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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Screenwriting Class  ›  Screenplay Article Links & Software Moderators: George Willson
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Roger Dodger
Posted: July 10th, 2005, 12:43pm Report to Moderator
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SPEC SCRIPTS

There's been some debate recently about what's a good length for a Spec Feature Script and other such queries... Anyhow, the following three links give some information about formatting a script correctly for submission to a studio.

One of them is a good article from screenwriter Terry Rossio about the time he spent working as a 'reader.' He put together a checklist about what he was looking for in a script - this checklist is now used as a standard tool for other readers at, at least, one Production Company...

Anyway, they answer a lot of the questions that are raised multiple times here... Maybe worth giving it a read before posting a question and creating another duplicate thread...

ARTICLE: Death To Readers by Terry Rossio

ARTICLE: The Spec Script: Nice Work If You Can Get It

ARTICLE: Spec Script Tips Thanks to Wesley & The Curse

ARTICLE: Tips for Getting Your Script Past the Gatekeepers

ARTICLE: 4 Ways To Give A Crap


PROPER SCREENPLAY FORMAT

Scriptwriting Secrets - Thanks to jerdol

Various opinions on screenwriting format - Thanks to Dr. Mabuse

http://www.screenstyle.com/howtoforscre.html

http://www.blackscreenplays.com/formatting.htm

http://www.scriptologist.com/Magazine/Formatting/formatting.html

http://www.storysense.com/format.htm


OUTLINES AND TREATMENTS

ARTICLE: What they are, how to write them and how to stay relatively sane while doing so


REJECTION & SCRIPTNOTES

Articles on how to deal with feedback, and what type of feedback to expect.

ARTICLE: Why You Get Form Rejection Letters

ARTICLE: "SOUR NOTES"


FREE SCREEN-WRITING SOFTWARE

Final Draft Viewer

Read Final Draft scripts in this free viewer without having to buy the software. Like Adobe's pdf reader, you can't do anything besides look, but it opens up some possibly unavailable scripts to you to read.

FREE SOFTWARE: Script Smart

Add-on 'script formatting' templates for MS Word.

(Note: Haven't looked at them, or used, so cannot vouch for how useful they are)


FREE SOFTWARE: Script Maker

Fully self-contained program that proclaims to not only set out fully formatted feature scripts but also do more...

(Note: It looks as if this program will be a bit of a bitch to learn, but the PDF's on the site seem to show that the results look pretty good when you know your way around... I don't really have the time to give it a test ride and report back so perhaps someone else can try.)


FREE SOFTWARE: SLang

The same site also has a free story development tool, again a fully self-contained program, which will also require some patience to learn. Looks pretty useful though.

If anyone finds any other free templates/programs that will be useful here. Then please post them and I will update here.


FREE SOFTWARE: Rough Draft - Thanks to Requiem

Looks like a pretty comprehensive program - from the site:

"RoughDraft is a freeware word processor for Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP. Although suitable for general use, it has features specifically designed for creative writing: novels, short stories, articles, plays and screenplays. It's designed to be as practical as possible, offering all the features you need, but without being complicated or awkward to use."

FREE SOFTWARE: CelTx - Thanks to Dr. Mabuse

Similar to FD or MMS but absolutely free. You need Firefox. See This Thread for more information about this.

FREE SOFTWARE: Screenplay Template Maker - Thanks to jerdol

"The following set of instructions, for use within your normal word processing program, will set up a blank document with a title page, page number, standard screenplay font, and macros that allow you switch between dialogue margins and action margins. It will not help you create a story, type character names, or add "continueds" or page breaks. These things you have to do yourself. "


GENERAL SITES

SimplyScripts Resource Page - Don's own collection of resources on a variety of topics right here on Simplyscripts.

Wordplay Columns

CS Daily - The Art of Craft

The below is a link to a good site that also sends out a weekly newsletter by email with inspirational and humourous (sp?) quotes, articles and reviews.

Useful Site: Creative Screenwriting - Thanks to Mr.Z

For the UK based members...

(London) Screenwriters' Workshop


With your help this could be a useful thread - if anyone finds a good article on their web travels and lists it here... I can always update this first post... It could serve as an FAQ and might stop multiple threads about the same question.


