One of the most important skills for a writer is getting the opening of your script right – and part of that is setting the tone. A great premise can be ruined if its presented in the wrong way, and this often happens if the screenplay doesn’t set the tone correctly. So what even is “tone”, and how do you get it right?
If you haven’t entered our Romance and Comedy Award yet, you’d better move fast. There’s just one week until the deadline, which is coming up fast on January 17th!
Do you want to learn more about the craft of screenwriting? WriteMovies is proud to present our Online Introduction to Professional Screenwriting Course, which will enhance your skills and take you through the entire screenwriting process from start to finish!
WriteMovies is delivering this course in partnership with Screenwriters Forum, and it will be run via Zoom over a period of 6 months. Sessions will take place on the last Thursday of each month, with the first coming up soon on January 28th!
Available internationally, no matter what corner of the world you’re from, you can book the whole course for $150 or pick and choose the workshops you’re most interested in for $30 each. The course covers all aspects of screenwriting and each month is dedicated to a different stage of writing a script. We start with developing concepts, and take you through to pitching your work and developing your career as a writer.
Attendees of similar courses by Screenwriters Forum in past years have rated them at over 90%, reporting an average increase in confidence of 20% on each subject. Here’s some of their feedback:
“Very well delivered and easy to relate back.”
“Really found this session hugely useful to draw thoughts together and starting seeing how script might hang together in a way easy for others to understand.”
“Great exercises really brought this to life.”
“Given me some very good ideas to work with.”
Learn the craft from start to finish. Click HERE to find out more and sign up today!
Happy New Year from all the team at WriteMovies! Last year was difficult in a lot of ways, but we’re proud to continue supporting writers – and today, we look back at our winners from 2020 to celebrate their successes. Here’s the WriteMovies Wall of Fame 2020!
All of our winners received script development and pitching to industry from us, with a cash prize for our Grand Prize Winners too! Here’s a reminder of the scripts that took the top spot this year:
- FRANKENSTEIN UNLEASHED by Neal Wiser: A unique take on a classic story, updating it to a dystopian future to expand on the themes of the original; this script captured the current zeitgeist, as well as having strong visuals and a fascinating concept.
- THE BOY ON THE COVER by Elizabeth Savage Sullivan: A dramatic story that explores the ethics of journalists who do whatever it takes to the get the shot, and the impact it has on the lives of the subjects whose faces go viral.
- RIDING WITH CHARLIE by Shintaro Ogai: Based on the real story of a movie icon and his most trusted friend, the winner of our Fall Contest took us all the way back to the silent era for a biopic about Charlie Chaplin’s Japanese-American chauffeur, and the challenges and discrimination he faced.
Congratulations to all of our winning writers who made it onto our Wall of Fame 2020! We’re already hard at work with them, polishing their scripts and pitching them to industry.
If you’d like to see your picture on our Wall of Fame for next year, make sure you submit to our current contests! The Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest gives you the chance to join our winners slate, with a Grand Prize of $3500 up for grabs. You also get free entry when you submit to our Romance and Comedy Award – the deadline is January 17th!
John McCoy not only took 2nd place in our Fall Contest, he was also our Horror Award winner with his script THE DEVIL’S TIDE! We’ve already introduced him and his script here, but we wanted a closer look at what inspired him, his writing process, and his advice for writers.
And don’t forget to enter our Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest if you want a chance to win big yourself. Our Horror Award is now closed, but our next genre prize is already open: the Romance and Comedy Award! Standard deadline is this Sunday, December 20th, so enter now!
What was your inspiration for writing THE DEVIL’S TIDE?
A few years ago, I was on vacation in France, and visited Mont Saint-Michel. The gothic-style monastery, vast beach landscape, and island medieval fortress seemed like the perfect backdrop for a classic supernatural horror movie. Having lived in Washington, DC, I’ve watched curious tourists admire the Georgetown steps where FATHER KARRAS ended his life in THE EXORCIST. Even approaching 50 years since it was made, horror fans still visit the stairs as if that final sacrificial scene actually occurred there. In THE DEVIL’S TIDE, I incorporated a spiritual place with genuine historical events to capture that same sense of ancient evil resurrecting in current times.
Why did you choose to write a horror movie?
As mentioned above, when I first saw Mont Saint-Michel, I immediately thought, “what a great place for a horror movie.” I love horror, because it elicits powerful emotions of anticipation and fear. Great supernatural horror not only challenges our beliefs in the natural world, but it moves us towards intense feelings that come from the core of our human instincts. Unlike any other genre, horror allows you to feel shivers up your spine, hair standing up on the back of your neck, or a “jump out of your seat” scare.
What was the writing process, and how long did it take?
I started writing it in 2018 as a student at UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting. By the end of the semester, I had a first draft. I owe a great deal to my instructor and fellow students for providing valuable feedback throughout. Once a solid first draft is complete, the real work of rewriting with additional trusted feedback continues. I never feel like it is perfect. For me, there are always small tweaks and fresh ideas that make it better over time.
How have your own experiences informed your writing?
I’ve had an amazing career as a psychologist at the CIA, and had the opportunity to travel to more than 45 countries. Learning from people, history, and cultures around the world has given me a unique perspective of the human condition, one that I can explore when developing stories, characters, and place.
If I only had the time, I feel like I have a lifetime of story ideas waiting to be written.
What would be your advice to other screenwriters?
I’ve received some wonderful mentorship from other filmmakers and screenwriters. There is so much to learn, and of course, rejection is part of the game. If I had to pick two themes, I would first advise writers to write because you enjoy storytelling. The writing itself is difficult, but if you have a passion for telling stories, it will motivate you through the process. Second, never stop honing your craft. Whether through a workshop, class, book, or mentor, I am always looking for opportunities to learn more about screenwriting and filmmaking.
There’s just one week until we reach the first deadline for our current contests, coming up on December 20th! We saw a consistently high standard of scripts for our recent Fall Contest, showing that all that hard work you’ve been putting in is paying off, and we want to keep that going with our Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest and Romance and Comedy Award.
2020 might seem like a year to forget for a lot of people, but there are still lots of opportunities to be had for writers. Producers want strong scripts for when productions can restart in earnest and movie theatres can reopen, so hopefully you’ve been using this time wisely to work on yours!
First up, our Romance and Comedy Award is all about those feel-good movies that audiences need after the events of this year. We want to celebrate writing across all genres with our series of genre awards, and this one has come along at just the right time.
The winner will receive:
- Guaranteed pitching to industry
- Two sets of Development Notes to help take their script to the next level
- Further advice to fine tune their script from our experts.
Plus all submissions will automatically get FREE entry to the Winter Contest, with even more great prizes on offer! Click HERE to submit before the standard deadline of December 20th!
For the Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest, we accept scripts of all shapes, sizes, and genres. Whether you’ve written a feature, a TV pilot, or a short, we’d love to see what you’ve got for us. We also accept video game scripts and books, so submit now if you think you’ve written a novel that would adapt well for the screen!
The Grand Prize winner takes home $3500, and the top three scripts all receive:
- A year of free script development worth up to $3200
- Guaranteed pitching to industry
- An invitation to a lunch with an industry executive in L.A.
- Exclusive listing from InkTip
We’re looking for stories that keep us engaged from the first page to the last – and, crucially, will compete well in today’s market. If you want to enter before December 20th, click HERE!
As we approach the end of 2020, it’s also the end of yet another contest – it’s time to announce the winners of our Fall 2020 Screenwriting Contest! Today’s the day we award our top three with script development, pitching to industry, and more, and also give away our Grand Prize of $3500.