How to Write a Screenplay like John Hughes

Do you have an idea that you think would make a great movie, TV show or webisode, but have no idea how to write a screenplay?  It is not uncommon for people to have a screenplay idea, but have no clue where to start.

Like many other skills in life, learning to write a solid screenplay takes a good amount of research, practice and repetition. The following are some things that you can do to help yourself learn:

  • Read screenplays
  • Understand the format of a screenplay
  • Watch television shows and movies
  • Study some of the most successful screenplay writers
  • Come up with an idea for a screenplay
  • Develop screenplay ideas through outlines and storyboards

John Hughes directed or scripted some of the most successful films of the 1980s and 1990s. Born February 18, 1950, Hughes has been called the king of teen movies; he launched the acting careers of Michael Keaton, Bill Paxton, Matthew Broderick and Molly Ringwald among others, along with the group of up-and-coming actors called “The Brat Pack.”

Hughes was born in Lansing, Michigan, though his family later moved to Northbrook Illinois, where the Glenbrook North High School would provide the inspiration for the films that would make his reputation.  He described himself as “kind of quiet” as a kid, and commenting on his early childhood, he said, “I grew up in a neighborhood that was mostly girls and old people. There weren’t any boys my age, so I spent a lot of time by myself, imagining things. And every time we would get established somewhere, we would move. Life just started to get good in seventh grade, and then we moved to Chicago. I ended up in a really big high school, and I didn’t know anybody. But then The Beatles came along (and) changed my whole life. And then Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home came out and really changed me. Thursday I was one person, and Friday I was another. My heroes were Dylan, John Lennon and Picasso, because they each moved their particular medium forward, and when they got to the point where they were comfortable, they always moved on.”

He went to but ultimately dropped out of Arizona State University, afterward making money by selling jokes to established comedians like Rodney Dangerfield. As his reputation developed, he was able to get an entry level job as an advertising copywriter, creating what would become the famous Edge “Credit Card Shaving Test” ad campaign. He wrote his first credited screenplay, Class Reunion, while working at the National Lampoon magazine; the film was distinguished as the second disastrous attempt to duplicate the success of the wildly popular Animal House. His next screenplay, National Lampoon’s Vacation in 1983, was the film that finally re-established the flagship’s credibility in film.

Hughes made his directorial debut with the film Sixteen Candles in 1984, followed by The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Weird Science, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  After a string of successful teen movies, Hughes attempted to move out of the “teen” pigeonhole with Planes, Trains, and Automobiles in 1987. Hughes’ greatest commercial success was with Home Alone, which was the top grossing film of 1990 and is to date the most successful live-action comedy of all time. The last film that he directed was Curly Sue in 1991. While Hughes stopped directing, he continued writing almost until his passing in 2009, accumulating 34 screenplay credits, with the last one, Drillbit Taylor, written under a pseudonym and released in 2008.

Hughes’ films were characterized by their emphasis on pop songs and music cues, as well as by frequent use of filmic devices like non-linear montages, or scenes in which characters break the fourth wall. He is also known for using a freeze-frame as the closing shot. The majority of Hughes’ films were set in the North Shore suburbs of the Chicago metropolitan area. The dialogue in Hughes’ screenplays is accessible, while often tackling complex issues such as abuse, poverty, and mental illness. The spirit of lighthearted fun was incorporated in Hughes’ work, even when the themes included darker aspects of life.

While John Hughes did not win many awards in the course of his career, only the ShoWest Award in 1991 for Home Alone, he did have a great deal of critical and commercial success. Those of his movies that were not massively popular have become cult classics, for example his later films for National Lampoon and 1993’s Dennis the Menace.

New Show Studios is a company designed specifically for everyday people with ideas for screens big and small (TV shows, movies, webisodes).  The company has all the resources under one roof to develop your screenplay idea into a concept package and present it to an entertainment company through its exclusive licensing agent, SFM Entertainment.  SFM Entertainment has over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry. 

