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Curious About Screenwriting Network

Welcome to the Curious About Screenwriting Network where you'll enjoy listening to fascinating film and writing industry guests who share insights from their careers and how you can take your screenwriting skills to the next level.
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Now displaying: 2019
Oct 9, 2019
Today on the show we have returning champion Heather Hale.  Heather Hale’s new book Story Selling: How to Develop, Market, and Pitch Your Film & TV Projects helps you get your stories out of your head and onto the worldwide stage. From the inspiration and conception of all kinds of creative writing, through the development and refinement of all the elements, to navigating the legal, financial, physical production, distribution and marketing labyrinths of the overlapping businesses of mass media, she explores how (and why) we write, co-create, share and monetize stories around the world today.
 
Pitching is an art form that brings together content and communication channels. Regardless of What you’re pitching . . . Where, When and to Whom . . . the principles are universal. It’s How you pitch that matters ― and there are countless strategies that combine elements in different combinations.
 
Heather’s book details all of them, their construction and applications, in a fun and interactive way that inspires readers to create memorable and saleable pitches in order to get their projects made.
 
Enjoy my conversation with Heather Hale.
Oct 9, 2019
I’ve been trying to get today’s guest on the show for months. Pilar Alessandra is an author, podcaster, and script consultant. She’s the director of the popular writing program “On The Page,” author of “The Coffee Break Screenwriter” and host of the “On the Page Podcast.”
 
Pilar started her career as Senior Story Analyst at DreamWorks SKG. In 2001, she opened the Los Angeles-based On the Page Writers’ Studio dedicated to teaching and consulting with screenwriters and TV writers at all levels.
 
An in-demand speaker, she’s taught seminars at DreamWorks, Disney Animation, ABC, CBS, and the AFM and has traveled the world teaching in the UK, China, Poland, Vietnam, Colombia, Portugal, and South Africa.
 
Pilar’s greatest accomplishment is the success of her students, many of whom have won top competitions such as the Nicholl Fellowship, are working on TV shows such as “The 100,” “Silicon Valley” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” and have sold feature films to major studios. 
 
Enjoy my conversation with Pilar Alessandra.
Oct 7, 2019

Even if your idea may not be immediately "hook-y" like a Happy Death Day or 40 Year-Old Virgin, your idea can still be simplified so the industry understands what the middle of your story is at its core. It's all about marketing, folks. Yes, you need to develop and execute an entertaining screenplay, but if no one understands your pitch, it's all for naught. So listen in on episode 72 of Wine Wednesday with Max Timm and Felicity Wren for insights, tools, and an all-around fun time.

A huge thanks to our sponsors, Your Script Produced Contest (which you must check out!), and the ISA's online class in screenwriting, The Craft Course. Go to www.TheCraftCourse.com. Only $99 for a 12-week, full-development online virtual consultant that will move you through your script quickly and efficiently. And you get to keep the course for life!

Remember, Felicity Wren and Max Timm always have open Q&A during every Facebook Live broadcast, so you should tune in when they broadcast their next live chat. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like at any time. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are no longer available. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. His Story Farm development and coaching service is quickly becoming the best in the business! Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to support you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Oct 7, 2019

The always amazing and informative Lee Jessup, screenwriting career coach and mentor, joins the Wine Wednesday team again...and the level of education is off the charts. Get your learning caps on as Lee, Max, and Felicity discuss the current events and trends of the Hollywood business and how screenwriters can gain an edge.

A huge thanks to our sponsors, Int'l Screenwriters' Association and of course, the wonderful Lee Jessup.

Remember, Felicity Wren and Max Timm always have open Q&A during every Facebook Live broadcast, so you should tune in when they broadcast their next live chat. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like at any time. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are no longer available. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. His Story Farm development and coaching service is quickly becoming the best in the business! Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to support you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Oct 7, 2019

In our first official episode of The Fantastic Story Society, Max Timm and Scott Markus break out the big guns with their own personal weird, wild, and of course fantastic stories AND they bring on their friend and long-time paranormal researcher, Jeff Belanger.

