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.

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Films that Won the 2013 Oscars-Amour

Every year, the Academy Awards (known as the Oscars) honors the best films of the previous year. The 2013 Oscars, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, were held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. The nominees were announced On January 10, 2013 by Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California. The ceremony took place on February 24, 2013 and honored several new talents as well as many established artists and workers in the industry. Among the categories the Academy awards every year, the Best Picture, as well as the Best Screenplays, both Original and Adapted. There is also a category for the best Foreign Language Film, providing the Academy with the opportunity to recognize international talent.

In the category of Best Foreign Language Film, the winner was the French language production Amour. The narrative focuses on an elderly married couple, Georges and Anne, who are both retired teachers. At the beginning of the film, a brigade of firemen break down the door of an apartment in Paris to find Anne lying dead, adorned with cut flowers. Several months earlier, Anne and Georges attend a performance by one of Anne’s former pupils. The next morning while they eat breakfast, Anne suffers a stroke; sitting in a catatonic state, she is unable to respond, only coming around just as Georges is about to get help. Georges thinks that Anne was playing a prank on him, but she is unable to pour herself a drink. The surgery she undergoes to correct a blocked artery goes wrong, leaving her paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Distraught, she makes Georges promise not to send her back to the hospital or into a nursing home. She later has another stroke and becomes even more incapacitated, incapable of coherent speech and with her personality changed. Georges begins employing a nurse, and the strain in their relationship increases gradually, in spite of Georges’ love. One day, he sits next to Anne’s bedside and tells a story of his childhood, before smothering her with a pillow. He returns home with bundles of flowers in his hands, which he proceeds to wash and cut; he then picks out a dress and writes a long letter, explaining that he has “released the pigeon.” He imagines that Anne is washing dishes in the kitchen and, speechless, he watches her clean up and prepare to leave. Anne calls for Georges to bring a coat, and he complies, following her through the door. The film concludes with a continuation of the opening scene, with the couples’ daughter, Eva, seated in the living room after wandering around the now-empty house.

The film has received almost universal acclaim. In addition to winning the Foreign Language Film category, Amour was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, and Best Actress, among other nominations. It also received the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival where it debuted.

If you have a screenplay idea that you think would make a good movie or TV show, New Show Studios can help. Don’t find yourself living in regret that you never pursued the film or TV idea you have; New Show Studios has all the resources that it takes to help real people develop a screenplay idea into a concept package and present it to entertainment companies. New Show Studios works through its licensing agent, SFM Entertainment, a company with over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry.

Adapted Screenplay Ideas of the 1980s

Each year, there are two Academy Awards given out for screenplays.  One is for the best original screenplay, which is a screenplay that is not based upon previously published material.  The other is for the best adapted screenplay, which is a screenplay that interprets another source.  This can be a novel, short story, a play, a television show or sometimes even another film.

Learning to write your own screenplay takes a good amount of research, practice and repetition.  Watching movies and studying successful screenplays and writers are some things that you can do to help yourself learn.  The following are some of the best adapted screenplay ideas of the 1980s that are worth checking out.

In 1989, Driving Miss Daisy won the Academy Award for the Best Adapted Screenplay. The film, adapted by Alred Uhry from his play of the same name, is a comedy-drama that follows Mrs. Daisy Werthan, a 72-year-old widow at the beginning of the story. After a driving mishap where her automobile is wrecked, her son, Boolie finds a chauffeur for her by the name of Hoke Colburn. At first Daisy refuses to be driven, but gradually she accepts Hoke and comes to respect him. When she finds out that he is illiterate, Daisy, a retired schoolteacher, educates him, and develops an understanding of how Hoke’s race affects how others treat him in the society of 1940s and 1950s Georgia. When her maid dies, Miss Daisy takes it upon herself to care for her own house. She develops an appreciation for the civil rights movement and attends a dinner at with Dr. Martin Luther King gives a speech. Eventually, Daisy is unable to take care of herself anymore and is moved into a retirement home. Hoke visits Daisy, at this point 97 years old, and ends up feeding her some of her uneaten pumpkin pie when she finds it too difficult to move the fork.  Driving Miss Daisy is the only film based on an off Broadway production to ever win an Academy Award for Best Picture, and Jessica Tandy, at age 81, became the oldest winner ever in the history of the Best Actress category.

In addition to the Academy Awards, the film won three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture. It also won awards at the British Academy Film Awards. The film earned over $145 million at the box office total.

