Business

the business of screenwriting

 Brianne Hogan

The Producer: Touching Every Part of the Story

The Producer: Touching Every Part of the Story

Miriam Segal discusses the role of the producer, reveals what writers should know about the production process, and offers advice for screenwriters.

Miriam Segal discusses the role of the producer, reveals what writers should know about the production process, and offers advice for screenwriters.

 David Albert Pierce

Fictionalization: How Not To Get Sued

Fictionalization: How Not To Get Sued

David Albert Pierce, Esq. explores how to use factual events in your screenwriting, and offers advice on best practice for fictionalization.

David Albert Pierce, Esq. explores how to use factual events in your screenwriting, and offers advice on best practice for fictionalization.

 Lee Nordling

Create Your Pitch Part II: Sell, Don’t Tell

Create Your Pitch Part II: Sell, Don’t Tell

Lee Nordling on why all writing is selling, the danger of detail, evoking an emotional response, and conceiving your story in broad strokes.

Lee Nordling on why all writing is selling, the danger of detail, evoking an emotional response, and conceiving your story in broad strokes.

 Lee Nordling

Create Your Pitch Part I: Baiting the Hook

Create Your Pitch Part I: Baiting the Hook

Lee Nordling on giving away the good part, the problem with high concept pitches, and the importance of hitting the producer between the eyes.

Lee Nordling on giving away the good part, the problem with high concept pitches, and the importance of hitting the producer between the eyes.

 Sam Roads

(Virtually) Everything Story

(Virtually) Everything Story

A 10-day virtual screenwriting convention, with 30 sessions for $197!

Creative Screenwriting doesn’t often feature news. We pride ourselves on delivering high quality interviews and craft articles with the best screenwriters in the business. However, today I’d like to break with tradition and tell you about a virtual screenwriting conference taking place on the 15th-24th June, called (Virtually) Everything Story. (Virtually) Everything Story The event features an amazing […]

 Sam Roads

Let us help you with your screenplay!

Let us help you with your screenplay!

Creative Screenwriting is proud to introduce our brand new script-reading service.

At Creative Screenwriting we are committed to providing you with the tools you need to become a better writer. From articles on the craft of writing, to interviews with successful screenwriters, and of course our wide range of instructional videos, we have decades of experience in helping aspiring writers. Now we are pleased to offer […]

 Ramona Zacharias

Final Draft’s 25th Anniversary

Final Draft’s 25th Anniversary

Co-creator Marc Madnick on leading the industry, the Final Draft awards and adapting to the needs of the modern customer.

by Ramona Zacharias. “Write the screenplay of your dreams”. For 25 years, Marc Madnick and his company Final Draft have been helping writers to achieve that goal. Co-founded in 1991 by Madnick and Ben Cahan, the latter’s technical savvy combined with the former’s marketing genius, and together they created a stellar product. With all three […]

 Jason Nawara

Brian Herskowitz: A Unified Theory of Screenwriting

Brian Herskowitz: A Unified Theory of Screenwriting

In the second of a two-part interview, Brian Herskowitz discusses his latest book Process to Product, screenwriting guides, and his Horror Equity Fund.

By Jason Nawara. Creative Screenwriting readers may be familiar with Brian Herskowitz, whose lecture Crafting the Outline for Your Feature Film is available to purchase on our website, and who has recently released one of the most pragmatic books on the craft of screenwriting: Process to Product. Besides writing, producing and directing dozens of projects, from […]

 Lauri Donahue

How Your Indie-style Script Could Get You a Job with Disney Animation

How Your Indie-style Script Could Get You a Job with Disney Animation

Creative Executive Jessica Julius talks about Disney's script development process, the Story Trust, and the importance of not being Prickly.

By Lauri Donahue. Jessica Julius is a Walt Disney Animation Studios creative executive who has worked on hits including Frozen, Tangled, Big Hero 6, and Wreck-It Ralph. She’s now involved in developing Frozen 2 with the filmmakers. Since Disney bought Pixar in 2006, and John Lasseter became chief creative offer of both studios (as well […]

 Jacob N. Stuart

Query Letters: Hoax or Not?

Query Letters: Hoax or Not?

Stephanie Palmer and Jacob N. Stuart share their thoughts on the effectiveness of query letters for screenplays.

By Jacob N. Stuart. Let’s say you plan to write a query letter to get a screenplay agent. Here’s my advice – don’t. Stephanie Palmer With these words, Stephanie Palmer began “The Great Query Letter Hoax“, a recent article about query letters, claiming that they do not work. Stephanie Palmer is the author of Good in […]

 Donna Marie Miller

Linklater and Arquette: Boyhood’s Twelve Year Martini Shot

Linklater and Arquette: Boyhood’s Twelve Year Martini Shot

Richard Linklater and Patricia Arquette discuss studio financing, equal pay for women and tax incentives for moviemakers.

