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Old February 9th, 2002, 12:49 AM   #1
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Info on script development

Anyone know where I can find any good info on script development. I'm trying to write my first one and any help would be good.
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Old February 9th, 2002, 01:22 AM   #2
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Adrian,

For great software that makes formatting your script a breeze, try Final Draft (http://www.finaldraft.com). If you're doing commercials or corporate video scripts, consider Final Draft A/V.

For some good books on scriptwriting, try"

- "Screenwriter's Bible" - David Trottier
- "How to Make a Good Script Great" - Linda Seger
- "Writing Great Screenplays" - AFI
- "Bird by Bird" - Anne Lamott (not really about screenwriting--writing in general)

Web sites with stuff for sale like the ones mentioned above:

The Writer's Store - http://www.writersstore.com
Amazon.com - http://youknow

For video instruction on structuring your scripts:

- "Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop" - Available at the places above. If you get this, you'll also need to get your hands on videos or DVDs of "Shawshank Redemption," "Titanic," and "Thelma and Louise" so you can follow along while he analyzes them.

For loads of free downloadable scripts:

Drew's Script-o-rama - http://www.script-o-rama.com (how this guy doesn't get shut down I'll never know)

And finally, for a good mag:

Scr(i)pt Magazine Online - http://www.scriptmag.com

That help?
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Old February 9th, 2002, 09:33 AM   #3
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You might also check screentalk.org

Screentalk is a monthly magazine that has some great stories of movie scripts; they interview directors, writers, etc. You can also download scripts that have been made into movies, ie. Frequency, etc.

Does anyone have similar links to, suggestions for developing documentaries ?
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Old February 10th, 2002, 11:10 PM   #4
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Thaks for the info, it was helpful. I saw something somewhere about a script writing plugin for MS Word. Is there such an animal?
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Old February 11th, 2002, 08:54 AM   #5
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Yes there is Adrian,

I use Screenplay, URL: http://www.livingspirit.com. I'm using a demo version, which came with a book I got for Christmas.
Title:
How To Make A Great Short Feature Films

Author:
Ian Lewis

ISBN:
0-240-51624-9

Itís a great book, which came with a DVD, and it follows the making of Ghosthunter. It does not really rate DV but it is still a good book that inspired me.

Hope this helps,

Ed Smith

Last edited by Ed Smith; February 11th, 2002 at 11:26 AM.
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Old February 11th, 2002, 10:11 AM   #6
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Couple of things that might help are outlined here. I'm happy to send you a copy of one of my scripts to see formatting, etc. One thing is FOR SURE... if you don't follow the accepted format when submitting your scripts (12pt courier, two brass brads, three hole paper,etc) they are immediately tossed. Too many scripts, too little time.

BTW - THE most important thing you can do is WGA register your script, treatment, logline etc. in this area always CYA!

I've used both Final Draft (Mac version) and created my own template for an MS Word document. I prefer the MS Word format. While Final Draft is a very nice product, there's a lot of fluff. Here are some additional thoughts:

Final draft has an "index card" mode which I like, however I personally enjoy plastering my office walls with manilla index cards and rearranging, adding to them, etc at will.

Final Draft has a "name index". I regulary go to the bookstore and look at the authors names, mix them up and even look for something unique. Ex - my current script has two brothers as the primary characters... Uly and March McQuary. Got the McQuary name from my son's school directory.

Sometimes you'll do your best thinking away from the typewritter/computer. Using these other methods keeps my mind on the script with outside stimulus other than a computer screen.
I do my best thinking in the shower. No kidding. I create dialog, act out scenes in my head, even vocalize them so I can hear how characters sound. Does this guy sound like a Texan, a New Yorker, have a stutter, make faces while he talks?

This will do two things...develop a better character and give you a sky high hot water bill. But worth it when your characters sound like real people.

I also suggest you read Syd Field's Four Screenplays. It goes over some very down to earth fundamentals using Thelma and Louise, Terminator 2, Silence of the Lambs and Dances with Wolves. Four very different films with several similarities.

Finally there are thousands of resources online... most of them worthless. A few suggestions... read other screenplays, the used bookstores are fullof 'em. Look for back issues of Creative Screenwriting, Fade In, etc and pour over some of their content. Write and shoot a short film... enter a script contest.

Well, I managed to ramble on... again. Hopefully I've said something that jogs your thought process. Good luck.

Anyone can write an screenplay, many write good ones, only a handful write outstanding ones.

