.”
- GRANT $$$
While passing along knowledge is my sacred duty, if I turn you on to a grant here and you find yourself making $10,000+ toward your Indie or Micro-budget (which you could do, that’s the point) I certainly won’t reject your generosity in giving back a small piece, I’m from Chicago after all…
Lame attempts at dumb humor aside, check out these three grants for production money for screenwriters of all backgrounds.
- IFP PROJECT FORUM. Found here.
- TRIBECCA ALL ACCESS. Found here.
- HEARST SCREENWRITING GRANT. Found here.
A nice guide to Fellowships, Writer’s Labs, and Writer’s Program can be found via Aspiring TV Writer blog, can be found here.
- WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE WANT TO BE SCREENWRITERS?
Haven’t you wondered? I have. I chalked it up to legacy.
Really like this article from Slate.com and Ken Miyamotto on the phenomenon. Here’s a piece of it:
“Many then read screenwriting books from the secondary industry of script consultants, gurus, and sure, some writers with great credits and such. They are given “secrets,” “answers,” and “formulas” to success (except for great books like The Screenwriter’s Bible, How Not to Write a Screenplay, and others that teach the general guidelines and expectations). So those people begin to believe that they can make it happen.
Then reality occurs.
They find out that it’s not as easy as those books and seminars make it seem. They find out that having a “good idea” for a movie or television show isn’t enough. Then they find out that there really are no secrets, answers, or formulas for successful screenplays. There are only general guidelines and expectations (general format, general structure, general aesthetics, etc.) to start from, but those aren’t enough. They learn quickly (or all too often not) that it takes more than all of that to get into this business.
And then they stop. Or they put it off. Or they find something better.”