Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #screenwriting

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I finally watched COCAINE BEAR and it reminded of something I have been talking about in my classes on how screenwriters who write original movies can work around Hollywood’s obsession with pre-existing I.P. #screenwriting 🧵
The first thing to understand is that Hollywood has not run out of new ideas. The studio’s preference for I.P. has nothing to do with regurgitating ideas and everything to do with MARKETING.

I cover the whole subject in this tweet here:
People don't have to be sold on the Mission Impossible or John Wick. They know what it's about. That marketing just needs to focus on making sure you know when it opens.

The marketing department prefers AWARNESS over SELLING because you can throw money at awareness.
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🧵The reason studios focus on rebooting Harry Potter, eg, rather than finding the next Parasite, is called “cascade theory” and it is a safety net applied by buyers to provide financial reasoning for backing projects. Here’s how to tap it to position an original like a cascade:
2 Whenever the strike ends, writers will start pitching again. When you get back out there: DONT say: this thing I wrote is unlike anything else! Do say, it’s similar, but different. That’s key. (Cont #screenwriting )
3 We have affection for new familiar tastes! Why I love to taste new bourbon? I already love bourbon. Implied cascade sets buyers more at ease. Swinging on an original is scary for money people. Here’s the term I teach:
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So, I made a TikTok about how we need to be talking more about #freework in #screenwriting. Then it came to my attention that… a lot of people don’t know what a rewrite is, or how one-step deals work. So I did a basic breakdown! #wgastrong #wgastrike
Here’s the original video. I stand by it! We need to be talking more about feature issues, even if they aren’t buzzy like AI or mini-rooms or minimum staff sizes.
Ever since I joined the WGA in 2012, one-step feature deals have been a pervasive problem. And you know the Companies. If they can get away with some shenanigans in one place, they’ll try to expand it to other areas until it becomes normal everywhere.
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With #WGAStrong rightfully in the spotlight this week, I've seen some less-than-sympathetic comments focusing on the lack of originality in our projects.

This is a fair criticism of the system, but not the writers. A quick history of how we got here: 🧵
The first thing to understand is that Hollywood has NOT run out of new ideas. The studio’s preference for I.P. has nothing to do with regurgitating ideas and everything to do with MARKETING.
The late 60s-70s is generally considered the artistic high of the studio system. Ironically, many contribute this to corporations buying up the studios! The corporations knew they had no idea how to run a movie studio, so... they put creative people in charge.
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1/ Got a question on how I broke in as a writer, so… I wanted to be an actor. At 40. So, I took every extra job that came to town. I was background in a LOT of films. It was there I got my education on how everything worked on a set. It has turned out to be invaluable.
2/ I got my SAG card by uttering one line in a film. Got a local agent thru networking with a casting director. Got auditions. Got tiny parts. Ended up on a series for 6 seasons, Nash Bridges, as a glorified extra who spoke occasionally.
3/ Those 6 seasons on Nash Bridges were like a film school. @DonJohnson @CheechMarin @jeffperryreal @JodiLyn_Okeefe @KellyHu James Gammon Jaime Gomez … the directors, the ADs, the crew…. what an education. You couldn’t buy it.
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I spent the first half of my career resisting loglines. I hated them and wrote them AFTER I finished a screenplay. This was dumb and my career suffered. I finally embraced them, and it’s made a huge difference. This is what I learned over this time, #screenwriting 🧵
First, let's talk about two big mistakes I think people make and then what I think is necessary for a good logline.
The first mistake people make is that they think the job of the logline is to describe what their screenplay is about. This is not true. This is something it needs to do, but it is not its job.
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MY SCREENWRITING EXPERIENCE. Not advice. I’m still figuring this shit out, too. Here’s my experience. With contests, I was trapped in perpetual Quarterfinals & Semifinals Hell for a few years. Not good enough to get me where I need to be. 🧵
#screenwriting #amwriting
Something had to change about my writing. About two years ago, I figured it out. Find that deep flaw about myself that most terrifies me. I made that the central theme of my work going forward. Even though this is pretty basic shit, it worked. 🧵
#screenwriting #amwriting
In the past 14 months, I’ve won the Summer @Screenplay_LA, the @roadmapwriters Top Tier Competition, and the @ScriptPipeline First Look Project. Each with a different script. Each with completely different tones. Why? 🧵
#screenwriting #amwriting
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#AIArt is about to revolutionize #screenwriting! 🤯 As AI tools become more intuitive and easy to use, some think production companies might prioritize profit over storytelling & we'll be binging stunningly beautiful visuals paired with incredibly boring plots.. 🤔