By Donna Marie Miller. Texas attracted the world’s attention with Boyhood, the movie written and directed by Richard Linklater, after being nominated for six Academy Awards including best picture last February. Today Linklater and one of the most recognizable faces from Boyhood, leading lady Patricia Arquette, have quickly become Texas spokespersons regarding the state of […]

 Sean Hood

How to Write Screenplays for Amazon

How to Write Screenplays for Amazon

An in depth interview with Roy Price, Head of Amazon Studios.

By Sean Hood. As I dig into yet another semester teaching at USC, I am showered with questions from students, recent graduates and other emerging writers: Is indie cinema dead? Are original movie specs, scripts not based on a YA novel or Marvel comic book, a waste of time? What should we be writing now? […]

 Brianne Hogan

Meet the Reader: Olga Lexell

Meet the Reader: Olga Lexell

Script Reader Olga Lexell talks about how to avoid the slush pile, what type of scripts get the all-important green light, and why randomness is not the same as originality.

By Brianne Hogan. Growing up, script reader Olga Lexell was a bit of a nomad, living in a handful of different countries, but there was always one constant in her life: film. “My mother exposed me to a lot of indie and foreign films when I was a kid,” Lexell recalls. “I used to go […]

 Ron Suppa

Is Literary Management For You?

Is Literary Management For You?

Ron Suppa discusses the benefits and risks of having a manager.

By Ron Suppa. Who are these guys anyway? Wistfully, I tell you that I once had an agent. A good one. A big wig at CAA. Now that person manages literary talent and often acts as a producer of the scripts he manages. This did not endear him further to me as, call me crazy, […]

 Donna Marie Miller

“The camera doesn’t know what it’s shooting” – Producing for Netflix

“The camera doesn’t know what it’s shooting” – Producing for Netflix

Producer Dana Brunetti discusses the award-winning House of Cards for Netflix, his short film competition for first time writers, and the upcoming film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey.

By Donna Marie Miller. Seventeen years ago a chance meeting between actor Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti led to a successful professional collaboration in the movie industry. Today, Brunetti pays the favor forward by giving unknown screenwriters their first shot at filmmaking with Jameson First Shot short film competition. The Brunetti and Spacey partnership formed […]

 Brianne Hogan

Meet the Reader: Nicole Saltz

Meet the Reader: Nicole Saltz

"Protagonists are kind of like North Stars." Script consultant Nicole Saltz talks about what she looks for in screenplays.

By Brianne Hogan Growing up, script consultant Nicole Saltz was more interested in reading books than screenplays. Heavily influenced by her mother, an English teacher, and her maternal grandmother (“A great lover of literature”), young Nicole, a Toronto resident by way of South Africa, could be found with her nose in a book rather than […]

 Gregory Bernstein

Notes and Negotiation, a Screenwriter’s Guide

Notes and Negotiation, a Screenwriter’s Guide

Award-winning scriptwriter Greg Bernstein applies negotiation theory to the emotionally-charged business of responding to notes on your script.

By Gregory Bernstein. Last movie I wrote was about Okies in the Dust Bowl. You’d never know because when it reached the screen, the whole thing played on a torpedo boat. Joe Gillis from Sunset Blvd., written by Charles Brackett, D.M. Marshman, Jr., and Billy Wilder. We screenwriters complete a draft, turn ourselves inside out […]

 Lauri Donahue

Comic-Con for Screenwriters: Austin Film Festival

Comic-Con for Screenwriters: Austin Film Festival

Getting the most out of the World’s Greatest Festival for Screenwriters.

By Lauri Donahue. What Comic-Con is for comic book fans, the Austin Film Festival’s Writer’s Conference is for screenwriters. In the words of one panelist, Think of this as summer camp – the best, nerdiest summer camp you could ever go to.  You’re on a journey to build a career as a writer.  It’s a […]

 Ron Suppa

The Art of Self-Promotion for Writers

The Art of Self-Promotion for Writers

Excerpted in part from 'Real Screenwriting: Strategies and Stories from the Trenches'.

by Ron Suppa. Face it folks, we screenwriters can be as invisible as a polar bear in a snowstorm. Out of sight, out of mind. If they can’t see you, how can you expect them to respect you? (“They” being the agents, producers and studio honchos) The challenge, as in any business, is to get […]

 Brianne Hogan

Meet the Reader: Amanda Pendolino

Meet the Reader: Amanda Pendolino

Script Reader Amanda Pendolino talks grammar, multi-tasking and reading more.