If you fancy something to read...

Short > Safe In The Knowledge

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George Willson  -  January 23rd, 2008, 2:28pm
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Martin
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36 Dramatic Situations

Stuck for ideas for your screenplay? Maybe this'll help:

http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article255.asp

George Polti's '36 Dramatic Situations'


   I - Supplication
   II - Deliverance
   III - Vengeance of a crime
   IV - Vengeance taken for kindred upon kindred
   V - Pursuit
   VI - Disaster
   VII - Falling prey to cruelty or misfortune
   VIII - Revolt
   IX - Daring enterprise
   X - Abduction
   XI - The Enigma
   XII - Obtaining
   XIII - Enmity of kinsmen
   XIV - Rivalry of kinsmen
   XV - Murderous adultery
   XVI - Madness
   XVII - Fatal imprudence
   XVIII - Involuntary crimes of love
   XIX - Slaying of a kinsman unrecognised
   XX - Self-sacrificing for an ideal
   XXI - Self-sacrifice for kindred
   XXII - All sacrificed for a passion
   XXIII - Necessity of sacrificing loved ones
   XXIV - Rivalry of superior and inferior
   XXV - Adultery
   XXVI - Crimes of love
   XXVII - Discovery of the dishonour of a loved one
   XXVIII - Obstacles to love
   XXIX - An enemy loved
   XXX - Ambition
   XXXI - Conflict with a god
   XXXII - Mistaken jealousy
   XXIII - Erroneous judgement
   XXXIV - Remorse
   XXXV - Recovery of a lost one
   XXXVI - Loss of loved ones
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Martin
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Stumbled across these links over on Zoetrope. Happy clicking!

LA NETWORKING GROUPS

http://www.filmindustrynetwork.com/
http://www.scriptwritersnetwork.org/index.asp

PDF CONVERSION SOFTWARE

http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp
http://www.primopdf.com/
http://www.pdf995.com/download.html
http://www.jwwalker.com/pages/pdf.html

INDUSTRY JOBS

http://www.ilm-jobs.com/jobs.html
http://www.filmstaff.com/
http://www.mandy.com/
http://www.disney.go.com/DisneyCareers/
http://crewcall-jobs.com/
http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=classifieds
http://www.crewnet.com/
http://msxml.blowsearch.com/_1.....start=&ver=23699
http://www.eej.com/
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/classifieds/index.jsp
http://www.showbizjobs.com/
http://www.entertainmentcareers.net/
http://www.reeldirt.com/

MAKING MOVIES

http://www.cyberfilmschool.com/columns/mchugh_1.ht
http://www.filmmaking.com/main.html
http://www.la411.com/
http://www.actioncut.com/
http://www.webfilmschool.com/startni.htm
http://www.group101films.com/home.html
http://www.dctvny.org
http://www.filmhelp.com/
http://www.nyfa.com/index.html
http://www.fva.com

BOX OFFICE NUMBERS

http://www.boxofficeguru.com/
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/

MOVIE REVIEWS & MOVIES IN PRODUCTION

http://www.filmjournal.com/applications/guides/alpha.cfm?PageID=00000001
http://www.ez-entertainment.net/prodzone.htm
http://www.splicedonline.com/
http://www.mrqe.com/

OTHER RESOURCES

http://www.screenwritersutopia.com/
http://www.moviecitynews.com/
http://www.allsitecafe.com/hollywood.html
http://www.redinkworks.com/screenwriter.htm
http://www.tvwriter.com/main.html

PUBLICATIONS

http://www.nyscreenwriter.com/
http://www.creativescreenwriting.com/
http://www.scriptmag.com/index.php
http://www.writersguildofcanada.com/magazine/
http://www.fadeinmag.com/

SCREENWRITING SOFTWARE

http://www.screenplay.com/home.html
http://www.scriptware.com/
http://www.writersstore.com/
http://finaldraft.custhelp.com.....p_created=1057966906
http://www.FinalDraft.com

SCREENPLAYS ONLINE

http://dmoz.org/Arts/Movies/Filmmaking/Screenwriting/Scripts/
http://corky.net/scripts/
http://www.scriptshack.com/shop/enter.html
http://www.simplyscripts.com/movie-scripts.html
http://www.moviescriptsandscreenplays.com/
http://www.weeklyscript.com
http://www.dailyscript.com

