How to Write a Movie: Screenwriting fundamentals.
Remodeling... continuously. Please pardon the heterogeneity and potsherds on older pages. < ; )
What does it take to make a story rise to the top?
Since 1990 I have had the privilege of critiquing screenplays from individuals, a few studio writers, and seeing some pilots. Most of the time they are in the "good range," but rarely rise to excellent or superior... and they aren't that difficult to fix. All of the information necessary to make a screenplay rise above the rest is on the menu button at left, marked "Screen Writing." A few hints are here.
(New stuff after this important message)
|• Soundbyte: This Web site is in peril!
After 16 years of solid, high quality, nonprofit, international service, this Web site is being victimized by those who want to suppress it for apparently nefarious reasons.
The Visual Writer Web site freely presents industry worthy advice gained from experience and contacts, best practices, plus has done research to create advances in the field of writing, plus created and provided tools for schools to promote student interest in writing and for others to do unbiased critiques of writing and movies. Around 100 free nonfiction books are downloaded from it monthly, as well as the 600 Web pages of information. It has promoted groups and free services. It has presented "how to" information on creating high quality market winning screenplays, novels, nonfiction, and journalism. Information presented on this site, and by the author in other venues, has also often influenced or prompted news stories, information put in novels, and nonfiction.
In addition, this Web site provides informed information on the human condition, which writers write about. Some of these articles are even helpful to individuals in their personal lives, as well as to writers creating works. This site also asks an important question: "What kind of world are we creating?" by including commentary on important issues of the day that are important to writers and others, particularly if it can help avoid disinformation, propaganda, and bias. Controversial topics are not avoided on this site. Children are overly protected from entry by Safe-surf ratings where needed. The Webutation.net score for this site is 100. The limited advertising on this site has yet to pay any of its expenses, which are carried by the author.
I personally use the tool, Web of Trust (WOT) on my Web browser to help alert me to Web sites that are malicious, phishing, scams, etc., based on other's experience. I like it. But crowd-sourcing reputation by WOT is a double-edged sword.
Having a good experience on a Web site is a given, an expectation, and is not noteworthy. I do sometimes get thank-you email from people who benefit from the site, even though I try to keep the contact info hidden since I'm very busy. People who visit a Web site and have a good experience are unlikely to click the WOT Trustworthiness and other ratings icons. A good and trustworthy experience is an expectation, not something to merit feedback.
On the other hand, in our very polarized society, there is a huge number of activists ready to do some action at any opportunity, to squelch things they oppose. Who are they? People who are competitors who benefit from opposing what you have to say. People who disagree with your commentary. (The movie industry and even psychology, while having a lot of very good people, also have a lot of people who are backstabbers.) People who promote favorite issues. Competitors, fanatics, zealots, activists, the vengeful, the disappointed... spammers who send email in other's name (we don't send advertising email)... the reasons are endless. Generally there are around 10% of people in any occupation who are willing to harm others for their own benefit. Polarization substantially raises that number, and ironically polarization also happens to be one of the major topics this Web site speaks out about.
An example of this behavior is shown by the WOT ratings of the WebTrends.com business Web site. It has no malicious software on it. Advertisers love to use its services as a tool. But there is a cadre of very biased people who don't like Webtrends because advertisers use it for tracking, a standard Internet advertising custom followed by Google (Doubleclick ad service), and other advertising suppliers, so they can tailor ads better to those they show them to. WOT claims to collect data on people itself. Webutation.com gives WebTrends.com a 100% rating, but WOT gives visitors a warning that discourages them from entering the site.
So, WOT is unwittingly set up to fail at its admirable mission of crowd-sourcing trustworthiness. It provides a mechanism for destroying the good reputation of good Web sites, even though it tries to tell you it doesn't because it "tracks certain user's behavior." Negative campaigning works better than positive campaigning. If this continues, it will turn people away from many good Web sites, and suppress the opinions of those who speak up on controversial issues, and take us back to chaos and subservience to the radicals.
So I ask, is this the kind of world you want to live in? Chaos. Suppression of speech by those who oppose others for commercial reasons or who are activists for causes?