By Brianne Hogan Sure, her college degree sounds scientific – a Bachelor of Science in Television – but script reader Amanda Pendolino didn’t spend much time in the lab at school. “I’m endlessly amused that I got a Bachelor of Science in Television without taking a single science class,” Pendolino says. A native of Buffalo, […]

 Brianne Hogan

Meet the Reader: Bitter Script Reader

Meet the Reader: Bitter Script Reader

Brianne Hogan meets the man behind the puppet behind the pseudonym.

By  Brianne Hogan. One can expect a bit of mystery from a Hollywood script reader who goes by the pseudonym Bitter Script Reader (and who sometimes goes by the name Zuul, which is, yes, fittingly inspired by the infamous gatekeeper from “Ghostbusters”). We’re not sure what companies he’s worked for the in past, or which […]

 Paul Parcellin

From I Love Lucy to The Sopranos

From I Love Lucy to The Sopranos

Terence Winter's journey to become showrunner for Boardwalk Empire.

By Paul Parcellin. The paths writers take toward achieving their career goals are varied, and Terence Winter’s passageway toward television writing included detours into medieval history studies and becoming an attorney—the latter he decided he could do without. His passion for history stuck with him, and no doubt helps fire the creative flames in producing […]

 Holly Grigg-Spall

America’s #1 Film Instructor

America’s #1 Film Instructor

Dov Simens inspired Quentin Tarantino, Michael Jackson and Will Smith. Now he gives Creative Screenwriting his best advice.

By Holly Grigg-Spall. “Keep it simple stupid!” Filmmaking guru Dov Simens leads the notorious ‘2 Day Film School’ – an intensive course in how to write, direct, produce, and release a movie under any budget that inspired the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, and Chris Nolan, and gleans a string of A-List endorsements (just […]

 Paula Hendrickson

Making Chicago Heights for Just $1000

Making Chicago Heights for Just $1000

Daniel Nearing explains how he produced and marketed the micro-budget movie Chicago Heights.

by Paula Hendrickson. After sharing Daniel Nearing’s screenwriting process in a previous issue, it only seemed right to follow through and find out how he’s managed to produce critically praised films with almost non-existent budgets. Here’s how. Most filmmakers consider $2 million a micro-budget. You made Chicago Heights (now The Last Soul on a Summer […]

 Lauri Donahue

Moneyball for Movies: Market Research for Screenwriters

Moneyball for Movies: Market Research for Screenwriters

How screenwriters are using market research to sell their screenplays

by Lauri Donahue When Variety reported on July 22 that Piedmont Media Research had developed a system for predicting a movie’s box office take before the film was even made, the firm started fielding calls from some unexpected customers: screenwriters. Within weeks, Piedmont had heard from more than 50 scribes hoping to use the company’s […]

 Holly Grigg-Spall

Alex Drummond and The Shower

The writer/director/producer decides to make his own movie, showing them what he can do

by Holly Grigg-Spall After trying out the studio system for size and making some head way, screenwriter Alex Drummond decided to take a horror script and make it himself—over a summer, with his wife and co-workers in the restaurant business. Drummond directed and produced The Shower, a fun, entertaining, but thought-provoking movie about a group […]

 Carlos Aguilar

Breaking In: Justin Haythe

Breaking In: Justin Haythe

On retaining an authentic voice in your writing, collaboration and protecting your integrity

by Carlos Aguilar British-born writer Justin Haythe achieved success with his debut novel The Honeymoon back in 2004—the same year his first screenplay was produced: The Clearing (co-written with the director Pieter Jan Brugge). This fine start brought opportunities including the adaptation of Richard Yates novel Revolutionary Road that would earn Haythe a BAFTA nomination […]

 René S. Garcia, Jr.

Anthony C. Ferrante’s D.I.Y. Film School

Anthony C. Ferrante on Sharknado and building a directing career

by René S. Garcia, Jr. “Either you want to make movies or you don’t; it’s painful. Writing is painful. Directing is painful because if you care about what you’re doing you want it to be the best it can be. And every day that you sit down to write or every day you’re on set […]

 Brianne Hogan

Meet the Reader: Kate Rocheleau

Meet the Reader: Kate Rocheleau

Script reader Kate Rocheleau takes you inside the script business

By Brianne Hogan. To sell a screenplay or a TV pilot, the emerging screenwriter first needs to get it past a reader, like Kate Rocheleau. She is a gatekeeper (well, one of many) who decides whether a screenwriter’s work gets passed along to the big guys who sign the checks. A true New Englander (she […]

 Charles Deemer

Writing for Harried Readers

Writing for Harried Readers

Avoid verbosity and craft the skimable screenplay

by Charles Deemer All writing that’s meant to communicate implies the existence of a reader. And readers are different. The reader of The New Yorker has different expectations from the reader of USA Today. Learning about the particular readers for whom your work is intended is part of understanding the marketplace. This is where the […]

 G.N. Jacobs

To Kickstart or Ask Grandpa for the Dough?

