My Writings. My Thoughts.

How to Write a Script 10 Mistakes to Avoid

// May 15th, 2014 // No Comments » // On Writing

once upon a time

New screenwriters beware! If you are not in Screenwriting 101 you better be reading successful, well written screenplays and reading all the beginner screenwriting books you can find. I have to emphasize reading ‘well-written’ screenplays. Yes, it’s a crazy game out there and you’ll find some well-written screenplays that never hit the screen, and great movies with a poorly written (non standard) screenplay.

Why is this? Well, the successful film with a poorly written (as in the technical aspects of screenplay format) is not necessarily a bad script. Sometimes it is not ‘industry standard’ so-to-speak, as the writer is the director, the director is the writer, and/or the writer and director have ‘their way’ of doing things, etc.

How to Write a Script 10 Mistakes to Avoid

As a neophyte screenwriter, follow the screenwriting format rules first – then, if you need to – break them!

Here are ten mistakes to avoid when writing your screenplay. Continue Reading

I couldn’t find my cup…

// February 22nd, 2014 // No Comments » // Slice of Life

Walking DreadI saw it, I thought I knew where it was, but it wasn’t there.  I’ll probably find it in after the season is over – isn’t that how it works?

Today was the first game of my Softball league. Our team, The Walking Dread, have been practicing for 3 months. It was a long wait but finally the night came where we were all together as a team and got to play.

I was looking forward to playing under Friday Night Lights all week. That’s an understatement. I’ve been looking forward to play for three months to be close to exact. I was ready and excited. Nervous? Nope. Just happy that tonight was the night we could play together as a team.

I drove home from working with a list in my head of things to do. Top of the list was – find my sliding pants and cup.

In my head I knew exactly where it was.

It wasn’t there.

I couldn’t find my cup…

What the FRICK!

I went to the garage.

Not there.

Checked my paintball gear bag. Continue Reading

DadWithAPen’s Rigamarole on Writing Theme

// February 17th, 2014 // No Comments » // On Writing

Lawrence Konner on themeOne thing I try to do when writing a scene is to take the theme and try to get it to represent itself in every character from major character to minor character. As all the scenes add up in a feature, the theme should drip from every scene whether its on the nose or through subtext.

So when given an assignment of ‘a scene’ or a short or even a feature, I try to approach each scene with the theme I feel the complete story is supposed to represent. Of course its my take on the theme because everyone has a different view on a theme of a story on any particular day.

theme (from dictionary.com)

  • A topic of discourse or discussion.
  • A subject of artistic representation.
  • An implicit or recurrent idea; a motif: a theme of powerlessness that runs through the diary; a party with a tropical island theme.
  • A short composition assigned to a student as a writing exercise.
  • Music. The principal melodic phrase in a composition, especially a melody forming the basis of a set of variations.
  • Linguistics. A stem.
  • Linguistics.

DadWithAPen’s Rigamarole on Writing Theme

If the theme is LOVE CONQUERS ALL, or FEAR OF SUCCESS, or MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL, then every scene in my screenplay should have some sense of that theme when I write it. EVERY SCENE! When all the scenes are finally put together, the script should drip of this theme! Others may interpret it completely different than me, but as I write, I write from that theme. If you break down every scene in successful movies, you’ll find one resounding theme that links every scene together. It’s the ‘thematic’ throughline so-to-speak! Continue Reading

She attacks as quiet and as swift as a Ninja in the night…

// February 17th, 2014 // No Comments » // Slice of Life

This is a blog excerpt from May 12, 2005… Thought you’d get a ‘kick’ out of it.

She attacks as quiet and as swift as a Ninja in the night…

bella pink dressWith all my training in the Martial Arts you’d think I’d be able to defend myself with such a sneaky attack. But no, I haven’t learned my lesson.

Here’s the situation.

It’s dark.

It’s way past midnight.

All is quiet.

When suddenly it happens. The attack. And you have no recourse except to moan and groan in pain.

My daughter (age 2), seems to get this idea that if she kicks me in the eye in the middle of the night I’ll stop snoring. Well, that’s my interpretation of the logic behind her motives. She curls up on the pillows between Donna and me and her feet end up next to my head. But it doesn’t stop there. Of course I’m not awake to witness such an assault, but I’m guessing she recoils her leg and straightens them out as fast and as powerful as she possibly can into my eyeball in order to illicit a reaction out of me! Continue Reading

What are 100 Things You Love?

// February 15th, 2014 // No Comments » // On Writing

righttowriteCan you make a list of 100 things you love? It takes time to do this. And part of writing is actually taking the time to sit down and do things. It might seem tedious or useless, but the practice is just doing it. And getting use to it.

