Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #screenwriting

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In the past 6 weeks, I have read over 2000 pages and provided over 100 pages of feedback on pilots, features & shorts.

Within the writing itself, here are the 9 most common issues I saw -

#screenwriting #screenwriter #writing #writingtips #WritingCommunity #screenplay #teleplay
#1/9: USING BLAND VERBS

Looks, walks, laughs, smiles, enters, exits, leaves - these are all bland verbs that don’t tell us anything about the character.

Instead, use: glances, peers, strides, ambles, giggles, cackles etc

#screenwriter #WritingCommunity #screenwriting
#2/9: PITCH & PLOT THAT DON’T MATCH UP

If you set your plot, stakes, antag & protag up well in the logline, don’t spend most of the narrative to get to that point

It feels like a bait and switch and will make people put it down

#screenwriting #writing #logline #screenwriter
Read 11 tweets
Thread: On breaking in, staying in, launching your career in showbiz. I was a development exec- we made features like JUST FRIENDS w Lotus Ent.
#screenwriting

1- Contests can help you get reps if you win or place high but it’s really on you to query- reps won’t come to you.
2- You’ve got to work hard at your craft until you’re good at a competitive level. Take acting classes, join a writers group (@CindyBegel has been helping writers find groups). Dig deep to learn. Read pros. Watch the Sundance films and Cannes winners. STUDY craft. Hard.
3- Make friends. Fuck networking. Make friends! And reach out to people better than you and ask them how you can improve. Stay humble. Grow. Give your earnest attention and a mentor may spot your dedication.
Read 15 tweets
Hey #screenwriters- Are differentiated characters and dialogue a challenge? Or conflict itself? I just read this MIND-BLOWING book about types of behaviour, how they are seen by others, body language, and how to stress the types TF out. THREAD 1/
So I’m going to share takeaways to help you crack the “I need conflict” or “my characters are too similar” or “the dialogue sounds the same” or “No idea how my character would move through the world.” 2/
Also you can learn a lot about yourself and why you are misunderstood. The book is Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson. I/m about 2/3rd through and it’s so helpful I had to share it with y’all and then explain why it will ramp up your conflict. 3/
Read 25 tweets
Just catching up with @SHO_Billions so I thought I'd mention the glorious time I finally met @lewis_damian after adoring him forever.
You must understand the backstory.
I first saw him in Band of Brothers, and I had a little personal connection to Lt Withers. #WW2 THREAD
My Grandpa was in the Army, a sniper and a munitions expert serving in the same base at Winters before he want to the Pacific. I emailed Winters about this, but I also saw Damian Lewis playing him in the most perfect way. In fact, all of Band of Brothers is played beautifully. 2/ Image
Though this isn't about Band of Brothers, this is about @lewis_damian. Just had to mention he was awesome in it, and that show did our Grandpas proud. Anyway, I always liked him, and he was amazing in the Forsyte Saga as well. And I determined to meet him. 3/
Read 7 tweets
Hi #screenwriting and #animation people- beware - there is another established animation house doing super unscrupulous things after asking for women writers on twitter. And they're not the only one. Here are some things to look out for, and they're SHOCKING
MINI THREAD 1/
Even though I've had 23 scripts broadcast by BBC Children's, this newest one asked me asked me to write a 5-minute script based on scenarios in their existing IP. And they asked me to sign away the rights for it in a disclaimer that was attached. READ the disclaimer!
2/
Another animation house last year based in The Netherlands put a call-out for scriptwriters, so I sent them an email. They asked me to write a 10 minute script, provide 10 ideas for a show they had in development, and again sign away the rights. When I replied with 3/
Read 12 tweets
One of the most famous text editors is #emacs. It's especially famous for being used for programming.

But that's not all it can do. Here are some tasks I use it for that are not about code.
1. #Screenwriting.

I took a #comedy writing class where all sketches had to be formatted as a screenplay. There's a text-based file format called fountain; those files are converted to pdf.

Luckily, Emacs has fountain mode (github.com/rnkn/fountain-…) for authoring fountain files. Image
Fountain mode is a seamless experience: while editing the files in Emacs, the pdfs are instantly generated, professionally styled, and ready to go. Image
Read 7 tweets
Your spec needs a whole lotta YES.

