WRITE A MOVIE IN 14 DAYS: Fast Screenwriting for Screenplay, Storytelling, and Film Success | Jordan Imiola | Skillshare

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WRITE A MOVIE IN 14 DAYS: Fast Screenwriting for Screenplay, Storytelling, and Film Success

teacher avatar Jordan Imiola, Screenwriter

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

25 Lessons (1h 51m)
    • 1. Write a Movie in 14 Days

    • 2. Screenwriting Terminology

    • 3. Day 1 - Inspiration Day

    • 4. Screenwriting Tips

    • 5. Day 2 - Outline Day

    • 6. Day 3 - Character Day

    • 7. Day 4 - The First 10 Pages

    • 8. Day 5 - Inciting incident and Your Hero’s Hesitation

    • 9. Day 6 - Finishing Act 1 and Starting Act 2

    • 10. Act 1 Review

    • 11. Day 7 - Embrace Change and Explode the Entertainment

    • 12. Day 8 - Write Up to the Midpoint

    • 13. Day 9 - Rise of the Antagonist

    • 14. Day 10 - Write Up To Your All is Lost

    • 15. Act 2 Review

    • 16. Day 11 - The Comeback

    • 17. Day 12 - The Big Event

    • 18. Day 13 - Wrap It Up

    • 19. Act 3 Review

    • 20. Day 14 - Celebrate Your Accomplishment

    • 21. Finding Producers, Directors, Managers and Agents

    • 22. Screenwriting Services

    • 23. Results and Follow Ups

    • 24. Meetings and Money

    • 25. Inspirational Advice

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About This Class

This screenwriting class will teach how to write a screenplay in 14 days. In this film class, Jordan Imiola, a produced screenwriter who has sold several scripts and has produced movies, will teach you how to write a movie script in 2 weeks. From outlining your movie, injecting inspiration, plotting scenes, and developing characters, to writing daily pages. This course breaks down everything needed to write a great movie in a short amount of time. 

If you're new to scriptwriting or an experienced screenwriter, this class will go through the storytelling steps needed to write your movie script. This screenwriting class also uses examples from "Happy Gilmore," "Bridesmaids," Wonder Woman," "The Hangover," "Jaws,"  & many successful films. And teaches you what to focus on each day.

Jordan Imiola is a prolific screenwriter with over 25 produced credits, and he's written dozens of feature film screenplays. Some companies he's worked for include Fox, Disney, Untitled Entertainment, Marvista Entertainment, and Funny Buffalo Films. He's sold and optioned several screenplays and always meets his deadlines. He also created and co-hosts "The Deadline Junkies Screenwriting Podcast," where he and his two funny friends interview TV Writers, Showrunners, and Successful Screenwriters.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jordan Imiola



Hi, I'm Jordan Imiola, a produced screenwriter with award-winning movies, TV shows, online series, sketches, and much more. In my screenwriting career, I've worked at Fox, Disney, NBCUniversal, Untitled Entertainment, MarVista Entertainment, and Funny Buffalo Films.

I teach writing in every genre, but I've had much success with writing comedy. I've written sketches and performed improv at Second City, and I run the comedy screenwriters and actors community, Deadline Junkies Wednesday. I'm the creator and showrunner of "Romantically Hopeless," "Monster Therapy," and "The Deadline Junkies Screenwriting Podcast," where my two funny friends and I interview TV showrunners, staff writers, and successful blockbuster screenwriters.

