John and Craig look at the non-screenplay things screenwriters end up writing, most notably outlines and treatments. We discuss some of the ones we’ve written (with examples), and offer advice on writing your own.
It’s fascinating to look at something so old yet so familiar. Most modern televison writing goes through an outline stage, at which point the studio and network signs off on the story — or sends it back with notes.
I really like Dan Harmon’s advice to young writers in the sidebar to THR’s showrunner feature.
Craig leads the discussion on how to survive a notes meeting. As screenwriters, our instinct is to defend, deny and debate — but these are almost always the wrong choice. By reframing the discussion about the movie rather than the script, you can often end up at a better place.
To me, an outline tends to be less prose-y and feature more bullet points, but there is no common consensus in Hollywood about what’s what. We use “treatment” and “outline” interchangeably.
Roddenberry’s 1964 outline is the same kind of write-up TV writers use today.
Is a beat sheet an actual thing, or a mythical Hollywood construct?
“Based on an idea by” is a rare credit, for good reason.
The big villain in Spider-Man 3 was a plague of coincidence. Here’s how they could have avoided it.
Ladies and gentlemen, screenwriters, it’s time to stop putting character in air vents.
Update query on the video game potentially becoming a movie.
It’s hard work to take an idea and turn it into a movie without knowing how to write, but it happens all the time.
There’s no standard, but past 20 pages I’d be worried.
The differences, defined.
Can’t write your great idea? Find someone who can.
If Kafka ran google.