Write Your Screenplay in 10 Minutes a Day

By Pilar Alessandra

I know you’re busy. Trust me, I’m with you. You’ve got work, school, kids, you name it. Family counts on you, friends need you – someone’s probably e-mailing, texting or instant messaging you right now!

So how in the heck are you going to find time to write? Well, look down at that smart-phone or computer. You already are.

Be honest. How many times a day do you sneak in a Facebook post, send a brilliant thought through Twitter or entertain a far-away friend with a text? Every time you do, you’re writing.

You’re relating an anecdote; describing a person you met, engaging in a conversation. In other words, you’re focusing on story, character and dialogue all day long.

So, you might as well do it for your screenplay.

Try it. Apply those same stolen moments of time to your script. Instead of telling your friend what happened that day (really, she can wait), quickly synopsize your movie idea. Instead of texting gossip about that person you met in an elevator, create a piece of scene direction that might describe that person as they enter a movie scene. Instead of engaging in a cutesy I.M., write a “cute meet” between two characters.

Suddenly, your stolen moments of time are productively moving you towards a screenplay.

Think it can’t be done? Let’s try it out. See how quickly you can actually outline your movie by choosing to focus on one element per ten-minute break.

  1. Commit 10 minutes to telling a simple story with a great idea. Describe it in a paragraph or two as though telling a friend about a great movie. That’s your synopsis.
  2. Commit 10 minutes to dividing that story into four sections. Give each section a title. Those are your acts.
  3. Commit 10 minutes per act to brainstorming the major events that happen in each section. Those are your sequences or “beats.”
  4. Commit 10 minutes per sequence to brainstorming the cool details, character moments, and smaller actions. Those are your scenes.

Congratulations. Outline finished.

This isn’t to say that you need to cut all of your Facebook, Twitter and texting time. But look at how quickly you just moved through your outline when social networking suddenly turned into screenwriting.

Do keep texting, though — because you’re actually teaching yourself to write. Yeah, you read that correctly. All of this texting and tweeting has taught us how to focus our stories and edit.

You choose your words carefully and well when you “tweet” a joke using only 140 characters. You’ve learned how to create urgency or coax a smile with only a few choice words sent in a quick text. You edit your e-mails to make sure that you’re not burying an important point.

All of these skills are the same ones a writer brings to scene honing and dialogue doctoring. So why not try a rewrite on your script with the same attention to detail?

  1. Commit 10 minutes to hone in on the main point of a written scene. Then quickly lop off the excess that threatens to bury it.
  2. Commit 10 minutes to finding new words for your action lines; words that have enough impact to sum up the action and emotion of that moment.
  3. Commit 10 minutes to turning an overwritten monologue into the perfect one-liner.

There’s an argument that all of our social networking is dumbing us down as a society. I say it’s created a generation of writers. We communicate through the written word more than we ever did before. Now, we just have to use those skills for our art.

Today, when that urge to cheat on your job comes to you, go ahead and take those ten minutes – but don’t log onto Facebook; focus on your screenplay.

Imagine your status update after you’ve sold it!

Pilar Alessandra is the director of the popular writing program “On The Page.” A sought after teacher and lecturer, she’s traveled the world teaching screenwriting and is in high demand at major writing conferences and film festivals. As a consultant, she’s helped thousands of writers create, refine and sell their screenplays. Her students and clients have sold to Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Brothers and Sony and have won prestigious competitions such as the Austin Film Festival, Open Door Competition, Fade-In Competition and Nicholl Fellowship.

Source with Permission: The Writers Store

How to Remove Horizontal Band Lines from DSLR Footage

This video shows you how to remove those nasty brown horizontal band lines from your footage. These lines can sometimes show up when shooting under florescent lights and create a really bad effect. They can be mostly removed using Final Cut Pro’s “Limit Effect” tool built into the “3 Way Color Corrector.”

VIA: Caleb Pike

“Best Worst Movie” Troll 2 Documentary Trailer

In 1989, unwitting Utah actors starred in the undisputed Worst Movie in History: TROLL 2. Two decades later, the legendarily inept film’s child star unravels the improbable, heartfelt story of an Alabama dentist-turned-cult movie icon and an Italian filmmaker who come to terms with this genuine, internationally revered cinematic failure. Film Noir Video Contest with sponsor B&H Photo wanna give you the opportunity to both create and learn the dark world of Film Noir.  Here’s your chance to really show off your filmmaking skills by creating a short Film Noir themed video.

Update: View winners here.

To enter you must submit a Film Noir themed video 1 – 5 minutes in length. The video must include the use of “I.Q.” either via dialog, prop, effect or set design. The winners will be judged on the creativity of the short, their ability to demonstrate noir lighting style, and the creativity of the use of “I.Q..”

What is Film Noir?