I teach screenwritin... See full profile

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1. Write a Movie in 14 Days: Hey, I'm joining the viola, a professional screenwriter with over 25 produced credits. And I have years of experience selling screenplays. I've written dozens of feature films in multiple genres for many directors, producers, and production companies. And in this course, I will teach you how to write a movie in 14 days. Each section of this course will reflect a different day. And each day I'll show you what to focus on to get your screenplay done. Your movie won't just be in an ID anymore, but it'll be a finished screenplay. You'll see my process from outlining the script to writing it daily, and how writing every day can be fun and rewarding. I'd also hold you accountable to keep moving forward. And I'll be using examples from commercially successful and critically acclaimed films. Many people out there just talk about writing. And then there are writers who actually do, right? I want to help you be a Dewar and get your screenplay done. In this course, I'll teach you how to be a writer who finishes their script. Then at the end of this course, I'll show you the steps needed to sell your screenplay. Like the heroes in your story who have a goal they want to accomplish. I'll show you how to accomplish your goal of writing and selling your screenplay. Now, let's start writing so you can finish your screenplay. 2. Screenwriting Terminology: Before you start your 14 day journey, here are some screenwriting terminology that you should know. Pretty much every story has three acts, and we'll cover this more in the next lesson. Your first act is the beginning. Your second act is the middle, and your third act is the end. Antagonist. The antagonist is the villain of your story. What is fighting your hero from winning their goal? This could be a person or a thing, or even just running out of time. Whatever is fighting your hero is the antagonist. But a strong antagonist is usually a strong character exposition. This is the backstory of your main characters. What happened to them in the past before the movie started? But when they talk and give out exposition, you always want to entertain the audience. If you look at Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the original 1990 film, we learn how the Turtles became mutant, but it's shown and not told. The exposition is told to April by Splinter, but it's still entertaining the audience, interior and exterior. You'll start each scene with a scene heading and we use capital and T period, which means interior and capital T period which means exterior interior pretty much means inside an exterior means outside and then lets the place the scene takes place. And if it's day or night, for example, interior coffee shop day means inside a coffee shop. You then use action description below that to state what's going on inside the scene. If you're writing your first screenplay, one important note is you only capitalize the name of your character in all caps when they are first being introduced. Using all caps is the way the reader knows that this character is being introduced for the first time. We know this is a new character. If they have all caps and their name fade in and fade out, fade in is what happens when the movie starts. Before we see any characters or action. The first words in your script are fade in contrasting. That is fade out. These are the last two words of any screenplay, and this states This is the end of the film. You will never have a fade in more than once and you will never fade out more than once. Internal motivation and external motivation. Okay, so this is something I had trouble with when I was in college and I first started writing scripts. The internal motivation is what the character wants inside. They may not even be aware of their internal motivation, but it's the motivation that isn't talked about. And usually the internal motivation gets resolved at the very end of the film. The external motivation is the thing they want, that they actually do talk about the external motivation and Home Alone, as Kevin wants to be away from his family and he wants to be home alone. But the internal motivation is he wants to prove he can be more of an adult and actually does want to be appreciated by his family. Logline. A logline is a very quick synopsis of your movie. You use your logline to pitch your film to producers, directors, and even friends just so they can get a concept of the movie very quickly. But don't reveal everything. Make it intriguing so they want to read the script. The first screenplay I ever sold the logline was a feel good comedy about a boy trying to kill himself. That's only 11 words and one sentence, but it made a lot of producers want to read the script. And the irony in this logline made some producers laugh, which also helped sell it. Option An option is usually what happens first before you sell a screenplay. If a producer wants to buy your script, they will option it first for 10% of the sale price, and then they own the rights to the script for a limited amount of time so they can find cast, crew locations, etc. to make the movie. So, for example, say the sale price is $90,000, a producer will pay you $9,000 to option it for a certain amount of time. Most of my options are a year and a half. So in that year and a half, they have to get everything ready to produce the movie. We call this the development stage or pre-production. If after that amount of time they don't have everything together, then the rights go back to the writer and the writer can try an option and sell it to someone else. And the initial money they paid you to option the script is always yours from the minute you sign the contract and get that 10% check. Celebrate with that money. I always go out for a nice fancy dinner on those days. If the producer does get everything ready in that amount of time, then they pay you the other 90% of the money. So if it was a $90,000 sale price, you would get $80,000. Once the film goes into production, buy yourself a really fancy breakfast, lunch and dinner on those days. Protagonist The protagonist is the hero of your story. It's the main character we follow throughout the story. And Bridesmaids. It's Annie and the Pursuit of Happiness. It's Chris Garner and Happy Gilmore. It's Happy Gilmore. If you're writing a film with an ensemble cast, then you can have several protagonists set pieces. A set piece is really just a fun thing in your movie. Sometimes it doesn't have anything to do with the plot, but it's just fun. It could be a car chase or an animal or a building blowing up. Set pieces usually give a payoff to the audience watching, and they're usually expensive to produce. Show. Don't Tell. This is a term used by producers and other writers. When you get notes, it's when a character is talking about something instead of the audience seeing it. Whenever you can show the audience, whatever they're talking about, we generally remember what we're shown and not what we're told. 3. Day 1 - Inspiration Day: Welcome to day one of how to write a movie in 14 days. I like to call this first day inspiration day, because what you do today is going to inspire you for the next two weeks. To kick things off, I would suggest getting these materials a large corkboard. You combine this online or at retail store, a pack of index cards, texts to stick your index cards on the cork board, some pens and screenwriting software. There's a ton of them out there. My favorite is right or duet. We'll be using a corkboard to plot out scenes for your movie and lay out the structure. Whenever inspiration hits you for our new scene, write it down on an index card and put it on your court report. As you can see, the sport is blank, but I'll be reading my own movie over the next four days. And by the end of it, and this work was filled with cars. And we'll each have a first draft of the screenplay done. Here's a picture of an old cork board I used from years ago. I use this to write my family comedy. Quit your kids. Here are a few things you should do today to help build inspiration. Give every character a name today, write down all the names, your main characters, and start to think about their wants and their goals and your story. It's important to give your characters names as soon as possible because it helps build and remember the characters in your brain. Saying a story about a dude is very general. And a dude can be literally anyone. But if you use names like Alex or marvin or Zoe, this helps you build a character more in your head and it will help draw inspiration. Use names with different initials. Try to avoid names with the same first initial. It'll be easier for your brain to remember them right now and not to get them mixed up. Instead of naming character is like Dana, Diana and Denise. Try to have Lana, Diana, and Shirley. Nothing is permanent. If you want to change the name of the characters later, that's an easy fix. Watch a movie or movies similar in tone to yours. Today, watch a movie, or if you have time, watch several movies that are similar in tone and genre to the one you're writing. If you're writing an action buddy comedy, than watch critically acclaimed and commercially successful buddy action comedies like rush hour, the heat or 21 Jump Street. If you're writing a movie about a hockey, then watch the money ducts, snapshot or Goon. If you're reading an animated road trip movie, than watch Ice Age Finding Nemo or the Mitchell's versus the machines. Whatever you're writing. What successful movies that are similar logline. Today you want to figure out your logline for your movie. Think about writing as a road trip and the logline are the directions on how to get there. You can change routes and still get to the same destination, but you need to start somewhere. My college professor always taught me to never make a logline over 30 words. And I think this is a good rule of thumb. If it's over 30 words, read it again until it's under 30 words. In this course, I'm not only going to teach you how to write a movie in two weeks doing this myself as well. The movie I'm writing isn't ensemble comedy title leap day. And I have a few ideas for it so far, but not much. I'll be doing everything I'm teaching you and you'll see my process and action. And again, I can't stress this enough. Manuscript ideas can change the next 13 days, and that's totally okay. Right now, we're trying to get the creative juices going. I like to brainstorm and write ten log lines. And then I pick and choose the one long line. I like the most from those ten. As you can see here, the one I highlighted in yellow is my favorite one right now for leap day, all the movies I've sold so far, the logline has been one-sentence. If you need to make a logline two sentences, that's usually fine too. But you want to draw the interests of the reader without giving away too much. Let them find out more about reading the script. Another thing you could do is brainstorm a bunch of log lines and then email your friends and let them choose their favorite one. Here's an email for a script I option to couple of years ago. And they responded with a number they liked most corresponding to their favorite logline. One thing to note is your logline might change after movie gets sold and produced. The logline for the Christmas Zoom movie I made in 2020. Christmas vacation was when a family can't be together on Christmas, they bring their dysfunctional family Christmas online. Christmas vacation is now on Tooby and they changed the logline on there. The logline on to-be is a young woman throws a Christmas Zoom party with her extended family, proving that fun holiday chaos doesn't have to happen in person. I actually don't mind this change at all. And I liked that someone on TV took the time to do this. I like their logline. Start to think about your three acts. Act one is the beginning and setup of your story. Act two is the middle confrontation and heart of your story. And act three is the big event and ending of your story. In Wonder Woman. We spent Act One on the island of the mascara, seeing Diana grow up. Act two is one. Diana leaves the island for the first time and goes to find and fight Aries, the god of war. Act three is when she finds areas and as the epic fight between them, speed. All of act one, we meet our hero Jack, played by Keanu Reeves and the villain Howard Payne, played by Dennis Hopper. Act one is when Jack takes down Howard for the first time. And we think Howard is dead, act too. It's all about the bus. We learned if the bus slows down under 50 miles per hour, Obama blow up and I've wanted the bus will die. Act three is the final fight as Dennis Hopper kidnaps Sandra Bullock. And there's a subway fight scene. Jack and Howard fight each other on top of the subway car, one-on-one. If you don't know screenplay structure, I see just from watching my first-class where I cover screenplay structure. And I keep it fun by using examples from movies like home alone, alien, dodgeball, and many more. I use some of those examples in this class too. But that one really dives into the structure even more. You can also find that class on Skillshare by clicking on my profile. For today, set up your workspace with a cork board and materials. Put all your ideas in one place. And then if you can lay out five scene ideas and an ID cards and put them on the court board and they don't have to be an order. Okay. So that's my reading session. This is what my board looks like right now. As you can see, I took pieces of paper and put X1, X2, and X3. All of these pieces of paper and my index cards might move, but this will get my brain organized right now. And I also named all my characters. 