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Meet our Winter 2018 Writing Contest Third Placed Winner – CHARMER by David Kurtz

Meet our Winter 2018 Writing Contest Third Placed Winner – CHARMER by David Kurtz

We continue our celebration of our Winter 2018 Writing Contest top three winners – who all improved on previous placements.

Last time we commended Simon Bowler, who broke into the top three for the first time after winning two special TV awards. (Check out that article here.)

Today, it’s all about David Kurtz – our Summer 2017 Contest Third Placed winner who re-entered the Winter 2018 Contest to finish in Second Place!

We’re sure our previous Development Notes prizes have helped David out (we’ll let him tell you all about that, though!) but this is a great example of how every draft and version of your script will improve – so never give up!

Here’s what David said about his Second Placed finish…

“Doing well at the WriteMovies Screenwriting Competition brings great rewards – and you don’t have to win!  2nd and 3rd place receive the highest quality script Development Notes (+ INKTIP freebies!) – notes that have the ring of screenwriting experience and authenticity. Their readers really work at understanding what your script is all about – to you!  

They not only make detailed proofreading corrections – but they offer suggestions that make you feel like you have a co-writer. For me, the most important help I’ve gotten is to give me the courage to edit – to remove scenes and dialogue I loved but knew deep down didn’t serve to move the story forward. (I save all the edited cuts to possibly be used in another story – this makes letting go easier.)

I assume that most writers (like me) are on a tight budget, but I would suggest saving money on lesser competitions to use on these amazing Development Notes. If you move up toward the top they will be free!”

Here’s a little background on David:

“I retired to Northern California from Massachusetts several years ago and took up writing screenplays – not golf.  I’m a “gen Boomer” devotee of 1930s to 1950s movies that feature dialogue, romance, and humor.  I naturally tend to write contemporary takes in those genres that might appeal to younger audiences as well as all age groups.

My writing education has been limited to basic composition at college, a creative writing class with a Tufts University professor and a beginner’s screenwriting course at Santa Rosa Junior College. CHARMER is my first “completed” script.”

And here’s the logline to David’s winning script, CHARMER:

A burned-out middle-aged accountant and a young daredevil woman put their polar opposite lifestyles aside when they team up on dangerous hostage-rescue mission.

Check out our script mentoring services for yourself. You could improve your script AND gain free entry into our Spring 2018 Writing Contest. View our services here

Meet our Winter 2018 Writing Contest Third Placed Winner – INSURRECTION by Simon Bowler

Meet our Winter 2018 Writing Contest Third Placed Winner – INSURRECTION by Simon Bowler

The Winter 2018 Writing Contest was a special one for us as we saw 3 previous winners all improve on past results! We had a previous Monthly Contest winner win the Grand Prize, a former third placed winner came in second, and an Honorable Mention and TV award winner broke into the top three.

Today, you get to meet the Third placed winner of our Winter 2018 Writing Contest Simon Bowler. Simon won the first ever “Best Teleplay and pilot award for Summer 2017. Then he won it again for the Winter Contest AND came Third overall!

A testament to Simon, and how well he used our past Development Notes prizes to improve on his previous draft.

Here’s what Simon said about his Third Placed finish…

“With WriteMovies development notes I was able to climb up from semi-finalist to finalist, to a being a winner three times in a row, which has been an extraordinary validation of my writing and has been hugely encouraging. I now look forward to working with WriteMovies to the hone the script, a pilot for a mini-series, into the best iteration possible, and to start focussing on how to market the project. The writing process, as any writer knows, is a lonely one, so to have the recognition of a triple win with WriteMovies and their continued support will make that journey all the more bearable, and hopefully, successful.”

Here’s some background on Simon:

 “Originally from London, where he produced documentary films for the BBC and Channel 4, Simon has spent over twenty years in Los Angeles producing, writing and directing television docs and reality shows. Simon recently switched to drama and besides the multiple award-winning “Insurrection” mini-series (of which he’s written three episodes), he has written two award-winning plays (both at this year’s Austin Film Fest), a feature film, and is developing a classic horror anthology TV series.”

And here’s the logline to Simon’s winning script, INSURRECTION:

 INSURRECTION tells the interwoven stories of three men – a farmer, a slave and a senator – whose dangerous battles against slavery led to the American Civil War. Farmer John Brown, slave Frederick Douglass, and Senator Stephen A. Douglas.

With two television awards up for grabs in our Spring 2018 Writing Contest, the chances of your pilot script winning has never been higher… enter here.

Writing for Video Games: The world is your Sandbox

Writing for Video Games: The world is your Sandbox

Jamie White continues his thoughts on writing for video games. This time it’s all about the difficulties of writing open world games…

Up until now the games I’ve talked about have had a very linear narrative structure. The gamer doesn’t really have that much control of where the character goes or what they can do. That’s all about to change as we look into what is possibly my favorite genre of game – open world sandbox RPGs.

