Friday, May 27, 2005

Million Dollar Screenwriting yahoo group

Hi MDS'ers,

Just wanted to let you know that I created a new yahoo group so that we can more easily share files and information. Please sign up to be a member of this exquisite club at:

Looking forward to sharing with you.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Teleplay Tips & Tricks

Hi MDS'ers,

Here are some television pilot tips I pulled out of the newsletter. These could be very helpful. I would sign up to get the free newsletter if you're serious about writing for television.



Regular visitors to TV Writer.Com know that Larry Brody's "Teleplay
Tips & Tricks" appear in the Art of TV Writing section as cryptic
suggestions for better writing. Now you can find expanded versions
of these merry morsels of dramaturgy began appearing right here in
the TV Writer.Com Newsletter, as well as on the Final Draft software
website. Here, without further ado, is the latest installment in our
exciting monthly series:

One-Hour Teleplay Construction & Plot

Over the years certain types of story construction have proven to work
more effectively than others on TV. By "effective" I mean that series
that plot their stories this way have gotten consistently higher
ratings than others, and during the usual course of an episode fewer
viewers have gone surfing away.

For one-hour shows, start with a Teaser that illustrates the premise
of the episode. Make sure it shows us this week's central problem. And
make sure it really does "tease" us by ending on a note of tension -
with danger (physical or psychological) either impending or rearing
its fascinating head.

Act One should start with a response to what's happened in the Teaser,
and works best if it too ends with tension. Depending on the kind of
series this is, the tension can be personal and involving a series
"regular," or it can be something the hero has to handle professional
and be happening to a "guest."

Act Two should begin with the aftermath or resolution of the previous
tension and conclude with MAJOR trouble for a regular, most likely the
main hero him or herself.

A successful Act Three often starts by resolving the previous danger
and saving the hero and ends with the hero and his/her allies putting
together all the pieces of whatever puzzle they've been trying to
solve so that they now know what to do. It ain't over yet, though.
The end of Act Three is where the major crisis and climax of the whole
episode strikes because even though the doctors, lawyers, or Indian
Chiefs know the answer they still have to put that knowledge into

Act Four then can become the good guys racing to the rescue and saving
their client, patient, or themselves just in time. What should you do
with the Tag? Why just let the gang relax about it. (And if they can
relax poignantly so much the better.)

There we go, another one-hour drama or action show perfectly plotted!


Friday, May 06, 2005

How to Sell to Hollywood!

Hi MDSer's,

How to sell to Hollywood? This is the question of the century! At any rate, books can be great as a resource but the way to do it is as follows:

1. Make sure your script is written the best you can write it and in the proper format. Create a strong, interesting logline and a brief synopsis. I had someone request a synopsis that was no longer than 1/2 a page! It's a challenge getting your 100 page script summarized in an interesting and "you want to buy me" way in 1/2 a page but I did it. Trick is to focus on the high points of the story and conflict and not tell everything. Think of your synopsis as the trailer. Oh, on script length I've read that 90 - 105 pages is the best page lengths then somewhere else I read 95 -110. Which one is correct, who knows but what I do know is nothing over 120 but now 120 is pushing on the "long" side. My advice, aim for 100 can't go wrong with that.

2. Get a job in the industry so you can meet people.

3. If you can't do that then network like crazy. This may be hard if you are not in the LA area but wherever you live, go to all film and movie events, lectures, parties, seminars, conferences etc that you can find. You never know who you might meet and sometimes at lectures, the guest speaker may be a producer, agent, manager, story analyst or someone in the industry. You have to try to meet people and get your name and work out there. Hal Crosman has a thing on the site that gives advice on how to break into Hollywood. You can also find information in Fran Harris' book "Crashing Hollywood" that can be found on Amazon or ordered from Barnes and Nobel etc. You can also read my interview in there if you're interested.

4. If nothing goes on in your area then you can do the online thing. Visit production companies' websites. Signup for screenwriting newsletters like inktip which is great because they tell you who is looking for what and even have their credits that you can verify on

5. You can post your script after it's registered of course on a database that producers visit. Be careful and make sure they have a good reputation of some sort. I've used inktip because I've had my scripts requested when I used the free newsletter and didn't even have them listed on the site. I've also heard them mentioned by industry people at seminars I've attended so that made me feel confident that they were legit. I've since listed a script on the paid listing site but your scripts can get requested from using the free newsletter as well. There are others like script shark and script blaster but I haven't used them before so I can't speak on their services.

6. So, if you don't have an agent, the best way to get your stuff into the studios is to find a producer who is on the studio lot or has a development deal with a studio or some sort of connections to get your project in the door. Make sure the producer you are sending your query to is interested in your genre of script. For example, Dark Castle does horror. If you wrote a drama...they probably wouldn't be interested. Look at the credits when you go to the movies, search the is a good reference. And don't think you can just send it to them anyway incase they are breaking out in other directions in the near future or you think your project will make them want to change courses because you don't want your name on the "bad list". I've heard that production companies keep track on a database of all queries/submissions etc with comments. You definitely don't want nasty comments next to your name because what if you think of this great horror film but you already ruined your changes by sending them something they didn't want. When you find out what production company and/or studio is known to specialize in a certain genre write it down. I've created a file of production companies who are looking for what at the time and credits if I had found any. I've sent a short three sentence query to a production company I found almost a year ago that simply said, "Are you still looking for a new material? I have a high concept comedy I think you might be interested in. Best wishes in all your creative endeavors." You know what happened, they asked to send a logline and synopsis which I did right away. Then they asked to read the script which I mailed right away. About a month later they had passed but gave me some notes and what they thought of the project which were very good and they did say that they liked the script and thought it was marketable but not for them. Go figure. Note: I took some of their notes and did a rewrite, sent it out to another producer who requested it off the logline and synopsis that I didn't change from when I sent it to the first producer and it got optioned. Now this producer has minor requests for changes that I'm working on now. So what one person thinks they can't do anything with, someone else will.