In Julia Cameron’s book, “The Right to Write”, the chapter on DRAMA instructs the writer to set aside thirty minutes and list 100 things that they love. Then keep a copy of this list and pull it out and read it whenever stress strikes. It will connect you to the sense of well-being apart from the current drama.

I passed over this chapter assignment and read on to other chapters. I’ve followed each chapter and its writing assignments (not always in order) but this one kept nagging at me as I thought it was a waste of time. I mean, 100 things? That’s a long list that I might not be able to complete. I felt guilty for not doing the assignment.

So, today, as quickly as I can, I will list them. From 1 to 100. From the top of my head, here are the 100 things that I love.

What are 100 Things You Love?

 

Here’s my list as fast as I can list ‘em… Continue Reading

“Different Shades of Pink” 2009 (my Valentine’s Day Short Story Exercise)

// February 14th, 2014 // No Comments » // On Writing

Happy-Valentines-DayHere’s an old short I wrote a while back. It was based on a writing prompt: “She smelled like the lemon sherbet that melted all over my kitchen counter the other night.” 

It turned into this… it was kinda free from, no real edits or rewrites – it is what it is. An exercise in writing.

Enjoy and… Happy Valentine’s Day.

Different Shades of Pink

I was dressed in a completely inappropriate shade of pink. My color scheme has never been my strength and when they said to wear pink, I had to find the only pink think I owned. It was a blouse stuffed way back on a shelf with other ‘old clothes for the garage’ cloths. I actually did not pick it because, first, I hate pink and second, it’s the only pink blouse I had. It was by necessity and not by choice. I grabbed at it knowing exactly where it was: three from the bottom. Continue Reading

Why I Love Movie Magic Screenwriter

// February 13th, 2014 // No Comments » // Writing Tools

movie-magic-screenwriter-flat_mediumThere are two top notch screenwriting programs on the market: Final Draft Pro (FDP) and Movie Magic Screenwriter (MMS).  There are also a few other desktop packages and web-based Screenwriting apps. But the top two programs that include all the bells and whistles are the aforementioned FDP and MMS.

Don’t get me wrong – I like them both. I use them both. But it really depends on the situation. Sometimes a writing partner, a producer, or a director might be using FDP and they pass the script along to me. So I have to use Final Draft Pro.

For most of my screenwriting needs, I use Movie Magic Screenwriter. Comparing them side-to-side – nothing really stands out. It’s really a writer’s preference. They have all the features you’d want in a fully functional $200 screenwriting package. So I’m not really doing a side-to-side comparison. I’m just going to tell you why I love MMS and why I prefer it over FDP.

Why I Love Movie Magic Screenwriter

I’m an out and about writer. What I mean is, I can write anywhere and I’m always “out and about” – but I don’t always have my laptop with me so it’s great there are online screenwriting options out there like Celtx and ScreenwritingPro if you have access to computer and the internet.  But I also have a Nook HD Tablet and an iPhone 5s. So I can write using my Apple Bluetooth Keyboard on both. Yes, it looks funny to be typing on a keyboard with an iPhone 5S propped up, but if it works it works. Continue Reading

February Webinars at Writers Store

// February 13th, 2014 // No Comments » // Writing Tools

Writers Store 300x100Wow, there are some great webinars coming up in the next two weeks brought to you by The Writers Store!

From Story Mapping screenplays to getting past the script reader!

Make sure you attend one or even all three! It’s already February! What are you doing about your writing goals?

Sign up now!

February Webinars at Writers Store Continue Reading

Stop! Write Something Else! Write Badly!

// February 10th, 2014 // No Comments » // On Writing

writers-block-1The only sure fire way to prevent writer’s block is to write. Plain and simple: you need to write. Writer’s block is a phenomenon where a writer loses the ability to produce new work. It can be incredibly intense: where writers are unable to work for years, and some stop writing altogether.

Here are 3 valuable tips on preventing writer’s block from taking over your passion.

3 Tips to Prevent Writer’s Block

1. Stop writing
2. Write something else
3. Write badly with pride

“Keep scribbling! Something will happen.” Frank McCourt

1. Stop writing.

To prevent writer’s block you need to write. But here is the contradiction to that obvious statement: stop writing before you have written all you needed to write. Continue Reading

I love Chess – Yugoslavia Staunton Chess Set

// January 29th, 2014 // No Comments » // Chess Life

ilovechess

I love Chess – Yugoslavia Staunton Chess Set

I’ve never been a great player. But I can hold my own. And back in 1997ish my soon to be wife got me this beautiful board and a Staunton Chess Set. It was awesome (and still is although it’s in a box in the garage). Through the years my dad would travel the world, and he’d bring back a chess set for my collection. So, I do have more chess sets than people would imagine. Continue Reading