A thread 🧵
1) We could be in for a wild ride here:
As with all technology, there is a risk of it being used in a way that strictly prioritizes profit. AI material might be used to create visually appealing stories that lack depth and originality
2) Yet AI will likely revolutionize screenwriting in a similar way it's currently enhancing visual expression and #AIArt!
Training models with dramaturgical data and narrative finesse is key. And it's already underway 💪 E.g. Dramatron, check @korymath's ImageImage
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Here's a technique for movie concept creation I currently experiment with:

Using #screenwriting devices to prompt #GPT3 for basic story ideas & plots and then using those to generate #midjourney #aiart images depicting key scenes, characters & settings...
Not only is this a huge time saver for #writers when brainstorming or trying out different dramatic scenarios, but you also get images that further spark your imagination...
... and this inspiration goes both ways: images create new approaches to dramaturgical twists or character development, and storytelling devices literally create new perspectives on the story 🤯
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Short 🧵 on loglines. I see a lot of confusion and frustration over writing loglines. This link and images are for something I wrote a few years ago on what a logline is and how to write a logline. #ScreenwritingTwitter #screenwriting…
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What's the number one question I ask emerging writers after reading their scripts?

"What is this story about?"

A quick #screenwriting 🧵
Since I started offering my script coverage services, I've read a lot of samples by aspiring professional screenwriters.

And, typically, the writing of the script itself is not the issue.

The dialogue feels natural and characters specific. The action lines are engaging.
But, the thing that takes a script from "Your writing is good" to "This sample is good" is a clear premise.

So often, I read pilots or features that feel like an amalgam of moments without any real driving force that give the reader a sense of what it is they're reading.
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Hollywood communication etiquette 101.

This is a legacy industry with best practices of communication that have been established over decades. Ignore them at your peril.

1- Phonecalls build trust and teamwork. How long should they be? 5 mins is golden.
2- Yup I know that freaked out the digital natives. Guess what? You have to learn the art of phonecalls or you’ll stumble. I train my whole team to pick up the phone- even those in their 20s. People in power - producers & execs, place calls, not just texts or emails. Why?
3- A big reason is when things go sideways as they often do in all high stakes relationships, is you don’t want to put yourself on the record. Hash out and fix the issues together on the phone. There’s better odds for clarity and resolution. What about email?
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Thread: So you placed in a contest, what now?

How to take that momentum and query managers, tap producers and hustle like a pro. #screenwriting

1- Someone out there will love your writing. You have to find THEM. They don’t find you.
2- Screenwriting contests are a lot like the Olympics. If you WIN, reps will come to you. If you place, you need to reach out to them. Start with a query letter for managers and producers interested in #preWGA writers. Here’s a basic template:
3- Hi (firstname)
Share a connection you have to this person- you know another client of theirs or admire their work. Share your contest placement and DNA- like if you’re BIPOC/WOC/AAPI or LGBTQ, why you wrote the story.
Hope to hear from you.
Sign off.
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#animation #cartoons #storyboarding #storyboard #comics #art #directing #Filmmaking #entertainment #tutorial #MASTERCLASS #student #writing #screenwriting


By John Fountain

CHAPTER 8 - Post Mortem

Let’s talk about pitching a cartoon show, shall we? Image
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve tried to give you all of the practical information I have based on my experience on how to pitch a cartoon.

Not as easy as you thought, huh?

Everything I know came from trial-and-error on my part.

You will try.

You will error. Image
Don’t let it eat you up.

One of the major, emotional milestones I wish I had gotten over sooner is that - as corny as this sounds - life IS, in fact, all about the journey - not the destination. Image
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#animation #cartoons #storyboarding #storyboard #art #directing #Filmmaking #entertainment #tutorial #MASTERCLASS #student #writing #screenwriting

By John Fountain

CHAPTER 7 - “We’d like to see MORE!”

Let’s talk about pitching a cartoon show, shall we? Image
NOTE: All illustrations are from pitch documents I've created over the years. All materials copyright/trademark John Fountain 2022 all rights reserved - none of the following material may be copied or reproduced except for purposes of review without permission of the author. Image
I’ve spent a lot of time preparing you for disappointment.

And rightfully so. The odds are undeniably stacked against you.

But - let’s say you pitched your show, everything went great, and a couple of weeks later, you get the call everyone hopes for:

“We’re interested.” Image
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#animation #cartoons #storyboarding #comics #directing #Filmmaking #tutorial #MASTERCLASS #writing #screenwriting
By John Fountain

CHAPTER 6 - Follow up

Let’s talk about pitching a cartoon show, shall we?

So... you’ve pitched your cartoon!
Congrats! Image
In many cases, you’ll have a pretty good idea what your chances look like within the first 120 seconds of your pitch.

By the time you speak the title of the show and first paragraph of your pitch, you’ll probably be able to see it on their faces. Image
Anything other than a “I love this idea!” and you’re looking at a “maybe” at best. “Interesting” is often code for “no.”