Don’t be the person kicking yourself because you sat on your idea only to see it in theaters or on television one day, because someone else had a similar idea.  New Show Studios can help you take action and pursue your screenplay idea.

Remember that even with the best presentation materials new entertainment development is high risk and there is very little likelihood that your idea will be successfully licensed or result in profit to you.

If you have an idea for a new TV show, movie, or webisode, click here to submit your idea.

Advertisements

How to Write a Screenplay like Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan

Do you have an idea that you think would make a great movie, TV show or webisode, but have no idea how to write a screenplay?  It is not uncommon for people to have a screenplay idea, but have no clue where to start.

Like many other skills in life, learning to write a solid screenplay takes a good amount of research, practice and repetition. The following are some things that you can do to help yourself learn:

  • Read screenplays
  • Understand the format of a screenplay
  • Watch television shows and movies
  • Study some of the most successful screenplay writers
  • Come up with an idea for a screenplay
  • Develop screenplay ideas through outlines and storyboards

Christopher Nolan is best known for his work on the Batman franchise and his 2010 film Inception. He has been described as one of the most accomplished and influential filmmakers of his generation. In total, his films have earned $3.5 billion worldwide, and they have been nominated for 21 Academy Awards. In July 2012, Nolan became the youngest director to be honored at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.

Christopher Nolan was born in London on July 30, 1970. Because he is a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and the United States (his mother is American), Nolan divided his childhood between London and Chicago. He began making short films at the age of seven using his father’s Super 8 camera. Nolan was educated at Haileybury and Imperial Service College, and later studied English Literature at University College London. He chose that particular university specifically for its filmmaking facilities; Nolan was president of the college film society from 1992 until 1994, and another student at the university described him as, “talented and focused on learning as much as possible about the mechanics and technology of filmmaking.” Nolan graduated in 1993 and continued to associate with the film society while earning a living by directing corporate videos and industrial films before moving to Los Angeles, securing a freelance job reading screenplays.

Nolan directed his first feature film, Following, in 1998; the film depicts an unemployed writer who trails strangers through London in the hope that they will provide inspiration for his first novel. The film was made with a budget of only 3,000 Pounds Sterling, and was shot on weekends over the course of a year. It began to receive notice following a screening at the 1998 San Francisco International Film Festival and eventually was distributed on a limited basis in 1999. As a result of the film’s success, Newmarket Films decided to option the screenplay for Nolan’s next film, Memento. The film follows amnesiac Leonard Shelby as he uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man who he thinks killed his wife. The film received a standing ovation at its premiere on September 5, 2000 at the Venice International Film Festival and became a box office success, in addition to receiving nominations for the Academy Awards.

Nolan followed the success of Memento with 2002’s Insomnia, starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. In 2005, Nolan co-wrote and directed Batman Begins. After Warner Brothers put the Batman film franchise on indefinite hiatus following negative reviews and disappointing returns on the fourth installment, Nolan and David S. Goyer convinced the studio to entrust the series to a relatively unknown director. The film Batman Begins, released June 15, 2005 to acclaim and commercial success, revived the franchise and heralded a new trend in super hero films; darker aspects of heroes’ backstories were revealed in the re-telling, or the series were rebooted altogether. Batman Begins earned distinction as the eighth highest-grossing film of 2005 and the ninth highest worldwide.

Taking time away from the Batman franchise, Nolan directed, co-wrote and produced 2006’s The Prestige. The film received a positive response from critics and made over $109 million worldwide. In 2008, Nolan released the sequel to Batman Begins, entitled The Dark Knight. Considered one of the best superhero films ever made, the film set numerous records during its theatrical run. Nolan went on to direct 2010’s Inception and to complete the Batman trilogy with 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. Despite the tragedy of a shooting at the premiere in Aurora, Colorado, The Dark Knight Rises became the thirteenth film to cross the $1 billion mark, and Nolan became the second film director to have two separate films doing so.

