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Archive for July, 2011

Vote for your favorite in the Cyberspace Open Jul 12

CyberSpace Open - Cast VoteThe first (and last) time I entered Creative Screenwriting’s Cyberspace Open, it was a very, ahem, gut-wrenching experience.

The contest has changed a bit since 2009. There’s no more 24 hour phase or two hour rush final. They also film the three finalists utilizing actors and a narrator.

I’m not a big fan of the filmed scenes. While they’re better this time around, they still smack of a high school drama class rehearsal, with most actors reading from scripts, and showing only a modest regard for the actual scene direction.

But overall the contest is a great way to test your scene-writing chops. I’m pleased to report that one of the finalists this year is Elisa Graybill from my screenwriting group. Way to go Elisa!

I genuinely think her written scene was the best, and most closely followed the scene cue. So please show Elisa some Scriptwrecked love and give her your vote if you agree with me!

Now! What are you prepared to do? Jul 09

“Now! What are you prepared to do?!”
– Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables

Sean Connery

What, you were expecting an Untouchables picture?

I read an article a while back about a high-level mixed martial artist, with a severely damaged toe. He had to make a tough choice — take a year off from training, or have his toe amputated.

He had his toe amputated.

Now *that’s* dedication. It got me thinking about parallels in screenwriting. For most professional screenwriters, success comes only after years of toil and sacrifice.

I know so many people who are dabblers (I used to be one myself). They peck away at a single script, only when writing conditions are perfect, while devoting most of their time to some other endeavor. They would really love to be a working screenwriter, yet for whatever reason, never truly dedicate themselves to mastering the craft.

The Secret to Success

There’s really only one way to achieve your life’s dreams, and it’s a two-step process.

1. Ask yourself if you’re willing to pay the price necessary to succeed.

2. Pay the price.

Do you yearn to be a successful screenwriter, but have something holding you back? Cut off that toe!

Photo: Sean Connery in Zardoz — a pre-Highlander movie about immortals. Looks awesome.

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

Actors and Screenwriters – Together at Last Jul 07

RecommendThe Recommended

Last night was really cool. At my semi-monthly writers’ group meeting (we’re known as The Recommended), we had a table read for the first act of my screenplay, and one other.

Professional actors were invited to participate, and some truly talented individuals came by to bring our characters to life.

I’ve been in other groups before, and have had my scripts read aloud by my fellow screenwriters, but having professional actors perform your script is an entirely different experience.

Some great things I discovered:

  • There’s real professionalism at play here. Even though they didn’t have to, these actors reviewed the scripts ahead of time, and gave careful consideration to the characters.
  • An actor’s take on a character may be something completely different than what you had in mind, yet powerful and equally valid. It gives you a new way of seeing your character and another possible direction to go in.
  • Some actors will nail your character so precisely, that you’ll walk away having difficulty distinguishing the two in your head afterwards.
  • Some line readings will be different than what you had envisioned — and by different, I mean better.
  • Lines or jokes that fall flat, force you to ask yourself whether it was the delivery, or the writing (hint: it’s usually the writing).
  • Actors give great feedback on the writing itself! They’ve all read a lot of scripts, and have an innate sense of what works and what doesn’t.
  • Make sure the narrator (the one who reads the action lines, scene headings, etc.) that you utilize for your script is an eloquent reader.  Otherwise the end result will be something decidedly less than it could have been.
  • Actors are way better looking and charismatic than my usual crowd. I definitely need to expand my circle of friends. 🙂

The best part of this experience was that all of the actors really enjoyed my script! A wonderful validation for all the  hard work.

Join Us!


If you’re in the greater Los Angeles area and would like to submit a 15 page sample to see if you qualify to join our group, please contact me for more information. We’d love to have you.

Be forewarned: Our panel will review your submission to make sure it demonstrates an advanced level of screenwriting. Many more screenwriters are turned away than make the cut.

There is no charge for submitting (but for the love of all things holy, please don’t waste our time if you’re brand new to screenwriting). No notes will be given.


If you’re in the greater L.A. area and would like to gain valuable table read experience, or cold read practice, in a fun, supportive atmosphere, let me know!

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

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