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Outlining. Many writers cringe or scratch their heads in confusion when presented with the task. But consider an architect who attempts to construct a building without a blueprint. He wouldn’t know where to start, he probably wouldn’t have a clear vision of the expected outcome, and the building would probably not be very well made. The blueprint ensures each step of construction is accounted for and the end is clear from the beginning. Similarly, in screenwriting, the outline will ensure a purposeful structure and a clear end goal for your story.

Despite its importance however, the idea of outlining varies greatly and is open to interpretation. Each writer has their own unique process that they undergo before they launch themselves into their next project. However you decide to go about it, the process of outlining before you begin is essential to writing a successful screenplay.

The pros to outlining are plentiful. What makes outlining important, is that it has the potential to give you a clear sense of direction and purpose before you write Act 1, Scene 1. You can clearly visualize act by act and even scene by scene. It also allows you to write in a cohesive manner that prevents many of the logic problems that plague those scripts that have not been as thoroughly thought through before the actual writing process begins. It allows you to know the end goal from the very beginning. Outlining will not only lead to you writing a stronger first draft, but also greatly improve your abilities as a writer, making you more efficient and precise. Outlining will bring a clear sense of structure to your screenplay, and will help bring structure to you as a writer. Outlining is an often-undervalued part of the writing process that can nevertheless reap great rewards for diligent writers. Here are a few tips primed to help you with your outlines before you FADE IN:


Classic Third Act Blunders

Ensure that you are not falling prey to the traps so many writers make in writing their final act.

The third act of a script can be a challenge for any writer to tackle. No matter what genre you work in, the third act is the culmination of a script’s preceding pages: it’s the writer’s responsibility to bring the story home and leave their audience with a satisfying conclusion.

These final pages are an opportunity to leave your reader with a sense of finality and can often make or break a script. To stick the landing, a writer must have a keen sense of their work’s overarching character and story, while giving readers a clear resolution. That being said, there are three common, identifiable mistakes that readers often make in the third act that, if corrected, can easily make a script stronger and more dynamic.


1000x500 article banner keep you creative

If you’re like me, a vigorous workout at the gym leaves you exhausted, physically spent, with nothing left to give. The last thing I want to do is to try and be creative. That said, we know it is scientifically proven that exercise is the key to keeping the body and brain, healthy and in top form.  

We asked six screenwriters what exercises they do to keep motivated and keep the creative juices flowing throughout the day. Here is what they had to say!


Jerome Velinsky smallHOLLYWOOD, CA. April 9, 2018   Australian native, Jerome Velinsky, took the Grand Prize Award of the 8th Annual Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition this week for his dramatic thriller, THOSE WHO HEAR. The screenplay also won the Spotlight Award for Best Role Written for a Female Lead.

Jerome is an award-winning writer/ director/ actor from Melbourne, Australia. As a professionally trained actor, he has appeared in productions in the US, Australia and Canada including the long-running hit series Neighbors and Fox’s Backstrom. He has also appeared in feature films alongside Guy Pearce, Miranda Otto and Sam Neill in the controversial true story In Her Skin and portrayed the notorious 'Marco Capobianco' in Season 4 of Australia's leading drama series Love Child. Most recently, Jerome co-created, produced, directed and starred in the comedy series Method, for which he has just been nominated for a 2018 Australian Directors Guild Award for best online series.


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.


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