Nolan has been nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay twice, for Inception in 2010 and Memento in 2001. Inception was also nominated for Best Picture. Nolan won the 2001 American Film Institute Award for Screenwriter of the Year for Memento.  Memento also won a Critics Choice award for Best Screenplay. The Critic’s Choice Awards also recognized The Dark Knight in the category of Best Action Film in 2008 and Inception in the same category in 2010.

New Show Studios is a company designed specifically for everyday people with ideas for screens big and small (TV shows, movies, webisodes).  The company has all the resources under one roof to develop your screenplay idea into a concept package and present it to an entertainment company through its exclusive licensing agent, SFM Entertainment.  SFM Entertainment has over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry.

Don’t be the person kicking yourself because you sat on your idea only to see it in theaters or on television one day, because someone else had a similar idea.  New Show Studios can help you take action and pursue your screenplay idea.

How to Write a Screenplay like Tom Stoppard

Do you have an idea that you think would make a great movie, TV show or webisode, but have no idea how to write a screenplay?  It is not uncommon for people to have a screenplay idea, but have no clue where to start.

Like many other skills in life, learning to write a solid screenplay takes a good amount of research, practice and repetition. The following are some things that you can do to help yourself learn:

  • Read screenplays
  • Understand the format of a screenplay
  • Watch television shows and movies
  • Study some of the most successful screenplay writers
  • Come up with an idea for a screenplay
  • Develop screenplay ideas through outlines and storyboards

Tom Stoppard has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, and is one of the most internationally performed dramatists of his generation. Born July 3, 1937, Stoppard’s first work for Film and Television was 1975’s Three Men in a Boat, an adaptation for the BBC. In 2008, Stoppard was voted the number 76 on the Time 100, Time magazine’s list of the most influential people in the world.

Stoppard, born Tomas Straussler, left Czechoslovakia as a child refugee fleeing imminent Nazi occupation in 1939. In 1945, his mother married British army major Kenneth Stoppard, who gave Tom and his brother their English surnames, and in 1946 the whole family moved to Britain. Stoppard left school at seventeen and became a journalist at the Western Daily Press in Bristol without having received a university education. He remained with the newspaper from 1954 until 1958, when he was offered a better position at the Bristol Evening World. As a feature writer, columnist and drama critic, Stoppard was introduced into the world of theatre and formed friendships with members of the Bristol Old Vic, including renowned actor Peter O’Toole. While Stoppard would later regret his lack of university education, he loved his time as a journalist and felt passionately about the work.

Stoppard completed his first stage play in 1960, and gradually produced several more, balancing a career as a drama critic in London with a growing list of successful plays. In 1964, Stoppard received a grant that allowed him to spend 5 months writing in a Berlin mansion, the results of which would later become the critically acclaimed play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.  Stoppard would write his first screenplay several years later, 1985’s Brazil, which was co-authored with Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown, though he had written several productions for television before that. Stoppard is also credited with writing the first draft of 1987’s Empire of the Sun. While Stoppard isn’t credited, Stephen Spielberg has said of his contributions to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that, “he was responsible for almost every line of dialogue in the film” Stoppard is also rumored to have worked on Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, though again he was not credited. Stoppard is credited with the 1990 film adaptation of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and also 1998’s Shakespeare in Love. Most recently, Stoppard wrote the screen adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina for the 2012 film of the same name.

Stoppard’s stylistic themes have resulted in the term “Stoppardian” being coined to describe works that use wit and comedy while addressing philosophical concepts. While many critics have approved of the use of intellectual wordplay and have acknowledged Stoppard’s cleverness in scripting dialogue and using paradox and absurdity, some critics have noted concern that his pieces are all clever showmanship, lacking in substance and a sense of social commitment. In response to that, Stoppard began crafting more socially engaged work, becoming personally involved with human rights issues starting in 1977. In Stoppard’s later works he has looked to develop greater inter-personal depths while maintaining the playfulness that characterizes his work.

