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Tips for a newbie?

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NilesPerry View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote NilesPerry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tips for a newbie?
    Posted: 12 Apr 2019 at 10:33pm
Originally posted by KevinC KevinC wrote:

This is great. Some great advice here. I'm freaking out a bit going in. I've never written a screenplay. I've had 13 plays produced ... But totally different can of worms. I keep fearing that's where I'll blow it. I have to erase what I know. I've been reading screenplays for a while now. We'll see. Thanks for all the tips!  
As has been stated several times, take advantage of the services of the beta readers early-on in the process. They will, of course, focus on your storytelling first, but they will also help you fix any glaring format errors they spot in your script. Keep an eye open for a thread that has the Master Spreadsheet (the list of people volunteering time to beta read and how to contact them). All you do is find out if they have room for you first (contact and book early!), as they do tend to be popular and book up open slots fast, then send them a PDF copy of your early draft(s) as soon as they're ready top be read. In a usually short turnaround time, they'll reply back with notes and thoughts, etc. You're free to take their advice to heart, disagree with them, whatever. However, the important thing to keep in mind... if they walked away from reading your work and were left with questions, then others reading the same may have the same questions... and that usually means your story isn't "there" yet. One thing that's really super about all of them is they don't mince words. They will be honest and up-front with their feedback, which you may not always like to hear, but they won't put up false smiles and say, "Gee, that was really great! Good luck." Having been privileged to beta read for some of this forum's best writers, I think this is the strongest advice I can give you. I think many of my fellow writers here will agree with everything I just said. But also keep in mind... the beta readers are also writing their own competition entries and have to devote time to their own work. If you're too demanding too many times, they won't want to read for you in the future. Best of luck to you and all the newcomers this weekend. Write some great screenplays, and just plain have some great fun!
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KevinC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KevinC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2019 at 8:40pm
This is great. Some great advice here. I'm freaking out a bit going in. I've never written a screenplay. I've had 13 plays produced ... But totally different can of worms. I keep fearing that's where I'll blow it. I have to erase what I know. I've been reading screenplays for a while now. We'll see. Thanks for all the tips!  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bartelbysamsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2019 at 6:22pm
Thanks again to everyone for all your tips, and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one trying this out for the first time!

Good luck to you all, and may the prompt-gods be kind!

Edited by bartelbysamsa - 12 Apr 2019 at 6:23pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Rainbowsockmonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2019 at 11:16am
Thanks for starting this topic: it's my first time, too, so I'm bracing (and equipping) for a wild challenge. I got the screenwriting book that cheezopath recommended in his interview, and it's very helpful. Thanks cheezopath and everyone else for the great tips! Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote JeffreyHowe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2019 at 11:54am
Think of screenplay format as a form of rhetoric, not just an obstacle to be overcome. Smile 
Create brief, distinct, visual moments.

Be aware that most screenplays you see online are production/shooting scripts by people with established track records in the industry, as opposed to spec scripts by people trying to break in. They can get away with things we can't. But read them anyway. Big smile

If your script makes perfect sense from the dialogue alone, it's not a screenplay, it's a script for a radio play/podcast series. Which is cool! Cool But not what we're doing here. 







Edited by JeffreyHowe - 08 Apr 2019 at 11:57am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote beckyrcollins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2019 at 4:46am
Something I'm still working on: don't just concentrate on the formatting/ structure/ the technical stuff. 

At the end of the day, it's about the story. If it's good, the judges will look past technical 'faults' with minimal penalty. If the story's lacking, you'll get my most common piece of feedback: "This author has a good understanding of film writing, BUT..."

So echoing what's already been said... Have fun! Write a film you want to watch!! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2019 at 3:28am
I can never get started on the writing part till two or three days before deadline, just cooking up the idea, then it is a dash for the finish.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote northernwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2019 at 2:01am
My incredible beta readers help me every time. Get feedback early and often!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Sapphire Within Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2019 at 4:59pm
Hello bartelbysamsa,

Thanks for the Post.  This Screenwriting Challenge will be my first as well.  Mostly wanting the experience, see how it goes and wonder if it will help me in my other writing.  It is nice to know I am not the only new one in this challenge.  

And thanks to everyone who responded with helpful information.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Snarkmaiden Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2019 at 3:42pm
It's probably a bit close to the comp for this to be useful, but one of the popular screenwriting books eg David Trottier's "The Screenwriter's Bible" will be a lifesaver when you don't know how a certain thing should be formatted. It hasn't left my desk since I started writing screenplays and it's very dogeared already.
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