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

http://www.talentmanagers.org/
http://www.wifti.org/chapters.cfm
http://www.agentassociation.com/frontdoor/faq.cfm
http://www.wga.org/
http://www.oscars.org/index.html
http://www.writersguildofcanada.com/
http://www.copyright.gov/

CONTESTS

http://www.nyscreenwriter.com/contests.htm
http://www.filmmakers.com/contests/directory.htm
http://www.moviebytes.com/contests.cfm?category=Al
http://www.oscars.org/nicholl/index.html
http://www.scriptapalooza.com/
http://www.abctalentdevelopment.com/html/writing_fellowship_mainpage.htm
http://www.chesterfield-co.com/

RESEARCH & INFORMATION

http://everyonewhosanyone.com/index.html
http://urbaninsider.com/
http://www.fadeinonline.com/webstore/agora.cgi?product=PRODUCTS
http://www.showbizdata.com/
http://www.filmmaking.com/direct.html
http://www.imdb.com/
http://www.castsag.com/
http://www.filmstew.com/PhoneBook/
http://www.filmtracker.com/
http://www.whorepresents.com
http://www.hcdonline.com/

DEVELOPING THE CRAFT

http://www.thewritersbuilding.org
http://www.lindaseger.com/index.htm
http://www.scriptsecrets.net/
http://www.heliumfeedback.com/
http://www.scripthollywood.com/id26.html
http://www.screenwriter.com/
http://www.keepwriting.com/
http://www.mckeestory.com/
http://www.truby.com/
http://www.scriptwritingsecrets.com/

PREPARING FOR MARKET

http://screenplayswanted.blogspot.com/
http://www.screenwritersmarket.com/
http://www.breakingin.net/
http://www.soyouwannasellascript.com/index.cfm?CFI
http://www.moviebytes.com/index.cfm
http://www.writersscriptnetwork.com/
http://www.hollywoodlitsales.com/
http://www.scriptsales.com/
http://www.twoadverbs.com/
http://www.wordplayer.com/
http://www.scriptseeker.com/
http://www.dvshop.ca/dvcafe/writing/selling.html
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George Willson
Posted: May 21st, 2006, 12:33am Report to Moderator
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George Willson
Posted: June 2nd, 2006, 1:59am Report to Moderator
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Some examples of industry related material such as Query Letters, Options, Treatments, Coverage, and just a ton of other stuff that you might find interesting.

http://www.scriptsales.com/Examples.html


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Mr.Z
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I would like to recommend this article to all the writers willing to improve their craft. Many tips for writing tighter and clearer descriptions, which I found quite useful; I hope they're useful to you as well.

http://www.scriptsecrets.net/articles/descrptn.htm


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Martin
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Great article, Z.

Some more useful tips here:

http://www.mythmakerjohn.com/articles.htm
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Kevan
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The Tennessee Screenwriting Association
http://www.tennscreen.com/

The above web site is a treasure trove for screenwriters; which contains sections for:

Latest News
Calendar
Membership
Writing Tips
Writer's Store
Contact Us
Contest Info
Bulletin Board

The Tennessee Screenwriting Association holds an annual screenwriting competition; the current closing date for Entries must not have been optioned or sold prior to December 17, 2006. You?ll find more information on their web site above.

You'll also discover a wealth of information about writing screenplays in the Witing Tips and articles. They also have a archive for previous articles and writing tips.

You can also download a Story Premise Worksheet  The Story Premise Worksheet is a great tool. When used properly, it forces you to identify the most basic elements of your story. The Story Premise Worksheet is in Microsoft Word doc format.