Another adapted screenplay to win an Academy Award in the 1980s was Terms of Endearment. The film was produced, directed, and adapted by James L. Brooks from the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry, and covers thirty years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway and her daughter Emma. In the beginning of the film, Aurora is portrayed as difficult but caring, going so far as to almost climb into Emma’s crib to ensure her daughter is still breathing. Later, Emma gets marries immediately after graduating high school, while her friend continues on to college, becoming successful and rich in New York City. Emma’s marriage to college professor Flap Horton becomes strained after years of struggle to support themselves and their children in Iowa, particularly when Flap begins to philander. Emma finds comfort and love in small-town, older banker Sam Burns, eventually having an affair with him. At the same time, Aurora cultivates the attention of several gentlemen in the area, eventually forming a tenuous relationship with the philandering retired astronaut, Garrett Breedlove. Emma leaves her husband after discovering his affair, though she eventually goes back to Flap, even deciding to end the affair when Flap accepts a teaching position in Nebraska. She realizes, however, that Flap accepted the position to follow his mistress, and while at the doctor’s office for a flu shot, the doctor discovers lumps which prove to be cancer. When it becomes clear that Emma is not responding to treatment, she makes plans for her children to be raised by her mother. Garrett and Aurora reconcile, and after Emma’s funeral, Garrett shows love toward each of Emma’s children.

The film was generally well regarded by critics, and was a box office success, grossing over $108 million in the United States. It remained #1 at the box office for four weeks straight, after alternating weekends in the #1 and #2 positions. On the film’s 11th weekend, it arrived at #1 for the sixth and final time.  In addition to the Academy Award wins, the film won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay and has been honored by the American Film Institute in several of its 100 best lists.

Do you have a screenplay idea that you think would make a great movie or TV show? If you would like to take action and pursue your screenplay idea, New Show Studios can help.

New Show Studios is a company that’s designed specifically for everyday people with ideas for screens big and small.  It 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. 

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.

Screenplay Ideas That Won 9 Oscars

Each year, there are two Academy Awards given out for screenplays.  One is for the best original screenplay, and the other is for the best adapted screenplay. 

Learning to write your own screenplay takes a good amount of research, practice and repetition.  Watching movies and studying the most successful screenplays are some things that you can do to help yourself learn.  The following films have each won 9 Oscars.

The most recent film with the distinction of winning 9 Oscars is The English Patient from 1996. The film is told in a series of flashbacks that chronicle the backstory of a critically burned man, who is at first only known as “the English patient” due to his accent. In reality, he is a Hungarian cartographer and Count who was making a map of the Sahara Desert and began an affair with the wife of his benefactor, Katherine Clifton, which ultimately results in his injuries. The Count tries to get assistance for the injured Katherine, but is unable to reach her in time, and when he tries to leave the area with her body, his plane is shot down. Now an invalid patient, wholly dependent on morphine, he asks for an overdose. The film earned two Golden Globe Awards, and has the distinction of being only one of three Best Picture winners to never enter the weekend box office top 5.

Prior to The English Patient, the previous film to earn nine Oscars was The Last Emperor in 1987. The film is a biographical portrayal of the life of the last Emperor of China, Pu Yi. The story opens with Pu Yi re-entering to newly proclaimed People’s Republic of China as a political prisoner and war criminal, having been captured by the Red Army. When he attempts suicide, he is instead rendered unconscious, and the flashback that follows details the earliest years of his life, following through his exile, his puppet reign of Manchukuo, and finally his capture by the Soviet army. He is subjected to the “Communist re-education program” for political prisoners, and is coerced to formally renounce his collaboration with Imperial Japanese invaders. The film flash-forwards to the cult of Mao, with Puyi having become a simple gardener who lives a proletarian existence. The film did not enter the weekend box office top 10 until its twelfth week, at which point it increased its earnings 168% from the previous week; it peaked at #4 in its 22nd week of theatrical release.

Another film to earn nine Oscars was 1958’s Gigi, a musical romantic comedy based on a 1944 novella of the same name, set in turn of the 20th century Paris. The title character of the film, Gilberte, also known as Gigi, is the daughter of a courtesan who is friends with a wealthy man by the name of Gaston. Gigi begins to learn the skills she must cultivate to follow her mother, but is initially a very poor student. One day, Gigi proposes to Gaston that if she beats him at a game of cards, he must take her and her mother with him on vacation; she happily wins. During their holiday, Gigi and Gaston spend many hours together. Gaston eventually realizes he is in love with Gigi, and offers to make her his mistress, but she refuses. Gaston storms away and Gigi decides that she would rather be miserable with him than without him; prepared to accept her fate, she emerges from her room. Gaston has a change of heart and instead of making her a mistress, the two get married. In addition to the Academy Awards, the film won three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture in the category of Musical or Comedy. At the time it broke the record for the number of Oscars won; in tribute to Gigi’s domination of the Oscars, the MGM switchboard answered calls the following day with “M-Gigi-M.”

Do you have a screenplay idea that you think would make a great movie or TV show? If you would like to take action and pursue your screenplay idea, New Show Studios can help.

New Show Studios is a company that’s designed specifically for everyday people with ideas for screens big and small.  It 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. 

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.

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.