For more than 20 years, Jeff has been exploring ghosts, monsters, history, and legends. He’s the author of more than a dozen books that have been published in six languages, and he’s appeared on PBS, the Travel Channel, History Channel, CBS, Bio, and Amazon Prime, as well as radio programs such as Coast to Coast AM and NPR’s Talk of the Nation. His PBS series New England Legends has been nominated for two Emmy awards, while his podcast of the same name has been downloaded over one million times. To top it all off, he’s been the writer and researcher for the popular Travel Channel ghost investigation show, Ghost Adventures, since episode 1 (which is saying something since they're on season 18)!

As our very first official member of The Fantastic Story Society, we welcome Jeff Belanger...and yes, he has a story about a man-eating tree.

Find us on Twitter @FantasticGhosty and share your own Fantastic Stories with us!

Oct 7, 2019

Welcome to The Fantastic Story Society. Within the walls of this super-yet-not-so-secret club, you will find stories of the supernatural, paranormal, and just plain weird. In this pilot episode, co-hosts Max Timm and Scott Markus, each with their special backgrounds in storytelling and paranormal research, you'll be introduced to these two masters of ceremony by way of a few fantastic stories of their own. A shorter introductory pilot episode, Episode Zero, is just the primer for what's to come. Future episodes will highlight fantastic stories every week, but also specific special guests within various fields of the weird and fantastic. So stay tuned to more, and once again, welcome to The Fantastic Story Society.

Sep 25, 2019

On this week's episode of the SYS Podcast I talk with writer/director Richard Bates Jr. about his new horror feature, Tone-Deaf, starring Robert Patrick and Amanda Crew. We also talk about the early days of his career and how he turned his short film into his first feature.

Sep 25, 2019

In this episode of the podcast I talk with director Nick Hamm about his latest film, Driven. Driven is a true story based on the events that surrounded John DeLorean and the drug smuggling scandal he was involved in. DRIVEN is in theaters and on digital/demand as of August 16, 2019.

Sep 14, 2019

As part of our ongoing, ISA series podcast that involves a full-cast reading of winning short scripts from our various contests, we are proud to present The Table Read My Screenplay 2019 Hollywood Grand Prize winning short script, A LADY OF VASSAR by Anthony Cortez Fernandez.

Logline: Amid the cold and harsh woodlands of the northeast, a pious woman struggles to quell her ill-wishes against a selfish and insecure husband.

The roles of  Ruth will be played by Lauren Holiday - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3419400/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm

Ellis is read by Graham Selden - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm7045032/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

And narration by Felicity Wren - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3147267/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Enjoy and stay tuned for more. If you would like to apply to the next contest, head to www.tablereadmyscreenplay.com

 

Sep 5, 2019

Voice can be defined in so many different ways, but Felicity and Max talk about what they believe voice is and why. Join in on the conversation and if you're listening at home...grab a glass of yummy vino (if you're into that kind of thing) and sit back, relax, and laugh at Max and Felicity's ridiculousness...and yet quite informing live broadcast.

A huge thanks to our sponsors, The Story Farm and The Shift Creative Fund. If you're looking to develop multiple projects over a short period of time, we recommend inquiring with Max on his consulting and development service, The Story Farm. He just launched a calendar appointment system on his site where you can book time with him over the phone for as low as $45. Go to www.TheStoryFarm.org to learn more or just email him: max@thestoryfarm.org

Remember, Felicity Wren and Max Timm always have open Q&A during every Facebook Live broadcast, so you should tune in when they broadcast their next live chat. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like at any time. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are no longer available. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. His Story Farm development and coaching service is quickly becoming the best in the business! Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to support you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Sep 5, 2019

Half-hour comedies are all the rage! Whether it's multi-camera, or a half-hour Hulu comedy, the sit-coms are back and better than ever. Felicity and Max spend this hour on discussing their favorites, past and present, and why...all while sipping back some wine and answering questions live on Facebook. A big thanks to the Nickelodeon Writing Program for sponsoring!