OK, it can be a bit of a mouthful, but these types of games (which I’ll just refer to as sandbox games) are usually the most immersive. They offer the player a variety of options within an open world setting – you can create your own character from scratch sometimes, mix and match weapons, and perhaps most importantly, nail your outfit. That might sound kinda silly, but giving the player that little bit of control allows them to put some of their personality into the character.

So why are they called sandbox games? Well, as always, Wikipedia puts it best…

“A game in which the player has been freed from traditional video game structure and direction, and instead chooses what, when, and how they want to approach the available content. The term alludes to a child’s sandbox without rules, with play based on open-ended choice. While some sandbox games may include building and creative activities, they are not required. Sandbox games generally employ an open world setting to facilitate the player’s freedom of choice.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_video_game_terms#osandboxgames

So, in short, you can do whatever you like with sandbox games – as long as you stay inside the sandbox and only use the sand and really cool customizable plastic shovels.

A collection of various sandbox RPGs.

A collection of various sandbox games.

I also mostly find that these games have some of the best storylines. Whether it’s the more recent Horizon: Zero Dawn or Nier: Automata, or classics of years gone by like Red Dead Redemption or GTA: San Andreas. The big issue for writers when writing for these types of games, though, is side quests.

Think of side quest as sub-plots. Some are more related to the main plot than others, while some are simply hunting and/or gathering missions. What they should always be, though, is interesting. The escort side mission has become the bane of many gamers’ existence (it’s just so damn annoying!) and finding specific artifacts or plants to complete a quest is just super tedious and unimaginative. These types of missions can add some needed variation to side quests, but finding several unique ways to handle them can be a tough task for writers.

An even tougher task is how the hell you actually write these types of games. And much like the narrative focused games I looked at in my previous article, there isn’t a set way. You gotta go with whatever makes sense to you. But, I do have a suggestion.

Sandbox games are comprised of, essentially, two plot arcs: A) The main story and B) the side quests. Sometimes these side quests only become available after you’ve reached a certain point in the main story, or after you’ve unlocked a certain weapon, or whatever, so how can you writer both into one document?

Well, you’re familiar with those “Choose Your Own Adventure“ novels, right? The ones that say “Turn to page 36 to follow the dragon”, then you turn to page 36, get killed by the dragon and quickly turn back to the previous page. Well, I think you could follow a similar sort of format.

Start out writing the main plot as you would a regular script. Then, when you get to a place where you think “hey, I can add a side quest here”, make a note like “SIDE QUEST “A side quest served cold” now available. Turn to page 124 for narrative”, then carry on with the main plot. You could either then finish the main storyline before adding the side quests, or add them as you go.

Again, it’s best to do it however you feel comfortable. While there’s strict format for screenplays, that is not really the case for video game writing.

Most importantly, though, especially for new video game writers – stick to writing the main plot. Don’t take the Skyrim route that has several big plotlines and what feels like millions of side quests. It can be exhausting to play, so I can only imagine how it would be to write…

If you wanna write your own video game script and enter it in our Spring Contest (we allow video game scripts now!) but aren’t quite sure on how to approach it, just get in touch! Maybe we can end up doing a Q&A sorta thing…? We’ll see!

I wanna also talk about why you film and TV writers should not look to adapt video games into mainstream consumptive media, but that’s an article for another day…

Three STAR TREK Scripts on the table

Three STAR TREK Scripts on the table

Zachary Quinto has revealed that there are three STAR TREK scripts being written for the fourth film in the franchise. The scripts are being written by the likes of Doug Jung, Simon Pegg, and even Quentin Tarantino.

It would be really exciting to see what sort of script would come from Tarantino for the Star Trek universe – no doubt, the blood, swearing, and Samuel L. Jackson appearances would rise significantly. Even one of his screenwriting competitors for the gig, Simon Pegg, has stated before that Tarantino could be the guy to take Star Trek forward (see THIS article).

We’re certainly down for a Tarantino Trek – what about you?

Read more at http://www.joblo.com/movie-news/zachary-quinto-says-that-there-are-several-star-trek-scripts-in-the-works-332

Joaquin Phoenix Teases New Joker Role

Joaquin Phoenix Teases New Joker Role

Joaquin Phoenix has been teasing potentially playing the new Joker in Todd Phillips’ upcoming Joker origin film. Phoenix has refused to rule out the possibility of the Joker and has said “I don’t know… it could be an interesting character, I don’t know,”

Phoenix would certainly be a great choice for the role, but while the project is still in development we can continue to speculate.

I’d love to see an older Joker with the likes of Willem Dafoe or Mark Hamill (who voices Joker in many animated iterations of the character). Hamill has even said before that he’d be interested in portraying a live-action version of the Joker. Who would you like to play the clown prince of crime the next time he shows up in Gotham?

Read more on Phoenix’s response here: http://www.joblo.com/movie-news/joaquin-phoenix-won-t-talk-joker-role-but-admits-it-could-be-interesting-200