All posts filed under: Writing

TV Writing with Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is an American television producer, television and film writer and author. Her best-known shows include: “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Scandal”, “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Private Practice”. If you are writing for TV or starting to write for TV, Shonda’s tips, ideas and suggestions will surely help you out during that process. 1. Pick a TV show you like, then watch and study its entire first season. Once you are done, ask yourself the following questions (make notes if you need to). How are the characters introduced? How are the episodes structured? How does the plot unfold during the whole season? Is the show successful/unsuccessful in your opinion, and why? 2. Choose one of your ideas and start developing it into a show premise. While beginning to write, think about the following components of your show: Who are the characters that make up the story? What is the character’s journey? How would you structure the episode to tell your characters’ stories in the most effective way? 3. Write a bio for each of …

Aaron Sorkin’s Recommended Writing Exercises

Aaron Sorkin is an American screenwriter, director, producer and playwright. His writing credits include: “Steve Jobs”, “Moneyball”, “The Social Network” and “West Wing”. If you haven’t seen any of his films or shows, I strongly recommend you do. 1. Find a short story you like and adapt it to a screenplay. Adapting a story, which already has an intention, obstacle/s and conflict defined will let you practice writing characters, scenes and dialogue. 2. Use a short story, a fairy tale, a fable or a book to adapt the first ten pages of your screenplay. Map out what the intention, obstacle/s and conflict in the story are scene by scene. 3. Write a scene in which one character is asking another character for money. The other character is not going to give them the money. Try to determine each character’s intention and obstacles. 4. Keep a journal and make notes about what works in your favourite films and what doesn’t in the ones you didn’t like. 5. While watching your favourite films, note when the inciting …

Film Festivals Do’s and Don’ts

Film festivals submission process requires determination, high level of resistance to rejection, deep pockets and patience when waiting to hear back from the programmers. I’ve been actively submitting films, not only mine, to festivals since 2006. Within that time a lot has changed: the submission process got easier, festival fees are higher than they used to be, the competition is fiercer, and film festivals aren’t anymore the only way to launch your filmmaking career. Luckily, the physical submissions are no longer in operation, which is a great time saver. You don’t need to waste your time at the post office, lining up and posting up to thirty submissions a month.  Thanks to the online submission process, it’s never been easier to find the right film festivals for your project. While considering taking the film festival route with your project, take into consideration the following do’s and don’ts of the submission process: Do’s  You need to be organized to keep on the top of the submission process, which can take up to a year. I usually …

Film Festivals Are Important Part of The Film Business

When I was in the film school in the early 2000s, I knew nothing about film festivals. My tutors somehow didn’t feel it was relevant to share that kind of knowledge with their students. Or maybe they didn’t really know… I left the film school in 2004 unaware that film festivals, apart from Cannes and Berlin, of which I knew since I was seven years old, existed. Since I was unaware that film festivals were a vital part of the film business, I also didn’t know that any aspiring filmmaker had to learn how the whole festival circuit functioned and what the benefits of screening at and attending film festivals with your films were. It took me quite a few years to understand how film festivals work and what the benefits and rewards of being part of them are. Film Festivals are great for: Meeting other filmmakers, and interesting people in general. Networking. Watching new films before they are released. Learning. Yes, learning: attending workshops, talks and Q&A’s is one of the things I love …

Margaret Atwood Tips For Writers

1. According to Margaret, a novel is a long story that ought to inspire the reader or listener to hear more of what is happening to the characters and how life turns out for them at the end. 2. Don’t be afraid to try out different voices, styles and techniques, and always keep only what works for you. 3. Fear keeps many people from writing. Identifying that fear and dealing with it will open lots of doors for you as a writer. 4. Structure = order of the story. You may decide to tell your story chronologically (from the beginning to end), or from some point in the future and jump back in time. Underneath all these structure choices, a plot (what happens) will always remind the same. 5. Your story will guide you what structure it requires so be open to trying various structures before settling on one; it’s a hands-on process, according to Margaret. She advises to start with the simplest structure and then work your way to more complex ones. 6. While …