Enjoy, and don't forget...

Felicity Wren and Max Timm always have open Q&A during every Facebook Live broadcast, so you should tune in when they broadcast their next live chat. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like at any time. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are no longer available. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. His Story Farm development and coaching service is quickly becoming the best in the business! Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to support you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Sep 4, 2019

SYS Episode 290:

In this week's episode of the SYS Podcast I talk with writer/director (and actor) Cal Barnes about his move from Oregon to Los Angeles, what he did when he arrived, and how he's been able to get himself into a position to write and direct a feature film.

Sep 4, 2019

We have a special episode today. I wanted to discuss a topic that NEVER gets discussed until minutes before the cameras begin to roll, shooting sex scenes. Loving making or sex scenes are like walking through a field of landmines. I’ve shot these kinds of scenes in my life and it’s just uncomfortable for everyone on set. Today we have a guest who literally wrote a book on the subject, John Bucher.

He is the author of six books including the best-selling Storytelling for Virtual Reality, named by BookAuthority as one of the best storytelling books of all time. John has worked with companies including HBO, DC Comics, The History Channel, A24 Films, The John Maxwell Leadership Foundation and served as a consultant and writer for numerous film, television, and Virtual Reality projects. The book that inspired this episode is A BEST PRACTICE GUIDE TO SEX AND STORYTELLING.

A great deal of storytelling in film and television involves narratives that include sexual situations and nudity. The increased amount of on-line and streaming content outlets has in turn increased the number of narratives that involve these once-taboo subjects. Often, even though directors and producers desire to handle such issues with professionalism, sets become awkward when producing these scenes. 

I hope this episode serves as a helpful tool for guiding creators through these waters.

Enjoy my conversation with John Bucher.

Sep 4, 2019

Today on the show we have the chairman of the legendary Cooke Optics empire. For over 100 years, Cooke has been at the centre of the filmmaking business. We’ve been listening to the community of which we are a part. We lead by introducing new products such as /i Technology, and we remember our success is built on a simple idea – do what the filmmaker needs.

From Cooke Optics website:

Our factory in Leicester, England has generations from the same family working side by side. That experience is un-beaten anywhere. We manufacture a full range of primes and zooms for 35mm, digital and Super 16mm photography, plus a range of large format stills lenses.

We know our customers, and they know us, as individuals. Our rental partners do their training next to the craftsman who built their lenses. There are no barriers. We meet our customers at our factory, at trade events, distributors and rental houses and of course on the set.

We’re intolerant when it comes to tolerances. We research continuously to drive innovation. Our lenses are dependable and practical in use on the set; our optics superb. The lenses are straightforward to maintain – which is why so many rental facilities carry our products. Our manufacturing and testers keep going until we get each lens within our very tight specification. We get it right, whatever it takes. At the heart of what makes Cooke special is the “Cooke Look”. The Cooke Look® is about the science of creating beautiful images for the motion picture industry.

As a result, for over a century, cinematographers have chosen Cooke lenses for a smooth roundness and dimensionality to the picture and for the velvety skin tones that flatter.

Enjoy my conversation with Les Zella.

Sep 4, 2019

Bulletproof Screenplay Episode 50:

We made it to 50 EPISODES! So grateful the show has taken off. Thanks for all the support!

Today on the show we have storytelling guru John Bucher, who is a renowned strategist, communicator, and cultural mythologist based out of Hollywood, California. Disruptor named him one of the top 25 influencers in Virtual Reality in 2018.

“John Bucher is an influencer. He’s one of our most prolific contributors.” — HBO

He is the author of six books including the best-selling Storytelling for Virtual Reality, named by BookAuthority as one of the best storytelling books of all time. John has worked with companies including HBO, DC Comics, The History Channel, A24 Films, The John Maxwell Leadership Foundation and served as a consultant and writer for numerous film, television, and Virtual Reality projects. Currently, he teaches writing and story courses as part of the Joseph Campbell Writers Room at Studio School in Los Angeles and at the LA Film Studies Center. He has spoken on 5 continents about using the power of story to reframe how products, individuals, organizations, cultures, and nations are viewed.

