Successful Self Promotion for Screenwriters

Another astonishingly helpful article for new screen (and of course TV) writers from the Stage32.com blog. We don’t expect to hear any complaining about how difficult it is to get started in showbiz after you read these open, honest, and knowledgeable words.

by Daniela McVicker

It’s not uncommon to dream about becoming a screenwriter. You see your words and ideas come to life on TV and movie screens worldwide. That’s fascinating. Have fun with it and never let go! However, Hollywood has changed in the past years, so screenwriters have to know how to promote themselves. If you don’t have an agent or a manager to help you out, then it might be difficult to establish yourself as a successful professional. You’ll have to do everything on your own. Likely, the digitalized world has dozens of opportunities for self-promotion. You just need to develop a strategy and that’s what this guide is all about.

Yes, All Screenwriting Is Marketing

In the old days, all you had to do was to write a good script. Now, all that has changed. You’re your own advocate, marketer, and promoter. Your writing may be authentic, but that’s not how you stand out. You must sell and share to see your work on screen. You’re promoting yourself as a screenwriter, and you’re promoting a script. Put it simply, you need to treat your writing like a business.

One Great Screenplay Doesn’t Guarantee You’ll Make It

Studios, producers, not to mention agencies, receive plenty of scripts. To go through these countless submissions, they hire professional script readers. It’s their job to figure out which writers have potential. Maybe you’ve got a great script. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. It’s no guarantee that you’re going to make it as a screenwriter. What you do after you finish writing matters more.

Having an effective, well-crafted action plan is just as important as writing an original work. Now that you know the importance of self-promotion, get to work. Keep in mind that people are tough to impress and, quite often, screenwriters get ignored. If you want to get attention with upfront value, keep this in mind.

Define Yourself As A Screenwriter. That’s Now Your Self-Image

If you’ve continued to read this, it means that you’ve got an inner fire that needs tending. Or perhaps you just need to hush those voices whispering in your head. Either way, you’re a writer….

Read it all at stage32.com

2020 Oscar Contending Screenplays and Where to Read Them

Indie Film HUSTLE has done us all a solid with this very, very helpful list of Oscar contending screenplays:

See all that Indie Film HUSTLE has to offer

TVWriter™ recommends Indie Film HUSTLE podcasts

OBSESSING OVER THREE-ACT STRUCTURE? HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD DO INSTEAD

The latest helpful guide to screenplay and teleplay writing from our friends at Script Reader Pro:

by Script Reader Pro

If there’s so much information out there on how to craft the perfect three-act structure, why is it so hard to put it into practice in your own script? Why is it so difficult to know how the hell to fill those 50-60 pages in Act Two?

With close to a million different theories on three-act structure out there, this confusion is easy to understand.

Should you structure your script using Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey or John Truby’s 21 Steps? Or should you go for the Save the Cat Beat Sheet or maybe Syd Field’s classic three-act structure?

In today’s post, we’re going to show you why you should stop fretting over plot points, page numbers and all the different structure theories that are out there. And what to focus on instead.

We’re going to show you the pros and cons of three-act structure and the right way to approach it so it empowers your creativity rather than stifles it.

Here’s what’s coming up:

• What is three-act structure?
• Why three-act structure works
• The problem with this structure
• A better approach
• How to write a story by first forgetting three-act structure
• So, do you really need three-act structure or what?

So let’s dive on in.

First, just what is three-act structure?

As we’ve already mentioned, there are many different screenwriting structure theories out there. However, they all fall into and work in harmony with what’s known as “classic” or “traditional” three-act structure.

Here’s a quick breakdown of classic/traditional three-act structure in a movie screenplay:

A screenplay should be roughly 90-110 pages long.

A single page roughly equals one minute of screen time. So the sweet spot of a 110-page screenplay is about a one-hour-fifty-minute long movie.

Applying a three-act structure divides these pages/minutes up like so:

• Act One: First 25-30 pages/minutes
• Act Two: Second 50-60 pages/minutes
 Act Three: Third 25-30 pages/minutes

Or like this:

• Act One: Beginning/Set-Up
• Act Two: Middle/Confrontation
• Act Three: End/Resolution

Or, as the saying goes:

• Act One: Get your protagonist up a tree
• Act Two: Throw rocks at him or her
• Act Three: Get them down again

More detail on what classic three-act structure entails

Read it all at SCRIPTREADERPRO.COM

Have You Read the ‘Joker’ Screenplay

Don’t say that you haven’t had a chance to read one of the most controversial screenplays of 2019…or, literally, this whole century.

Cuz all you have to do to start poring over it is click right HERE.

Don’t ever say TVWriter™ doesn’t know how to have fun!

Kelly Jo Brick: Takeaways from the Austin Film Festival & Screenwriting Conference

TVWriter.Com’s  Kelly Jo Brick was a panelist at the Austin Film Festival this year and returns to this very site bringing some of the insights she gathered while attending the event.

