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Mike Cohen
on Aug 11, 2009 at 3:59:05 am

Over the years I have dabbled in screenwrting, for my own amusement.

Back in high school I discovered a number of fanciful stories living in the depths of my brain, and I started writing things down. Eventually I wrote about 20 pages of pure drivel, but it got me in the habit of writing things down.

Back in the early 21st century i took a bound notebook on all of my travels, and would spent countless airplane hours writing, storyboarding and outlining.

Around the same time I picked up a copy of Final Draft, which came with Syd Field's book on fundamentals of screen writing.

After more years of toiling, I finally got serious around 2005 and started working on a number of the stories which had risen to the top of the cauldron of oatmeal that is my brain. As of today I have about 4 screenplays all stuck in Act 1.

I listen to the Creative Screenwriting Magazine podcast, in which editor Jeff Goldsmith interviews all the top writers about their latest flicks, from Benjamin Button to Star Trek. Very inspiring listening.

Having attended a workshop on writing, I have new marching orders, some good reference books to study (The Writer's Journey) and a renewed interest in finishing at least one screenplay this year.

As mentioned, this is for entertainment (my own).

Does anyone have an experience with screenwriting they would like to share?

Mike Cohen

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David Roth Weiss
Re: Screenwriting
on Aug 11, 2009 at 4:39:05 am

[Mike Cohen] "Does anyone have an experience with screenwriting they would like to share?"


The very best advice I ever got about writer's block came from my mentor at AFI, who said, "just remember, this isn't the last screenplay you're ever gonna write, it's just the first." He was implying that we all tend to hold on way to dearly our words, as if they might be our last. I try to remember his words whenever I write, and it really helps.


David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.

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David Roth Weiss
typo alert...
on Aug 11, 2009 at 6:47:11 am

Oops, that should have read, "He was implying that we all tend to hold on way too dearly to our words, as if they might be our last."

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Mark Suszko
Re: typo alert...
on Aug 11, 2009 at 12:16:41 pm

I read this somewhere a long time ago:

"They are called Playwrights because scripts are not written: they are wrought."

Which to me conjures images of an iron worker or blacksmith pounding red-hot metal on an anvil to make it into a sharp blade. So it is, I think, with scripts.

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Richard Herd
Re: Screenwriting
on Aug 12, 2009 at 9:50:54 pm

It's a solitary act, writing.

It's important to read screenplays, first. Watching movies doesn't really help the writing of screenplays. Reading how-to manuals (although I like Vogler's work) doesn't help either. There's lots of sites where you can download screenplay texts. I think it's important also to read a screenplay in one sitting.

The current trend is to type away on the computer, like in a trance state. "Get it on paper," they say, like a Pollack painting. Then later, there's a rewrite/revision process. It used to be that each word was meticulously crafted, planned, and placed with care and love, like a Vermeer.

Regardless the method, one must block out time to face the blank page, the blinking cursor.

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Paul Thurston
Save this tip
on Aug 13, 2009 at 4:24:40 am

Hi Mike,

If you are serious about writing these stories in screenplay format, and seriously want to make sure they become something that can make money as a filmed story...

Then get this book:

Name: Save the Cat
Author: Blake Snyder (passed away August 5, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-932907-00-1
Publisher: Michael Wiess Productions
Link to

Follow this book to the letter, and be happy.


Paul Thurston

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Mark Suszko
Re: Save this tip
on Aug 13, 2009 at 8:02:21 pm

Michael W. was very kind to me once, I got some great books on directing, ditributed by his company, and we traded a few short notes back in the cave man days. He's also a hero of mine for being the guy behind "Hardware Wars", the original Star Wars parody film. Too bad we can't drag him into the business/marketing forums because he used to be a distribution executive for Vestron and has a LOT of insight into marketing and distribution issues.

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