John is a prolific writer.

STORYTELLING FOR VIRTUAL REALITY

Storytelling for Virtual Reality serves as a bridge between students of new media and professionals working between the emerging world of VR technology and the art form of classical storytelling. Rather than examining purely the technical, the text focuses on the narrative and how stories can best be structured, created, and then told in virtual immersive spaces. Author John Bucher examines the timeless principles of storytelling and how they are being applied, transformed, and transcended in Virtual Reality. Interviews, conversations, and case studies with both pioneers and innovators in VR storytelling are featured, including industry leaders at LucasFilm, 20th Century Fox, Oculus, Insomniac Games, and Google.

A BEST PRACTICE GUIDE TO SEX AND STORYTELLING

A great deal of storytelling in film and television involves narratives that include sexual situations and nudity. The increased amount of on-line and streaming content outlets has in turn increased the number of narratives that involve these once-taboo subjects. Often, even though directors and producers desire to handle such issues with professionalism, sets become awkward when producing these scenes. A Best Practice Guide to Sex and Storytelling serves as a helpful tool for guiding creators through these waters.

MASTER OF THE CINEMATIC UNIVERSE

Master of the Cinematic Universe is a guide to the future of transmedia storytelling. Content creators of every flavor are constantly needing to expand the mediums they can work in. This volume serves as a resource for using the timeless truths of story structure to craft established as well as up and coming short-form media formats.

STORYTELLING BY THE NUMBERS

Storytelling By The Numbers is a collection of essays and articles that John Bucher has written for LA Screenwriter and a variety of other outlets. All are meant to strengthen storytellers and scriptwriters. Bucher examines trends and tropes found in current film and television and uses these examples to demonstrate how and why they work as storytelling devices. Writers from any genre, working with any type of narrative can finds jewels of wisdom and applicable nuggets for their own ideas. The collection also features ten powerful writing prompts to assist writers in creating or developing a script idea from a single character.

Enjoy my conversation with John Bucher.

Sep 4, 2019

Bulletproof Screenwriting Episode 49:

Today on the show we have Hollywood screenwriter, director, producer, podcaster and novelist John August. He is known for writing the hit Hollywood films Go, Charlie’s Angels, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Big Fish, Charlie, and the Chocolate Factory and Frankenweenie, the Disney live-action adaptation of Aladdin and the novel Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire. Here are some of the trailers of his work.

He hosts the popular screenwriting podcast Scriptnotes with Craig Mazin, maintains an eponymous screenwriting blog and develops screenwriter-targeted software called Highland 2.5 through his company, Quote-Unquote Apps.

Enjoy my conversation with John August.

Aug 15, 2019

In this episode of “Just Click Submit,” the ISA’s Scott Markus speaks with Stephen Zimmer, the creator of Louisville’s Imaginarium Convention, a festival celebrating writers and all things pop culture.

The Imaginarium Convention made its debut in 2014 with a central focus on providing creative writers and other creative talents educational, networking, professional, and mentoring opportunities. In 2019, The Writer Magazine named the Imaginarium Convention the best writing conference in Kentucky and the 2nd best writing conference in the Southeast USA.

The Imaginarium Convention welcomes all genres and levels of experience, maintaining an inclusive, welcoming environment that brings together the vibrant atmosphere of a convention with the content-rich nature of a major writers conference. Three days filled with over 130 panels and workshops provide creative individuals an abundance to choose from to develop skill-sets to further their professional and artistic journeys.

In supporting creative writing in all forms, The Imaginarium Convention embraces Game Development and Film/TV production, including programming content in each of these areas, a weekend-long gaming room, and an independent film festival with juried awards.

More recently, The Imaginarium Convention has begun to develop the Imaginarium Initiative, to help facilitate support and educational opportunities for communities in need. Our first target area for this program will be the Eastern Kentucky region.

