Screenwriters Daily Dose

Make a Blockbuster on a Budget

Gotta love handy infographics that breakdown something we’d all like to do — given the time, crew, actors, money and a kickass script. Wait! We all have the script!

For a basic breakdown of the elements that would go into funding your own movie, checkout this infographic from Moneypod. They do On Demand Finance — so be careful that you don’t accidentally open a loan. (We’re kidding.) The infographic has great examples and outlines all the ways to fund your own short or feature film.

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Reality Bites

The power of a short film!

Vimeo is an amazing platform to promote your work and add something concrete to your resume. To prove the point, check-out Reality Bites, a funny short film about the benefits of dating a zombie. The short not only showcases the screenwriter but actors, producers, and everyone involved with the production.

Of course, it all starts with a great concept and a script to match, but you’ve got one of those right? If not, watch and learn and get busy!

Reality Bites — co-written & co-directed by Lexy Anderson and Ben Murray

Constructing a Story – Book Review

Another screenwriting book? Come on, it’s all been said before starting with Aristotle’s Poetics. No one really ‘owns’ teaching screenwriting. Maybe Syd Field could take a few books to task, but even he didn’t create the three-act structure or any of the concepts of storytelling. Field dominated the market first, however, setting the screenwriting benchmark – and locking in most of the terminology we all use today. (Thank you, Syd!) But no one owns the fundamentals of screenwriting, which is why there are so many books on the subject. (I even have a couple.) Each one comes with the author’s unique point-of-view on how to approach the craft. Find one that speaks to you and you’re set. And if you’ve found that one… why read another?

Sacrilege! Most of the books on my bookshelf are about screenwriting. If you’re like me, you’re addicted to screenwriting books. I can’t get enough of ‘em! I love to read them just for a new point-of-view to elevate my writing skills. It keeps me fresh and on top of my screenwriting game. Sometimes, I’ll pull one out and reread for inspiration or reference – thank you, David Trottier – but I’ve never reread a screenwriting book cover to cover. I’d rather find a new one, and I just did: Constructing a Story by Yves Lavandier. (Yes, someone actually took me up on my offer to review any writing books.)


The Short of It: I liked the book. It’s worth reading for beginning screenwriters who want a step-by-step, in-depth explanation of how to start and build their storyline. It’s also a good read for experienced screenwriters that want to just check out one section at a time when they hit a snag in their writing. Overall, it’s a great tool for properly building a solid plot.

What I Liked the Most: The chapter on creating story and character arcs is unique. I’ve never seen anyone break down arcs in this manner. I found it very useful as a writer of any medium. It’s a MUST READ part of the book.

What I Thought was Missing: Not much is missing but as a screenwriter, I feel most books on the subject fail to explain subtext. For me, subtext is the most misunderstood and overlooked part of screenwriting. It’s also a vital tool in a screenwriter’s arsenal and needs to be taught – since most writers just luck into its potential when they think about theme and character motivation. Not that the topic doesn’t appear in the ‘subtext’ of the book, especially when Lavandier focuses on motivations and subgoals. In a visual medium, however, subtext is even more important because it’s locked into a story’s core but must come across in the performances. It can’t be spelled out in the script or stated in dialogue, but it is still there on every page. Since I like Lavandier’s point-of-view, I would have liked to see a whole chapter on how to handle subtext. Perhaps in the second edition?

On a side note, I wish the book’s title had a subtitle to let potential readers know it’s a book for screenwriters. All writers could certainly benefit from reading and following Lavandier’s advice, but it is a screenwriting book and should say so on the cover with words and maybe even a film related picture, instead of some kind of shell. Minor things, but huge when it comes to finding the right audience and marketing success.

The Bottom Line: Constructing a Story was written by a seasoned screenwriter, filmmaker and teacher, Yves Lavandier, and offers some overly academic explanations but follows them up with easy to understand steps and tons of examples to completely grasp his approach to screenwriting. Some of the academic wording comes from being originally written in French and translated into English, but Alexis Niki did the translation. I was happily surprised to discover her association with the book. She’s a talented screenwriter that I’ve known for many years online. So, we’re really getting two screenwriters’ insights for the price of one!

To get your copy of Constructing a Story by Yves Lavandier, click HERE.

Outline Like an Expert

Daily Dose: Outlining

Screenwriters Beat takes another look at outlining a screenplay to save time and write like a pro.

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End of the Year Contests

Daily Dose: Contests

The deadlines for the biggest screenplay contests of the year have passed, but you still have some options!

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Logline Examples

Daily Dose: Selling Your Script

Stumbled across some logline examples… which are always a good way to inspire logline writing!

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Break Into TV Writing

Daily Dose: TV Writing

Thinking of writing for television? Checkout these tips on how to focus your writer’s mind to the medium.

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To Cuss or Not to #@%!

Daily Dose: Script Tip

Including an F-bomb in the perfect spot can make screenwriters #@%! nuts. For spec scripts, less is usually more, but what swearing rules we should be following?

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Get More Writing Time!

Daily Dose: Productivity

Whether you have all day to write or just a few hours, managing your time is crucial. Want to find a little bit more time to spend with your WIP? 

Continue reading “Get More Writing Time!”

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