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Five pages. That’s what you get. You spend six months on that spec screenplay and the reader at the agency-manager-prodco-contest is giving five lousy pages before he makes a judgement. It’s an outrage! Blame it on Attention-Deficit-Disorder, the Twitterverse, the 24/7 news cycle…but guess what? A good reader can recognize a poorly written script within […]

ON DEALING WITH ACTORS Christopher Nolan, Sophia Coppola, Spike Lee, Charlie Kaufman, Quentin Tarantino. The list of fabulous writer-directors who are known to work well with actors is looong. Alas, I’m not on it. My background is theater so you wouldn’t think it so. It’s hard for playwrights to come to film, to discover that […]

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW Do I write from personal experience? Sure. Dialogue from daily, real-world insanity can’t be beat. Try this exercise: Write down something you hear this week. On the subway, on the line at Target…you’ll know it when you hear it. Check out the repetition, the interruption, cursing, lost thought, imbecility, dialects. These […]

Format isn’t sexy. I’d recommend you study it only under special circumstances: Like, you want to sell your script. Object Lesson 4: Learn the rules. Then learn how to break the rules. Use professional software. Final Draft and Movie Magic are best. Free programs exist: www.celtx.com is the Columbia Film & Video School broke-ass student […]