4. Screenwriting Tips: Here are some helpful guidelines to get your movie done. Try to write for 14 days consecutively. If you can't do this, it's okay. But the more days you're at consecutively, the memorial will stay in your subconscious and inspiration will find you. If you only write once a week, then you spend a lot of time reviewing and remembering what you did last week. This brings me to my second, I recommend writing first thing in the morning before you go to work or school, or if you have kids before they wake up. Most people think they can right after they get out of work. But by then, their bodies and minds are too tired and they find excuses not to write once they get home. But if you wake up and right, you'll be thinking about your script throughout the day and inspiration will come to you spontaneously. I like to carry a notebook or loose sheets of paper for when this happens. But you can also use your phone to write down ideas or carry some index cards with you. When writing, put your mind in jail and just write. If you're in jail, you wouldn't have a phone to distract you or email or internet or anything like that. So just sit down and get it done. You'll be glad you did at the end of every writing session. All those distractions can wait. If writing this movie is important to you, then you have to make it important. Shonda rhymes as a writer, I look up to, and she has one scheduled time of day when she looks at e-mails, it's in the afternoon, before and after that, she is constantly writing. I've sold an option, several screenplays, and that's because I know everything else can wait. I often leave my phone in a separate room. I won't get it until I accomplished my writing goal for the day. I'd like to make money from writing to treat it like a job. Also, I would watch his class as a whole first. So you know what's coming up as you write. And you might be inspired to write future pages after you read the pages you have for each day. But don't get intimidated by what's ahead. Only focus on the lesson of that day. Take it day by day, and focus on one thing at a time. 5. Day 2 - Outline Day: Welcome to day two. Today is outlined a take that document or no, but they started yesterday. I tried to organize all your ideas and keep adding ideas to create an outline. For today, brainstorm different storylines if you don't know your storylines already. For my film, I'm writing an ensemble comedy and I brainstormed about 39 different storylines that can happen on leap day. Some of them are god awful, terrible ideas, but brainstorming and not judging my own ideas the time let some storylines that I really like. Out of the 39 storylines I brainstormed, I'm only keeping four of them. You can also brainstorm different scenes today and don't worry about the order. Tried to focus on the beginning of your story a little bit more as we'll be reading the first acts soon. But if you have ideas for act three, by all means, add those ideas to your index cards and add them to the board. It always helps to know what's going on in the future. Also, throughout this class, use both your outline and your index cards. The index cardboard is a great way for seeing the whole story. And you can move things around and get an idea of the whole picture. But if you feel inspired to write down more detail information or Dialog conversations, feel free to keep them in your outline until you add them to the script. As you brainstorm different scenes, think about the emotional shift in each scene. Going from a positive moment for your hero to a negative moment for your hero. For example, if you look at the first scene of Iron Man, it starts off on a positive note and ends at a negative note. The scene starts off with Tony Stark drinking and laughing and taking pictures and an army truck. It's all positive until things blow up and Tony gets kidnapped. There's a major or emotional shift, positive to negative. I suggest using a plus and minus system on your index cards to track the conflict and emotional shift in each scene. This is a tip I read and Blake centers excellent book, Save the Cat. But I've also seen it in the book story by Robert McKee and a few other places. Writing rooms will also use this. And it helps you think about conflict in every scene. The first scene of my movie, leap day, my main character Lily and her best friend Jade, are excited and happy because Lily is going to propose to her longtime boyfriend. This is a positive emotion. But when she does propose her boyfriend, not only it says, no, he breaks up with her in front of thousands of people. This is negative and it creates great conflict in the scene. As you outline a brainstorm new scenes. So you have five more carts, your court report. A general guideline is there's about 40 scenes in the movie and each scene is about 2.5 minutes. It's completely varies with every movie in every scene, but that's just a guideline to help you. Next week your board will have 40 scenes, give or take. My boards generally have around 45 courage to represent 45 scenes. But again, every movie is different. 6. Day 3 - Character Day: Alright, date, Greek character day. Today is all about your main characters and figuring out who they are and what they want. I've added a character questionnaire to draw your characters. Have fun with these. Remember to make your character's flawed. Everyone is flawed, so we want to see flawed characters onscreen. Think about your favorite characters in movies. They probably all have major flaws, especially at the beginning of the movie. Nobody likes to see perfect people. Perfect people are not interesting. Make your characters distinct and different from each other. Nobody should sound the same. If you look at the hangover, Every main character is different. We are introduced to them one-by-one. They all have distinct introductions. Do character questionnaires. I've attached a character questionnaire to fill out. We're all human characters. If you ever get stuck in your story. Looking back at the answers to these questions can often get the creative juices going again. Again, the answers to these questions don't have to be permanent. One thing may lead to another and that other thing you may keep. But the idea that stem from is the one you might cut later. Some questions include, what is your character want? What is the goal on your story? What is preventing them from achieving their goal? Make sure to answer these questions as best as you possibly can. After you fill out the character questionnaires, try to get other five cards on the board represent five scenes. And then I'll see you tomorrow. 7. Day 4 - The First 10 Pages: Welcome to date for I hope the character questionnaire is generated more ideas I know they did for me. It really helped me focus on their goals and get to know them better. Now that we know our characters in and out, there'll be focusing on reading the first ten pages. For the first ten pages, think about a killer foreseen something that we'll hook the audience and right away. You want to introduce your main character or your antagonist. And an interesting way, let's look at a few examples of great opening scenes. The dark night, we meet the Joker and the first six minutes is him robbing a bank and killing members of his own team. We know this guy is dangerous, loves anarchy. In Raiders of the Lost Ark. We're introduced to Indiana Jones as an adventurer. As the movie opens on him getting an artifact out of a cave on his way in and on his way out, he avoids poisonous darts and a giant boulder in Jaws. The opening scene is the first shark attack. After a killer foreseen the first ten pages is all about setup. You want to set up the story and set the tone. If you're writing a comedy, give us some jokes. If you're running a horror, give us a hint of horror or what we should be afraid of. Also, think about your character wants. What are the setups you can do now? They'll pay off an act to Home Alone. Kevin wants nothing more than to get away from his family. He wants to be home alone, and that's exactly what he'll get. No, you can do this. Ten pages may sound intimidating at first. You may think, I'm nuts, but keep in mind, ten pages in the screenplay is not like reading ten pages in a novel. In fact, having a lot of whitespace on the page is a good thing. It makes it a faster rate for the reader. I had a screenwriting class in college where the professor would give us 15 minutes to write three pages and every student had to do this. And none of those pages were perfect. But we all did three pages and 15 minutes. So it is possible to write ten pages in an hour. You can take more time than an hour. I usually spend two to three hours writing ten pages. When I question if I can do something in front of me, I think my favorite quote by Henry Ford, If you think you can or think you can, either way, you are right? So thank you, Ken, and you will think to yourself, writing is easy. If you think it'll be hard, it will be hard. But if you think it's easy, it'll get a lot easier, right? One page at a time. Don't worry about page nine when you're still on page one. Just go from page one to page two, to page three, etc, etc. Just write one page at a time and you'll get to ten pages. If it helps, think about how much money you will make once you sell the script, it'll be worth it. Or think about when you're in school, you had assignments due on certain dates and you probably waited until the last day? We all did. But you still did it, you know, you can do something when it counts. So make this count. I once had a deadline, one time, I'd write 58 pages in one day in order to get paid. All I did that day was sitting in a coffee shop from when they opened to when they closed. But I wrote those 58 pages and at the end of it, I felt so accomplished and I made money. When you write, stay away from your phone and email. Remember what I said about putting your mind in jail with less distractions, the faster you can get this done. Don't aim to be perfect. Allow yourself to be bad. Sometimes you need to write a bad scene. So you can write a good one. You can always cut or fixed that bad scene later. For action description, I try not to write more than two or three sentences of action before dialogue. Because if you have a page with just action on the script and no dialogue, that page is going to take a lot longer for someone to read. And it looks more like a book than it does a script. Interject your inspiration. If you're like, Oh, I gotta wait for inspiration to hit me. Guess what? You'll never get this done. There are plenty of times I don't feel like writing, but you have to interject your inspiration. It may take five to 20 minutes of just sitting there and forcing yourself to write crap. But eventually you'll find a groove and find things that you want to keep. And you can always cut the crap out later. After you write your first ten pages, get five more. Curzon tried to focus on X1 because tomorrow we'll be writing pages ten through 20. 8. Day 5 - Inciting incident and Your Hero’s Hesitation: Okay, day five by nine should have 20 courage and your corkboard, which is about half your movie. Good job. Today you'll be reading pages ten through 20. You want to focus the inciting incident and start pushing your characters to what a new direction that will drive your act to. Remember, the inciting incident is unexpected. The incident, an incident will change their lives forever and an often just comes out of nowhere. Here are some examples of inciting incidents. In Toy Story. It's the arrival of Buzz Lightyear. He will rock the world of woody and all of what he's friends. And die-hard is the arrival of Hans Gruber and his crew in zoo lander. It's Derek zoo lander, losing male model of the year to Huntsville. Derek has 13 times in a row, but not the fourth. This makes Derek wonder if he's still cut out to be a male model. And him losing makes them want to retire from the male modeling world. In Wonder Woman, the inciting incident is the arrival of Steve Trevor, who lands on the island of thumb mascara. This is the first man Diane has ever seen her life. From here on out, Diana and her mom will debate to leave the island so she can save the world. After the inciting incident, the hero often hesitant to accept it. In Toy Story. At first, what he doesn't like buzz, they don't become friends until later in the movie. Initially, what he wants buds to go away. In die-hard, John McLean is trying to get help. He finds a way to pull the fire alarm, to get the cops to show up. He hasn't taken things in his own hands yet. Keep yourself and you hear on moving forward. I can't stress this enough. You might be tempted to look back at your old pages, but don't look back until you hit your goals for the day and keep your page count moving up. You want to focus on the inciting incident and start pushing your characters forward toward a new direction that will drive your ACT to have the discipline to get it done. This is advice not only for today but everyday moving forward. The difference between writers and people who want to be writers is wannabes just talk about it. Actual writers actually write and you need the discipline to get it done. Don't judge your pages today. Just be proud you're moving forward and know you can do this after you write pages ten through 20 at five more cards to your board, a certain focus and act to think about things you've set up an act, one that'll pay off and active. 9. Day 6 - Finishing Act 1 and Starting Act 2: Alright, days six. Today we'll be reading pages 20 to 30. You'll be finishing up to one that's already dried act to have a clear act break. In this section of the script, you'll be entering a new world figuratively or literally, or both. And the hangover, this is one of the guys can't remember what happened last night and they need to export Vegas to find their friend Doug and home alone to loss in New York. This is when Kevin gets in New York. In the original home alone. This is when Kevin realizes he's home alone. Think about that event that could push your protagonist into E2. Home alone. It's when it's family gets in the plane and they don't realize he's home alone until it's already too late. Start your B strike. If you have one, you'll be straight. Often introduces a new character. The bee story and bridesmaids starts when Andy gets pulled over and she meets her love interest, officer roads. The a story and the four-year-old version is Andy trying to lose his virginity. But the story is him falling in love. Don't get stuck looking back, move forward. I know I keep mentioning this and it's the last time I swear I'll do this. But this is where amateur writers will stop writing. For years. They will just have an act one, they are working over and over and over and they will never move forward. Me, not you. If you feel the urge to tweak the pages you have done, don't tweak them until you've finished the pages you have assigned for today. This means don't look back at the first 20 pages you have done until you get to page 30. After you write 30 pages at five more curves here, corkboard, and think about all the fun things you can do with your characters as we continue to act two. 10. Act 1 Review: Here's a quick review of act one and some writing advice that may help you haven't exciting opening that will draw and hook in your audience. Then set up your characters in an interesting way after your setup, have an inciting incident. This is the thing that will forever change their lives and push the story forward. Then find a way to make your character hesitate to change. Here's some advice for act one and brainstorming ideas. Rule of ten. If you're having trouble writing a scene, I'm a big believer of the rule of ten. I think I heard Jerry Seinfeld first talk about this, but I've heard many others talk about it too. It's where you brainstorm ten things. Then you'll find that one thing that works. When I'm stuck on a scene, I'll brainstorm ten things that could happen. Some of them are good ideas, some of them are terrible. But I do find that one I like after I brainstorm ten. Don't put pressure on yourself to make all your ideas, good ideas. Sometimes writing down a few bad ideas, you know, won't work. Watson spark good idea that will work. Determine what your main character wants and then put your protagonist and antagonist wants against each other. Again, if you get stuck in a scene, especially with dialogue, think about what your characters want in that scene. Show. Don't tell. If you ever find a character saying something the audience needs to know. See if you can find a way to show it. Be disciplined about your writing. If you want to complete your story, you have to be disciplined about your writing. And here's a few things that can help that writing a little bit every day will go a long way. Some people take ten years to write one thing because they say they never have the time. But all your excuses are not going to move your story forward. If you write a little bit every day, you'll have a lot done after a month. And it will make it easier on your brain to remember what you have done so far and where you're going. 5 min a day rule. I'm a big fan of the five-minutes a day rule, and I often tell this to my friends a lot. Before you go to bed each night, make sure you wrote for at least 5 min and five-minutes. Isn't asking too much of yourself. And many times, five-minutes will become a lot longer if you'd become inspired and if you don't, after five-minutes, just try it again tomorrow. You have to treat the creative process like a muscle. Muscles have muscle memory, work that muscle every day. If you wait a week for right, you'll spend half your time thinking about what you already done instead of moving forward, find a ritual that helps you, right? See if you can find the time of the day that works best for you. I always recommend mornings before you go to work because this way, you'll think about your writing throughout the day. Keep the file open on your computer. Keep your writing file open on your computer constantly. This will make you think about your story more and more. Make it the last thing you look at, and the first thing you look at when you open your computer. 