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screenwriting

The Newbie’s Guide to the Hollywood Spec Screenplay Market

A spec screenplay is a screenplay that was not commissioned by a buyer. It is written “on spec” (speculatively) in the hope that a production company will buy it and advance it to production. To the uninitiated this might sound like a pipe dream, but the spec script market exists, although it is not as

9 of the Worst Movie Clichés

Film clichés are numerous and stubbornly frequent, but there are a few that stand out as clear symptoms of laziness and cowardice. Whenever one of these clichés finds its way into a film, it’s a sign that the writer resorted to recycling narrative tropes that are either glaringly unconvincing or massively overused. Character A meets

The Abyss is an Underrated Masterpiece and James Cameron’s Best Film

Structurally perfect, philosophically inspiring and visually brilliant, The Abyss (J. Cameron, 1989; DP M. Salomon) arguably owes its existence to the major box office success enjoyed by James Cameron’s previous two films, The Terminator and Aliens. While The Terminator and Aliens were richly infused with Cameron’s characteristic cinematic genius, The Abyss had additional significance for

The Short Film Production Strategy for Ambitious Filmmakers

This post is about planning and directing short films in such a way as to extract maximum career benefit from them. I wrote it specifically for filmmakers who are ambitious and strategic in their approach; everyone else will probably find it very calculating and career-driven, which is totally okay with me. The premise here is

The Film Marketability Reality Check

Before you pour your heart and soul into your next film, make sure that you will be able to convince people to watch it when it’s finished! Filmmakers tend to be very bitter about the concept of film marketability – the result of repeated rejections from sleazy distributors and similar characters. That is a shame,

Character arc: cool examples from famous movies

Character arc is the term used to refer to a change undergone by a character in a movie. We call it character arc because the change is not a quick one: it goes from the beginning of the movie to the end, although there is usually a fairly obvious point at which the character realises

Screenplay basics: simple but absolutely essential principles

What is a screenplay? A screenplay is a document that tells the film production team what they need to film. It may sound like a simple description, but do not be deceived – its full significance will become clear by the end of this article. I will provide a concise description of what a screenplay

James Cameron and Steven Spielberg direct the best battle scenes

James Cameron is a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci — a genius in the truest sense of the term. James Cameron and Stephen Spielberg are the only directors on this planet who are able to direct a battle scene that actually makes sense, as opposed to being dull and pointless. Every other director — including one