For writers trying to break in: Don’t get me wrong, love the optimism of “it only takes one yes.” But, it’s worth contextualizing. If you think it’s all going to be cake once you get reps, well, a bubble bursting we will go. 🧵
Every time a spec lands at a production co, it’s a small miracle. Anyone’s mileage may vary, but here’s my experience of the spec-sale process from both inside and out (on producers’ desks, receiving specs -- and now as a writer, having my own specs submitted by reps)
Day 1: Your rep submits your spec to a mid-level producer who doesn’t have time for this shit. So, Mid-Level Producer gives your spec to their asst, who doesn’t have time for this shit. So, the asst gives it to an INTERN.
Read 16 tweets
Thread: Some suggestions for indie film financing. Paths that are proven to work, with links. For docs and low budget scripted (under $3mm) #screenwriting #writingcommunity #producing
Docs and docu-series: This is the greatest era in history for docs. Get on it! If you don’t have a fiscal sponsor yet- who gives investors a tax write-off and you get the money- look at siesociety.org I like Creative Visions and Partnerships for Change
Crowdfunding: is BYOC (bring your own crowd) really helps to have an investor match funds. It’s also a fulltime job. You need to seed the interest to surface the campaign on their site. Try for less money or a short if you haven’t done it before. Hire a campaign manager if u can
Read 14 tweets
I need to write an outline, which makes this the perfect time to procrastinate by diving into giving screenwriting advice on Twitter… 🧵/1 #screenwriting #tvwriting
What I talk about most in our room, and look for in script samples, is making a story PROPULSIVE. #screenwriting
Is your character driving towards something? And does each scene lead from one to the next, each one CAUSING whatever happens next?
Read 7 tweets
A lil #screenwriting thread, guys. Today I feel like talking about failure, or “failure”
Our business has failure in its DNA. Whether that be studios or networks, with creative choices influenced by fear of failure in the market. Or folks like you and I, who learn to survive in a world where “no” is far more common than “yes”
What does failure mean to you? How will you condition yourself to survive it? I’ll answer those questions with regard to myself by sharing a bit of my own experience, because I’ve been no stranger to failure. Two in particular stand out.
Read 16 tweets
Thread: On Pitching

For above-the-line creatives: writers, producers, directors. I was a dev exec at Lotus Ent, so this is my perspective as a buyer. What to do, what NOT to do, and how to nail it. #screenwriting #WritingCommunity

1/ All pros pitch. Even at the highest levels
2/ Pitching is really hard, so you need to practice, practice, practice. First off know that the cardinal sins of pitching are
a) too boring
b) too confusing
3/ The first thing you're often pitching is getting the buyer to read you. Whether that's a query, an email, or an in-the-room pitch, you have to fascinate them and compel them to read. If they send it out for coverage, you may be doomed, so ASK THEM TO READ THEMSELVES.
Read 12 tweets
Thread: What writers should know from my job working as a development exec (we made Just Friends w/ Ryan Reynolds, Peaceful Warrior, the Good Night, Hachi a Dog’s Tale, Air I Breathe)
#screenwriting #WritingCommunity
1/ There are 2 main pitching mistakes I saw as a buyer: too boring or too confusing. Pitches shouldn't be a monologue the whole time. Share your story, but check in with the room. Converse! Have fun talking :)
2/ If you write comedy you MUST be funny in the room during the pitch. Make 'em laugh. Or we won't think you're funny on the page. That's a big disconnect you can't afford. Write jokes into your pitch.
Read 12 tweets
Thread for writers: So you placed in a contest, how do you query reps, producers, directors with your project? I was a buyer at Lotus Entertainment (prev Inferno), and this is what I can tell you re: #screenwriting:

1- If you have a great script, there are people who want it!
2- First make a list of producers from your comp shows/films, and go to IMDB to get their contact info. Make a list of your ideal reps that you are a fit for long term (not just this project). Make a list of indie directors you love. (These should be long lists.)
3- Now work on 2 things, your logline and your HOOK. A logline is NOT a mini-synopsis! It's what makes your project- to use manager @johnzaozirny 's million dollar word "undeniable". Your logline should be memorable and stunning, basically ON FIRE with undeniablity (Now the hook)
Read 16 tweets
Hey #screenwriting crew! I didn’t tweet about this at the time, but I was selected for a pitch to a studio as part of @Coverfly’s pitch week.

Here’s a little thread on that experience, which will hopefully help you for your future pitches.

1/13
As soon as I found out who they were, and specifically who I was speaking with, I began my research.

What was the studio currently doing, and what had they previously done?

Ditto the people I was pitching to.

The key here is to find a connection between them and you.

2/13
For my pitch, I knew the script they were interested to hear about. So I made a list of similar films they had produced / worked on.

In addition, I looked at films that matched my other scripts - better to be prepared for when they ask, “what else do you have?”

3/13
Read 13 tweets
🚨🚨THE BIG HELPFUL UK #SCREENWRITING THREAD Vol.4🚨🚨

And this time it really is big, because this thread is about one of the most important & least talked about parts of being a TV writer in the UK: Money 💵💰💵
Specifically, I'm going to look at three questions:

How do you get paid?
How *much* do you get paid?
And - equally important - how much do you have to *spend* in order to get paid? (Yup, that's right, we're gonna be talking barriers to entry)
Pretty nervous about this one tbh. In my experience, even among those working in the industry, money remains the great unspoken. It’s not even a question I see asked at Q&As much. But it is the thing I worried most about when I was starting out.
Read 71 tweets
1/24 - So if you been following me you know I took big feature pitch out last week. And I promised to do a thread on my thoughts as relates to pitching a feature. This isn’t a “how to do it,” this is “how Selwyn does it.” #screenwriting
2/24 - Some folks aren’t fond of pitching. Some are terrified of it. Regardless, it’s a huge part of what we do so you gotta get good at it, and continue to work on it, same you work on mastering your craft on the page.
3/24 - Hopefully there’s something useful for you in here. This stuff has all been part of my process. And while I haven’t landed every assignment I’ve pitched a take for, I’ve probably sold 90% of the projects I’ve developed and taken out to pitch.
Read 24 tweets
As a result, it's currently being read at a couple pretty big places and my network is expanding. I should be grateful and stoked about this, but instead I almost let something arbitrary throw me completely off course.
#screenwriting #preWGA