In conjunction with this contest we created a feature article “Ultimate Filmmakers Guide to Film Noir.”  The guide is full of video, images, links, tutorials and more.  Everything you would ever need to recreate this amazing genera of film.

Need Help With Your Video?

IQ is all about helping filmmakers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek help from our large group of professional members. Need a crew? IQ is the perfect place to network and make friends. We setup a special Group for all your Film Noir questions and support. We want everyone to create the best video possible, and we are here to help in every stage from script to screen!


We are happy to have our trusted sponsor B&H Photo supply our grand prize. We don’t recommend B&H because they our are sponsor, they are our sponsor because they are the only store we would ever recommend.

First Prize

The first place winner will receive a Impact Qualite 300 Focusing Flood 2 Light Kit from B&H, an Official embroidered fleece jacket and cap.

Second Prize.

The second place winner will receive a Official embroidered fleece jacket and cap.

Third Prize.

The third place winner will receive a Official embroidered baseball cap.

In addition every member that enters will receive 500 IQ Points added to their account.

How To Enter

  • Create your video following the listed requirements and upload it to YouTube.
  • Fill out and submit the online entry form below.
  • Make sure you post your video to the Film Noir Contest Group in a new topic with the title of your video. Videos not posted to the group will not be eligible to win.
    (To post a new topic in a Group Discussion, click the “New Topic” button on either the Group Discussions Directory or Group’s main Discussion Page. You may need to join the Group before you can post a message.)

Video Requirements

  • Video must be 1 to 5 minutes in length.
  • Video must include the letters “I.Q.” either via dialog, prop, effect or set design.
  • Avoid violating copyright laws or using brand names or logos other than’s in your video. You agree to indemnify for any claim, demand, judgment, or other allegation arising from your possible violation of someone’s trademark, copyright, or other legally protected interest in any way in your video.
  • Your video must be original content for this contest. Do not submit a video that has been submitted elsewhere.
  • Videos must be uploaded to YouTube and must be able to be embedded.
  • Obtain release forms for all of the people featured in your video. You must provide the with the forms if requested.
  • Be able to provide with an original video file if you win.
  • Videos that are submitted without an entry form will not be judged.
  • There is no limit on the number of videos someone may submit.

The Deadline

The Film Noir  video contest runs from July 29th, 2010 to 11:59 p.m. EST on September 23rd, 2010 asking members to submit short videos in the Film Noir style.

Winners Selection

After the contest closes, videos will be judged to see if they comply with the requirements of the contest. Those videos that do not comply will be disqualified. All other videos will advance where the videos will be rated by judges from based on message, accuracy, appropriateness of theme, creativity, and entertainment value. The winners will be selected and notified by email on or about September 26th, 2010.

The winning videos will be posted on


For questions, please contact us.

Submission Form:

Deadline has expired.

How to Write Movies: 100 Bottles of Sake

This clip is from the 1983 documentary (packaged in the “Tokyo Story” Criterion Collection DVD set), called I Lived But … The Life and Works of Yasujiro Ozu that featured interviews with Ozu’s production crew and recurring actors, plus excerpts from newsreels, home movies, and clips from two dozen of Ozu’s films. Ozu’s cameraman Yuharu Atsuta shot the film, and his long-time production company Shochiku produced it.

FilmFellas Cast 6: The DP Edition – Living Your Passion

Zacuto USA brings another table side chat, this time with Directors of Photography and how they got where they are now.

FilmFellas Cast 6 Filmmakers:
Jens Bogehegn
Robert Primes, ASC
Trent Opaloch
Philip Bloom

Episode 25

In the first webisode of the new series, the new host Jens Bogehegn talks with fellow cinematographers Robert Primes, Trent Opaloch and Philip Bloom about how they got their start and what it takes to be a successful Director of Photography.


Episode 26

The Fellas: Jens Bogehegn, Robert Primes ASC, Trent Opaloch and Philip Bloom, open up the round table discussion by giving their take on the “real world” realities and benefits of attending film school. Next, they discuss getting your first break, steps of learning your craft and paying your dues. The webisode wraps up with a lively discussion on the new breed of filmmakers going viral, getting discovered on the internet and using social networking to build your audience.

Episode 27

The round table of DPs (Jens Bogehegn, Robert Primes ASC, Trent Opaloch and Philip Bloom), discuss the DP/Director relationship. They elaborate on ways to handle a problem director, the art of collaboration and staying true to your craft. Next, they exchange views on artistic vision and bonding with the director on a more personal level to build trust.

Episode 28

The Fellas discuss the constantly evolving industry (film vs digital) and how a new breed of DPs may never touch film. Next, they agree that HD DSLRs, such as the Canon 5DMkII & 7D, are changing the game forever.

Episode 29

The Fellas end the season with an engaging discussion on film and digital cameras and their performance under the ASC camera assessment test. Before the round table discussion ends things get heated…

Newer Posts
Older Posts