Shruti Saran Profile picture
screenwriter. third culture kid. woman without a podcast. | 2020 CAPE List. 2019 WB TV finalist. 2020 HUMANITAS New Voices semifinalist. | mgmt: Affirmative Ent
13 Oct
THREAD: A few years ago, a screenwriter who was giving me notes on a pilot asked me a question which totally up-leveled me as a writer...

He asked, what is the DRAMATIC QUESTION of your show?
I'm a screenwriting nerd, but for whatever reason, I had not encountered this term before this moment, and I've never really heard anyone say it since. Maybe that's because people call it something else, or it's more of a theatre thing, but I really like it for film/TV.
A dramatic question (DQ) is, basically, a compelling question that you establish by the END OF YOUR PILOT that your audience has to watch the series to answer.
Read 8 tweets
1 Dec 20
THREAD: I've seen a few threads on this topic bouncing around lately, so thought I'd share my experience.

Three @austinfilmfestival's ago, I was at one of those roundtable things and received some wisdom from a screenwriter that totally changed my life. This is what she said:

1. Keep it SMALL. ~5 people.

2. Meet EVERY WEEK to workshop each other's writing.

3. Everyone submits at least ONCE A MONTH.

4. SHUT UP AND LISTEN while you're getting feedback.


5. Don't go to draft until the GROUP APPROVES THE OUTLINE.
Then, she delivered THE CLINCHER, which imprinted itself immediately onto my brain...

She told us that FOUR out of the FIVE writers in her group, which had been doing this for the past nine years, had WON The Nicholl.
Read 11 tweets
28 Sep 20
THREAD: IMO most screenwriters don’t name their files in a useful or even consistent way. Weird considering how neurotic we are about screenplay format.

Good filenames can save you SO MUCH heartache, esp when you’re returning to old projects or sending stuff out.

My method:

This is a contained, informative file naming convention that organizes your work for you.

I chose this particular order bc, when sorted alphabetically, I want my projects to self-organize by NAME, then PROJECT, then DATE, and then VERSION
So, for example, if I’m writing a new treatment for my TV pilot “Cool Name” the filename would be:

Shruti_Cool Name Pilot_200928_Treatment
Read 13 tweets
2 Aug 20
How did you guys learn structure?

Found these coffee-stained scripts today when cleaning! I learned how to write TV scripts by writing specs. Before speccing a show, I would watch every episode 2-3 times, summarize them, then get three scripts and break them down like so: ImageImageImage
Then, I'd try to write a spec that matched the show tonally and story-wise, but also structurally. It was total overkill, but I feel like I really get 1/2 hour structure now while I still struggle with 1-hr because I never specced them!
Okay, since some people are finding this helpful, here's an example of a slightly more sophisticated script breakdown from when I started doing them in Excel. Image
Read 4 tweets
9 Feb 18
just thinking about all the times someone told me I was pretty "for an indian girl" and I was like "thanks?" rather than "damn, that's really racist!"
comments like that used to feel innocuous, but now they feel indicative of how skewed society's perception of beauty is and how a lot of people feel it becomes less and less probable the further we get from whiteness.
even in India, all the actresses on telelvision and in movies are super light-skinned and skin lightening products are STILL popular in beauty.
Read 4 tweets