Tom Stoppard won the Academy Award in 1999 for the film Shakespeare in Love, and was nominated before that in 1986 for his first feature film screenplay, Brazil. He has been nominated numerous times for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, including a nomination for the 2012 film Anna Karenina, which has not yet been awarded. Shakespeare in Love also received a Silver Berlin Bear at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival.

New Show Studios is a company designed specifically for everyday people with ideas for screens big and small (TV shows, movies, webisodes).  The company has all the resources under one roof to develop your screenplay idea into a concept package and present it to an entertainment company through its exclusive licensing agent, SFM Entertainment.  SFM Entertainment has over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry.

Don’t be the person kicking yourself because you sat on your idea only to see it in theaters or on television one day, because someone else had a similar idea.  New Show Studios can help you take action and pursue your screenplay idea.

 

How to Write a Screenplay like David Mamet

Do you have an idea that you think would make a great movie, TV show or webisode, but have no idea how to write a screenplay?  It is not uncommon for people to have a screenplay idea, but have no clue where to start.

Like many other skills in life, learning to write a solid screenplay takes a good amount of research, practice and repetition. The following are some things that you can do to help yourself learn:

  • Read screenplays
  • Understand the format of a screenplay
  • Watch television shows and movies
  • Study some of the most successful screenplay writers
  • Come up with an idea for a screenplay
  • Develop screenplay ideas through outlines and storyboards

One of the best ways to learn the process of writing a screenplay is to watch and read from the best screenwriters. Most of the best screenwriters have a signature or a niche. David Mamet, the screen writer of The Untouchables and Hannibal, is one of the best screenwriters who displays his signature style in his screenplays. Mamet has always had the ability to include wordy, actor-reliant sensibility in his scripts.

Mamet’s style of dialogue is what speaks his name in his screenplays. It is branded by a cynical, street-smart swagger that is so distinctive that people gave it the name Mamet Speak. He likes to use italics and quotation marks to highlight particular words and to draw attention to his character’s deceitful use of language. Mamet’s films have a tendency of make a change of direction of a moral question or decision. For example, in the screenplay Glengarry Glen Ross, two real estate salesmen consider breaking into their boss’s office to steal a list of good clients. Here is a snippet of the script.

Moss: No. What do you mean? Have I talked to him about this [Pause]

Aaronow: Yes. I mean are you actually talking about this, or are we just…

Moss: No, we’re just…

Aaronow We’re just “talking” about it.

Moss: We’re just speaking about it. [Pause] As an idea.

Aaronow: As an idea.

Moss: Yes.

Aaronow: We’re not actually talking about it.

Moss: No.

Aaronow: Talking about it as a…

Moss: No.

Aaronow As a robbery.

Moss: As a “robbery?” No.

 

Mamet won a Pulitzer Prize and Tony nominations for Glengarry Glen Ross. As a screenwriter, he received an Oscar nomination for The Verdict and Wag the Dog. Mamet has shown that screenplay writing can lead to so many other things. He is the founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company.

New Show Studios is a company designed specifically for everyday people with ideas for screens big and small (TV shows, movies, webisodes).  The company has all the resources under one roof to develop your screenplay idea into a concept package and present it to an entertainment company through its exclusive licensing agent, SFM Entertainment.  SFM Entertainment has over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry.

Don’t be the person kicking yourself because you sat on your idea only to see it in theaters or on television one day, because someone else had a similar idea.  New Show Studios can help you take action and pursue your screenplay idea.

Do you have an idea for a new TV show, movie or webisode? Click here to submit your idea.

You Have A Screenplay Idea- Now What?

If you are an aspiring screenwriter who has an idea that you think would make a great new movie, TV show or webisode, the first thing that you must do is get the idea down on paper.  Write everything you can about your idea- what made you think of it, who the characters are, what happens in the story, and why you think it’s a great idea that differs from others.  Even after getting your ideas down on paper, you must still turn your story into a screenplay.

Many aspiring screenwriters get stuck on how to write a screenplay.  Screenplay writing is very different from other forms of writing, and it’s important for aspiring screenwriters to learn the process.