In the words of Larry Brody, “Welcome back, Kelly Jo! Boy, do we ever hope you’re going to stay.”


AFF Executive Director Barbara Morgan with screenwriters Shane Black (LETHAL WEAPON) and Scott Rosenberg (VENOM). Photo by: Arnold Wells

by Kelly Jo Brick

Every year the Austin Film Festival and Screenwriting Conference puts together a jam-packed event, filled with films, panels and parties as writers gather to celebrate a shared love for story.

From television to film, playwriting to podcasting and scripted digital to young filmmakers programs, the festival offers an atmosphere rich in education, information and inspiration like these:

DEVELOPING YOUR CRAFT

  • Writing is understanding how you process the world and learning to work within that. – ED SOLOMON, BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
  • We can only judge our work with the skills we have. It takes people pushing you and telling you the hard truth for you to grow.
  • Put forward the thing you love the most with the spec you’re writing. – LAURA EASON, THE LOUDEST VOICE
  • Get hold of scripts that you like. Read, learn, be inspired.
  • Find a writers group. Help each other out. Rise up together.

CHARACTER FORMATION

  • Look to trauma and personal connection as a driving force when you build characters.
  • Identify your characters’ fears, what shuts them down emotionally. – JAMES V. HART, HOOK, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA
  • Fear can point to your nemesis. Put that power into that character.
  • Go as deep as you can with backstory. It doesn’t need to be on the page, but you need to know it to better inform your writing.
  • If you don’t believe your characters are real, no one else will. – BEN CORY JONES, BOOMERANG, INSECURE
  • The name is super important. It’s your first introduction to a character. – ERIKA L. JOHNSON, THE VILLAGE, QUEEN SUGAR
  • When writing real life people, there’s an added pressure to get the story right, but at some point you do need to treat them as characters. You can’t be so reverent that you lose the storytelling. – CARLY WRAY, WESTWORLD, MAD MEN

ON WRITING DIALOGUE

  • Dialogue can be used to both reveal and conceal.
  • What you don’t say is just as important as what is said.
  • Some of the best things can come from a small exchange. – TESS MORRIS, MAN UP, CASUAL
  • Read your dialogue out loud to make sure it works.
  • All your characters in a scene want something slightly different, use dialogue to express the thoughts behind their thoughts.
  • Feeling stuck? Listen to the speech patterns of others. Observe their rhythms and expressions.
  • Give yourself the freedom to be dialogue heavy in your first draft and streamline it in later drafts. – TESS MORRIS

YOUR FIRST DRAFT

  • First drafts, they all suck. – MEG LeFAUVE, INSIDE OUT, CAPTAIN MARVEL
  • There’s no excuse to not start writing, it doesn’t have to be good from the beginning. Just sit down and write.
  • If you struggle to get started, find the thing you love the most, like dialogue or action, and begin there.
  • Look at problems in your script as disease versus symptoms. You’ll tend to see symptoms in acts two and three, but the real problem is often in act one.
  • You’ve got to finish. Then you can rewrite, but it can’t happen if you don’t first finish.
  • I’m still terrified every single time before I start a script. You fight your way through it. – SCOTT ROSENBERG, VENOM, CON AIR

STRUCTURING A SERIES

  • People tune in for characters and relationships. There needs to be road built to drive that, challenges that put characters through an emotional journey.
  • How many episodes will be in each season? This sets a guide for shaping the overall season.
  • What is the question that’s central to your season?
  • Who is your big bad for the season?
  • Try not to box yourself in as you start to brainstorm and break episodes. Let the beats grow and evolve.

THE BUSINESS OF WRITING

  • If you find yourself viewed as one type of writer, you can write yourself out of that impression by stepping out of that wheelhouse with a new spec script in a new genre.
  • If you write in partnership with someone, never get off a point without you both being happy. – RON BASS, RAIN MAN
  • Writers don’t really have power, you have to persuade.

GROWING YOUR WRITING CAREER

  • The role of failure isn’t discussed enough. There are erasers on pencils for a reason. – NICOLE PERLMAN, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, CAPTAIN MARVEL
  • Don’t use judgment as a hammer to knock yourself down. – MEG LeFAUVE
  • Try to find ways to make writing fun. – ROCHÉE JEFFREY, BEVERLY HILLS 90210, SMILF
  • Don’t feel guilty for protecting your writing time. Whether it’s putting a snooze on your email, having to pass on an event or coffee with a friend, you’ve got to prioritize your writing.
  • If you’re having a hard time sitting down and getting things done, find an accountability buddy, someone with whom you communicate regularly to keep you on task and on schedule.
  • The genius is in the mistake, the failure. That’s where the great ideas are from. You’re digging and excavating. You are on the hero’s journey as you write.

    Kelly Jo Brick is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. She’s a television and documentary writer and producer, as well as a winner of Scriptapalooza TV and a Sundance Fellow. Read more about her HERE.