The one unalterable truth about writing a first draft.

No, not the line leading to Finland.

I lied. When I wrote that thing about “There are no screenwriting rules”

Actually there is one.

It’s about first drafts. They are of such importance, I break my own rule about there not being any screenwriting rules by allowing this one rule. And here it is:

Get the damn thing done!

You have to start somewhere. And one of the most fundamental values of having a first draft in hand is it gives you something on which you can work. …


When we write a screenplay, I like to think of the process as one in which we wear several “hats”. Primarily, of course, we wear our Writer Hat where we get in touch with our vision for each story and give evidence on the page to our unique voice. That is the foundation, to write something that is a reflection of our distinctive creative expression.

But there are other “hats” we can don in the writing process which can help us craft a script which has the most resonance with other people key to the filmmaking process: Director, Actor, Editor.

A scene from “The Graduate”


A week-long analysis of this Oscar-nominated screenplay. Download. Read. Discuss.

Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this bi-weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Themes.

I have this theory about theme. In two parts. First, a principle: Theme = Meaning. What does the story mean? Second, while there is almost always a Central Theme, there are multiple other Sub-Themes at play in a story. …


Part 11: Slipping a script.

“Most often when a script gets slipped to someone, it is an intentional move on the part of that writer’s reps. But sometimes a spec script can take on a life of its own. And the Hollywood script acquisition and development community is so small, it doesn’t take much for a script to end up in front of the right set of eyeballs.”

I’m guessing that perhaps 90% of the people who follow this blog at some point in their lives will write a spec script. And the other 10% are involved in buying and…


Written by Jeff Nichols

A trailer for the movie:

The script features two scenes which drop the reader into the middle of the action: Ellis has got something going on, presumably with a friend on the other end of the Walkie-Talkie; Mary Lee and Senior are in the midst of some sort of disagreement about “it.” That we don’t know what Ellis is up to or what “it” is… that’s the value of opening a script amidst action already in progress: It arouses the reader’s curiosity.

You may download the script here.

FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY!

Page One is…


An hour-long conversation with me.

Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with Jeniffer Thompson who along with her husband Chad oversee The Premise podcast. Check it out here.

For 100s more interviews with screenwriters and filmmakers, go here.


When we write a screenplay, I like to think of the process as one in which we wear several “hats”. Primarily, of course, we wear our Writer Hat where we get in touch with our vision for each story and give evidence on the page to our unique voice. That is the foundation, to write something that is a reflection of our distinctive creative expression.

But there are other “hats” we can don in the writing process which can help us craft a script which has the most resonance with other people key to the filmmaking process: Director, Actor, Editor.


A week-long analysis of this Oscar-nominated screenplay. Download. Read. Discuss.

Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this bi-weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read. Our daily schedule:

Monday: Scene-By-Scene Breakdown
Tuesday: Plot
Wednesday: Characters
Thursday: Themes
Friday: Dialogue
Saturday: Takeaways

Today: Characters.

Characters are the players in our stories. They participate in scenes, move the plot forward through action and dialogue, influence each other, evolve and change. Each has their own distinct backstory, personality, world view, and voice. …


One of the most memorable movie scenes ever… but have you read the script?

When you think about it, screenwriting is really about scene-writing. If a typical script is 120 pages and the average scene is 2 pages, then that means we write about 60 scenes per screenplay. Clearly, a writer needs to understand how to craft effective, engaging scenes in order to write a good script.

Hence, the Great Scene series. And what better scene to explore today than the ending of the classic 1941 movie Casablanca from the screenplay credited to Julius & Philip Epstein and Howard Koch.


Screenplay by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr.

The movie version of the opening.

For the movie’s title sequence, they edited together images of the factory where Norma Rae works and photographs from her past, everything tied together by the soundtrack song which plays during the opening and closing credits It Goes Like It Goes. Here are the lyrics:

Ain’t no miracle bein’ born
People doin’ it everyday
Ain’t no miracle growin’ old
People just roll that way

So it goes like it goes and the river flows
And time it rolls right on
And maybe what’s good gets a little…

Scott Myers

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