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Archive for January, 2011

Michele Wallerstein Has A Blog! Jan 31

Michele WallersteinMichele Wallerstein, who has been a long-time contributor to Scriptwrecked, has now set up a great new blog for writers!

As you may recall, Michele worked as a successful Hollywood literary agent for many many years, and recently published an indispensable book called: Mind Your Business: A Hollywood Literary Agent’s Guide To Your Writing Career.

So please follow Michele at her  new site (, say hello, and enjoy the insightful articles!

Here’s an excerpt from today’s post:

My wonderful and brilliant grandfather once sternly admonished me to “Never say you can’t do anything”.  It was the best advice I have ever heard.  Now I say it to you.

Amen to that!

Want me to read your screenplay? Please take a look at my script services.

Quick Screenwriting Tip: Pacing With Multiple Locations Jan 24

Quick Screenwriting TipQuick Screenwriting Tip:

As you race toward your thrilling conclusion, be mindful of your scene lengths, especially if you need to cut across multiple locations, with multiple characters.

Longer scenes will slow things down. Shorter scenes will speed things up.

Sometimes you may have some important business to take care of, in one location, that will take many pages to complete. If you can’t trim it, but want to make sure you don’t lose momentum or intensity, look for an opportunity to cut the scene into two or more parts. You can then jump back and forth between locations, and maintain the pace.

Just make sure you end each scene with a “button”1 so the audience looks forward to coming back to the action.

Want me to read your screenplay? Please take a look at my script services.

  1. Ending on a button means your scene or dialogue ends with a powerful moment; a hook, joke, cliffhanger, reveal, zinger, shocker, etc.
Photo Quotables: Abraham Lincoln Jan 20

Today’s inspiration from

That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Regardless of the odds, a bunch of screenwriters are going to sell their spec scripts this year, or break into the industry with paid writing assignments. That is indisputable. There’s no reason you can’t be one of 2011’s success stories.

Photo: Trevor Mayes (Yup, I snapped this pic a few years ago on my favorite hike — the Stawamus Chief in Squamish, B.C.)

Want me to read your screenplay? Please take a look at my script services.

Category: Motivation, Quotes  | 4 Comments
Are talented writers born, not made? Jan 19

Screenwriter Fairy TalesCorey Mandell has an excellent post on what he calls the “dangerous fairy tale.” That is to say, “the fairy tale that talented writers are born, not made.”

The danger of this fairy tale is that it feeds the other seductive notion that naturally talented writers are able to write and sell great scripts pretty much right out of the gate, perhaps even win an Academy Award, just like it happened for (fill in some Diablo Cody-type name here).

Being able to write a first-ever script good enough to sell and get made is a great story.  But we have to keep in mind that the folks in Hollywood are staunch believers in never letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

Without outing anyone, I went to film school with several writers who say they sold their first ever screenplay, which is absolutely, positively one-hundred per cent true… Just as long as we are all willing to pretend that those six or seven less-than-stellar screenplays, written prior to the one that finally sold, don’t actually exist.

Please check out the full inspirational article, and the included video at the bottom of the post by Ira Glass on Storytelling. You’ll be glad you did.

Want me to read your screenplay? Please take a look at my script services.

Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest Submission Jan 17

Industry Insider Screenwriting ContestThe Contest

The Writers Store recently held an intriguing Screenwriting Contest. An industry screenwriting veteran — in this case, Simon Kinberg (screenwriter of Mr. and Mrs. Smith) — would provide a logline that contest entrants would then need to craft into the first 15 pages of a screenplay.

Here was the logline provided:

A spy who has spent life wining and dining young women suddenly gets a major surprise when his daughter knocks on the door.

Let’s Do It

It sounded like a lot of fun, and implied an action comedy genre, so I decided to enter it. So did over 1,000 other people. Which meant the odds of making it to the top 10 was less than 1%. Difficult, but not insurmountable (my kind of challenge).

What’s the Frequency Kenneth?

According to the Writers Store, there were so many “stellar scripts” that they “came close to increasing the final count to 20.” I believe them.

Unfortunately, like many contests, the screenwriters aren’t privy to the final judging criteria. Maybe they were looking for a very specific genre? Maybe they were looking to appeal to a specific demographic (e.g. kid-friendly)? Maybe they were looking for something similar to a previously released movie?

If anyone at the Writers Store has any insight into this final process, or even the other 11-20 names that were in contention, I’d love to hear from you.

At any rate the top 10 finalists beat me, so well done!

If any of the finalists (Araby Patch, Sarah Newman, Mary Krell-Oishi, Leo Sardarian, Jacob Snyder, David Steiner, Kenneth Lemm, Yuri Shallan, Bob Giordano, and Alex Berger) feels like sending me their submission to read, I’d love to check them out (I promise I won’t blog about it).

UPDATE #1 (August 2, 2011): Nine of the finalists’ scripts are now available for download.

UPDATE #2 (August 2, 2011): For those entering the current round of the Industry Insider Screenwriting contest, here’s a great tip from Dana Hahn, Industry Insider Contest Coordinator, who was kind enough to provide it to me:

“The main thing that we’re looking for in our contest is the quality of the writing, and a unique take on the logline.”
– Dana Hahn, Industry Insider Contest Coordinator

Thanks Dana! And good luck everyone!

My Submission

For those interested, here’s my submission entitled BLOWN. I think it’s really good, yet it didn’t qualify. So, if your 15 pages didn’t qualify either, don’t feel bad about it. It’s not necessarily a reflection of your writing. You win some; you lose some. That’s just the nature of the game.

Want me to read your screenplay? Please take a look at my script services.

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