11. Day 7 - Embrace Change and Explode the Entertainment: Alright, day seven. Today we'll be reading pages 30 to 40, focusing just on act to, here's a few things to remember. This is the section where you explode the entertainment because your crew is now in their adventure. And you really want to entertain your audience and don't question your choices too much, just roll with them for now, once you make a decision, keep moving forward. During this section of pages, this is where I start to question myself. Does this work for the story? But we have to remember, we won't know until we write it all out. I won't know if it works until I write the entire story and I can always change it later, I might as well write all my decisions. I've written several movies before. We're in the first draft. I just have too many storylines going on. And the second draft I completely cut out some storylines altogether. But I might keep some ideas and set pieces from storylines I cut. So I might as well write it all out. Think about your trailer moments as you write out act to try to think about all the trailer moments in your movie. These can be big set pieces are high jinx that your character gets into, ad or loose characters. Feel free to introduce new characters to move your story forward and meet the parents. The audience is already met Pam's parents, but an act to we meet the rest of PAMPS, family and friends. And the hangover, the three main characters travel across Vegas, an act to you in search of their friend Doug. And they made a wild cast of new characters, including Jade, Leslie Chow, and Mike Tyson. You can also lose characters. Sometimes in romantic comedies, the main character will lose their current boyfriend or girlfriend in these pages. Or if you're reading a slasher film, characters will start dying one by one. Also in action movies like die-hard, the main character may start killing bad guys one-by-one. After you get to page 30 at 5-mer occurs through cork board and feel free to move things around. As you can see it kind of organize mine a little bit more. After today, you should have 35 cards to represent 35 scenes. 12. Day 8 - Write Up to the Midpoint: Today is all about pages 40 through 50. Try to write all the way up to your midpoint. And remember, midpoints are big moments in your story. In these pages, keep the fun, entertainment and trailer moments going on, but start to hint that major conflicts is lurking. And then with that, make your midpoint big. If you're having trouble figuring out what your midpoint is, think about what is the biggest thing that can happen here to my main character in Die Hard, john Maclean's, there's killing bad guys and act to a. But at the midpoint, Hans Gruber finds out who John is in the matrix. A lot of e2e is Neo training to be the one until the mid point. When we find out he might not be the one in Jaws. The townspeople think jaws is dead as they call the shark and act to a. But sheriff Brody and Matt don't think it was jaws. The midpoint is Jaws comes back with a vengeance and kill someone in the beach. When the beaches more full of people than ever before, Sheriff Brody almost loses his son to the shark, something has to be done about the shark situation right now. Make sure to increase the conflict and the tension at the midpoint. And Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs were contained in the first half of the movie, but now the gates don't work anymore. At the midpoint, the dinosaurs escaped from the gates. The midpoint and Toy Story is when Woody and buzz or taken by Sid, the kid who mistreats his toys. They enter Sid's house, which is the opposite of Andy's house. In Spider-Man, things are going alright for Peter Parker. He's getting closer to mary jane and things were looking good. But at the midpoint, this is when he fights the Green Goblin for the first time. In many superhero movies, the super hero and the villain will go at it head to head at the mid point. After you read it to your midpoint. At five more cards to your board, you should have 40 cards to represent a 40 scenes. And you might be done outlining all your cards. But if you want to add more than 40 cards, go for it. 13. Day 9 - Rise of the Antagonist: Today we'll be reading pages 50 to 60. Remember to raise the stakes for your main characters, whatever or whoever your antagonist is. This is where they gained momentum. In these pages, things are falling apart for your hero internally and externally. A lot of times relationships are tested. Friends and families start to question one another, and heroes are losing control of the situation in the matrix, the team gets double cross by cipher, one of their own team members and to other team members are killed than their leader, Morpheus gets kidnapped and Jurassic Park, Alan and the kids are separated from everyone else. And the dinosaurs are starting to kill people and Mean Girls. Katie's first and real friends, Janis, Ian, are mad at her because she didn't bite them to her party. Sometimes these can be the hardest pages, right? But if you feeling stuck or unmotivated, look back at your character questions from day to look at your characters biggest fears or Secrets. Make their biggest fears come true here, or have them reveal their secrets. However, you can keep finding ways for the antagonist to win. Now that you have 40 cards on the board, Feel free to move them around and add more if you need to. As you can see, I've done that for tomorrow. Keep thinking about how your antagonist is winning. 14. Day 10 - Write Up To Your All is Lost: Today you'll be reading pages 60 to 70. Keep thinking about ways your antagonists can be winning and to your hero hazards they're all is lost moment. The all is lost moment is the lowest point for your hero. There are even worse off than when the film started. Relationships may be ending. Family and friends may die. All the plans your hero is made may fail epically. In the hangover, the wolf pack wins enough money to buy their friend Doug back for Mr. Chow. But when they exchange the money for doug, they get the wrong God. In The Wedding Singer, Julia, it goes around his house and finds Linda. Julia, Thanks. Robbie and Linda got back together. When Robbie goes with Julius house, he thinks Julia actually wants to marry Glenn. But Julia really wants to be Ms. Robbie heart. She doesn't want to be Julia. Julia in Wonder Woman. Diana, thanks, General Eric Lander. Ralph is Aries the god of war. But once it kills London Ralph, she finds out it's the wrong guy. The war is still going on in areas, is still out there. Many times in movies during the l has lost a character close to your main character will die. In Happy Gilmore, happy shows chugs, the alligator that bit off, chops fingers, and this accidentally kills jobs. After you write the all is lost moment. It's okay to feel sad for your protagonist. Tomorrow, your hero will find ways to win again. 15. Act 2 Review: Here's a quick review of what to do and act to and some advice that may help you write more. Enact to your hero must embrace change, and enter their new world. In their new world. Built some memorable and unique moments by exploding the entertainment. Towards the middle of your story, your hero will hit the mid point. This is a major moment that will change and propel the story drastically. From there, you want to amp up the stakes, conflict, intention as things come crashing down on your hero. Advice for E2 and following through. Keep moving forward. A very common pitfall that many writers fall into when they reach act two is they keep rewriting the pages. They had an act one. Instead of moving forward. Rewriting is always easier than writing, but here's the thing. You're going to rewrite anyway, once you get to the end of your story and finish a first draft, only then you'll have a grand picture of your entire story. You can drive yourself crazy rewriting Act One over and over. So don't, the best thing to do for your story is to get to the end of the story and then rewrite, set times to write and do nothing else. We live in a world where distractions are so easy. And this makes writing hard, e-mails, text messages, phone calls, and just reminds, being curious about random things can distract us. But what often helps me as setting a timer on my phone and making sure I don't check my email or phone until the timer goes off. I often will do 1 h blocks for that period of time. I will only write if my mind wants to Google something. I won't Google it unless it's research for my story. If it's not, then it can wait till later. If I don't have time to do 1 h, then I'll set a timer for 20 min or even five or 10 min if it's late at night and I haven't written yet that day, stick to your deadlines. It's so easy for us to say, we'll do it later and then later becomes never. So many people have asked one of their story done and then just sit on doing Act 2.3. I'm guilty of this myself. The first screenplay I ever sold, I had the first accurate and for about eight months and never kept moving forward. And it wasn't until I sat and stick to my deadlines that I finished the script a few months later. A few weeks after that, I optioned and sold the screenplay. Keep your goals in check. Your beginning of Act. You can have a lot of fun moments, but always keep your main character's goal and check. Let the a story drive the narrative and never stray too far away from your protagonist goal. It's also your goal to finish the story. 16. Day 11 - The Comeback: Today we'll be reading pages 70 to 80. After all is lost moment, your hero has been beaten down, but they are still alive. And when there's a will, there's a way. Think about these pages as the comeback. In these pages, your hero regains the trust of others, rebuild their team and repairs relationships. And after that, they prepare for battle. The battle is the main event coming up in your finale. In the Incredibles, violet helps her family escaped from syndromes layer and they decide to fight syndrome together for the first time. Before this, Mr. Incredible was working alone and hiding it from his family, but not anymore. Now, everyone is a part of it. An alien, Ripley decides to self-destruct the spaceship. There's no way she's letting the alien get to earth, shall fly out and an escape pod and let the alien blow up in the spaceship. In the matrix, it's the helicopter seen when new and Trinity come to the rescue and save Morpheus. Today, write down all the preparation steps that you are here I was taking for the finale, which overriding tomorrow. 17. Day 12 - The Big Event: Today we'll be reading pages 80 through 90 and focusing on the finale. Focus on the big event or mission that your heroes must win. And Happy Gilmore, it's the PGA championship, pretty much in every sports movie. This is the championship or the biggest game the team has to win. In every Rocky movie, It's the fight between rocky and the villain of that movie. Makes sure to pin your protagonist and antagonist against each other. If you're reading a superhero film, this is the big fight between superhero and super villain in Spider-Man, It's Spiderman versus the Green Goblin and Wonder Woman. It's Diana versus Aires. In Iron Man, it's Tony versus his business partner, Obadiah stain. It helps too. If every main character in your movie is there, at least the ones still alive in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? It's the fight with shredder. You'll notice that every character is there one-by-one. The turtles take turns trying to fight trader and lose. But then splinter shows up to fight and defeat shredder. All the turtles are on top of the building, but below them is April Casey Jones and a huge crowd of people. Remember, your hero has to save the day. In Star Wars, a New Hope. Lucan, the other pilots go to the Death Star. But Luke is the one who blows it up. Tomorrow, we'll be reading the last ten pages when you finished the big event and then wrap everything up. 18. Day 13 - Wrap It Up: Today is about pages 90 to 100. Finish up your Finale and then wrap up by your storylines. Keep the final scene memorable and keep the tone of the film. If it's a comedy and then a funny scene, if it's a horror, give us one last scare. The movie revolves around music and non music and whiplash. Andrew is determined to prove he can do the drum solo, and he does that in front of everyone in the pursuit of happiness. Chris has finally hired for the job he desperately wanted, tried to have a final surprise or several of them in Happy Gilmore as happy as about to do spinal put a tower falls and blocks has shot. Now we asked to take the shot with the tower in the way and dodge ball after Vince Vaughn gets hit, it looks like the game is over and global Jim has one. But then surprise, we find out Ben Stiller stepped over the line. The referee calls a penalty. Now, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn do Sudden Death Dodgeball. The protagonist and antagonist are pinned against each other. In Iron Man, Tony Stark also surprises the audience and he tells everyone that he is Iron Man. Planet of the Apes has the amazing Statue of Liberty is seen, which is not only a surprise, but it's incredibly memorable. Once you write up the page 100, congratulate yourself for writing 100 pages. You may have finished your first draft, but if you need to tweak some tomorrow or right, more than 100 pages, that's fine too, but feel good. This accomplishment. 19. Act 3 Review: Here's a quick review of what to do and act three and some advice that may help you write more. And act three, you will make a comeback after experiencing and all is lost moment. This is when they build their team and get ready for the big event. The big event is the climax of your story. The most exciting, intense, and important part of your story. If you don't have a big event already, think of one and make sure to add it to your story. After the big event, wrap up all your storylines, including your a story and NAB story, sea story, the story, etc. Writing advice. Celebrate when you finish. Take a few hours to celebrate when you finish your first draft, maybe you go to dinner or see a movie you want to see. You might still have a lot of work ahead of you. But once you get to the very end, you'll have a better idea of your whole story. And finishing a first draft is a huge accomplishment. So many people think of ideas and never take the action. You took the action. And yes, there may be work ahead, but there's also work behind you. So be proud. You did it. Keep the first draft just for you? Once you get a first draft done, I recommend taking a few days to a couple of weeks off, but don't take too much time off, you still want to keep the momentum going. You might have several ideas that you want to change. Some scenes that are not good, but you wrote them just to keep the story moving forward. Rework those scenes before you send another draft to other people, set a date to get it out into the world. What's the point of writing something? It was going to sit on a shelf or stand your computer forever. But if you set a date to get it out into the world, or at least try to get it published. This will drive you to make sure it gets better and better with every revision. Rewriting tips, tightened relationships. As you write, you'll discover more about your characters and their relationships. After a first draft tightened the relationships even more. E.g. I. Made to my characters who were best friends. I made them sisters because friends come and go. But family is forever define your characters more. I'm sure you've discovered a bunch about your characters as you're writing. So now you can use those details to draw your characters even more. I've added a character questionnaire that can help to find your characters even more. So feel free to fill this out as you write your first draft or after you write your first draft, have emotional shifts in each scene. It often helps to think about how your heroes can go through ups and downs. If you're stuck on a scene. Think about how to start the scene on a positive note for your hero and ended on a negative note or started on a negative note and ended on a positive. Makes sure that main characters have arcs by the end of your story, your hero should not be the same from when your story started. Make sure they learned all the lessons they need by the end of your story. Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good. Be happy with what you got done. It's easy to criticize ourselves. When, when would you have done isn't perfect. But even if you struggled to write this and you know, there's a lot of rewriting ahead. You're still a lot farther than when you started this journey. Get notes and set more deadlines. Get notes and set deadlines for those two. After you take a brief time off, after the first draft, get back to work and set deadlines to send your writing to friends or people who will read your work. Tell them a date as to when you want to send it out. So you have accountability. Don't wait until the day after or week after, either. Do it that day. Even if it's at 11:59 P.M. that night, if you say a date, sent it to them on that date, also asked for deadlines as to when you want notes back. I always find out there without deadlines, things just fall to the wayside. But if you have a hard deadline, people will stick with their deadlines. Listened to everyone, but follow your heart. When you ask for notes, you're gonna get a lot of notes. But that doesn't mean people know what they're talking about. They didn't slay away for hours reading your project. You did. So only take notes that you really love or you truly think will improve your work. If you're getting the same note from different people, then definitely take that note into consideration. But if you apply a note that you really disagree with, chances are you're going to regret it later when your work is published. So stay true to your writer's heart. Know when the story is cooked. After you do several drafts and you know it's in good shape, let yourself be done with it. We can drive ourselves crazy, making things perfect. And often perfection is what prevents us from getting things done or putting it out into the world. At some point, you have to embrace the imperfections and let it go. And chances are if your book is getting published or your film is getting produced, people like editors or producers are going to change things anyway. But we should embrace imperfections and really just be proud that we've finished something and it's out there. 20. Day 14 - Celebrate Your Accomplishment: Today if you need to write a little bit more for you type fade out, or if you need to tweak a little bit, go for it. But after today, take some time off before you rewrite. Today, if your script is over a 100 pages, but you still need to finish the story. Keep writing until you get to the end and then write fade out. Finish it today, you got this. If something is really bugging you and you want to fix it before you take some days off, go for it, go for it, fix anything that's really bugging you. So you don't think about it on your days off. After you finish it today. Treat yourself. You finished a fricking screenplay. Celebrate that, and congratulations. Here are some tips for rewriting. When you're ready. Take some time off, but not too much time off. It's good to look at the script with some fresh eyes. But if you want to sell it, don't put it on a shelf for years to come. I recommend taking off a week or two, but no more than a month to rewrite. You still want to hustle. Do multiple table reads. A huge favor you can do for your script. Do multiple table reads. A table read is when you get a bunch of actors or just a group of friends and assign character roles for them and read the entire script out loud. You'll be amazed at the things you can find out about your script. By doing this, you're really find out the rhythm of each scene and find out what seems maybe too long or too short. If you have jokes, sometimes you'll find a joke that you think isn't so funny, really is really funny, or vice versa. Sometimes a joke will bomb. I don't need to cut it. Before I send my script doctor producers, I do at least three tablespoons of it. Know when the script is cooked. This is advice from Shonda rhymes. I know some writers who keep rewriting and rewriting so much that they never get a chance to market it. The aim for perfect, but there was no such thing as perfect. That's why IMDB has a goof section. Get to a point when you know the script is cooked and then send it out. Don't burn it. Eventually, when a producer wants to make it, they'll have their own notes. But then they should pay you to apply those notes. After reading today, reward yourself for putting in the work. Find a way to celebrate a finished screenplay. And when you feel the script is ready, let the world see it. Best of luck. 21. Finding Producers, Directors, Managers and Agents : After you rewrite and finish your script and you know it's in great shape, then it's time to sell. In this lesson, we'll cover how to tell a screenplay. So you have your script done and it's in great condition. Now what? Well, first, you need to find and contact the people who will produce your script and pay you for it. To start this process, make a list of movies that are similar in tone to yours that have been released in the past five years. E.g. say you wrote a buddy comedy, then you want to find producers and directors who liked to make buddy comedies. If you go to sports movie, look up, produced sports movies over the past five years. Only look up movies and producers who make movies similar to yours. If you wrote a family comedy, you wouldn't submit it to bloom house because they only make horror unless it's a horror family comedy. If you try to send your script to producers who don't work in that genre. You're honestly just wasting your time. Focus on your genre. You want to make. This list consists of movies that came out over the past five years. Because a lack of change in five-years, many times people leave LA or just leave the industry altogether. So you'll have better luck finding a producer who produced a movie over the past five years, then ten years ago, the more movies you have on your list, the better. But I have at least ten movies. If you have 40 movies on your list, awesome. Once you make a list of at least ten movies, now IMDB will be your best friend. Go look up each of these movies on IMDB and scroll down past the cast and click on all cast and crew. Once you're on that page of cast and crew for that movie, scroll down again until you see produced by, then copy this list of producers. If the director isn't super well-known, add their name to your list. If it's someone like Steven Spielberg or jot APA tau or Elizabeth Banks, then you're probably not gonna be able to reach them. But you might be able to reach their production company. To find a production company. Click on company credits and also add this to your list. Just copy the production company. Don't worry about the distribution company. Distribution only comes once production is done. Make a list of all these contacts. I suggest using a Google spreadsheet to keep track of everything. But a Google Word doc works too, or even reading it on a list, on a notebook. Do the IMDB method for several movies, like dating. It's all a numbers game. The more people and production companies you reach out to, the higher your rate of success will be, and the more options you'll have before you sign a contract. I've been through the experience where you have several producers interested in a script and you talk and meet with them one-by-one. It's kinda like an interview process. After that, you get to choose which producer you want to sign with. Just in case you're new to the entertaining industry. Let's talk about the differences between producers, production companies, directors, managers, and agents. Producers are with the movie from beginning to end. Usually every movie has several producers and they do a lot of work from finding investors, cast and crew, to making call sheets every day onset. It's a lot of work being a producer. Many producers have their own production companies or are part of a production company. E.g. Jason Blum is the owner of bloom house. Dot apa tau has his own production company, APA style productions. And usually production companies are working on several movies at a time in various stages of development. A producer is usually mostly focused on one movie at a time. But then we'll hop into the next one once they finished filming a movie. Production companies usually favor a particular genre. This is not always the case. But you'll notice Blom house only focuses on horror. An epitope productions focuses on comedy. Also. Sometimes an executive producer may not do a lot of work, but they helped finance the movie. Or they may be an actor who's acting in the movie, but it's also getting a producer credit. When I was in college, I was a production assistant on the Keanu Reeves movie, Henry's crime. Keanu was also a producer on that movie. But we never talked to him about production stuff. He was 100% focused on acting. Director is the one with the vision and is the one most in-charge onset. They may be the ones who brought the project to the producers or in TV. The producers will bring the project to the director. When it comes to feature films, the movie is the director's vision. They usually do just as much or more work than a producer, but they do a different workload. A manager is someone who represents several writers. They wheel and deal and can get your screenplay sold or optioned to a producer or production company. However, they work on their own time. And if you want your manager to a lot of work for you, you have to establish a great relationship with them. Managers also tend to focus on your entire writing career. For every script they sell, they keep 10% Agent just tends to focus on one script at a time. Instead of your whole writing career, you never really talked to them about the future. Just the script you just finished. Like managers, agents will send out the script and try to sell it for you. And again, they charged ten per cent to do this. Managers and agents have nothing to do with the production process. In my career, I've had both management and agent representation. But honestly, I made most of my screenwriting money doing everything on my own. If you happen to land a manager or agent, make sure they work for you. The downside to having representation is you have to wait for them. If you're not there hottest and most requested a client, then you'll get lost in the shuffle. If you're trying to find a manager or an agent, make sure you have more than one completed script, have at least two or three completed scripts. And if you're looking for a good manager slash agent list, you can find it on the WGA website. I'll add the link also for your list of contacts you might already have. Once you've completed your list of possible people who can buy your screenplay, then it's time to contact them. And make sure you say and do all the right things. One-by-one. Take the names of the producers and directors you found and google them. You want to see if they're on Instagram or Twitter. I've had success reaching out to producers on both. But I'd say Instagram is the best bet because every inbox is open. On Twitter, they have to change their settings to receive messages from anyone. If a producer is really active on Twitter, they may have this option open. But on Instagram, you can message anybody. This doesn't necessarily mean that the reader message, but you can message anyone. Also. You may be able to find their e-mail by using IMDB Pro. If you don't have an IMDB profile yet with producer credits, I wouldn't pay for IMDB Pro just yet. But just the contact producers and directors. Imdb offers a three-day trial of IMDB Pro. I would sign up and use that and make sure you get everything you can out of it. Within those 30 days. Look up every producer and director you can IMDB Pro and then cancel that membership before they charge you. If you have an IMDB profile and some credits on there already and you can afford the annual cost of IMDB Pro. Then get it with IMDB Pro. You can add pictures and a lot more to your IMDB profile with IMDB Pro lookup production companies and see if you can find an email. Many production companies will have a general email for general inquiries if you can find them. I'm going to teach you a little trick on how to reach any person you want within a company, okay, so here's the trick. If you can find out how the production company ends their emails, then you can try different addresses to email the person you're trying to reach. So e.g. when I worked for Fox, my e-mail was just my first name dot last name at fox.com. Everyone who worked for Fox at the time had the fox.com email and pretty much everyone's e-mails was this format, first name dot last name at fox.com. It's been over ten years since I worked for Fox. They may have changed their email format, but this is what it was when I worked for them. If the first name dot last name doesn't work. You can also try first, initial, last name at production company.com. I worked for several production companies where this is the case. My email would be J, Emile Zola at that production company.com. Again, a trick is to try first name dot last name at production company.com, or first initial last name, production company.com. If you try one of these in the email bounces back, then try the other. If both bounce back, then I would try FirstName, LastName at production company.com and take out the period between the firstName and lastName. Also, a producer's email might already be on IMDB Pro. You just have to log onto Pro and click their name. You can also click on people who worked for the same company. If you find one person's e-mail, then you'll know the format of the person you're looking for. I also want to mention that you can simply call a production company and ask for someone's email. Some production companies on IMDB Pro may not provide an email, but they may have a phone number. Suppose they have a phone number, call them. I know we live in a society where we tax instead of call and I'm a text or an N of color myself. But the key is to not overthink it. Production companies get calls all the time, every day. And again, like dating, when you ask someone out, you just gotta go for it. If you overthink it, you will find reasons not to do it, or you'll make yourself nervous. And generally, people are nice over the phone. If you do call, it shows you have Initiative. Take a chance. If the producer you're trying to contact is a big time producer, they may not give you their email, but they might have a general email prescripts submissions. Or if that producer has an assistant, they may transfer you to their assistant and that assistant will provide you with their e-mail. I'll talk about assistance and interns and a little bit for landing a manager or agent. This is the same process. But look at the list from the WGA and call these companies. Once you find a public Instagram account, Twitter account, or have a producer's email, it's time to send a query letter or a query email or query dm. I'm just going to refer to this as a query letter from now on. But you catch my drift, it's super easy to make a mistake with the query. And many writers make the mistake of making their query letters TL TR. Tl TR is too long to read. You want your career letter to be short and snappy. Also, if you're messaging someone on Instagram or Twitter, you can only message up to a certain amount of characters. You don't want to send them several messages. You just want to send one excellent message. Here's a step-by-step process on what makes a good query letter. First, say hi, fill in their name. Taking advice from the great book, hard to make friends and influence people, there is no sweeter sound as someone than their name. If you're just copying and pasting the same message