World Building Defining the Rules

By Armaan Uplekar

One of the most foundational elements of any story has to do with the nature of the world that your script takes place within. Whether your screenplay is set on a lunar space colony or on a 17th century pirate ship, it’s your job as a writer to establish the “rules” that make your story possible. On the outset, this might seem like a daunting task — the very term “world building” can sound enormous. And while, yes, world building can sometimes be a sizable undertaking, it will undoubtedly make you a stronger, more confident writer, and equally important, it will make your script feel more cohesive and accessible.

5 Characters Traits of An Awesome Action Hero 2

By Armaan Uplekar

Sarah Connor. Ethan Hunt. James Bond. There’s a deep bench of iconic characters that have helped define and exemplify action cinema for decades. Between preventing nuclear annihilation, rescuing hostages and restoring balance to the universe, these characters have proven themselves to be larger than life while also capturing the imaginations of generations of moviegoers.

Setting Matters

by Armaan Uplekar

“The setting felt like a character.” You might have heard these words before – maybe reading a movie review, or through a conversation with friends, walking out of a movie theater. It’s a high compliment meant to convey that the setting that the story takes place is just as iconic, important and indispensable as the actual antagonist or protagonist of that story. Sure – maybe you can look at that as an exaggeration, but some of the most classic and memorable films and television series of all time are tied irrevocably to the locations they take place in. Try imagining Taxi Driver taking place somewhere besides New York City or Batman being set anywhere other than Gotham City. The same goes for TV as well. Breaking Bad and CSI (Miami/ Las Vegas) masterfully used their respective cities as integral “characters” in each iteration.

Sometimes the ultimate setting of movies and TV series are determined by production particulars such available tax incentives or talent scheduling. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying to prioritize how you use setting to elevate your screenplay. You’ll want to use every tool at your disposal when writing a script, and setting is one of the most important aspects of any story; it can influence your story in a variety of ways. In the following sections, we’ll dive into how you can make your script’s setting feel not just necessary, but essential to the story you are telling.

Schedule of Announcements

(Dates Subject to Change)

Quarter-Finalists tba Wednesday, January 29th, 2020
Quarter-Finalists represent the top 20-30% of scripts in each category

Resubmission Period
Writers who successfully advance to the Quarter Finalists will have an optional, 1-week resubmission period to enter a new or more current draft of their material. The Resubmission Deadline is February 6th

Semi-Finalists tba Tuesday, March 5th
Semi-Finalists represent the top 10 scripts in each category

Finalists & Spotlight Award Shortlist tba Tuesday, March 26th
Finalists are represented by the 5 best scripts in each category

Winners & Honorable Mentions tba Thursday, April 9th
The Best Script in each category plus 2x Honorable Mentions/ Spotlight Award Winners
Plus one overall Screenplay Competition Grand Prize Winner

4 Rules To Writing A Kick Ass Set Piece

By Armaan Uplekar

What exactly is a set piece? In a nutshell, set pieces are the kind of self-contained, high-octane moments you’ll find primarily in thriller, science-fiction and action-adventure movies. They tend to form the basis of the kind of jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring moments that make you sit up at the edge of your seat in a movie theater. They are often the centerpiece of many trailers, whether it be the collapsing football field in The Dark Knight Rises or an unbroken, death-defying skydive in Mission Impossible: Fallout.

They are, in effect, some of the most logistically difficult and expensive scenes you’ll find in a script. They are car chases, skyscraper rooftop fights, shootouts, major battles and bank heists. They are the climatic Death Star raid in A New Hope and the volcanic lightsaber battle in Revenge of the Sith. They are the kind of stand-out, no-holds-barred sequences that many genre writers dream of writing.

Which begs the question – how exactly do you write a set piece? Do it wrong and you might end up with a complex and confusing assortment of scattered story beats that fail to grab the audience’s attention. But if you pull it off right, you can deliver the kind of bravura moment that gets a reader to imagine your movie unfolding on an IMAX screen. Here are four rules to writing a kick-ass set piece your audience will be sure to remember.

Secrets of Successful Screenwriters.Self Reliance 1000x400

#14 - Self-Reliance/ Resourcefulness

The successful writers I’ve met along the way were all resourceful. They always found a way to get the job done. Whether it was finding a creative solution to plug a logistical hole in their story or finding a way to get their script read by a producer they wanted to meet, there was always a dogged determination to find the course and take action.

Writers who are destined for success don’t wait for anyone and they don’t depend on others. They don’t sign with an agent and wait for the offers to come rolling in.  They don’t win a screenplay competition and wait for the managers to call. They don’t settle for no.

Successful writers hustle; when they are not writing they are networking, researching, strategizing. Successful writers are always pushing forward. They have a goal and they are focused on it. When faced with a problem, they don’t whine, cry or complain. They work with the resources at their disposal, they are creative problem solvers, and they don’t stop until an effective solution has been found.

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