What can you do? 1. Surf safely. Use good tools like WOT. If you are more interested in safety from malicious sites, and less interested in crowd opinions, use tools like, Webutation, Norton Safe Web, Google Malware Diagnostic Tool.
2. Click the WOT reputation ratings for this Web site. It only takes a second.
3. Send WOT - contact (a company in Finland) a message explaining that you are very uncomfortable with their operating mechanism and want them to do due diligence (which will also avoid legal liability for them in various countries), by automatically checking any Web sites that are getting bad reputations from them, so that you aren't errantly discouraged from getting good information from those Web sites. They should never give less than a grey rating to Websites without due diligence and strong proof that they really are malicious, if WOT is to be trusted.
Don't accept from WOT the idea that Web sites can simply pay WOT to visit the site and rate it. Nonprofit Web sites are not going to pay the money to do this. And activists can easily simply outvote their ratings anyway. The problem needs fixed so that it can't happen.
Despite the difficulty, the Visual Writer Web site has again grown in visits, by providing articles that freely help writers become better writers. People vote with their feet, and Google results serve the popularity purpose. Thank-you! Now back to the content:
|Articles and Series with something for everyone
|• Propaganda Oh, how are you deceived! Learn to recognize how others deceive and manipulate you, and get smarter than them, in this 10 part series on sister site One Spirit Resources.
|• Writing Comedy, 3 of 3 Length format for Writing comedy
|• Writing Comedy, 2 of 3 Writing comedy one-liners
|• Writing Comedy, 1 of 3 The highest art is 90% perspiration and 5% inspiration.
|• Fighting Propaganda Ten part series on recognizing propaganda and stopping polarization on www.onespiritresources.com.
|• Get your grammar on! Links offsite.
|• Tradition of the Christmas Monkey
|• How To Get People to Do Anything You Want. Dangerous communication. Are We Creating the World We Want?
|• Are We Creating the World We Want? The Impact of Political Party on the Economy, in The Challenges For Capitalism Series
|• Are We Creating the World We Want? Or are special interests and polarizing voices leading us down a trail of self-destruction? Writers and leaders raise the consciousness of our world.
|• The writer's, director's, and editor's job - a step beyond "show don't tell". Writers and director's believe their job is to "tell a story in a visual medium." The following is a subtle shift, but often a very important one: "The writer and director's job is to understand what the audience wants or needs to see, and give that to them, so that they can imagine the story." - Dorian Cole. The MSP Insider, on the Movie Stream Productions Web site.
|• Will artificial sweeteners make you gain 10 pounds? Update Sugar: The Imperfect Chemical. Writers should always be wary of how research is interpreted or misinterpreted and how others try to mislead us.
|• Author's current non-franchise screenplays.|
(Follow Dorian on Amazon Studios. and on Movie Stream Productions.)
Nowhere Man: A frustrated psychiatrist has a crisis with his incurable wife, and an unsolvable, rapidly spreading, medical epidemic spiraling out of control, plus religious fanatics and conspiracy theorists. He must tackle a crisis in his own beliefs and confidence to resolve them all.
Total Immersion: Two people strike out in relationships, then avoid people in a 3D virtual world. Work in that world forces an awkward intimacy. Their friends and work push them to confront and overcome their fears, bringing them together.