Screenwriters must tell their stories using images and sound. The technical and artistic aspects are the most unfamiliar parts of how to write a screenplay. Reading screenplays can help you understand the language used in descriptions and help you learn the technical and artistic aspects of formatting a screenplay.  Since the medium of film is about action, with one action leading to another, all of the meaningful action in the story must also be described in your screenplay.

Screenplays have a very distinct beginning, middle and end. The beginning of the film, or Act I, is approximately one quarter of how long the film actually is. For example, the first 30 minutes of a two hour film would be Act I. In Act I, the characters are introduced, the routines of their lives are established and some form of conflict is presented. Act II is the longest section of the film and is usually filled with obstacles for the main characters. Act III is the conclusion or solution and is usually the shortest part of a screenplay.

Knowing your story and characters is a significant factor when figuring out how to write a screenplay. The first step is to write an outline. This is where you write about the action of a film. It can be done as a sentence outline, where each action is written out in a sentence or two. With an outline, it is easier to figure out what comes next and focus mainly on good quality dialogue.

If you have an idea but are unsure what to do next, New Show Studios can help.  New Show Studios is a company designed specifically for everyday people with ideas for screens big and small (TV shows, movies, webisodes).  The company has all the resources under one roof to develop your screenplay idea into a concept package and present it to an entertainment company through its exclusive licensing agent, SFM Entertainment.  SFM Entertainment has over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry.

Don’t be the person kicking yourself because you sat on your idea only to see it in theaters one day, because someone else had a similar idea.  New Show Studios can help you take action and pursue your screenplay idea.

Remember that even with the best presentation materials new entertainment development is high risk and there is very little likelihood that your idea will be successfully licensed or result in profit to you.

If you have an idea for a new TV show, movie, or webisode, click here to submit your idea.

Anyone Can Be a TV Writer- Rod Serling

The people who have worked to become successful TV writers come from many different places and backgrounds.  Many did not even work in the entertainment industry- they were just everyday people with an idea.  What many successful TV writers have in common is that they started at the bottom, worked an odd job at some point, and overcame some sort of obstacle or hardship to get where they are today.

Rod Serling, the creator and writer for Twilight Zone, was born on December 25, 1924, in Syracuse, New York. His father was a secretary and an amateur inventor and his mother was a stay-at-home mom. Serling’s father became a grocer to maintain a steady income. Serling and his family spent most of his youth 70 miles south of Syracuse in Binghamton. He was always a performer as a child and was encouraged by his parents.

His father built a small stage for him in the basement. Here, he got a lot of experience being creative because he and the other children in the neighborhood would put on plays. Serling’s brother claimed that he would entertain himself for hours by acting out dialogue from movies he had seen.

As a young guy, Serling was the type of person to be careless of other people’s responses during conversations. One time, on a trip to Syracuse, his family experimented to see if he would notice their lack of words when he spoke to them and he didn’t, as he spoke non-stop throughout the car ride. Throughout his schooling, he was always seen as a class clown. With his talkative habits, he was able to join the debate team and was also a speaker at his high school graduation.

After high school, Serling immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army for World War II. He was shipped over to fight the Japanese in the Philippines. Serling was wounded in battle and was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Philippine Liberation Medal.

Serling was a radio volunteer before becoming a TV writer for WKRC-TV in Cincinnati. He wrote testimonial ads for medical remedies and scripts for a comedy duo. After a few years of struggle and hardship, in 1955, the Kraft Television Theater televised a program based on Serling’s 72nd script and called it Patterns. It dramatized the power struggle between a corporate veteran losing his ability to work with a young executive outshining him to take his place. Right after the broadcasting of the episode Serling was offered numerous jobs and sold a few of his early scripts, but people thought it wasn’t the same quality as his Patterns script.

Serling later submitted The Time Element to CBS as a pilot for his new weekly TV show idea. The TV writer came up with a story that concerns a man who has nightmares of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The twist in the end is that he actually died there. It was such a success that it became the start-up episode for The Twilight Zone series.