to a producer, they can usually feel that start with their first name and then say something personal. So they know this query letter is just for them. Good to say something about their last movie or hire a fan of this film or that film that they worked on. You wanna do a quick personal thing in one sentence. And then mentioned you have a script followed by your scripts title and logline. After your logline, write a quick synopsis about yourself or the script. Aim for two sentences and then end it. Maybe you write down some accomplishments you have. Say you have a produce rep series or an award-winning short film, mentioned that if your script is based on a true story, right? That it's based or inspired by a true story. If the script, one, any screenwriting contests, write that down. You want to have something that makes you and your script standout after that to sentence part right down your contact info. It could just be your name and email. But if you have a website or a phone number, you can add that too. If you feel inclined, you could do a very quick one sentence P, S. But make sure it's funny or grabs our attention somehow. I like to end some of my career letters by asking them if they liked the script in a PDF or Egyptian papyrus. This will often make the producer laugh. And then they reply back to me with Egyptian papyrus. I let them know I'll be working on the papyrus for the next few months. But in the meantime, here's a PDF. And that one thing I added to my query letter makes them want to respond. It helps to have a sense of humor from both sides. I've added an attachment that has so many query letters that have helped me land meetings and South scripts. If you're sending an e-mail for the subject line, if you have a great title for your script, you could use that. But if you don't have a title that will make them want to open the email, then you want to find something snappy. It's something that catch them off guard. Think of a subject line. They'll make them want to open their email, but also nothing spammy. If you have a complement for them, maybe use that. You want to have something intriguing in the subject line. Right now, work on a short and snappy query letter, and you can always use several drafts before you send it out. 22. Screenwriting Services: If you don't want to target and contact producers yourself, there are screening services you could use and these may help you. Keep in mind though, these services do cost money and there's no guaranteed results. I'd like to make money more than I like to spend money. So I favor a few of these more than others. But again, every script is different and my story is not the same as your story. Just because I didn't get good results from one of these services, doesn't mean you won't. With that said, let's start with the blacklist. Blacklist is a platform for writers to showcase their scripts and hopes that industry members will see them. You can also pay to get your work evaluated by readers. Let's talk about the cost for blacklist. Currently, the hosting fee for your script is $25 per month and a feature screenplay evaluation is $100 per read. This is one of the primary places and your script should be in top-notch condition if you want to be highly ranked on the blacklist. Alright, moving on. Ink tip. Ink tip is a Los Angeles based tech company that has a website and the monthly magazine. Writers pay a monthly fee and ink tip, send your logline to their database of producers. The magazine version is pretty cool. I, when I worked for my vista entertainment, I used to sort the mail and give the ink tip magazine to producers. Inside the magazine is titles of movies with their log lines. The current cost for Ink tip pro is $32.50 a month. It allows for one visible script and pitch requests for a month and access to ink tip contests. International screen urges Association. The International screener dissociation is a website that lets you apply to writing gigs and more. A producer will this things we're looking for, like a certain genre or type of cast. Or they want the script to be one location. If you have a script that matches this criteria, you can apply for these reading gigs. The cost today is $10 monthly. Selling your screenplay.com. I've tried out all the services I mentioned so far. And I didn't have any significant success. Granted, I didn't spend too long on each of those sites. So my sample size is small, but I will say selling your screenplay.com is the website I've had the most significant success with. Although I'll be honest, I know the guy who runs it, he wasn't my writing group for about seven years. And I was one of the first writers to do a query letter blast with selling your screenplay.com when the owner was testing it out. I still do a query letter blast now. And again, a query letter blast, by the way, when you write a query letter and this website will send it to several hundred producers at the same time. Then they will email you back directly if they request the script. This website is not as flashy as the other websites. I mentioned it before. But I have made money with this website. And they have a great script library for free, where you can read screenplays from the 1970s until today. And you can sign up for a free newsletter that has some great tips. S YS select, which is the service for selling your screenplay, currently cost 29, 97 per month or $299 a year. With S YS select, you can upload your screenplay is to their database, like Ink tip. But unlike Ink tip, there's no limit to how many scripts you can upload. They also send a monthly newsletter and you can choose which crypto yours you want to add to the newsletter. This is one of the services I do pay for on a monthly basis because they partnered with another service that I like called screenwriting staffing. Screenwriting staffing is a service that e-mails you leads from producers with selling your screenplay.com and screenwriting staffing, I get about five to seven leads per week. Like ISA, a producer, will be looking for a certain type of material, say a rom com, or a creature feature, or a low budget thriller. If you have a completed screenplay that matches what they're looking for, you can e-mail the producer directly with your logline and they may request to read the script. Like I said, I've had the most success with selling the screenplay.com and the screenwriting staffing leads that I get from the SYN select membership. But I will say if you're thinking about joining this, I recommend having many scripts first, maybe ten or more completed screenplays or TV specs. If you only have one script, then your one script might only match one lead for a producer. Maybe like once a month. I would say have ten completed scripts and various genres before joining this. Because then you'll have better adds a matching what a certain producer wants. I've made a lot more money from these services than the money I spent. But only because I have dozens and dozens of completed scripts. And there are some months. I don't get any script requests. The last service I mentioned is virtual pitch fast. This website lets you pick your logline to participating film and TV producers. They guarantee a yes or no response back within five business days. If a producer gives you a yes, then the requests to read the script, the current cost is $55 for five pitches. Once you get a yes for script requests from a producer, either through these services or by contacting them directly. Then you want to follow up until you get positive results. The next lesson, we'll go over how to follow up and the results you'll see after you get a script request from a producer or a production company. 23. Results and Follow Ups: After you've sent out a stellar query letter, here are the results of what could happen next. This list goes from worst-case scenario two best. So stay with me to see the most positive results. No response. This will be most people you're emailing or messaging. Don't take it personally. People are just busy. I'm like I said, this is a numbers game. If you don't get a response from someone, I'd say you can follow up twice, but if you don't hear back after the third attempt, stop trying. They either don't love your logline or they may be out of the business. They don't take unsolicited material. If their production company, producer, agent or manager is pretty big and busy, then you'll often get a response like this. It's usually sent by an assistant or sometimes the legal department. Now they say they don't take unsolicited material, but there are actually a couple of ways around this. One. Your logline is so good, they can't say no. I've had the experience before. Get an automatic email back from a company that says, we don't take unsolicited material. But then a day or two later, I'll get an email from someone at the company saying, Hey, we usually don't take us this material, but your scripts sounds really interesting. Can you send it over to they want another script of yours. If you have several scripts, start a website with all the log lines of your scripts. Again with no, once this material, I may get an automatic response saying we don't take unsolicited material. But then somebody from the company will email me saying they're not interested in the script I emailed about, but they are interested in an older script based on a logline I had on my website. Result number three, they request a script with the submission form. If the production company has a few films produced or more, they're interested in reading your script. They will ask for the script and ask you to fill out a submission form just to satisfy the legal department and just in case they're working on a movie that has similar elements. Take a look at these submission forums. 99% of the time. They are pretty standard. And it's just an agreement saying you can't sue them in case they have a similar idea that's already in the works. But still read this form. There are a few sketchy producers and production companies out there and never sign anything you're not comfortable with. If it seems sketchy and you can't find anything about the producer online. Or if they have no IMDB credits, that it's probably too sketchy and just don't respond to them. Result number for their requests, a script, and plan to read it. Sometimes you'll get an email right away where they request your script. And depending on the company, they may not have a submission form. Sometimes a producer may be really busy. So they may just reply with yes, send the PDF or something like that. It's like four words or less, but your logline excited them to want to read it. This is a good thing. Makes sure that the script is ready. Result number five, they request the script and read it that night. This has happened to me a few times and it's quite exciting when it does happen. The producer would be so strongly intrigued by the logline that they can't wait to read the script and they will read it that same night. You e-mail them. If they fall in love with it, They will call or email you that night or the next morning and request a meeting with you. We'll go over how to be good in a meeting and a bit. But right now, let's talk about follow-ups. How often should you follow up if you send a query letter and haven't heard back at all. This doesn't necessarily mean no. It just means they're busy. Feel free to follow up with them in two weeks. And then again in another two weeks. After the third email, they probably won't get back to you. Again. Don't take it personally. Follow-ups after they request the scripts. They requested the scripts and you haven't heard back from them. Feel free to follow up in three weeks. And then every two to three weeks after that. Just a gentle reminder, make your reply one sentence or two. But again, avoid t MTR. You might not hear response from them after an initial follow-up and that's okay. Not responding does not mean no. Again, they may be busy and there are plenty of reasons for that. Give people the benefit of the doubt. They may be onset, they may be on vacation. They may be a parent who has kids. There's 1 million reasons. So unless they state we pass or the script isn't the right fit for us. Keep trying. Always be polite. If you don't hear back from them, it's okay and never show anger in an email or they won't want to work with you. No matter what. Always be polite. Don't be buggy. One quick follow-up email every two to three weeks is good. Just say something like, Hey, so and so I was circling back to see if you had the chance to read the script. Hope you're having a good week. Or if there's a holiday coming up, wish them a happy Halloween or happy Thanksgiving or happy for 20, or find a reason to follow up. Say they had a new movie that just came out, go out and see that movie and then be like, Hey, I saw your new movie. I just wanted to say it was really good. You don't even need to mention your script, but this will gently nudge them because since you did something for them. Wanna do something for you. Keep following up once in awhile until they read the script and you get a clear yes, they're interested or no, they're not interested. Quick story. I sold a family comedy screenplay a few years ago. And their producer originally requested the script during the month of December. I followed up with them the first time in mid January of the next year. And they responded saying they didn't get a chance to read the script yet. Are then sets a follow-up e-mail that was one or two sentences about a month after that and never heard back, but not hearing back after they request the script does not equal no. They just may feel bad they didn't read the script yet. So they may not want to apply until they do. I kept following up once or twice a month until the email chain was me with eight emails and them with two emails. The first one from them was when they request the script, and the second one was in January saying they didn't get a chance to read the script. I gently kept following up with them with one sentence, emails still being super nice, but just giving them a little nudge. Then in August, they finally read the script and loved it. And they wanted to buy it. I sold it in September. And it was over nine months after my initial email with them when they requested the script. If I didn't follow up so much to nudge them, they probably would have never read the script. Keep following up in a nice way. You can follow up about once or twice a month until they give you a definitive answer. If it's a pass for them and they say No, that's fine. I always appreciate knowing the not-knowing because it wastes last time. And I'll finally stop e-mailing them. I simply say, thank you for letting me know and make sure I end on a positive note because you never know in this industry where that person will be in a few years, they may want to read your next script. So you want to build good relationships. Even if they pass on one script to yours, doesn't mean they always pass on you and your next script. I've had that happened to me where a producer will pass no script. I have one year, but then they will want to read another script and bias scripts I have later. So speaking of passing on a script, let's talk about pass, consider and recommend. If you're a script is submitted to a bigger production company or management company, the chances are the producer or manager you're trying to reach out to, well, not actually read the script, at least not at first, if that person has an assistant or intern, they'll probably be the first one to read your script. I've done this job myself for a management company in Beverly Hills. And my boss would never read the script sent to her unless I gave it a recommend. She would read drafts of scripts from clients she already had, but not new clients unless I recommended them. In the entertainment industry, there's three grades. Pass, consider, and recommend. Pass is about 85% of scripts or producer or manager will get. This means the script has a lot of flaws or it's