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Screenwriting

Academy Awards Hangout Next Week

Who will win the Oscars for best adapted screenplay and screenplay? Below, we’ve linked to all the nominees in the top writing categories.

On Monday morning, this GalleyCat editor will talk about the screenplay winners along with a team of Oscar experts in a Google+ hangout. Here’s more about the virtual event:

Join KCRW’s ‘The Business’ producer Darby Maloney, TVNewser’s Alex Weprin, FishbowlLA’s Richard Horgan and GoldDerby editor Tom O’Neil for a post-Oscars Google+ hangout. What book adaptations were snubbed? How did TV news cover it? Learn more about the history of the awards show and get the L.A. perspective. All this and more on Monday, Feb. 25 at 11:30 a.m.  And we want to hear from you. With the hashtag #mbhangouts, send us your questions and comments on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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Scriptwriting Advice for Executive Director of the Nickelodeon Writing Program

Over at kiyong’s blog of creative pursuits, Nickelodeon Writing Program executive director Karen Kirkland shared scriptwriting advice for aspiring TV writers.

The writing program aims “to attract, develop and staff writers with diverse backgrounds and experiences” for Nickelodeon Network. There is no fee to apply, and accepted writers can land a paid position that lasts up to one year–earning some invaluable experience in television writing. Here’s some advice from Kirkland:

I love it when I read a MODERN FAMILY spec where the writer has not only given me a fresh perspective on the show in terms of the story idea and the premise, but I can still feel the tone of the show, the character voices have remained intact, but the writer’s voice – in terms of his or her perspective, is also coming through in that script. That’s a really difficult thing to do. And of course, your script has to make me laugh out loud! It has to be funny. The dialogue needs to be witty. Your story, the arcs and your characters all need to be multi-layered. I can always tell when a writer’s had fun writing their script because I have fun reading it. Most of the common flaws are a result of writers that aren’t invested in their work. Before you write your spec, do yourself a favor – write a 1/2-page premise first, then an outline, then (and only then) should you write your first draft. Do your research – it’s not enough to watch a couple of episodes. Watch them all – multiple times!

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Stephen King Gives Screenwriting Advice

Novelist Stephen King spent an hour answering questions from writing students faculty and visitors  in at UMass Lowell recently. One of his best answers focused on the art of screenplay writing.

We’ve embedded the complete video above (scriptwriting advice at the 17:00 mark), an inspiring and useful collection of advice from the master novelist. We’ve transcribed his thoughts about movie writing below, getting a glimpse into King’s early writing career.

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The Art of Breaking Breaking Dawn

From The Hobbit to Harry Potter, Hollywood loves dividing popular novels into two separate films.

With the second adaptation of Stephenie Meyer‘s Breaking Dawn coming to theaters this weekend, we caught up with screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg to find out what it was like to break the novel into two pieces.

She explained in an email interview: “There was a very natural place at which to break the two books.  The second movie needed a little filling out, but the book itself offered many possibilities for that.  Because the book is all told from Bella’s point of view, things sometimes happen off the page and are related by Bella after the fact — for instance, when Jacob tells her father she’s a werewolf.  In the book, Bella finds out about this conversation after it happened, but in adapting the movie, I got to write the conversation itself.”

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Scott Turow Script Debuts on YouTube

A new script by Presumed Innocent novelist and Authors Guild president Scott Turow debuted online today. “Rochelle” stars Pulp Fiction‘s Rosanna Arquette and launched on WIGS, a YouTube channel “producing high-end, original, scripted dramatic series and short films about the lives of women.”

We’ve embedded the first episode above–what do you think? The Safety of Objects director Rose Troche shot the short film. New episodes from the video series appear every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m. ET.

Here’s more about the short film, from Facebook: “”Some forms of vengeance require professionals … When the wife needs ‘the other woman’ to exact revenge.”

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T.D. Jakes on Breaking Into Hollywood and Selling Your First Script

After penning over 30 self-help titles and novels (two of which became New York Times bestsellers) and producing films like Jumping The Broom and the highly anticipated Sparkle remake starring the late Whitney Houston, Bishop T.D. Jakes has become a true force in Hollywood. But his breakthrough into the media bizz was anything but conventional.

In his Mediabistro So What Do You Do? interview, Jakes gave some valuable advice for writers and authors looking to break into the film biz.

“The old adage is it’s not what you know but who you know. I think that’s very, very important. There are a lot of people who know the ‘what’ of it but don’t know the ‘who’ of it. Everything advances through relationships, and the better you build strong relationships, the more opportunity you’re going to have.”

So, what makes a script great for TDJ Enterprises? “I think it has to be something that has a message,” he said.

Read the full interview in So What Do You Do, Bishop T.D. Jakes?

Andrea Hackett

Clive Barker to Rewrite Zombies vs. Gladiators for Amazon Studios

Horror novelist and screenwriter Clive Barker has been hired to rewrite the Zombies vs. Gladiators for Amazon Studios.

Although the press release doesn’t mention their names, the original script was  written by Michael Weiss and Gregg Ostrin for Amazon’s annual slate of film-writing contests. At Amazon Studios, you can watch an animated test movie version of Zombies vs. Gladiators or download a copy of the original script.

Barker had this statement: “I’m excited by the opportunity to interweave two very rich narrative threads. One of them concerns itself with the reality of the decadence of Rome and its rise and fall. The other is a fantastical narrative element – the living dead. My brief to myself on this project is to give the audience not only zombies they have never seen before but also a Rome they have never seen before … In twenty-five years of working in this town, I’ve rarely had people listen to what I had to say as closely and as carefully as they did and then simply give me the freedom to go do it.”

What Book Should Never Be Filmed?

Over at Tor.com, comic artist John Bonner published a simple and elegant strip explaining why one science fiction classic should never be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. Follow this link to read the whole comic book review.

Check it out: “Every so often, comic artist John Bonner reviews books, audio, and more, then turns his reactions into a comic strip. You can check out many more of them at Bonner’s site and more of them here on Tor.com. He recently reread Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama and tried to imagine how Hollywood would turn it into a film that held as much wonder as the book.”

What book should never be filmed? Share your thoughts in the comments, and we will publish your answers in a future post.

Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Script Coming as UK eBook

UK readers can buy a digital copy of the screenplay for Moonrise Kingdom, the upcoming Wes Anderson movie. The script was written by Anderson and Roman Coppola.

To help American readers prepare for the film, we’ve made a Spotify playlist of music from the soundtrack. It is filled with inspiring music to keep you writing all day. Click here to listen to the playlist (made with a help from The Playlist and Margot Stephenson).

The Bookseller has more: “[It] will include the complete text of the screenplay, a 2,000-word interview with Anderson, and 30 colour images from the film. It will be priced £4.99 and will be available across all devices.”

Amazon Studios to Fund Comedy & Children’s Series

Amazon Studios will now accept pitches for comedy and children’s series, hoping to add one project a month to the company’s growing slate of projects to develop for its instant video viewers.

The company will pay creators $55,000 if they distribute the series, along with “up to 5 percent of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses” for the work. If any children’s writers in the audience apply, keep us posted on your progress.

Here’s how to apply: “To submit, a project must have a five-page description, along with a 22-minute pilot script for comedies, or an 11-minute pilot script for children’s shows. Within 45 days of submission, Amazon Studios will either extend an option on the project for $10,000 or invite the creator to add the project to the Amazon Studios site. If a project is not optioned, creators may remove their idea from the Amazon Studios site or leave it to get community feedback.”

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