Other screenwriting tips include:

Story Premise: Spotlight on the Worksheet

This educational session examines the story premise. Pare your story down the basic story elements.http://www.tennscreen.com/tips/storypremise.htm

20 Most Common "No-Nos"

One of the best ways to remember how to do something is to study what not to do. This sheet serves as a great reminder. http://www.tennscreen.com/nonos.htm

20 Basic Plots

Every story will fall into one of 20 basic plotlines. It can help you identify elements and make your story succeed. http://www.tennscreen.com/plots.htm

Rules of the Thriller

This worksheet is terrific for anyone looking to tackle a story in the thriller genre. http://www.tennscreen.com/thriller.htm

Thematic Worksheet

A follow-up to the premise worksheet. When used properly, it forces you to identify your themes and provides clarity. http://www.tennscreen.com/thematic.htm

The Education section includes articles on:

Screenplay Formatting: Word as a screenwriting Processor.
Maybe you don't need to spend high dollar for your writing?

The Spark of Creation
Where do our story ideas come from?

Idea Generation  
Can't come up with any new story ideas? Sure you can. Here's a great place to start

Making 3-Dimensional Characters
Need guidelines on character generation? This is a great place to start.

The First 10 Minutes
How important are the first 10 pages of any screenplay? This session answered that question.

SILENT AFFAIR: Diary of a Screenplay
We followed one film on its journey from brain to screen. Writer/creator Alan McKenna shares elements on the way to the finished feature.

SHORTS: Screenwriters on making short films
Have you ever considered shooting a short film? You know, just to get something done or possibly get your foot in the door? The TSA had a sobering discussion on the topic.

CRITICAL DECISIONS : The Structure of THE MATRIX
Consider your story as a series of 8 short segments separated by your protagonists critical decision making. The TSA briefly examined this structure using the blockbuster film THE MATRIX. This concept was later clarified by Robert Franke so may not be totally accurate.

This is a great web site full of interesting information and resources for screenwriters and even sells books by some of it's members and contributors. Well worth a visit.
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steven8
Posted: April 18th, 2009, 4:04am Report to Moderator
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Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences

Formatting Tips
http://www.oscars.org/awards/nicholl/resources.html

Screenplay Format Sample
http://www.oscars.org/awards/nicholl/scriptsample.pdf

Very interesting stuff!

From the sample file:


Quoted Text

JOE
A writer's draft?

APRIL
Essentially, any draft that
hasn't been paid for. Any draft
to be sent to agents, studio
execs, production companies,
development people. Those are
writer's drafts. And they all
should be FIRST DRAFTs, no matter
how many versions the writer has
actually written.

JOE
You really think so?

APRIL
That's my recommendation.


Always a first draft no matter how many drafts you've written?  This from the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science.  What do you all think?
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: April 18th, 2009, 5:30am Report to Moderator
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"This from the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science.  What do you all think?"

Does it matter what we think?

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steven8
Posted: April 18th, 2009, 5:45am Report to Moderator
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It sounds funky to me so I, being a total rube, wondered what everyone else thought.  'Course it matters!  
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: April 18th, 2009, 5:47am Report to Moderator
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Well then, yes, I'd say you may as well lie every time.

Nothing seems to work better in Hollywood than a bit of bullshit.
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steven8
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
Well then, yes, I'd say you may as well lie every time.

Nothing seems to work better in Hollywood than a bit of bullshit.


Not sure what you mean, or what you thought I meant.  What I meant was would you want the first thing you send to be your first draft, or your most recent best draft?

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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: April 18th, 2009, 5:56am Report to Moderator
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I think you've misunderstood.

He's saying that no matter how many drafts you've actually written, the one you send in should be labelled your first draft.

He's saying that you should pretend that you can knock out work of your highest quality on your first attempt, rather than telling the truth and showing them it's taken you 3 years and 22 drafts to get to that quality.

At least, that's what I took from it.

So you send them your best work (the seventh draft say) but make sure it says First Draft on the cover.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: April 18th, 2009, 6:00am Report to Moderator
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Actually, reading it again, your interpretation could be right. I was picking up a subtext that may not be there when I read it in the context of the interview.

It's a shame that the interviewer didn't ask a follow up question asking him to clarify why that is...
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steven8
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
I think you've misunderstood.

He's saying that no matter how many drafts you've actually written, the one you send in should be labelled your first draft.

He's saying that you should pretend that you can knock out work of your highest quality on your first attempt, rather than telling the truth and showing them it's taken you 3 years and 22 drafts to get to that quality.

At least, that's what I took from it.

So you send them your best work (the seventh draft say) but make sure it says First Draft on the cover.