not good enough to invest money into the script to make it. So you will pass on the script, like if you're playing a game and you pass on your turn, you wanna go to the next script. Consider is about 12% of scripts or producer or manager will get an assistant or intern will consider a script. When the screenplay has a lot of potential, the script may have a weak act or needs more character work or something, but it's still in pretty good shape. Recommend is what you aim for when you send your script to producers, directors, and managers. This is about 3% or less of what producers and agents get. A recommend is when a script is in great shape and you cannot wait to see this as a movie. When I interned at that Beverly Hills management company, I only gave a recommend reading to two scripts the entire time I was there. The script has to hook the reader so they can't put the script down. The first reader must tell their boss. This must be a movie. Then the producer or a manager will read it only after it's been recommended by someone they trust. If you want that recommend rating. These are the things they look for. I've done script coverage for hundreds of scripts, if not thousands, and every management and production company I've worked for, looks for these things. Concept is the concept original? Does it work? Does it have a hook? Is the script a great example of its genre? E.g. if it's a comedy, is it funny? If it's a horror, is it scary? If you saw this in a movie theater, would you walk out satisfied characters? Is the hero or heroes likable? Or do we at least want to root for them? Is the hero actively pursuing a clear goal? Is the hero relatable to the general public? Does the hero have a character arc? Is there a strong antagonist? Are the supporting characters interesting and distinct? Is it castable? Would actors want to play these characters? Dialog? Do the supporting characters have a distinctive voice that stands out from the hero? Is the dialogue clever and not on the nose? Is the dialogue snappy and relatively easy for an actor to memorize. Formatting a grammar. Is the script accurately formatted? Is the script free for misspelled words and typos? Marketability? Is this story marketable. Does this movie have a clear audience? Is the audience large enough for the movie to make a profit? Story to the first ten pages hook you. When does the second act sustain your interest? Is the third act satisfying? Is there strong conflict from start to finish? Is the exposition handled nicely? Is the story compelling and doesn't have a strong narrative drive? Make sure your script can answer all these questions. So it gets a recommend. Besides these, I want to go through a quick checklist to make sure your script is in great shape. Makes sure the script is fun. We go to movie theaters because it's fun. So make sure your script is fun. Don't have too much action description. Amateur writers often use way too much action description. It slows the pace of the script and so often allow the action description isn't needed. To tell you the truth what I did coverage at the Beverly Hills management company. If I ran into a script with a ton of action description, I would stop reading at after about page 20. And I would just read the dialogue from then on because it was more fun for me. I don't have on the nose dialogue. We can forgive a little on the nose dialogue. But if a script is full of it, then it shows a lack of creativity from the writer. Handle exposition in clever ways. If characters are talking in paragraphs about their backstory and it's clear exposition, just to get the expedition out, then it's not fun. Make sure the exposition is hand through moments where we don't realize that it's exposition. Show, don't tell, why have your protagonist tell us about a moment when we can see it as something life-changing happened to protagonist, then show it to us. Don't just talk about it. We might not remember every piece of dialogue, but we'll remember when we see a scene that change the protagonist, fade in and fade out only once. There should only be one fade-in at the very top of your script and one fade out at the very bottom. Amateur writers put more of these in the middle of their scripts and you can tell right away that they are amateur. Aim for less than 120 pages, especially in comedy. Sure, there's an exception to this. But your story better be incredible. A script from a first-time writer that's 144 pages is just a headache to the reader. For the most part, people don't want to read scripts over 110 pages. If a reader has the choice to choose a screenplay that's 94 pages, and a screenplay as 115 pages, they're much more likely to choose the 94 page script. If you have things that you can cut, cut them, be a good example of your genre. I already mentioned this a couple of minutes ago. If you're going to submit a comedy, makes sure we laugh. Pump up the jokes and scenes that need jokes before submitting, if you're reading a thriller, give us some thrills. We want scripts that are page turners. Avoid characters with similar names. Don't have a Josh, Jake, John, and Jeff. It gets confusing when you keep reading names that start with the same initial, makes sure those first ten pages are phenomenal. I know I mentioned this before, but I really want to emphasize that the first ten pages of a screenplay are the most important. They have to hook the reader to want to read the rest of the screenplay. Once we are hooked, it's easier to forgive other parts of the screenplay. But if we're not hooked, they'll pass in the screenplay and a lot of people might not even finish it. The ending is super-important to directors wealth and change the middle of the script. But if they loved the beginning and end, then there'll be more inclined to make it, make sure the script isn't present tense. I see this all the time by amateur writers and it's so easy to do. I sometimes have to catch myself as well. When I write in past tense. Past tense is when you write something like Diana is sitting on the chair, but this should be Diana sits on the chair making it present tense, uses less words and letters, making the script a faster read for the reader. Screenplays are written in present tense. Titles are okay to have past tense words, but action lines always need to be in present tense. Go over your script to make sure you're doing all the correct things to get that recommend. The next lesson we'll cover what happens after your script gets recommended and what to do once you land a meeting. 24. Meetings and Money: So you found the producers interested in buying your script and they want to meet you. Here's how to have a great meeting. Don't be late. Think of Murphy's Law. If something can go wrong, then it will go wrong. So if you're in Los Angeles, you know, there's gotta be traffic. It doesn't matter if it's 11:00 P.M. on a Wednesday, there's still traffic somewhere. La is the city of traffic. They say it's the City of Angels. But in 13 years of living in LA, I've never seen anyone with a halo or Wings. I've only seen in long lines of cars plan to get there an hour early. For feature screenplays, you usually don't need to prepare a pitch because the script is already done and they read the script already, hopefully. But if you're meeting with them about a TV show, then gets in the meeting location super early, find a coffee shop nearby and keep practicing your pitch. I plan on having future classes about pitching, so click on my profile to check those out later. Well, my friend and writing partner jared summers and I had a meeting at 3 yd about our TV show, romantically hopeless. Based on a web series I created. We arrived at the three arts building super early, found a restaurant next door and practice our pitch. So we had it memorized. Practice makes pitches perfect. And many times people ask questions during your pitch. So you need to remember how to get back on track with the pitch. If they interrupt you with a question, if the company office has a waiting room, you can arrive 10 min early, but I want to go earlier than that. More than 10 min makes it seem weird and desperate. And if you are desperate, that's fine. But don't act like it. If you're weird, then this will probably work for you. Our weirdness makes us unique and memorable, but don't be crazy, weird, just basic weird. If you don't live in LA, by the way, good for you. And since the pandemic, you don't need to live in LA anymore, you can ask for a virtual meeting. Real-life meetings versus virtual meetings. Zoom meetings are now commonplace. So many of us work from home now or in a hybrid working environment. And it's more accessible than ever to be a screenwriter and another city. If this was before 2020, I would say you have to be in LA, but not anymore. What should you wear? So luckily, writers aren't expected to wear a suit, but you also don't want to dress up like a complete slob. I want to wear a t-shirt, but I would aim for business casual. It's okay if you're better dressed than them, but don't come in with a tuxedo. You want to show that you're professional and want to make a good impression. It's okay to be nervous. As long as you're likable, it's okay to be nervous. If you are, if you are, you can tell them you're nervous. They actually liked this Item meeting wants with an Emmy winning comedy producer who loved my TV show idea. Grandma knows best. She was one of the most successful people I've ever met. And her long career of working at successful sitcoms made me nervous. She won an Emmy and worked in a bunch of shows and I loved, I think she could tell I was nervous, but before I went into my pitch, I told her I was nervous. And that's kinda helped ease the room. I can't remember exactly what she told me. But it was something like you don't need to be nervous. And that helped me. Also. It's important to be likable. It's better to be nervous and likable than to be complaining and unlikable. In general, don't say anything negative about anything. Even if you saw terrible movie The night before, I wouldn't complain about this. Because you never know if they have connections to someone who worked on that movie. If they mentioned a movie they don't like, you can agree with them and you want to find common ground. But for the most part, B, positive. People like to work with positive people. Let's talk about general meanings. Know the difference between a general meeting and a meeting where you're selling the script. Sometimes producers will like your script and just ask for a general, this is a meeting where they just want to get to know you. Sometimes you'll get a general meeting before you get another meeting where you sell the script. And a lot of times you might just get a general meeting and knocking and meeting when you saw this grabs. A lot of times. They'll tell you a few minutes ends in the meeting that the script you sent isn't what they want to make right now. They liked your writing style and voice. Take this as a win. You're still meeting with them. And the fact that you're there means they already like you and they probably want to keep you around for something else. I'll talk about this with my own experience later. Smalltalk and rapport. Don't jump into a meeting right away by talking about your script. Buyers want to make sure you're not crazy first. They want to make sure they get along with you first and they like you. Maybe prepare a few interesting and unique questions. People love talking about their accomplishments. So feel free to ask about those. Let them bring up the script. When you first meet, don't bring up the script right away. Ask how they're doing or find something in their office or environment to talk about, or even better, talk about them. If they produced a movie you like to talk about it, give them a compliment. Again, I recommend the book how to make friends and influence people. And in this book talks about how everyone loves compliments. You want to have good banter. Don't talk way more than them, but just have a conversation. When the time is ready. They'll bring up the script. They'll say something like, Okay, well let's talk about your screenplay. Listened to their notes, and don't disagree with them in the meeting. If you disagree with the note, it's not going to help situation if you say you disagree right there and then for now, say, I'll think about it, or even better, sometimes they'll have a note you actually will agree with. You can tell them that's a great note and say something like, I will definitely apply that if they pay for your meal or drink, that's a good sign. Many times a producer will suggest a coffee shop somewhere. It's just a good mutual safe place for everyone. I've had about 50% of my meetings at coffee shops. They suggest if they offer to pay for your drink or meal, say yes and enjoy it. Who doesn't love free things? When I option a Christmas screenplay a few years ago, the producer pay for my lunch and drink. He also loved the script, told me his plan to produce it and brought the contract there and a check and a nice envelope. It's strange, but the times have had producers pay for my meals or drinks. It's a good sign that they'll give you money soon. There's been a few times where I paid my own food and drink and the script ended up going nowhere with them. This may not always be the case, but it's something I noticed. Four more good tips. I would look at the book, good in a room by Stephanie Palmer. You can also listen to the audio book version. Come in with more ideas. Sometimes our producer isn't interested in making the script. You sent them, but they like your writing. So they want to meet with the writer. They sometimes will ask for a general meeting, or sometimes they don't tell you what the general meeting and you think they want your script, but really they just want to meet you because they may have something for you in the future. The first screenplay I ever sold, I met with a producer who read and lights another one of my screenplays, that one was called Man, I feel like a woman. It was about two female stand-up comedians who cross dress to prove women can be just as funny as men, but they're alter egos become more famous than there. But he immediately told me in the meeting that the script wasn't right for him. They caught me off guard at first. But the director, like my writing voice and asked me about other scripts. I wrote several screenplays before this. And again, the logline for each of those. He wasn't in love with any of those either. Then I told them about the one I was currently working on. I told them I was working on a feel-good comedy about a boy trying to kill himself. I only had the first act finished, and I told them what happened in the story so far. And he loved this idea. And when I told him, I've finished that script a couple of months after that meeting and he option the script after I sent them a complete draft a year-and-a-half later when the option was about to end. I actually forgot about it until I got my first five-fingered check in the mail and the script sold. We'll talk about the differences between actioning and selling in the next lesson when we talk about money. But for all your meetings, remember this, leave the meeting on a positive note. About 95% of the meetings I've had with producers are fun, especially because they've already read the script and they like it. But every now and again, you might meet a producer who might be a ******. Really think about if you want to work with that person, especially if they want to rewrite, if they gave you a bad first impression, then you may want to shop the script around elsewhere, but always end the meeting on a positive note. Say it was nice meeting them even if it wasn't. And even if they are Du Shi, You can still do this. Have fun. If you had fun during a meeting. Chances are they had fun too. Even if you start the meeting with being nervous, eventually, you can get out of being nervous and just have fun in the meeting. People in this industry wanna work with