A positive event that provides a wide range of support and beneficial elements to a diverse array of attendees, Imaginarium is dedicated to continue growing and expanding what we can offer to those pursuing a creative path.

Aug 12, 2019

Episode 288

In this episode of the SYS Podcast I talk with screenwriter Aaron Harvey about his career and how he got his new film, Into The Ashes, into production. Like many aspiring screenwriters, Aaron grew up far from Hollywood and without any industry connections. In the interview he goes through his journey moving to LA and building a career for himself.

Aug 12, 2019

Episode 287

This week on the podcast I talk with writer/director/actor Christopher Bradley about his new indie drama, The Trigger, which he shot in Arizona. We talk through his process making this film as well as his career and what brought him to this point.

Aug 12, 2019

Episode 286

This week on the SYS Podcast episode I talk with Writer/Director Jérôme Cohen-Olivar about his early days growing up in Morocco and how that lead him to a career writing and directing, including his latest horror feature film, The 16th Episode.

Aug 12, 2019

Episode 285

This week on the podcast I talk with producer Steve Longi about his process for finding, developing, and producing films. Specifically we talk about Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson) and how that project came together after many years.

Jul 24, 2019

Is Artificial Intelligence Putting Screenwriters Out of Work? with Andrew Kortschak

Today on the show we have filmmaker Andrew Kortschak. In today’s digital age, where ‘releasing’ a film involves putting it on Vimeo, new filmmakers often struggle to rise above the noise and break into the exclusive industry.

Andrew has a unique approach to this problem and in fact joined forces with a Silicon Valley venture capitalist to build End Cue like a tech startup: via a bi-coastal incubator model where directors cut their teeth and build their portfolios doing commercial work. On such alum of this approach is Jon Watts  – Andrew co-produced his NBR award-winning film Cop Carbefore he’d go on to direct Spiderman: Homecoming.

To further address the pain-points of young producers, End Cue even sprouted groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to save time during the scriptwriting process. This was a fascinating conversation. Enjoy my talk with Andrew Kortschak.

Jul 24, 2019

Today on the show we have screenwriters David and Diamond and David Weissman. Their credits include studios movies like Family Man, Evolution, Old Dogs and When in Rome. We discuss their adventures in the screenwriting trade, working with studios and their new book Bulletproof: Writing Scripts that Don’t Get Shot Down.

The team of Diamond and Weissman have been writing movies and mentoring filmmakers for decades. In this practical guide, they take the aspiring writer by the hand and guide them through the logistics and tools of writing an attention-grabbing, audience-pleasing screenplay. Readers will learn the interests and needs of managers, agents, producers, executives, financiers, directors, and actors. Diamond and Weissman attribute their phenomenal success to a career-long focus on the motives and priorities of film sponsors and benefactors.

Whether it’s a theatrical release or a streaming movie, a major, big-budget tent pole or an intimate, character-driven indie drama, Diamond and Weissman apply their time-tested approach. This fresh way of thinking will resonate with writers, industry professionals, and cinephiles excited to peek under the hood at what makes their favorite films tick.

Bulletproof: Writing Scripts that Don’t Get Shot Down is the rare screenwriting instructional penned by authors with both massive credits and decades of business experience.

Enjoy my conversation with David Diamond and David Weissman.

Jul 24, 2019

Why do we have favorite characters from movies and TV? What makes them our favorite? What makes them memorable? On this episode of Wine Wednesday, sponsored by John Truby and Steele Wines, Felicity and Max share their favorite characters and what makes them...favorite. Join in. Grab a glass of vino. And have a little fun with Facebook Live and the ISA.

