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Screenwriting Advice

Written by Gordy Hoffman

Kubrick's Boxes

I watched a movie on Kubrick's boxes last night. The master would prepare so completely and with such great detail, he left behind thousands of boxes of photographs, notes, memos, fan letters and blank stationary, all collected and stored meticulously in service of the development of his work, produced and very much unproduced. To some, this level of commitment is excessive. I found it oddly soothing. It was like the first time I saw the opening of LA DOLCE VITA. (If you haven't seen this, stop reading this article and watch the movie.)
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You're an Idiot: Making Value from Reaction to your Screenwriting   

If you're like me, if someone doesn't like something about my screenplay, my very first reaction is always the same. You're not as smart as me. If you knew what I knew, you would understand what I wrote. And you don't understand what I wrote, because you don't know as much as I do. About everything, in general. In short, life. You know, people. Planet Earth. If you really don't understand what I'm doing in my script, my first feeling is I don't respect you. I have contempt for you. I feel attacked personally, and with my feelings hurt, I want to denigrate your position, and while I won't call you an idiot, basically the foundation of my exchange with you in the wake of you reading my script is you are, in fact, some kind of idiot.
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The Rogue Knight of Cinema: Why Screenplay Contests Matter   

Screenplay contests are changing cinema. Coming from a person who runs one, your first reaction to this statement is most likely, "The only reason you're saying that is you want me to enter yours." Or more frankly, "You just want my money." Well, coming from one who runs one, I'll say you're right. Sorta. I want you to enter any contest. If you are an unknown, amateur writer, one who's had a taste of success, or even the millionaire living in hills of Silver Lake, your entry to a screenplay competition stirs a monster.
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You are the Box Office Smash: The Personal Screenplay   

Right this very second, in the heart of every struggling, undiscovered screenwriter, in the dark, hidden corner deep within, there is a voice, a clear whisper, saying one thing: You're never gonna figure this out. And this is not referring to the story with its gaping hole, the finale missing a payoff, the hit and miss humor, the flat title. I'm talking about freedom. The freedom to work as a screenwriter. Compensation for a home for family and a life. The resources to wake up and ply your craft and pay the freight, without obstacle. The chance to see your writing made into pictures, to work with the industry's best, to fulfill this goal of professional screenwriter. Hollywood success.
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Naming Your Baby: How to Find a Great Title to your Screenplay

How exactly does one work on the title of their screenplay? I recently came up with such a wonderful idea for a movie, one of those miraculous moments, like finding money on the sidewalk. I told somebody, and they said, "Great. What's the title?" Suddenly, and rather horrifyingly, my beauty of an idea is crippled. Instant orphaned bastard! You wanna strangle the person. You feel insulted. What's the title!? Why would you even ask that, like, right after I told you this incredible gem?
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The Heart and Soul of Screenwriting: Writing good dialogue and description

Writing dialogue and description is writing a screenplay. You can argue about format and tab margins and what to capitalize and what not. I won't. Dialogue and description is where the experience of screenplay for your reader lives. We write screenplays to make movies. They are not literature. They are directions for people to make motion pictures.
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Discovering the Great Movie Idea for Your Next Screenplay

I am lucky. I have no problems coming up with very good ideas for movies. If I never had another idea for the rest of my life, I would not make a sizable dent in the ones I already have. Screenwriters who struggle with coming up with an idea tend to be visibly annoyed when I tell them this.
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Screenwriting Tips from a Screenplay Contest Judge

After cracking hundreds of screenplays sent into the BlueCat Screenplay Competition, the same problems in the execution of the story and script continue to emerge. Here is a general overview of these persistent issues.
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How to Start a Screenplay: Treatment or Free Fall?

Starting a screenplay can sometimes be as hard as finishing one. Impatient to pull up to the front door of a classic motion picture, I want to get everything right so quickly. This impatience challenges my trust in the work, the creative process of screenwriting.
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Writing the Classic Movie Ending (How to Finish your Screenplay!)

I've only finished so many screenplays in my life. Writing a script all the way to the very last page is always an extremely significant, personal achievement for me. A large part of its significance is the reality that I actually wrote an ending, or, at the very least, typed "THE END."
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Rewriting your Screenplay: The Road to your Audience

The promise of the rewrite is very sweet. I have collected evidence that the more authentic the labor put into rewriting your screenplay, the greater the reward, and the reward is high, for whatever lovely, wonderful moments you might have discovered in the frightening process of plowing through the first draft, those moments, those seeds, are only seeds, and they only fulfill their destiny as giant, involving scenes in the movie that screens before people
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Bio of Gordy Hoffman

Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival for LOVE LIZA, Gordy Hoffman made his feature directorial debut with his script, A COAT OF SNOW, which world premiered at the 2005 Locarno Intl Film Festival. The movie would go on to win the Domani Vision Award at VisionFest, held at the Tribeca Cinemas. He has conducted screenwriting workshops all over North America, Poland and the UK.He recently taught screenwriting at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the University of Kansas, and he's serving as a panelist for the 2010 IFP Script to Screen Conference in New York City, as well as a judge for the 2010 McKnight Screenwriting Fellowships. He's attached to direct CORDELIA, written by Melissa Brandt, a love story inspired by KING LEAR, and he's writing a comedy set in the Gaza Strip. Gordy Hoffman founded the BlueCat Screenplay Competition in 1998.

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