7. Speaking of contest, don't enter just any ole contest because it's a contest. Contests can't guarantee anyone will want to read your script in Hollywood unless it's like the Nicholls, Chesterfield etc. Check the details and enter a reputable one who gives the top 10 or whatever exposure or maybe the semifinalist can get read by a production company, agent or manager. I personally don't do but one or two contests a year. The Nicholls is always on the list and it doesn't cost a lot like some others and is the most prestigious one. I would beware of contests or really think hard about those that cost more than $40 to enter...just my opinion. Also, the same goes for contests that don't have a track record. has a list of contests and you read what other's think of them that have entered.

8. You can also apply for a writing fellowship but most of them require you to move to LA except the Nicholls, you can write where you are and mail in your script pages.

9. You can try to send your query to a star who you think would love your project. You can find their management/agent information in the Hollywood creative directory or online at You can also find out roles they are anxious to play by reading interviews with them. I found out two actresses who has their own production companies who want to do more romantic comedies. I read that in a magazine article at walmart...wrote down said actress name on my receipt..didn't want to buy the magazine after I read the article in line (note to walmart, don't put mags by the checkout if you want to sell them). I also wrote the quote from the magazine so that when I transfer the information to my idea book I keep, I'll know why I wrote her name down. Actually, I wrote the note next to the blurb of the future script I don't have time to write because I'm working on something else. Now, I have to find her contact information. You get the picture. So, as I read stuff in books, magazines or on the internet if I find out a star's production company or what kind of material they are looking for, I make a note. Same goes for studios and production companies. Recently through a conversation I found out exactly the kind of script a studio is looking for for a particular actress...I'm working on it now. When someone drops a hint of what a studio is looking for but can't find, it would be great if you have the exact script in a file...if not, you can write it and then submit in a month or two if you are a fast writer. I can write a draft in a month, rewrite in a few weeks and have it ready to go...having colleagues who are writers and a mentor helps with polishing effforts. Having motivation to write helps a lot especially if I know someone is looking for a script I have or am working on.

10. You can take a screenwriting class either in person or on the net given by someone in the industry because if you do the assignments and they like your writing, they can tell someone else to read your stuff who can make a decision to buy or get it in front of the right people. You never know.

11. Try to surround yourself with positive people who are doing the same thing you have done or have had a script optioned and/or produced because you never know. The positive energy could rub off on you or if they hear something that someone is looking for and know you have it, they may just tell you.

12. Post your ideas about screenwriting (not ideas about scripts you are working on unless you want feedback) on forums and writing loops. Share information if you have it because you never know who may be on them. I've actually met a former sitcom writer who lives in Hollywood so I've gotten some inside information on how things work...can be discouraging but knowing what happens going in makes you not totally surprised when things happen that may not be pleasant. I've also been invited to visit a set, he is now working on independent films. All knowledge is good knowledge and you never know when you'll need it or the contact.

13. Create a website and/or blog. These are great for exposures and can be done very inexpensively or even free. has free blogs.

14. Try to do some interviews. I know what you're thinking, who would want to interview me because I haven't done anything yet! Stop being just never know. I'm not talking about big interviews like on ET or E! or Inside Edison, duh! I'm talking small ones. Amazingly, I've been featured in Fran Harris' book Crashing Hollywood and I did an interview for an online newsletter Hey, it's a start. I was actually flattered and honored that Fran chose me to be included in the book although I hadn't been produced but I think she liked my spirit and my personality.

15. Get business cards made up with your email address and website so that you can hand out when you meet people. I also send these when producers requests to read my script. I used to put phone numbers on it but now I only list my cell because I moved to California from Texas last year and had to throw away all the remainder business cards because they had the wrong number and I hate to scratch off old info on cards. That's totally unprofessional and don't look very good. So I have my cell which I don't have any intention of changing. Also, even if you move 10 miles away, your home number will change so it's better to list a cell besides, if someone wants to buy your script, you don't want to wait till you get home and check your messages to find out! Especially if you are like me who forget to check messages on my home machine for days! Cell messages get checked at least 3 times a day.

16. Have a great personality because that will help you to meet people more easily and if they like you, they may want to help you. No one wants to help mean, nasty, negative people. Then keep your chin up, stay positive, keep persevering, never give up no matter what and keep hope alive. If you do that along with as many of the other 13 things, you'll succeed. Guarantee it.

Other than that, I don't know whatelse to tell you. Hope this helps. I've done all of this except get a job in the industry (however I did get an offer from a producer that came as a referral from my mentor to do a rewrite) and got two options from two different producers with offices on two different studio lots in the past 2 years the most recent a month ago..but no sale yet. I'm hoping it'll happen this year.

I can't think of anything else but if I do, I'll put it on my blog.

Best wishes in all your creative endeavors and keep me posted if my ideas helped you.



I'm starting a forum called Milliondollarscreenwriter. Make a note of it or book mark my website because I'll have a link on it. I haven't had time with the rewrites and my book project to work on it but it'll have information like the above on it.


If you live in the bay area, a one day screewriting workshop is being given by a woman who taught herself screenwriting and has had 2 movies produced! Should be very inspirational. Go to for more info. It's next Sunday, the 15th...don't know if the class is full or not though.