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Questions for Screenwriters!

Hey, screenwriters! I’m new here and wanting to learn more about the screenwriting community.

I am part of the Page Turner Awards team, and we have a really exciting Screenplay Award this year. The judging panel features lots of high-profile film producers who are looking for work to option and includes Paul Michael Glaser of Starsky and Hutch!

What advice would you give to writers who are looking to turn their novel into a screenplay? What courses/webinars can you recommend for an aspiring screenwriter? What award prizes would be most valuable to you and your career development?

Thanks for your help and looking forward to meeting you.
Regards
Charlotte
 
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Hi Charlotte - I don't have too much to offer, but I attended this webinar the other week which is available to watch free of charge on Stage32 and found it really useful:

https://www.stage32.com/webinars/Stage-32- -Netflix-Present-Television-Pitch-Workshop?affid=nag

Although it's aimed more at pitching than specifically screenwriting, it gave a lot of really good information about what a service like Netflix are looking for from story pitches, and how to use a pitch document as a basis for writing a Netflix series.
 
Thanks, Phil! That's really useful.

It's great to get a sense of what kind of content and support you're looking for, especially things that are going to help to develop careers, such as pitching. Our awards are focused on creating opportunities that support writers in their careers, so something like this is great.

Make sure you check out the awards yourself!
 
Hey, screenwriters! I’m new here and wanting to learn more about the screenwriting community.

I am part of the Page Turner Awards team, and we have a really exciting Screenplay Award this year. The judging panel features lots of high-profile film producers who are looking for work to option and includes Paul Michael Glaser of Starsky and Hutch!

We’ve started a screenwriting forum on our website, where screenwriters can connect and collaborate. We want to make this useful for screenwriting community, so perhaps you can help with some of the questions.

What advice would you give to writers who are looking to turn their novel into a screenplay? What courses/webinars can you recommend for an aspiring screenwriter? What award prizes would be most valuable to you and your career development?

Thanks for your help and looking forward to meeting you.
Regards
Charlotte
I'm doing just the OPPOSITE... Turning my screenplays into novels.

I've worked with quite a few novelist turned screenwriters over the years and the biggest CONSISTENT problem I saw was keeping a character's thoughts out of the action/description. Novelists need to figure out HOW to turn those thoughts they are quite fond of into action and description so that a professional reader understands what DRIVES that particular action and description.

After that? There's a lot of PROSE novelists include in their books that simply doesn't drive the story forward. My thinking is that pretty much ALL of that can be cut when writing a screenplay.

The way I've personally approached it because I'm much better at writing screenplays than I am books since that's how I started my writing career is to first just sit down and TRANSCRIBE the book into a SCREENPLAY. I wouldn't even try to cut out anything. Just gut it all out and transcribe everything in that book into screenplay format.

While one does that? I would recommend reading the screenplays of your favorite movies... Making sure to UNDERSTAND that these are probably going to be shooting scripts. So the one caveat would be to eliminate (in one's mind) any camera direction, continueds, transitions, specific angles, etc.

LEAN and MEAN is BEST for a spec script.

Once the book is completely transcribed into (probably) an extremely LONG screenplay? It's time to WHITTLE IT DOWN. Most novelists that I've met do use SOME kind of structure to write their novels by. In fact today? A lot of novelists have actually turned to different kinds of movie or screenplay structure to write their books.

After the book is transcribed to screenplay format? I would recommend going back to the structure the novelist works by and using IT to begin cutting away all the fluff that simply does NOT need to be in that script. Once all the fluff is cut? See what page count you're at. If you're over 110 pages and have absolutely zero connections in Hollywood? You'll probably still need to keep cutting until you're right around 110 pages give or take.

Once you're in the approximate page count? It's time to make a series of passes on that script... Compress dialogue. Compress scenes. Maybe even compress characters if you have too many? Cut some but let others incorporate some of the ones you've cut. A pass for subtext. A pass for character intros. A pass for transitioning from one scene to the next. A pass for every bit of your story structure. A pass for typos. A pass for format. Back and forth until you have a work of art worthy of putting out to the market.