But, as I stated previously, you’re not just pitching a cartoon, you’re pitching yourself… so you need to maintain your composure no matter what. Image
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#animation #cartoons #storyboarding #storyboard #comics #art #directing #Filmmaking #entertainment #tutorial #MASTERCLASS #writing #screenwriting
By John Fountain

Let’s talk about pitching a cartoon show, shall we?

CHAPTER 4: Anatomy of a Pitch Document Image
First, allow me to say what should go without saying:
Everything here is copyrighted and trademarked by John Fountain 2022 - all rights are reserved. None of this may be copied, distributed or reproduced SAVE FOR PURPOSE OF REVIEW without permission from the author!
I have an absolutely BEASTLIKE attorney in Los Angeles who would love the chance to go after someone - I’m putting this stuff up for educational benefit - DO NOT F*CK WITH IT!

And if you see someone f*ck with it, please let me know.

On with the lesson… Image
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#animation #cartoons #storyboarding #comics #art #directing #Filmmaking #entertainment #tutorial #MASTERCLASS #student #writing #screenwriting

By John Fountain

Let’s talk about pitching a cartoon show, shall we?

CHAPTER 3: NOW what?! Image
Good lord - after ALL THAT you’re still here?!

You’re a glutton for punishment, huh? Well… good… because if you’re going to pitch your cartoon ideas, you’ve gotta love getting punched in the gut.

And get punched in the gut you most certainly WILL! Image
Unless you’re one of those assholes who just comes up with something exceedingly brilliant and gets a fantastic development deal your first time around. In which case, the rest of us will sit here smiling and trying to make our “congratulations” seem sincere.

But I digress. Image
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#animation #cartoons #storyboards #directing #Filmmaking #tutorial #writing #screenwriting
By John Fountain

Let’s talk about pitching a cartoon show, shall we?

"How to convince the world that they’re wrong and you’re brilliant!" Image
You can’t.

Whomp whomp.

NEXT INSTALLMENT - How to deal with disappointment! Image
Okay, okay… just kidding. Except… well… not really.

No matter how great your cartoon idea is, sometimes it’s simply “Not the right time” or “not the right fit” for whatever entity you’re pitching to. Image
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#animation #cartoons #storyboarding #comics #art #directing #Filmmaking #entertainment #tutorial #MASTERCLASS #student #writing #screenwriting

By John Fountain

Let’s talk about pitching a cartoon show, shall we?

One of the things about animation that a lot of people find frustrating is that it often becomes a “nexus” where CREATIVITY, COLLABORATION and COMMERCE are uncomfortably merged. Image
This phenomenon can create a lot of challenges and struggles. Obviously, as with all things, sometimes the stars align just perfectly and it all happens with flawless precision, but those instances are VERY few and VERY far between. Image
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#animation #cartoons #storyboarding #storyboard #comics #art #directing #Filmmaking #entertainment #tutorial #MASTERCLASS #student #writing #screenwriting


By John Fountain


Let’s talk about pitching a cartoon show, shall we? Image
Before we get started, let me sort of lay down how this is all going to happen.
I’m gonna do my best to give you some perspective on how to go about pitching and/or selling your original ideas to a network or media platform based on MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. Image
Why do I put those words in BOLD CAPS, you ask? Because my experiences are unique, personal and potentially outdated. I haven’t REALLY “pitched” anything in over a decade - and that should tell you something right there. Image
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Here’s my humble two cents! In Hollywood, I would say you should never ask someone for something that is not in their immediate self-interest. It will almost always create an awkward situation... 🧵 1/
In conversation, you can mention that you have scripts and are looking for reps but leave it at that. Any writer will be able to read between those lines. The repped writer is then free to offer to help if they are so inclined.🧵 2/
This is all just my opinion, of course, but I think this soft approach spares the repped writer the embarrassment of being put on the spot, or the discomfort of turning you down. This is a deep etiquette question though, so here’s my more thorough attempt at an answer...🧵 3/
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10 things I wish they taught me in film school, #screenwriter edition. 🧵
1.Networking is a long-term game.

It might seem like getting ‘access’ to industry gatekeepers is the most important thing. It is not. Building a genuine, long-term relationship is.
2.Competitions are a tool, not a goal.

Every new writer should enter competitions, but placements are only helpful if you go out and use them to hustle.

PS: @Coverfly has a waiver program for those who can’t afford it.
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They say that you need to read as many scripts as possible as a #writer but getting access to high quality scripts is always tricky. Fortunately these lovely folk are here to save the day:

#WritingCommunity #ScriptChat (1/6)
The @bbcwritersroom should be the first port of call for any aspiring or emerging #writers in the UK. Their website is absolutely packed with useful tips, tricks and script library.
#WritingCommunity #ScriptChat (2/6)
@PhilipShelley1 not only runs 4Screenwriting, one of the best #writing schemes available, but has also created a terrific script library on his website.
#WritingCommunity #ScriptChat (3/6)
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