26
And that's stupid. Because it's a fucking good script. No, it's not for everyone, but that's okay. I took my writing to a level that makes me proud and there are people who love it. There are more who will, too. It's on my website, if you want to read it for yourself.

27
I'm sharing this because I am guessing there are lots of other writers in the same place right now. Combine that with what COVID has done to everyone's mental health and, well, the struggle is real.
#screenwriting #preWGA #writingcommunity

28
Read 8 tweets
Because I don't have a blog or the time to make a video, here's a long #screenwriting thread about breaking in, self-worth, contests, The Black List, rejection, and staying the course.

#preWGA #writingcommunity

1 / ?
The writer's pursuit is a brutal one, especially with #screenwriting. A script isn't finished til it's made and it can take the writing of 10 or 20 or more to get that first produced credit. We spend years telling people we're writers with essentially nothing to show for it.

2
Many people don't find success, even after all that work. So far, that's me. I've been repped, have done some professional work, had a good-sized option, but I've never had a movie made. I've been doing this for a cumulative 11-12 years, over a span of 16-17.
#screenwriting

3
Read 25 tweets
Some #WednesdayMotivation for #screenwriters and authors on the topic of theme. THREAD:

#amwriting #screenwriting #WritingCommunity
I think this is the most important aspect of writing any sort of material while also being one of the most conceptually misunderstood. Should it be helpful, here’s how I approach it ...
Recently I’ve seen people define their “theme” with one or two-words, or treat it like a tagline.

IMHO that’s doing a disservice to whatever project you’re working on and ultimately making your process more difficult.
Read 45 tweets
I've heard @JordanPeele give some of this advice in visits to my UCLA Black Horror class - and all of this is GOLDEN.

#screenwriting #writing
I especially remember Peele telling my class that EVERY critique has merit. If the note is "It's too violent," that doesn't mean make it less violent. Find a way to make the violence pay off emotionally so it won't SEEM too violent.
PLEASE NOTE: this outstanding graphic/tips is from @outscreenplays - and there are others!
Read 3 tweets
1) Here goes a fun screenwriting thread - if anyone wants to know what it's like to be in the chase for HUGE life rights, I ALSO tried to acquire rights to the GameStop story (and FAILED). It felt like I was on my own insanely wild $GME day trade. #screenwriting #pipelinewriters
2) a little background, I’m a former Wall Street lawyer, follow the markets carefully so I was ahead of this story, the only reason I even considered chasing it was my headstart. I had loosely been considering rise of Robinhood traders for years now with no angle figured out
3) So two weeks ago before it hit the news it became a minor financial blip. I immediately saw where it was going, not some savant, but b/c A) I did a deep Reddit dive and b) I was there in 2008 on ground zero when subprime blew up. I felt it in my bones this was going to explode
Read 27 tweets
1) Here goes my thread about how I landed my first OWA. Open Writing Assignment. Btw, I had no idea what term meant a year ago so don't feel bad if you don't. The easy way to explain: A studio/producer has a property/IP/an idea but no writer. #screenwriting #pipelinewriters
2) So they solicit writers to come in and give their take. It's basically a bake off. I had low hopes because I'm a new writer and they almost always go with more established writers, but hey, sometimes the best idea wins! I landed it, yay.I'll get to that, but first my long road
3) Grew up on Long Island, middle class, zero connections to Hollywood. I mean ZERO. Chose law school. I wanted to be in entertainment but didn't know that was a viable career path. Did well, worked at biggest law firm in the world. But deep down I knew this wasnt the life for me
Read 37 tweets
I'm imagining a sci-fi world that incorporates several fully-realized AI implementations while preparing this week's #PapersThatMakeYouGoHmmm list.

Several are potential #WritingPrompt(s) for #screenwriters.

There is so much potential to build a better world. #BuildBackBetter
This one, for example, brings to mind a doctor searching a Google-like engine based on caption similarity. The results include a summary of patient outcomes, pro and con.

This one a #BostonLegal-like episode with William Shatner finding a loophole in an AI's legal argument.

Read 13 tweets
Would anyone in the #screenwriting community like a thread on how I was taught to give notes as a development exec?
Holy crap in the 3 hours I spent on a #FemaleFilmmakers panel this blew up. Give me a second and I'll get to it!
Okay! Here we go! How I was taught to give notes as a development exec:

1. Ask why something happened.
2. Give evidentiary support and play dumb.
3. How do we reconcile it?
Read 32 tweets

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