Monday, January 26, 2009

Hot Tip For Screenplay Contest Entrants From Creative Screenwriting Magazine

Market Your Script With A Great Filename

While looking through the scripts entered so far in the 2009 AAA Screenplay Contest, I noticed something You know that the title of your screenplay should catch the eye. Or do you? Judging by some of the titles we receive, some writers do not understand that the first step in “selling” your script is marketing it to the reader or judge with a great title.

But what does the reader or judge see first these days? Not the title, but the filename. So here’s the tip: make the filename the same as that catchy title. Not an abbreviation of it – exactly the same.

Judges and studio readers see hundreds of scripts. Start marketing your script to them the moment they get it.

Many writers miss that opportunity. For example, I’ve seen these file names recently for scripts entered into the AAA contest:
  • AAA.pdf. Thank you very much for pluggingr contest. But don’t you want to draw the judges’ attention to your story rather than the contest?
  • Final_Draft.pdf. I’m sure Final Draft appreciates the marketing boost.
  • Script.doc. So generic, it might as well have a barcode on it.
Is this really important? Put yourself in the position of a contest judge who has just received 50 scripts to read. Suppose the judge has been assigned the titles below (These are actual titles of new AAA contest scripts):

The Cave Where The Water Always Drips 09.fdr.
The Porcelain Girl_byWriterName.pdf
The Tortoise And The Heir.pdf
Garysaurus Rex Rewrite 3.fdr (good title, but leave out the “Rewrite.” See the Bonus Tip below.)
Oganic Svengali.pdf
In The Heart Of The Rain.pdf
Love Me Dead (new beginning).pdf (Again, see the Bonus Tip below.)

Which is the judge LEAST likely to open first if he/she goes by titles? That should be obvious.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

CS Weekly - 12/05/08 - Words of Wisdom

"The world of novels, there's corruption and mediocrity, but in the end it's still a republic of letters. But film is a tyranny, and the tyrant is money. The great thing is that, in spite of that, impossibly, some people keep on smuggling out messages of hope from the other side, past the tyrant. I mean, there shouldn't be one good movie made given the way it's structured, and yet there are many good movies made. That seems to me to be implausible and marvelous at the same time."
Australia's Richard Flanagan

Saturday, January 17, 2009

DVDs on Pitching, Dialogue, and More - Only $9.99



Now is your chance to get our acclaimed screenwriting seminar series DVDs at an ALL-TIME LOW PRICE. At 50% off their normal price, you will never find these essential titles available to you in such an easy way.

Start the new year off right and re-dedicate yourself to your writing career! These DVDs are the perfect place to start.


With individual courses on writing compelling characters... Dialogue... Openings... Endings .. Romantic comedy... Sci-fi... Horror writing... How to pitch... How to find an agent... And much more... This curriculum of 60 DVDs is the most advanced education on screenwriting craft, the business, and screenwriting careers available anywhere -- at about 3% of the cost of a screenwriting degree at a major film school.


Knowing how to write a great outline can be a life saver for the writer. It can be indispensible. In this seminar you'll learn how to craft an outline that will make the writing process a breeze! This DVD - Crafting the Outline For Your Feature Film - benefits from Brian Herskowitz 20+ years of screenwriting and teaching experience.

You'll be given clear and specific tools for brainstorming, developing, and rewriting your outline. You also learn how the outline can lead you to, not just a script, but a career.

"As a collaborator with Brian and a guest in his class, I am hugely impressed with his screenwriting knowledge. I heartily recommend him and his course."
-Jason Alexander, actor "Seinfeld"


The ultimate challenge for scribes today is creating compelling, authentic, fresh dialogue that individualizes characters, and entertains the reader.

In this DVD Credible "Dialogue", Expo speaker Rob Tobin speaks to you about how your characters should speak. Dialogue is how we remember the best movies, and it's how you make your script something special, something agents, producers, execs, and actors will be dying to read.

Et cetera, et cetera.