The show ran for five seasons with 156 episodes and ever since then, Serling has been a big part of modern popular culture. His TV show idea of The Twilight Zone inspired the Disney theme park ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Now, every year, Rod Serling’s high school hosts the Rod Serling Video Festival for students in grades K-12.

Anyone can make a TV show, movie or webisode concept presentation package with New Show Studios.  You do not need special credentials, background or a college degree to pursue an idea.  As long as you have a clear idea of what your basic idea is and you are able to verbalize this, New Show Studios is happy to help.

New Show Studios can help you take action and pursue your TV show, movie or webisode idea.  The company has a unique method of creating show concept packages that give network and movie studio executives a professional quality view of your idea.  They can take your idea, develop and package it into a demonstration video and send it off to producers and executives in the entertainment industry.

Remember that even with the best presentation materials new entertainment development is high risk and there is very little likelihood that your idea will be successfully licensed or result in profit to you.

Do you have an idea for a new TV show?  Click here to submit your idea.

How to Write a Screenplay for a Horror Film

If you are an aspiring screenplay writer but are unsure of how to write a screenplay for a horror film, there are steps that you can take to learn. Like many other skills in life, it takes a lot of research, practice and repetition to be good at it.

Every genre is different and each one takes a different approach. For example, if you are wondering how to write a screenplay for the horror genre, it obviously must be something that people will find scary. If you are unfamiliar with the artistic and technical aspects of how to write a horror screenplay, there are many steps you can take to learn the process.

  • Read screenplays
  • Watch lots of scary movies and/or television shows
  • Study some of the most famous scary characters
  • Understand the format of a screenplay
  • Come up with a screenplay idea
  • Develop screenplay ideas through outlines and storyboards

Horror movies have always been and still are popular with audiences all over the world. Horror film lovers enjoy being given chills, goose bumps and a good scare. A good horror screenplay can even cause some people to lose sleep at night if it is scary enough.

A good horror screenplay should not only be scary, but also have a good plot. Most horror films give you at least one character you want to root for. For example, in the movie I Know What You Did Last Summer, people were cringing in their seats hoping the small town teens would be able to run away from the unidentified man with the hook.

Before writing a horror screenplay, there are few things you should consider about what makes one successful:

  • You must get the audience hooked at the beginning. You can do this by starting your screenplay with suspense. For example, in the beginning of the movie When a Stranger Calls, a young girl is on the phone with a mysterious character who sounds creepy and the girl ends up dead in the next scene.
  • The heroes must have flaws. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any suspense. If the hero was untouchable it defeats the purpose of a horror film. There would be no threat or peril and no suspense.
  • Most great horror films do not have too happy of an ending. For example, in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, the hero and his mistress believe that they disposed of the killer, but when he shows up at their happy home in the end the killer winds up the victor. Even though the main good character often survives in a horror movie, most of the rest of the cast is usually dead by the end.

Just like a lot of comedies and dramas, many horror screenplays have sub-genres.  While some horror films are about monsters, boogeymen and zombies, some are about serial killers, torture and things that can really happen.  Romantic horror films were very popular in the 90’s with movies like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Another popular romantic horror film is White Noise, where the main character loses his wife in a car accident and tries to contact her dead soul through radio frequency.

If you have an idea for a new horror film but are unsure what to do next, New Show Studios can help.  New Show Studios is a company designed specifically for everyday people with ideas for screens big and small (TV shows, movies, webisodes).  The company has all the resources under one roof to develop your screenplay idea into a concept package and present it to an entertainment company through its exclusive licensing agent, SFM Entertainment.  SFM Entertainment has over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry.

Don’t be the person kicking yourself because you sat on your idea only to see it in theaters or on television one day, because someone else had a similar idea.  New Show Studios can help you take action and pursue your screenplay idea.

Remember that even with the best presentation materials new entertainment development is high risk and there is very little likelihood that your idea will be successfully licensed or result in profit to you.

Do you have an idea for a new TV show, movie or webisode?  Click here to confidentially submit your idea!