A huge thanks to our sponsors, The Story Farm and Steele Wines. If you're looking to develop multiple projects over a short period of time, we recommend inquiring with Max on his consulting and development service, The Story Farm. He and continues to help so many writers reach their maximum storytelling potential. Go to www.TheStoryFarm.org to learn more or email him: max@thestoryfarm.org

Remember, Felicity Wren and Max Timm always have open Q&A during every Facebook Live broadcast, so you should tune in when they broadcast their next live chat. Even though most broadcasts focus on a particular subject, every writer is welcome to ask anything they like at any time. Felicity and Max will do their best to give you a straight and honest answer.

This is a podcast recording of the ISA's Facebook Live broadcast of Wine Wednesdays. Please note that some promotions offered during the live broadcast are no longer available. We can, however, assist you if you wish to find out more information regarding ISA events, contests, or consulting offers. Just reach out to info@networkisa.org and we will be happy to help.

You can reach out to Max regarding any type of query: max@networkisa.org If you have particular interest in working with him on a one-on-one coaching and development basis, email him at max@thestoryfarm.org. His Story Farm development and coaching service is quickly becoming the best in the business! Felicity can also be reached at Felicity@networkisa.org. She, too, can work with you one-on-one, so don't hesitate to inquire. We can't wait to support you.

Subjects and themes for the broadcasts change from week to week, so stay tuned on most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm Los Angeles time. For a specific schedule and set of announcements, "Like" the ISA Facebook page and keep up to date.

Jul 15, 2019

BPS 047: What Makes a Great Screenplay with Stephen Follows

What Makes a Great Screenplay with Stephen Follows

What if someone could read over 12,000 scripts that were read by professional script readers, who gave the scripts an overall score as well as scores for specific factors including plot, dialogue, characterization, theme, and voice. Then looked for connections and correlations to discover what professional script readers think a good screenplay looks like. Well, today on the show I have that man, Stephen Follows.

It’s a monster of a report — 65 pages to be exact — that examines data from over 12,000 screenplays – mostly written by amateurs, but some of them written by professionals and major Hollywood actors.  Using rigorous data analysis methodologies, Stephen and his team found some fascinating correlations.

Click here to read the report: Judging Screenplays By Their Coverage Report

What They Found

Here’s just a taste of this amazing report. Later sections go into more detail and more topics, but below are nine tips screenwriters should take on board to help improve their chances of impressing script readers.

Know thy genre. Your priorities should rest on the particular nature of your chosen genre. For example, Family films place the highest premium on catharsis, while for Action films it’s plot.
Some stories work better than others. The vast majority of scripts can be summarized using just six basic emotional plot arcs – and some perform better than others.
If you’re happy and you know it, redraft your script. Film is about conflict and drama and for almost all genres, the happier the scripts were, the worse they performed. The one notable exception was comedy, where the reverse is true.
Swearing is big and it is clever. There is a positive correlation between the level of swearing in a script and how well it scored, for all but the sweariest screenplays.
It’s not about length, it’s what you do with it. The exact length doesn’t matter too much, so long as your script is between 90 and 130 pages. Outside of those approximate boundaries scores drop precipitously.
Don’t rush your script for a competition. The closer to the deadline a script was finished, the worse it performed.
Use flashbacks responsibly. Scripts with more than fifteen flashbacks perform worse than those with few to no flashbacks.
VO is A-OK. Some in the industry believe that frequent use of voiceover is an indicator of a bad movie, however, we found no such correlation. We suggest that any complaints on the topic should be sent to editors, rather than writers.
Don’t worry if you’re underrepresented within your genre – it’s your superpower. Female writers outperform male writers in male-dominated genres (such as Action) and the reverse is true in female-dominated genres (such as Family).
Stephen Follows is an established data researcher in the film industry whose work has been featured in the New York Times, The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Evening Standard, Newsweek, The New Statesman, AV Club, and Indiewire.

He acted as an industry consultant and guest on the BBC Radio 4 series The Business of Film, which was topped the iTunes podcast chart, and has consulted for a wide variety of clients, including the Smithsonian in Washington.

I just love Stephen and his amazing ability to crunch numbers for the benefit of the filmmaking community. He’s truly doing God’s work. Get ready to go down the rabbit hole and see what makes a great screenplay.

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