NEWSFLASH: Specials & Announcements

See your script come to life! Sit back in the director's chair and watch as your script comes to life with FRAMEFORGE 3D STUDIO. Unlike the convoluted storyboarding software of the past, FrameForge makes it effortless to plan and present your project like never before. With FrameForge, you can import a complete script from either Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter and start storyboarding right away. You'll also save time and money with optically correct storyboards that display shots just as they would be seen through the camera! Best of all, FrameForge 3D Studio allows you to easily share your work with the people who can turn your cinematic vision into reality. SRP $399; Sale Price $349. Save $50 when you enter or mention promo code MOVIEMAKER during checkout. Available at The Writers Store: 800/272-8927; 310/441-5151.

The 2009 PAGE INTERNATIONAL SCREENWRITING AWARDS: Presenting 31 awards in 10 genre categories—$50,000 in cash & prizes, including a $25,000 Grand Prize!! The PAGE Awards have rapidly become one of the most important sources for new screenwriting talent within the Hollywood community and worldwide. Their award-winning screenplays are
solicited by dozens of producers, agents and development execs, and, as a result, many of their winning writers land script assignments, secure representation and sign option agreements on their work. Are you their next award-winning screenwriter?? EARLY ENTRY DISCOUNT
DEADLINE: Thursday, January 15th. Don't miss it! Enter online.


ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY's School of Motion Pictures and Television fosters creativity and independence in the art of filmmaking. Students are immersed in producing, directing,
cinematography, editing, screenwriting, production design and acting. Programs offer state-of-the-art-equipment and guidance from top industry professionals in the classroom and on-set productions. Accredited degrees in AA, BFA, MFA are available on campus in San
Francisco or online. To learn more about the School of Motion Picture and Television at the Academy of Art University call 800/544-2787.

The COLORADO FILM SCHOOL offers hands-on training programs in state-of-the-art facilities with emphases in Writing/Directing, Cinematography/Videography, Post Production, Writing/Producing and Acting for the Screen with new programs upcoming in Art Direction,
Film Studies and Animation & Graphics. An Advanced Immersion program that offers 60 credits in 11 months offers a high-speed route to working in film. Their excellent faculty are industry-engaged, and all courses are University accredited and fully transferable. Their students make over 1,000 films per year. Their alumni have had feature work in competition at Sundance and SXSW festivals.


2009 BIG BEAR LAKE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL & SCREENPLAY COMPETITION is accepting film entries for the September 10-13, 2009 festival. Festival screens feature films, short films, student short films, High School short films, documentaries and features seminars,
panels and pitchfest. Film deadline: May 15, 2009. Contact 909/866-3433 or

DC SHORTS gives all entries feedback from the judges—a point which impressed MovieMaker Magazine to name them as "one of 25 festivals worth the entry fee," and "one of the leading film festivals." DC Shorts turns the spotlight on truly independent short films, created by new and established filmmakers in an era when the art of filmmaking is opening to all. They select films from every genre for their competition screenings.

"Great Stories Bring Families Together" is the 2009 slogan for the 14th annual INTERNATIONAL FAMILY FILM FESTIVAL on February 26 to March 1, 2009 at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, CA. At the Film Awards Ceremony, the "Friz Award" for Animation will be presented to Phil Roman, along with Awards for the Best Films, and the most coveted Award of all: The Top Applause Award (the audience favorite). The Screenwriters Showcase is where the Finalists have one scene performed by actors for the general audience, followed by the
Screenplay Awards Ceremony. For deadlines and entry information, call 661/257-3131.

The MAGNOLIA INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL was founded by Ron Tibbett in 1996 to celebrate his vision of independent film in Mississippi. "The Mag" has been called the most filmmaker friendly festival by many past contributors. The festival takes place in mid-February, in Starkville, Mississippi, and welcomes all genres and all lengths, in competition for awards. Receptions, workshops and luncheons are held in the Starkville and West Point, MS area. Housing, meals, events and local transportation are provided for filmmakers whose work is chosen for screening.

MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL cordially invites screenwriters and filmmakers, playwrights, short story writers, TV writers, librettists, composers, children's filmmakers & writers, and young (18 & under), plus seniors (75 & over), and all filmmakers &
screenwriters, music video filmmakers, and multi-media filmmakers to participate in the truly international 2009 film festival competition. Moondance offers everyone a unique opportunity to come together with other writers, directors and producers to create new opportunities,
develop tools for success and forge new alliances within the international film and entertainment industry. The 2009 Moondance call-for-entries opens in January 2009. E-mail:

(April 23-30, 2009) This one-of-a-kind competition and awards gala presents $25,000 in cash, scholarships and prizes to Florida student filmmakers. Submission deadline: January 21, 2009. For film categories and submission info, please call 561/233-1000.