I like your take on it.  That's why I'm a rube.  
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Lakewood
Posted: April 18th, 2009, 10:26am Report to Moderator
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When you submit a spec to your agent it has the TITLE, NAME and DATE.  It's usually the date you send it no matter if you wrote it three years ago.  Newer is better.  No draft information at all because it will just gum things up.

If the agent sends it to a company it reads:

TITLE
NAME

A MONTH DATE
AGENCY/AGENT

If someone buys it the script becomes WRITER'S WHITE and then if they want changes before putting it into the production pipeline it is WRITER'S WHITE REV. (DATE).

It's not even so much someone cares that you've written 12 drafts of the script.  They are going to replace you with six other people anyway so why should they care.  They do care that you're going to confuse someone.  Say, if someone in wardrobe sees a SECOND DRAFT and can't figure out what the heck they're looking at.  Is it a writer's draft or a BLUE revision or some other strange beastie?  And how much time do they have to waste trying to find out.
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Murphy
Posted: April 18th, 2009, 3:15pm Report to Moderator
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My understanding of that was just that any spec you send in to anybody will always be considered your first draft no matter how many times you have re-written it at home. Once it is out there and being read it will be labelled as the first draft, i.e. it will be the first draft that anybody has seen. That way it can be document controlled properly and once you have an option agreed then you will get notes and instructions for the second draft. Or probably much more common you will lose control and it will be sent to some hack for the second draft while you count your money and hope that enough of your spec remains the same so that you can keep your credit!

I don't think there is anything more to it than that, I don't think it is about pretending you can knock it off first go.
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FDiogo
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Isn't celtx for free ?

I've been using it and now I reached a point where I can't write anything else after that ...


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jayrex
Posted: May 2nd, 2009, 4:20am Report to Moderator
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Cut to three weeks earlier

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Celtx is free.

You need to be online to convert the file into pdf.


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jayrex
Posted: July 10th, 2009, 2:51pm Report to Moderator
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Cut to three weeks earlier

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PrimoPDF 4.1.0.11

PrimoPDF is a handy and lightweight utility that converts just about any file type to a PDF by using the source program that created the file and its Print command. The conversion process is quick and efficient, bolstered by a clean, simple interface. The included security features allow you to wrap your PDF in 40-bit or 128-bit encryption, and there's PDF merging and password protection, too. The user also can restrict editing to basic interactions such as comment-making.

Primo's size is surprisingly large for such an unobtrusive app, and it's absolutely necessary to launch the read-me file at the end of installation, since the application loads no icons and leaves no other visible traces on your machine, except in your Start menu's All Programs.


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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: July 10th, 2009, 3:48pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Quoted from Murphy
My understanding of that was just that any spec you send in to anybody will always be considered your first draft no matter how many times you have re-written it at home. Once it is out there and being read it will be labelled as the first draft, i.e. it will be the first draft that anybody has seen. That way it can be document controlled properly and once you have an option agreed then you will get notes and instructions for the second draft. Or probably much more common you will lose control and it will be sent to some hack for the second draft while you count your money and hope that enough of your spec remains the same so that you can keep your credit!

I don't think there is anything more to it than that, I don't think it is about pretending you can knock it off first go.


Exactly. I get a funny kind of feeling now when I read all these links on "How to Write for Screen" this and that and the other... There is a whole ton of information out there and you could become so bogged down by theory and doing it right that you feel like you've got a heavy weight on your chest.

I often think, "Well, if I read enough books about screenwriting, I'll certainly be well qualified to write ANOTHER book about screenwriting,   but I'd still be an amateur by my standards, UNTIL, I can beat out a script every week and lose track of what year it is and see my work take shape on screen. A professional stops thinking so hard and just does it very naturally because it's all, (knocks on the noggin) up here...

...and there's no pretending to yourself or anyone else how long it's taken you to write something. It doesn't matter unless you're working a deadline. And there should be deadlines, even when there aren't, you know. (Probably giving Bert a headache) Anyways, beware of spending too much time reading about it and just do it.

Sandra now resumes with her work in progress. She wavers, hesitant now, and gives a sideways glance to Syd Field's SCREENPLAY, sitting pretty on her bookshelf.

Nah, not right now.




A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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