hollywood sign Cropped3 Essential Keys For Writers, To Guarantee Your Script Gets Read

Getting your script read as an unknown writer in Hollywood can be a tricky game. Even when a script is received at an agency or production company, whether it has been solicited or not, it will often end up in their “circular file”.

There are many steps an aspiring screenwriter must undertake to ensure their script is received and read by agents, managers, and producers, but how do you know your script is going to be given serious and thoughtful consideration? Many of these steps are vital in the process, but many others are the result of overthinking trivial issues. Whether you have the WGA registration number on the cover page is not going to make or break your script people! I have seen forums dedicated to the issue.

To be quite honest, such issues will never really matter much as to whether you get signed, your project gets made, or if the script even gets read. There are however three keys, that if adhered too, will always ensure your script receives a warm welcome and will always be read with fervor.


Dream Sequences Article3 Dream Sequences You Must Avoid Writing

Few things are as electrifying to write for a screenwriter as the dream sequence.  These sequences come in many shapes and forms and serve many purposes: Prophetic visions of things yet to pass; flashbacks hinting at a character's tragic backstory; abstract visualization of a character's psyche—the variations are endless!  But all too often, even an experienced screenwriter will fall back on a dream sequence to advance their story, and cause these complex narrative devices to feel familiar, forced, and out of place.

But why do so many writers feel the need to include dream sequences in their scripts? The answer is quite simple: Dream sequences are fun and easy to write because they allow a greater freedom to defy the rules. But writing a dream sequence because it’s fun can’t be the only reason to insert one into your script. Unless the dream sequence is established in such a way that it feels fresh and purposeful, it will ultimately become just a narrative crutch.

Always be sure your dream sequence clearly advances your story and your character’s journey. Like the often-overused voice over, if it doesn’t fit seamlessly into the narrative and gel with the tone of the film, it will only serve to distract your reader.

Here are three overused dream sequences you will want to avoid unless it serves a clear purpose to your story and your characters.


Taking Time-Travel To Another DimensionFour Tips to Writing Time-Travel Screenplays that Sell

In my experience reading and evaluating screenplays, I’ve noticed an obvious trend amongst so many science fiction and fantasy writers:  You really love time-travel!  As a genre fan whose written a few scripts myself, I always found time-travel to be one of the most daunting subjects in speculative fiction.  So much research and thought must be put into an exciting time-travel story that makes sense to the audience, just thinking about it makes my head spin!  Which is why I’m surprised so many young writers insist on jumping into the complex dimensions of our space-time continuum. 

Here are four tips all future science-fiction writers must consider if you're hoping to sell the next Terminator or Back to the Future.


Kelly Beck ByrnesFresh Voices has awarded Kelly Beck-Byrnes’ dramatic-comedy “Glitches’, the Grand Prize Winner of the 2016-17 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition from over 1,200 entries received.

Kelly’s script has garnered rave reviews across the industry recently advancing in several big screenplay contests including Page and Austin, before ultimately taking home the Grand Prize Award of the Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition this week. Growing up in a small tow outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kelly moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago to work in advertising. Kelly is a self-taught screenwriter now finishing her third screenplay.

Glitches, her second script, is best described as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape meets Juno. It is a coming-of-age story about a young girl named Penny who moves with her father from California to the cornfields of the Midwest after the loss of her mother and their home. Unable to fit in with her new surroundings, Penny rebels by beginning a relationship with her autistic cousin and clashing with her new classmates and family. 

“Kelly’s delightfully engaging voice is present on every page adding color, authenticity and layer upon layer of emotion to all the characters and their choices”


Joel Mendoza    Co-Founder Fresh Voices/ CEO Attraction Ent.

Break in 2First the depressing news! Hollywood is rapidly changing and the rules for screenwriting success are changing with it. Gone are the days of a Hollywood flush with development money, first look deals and discretionary funds. Agents only have time for established talent that earn top dollar. Managers are less likely to invest their time and energy trying to break new writers.  Producers want fully developed, high quality material, and financiers want to know the whole package before committing any cash. All this has placed an incredible burden on writers already straining to break in. 

And now the good news!


expendables posterDave wrote the 2010 summer blockbusterThe Expendables, which has so far grossed over $270m at the world box office. Dave's past credits include the video game adaptation Doom for producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Horsemen produced by Michael Bay, and Tell-Tale for producers Ridley and Tony Scott

Most recently, Dave was hired by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures to write the 2014 summer tent-pole Godzilla and he sold an original pitch to Twentieth Century Fox and Producer/ Director McG.

Here we discuss Dave's approach to the business and art of screenwriting in Hollywood. What's worked for him, what hasn't, and what he's learned along the way. An invaluable conversation for any aspiring screenwriter whether you are writing a high concept studio movie or a low budget, character-driven indi.

tell tale posterhorsemen posterdoom posterexpendables poster

By Fresh Voices Staff

We have made some changes to our scoring.  Why?

ScorecardRoger Ebert gave the Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman three stars out of four.  You know how many stars he bestowed upon the classic film Godfather, Part II in his original 1974 review?  Three stars out of four.  Well there you have it, Roger Ebert thought a Will Ferrell comedy and an epic crime saga were exactly the same in terms of quality.

Except he didn’t.  We know he didn’t.  He’s said so.  Numeric ratings have their place and their use, but at some point a general thumbs up or thumbs down is more practical.  That’s not to say that there’s no merit in numbers, but at some point you have to wonder if you’re not just overcomplicating subjective opinions with objective-sounding numbers.

This is why we have made some changes to our scoring.


Shanghai 3Fresh Voices Headline Judge Hossein Amini will see his film “Shanghai” released in the US by The Weinstein Company. TWC originally opened the Mikael Håfström directed film in China in 2010 but it was never released in the US. That is all about to change as the film has been slated for a limited theatrical run starting August 21, 2015.

The film, starring John Cusack, Chow Yun-Fat, Ken Watanabe and Franke Potente is a neo-noir set during the Japanese occupation of China during World War II. John Cusack plays an American Naval Intelligence Agent investigating a murder just as the US is being drawn in to the war by Pearl Harbor.

The film is produced by Academy Award Winning Producer Donna Gigliotti (Shakespeare In Love), Mike Medavoy, Barry Mendel, and Jake Myers.


photodune-7762280-you-have-a-voice-mPart I) What is the Screenwriter’s Voice?

I am often asked, what do you look for in a winning script? Can a character-driven script that isn’t very commercial still win? Can an awesome concept beat out great execution?

The answer goes well beyond what we look for in the competition. The answer is the key that sustains a long and successful career as a screenwriter.

Fresh Voices was founded on the belief that the single biggest factor in building a successful screenwriting career is the writer’s “Voice”. We’ve heard this term used in all artistic endeavors, but what does it mean for a screenwriter to have a fresh voice?


Part 2)   What Makes Your Voice Fresh?

What is a Fresh VoiceIn Part 1 we brought a better understanding to what the Screenwriter’s Voice is, and equally important is understanding what makes the screenwriter’s voice Fresh. Every writer has their own unique voice, but what makes their voice fresh? For a voice to be considered fresh, it needs to connect with and excite an audience.

Film is one of the most powerful forms of communication known to man. Why would somebody make a film just to keep for themselves? The point of film is to show, and for the viewer to share the experience. The very purpose of film is to reach, entertain and sometimes even influence the public.


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