|• The Challenge of Polarization: Will our economy fail due to Congressional inaction? |
|• Writing for the Market, on Movie Stream Productions:
Writing for the Market, and Loving It
Architecting a Story for the Market
|• Honoring Comedy II. Comedian Chevy Chase added to the honorees.|
|• Successful Thinking in College Dealing successfully with philosophy and the unknown, On sister site OneSpiritResources.com|
|• Should We Dumb Down Communications and lose the ability to think? What's In A Word series.|
|• Asylum: The Series A promising, professionally done movie project in the new media: Web content. Also uses the set as a character. (Links to asylumseries.com)|
|• Would you like to review screenplays and movies? Following are guides for doing reviews:
|• Philosophy of Democracy What new challenges are we seeing? A capstone article in the Challenges Series.|
|• Let the World Burn. Should we not have bailed out the financial system and invested in the economic recovery? Challenges Series.|
|• The Reckoning Religions implore us over and over to work for justice for our fellow people in this world. This documentary about The Promise of Justice, is about the worldwide battle for justice. - Watch the movie online on the Skylight Pictures Web site.|
|• Movie Review: The Karate Kid (2010) Excellent example of the ability to change settings, characters, etc. Examples of visual writing, and the use of the set as a third character.|
|• Nowhere Man development continues - see the blog entries: 20 - Development - Re-architecting.|
|• Say It Visually.|
|• ¡Ole! ¡Ole! ¡Vite! Vite! ¡Ándale, ándale! ¡Arriba, arriba! ¡Observar! ¡Observar! ¡Speedy Gonzalez back in action! ¡Yeehah! . Translated: "Hey! hurry, hurry, get up! Up! Look at this:" Speedy Gonzalez, the fastest mouse in Warner Brothers Looney Tunes lineup, and maybe all of Mexico, may be back in action! |
|• The Tradition of the Christmas Monkey.|
|• Eight steps to sparkling characters. What is it about a character that sparkles? Learn how to make them sparkle in Story Architecture. |
The development process of the Nowhere Man screenplay from conception to finish.
Blog entries. Directory.
|• How To Write Visually. What is this thing called visual writing, and how do you do it?|
|• Worth a second look! Scott Myers' Web site, Go Into The Story offers expertise and information about the movie industry in a daily blog. I learned that comedy is the current big seller. Props to Scott
Meyers! (Links to an external site).|
|• Copyrights on Images and Content. Is copyright law practical? |
|• Beyond Postmodernism - What did we learn, and what will be the next philosophy?|
|• Conversations with a Cat. Just for fun.
|• Conveying meaning through non-verbal action. A movie scene study for individuals and groups.
|• Communicating the Message Effectively.
Create drama better by learning the basics of effective communication.
Whether in drama, speaking, or ministry, many of the principles of
effective communication are the same - On sister site One Spirit
|• Story idea: Reality fiction - live! A story idea about real writers and for real writers.
|• Movie Review: Forbidden Kingdom - very entertaining movie with Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
|• Why is this Web site free? Don't you get what you pay for?
What divides us is how we choose to divide ourselves. Expanding
Horizons series: Words and concepts that open windows to new worlds |
|• Story idea: One Week To Live (Drama)
My new book, Ontology of God: The voices of the ancients speak, looks at what we can learn through the ages regarding the history of several aspects of religious development as affected by the ancient societies they were in, including law, mercy, and love.
Ontology of God: The voices of the ancients speak.
by Dorian Scott Cole. Available now on Amazon.com
- Soft cover
- ebook: Microsoft Reader download (coming)
- ebook: MobiBook download (coming)
- ebook: PDF download (coming)
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Echoing through time are the voices of ancient people telling us about God. From Mesopotamia and Egypt 5000 years ago, often from even earlier oral traditions, every civilization has been inspired to tell us about God. Their voices vary widely and even conflict. Is there a common message that they thought was so important that they had to pass it on? In this book, the ancient voices speak.
This study follows the thread of the basic religious concepts of law, mercy,
and love that are prominent in many religions. Major religions around the world
are investigated up to the launch of the Common Era when most religions had been
developed, including religions that later developed independently such as the
These are messages refined by the fire of experience through the ages. The
repeated messages collectively bear the tests of validity.
This study also looks at the many methods we use to try to understand God and
religious literature. Is the nature of God reflected in what he asks of us? The
premise is that it is.
By understanding the nature of God, perhaps we can filter out the many
competing voices that tell us that God stands for such things as the murder of
innocents and destruction.
The very nature of religion is illuminated in the light of the voices from
the ages. But is ancient religion a path that we have lost, or does history
hammer out newer voices to bear the truth of new experience as people try to
understand their relationship with God?
About the author: Dorian Scott Cole is an independent, cross-disciplinary
scholar with education and experience in psychology, philosophy, religion,
language, visual semiotics, and technology. Other books and publications: How to
Write a Screenplay, Writers Workshop Script Doctor, www.visualwriter.com, and
Reading type: Mainstream Scholarly
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