WGardner
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Old February 11th, 2002, 03:06 PM   #7
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John,

I've got a subscription on that mag. It's pretty nice!

One other site which has a lot of interesting articles
to read is www.unmovies.com..... Not been updated
lately though, shame.
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Old February 11th, 2002, 11:23 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by wgardner : I've used both Final Draft (Mac version) and created my own template for an MS Word document. I prefer the MS Word format. While Final Draft is a very nice product, there's a lot of fluff. Here are some additional thoughts: -->>>

I know this is completely off topic - what set of macros do you use with Word? I've used a number of scriptwriting programs - I currently use Movie Magic's Screenwriter 2000 - but ALL of them have the drawback of not exporting to Word will all formatting in place. I've resorted to sending PDF files that clients can print but can't alter. Just curious.
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Old February 12th, 2002, 12:10 AM   #9
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ScriptWerx

Being a Word user since old PC DOS days I really didn't like the specialized script writing programs I found. It just seemed silly to spend hundreds of $ on a one-trick pony that really wasn't very powerful. I was confident that -someone- had developed a Word Visual Basic app and/or templates that could enable the venerable Microsoft Word to perform this relatively trivial task.

I was right.

If you're a Word user (PC or Mac) take a look at http://www.scriptwerx.com/ if you're looking for a screenwriting / script tool.

Of course it won't actually help you with the script itself...just with writing and printing it.
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Old February 12th, 2002, 12:36 AM   #10
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Ken,

I have heard of Script Werx. At $129 it seems like a good deal. The shortcoming of many scriptwriting programs (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that they are limited to, well, scriptwriting. If you need to breakdown scripts, schedule actors, keep track of props and wardrobe, etc. - these stand alone programs just don't do it.

Of course few writers need all this stuff. This is the kind of tool an AD or a script editor needs, and, as in my case, a producer/director. It's very helpful to be able to breakdown a script and schedule a multiple day shoot all from one package.

Nevertheless, when I have $129 to spare, I'll give Script Werx a try. Thanks for the recommendation.
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Old February 12th, 2002, 12:51 AM   #11
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Thanks again all for the info.

Wayne, I'd be interested in reading one of your screen plays.

Ozzie, I found a macro template for MS word at the address below. It says it's for Word 97 but it works fine with my Word 2000. Remember this is the first time I've done this so it may not be what you need, but it's at a good price - free!!!

http://home1.gte.net/racesale/wscript.htm
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Old February 21st, 2002, 09:31 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ozzie Alfonso : Ken,

I have heard of Script Werx. At $129 it seems like a good deal. The shortcoming of many scriptwriting programs (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that they are limited to, well, scriptwriting. If you need to breakdown scripts, schedule actors, keep track of props and wardrobe, etc. - these stand alone programs just don't do it. -->>>

Ozzie,
I came across this product set and thought you might be interested.

http://www.moviemagictechnologies.com/products/
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Old February 21st, 2002, 09:48 AM   #13
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Or you can try Storyview free...

http://www.screenplay.com/products/demoform.asp?productKey=storyview

I think a lot of folks truley believe that these tools will help them write a better script. They couldn't be more wrong. If it were true I'd be a Photoshop Rembrandt.... which I'm not.

I'll stick with my Word template and Excel for budgets and scheduling. I'm working on a template for a storyboarding and so far it's pretty shakey.

Also check out this article on how to grab a reader in the first ten pages. It's dynamite advise.

http://www.nyscreenwriter.com/article19.htm

A key turning point in my writing came after reading Syd Field's "Four Screenplays" It was like taking a step into another room... a decisive realization and new perspective.

Writing with an idea is fun but writing with an idea and a purpose is incredible.
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Old February 21st, 2002, 10:48 AM   #14
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I'd like to add that if what you *really* want to do is write, a writing program can be an impediment and not a help. If what you really want ot do is futz around with software then by all means look into any of these nifty programs.

As I said ealier - what a good writing program allows you to do is breakdown scripts which is *really* the job of a script supervisor or an AD. The only use a writer might derive from any script formatting program is familiarity with the different accepted formats. This is of use if you're thinking of submitting the finished script.
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Old February 22nd, 2002, 06:55 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the replys. I found a free macro for Word and it's doing the job. It'd be nice to have a script supervisor to do that for me Ozzie, but it's just me and it's my first one so it's good to see the basic idea.
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