To Kickstart or Ask Grandpa for the Dough?

G.N. Jacobs looks at the SEC controversy

by G.N. Jacobs Entrepreneurs all over the civilized world anxiously await the results of an ongoing discussion at the SEC about the future of crowdfunding sites like www.kickstarter.com and www.indiegogo.com. Coming on the heels of the small handful of Kickstarter projects that have gone bad and a legal requirement related to the 2012 JOBS Act, […]

 Holly Grigg-Spall

Alex Karpovsky on D.I.Y.

Making movies in your spare time

by Holly Grigg-Spall Alex Karpovsky is best known for his performance as Ray, the grumpy barista in HBO’s Girls, and perhaps for his forthcoming role in the much-hyped Coen Brother’s Inside Llewyn Davis, but he’s also a prolific filmmaker with five features he’s directed, four of which he also produced and wrote, and three he […]

 Holly Grigg-Spall

Going for Gold

Ari Gold’s Adventures of Power and the D.I.Y. life

by Holly Grigg-Spall Ari Gold might be best known as the inspiration for the name of Jeremy Piven’s character in Entourage. Google “Ari Gold,” and that’s what you’ll find first, but look a little closer and you’ll see the man behind, and in front of, the cult classic, air-drumming comedy Adventures of Power (which also […]

 Holly Grigg-Spall

Simon Savory on Bruno & Earlene

Why don’t we just do it in the road?

by Holly Grigg-Spall British writer-director-producer Simon Savory’s first feature, LGBTQI road movie Bruno & Earlene Go To Vegas, had its US premiere at OutFest in Los Angeles and has already garnered an array of gushing reviews. Former Troma team member and film theorist turned filmmaker, Savory discusses the ups and downs of playing as many […]

 Julian Phillips

How I Made $100,000 as a Screenwriter

How I Made $100,000 as a Screenwriter

Tips, form letters, contracts and eight long years

by Julian Phillips How I made $100,000 as a screenwriting in eight years. Sounds like one of those weight-loss ads you’d see in the back pages of a ’70s comic book, doesn’t it? So without any introduction or further boasting, here are some basic proofs that the header here is true, certainly as far as […]

 David Konow

The Current (and Possibly Future) State of Screenwriting

The Current (and Possibly Future) State of Screenwriting

Creative Screenwriting speaks to screenwriters about where things stand and where they are headed

by David Konow Back in the ’90s, it was a great time to be an aspiring screenwriter. With the success of films like Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects, people realized the importance of a well-crafted script, and reports of major spec sales would regularly hit the trades. More clever scripts from fresh new voices […]

 Craig Manning

Producer Gary Goldstein and Kickstarter

Producer Gary Goldstein and Kickstarter

Filmmakers flock to Kickstarter for project funding, exposure

by Craig Manning For many, the name “Gary Goldstein” may not immediately ring a bell, but chances are that most have seen the movies he’s worked on. Goldstein, one of the Hollywood producers behind films like Pretty Woman, the prototypical 1990 romantic comedy, or Under Siege, a 1992 thriller starring Steven Seagal, has largely disappeared from […]

 Andrew Bloomenthal

Anatomy of a Production Deal

Anatomy of a Production Deal

Nina Yang Bongiovi on producing Fruitvale Station

by Andrew Bloomenthal It began when Nina Yang Bongiovi—producer with Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions, received word from her old USC film professor about an ambitious young film student with a compelling story to tell. It just so happened, Yang Bongiovi was looking for candidates for her company’s Emerging Filmmakers program. Yang Bongiovi subsequently met with […]

 Scott Essman

Travis Beacham on Breaking Into Hollywood

Travis Beacham on Breaking Into Hollywood

by Scott Essman When prompted how he launched his career as a screenwriter, Travis Beacham humbly stated, “I don’t really know.” Surely, with Pacific Rim in theaters in 2013, and Clash of the Titans a major international hit in 2010, Beacham is already near the top of a very short list of reliable genre writers, […]


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Joss Whedon on Screenwriting

Richard Walters