There is a moment in every screenplay, where the main character moves from Act One into Act Two. ‘Moves’, because in successful films, this is a moment where we travel from A to B. In screenwriting jargon, we call this the First Threshold. Sometimes, it happens in the blink of an eye, in other movies […]
Improve your format & style and get ready to write ‘FADE IN’.
It was the most beautiful chocolate cake I had ever seen. The college professor laid it gently on the table. My salivary glands were already anticipating a most excellent sensory experience. by David Trottier “Would you like a piece?” she asked the class. Sitting on the front row, I was sure my chances were good. […]
I am frequently asked how to format text messages and email messages while maintaining the script’s “readability.” There are several methods depending on your dramatic purpose. All of the examples below are correctly formatted. by David Trottier In the first example, Sharon receives a text message from someone that she (Sharon) wants to show to […]
About 90% of the formatting complaints I hear from agents and producers have to do with scene headings, sometimes called slug lines. by David Trottier As a script consultant, I sometimes find myself saying while reading a script, “Where am I?” For example, here’s one of my favorites: INT. A HECTIC BREAKFAST – DAY “A […]
It’s almost summertime at the box office, which means big effects, big budgets, and even bigger stakes for the studios. Because it’s tentpole movie season. by Danny Manus You’ve probably heard the terms four-quadrant and tentpole movie, but what do they mean exactly? Should you be writing one? And what makes them work? A four-quadrant […]
Cinephilia and Beyond published a brilliant piece on David Mamet, where he rails against exposition. The article opens with James Foley’s director’s commentary on Glengarry Glen Ross, and it includes the full screenplay. I remember interviewing Foley at the time of the film’s first release. It struck me how Mamet was very much the elephant in the room […]
After decades in the biz, I see the same dialogue errors over and over again. Don’t make these mistakes. by David Trottier 1. Obvious exposition. Husband: “Darling, how long have we been married now?” Wife: “Silly, it’s been 20 years. Remember Hawaii—the North Shore?” Husband: “Oh yeah, that little honeymoon cottage.” When your characters seem […]