other people who are font. This industry is often filled with long hours and it's easier when you work with fun people. After a great meeting with the people who want to give you money. Let's talk about money now. Let's talk about the final steps, reviewing and signing your contract, making money and what to expect after you get paid. Let the script go. Once descriptive sold, you have to let it go. It's like letting a kid go to college. You won't know what happens to them, but you hope for the best and hope they grow even more. Sometimes producers and directors will change a lot of the script, but that's part of it. Get paid to rewrite in your contract. You may be asked to write a second draft or third draft. Or the contract may let them rewrite it themselves or higher. Another writer I've been hired to punch up scripts before in the contract. If you're getting paid to rewrite, I'd advise, make sure there's a stopping point and the money is worth it for you for every rewrite, I say this because some producers don't know what they want or they keep changing their minds. And you don't want to be working for free when they want to change something every day. If you think there's a chance the producer won't make it, you can put somewhere in the contract that the rights will go back to you. I saw the movie wants we're after seven years. If the film isn't produced than the rights go back to me. That was over four years ago. And I haven't heard much from that producer. Producers say things. So just a heads up. When you meet with a producer and they want to buy your movie, they're going to say a lot of things. So you sign the contract and they own the rights to the movie. They may make promises that realistically they're not going to keep. But keep this in mind. Making a movie is hard work. The producer may think it may be easier to make it sooner than later. But the truth is, making a movie is a lot of work and you need to build a team of cast and crew. I once option to movie where the Bruce was so excited about the script. We had lunch and they paid for it. And they made promises that if they can only make one movie, it would be this movie. I had a few offers on the table for the script, but I believed in this producer and I thought if I sign the contract with them, the movie will get produced within a year. Well, I signed the contract over three years ago and that producer produced other movies, but didn't produce mine yet. It happens. And it just wasn't meant to be. But hey, at least I still got the money from the option and a free lunch. Ask for residuals in your contract. For a screenwriter, This is usually between 1% and 4%. Most of mine are 3%. And then times I got 4%, I took less money upfront than I usually would getting paid to rewrite. Sometimes they'll give you extra money to rewrite and do another pass. And sometimes they don't. But if they do want you to rewrite, get paid for it, this should be a separate check and in the agreement, it should say that you're getting paid to rewrite. Honestly, I would put a limit as to how many rewrites you can do. It really depends on the producer, but some producers who don't have a lot of experience often don't know what they want. I'll apply their notes for a rewrite. And then they just want me to switch it up back to the way the script originally was, because they changed their mind and didn't like their changes. If I add a rewrite to my contract or they want one, I will do one rewrite or two at most, or the money better be worth it. If they keep asking for your rewrites, the writer should always be getting paid. How to get paid for the script itself. You'll probably get paid by check either in a meeting or they'll mail the Chaco to you. Usually the first track they give you will be in person, but cheques After that are usually in the mail. I'll talk about writing jobs really quick for punch ups on other scripts or writing assignments where the producer has an idea and they want to hire you to write it. For most writing jobs I take from independent producers. I get paid half before I started the job, and a half after when I finish it. Over the past ten years, most of the money I get paid for it for writing jobs is through PayPal and still a lot of my writing jobs are paid through PayPal. But with Venmo becoming more and more popular, I'm getting paid with Venmo more and more. After you get paid, enjoy the money and reward yourself for all your hard work. Selling a script isn't easy, but it is worth it when it happens. 25. Inspirational Advice: All right, So every month my two friends and I interview and learn from other successful writers. And I wanted to share some of my favorite inspirational advice from professional screenwriters. Yes, speaking of the cast, I mean, it has such an excellent cast. What was your involvement in the casting? Was my involvement was nothing. I have nothing to do with that cast other than that when I wrote the movie, you always write a movie with actors in mind. And I wrote it with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman as the actors in mind for those roles. But they didn't know that, I guess. It just, I put it out there in the universe. No, I was delighted by who they got. It was, I mean, we went through a lot of casts and the one that ended up doing it was I think the best possible one. And the director was incredible. And when you write, I'm a big fan of time wasting in scripts. I think when we talk to each other, we waste a lot of time. We don't stay on topic. But in TV and movies they insist you stay on topic. I hate that. What I loved about what they did is you cut out all the stuff that wastes time when you're doing the script because you need pages out. But then those actors improvised so much time wasting. They were amazing. It was exactly the sound I wanted it to have. It was it was great. Unfortunately broke my leg right when filming started, which was typically clever of me. So I didn't get to visit the seventh of the very last day. On that last day, they were shooting one of my favorite scenes in the movie. And it was pretty much as it was in the original script. And it was just a pleasure to see that come to life right in front of my eyes. It was like a Hollywood fantasy right there. That I don't know if remember the movie, but there's a scene where they confront Kevin Spacey in his home and they're wearing a wire. Yeah. But Jason so Degas has left the room without recorder and is not there. Yeah. I love that scene. The sound immodest to say I love that scene, I'm brilliant. Can you have any favorite books on writing or just general writing advice? I think reading scripts is the best thing you can do. There's a lot of scripts online. Could find the script for Boogie Nights and read that. Or you're thinking about your favorite movies. And, and find any of those scripts that are available online and read them. Read them all. Don't just read your favorite parts. I'll just read the beginning and the end. Read it and watch the way things, the way scenes come together and just the way dialogue comes alive on the page and everything. And I think that's one of the first and most important things you can do. Then Stephen King's on writing is a great, is a great book about, about just writing in the creative process. Absolutely, Absolutely. I think that's a good one as well. So by specifically Boogie Nights script, That's, that's the best of the best movie. I think the best advice is just always look for motivation. No one should ever just be doing things because that's what they're supposed to do right now. You should always be like always ask yourself, why are these people doing this? Why is this person saying this line? Why is this person doing this? Why is this person leaving the scene at the moment, there should always be a reason for everything. At first, I thought that was a much more existential answer. And you were saying, find our motivation to be rating. Why our character motivation. Got it. What is their purpose in life? I can't help you with that. You're on your own. Are there any bugs would recommend? I really liked this book called The Art. It's called The War of Art. And it's kinda the dislike, very motivational but like in a kind of an *** kicking way of like just like get over your **** and start writing. Like stop making excuses and stop telling yourself you'll do it tomorrow. Just do it. And I think I found that very helpful because I think as writers, we like to procrastinate and I always like to make excuses of Lego. Well, I had to get up early this morning and I'm kind of tired now, so I probably shouldn't have to write tonight. You know, that's that's how you end up going to months without writing anything is by making excuses for yourself. So, yeah, it's, the war of arts is definitely a good, a good kick in the ***. If you're, if you're looking for one. Just any general advice? Do you have? Yeah, like I said from the beginning, if you have the whale, just go for it. How will present itself? That's just kind of live I just kinda duties if if I'm dedicated to if I'm good at it, somehow, it will work out. I don't know how, I don't know how I'm going to meet Steven Spielberg. Spielberg, but I feel like somehow. Maybe he's got a real ME one day. As we stays insurance card. I'm going to go like if you work hard, if you dedicate yourself, you're gonna get a shot. You can only get a shot. Now wherever that shot turns into, I don't know, but you will get a shot. We're all gonna get up at bat. I was just telling anybody that's trying to do anything. Give it your all focused on it. Don't have acid and put it out into the universe. Whether that'd be writing, act in whatever, especially for entertainment nowadays. You don't even really need anymore. Everybody is doing it all day. So you don't have to Hollywood to come save you and give you these opportunities. You can create your own opportunities. I am a morning person. I wasn't originally like when I was doing comedy. So much of that's at night. And I love being out and about and seeing human beings. So the past couple of years have been tough. But like in the process of trying to find time to write, I realized that if I just got up and did it, then no one can take that away from me later in the day. And I also find that my brain in the morning, very tangible problems have a way of occupying my thoughts that make it hard to push them aside and right. And I feel like I shouldn't say problems. So just like things to do. It's like, oh, and sometimes it's work-related e-mails. You have to respond to people who you want to read and give feedback. Sometimes there's just life stuff like, Hey, we need to send out an invitation for the renaissance fair weekend. We're trying to plan with friends or whatever. Dork. Thank you. Not anymore. But like all of those things sort of cascade throughout the day and it makes it makes it much, much harder for me to focus at night. You can if you have to, but I find it easier to write in the morning and then I can feel good like I did I did the main thing today and everything else. I'll figure out a psycho seven years ago to give people a peek into this also. And it was dead many times like most movies. And we and not through anyone's fault really is just like, you know, just seems like they really liked it. But there is this moving gonna get a $150 million budget? Probably not. And again, to sum our producers credit, they, they didn't let it die. And they, and they showed two, Akiva Shaffer three years ago, our director. And he loved it. And he was like, I want to do this. And with that, it gave it new life and Disney Plus was it. So all of a sudden it created a marketplace where, where in previous world, Disney, Disney, which is not just Disney, but also Pixar and Star Wars and Marvel. They have 52 slots a year for releasing movies. That's it really like theatrical movies now with Disney Plus, there's a lot more there's a lot more slots and a different range of budgets to different range. And it doesn't have to necessarily, it can be a little more niche. And like, yeah, there's a chance for seven years. What's happened is it changed a lot? Yeah. I mean, we've worked on some so many movies where where will come in, in the middle or the end or like. That's a normal enough in terms of like rewrites and stuff, but this movie has certainly changed. I mean, you'd read, if you read the original script, you'd be like, Oh, that seems not there in this scene is different or whatever, but it's still basically the same movie. There's a shocking, Yeah. That never happened. His studio filmmaking then again, I got to give a lot of credit to Akiva, who was really just like what we were going for. And the movie is better is he just made it better? He just, he just he took what we had done and just make it better and we collaborated with him. But the essence of that movie is what was on the page in the beginning, which is very rare. Really excited about there. I mean, Dan and I were looking at it. We're like, Man, that that joke is from the first draft. Yeah. Like so which is really unheard, which is just and that's not to toot or arguments. That's just so many things have to go right for that to happen. So many things. I think any show you work on or any project you work on, if you're tapping into something personal, which a lot of times you are in whatever capacity and that's why you're writing the project or why you got hired trade the project. You know, it can be. It can be exhausting emotionally. It can be something that you kind of have to work through. I mean, a more lighthearted example is the book I wrote, cherry, which is about four girls in high school. And that's a lot of what's in the book is fiction completely at a lot of it is drawn from my high school experiences. And so I wouldn't, I'm lucky to have had a very positive as well experienced, but even just the act of writing something down and sort of giving it to another medium and taking your story and making it accessible to other people. You know, you kinda have to just embrace that. You should just write something that's different and more importantly, rights, I mean, it's yours. I think the best advice and anyone can have is fail early and often write a bunch of bad scripts before you write the good ones. And then write something that you really believe in. It's really special and distinct. I think that's really important. Voice. I didn't read it tremendous amount of scripts before I came to this town because I was really, I found myself more as a filmmaker. But I think as Kurosawa would say, screenwriting is filmmaking. So any writing advice for emerging writers in the industry, allow yourself to be bad at it. I think a lot of us sort of go in with a really, really good taste and not the skill set yet. And it's really, writing is really, really hard and it doesn't matter what, what level you are like. Everybody struggles and every vulnerable and it's challenging. So much of what you discover comes from those vomit draft. So I would just encourage you to like, let go. Try to have fun and know that this is like a learned skill and it's totally okay for that first draft to be a piece of ****. That's how it starts for all of us. And I think the more that you are comfortable with being bad at it, the more that you're good just going to fall into being good at it. I think there's a lot of amazing actors who have never been nothing in their life. And then they write an amazing movie and it wins every ward and changes the world. Same way that there are editors who writes stories and there's so many ways you can get into telling a great story, but it all really comes down to that. Telling a story is a skill that will never not be useful, whether you're a CEO of Fortune 500 company, a filmmaker, or just a citizen of the world. It's a really useful skill, it, and that's what you want to hone, not necessarily formatting and getting your character space at the right center on the page. That stuff is secondary. It's definitely secondary.