Just my two cents.
 
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Hi Charlotte,

I have spent almost my entire life involved with sound, first as a musician, then as a recording engineer, and for nearly the last 20 years I've been doing audio post. The recent Covid situation has seriously curtailed my business, so in my now copious spare time I'm writing for the first time. It started as a screenplay - hey, I'm in the film biz - but my notes, etc. just kept expanding until I'm about 50,000 words into my first novel.

I've been documenting my thoughts, fun and frustrations in a thread right here on IndieTalk. It's not specifically an indie film project, but I thought it would be fun to share my exploration of, for me anyway, a brand new art-form.


Unknown Screenwriter and mlesemann have been helpful and encouraging, as have others here on IndieTalk.

So share any informative tidbits you may with the rest of us and share your new adventure with us.

Welcome again and Good Luck!

Peace,

Uncle Bob
Alcove Audio
 
Wow, thank you all for sharing your experiences with me! It's really useful to know this as we develop our awards programme and community. Thank you for your advice!

I hope this is all above board, but I'd love to invite you to enter at Page Turner Awards. We welcome unpublished or published fiction, non-fiction, or screenplays! We've also just started a forum space of our own, it would be great to have your experienced input there to share with our writing community. It's free to register, and this will give you access to the forum space. Submissions start from £20 with amazing prizes and opportunities, all seeking to support writers in their careers. I hope it's okay to share this opportunity with you as I really feel it's a valuable one. Or perhaps you know someone who might be looking for an opportunity like this?

Thanks again for all your advice!
 
Hi Charlotte - I don't have too much to offer, but I attended this webinar the other week which is available to watch free of charge on Stage32 and found it really useful:

https://www.stage32.com/webinars/Stage-32- -Netflix-Present-Television-Pitch-Workshop?affid=nag

Although it's aimed more at pitching than specifically screenwriting, it gave a lot of really good information about what a service like Netflix are looking for from story pitches, and how to use a pitch document as a basis for writing a Netflix series.
FYI: Stage 32 is not what it claims to be. Don't waste your money on any of thier "script services" and be careful of thier paid "experts". The "Coverage" they sell is baloney. Coverage is something written by a Studio Reader or Associate/Line Producer for the Producer and has nothing to do with the writer. And for god sake don't pay to pitch. It's unethical and illegal for anyone who has the power to place a script in the development pipeline to charge money to read a script. Be wise and read the disclaimers.
 
Hey, screenwriters! I’m new here and wanting to learn more about the screenwriting community.

I am part of the Page Turner Awards team, and we have a really exciting Screenplay Award this year. The judging panel features lots of high-profile film producers who are looking for work to option and includes Paul Michael Glaser of Starsky and Hutch!

What advice would you give to writers who are looking to turn their novel into a screenplay? What courses/webinars can you recommend for an aspiring screenwriter? What award prizes would be most valuable to you and your career development?

Thanks for your help and looking forward to meeting you.
Regards
Charlotte
Hi,
can't tell you how to transform novels into screenplays, but general rules or just useful bits probably
1. Story should be interesting. We put main characters into situations, which test their integrity or goals or characters. Otherwise, it is quite boring.
2. Main characters should be well described and be relatable. Like a fallen general in Gladiator (for male audience), who was a star under previous bosses but became unwanted fugitive under next one.
3. Their aspirations and goals are clear to viewers.
4. As action unfolds, actions by main heroes lead to results, which a main part of the story, whether it is a crisis or peak (it is true for romcoms, even actions movies or horrors or whatever) and which cause viewers to have emotional feedback to the story (and those emotions are the ultimate goal of the project). Viewers can think of what should they be doing if they were in same situations, watching the action.
5. Finally, there is a resolve, a conclusion, in which we see whether characters achieved their goals or didn't, transformed or failed, but it is a conclusion, end of the story. We have a clear cut end (even if it can be explained in various ways).
 
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