The SEDONA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL invites you to the 15th annual festival, February 24 – March 1, 2009. The six-day festival features more than 125 films, including features, documentaries, shorts and animation. Filmmakers and audiences from around the world have heralded Sedona's festival as one of their favorites. For more information, please call the festival office at 928/282-1177.

14TH ANNUAL STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL, July 23 - August 1, 2009. A highly competitive festival, with shorts and features screened over 10 days, every evening and all weekend, in Staller Center's Main Stage Theater on a 40-foot screen. 15,000 attended screenings in 2008. Closing Night Awards Reception hosted by film critic John Anderson.
Filmmakers enjoy screening to one of the largest audiences on the festival circuit, with up to 1,000 people at a screening. Entry is free thanks to sponsors. Deadline to enter: May 1. Questions? E-mail:

The 18TH WOODS HOLE FILM FESTIVAL is seeking film submissions. The nationally acclaimed Woods Hole Film Festival will take place from July 25 through August 1, 2009 on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. For more information, contact

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Got a Story to Tell? MM Wants to Hear It.

MovieMaker at Sundance

As always, MovieMaker is proud to be a part of the premier event for American indies, as we unveil our Winter 2009 edition. If you're in Utah, pick up an advance copy at
Sundance's Headquarters, Filmmaker Lounge, Sundance House, New Frontier on Main, Yarrow or the Volunteer Villa. You can also find us at Tromadance and X-DANCE.

Can't make it to Park City? Let MM bring Park City to you. Beginning Thursday, visit daily for the latest film happenings—including an all-new daily video podcast.

Subscribe Today—and Save

In 2009 I will get my movie made. Sound familiar? Well, luckily, our New Year's resolution is to help make sure that happens by offering you a year's worth of exclusive interviews, invaluable how-to articles, and insider industry tips for the lowest price imaginable.

To help you realize your movie-making goals, we're offering you the chance to purchase a year of the world's best-selling independent movie magazine for just $9.95*

Sign up today to start with our Winter 2009 issue, in which we count down the 25 Best Places for Moviemakers to Live (and survive), go inside Steven Soderbergh and Benicio Del Toro's Che, reveal the top deadly sins of screenwriting (and how to fix them), unearth a lost 1985 John Cassavetes interview, watch James Gray bid a fond farewell to Joaquin Phoenix and commend the 10 moviemakers who are saving the world one reel at a time. And that's just one issue.

Think You've Got a Story to Tell? MovieMaker Wants to Hear It!

Tales from the Trenches

You've been there: Your lead got a new tattoo halfway through shooting; your dolly track was run over by the equipment truck; you lost your financing the morning you were to start principal
photography . .

MovieMaker wants to hear your production nightmares—your struggles with cast and crew, your technical pitfalls and (most importantly) the steps you've taken to reign the project back in—for an all-new blog called Tales from the Trenches. Now's your chance to let it all out—publicize your movie, show off your problem-solving skills and help your moviemaking brethren in the process.

So make us laugh, cry or cringe in horror. Submit your story today (no more than 1,000 words) to Who knows, you just may be the next featured blogger at, reaching out to our more than one million readers!

Coming Attractions

Speaking of publicizing your movie, we're also looking for your help with our new Coming Attractions section. We want to keep our readers up to date on all the hottest upcoming movies—including yours. Send us a few choice photos from the movie you're working on right now
along with all the pertinent info (director, actors, synopsis, completion/release dates, etc.) and you may just see it posted on for all the world to see.

2009 BlueCat Screenplay Competition

Every writer receives a written 600 word script analysis of their screenplay. Winner $10,000. Four finalists $1500. Our alumni sell scripts, secure representation, direct award-winning films, and build careers. BlueCat has discovered more writers than any screenplay contest in the world. Deadline March 2. Entry fee $50.