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Tips for a newbie?

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bartelbysamsa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote bartelbysamsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tips for a newbie?
    Posted: 05 Apr 2019 at 7:44pm
Hullo all you wonderful writers!

Next week's challenge will mark my first plunge into the murky depths of screenwriting, and I'm a lickle bit anxious.

Does anyone have any tips, hints, and/or suggestions for a greenhorn? Pretty please?

Cheers!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2019 at 9:04pm
Mine would be, find the program you are going to use, I would recommend "Fade In" free version, and play with it so that you don't have to learn everything at the same time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote thesaura73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2019 at 10:28pm
I only made it to Round 2 last year (and don't plan on participating this year as to focus on WIPs I've been procrastinating on), but I agree with Suave about using screenwriting software and familiarizing yourself with it before you have to start using it!

I also think hitting the prompts hard worked for me, especially trying to be sure to meet the genre definitions (but don't get too caught up in finding the perfect topic/story or getting mired in research!). And being really aware of what's considered realistic (I think I mainly didn't make it to Round 3 last year because everyone found my premise so unbelievable-- A modern-day couple who had been together for a year but hadn't had sex yet. Dumb! I knew it wasn't for everyone but didn't realize some people would find it so outrageous as to make the whole story suck).

I also really like the filmg.co.uk guidelines I've saved here. I do an outline along those lines and keep it up on my monitor while writing. I've also saved various genre screenwriting tips here.


Edited by thesaura73 - 05 Apr 2019 at 10:28pm
SC R1 - Hothouse Flowers (Mystery)
SS Ch1 - A Curated Experience (Suspense)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote thesaura73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 1:24am
Oops! Here's where my genre tips are saved:
SC R1 - Hothouse Flowers (Mystery)
SS Ch1 - A Curated Experience (Suspense)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote cheezopath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 3:28am
1. brevity
2. think in pictures
3. if it can't be shown, don't write it
4. use as much subtext as possible (and as little text)
5. if you have to use exposition make sure it is doing a lot of work - perhaps expressing character at the same time
6. read some screenplays of films you like while you wait to start
7. open 20 tabs about how to format different things
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Tim G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 8:04am
 Read your dialogue aloud. If it feels too formal, rough it up. Nobody ever says 'They are' or 'it is not'. If it feels too long, hack it down.
And have fun! 
Flash R3: The Old Men's Club (Mystery)
Short Screenplay R1: Lookout Lily Grills the Suspects (Mystery)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 10:30pm
If you can't see it or hear it, it doesn't belong in the screenplay. Coming over from prose, that's the hardest part. Be brief.

And... just have fun with it. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Random Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 11:26pm
Originally posted by Tim G Tim G wrote:

 Read your dialogue aloud. If it feels too formal, rough it up. Nobody ever says 'They are' or 'it is not'. If it feels too long, hack it down.
And have fun! 


This.  Better yet, start paying attention to the conversations around you (take notes).  You might be surprised at how rough, and short, most speech is during conversations.

Then remember in story dialog is action, not a conversation.  If the character isn't solving a problem don't bother putting it on the page.
This Sig Intentionally Blank
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote bartelbysamsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2019 at 11:13am
Thanks a lot my senseis. That's all really helpful. Cheers!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote NilesPerry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2019 at 12:44pm
Write what you know.
Draw from personal experience and tastes in movies.
It's hard to say, "Don't write in a genre you aren't familiar with," as you'll likely draw a genre you're not familiar with. On that note, you'll have to learn to adapt quickly.
I've been dinged on "plausibility" more times than I can count, so don't create scenes and situations that are wildly unbelievable.
Make use of our wonderful volunteer beta readers. Most of them have been around NYCM long enough to know what they're talking about, so take their feedback and advice to heart.
Avoid scene transitions, like DISSOLVE TO and CUT TO. They take up valuable page space.
Though many will disagree, you can leave FADE IN and FADE OUT off the page, too, and not incur the wrath of the judges. Again, they take up valuable page space.
Write in "active voice," not "passive voice." Your characters are DOING things... not TRYING TO DO things.
If you're running Windows, then the CELTX standalone installer is still out there, and it's free. It also does a decent job of formatting your screenplay, and it doesn't shut down after you've written three screenplays (a Mac version problem). There is no standalone free version for Mac, though.
Stay calm.
Take breaks when needed.
Don't be afraid to say, "This idea sucks," and set it aside to start in on another idea... as long as it's not the very last day and an hour away from deadline.
SHOW it, don't SAY it.
Tell a COMPLETE story.
Create REAL people on your pages (modeling characters after people you know is allowable, as long as you don't insult any of your friends in doing so).
Proofread, proofread, PROOFREAD!
Have fun.
Best of luck.
Smile


Edited by NilesPerry - 12 Apr 2019 at 12:22pm
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